The date was November 11th, 2012 just another normal game for the Fraport Skyliners as they welcomed the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. It was an exciting game where in the end the Fraport Skyliners grinded out a 61-59 win that had some memorable plays There was one play that for some reason I have never forgotten as it was extremely spectacular and showed the strength of the Fraport Skyliners at both ends. Braunschweig came down on transition and the freak athlete Quantez Robertson who was only in his 4th season with the Skyliners made an incredible block from behind as if he was climbing stairs up to the back board. The block landed in American guard Jonathan Jones´s hands and he led the fast break the other way and fed American ex Giessen forward Zach Peackock for the poster dunk over Eric Boateng. Quantez Robertson would go on to become a Fraport Skyliner lifer legend currently in his 12th season with Frankfurt and become the leagues identity figure and win one title with the 2016 FIBA Europe Cup. But there were 2 other players on the court on this day who scored only a combined 3 points, but like Robertson went on to amazing careers. The one is German Dennis Schroeder who reached the NBA in 2013 and has been a very good point guard in the league for years while the other is American Thaddus Mcfadden. He had a brief stay in Brauinschweig playing only 15 games averaging 5.4ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 39.4%, 3FGP: 39.5%. He had to depart in January 2013, but landed in an old stomping ground the Czech Republic where he quickly found his scoring touch again. Braunschweig didn´t turn out the way he wanted to, but he didn´t freak out over the experience. At least he can say today that he was teammates with Dennis Schroeder. “I felt like the club knew I was a good player but just wanted to go a different way in the style of play. I felt like I could of been very successful there, but that’s the business, you have to do what you have to do, no hard feelings and still have respect for the club, firm believer of everything happens for a reason. Dennis and I were cool and with us being the younger guys on the squad we connected well and we still do, I actually went to him play in the eastern conference finals, but I remember thinking man he’s good for his age and have a good chance at the NBA, and telling people that. He’s playing good ball in the NBA right now and has had a good start to his career. I’m proud of him well deserved”, stressed Thaddus Mcfadden in 2016 He also never forgot Quantaz Robertson who he battled against him in the 2015-2016 Fiba Europe season. “I remember him being athletic, a good defender, and being the leader of the team, from what I see from watching film on them in fiba cup now, I still see him as one of the key players to their success”, said Thaddus Mcfadden in 2016. He may have been the recipient of a monster in your face block from Robertson, but since his brief stay in Braunschweig has come a very long way having played in many leagues, including the best in Europe with the ACB, won a scoring title in Greece and also won 4 titles along the way with most recently the 2020 Basketball Champions League.
But before reliving his newest title the 2020 Basketball Champions League, one has to back track some years just to understand how much the guy has developed and continued to improve over the years. The 33 year old 187cm guard from Flint, Michigan who was a scoring ace at Fairmont State University (NCAA2) didn´t move around as much in his first 7 professional seasons. He played parts of 4 seasons in the Czech Republic and then won 3 league titles in Cyprus. But in the last 5 seasons, he has become somewhat of a basketball globetrotter having played for 9 organizations and in 5 countries. After gaining added new experience in France for Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA) and playing for 2 teams in Greece with PAOK Thessaloniki and winning the Greek scoring title with GS Kymis, he made a totally new experience playing in China. He would have 2 tour of duties there with Chongqing Sanhai Lanling (China-NBL) averaging 38.7ppg), 7.1rpg, Assists-2(5.6apg), Steals-1(2.9spg), FGP: 56.7%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 80.6% and also played with Wuhan Dangdai (China-NBL) averaging 36.1ppg), 6.3rpg, Assists-3(7.7apg), 1.9spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 76.3%. “China was a fun experience. I remember my first game I shot the ball 15 times now I thought this was a lot because in Europe this is a lot so after the game my agent called me and said the team said if you shoot 15 times again your fired because 15 is not enough. So I said ok I can definitely shoot more lol but china was fun I enjoyed it”, remembered Thaddus Mcfadden. In 31 games, the American scored 40 points or more 14 times. He will never forget his massive 61 point explosion against Beijing where he netted 14 three´s. “I remember thinking wow I took 30 shots, but importantly getting the win. We needed to win that game to get closer to the playoffs and we were short-handed we fell short but we still made the playoffs so honestly winning is everything so just trying to win nothing matter if you don’t”, warned Thaddus Mcfaaden. Two seasons ago he made the jump to the ACB with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (ACB) averaging 12.4ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.3apg, and also played with Divina Seguros Juventut Badalona (ACB) averaging 9.3ppg, 1.1rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 38.5%, 3PT-2(50.0%), FT: 73.3%.. Here he was able to show any haters once again that he belongs on any court in the world. “It was a huge step in my career playing in the ACB best league in Europe and just the mental part of my game grew a lot, reading situations, picking and choosing your spot, it´s never a night off so you have to bring your A game every night every team has to or you will lose. You have to do your homework in the ACB. There is so much talent and great players here, but sometimes a team can be 10 times more talented but lose because you weren´t focused mentally. Playing in Spain really helped my game a lot both physically but more so mentally and playing the game the right way”, warned Thaddus Mcfadden. He also helped lead Burgos to an exciting 87-83 victory over top Euroleague team Real Madrid scoring 18 points, a game that also will be forever be in his mind. “Winning against a great team like Real Madrid is always big. We all know the great players and coaches they have. I have great respect for them, but your chip should never get lighter and still go for more, but of course winning a game like this is big”. Said Thaddus Mcfadden.
