Tucker Haymond(SLUNETA Usti nad Labem) Continues To Live The Nomadic Basketball Life And Would Sleep On the Floor Again If He Had To

Tucker Haymond has been in Europe two and a half years and has rapidly developed into a real basketball globetrotter having played in Cyprus and Germany for five teams and recently added a sixth team and new country to his ever growing basketball resume with SLUNETA Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic. He reached his low point in November 2019 as he left AEL Limassol (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) after only a brief stay playing three games, because he wasn´t getting paid. He went back to Cologne, Germany to wait for the next opportunity. To save money, he and his wife objected to staying in a hotel, but rather opted to stay at a friends house, but had to sleep on the floor for weeks. He finally finished the season with German Pro A team Schalke and then found a new challenge for the 2020-2021 season with Pro B team SC Rist Wedel, while also getting the luxury of being able to play easyCredit games for the Hamburg Towers who have a cooperation with SC Rist Wedel. All in all it was a very good opportunity for him as he had skyrocketing stats in the Pro B and even made his debut in the easyCredit BBL. But then in February his Hamburg gig came to a surprising halt as he decided to attempt a new challenge joining SLUNETA Usti nad Labem. After playing his first two professional seasons for one team, he followed his third professional season and made a second move in the season. The Washington native has experienced a lot in the last year and a half not to forget COVID-19 that unwelcomely interrupted everyone´s life. The guy is so hungry to keep moving up the basketball ladder that even now having found new opportunities in the last 12 months, he is more than content of doing almost anything to get up to the next level and just keep growing as a player even if it means sleeping on the floor again. “I have really been to a lot of places in the last little bit. But it’s been such a fun experience. I think at this point I really don’t have too many expectations, if that was only thing available I’d make the sacrifice to keep taking my career further in the right direction”, warned Tucker Haymond. The ex Western Michigan(NCAA) guard is always so positive and a smile on his face, that you would never have thought that he has been through so much basketball drama in the last year and a half. It seems like he is totally destined for the basketball nomadic life. “I think what I have learned to enjoy most is being able to experience new places, things, and new people. I’ve been able to have some great teammates in such a short time and made some new memories with the places I’ve seen. I know that eventually this will all come to an end, and I’ll be able to have great memories and have lived in some places that a lot of people take vacations to”, smiled Tucker Haymond.

                The ex  Austin Spurs (NBA G-League) guard began the season in the Pro B with SC Rist Wedel and soon after was promoted to be able to play additionally for the Hamburg Towers. He didn´t have the most luck wining games with Wedel as the team was 3-8 with him on board, but there is always something to gain with every experience you have. “I gained a lot of patience and understanding from a young team, we had a lot of injuries so I knew going in it was going to be a challenge. But I really enjoyed teaching and helping some of the young players. They really have bright futures and I look forward to seeing the careers shape of a lot of the youngsters from Hamburg”, stressed Tucker Haymond. The American first turned basketball heads in his first season with the RheinStars where he averaged 22.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 80.7% in 31 minutes of time per game. With SC Rist Wedel he was able to up his scoring to 24,9ppg, 6,3rpg, 2,8apg and 1,5spg. Plus he shot at 40% from downtown while playing 2 minutes less than in Cologne. “To be honest I felt I grew a lot because I was able to play my game within the system. My goal was to try and win games, be efficient, and play the game the right way on both ends of the floor”, stated Tucker Haymond. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Tucker Haymond in Frankfurt in 2018

                With his stellar lightening play in the Pro B with SC Rist Wedel, he was then promoted to be able not only to train with the easyCredit BBL team Hamburg Towers, but also get inserted into games. He made his easyCredit BBL debut on December 13th, 2020 witnessing a tough 73-69 loss to ratiopharm Ulm playing 4 minutes. That first experience in the easyCredit BBL is something that he will never forget and took it all in stride in that he wasn´t able to play more games with them. “I wasn’t disappointed at all, I was just thankful for the opportunity. It showed me a high level of play and preparation that now is my goal to get back to. I knew going into it I was owed nothing and promised nothing. Sure, COVID-19 made things harder, but it also made me have to work harder for everything. I’m thankful for all the opportunities and my time in Hamburg. It’s sparked a flame in me to get back to the BBL full time”, warned Tucker Haymond. He was very fortunate to have one of the top coaches in Germany as a teacher with Pedro Calles and it was obvious that he would soak up as much as possible from him in his time there. “The most important thing I learned from him was the attention to detail. If something isn’t done right, the drill is done over and over again. Sure, maybe as a player it’s not fun. But at the end of the day, when you continue to build habits of doing things the right way, you get better. And I definitely got better in my time there”, stated Tucker Haymond.  He also had great teammates in Hamburg like BBL veteran Bryce Taylor, but he also had other guys that he will never forget. “TJ Shorts let me live with him for a about a week when my wife came to town and she had to quarantine. It was nice to get to know him and we also have a friend in common, his college teammate, my friend I grew up with”added Tucker Haymond.

