More often than not a player who is going through the rigors of NCAA 2 basketball might secretly be dreaming of lacing up the sneakers for a professional team, but would never openly admit it or actually be living the fairy tale. For Cum Laude mastermind, Grayson Moyer from Humboldt State, he didn´t have the affliction of having to choose what business firm to work for after experiencing a rookie season of hell in the ABA, but moreover saw a second chance of learning complex playbooks and managing his day as a basketball professional in the BBL.
His future was a bit suspect this summer after his ordeal in Alaska, but he kept a positive spirit and his hard work and focus paid off as the Deutsche Bank Skyliners signed him.
“I just kept working as hard as I could in the camps and I never thought that I would get a situation as good as this in Frankfurt. I am simply ecstatic right now”, declared Grayson Moyer.
Instead of hanging his head in the sand like a helpless ostrich and feeling sorry for himself like a dog being neglected by his master during feeding time, he decided to stay with basketball and surrendered another year of living the California dream with a top paying business job and hopping in between waves on the breathtaking San Diego beaches for his new work place is the BCM of the Deutsche Bank Skyliners and his new pleasure dome is the bustling North West Center Mall.
“Frankfurt is a real nice place. Everyone has been real friendly, which helps make the move to another country go smoothly. I can live without the ocean and palm trees for a while. I look forward to exploring and seeing more of the city the longer I am here. The Skyliners made a great first impression. They have a real nice set up and have been very accommodating. They are very well organized and treat their players well. I knew coming in they had a great organization, but I am still very impressed”, stated Moyer.
At first glance, the 23 year old 196cm shooting guard looks like the all American kid with the big million dollar smile that could help melt luscious eggs on the pavement in 110 degree weather in the Arizona desert. If you aren´t an expert of the exact face features of Tom Brady, who is a three time Super bowl champion and beau of top model Gisele Bundchen, one could get the notion after further inspection that Moyer was his long lost younger brother. One could also have gotten the impression that Moyer may have gotten lost in the famous Batcave went in and left with the Tom Brady look for life.
“Yes I have received Tom Brady Comparisons, but even more earlier before I started growing the stubble”, stated Moyer.
Even though comparing the sports of Basketball and Football is like night and day, knowing how to win is something that has to be achieved in any sport.
“Tom Brady is a great athlete. One quality that I would love to share from him would be, too be able to find ways to win and helping the team the same way he does. No matter what is happening in a game, he somehow always finds a way to win and fights until the end”, stressed Moyer.
Moyer also had no idea that he was linked to Tom Brady over the Humboldt State fan page. Through the human web or six degrees of separation, Moyer played with Keith Spencer at Humboldt in 2004-2005, while Spencer played with Andrew Francis with the USTA Road Runners in 2006-2007, while Francis played at Houston in 2005-2006 at the same time that Sebastian Vollmer played for the Houston Cougars football team and in 2009-2010, Vollmer is a member of the New England Patriots football team with Tom Brady. The six degrees of separation can seem complicated, but so is the notion of a spider spinning a web.
“Knowing that I am linked to Tom Brady with this six degree of separation is quite funny, maybe it will be a positive sign?”, joked Moyer.
Moyer played at Humboldt State from 2004-2008. He had a very successful four years leaving the school winning the CCAA Regular Season in 2007 and having a record of 79-34. He was an important player for Humboldt being able to bring an important quality to the floor which most likely was one of the key factors why Frankfurt were so interested in getting his services.
“I think I am good at hitting the open shot, finding the open man or reading a play before it happens, but my biggest asset is simply my basketball IQ”, expressed Moyer.
Just getting one player from Humboldt state into the BBL could be seen as a miracle, but getting two players to the BBL in one season could cause for some explaining, but often lady luck and a coaches belief of a player can go together like bread and butter. Sometimes a team can get just as much quality from a guy from Humboldt State than from a guy from Duke or Kentucky, but no one would ever believe it.
