Virgil Matthews (191-PG-83, college: Montana) a 38 year old ex professional player from Federal Way, Washington that is currently as an assistant coach with the Niners Chemnitz. As a player he played at Montana (NCAA) and turned professional in 2006 and played overseas in Germany for teams KICKZ Muenchen Basket (Germany-2.Bundesliga), Schwelm, Ehingen, Nurnberg and the Niners Chemnitz. He spoke to egermanhoops.com after the thrilling 87-86 OT win over the Fraport Skyliners.
Thanks Virgil for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on an amazing 87-86 OT win over the Fraport Skyliners. I guess you can call that a real hard fought win?
Yeh you can definitely say that. Both games went to OT. Frankfurt is a tough team.
Before we get to the game, what was it like seeing Will Cherry again? He told me you guys used to kick it up in Berlin years ago.
I was at Montana when they recruited him. I remember seeing him at a Leipzig game when he was playing with Alba Berlin. I visited him in Berlin. We got closer in that time. I saw him in Frankfurt when we played recently and last night we also spent some time together. It is always good to catch up.
The Fraport Skyliners got out to a swift 18-8 lead. Did the team underestimate them a bit since they last played a game on January 2nd and didn’t practice for 2 weeks?
No we didn’t underestimate them. They beat very good teams this season with Ulm and Crailsheim. They play tough.
You ended the first quarter with a 9-2 run, but began the second quarter allowing a 11-2 run. Was this game of runs a little surprising for a team like Chemnitz that is so disciplined?
No it didn’t really. We have had problems this season falling behind especially in the second quarter. We really need to address this problem. We don’t want this to happen. Fortunately we are able to climb out of it and finish strong.
What gave Chemnitz the biggest difficulty on the defensive end in the first half? Frankfurt seemed to play smooth inside out basketball.
Our biggest weakness is our offense. When we get turnovers or take bad shots, we allow teams to run and that is what Frankfurt did. When we didn’t score, that led to their good offense.
Fraport Skyliner identity figure Quantez Robertson had been 4/23 from outside in the last 6 games. Did you underestimate his shot a bit? He continued hitting shots in the third quarter as Frankfurt led 57-49 after 30 minutes?
We gave him open looks. Usually when he plays well they win. Coach Pastore really respects his game, his energy and knowledge of the game. Taking him as a non shooter changed our game plan. We had to adjust to the situation.
The fourth quarter was a close battle, but Frankfurt led with 8 points with 3,11 to play. The Niners Chemnitz made a massive comeback. Mindaugas Susinskas began the fourth quarter with back to back three’s and led the team into OT with a three. How much praise can you give this guy this season for his spirited play?
He has been great. He carried us in the Bamberg win. He had had a good game in Frankfurt. He had 0 points in the first half. I give a lot of credit to him for keeping a positive mind set. We kept him in game knowing that he could give us a positive mind set.
The overtime period was a back and forth duel with 7 lead changes. How much praise can you give Frankfurt for the way they were able to stay even with you in OT despite what they went through the last 3 weeks?
Frankfurt is a good team when they have a full roster. Their record doesn’t show it. No one should underestimate them. They are a good team and proved it against us.
Can one say that defense saved the day at the end or was Jamel Mclean the tragic hero?. Talk about that last possession?
Mclean had been hurting us in the low post all night. Darion Atkins fouling out was like a blessing in disguise. That made us put Jonas Richter in the game. He is a great defender. He plays good defense and it is tough for guys to get around him.
How vital has the acquisition of American Eric Washington been for the club? What have you appreciated most about his services?
He gives us a new element of speed that we didn’t have before. We think very highly of him. He has a lot to gain with us. He is eager to work hard and to get better. We want to help him play at a high level and see how far he can take it.
How massive was this victory for the team’s quest to make the playoffs?
Each win is important in this league. There are no easy wins in the BBL. We take each game seriously.
With Rickey Paulding and Per Gunther stepping down, the easyCredit BBL now has Quantez Robertson as the identity figure. Will his stock rise even more with the other two legends stepping down?
I have watched him my whole time in Germany. It is amazing that he is still playing. I’m really proud of him. I can’t imagine what he is going through to stay healthy. It is good for the Frankfurt organization and for the young players. He always plays the game the right way. That is important for an organization moving forward.
Your in your first season as an assistant coach with the Niners Chemnitz. What have you enjoyed most about the job?
I really enjoy being that guy that was the player and now is the coach. We have good chemistry and it is fun working with the guys. Watching them and seeing them respond to what I say keep me doing the job.
How have you seen your coaching skills grow in the last months under Rodrigo Pastore?
It has been good. He really allows me to respond. He listens to what I have to say during games. He also gives me the freedom to conduct sessions during practice. His best quality is that there isn’t the same voice but let’s us also give input.
Your buddy Will Cherry said Lebron James would score 80 points in the easyCredit BBL. How many do you think he would make?
In peak Lebron time yes, but now no. he would at least score 40 points. He would dominate game more than score. You would always need help and he would always be finding the cutters. He would dominate the ga me without having great stats.
What are your NFL playoff predictions Bengals-Chiefs and Rams-49ers?
Chiefs-Rams and Chiefs will win.
Will Tom Brady return or retire?
He will return.
Thanks Virgil for the chat.