Raylonn Brooks is a 25 year old 180cm guard that recently played at the HowardHoops Tour in Hilden Germany. He is another one of many players on earth chasing the professional basketball dream. He got experience playing at Edmonds community college in Lynwood Washington, Centralia College and at New Hope Christian in Eugene Oregon. He spoke to Germanhoops.com about his basketball life.
Raylonn thanks for talking to Germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and is the heat wave in Germany still minor compared to what your used to in the states in the summer?
I am currently in Dortmund at the moment, the heat is a major change out here because of the humidity. Back home in California it’s just dry heat and I can handle that. Humidity is a different story, we don’t have much of that back home in Southern California.
You just took part at the Howard Hoops Tour in Hilden, Germany. What kind of experience was this for you? How do you feel did the Howard Hoops weekend help you most as a basketball player?
Howard hoops tour in Hilden was definitely a reality check, but also a great experience. We all thought we were going out there to demolish everyone, but did the exact opposite. I feel like it helped in a way because I got to see a different pace in the game. They play different, than out here in the states. Meaning they play more as a team! Us on the other hand, seemed like everybody was just looking out for themselves. Completely selfish! You can’t win games, if there’s no team ball. Learned that team work makes the dream work, and if you do the little things your game will be noticed. Learned that anybody can score the ball. So I try and do the other things to make my game stand out.
You have little to no professional experience. With what kind of feeling did you go into the weekend concerning your professional future?
Going into this Howard Hoops tour, I knew I had to make a name for myself. I was nervous, anxious, but also very excited. Didn’t know exactly what to expect coming into the tour. I take pride in defense, so that was my main focus going into this weekend. My job was to make sure nobody can get passed me. I have no experience out here in Germany. I learned that if everybody thinks they can score try & do something else that stands out. That’s what I did. I take pride in defense and actually commit to locking down my opponent it can open up doors. Competing makes the game way more fun, and competitive, plus it gets you better. That’s all I’m about.
Exactly what kind of professional experience do you have and why do you feel has it been so difficult for you to find a team? Will you play for Ron Howard´s ABA team in Minnesota?
I have no professional experience. Currently in the process of looking for a spot on a pro team now. It has been very difficult to find a team, because of my resume. I didn’t come from a big school, and didn’t have much highlights. This passed weekend Ron Howard selected five men to be a part of his aba team in Minnesota. I was one of those five people. Although the tour didn’t go as we planned. I still was grateful for the opportunity and want to thank Ron for blessing me with another opportunity to play basketball. I will be attending his aba team in Minnesota.
How content were you with your game on the weekend in Germany. On what phases of your game do you feel were you able to shine?
This weekend I felt like I could’ve produced a little bit more, but overall I would give myself good credit because of the fact nobody could get passed me. I was trying to get my teammates involved as much as possible, throwing smart passes and making the right decisions. The defensive end definitely stuck out the most felt my game shining on defense because I was always at the right place at the right time.
Talk a little about you game. What are your strengths and if you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you chose?
My strengths when it comes to basketball I would say is being a very talkative point guard, getting people in the right spots running the floor. Another strength will be my defensive game. I always have the mindset of nobody scoring on me and it shows out there on the court. I would describe my game as a mixture between Patrick Beverly, and Chris Paul. I feel that way because as like Patrick I take pride in defense. As like Chris Paul I can score when a team needs me to score, but mainly focusing on how to help my team win and get better.
How were you able to get adjusted to the style of play during the weekend? What do you feel was most difficult for you to get adjusted to?
I felt like I adjusted very quickly in the Howard hoops tour. They play much more aggressive, but also slower. I noticed they like to use that hook a lot. Most difficult to get adjusted to was the hooking, they most likely going hook 9 out of 10 times out here in Germany. Back in the states that would be a foul, so that definitely was the most difficult to get used to.
There were a lot of talented players taking part on both sides of the court with the Howard Hoops teams and the German teams. What players really stood out for you?
I saw plenty of talent this weekend. I like the German teams. They were much bigger making us work in the paint. Running an inside out game. We had no choice but to block out. But as far as playing like a team we looked terrible out there. German teams stood out more to me because of the fact that everybody on their team touched the ball before putting the ball in the basket. Which is called basketball and winning games. Going one on one looking off your teammates is what I felt the Howard hoops team did a lot, and that’s why I feel like we came up short.
How impressed have you been with the whole Howard Hoops experience. What stood out most for you during the weekend that you will never forget?
I have been very impressed with the Howard hoops experience. before going into the tour coach Ron let us all know what we had to do. Not everybody was on the same page locked and loaded. Listening was a major key and we weren’t all aboard. That is why we lost games. The thing that stood out the most is that there’s no I team. If we would’ve came together as a whole, things could’ve turned out way better for the Howard hoops players.
