In a span of a little more than eight and a half months, I came upon Dennis Mavin three times in three separate cities from Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt and after a little bit of concentrated pondering, I was reminded of the annoying, but famous and classic song Rio from German pop group Trio that has the catchy line New York-Rio-Tokyo that was a late summer hit in Germany in 1986 reaching #3 in the charts leaving them as a one hit wonder. But the Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt when hummed like the classic Rio song just didn´t fit the melody. Some people even mistook the German lead singer Peter Fessler as being the well known American singer Al Jarreau, because the song is in English and his voice sounds like the American. Of course the three German cities could never compete in name recognition as the world class cities in this song even if Frankfurt is a world class city, but not as big as those three, but for Dennis Mavin being mentioned with these lesser known German cities is sort of similar to how his basketball career has gone since he began at Florida Atlantic (NCAA) in 2011. He is one of hundreds, no probably thousands on earth who is playing professionally and where his overall ability outweighs his current status on the basketball ladder. I remember seeing Mavin for the first time a day before Easter on April 8, 2018 in Giessen when he played his last game for Pro B team Giessen Rackelos witnessing a heartbreaking 93-89 game three loss to Rostock propelling them into the semi-finals as his 19 points couldn´t withstand the combined 66 points of the lethal trio of Jordan Talbert, Bill Borekambi and Brandon Lockhart. In Giessen I remember seeing a lightening quick guard who was a lot better than the talent on the court. I saw the Florida native a little more than 6 months later in Rhondorf conducting a post game interview with him after he helped lead his new team ScanPlus Baskets to a 95-74 win over the Dragons Rhondorf where he produced a solid 11 points, five boards and seven dimes. Then a little more than a month later our paths crossed again in Frankfurt. After a convincing 77-55 victory by the farm team of easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners Fraport Skyliners Juniors over the RheinStars Cologne, a young man was standing in front of me wearing Skyliners apparel. He gave me one of those confident looks that someone gives one when one knows each other. The only problem was, I had one of those embarrassing moments again that I get from time to time. I had no idea who he was even though I had interviewed him face to face a little more than a month ago. When you interview players almost daily, you at times loose track of who your dealing with. After a few seconds, I had to tell him “sorry Man I have no idea at the moment who you are, could you give me a little help”. Inside I felt as embarrassed as a Steve Harvey must of felt when he announced the wrong winner at a beauty pagent. After I quickly got over my very embarrassing moment, all was cool with Mavin and me and he told me he was going to be playing for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. The city hopping between Mavin and I coupled with not having him on my radar is nothing new for the American. He has been overlooked his whole basketball career despite having very good basketball abilities that could have him in a higher league than where he currently is now in the German third league Pro B. It is no secret that his overall abilities outweigh where he currently is on the basketball ladder, but he isn´t going crazy about his current basketball status, because he knows it is part of the basketball process no matter how ugly or unfair it can be for certain players. “I love basketball and I have 100 percent faith and what I can do. For me is just staying patient waiting on my opportunity! Yeah it gets tough but I think I’m tougher”, warned Dennis Mavin.
Dennis Maven was born on December 9, 1991 in Gainsville, Florida that is probably most known for having the campus of the University of Florida the fifth largest university by enrollment in the United States and has spawned well known athletes like Emmitt Smith and Tim Tebow from the NFL, Vernon Maxwell, Al Horford and Udonis Haslem from the NBA and oh yeh that famous New York Yankee Roger Maris. He attended the Rock school, where he was teammates with Scottie Wilbekin. Both guys would go different basketball paths as Wilbekin played at the well known Florida(NCAA) and currently is a Euroleague player with Maccabi Tel Aviv while Mavin played at the lesser known Florida Atlantic (NCAA) and currently is in the German Pro B league with Frankfurt. “Scottie is my brother! He was a great teammate and super smart basketball player. We also played AAU basketball together of course him playing at a high level keeps me motivated. I love what he’s doing”, stressed Dennis Mavin. But the basketball process isn´t always generous as the American witnessed right away when he began at Florida Atlantic (NCAA) in 2010. In his freshman season he played 32 games averaging 5.2ppg, 2.2rpg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 15.4%, FT: 64.0%. In his second season he played 28 games averaging 5.0ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 56.2%. Even if he didn´t explode in the scoring categories, he didn´t see his two years there as a loss. “My 2 years at Florida Atlantic were nice. I got a chance to go to the NIT My freshman year and we won the regular season conference title”, said Dennis Mavin. In his second season he scored in double figures in six games and had his highest point total against NCAA power house Kansas pouring home 17 points in a 77-54 loss. In that game he battled future NBA players like Thomas Robinson, Elijah Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor and Jeff Withey and remembers that game with high regard. “I just remember how big Thomas Robinson was compared to our guys. I knew we were in for a long game with him”, stressed Dennis Mavin. He played against countless schools that would feature future NBA players and always uses those old memories as well as any guys he faces now that might have been in or close to the NBA as a desire to grind harder every day. “I use everything as motivation when I do my training in the gym”, warned Dennis Mavin.
