Roland Nyama is a 24 year old 198cm forward from Frankfurt, Germany that has the German/Cameroonian citizenship and recently finished his first season with PS Karlsruhe averaging 6,5ppg and 2,2rpg. 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 he finished the 2017-2018 season with PS Karlsruhe.
Roland thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and what have you ben mainly doing days after your rookie season ended?
Hi Miles thanks for having me again. I’ve spent time reflecting and being thankful for the chance of realizing my dream. Besides that I’ve been doing yoga and primarily spending time with my husky puppy.
Congrats on an amazing season with PS Karlsruhe. Two years ago they were still in the Regionalliga and this season was one of the four best teams in the Pro A. Just comparing the talent on this team with so many of the other dep Pro A teams would you ever have expected last September that the team would go so far?
Everybody on the team knew what we were capable of. We just needed to show the outside world. From day one I had no doubt that we’d be special.
PS Karlsruhe finished the regular season losing 6 of it´s last 9 games. Was there some uncertainty and precaution going into the playoffs?
Not really. We knew that we had to show up with a different sense of urgency in the playoffs as in the regular season. We got over ourselves, regrouped and performed.
You didn´t only sweep the RheinStars, but destroyed them. Were you a bit surprised how easily PS Karlsruhe disposed of them? What was key in this series win?
Surprised a bit yeah. Given what they did to us in the regular season we felt as if we had something extra to prove which lead to us not really letting off even with big leads. Our defense was sharp and that was really key. I’m never really worried about our offense but once the defense showed up I knew we had a shot.
What was wrong with the RheinStars? They had huge ambitions to reach the easyCredit BBL. Do you feel it all affected them mentally and became too much to handle?
Honestly I have no idea. Could be the pressure from the surroundings but could also be just us playing very good basketball.
You lost the semi-final series to Vechta 3-1. You allowed 77 points per game in the regular season, but gave up 91 points in the 4 game series. Was all that firepower to much to handle in this series?
They played extremely smart and reacted to our adjustments. Also, the pace was very high as we were trying to run in transition and so did they.
What was the secret to the success of PS Karlsruhe this season? Your teammate orlano Parker stated this in an earlier interview with me. “Being on a team that no one believes in and surrounded by players that are considered underdogs is the perfect combination for success”. Do you feel that the mental side played a lot bigger role in the success than people may have noticed?
The mental side played the biggest role. The talent was there but we all had to chip in for a greater goal. Every single player on our team had a storyline that was based upon redemption or being overlooked by other teams or being told to not be good enough for the Pro a. We took those negatives, used them as fuel and proved people wrong.
When you look back at this season what will be that you will remember the most of this squad? Was this a team that all were like brothers?
There’s too many memorable moments to look back on with this team. We were all enjoying each other’s presence very much. One of the more memorable moments, though, came when mau pluskota walked into practice with bleach blonde hair.
What was your team highlight of the season? Possibly every playoff win against the RheinStars or the playoff win against Vechta?
Definitely the series win against Cologne. We, the clear underdog swept a favorite to move up. What’s not to like there?
Let´s talk about some of your teammates. How much of a joy was it being teammates with Orlando Parker. A guy who came from the Regionalliga and moved up each season. Was he like an ultimate teammate for you being that he is a guy that would cover your back at anytime on and off the court?
OP was actually one of the first guys on the team I connected with along with Dima Kreis. Op is one of the most selfless basketball players I know and all he really cares about is winning. People said he’s not good enough – he came in and performed. Off the court he was a joy to be around as well. He would always try and get the team to do things as a group to further strengthen our team bond.
How challenging and valuable was it being able to battle the talented Jarelle Reischel? What things could you pick up from his game that helped yours best?
I felt like I was back at Eintracht Frankfurt when we were younger. Obviously I’ve known him for ever but playing with him this year and watching his game helped me a lot as well. He’s poised, moves at his own speed and doesn’t let any defense fans or referees phase him. He’s very smart in the way he chooses his spots on the court and even though everybody knows the move he’s about to make, you can’t stop it. Besides that we had a few inside jokes and trash talk going on at practice which added a little more competitiveness to it.
What kind of experience was it being teammates with Richard Williams. He has had success with German teams, but also hard times. What did you learn to appreciate most about his game and his leadership abilities?
