Achmadschah Zazai is a 22 year old German/Afghani 177 cm guard that started his basketball career for TUS Lichterfelde Berlin (2.Bundesliga) in 2003 and played there until 2005. In the 2005-2006 season, he played for SG FT/MTV Braunschweig (2.Bundesliga) playing 28 games and averaging 6.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 2.2apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 48.3%, 3FGP: 26.9%, FT: 75.0%. In 2006-2007, he played for BSG Ludwigsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 15 games averaging 19.3ppg, and also had a license for EnBW Ludwigsburg (1. Bundesliga) playing 12 games and averaging 1.1ppg. In 2007-2008, he played for the Bremen Roosters (Germany-ProA) playing 14 games averaging 3.4ppg, 1.1apg, and then went to Denmark to play for Horsens IC playing 8 games and averaging 9.8ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-3(4.5apg), 2.4spg, 2FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 92.0%. Last season, he played for Telemotive Muenchen (Germany-ProB) playing 25 games averaging 13.6ppg, 2.4rpg, Assists-4(5.5apg), Steals-5(2.2spg), FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 82.4%. This season, he signed a three month contract with the Artland Dragons to help fill the void for injured Flavio Stückemann. He only played sparingly for The Artland Dragons. Then he played shortly with TV Langen and now plays for USC Freiburg. He spoke to German Hoops following the crazy 163-44 game against BG Karlsruhe.
As I saw the 163 – 44 result between BG Karlsruhe and USC Freiburg, I thought I was dreaming but it was reality, as USC Freiburg played with 3 players for 38 minutes. How could a game like this be played?
We had 10 players who were sick last week and we wanted to move the game to another day but Karlsruhe needed to play the game because of financial reasons. We started with 5 players, 2 were sick and could not play after 1:30 minutes and we ended the game with me and 2 junior players.
You were on of the few that was not hit by the viral infection, how did the last week of practise look like?
The last time we practised was Tuesday night. After that, we did not practise together again since the coach did not want everyone to be in the same room, we never thought that we were gonna play this game anyway.
You will probably never forget this game, please describe what it is like to play 3 against 5.
I had never played in a game like this and I am sure that I will never play a game like this ever in my career again. This was so difficult for me because I often had the ball and they were pressuring me with 2 to 3 people. I had never been so tired after the end of a game. We could not give up too much energy in the defense and in offense, we tried to hold the ball as long as possible.
Those 2 guys started the game but were already sick and could hardly breathe on the court, so coach decided to take them out of the game. For us, it was just important to play this game because getting the 1 point was important for our fight against the deregulation.
With ice hockey, there is the 2-men advantage power play 5 -3 but can you compare that with a 5 – 3 in basketball?
I am not sure but 3 against 5 is just really, really difficult. In the offense we tried to pass as much as we could and keep control of the ball and attack as quickly as possible before their defense could get set for our offense.
You had to do very much by yourself on offense. How difficult is it to play 1 against 3 and you still managed 26 points?
Most of my points were made with me at full speed going through the zone and getting to the basket. I did hit some 3 pointers too, at the end I was really surprised I scored 26 points when I really had to play against 3 players.
You were missing many experienced players but only had 19 year old junior player Tobias Tessmann and 17 year old junior player Constantin Herdrich. Can experiences like this game help these young players?
I think this was the game of their life, it was a great experience for them to play so much in a Pro A game. I am really happy that they were able to score and play for 40 minutes without giving up.
BG Karlsruhe scored 163 points, what was the craziest experience on the court that you will never forget?
I think I will not forget that I got past the double-team and played the ball through their legs six times. The Karlsruhe fans were very fair and I think that I entertained them.
The Karlsruhe fans were very fair, did this make the whole difficult situation on the court easier?
The fans were very fair and at times they were cheering for us. I never thought that this could be possible.
Some said that the reason for this sicknesses was due to continued late paychecks, is that true?
Everybody got their money and everyone was really sick. These viral infects were also attested by the doctors.
How did the BG Karlsruhe players act on the court? Was their a special kind of trash talk?
I believe that some of the players had compassions for us but the Karlsruhe coach told them to play all out and they did play a 100%.
This is your 3rd station this season after Artland and TV Langen. What have you learnt this season?
Artland was a great experience because I was able to play with experienced players and I was able to take this and put it to use with TV Langen. I wanted to play Pro A this season but when I got this offer from Artland, I could not resist.
I suppose the BEKO BBL is still a goal for you?
Yes, the BBL is my goal, I just need to work hard and have a lot of patience to have the chance again.
What is the biggest problem currently with the Artland Dragons?
I am very surprised about how the Artland Dragons are playing. I thought that they would be a Top 4 team but now, they are struggling to reach the playoffs. Maybe it has to do with inexperience in crunch time. I think they should be able to reach the playoffs with Hollis Price. I think if they reach the playoffs, they can get far.
What do you want to reach with the USC Freiburg?
We want to stay in the Pro A, the team is not as bad as the position in the standings. We want to win the rest of our games but 2 or 3 wins should be enough to reach this goal.
What have you improved in your game this season?
I think I have improved on the pick and roll with the Artland Dragons, I can organize the game better and have more responsibility, which I learnt from Darren Fenn.
Can TV Langen stay in the Pro A?
I hope TV Langen stays in the league, but it will be difficult. They have to hope that teams like Essen, Jena and Freiburg loose but they have to win the rest of their games. What I like about TV Langen is that no matter what happens on the court, young players always play. It reminds me a lot about the situation of Ratiopharm Ulm and Mike Taylor and how he gives young German players a chance.
How many free throws have you made in a row?
I once made 86 in a row, in Berlin, when Yannick Evans played there. He wanted to leave but I told him he is staying until I miss.
What was your craziest shot?
I have not really had one in a game but often I hit shots in practise from center court.
What was the last DVD that you saw?
I saw Coach Carter, which helps me get motivated for the game. Before the crazy game against BG Karlsruhe, I saw the new Bushido film, which also motivated me.
Thanks, Achmadschah, for the chat.