Jonathan Braeger is a 26 year old 178cm guard from Wisconsin that is playing his rookie season overseas in Germany with Regionalliga team Baskets Vilsbiburg. He played at Wrightstown high school and then at the University Wisconsin-Fox Valley. He then gathered first professional experience in the States with ABA teams Chicago Fury and Illinois Panthers and also played with the Wisconsin Blaze (WBL). He accomplished the unthinkable quadruple double scoring 100 points. He spoke to germanhoops.com about the crazy game.
Thanks Jonathan for talking to germanmhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I play for Baskets Vilsbiburg in Vilsbiburg, Germany. The basketball life has treated me with many great successful opportunities. As this being my first year as a professional overseas which always been my goal/dream since being a kid, I can’t be thankful enough for God allowing me to achieve such things.
You scored an incredible 100 points last weekend in the German Regionalliga. How long did it take you to think about Wilt Chamberlain after you achieved that feat?
Going into the game this past weekend I was not expecting to score 100 points. I was going into the game to compete and perform because that’s what I get paid to do. But when it came to thinking about Wilt Chamberlain I couldn’t tell you I was thinking about him at all because I shouldn’t even be brought up in the same sentence as him Wilt did this in a NBA game which is the best basketball league in the entire world and that’s incredible and he’s a G.O.A.T. but on my argument I still was able to put the ball in the hoop that many times which is difficult in itself shooting a very high percentage (22/34 three pointers 64% and 15/17 2P% 88%).
Could it be that you’re the most famous person in Wrightstown, Wisconsin that has less than 3,000 people. How does that feel scoring 100 points?
It may be true that I’m the talk of my small town but coming from a small town you learn to be humble. Everyone there knows how much I love the game of basketball and I don’t play the game to disrespect it in any means. Basketball is my life and to score 100 points feels absolutely amazing but it’s not one of the things I ever thought I would’ve achieved.
Was your cell phone buzzing the day after you scored 100 points? Talk a little about the reception you got from people after your amazing feat?
I would say my phone was going a little crazy but it was mostly from people that always supported me. They couldn’t believe it at first which neither could I but there’s a lot more to this game then known.
How long did it take you to realize that you scored 100 points? Has it sunk in?
I just watched the entire film today and it’s finally sunk in. I made sure that I actually made the 100 points which I did.
One can’t forget that you also accomplished a very rare quadruple double with 100 points, 12 rebounds, 16 assists and 12 steals. Had you ever had a double double or triple double in your career?
My first game of the season this year vs. Rosenheim, Germany I was fairly close to recording my first ever quadruple double with 41points, 10rebounds, 8steals, 7assits but came away just a bit short and recorded a double double. The second game of the season this year I recorded a triple double in a loss to a very tough Leitershofen team from Augsburg, Germany with 23points, 12assists, 10rebounds. This wasn’t my only triple double of my career but to achieve a quadruple double is pretty insane and unheard of. This shows that I’m not just a scorer but I’m also an all around player. I like playing defense just as I do playing offense.
But there was some controversary to the whole feat. Vilsbiburg played against Wurzburg that was plagued and had only 5 guys. In the second half it was only 3 players. Have you had some annoying hate from people?
You’re always going to have hate from people when you have success and achieve something frankly unheard of in professional basketball games. Yes it was unfortunate that the opposing team ended up having 2 of their 5 guys foul out halfway through the 3rd quarter which made them have to play and finish the game with 3 players. Not only were they banged up and had some guys sick, our team as well had 4 out of our top 7 players out due to either injury or illness. But as they say the game goes on.
People have been criticizing Vilsbiburg for demanding to play when Wurzburg asked to postpone the game. With what kind of a feeling did you go into the game knowing it was an unfair situation?
I was going into the game getting ready to compete and perform. I wasn’t aware of Wurzburg and their injured or sick players (non-Covid related) until 5 minutes before tip off. During our whole warm up I was wondering where this team was and why they weren’t warming up for the game. This was the first round of the Regionalliga playdowns and it was sad for all our fans that came to the game ready to watch us play how Wurzburg went with the game. Instead of forfeiting they came with 5 guys and barely played or even tried. I’m still not completely aware of everything between the lines with postponing of the game and things but I do know that we had fans there that paid to come and sponsors there for our club and as a professional foreign athlete I am not only paid to compete and perform but also to entertain the fans and sponsors.
