Skyler Bowlin is a 29 year old 190cm guard who is playing his eighth professional season and fourth in Germany and first with s.Oliver Wurzburg. The ex Missouri So (NCAA2) began his professional basketball career with BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-ProA) and then played three seasons in Denmark with Horsens IC and a year in Sweden with the Sodertalje Kings (Sweden-Basketligan). He played the last two seasons in Germany with the Giessen 46ers and last season with Science City Jena (Germany-BBL) playing 32 games averaging 11.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 5.1apg, Steals-5 (1.6spg), FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 80.9%. germanhoops.com has interviewed Skyler over the years from his time in Sweden to his BBL days in Giessen and did it again before the Fiba Europe Cup game in Wurzburg against the Bakken Bears.
Skyler thanks for talking to germanhoops.com How is basketball life treating you at the moment? You have some big games coming up?
Basketball life is good. We have really turned it around since early in the season and at the moment we are in a good rhythm so hopefully we can continue this the rest of the season.
It has been 26 months since our last interview. I checked and it was when you were with the Giessen 46ers. How has time flown by in this time and has Germany become a second home for you now?
Germany has been very good to me. I have been very fortunate to be able to play for 3 very professional clubs and have had a great experience for each one.
In the last years you had a chance in January to rest during the easycredit BBL allstar break, but not this year. You have a huge BBL game Monday at home against FC Bayern Munich and on Wednesday a huge Fiba Europe Cup do or die game. Are the next days more stressful for you or more exciting?
I wouldn’t say the upcoming days would be stressful. I look at them as being exciting. Playing against Bayern Munich is always special because they are one of the better teams in all of Europe and we are right in the middle of the playoff race in the BBL The game against Bakken is also very exciting for many reasons as well. The opportunity to advance another round in the FIBA Europe Cup is very important to us and we are looking forward to the challenge.
Before we get to your current season let’s talk about the Fiba Europe Cup. You played at the Bakken Bears last week and lost a close battle 76-75. Despite playing two seasons in Denmark with Horsens IC and never with Bakken you were greeted very nicely there. Was that more because of the friendliness of Danish people or their memories of the two playoff series that you had against them?
It was actually 3 seasons in Denmark and battling against Bakken. I made a lot of great memories in Denmark and the basketball community there is relatively small so maybe it was a bit of both. My fiance is from there so we had a lot of family there as well as quite a few fans from my former club who came to support me and the team.
If you had to guess what kind of a record that you have against the Bakken Bears what would it be?
Thats a good question. Unfortunately I think they beat my teams more than we won.
If I am not mistaken it’s 10-11. You had some real exciting games especially that first season in Denmark. You always had very good games and scored in double figures in 19 of the 21 games. How special were those games and going back last week to play them?
The games against Bakken were always special. They are normally by far the best team from Denmark so it was always a big challenge playing against them. Thankfully my last year in Horsenswe were able to knock them out in the finals.
Was there a game against the Bakken Bears that is most memorable from your playing days in Denmark? Possibly the 70-69win or 79-78 win with Horsens IC?
I think the most memorable game would be the game where we won the finals at home. I believe it was game 6 and we clinched the series after 2 years in a row of falling to them in the semi finals.
Despite losing 76-75, s.Oliver Wurzburg are in the driver’s seat for the return game. I can imagine that the return game will be another very close battle. What do you feel will be key to getting the win?
We definitely are expecting a tough battle again in the game back in Wurzburg. Hopefully we can make some adjustments and come out on top. Their biggest strength is their length and athleticism so we really need to box out and control the rebounds in order to win the game.
Was it difficult playing against the Bakken Bears and not having that kind of more central offensive role that you had with Horsens IC? Obviously s.Oliver Wurzburg have very much talent and with the big guard rotation you don’t get the minutes you once got in Denmark.
I wouldn’t say it is difficult in the role that I have now. We have a team here in Wurzburg where everything is spread out offensively and production can come from anyone on any given night. If anything, it takes pressure off of all of us because not one person has to carry the load.
Let’s talk about the current Wurzburg season. The club had a tough start with a 4-8 record in 2018, but have picked it up in 2019 having a 8-3 record. What have been the reasons for the turnaround?
