Mark Gordon has been the story of the Regionalliga west as he exploded for 40 points in his first game. The guy is a walking bucket and can haul down rebounds with the best of them. His fearless and eruptive scoring continued the next weeks as he nailed Rhondorf for 26 points and a week later shot out the lights against Bonn 2 netting 38 points currently averaging a ridiculous33,0ppg.. But at the end of the day, it doesn´t matter if you score 38 or 68 points, if you don´t achieve the win then nobody cares how much you scored. Last weekend the Florida native Gordon was ready for his next scoring victim with the Grevenbroich Elephants on the road. He probably figured it would be another one man show, but boy was he wrong. He once again came up with the goods scoring 30 points and hauling down 13 boards, but he surely wasn´t expecting to be outdueled by a talented player named John Murry. Murry had a great scoring evening pouring home 36 points in the exciting 114-110 victory and led his team to their third win in a row. Both Murry and Gordon are both your typical “I have a big chip on my shoulder and it will never go away” players that have been doubted all their life and now are playing for peanuts in the German Regionalliga(4th division). Ok so their scoring onslaught duel didn´t have the excitement or charm of the 1988 Bird-Wilkins battle in Boston, but still it was a joy to watch and follow. Especially in the Regionalliga you will often find those explosive Americans that are so dangerous and successful, because they have that chip on their shoulder and feel like they always have something to prove. This head to head battle with Gordon wasn´t the first that the 25 year old 192cm guard Murry had had in his basketball career. “I remember at Austin Peay we played Eastern Illinois and Demetrius McReyonalds and he had 30 at their house and I took it personal, the same team came to play us at Austin Peay and I had 35 to make a statement.”, remembered John Murry. The American who played at Austin Peay(NCAA) and averaged 16,7ppg one season and is only toiling around in Germany´s 4th division had a blast going back and forth with Gordon and also had a special connection to him. “It was fun the entire game, we talked back and forth during the game and it was nothing but respect at the end, I love competing with other good players, I want to be the best so in order to be the best you have to beat the best and that’s the goal all season. We shared a few words afterwards, he is from an area where I am familiar with so I knew his stomping grounds very well”, stressed John Murry.
Even if times are hard everywhere in the world on account of COVID-19, basketball life is fantastic currently for the American. He had been injured for a year and had worked his butt off to get back to 100%. His club the Grevenbroich Elephants are unbeaten at 3-0 and are looking to keep the winning streak alive this weekend as they battle the feisty Bonn 2 club. And in addition he hasn´t needed any adjustment period to the Regionalliga as he is putting up great numbers. “It’s been one hell of a ride so far. The team has jelled together great and we are learning each other’s tendencies as well as playing hard for 40 minutes, not to mention a fire 3-0 start but I am not satisfied as one of the greats would say, The job is not finished yet.” We must continue to be great and push towards the playoffs so we can make a championship run.
As for me it feels superb to be back on the floor doing what I love to do, I love being on the floor doing what is possible for a another win in our books. We must stay focused”, warned John Murry. The last 2 victories by Grevenbroich were crunch time thrillers as they were able to nip Dorsten and Gordon by 4 points. Often teams will take half a season or maybe three fourths of a season to figure out how to win the close games, but for Grevenbroich, they have understood right away what they need to do to be successful to close out games. “It has been a tremendous focus just making sure we make the right plays and the winning plays so that we can come out with the W when the bell rings at the end of the game, regardless if it’s 4th quarter or double OT like last game lol”, stated John Murry. Often stats don´t lie or do they sometimes? Grevenbroich got scorched on the boards and Dorsten hit 13 three´s, but they still couldn´t pull out the win. Anytime a club coughs up the ball a miserable 29 times, then it will be difficult to win. Grevenbroich took advantage of all the extra possessions. “We just stayed the course and made sure we did what we do in crunch time. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well that night as a team but we did everything else the right way to get the W. I have faith that we will bounce back and have a better shooting night in the future”, commented John Murry.
The Grevenbroich Elephants have relinquished way too many points in the early going and had fortune that their offense was rolling. But what will happen on an off day offensive game? If the defense can´t get consistent stops and the offense isn´t cooking, then all of a sudden the loses will increase. The season is still young and Murry knows what adjustments have to be made on the defensive end. “Just making sure we cut down on second chance points, that really killed us in game 3. We just have to make sure we don’t miss assignments on the defensive end and we will be okay”, added John Murry. The American knows that a 3-0 record doesn´t mean anything and the team needs to stay focused and just go from game to game and not get crazy with the potential that they have. Deep down, he knows that this team could go a far far way this season. “Team chemistry is going very well and we always have something to improve championship teams never get satisfied with early success, we want to push towards the playoffs and continue to make a run at a championship”, warned John Murry. The next game is against Bonn 2 like so many teams have an abundance of many young talented Germans. So far Bonn have been solid carrying a 2-2 record, but last weekend lost an ugly 101-63 contest at home to Rhondorf. Especially after a team got clobbered at home, the biggest mistake any team can do is to think that will happen again. Instead that Bonn 2 team will be extra hungry and motivated for Grevenbroich. “Never underestimate your opponent, that will weaken our team and how we come out to play. We are going to play our game the way we play our game make sure we get things done on our end and the rest will take care of itself”, warned John Murry.
The American like so many guys in the Regionalliga not only has a huge chip on his shoulder, but is a guy that won´t only go the extra mile, but he will go the extra marathon to achieve his personal goals on the court. He knows that he is talented and is blessed with helathy self-confidence, but has been overlooked his whole career. Knowing that has driven him to grind harder than the rest on a regular basis. His nonstop grinding and pride in practicing superb work ethic is something that has helped him be successful on the court so far this season. Currently he is averaging 22,0ppg, 6,0rpg and 5,0apg. His stat line is very good, but his biggest bummer at the moment is his three point shooting. He never shot over 40% in JUCO or the NCAA, but wasn´t far away at 34% and 35%. This season he is shooting below 30% and knows that he has to find a way to correct it as his passion in getting better and continuing to move up the basketball ladder are immense. “Definitely not happy with the way I shot the ball the last game. There are some things that I can improve on in that area also in other areas but the job is not finished and I won’t be happy until we get what we came here for in the first place. I’m thinking championship run from here on”, stressed John Murry. His current shooting drought has really bugged him and at the moment his shooting bricks and being able to find the ocean again a big priority. “I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I shot that bad, I refuse to have that type of shooting percentage again. I’ve never shot like that in my career and I’m working my butt off to see that doesn’t happen again”, warned John Murry. Murry definitely needs to find his shooting touch again, because too many sleepless nights won´t be good for anybody especially the Grevenbroich Elephants