Almost eight months ago a tall young man that looked like he could have just come from a long Caribbean trip or had fallen asleep under the tanning machine was in the Fraport arena and really stood out from the rest of the spectators as he was the tallest in his seating area. One might not have right away come to the notion that he was related to Fraport Skyliner Philipp Scrubb, but the Carlton University sweat shirt that he was wearing and his dark tint could have been the needed hint that these two people might be related. Six days after his rookie season had ended with Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) where he had poured in 26 points in a loss to BC Nokia, The tall figure that was roaming the Fraport arena was in fact Thomas Scrubb the older brother of Philipp and was in Germany watching his brother play a game. After the Fraport Skyliners had easily disposed of the 2004 Fiba Europe Cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC 89-61 and Philip Scrubb had contributed four points and four assists, both brothers met after the game and had some brief small talk before the younger brother went to the fans to give the obligatory post game autographs. When one observes the two Canadian brothers who made watching basketball so much more enjoyable in the last five years at Carleton(CIS), Philip seems like he could moonlight as a ball boy at an NBA game getting balls for the players and being too shy to answer after getting asked a question or an altar boy who attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying and ringing the altar bell and just standing by the side of the priest like a loyal dog does his master. Thomas on the other hand could easily moonlight as a fitness trainer as his seemingly perfect looking body would be destined for that job or as a model gracing the cover of Fitness magazine. Even if Philip could get lost in the shuffle of a group of basketball players walking down a hall and Thomas rather be asked what the easiest weight lift plan could be instead of what the correct and easiest method is too getting a rebound, once these two brothers slip on their jersey´s and lace up their sneakers and step on the basketball court, they are in their perfect world and everyone would experience that their passion and biggest strength is basketball. One thing that stands out with both players, is their low key demeanor that seems to be cemented inside them as firmly as a new laid down drive way. There is no cockiness or self adulation present in their characters and that reflects their play as they display pure unselfishness on the court. Last season Philip explained how their parents set them on the right path to how to deal with success the correct way. “If you do a good job on the court then you feel good internally”, explained Philip Scrubb.
Thomas Scrubb is a 26 year old 198cm forward that grew up in Vancouver, but now a days hangs out in Ottawa during the summers and is playing his second professional season in Germany for the Giessen 46ers. Before the Canadian turned professional last season and played as a rookie in Finland, he had to mature and develop further as a player and did at Carleton(CIS). There he played from 2010-2014 and had the delight to play four seasons with his brother Philip. Combined both players won a ridiculous 16 titles together including 10 CIS championships and 6 OUA titles. The only thing missing from their illustrious career together would have been that opportunity to display their abilities at the big dance during March Madness in the NCAA. Thomas Scrubb is 14 months and one day older and seven centimeters taller then brother Philip and both played at Carleton from 2010-2015 while Philip Scrubb played 127 CIS games while Thomas played one less. Despite Thomas having great stats at Carleton and crowning his senior year playing 24 games and averaging 17.5ppg, 8.5rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 49.0%, FT: 76.4%: there was no hiding the fact that he was in the shadow of his Philip as he got the label of being the greatest Canandian college player of all-time. That low key demeanor that both possess was something that never got in the way of each other or was ever able to deter their efforts in bringing forth their best efforts to be successful on the court with their play. Thomas never got tied up with the fact that he was in the shadow of Philip. “I never really felt that way around people that were close to us even when Phil was much better than me. I know he also got more attention from media and some fans but I wouldn’t want that attention anyway. Within our team, family, and friends I didn’t feel like they put him on a pedestal over me”, stressed Thomas Scrubb. Philip showed just how humble he is as the label of being the best Canadian of all-time never fazed him. ““There have been many great players from Canada. I played at the best program and the best coach. There was much handed to me. Winning improves the way people look at you. I was lucky to be on winning teams. The media helps people remember this“, added Philp Scrubb. Thomas was able to improve every season in terms of scoring and rebounding as he improved each stat each season and also displayed a special knack of hitting the trey as he shot over 40% in three of his last four seasons including 49% in his last season. He never hit more than four three´s in a game, but his shot selection was spot on as his concentration lied more on mixing it up under the glass. He also learned something even more valuable than winning, but how to prepare the right way which head coach David Smart plastered into his mind which will benefit him as his professional career grows. “He taught me so much about work ethic, competitiveness, and how to train properly that I feel prepared for every situation that I run into. I went into Carleton as someone who never trained and now I feel like I will always be one of the hardest workers on my team”, added Thomas Scrubb.
