It would be interesting to see how a panther could hurt a dragon and somehow withstand its forceful and damaging fire that it releases from its mouth, but on the basketball court the wiha Panthers Schwenningen don´t have to worry about a hot fire, but have to find other means to beating the opponent. So far this season the ambitious team that belonged to the absolute best teams in the Regionalliga last season and currently haven´t lost a home game in over two years have had no problems adjusting to the Pro B coming into the game in Bad Honnef with a 8-4 record and have held their fans at home at the edge of their seats with overwhelming exciting wins againstWurzburg 68-66, 78-76 against Erfurt and against a 75-74 nail bitter against Orange Academy. At the other end of the court the Dragons Rhondorf´s fire hasn´t been burning very strongly this season as they came into the game with a disappointing 3-9 record and were reeling to get back on the winning track something that has been very difficult to master this season having lost their two import players early and have been hit by the injury bug that has robbed them of being able to develop any long lasting chemistry or consistency. The game boasted two of the leagues absolute star players with Lithuanian big man Zygimantas Riauka who was averaging 17 points and 13 boards per game while Schwenningen boasted the undersized 199cm forward Rasheed Moore who dominated the Regionalliga last season averaging 21,4ppg and 7,4rpg and this season hasn´t let up in a higher league averaging 21,2ppg and 6,8rpg coming into the game. Schwenningen wanted to get back on track after a disappointing loss in Erfurt while the Dragons Rhondorf wanted to forget their 20 point loss in Coburg and gave a great fight for 38 minutes, but a basketball game has 40 minutes and the club failed in crunch time as the wiha Panthers Schwenningen displayed no hero ball surviving in the Dragon Dome with a 73-65 victory. After the game top Pro B player Rasheed Moore of the wiha Panters Schwenningen was relieved that his team could enjoy the long 6 hour bus ride home, because a loss most likely would have had them walking home as head coach Alen Velcic had expected a win and no less. “We didn´t make our open shots in the first half, but finally knocked down shots in the second half. They defended very well contesting our shots, messing us up with their press and their zone threw us off. But we did a better job beating their zone in the second half”, stressed Philadelphia native Rasheed Moore.
It hasn´tbeen the easiest of seasons for the 2004 Fiba Europe Cup championMittledeutscher BC as winning in the easyCredit BBL has never been easy overthe years as they have had a roller coaster route of moving up and down to thePro A and back similar to how a boarder line NBA player feels taking thosecommutes back and forth between G-League towns and NBA cities and this seasonthe club is dwelling in the cellar with a mean wolf blocking the stairs up tothe living room. The wolf´s den as many know the Weissenfels arena to be aswell as enemy gyms have not been friendly to the Wolves as they have had littleto howl about in terms of being ruthless and successful as teams have had theirway with them. The Mitteldeutscher BC has many Ameriacns in the rotation andeven a Canadian with Adika Peter Mcneilly who was used to winning as a rookielast season with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg reaching the playoffs and gettingfar in the Basketball Champions League, but this season he and his new club MBCas people like to call it when they have gotten tired of writing out the fullname Mitteldeutscher BC have had a season to forget. It has been a realstruggle of a season so players on the club can have very long days in thesmall city of Weissenfels that has little for entertainment and offers the besthang out with a Mcdonalds on the outskirts of town for that late night snackwhen you want to bury all the sorrows from the court in a big juicy Big Mac.Adika Peter Mcneilly who had a stellar college career in Canada at RyersonCollege (CIS) and a solid rookie season in Ludwigsburg shaping his basketballskills under the watchful eye of head coach John Patrick has seen the otherside of German basketball as he and his team is struggling. He is lucky,because when basketball times are bad in Weissenfels, he has more than just aMcdonalds to try to cure his basketball blues with the munchies, but has SteveHarvey to get his torn mind healed with a tad of entertainment. Even I watchSteve Harvey, but then again more for entertainment, but the American talk showhost is a guy that is able to erase your negative feelings quickly with hisfunny antics. Thank God for You Tube, as you can find seemingly unending hilariousSteve Harvey moments on the show Family Feud where he is the host and has funnymoments throughout the 30 minute program. Mcneilly is a big fan of Steve Harveyand for him, Harvey doesn´t even have to be releasing pure comical phrases toget him on the floor with laughter. “There has been a lot of lines that Steve Harvey gets me laughing at. Ithink the funniest moments is when he doesn’t say anything and he has thisblank expression on his face because of the wild answers he hears”, stressedAdika Peter Mcneilly. The next time a teammate hears Mcneilly roaring withlaughter in the bus as he is gazing intently at his lab top or phone, it couldbe a good chance that he is having his own personal moment with Steve Harvey ashe is possibly trying to shed some kind of tough basketball moment experience.
