Ryan DeMichael is a 35 year old 205cm power forward/center that recently announced his retirement. He played at Tenn.-Martin(NCAA). He turned professional in 1999 and played for Pussihukat Vantaa (Finland). He then came to Germany for his first stint playing with SG Sechtem until 2002. He then played for AB Contern (Luxembourg-N1) until 2004. He then returned to Germany in 2004 and played the next eights easons here. He played in the Beko BBL from 2005-2008 for Nurnberg and Tuebingen. He laso played for teams like Jena, Kirchheim and Lich. He played the last two seasons for NBC. Last season he played 28 games: 11.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.4apg, Blocks-2(1.4bpg), FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 69.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball and retiring.
Recently you announced your retirement from professional basketball. You did this in the middle of the season with NBC. What were the main reasons for doing this?
It was time for me to get out. I am 35 and I looked in the mirror and knew it was time to get serious with my life. To start working a normal 9 to 5 job, and to be home with my family. Working during the day, practicing at night, spending my weekends on the road and/or practicing are not something that I could afford to do anymore. I have a new daughter, building a new home, and will be getting married in the summer. My life was heading away from sport. Plus, I was heading for a burn out and because of this my health was starting to suffer.
How difficult was it making this decision hanging up the sneakers?
The decision was very easy after my consultation with my doctor. I want to be healthy and enjoy my life after sport!
NBC is in no mans land in the middle of the pack with a record of 5-7. Is the tendency for the team going more up or down in the future?
NBC should have a bright future. The talent is there and they have a very good coach. All they need is that one game to click and then I think it will be hard to stop them.
You are three years older than head coach Martin Ides and you played with him last season. How did he take the decision of you wanting to retire?
Martin respected my decision. Whether or not he liked my decision, you will have to ask him.
How were the first few days as a retired basketball player? Have you missed anything in general?
My days were exactly the same after I retired. I went to work and went home. Except I didnt have to run off during dinner to go to practice.
What do you think will you miss the most from professional basketball?
I have played basketball so long that I was lucky enough to experience a lot. I believe I wont miss anything.
You played at Tennesse-Martin(NCAA2) in the 90s. Did you ever think that you would have such a long professional career?
UTM is a D1 school changed from D2 a year before I came. The idea was to play in Europe for 3 years and then go back to the states to finish my studies. I had never imagined that I would last so long.
What were your fondest memories from your college days on the court at Tennesse-Martin?
When we played Ohio State University. OSU is my favorite college team and got to play against my dream university.
Who was the best player that you played against in the NCAA that later went on to the NBA or Europe?
I played against many future NBA players. Scoonie Penn, Michael Redd, Marcus Brown, Brad Miller, and a bunch more.
You started your professional basketball career in Finland for Pussihukat Vantaa . What was your wakeup call to the professional ranks there?
That was very strange. I am by nature a team player. I was not used to the “you the man” type basketball. I had to learn to be more selfish. Sometimes it is better to drop 30 than win.
How long could you last in a classic Finish sauna? Lol
The sauna was crazy! I lasted maybe 5 mins!
You then came to Germany in 2000 where you played two strong seasons for SG Sechtem. The next season you went to the Luxemburg league. Didn´t you have some offers from the BBL then or was the AB Contern offer the best then?
I had some nice seasons in Sechtem, but at that time I wasnt really represented. It was a good thing though because I was then able to go to Contern and meet a lot of nice people and experience living in another country.
In Luxemburg you were player of the year and won the league title in 2004. WAs these two years another step in your development that got Germans teams more interested in your basketball talent?
Actually many German teams look down on players who play in small leagues in Europe. I had a very hard time getting back over to Germany. Michael Millz actually deserves the credit that I made it back over.
In 2004, you came back to Germany and would never leave again except for a short preseason stint in Hungry. What did Germany have in general that kept you here for 8 straight seasons?
Germany became my home. After 2004 I began to integrate into the German way of life. It wasnt anything in particular, I just felt at home.
You played three years in the Beko BBL from 2005-2008. Are you sad that you weren´t able to play longer in the Beko BBL.
Not at all. Everything happens for a reason.
You played a season with a young Heiko Schaffartzik in 2005-2006. What was your impression of him then? Did you think that he could become such a great player?
I played against him also when he was younger. He was good then, and better when we played together. He always worked hard on the court and I am very happy he finally got his chance to show exactly what kind of player he is.
In all you played four years in Nurnberg. What got you too love this town so very much?
My family. Nürnberg is where some of my best memories off the court are. I feel at home here in Franken.
You then played for the Walter TIgers Tuebingen. What will you never forget from AJ Moye on and off the court?
AJ was a good person and a hard worker. I enjoyed playing with him.
You also played with current Tigers head coach Igor Perovic. Did he already have the coaching in his blood as a player?
Yeah, Igor is just that kind of person. If you listen, you can learn a lot. Igor is doing a wonderful job and I am very happy for his success.
What is your fondest memory of playing in the 2007 BBL Allstar game?
It was just a nice feeling to be selected from Nürnberg. It could have been anyone from that team. It helped make that season easier to remember considering the outcome.
You played for Science City Jena in 2008-2009 after the team had played a season in the Beko BBL. Do you think that they will ever return back to the BBL?
I hope so. Jena is a great city with great people in the organization. Plus they try to develop their young players. Something that all Clubs need to start concentrating on more.
You played two seasons at Kirchheim and practiced often with German Philipp Heyden who is playing for MBC. Will the Beko BBL still see him become a late bloomer in the first league?
Phil is a good big man. Has a nice touch even though he is a strong guy. He has all the potential in the world and I hope to see him become more.
Who was the toughest opponent(player) that you had to play against in your career in Germany?
Alexander Nadjfeji. The man could just make you look stupid when you played against him!
What was something that you would have liked to have possessed in your game that you didn´t have?
I was happy with what I am born with… but if I had to make a choice, then LeBrons game
What would you like to have fans remember from the game of Ryan De Michael?
I was always honest, played for my teammates, and always had a passion for the game.
What is next for Ryan De Michael? You have a German wife. Will you stay here or return back to the States?
My fiance and I are staying here in Franken. We are building a home and have started our family. I became German because I wanted to, not because of my job.
Could you envision yourself staying in the basketball field?
I have thrown around a lot of ideas about the future of basketball in my life. For now I will concentrate on my family and maybe in the future there will be something for me.
What was the last movie DVD that you saw?
Almanya-Willkommen in Deutschland.
Thanks Ryan for the chat!!All the best in your future.