John Boyer is a 31 year old 185cm guard from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania that is playing his seventh season and fifth in Germany and second with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga). Currently he is averaging 11,5ppg, 5,5rpg, 5,1apg and 2,5spg. Last season with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga) he played 24 games averaging 12.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.1%. He first made a name for himself playing three seasons with the Baskets Vilsbiburg (Germany-Regionalliga) where he filled up the stat sheet like no other averaging double figures in scoring each season, averaged six rebounds per season and twice averaged seven assists. He also played in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Spain. He played at Buffalo (NCAA) from 2006-2010 playing 98 NCAA games and as a senior played 30 games averaging 7.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 78.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
John thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Six years ago you were in the states finishing up graduate work at the university of Buffalo after having had a short two year professional career. Turn the clock to the summer of 2018 and your heading into your seventh professional season. Do you ever wonder where you would be today and how life would be had you remained in the states and not gone to Germany to continue your professional career?
Yeah of course! I am very grateful to Holger Prote for sending me that Facebook message. I have had a lot of opportunities available and doors opened because of the opportunity Holger offered. I don’t really consider playing in the Regionalliga as ‘professional’ because the main focus has never been on basketball, but it is without a doubt pretty cool to still be able to play the game
Since the time back in the states you have played 4 years in Germany and now are going into your fifth season in Germany and second with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga). How blessed do you feel to be able to play the game you love at age 30 as a professional?
Usually at this point I’m pretty happy when I can walk without pain at work on Monday, but it’s definitely awesome to still be able to play at this level.
After being German Regionalliga (South-East Group) Runner-Up in 2017 with the Baskets Vilsbiburg and in 2018 with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen, how hungry and motivated are you to finally helping win a title and help a team move up?
Of course, you always want to win at everything you do, but I think for us it’s important to take it one game at a time and really enjoy the season. Let’s just say we aren’t the youngest group of guys
You have belonged to the absolute best point guard in the German Regionalliga for years and from 2014-2017 averaged 8,0apg. Over the years there have been guys moving up with their teams as well as special examples of guys being signed in the Pro B despite not having won a title in the Regionalliga. I can’t imagine you haven’t ever gotten offers. Have the offers been there are have you for some reason been off the radar of teams?
I thought about trying to play ‘professional’ again a little bit and had a few opportunities, but for me once I finished my last year in Spain, I made the decision to focus on work outside of basketball. I really enjoy the game and the level of the Regionalliga is competitive without the crazy practice and travel schedules, so it works out well being able to balance work and family at the same time.
How much are you looking forward to this season with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen) and how is the team shaping up and what are your feelings of how this team will pan out?
Like I said, we aren’t the youngest group of guys, but I think we are looking forward to getting back in shape and seeing what we can do.
You already established your self as a top player with Vilsbiburg, but despite playing less minutes last season, how vital was head coach Mario Matic in helping you make further strides in your game?
I’ve been definitely lucky with both of my coaches in Germany (Holger and Mario)! My wife and I had twin boys just before the season last year, and Mario was very understanding of the situation. He did a great job of managing everyone’s personal situations throughout the year, while keeping us motivated and competitive.
How much are you looking forward to playing together with Serbian Ognjen Zoric again. How important has his added experience been for the success of the team and can you soak up added basketball pieces from his game which you add to yours?
I definitely love playing with Oggy, but I really enjoy speaking German with him. The German guys laugh and shake their heads when they hear us talk in German for some reason – maybe we have funny accents.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a classic point guard that looks to make his teammates better. If you had to compare yourself to an NBA player who would best fit your style?
I don’t think I could ever compare myself to an NBA player due to lack of athletic ability, among other things, but I loved watching Steve Nash with the Phoenix Suns when they made their run.
You have belonged to the top defenders in the German Regionalliga for years. A few years ago you averaged an amazing 5,0spg. What has been most vital in your case to being able to improve as a defender?
That’s always a running joke – I don’t really consider myself a great defender. I have to credit Holger for playing a lot of zone that year, making it easier to jump passing lanes.
You shot your best from outside last season since moving to Germany. Was it taking less shots and being better aware of what was a good shot and not something that helped you learn better shooting habits last season as well as improve in that area?
Yeah, I think in Vilsbiburg I took more forced shots off-the-dribble that weren’t necessarily good for us as a team. Last year I had a more spot-up chances, so that helped.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet at ease, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away on the court?
I think the most important thing is that team chemistry is there. I usually try to make sure that everyone feels comfortable on and off the court and bring the team together in whatever way would be needed. On the court, it’s more important for me to put the other guys are in a position to succeed compared to my personal stats – so knowing the tendencies of every teammate is something that very important for me.
You played three seasons with the Baskets Vilsbiburg. You had some amazing games including a triple double. What were your fondest memories in those years?
I think more than anything was just being around a great group of guys for so long. We definitely made a lot of memories those three years. Beating Bayern in the Audi Dome the year they moved up, when we only had 5 players to finish the game, would be the best basketball memory.
You played a season together with American Orlando Parker who has gone from the Regionalliga to the Pro A. Would you agree with e that he belongs to the top teammates that you ever had simply with his combination of dedication and hard work that he gives the game every day?