Please talk about the game? How can one imagine playing against 3 players. They weren’t even defending 100% in order to conserve energy.
I didn’t understand their mentally coming into the game. They could’ve forfeited from the start if it wasn’t worked out to reschedule and they still had 5 talented players that they brought. They were young players compared to our team but they are in this league just like our team is. I wish they would of just tried with what they had. I know many other teams would just be happy to play a game with 5 guys or 4 guys with how many games have already been postponed this season due to Covid-19. I just didn’t understand why come all that way just to stand on the court. I feel like it was sort of disrespectful to our fans/sponsors and our team to do that. We tried to play with 4 guys once they started getting down but the referees wouldn’t allow it and that we needed 5 on the court if we had enough players. The game was never called and I’m over here to play basketball. Games are the main thing I work for all week at training and look forward to every weekend we have a game. I’m always going to try my best no matter what the circumstances are because I love the game of basketball and what’s it done for me and many other people’s lives.
How strange was it seeing guys with masks on the court. Did you ever think that you could see masks on a basketball court?
It was the first time I’ve seen it since being here in Germany. Back home in America during the first two years of the pandemic most all local high school teams and colleges had to wear mask during the game so I’ve seen it before but first time here seeing it and playing against it.
Of course hitting for 100 points is an amazing thing and you did it in an official 40 minute game. But still how do you feel can one justify this feat with the circumstances that there was?
I always want the other team to try and compete no matter what. It is still fairly tough to make 100 points and a quadruple double in a game like atmosphere and in just 37 minutes of play. My percentage of shooting either way was still really good as I shot 64% from 3PTs 22/34 and 88% from 2PTs 15/17.
Could you have scored more than 100 points? Did you want to end with 100 points to be able to have 100 points like Wilt Chamberlian?
I never thought going into the game that I was going to score that much. It’s crazy to believe I achieved the hundred point mark but I want to thank my teammates and coaches that just kept feeding me the ball and my hot hand all game. They all wanted me to score 100points more than I did and that says a lot about my teammates and coach and the club itself (Baskets Vilsbiburg).
Were the points the most difficult or possibly the 12 steals to get for the quadruple double?
I would have to say points. I shot a high percentage from both 2P% & 3P% which is difficult to do in game like circumstances. (22/34 3PTs 15/17 2PTs)
If Wilt Chamberlian was still alive and could call you to congratulate you what would be the first thing that you would say to him?
I would tell him what happened in the game and how I did it and why I did it. But like I’ve said before I shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as Wilt he’s a G.O.A.T
You got recognition in Germany as Welt.de and Sport1.de reported your feat. Do you feel like the 100 points could help you climb the basketball ladder?
It could benefit or hurt me I feel. But as a professional not coming from a college back ground I need to get my name out there so maybe I can get a chance at playing ProA/BBL or any top league here in Europe. It could hurt me because it may seem like it was selfish as a player to do that. I believe that sometimes you just need to do what you need to do to get your name out there to get that opportunity. And if anyone knows me for who I am, I love basketball and my work ethic and heart for the game is unique. I’m not a selfish player and I know that because that’s how I was brought up as an athlete. I’ve always believed that my success it just as important as my teammates and coaches success.
You scored 100 points and had a quadruple double? I mean seriously besides winning titles, what else can a player do on the court for personal stats better than that?
It’s a once in a lifetime type of day but like I’ve said before the game circumstances were different than most. I wish they would of competed with the 5 players they brought but decided to just not try and to me sort of disrespect the game of basketball and the league for not forfeiting it right away and continuing to just not try and foul out. I know many teams that if circumstances is you only have five to still try and compete no matter what. I know each one of the five players that did come could actually play good but they were told to just not try. Just a weird way to go about it.
Thanks Jonathan fort the chat.