Kevin Yebo is a 24 year old 203cm forward playing his first season with the Hamburg Towers averaging 3,7ppg and 2,8rpg. He scored in double figures in 2 games with 14 points against MBC and 10 points against Ludwigsburg.. He began his basketball career with SG Sechtem 1971 (Germany-Regionalliga). He had his break out season with the EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) in the second half of the 2015-2016 season playing 17 games averaging 14.1ppg, 8.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 65.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 69.4%. He made another step with EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) in 2016-2017 playing 26 games averaging 16.5ppg, Reb-3 (11.0rpg), 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 61.7%. In 2017-2018 he made the jump to the Pro A with Team Ehingen Urspring (ProA) playing 30 games averaging 10.9ppg, Reb-3 (7.4rpg), 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 64.5%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 77.5%. Last season he matured further with Team Ehingen Urspring (ProA) playing 33 games averaging 15.2ppg, Reb-1 (9.5rpg), 1.6apg, FGP: 61.6%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 65.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball in the summer of 2019
Kevin thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
You’re welcome. I’m in Ehingen right now and working out with Domenik Reinboth, the coach of Team Ehingen/Urspring. He was my coach the last two years and I think he knows best where I have to improve. I really like to work with him and I think his training methods fit perfectly to me. My summer has been very nice so far because I have been very productive. During the week I’m usually practicing three times per day and on the weekend I’m playing on tournaments all over Europe with a streetball team named Der Stamm.
Two years ago you were a Regionalliga player in Limburg and now you are a easyCredit BBL player. Is the whole process been a dream for you? How does it feel being able to compete in the BBL this season?
Yes, when I played in Limburg, where I had two beautiful years with my teammates and my coach Danny Stallbohm to which I owe much, it has always been a dream to play first league, but over the years I realized that through hard work you can achieve your goals. And now where the dream became true it really even more shows me that hard work and dedication is the key to fulfill your dreams and that it is only the beginning.
If someone had told you in the summer of 2016 that you will be playing in the easyCredit BBL in 2019 what would you have thought?
First I would have laughed, because I can’t handle compliments. Then I would have thought to play on the highest stage of German basketball actually is my goal and I knew I could make it when I make the right moves.
You haven’t been playing basketball that long only about six years. How do you explain your amazing rapid rise as a player? Has it been more hard work or having the fortune of having great talent that God gave you?
Of course God blessed me with a body which gives me a little advantage, but he also gave me the gift to learn quick and to implement everything my coaches are giving me very fast. And like I said hard work is the key.
Congrats on signing with the Hamburg Towers. They are a very ambitious hungry team that wants to show the BBL in their first season that they are for real. In a way it is the same with you. You will be hungry to show everyone that you can be a good BBL player. Is this a perfect match you and the Hamburg Towers?
Thank you. I’m very happy to play in Hamburg next season. Yes of course it is a perfect match. They want to show the BBL that they can play on that level and I want to show that too. I think Hamburg is a club with big potential and I think we will show everybody that we belong in this league.
What was the deciding factor where you knew that the Hamburg Towers would be the right fit? I can imagine being able to play for a head coach like Mike Taylor was important for your decision.
Yes, he was for sure a big factor. Everybody knows that he is a great coach, but I also got the feeling that he really can help me develop my game and take it to the next level. Hamburg is not just like that one of the best places for young players to develop and that is also one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to play for Hamburg. When I worked out there for two days last summer, I really had the feeling that I was getting better and it was so much fun to work out with their individual coaches. I was thinking like, imagine what can happen when you are not just working out there for two days, but for the next two years.
How happy are you today that you had a massive growth spurt at 16 where you gave up soccer and started to play basketball. Do you ever wonder where you might be today in soccer had you not grown so much?
No, I’ve never thought about that. I’m really happy that I’ve had that growth spurt and that I’ve started playing Basketball. Also big thanks to my mentor Joe Asberry for showing me this great sport.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 202cm forward that has a very nice offensive arsenal. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
Actually I’m 2,05cm. I really don’t know to which player I would compare my game. I watched a lot of players like KD, Jamal Crawford, Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andrew Wiggins and others and tried to take something what I like out of their game into my game. It’s really nice when somebody says that I’m playing like this or that player, but really I just want to be the best player I can be. The best Kevin Yebo I can be on and off the court.
You seem to be that banger on the boards that can score and rebound, but you have slowly continued to develop a three pointer. How close are you to being a modern day forward?
I think if my shot gets more consistent, my ball handling gets more secure, my decision making gets faster and my body gets a little bit stronger and more powerful, I really can be a good modern forward and I think Hamburg is the perfect place to help me to get to this point.
