Kyan Anderson (left), Miles Schmidt-Scheuber, Demon Brooks (right). Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Anderson and Brooks after a pre season game in Frankfurt in September 2016
At first glance when you look at top point guard John Wall of the Washington Wizards and up and coming point guard Kyan Anderson of German easyCredit BBL team medi Bayreuth from top to bottom, the NBA superstar is 13 centimeters taller, 10 kilo´s heavier and this season a little more than 15 million dollars richer, but at the end of the day they are both point guards and both going through a Cinderella season story with one having ended last night and the other continuing tonight. Last night basketball Boston was back to where it once was in the 80´s where the legendary Larry Bird teams were involved as much in typical game 7 affairs against their two most hated rivals Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers almost as much as Russell Westbrook served up a triple double this season as it seemed facing the surprising Washington Wizards as both were going through their own special Cinderella season. Many were asking could this game become one of those epic games that will be remembered almost 20 years later like that epic Celtics-Hawks playoff game in the late 80 where Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins owned the fourth quarter and played like two basketball starved kids on a basketball court trying to get the attention of a Red Auerbach and could easily have had a Robert Parish mumbling “Ok let Larry go to work and get us this win”. Bird and Wilkins combined for 81 points while Bird scored 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter. The Boston Celtics got the win then and again last night 115-105 as fans didn´t see as many points from their two star players Isaiah Thomas and John Wall like Bird and Wilkins served up, but both top point guards played their hearts out as the Celtic dropped 29 points and dished out 12 assists while his opponent Wall scored 18 points, gave 11 dimes and hauled down 7 rebounds. Of course there were two other guys who left it all on the court with Bradley Beal scoring 38 points and Canadian national player and ex Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk exploded for 26 points. A few hours before tip off, Kyan Anderson was shacked up in a tiny hotel room in Oldenburg preparing for another do or die playoff game and had this do or die game in Boston on his mind. “I hope that it will be one of these games that will always be remembered. I want to say that Boston will win at home, but John Wall has been playing very well. I think that Wall and Beal will have major games. It will be a good game and close”, warned Kyan Anderson. The diminutive 180cm point guard was right in his prediction and only laughed when warned to get a good night sleep and refrain from watching the game. If he watched the game was unknown, but the Texas native surely was a good boy and crashed and checked out the highlights in the morning.
With Wall´s Cinderella story squashed in Boston, Kyan Anderson is still alive in the German easyCredit BBL playoffs even if only barely as medi Bayreuth blocked the first EWE Baskets Oldenburg match ball, but still need to do it twice more as they are down 2-1 in the best of five series. The EWE Baskets came out strong winning the first two games and medi Bayreuth experienced a bitter 85-83 home loss in game one that they should of won and then lost a shootout in Oldenburg 102-90 as the game was a lot tighter stat wise then what the score showed and they couldn´t handle the outside shooting of Franz Massenat who dropped 22 points and the inside game of Brian Qvale who hit his ex team with 19 points and 9 boards. In game three, medi Bayreuth dominated the first three quarters, but were fortunate to survive a 35 point fourth quarter Oldenburg onslaught as Franz Massenat got hot again netting 28 points. The season seemed a bit on the line in crunch time, but Anderson wasn´t fearing the season would end. “I wouldn´t say that I feared our season could end. We were just very disappointed after the loss that we had given up such a big lead. We know now that they can run off many points and now we know what we are up against and can´t take a lead for granted. We have to keep pounding and pushing forward and put them away”, added Kyan Anderson. Was it only defensive break downs or had medi Bayreuth totally lost their defensive discipline? “It was a little of both. We made a few mistakes at the start of the fourth quarter where we were impatient and led to some easy baskets for them. We had problems with the pick and roll and it was really just the little things that hurt us”, stated Kyan Anderson. Despite still needing to win two more games including game four tonight in Oldenburg, Anderson is confident that his team will return back to Bayreuth and go to work again on Thursday. “We are really excited for game 4. It has been a tough series with our injury to one of our bigs. But we are very positive going into game 4 in Oldenburg and want to come back to Bayreuth for game 5. If there is any team that come back down 2-0 then it´s us. We have been facing adversity all season long. We are a young team, but we are definitely capable of coming back and winning the series. We have a few guys that have been in these kind of situations. We have to keep bringing intensity and just take it one game at a time”, stressed Kyan Anderson. Even though Anderson has been a bit under par averaging 8,3ppg, 3,0apg and 1,0spg in the three games so far, he is a guy that can turn it up at any time like a John Wall and still remembers his game five performance in Belgium last season as a rookie where he dropped 22 points in 26 minutes against Brussels to reach the final and knows that his experience in those kind of situations can happen at anytime. “I am the kind of player that takes the game just how it comes to me. Teams are always trying to take me out of the game and not letting me touch the ball. I know that if the team needs me then I will do my best to be extra aggressive and help team be patient and get open looks. I also focus much on the defensive end and doing well there and impacting the game and let the rest come to me”, warned Kyan Anderson.
