Falko Thelig is a 20 year old 192cm guard from Giessen. He is playing his second season for the Fraport Skyliners. He played for the Lti Giessen 46ers from 2008-2010. Last season for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt II (ProB), he played 25 games: 8.4ppg, 2.8rpg, Assists-5(5.6apg), FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 24.7%, FT: 66.3%. He has played for the German national U-16 and U-18 teams. He played at the European Championships U20 in Bilbao (Spain) -11: 4 games: 0.5ppg He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Congrats on the 95-75 win against Alba Berlin 2 and keeping the Fraport Skyliners in the PRO B. With what kind of feelings did the team go into game 3?
We were all pretty nervous and excited at the same time. It was a do or die game. For the guys that returned from last year, we wanted to win this game badly and not lose again like we did against Wolfenbuttel last season. We knew that we had to stay strong. We got a great team effort in the second half.
Was this the biggest game of your career?
It wasn´t my most important games, but it was an important one. It was a big game because we wanted to stay in PRO B. It is a great situation having a Beko BBL and PRO B team in one place.
At half time the score was 40-40. What did head coach Klaus Mewes tell the team to do better in the second half?
We had had a nice run in the second quarter, but lost it again due to bad turnovers. He told us to stay calm and not get crazy. He told us to play better defense.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners exploded for 29 points. What was key for this?
We played better defense and got better offensive chances due to our defense and got easy baskets. We were able to crack their zone and we were all on the same page.
Did you ever think that German national player Lucca Staiger could shoot so bad in the first two games at 6/34?
That can happen. The balls in the Beko BBL and PRO B are different. If you are used to practicing all week with BBL balls then it can be tough in a PRO B game with those balls. When you have an experienced shooter like Staiger, you can see that even when he isn´t hitting he just continues to shoot. He shot better in game three. He took many tough shots and was defended well from Benedikt Nicolay.
Would the Fraport Skyliners have won the series without German national player Tim Ohlbrecht?
I think that we still would have won without him. The teams have a lot of motivation playing against Ohlbrecht. It is never easy finding that team rhythm when new players come on board, but we did a good job.
The Fraport Skyliners juniors closed out the season with a 6-16 record. Despite injuries, youth and not always having all players that the season was ok?
Anytime that you have to fight to stay in the league, you can´t be happy with the overall season. We only had 2 guys that were always at each practice with Larry Wright and Demetrius Jemison. We never ever had a full team in practice since guys were injured or in school. Despite never really having a full squad to practice, we played good games against top level teams like Gotha and lost close games to top teams. Despite all that, I think that we did a good job as a team.
How happy were you with your PRO B season? You increased your points and were a bit down on assists?
I had problems at the start getting a rhythm. I had private problems and had to stop my studies. I think I was able to improve my shot. I worked hard with Klaus Perwas. I have to score at times at the point guard position and I think that I was able to improve there too, but I expected a better season for myself.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?
I have the ability to set and control the tempo. I also think that I have a good eye for the better positioned shooter. I can penetrate, create the open shot and my size helps with my quickness get inside.
What was the most incredible thing that you saw Larry Wright do?
He is a great ball handler that can create open shots. His cross over and ability to shoot is amazing. He often made the opponent look really old. He is a player that can score when he wants to.
What could you learn from Larry Wright?
Dribbling and shooting from the dribble.
How difficult is it combining Beko BBL and PRO B?
We didn´t really practice so much with the PRO B. usually the practices were right after the other. Sometimes I would practice twice which I felt in my bones.
What do you still have to do better in order to get healthy minutes in the Beko BBL?
My body needs to get more stable so I can hold my own against bigger players at my position. I also need to be more calm. Sometimes I get nervous and I need to be more calm.
The team is in Mallorca in a 5 day training camp. How big is the “we believe” attitude for reaching the playoffs?
We believe and have a chance for the playoffs. We aren´t talking about the playoffs, but look more game to game. The Goettingen loss was bitter, but we came back and played well at Artland. Our problem is sometimes we play well and then we don´t. We won´t give up.
What do you want to take with you from Mallorca?
It isn´t really my city, but I want to take something from the culture an don the court improve and get ready for Ulm.
Michael Thompson and Devin Gibson are rookies and young like you. What can you learn from young players like that?
Juice has really improved since Justin Gray got injured. At the start, he had some problems, but now he is a consistent player. He has calmness and can shoot very well in crunch time. Gibosn plays that American style that you don´t see in Europe. His biggest strength is that he is athletic and quick and always aggressive on offense and defense.
How did you get involved with basketball?
I had started playing soccer and wasn´t very good. A friend wanted to try a new sport which was basketball and got me to come along. We started to play on the street as a group of 10. We played so much that at night people would ask us to stop because they wanted to sleep. We would get up early and play again in the morning.
Who were your NBA idols as a kid?
Dirk Nowitzki. I never have met him, but I like how he presents himself and how professional he always is. I also liked players at my position like Steve Nash and Chris Paul. I also liked Juan Carlos Navarro. I liked how he could score despite his size especially with his floater. I also liked Lebron James.
You played two seasons for the Lti Giessen 46ers. Why did you leave there to go to Frankfurt?
I was always a stay home kind of guy and wanted to stay in Giessen, but the situation didn´t fit anymore. I was young and the BBL team wasn´t the problem. I got my first game as an 18 year old, but moreover it was the PRO B team. I didn´t get much playing time in the PRO B. The coach didn´t want to try something new, but elected to play me at shooting guard against bigger players. I wanted to go and then came the chance with Frankfurt and I took it.
What is still missing for Johannes Lischka to make the jump to the German national team?
He really has everything that he needs to be a national player, but he can´t seem to put it all together. He can shoot, rebound and penetrate, but sometimes he seems to put too much pressure on himself. He definitely can play for the German national team.
What was the most amazing thing that you saw David Teague do?
His 35 point game against Alba Berlin. It felt like he scored 40-50 points. He was unstoppable. He was hitting everything.
What were the most free throws that you made in a row in practice?
What was your most crazy shot in your career?
We were down 2 points and I hit a three pointer out of the pick and roll.
Who will reach the NCAA final and win it?
I think that Kentucky will win it.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Clash of the titans.
Thanks Falko for the chat.