We are really gelling together on both ends of the floor right now. We lost a lot of close games early on that maybe hurt our confidence and put us in a bad position. We seemed to have learned from our mistakes and found a good rhythm on both ends that has helped us be more successful.
s.Oliver Wurzburg have very exciting months ahead with the Fiba Europe Cup and BBL. The BBL schedule isn’t easy down the stretch, but no game is in this league. Is defending more consistently one of the biggest things the team will be working on to tweak?
Yes, defensively is where we have really tightened up. We have to be tough on the defensive end if we want to win any game in the BBL.
How enjoyable and beneficial has it been for you being teammates with other guards Cameron Wells and Jordan Hulls and Brad Loesing. These four guys are a big reason for how successful the team will be every game. Talk a little about playing this aggressive style on the court?
Playing with those guys has been a great experience. Each one of us has different strengths and can impact the game in different ways. I think we all work really well with each other. Any one of us can bring the ball up or play off the ball so it really gives the team a lot of options and takes the pressure off of one guy to take care of the ball.
Let’s talk about your teammates. What has been your impression of Jordan Hulls? Is he one of the best shooters you have ever seen in Germany?
Jordy is a great guy. I have so much respect for how he works and handles himself on and off the court (Also, he just had his second child!! Congrats buddy!) His shooting ability is out of this world. I have never seen a guy be more consistent game by game. I would put him as a favorite in ANY shooting competition against anyone on this planet if I can be honest with you. I am that confident in him.
Perry Ellis left and the team got Devin Oliver. How crucial will his play be for the success of the team down the stretch? He seems to have been integrated very well the last weeks?
Yeah, we definitely miss Perry because he was a heck of a player for us and a great person as well. Unfortunately, changes happen and we were lucky enough to bring in Devin which has been huge for us. He gives us a ton of energy and can play both sides of the floor at a high level. We are happy he is with us!
You have been reunited with ex Citadel (NCAA) standout Cameron Wells who was your teammate with Giessen. He played in Italy last season. How do you feel has his game developed since Giessen?
It’s been great being back playing alongside Cam. Again, I think he and I really play well off of each other. We both can play on or off the ball and run the team if we need to. He has really progressed his overall game, but his reads off the pick and roll this year have been very, very good.
How raw is young German Joshua Obiesie? He has popped up on a NBA Mock draft. What have you appreciated most about his talent?
Josh is going to be a great player. It has been a lot of fun having him on the team and seeing how he works and has been progressing from playing NBBL to the BBL. He is a big time athlete who can really get to the basket. He is working hard on all parts of his game and has a chance to be a big time player.
Let’s talk about your game. Your getting a few minutes less than you did in Giessen and Jena and your stats are down. How would you describe your role this season with Wurzburg?
My role here in Wurzburg is very similar to how it was in Giessen. The system we have here doesn’t focus on one person. We really move the ball well and have guys at every position that can make plays and score. Each game is different for me. Some games I maybe need to score a bit and some games I need to be a distributor and focus on defense.
You had a very strong season with Science City Jena last season. How do you feel has your game overall continued to develop in the BBL over the years?
I think my time in Jena really showed that I can run a BBL level team as a PG. I was the main ball handler there and I feel like I showed that I can lead a team in this league. Defensively is also where I think I have progressed. Each night in the BBL if you don’t defend you will lose and I have had to step up my game on that end as well.
Your playing with very many talented guards this season and guys that can score. Is playmaking an aspect of your game that the Wurzburg playing style has brought more focus to than having to score the ball this season?
As I said earlier, each game is different here and some games being a distributor is what the team needs and that’s what I try to do. I just try to do whatever is necessary for us to be successful.
Your turning 30 this summer. On what things are you working on most now during the season on your game that will help continue to improve your game?
Each summer is always fun because you get to work on your weaknesses and evaluate your game. I think just focusing on my jumper and really watching film and working on reads out of the PnR is something I can continue to work on as well as continuing to work on my body.
Please name your five all-time best teammates in college and pro’s
That is difficult.. I have been fortunate to have some GREAT teammates. My all time favorite would have to be one of my college teammates, Chris Scruggs. Whether he got 25 mins or 0 mins he was the most positive person out there and I learned a lot from him in that aspect.
It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?
I hope he is. I am a big fan and hope that he continues to play well in the NBA.
What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?
I like Lebron and think that he is probably the greatest. I don’t think that he had to tell the world himself that he is though not a big fan of that.
Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?
Whatever Charles Barkley says has to be true, right?! Haha
What was the last movie that you saw?
‘A Star is Born’
Thanks Skyler for the chat.