Roland Nyama is a 22 year old 198cm forward from Frankfurt, Germany that has the German/Cameroonian citzenship that is playing his second year at Stony Brook(NCAA). He started his basketball career with the FTG Frankfurt junior team. He then got further valuable basketball experience with Eintracht Frankfurt (2.Regionalliga) in 2008. He then continued to play with Eintracht Frankfurt (2.Regionalliga) from 2009-2011 while also playing for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt II (Germany-ProB) where he played 6 games in two years. In 2011, he came to the United States and played for the Holderness School. He came to Stony Brook in 2013 and last season in his first full season played 34 games averaging 7.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 69.2%. He spoke to German Hoops after winning the AEC tournament over Vermont helping Stony Brook to it´s first ever NCAA tournament berth. Later that day Stony Brook drew NCAA powerhosue Kentucky in the first round.
Roland thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the amazing win against Vermont winning the AEC tournament! You are going to the big dance the NCAA March Madness. Has it sunk in yet or does it feel like a dream?
Reaching The NCAA tournament still feels like a big dream I have yet to wake up from!
After the siren sounded giving Stony Brook the 80-74 victory pandemonium erupted in the arena with loads of fans entering the court. People rushed out on the court quicker than you could blink an eye. Have you ever witnessed a celebration like that? You don´t see celebrations like that in Germany.
I’ve never witnessed a celebration like that and it was truly an incredible experience to be able to see something like that happen. That’s why I love college basketball
After reaching the AEC final in four of the last five years, the school finally won it and will take part in their first NCAA tournament ever. Many Germans have come to the United States to play college basketball, but only a small number can say they went to the NCAA tournament. All the hard work you have done in the last 6-7 years have paid off. If someone had told you at Holderness that you would play in an NCAA tournament in the future what would you have thought?
I would’ve thought they’re very optimistic.. Coming to the United States I had no idea what to expect nor what was going to happen. I hoped to continue my basketball career at the highest level but could only dream of something like the NCAA tournament.
Did the club dedicate the AEC tournament to anyone? Jameel Warney had a huge game, but if there is anyone that should have got it then head coach Steve Pikiell who came 11 years ago and made Stony Brook into a consistent winning program.
Coach is an incredible coach and he is hugely responsible for the winning tradition at Stony Brook so yes one could dedicate the championship to him or to Jameel but at the end of the day were a team and everybody counts from the starters to the bench to coaches even the maintenance people count.
Lets talk a bit about the game. In the second half, Stoney Brook was down by 15 points. What were your thoughts at that moment? How confident were you that the team was capable of a comeback despite having lost to them 2 weeks ago?
This group has been battle tested in the last two years. We’ve been down 16 to Columbia this year and came back, we’ve been down 16 to Washington last year and made it back. I never doubted our capability to make a run and never lost confidence that we would exit the game victorious.
Besides the big game from Jameel Warney, what do you feel was key in crunch time for Stony Brook getting over the hump and getting the biggest win in the school´s history?
The biggest key in my opinion had to be on the defensive end. With getting the necessary stops the confidence in our offense came and we were able to make big plays.
Jameel Warney has scored in double figures In all 32 games this season and had a 36 point game against Hartford, but saved his best for last with 43 points, nine rebounds and four blocks on 18/22 shooting. Do you think that he was able to propel his game to a new level in this game?
I mean we see it every day in practice. This kid is a beast! But yes he defiantly rose to a whole other level and didn’t want to let a disappointment end his career and leave a stain on his legacy as one of the greats at our school.
After seeing Jameel Warney play every day the last three seasons, do you see him reaching the NBA or moreover being a player suited for the European game?
I think he has a shot at the NBA. He may be a bit undersized but he makes up for it with skill and determination. Plus he has million dollar hands that literally catch everything. Put him in the right place and he could have a very successful basketball career in my opinion.
This season your averaging 11,1 minutes per game and played 5 minutes in the 80-74 win. Has it been a difficult adjustment this season since you averaged 24 minutes last season as a freshman?
Coming off of major knee surgery in the summer I missed most of the preseason and never got into the groove of things. It has been difficult at times but our teams success definitely makes up for it. Plus I got a couple more years left to play.
With playing less minutes than last season, do you focus on other things on the court to help your team win games?
I focus on bringing energy off the bench to light a spark. A charge, a block, a three pointer anything that gets the crowd going, momentum changers are the things that I try to do on the court now.
The season could be over after one more game, but what are you looking most forward to in the NCAA tournament?
I look forward to it being the experience of a lifetime. I will tell my children about this and my grandchildren. I just want to soak it all in a hey; maybe make a little noise too
With the NCAA draw approaching, would you rather see a Duke or North Carolina as that one time big moment or a lower ranked team where Stoney Brook could make a possible run?
I don’t really care about it as much I feel like on any given night anybody can get beat.
Some of the older NBA players that played at different times are having a hard time giving Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors credit for their success saying they might not have had that success 20-30 years ago. Are these former players just jealous or why can´t they just give credit where it´s due?
Because the game has changed so much and doesn’t look like the game they have in mind now maybe some of it could be jealousy yes but I really have no idea.
Recently ESPN made a top 100 greatest NBA players of alltime poll putting Lebron at #3 before legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and BIll Russell. Do you see that as being justified?
It’s really hard to compare players from different eras but I think we have never seen anything like Lebron James before therefore I think his high ranking is justifiable.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was oculus, a scary movie. Love scary movies haha.
Thanks Roland for the chat.