It was a rather mild Saturday evening in Bad Honnef in mid October that was wrapped up with bands of showers that brought in the fog at times, but in the Dragon Dome there was no rain, but offensive power from the Regionalliga team Dragons Rhondorf who were taking on the Hertener Lowen and had a very comfortable 51-36 advantage at the break. This was a type of lead that they hadn´t seen since the Kameron Taylor days where basketball life was enjoyable in Dragon land. I was doing play by play and during half-time, I always look for some player who happens to be at the game for a quick quote for my post game article about the play on the court. There were no Telekom Baskets Bonn players present, but then I saw a young man who looked familiar. Then I remembered that that was Karl Dia who played in Rhondorf the last two seasons. He had left a positive impression as he was greeted nicely by fans who recognized him. Now he is playing for the RheinStars Cologne and had only a 20-30 minute drive to the game. He gave me some input about the first half and then I saw that he was there with another guy who had to be a basketball player. I asked Dia if that was Vincent Golson. Dia responded with yes. This was another encounter that I have had often with players where I had dealings with them in the past usually with an interview, but didn´t actually do it in person. I had interviewed Golson over the summer and now was able to meet him for the first time. We had a very nice chat and I asked him if he was actually playing for their second team, because I never saw him in the stat sheet of the Regionalliga team. He said that he had been hampered by an injury, but was back and ready to play. I knew that I would see him play Live soon when he and his team visited Rhondorf. I love using nicknames in my play by play as with the Dragons team, I have some fancy nicknames for the players like “easy work” for Curtis Hollis, “the fountain of youth” for Anish Sharda or the “glue guy” for Killian Binapfel. Then I remembered that he also had a unique nickname given to him by his mom. His mother had called him two two as a kid, and I kidded around with the American about being called three three if his trey explodes during his rookie season in Germany. “I think the fans will have to double up on my nickname with all these four point plays I’m about to make this upcoming season! But if I do have a recording breaking season I will wear #33 from there on out for three three”, smiled Vince Golson. The American like almost every player definitely wasn´t lacking in self confidence.
Golson is a 173cm guard from California that lists Josh Fox (San Francisco)and Darius Butler (Cal State Dominguez) as two of his best teammates of all-time finished school in 2017 and took two years to finally get his first ever professional job. He began his basketball career at Skyline high school. Skyline high school had a rich history in having great athletes like Gary Payton and Oscar winner Tom Hanks also attended there. He knew that he had to uphold the immense history there while he was there. “If you look at Oakland as a whole playing Basketball and especially the point is inspiring itself. Knowing the city is a factory for Point Guards of all kinds. J kidd, Gary Payton, Dame Lillard, Kiwi Gardner, etc. So coming under all them and more means not to upset your legends. It means to work hard the game the Oakland(with heart and effort), learn the game, and love the game”, stressed Vince Golson. Despite having a solid high school career, he didn´t land in the NCAA, but at San Francisco CC(Juco). “Playing close to home wasn’t as important to playing for a program that would develop my game to the best of their ability. But playing at home finally gave me a support system that I never knew I had and boosted my confidence. My game grew a lot at San Francisco after the first year. Showed me a way to understand the game better slowly piece by piece, knowing what a good shot and a bad shot was. Playing for a historically good program like that was always good and hearing stories about past players good and bad that shaped the way I workout now and the way I approach the game for example motivating yourself to go to practice and give effort for the game I say I love. Overall, my game grew from a 4 to a 7”, added Vince Golson. After paying his dues in the JUCO, he finally got his chance with CS Dominguez H (NCAA2) and as a senior played 18 games averaging 17.4ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.4apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 84.2%. He remembers his time very fondly there. He couldn´t name one fondest moment. “I think that whole year was my fondest moment. Our prediction in the standings was to finish second to the last but finished fifth. which top eight makes playoffs. Looking back that year sparked current years level and criteria to meet”, expressed Vincent Golson.
The American who lists Paris Davis (Skyline high school) and Darrion Tanner(CS DomingueZ H) as two of his best teammates of all-time had many memorable games at CS Dominguez H, but it wasn´t his 32 point explosion in the exciting 75-73 win against CS San Bernadino or scoring 23 second half points against Sierra? For him it wasn´t about the points that he produced, but winning games. “I think my greatest moment there was beating two top 10 teams in the nation the s
ame weekend. We had odds stacked against us but we played great. I think averaged around 20 points 7 assists and 5 rebounds that weekend. Grabbed player of the week for the conference”, commented Vincent Golson. But he also had some bitter moments in the NCAA2 as you win some and you also loose some. One of his most bitter loses was his last college game where he added 14 points in the 75-72 loss against Chico State. It´s always amazing to see how much a player still remembers from a game even if it was more than two years ago. “I remember a lot from this game. Potentially taking a game tying shot with four seconds, watching my big man go to work all game, playing differently in composure compared to my entire college career. It didn’t take long for me to digest it since that team accomplished so much after only playing one year together”, stressed Vincent Golson. Even if his college career has been over for more than two years, he will never forget his head coach Steve Becker who never let his chip on his shoulder get the better of him. “He gave me a lot of confidence in my game. A player like me that usually has to consistently start at the bottom with that chip on your shoulder don’t come out of no where. It comes from concern in your game, hurt in your heart, and confidence. He gave me confidence, he gave me reassurance in my game, and validity”, added Vincent Golson.