What was your impression of Howard Hoops CEO and tour coach Ron Howard. Did you notice quickly that he has extreme passion for the game and trying to help talented guys get noticed?
My first impression of CEO Ron Howard was that he is very hard worker, and a man of his word. I have been following up Ron a couple years now, and seen how many players he got signed and the people who actually believed and stuck with his plan is still playing today. Notice the passion for the game right away, he’s always thinking 3 steps ahead. Definitely think he is all about getting talented players out without getting anything in return. He understands how hard the grind is. If you can hoop he will get you signed, and I am a believer of that because I saw it with my own eyes.
The Howard Hoops tour has a good rate of placing players on teams. What is the next step for you? Will you test the professional market and would you be comfortable playing in a lower league somewhere? Did you get a try-out with Regionalliga team Dortmund?
I feel like if we would’ve came out here to Germany & did what we were supposed to do, then coaches would’ve been contacting Ron left & right. Coaches look for winners! The next step for me is to contact coaches, network and see if I can come into a practice for an opportunity to join a team. I will play anywhere, starting on lower division that will be perfectly fine. I need to just get my foot in the door and get a start somewhere. I Just want an opportunity to get better, compete, and make everyone else around me better. Definitely will help any team out as much as I possibly can.
If you had to describe your game in a few sentences and why you could help any professional team right now how would you describe it?
I am a very competitive person, I try and make everybody I’m guarding better by going all out and competing. Paying good attention to detail, as a point guard I would be able to run the floor. I will make sure my teammates are in the correct spots on the floor. I’ll Push the tempo when it’s needed, as we continue to win games.
Talk a little about what college experience you have? You played at Centralia college. What positives did you get from playing there?
Centralia College was a very eye opening experience. Reason I say that is because, no matter where you’re at whether it’s school or a pro team you have to treat it like a business. I had to learn the hard way. Not everyone whether you’re teammates are not are on your side. They will throw you under the bus so they can succeed. Learned that no matter how good you may think you’re there’s always someone out there looking to take your spot. So you have to come to compete every day
A few years late you played at New Hope Christian in Eugene Oregon. But that was short as you didn´t have enough transferable credits. Did it feel like your basketball life was over?
When I found out I didn’t have enough transferable credits at New Hope Christian I thought to myself my basketball career was for sure done. Devastated ready to give up, but never gave up on the vision and continued to stay in the gym no matter what.
You went home quite a few times in the last years to help your mom out and worked. How important was this time being there for the family, but never ending your basketball dream as you kept it alive?
I was back home after New Hope, trying to help my mother out as much as possible. We weren’t the richest nor the poorest, but somehow we always made it happen and provided for one another. Family time is always the best time. I was working full time bringing in as much money as I could. I would also stay in the gym as well, because of the fact I still wanted to make a dream a reality. May have had a few setbacks, but not once have I given up on my dream of becoming a professional basketball player. I have people who don’t believe in my journey, but I’m here to prove everybody wrong & hope to continue to play the game that I love.
A juco player Jordan Brangers made waves at the Miami pro league and got signed by German top division team Eisbareren Bremerhaven. Does a story like this keep your dream alive that anything is possible that even guys from the JUCO can reach the top?
Hearing about the story of Jordan Brangers how he came from Juco & made waves at the Miami pro league to the top German league is very strong motivation. That definitely shows that if you stay committed and workout everyday your time will come eventually. You just have to keep faith, and stay in the gym. A story like this definitely keeps a dream alive, this just proves that anything is possible. The sky is the limit!
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
If I had to pick any 4 players from the NBA to build my own Rushmore I would select Chris Paul, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal. Chris Paul because he does it all, but mainly love the way he runs the floor and gets players where they need to be. Ray Allen because he was always the best pure shooter to me in my eyes. Kobe Bryant, because he was the best scorer to play the game. Nobody else locked in the way Kobe did, known as the mamba mentality. A lot of players don’t have that in today’s basketball. I also chose Shaq aka Superman because he was definitely the best big man. He had crazy foot work, handles, and made some good decisions as a big
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
My personal opinion on the never ending debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James is that Lebron is all around player. I feel like he is better. He will fill up the stat sheet and bring you into NBA finals while playing team ball looking to get his teammates involved. Lebron is out of his prime still playing every game of the season and putting up huge numbers. Giving back, opening up schools, just overall a better person who actually cares about the community outside of basketball. Sets a very good example for being the best in the NBA
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched was uncle drew with Kyrie Irving. Very funny, and good movie. I been following up on the series of uncle drew on YouTube for quite some time now. So when they finally made a movie in theaters it was a must watch for me. I’m a big fan of kyrie Irving, & his uncle drew series. Very creative work! Much respect.
Thanks Raylonn for the chat.