In the NBA you have always had those amazing 1-1 battles . Who could forget the amazing duel in 1988 in the playoffs between Larry Bird and Domingue Wilkins or even more recent Lebron James against Kevin Durant or Vince Carter against Allen Iverson or back in the day Wilt Chamberlain against Bill Russell, but probably the most fierce and competitive battles were between Bird and Magic in the 80´s. No interview in my book can ever not have who won a one on one in practice or my famous what was the last movie that you saw? I usually ask the one on one practices at the end of my college ball questions and usually take a guy that was the same height as the player I´m interviewing and then hoping that they played. I can´t say accurately, but I will predict that most of the time I´m about70/30 right that the opponent I picked had played against my interview partner. Sometimes the reactions are hilarious especially on the phone interviews. How often do I get this loud roar of a laugh from the player I´m interviewing when they hear the guy I picked. Sometimes I will pick a guy that had great stats, and sometimes it may be a guy that hardly played. 98% of the time the player that I interview always takes himself. Very seldom do I get a guy that will outright say that he lost the battles. Sometimes a player will be fair and say that they split the one on one battles. At the beginning of 2020, I interviewed ex California(NCAA) forward Richard Solomon and when I asked him about how he had done against his ex team David Kravish, he didn´t have to pause long to proclaim who was best. “I did every time. David was my guy. Honestly I don’t think that we ever played. But I would take myself each time. He was a great teammate. He was fun to be around. When we were on the court together, we were always locked in. We always wanted to block every shot and get every rebound”, warned Richard Solomon. When I asked David Kravish the same question, he was a lot more diplomatic and didn´t follow his ego at all. “We didn’t play a lot of one on one, but when the situation came to me vs him I think we probably split pretty evenly. I’d love to play with or face him again someday just to see how much we’ve both grown as players.”, remembered David Kravish. The great thing though what I have observed in so many of my one on one questions, is that no matter how competitive the players are and how sure they are about themselves, almost every guy always has something good to say about their ex teammates. Their battles are more than 5 years old, but for David Kravish, he can reminisce all he wants about the good old days at California(NCAA), but at the end of the day all he cares about now on the court is becoming an even better defender so he can continue to move up the basketball ladder and to do the best he possibly can to always get his team in the best position to win ball games.
Kravish was born on July 12, 1992 in Joliet, Illinois. He began his basketball career at Lee’s Summit North high school and averaged 13.0ppg, 9.1rpg in his senior year. On account of his stellar play, the big man picked up HS Suburban Big-6 All-League honors -in 2010, and 2011 and made the HS Missouri All-State team in 2011. He then began his NCAA career with the University of California at Berkley where he played from 2011-2015 amassing a total of 136 games. In his freshman year he played 34 games and started 24 games and averaged 6.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 59.4%, FT: 69.1%. He showed his quality early on the defensive end blocking 41 balls. He was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team and was a Pac-12 Regular Season Co-Runner-Up and Pac-12 Tournament Semifinalist. Asa freshman he scored in double figures in 9 games including a 17 point, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks in a 77-63 win over Oregon State. In his sophomore season he played 34 games averaging 7.9ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 49.6%, FT: 69.0%. He scored in double figures in 9 games and registered 3 double doubles. He scored 18 points and grabbed 13 boards in a 77-63 win over UCLA and had 14 points and 11 rebounds in a 62-46 win over Colorado. In his junior season he played 35 games averaging 11.4ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.1apg, 2.1bpg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 74.1%. When I covered Justin Cobbs in his rookie season in Frankfurt in the 2014-2015 season, I remember him telling me of his fondest moment when he defeated Arizona with a buzzer beater where he hit a classic fade away ffalling into his own team bench and it wasn´t any different with Kravish. “My fondest memory from college was when we played Arizona in Berkeley when they were ranked 1 in the country, and we won at the buzzer. The fans rushing the floor was crazy. I’ve watched that game back several times as a pro”, remembered David Kravish. He played 3 seasons with Cobbs in the NCAA and knows too well that he could play in the NBA, but as so often is the case, there are simply too many talented guards in the world and too little jobs. “Justin is an amazing player with many great traits. I think that is a good way of putting it in terms of too few jobs, but I think you could take many of the top players over here and exchange them with some guys in the NBA and they wouldn’t miss a beat. I’m not talking about the superstars in the NBA obviously”, warned David Kravish.
