Bright Mensah(KIT SC Karlsruhe) I’m More Than Just A Scorer But I´m Also A Lockdown Defender

is a 26 year old 190cm guard that has the American and Ghana citzenships and playing his first season with KIT SC Karlsruhe (Germany-Regionalliga) and tearing up the league averaging 22,5ppg, 4,4rpg and 3,6apg. He grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey and played at William Pater. (NCAA3) form 2012-2016 and as a senior played 25 games averaging 21.3ppg, 6.7rpg, 3.0apg, 2.2spg, 0.5bpg. In 2017 he was drafted by the London Lightning (NBL Canada,1rd (11), but never played a regular season game. He is playing his rookie season in Germany and spoke to germanhoops.com recently about his basketball career.

Bright thanks for talking to germanhoops.com A few months ago you were second on the Daily leaders of points at eurobasket.com with 46 points. How does that make you feel getting exposure like that. Do you hope that you name was somewhat passed around after your performance last weekend?

Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed. Seeing my name on the daily leader board has been a big accomplishment and a very proud moment for me. I definitely hope that my performance will bring me more exposure and connections. 

You hit an amazing 46 points in a huge 122-55 win over Mannheim. You also nailed 10 three pointers. You had a monster season at William Paterson (NCAA3), but was this your highest point total and most three’s you have ever made in a game at any level? 

I’ve had some high performing games but this by far has been one of my highest point totals along with the efficiency of the three pointers. 

When did you know in that game that you would have a great scoring day? Did you feel any different going into the game than usual or was it just that normal game feeling?

Leading up to the game, I put a lot of extra work in. I felt confident in my preparation and excited to get on the court. I would say it was a normal game day feeling. Working on my shot and my touch definitely contributed to my performance. 

You scored 46 points in 28 minutes. Did you ever wonder how many points you may have had had you played 7-8 minutes more? You might have hit 60. Would you have liked to have played more?

I actually asked myself that after finding out I scored 46 points. I didn’t realize I scored that much, but allowing my teammates that don’t play a lot to get in the game was more important to me. 

You finished school in 2016 and didn’t play your that first season and left Canada after pre season last season. How difficult were the last two years not knowing if your professional career would ever take off? 

The past two years were extremely frustrating because I knew I was able to compete at a professional level, but I continued to be overlooked and was never given an opportunity. 

Did you ever have ideas about quitting basketball and doing something else? What kept your basketball dream alive in the last two seasons? 

I graduated with a degree in Business Management, which is also a passion of mine. I’ve thought of becoming a real estate agent and actually took courses to become certified. However, something always pulls me back to basketball. It’s my true passion and something I would love to do for my career. I’ve trained hard during the last two seasons and I would say what’s kept my dream alive has been the support of my friends and fiance. They have encouraged me during my lowest of times and helped me to remember how bad I want this. 

Your playing your first professional season with KIT SC Karlsruhe (Germany-Regionalliga). Your tearing up the league averaging over 20 points per game. Did the two long years of waiting spark something special inside you that has helped you have such a fine rookie season?

I’ve always had a drive to succeed and prove myself on the court. I had the opportunity to play in a league called Pro City in New York City. I got to play alongside NBA players and I’ve always known I can compete against high caliber players. 

You had a solid career at William Paterson (NCAA3) and had to wait two long years to start your professional career. How large is the chip on your shoulder and do you feel like it will always be there as proving yourself to others will most likely continue as you climb the basketball ladder? 

Since coming from William Paterson, I’ve felt I’ve had to prove myself. I felt underrated because people judged my skill level based on the name of my college. I always feel I must do more than the next guy to stand out because I know I am able to compete among the best. 

KIT SC Karlsruhe (Germany-Regionalliga) is having a very good season, but Speyer is in your way for moving up. What has been the key for the team being so successful this season?

I feel the team has a diversity of talent. We all bring something unique to the table and our style of play compliments one another. I also feel our Coach Jaivon has strategically implemented a plan that has helped our team grow and thrive this season. 

How confident is the team of it’s chances to move up and what does it have to improve to be able to pass teams like Speyer and Koblenz? 

I feel during the beginning of the season, our two losses hurt our chances from moving up. However, we are confident and hope that those teams slip up to increase our chances. It hurts but I know at this point all we can control is how well we play for the remainder of the season. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. How pleasurable has it been playing with 38 year old ex German national player Rouven Roessler? He doesn’t seem to be aging at all. Does he ever mention how long he still wants to keep playing?

Rouven is a really good player and mentor. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from him as an offensive player and from his high basketball IQ. There’s a joke between him and myself about how old he is but we have never talked about when he would stop playing. 

It is very rare to see two guys averaging over 20 points a game at any level in German basketball. Talk about your relationship and is there one true go to guy or is it both of you?

I feel as a team, our style is fast. This allows us to get a lot of shots up. Although Rouven and I have two different styles of play, I feel we compliment each other in the game. I don’t believe there is a go-to guy. As a team, we end up going to whoever is having a better game that day. We have built trust and I think it shows. 

What do you like most about Rouven Roessler’s game? He is a very good shooter. Do you get tips from him on shooting or other aspects of the game? 

I feel Rouven is a great shooter, crafty on the offensive end, and has a high basketball IQ. I feel he has definitely helped me in reading the game and knowing when to slow it down. 