AdikaPeter Mcneilly is a 24 year old 190cm guard that was born in Toronto, Ontarioand grew up in Scarborough. He had a stellar career at Ryerson College(CIS) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 93 games and was able to improve hisscoring and rebounding averages each season. Already as a freshman he put upvery solid stats averaging 11.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 69.6%. Hissophomore campaign was even better as he shot better than 40% form downtown forthe second straight season averaging 3.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.1spg,FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 68.8%. He made a further jump as a junior averaging15.9ppg, 5.7rpg, 4.2apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 89.8%.In his senior season he played 25 games averaging 18.6ppg,7.2rpg, 3.5apg,2.1spg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 85.0%. Hiscareer highlights at Ryerson included winning the 2016 OUA championship andbeing a 2017 CIS finalist. He never has had problems with his rare first nameAdika as he hasn´t had had the burden of finding a special nickname as he hasgotten used to having people call him that without the nickname. Most ofteammates the last two years that are Americans have had that NCAA experience,but he played in the growing league CIS in Canada that continues to makestrides. “The CIS has grown a lot, coming into the league several years ago to now Ihave seen the shift of players coming and out and playing oversees”, warnedAdika Peter Mcneilly. The Canadian put up very good stats in his four years atRyerson, but in a way any school that plays in the CIS is always in the shadowof the Golden State Warriors of the CIS Carleton who have a nasty habit in theeyes of every other school of racking up titles the way the New EnglandPatriots has done AFC titles with currently almost 10 consecutive titles. Hedid win one title at Ryerson and has no regrets about playing there for fouryears. “I enjoyed my time playing at Ryerson and I’ve learned a lot playing forcoach Roy Rana. He has taught me the game to the best of my abilities andalways believed in me. These last four years I’ve grown so much as a studentand basketball player and there are countless people at Ryerson that helped mealong the way”, warned Adika Peter Mcneilly.
Hisbiggest highlight was stealing a title from the seemingly invincible schoolCarleton win the OUA championship over the Golden State Warriors of theCanadian college basket ball league 86-79 where he exploded with 29 points andcontrolled the boards like a hungry wolf scooping down 12 boards. Being able towin this title against the best basketball school in Canada is something thatnobody will be able to take from him. Heremembers what it took to put a dent in the title trophy case at Carleton withthat very memorable victory. “Our team perseverance during times of distressand how everyone in the locker room dealt with adversity”, warned Adika PeterMcneilly. But being able to beat a top school like Carleton only a short timelater is about as rare as an Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons ever winninga game of Horse where the focus is only shooting from the free throw line asRyerson lost 78-69 as his 23 points didn´t mean a thing as the title went toCarleton. “We played a hard game and gave it to Carleton as they won anotherChampionship. One game would not define my CIS career, of course a nationalchampionship would be nice but I was more than happy with the way we played andhow our season was played out”, warned Adika peter Mcneilly. Not only winningthe OUA title remains a huge positive memory in his mind, but he also hadothers as he had countless huge games where he filled the stat sheet like aRussell Westbroook in the game against Western where he exploded for 36 pointsnetting 10/ 13 three´s, hauled down seven rebounds and handed out six dimes. Heisn´t 100% content it was his best personal effort at Ryerson, but itdefinitely is up there. “It may have been and I have to thank my teammates andthe coaching staff in putting confidence in me that game. Having a group ofpeople wanting you to excel feels great”, warned Adika Peter Mcneilly. TheCanadian who has a clear opinion who is the best of all-time in the seeminglynever ending debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James taking the ChicagoBull also remembers how vital his head coach Roy Rana was for his positivedevelopment as a player at Ryerson. You can ask any guy from Carleton who everplayed for Dave Smart and get the most heartfelt answers about how vital of ateacher he was and it isn´t any different when mentioning the name Roy Rana. “CoachRoy taught me how to work hard and be the best player I can possibly be everytime I stepped out on the court, whether that was in practice or individualworkouts”, said Adika Peter Mcneilly. In 93 NCAA games he scored in doublefigures in 70 games and scored 20 points or more 27 times and 30 points or morefour times. Besides his 36 point memory against Western, fans will remember his34 point explosion against Guelph and 32 points against Ottawa. He alreadygained some international experience in 2015 with the Canadian national teamplaying at the World University Games inGwangju (South Korea) playing 8 games averaging 5.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 35.0%, 3PT: 25.8%,FT: 61.5%
TheCanadian set out for a professional career in the summer of 2017 and wasgobbled up by the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. It can be seen as a honor playing fora John Patrick team as he always picks up special kind of guards that willunderstand his philosophy and function in his specialized guard system. Patricksaw a lot of potential in the versatile guard and signed him. Mcneilly came toGermany not having that feeling of entering a totally foreign place as helooked to his ex teammates from Ryerson. “It really helps having Jahmal Jonesand Aaron Best as friends that goes beyond basketball and that I have kept intouch with after their time at Ryerson. They told me that playing professionalbasketball will be an experience and that I should go out and play as hard as Ican”, stressed Adika Peter Mcneilly in the summer of 2017. What also helped the Canadian coming toGermany and not having any uneasy feelings about succeeding in a rising Germanleague easyCredit BBL was just knowing that ex CIS players like Carletonlegends the Scrubb brothers Philipp and Tommy have really made a mark in theleague and moved on to bigger and better leagues as well after having thatexperience in Germany. “I feel no pressure, I have played basketball a verylong time and I am confident in my abilities. Nothing will be easy, as theleague is very good but once again I am excited to go out on the hardwood andplay”, warned Adika Peter Mcneilly in the summer of 2017. In his rookie seasonwith the MHP RIESENLudwigsburg (Germany-BBL) he played 34 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 31.1%,FT: 69.0%; and also played 26 BCL games averaging 8.9ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 33.8%,FT: 73.5%. It wasn´t always easy in the John Patrick guard infested rotation,but he held his own and had his moments. In the easyCredit BBL, he scored indouble figures in 10 contests including a 24 point effort in a 118-98 shoot outwin against the Giessen 46ers where he smothered 6 trey´s and who could forgethis 21 point BBL debut in the 98-77 victory over the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. Heperformed even better in the Basketball Champions League scoring in doublefigures in 14 games. He finished that season strong scoring in double figuresin his last six games. Memorable games of him included his 15 and 14 points inwins against Neptunas and his 17 and 12 point efforts in wins over French sideChalon. All in all it was a solid rookie season, but unfortunately not goodenough to warrant a contract extension.