After two years at Florida Atlantic(NCAA), he decided to pack up and remain in south Florida and try his luck at Florida International(NCAA). Here he became an instrumental part of the offense in the system of head coach Anthony Evans right from the get go. In his junior season he played 30 games averaging 11.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 60.1%. He scored in double figures in 21 games. Some of his most memorable games was hitting Florida A& M for 24 points in a loss, but got big wins against Georgia State where he netted 14 points, 19 points in a win against the Florida Gulf Coast and beat his ex team Florida Atlantic twice netting 23 points and 14 points. He upped his game to a new level in his senior campaign playing 33 games averaging 17.2ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 64.3%. His biggest highlight in his last NCAA season was his half court heave against Texas-San Antonio where he used a double pump to stay free of his defender hitting a breathtaking bank shot to give his team the 57-54 victory in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament. The American dropped 15 points while hauling down nine boards and handed out five dimes. He had a lot to be thankful for the experience there and the trust that head coach Anthony Evans gave him in his two year stay in Miami. “I was provided a great opportunity and was able to play my game and seize the moment at FIU. He mentored me on and off the court giving me life lessons daily and always getting me to see the big picture”, warned Dennis Mavin. After finishing at Florida International putting up very good stats, one may have figured you find him exhibiting his special basketball skills in a well known basketball country in Europe or even tried a go in the G-League having the whole big picture in the back of his mind, but instead of being recognized and rewarded with his basketball talent, he had to start near the bottom of the basketball ladder as a professional.
Instead of landing in France, Italy or Germany as a rookie, the American landed in cold Lithuania in a town of 7,523 about 20 kilometers from the Latvian boarder and as far away from the Lithuanian big basketball cities Kaunus and Vilnius as Giessen is from Berlin or Munich. He didn´t last long there playing 5 games averaging 4.4ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.0apg. There he was teammates with Lithuanian 192cm guard Laurynas Samenas who played 50 BBL games with TBB Trier from 2013-2015 and played one Pro B game with Erfurt this season. If he told Mavin any stories about his German days are unknown, but since it was his last stop before Pieno Zvaigzdes Pasvalys (LKL), there is a good chance he might ofdelved into explaining the beauty of the Porta Nigra in Trier. The American played against one top team Rytas Vilnius losing 89-71, but steering home six points and four assists in 20 minutes. He battled against Argentine national player Nicholas Laprovittola who was playing the season before getting an NBA opportunity with the San Antonio Spurs. Despite the short stay, he seemed to have got as much from the experience as he could. “The basketball culture in Lithuania was great. I enjoyed it my time there”, stated Dennis Mavin. After a short stay in the cold, he headed for the warmth of Morocco and didn´t waste anytime collecting chips with As de Sale (Morocco-D1) winning the league title and Throne Cup. He remained one more season and played with Fath US de Rabat (Morocco-D1). He won two titles something guys don´t do playing 10 plus years professionally and that is something that nobody can take away from him and he gathered amazing experiences in a country that most American players will never visit in their lifetime, but the level of play was one that surely didn´t look that great on his resume coupled with the fact that once again his overall basketball abilties outweighed where he was showcasing his talent in Morocco and he must have been playing mind games with his ego and pride. “Morocco was a cool experience. I got a chance to play with the best team in Morocco with all the national team guys. I was able to learn a winning mentality. At first it was tough but once I got over my pride and understood that life is a marathon not a sprint it put a lot of things into perspective for me. I’ve always had unbelievable confidence in my ability and it was just ceasing the opportunity whenever it presented itself. warned Dennis Mavin.
After two years of slowly crawling up the basketball ladder where two titles helped ease the overall pain of not being noticed and accepted the way he should have been by the basketball world, he finally got a chance in Germany by the organization Giessen 46ers that duel in the easyCredit BBL one of the top leagues in Europe. But once again the basketball process was in full swing as he didn´t make a substantial move up the basketball ladder as there was a little catch to the story as he was signed by their farm team Pro B team Rackelos Giessen, but his five minutes of BBL fame would come as well. He wasn´t signed over the summer, but came in January 2018 and made the most of his stay as in 9 games in the Pro B he averaged 18,4ppg, 3,6rpg, 2,6apg and 1,7spg and shot 36% from outside. He came to the club as it was having it´s best run. On December 13th, 2017 the club had a 7-5 record and would finish very strong with a 8-1record heading into the playoffs and played the eventual Pro b finalist Rostock Seawolves very strong in a 3 game playoff battle but lost. “I’m beyond proud of my guys and what we were able to accomplish. We were coached by two amazing coaches Rolf and Lutz and they made our environment fun and all the players enjoyed going out working hard and getting better before and after practice which made us come together and win a lot of games“, stressed Dennis Mavin. The American was an instrumental part of the success scoring in double figures in eight of nine games including 27 points against his future team ScanPlus Baskets and 26 points against Oldenburg while hitting Rostock for 19 and 17 points in the playoffs. He may of only been there a few months, but was in heavy competition with another guy Jeril Taylor who also has a chip on his shoulder as he played for S Indiana(NCAA2) once scoring 50 points in a Division 2 game and 18 year old German Bjarne Kraushaar at the guard positions and is thankful that they were there in his first real season in Europe. “Jeril is my brother and someone who I consider family. He was one of the first guys to show me everything when I first got to Giessen and he helped me get adjusted quick. I appreciate his story and the way he came from the bottom. He can score the ball and he’s a dog on the defensive end. I love Bjarne´s game. I think he has a chance to be one of the top PG´s in the league and he’s very poised for his age. He will be great for a long time.”, warned Dennis Mavin. He also got a chance to play on the big stage BBL playing against Gotha and ratiopharm Ulm getting some minutes, but most important having a 2-0 record and saw that he can play with the big boys. “It was a great experience playing with the BBL team I got a chance to see where my game matched up against the best talent. I don’t feel I’m far off at all. This will be one of my best summers so who knows what could happen in the future”, warned Dennis Mavin. All in all, it was a very positive experience for him and he knew that Germany could become a second home for him. “My first season in Germany was amazing. I was blessed to be a part of such a great organization with so much history like the 46ers. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Europe is definitely a spot I want to remain at”, said Dennis Mavin. The basketball God listened to his wishes as he would remain in Germany.