After his illustrious 5 year career at Carleton, he was ready for the next step at the professional ranks and joined Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga). Finland is a great stomping ground for talented players to help bolster their stats to improve their chances of making the next step to a higher level. A perfect example of this was American Ken Horton who dominated the Korisliga two seasons ago and then came to Germany last season and had a strong season with medi Bayreuth and is doing the same this season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Despite having a great college career at Carleton, just stepping on the court in Finish arenas and being met with open arms by opponents wasn´t happening as he had to adjust like every other rookie. “The most difficult thing I had to get used to was being able to play confidently within the teams offensive and defensive systems. On defense it was hard to get the system that we played at Carleton for 5 years out of my head so it was tough at the start. I think the style of play in the CIS is not too different than in Europe so I had no issues with that”, stressed Thomas Scrubb. As a rookie in Finland, he played 40 games averaging 14.1ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP-1(62.8%), 3PT-1(44.4%), FT: 79.0%. He also demonstrated in the FIBA Europe Cup that he was capable of putting up consistent stats as he played 12 games averaging 12.3ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 65.4%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 86.4%.” I had a great time playing in the Finnish league. It helped a lot that I got to play major minutes every game in my first year being pro. It allowed me to grow and improve without having to worry about playing time. Playing in the FIBA Europe Cup gave me experience against teams such as ASVEL and Maccabi Rishon which play in top leagues. Getting to play against those teams has given me confidence that I can play in a great league like the BBL”, stressed Thomas Scrubb. The only thing that put a road block in his stellar rookie season was not living up to expectations of winning the korisliga regular season and bowing out in four games to BC Nokia. “I think the problem we ran into during the playoffs that we weren’t strong enough on defense. We were not great all year but were scoring over 90 points per game so it never was an issue. The shots we made all year just didn’t fall during the playoff series and our defense wasn’t good enough to win games for us”, said Thomas Scrubb. When examining his stats in Finland, it would be difficult to find any area where he could of improved on, but there is no better judge for his own play than himself. “I think the biggest thing that I improved over the year was my 3 point shooting. I was very bad to start the year so teams started to leave me open. Eventually I started to make all of my open shots and my confidence everywhere on offense started to grow from there”, expressed Thomas Scrubb.
Before moving on to the Giessen 46ers for his second professional season, Thomas had the opportunity to take part in a two day mini-camp with the Toronto Raptors. It was here that both brothers learned that landing in the NBA isn´t a cup of tea, but an opportunity that every basketball player is dreaming of and where nonstop ending hard work is what has to be on the minds of every player. “It was definitely tough at first but I thought I got better as the camp went on. I realized that I either needed to get a lot stronger or a lot more skilled because I didnt feel like I had much of an advantage in any area over the guys there”, warned Thomas Scrubb. Scrubb then was named to the Canadian Olympic team that took part at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila (Philippines) where the team reached the final, but bowed out to France in the final dashing their 2016 Olympic dream of going to Rio. Thomas Scrubb played 4 games averaging 5.3ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 35.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 50.0%. “I think my summer with the national team really helped prepare me for the BBL. It gave me a chance to play some top levels players and figure out what I needed to do to have success against them. In the Olympic qualifying tournament I had some pretty good moments and some bad moments so I just wanted to come into this season and show that I belonged at the highest level”, warned Thomas Scrubb. Scrubb and Entersport agency didn´t waste anytime last summer inking with the Giessen 46ers as he was signed early in the transfer period. Scrubb joined one of the big movers in the last years with traditional team Giessen that was founded in 1937 and won four titles in the 60´s and four in the 70´s, but were rudely kicked out of the BBL in 2013 and needed two seasons in the Pro A before returning back in 2015 and almost making the playoffs despite a budget that is in the lower half of the league. Nothing has changed this season as the club once again has had to make the best of their resources out of a limited budget and like last season the club has held their own having a 8-8 record and sitting confident at position 10 in the standings and knocking on the playoff door. Six weeks ago, the Giessen 46ers erased an ugly 14 year losing streak as they finally beat the Fraport Skyliners again in their own living room 69-52 as the only disappointing aftermath for Thomas was that he couldn´t duel against his brother Philip for the first time as professionals as he has a season ending injury. “Its been tough for Phil. I just want him to be back on the court as soon as possible. It would have been fun to play him since we’ve never had that opportunity but it just wasn’t meant to be”, said Thomas Scrubb. After the historic win, Scrubb didn´t even know how big the win had been. “It definitely felt good to win. I am not too familiar with the Giessen Frankfurt rivalry but I could tell how much it meant to the fans so I am happy we were able to give them a win”, stressed Thomas Scrubb.