The stats of the American who lists his personal NBA Mount Rushmore with Lebron, Jordan, Kobe, Magic, Kareem are incredible since leaving Southwestern Academy and arriving at St. Clair County Community College in 2006. He has averaged double figures in scoring everywhere he has played except 2 times being in Germany and in Spain in the Basketball Champions League in the 2018-2019 season. He averaged over 20 points in the NCAA 2, Czech Republic and China. Especially since leaving Cyprus in 2016, his game has continued to be consistent and dominant despite playing in so many new countries and leagues. But what many people don´t always see is that guys who don´t perform as well or are as consistent usually weren´t used the correct way or put in the right situation and that is a common occurrence in every league in the world. “I’ve got better and yes my game has developed since then, but I think I got the opportunity actually to show what I can do. I feel like there are a lot of players that can play at the highest level but don’t have a opportunity to show or don’t have the right representation to get them these opportunities. I was blessed but for the most part I think I´m the same player that was in Cyprus yes a little better”, warned Thaddus Mcfadden. Another big strength of his is his humbleness. You can laud the guy a million times about his consistency, but in the end, he is very respectful to how his basketball journey has moved along. “I work very hard and you get what you put into the game. I never cheat the game and I’ve had good coaches to put me in spots to be successful, Just God will and hard work put in”, stressed Thaddus Mcfadden. The guard has always had a chip on his shoulder and it didn´t get any lighter in the 4 years where he had a title drought until his recent Basketball Champions League win. In 2016, he stated an unforgettable quote. ““I feed off having the underrated label and it makes me even more motivated because I know my abilities”. Some guys flourish with the chip while other don´t, but the American has and also has enjoyed it. “Yes I feed off this underdog label and every year it´s something new and it´s actually fun to me to prove people wrong until this day people always say he can’t do this he can’t do that, but the only person that can tell you you can’t do something is yourself, I had lots of people telling me Cyprus is the highest you will go. You know many times every single person on this earth has been wrong so I just said ok we will see. Like Omar Cook would say bet on yourself, but I’ve learned to listen don’t take things personal because only you can change the outcome of your life. Yes I’m human and I see the comments and sometimes I think wow like I’ve played against the best, did good against the best, most importantly won against the best and people still say but he is to small, he can’t do this he can’t do that. It´s so funny to me like winning is everything right honestly make me question a lot of people´s basketball knowledge, but its a part of the game”, understands Thaddus Mcfadden.
So let us fast forward to October 2020. While most clubs are preparing for the new season and Euroleague teams have already played season games, there was still one competition to be decided with the 2019-2020 Basketball Champions League title. Burgos had to knock off Jerusalem to reach the final 4 and did. In the semi´s, they met Dijon and got by them 81-67 as ex BBL player Ken Horton led the way for the winners with 19 points. In the final they had a very tough date with the Euroleague powerhouse team AEK Athens as they won 85-74. It was his 4th professional title and it was possibility his most favorite in a very difficult time with COVID-19. “It feels great anytime you win a title especially when you win a title with a very special team and group. Winning the basketball champion league was definitely top basketball feeling in my whole career. Everything has been different because of the Covid 19. I pray things will get back to normal soon. All teams had a different roster and I think what helped us is we have group of great guys on and off the court, and really good veteran players so I have to give our coaches and management huge credit for putting together a championship team”, stressed Thaddus Mcfadden. Hereda San Pablo Burgos won the final 85-74 and were able to use their strength on the boards, but were lucky to pull it out not being able to take care of the ball well. “rebounding was key and we shot the ball very well. I felt like for the most part we took care of the ball at the end. We had most of the turnovers and they took advantage of them but for the most part we did good in all phases of the game. They are a very good team so you have to play great to beat them”, expressed Thaddus Mcfadden. AEK Athens was packed with great ex Euroleague players like Slaughter, Langford, Zisis, Lojeski and Rice, but Mcfadden didn´t feel like the Greek side underestimated them. “AEK always have a very good team and I think they were hungry to win just like us. They have a great coach that I respect a lot, and I know he had them well prepared in the best way possible. I don’t think they over looked us and we have guys on our team that’s known all over as well. So to me being over confident is a good thing. I think I’m the best combo guard in Europe and I said this many years ago. I put in to much work to not think so, so over confidence is what helped me grow and grow every year, but I think that our coaches came out with a very good game plan We have one of the best young coaches in all of Europe I really mean this you will hear Joan Penarroya a lot for many years to come. He told us to go have fun, play together and just take advantage of the moment and at the end we did that made more plays and executed in key moments of the game. That’s why I say everything can happen in basketball just go compete. We really have a good team and we know we have a great chance at great things but we also know it won’t be easy and we have to work very hard to have a great season”, warned Thaddus Mcfadden. The American who was also named 2020 Basketball Champions League MVP adding18 points feels that the fans were a big part of the success. “This title means a lot for the players and coaches but especially for the management and fans. They put this team together five years ago to win a basketball champions league in your fifth year is amazing. This fan base is one of the best in Europe win lose or draw the fan is always the same very supportive and the games will still have 10000 people. I know teams that if you start to lose the fans and management will panic and fans will not come. But this does not happen in Burgos. 10000 fans will always be there and the management will always be behind you so this is special they deserve this championship”, warned Thaddus Mcfadden.
