Emmanuel Ugbo (201-PF-2003) is a Dutch 19 year old 201cm forward playing his third season in the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg organization. He began his career with CBV Binnenland and then played for BC Triple Threat in Haarlem. After 2 seasons there he played with the orange Lions academy. Last season he played 4 easyCredit BBL games and also gained experience with BSG Basket Ludwigsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 11.2ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 60.6%, and played also with Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg U19 team (Germany-NBBL) averaging 14.6ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 22.0%, FT: 61.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Thanks Emmanuel for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I’m in Ludwigsburg and life is good as I have a double license to play for the MHP Riesen in the BBL and Pro B.
You were born in Italy and grew up in Holland. How was that early basketball development for you?
I played soccer for 7 years until I was 13 and then began to play basketball.
Who were your early basketball player role models?
Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
You probably could have moved to many countries but you chose Germany and Ludwigsburg. Why did you choose this organization?
I was looking to make the next step and wanted to go abroad. I liked how in Germany the youth program goes to age 19. I wanted extra time to be able to grow in youth basketball and felt Germany was the best fit. I got a try out with Ludwigsburg. I didn’t know much about the club except that a young talent named Ariel Huckporti was there.
You came to Ludwigsburg in 20-21. How tough do you remember this year being? The NBBL season and Regionalliga seasons were cancelled. I guess you were forced to really work on your game. Did you take on the challenge?
I think I did take on the challenge. We had no season, but still practiced twice a day each day. On weekends we played scrimmages. It was very competitive and I always tried to get in extra work. A year later the organization named me most improved.
Last season you played Regionalliga, NBBL and easyCredit BBL. How important was it for your basketball development for playing in 3 competitions? How did your game grow?
I feel like my game grew a lot. I finally could play at competitive levels. I saw how good other players and programs were. I played against really good players my age as well as against ex NBA players.
What was the most important thing that you learned from David Mccray and what kind of an impact did John Patrick make on you?
David Mccray played under John Patrick and learned from him. The most important thing I got from both was ‘Playing defense will always get you on the floor.
Last season you played 4 BBL games and 12 minutes. Was there one distinct memory that you will always have from that early BBL experience?
I was in shock, because I got subbed in in the first quarter. I was very nervous. Even though I didn’t play much, it was a great experience being in a environment like that.
You are able to soak up so much in BBL practices. Is their one specific thing that you concentrated on most to possibly incorporate it into your game?
I think my offense can translate to anywhere. But I’m focusing most on communicating and defense.
The Pro B team this season has a lot of youth and talent. What is your role and do you see yourself being an impact player this season?
I think that I have to be an impact player this season. We are all young and hungry. The oldest player is 20. My role is to defend different positions and play 3-5 on offense. I think I can be an impact defender and run and play hard.
Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a 201cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best ft the description?
I think the best comparison would be Jonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors. He had a good jump shot, postgame, turn around shot, drive, catch and shoot and defend many positions.
Would it be fair to say you’re an allrounder? But what are your biggest strengths as a player?
My biggest strength is my defense and three point shot.
What kind of a defender would you call yourself today and what kind of defender do you want to become?
Now I can guard 3-5, but I would like to be able to guard 1-5. I can do that now, but I would like to do that consistently at higher levels.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most?
My decision making and post game.
What are your biggest goals this season? I can imagine you want to make the next step, but this season’s BBL roster is strong once again and won’t be easy to crack?
Yes that is true. My main focus is the Pro B. We want to sneak into the playoffs this season. We still need to improve, but I believe that we can. I feel we can take on any team in the Pro B. I want to improve as a player and person and be a better role model and leader for the younger players on the team.
What kind of steps are you confident that you will be able to take under head coach Khee Ree? How has he helped you best this season?
He has helped me a lot boost my self-confidence. He also has allowed me to defend many positions and give me space to make mistakes. He also has given me the freedom to play inside/out.
You’re a Dutch U-20 national player. How is the state of Dutch basketball in the youth sector? At the last U-20 EM, Holland did ok and would have done better had it not lost a few close games.
Our problem was losing too many close games. It was more in our hands than our opponents. I think that we have a good generation coming up.
Last summer you played at the NBA Academy Games. What kind of an experience was this for you? Did you meet any interesting well known people?
It was an incredible experience. It was my first time being in the States. It was wild because everyone was there. Coach John Calipari was sitting first row as well as Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State and representatives of other big schools. NBA scouts were also there. It was all new to be. Some Dutch players were there that I knew as well as Joshua Bonga of Zalgiris.
You are very good friends with Mikey De Sousa. How much potential does he have? He wants to become a BBL player.
Mikey has all the talent in the world. He has improved a lot under coach Khee Ree. He has great size and works very hard. He can become a great player.
Who was the toughest player that you ever faced in your career so far that reached the NBA?
Yannik Kraag and Jeremy Sochan.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Yannik Kraag, Ralph Hounnou, Yulian Ramirez Montero, Tyrese Blount, Nico Santana Mojica.
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Kevin Durant, Lebron, Giannis, Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
Lebron. He is my era. I didn’t see Jordan play.
Who wins a 1-1 in practice you Mikey De Sousa?
Thanks Emmanuel for the chat.