Keith Simmons(Banvit, Turkey): I Hope The Fraport Skyliners Turn Their Season Around, Just Not Against Us In Eurocup Play

Keith Simmons is a 26 year old 196cm guard from Kingston, New York that is playing his fifth professional basketball season and fourth in Turkey. He played at Holy Cross (NCAA) from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 34 games: 16.9ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.9apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3Pts: 34.9%, FT: 76.7%. In 2007-2008, he played for Kepez Bld Antalya (Turkey-TBL, starting five): 30 games: 16.2ppg, 5.7rpg, 2.1apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 73.5%. In 2008-2009, he played for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five), injured in Oct.’08 and was off for 1 month: EuroChallenge: 8 games: 8.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg; German League: 33 games: 11.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 74.1%. He has played for Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-TBL) since 2009. Last season, he played EuroCup: 5 games: 10.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 87.5%; Turkish League: 38 games: 10.4ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 76.4%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurocup game against the Fraport Skyliners November 15th.

You are playing your 5th professional basketball season and fourth in Turkey. Did Murat Didin have something to do with your love for Turkey?

I got my first chance in Turkey and since my first year here, Turkey has been special for me. I have had successful seasons with Banvit and have always come back. I like it here and want to continue to be successful here.

You have the Turkish citizenship now. How did that come about?

I am playing my fourth year here and last year the team approached me about getting the Turkish citizenship so the team can have an extra import player on the roster.

What do you like most about Turkey?

It is a beautiful country and I like how there is a mix of history and some modern elements. It is a mix of new and old.

You are playing your third season for Banvit. It isn´t typical that a player will play for the same team so long. What is so special about this team?

Charles Davis, Lance Williams and I are playing our third season together. We have come together, like each other and feel like family. We want to continue to have success with banvit.

Banvit finished third and second the last two seasons and reached the semi finals of the playoffs. Where will the journey of the team end this season?

We had a slow start playing some of the top teams, but we always compete and want to get better. We like to compete against the best teams in Istanbul.

If you look at the other Turkish teams, Banvit doesn´t have big name players like those teams. What makes Banvit so strong?

We have a strong nucleus of 4-5 that have played together for three years. We know that we don´t have big name players, but we have good guys that will sacrifice for the good will of the team and play together to strive for getting wins.

Has your role changed from the first two seasons?

Not really. We are a lot deeper now. I pretty much play a similar game.

You recently played against NBA player Sascha Vujacic. Is he as good as on TV?

He is a crazy player. He didn´t have his best game against us. He looked very dangerous on film, but he is a very good player.

Do you have compassion for the slow start of your ex team Fraport Skyliners that are in 16th place?

I follow up on Frankfurt seeing what they are doing. I speak to Jimmy Mckinney every so often. They did get off to a slow start, but it is a long season, but I hope that they can turn it around just not against us in Eurocup play.

I am sure Banvit will not underestimate the Fraport Skyliners. What will be key in getting the win?

I know that Jimmy Mckinney is dangerous and Quantez Robertson is having a strong season. Sometimes when a team is missing key players or are having tough times, they can be capable of having other players step up. Key to winning will be defense, rebounding and transition play.

What is your fondest memory of Jimmy Mckinney?

I remember when he came back from wrist injury, we played Oldenburg at home and beat them by 31 points. Jimmy had such a long road back and he played great and the atmosphere was fantastic in the Ballsporthalle.

Who has been your best opponent in Turkey?

Deron Williams has been my best opponent. We played against him 3 times in pre season. He is a great player that is very tough to stop. He is always finding the open man and makes everyone better.

What do you miss most about Frankfurt?

I miss the fans in Frankfurt. They always showed so much support.

Shaq is coming out with a book. What secrets would you want to read most about?

I have already read excerts from the book. It is always interesting what goes on in the locker room. Knowing Shaq that he likes to prank, he will talk about things happening in the locker room.

What is your take on the rumor that Kevin Durant may play in Germany with BBC Bayreuth and your ex teammate Kevin Hamilton?

Me and Kevin Hamilton are close. It would be great for him to play with Durant.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

Planet of the Apes.

Thanks Keith for the chat.

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