Tony Bishop is a 26 year old 201cm forward that is starting his fifth professional season and first in Germany with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. Before coming to Bremerhaven he has played in Denmark, Lithuania, Puerto Rico and the D league. He started his basketball career in 2007 with Richland CC (JUCO) where he played two seasons and then went to Texas tech where he played from 2009-2011 playing a total of 62 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.1ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.2spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 57.5%, FT: 63.8%. In 2011, he started his professional basketball career with Aalborg Vikings (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 26 games and averaging 19.0ppg, Reb-2(11.3rpg), 1.6apg, Steals-5(2.3spg), Blocks-5(1.6bpg), FGP: 49.9%, FT: 72.6%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Nevezis Kedainiai (Lithuania-LKL) playing 17 games averaging 10.8ppg, Reb-2(8.3rpg), 1.4spg, FGP: 50.0%, FT: 61.4%; Baltic League: 10 games: 9.4ppg, 6.9rpg, FGP: 52.1%, FT: 54.5%. He then returned back to the states and played two seasons with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League) playing atotal of 98 games and last season played 50 games averaging 15.5ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 54.7%, 3FGP: 35.0%, FT: 78.1%. Recently he laced up his sneakers for Atleticos de San German (Puerto Rico-BSN) playing 25 games averaging 15.1ppg, 8.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 73.2%. He spoke to German Hoops recently before coming to Germany.
Tony thanks for taking some time to talk to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I’m in Dallas at the moment my summer has been good. I was in Puerto Rico most of it. Returned to Dallas couple weeks ago.
You may not have played in the NBA the last year, but you almost played a full NBA season in equivalence of game playing 75 games in nine months in the D-league and in Puerto Rico. How was your body feeling on June 26th after the last game against Ponce? I guess a 30 year old might have had a different answer than you?
Lol of course a 30 year old would. But I feel great. I took some time off to recover then returned with full force.
Do you take a different approach to your short summer now in preparation for the new season? Do you work out less and rest and work more on the mental aspect of the game and watch film or how does your summer look like?
Since this is my first summer doing the longer seasons I just took a little break spent time with my son and family.
Congrats on signing with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. In my article I had the title that you bring the perfect mix of here and there meaning you played two seasons in Europe and two seasons in the D-league. How important do you believe this mix is for your development as you plan to start your fifth professional season?
I believe having that mix is great because I know what type of game Europe is. It’s more physical and you have to think a lot more in my opinion. Game is slowed down and more team basketball then the D league.
You had NBA work outs in the summer of 2014 with teams like the Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs after a solid first season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, but you had even better stats last season with them. Was the possibility of getting an NBA training camp invitation not an option or pursuing the NBA more after a strong D-league season?
The possibilities were high. But I went to Puerto Rico right after so I wasn’t able to attend mini camps to showcase my skills again in front of gms and coaches. I believe if I would have went to Puerto Rico for a short period I would have been on a summer league roster.
What is your summary of the D-league after having played there for two seasons? What did you enjoy most about your time with Rio Grande and what were some of the moments that you would rather forget?
My summary of the d league, I believe the d league is a great showcase for first year players out of college and guys who were in the league but had problems trying to get back in. D league showed me a lot learning from all types of coaches gaining their knowledge on the game. Rio Grande was a great place to start and they really take it serious. They have the best facilities and take care of their players. The city was good showed a lot of love for us. Moments I would rather forget is not making it to the championship where we were one game away my first year it was tough.
What memories do you have of Tim Ohlbrecht with the Vipers. His stay was short in the States as he made the big show playing 3 NBA games and is back in Germany now. Was his game and character simply to upright to survive in the NBA?
Big Tim that’s my guy! He is a great guy and is a NBA player. He works hard and has the ability!
What were the main reasons for signing in Germany with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven? What convinced you most that this club would be the perfect fit for you?
My agency and I thought it would be a great start back to Europe because the Eisbaren is a great organization and it’s a top league in Europe.
After playing in countries like Denmark and Lithuania what do you know in general about the country Germany and its basketball? Do you have any friends playing in Germany?
I’m excited! I know Germany is very professional and handles everything well. As of now I don’t think I have friends in Germany playing right now. But I’m sure I will know a few players.
The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven are starving for success. The club is looking for a longer drought period to reach the playoffs again. Besides winning every goal what other things do you want to achieve on the court with your game?
Individual accolades will come when winning comes that’s not my focus only thing is building chemistry and trying to win games.
You have the complete package at 201cm in that you can score, rebound and hit the three with consistency, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the floor?
My hidden strength is defense I can guard 1-4 and my passion for the game will show on the court
As a rookie you played for Aalborg in Denmark playing 26 games and averaging 19.0ppg, Reb-2(11.3rpg), 1.6apg, Steals-5(2.3spg), Blocks-5(1.6bpg), FGP: 49.9%, FT: 72.6%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie where you knew that you were very far away from Texas?
Well in Denmark I played with my college pg so it wasn’t tough for me because we helped each other out being so far from home.
How important was it having your Texas State teammate Ryan White on the team as a rookie? Do you think that you guys will ever be teammates again?
I hope we could play together again.
In your second season you played in a higher league in Lithuania where you were the only American, but was able to have a solid season. When looking back on this season where you also balled in the Baltic league, what was most challenging coming from the weaker Danish league?
Only struggle I had in Lithuania was being the only American on the team. It was rough for me and switching coaches who didn’t speak a language I knew was hard I had to adjust and refocus my game.
Before playing two seasons at Texas State you played at Richland community college where you were NJCAA DIII Champion. How important was it making this experience early knowing that you can reach the next level the NCAA even if the odds are against you?
Well odds have always been against me. I have always been the underdog. My team at Richland we worked extremely hard to achieve that goal. I never been on a team that worked as hard as those guys I was with those guys for two years at Richland and they are my brothers for life!
You played under Doug Davalos in your last two seasons at Texas State. How did he prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Doug Davalos is a great guy he gave me my chance at division 1 basketball and he always had my back always. But I prepared myself for professional basketball with all the hard work I put in when no one was looking
Who would win a one on one in practice you or Cameron Johnson when you were a senior?
Of course I’m going to say me. Cam and I went at it in practice very physical lol a lot of blood and bruises.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? What does he still need to do to be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan?
I don’t think he should be compared to Jordan. Lebron is a bigger more smarter player in my opinion and he is more like Magic Johnson.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was minions haha I took my son to see it he had a blast!
Thanks Tony for the chat.