This season has been a season to forget so far as the Mitteldeutscher BC have started 1-8 and even though his minutes aren´t down from his rookie season, the Canadian has been struggling a bit in the scoring department averaging 5,7ppg and shooting an unacceptable 17,9% from outside at a clip of 5/28, but his overall game has been solid as he is averaging 2,9rpg, 2,1apg and 1,1spg. The team´s biggest problem has been not being able to keep team´s points down as they are giving up 89 points per game and scoring only 74 points per game. The effort is there on the boards as they are hauling down 33 per game fourth best in the league. The team definitely has talented defenders at the guard rotation with Trevor Releford and Lee Moore, but so far the club hasn´t found an identity on the defensive end. The season is still very long for the club to find a winning moment that will get them out of their black hole. Mcneilly is still looking for his offensive rhythm and play games the way he did against Vechta where he dropped 15 points and his three pointer was reliable. His ex teammate Jean-Victor Mukama fro Ryerson remembers Mcneilly having that special energy something that the team needs more of right now. “We have loud guys on the team, like energy guys, but Adika is a different type of energy. He’s always there to help guys with anything they’re struggling with”, added Jean-Victor Mukama. The Canadian inherited that different special kind of energy a long time ago. “My family instilled positive vibes throughout our household that helped each of us grow as individuals and I use those philosophies with basketball and everything I do in life”, warned Adika Peter Mcneilly. No matter where the basketball path of Adika Peter Mcneilly goes this season, he will always have You Tube and Steve Harvey to spruce up his day as well as having that special different energy that the Mitteldeutscher BC needs right away to help escape their losing funk as it is 10 to midnight in the MBC season.
Kassius Robertson is a 24 year old 191cm guard that was born in Toronto, Canada and is playing his rookie season overseas with medi Bayreuth. He began his basketballcareer at Thornlea Secondary School and then played at Canisius (NCAA) from 2014-2017 playing a total of 99 NCAA games. He played his senior season at Missouri (NCAA) playing 33 games averaging 16.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 43.2%,FT: 79.5%. Currently medi Bayreuth is celebrating a 8 game winning streak and belongs to the hottest teams in the easyCredit BBL. The Canadian is averaging 11,3ppg,1,7rpg and 2,6apg while shooting 43,3% from outside in the BBL. In the Basketball Champions League he is averaging 10,3ppg, 1,7rpg and 1,9apg and shooting a blistering 51,3% from outside. A few days ago he hit Turkish powerhouse Besiktas with 31 points in a huge 91-74 victory. He spoke to germanhoops.com two weeks ago about his basketball career.
Kassius thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome to Germany. You have been in Germany a few months now. What has impressed you most about the German culture?
I´m not really sure. Nothing has really impressed me. Everything is 100% different from home. The biggest difference here is that everything is strict. Everybody follows rules in Germany. You have to make appointments here and there are no walk ins. They go by book.
I have a extraordinary name with Miles and so do you with Kassius. Muhammed Ali´s first name was also Cassius, but was spelled with a C. How did you get this special name and how did you do in school with the other kids concerning it´s variety?
My mom named me after Ali, but changed the C to a K. I was never bullied in school by the other kids. Not many knew that Clay became Ali. Now everyone calls me Kass.
You are playing your rookie season with medi Bayreuth. What kind of experience has it been for you in the early going and what has been the most difficult transition for you coming from the NCAA?
It has been a transition for me playing with a new team. Playing the pro game is a lot different from the NCAA. It just takes time adjusting to a new team and system. The mindset of the players and coach is a lot different here. Obviously guys that have been here longer are more accustomed to everything. I had a slow start, but I never got down on myself. I knew it would be a process. Last season I was playing around 35 minutes a game and this season it´s around 20-25 minutes. I have a different role.
You had a big leadership role last season with Missouri(NCAA), but with medi Bayreuth are a rookie with many veterans. What kind of role do you have this season and do you see yourself being able to become an impact player already as a rookie?
My role with medi Bayreuth is to be a team player as much as possible and being able to contribute as much as possible. I´m a good outside shooter and a pretty good defender. I feel that I´m an improved passer. I understand that as a rookie I´m allowed to make mistakes. I need to be patient with my game and just take it game by game. I see myself being an impact player in the BBL. I just need to be patient. If it happens in the next three games or at the end of the season, I will be happy whenever it happens.
Medi Bayreuth have already had their ups and downs and have found themselves. There was talk that coach Kroner might release players, but he stuck with his gut feeling. What happened in the last weeks where the team finally started winning and being consistent?
We haven´t changed anything in the winning streak, but did what we have been doing from the start of the season. We just needed time to find ourselves and not continue to make the same mistakes and just improve. We started getting contributions from multiple guys.
A big strength of medi Bayreuth the last two seasons under head coach Raoul Korner has been their team chemistry and the players doing one role very good. What kind of team can medi Bayreuth become this season on the court?
We can stand up withanyone in the league. I think that we can become a very good team. The onlyteam that really beat us bad this season was Alba Berlin. We showed against therest that we were the better team or could of beat them. We had collapses insome games that cost us. I think that if we can continue to keep the defensiveidentity that we have now, we can be a very good team. I honestly think that wecan be up with the four best teams in the BBL.
A big time player for medi Bayreuth is ex NBA player Adonis Thomas. Is he one of those guys where you have picked his brain about basketball and life? He seems like one of those players where when he speaks, you listen?
Adonis is a cool dude. I´m very close with him. We understand each other well. He has been overseas for a few years now. He has been through a lot and drops some gems every now and then and I listen when he talks about his experiences here. We really will need him to be at his best for us to be at our best.
