COVID Hasn´t Been Annoying For Virgil Matthews(Niners Chemnitz) But More Sad Without The Fans

Virgil Matthews (191-PG-83, college: Montana)s a 37 year old 188cm guard from Federal Way, Washington that is playing his 14th professional season and sixth with the Niners Chemnitz. Last season he helped lead them to the easyCredit BBL playing 27 games averaging 7.1ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP-2 (73.2%), 3PT-3 (46.2%), FT: 77.1%. In 2018-2019 he averaged 7,4ppg,39rpg and 6,1apg. Four seasons ago he played with the Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA) playing 24 games averaging 8.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 71.4%. Five seasons ago he almost led Chemnitz (Germany-ProA) into the BBL playing 40 games averaging 9.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 86.7% He played at Montana (NCAA) and in his senior year played 31 games averaging 10.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 4.0apg, 1.7spg, FG: 49.8%, 3PT: 48.4%, FT: 76.1%. In 2006-2007, he turned professional and came to Germany and played for KICKZ Muenchen Basket (Germany-2.Bundesliga) playing 29 games averaging 18.0ppg, 6.1rpg, 5.2apg, 2.6spg, 2FGP: 57.3%, 3FGP: 31.8%, FT: 66.5%. In 2007-2008, he played for Tacoma Jazz (IBL). In 2008-2009, he returned back to Germany and played for Schwelmer Baskets (Germany-Regionalliga). In 2009-2010, he played for Olympia Reign (IBL) playing 28 games averaging 23.1ppg, 7.2rpg and for Seattle Aviators (NABL).In 2010-2011, he played his first season for Erdgas Ehingen playing 32 games averaging 11.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 71.3%. He would play until 2014 with Ehingen playing 126 games with three seasons in the Pro A and one in the Pro B. He spoke to after the tough 85-70 loss against ratiopharm Ulm.

Virgil Matthews, Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Terrell Harris in the Fraport arena in 2021

Virgil thanks for talking A tough 85-70 loss at home against ratiopharm Ulm. The club was shorthanded. A few months ago it wasn’t any different. How annoying has this season been for you concerning the whole COVID issue?

It is what it is. I don’t think it has been annoying, but more sad. The fans are so important for the team and not having them has been tough for them and us. In a way having so many guys out was also our fault. We had to suffer the consequences.

How tough was playing with in 48 hours and then being severely undermanned? How much did this game effect the body?

We didn’t do too much yesterday. Just some of our normal recovery. I heard some guys talking about their bodies. We had some guys playing big minutes. But we couldn’t take fatigue as an excuse. I felt like we fought harder than on Friday.

Despite being undermanned the Niners came out on fire scoring 27 points. What was key for the offense beginning so well and what adjustment did Ulm make in the second quarter?

We came out and surprised them playing zone. Malte Ziegenhagen and Marcus Thornton hit many big shots. We did a good job moving the ball and taking good shots. We missed more shots in the second quarter. Ulm is a tough team that played Eurocup and have good players. They slowed us down on offense.

What did head coach Rodrigo Pastore tell the team to do better in the third quarter?

He told us to keep fighting and playing hard and see where we end up.

Ratiopharm Ulm exploded for 31 points in the third quarter. How annoying was the duo of Troy Caupain and Thomas Plepeisz who combined to score the first 9 points of the second half?

Both players are tough. Caupain has been tough all season and is one of the best players in the BBL. He is a talker and was talking from the start. If your going to talk, you have to back it up and he did.

The NIners scored only 26 points in the second half. Was it more the Ulm defense that effected your play or was the team just pooped?

Ulm made adjustments on the defensive end. They trapped and sped us up and got us out of our rhythm. We didn’t have our flow from the first half. We couldn’t find Marcus Thornton anymore.

This season you have battled against ex NBA players on a regular basis. What made it most difficult to stop Troy Caupain?

He is a very solid player that plays many minutes. He is a strong guy that needs the ball and finishes with contact. He doesn’t really do anything extraordinary, but is a player that can do a bit of everything. Those are usually the toughest players to guard.

How much was Terrell Harris missed? Isn’t he a good candidate for season MVP of the team?

Yes for sure. He is our glue guy. He always keeps us together and in a good mood. He can explode at anytime. Usually when he plays well we win.

Were the 10 team offensive rebounds and 20 points of German Malte Ziegenhagen 2 of the real bright spots?

It is always a good thing when Malte has a good game. But I think our brightest spot was having 16 year old Brenden Gregori get in the game and score. He is always working very hard in practice and we wanted him to get in the game. He is a good kid.

Your playing 14 minutes this season compared to 19 minutes last season. How do you feel has the club profited most from your game?

Reading the pick and roll. Each guy can do something well. I also help make sure guys are in the right spot and know when to call the right plays on the court.

Coming from the Pro A to the easyCredit BBL, what has been the biggest adjustment for you?

Just the speed. The teams and players at the BBL level are so smart that they don’t need much time to recover from mistakes. At the Pro A level you can expose players a lot easier. In the BBL every player can play.

You are an unbelievable unselfish player and like to pass the ball as does scorer Marcus Thornton. How do you believe have you both profited from each other this season?

Marcus doesn’t need me. I’m better for him for things off the court. He is so special. I help relive him from being on the ball and just let him be a scorer. That is what he does best

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

Chris Paul is up there. You don’t need a ring to be considered one of the best. He is up there with his longevity and having always played for winning teams. He won’t pass Magic Johnson, but he is top 5.

How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points this season and recently 60. Where will his journey go as a player in the next years?

He is very special. He is a different version of Kevin Durant. He is close to top 5. Once he rounds out his game more besides just scoring, he will be able to show more. The Celtics are too inconsistent. Once they win more, his game will show more.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

No I disagree. It would be different for him in Europe. He isn’t a dumb player, but so dynamic and athletic. Once he adapts to the game and reads in Europe, he would be ok. The guy is so underappreciated.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

I don’t know. That is tough. He is a versatile defender in this new age NBA. He has a right to say that. But there have been many great defenders like Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone. He defiantly gets to be mentioned in the conversation. He is up there.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I think the movie was made so kids could see the fun their parents had. The sequel is more child happy, but it’s still pretty funny. The sequel had it’s own special style.

Thanks Virgil for the chat.

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