Eric Kibi is a 26 year old 198cm forward from Ontario, Canada that is playing his fifth professional season and first with the Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen). Last season he played with the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-ProB) playing 3 games averaging 4.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, left in Oct.’15, in Jan.’16 moved to KK Strsljen Gusinje (Montenegro-Erste Liga): 4 games: 3.8ppg, 5.5rpg, in Mar.’16 signed at London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 23 games averaging 1.7ppg, 2.5rpg. Two seasons ago he completed his second season in Germany and first with Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 20,5ppg and 15,0rpg. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Jacksonville College (NJCAA) where he played until 2010. He then played a season with UALR (NCAA) playing 29 games: 4.4ppg, 4.2rpg. He finished his college career in 2012 with Abil.Christian (NCAA2) playing 20 games: 8.2ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 60.0%. In 2012 he started his professional basketball career with Abil.Christian (NCAA2) playing 20 games: 8.2ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 60.0% He then played with Ottawa SkyHawks (NBL Canada): 29 games: 4.4ppg, 4.7rpg. He spoke to German Hoops about his season in Denmark.
Eric thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
I’m in Randers, Denmark we are getting ready for our last regular season game against Naesved and then hopefully a successful playoff run.
2017 has come and already into it´s third month. Did you make any new years resolutions this year or aren´t you the type of guy that does that?
I came into the year just wanting to keep growing as a person but other than that my hunger or work ethic never changes just because the calendar flips year it’s always the same.
You were close last season to getting your first professional title with the London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada). Does one feel more and more how close one was to getting a title after time when you realize just how close you actually were?
Yeah I mean losing in Game 7 of a championship series was really tough last season especially after we battled back from being down 3-1. That team was a special group and I’ll never forget going to war with those guys.
You are playing your first season for Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen) After playing for some lower league teams in Germany and in Canada and Montenegro, could one say that you are moving up the professional basketball ladder step by step?
You could say that, but basketball is basketball there’s talent in every league for sure. I’ll still say that the Canadian league doesn’t get the credit it deserves, that’s still the toughest league I played in until this day but Denmark was a nice step up in my European career, just want to stay humble and keep moving up.
It hasn´t been the best season for Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen), but do you feel like the team can still slip into the playoffs?
Yeah it’s been a tough up and down season for us but we have so much talent that it always feels like we are one game or one play away from unleashing all that talent. I still believe in this team to make a nice playoff run, the game isn’t played on paper or in the media it’s played on the floor.
You are having a very solid season averaging 10,7ppg and 5,4rpg. It seems like the transition from Germany wasn´t hard, but what has been different in the style and quality of play in Denmark that you hadn´t seen before?
Yes Denmark is very different than Germany because you don’t have any restrictions on local players that have to be on the court so I would say the top 6-7 teams all have at least 6 or 7 foreign players and most of the time atleast 4 of those foreigners are on the court at the same time so it makes it for very competitive basketball.
You aren´t having those huge rebound games in Denmark like you had in the Regionaliga in Germany. How inspiring and goal setting is playing in a tougher league where you know that you have to work so much harder in your game to be successful?
It’s very motivating, I really take pride in my rebounding and this season for sure has been an adjustment getting used to the size and athleticism in the league but I’m still confident I’m going get back to those kinds of numbers before the season is over to help my team.
Is the Danish league somewhere between Pro A and Pro B in Germany? How would you classify the level of play of the Denmark Ligaen?
I would say the Top 2 teams are for sure Pro A maybe even higher, with Bakken having beaten Frankfurt of the BBL in the Champions League. As far as the rest of the league it falls between Pro A and Pro B but it’s still tough to say because even the teams from 3 to 8 all have 6 or more foreigners which is totally different than Pro B and even Pro A. Many guys have made a successful transition from the Danish Ligaen to Pro A or BBL in recent years so that’s motivating.
This season you are around so much more and better talent than ever in your professional season. How much do you feel have you benefited from veterans like Charles Burgess, Bonell Colas and Sean Carter. How has each guy helped you best this season?
Honestly what I’ve benefited the most is the intensity and competitiveness they each bring to every practice especially Charlie. Charlie is 32, a former league MVP and Champion in the league and arguably the best player in our league but he practices with a chip on his shoulder of a guy who’s on the verge of being cut, it really forces you to raise your level in practice and in games or you might look stupid.
You will be turning 27 this summer. Are you reaching your prime and what are your goals in the next few years? Will Eric Kibi continue to move up the professional basketball ladder?
I am not there quite yet but I feel like I’m getting there it’s taken a little longer than I would’ve liked but I’m staying humble and patient and sticking to my grind. I’ve tried to add something different to my game each summer so hopefully this will result into climbing to higher leagues. One of the goals I’ve set for myself is to reach the BBL in the next few years, I don’t restrict it to just Germany obviously I would love to reach the highest level possible but I love Germany. I’ve played 3 of my 5 years there so reaching the BBL after starting in the Regionalliga has been a huge goal of mine since my rookie year.
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
Lebron is my favourite player by far and I would put him up there in the Top 2 or 3 I think he has to win a few more to reach Jordan’s level.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
He’s right up the in the top 5, I’d put him in the same category as Barkley, Malone and Duncan.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Obviously that’s very impressive because of how well he moves without the ball and how quick he makes his decision. That’s an all-time performance for me but I’d like to see Klay bring those kinds of performances to the playoffs as well which I know he is fully capable of doing.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Stat wise yes he is the best player in the world but I’d like to see him get more out of his teammates. I compare Russell’s situation to Allen Iversons MVP season in 2001 where he didn’t have much help but still took that team to the NBA Finals. I’m really curious to see if Russ can do the same, for sure he is capable.
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
I would say because Players like Draymond aren’t appreciated as much as they should be. The NBA is a scoring league so players focus more on that but ever so often you get players like Draymond who worry about more than just points.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Fences with Denzel Washington. Great Movie.
Thanks Eric for the chat.