One of the big energy guys in the turn around has been Hassan Martin who had an amazing 8 blocks in Frankfurt. Do you ever remember seeing such a great defensive performance in your career?
I have played with many very good players, but he is probably the best shot blocker that I have ever played with. He is young and super talented as has played really well for us. Hassan has been our rock. He has been our most consistent player because he is so athletically dominant. I haven´t seen anyone as athletic as him here. He times his blocks so well and even when he has to stay out of foul trouble, he can still impact a game at both ends of the court. As soon as he has a little space, he will dunk it. He has great intangibles down low. If your man gets a step on you, he will always be there to protect you. He will have a great career.
Let´s talk a bit about your game. You’re a 191cm shooting guard that is known as a very good shooter, but also have many other fine attributes to your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?
There are a few. My favorite player now is Steph Curry. But when I was growing up surprisingly my favorite player was Austin Rivers. When I was in high school, the hype around him was crazy. I watched his mix tapes for hours and hours. I loved his hesitation crosses and tried to copy him. He didn´t turn out to be as good of an NBA player like I thought he would. I feel that I´m a better shooter than him. I would compare my catch and shooting to a Klay Thompson.
You’re a very good shooter, but what other strengths does your game encompass where nobody would ever get the idea that you’re a one dimensional player?
I think that I have a good package of finishing. I haven´t showed it too much yet, but it will come. I think that I have a good floater. I think my ball screen game is good with getting the shot off, making the pass and reading the defense
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet with ease, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away in your game?
My passing for sure. I think that they count assists more easy in the BBL than in the NCAA. I feel like I could get a double double with 10 assists. I think that when my shot isn´t dropping that my passing then is very underrated.
You eclipsed the 40% mark from outside your last two seasons in the NCAA. What are the basic things that you are working on daily so that you can continue to be a very good shooter at the professional level?
It is the same thing now as it was in collegeand high school. Just making sure that my shooting fundamentals are in check. Ithink that the best way for me to get my shots off is understanding the offenseand teammates. Knowing where and when I can shoot is key
You have a lot more scoring weapons now than you had at Missouri. Has shot selection and patience been tough getting used to at the professional level coupled with the different style compared to the NCAA?
I was the number one scoring option there and everybody found me. This season it is different. My teammates do a good job finding me for the open shot, but when we need a basket, then they don´t go to me. It has been an adjustment this season with being patient and not forcing anything. There have been some games this season where I only got 2-3 shots. Last season at Missouri I averaged something like 11 shots per game.
You started your NCAA career at Canisius (NCAA) playing 99 NCAA games form 2014-2017 and improved your scoring, rebounding and assists each season. How do you feel did your game develop best here from day one until the day you left after your junior season?
I became a better shooter each season because I worked on my shot very much. I became an overall better shooter at Canisius. My role as a freshman is similar to my role this season in terms of shooting. Having a new team and role. I think that I will be that impact player when I get the minutes and added experience.
In your junior season at Canisius(NCAA) you lost 93-69 to top NCAA powerhouse Kentucky(NCAA). What kind of experience was it playing against future NBA players Fox, Briscoe and Monk?
Playing against Kentucky and those guys was awesome. I loved it. That was the reason why I wanted to transfer to a school like Missouri. I wanted to play in that type of environment and against the best players every night. I never played against guys considered for the NBA in the MAC conference.
What kind of experience was it playing for legendary coach Jim Baron. Do you remember hearing stories about their sons who are professional players in Europe?
I played a season with his son Billy Baron. He is playing in Croatia this season and has had a good career overseas. I have worked out with Billy the last summers in Buffalo. I have to thank coach Baron for everything, because he was the first guy that gave me a chance at the division one level. I will always appreciate him for that. He was a very tough coach. He gave me the right impression about how hard I have to work. He taught me that I need to be tough to get to the next level. He just let me play my game as long as I played defense.
You held your own against those future NBA players netting 16 points against Kentucky. When you look back at that game and where your play was and compare it to where it is now after your season with Missouri(NCAA) would you say that there is so much difference between those guys and you in terms of skill level?
At first yes. I might have scored 16 points, but I also took 16 shots. I missed a lot that night. You really get hyped up in your mind when playing against a top team like Kentucky. But when I was at Missouri and played against Kentucky again, I didn´t feel that there was any difference in skill level between me and those guys. Athletically they were at a different level than me, but skill wise I was either at their level or superior.
After making the jump from Canisius to Missouri you need no adjustment period. How tough was the situation having to jump in for Michael Porter Jr right away and have to be a leader?
It was very tough at first. He was a cool dude.We bonded very well in the early going. I was so excited to play with him. Wehad been playing together a few months that summer. He was an amazing playerlike a baby Kevin Durant. He beat me at 1-1 every time. He was our number oneoffensive option and every play would go through him. But then he was injured.What now? I was the oldest on the team and I naturally stepped up. I think thatmy teammates really respected my work ethic. When I spoke, they listened. Myskill spoke for it´s self and I tried to be the guy in crunch-time. After awhile we had success and our team chemistry was good. Everybody felt thateverybody wanted to win and all went along.
Did you feel a bit disappointed that despite taking over the leadership role from Porter JR and having very good stats as a senior that there wasn´t more interest from NBA teams?
I was disappointed at first. I felt like even if there had been more interest from the NBA, I still didn´t feel ready. I feel like I need 1-2 more years at playing at the professional level. I need to get my body right and learn the pro game. I feel like I need to become a combo guard, better passer and become a better shooter off the dribble. My goal is the NBA, but my real goal is becoming the best player I can be
How great was it beating Kentucky once with Missouri where you steered home 16 times. You scored 26 points in the second game despite the loss. Was the win your most memorable in the NCAA?
