Ishmail Wainright (196-G/F-94, college: Baylor) is a 25 year old 196cm forward from Kansas City, Missouri that is playing his third professional season in France with SIG Strasburg currently having helped the team reach the Final 8 in the Basketball Champions League. Currently in the Pro A he is averaging 11,7ppg, 4,1rpg, 2,4apg and 1,9spg and in the Basketball Champions League is averaging 9,6ppg, 4,1rpg, 2,2apg and 1,3spg.He completed his second professional season and first with Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL) last season averaging 10,4ppg, 5,8rpg, 2,5apg and 1,8spg in the BBL this season and 10,7ppg, 5,8rpg, 3,8apg and 1,9spg in the BCL. He played his rookie season with the Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA) averaging 12,1ppg, 7,3rpg and 2,8apg. He began his basketball career at Montrose Christian School and then played 131 NCAA games at Baylor (NCAA) from 2013-2017 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 5.5ppg, 5.1rpg, 3.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 68.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about the special magic of Baylor basketball.
Ishmail thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Basketball is going great. I can’t complain to be honest. Well only about the fans not being able to attend games and not being able to bring family over also is just about it. But all and all, we are winning and having fun doing just that.
Your playing your third professional season and first in France with SIG Strasburg. The EasyCredit BBL is a top league in Europe but so is the France Pro A. With the experiences you have had how would you compare the Pro A to the German BBL? Which league is top from top to bottom with teams, and players.
Both leagues are amazing. I couldn’t really tell you which is better top to bottom because each team is solid in each league. You can lose to anyone. I believe Germany has more EuroLeague teams so some may say Germany but France has more team competing in many International competitions. So it’s tough to say in a way.
SIG Strasburg is playing a top season in the Pro A and fighting to reach the Basketball Champions League Final 8. How good are the chances of the team to win a title this season?
That’s the main goal is to bring titles back to France. And if we keep doing what’s needed to be done and play great basketball it’s highly possible.
SIG Strasburg are like the Buffalo Bills in that they have reached 5 finals since 2013 in the Pro A but never won. Do you feel this sense of urgency with the club to win it all?
hahaha Buffalo Bills. There always is going be a sense or urgency because of this whole season you know. Covid. Teams. Etc. so for sure there a sense of urgency.
Let’s talk about your alma mata Baylor. They won the 2021 NCAA title. How do you feel the day after the win?
SICEM BEARS !!! IM A NATIONAL CHAMPION!!!! THATS HOW I FEEL BABY !!! LEEETTTSSSS GOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!! WE DID IT !!!!!!!
Playing overseas is always a problem when you want to catch NBA and NCAA games. Did your schedule permit you to stay up and watch history being made?
I wasn’t going miss it no matter what !
You reached two NCAA Sweet 16’s with Baylor. The 2017 run was your favorite only because nobody thought that Baylor could accomplish anything that year. If someone had told you in 2017 that Baylor would be crowned NCAA champions in 2021 what would you have thought?
Yes. I knew it was going happen. I told them it was going happen sooner than people thought. I have screenshots of me saying such things. Tweets and all.
Baylor has had 13 NCAA tournament appearances, 6 Elite 8’appearances and 5 Sweet 16’s. They also hadn’t been in a NCAA final game since 73 years. What does this title mean to the school and to you personally?
It was a lot of blood , sweat, and tears. That title game wasn’t just about this year’s team , that was for the past players also. The guys that started it all. Looking back and seeing what Coach Drew did for the University.
Baylor had a simple game plan. Make some shots. If you miss get the rebounds and then make some more shots. Can basketball sometimes be that simple?
Basketball can be very simple. But it’s the mindset to make it that simple in a way. You have to be disciplined !
Baylor made 11 of their first 20 shots including six three’s and led by 19 points at the break. They had a double digit lead for 34 of the 40 minutes. How vital do you believe was the mentality of the Baylor team for being able to play this well against the heavy favorite and unbeaten Gonzaga team?
Culture of JOY. SIMPLE !
How key was it for Baylor players Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba and Mark Vital limiting Drew Timme to 12 points?. The star Jalen Suggs had 22 points, but Gonzaga didn’t have scoring support behind him.
I feel like they haven’t played against a team like Baylor the whole year and so coming into the game, they knew they had to do something and really couldn’t.
Gonzaga has made big strides since 2015 making 5 NCAA Elite 8 appearances and two NCAA finals in 2021 and 2017. Could another final loss hurt their overall confidence to win the big one or do you feel like they will be due in 2022? Many are already picking them to win it next year?
I‘m going with Baylor every year until I become a college coach. Hahaha !!
Was the rebounding stat 0f 38-22 rebounds and 16 offensive rebounds one of the biggest keys for the win?
I’m sure rebounding was a must due to our rotation. Mark Vital took care of that part and I’m proud of him.
Davion Mitchell is seen as a #1 Draft pick and Jared Butler as a possible second round pick. How have you followed their careers and how do you seem them doing in the NBA?
-They both played their way into the first round. Davion will be an amazing defender and Jared will be a scorer but also a great distributor.
Where do you see the journey of Macio Teague going? He seemed a bit in the shadow of Butler and Mitchell. Could he make the NBA and do you see his game being suited to becoming a impact player overseas?
Macio is tough ! A scorer and a Hustler. He will do what you need him to do. And he showed that these past two years.
In our interview you stated this about your ex head coach at Baylor Scott Drew. ‘He treated us like professionals since day one. Talked to us like one. Worked us like one. He used to tell us, ‘ You guys want to be professionals someday, you have to walk, talk, eat, work, and take care of your bodies like professionals do!’ How proud are you of your ex coach and how has he continued to develop since your time there?
Hall of Fame coach for sure. I’m extremely proud of him and not just him but the staff around him. Coach Tang, AB, Nu , Patterson, AD, And even the last coaches. They’ve stepped it up another level and will continue to do.
How do you see the future of Baylor (NCAA) basketball. Two guys seem to be heading to the NBA and Macio Teague and Mark Vital are also done as seniors.
Very very bright. We want to be a blue blood like Jared said. We want to have the recognition as one of the best schools in the country which we’ve proved to be just that.
Have you see the new Coming to America 2? The reviews have been mixed. Shouldn’t they just have left it untouched?
Haha yes I’ve seen it and I think it was alright. Maybe should’ve left it alone but it was worth the try. I’m taking the original one.
Thanks Ishmail for the chat.