When you examine the game of the American closely who calls ex opponent Ethan Alvano of CS San Marcos his toughest cover the name Isaiah Thomas comes to mind. Not the legendary ex Detroit Piston, but the ex Boston Celtic. Golson has watched his highlights often and checked out his documentary series as well. Golson takes after Thomas, because he can score efficiently for a smaller guard and finds ways to get into those smaller spaces that bigger guards can´t. He is a guard that can score and be that smart playmaker, but he wouldn´t necessarily classify himself solely as one type of point guard. “At City College of San Francisco I played the system Drive and Kick, Hit the step in threes, etc. At Cal State Dominguez we needed someone to score the ball so that is what I did often there but also was trying to make the right play while doing so. If I had to choose I would say Read first point guard”, warned Vincent Golson. Despite his small stature, he has been able to come to terms with his size as it has good advantages, but also disadvantages. “The advantages to my game has been my quick feet, my athleticism, and ability to find ways to sneak the ball into the basket without being blocked, and finishing through contact. The disadvantages of my game has been of course my size, some decide to post up, sometimes not being able to elevate with bigger guards, and trying to alter shots. Some names I have heard over the years He’s too small, TwoTwoShort, He’s a midget”, stated Vincent Golson. His offense really stands out, but his defense is still a part of his game that doesn´t get noticed as much. “My defense is a hidden talent I would say. specifically taking charges. I often had to score then guard the best player in college. Whether he was 6 foot or 6’4 to the best of my ability”, warned Vincent Golson.
The American who lists Lebron, Jordan, Shaq, Steph Curry as his own personal NBA Mount Rushmore had to survive two tough years not having a professional job, but he definitely didn´t get bored and stayed busy. “I have been working not a lot but a part time job while working out with different trainers. Such as Deshawn Freeman who played at Sacramento State University, Darius Butler who played with me at Cal State Dominguez, and Marc Rodgers who is an assistant coach at Long Beach State and a former player at Central Washington. I also have been playing in summer leagues to stay ready like the San Francisco ProAm and a couple leagues in Los Angeles. The road to a professional contract has been really tough! Knowing the right people, my size and school had played a factor in that I believe, opportunities falling apart, and staying motivated when things don’t go as planned. It becomes really defeating working out with no future plans or knowing what is certain”, warned Vincent Golson. Now he is in Germany and his rookie season was derailed a bit by an injury. But he came prepared to Germany and in the last months has learned even more about the country. He also came to Germany knowing that guys that he knew personally like Rohndell Goodwin, Jalen Canty, Will Cherry, Kwame Vaughn, and Davion Berry had made it. His preparation for living in a new country was excellent. “I know Germany is a beautiful place to shop, I know punctuality is a priority, food specifically breakfast is really great, the hospitality is really good over there, and the Basketball world is excellent. A couple of basic things I know”, said Vincent Golson. He signed a contract with Regionalliga team RheinStars and there were three things that secured the deal for him. “Johannes Strasser himself, the country itself, and the feedback I got from peers. Coach Johannes has played at one of the highest levels for many years so I trust he will lead the team and I in the right direction. He will give me knowledge about the game that I can nothing but respect. The country and city is beautiful and one of best places to start and finish a basketball career. Everyone I have mentioned this opportunity to faces drop about Cologne and says nothing but the best”, expressed Vincent Golson. But the American also knows that Ken Pfuller played a huge role in making the contact to the club and coach Strasser. “Thankful isn’t enough to say for this opportunity. They are giving me a chance to live out a dream I have been having since I started basketball. For them to take a chance like this is huge and before I even step on Cologne’s soil I will be working hard already. My reaction when my coach Steve Becker reached out to me about this opportunity was subtle because of previous opportunities that fell through. My reaction after I was added to things like the team group chat or on social media that is when my face lit up ! I looked like Charlie in Willy Wonka factory. Couldn’t believe it so definitely grateful for them”, added Vincent Golson.
A lot of Golson´s peers and top new players in the league like Curtis Hollis, Jahad Thomas or Derylton Hill have already put up big time stats, but that didn´t bother the American. He has that high self confidence and knows what he can do. “I’m very confident in my game despite being removed from the game for two years. I think my mentality in basketball was already engraved before I even picked up this sport. You look at players from my area and you see it in all of them no matter what Dame Lillard, Will Cherry, Kiwi Gardner, J Kidd, Gary Payton, etc. I will be an impact player just off my mentality alone and my skill set will follow along. Conditioning is never a problem so that comes with the mental aspect of the game”, said Vincent Golson. His season started late because of an injury and so far in 7 games, he has helped the Rhein Stars to a 6-1 record averaging 13,3ppg, 3,7rpg,4,9apg and 1,7spg. The California native waited a very long time to finally show somebody his god given talent. He is very far away from the NBA as he is in the fourth league in Germany, but that doesn´t matter to him. The chip on his shoulder grew like crazy in the last two years, but no matter what happens this season and in the future, he plays the game for a reason. “The chip on my shoulder is so big that I have a tattoo of a computer chip on my shoulder. I’ve played against good players and always wondered what was the problem with my game. Then turned around and developed it as much as possible and still couldn’t get similar love as those players. But as I learned Basketball a lot more and then I stopped comparing myself to those players and started to work on what I needed to get better. So that chip only grew over the years being in situations like this the past two years often and my upbringing. My heart is as big as it will get. I play the game because I love it, it saves lives often, and I watch the game because I love it no matter the level”, warned Vincent Golson. When he is back home in Oakland, he might still have his mom call him two two and I maybe I will call him three three for something new even if his three doesn´t take off right away. I´m sure Golson won´t mind what I or other fans decide to call him, because all that matters for him is being able to play the game that he loves.