Ben Marello (198-F-95, college: FSC) is a 24 year old 198cm forward from Daytona Beach, Florida that is playing his third professional season and first in Germany with SG Luetzel-Post Koblenz (Germany-ProB). Last season he played with Raisan Pas Pielagos (Spain-EBA) playing 13 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 64.0%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 79.5%. As a rookie he played with Belfast Star (Ireland-Super League) playing 6 games averaging 21.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.5apg, 2.3spg, 2FGP: 58.6%, 3FGP: 40.0%, FT: 87.1%, in Jan.’20 moved to SKN St. Poelten Basketball (Austria-BSL) playing 6 games averaging 13.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 46.4%, FT: 54.5%. He began his college career with Henderson State University (NCAA2) in 2015 averaging 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 62.7% and in his second season averaged 12.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 71.4%. He then finished at Florida Southern College (NCAA2) averaging 9.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 63.5% as a junior and averaged 9.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 71.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Hi Ben, thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I am currently home in Florida and basketball training has been coming along well.
Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about how you experienced COVID last season in Spain. What was the most challenging thing you witnessed on and off the court and still allowed you to play the season?
The most challenging thing would probably have to be all of uncertainty. You never know if you would actually play that week because of Covid.
With everything that you saw during COVID off the court how do you feel did everything make you stronger as a man?
The covid year definitely made me a stronger person overall.
Congrats on signing with German pro B team EPG Baskets Koblenz. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball?
I’ve heard that the country is beautiful and I know that the basketball is played at a very high level.
How did you experience the talks with new head coach Mario Dugundzic? What impressed you most in the first talks?
He seems like a very genuine guy. He seems very positive about the club and it gives me confidence going forward.
What were the main reasons for signing with this very ambitious German pro B team? Was there the feeling that playing for this club could help your game develop further and did ex teammate Kelvin Lewis give you tips on Germany?
I had actually just spoken with Kelvin about my decision the day before I signed. He agreed that playing in Koblenz could help me get to the next level with enough hard work.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 198cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
I’d say I play like Paul Pierce or maybe Dirk Nowitzki
You were a solid scorer in school, but really heightened your scoring as a professional in Ireland and Spain. Did this happen only because of a bigger role change or did something improve with your scoring abilities?
I think my confidence took a big leap and I was forced into a scoring role which helped me become the player I am now.
You can really score the ball and rebound well, but what other strengths does your game incorporate?
I think I have very good hands defensively and I am a decent shot blocker.
You also seem to be a very ambitious defender. Do you see yourself not only making an impact on the offensive end, but also more on the defensive end as you continue to climb the basketball ladder?
I want to continue to grow at both ends of the court as I go forward each year.
Your three point shooting still seems to be a work in progress. How confident are you that this could become more of a weapon over time?
I have a ton of confidence in my shot and mechanics. I’ll continue to work and I know it will pay off.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most now to continue to improve as a player?
I’ve been really trying to gain muscle and become a more physically dominant player.
Last season you played with Raisan Pas Pielagos (Spain-EBA) playing 13 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 64.0%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 79.5%. How do you feel did your game blossom here and grow in your second professional season?
It taught me patience and I learned how to become more well rounded player
As a rookie you started with Belfast Star (Ireland-Super League) playing 6 games averaging 21.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.5apg, 2.3spg, 2FGP: 58.6%, 3FGP: 40.0%, FT: 87.1%. How much was it a wake up call coming from warm and sunny Florida to rainy Ireland?
It was definitely an adjustment but the people were so kind that it made up for the bad weather.
You finished the season with St. Poelten Basketball (Austria-BSL,) playing 6 games averaging 13.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 46.4%, FT: 54.5%. How important was this experience. How vital was pure scorer Kelvin Lewis for your play there?
His ability to score really spaced the floor for me and he did a great job of finding me at the perfect times.
The Austrian league is a good league and higher than the German Pro B. Do you feel pressure to have to come in right away and make not an impact, but a huge impact in the Pro B?
No I don’t feel any pressure. I just go out there and do what I know how to do.
You began your NCAA 2 career at Henderson State University (NCAA2) playing 50 games. You improved your stats dramatically in your second year. What kind of an experience was it playing there and why did you go after two years?
I’m grateful for my 2 years at Henderson State and I learned a lot. I wanted to be closer to my family my last 2 years of school so I made the transfer.
You had many fine games at Henderson State, but was your 21 points in your last game a good way of closing out your stay there despite the loss?
I would say it was a good way to go out. We lost but I gave the team everything I had left in me.
You then finished at Florida Southern College (NCAA2) playing 2 seasons. How enjoyable was it closing out your NCAA 2 career wining the SSC title? What memories do you have from that run?
It was an unreal experience winning the title. I have unlimited memories of just being around the players and staff that make me smile to this day.
How did head coach Mike Donnelly groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He helped me understand the game even more. His style of coaching helped me open my eyes to different styles and paces that have definitely helped me become a more balanced player.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Slinky Jones?
We have had our fair share of wins vs each other
Who was the best player that you have ever faced in your life on a court anywhere that reached the NBA?
I’d have to say Grayson Allen was probably the best. He was so dominant in high school.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Kelvin Lewis, Matt Panaggio, Jacob Schner, Aaron Cooper, Kevin Marfo
Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain
What is your personal opinion of the non stop debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
LeBron James is the greatest player of all time. He’s so well rounded
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Ben for the chat.