I have always been a basketball workaholic when it comes to interviewing professional players and writing articles, but when I suddenly learned that I had been struck with Cancer in November 2020, I needed basketball even more to help let me escape my dreaded worries and just keep me busy in the hospital after my first surgery all the way through two more surgeries, 6 Chemotherapies and seven months of hell. I worked harder during Cancer then I had before it and it started as I cranked out articles in November 2020 on ex German Pro A player Orlando Parker, ex Hakro Merlins players Haywood Highsmith and Trae Bell-Haynes and Stanley Whittaker (183-G-94, college: Keiser) who was playing in Austria at the time and tearing up the Austrian league together with another American guard named Richaud Pack. Whittaker was a guy like so many overseas that had to pay his dues for years and was a guy with a huge chip on his shoulder. He never played NCAA ball, but instead had to play in the always brutal JUCO league where absolutely every player has something to prove and then moved up one division to the fourth called NAIA. At Keiser he was very fortunate to play for the legendary coach Rollie Massimino. After a non spectacular rookie season in Lithuania where he only averaged 9.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 36.4%, 3FGP: 22.2%, FT: 66.7%, he took on a new challenge in Austria playing for UBSC Raiffeisen Graz. Every so often I check other leagues in Europe and was impressed right away with his amazing rise in his game. He finished his second professional season putting up Russell Westbrook stats averaging (21.5ppg), 6.3rpg, Assists-2 (8.0apg), Steals-1 (2.6spg), FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 78.4%. I remember reaching out to him and writing an article called ‘Keeping A Promise For Rollie Massimino Delayed Stanley Whittaker‘s Professional Career But It Was All Worth It’. I remember hoping that his stellar play in Austria would help give him new opportunities and I always believed his game would be suited perfectly for the German Pro A. 9 months later he is playing his third professional season in Germany with Pro A club PS Karlsruhe. Obviously his incredible season in Austria helped him get the contract in Germany, but I would also hope that my article in November 2020 about his dominance in Austria raised some eyebrows of teams in Germany. ‘Yes I believe the article you did on me helped open some eyes of the teams here in Germany. I’m very appreciative for that as well’, stressed Stanley Whittaker. His outstanding season in Austria definitely changed his basketball life. ‘The season I had last season in Austria, playing for UBSC Graz helped open doors and opportunities for me this season currently. So from a opportunity perspective, it helped me continue to my professional basketball career, which I’m grateful for. And pray I can continue to further my career as a professional’, stated Stanley Whittaker.
Before being able to make a new step in Germany with PS Karlsruhe, the American who currently lists 2021 NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist Jrue Holiday where he is seen as underrated by fans, but is the real deal among hoopsters and a top 8 best point guard in the NBA had to make history and beautiful memories in Austria with UBSC Raiffeisen Graz. He was unable to bring a title home to Graz as they lost a tough four game series to Gmunden where he believed could have had better chances of pulling it out. ‘That series was tough, I missed the last 4 games prior to the playoff series against Gmunden. First 2 games of the series were really close, I felt we let those two get away. But credit to Gmunden, they were well coached and very experienced as well’, remembered Stanley Whittaker. Not every player had so much luck during COVID the way the ex Keiser University (NAIA) guard had. There were many players that sat out the season, othrsr got sick, while others had poor seasons. He was blessed in that his team made the playoffs and he belonged to the top 2 players in the league. A secret to his success was simply that he had nothing else to do but concentrate on basketball even if having COVID around didn’t make anything easier. ‘The most challenging thing for me was just Covid itself honestly, really to having little to no social life because I didn’t want to contract the virus or put myself at risk. So that was the most challenging thing for me, just very strict and routine days. But in ways it helped as well, because I was just able to stay inside, study film which plays a big part in my preparation’, said Stanley Whittaker.
