Bill Borekambi (wiha Panthers) Staying Is The Best Option Because I Love Playing In Schwenningen

Bill Borekambi is a 26 year old 198cm forward that has played for 9 professional teams and completed his first season with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (ProB) averaging 16,6ppg, 7,2rpg and 2,5apg. He has a lot of professional experience having played 36 Pro A games for Cuxhaven and Nurnberg and played 75 Pro B games with Lich, PS Karlsruhe and Rostock. He also played two seasons with Coll.Sequoias CC (JUCO) and played a season in the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven organization playing second Regionalliga and NBBL. Last season he was a key contributor for the Rostock Seawolves (ProB) playing 30 games averaging 14.3ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the completion of the 2018-2019 season.

Bill thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on an amazing season. How disappointed are you and the club about the season ending in Munster?

hey miles thanks for having me again. It was at first very disappointing because we knew we could have won that game in Munster. Losing a game 3 by 3 points is tough but after a couple days, I realized we had a great season and accomplished way more than expected. 

The club has some nice road trips home after the game three wins in Wedel and Giessen. How hard was the bus ride home and what were the most active thoughts going through your mind on the trip home from Munster?

Man the bus ride home after that was the longest, your body is tired but you can’t sleep because you keep thinking about the game and what if. 

The wiha Panthers had to fight back the whole playoffs and had extreme problems winning on the road early. Why do you feel did the team always have to put themselves in a hole early in the series?

Definitely wasn’t planed lol. I think it just took most of the time a game to get some feeling for our opponents and gain confidence back at home after a loss on the road. But even though we had some struggles we never gave up from the staff to the players. 

Let’s talk about game three. Munster led early and you always fought back. In the second half they were able to hold the big double digit lead and at the end you made a big comeback, but time ran out. What is your game three summary as to why you couldn’t win the game?

I think the key thing for our loss were the free throws. In a close play off game we were able to receive 50 free throws but only managed to convert 30. Very crucial in a 3 point game but I also think we were running a little out of gas. 

What really was annoying was the many rebounds given up, turnovers and always losing the 50/50 balls. How much of a factor was the mental side in the fourth quarter of game three in Munster?

I think we were mentally pretty strong because we never lost faith until the last second. For me it was more the physically part that played a big role at the end. 

Munster didn’t shoot well from outside in game three going 3/24 and almost always had the same procedure hurting you with their mid distance game. Was this one of the deciding factors that cost you the game?

Yea definitely. We wanted to stay on the shooters beause that is their strongest weapon. But at the same time that created more space for players like Cooper and Delpache. And they were able to convert pretty good. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Bill Borekambi after a Panthers win in Frankfurt in 2019

 

Munster have many talented German players, but also some that must have been off the radar of other Pro B teams in Germany. How vital was the overall play of the German players who really stepped up the whole season for a team that nobody would have expected to have reached the 2019 Pro B final?

I was honestly surprised because besides Alex Goolsby that I teamed up with back in the days in Trier I never even heard about the other Germans on Munster before. But they can ball and for sure shoot with range, I think they surprised a lot of teams beside us. 

Despite bowing out in the semi-finals how important do you feel was it for German basketball having two Regionalliga teams in the semi-finals? What did you enjoy most about this out of the ordinary playoff series?

It for sure shows other Regionalliga teams with ambitions that you only have to make a few smart changes to be successful at the next level. What I loved most was the crowd and energy at the games. Away or home the gym was lit I love that. 

How do you see the Leverkusen-Munster series? Who do you feel will take the series and what will be the keys for both teams to win the title?

I think that Leverkusen got the upper hand because they got the deepest roster of all Pro b teams. If they manage to make Munster take tough shots and don’t get intimidated by the crowd they will take the trophy

Let’s talk about the Panthers season. It was a great season. If someone had told you in September that the wiha Panthers would be one game away from reaching the Pro B final what would you have thought?

Honestly that’s what I play for but realisticly we definitely filled more than the expectations. We knew what we can do but as Pro B newcomer our goal was to maintain the league and make the playoffs. The rest was a bonus. 

The team had it’s ups and downs, but how would you classify it’s development this season and how would summarize how this season went best?

We started off pretty good in the the first round what probably no one expected. The second round was really shaky specially towards the end, we had I think a 6 game losing streak right before the playoffs what is for sure not how you want to enter the post season. But we showed a lot of heart and spirit never gave up and managed to turn the momentum when it was needed the most 

A big key like for Munster was having that underdog mentality. How important was being able to keep that consistent identity and not letting teams figure you out and just continuing to play your style which often happens during the course of a season?

It is big time in the Pro B. I have seen it at Karlsruhe, this year with us in Schwenningen or Muenster. I guess they didn’t expect that but if you keep believing in what you can do and not what others may think of you, you will be good. 

There were obviously many team highlights during the regular season as well as the many exciting wins in the playoffs. If you had to pick one or two team moments that stand out what would you chose?

Definitely Gieen game 3. I had a deja vu from the season before with Rostock, went to overtime and won it with a buzzer. Just crazy and it will be one of my fav memories for sure. 

