There were times when Germany had the GOAT of German basketball Dirk Nowitzki doing his magic on the floor and on many occasions was able to decide games the way guys of his abilities should. He always had a nice supporting cast with solid German role players Like Pascal Roller, Demond Greene or Sven Schultze, but Germany didn’t have the luxury of other European nations of being able to display extra NBA talent the way countries like France or Balkan nation countries did. Despite not having the luxury, German did record a Bronze at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis and an incredible Silver at the 2005 European championships having that one main star with Nowitzki. After that their success was slowed down mainly because the German wunderkind wasn’t always on board or just couldn’t always be the superman. In that time the German federation did all they could adding guys like Shawn Bradley, Chris Kaman, Julian Sensley Hurl Beechum and Makai Mason just to name a few. Some of these guys played for the German national team, so why not try to naturalize a player if there is a chance?
In the last 10 years there was massive progress done in the German youth development as the number of German NBA and Euroleague players playing right now is at an all-time high. The Fraport Skyliners were the first to make huge strides developing Johannes Voigtmann who had the opportunity to play for the Washington Wizards but chose CSKA Moscow and has been an Euroleague player since 2016 along with Danilo Barthel who also is a solidified Euroleague player in Turkey. At the moment Germany has also an all-time high number of NBA players with Dennis Schroeder, Daniel Theis, Maxi Kleber, Isaiah Hartenstein, Isaac Bonga, Moritz and Franz Wagner. Even if Germany was embarrassed at the 2019 World Championships having a slew of NBA talent there, you can never go wrong with suiting up with the best talent you have. Henrik Rodl couldn’t mesh the team together in 2019, but possibly Gordon Herbert could who has been head coach since 2021. He has even more NBA talent now with shooting star Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic and possibly another NBA player with Austin Reeves?
Austin Reaves (6’5”-G-98, college: Oklahoma) is a 196cm shooting guard that was born on May 29th, 1998 in Newark, Arkansas. He comes from a family that has been connected to sports as both parents played collegiately at Arkansas State. His mother was an all-conference forward and averaged over 20 points per game in her final season while his father played point guard and was tied for third on ASU’s career assists chart (384). His brother, Spencer, played at Central Missouri (NCAA2) and is currently in his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen while previously having played three years in Spain. Brother Austin began his basketball career at Cedar Ridge High School averaging 32.5ppg, 8.8rpg, 5.1apg as he held a 128-16 (.889) record over his four seasons. He then played two seasons at Wichita State University (NCAA) playing 65 NCAA games averaging 4.1ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.1apg as a freshman and 8.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 82.0% as a sophomore. He helped the team win the MVC title in 2017. He then transferred to The University of Oklahoma (NCAA) and played a total of 56 NCAA games and really heightened his game there. As a junior he averaged 14.7ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 84.8%, and as a senior averaged 18.3ppg, 5.5rpg, 4.6apg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 30.5%, FT: 86.5%. In his two years there he scored in double figures in 48 of 56 games and exploded for 41 points and 32 points against TCU. He wasn’t drafted, but was invited to the 2021 NBA Summer League playing for the Los Angeles Lakers averaging 6.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 29.2%, 3PT: 18.2%. He then went to training camp and made the team and is currently averaging 5,7ppg, 2,6rpg, 1,3apg in 21 minutes shooting 31% from outside. He has scored in double figures 6 times double including scoring19 points against Sacramento, 16 points against Charlotte and Memphis and 15 points against Dallas where he was 5/6 from the parking lot. He is one of those players that has reached the NBA with hard work and making the Lakers believe in his abilities. Credit to him for finding a place on a roster that seems to almost have more stars than Boston does squirrels on the Boston Common.
The rumor of Austin Reeves possibly playing for Germany was leaked on Friday morning by German basketball writer Lukas Feldhaus. When I heard the news, I had to rapidly get some facts and used my best reliable source on the matter. This person knew about the rumor, but wasn’t to well informed on the matter. My source told me ‘not true at this time’. Ok so I figured let some time pass and see if some other tweets follow up on the matter and they did. The brother of Austin, Spencer plays for German Pro A team Bayer Giants Leverkusen. The club tweeted to Spencer ‘Could you help with some information’. He answered with ‘Can’t confirm or deny’. Ok so that was a very neutral tweet, but definitely a step forward. I didn’t even try contacting somebody at the German basketball federation knowing I wouldn’t get very far and went right to the man who is at the center of the source Spencer Reaves. And low and behold, there is something brewing on the horizon with the possibility of his brother Austin playing with the German national team in the future. A big shout out to him for trusting me and giving me the news about the possible future of his brother in Germany. ‘Our grandma is German. That opens up the possibility of us having the citizenship. Most of the papers are submitted and now we will see. I have heard from sources we have a really good chance. He told me he would be interested in the future if things didn’t interfere with his career in the NBA’, warned Spencer Reaves.
Austin Reaves is a rookie in the NBA and still a bit unknown overseas. Of course the basketball junkie will know who he is, but one easyCredit BBL legend didn’t know who he was as I asked him about his thoughts of Reaves possibly playing for Germany. But there were enough other guys that could give their two cents about the matter. One of those guys was current Alba Berlin guard Jaleen Smith who dueled him last summer in the NBA Summer league. In that game Jalen Smith who held his own in the game and could have had chances of making the NBA opted for the Euroleague had a solid game scoring 13 points and dishing out 3 assists in a tough 73-72 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Reaves contributed 11 points in the win and left a lasting impression. ‘He is a really smart player that can shoot the ball really well’, remembered Jaleen Smith. The American who played his rookie season in Germany with the MLP Academics Heidelberg is also positive he would make an impact with the German national team. ‘He would come in and play hard. That is why he fits in so well with the Lakers’, stressed Jaleen Smith. Even if Reaves were to be able to suit up for Germany, the German basketball federation shouldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture, it’s own talents. ‘ I think he would help the team a lot short term. It is always good to get an NBA player. However I do feel that in the long term it is wiser if the German basketball Federation continues to focus on developing young German players’, stressed Risto Vasiljevic (Fraport Skyliners Juniors). Austin Reaves could be that high profile shooting guard that Germany never had. Ok so currently they do have Andi ‘I can shoot out the lights’ Obst and Maodo Lo who are very good players, but landing a Reaves would give the team a new dimension. But making the transition from the American game to the euro style isn’t always easy and something everyone needs to be aware of before making bold predictions about how quickly he could make an impact. ‘He has the potential to be the shooting guard that Germany never had before. He seems to be a humble and high character guy that puts wining first. But it also would depend how his playing style would translate to the European play style. There is definitely a learning curve between the American and European game’, warned MLP Academics Heidelberg guard Anthony Watkins. For a young player like Fraport Skyliner Len Schoormann, he is ready for the challenge in practice should he be teammates with the ex Wichita State guard. ‘I would be happy to be teammates with a player like that. I don’t know much about him. I always give 100% no matter who the player is’, warned Len Schoormann. But at the end of the day, it is his brother Spencer who can give the best scouting report. ‘ I think Austin’s biggest strength is his IQ and understanding of the game. He knows what his job is and what he must do for the team to have a chance to win. He can be a playmaker or just be a catch and shoot guy. Also plays really hard and defends at a high level. Whatever the team needs’, stressed Spencer Reaves. It will definitely be interesting to see how this development continues and how quickly everything can be finalized for him being able to play. With Reaves, Germany can be a medal contender with their NBA talent should they be on board. With more NBA talent on board, Germany head coach Gordon Herbert will have his hands full to mesh everything together and not witness another disaster like in 2019 at the World Championships.