For years medi Bayreuth has been known to be a club that is always somewhere in no mans land in the standings and always watching the playoffs from home in May and are most known for having flirted with the ridiculous idea that Kevin Durant would sign with the team in 2011 which put the small Bavarian university town on the basketball map for a few weeks. However this season started like any other season where they lost their first game to ratiopharm Ulm, but then reeled off an unforgetable 10 game winning streak and won 12 of 13 games that probably had ex Bamberg coach Chris Fleming in New Jersey wondering how Bayreuth could ever be so close in the standings to his ex team. For once, the roster was put together with the right pieces and had no real star, but with players that each did once thing correctly and very well and the leadership of head coach Raoul Korner was able to guide the team on the right path to success that they kept for the whole season. Nobody in basketball Germany would have thought after a week of training camp that this team would be one of the top four teams at the end of the regular season. “We talk about this a lot. If you looked on paper at the start of the season nobody could of called the kind of season that we have had. I had faith in the team from the start and I knew after a few results that we had something very special with this team”, warned Kyan Anderson. Every player has done their part with experienced Nate Linhart being the glue guy and best pickup for the organization in years while Trey Lewis has been the teams top scorer and guy who has been the reliable rookie that teams aren´t always fortunate of getting. Lewis´s world broke apart late last season when Louisville didn´t play in the NCAA tournament on account of politics and it seems like Lewis has been playing with a chip on his shoulder “Yes for sure he has been playing with a chip on his shoulder. He is a rookie and has shown the ambition and drive. He is a great player. He has been very receptive and wanting to learn. Often when a player is successful quickly, he tends to get a head of himself, but that hasn´t been the case with Trey. He is a very good listener and has transitioned well to the professional ranks from college.
Last season Anderson started his professional career with Crelan Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 39 games averaging 15.9ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 56.7%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 84.5%. He demonstrated that he could make the transitions from the NCAA to the professional ranks in Europe and keep that scoring point guard image alive as he scored 20 points or more 14 times including a 39 point explosion against Ostende where he dropped seven trey´s and scored 33 points against Mons Hainaut. He was very consistent and that was aided by the continuing reminders from his teammate Samoan John Tofi would carve into his mentality the whole season. “Tof was a big help for me as a rookie. He always reminded me what kind of player I was and what I needed to be doing. When I got passive on the court and was shying away from taking a big shot, he would make sure to always tell me what I needed to do and be the player I was. He always stuck with me telling me when I got away from my game”, warned Kyan Anderson. Coming into the more skilled and more competitive easyCredit BBL has been a challenge for the Fort Worth native as his stats are down currently at 11,9ppg, 1,7rpg and 3,7apg, but he knows that this season his game has developed further because it isn´t all about scoring anymore. “The competition level in Germany is different from Belgium. I have realized this season that I need to be able to do other things than only scoring. I don´t have to be a scorer every night and can focus more on the point guard role. I have to make sure all are in the groove and incorporate that into what the team has to do at that moment. I had some big games this season where I scored a lot, but that is something that I already knew how to do. This season I am figuring out how to put it all together”, warned Kyan Anderson. He also is a firm believer that he can do more than just score and is very focused in wanting to improve his playmaking and get his assist stat up. “ It has to do with how I take the game knowing when I have to score and when needing to make the right pass. When teams are taking me out of the game scoring wise, then it´s time to incorporate the other things a point guard needs to do like making the right plays and passes”, explained Kyan Anderson. A big part of the success that medi Bayreuth have had lies on the shoulders of head coach Raoul Korner and Anderson knows that he has also profited from his existence behind the bench. “Coach Korner has really helped me with the mental side of the game. He has done a good job helping me through the ups and downs of the season to always stay positive and keep a smile. Coach also has helped me stay patient and reminded me that I am way more than just a scorer”, added Kyan Anderson.