No it wasn´t. I had other games that were more memorable. Winning at Alabama was one of my most memorable wins in the NCAA: Another memorable win was in my junior year at Canisius where we won at St Bonaventure in OT. That win was huge. Another big game was my freshman year where we beat Quinnipiac. I hit a game winner. I hadn´t been playing well that season, but I came up big in that game.
How did head coach Cuonzo Martin give you that last touch in helping groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Martin goes down as my favorite coach of all-time. He was a good person off the court. He is wise and very knowledgeable and has been through a lot. He was a very tough coach. He was defensive minded and instilled me in being a defensive leader on the court. I already had a good work ethic coming to Missouri, but he helped it become even better. He taught to be a good player on the court and person off the court.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jordan Geist?
Me. Jordan was a tough player, but I´m winning that battle.
You played against so many incredible players in the NCAA, but who was the toughest player you battled that is in the NBA now?
There are a few. Deaaron Fox was incredibly quick and when he was going full court was almost impossible to stop. The second would be fellow Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who plays for the Clippers. He isn´t the best shooter, but an amazing passer and can always get to the rim with his hesitation. He is really hard to guard
If you had to pick your all-time best starting five of teammates who would you pick?
Billy Baron at the 1. Me at the 2. Michael Porter Jr at the 3. Jontay Porter at the 4 and Hassan Martin at the 5.
When you were at Vaughn secondary school you played together with freak athlete Andrew Wiggins. What do you remember from his game and how good was he already as a kid?
I remember a lot about him. He was so athleticand just super gifted. His moves and spins around the rim was crazy for a tenthgrader. He dominated at that level to the point where it was too easy for him.I remember him dunking over 3 guys. His shot then wasn´t nearly as good as itis now. I played only a year with him, but we went something like 41-1 and won30 in a row. He was a special talent.
If you had to pick your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry and Lebron James.
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
That debate is terrible. You can´t exclude Kobe Bryant. If I had to choose then Michael Jordan 100%.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Operation Finale on Netflix.
Thanks Kass for the chat.
YannickAnzuluni is a 31 year old 205cm forward from Ottawa, Canada that also has theCongo citizenship. He is playing his eighth professional season and second inGermany returning to the Rostock SEAWOLVES. Currently he is averaging 12,8ppg,5,0rpg and 2,2apg while shooting 34,5% from outside. He played the last twoseasons with BC Lulea (Sweden-Basketligan) and last season played 39 games averaging 14.3ppg, Reb-3(8.2rpg), 2.9apg, Steals-5(1.4spg), FGP: 52.4%, 3PT:37.8%, FT: 82.1%; and played 2 BCL games averaging 15.0ppg, 10.5rpg, 2.5apg He played atHoughton(NAIA) from 2006-2010. He played his first two seasons as aprofessional with Quebec Kebs (Canada-PBL). In the 2012-2013 season he playedfor the Solarto Eagles Magdeburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 21 gamesaveraging 17.5ppg, 11.0rpg, 4.2apg, 3.0spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 50.2%, 3Pts: 27.4%,FT: 80.2%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Pyrinto Tampere II(Finland-1st Division): 28 games: Score-1(24.4ppg), Reb-3(13.9rpg),Assists-5(3.4apg), Steals-1(2.6spg), FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 80.9%. In the2014-2015 season he had his first tour of duty with the Rostock Seawolves playing32 games: Score-3(21.0ppg), 8.1rpg, 4.2apg,Steals-1(3.2spg), FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 31.2%, FT: 80.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com basketball late in the summer.
Yannick welcome back to Germany. Welcome back to Rostock. How thrilled are you to be back in Germany and with your ex team Rostock?
I’m very happy to be back in Rostock i always knew I would be back for one last hurrah with them.
This is our sixth interview together. How has time not only flown since our last interview two years ago with Phoenix Hagen and your time with Rostock in 2014-2015?
Times has flown a lot since our first interview, you first interviewed me in my early twenties and I just turned 30 this week. It´s pretty amazing.
Since your last time in Rostock you have gained further experience in Sweden with two teams. How do you feel is Yannick Anzuluni different and better now as a player and person having continued to grow?
I´m a very different player than 4-5 years ago. I´m older and more mature. I see the game differently than I did in my younger days.
The Rostock SEAWOLVES have had a massive growth in the last years and now are competing in the very competitive Pro A. How is everything that you have seen so far different than before?
Its a lot different than when I was here. The organization has really grown the past few year as which is great to see.
Now your ex teammate from the 2014-2015 season Jens Hakanowitz is your boss. Is it strange seeing him in a suit now making decisions behind a desk instead of banging inside? Do you remember his 19 point game in your last game with Rostock in 2015 when you lost to Oldenburg?
Yes it was a bit strange seeing himin a different setting but Jens and I are very close. We kept in touch all theseyears. Thats why´I´m wearing the number 20 because it was his number here hislast season.
What is your early impression of the Rostock squad? How competitive will this team be and what kind of style can we await?
The squad looks very good, filled with a bunch of great unselfish guys which will go a long way during the season.
The club kept two key players with Brandon Lockhart and Chris Frazer and brought in great players like Tony Hicks and Terrell Harris. Have you noticed a special kind of character so far? How intense are these character guys and how important will that be for the success early on?
Brandon is not here but Chris, Tony and Terrell are all great players in their own way and have even better characters which is what you need to have for a winning season, good talent with great personalities.