“Often players come from a top school, but have no history in Europe, while other times, a guy like Tyrone Ellis coming from NAIA has a long life in Europe. In the end what is most important is how a guy plays then what the name of his school was. Moyer is a guy with a lot of confidence that wants to improve. He has a top character and work ethic”, warned Skyliner coach Murat Didin.
Not only Moyer, but also Kevin Johnson of the Giessen 46ers will play in the BBL this season.
”It is great that two guys from Humboldt State will be in the BBL. A few years ago, I thought I would never play with or against Kevin again, but here we are together in the BBL and it will be good to face him”, said Moyer.
Johnson has one year more of professional experience and has had success in Austria at Gmunden and last year in Poland being the countries third best rebounder for SPEC Polonia Warszawa playing 26 games and averaging 10.4ppg, Reb-3(8.5ppg), 1.0apg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 80.4%.
“Kevin grabs everything off the rim. He attacks everything on both ends, can score and block shots and change a shot”, stressed Moyer.
At Humboldt State, they were roommates for two years and had nice memories of their time on the court.
“We did really well in his senior year winning the CCAA regular season and going 26-4 and Kevin became an All American which was really special”, remembered Moyer.
In his rookie season 2008-2009, Moyer had a rookie season that turned into a catastrophie because the ABA team Alaska Dream that he played for folded in December 2008 leaving him jobless and full of questions.
“When the team folded I was very disappointed. We had high expectations for the team and all of us were having a lot of fun in Alaska. It was upsetting when all the teammates had to go their separate ways and it was over before it really began”, expressed Moyer.
One could easily wonder if Moyer had any interesting anecdotes about his few months in Alaska. Being chased around by an angry and hungry polar bear, roasting marsh mellows with Eskimos over a camp fire, playing on an outdoor court next to igloos or having to listen to a pre game speech from governor Sarah Palin were all experiences that he didn´t have to suffer through. Living and playing the game he loves wasn´t all that bad.
“Playing in Alaska really wasn´t difficult. The only thing different was that it was winter time and there was only three or four hours of daylight per day. That was something that I had to adjust too”, added Moyer.
But he wasn´t totally absent from experiencing something that he would never see in downtown San Diego.
“There was no court next to an igloo, but there were a few moose sightings in downtown Anchourage, but that was about it”, joked Moyer.
In 2009-2010, Moyer will not have to endure coldness or mammoth snow storms in Frankfurt with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners as he has landed with a top run BBL team and will be able to concentrate on professional basketball in his first full season. After seeing Moyer for the first time in a test game, it is not difficult to see what qualities the Deutsche Bank Skyliners saw in the young American and seems as comfortable with his new teammates on the court the same way Dutch national striker Arjen Robben showed in his first game for Bayern Munich scoring two goals with friendly support from French national player Frank Ribbery.
“My first impression of Grayson was that he is a smart guy with a basketball vision. He has good hands and sees the whole court. He can pass well and shoot also. He needs to gain more playing experience, get stronger physically and then take it step by step and he has a good chance to play strong at this level. He has integrated himself nicely into the team, which was no surprise since he already showed that with his teammates at the Las Vegas camp”, stressed Skyliner skipper Murat Didin.
Moyer also has shown a lot of maturity for his 23 years understanding the importance of the older guys like captain Pascal Roller and Derrick Allen and just having the utmost respect.
“It has been a great experience being on the court with these guys. There is so much that you can pick up from them and it is just fun playing with them and they make every one better. Pascal has been a great leader by example. He is always working hard and sets a good example for all the new players. I think I am more of the silent type, but have gotten to know everybody pretty well”, stressed Moyer.
So far Moyer has not had much chance to play head to head against American Jimmy Mckinney, but they do share a love and aptitude to hit last second jumpers.
“I hit a last second running layup with Humboldt State beating Cal State Dominguez Hills 65-64 and the last second winning shot from Mckinney brought back memories, but Jimmy´s shot was a lot more tough. Of course, it is always a lot more fun winning a game like that”, added Moyer.
Moyer is a guy that can play the position two and three, but he prefers the shooting guard position. Moyer has already shown that he can hit the three pointer and what really has stood out is his beautiful rainbow shot that is not as always as clearly visuable as with his release in the pro ranks.
