New easyCredit BBL player Rasheed Moore spent a great part of his life from 2013-2017 in a beautiful area of Pennsylvania called East Stroudsburg playing NCAA 2 basketball and if he knew it or not wasn´t too far away from the New Jersey state line and another small place called Blairstown. What do east Stroudsburg and Blairstown have in common besides having unending stretches of woods, probably nothing. But in both places one could say history was being made. The two towns East Stroudsburg and Blairstown separate only 17 kilometers and is a 25 minute drive. While Moore was tearing up the basketball court at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (NCAA2), 33 years earlier, Hollywood was in Blairstown on location and a then totally unknown actor by the name of Kevin Bacon was showing off his youthful presence on the big screen for the first time in the legendary horror thriller movie Friday the 13th which was filmed there. This famous movie would become an American horror franchise that would produce 12 movies with seemingly each new film becoming more crazy and unrealistic. That first movie seemed harmless in terms of the killings as compared to the later movies as the killer Jason Voorhees just couldn´t be killed. Moore was born 15 years after the movie came out and probably didn´t even know this fact unless he was a movie buff, but it didn´t matter, because he was focused on 2 things at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (NCAA2) and that was school and basketball. He has been only a professional 3 seasons, but in that time he has made a rapid rise becoming one of the few players that have played in Germany to move up the ranks about as quickly as Jason can cut up his next victim as he moved from the Regionalliga(4th division) to the big show EasyCredit BBL in only 3 seasons. Other players that started in the Regionalliga or Pro B and moved up to the easyCredit BBL were guys like Zack Wright, Deandre Lansdowne, Kameron Taylor and Marcos Knight. “He has shown a lot of motivation to be better. He is a hungry player that wants to keep moving up step by step. Playing for the Skyliners where he will be able to showcase his talent and play against the top competition will be important for his development”, warned Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. The fact that there are so many talented players in the United States doesn´t always allow a talented player like Rasheed Moore to get that BBL contract as a rookie. “There are hundreds of thousands talented players playing in the NCAA, NCAA 2, NCAA 3 or NAIA. He played at a good school with East Stroudsburg, but that wasn´t as known as say a Virginia Wesleyan. He was lucky he came to Schwenningen. No team in the BBL will take a good scorer that didn´t win much in school. There are so many examples of other players that played at higher levels that didn´t make the BBL like our new signing Nate Britt who played one of the best programs in the States North Carolina and won a NCAA title. Maybe he will make his break through with us”, warned wiha Panthers Schwenningen head coach Alen Velcic. The Pro A coach filled me with seemingly unending information about Moore and of course came up with the perfect escape plan had Moore encountered Jason on the dock of Crystal Lake where Friday the 13th had been filmed. “Rasheed would have analysed the situation first and then decided how he would of escaped. He would have taken the best decision if it meant fighting, running or swimming to freedom. Whatever option would have been the most successful is what he would of taken”, laughed Alen Velcic. Moore will come to Frankfurt in late summer with a positive scouting report from ex head coach Alen Velcic
Before coming to Germany in 2017 and becoming a basketball legend in Schwenningen, the 25 year old 196cm forward Philadelphia native would begin his basketball career at Martin Luther King high school and then play at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (NCAA2) where he statistically had strong seasons averaging double figures in scoring each season and helped the school win the PSAC tournament and reach the NCAA 2 Sweet 16 in 2014 and as a senior averaged 19.0ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 79.2%. Alen Velcic who usually always had a good touch for reeling in Americans that would be successful in his system has a special and unique story about how Moore landed in Schwenningen. “I got to know a lawyer in the States in the mid 90´s. He worked for a football agency, but also wanted to work in the basketball field. I got Rasheed Moore through him. They also had Xavier Polard who recently landed in Bonn. Pollard was also a player that I wanted in Schwenningen, but he chose to play for more in Luxemburg last season. I knew when I got him that he was a top player, but that he would have such an impact in Schwenningen wasn´t known. He is a player that needs that emotional and social connection to the community. He got that in Schwenningen and became a fan favorite who often was invited to families homes. When we got him, he was a top player from the NCAA 2, but he developed to what he is today through his will and hard work”, stated Alen Velcic