The guard play in the Pro A is always at a high level, but what has been your early impression of Lockhart and Hicks. How explosive will these two players be this season? What is already special about seeing them together on the court?
Tone is a very fast and quick guard and I believe if he stays focused he could take this league by storm.
Another great player is Terrell Harris who belonged to the top players in the German Pro B two years ago and exploded in Denmark last season. He is one of those special guys that despite his success seems to never be satisfied. How will he flourish best with Lockhart and Hicks? Could he be a type of glue guy at the guard position?
Yes Terrell is a great all around guard very athletic who can score anywhere on the court with the potential to be one of the best defensive guards in the league.
It seemed like you made your breakthrough in 2016 reaching the BBL with Phoenix Hagen. In our last interview the title I chose was “ I have never been so excited to start a season in my life”. You played only two games and finished strong in Sweden with BC Lulea. How tough was this season and why didn´t your time work out in Hagen?
The situation in Hagen was not the best situation for me personally which was a blessing in disguise because it led me to Sweden where I had the best season of my career.
You were teammates with a great professional in Hagen with David Bell. How did you experience him in your short time and what will you never forget about him besides his baby hulk features and incredible shooting?
He was a great person always helping guys and only cared about one thingwhich was winning, he was a great leader.
Despite winning titles in Sweden and belonging to the top players in that league, are you back in Germany with a chip on your shoulder wanting to show everyone in the basketball community that you won´t fail again? Have you felt that chip and what is your personal goals as a player this season besides winning?
Things not working out in Hagen then going to Sweden to win a championship and being named finals MVP I don´t consider that failing at all. I have no chip on my shoulders, I decided to come to Rostock to try and help them win a championship before I hang up the sneakers for good.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a very versatile player that can guard many positions. How else do you feel will you be able to help the club be successful at all times?
Having played in back to back finals the past 2 seasons I think I can help most on showing what it takes to get through a grueling season and ultimately win a championship
You stated this two seasons ago before your time with Phoenix Hagen. “ I feel like physically I am a lot bigger and stronger than I was in Rostock and my understanding of the game has also improved and I´m able to combine my physical skills with some good basketball IQ. How has your game continued to develop in the last two years in Sweden?
I developed physically and mentally in my time in Sweden having played different roles at a very high level really took my game to the next.
How did your 2018 summer work out plan look like? On what things did you work on most so you will be fully prepared for this season?
My summer regimen has been the same for many years now a mix of on court workouts, lifting track workouts.
You played two seasons with BC Lulea winning the title in 2017 and losing in the final in 2018. How tough was losing the final to Norrkoping after being up 2-1 in games. Did this loss damper your time there a bit?
Losing is never fun but I wouldn’t change anything about my time in Sweden, I had the best seasons of my career being in multiple championships winning a championship and being able to compete in a European championship were the highlights of my career.
You played two seasons with BC Lulea with American Quinton Upshur. How much of a pleasure was it sharing success with him? Hs he become like a brother for life?
Q as we call him was a great guy and better teammate, probably the best oneon one defensive player I’ve ever played with.
In your first season with BC Lulea you won the Swedish title in great fashion winning 3-2 to Sodertalje after being down 2-0. You averaged 26 points in the last three games and shot 11/18 from outside in games three and four. Was that the best basketball you not only played in Sweden but in your whole professional career?
Because of the circumstances being in a Finals and putting those numbers it was definitely the best basketball I have ever played.
In your first season in Sweden with Umea you destroyed Eco Orebro with 39 points and 17 boards. What memories do you have from that game and was that the most you have ever been in that special zone?
The only memory I have about that game is that I shot TERRIBLY from the 3pts line or else I might of scored 50. I have been in that type of zone a few times in my career.
What is your personal opinion of the never- ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
No debate Jordan is the GOAT.
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
No one is beating a healthy Warriors team.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luka Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?
I didn´t follow the draft at all but if Ayton was #1 it was because experts thoughtfully made that decision.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
10 to 12 assts a game.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Yannick for the chat.
John Shurna is a 28 year old 204cm forwardfrom Chicago that is playing his seventh professional season and second with MoraBancAndorra(ACB). Last season with MoraBanc Andorra(ACB) he played 35 gamesaveraging 6.7ppg, 3.1rpg,FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 70.7%, and played 10 Eurocup games averaging 6.9ppg, 2.6rpg,FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 81.8%. He has garnered experience in countries likeFrance, Spain, Turkey, and Croatia with teams like Strasbourg IG (France-ProA), FIATCJoventut Badalona(ACB), Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul (Turkey-TB), ValenciaBasket (Spain-Liga Endesa), and KK Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia-A1). He began hiscareer with Northwestern (NCAA) in 2008 playing 128 NCAA games over a spanof four years. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 19.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.7apg, 1.2spg, 1.6bpg,FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 75.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about hisbasketball career before the Eurocup game in Ulm, Germany.
John thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome back to Germany. You are back in Ulm. Three seasons ago you swept them.What memories do you have of those games?
Ulm always have really talented teams that like to play physical andthe atmosphere in their gym is always really good. My highlight was winningwith a buzzer beater in Ulm and I also remember winning a big game in Valencia.
You have a lifetime record of 6-1 against German teams. What do you feel has been your secret for having this nice success rate?
I have been very fortunate to have been on very talented teams and played with great teammates.
Your playing your second season with MoraBanc Andorra. The team has been kind of in the middle of the pack in both competitions. How much potential does the team have and what is it´s biggest strength?
