Omari Knox (187-SG-86, college: Bloomfield) is a 34 year old 188cm guard from Brooklyn, New York that recently completed his 10th professional season and first with the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProB) playing 23 games averaging 9.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 89.7%. In the 2019-2020 season he played with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-ProB) averaging 15.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 87.5%. He has played his whole professional career in Germany including 2 years with OSB Hellenen Muenchen , one season with the RhenStars Cologne and 4 years with the TSV Dachau Spurs. He played 8 seasons in the Regionalliga and has belonged to the top guards in the league averaging over 20 points 5 times and twice averaged 27,0pp in a season. He began his basketball career at Bloomfield College (NCAA2) and as a senior averaged 18.8ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 40.1%, 3Pts: 40.1%, FT: 71.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 20-21 season.
Thanks Omari for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Thanks Miles!! I’m currently back home in Munich, enjoying the off-season and watching the NBA Playoffs. I took a few weeks off after the season ended. Slowly starting to get back in shape again now.
If you were to travel back home to the States now which eatery would you seek first?
I’m actually flying back home to the states in a few weeks so I have a bunch of places on the list. I think the first stop will be ‘Soul Food’ (Fried Chicken, Mac n Cheese, etc.)
Before we get to basketball, I have to ask you how you experienced a full season of COVID. What were the biggest challenges for you personally on and off the court?
I was very thankful to still be able to play during a Pandemic. However, this was a long season, mentally. I take my hat off to the league, and all of the teams and players who were able to get through it. Constantly hoping each week that everyone on both teams would test negative, so that you could play the game as scheduled and/or also didn’t have to go into quarantine. I think the toughest part was trying to get yourself back in top shape after having to break for 2 weeks mid-season. This happened multiple times throughout the season.
Obviously the fans were missing, but if you look deeper into the COVID issue how would describe this crazy and unpredictable season? Did it feel like a real basketball season?
It took a while to adjust to playing without fans. You literally could hear all the play calls and instructions for both teams. I think it helped our team to support each other more and make sure we always had energy on the bench. There were definitely times throughout the year when it didn’t feel like we were in season.
The Ebbecke White Wings had a solid season reaching the playoffs. How high can you rank the achievement of the team getting to the post season despite COVID?
This was a special season, that I won’t ever forget. There were many ups and downs. We had a bad start to the season, losing the first 5 games. We had several injuries, and 2 also quarantines. Through it all we not only managed to make the playoffs, but also advanced to the second round. I’m proud of everyone who was a part of this season.
You had a new head coach and didn’t begin the season well. Why was 2020 so tough for the club trying to find an identity on the court? Things got better in 2021 as you went 7-3 going into the playoffs. What improved from your stand point in how the team was performing on the court?
Coach did a good job of establishing our identity early on but the problem was that we were small under the basket missing Joe Eichler for the first few games and didn’t have Mike Acosta yet. We were able to compete with every team early on but would lose in the end because we got killed on the boards. In the second part of the season we had both Mike Acosta and Jo Eichler so we usually won the rebound battle and were able to put together a nice win streak.
What was missing in the playoffs to going farther? You couldn’t get by Bochum.
In the playoffs it was the same problem. We lost both Jo Eichler and Mike Acosta for the season so we were again very thin under the basket. Bochum was loaded with size as well as talent so we played them as tough as we could but didn’t manage to beat them.
What is your season summary for the 20-21 Hanau season? What was your fondest moment from the season?
We had a nice mix of veteran and young talented players who all sacrificed their personal goals for the team. Paired up with the motivated Coach Kamil Piechucki, we as a team took over the persona of the coach. Hungry and outworked most of our opponents even when they may have had more talent. There are so many huge wins that come to mind from this season. My fondest moment from this season has to be the playoff road win in Karlsruhe with the game-winner from Til Joenke.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing together with German Till Joscha-Joenke? He is also one of those guys way to good for the Pro B.