What has been your impression of German talent Eyke Prahst? Where will his journey go? Does he have the drive to continue to develop and play at higher levels or has he chose a job and playing basketball more for fun?

Since the start of the season, I have become close with Eyke. He is a really good kid and a good basketball player. After his injury, he is focusing on recovering and is working hard while studying for the university. He is working on getting back to health and getting back on the court. Even before his injury, he was in the weight room and gym all the time. I still believe he wants to continue and get to higher levels. 

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 193cm shooting guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?

I feel my NBA comparison would be Victor Oladipo. I feel we share the same work ethic on the court and continuously working to improve our game. We are both 6’4 combo guards who can direct offense and score. Regarding defense, we play with high intensity and focus. 

You’re a very good shooter, but what other aspects of your game do you do you show that wouldn’t let anyone ever believe that you are only a one dimensional player?

I pride myself on being a versatile player on the court. Although I’m a great shooter, I’m able to drive to the basket while also creating shots for the team and myself. My defensive style is also just as strong as my offensive skill set. I can defend the toughest of players, which can be critical during tough games. 

How do you continue to develop your biggest weapon your shot besides just taking more reps and better shot selection? Do you ever work on your shooting mechanics if someone gives you a tip? 

I watch great shooters on how they get to their shots and their mechanics. 

What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away on the court?

My athleticism doesn’t always get noticed right away. People are surprised that I can jump with the highest of jumpers. 

How important has head coach Javion Harris been in your rookie season? What have you appreciated most about his coaching abilities? 

Coach Jaivon has played a huge role during my rookie year. He has helped me to understand the different style of German basketball and to adjust. I’m thankful that he allows me to be myself on the court and puts a lot of time in to get our team better.

Last season you were with the London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada), but only in pre season. You were the 11th #1 draft pick of the NBL league. For me that would warrant a good future there. Why was your stay so short there and couldn’t you have been picked up by another team?

As a rookie, I learned politics plays a big role as well as who you know. The London Lightning were the defending champions and they kept the same roster. I recently met my agent David Saltzman this year, who has been instrumental in getting this opportunity for me. I feel if I would have known him then, I would have been picked up by another team.

Your from Hackensack, New Jersey which is a 10 minute drive from New York city. How was your childhood and when did you know that basketball would play a big role in your life?

I had an amazing childhood growing up and played every sport including basketball, soccer, and even American Football. However, playing basketball was my biggest passion. I had interest in high school for American Football but I knew I found most enjoyment in basketball. 

What kind of dealings have you had with professional players from your area in New Jersey? I know that Jordan Theodore lives one town over in Englewood. 

Being right next to New York City, I’ve been able to compete with some of the best basketball players around. Many of us share the same basketball trainers. Jordan Theodore and I actually both train with Leo Jones, who is a well known trainer in New Jersey. I look up to Jordan and feel motivated to get to that higher level. 

After finishing at William Paterson (NCAA3) in 2016 you didn’t play professionally in 2016-2017. What did you do that year and why wasn’t professional basketball in your cards yet? 

Without proper representation and not having an agent, I was unable to get a opportunity. Teams didn’t know who I was and I felt underrated coming from a division three university. 

You played at William Paterson (NCAA3) from 2012-2016. What was your fondest memories there? Possibly reaching the NJAC Tournament Final in 2015? 

It would definitely have to be the bonds I created with my teammates. Traveling on the road and getting to know each other, has left me with lifelong friends that help support me even today. 

You won the 2015 All-NJAC Defensive Player of the Year award. What does this award mean to you coming from an explosive offensive player?

I would also say winning defensive player of the year was a huge accomplishment for me. I felt my hard work was finally paying off and I was being noticed. That award means a lot to me because I take pride on playing both ends of the floor. I want teams to know I’m more than just a scorer but I am also a lockdown defender. 

In your senior year at William Paterson (NCAA3) you played 25 games averaging 21.3ppg, 6.7rpg, 3.0apg, 2.2spg, 0.5bpg. Talk about your individual highlights in your senior season and how did you develop as a player that season?

My senior year was one of the hardest years at William Paterson, 3 games into the season our head coach was fired and 3 of our starters went out with injuries right after. I was forced to carry the team during the season and it helped me develop my offensive game and my leadership.

How did head coach Brian Chapman groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at William Paterson (NCAA3)? 

Coach Jose Rebimbas played a big role regarding my development and helped me become the player I am today. Coach Chapman also allowed me to be myself on the court and entrusted me to lead our team. 

Who won a one on one in practice you or Terrik Bridgeman? 

I would say me but if you ask Terik I’m pretty sure he will say him (haha). But he is a real talented player and my closest friend still today. 

Who was the toughest player you ever battled on any court anywhere that made it to the NBA?

I played against a lot of good players that made it to the NBA but I would have to say Kyrie Irving was the best. 

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

1-jaques conceicao, 2- myself 3- Terik Bridgeman 4-Davon Daniels 5- Eyke 

If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick? 

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Magic Johnson

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

Michael Jordan by far! There should be no comparison- not even close!!

When all is said and done, could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest European players that ever played in the NBA?

Luka is going to be one of the greatest players of all time when it’s all said and done. 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Bird box

Thanks Bright for the chat.

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