I feel that we have a lot of potential in both competitions. Every game is tough and you need to bring your best effort each night. I think that we have a lot of potential in being able to continue to improve. It will be a good challenge and I hope that we can step up to the challenge.
Let´s talk about your teammates. Have you noticed Dylan Ennis having a chip on his shoulder? His never ending hard work seems to have been paying off as he belongs to the top scorers in the ACB?
He is obviously very talented. He is a very talented scorer. He has helped us out in a lot of games this season. He is a very important piece for us. I think a big help for his game is that he plays to his strength and takes what the defense gives him.
How challenging is it training with up and coming forward Reggie Upshaw? What do you appreciate most about his game?
Reggie isalso very talented. He brings a lot of energy to the court every night and cando a little bit of everything. We push each other very hard each day and bringout the best of each other on the court.
Let´s talk a little about your game. You’re a 204cm forward that can do it all. Would it be fair to classify you as a modern forward? What is your biggest strength?
That is a fair assessment of my game. My biggest strength is my shooting and that helps to open the floor for my teammates. I have been fortunate to have played with really good teammates my whole career that have been able to find me and let me shoot the ball.
If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description how you play?
Off the top of my head I have never really thought about it. I am a stretch four and have a role as a shooter that has continued to grow over the last years.
You are a modern forward that has a very versatile game, but what is a hidden strength in your game that you feel doesn´t always get recognized right away as something you do well?
I think it´s the little things. I try to make the team better
Last season you played with talented American David Walker who played at Northeastern. What memories do you have of his play and does he have Euroleague material?
Yes he does. He is a very talented player and outstanding athlete. He has continued to grow each season. He did start with an injury this season, but he looked really good in the last game. As he continues to improve, the sky is the limit for him.
In the 2016-2017 season you balled with KK Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia-A1). After coming form the ACB, how do you feel did your game grow playing in Croatia where you once again played a different style of basketball?
The basketball was different in Croatia. I was really excited toplay there coming from Spain and have nothing but fond memories from there.Once again it helped being around great teammates again which helped us toreach success there as well.
Did you ever think coming out from Northwestern in 2012 that you would have played with so many top teams in Europe and so many top players year in and year out as teammates and opponents?
I could not have predicted that when I came out of Northwestern. I have been really fortunate that I had success in the last years. I have to credit the success year in and year out not only to the talent we had on the court, but the personalities of my teammates. I look back at the memories and friendships most fondly.
In the 2015-2016 season you played with Valencia Basket. How challenging and fun was it working together with a front court like Justin Hamilton, Luke Sikma and Bojan Dubljevic? The competition must been very intense?
It was a great experience being teammates and battling against them each day. One guy played in the NBA and is China now. The other was a finals MVP in Spain and the other is the reigning BBL MVP. There was very much talent on the court with them. They were so competitive and we pushed each other so much to have success. When I look back, I´m more grateful to having these friendships with these guys than anything else.
As a rookie you led the France Pro A in three point shooting and in Turkey shot an exceptional 48% from downtown. Which NBA player did you always look up most to in terms to their shooting when you were a kid and which shooter do you respect now?
I grew up in Chicago and was a huge Bulls and Jordan fan. Everybody looked up to Jordan. With today´s shooters, I look up the most to Klay Thompson. I was his teammate with the U-19 national team. There are so many great shooters nowadays. You can start the conversation with Steph Curry or if you want to go full circle you can talk about Dirk Nowitzki who changed the game with his shooting.
What memories do you have of American Taylor Brown who played with you at Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul (Turkey-TBL). He had played in the third German league just 2 years earlier. What impressed you most about his game when you were teammates?
Taylor is a great scorer. He is a great athlete and so dangerous in the open court. What I really liked about his game is that he is able to find many different ways to score. He has a cool story. He is a perfect example of never giving up and where hard work can bring you. He has shown his perseverance and determination.
In your second season you played for FIATC Joventut Badalona (Spain-Liga Endesa). Was there a big adjustment coming from the French league to Spain that you encountered?
It was an adjustment coming from the physical French league to themore up and down Spanish ACB. It was my second season in Europe, so It was allstill an adjustment to playing overseas. I was fortunate once again being ableto play with a good group of guys. It was also nice playing with experiencedguys, but also young players. Badalona has always been known for bringing uptalented young players.
What was your favorite place to hang out in Barcelona in your second season with FIATC Joventut Badalona?
Barcelona is a great city. There is something there for everyone. You have the beach, you can go to the fountain and I liked hanging around the Olympic stadium. I also enjoyed La Rambla and going to the Gothic area and getting lost in the side streets. You can be at the beach and then with a short car ride at Montserrat. There is always sunshine there and all are happy when the sun is out.
Did Luke Sikma tell any fascinating stories about his dad and the good old days in the NBA?
I´m sure that Luke shared some stories. It was most fun when his dad was there and visited. It was a lot of fun to spend time with his dad. He is a great guy. It was cool seeing his dad who had so much success in the NBA come to visit to see Luke play and see him so happy with his success. He was a real proud dad. His dad was just a normal western guy cheering on his son.
As a rookie you played for SIG Strasburg. What was your wake up call to being a professional where you knew that you were very far away from home?
My wake up call was simply that everything was so new for me. Difficult was the changing of roles going from college to the pro ranks. The whole experience was a real eye opener. I had great teammates and they were a big help making me the player that I am today. Guys like the Greer brothers and Lou Campbell were really important for my rookie season. I still have contact to them today. Lou Campbell is the best example how to be a professional on and off the court.
How much of an impact did head coach Vincent Collet make on you as a rookie? He has had much success as France national team coach and has really made Strasburg into a top team in the last 5 years?