In his senior year, the American played 33 games averaging 11.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 72.6%. He scored in double figures in 19 games and had 5 double doubles. Some of his best games in his last year included a 25 point, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in a 84-59 win over Washington State and he hit Washington for 21 points in a 81-75 victory. It is no surprise that one of these two games belonged to his most memorable personal games in the NCAA. “I remember the second to last game of my career was against Washington State. One of my favorite people and coaches of all time had moved from Cal to Washington State, Scott Thom, and I just remember really wanting to beat him. I had an incredible game that put us over the top. I still travel basically every summer to workout with him and improve as a player on the court and in the weight room. He has had the biggest impact on my career since I’ve left college”, stated David Kravish. He made huge steps in his game and it wasn´t just the fierce one on one battles against Richard Solomon that helped raise his game, but just the daily presence of his teammate on the floor. “Rich was always pushing me in practice. He is such a skilled player, while also being the most athletic person I’ve ever played against. Having to go up against him every day absolutely raised my level of play”, stressed David Kravish. Not only Solomon was huge in his development, but also head coach Mike Montgomery. If it hadn´t been for Montgomery´s words of wisdom, Kravish may have landed in a hospital. “Coach Montgomery and his staff were essential in my growth as a player. He is the one who really convinced me that I had a chance to play the game professionally. I had gone to school with the intention of being a doctor, but I sat down with him after practice one day, and he asked me what I wanted out of basketball, and went on to tell me I should really consider pursuing basketball as a career. Coach Montgomery also is an incredible coach, so he taught me a lot about the game and how to play as a big even if I wasn’t the biggest guy. I’m incredibly grateful for his coaching. I really wish he had been able to stick around for my senior year, but he’s gone on to be a great commentator”, expressed David Kravish.
Before turning professional, the big man got some valuable experience playing NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas with the Golden State Warriors playing 4 games: averaging 3.3ppg, 2.5rpg. He had mixed feelings about the whole NBA experience in Las Vegas. “I learned that 10 days in Las Vegas is way too long. I don’t think summer league is a good representation of the NBA, but I am very appreciative for the opportunity they gave me to be on the team”, said David Kravish. He then went overseas for the 2015-2016 season joining BC Nokia (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 46 games averaging 13.7ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.3apg, Blocks-5(1.2bpg), FGP: 61.1%, FT: 80.5%. Playing in a league like Finland was important for him, because he could gain confidence quickly showing he was able to play well at his first station. He scored in double figures in 34 games and had 6 double doubles. Some of his best games that season occured against the Salon Vilpas where he netted 26 points and 21 points in a win over Lapua. Despite having little problems on the court, he did remember having a wake up call that he was far from home that not everything was easy at the start off the court. “I think it was before my wife arrived a few weeks later, when I was sitting in my apartment on the second day thinking to myself, “I don’t know anything about this language and I have no idea where anything is. When it started to become dark at 2:30pm was also tough”, stated David Kravish. The American slowly continued to climb the professional basketball ladder as in his second season overseas, he played in a higher league with Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-TBL) playing 41 games averaging 12.9ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-3(1.3bpg), FGP-1(67.8%), FT: 75.2%. He showed that he belonged to the top centers in the league. He scored in double figures in 32 contests and registered 11 doubles. He had some fine performances against Stal Ostrow having 24/11 stats in a 82-77 victory and hit MKS DG for 22 points and 9 rebounds in a exciting 89-85 win. He had an exciting 5 game playoff series against Anwil, but he definitely wasn´t bored off the court either. “The thing I’ll remember most is probably the GM stealing money from the team and us not getting paid for the last 5 months of the season. The Americans were also detained in Stamsted airport because the team didn’t get us our visas and tried to send us to the UK to “reset our 90 tourist visas.” This was also very memorable. All of the adversity we faced from such a poorly run organization would have made the season difficult, but our coach, Roberts Stelmahers, really fought for us and did an amazing job of bringing us together despite all of the issues off the court. The veterans on the team like Marcus Ginyard, Greg Surmacz, Anthony Goods, Mantas Cesnauskis, and Lukasz Seweryn really helped teach me what to expect when playing in Europe. I think this year I learned more about how to be a pro in Europe than any other year and I have these guys to thank for that. The series with Anwil was great because we had like 6 guys on the roster by that point in the season and coach Stelmahers just knew how to make it work”, remembered David Kravish.
