The EPG Baskets Koblenz Continue To Work Towards Mission Next Level

How much difference a year can make when your 188cm guard Tyseem Lyles who continues to rise up the professional basketball ladder. Last season the ex JUCO player who moved up to the NCAA 2 was wheeling and dealing for the Eimsbuetteler TV Hamburg (Germany-Regionalliga) in his second season there shooting out the lights in every gym he battled and scored in double figures in 44 of 45 games while this season he isn’t a man playing among kids anymore, but a man among men as he made the incredible jump up 2 leagues to the German second division called the Pro A getting signed by PS Karlsruhe. Scoring 46 points against Aschersleben like he did in the Regionalliga won’t be a normal thing anymore, but now instead of all eyes being on him, he is just a part of the team doing the job. The only problem was that the American Lyles never arrived in Koblenz nor did PS Karlsruhe as they cancelled their Sunday afternoon autumn trip. They were supposed to challenge the EPG Baskets Koblenz. Instead the EPG Baskets Koblenz were alone on the floor, but fans were also there, so the club had to quickly react and change the program. Instead of a pre-season duel against PS Karlsruhe, the 50-60 fans who turned out got to witness a team scrimmage followed by a few heavy dunks from some of the athletic players. Ex Ehingen guard Zaire Thompson described what it was like playing against his teammates in front of fans. ‘Today we wanted to give our fans a show, but at the same time focus on our plays. I feel the fans saw today that we were playing well together and continuing to grow’, stressed ex Fordham (NCAA) guard Zaire Thompson (180-PG-95, college: Fordham, agency: Scorers 1st Sportmanagement) The German guard also tried to explain how hard they went despite it being a intra-squad match. ‘We went at it easier today, but usually our practices are a lot more intense. We have a very competitive team and everyone wants to play. It is hard with minutes with such a deep team, but we all push each other’, warned Zaire Thompson

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing EPG Baskets Koblenz guard Zaire Thompson in Koblenz

The club had 11 players and had a green and white team. There would be 2 10 quarters and who had the most points after 20 minutes was the victor. The green team had more talent and experience than the white team and the green quickly showed their true colors jumping out on a 5-0 lead as American DJ Woodmore who made a name for himself with the BIS Baskets Speyer scored all 5 points showing his aggressiveness early on. The green team kept up the momentum with better execution and less turnovers than the white team leading 13-7 after ex BBL player Jacob Mampuya made a slick left handed lay in showcasing his rapid first step. But the white team played with a lot of heart and finally broke out on offense going on a quick 11-0 run to lead 18-13. In the run, they got a lot of support from their Germans as they started to hit their weakness outside shooting and connect as veterans Noah Westerhaus and Henning Schaake contected for three’s as did Zaire Thompson with a jumper. But the green team was always good for explosiveness from their strong 1-1 players like Brian Butler who led the green on a 8-2 run to regain the lead back at 21-20. Butler displayed scoring in bunches as he scored 3 times in a row in his comfort zone inside. But it was the white team that had the lead after 10 minutes 23-21 as new player ex FC SchalkeMarley Jean Louis scored.

In the second quarter, the game would remain tight, but the green side would never lead again as the white prevailed at the end 42-35 as they finished the game on a 7-2 run. After Jean Louis got white it’s first points in the second quarter for the 25-21 advantage, it was ex easyCredit BBL slam dunk champion Brian Butler again who showed what scoring consecutive buckets looks like as he made a tough lay in in traffic and then finished off a beautiful lob pass from Mampuya for a hard slam down alley-op basket to dead lock the contest at 25-25. White came back again getting baskets from ex Leverkusen forward CJ Oldham and Marley, but green always had enough substance in their offense tying the game at 29-29 getting baskets from ex wiha Panthers big man Edin Alispahic and a lay in from 211cm ex Wedel big man Joshua Luebkin. Then it was time for the white team to launch a new mini run of 4-0 as new UK player ex Western Illinois (NCAA) center Michael Ochereobia. Even if the game was tight white seemed in control. After a Schaake runner for the 35-31 white advantage, Virginia native DJ Woodmore made the basket of the afternoon. He spun around his man and then scored an acrobatic lay up in traffic to get his team back to trailing only 35-33. ‘DJ’s game reminds me of Kyrie Irving. DJ’s moves and courage reminds me of Irving’, added Zaire Thompson But the white side now slammed the door shut on the green side with a little over 2 minutes to play. Thompson who is a pass first point guard executed on a pretty pull up jumper for the 37-33 white advantage with 2,06 to play. ”I was pretty open. Coach Rodriguez always says when the defense gives me the shot then take it’, stressed Zaire Thompson After a Alispahic turnover, it was 29 year old CJ Oldham testing his 14,3% from downtown last season and finding nothing but net for the 40-33 white lead with 1,17 to go. Luebke and Jean Louis traded baskets at the end to end the game as white was victorious 42-35 in a mini intra squad scrimmage. The result showed that not the best talent always wins. ‘The green side had more starting 5 players, but this game showed how deep we are and that second starting 5 can beat the first starting five. The difference was that we played more team basketball and they relied more on 1-1. We played fast and had an advantage with Westerhaus and Oldham getting quickly out on transition. Oldham also used his good passing finding the open guys’, stressed Zaire Thompson

Brian Butler dunking over Thompson and Woodmore

A few weeks ago the EPG Baskets Koblenz had a test game against ambitious Regionalliga club Dragons Rhondorf who have an average age of 20 and balled in the Pro A 5 years ago and lost a defensive battle. In that early pre season contest, it was obvious to see that Koblenz weren’t on the same page yet at both ends of the court, but a lot had changed in the last weeks. ‘We know our plays a lot better today than then and also know how to execute our options. In the game against Rhondorf there was too much 1-1 and no help on defense, but our team play is a lot better now. We also have improved our defense in the last weeks’, commented Zaire Thompson With only 2 weeks to go before the season Pro B debut at home against Coburg, the team expectations are high with their ‘mission next level’ slogan, but they are careful not to aim too high. ‘Everybody can beat everybody in the Pro B. There is never a clear favorite. Our goal is the playoffs and the rest is open’, warned Zaire Thompson The team will definitely be able to score a lot this season, but the question will be will the defense be there on days when the offense has an off night? ‘We will play aggressive on ball defense. Our focus will be to use our length on the wing and athleticism to our advantage. We will be very versatile and be able to do much on the defensive end’, expressed Zaire Thompson The German sees ex Pro B player Marley Jean Louis as being the big surprise player of the season as he plays aggressive defense and has an aggressive shot and knows that the club will be able to turn heads at both ends of the court, but also knows that there are still things to work on. ‘Our main thing that we have to work on is our shooting. Our German players have to have confidence. I am sure we can become a good shooting team. It will always depend on the type of shots we get’, warned Zaire Thompson After the game, a few guys attempted some dunks, but the first ones didn’t work well. The first four dunkers Thompson, Butler, Woodmore and Mampuya all missed. But then came ex Giessen Pointers German youngster Lucas Meyer who didn’t try anything fancy, but executed a simple dunk. ‘The first dunks were too difficult. Lucas calmed down and made his. After that Butler did his typical show’, said Zaire Thompson German Henning Schaake got into the action making a hard dunk and then Brian Butler finished off the afternoon with two fancy and explosive dunks. He began flying over Thompson for the hard dunk and then added another body with Woodmore and dunked over both of them using his expertise athleticism. That all looked very very nice at the end and a beautiful way to end the basketball weekend in Koblenz, but the club knows that athletic showtime dunks won’t get you wins alone in the Pro B. 

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