Face To Face With Markus Hallgrimson (Rhein Stars Koeln)

Markus Hallgrimson is a 38 year old 190 cm German-American guard that has a shocking resemblance to American actor Kirk Cameron that became famous for the hit TV show Growing Pains. Since starting his basketball career in 1995, he has been somewhat of a nomad having found 16 different teams in this time. He went to the States in 1995 to have the total high school experience playing for Mercer Island. In 1996, he returned back to Germany playing for USC Heidelberg. He then decided to return back to the States and play NCAA2 ball for Montana State-Billings from 1997-2000. He led the NCAA in 1999-2000 with an all-time NCAA record 6.2 three pointers per game. He also set a new NCAA record with 16 three pointers in one game. He scored 51, 50 and 45 points and averaged 24 points per game, 4th best in the US for Div. II. He was voted to the 1st team NCAA Div. II All-American team. He then returned to Germany and from 2000-2004, he played for Avitos Giessen, BCJ Hamburg NVV Monchengladbach, TSK Wurzburg and BG Chemnitz. In 2004-2005, he left Germany and headed Spain for a short stay playing for Los Barrios Cadix (Spain-LEB1) but was released in October playing  4 games and averaging  3.7ppg 0.2apg. In April 2005, he signed at Geneve Devils (Switzerland-LNA) playing  13 games and averaging 12.0ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 60.0%, 3FGP: 35.7%; In the playoffs, he played  12 games averaging 9.0ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 83.3%, 3FGP: 35.7%. In 2005, he played briefly at TV Langen, before returning back to the Geneve Devils (Switzerland-LNA) playing 15 games and averaging 10.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 34.4%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 93.8%. In 2006-2007, he left the Geneve Devils and then went back to Germany to play for ASC Theresianum Mainz and for the Mitteldeutscher BC playing  21 games and averaging 11.4ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 54.3%, 3FGP: 40.9%, FT: 63.6%. In 2007-2008, he went to England to play for the Worcester Wolves (United Kingdom-BBL) playing  6 games averaging 7.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 25.0%, 3PT: 19.7%,  and in Nov.’07 moved to SCH Wuerzburg Baskets (Germany-Regionalliga) playing  20 games and averaging 17.5ppg. In 2008-2009, he continued with SCH Wuerzburg Baskets (Germany-Regionalliga) playing  24 games and averaging 11.1ppg. In 2009-2010, he played for  Ithry Nador (Morocco-D2), in Dec.’09 moved to SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProB, starting five): 17 games: 12.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 87.5%. In 2010-2011, he played for  BV Villingen-Schwenningen (Germany-ProB, starting five): 16 games: 18.8ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 36.5%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 86.2%. He then palyed for the Duesseldorf Giants from 2011-2013 playing Regionaliga. Last season he played for the Rhein Stars Koeln (Germany-2.Regionalliga). He spoke to German Hoops at the 069 basketball open in Frankfurt.


Markus thanks for talking to German Hoops. Why did you decide to take part at the street ball tournament 069 basketball open in Frankfurt this weekend?

Some friends of mine from the Cologne/Aachen area asked me that I should come out and play. I wanted to play even more after I found out that the school where it was taking place is where I played two years of high school ball from 1990-1992. The place hasn´t changed. I played Varsity basketball as a freshman.  It was great to come back after 22 years and play here again. It was a lot of fun as a 38 year old to play against kids have my age.

What is the difference between street ball and organized basketball?

I don´t really call this streetball, but more open gym-ratball. We were playing indoors and not outdoors which makes a difference. There is no structure in the games and whoever has game wins and who doesn´t doesn´t. The games are being played at a high intensity and defense was played. I played three games and played against many German Pro A players like ex Science City Jena guard Al Elliot.

There were many very talented young players here. Which players really stood out for you?

I really liked the game of Kostas Karamatskos and also Btian Butler. That guy really has game. I also really like the game of Filmore Beck.

You seem to never get tired of basketball and can still play at age 38. What brought you to the second Regionaliga team  Rhein Stars Koeln?


Before last season I had a long talk with Stephan Baeck who is the man behind the project. The project and the way he sold it to me convinced me to come. If we would have had two Americans on the team then I think that we would have been one of the best teams in the Pro B.


You helped the club move up to the German Regionaliga. How was the season for you on the court?


It was ok, but in January I broke my foot and missed 10 games. This gave the young guys more minutes and many guys were able to develop their game better like Leon Baeck, Tim Van Der Velde, Nicklas Behler and Philipp Hartwich that will go to the States and play NCAA basketball for the University of Portland. When I cam back form my injury near the end of the season, I came from the bench and we still won games.


You are turning 39 in June. Do you think that you will return back to play?


I don´t know if I will come back, but I feel fit and I still have fun playing the game. I feel fresh after missing two months. 


If you could pick one young player that has developed the most who would it be?


I think that Leon Baeck developed very well last season. He is a point guard that still needs to get more mentally toug, but he is still a kid. He is very quick and has a good shot. He needs to learn how to run a team. I don´t know what his dad will want him to do, but since the goal of the program is to move up to the Beko BBL step by step, then I can imagine that he will remain here and move up the leagues until the club gets to the Beko BBL in three years.


I have heard that the atmosphere was always amazing at home games. Did you feel that as well?


The atmosphere was always great. We averaged about 800 people per game and even had 1,200 against FC Bayern Munich. There is talk of a new gym and it will be here as well as the team getting to the Beko BBL in 3-4 years. The club really has great people here. With Stephan Baeck and Johannes Strasser who has joined management, they are really doing a great job bringing this project forward. It is great that the club has such a humble guy like Strasser. Strasser is a real class act and I am confident that this project will be successful. This project will happen just like the Hamburg Towers.



What keeps you going at almost 39 years of age? There are players that retire 10 years earlier.


I am drinking a special kind of water called Enagic. Four years ago I had 43 points and 10 three pointers for  BV Villingen-Schwenningen when we played against Konstanz. After that game I was unable to walk the next day. Now with this water that I am drinking my recovery is so much faster. Guys like  Andrej Mangold, Chuck Evans, Mike Moton and Bjoern Schoo are drinking Enagic.


Recently you were inducted into the University of Montana hall of fame. Getting into the Hall OF Fame was helped with leading the NCAA in 1999-2000 with an all-time NCAA record 6.2 three pointers per game. You also set a NCAA record with 16 three pointers in one game. You scored 51, 50 and 45 points and averaged 24 points per game, 4th best in the US for Div. II. You were voted to the 1st team NCAA Div. II All-American team. How does it feel being elected into the University Of Montana hall of fame?


It is very cool. I have a plaque at home sitting on the mantel. It was really nice getting a call 13 years after I finished there telling me I was elected into the hall of fame. It is very sad that this kind of thing isn´t present in German sports. Guys like Franz Beckenbauer and Gunther Netzer should have this kind of honor and have this distinction.



Have you been following the NBA playoffs? How crazy have they been. Who do you see winning the 2014 NBA title?



Yes these playoffs have been crazy. I think that this has been the best basketball form 1-8. The eighth seed in the west would have been a third seed in the east. I think the NBA should switch up the format and take the 16 best teams and if 12 are from the west so be it. The Spurs are so focused. After giving away game six last season, they really want to win this year. Many said last year that that was their last hurrah, but I think that this season is their last hurrah. I would mind seeing OKC win. I really like Kevin Durant. He is so humble. There are not many superstars like him. He is so thankful from where he came from. He is like the black Dirk. However I think that the Spurs will win over the Miami Heat.


What was the last DVD movie that you saw?


The Micky Maus Wunderhaus with my son.


Thanks Markus for the chat.







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