It was definitely a pleasure playing with Til. He’s a guy I know I can always go to war with. True competitor and leader.
Please describe how German sniper Felix Hecker is more than a three and D player?
Felix definitely made a huge step forward this season. With all of our injuries throughout the year, he was often forced to play more on the ball and make plays for others. I think he did a great job adjusting to the role.
One guy I really enjoyed watching was young German Justus Peuser. How did you see him grow during the season and how far could his journey go?
Justus is a really tough kid. I enjoyed his growth throughout the season. He embraced the starting point guard role. Like every other young player, he has his ups and downs but whenever he was challenged by coach or an opponent he played up to the challenge. He also works super hard and puts in extra work regularly. I think that will take him a long way. I’m excited for him to get the chance to play Division 1 college basketball in the USA this upcoming season.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro B with Hanau?
Montrael Scott or Lars Kamp
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 9.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 89.7%. Your stats were down from last season with the Tropics, but you played 13 games more. How was your role different this season?
This season with Hanau, I sacrificed a bit of my own personal scoring to allow the younger guys to develop. In the long run it helped the team to perform much better and made us more dangerous. Opposing teams now had more players that they had to focus on stopping, rather than focusing on just one or two guys.
How content were you with your season. Was it difficult not having that Regionalliga type of role anymore?
It took some getting used to, to adjust to not having the same role of carrying a team all alone. It was truly a learning experience. Things also change the higher the level is, in most cases. As I grow older, I expect that my role going forward on any other team will be not only to help with my scoring/play-making abilities, but also with my experience.
Your turning 35 this year. After your 10th season, how strong do you feel? You stated last season with all the Regionalliga season you saved more energy. What direction is your career going now?
This season with the White Wings was more of the same. I improved at realizing when the team needed me to focus more on other things, rather than my scoring. It also felt good to know that I can still take over a game with my scoring whenever it’s needed. After 10 seasons, I feel pretty good, even after having such a major injury over a year ago. I feel like I still have a few years left in me to play at a high level (whether Pro A or Pro B and I can help any team with what I bring to the table. I would say that I’m now in my Jamal Crawford/ Lou Williams years.
Many guys have debated Lebron vs Steph in the MVP debate this year. Who should be MVP?
Stephen Curry is my MVP
How good is Devin Booker. Where does he rank right now in today’s NBA? Is he only top 10 or top 7? Or is he even better?
Devin Booker is a huge talent. I think he’s just getting scratching the surface with what he can do as a player but still has a ways to go. I would say he’s Top 10.
How did you react when you heard Kwame Brown’s words referring to his career and how he was treated by Michael Jordan?
I actually wasn’t surprised. We all saw how competitive Michael Jordan was as a player, and also as a person, I wouldn’t expect him to be any different as a general manager.
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 in my opinion will go down as one of the best point guards of all time. Super-talented competitor who makes every team better wherever he’s played. I would have to rank Chris Paul lower than some of those who do already have rings (Isaiah Thomas for example) because he has played on championship caliber teams and never won one.
Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?
Jayson Tatum is one of my favorite players to watch at the moment. He’s a guy who has it all. I just hope that he somehow develops that Alpha mentality that Kobe and MJ had. Much easier said than done but attitude, work ethic, determination and pure will, separate many players. I wouldn’t say he’s a top 10 player yet. He still has plenty to prove. No disrespect to a guy like Paul George but those mental aspects of the game separate a Paul George from Lebron James and/or Kevin Durant. Tatum can go either way being a Paul George (who is really good) or, Lebron/KD level which is a once in a generation type of player.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
If we are talking Euroleague, then yes I completely agree! In Europe it’s different type of game and Westbrook’s game wouldn’t translate well in the long run.
Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?
Hahahaha no, I don’t agree with that. Really good defender though.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I enjoyed the sequel but definitely not better than the original. I guess it’s good for the new generation but they would have to watch both of course.
Thanks Omari for the chat.