The American began his fourth professional season in southern Germany with 2018 Pro B champion ScanPlus Baskets. This was a logical step for him going to an ambitious team that wants to move up to the Pro A once their financial situation is settled concerning their gym. But once again a move like this didn´t put much of a climb up the basketball ladder as he remained in the Pro B, but not all players are the same. Some guys like Josh Young, Josh Parker or Deandre Lansdowne need one or two years to reach the easyCredit BBL, but then again there are guys like Steve Wachalski who took seven years to reach the big show in Germany via five years in the Regionalliga and two years in the Pro B with Osnabruck before reaching Bayreuth in 2010. If Mavin has the patience is a good question, but for now he is in the Pro B even if the ScanPlus Baskets were a short stay for him. He played 7 games averaging 10.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 40.7%, 3FGP: 16.7%, FT: 50.0%. He scored in double figures in four games including a 21 point effort against the RheinStars, 15 points against Schwenningen and 14 points against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. But one could see with his body language that he wasn´t overly happy with his situation. It seemed like he didn´t have a defined role. He was on a team that had many scoring options and a lot of very experienced guys. He simply felt out of place. With the departure of Jules Dang Akodo to England and the release of JT Roach, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were looking for a guard replacement and Dennis Mavin was the perfect fit. “I really love being here with the Skyliners! My first day here you could just tell how great the organization is from the top to the bottom. My main goal never changes and that’s to get better every day as a player”, stressed Dennis Mavin. A positive thing about his new challenge is that like with Giessen, he has the opportunity to play BBL games if the team needs him and can practice with the BBL team a lot. Shortly after he arrived in December, he had a big glow in his eyes about his new team. “I’ve only practiced with the BBL team twice so far. Hopefully I could get more time with them but it’s always great being around guys playing at a high level”, stressed Dennis Mavin. Now with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors he has the chance to lead differently than with the ScanPlus Baskets and also isn´t worried about battling for minutes with other guards Garai Zeeb and Elijah Clarance. “ My role isn´t any different here than it was with the ScanPlus Baskets. The biggest difference now is that I can lead young guys here while with the ScanPlus Baskets there were more older players. I´m looking forward to growing in Frankfurt. With the ScanPlus Baskets, I had to stand out as a leader, and here I´m forced to be a leader. I never worry about minutes played long as I can help the team win and give 100 percent when I play everything else will take care of itself”,”, stressed Dennis Mavin after the win against Orange Academy on December 22nd, 2018. The American is also lucky that Skyliner lifer and future legend Quantez Robertson watches the farm team as religiously as Michael Jordan did the chalk toss. Robertson who is a massive freak athlete and probably will out duel the Science Jena Trio of Allen, Jenkins and Imac in terms of who will be the oldest when all is said and done could be a type of mentor for Mavin. “Quantez is Great! He’s super cool. I try to ask him a lot of questions about the game and get insight from him . I think he’s a great leader so I try to do the same”, stated Dennis Mavin. In Mavin´s first Pro B game, the American who compares his game to Monta Ellis and named Miles Jackson Cartwright as his toughest cover last season helped them to a 78-65 win where he scored 15 points. With 2019 here, Mavin looked ahead to the last months of the regular season as he made his personal to do list on how to keep polishing his game and tries to help give Frankfurt the best standings spot in the Pro B south and possibly even get some new BBL minutes. “My shooting and free throws . Becoming more of a deadly consistent shooter is a key for me”, warned Dennis Mavin. With The Frankfurt Pro B team he has played 6 games averaging 16,8ppg, 4,3rpg,2,0apg and 1,7spg while shooting 36% from outside. He just turned 27 a few months ago and with the Fraport Skyliners organization in a situation that couldn´t be any better for him as he continues to live the tough basketball process and believing in his special abilities and working on them in the lab as his overall capabilities continue to make recognition as he continues to climb up the basketball ladder.