He was able to make another step with his game in Poland which also helped him make the next step to a higher league as he played with Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League) playing 24 VTB United League games averaging 12.1ppg, Reb-3(7.5rpg), 1.3apg, Blocks-2(1.3bpg), FGP: 62.7%, FT: 82.8%; and 14 FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games averaging 10.3ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.6apg, Blocks-3(1.5bpg), FGP: 52.9%, FT: 61.5%. “My year in Minsk was my first year in one of the high level domestic leagues so it forced me to raise my level of play while giving me the opportunity to show that I can be successful at a high level”, said David Kravish He also has been fortunate to have played with high quality guys each season and one of those was ex Wake Forest great Justin Gray who was teammates with Chris Paul and carved a great career in Europe. “Justin was a great teammate to have, especially early in a career. He helped bring us along and to believe in the quality of players we had on the team at that time”, stressed David Kravish. He scored in double figures in 7 Fiba Europe Cup games and had 4 double doubles. His best games happened against the Bakken Bears where he had a 20/10 game in a 96-75 win and had 18 points and 14 rebounds in a 83-65 victory over Bnei Hertzeliya In the VTB, he scored in double figures in 14 games and had 5 double doubles. His best games were against Bnei Hertzeliya with 26 points and 12 boards in a 84-77 win and against N.Novgorod with 23 points in a 91-82 victory. In the 2018-2019 season, he switched teams, but remained in the high level league VTB to continue to polish his game. He played with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-VTB) playing 26 VTB games averaging 12.3ppg, Reb-1(7.9rpg), 1.2apg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 65.3%, FT: 78.2%; and played 13 FIBA Europe Cup averaging 10.2ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.0%, FT: 83.3%. He showed that his first season was no fluke in the VTB league. “That was my second year in the VTB, so I was more familiar with a lot of the players and styles of the different teams going into that season. The VTB is one of the strongest domestic leagues, so it was great to demonstrate that I can compete and succeed against high level opponents”, expressed David Kravish. In the Fiba Europe Cup, he scored in double figures in 5 games including scoring 26 points in a 129-91 pounding of BK Pardubice and scored 21 points in a 104-86 loss against Nes-Ziona. In the VTB he scored in double figures in 15 games and had 7 double doubles. He pounded Enisey with a 30/11 game in a 106-91 win and had 23 points in a 93-76 win over Parma. He played against top Euroleague team CSKA Moscow 4 times in his 2 year VTB career getting pounded twice and then losing two close games. He scored in double figures of three of the four games and will always remember his battles fondly especially against 4 time Euroleague winner Kyle Hines. “It was great to play against CSKA because, as you said, they are one of the top teams in Europe every year. I think it is important to treat every game the same, and not to worry about how this opponent is a Euroleague team or generally at the bottom of the table. Kyle Hines is a great player who has a great feel for the game on both sides and makes things very difficult for the opposing teams. It is very obvious why he’s played at the highest level basically his whole career”, said David Kravish. His game has also always been fortified where ever he has played with great guards and one of those was American Trae Golden. “Trae made it very easy for me because he is such a great player that he made teams pay if they worried too much about the roll, and if they stepped up to stop him then he was good at getting the ball to the open man in a spot to score. He is definitely one of the better guards in Europe, and I’m hoping he kills it in China this year”, warned David Kravish.
He was able to make a jump every season through very hard work which helped him put up consistent stats and rewarded him last season with playing in Europes top league ACB in Spain. He played with club BAXI Manresa playing21 ACB games averaging 12.1ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 55.6%, FT: 83.3%; and played 9 games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 59.1%, FT: 92.3%. He scored in double figures in 5 Basketball Champions League games including 19 points in a 76-70 win over Lietkabelis and 18 points in a 121-102 victory over Polski Cukier. In the ACB, he scored in double figures in 16 games and had 4 double doubles including a 20/11 game in a 85-67 win over Zaragoza and a 18/10 game in a 106-104 win over Joventut. He played against top European clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona losing each time, but held his own scoring in double figures each game. “I think my time with Manresa in the Spanish league helped make me a more well rounded player. The ACB is such a good league top to bottom that you see all different types of defenses and offensive styles which forces you to learn how to read each and find a way to attack it. As a big, I was helped a lot by our point guard Dani Perez who is one of the best and most creative passers I have ever played with”, stressed David Kravish.
He believes when all is said one day that Luka Doncic could be the greatest European to ever play in the NBA played his last game in the 19-20 season on March 7 scoring 13 points in a 84-74 loss against Real Betis. Then basketball was cancelled in most countries and he suddenly was home again a lot earlier than in previous years. Like for so many players around the globe, the COVID-19 time was a huge challenge as nothing was the same for anybody anymore. “I was in Manresa, Spain last year when the league stopped due to Covid. “Once I got home to Missouri in late April the gyms and everything were closed down. I was running outside and doing different forms of cardio to try to stay in shape while lifting whatever weights I could find. I got lucky and through a friend of a friend was able to work out on an indoor basketball court they had built in their backyard, but that wasn’t until June. It was very challenging for sure“, remembered David Kravish. Of the court, the American was able to affirm his huge faith in GOD to come to terms with all kinds of experiences that he met. “I think those experiences just remind me to trust in God even more, because life isn’t always going to go well, and things aren’t always going to be easy, but if we trust in Him we can find peace and joy in any circumstance(Phillipians 4:11-13: “Not that I speak [a]from need, for I have learned to be [b]content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things [c]through Him who strengthens me.”), added David Kravish.