An amazing thing about the title win for Thaddus Mcfadden and co was that they did it with players from last season and new players. Two guys that really stood out were Americans Omar Cook and Alex Renfroe, but there were also others as they demonstrated how lethal early season chemistry can be. “The new players Omar, Alex, Dejan, Ken and Xavi are veteran players and Jordan is a young player with great potential. So the chemistry was picked up faster because these guys have played in big games, big teams, so nothing is new for them. That’s another advantage this team has chemistry, but we still have a lot to do. It won’t be easy but we are very confident in each other and team so we all expecting a big season this year”, stressed Thaddus Mcfadden. But will the Spanish club still be hungry for new titles this season? I´m very confident. We know we have a good roster so why not take advantage. I’m a huge believer of taking advantage of the moment and we are all on the same page”, stressed Thaddus Mcfadden. The 2020 Basketball Champions League title also put the German easyCredit BBL league a bit in the spotlight as 2 ex players with Mcfadden and Ken Horton were instrumental pieces in the success. “The BBL is a good league; very respected league, and a very professional league. When I was there I had no problems. I’ve seen players play good in Germany and really benefit from that in the years to come so I have great respect for the Germany league”, said Thaddus Mcfadden.
The American who´s last movie that he saw was Escape Room turned 33 in May and is still going strong. His amazing play and consistency stands out and the question is how much longer will he still want to play? The answer may be long since he is teammates with 38 year old ex NBA player Omar Cook who gives forever young a new meaning as he is still playing very strong at his age. There have been some guys in the BBL that I thought would play into their 40´s but didn´t, but Thaddus Mcfadden believes that Omar Cook could be one of those candidates. “Omar Cook is a legend. He makes the game so easy for us all. He is a true winner whatever it takes he does it. In that final he got us going. He’s best known for his great passing, defense, but a very underrated offensive player. In the final he hit 5 huge three pointer all 3 were in huge moments for us. I bet before the game if you tell him to give us 5 blocks, I´ll bet everything he will do it. Even before the game he would send motivational speeches. He definitely is a true leader and I wouldn’t mind playing with him for many many years I want to play until I’m 40. I think he will play until he’s 45 and let´s not forget about Alex Renfroe. It was a pleasure playing with him too, a winner another guy that’s huge for our success as well they are different in style but both styles are good for the team.. So it´s a pleasure playing with both”, added Thaddus Mcfadden. Obviously the chances of being able to play a long career gets more realistic when you stay healthy and can soak up as much as possible from an Omar Cook on a daily basis. “Omar´s work ethic is amazing and I’m learning. He takes care of his body and is just a true professional I’m playing until I’m 40 or 41 so learning from him is very useful”, stressed Thaddus Mcfadden. The American is on a high now in Burgos Spain and is hungry to add on to his 4 titles with some more this season. The guy has had so much success and demonstrated over and over everywhere he has played that he can be a top player there. 8 years ago in the Fraport arena, Thaddus Mcfadden had already had great seasons in the Czech Republic, but was still unproven in top leagues in Europe, but today he is not only at another level, but a lot better player that has deserved the recognition he has gotten and all of his success. You don´t even have to wonder what could have been 8 years ago had he came to Braunschweig with no Dennis Schroeder. “I don’t think Dennis not being there would of made a difference I think the team already had in mind what they wanted to do with me and use me more in the second year because I signed for two years. Years later this is what I was told. I wish I would of known this then, but man I’m so proud of Dennis. He deserve it all and he’s still a good friend of mine”, stated Thaddus Mcfadden. 8 years later Thaddus Mcfadden is on top the world and is hungry for a lot more. He definitely has done everything right in his career since leaving Braunschweig.