Before being able to dazzle fans at the professional ranks, Anderson who ranks Monte Morris and Buddy Hield as the toughest guards that he faced in the NCAA had to learn his trade with TCU. He had an uneventful freshman season where he played 30 games averaging 7.6ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 74.2%. He didn´t see eye to eye with head coach Jim Christian and didn´t have many highlights to remember that season except for maybe his 20 point game against UNLV where he was the only bright spot in the 101-78 drubbing. However his luck changed in his sophomore season where he played 31 games averaging 12.0ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 71.6%. A new head coach was on board with Trent Johnson and Anderson was more of a focal point of the team and that grew even more his junior season where he played 31games averaging 17.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 85.0%. That season he scored in double figures in 26 of 31 games including in his last 14 games and had his best four games in a row when he dropped 27 points against Iowa State shutting down potential 2017 NBA first round draft pick Monte Morris and holding him to five points, hitting Baylor for 29 points, nailing Kansas for 25 points and showing Kansas State 23 points. Against Kansas he played against future NBA players Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Seldon and 2017 likely NBA Draft Pick Frank Mason. He held his own against them, but the difference today is millions and hotel rooms in Miami and Oldenburg. What separates one player from another from the NBA isn´t always much, but the clout a school plays always plays a big role. “I always knew that Wiggins would be great there was no denying him. He separated himself from a lot simply because of his athletic frame and NBA scouts loved the potential he had. Seldon was a decent hard defender that had some big games and Mason was also solid. It all has to do with getting the right opportunities. Kansas was a power house school compared to TCU. It was all a little different for them coming from Kansas concerning the NBA”, warned Kyan Anderson. As a senior he played 33 games: averaging 13.4ppg, 1.5rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 87.0%. His stats were a bit down as a senior, but he played another consistent season and was thankful for the guidance that head coach Trent Johnson gave him for three seasons. “Coach Johnson taught me too patient and sticking through the process. He taught me that no matter what the adversity was to keep fighting through it and controlling what I could control”, added Kyan Anderson. Anderson also remembers his intense relationships with his teammates like Garlon Green who he met again this season for the first time as a professional as medi Bayreuth beat the Walter Tigers Tuebingen 87-77 as Anderson dropped 17 points and Green had 12 points as both made TCU proud. “Garlon and I had a great relationship at TCU. We were roommates my second year at TCU. Even though we were two totally different players, we both kept motivating each other. It was crazy seeing him this season. I didn´t think that I would see him again. He is a very athletic and talented player. He would always challenge me after practice. He was a bigger guard, but all the battles we had helped me to get used to having to play against bigger athletic guards”, warned Kyan Anderson. Anderson has had his indirect dealings with the NBA in that he has battled countless great future NBA players in his time at TCU(NCAA) and possibly even heard the one or other special anecdote about ex NBA slam dunk winner Gerald Green from his brother Garlon, but at the moment the NBA is very far away for the Texas native, but then again close in an indirect way as his main focus is keeping the medi Bayreuth Cinderella season going and going further in the playoffs than John Wall.