“That shot didn´t come over night. When I started shooting as a kid, this rain bow shot started to develop and I have been shooting like that ever since”, stated Moyer.
Sometimes it seems like The hang time of a Moyer shot is about as long in the air as it sometimes take for German national coach Dirk Bauermann to grant a small smile on the sideline during a tense game. Coach Murat Didin also has noticed this special exceeding shot from the San Diego native.
“Having good hands helps. He has a nice arc and a very nice shooting technique. Once he gets stronger physically, he will be able to improve his shot even more”, said Didin.
In the test game in Frankfurt against ENBW Ludwigsburg, the fans got a close up first hand look of his beautiful shooting as he nailed a few three pointers, but also his intelligence as he forced a foul behind the three point land getting three foul shots that he all made.
” He already has a great reading of the game for his age. His intelligence will help us this season”, said Didin.
Fans love the spectacular dunks from a Lebron James or a Rocky Trice, but the no look pass also is a play that can get loud hoots from the fans. It seems like the BBL will see many no look passes this season from Jared “Mr pass” Jordan of The Telekom Baskets Bonn, but Frankfurt fans should brace themselves, because Moyer is a guy that loves and knows how to pass and has one of the right role models that was a point guard and four inches taller than Moyer.
“My favourite player of all time is Magic Johnson. He changed the game being a 6’9” point guard and ran the fast break better than anyone. He retired when I was still young, so I like to watch old games of him. I am a huge Laker fan, so anyone that wears a Laker jersey is good in my book”, stressed Moyer.
Moyer probaly wont average 6-8 assists this season as Jordan might with Bonn, but he will get his share.
“I just try to create, but I have to credit my teammates for getting open and making the shots. I just try to find them at the right time”, said Moyer.
Critics are always talking about how important it is for players to find roles, but Didin once again pulls out another white rabbit out of his magician hat surprising everyone what he thinks about roles.
”Moyer has no special role as don’t any of the other players. Every guy has to be physical, play good defesne and just work hard. There are no roles in modern basketball today. All players play total basketball”, warned Didin.
There are always players that have come from the lower dungeons of the college basketball world like a Tyrone Ellis(Southern Nazarene (NAIA), Malick Moore(American International (NCAA2), Michael Hicks(Central Missouri State NCAA2) who is playing for The New York Phantoms Braunschweig after averaging 17ppg and being the third best scorer in Poland last season or Kevin Johnson and Grayson Moyer from Humboldt State(NCAA2) who will be making their BBL debuts this season and show what crafts they learned at Humboldt State and put it to positive use this season. If it doesn´t work out for Moyer, he always has something to fall back on.
“I was always interested in finance or marketing and just dealing with numbers”, said Moyer.
Before he should get finance numbers into his head, he will be focusing on getting high numbers into the win column for The Deutsche Bank Skyliners and at the same time getting his statistical numbers right, but surely keeping winning as his number one goal. He is only 23, but like any young pro, has dreams not to have to start dealing with numbers behind the desk of a professional sports team to soon.
“Well my biggest dream as a player is too stay healthy and play as long as I can. There is nothing better than getting paid for what I love to do”, stressed Moyer.
It is never keen to wage comparisons especially if you are Murat Didin, but the Turkish coach has seen many basketball players in his 25 plus years as coach and has linked the game of Moyer to a very respected basketball school.
“He doesn´t really remind me of a single player, but he reminds me of a typical smart and strong shooter like you see coming from the former Yugoslavia school of basketball”, added Didin.
It will be interesting to see what Moyer can do in his BBL rookie season, but it may be not be a coincidence that a former Yugoslavia player that could shoot, is 196cm just like Moyer, is currently coach with Turow in Poland, and won the European Championships in 1995 and 1997 is Sasa Obradovic. If Moyer can just bring his overall strong smart play and contribute on a daily rate, then I am sure that Murat Didin will think of Moyer as his own little Obradovic getting the most out of a player coming from the always underestimated NCAA2.