You improved your three point shooting percentage last season shooting 34%. How much of a work in progress is your three pointer and do you see yourself continuing to develop this part of your game?
I really worked and still working with Domenik Reinboth on my shot. I think there is still much room to improve my three pointer and that it will make me even more dangerous and hard to guard on the court.
You’re a very athletic player that can play defense. On what things are you working on most this summer so you will eb 100% ready for your first BBL season?
I’m working a lot on my body, to get stronger and gaining muscles. I am also working on my shot and new moves. I am actually working on everything. You can always get better in every aspect of your game, there is no limit.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet with ease, but what do you feel is a hidden talent in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away on the court?
I think I’m running up the court pretty fast and rolling fast to the basket after a screen, so the opponent got to help and that creates open shots or cuts for other players. I also can find open spots or cuts in the right moment, too. I think I got that from soccer.
You played the last two seasons with Pro A team Ehingen. How vital was it choosing this organization and how do you feel did you develop as a player in the last two seasons?
I’m sure that the decision to play for Team Ehingen/Urspring was the best decision I could’ve made. I had great teammates, a great coach, great fans, and just overall a great organization which always supported me. We had ups and downs but we stuck together and that is what it is about in a family.
Your ex teammate Rayshawn Simmons said this about you. ‘Kevin Yebo is one of the best players in the league. He has no real ceiling & I’m excited to see him continue to improve this year & in his career. He’s a special player with athleticism you just can’t coach or teach. He’s extremely coachable with a eagerness to learn & improve daily. I really appreciate his natural feel for the game. He knows when to cut, pop, screen & fill the lane with me on the break in transition. We work & play off of each other extremely well. He’s a special talent who works hard & is also a testament to Coach Dom’s track record of improving players. Kevin for sure is ready for the BBL, he’s a rare talent and only been playing basketball for about 6 years. HE’s only going to get better’. How key was it having him as a point guard? You let him many dimes, but he also found you in the best spots?
Ray is a great player and a even better person off the court. He really became like a big brother to me over the season. It was necessary to have him as a point guard. He knows when to push the tempo and when to slow it down. He knows how to play pick and roll and can create for himself when he got to do it. When we played together it just clicked. Sometimes he just had to give me that look and I knew exactly what he was planning. I really wish him just the best for next season and I hope he can achieve his goals and dreams.
Is Seger Bonifant the best shooter that you have ever played with? Was their any shooting tips that you could pick up from him?
Yes, no cap. Don’t miss short Kev!!!
How important was it having head coach Domenik Reinboth as a teacher in the last two years? What was the most important aspect of the game that he taught you?
He was very important. I think I was pretty raw before I came to Ehingen, but he really worked with me on the basics and he taught me to be patient. He also taught me that timing is really important.
You had so many great performances, but where does your 27/11 game against FC Schalke where you hit 5/6 three’s rank in your all-time best games up to now in your career?
It is definitely in my top 3.
You played briefly with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen U-19 team and then played with SG Sechtem 1971 (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 2.0ppg, 1.5rpg and then moved to EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) averaging 14.1ppg, 8.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 65.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 69.4%. Did the real Kaazam in you break out in Limburg?
I think Kazaam always was in me even when I played Soccer. It’s just the lifestyle to give 100% no matter what you doing.
Limburg head coach Danny Stallbohm believed in you and gave you minutes right away. Could one say that he discovered you?
A man named Joe Asberry discovered me.But I would say Danny Stallbohm believed in me when nobody else did and he gave me the chance to show that I can play Basketball to everybody.
How important was Danny Stallbohm for your early development. How did he get you best prepared for the Pro A with Ehingen?
He worked out with me and the most important thing was that he was getting me mentally ready. He really talked a lot to me and gave me that mentality that I can achieve everything through hard work.
In 2018 you were teammates with Dennis Schroeder in the 3/3 German championships. What was it like being his teammate and was there anything that you could soak up from his game and competitiveness that has stuck with you?
It was a lot of fun. I recognized that he is definitely on that NBA level. It really showed me that I have to work really hard to get on that level.
Who has been the toughest opponent that you have played in Germany in the last years?
The toughest team was Chemnitz and Hamburg and the toughest player was Shy Ely. I really like his game.
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
Rayshawn Simmons, Davonte Lacy, Tenner Leissner, Seger Bonifant, Justin Stallbohm
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
KD, Jamal Crawford, MJ, Lebron
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
They’re both great.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Kevin for the chat.