The Miles Basketball Minute With Rasid Mahalbasic(EWE Baskets): Rickey Paulding Is Mentally At A Higher Level Than Last Season

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Rickey Paulding after the 2015 cup win in Oldenburg

Thanks Rasid for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the big 101-71 win against Rasta Vechta. It seemed like the EWE Baskets put on the extra turbo so it wouldn´t be as close as the first meeting where you won 82-80. We had more the focus today to play better than in the first game. After their win over ratiopharm Ulm, we knew that we had to be careful. They have had injury problems this season, but I think that they will still surprise some teams this season. They will do all they can to remain in the BBL

We have shown this season that our offense works well in most games. When we are playing at home and the ball is moving well, then we have many options to score the ball. We have so many weapons. A Paulding that never stops, a Hornsby who is a great shooter, A Pressy who can always shift up a few gears at any time, and a Hobbs who has a lot of experience. Schwethelm also has a lot of experience and we also have Nathan Boothe who is injured, but a 40% three point shooter.

You guys took off right from the jump ball scoring 63 points in the first half. The EWE Baskets are an explosive team and hit Wurzburg for 124 points, but how impressive was the offense in this first half?

We have shown this season that our offense works well in most games. When we are playing at home and the ball is moving well, then we have many options to score the ball. We have so many weapons. A Paulding that never stops, a Hornsby who is a great shooter, A Pressy who can always shift up a few gears at any time, and a Hobbs who has a lot of experience. Schwethelm also has a lot of experience and we also have Nathan Boothe who is injured, but a 40% three point shooter.

It was very impressive that the EWE Baskets didn’t let up in the second half and continued to defend at a consistent rate. What was the biggest strength on this night on the defensive end?

We showed in the last weeks good pick and roll defense against Munich, Ludwigsburg and Alba Berlin. It was no different tonight showing it against a weaker team.

Ricky Paulding had a superb game netting 24 points. This guy just doesn’t slow down. What do you appreciate most about his game?

He was very good in certain situations tonight. Near the end of the game, Schwethelm came out and coach put in Rickey in for two minutes. He made two shots. One could see his special confidence. He is in a phase now where his body is like 25 and mentally is more dominant than anybody on the court. He has been beating 20 year old players one on one all season long. His body is slowing down, but mentally he is always getting stronger. Mentally he is at a higher level now than last season.

Braydon Hobbs has been playing his best basketball in the last month. What has been key for him having more consistency now?

What many don’t know is that he had food poisoning during the Munich game. He had had a difficult night leading up to the game. He has so much experience and knows how to slow down the game. He likes bringing calmness to the game. He can hit shots from deep and at 2 meters has an easier time finding the open guy. He doesn’t need to play 30 minutes. What guys do in 30 minutes, he can do in 15 minutes.

Another guy that has had a great season and continues to be very consistent is Keith Hornsby. Would it be fair to say that he is a type of glue guy on the team?

Yes he is a type of glue guy. He is a guy that gives his all even in the tough situations. It doesn’t matter if he is playing in the first three minutes or last three minutes, he always gives his all. He is a very agile player that makes the clutch shots.

Hornsby must make your job in the post a lot more enjoyable when your in the post and can use your fine passing skills.

Yes. He is a dream for every assist guy. I believe that he is better at making the hard shots than the easy shots. He also has the ability to make shots off the sprint at a consistent rate.

Did you have to tell some of the younger players who Keith Hornsby’s dad is since they probably don’t know his music?

I don’t know. I’m only 30. I heard that his father is a singer. I don’t think it really interests anyone on the team. I think that his music isn’t as good as his basketball. I could ask him to sing for us.

You had a solid game netting 17 points and getting 10 rebounds. Your minutes have dropped from previous years. How much of a challenge is it bringing your versatile game and being efficient in less minutes.

It always depends how the game opens. There are always tactical instructions that we follow. Tonight we had to start to go inside with the option to kick out. I had problems at the start with less minutes, but now have gotten used to it. I’m very focused now with Corona and no fans to be able to do something in less minutes. Stats are unimportant. The big picture is getting home court and going far in the playoffs.

The standings are very tight as you are fighting for home court in the playoffs. The next 4 games are games that the EWE Baskets should win. How is the team mentality now and how confident are you that the team will close out the season well?

We next play Chemnitz. We can’t underestimate them, because they beat Munich. I think that we will have an advantage, because they have a very tight schedule due to Corona and play something like two games a week. We are the favorite. We beat them easily the first time. A loss would be a sensation and a win a normal thing. We have more to lose than to gain.

It seems like all eyes are on Crailsheim, Ludwigsburg, FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin. Do you feel like this puts less pressure on the EWE Baskets to just play their game and be successful?

No. I think that you experience only as much pressure as you put on yourself. We had a tough start losing early in the cup, but then we found ourself and have been effective. Sometimes it is better to attack from the second row. There is more pressure on Ludwigsburg to defend first place than it is for us to defend fourth place.

Why has it been so difficult for teams to figure out the MHP Riesen? They continue to be successful and have an even better team than last year?

Key for them was getting three experienced BBL players with Bartolo, Hulls and Wolfarth-Bottermann. Jaleen Smith is an allrounder and Jamel Mclean an ex BBL MVP. They have proven that they are for real. After their final run last season have stayed consistent and are in first place. John Patrick has done a great job, but they aren’t unbeatable. In the playoffs, you need to be consistent. We will see where they go. In the playoffs, the regular season doesn’t count. Everyone begins at 0.

Did you see Coming To America 2? Should they just have left it with the original and not made this average sequel?

I haven’t seen the new one. I was a Eddie murphy fan when I was younger and I thought that he was very funny especially in Beverly Hills Cop. But then slowly his movies got worse. Ever since Haunted House, I don’t watch his movies anymore. But I may watch Coming To America 2 after this interview.

Thanks Rasid for the chat.

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