He needed no adjustment period in his rookie season in Germany with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 27 games averaging 21.4ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 56.2%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 75.5% as he helped lead the team to the Regionalliga title. He demonstrated in his rookie season that he belonged to the best players in the Regionalliga as he scored in double figures in 26 of 27 games, scored 20 points or more 16 times and 30 points or more 6 times including 35 points against Crailsheim 2 and two 32 point explosions against Mainz and Langen. In his second professional season, he once again made another step in his game at a higher level in the Pro B and averaged 20.8ppg), 6.5rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 76.4%. He scored in double figures in 31 of 32 games and had some of his biggest explosions as a professional netting 38 points against Erfurt, 37 points against the ScanPlus Baskets and 35 points against Giessen. The notion that he was too good to play at the Regionalliga didn´t change at the Pro B level either. I remember having a brief pre game chat with head coach Alen Velcic in January 2019 before a Pro B game in Frankfurt and he had the audacity to say then that Rasheed Moore had BBL potential. My eyes got bigger and I took his interesting and bold words to heart. He must of known something, because a year and a half later his ex player would sign with the Fraport Skyliners and in the future only practice in the BCM where he had previously played league games. “I already saw his BBL potential with him in the Regionalliga and maybe more. Rarely do I make a prediction like this, but when I do only when I´m sure. I´m not an agent trying to sell a player. He is a modern forward and already had a very stable body at age 22. He can do it all. He can handle the ball, has always been a great shooter, can shoot from other areas, has post up moves, can get to the rim and especially has a good IQ. He rarely makes a mistake a second time. He can carry a team like no other and proved it each season with us. He also was taught to deal with hardships. I will never forget the playoff game in Munster. He had an open three that he usually made to help us get into OT, but he missed and we lost the game. He was so down after that game. I told him, you can´t let yourself go crazy after a miss. That was your shot to take and nobody will get on you for missing that shot. This experience made him stronger. We also had help from teammates like Anell Alexis and Bill Borekambi in certain games like in Giessen and he learned that he can´t always do it himself. He always wanted to win. I believe that I helped him develop that gene”, stressed Alen Velcic. Another big strength of his is something that ex Fraport Skyliner and current Washington Wizard German Isaac Bonga developed in Frankfurt and was something that Gordon Herbert always raved about. “He was always willing to learn and willing to listen”, warned Alen Velcic. He was a solid defender in the lower leagues, but will he be able to make the adjustment to the faster style and physicality of the easyCredit BBL? “Being a good defender always depends on the player. Defense has nothing to do with talent, but it´s all about hard work. Rasheed will have to defend more physical on 1-1 situations and be more concentrated on team defense. I am convinced that he will make it as a defender in the easyCredit BBL”, warned Alen Velcic.
Last season in the Pro A with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen, he couldn´t produce the kind of mind boggling stats from his first 2 seasons, but still belonged to the top 5 best forwards in the league averaging 15.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 73.0%. He received a Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A 3rd Team selection for his effort. He scored in double figures in 22 of 28 games and had his best games against Science City Jena with 29 points and 28 points against Kirchheim. A big improvement in his game was his three pointer. After shooting 29% and 31% in his first two seasons with Schwenningen, he made a big step from the parking lot shooting 39%. But that wasn´t a real surprise in that he had already shown in the NCAA 2 that he can be a sniper shooting 48% and 45% during two seasons. “He could always shoot the ball. He already showed that in his senior year at east Stroudsburg. He had some problems in his first two pro years, but last year in the Pro A things changed. He had better teammates, he had more time to shoot the ball and took less shots that helped his percentage. Last season there was a phase in oct/Nov where he wasn´t shooting the ball well. It was a mental problem at that time, but he found his shot again. He changed very little on his mechanics to get his shot going again”, expressed Alen Velcic. The American is an allrounder and really can do anything on the court, but there are 2 distinct fine qualities in his game that Velcic enjoyed the most the last 3 years and are 2 things that the Fraport Skyliners will be more than happy to see on the court. “I loved his winning mentality. He always wanted to win. The other great quality was his ability to do the right thing at the right time”, expressed Alen Velcic. Velcic told me in the 2018-2019 season that Moore is a quiet guy, but talks with his game. Can he still become a vocal leader now in the easyCredit BBL? “He is quiet and humble by nature and not the type of player that wants to be in the spotlight. He is quiet and just does his work on the court. He can be very emotional on the court to pump himself up, but he will be quiet in the locker room. He is a funny guy and very respectful of others. I could see him being a vocal leader in 1-2 years. I see him playing another 10 years. The Oldenburg legend Rickey Paulding is also a quiet leader like Rasheed Moore”, added Alen Velcic. He played 86 games for the wiha Panthers Schwenningen and scored in double figures in 77 games.