When you lose against top teams like FC Bayern Munich and ratiopharm Ulm by only four points and to Bamberg by a mere two points, it isn´t surprising that confidence within the team keeps growing. “We feel we can compete with anybody at the point so we just need to make sure we bring energy and focus to every game”, warned Thomas Scrubb. As is often the case with teams that have less budget and players that always want to prove themselves, the effort and heart is bigger than with other teams which brings out their scrappiness to new proportions often bringing their best play to new heights annoying each and every new opponent one bit more. On top of that, the club has one of the up and coming coaches in the league with Dennis Wucherer who has put together the perfect mix of skill and characters four years in a row and that continues to translate into success. The success of the team is a combination of players and Denis Wucherer. “I think coach really puts an emphasis on team play. We try and play a lot of guys so during the week everyone has to practice hard to fight for minutes. I also think he lets guys play their game and be comfortable trying to make plays for the team”, stressed Thomas Scrubb. Scrubb has meshed in well with other key figures on the team with Cameron Wells, Justin Sears and Skyler Bowlin. “Cam is always very composed on the court. He always seems to be going at his own pace and getting the shot that he wants. Justin may have an unorthodox game but he’s very tough to stop on the offensive glass and is very mobile for a big guy. I appreciate how Skyler competes every day. He i a guy who has won championships in other leagues so you can tell that he has a winners mentality”, stressed Thomas Scrubb.As for his own play, the Canadian has had no problems adjusting to the BBL as he is second in scoring and rebounding, third in assists and first in steals with Giessen. “Im reasonably happy with how I have played so far. I still think I could be more consistent with my shooting and be more of a factor against the top teams in the league.I think for us to make the playoffs we are going to need to win some more games against the top who are above us in the standings. In the second half we’ll just need to be able to work on being consistent throughout the game and putting teams away if we get a lead against them.”, warned Thomas Scrubb.So far this season he has scored in double figures in 12 of 17 games and saved his best for the Frankfurt win scoring 21 points, grabbing five rebounds and steals and dishing out four assists. “It was probably my best game. I just wanted to come out with confidence after not having shot too well the past month”, added Thomas Scrubb. With the allstar break coming up, Thomas Scrubb has only one game left and that is the rematch in the Hessen derby against the Fraport Skyliners on the road on January eighth. Once again There will only be one Scrubb on the court as Philip continues to be in North Americia rehabilitating so Thomas can only dream about the next time they will meet again on the court. Even if the first professional Scrubb head to head confrontation will not take place this season, the Scrubb Brothers might meet the next time for some head to head battle this summer on the court. Of all the countless titles the Scrubb´s have won, it isn´t what they did as young men that stands out most to Thomas, but what they did as kids as his fondest memory. “Playing on our Fisher Price basketball hoop in the garage was my fondest memory with my brother”, stated Thomas Scrubb. Even if it will be difficult to make predictions to the Hessen derby game this weekend, Thomas Scrubb stays faithful to 100% of every other basketball player out there when it comes to saying who would win a one on one with his brother Philip. “I would win”, said Thomas Scrubb. With Philip Scrubb being out this season, Thomas Scrubb surely would have the advantage this summer in a one on one duel with Philip having been injured and not active and that is something that his brother Philip might even agree with.