Roland Nyama is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Frankfurt, Germany that has the German/Cameroonian citzenship and recently finished his college career at Stony Brook(NCAA) after three seasons. 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 in his first full season played 34 games averaging 7.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 69.2%. In his last season he played 32 games averaging 10,3ppg, 4,4rpg and 1,4apg He spoke to German Hoops after announcing he would turn professional and before signing with German agency Scorers First.
Roland thanks for talking to German Hoops! You recently played your last college game against Illinois-Chicago. Did you know after the completion of 40 minutes that it would be your last NCAA game?
Hey Miles, thanks for having me. Yea I’ve known for a while that’s why I wanted to advance as far as possible in our season. I was actually sick that game and wanted to help contribute.
Last season Stony Brook made the last dance March Madness, but this season you lost the final ACE game too Albany 63-56. How crushing was it losing this game and did this loss have an effect on you deciding to leave school after only three seasons?
No the loss didn’t really have anything to do with it. Obviously I would’ve loved to go out winning the conference again but overall we exceeded expectations and had a successful season.
You recently announced that you were leaving school for going your last year of elegibility to turn professional. How did this whole process come about and how difficult or easy was it making this decision?
The first time I thought about leaving early was when I was hurt with my knee injury and realized that a basketball career can be over in a heartbeat. So I wanted to maximize my potential playing career but get my degree first. It was tough since I’ve made so many connections here and Stony Brook became my second home but at the end of the day I felt like it was the best decision to leave.
Before we continue to talk about your future, let us look back at your season at Stony Brook. How much of a chip on your shoulder did you have coming into this season after last season where you came off knee surgery and had a reduced role on the team?
I wanted to make sure to do whatever it takes to not be in that position again. It was eye opening and very frustrating to not be capable of playing the way you know you can. Coach always said don’t play with a chip but with a boulder on your shoulder and I did that. I wanted to bring it every game every practice and every lift. My competitiveness kicked into another gear.
Did you feel pressure coming into this season after your tough season last year. How did you handle the first few months mentally being able to come back and get back into the swing of things with your game?
Not really pressure but more of an excitement to show people what I can do when I’m healthy. The first few months were rusty but as the year progressed I found my rhythm.
How important was it for your self-confidence having that 16 point game in the season opener against Columbia in the 73-66 victory?
Confidence is key in all sports. It helped a lot starting out strong especially since I came off the bench for the first 4 or 5 games. I was able to carry that production over and as I got more confident I played better.
In your last season at Stony Brook you played 32 games averaging 27,7 minutes, 10,3ppg, 4,4rpg, and 1,4apg. How content were you with your season?
I’m pretty content. I didn’t know if I was able to perform at a high level again.
How do you feel were you able to progress at Stony Brook(NCAA). How did your game develop this season?
My former rep was that I was a spot up jump shooter and so I tried working on other aspects such as my midrange and post game. Unfortunately my shooting percentages tanked this year from three but overall I had lots of success this year putting the ball on the floor and making the right reads. Coaches helped me with player development and extra film sessions.
What was the deciding factor in your game that told you that you were ready for a professional basketball career?
The deciding factor was probably my love for basketball and the idea that if I do what I love for a living it’s a win win situation.
You scored in double figures this season 15 times. Was your 26 point game performance in the 67-66 loss to Maine your most memorable game? How much did the loss overshadow your performance?
The Maine game we won and it’s probably up there since I had the game winning free throw with .5 seconds to go. But my most memorable game was probably much earlier in a game vs LIU Brooklyn. We played at MSG and that was my first good game of my career as I scored 16 and had 8 boards. It was kind of my breakout game.
How challenging was it battling fellow junior Tyrell Sturdivant in practice day in and day out? How did you guys profit from each other´s games?
He’s a very skilled yet strong player with a beautiful midrange jumper which makes him tough to stop. Practicing against him helped me to learn how to defend in the post against arguably stronger and taller players.
Were you a type of mentor for British-Ghanian 198cm freshman forward Akwashi Yeboath this season? How much potential does he have?
Yea absolutely we’re also living in the same apartment here. He’s kind of like my little brother. I have tried to help him with my knowledge of the college scene and wherever else I can. He has the potential to be a player of the year type caliber player in our conference. He’s big strong fast and can shoot the three at a high clip. He just needs to her more consistent but that will come with maturation.
Your teammate Lucas Woodhouse had a solid senior season averaging 15,1ppg, 3,3rpg and 5,1apg. Is he a guy that will turn professional and test the European waters. Could you see him being a Pro A type player in Germany?
I think he’ll turn pro in Europe. He has great basketball IQ and I think he can go pretty high in terms of the level he can play at.
Your ex teammate Jameel Warney has had a super rookie season in the D-league with the Texas Legends (D-League) averaging 16,5ppg, 7,8rpg, 1,2pg, 1,0spg and 1,2bpg. How disappointed have you been that he hasn´t had a NBA call up? Is there really anything missing for him to be an NBA player?
Pretty disappointed. I think he’s done everything he needs to do to get a call up. Sooner or later a team will take a chance on him and they won’t be disappointed.
Last season you reached the NCAA tournament losing to Kentucky(NCAA) 85-57. You played only one minute, but saw future NBA player Jamaal Murray drop 19 points. When you watch a guy like him play, how much does it motivate you to keep working hard to improve your game?
It motivates me because those guys, those NBA guys are incredibly under control and very rarely get sped up by the defense. I’ve tried to add that to my game.
How did head coach Jeff Boals help fine tune your game this season to help you make that last important step towards a professional career?
He did a great job looking at places on the court where I’d be the most effective. The plays he ran created miss matches so I’d have match ups that I could exploit. Besides that he always encouraged me and believed in me which I think was then biggest factor to success.
You will be testing the professional waters now. If you had a choice how big is your desire to play in Germany?
I’d love to play in Germany since that’s home and I’d get to be able to see family and friends more often.
Where do you see your game in comparison to the leagues in Germany? Are you bold enough to say that you could play in the BBL or is the Pro A league where you really belong?
I’m not sure yet. Athletically I think I can play in the BBL but the pro game is so different and there’s things I still have to learn. The most important thing is that I’ll be in a good situation where I have the chance to grow as a player regardless of whether it’s the BBL or Pro A.
What do the next months have in store for you? Have you signed with an agent yet and how quickly will you be in the gym working on your game?
My next moves are probably deciding on an agent within this week. I’m taking this week off from basketball but I’m doing cardio and lots of yoga to stay in shape but not out too much stress on my joints. Basketball workouts start next week.
Who was the toughest player that you battled one on one in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Toughest player that is in the NBA was probably Kris Dunn. His ability to change speeds and finish in the lane are amazing. I had to guard him my freshman year when we played Providence. Besides that, TJ Williams from Northeastern was a tough cover this year and Maodo Lo probably ranks among the top guys I had to defend in my NCAA career.
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?
He’s the best player right now and probably top 3 all time.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
Kg in my opinion ranks probably at 4 behind Hakeem, Tim Duncan and Dirk
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
The most efficient performance in basketball from a guard. Teaches you that you don’t have to dribble the ball to exhaustion in order to be successful.
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?
It’s not even close too. He is the best right now.
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?
Because it is really tough and I feel like players egos get in the way as they want to score a lot. A guy like Draymond just wants to win and that’s what makes him so valuable.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was “get out”
Thanks Roland for the chat.