Richie was like my big brother on the court. He was the one who would always tell me to believe in myself especially at the beginning of the season when I had to get used to the speed and physicality of the league. Richie leaves everything on the court and demands the same from each and every other teammate. From lifting weights to practice to walkthrough to games he is a pros pro.
You have to tip your hat to head coach Michael Mai who is my pick for coach of the year. He obviously put together the right players, but what do you believe was his biggest strength that enabled PS Karlsruhe to have such an unforgettable season?
Controlled freedom. He let the players be themselves within reason without letting it get out of control. Rather than boxing people into a system, he created one that would magnify each players strengthes.
Let´s talk about your game. Even though you were technically a rookie, did you really feel it considering you played against top competition in the NCAA for 3 years?
I did in the sense of players here being very smart and more physical. But on the other hand I didn’t feel as if I had to hide from the level of competition as I had some battle experience from my college days.
With PS Karlsruhe you averaged 6,5ppg and 2,2rpg in 18 minutes and shot 37% from outside. How content were you with your rookie season in Germany?
I kind of have mixed feelings about it. I feel like it was pretty successful in the sense of me developing a feel for the European game and learning there’s more to basketball than just putting the ball in the hoop. On the other hand I feel as if I was too inconsistent and could have performed better. With that knowledge I’m looking forward to next years season.
You didn´t shoot the ball well in your last year at Stony Brook(NCAA), but shot the ball well again this season. What do you credit the turnaround this season concerning your shooting?
8 am shooting sessions most mornings with our assistant coach Enrico who rather than trying to change my entire shot, just tweaked some minor flaws here and there with great success. Also my teammates told me to keep shooting and you don’t got to tell me twice to keep shooting.
What was your personal season highlight concerning your game? Possibly one of the 18 point games in the wins against Hanau and Hamburg?
Definitely those games but also the Vechta game in the regular season that we lost. Coach had me run lots of point in those games and I was tasked with making more decisions and learning how to fast but under control. Hamburg and Vechta were also great from an atmosphere standpoint. I love playing in arenas, I love a big crowd cheering for me but also against me. I feed of the crowds energy.
What is the next step for Roland Nyama? You had a solid season in Germany. In our last interview you stated that athletically you felt you could play in the BBL. Is another year of Pro A ball better for your development or could you imagine going to another country to explore the game?
I feel like I need to be in a system where I can make the greatest strides to realize my potential. Whether that is the BBL or the Pro A. Going outside of Germany not so much right now.
How does a normal summer day workout plan look like for you on and off the court?
Wake up at 8.00, eat breakfast at 8.30 (going throw in here that I’m a vegan), lift at 9, work on individuals at 11 or 12. Eat a big lunch at 1.30. Nap get in the gym again at 4 or 5 and then play pick up at 8, 3 times a week. On the weekends I stretch, do yoga and play tennis as a balance to basketball.
Who was the toughest player that you battled on the court this season?
Jarelle Reischel, every day in practice. Besides that probably Lacy from Ehingen. He’s an explosive guard capable of driving the ball both ways, shooting from outside and hitting the midrange jumper. People that can score from all three areas are tough to guard.
How did you experience the 2018 NCAA March Madness? What was the most spectacular upset in the tournament?
Umbc over UVA in the first round (s/o to the America east conference). Besides that seeing Mo Wagner play well and acting as a great ambassador for German basketball was also great to see.
Deandre Ayton seems lie he could be the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. But having been in Europe this season you must of seen some highlights of Real Madrid´s 19 year old stand out Luca Doncic who belonged to the best players in the Euroleague. Should a guy like that be the automatic #1 pick just from sheer experience and talent?
Yes there isn’t a guy like Doncic who is excelling at the highest level while still being only 19 years old. He’s a once in a generation talent.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
Whatever number he feels like averaging. LeBron is so dominant that if he wants to average 20 assists and he’d be able to do so.
Lebron James came through scoring 45 points in game 7 getting bay the Indiana Pacers. Did this silence some of his haters who say he doesn´t show up when it counts and can the Cavs get by the Toronto Raptors?
It definitely did. At this point he has nothing to prove anymore as hell go down as one of the greats regardless. Toronto will be tough as hell need his teammates to step up too.
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
Actually Infinity war was the last one.
Thanks Roland for the chat.