Yeah for sure. Orlando is not only a great player and teammate, but also a great person. He tries to give back to the community every chance he gets and is a monster on the court. I definitely miss playing with him, but I’m extremely happy he has been able to climb the ladder in Germany. I think he deserves a spot in the BBL.
What do you remember from the 111-52 win against Leitershofen where you had a double double of 17 points and 13 steals. Getting 13 steals in a game is mind boggling. Was your anticipation on this day out of control?
That game is kind of a sore spot for me, because it was the last game Ado coached for Leitershofen and he’s a great guy. We were playing zone and could read what the players wanted to do pretty well, and then I guess the stat sheet said what it said.
You played your rookie season for BK Decin (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 40 games averaging 4.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.6apg. what was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
In Decin we had a very talented team that year and finished 3rd in the league – I think that was the club’s best finish at the time. I felt it was my job to put everyone in a position to succeed, and unfortunately, that wasn’t reflected in personal stats, but we had a great year as a team.
What memories do you have of Seton Hall (NCAA) stand out and Czech Republic legend Lavelle Sanders who played an incredible 16 seasons there. Was he like a mentor for you in your rookie season?
Ell was awesome at showing me the ins-and-outs of European basketball on and off the court. At first it was a little challenging for me because we played the same position, but once I got to know him, he was nothing but great to me. He has so much knowledge of the game it’s unbelievable – and currently he’s translated that knowledge into coaching and taking Pardubice to a new level.
What memories do you have of the crazy three games against top team CEZ Nymburk? You won the first game by 28 points then lost by 27 points and then got creamed 73-28.
Nymburk has been on another level in comparison to the other Czech teams for a while now, and they very rarely lose to another domestic team. I think they kind of underestimated us the game we won, and then maybe had some extra motivation for the other games.
In your second season you played with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 22 games averaging 4.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-5 (1.6spg), in Feb.’13 moved to Grupo Eule Carrefour El Bulevar de Avila (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 6 games averaging 5.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 62.5%. Was this a phase where you had doubts about if a professional career was the correct choice to keep pursuing?
Yeah, I’m thankful for both opportunities and ended the season pretty well with Avila. We had talked about the following year at Avila, but given the economic status and outlook at the time, it made more sense to focus on life after basketball.
What many don’t know was that in your short time in Spain you were teammates with a then unknown 18 year old Moussa Diagne who is only 24 now but playing in the top Spanish league ACB for years. Did you know then that he would get as far as he has?
That team was made up of a lot of young prospects, who are currently playing at a very high level. Moussa was already practicing at Fuenlabrada with the ACB guys at the time, and he was so athletically talented. For me it’s not really surprising that he’s doing so well.
In your first three seasons at Buffalo you hardly played, but as a freshman was an important part of the team playing 30 games averaging 7.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 78.7%. What did you learn about your game in your senior season?
I actually played a lot the first half of my freshman season before getting sick with mononucleosis, and it took a while to come back. I think the most important thing was understanding the game and what exactly the coaches wanted from me, and being more in control of every possession.
How did head coach Reggie Witherspoon groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Buffalo?
He definitely challenged us every day to be better and to grow up into men. I think that the biggest thing was going through the daily physical, mental, and emotional challenges with him to become a better person and player. I am very thankful for the opportunity that he and all the UB guys offered
Who won a one on one back in the day you or Rodney Pierce?
Rodney, hands down.
When you look back at the talent of your guard teammates Rodney Pierce and Calvin Betts, are you surprised none of them chose the professional route?
Talent-wise they both definitely could have played professionally and had a long career. But in life there are things that are more important than basketball and they chose another route. I definitely miss the time at UB with them
When you were a freshman, German Yassin Idbihi was a senior and would go on to have a stellar basketball career. What memories do you have of him and did he give you an early introduction to how Germany is?
Personally, the best on-court memory was when we both were on the court to put up a defensive stand to finish-off rival Canisius my freshman year. Of course, he had so many highlights throughout his college and professional career. I’m happy to see he’s currently doing so well and has such a beautiful family.
You played against so many great players at the NCAA level, but which player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?
I guess you could say the best NBA-player would be Kemba Walker, but there were so many tough guys that we played against.
How did your 2018 summer work out plan look like? On what things will you work on most to help prepare you for your seventh season?
Well I’ve been taking the twins for a run in their jogger a few times a week to try to stay in shape, but the older you get the harder it is.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
I think I’d go with a mix of both – but only guys that I’ve been able to watch. So MJ, Kobe, Lebron and maybe Shaq.
What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
2 different eras – they were both the best of their era.
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
That could be true, but there are so many factors that influence teams anymore that are outside of basketball – it’s really hard to judge. But they have constructed a great team at the moment.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?
I haven’t really seen Deandre Ayton play so much, so I can’t really say, but I’m definitely excited to see what Luka Doncic will bring to the NBA.
How did you follow the 2018 NBA Draft? How cool is it having two Germans being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers?
I didn’t really follow the draft so much, but it’s definitely a positive for German basketball in general that 2 players were drafted by a franchise like the Lakers.
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?
It depends on what they define as an assist in the NBA, but he could probably lead the league.
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
I can’t really remember the last movie I saw, but I did watch Sesame Street this morning with the kids.
Thanks John for the chat.