The Philadelphia native who remembers rival Richaud Pack, Qunicy Diggs and Austrian Enis Murati as being his toughest players to battle not to mention teammate Jacob Ledoux every day played 24 games and never took a night off scoring in double figures in every game. He scored 20 points or more in 14 games and was just absolutely overpowering and dominated the league together with Richaud Pack. His professional break out year just showed that he has the ability to explode at anytime, and not only in one game, but over the course of a season having brutal consistency. He didn’t get an opportunity to show in Lithuania what he can do, but proved in Austria that he is the real deal. ‘I think it was just solely opportunity based. My opportunity in Lithuania was minimal. I came to the team pretty late into the season which probably had something to do with limited opportunity as well. In Austria, with UBSC Graz, coach Ervin Dragsic believed in me, extended the opportunity and allowed me to be myself so that helped a lot with my increase in numbers’, explained Stanley Whittaker. He not only improved his scoring as a player immensely, but all of a sudden had Chris Paul like assist stats averaging 8,0 as his highest before that was 6,0 in his last two years of NAIA ball. ‘The game slowed down for me tremendously. From studying film, having a very good understanding of how defenses schemed against our team helped the way I prepared for each game. So being aware attacking points on the floor and putting my teammates in spots where they can excel assisted to my playmaking ability’, said Stanley Whittaker. His best game was a 38 point explosion against Gmunden in a brutal playoff loss, but also hit Vienna for 31 points where he got the best of Richaud Pack in a thrilling 110-109 victory. ‘Richaud is a very good player, I have a lot of respect for his game. I enjoyed the battles with him and Bcgmt Vienna. I remember that overtime battle at our home, we got off to a big lead, Richaud and his team came marching back in the second half taking the lead, then we made our run late in the 4th quarter to take it to overtime. We ended up winning the game in overtime, that game was a classic, very high scoring as well’, remembered Stanley Whittaker.
The big Chris Paul fan who believes it will only get harder and harder for the future Hall Of Famer to win his first NBA crown now starts a new chapter in his basketball life with PS Karlsruhe. Like most players, he has had friends and former teammates and opponents having earned a living balling in Germany so it was only obvious that he got sound advice from them. He received other offers from German teams, but mainly chose to play his first season in Karlsruhe because he had heard good things about the city and about a very ambitious club who wants to go places. The biggest reason though was that the organization believed in him. One could compare the Austrian first league to the Pro A in Germany pretty similar in skill, but the Pro A is still a little step above the competition that he saw last season. The competitive American feels no pressure at all to leave his mark in Germany. ‘I would I like to mimic the season I had in Austria or surpass it? Yes of course, but there’s no pressure. I have a lot of trust in my preparation, my skill set and work ethic’, warned Stanley Whittaker. He is very optimistic about the team this season and knows exactly what he needs to do most with his game on the court. ‘I think we’re pretty solid, people can expect for us to play hard every game, play together, and hope we can win some ball games. The biggest goal with my game that I have is to be a better leader, so I can find ways where I can lead better. I have a continuous craving for just improving and getting better at all aspects of my craft as well’, stressed Stanley Whittaker.
The ex Frank Phillips College (JUCO) player who thought the Sequel to Coming To America was ok and thought the story line was ok and laughed throughout the movie will obviously be the main offensive weapon that will have to take responsibility often and score, but at the same time will be in charge of making his teammates look good. One player who he has been raving about and also will have to be a big support block in scoring and rebounding is ex BBL player Maurice Pluskota who played 71 easyCredit BBL games for Bremerhaven, Braunschweig and Giessen and will play his 100th Pro A game with PS Karlsruhe on opening day against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. ‘Mo that’s my guy. He’s extremely talented, has a very high basketball IQ and he’s a true leader. Playing with him has been great, he helps on and off the court. He is a high character guy man’, warned Stanley Whittaker. Another player where the club is hoping for instant production will be Lee Behrend who will be starting his professional career in Germany. Whittaker has a very special place in his heart for him. It’s not everyday that fellow NAIA players can be teammates as professionals. ‘It’s definitely a good feeling to see another NAIA guy playing at a high level here in Germany. Leo is a great guy and great player as well, he gets after it on both sides of the ball. I think he’ll open up some eyes this season as well’, stated Stanley Whittaker. The club also hopes that German second year man Nils Schmitz who played for the FC Bayern Munich U-19 team will be able to make the next step in the Pro A. He has a lot of confidence in the young German. ‘I think Nils has great upside, he’s been getting better every day. He is just a natural who has a great feel for the game in my opinion. He wants to learn and get better, on top of that he works extremely hard. I like his game a lot’, commented Stanley Whitaker. It will definitely be interesting to see how well PS Karlsruhe does this season and how much of a role Stanley Whittaker can play in the success. I remember following Kendale Mccullum’s career in Paderborn two years ago. I remember hoping that he would play in the EasyCredit BBL last season. Instead he went to Finland and continued to mature as a player He helped the Helsinki Seagulls win a cup and had impressive stats. New easyCredit BBL Jobstairs Giessen head coach Pete Strobl liked what he saw and rewarded him with the easyCredit BBL ticket. First let me see how Whittaker kicks into the Pro A and then I will let my wishing take command. Stanley Whittaker has the talent and skill level to be a top Pro A player this season. Maybe my wish will come true again?