Despite COVID-19 still being alive and very present, it hasn´t hindered the German easyCredit BBL from shutting down. David Kravish who lists Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lebron James, and Shaq on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore has found a new challenge in the EasyCredit BBL with Brose Bamberg. When you played in the ACB, it is difficult to get to a much better league except the Euroleague. The easyCredit BBL isn´t the ACB, but still considered a top 5 league in Europe. It wasn´t a difficult decision for him to pick Brose Bamberg as his new employer. “I was familiar with my coach from several summers ago, that was a contributing factor for me. Every year I hope to take a step up and progress my career, and Brose Bamberg is a very well respected club known for their success. I do enjoy learning the new cultures and seeing new places with my wife. There aren’t that many people who have the opportunity to see this much of the world and experience it like this, so it is truly a blessing. I’m really enjoying the season, but it definitely isn’t the same without having the fans there at the games”, stressed David Kravish. He has seen very much basketball in many different countries the last years that he feels confident the team will shine in the BBL and BCL. “We have had a slow start in the BBL, but I see us competing for a top spot in both leagues”, warned David Kravish. Bamberg has a very talented and deep roster with guys like American Devon Hall who has given a huge spark in the back court. “The addition of Devon was great for us. He gives us a strong offensive and defensive option with versatility at the guard positions. He also has an edge to him that helps drive the team”, warned David Kavish. Another player Like Kravish who is playing his first season in Germany is Chase Fieler who will be a huge impact player this season and also bring other great skills to the table. “Chase brings leadership and a good eye for the game. He makes a lot of reads and sees a lot options during play that lead to some easy baskets and stops for the team as a whole, not just himself”, commented David Kravish. He also has kept a close eye on young diminutive German point guard Bennt Hundt. He is one of the rare very short guards in the league that has a huge future ahead of him. “Bennett brings great energy for us on the court and on the sidelines. He is a little undersized, but he doesn’t back down from matchups or switches. He sticks his nose in there no matter what, and that is very important for the team”, added David Kravish.
It is no secret that the American who last watched “The Devil All the Time” with Tom Holland has a very fine offensive game that has proven over the years that he can fit into any league and any coaching system while at the same time being an impact player on the defensive end. He has proven that he belongs without a doubt to the best centers in the league currently averaging 14,5ppg, 8,3rpg, 2,4apg, 1,0spg and 1,4bs. While in the BCL he is averaging 13,3ppg, 5,5rpg, 2,0apg and 1,3bs. He also isn´t shy about naming a few greats that he has admired most over the years. “I’m not sure who my game best fits, but I always admired the way Dennis Rodman approached rebounding with such intensity and skill. I respect the way Tim Duncan was always level headed no matter who he was playing or what the situation was during the game”, warned David Kravish. A big strength of his on the defensive end is his special knack of blocking shots. He was already a menace in the NCAA, but it hasn´t changed in the pro ranks. He continues to swat away balls where ever he has played and just frustrates opponents offenses with his superb defensive game. “I’ve always had kind of a knack for shot blocking. I hold the record for most career blocks at the University of California. I think gaining experience in all of the different leagues helps to adapt my play so that I can be more effective defensively regardless of the opponent”, stressed David Kravish. He continues to be a very consistent player where ever he has played and thus far in Germany is playing very effective and has become a greater scorer than ever before in his career. But the famous basketball phrase defense wins titles is something that has stuck in his mind. He knows that he will always be able to score and haul down rebounds, but that won´t necessary guarantee a title. He isn´t getting any younger and knows exactly where he wants to continue to improve on as he continues to climb the basketball ladder to the top. “One of the things I’m trying to focus on is defense. Improving defensively not only helps my team to win, but will help me move up the ladder like you said”, warned David Kravish. Who knows who would win a one one tomorrow should he and Richard Solomon be reunited again on a court again. It surely would be an intense battle as both guys have improved and developed their games further. It would probably be a big challenge to duel Solomon again, but at the end of the day he would rather lose that battle then any match ups on defense in games, because it´s all about wining titles and not about satisfying your ego and being able to tell your buddies over a cold one you just won a one on one game.