Perhaps one of the biggest woes any American basketball player could have while playing in Germany is standing in line at a local Mcdonalds totally famished after a two hour workout and not being able to give an order in English because the attendant doesn´t understand any English or having to wait weeks and weeks for the internet connection in his apartment to finally work. However undesirable experiences like this could always be endured and even cherished if one could trade it just for having a basketball job. It is no secret that the basketball market worldwide has matured and gotten more competitive each year so that there are many solid players hanging around in the States keeping in shape and dreaming of hearing the shouts of Ja Wohl after an amazing shot in a German arena. One of these players was Michael Fakuade who is a 24 year old 201 cm American forward from Chicago that also has the Nigerian citizenship. Players that get signed early for the upcoming season then can enjoy the rest of the summer, but for guys that get signed late or not at all experience more complex summers and a time of extensive thinking and just pondering about their future. This is the type of summer that Fakuade had and on top of that, he had little enjoyment following the Chicago baseball teams Cubs and White Sox that were hanging out in the standings cellar and moreover was thinking about the fall and the chances of the Chicago Bears in the upcoming NFL season and if he would be living in Europe somewhere and playing ball. As is the case so often, a player left the ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen and the next thing the American knew, he was on a plane to Germany to start his second professional season. Despite the waiting and waiting, Fakuade never lost faith that he would get a basketball job, even though he was a bit surprised that it took so long to get a job. “At first I was a little surprised, but I knew if I just stayed patient and kept a positive attitude that something would come up. I wasn’t losing hope at all. I knew in the back of my mind that something good was going to happen. I just had to be ready when that call happened”, stressed Michael Fakuade.
After playing his college career at N.Illinois (NCAA) and at for Ill.-Springfield (NCAA2) where he finished his senior year averaging 14.5ppg, RebNCAA2-6(11.0rpg), BlocksNCAA2-2(3.5bpg), he got a job as a rookie last season in the German Pro A league with USC Hannover. He continued his damage under the boards and continued his double double stats with Hannover averaging 15.2ppg, Reb-5(10.6rpg),He also led the Pro B in blocks with 2,8 per game. Despite having double double stats, the club finished only with a record of 9-13 missing the playoffs and the big man was more than disturbed about his rookie season. “I was very disappointed in our season because I really felt that we had good enough team to do a lot better then we did. I felt that we started off the season too slow and didn’t really figure out how to win close games until late in the season. I honestly didn’t feel like I had good year. I felt that I should have done more to help my team win and to get into the playoffs. As far as improving, every aspect of my game needs to improve. There is not one spot in my game I cant improve on”, commented Michael Fakuade. Despite the less than spectacular season out of his perspective, he did remember his Kevin Love type explosion against Dorsten with 21 points and 20 rebounds. “I do believe this was one of my better games in the season. To be honest the game was kind of a blur. I did not really notice that I was even close to those numbers. After the game my teammates where telling that I had 20 points and 20 rebounds. I wasn’t really focused on achieving those stats, I was just happy we won the game and that helped put us in a better position to make the playoffs”, added Michael Fakuade.
Now Fakuade is ready to start a new adventure with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen in the Pro A and will be more than motivated to show all his doubters what he is able to do on the court and just prove to his new team that acquiring him was the right choice and will be ready to make an impact right away in the Pro A coming from the Pro B despite his late arrival. “I am very thankful and blessed to be able to be playing for ETB Wonhbau baskets Essen. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I am very happy to be getting an opportunity to play at a higher level. Seeing progression anytime is always a good thing. It might be a little difficult picking up new plays and learning my teammates tendencies on the court, but at the end of the day it’s still just basketball. I would say this is one of the most exciting things. Just being able to showcase my skill at higher level gets me excited”, expressed Fakuade. He has only been part of a few practices, but he likes what he has seen of his new team. “I really like the way our team is set up. We are really versatile at each spot and should give every team in the pro A challenge”, commented Fakuade. Fakuade comes to a team where it is so often the case in the German Pro A where there are a few talented Americans a few solid experienced Germans and the rest young Germans. Fakuade who had 5 blocks in a game against John Bowlers ex school Eastern Michigan had his battles in the NCAA 2 with new teammate Anthony Young who played at Ky Wesleyan (NCAA2) and is thrilled to have him as a teammate now. “I am very excited to play with Anthony Young. After playing against him on college and in the pro B, I’m just happy I don’t have to worry about defending him on the opposite end. I like that he is versatile. He can shoot it from the outside as well as post up. He gives our team a lot of different looks”, added Fakuade. It will depend how head coach Igor krizanovic will use both, but with Young and Fakuade being strong rebounders for their size, having two athletic players on the court could create some havoc under the boards. “Rebounding comes second nature to us. We both rebound at a high rate. Since we are so familiar with each others games we should be able to do some pretty exciting things”, said Fakuade. The American/Nigerian might only have been in Essen two days, but already was able to get a good impression of point guard Chris Alexander and German sharp shooters Fabian Franke and Marco Buljevic. “Fabian Franke is athletic and strong with real good size and a knock down shooter. Chris is your prototypical pg. a leader on the court. He is vocal and very fast with the ball. Marco is a very good young talent. I like his size at the guard position like I said all in interview, they are all very versatile which I like”, added Fakuade. Fakuade had to think a moment who would drop more three pointers from the parking lot Franke or Buljevic. “Tough question. Franke probably, just because I have seen him knock down more shots in practice”, added Fakuade. After being Mr double double in his senior year at Ill.-Springfield (NCAA2) and Hannover last season, he knows what it will take to be successful on the floor. “Just being consistent and efficient as much as possible. If I can do those two things the rest will take care of itself”, said Fakuade. With the Pro A season only a few weeks away, Fakuade still has a lot of on court work he needs to do to be 100% ready, but for one thing he already is ready for is NFL Sunday night football. Despite scoring 55 points and giving up 51 points in the first two games, the Chicago Bears who won their only Super bowl title in 1985 where no person could withstand the smile of the refrigerator still need to do some extra video work and clean up their defense, but they are 2-0 to start the season. Fakunde who is a Chicago Bears football fan might not be able to give such early predictions about where the ETB Wohnbau Baskets will end up at the end of the season, but his heart already knows the fate of Da Bears in 2013-2014, “I see them going all the way to the Super Bowl. I’m always rooting for the hometown team”, smiled Michael Fakuade.