Aher Uguak (Niners Chemnitz) Is A Versatile Defender That Wants To Become A Two Way Player Like Mikal Bridges

Aher Uguak (201-SF-1998, college: Loyola, IL) is a 24 year old 201 cm forward from Edmonton, Canada that is playing his rookie season in Germany with medi Bayreuth. He received his first pro experience last summer with the Edmonton Stingers (CEBL) averaging 9.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 73.9%. He began his basketball career at Harry Ainlay High School. He then played his freshman year at the University of New Mexico and then finished at Loyola University of Chicago (NCAA) playing a total of 129 games and reaching 2 NCAA tournaments. He was able to improve his scoring average each season and as a senior averaged 8.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 60.3%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 70.1%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.

Thanks Aher for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

I’m in Chemnitz, Germany and basketball life is treating me well. I can’t complain.

Your playing your rookie season overseas for the Niners Chemnitz. What kind of an experience has it been playing for this ambitious organization?

I have had ups and downs this season, but overall it has been a great experience and journey with the Niners. The fans are incredible. It has been a good thing to be a part of.

The team is fighting for the playoffs. How confident are you that this goal can be reached with the roster that you have?

I’m very confident we can reach it. A couple months ago we had a good stride and were near the top. But then we suffered some injuries and hit a bump in the road. I’m not to worried about our record now. We will make a good push in the stretch run.

The club is one of the few in the easyCredit BBL that has little Americans. What kind of an experience ha sit been for you playing together with so many different nationalities?

I’m from Canada and am used to diversity. I was blessed to be able to grow up in Canada. Having only 2 Americans hasn’t affected me at all. I’m used to it.

How much credit does head coach Rodrigo Pastore get for the success? He has transformed the Niners into an excellent easyCredit BBL team.

Coach Pastore deserves a lot of credit for the success that the club has had in the last years. I see from his methods what it takes to be successful. It stands at the top and he passes it down to all. It is a small city and he simply has done a great job keeping the team in the BBL and competing at a high level.

What kind of an experience has it been playing together with talented Germans Kevin Yebo and Jonas Richter? Richter has moved up to the national team and Yebo made the jump from the 4th league to the ist?

Both are great guys. Both guys welcomed me here with open arms. I know exactly what kind of guy Kevin is. He doesn’t drive so I drive him to practice. He is an even better player. Kevin’s energy is infectious on all. It doesn’t matter if he scores 25 points or only 4 points, he is always the same., Jonas is a very versatile player. Both guys are very unselfish.

What was your wake up call to being overseas as a rookie where you knew that you were far away from home?

When I got here trying to get a Doner. I’m used to using a debit card but everyone carries cash here. The language barrier was huge. Nobody knew English. I went to the grocery store where I could get change. I had problems communicating there while my food was waiting. It was tough to communicate. I realized that it was a lot different at home.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 201cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you pick?

I have been compared to a Mikal Bridges. He is a two way player. My favorite player is Paul George. I want to become a two way player.

Is it fair to say your a guy that can do a bit of everything. What are your biggest strengths on the court?

I’m versatile for sure. This season I have played the positions 1-5. I want to be a player that can help out at all positions.

Your three seems to be a work in progress. Do you feel this could become a weapon in your arsenal down the road?

I have been shooting great in practice, but not in games. My percentages could be higher. I think my percentages will add up as the season carries on. My shot is a work in progress.

What kind of a defender are you now and what kind of defender do you want to become?

I’m a good defender now, but want to become a great defender. I want to be able to make better reads off the ball. I also want to be able to defend better on screens.

On what areas of your game are you working on most so you can continue to climb up the ladder?

Making reads and shooting off the dribble.

How has Rodrigo Pastore helped you most in your game in the last months?

He has put me in a position so I can flourish. Being able to slip on ball screens and developing further has helped me as well.

You came to Canada fleeing the civil war in Sudan when you were 8 months to Canada. How much of a bond do you still have to Sudan today?

I do have a bond to Sudan and speak the language, but I still haven’t been back. I’m working on a passport.

You played football first and at age 14 turned to basketball from Gridiron football because of your cousin Luol Deng. Do you ever wonder how your sports life would have gone had you not been cousins with Deng? Do you feel like you might never have played basketball?

I actually played both sports. He was a reason I chose basketball. But there were also 2 other reasons. I had a huge growth spurt and began to get better playing basketball and decided to keep playing it and I feel I had a better chance to become good so I became serious about it. I also didn’t like to play football in the cold.

You began your professional career with the Edmonton Stingers (CEBL) averaging 9.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 73.9%. What kind of an experience was this. How did you like the CEBL? It seems to be a league on the rise?

The CEBL is definitely a league on the rise. I didn’t know much about it at first. It was nice to play at home coming out of school and being near my family and friends. I think it was the best decision that I made at that time. It also helped my game getting that first pro experience coming out of school.

You began your NCAA career at the University Of New Mexico and played only 18 games averaging 1,8. How tough was your freshman season and what positives did you get out of it?

It was definitely tough. I separated my shoulder at the start and when I came back it was tough getting into the rotation. The team was struggling and they made a coaching change. I saw a lot of adversery coming out of the gate, but seeing that definitely helped me grow at a young age.

You played at Loyola University of Chicago (NCAA) from 2087-2021. You won the MWC title twice against Drake. Which one was sweetest? Possibly the 2022 one where you had 16/10 stats?

That 2022 title was the more sweetest. We finished fourth in the conference and we had a lot of doubters. Everybody wrote us off going in so it was sweet to win it.

You played maybe your best game as a freshman in the NCAA tournament against Creighton losing but scoring 18 points. What memories do you have of that game?

That game was a while ago. It was fun to play in the post season and I didn’t take anything for granted. It was a great game even if we lost it.

You reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2021 beating Georgia Tech and Illinois before losing to Oregon State. What memories do you have of that magical run?

We played great defense and were ranked #1. I didn’t play my best offensive game, but was proud the way I played defense shutting down my opponents.

How did head coaches Porter Moser and Drew Valentine groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Porter implemented a lot of the culture into me and teached me that the little things are important. Drew was an extension of Porter as he had been his assistant. He helped me to be myself and gave me a lot of self confidence. I thank them 100%.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Chris Knight?

We not play 1-1. He didn’t hang around after practice, but he was still a great player.

Who is the toughest player that you have faced so far that reached the NBA?

Lauri Markkanen.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

That is a tough question because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I would say all my Loyola teammates.

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?

Lebron, Jordan, Steph Curry and Tim Duncan

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

I never saw Jordan play live. Lebron is my goat.

Did you see the sequel to the classic coming to America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?

I never watched it.

Thanks Aher for the chat.


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