                The American who last saw the movie El Camino Breaking Bad has began a new challenge in the Czech Republic with professional club SLUNETA Usti nad Labem that play in the NBL league. They arrived in the NBL league in 2012 and had their best season last season finishing in 4th place in the standings. They have had talented Americans in the past including 2020 Basketball Champions League winner Thad McFadden who played with them early in his career and has developed into a top guard in Europe. Some may have wondered why Haymond  would leave a golden situation with the Hamburg Towers and move to a lower league, but for him it´s all about continuing to grow as a player while seeing a new style of play. “There was no specific reasons other than trying to further my career. I really enjoyed my time with Wedel and the Towers and learned a bunch ! I had some great times with both teams, players and coaches. Although with talking to my agent we thought that this opportunity to take on a big role in a first division team would be a great move for my career. I was thankful that my GM and coach with Wedel were supportive in this opportunity given the cancellation of play downs. They really wanted what was best for me and I’m thankful for that”, said Tucker Haymond. The Washington native has seen so much in his short time in Europe and really has only one goal with his new club. “I have no expectations, I just have goals of trying to help the team make the playoffs. We are 1 game out of a playoff seed and I really want to play in a European post season. I haven’t played in the playoffs since my time with the Spurs”, expressed Tucker Haymond. He is most known for being an explosive and lethal offensive player, but he wants to show another side of his game in the Czech Republic. “I hope I can bring my defensive mentality that the Wedel and Towers teams instilled in me. My role will be to just do whatever the team needs me to do to win. Like I said, I want to make the playoffs”, warned Tucker Haymond.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Tucker Haymond in Rhondorf in 2018

                The American has been blessed to have seen so much beauty in his brief careerso far  in Europe. In Cologne he could run or bike along the famous Rheine river for miles and miles or just look up at the famous breathtaking cathedral. In Cyprus he was able to enjoy the warm weather and ocean and see a new type of culture while in Schalke, he saw the slow demise of the well known football club Schalke. He was in for a real treat in Wedel in that he lived along the beautiful Elbe river and in Hamburg he could witness history and water with the pretty Alster lake and famous harbor. Hamburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, but unfortunately COVID-19 detoured his ability to really experience the beauty of Hamburg. “Everything was closed so the only place to kind of go or chill was home”, said Tucker Haymond. Now he calls Usti nad Labem his home. It has 93,000 people living there which is a lot bigger than Wedel, but tiny in comparison to Hamburg which has 1,8 million people. But like in Hamburg, he hasn´t been able to explore yet, because COVID-19 has hit the Czech Republic hard which has kept him away from getting to know his new home better. “My impression is it’s a nice small city, to be honest I haven’t seen much because I’ve been pretty busy getting settled in, but it’s nice that I live right next to the gym, so I can walk there any time to use the facility”, added Tucker Haymond. His first order of business is to help his new team reach the playoffs. What happens next season is still as far away as it is for the Boston Celtics to get out of their momentary rut. But one thing is for sure, if one were to read Tucker Haymond´s mind, one could surely pick up some thoughts about Germany. He has played for 6 organizations in Europe and four have been German teams. It is no secret that he has a lot of space for Germany in his heart. “I think I’ll be back to Germany one day. I love Germany, it’s almost become my second home. I’d love to return and play for a team that wants me. My wife and I really enjoyed our years there”, stressed Tucker Haymond. Even if it means sleeping on the floor again, he wouldn´t hesitate to do it, because he will do anything to get that new job. But he has built up such a good network of friends in Germany in the last two years that now he will find at least someone that has a guest room and bed. I´m sure that Stephan Baeck and Marvin Willoughby would always have a guest bed for him.

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