Coach Collet introduced me to the European game. I was very fortunate to have had him as a coach in my first year. He was quite the tactician. It was an adjustment at first, but he was really helpful teaching me the European game. He wanted the best for you, but at the same also expected the best from you. He was always very focused in his coaching. His coaching record speaks for it´s self. He has had a big impact on French basketball.
You played at Northwestern from 2008-2012. How did head coach Bill Carmody prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Caramody played a huge role in my success in school and alsothere after. Running a Princeton offense at Northwestern was very important formy development as you had to know how to read the game and just do a little bitof everything. He has made me the player I am today. The whole coaching staffthere helped every player grow as a player and person.
You played together with Michael juice Thompson for three years who has established himself as a top guard in France. What are your fondest memories with him on and off the court?
Juice is one of my good friends. I only have good memories with him on and off the court. He always worked so hard. With his size, he was always viewed as an underdog so he played with a huge chip on his shoulder. He has had success everywhere he has played. It was great playing with him for three years and he really helped me grow as a player. He expected a lot from his teammates and his hard work he put in each day made us work harder.
You have played NBA Summer league 4 years in a row. You have played against many players in the last four years. What vivid memory do you have of playing against a player that later made it to the NBA that might have been off the radar a bit during the NBA Summer League?
I can´t really pick a player. There are always many talented guys playing there. It was a great experience for me each summer. Every guy is so competitive and everyone wants to play at the highest level. It was a lot different style than the NBA or overseas. There were usually always young players and I enjoyed testing my skills against them.
If you had to list your starting five of all-time best teammates which five would you pick?
That´s a tough question. I had too many great one´s.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA right n
Draymond Green. He brought out the best in me.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Lebron James.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never-ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
I would pick Jordan because of the impact hemade. Obviously I´m biased coming from Chicago. Both guys elevated the game toa new level. He won 6 titles and lost no finals. When the game was on the line,you knew who the ball was coming to and more times than not he would succeed.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks John for the chat.
If you ever get invited to a Thanksgiving feast at Karl “The Mail man” Malone´s house you probably wouldn´t want to bring up any of his NBA finals appearances, because he went home ringless, but perhaps rather talk about the good qualities of the holiday that is giving them an amazing feast. Another guy who had his misfortune in finals was a Jerry West who reached 9 finals, but couldn´t get by Bil Russell and the amazing Boston Celtic teams, but at least he won one. Then there are those guys who no matter what they tried on the court, they just couldn´t stand on the court for a consistent number of games, because the injury bug always crept in the way. The best example of a player who had injury woe plastered on his head was ex NBA player Greg Oden. Two of the worst things that can happen to a professional basketball is not winning titles and getting hit with the nasty injury bug. Oden came into the NBA in 2007 as one of the biggest talents at that time, but could never show it as in six professional seasons with Portland (5 seasons) an one with Miami, he played only 112 NBA games. He really only played three seasons as he missed three seasons to injury as his long history of injuries and not playing must have felt as painful in a way as it is for guys not winning a title. At least GregOden will always be known of being the overall #1 NBA Draft Pick which is a badconsolation, but something nobody can ever take away from him. One guy whodoesn´t fit into one of these categories, but both is Alba Berlin guard PeytonSiva. Ok so he hasn´t had that Greg Oden label of missing seasons, but what has been extremely annoying and painful in his case, is that twice nagging injuries have curbed the next step in his development as a rising player inEurope. On top of that he also has never won a professional title and came very close twice with his team Alba Berlin losing the 2018 Cup final and league final to FC Bayern Munich. If all else fails, he can always flaunt having won the NCAA title with Louisville. But Peyton Siva doesn´t want to sit on the past, but is a massive competitor and a guy who is hungry to win professional titles. He has come so very close with Alba Berlin last season and the club is on an excellent path this season and continuing to develop further as a club, but for the most part without the American this season. It is a sad fact at the moment that injuries continue to curb the rise of Peyton Siva despite conquering adversity early and carving a stellar career.
Adam Klie is a 23 year old 193cm guard that was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Anchorage and is playing his second professional season and first in Germany with the Giessen Rackelos. Currently he is averaging 11,5ppg, 5,4rpg and3,5apg. He is shooting a respectable 44,4% from outside. Last season he playedhis rookie season with the Niagara River Lions (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 44 games averaging 6.1ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 31.3%,FT: 48.4%. He began his basketball career with Service High School and played at Cal-San Diego (NCAA2) from 2013-2017. In his senior season he played 30 games averaging 15.2ppg, 6.1rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 45.7%,FT: 58.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball late in the summer.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Adam Klie after a game in Frankfurt
Adam thanks for talkingto germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?
I just arrived in Giessen, Germany on Wednesday. My summer was great, a lot of work put in the gym while enjoying the San Diego weather and people.
Before we talk about your passion of basketball, I have to ask you about your favorite soccer player Robert Lewondowski. Have you checked schedules of Frankfurt or Dortmund when FC Bayern Munich plays there so you could possibly go and see him Live? Frankfurt is probably your better bet since Dortmund tickets are real tough to get.
I haven’t looked at the schedule yet, but I am planning on going to some Bundesliga games while I am here. It would be even more special if I could see Bayern and Lewa play so I plan on seeing if I can make that happen!
After playing your rookie season in Canada, with what kind of feelings were you going into your second summer of looking for a new team? Was Europe early in your thoughts about attempting to make the next step in your career?
I liked being out in Canada a lot, but I think a large part of me wanted to experience basketball and life on another continent. There are many good leagues and teams in Europe so it was a place that came to mind immediately when I was looking for a club.