John Bynum Proved 20 Years Ago That JUCO/Division 2 Players Could Go Overseas And Prosper At A High Level

John Bynum (191-G-1978, college: MSU Denver) is a 44 year old ex player that enjoyed a stellar 11 year professional career overseas. He began his college career at the College of the Sequoias Junior College and then finished at Metropolitan St. (NCAA2) winning the division 2 title as a senior. He turned professional in 2002 and played most of his career in Germany playing 132 games in the BBL for teams like Bremerhaven, Paderborn and Trier. He also played for Grevenbroich, Heidelberg, Crailsheim and Chemnitz. He also played in England and Norway. He returned back to Germany to participate in an exhibition game where his former team the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven celebrated their 20 year anniversary. He spoke to about his return to Bremerhaven and basketball.

Thanks John for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is life treating you?

Right now, I’m living in the bay area in California and life is great. I am running a basketball news and scouting service that covers California junior college basketball and just enjoying time with the family.

You retired from the game in 2013. What have you been doing with your life since you retired?

Since I retired it took a little bit to find myself for sure as basketball was always there. For the first couple of years, I started a basketball news service for junior college basketball until 2019 and then I went back to my alma mater where I coached college basketball as an assistant coach at MSU Denver and then after two years of coaching I went back to my news service called Signal The Light Basketball (

You are returning back to an old stomping ground Bremerhaven where you played early in your career from 2005-2007. With what kind of feelings are you returning back?

It is awesome to be back as it makes me feel appreciated to even acknowledge players that were part of the tradition within Bremerhaven. The city always had a special place for me as they gave me my first chance to compete in the BBL so I am always grateful to the organization so it is a blessing to say the least.

The club is celebrating it’s 20 year anniversary. You may be 44 turning 45 soon, but why are you a coach? Granted many guys are younger, but seeing you play would have been nice.

I wish I could play but I recently have had trouble with my back (and I’m old), and discovered I had a herniated disc. I am doing stuff for my back at the moment to just get it better so playing was the last thing on my mind but the club was nice enough to let me come over and be part of this celebration as a coach so it should be fun to be on the sidelines in a different way taking part in the game

After paying your dues in Grevenbroich and Norway, you made the jump to the BBL in 2005. How important were these 2 years for you early in your career? Who knows how your career may have gone had you continued to play in the second Bundesliga?

My early years before I got to Bremerhaven were huge as it gave me confidence to know that I could be a professional player in Europe. I had sat out a whole year after my last season to finish my degree and being a division 2 college player people always questioned if I was good enough so my first two years I used that as motivation and wanted to try and show my skill and I had a couple of coaches that gave me a lot of freedom to showcase my talent and luckily I had a couple good games against Bremerhaven and they remembered me and I was able to catch on and get a chance at showcasing my talent in the BBL.

Talk about the 2 years in Bremerhaven. It must have been an amazing time for everyone. The club had moved up and instantly became a playoff team. What was the secret to the success?

Yea it was a special time in Bremerhaven for sure as I don’t recall a lot of teams moving up and making the playoffs in their first season being in the league. I think the secret was we had a very talented group for one and secondly all of the players here played their roles and did what was needed for the team and third Saranus put all of us in position to be successful and win some games which we were fortunate to do.

One game I can remember is Brian Jones buzzer beater in Frankfurt. But you didn’t play in that game. But you surely won’t forget scoring 17 points in a tough 71-69 loss to Alba Berlin

Yes I hadn’t signed yet with the team but Brian was a big part of our success that we had that season for sure. Yes that was a game for me that actually gave me confidence that I could contribute at the BBL level. As I said before, coming from the Regionalliga and being a division 2 college player there was always doubt coming from people but that game for me proved to me that I was good enough to be a solid role player in the BBL.

You played with so many great guys that will be back on Saturday like Nick Jacobson or Judson Wallace. Was there one guy in particular from your Bremerhaven years that you have the fondest memory of?

I got to play with some great players in my two years in Bremerhaven and all of my teammates were great, but I would say Brian Jones, RT Guinn and Andre Bynum were guys that I had great friendships with. RT, Dre and I spend a lot of time together and made a lot of great memories when we were in the north of Germany.

There some great guys that will be playing in the 20 year anniversary game. If you had to guess which guy will be in the best shape and who in the worst who would you say?

It will be interesting for sure but I would probably say Torell Martin and the guy in the worse shape would be anyone who is older than myself lol

If someone had told you in 2006 that RT Guinn would still be playing professionally in 2023 what would you have said?

Honestly, I’m not surprised at RT still playing as he seemed like he was always in cruise control when he played here. RT was going to have a long career because he was almost 6-10 and could shoot threes better than guards and played within himself. Its good seeing him still do it but more important is seeing how good he is with his family and he has always stayed that same person I knew from when we played.

After a few years in the Pro A, you played 2 more years in the BBL with Trier. You were 1-3 against Bremerhaven. In your first season you lost games by 1 point and 2 points. How do you remember those games?

Honestly Miles, I really don’t remember the games we played against Bremerhaven. I know that the fans welcomed me both times but don’t remember the result but as I said before it was always good coming back here as the fans always showed support to guys that had been here before.

How have you followed the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven over the years? Has it surprised you that they haven’t been able to return back to the BBL?

I take a look at the standings every now and then but I don’t pay attention that much. I have a nephew who plays in Denmark where I focus on the standings there more than anywhere in the world. I am surprised that they are in the PRO A but hopefully they can get back to the BBL in the near future.

Do you sometimes wonder how your career could go if you came up in today’s day and age? How would you have done in today’s game with all the changes that have happened?

I mean of course you wonder, but at the end of the day I played in a different era and had a little bit of success in my game. As far as my game today, I don’t know how much I could help on the offensive end as I wasn’t the best shooter from behind the three point line so I could be a liability for a team but at the end of the day I think the rule changes benefit guys these days at the offensive end so I may have had some success in certain situations.

Who won a 1-1 in 2006 and who would win today between you and Nick Jacobson?

I would have say Nick, I mean he was an allstar in 2006 so he has that advantage for sure and now he would still win as well. I mean Nick was one the best shooters I had the chance to play on the same team as and if he had an open look he was not going to miss.

Is Lebron now the GOAT since he has become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer?

I mean he Lebron has an argument but he is not my GOAT but with that being said I think that Lebron James is the best all around player that this game has saw.

Thanks John for the chat.


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