What was the most satisfying thing for you this season of being able to strap on the wiha Panthers jersey. How was the whole Panthers experience different and unique compared to other clubs that you have balled for?

I think my role was much bigger this year than in teams before but the overall love and support I got from the staff and coaches was really unique. It feels like I finally found a place to stay more than just one season. 

In our last interview you stressed this about head coach Alen Velcic. ‘Allen is super ambitious and did a great job forming a team out of all these different nationalities and characters. He let us go on the court but found a good line letting us play our strengths out but at the same time keeping it team orientated’. How do you feel did he develop further as a coach and how hungry will the game three loss make him for next season?


He a workaholic. I know he will have a busy summer to get us even better for next season. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. In our last interview you said this about Rasheed Moore. ‘He is sometimes just unstoppable and I can’t understand how a player like him was in the Regionalliga last year. He is a tough scorer but not with the I would say typical American character. He is very humble and pretty quiet on the court and just let’s his game talk. I really enjoy playing with him he will for sure create more buzz in the future in higher leagues’: How did you see his development and is he the 2019 Pro B MVP?


He had an amazing season. Even though he is probably the best import scorer in the Pro B. I never had the feeling that he was playing selfish or just for the stats like a lot of players with his abilities would do. To me he definitely is the Pro B MVP no doubt.

In our last interview you stated this about Anell Alexis. ‘Anell is giving us some needed depth. He is a good player but still has to get more and more built into our system. He got a good jump shot is tall and helps us with our rebounding struggles’. How important was his breakout game in game 3 in Giessen and where will his journey continue to go?

He had early some struggles to get used to our playing style but when we needed him the most he was producing. That put back in game 3 saved our season. 

How much of a pleasure was it playing with captain Kostas Karamatskos? What do you feel was the most vital thing that you learned from him on and off the court that you will never forget?

He is just a great team leader always motivated us with positive input even when he was injured. On a winning team you will always need a guy like him. He had a tough injury during the season but managed to be back faster than expected and helped us big time to get to the semis. 

German Leon Friederici had his ups and downs, but also came up big in the playoffs. He is known as a shooter, but how do you feel did the whole Panthers experience help him with his overall game be able to develop further this season?

I think this year helped him a lot due to the fact he had probably the biggest role on a Pro B team so far of his career. I have known Leon for a long time and saw every year his improvement. He is one of the hardest working guys I ever played with a real gym rat. 

Let’s talk about your game. You were 17/26 shooting in game 1 and 2, but only 3/11 in game three. Is this under par shooting a blessing in disguise that will get you really focused in your summer preparations in continuing to improve your game?

Definitely it took me a couple days to get over it because I know these were my shots i usually make. I think my body just ran out of gas at the end. I will for sure add some stuff over the summer to my game that will help me in future situations like that

You averaged 16,6ppg, 7,2rpg and 2,5apg and 1,7spg. How content were you with your personal season with the wiha Panthers?

I played my best season stats wise since Lich. I had a full trust of the coach and think responded pretty well throughout the whole season 

Last season with Rostock you had 14/7/2 stats in 21 minutes, but this season played 12 minutes more. Do you feel like you could have done even more offensively this season or are you content with your production with the minutes you got with the overall many offensive options that were on the team?

I could have maybe scored more if I wanted to but I don’t play for my stats I play for wins. We had a lot of options on the team where everybody gave his input. We made it to the top four so I think everything worked out good. 

You continue to be a dominant one on one player that plays with instincts and always find ways as well as new ways to score the ball. What were some new sufficient ways you found to score as well as continue to develop your one on one play?

Besides the fade away or floater I think my off ball movement improved this year what got me some easy quick buckets. 

You continued to show that you are a very versatile player that can score, rebound, distribute and play defense. How do you feel did your game continue to develop in the system of Alen Velcic?

I think just by the trust he gave me made me overall improve in general. He is very team orientated coach who also tells me to slow down when I was maybe a little out of control. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Bill Borekambi in Frankfurt after a Panthers victory in 2019

 

What is the next step for you? It seems like the wiha Panthers will play Pro A next season. A logical step for me would be for you to stay. Is that step also logical to you?

Yea I think that’s for sure the best option. I love playing here in Schwenningen. 

In our last interview you stated ‘I’m always working on my jumper and ball handling. I think if I would take more shots from outside I could be a pretty decent shooter but so far it wasn’t really needed’. On what things will you be working on most this summer in the lab?

Besides shooting and ball handling I will work a lot on my condition plus adding 2-3 new moves to my game that I will try out in pick-up games back home in Berlin 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro B this season?

Probably Nick Hornsby from Leverkusen. He really improved a lot since last year. 

Who won a one on one in practice this season you or Rasheed Moore?

Haha sometimes he got me and another day I got him but we were for sure going at it. 

German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki recently retired. What is your personal favorite basketball moment with him?

I think when he won the title was my fav memory. He is for sure the best European ever that played in the league and always seemed very humble. 

How do you see the NBA playoffs? What two teams do you see reaching the finals and who will take it all home?

I hope Houston and the Bucks. But honestly I think the Warriors will take it one last time. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Friday with ice cube and Chris tucker. One of my all time favs:) 

Thanks Bill for the chat.

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