Now Moore has made the next jump in his basketball career reaching the easyCredit BBL with the Fraport Skyliners. He had many offers from other BBL teams like the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. Head coach John Patrick really wanted him, but in the end the American chose Frankfurt most likely for having a better chance to get more minutes than with Ludwigsburg. With Ludwigsburg though he probably would have had a better opportunity to grow as a player, but moving to Frankfurt was definitely still a good move. There will definitely be less drama than in Ludwigsburg so the American can develop further as a player in a calm less stressful way. One may have thought that it would be very difficult for Velcic to separate from his player, but he has been in the business for 30 years and knows that he had nothing more to prove in the Pro A. “Even if he is like a second son to me, it wasn´t hard to let him go. If he gets a chance like this, you have to support it and that is what I did. It is the right time for him to make the next step. I spoke to John Patrick about Rasheed, but not with Sebastian Gleim. His agent did a good job getting him to Frankfurt. If you see other former pro A players like Marcos Knight, Jaleen Smith and Tanner Leissner and see where they are now, then a player like Rasheed Moore deserves this opportunity. If he can develop more, I honestly see him playing in the Euroleague”, warned Alen Velcic. The question now is can he make another step as a player in the best league in Germany? The Fraport Skyliners last reached the playoffs in 2018 and most likely won´t reach it this season either as the club will have a fairly new roster with a limited budget. Moore was the second import player signed after Jon Axel Gudmundsson, so at this time, it is difficult to predict how Moore will play as the roster is far from complete, but one thing is for sure, he will profit from Fraport Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson. “I feel that he can make the next step in the BBL with the help of Quantez Robertson. There is also less competition in Frankfurt than with teams like Bamberg, Oldenburg or Ludwigsburg. I think that he can be an important role player for Frankfurt if he continues to work hard. I hope that he will have a long career in Germany the way Tez and Paulding have. I think by him staying calm, patient, intelligent and just playing his game, he will be a big joy for Skyliner fans”, warned Alen Velcic. It will be interesting to see how Moore fairs in a Skyliners jersey. A good omen is that history is on his side, because no matter where he has played be it high school, college and pro´s, he has always put up strong and consistent stats.
Even if Alen Velcic didn´t want to admit it, I could sense in his voice that he is sad that he won´t be able to coach him, but at the same time proud that he will be bale to see him compete in the easyCredit BBL. Velcic remembers the 3 years with Moore with a lot of joy and saw his development at close range even if it wasn´t all rosy at the start when he came over from the States not being used to the European style. “Rasheed was able to adapt his game to the European style through structure and discipline. I remember at the start that he often would run down the court and shoot or just play 1-5 something he was used to from home. But he quickly learned that you can´t play like that in Europe in order to be successful. He was able to adapt his game in each league and grow as a player each season”, stressed Alen Velcic. The wiha Panthers head coach experienced many pleasant things with the American and at the end of the day yes he is a great player, but he is even a better person that isn´t afraid to show his feelings. “He was never a problem off the court. When I saw that he always adhered to the rules, I knew right away that he was a special American. Americans aren´t always easy to handle, but he was easy to handle. I knew after our Regio season that he was a special player and would continue to carry us. He seldom had a bad game and really when he did, I was always optimistic that he might explode and turn the game around for us. I remember when he didn´t have a good game in Erfurt scoring only 8 points. I noticed on the trip home that something was wrong with him. I asked him to tell me what was wrong. He told me his grandfather was dying and that that was the reason for his bad game. I took him in my arms and said old people are allowed to die. We spoke a lot about private things. I will always remember him as being a quiet leader and great player”, stressed Alen Velcic. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to make the right decisions in the easyCredit BBL. If a Friday the 13th does appear on the calendar this season, could Fraport Skyliner captain Quantez Robertson sporting an ugly and scary Jason mask scare his new teammate? “I would be able to scare him. I know how to jump out of corners and be able to frighten him”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Even if Tez would try to scare Rasheed Moore, I´m pretty sure he will make the right decision and pretend to be scared in order to make his captain look good and feel happy.