Tyson Ward And The Telekom Baskets Bonn Were Extremely Hungry And Focused To Make A Dream Of Winning The BCL Into A Reality

Photo credit Basketball Champions League

Tyson Ward (198-SF-1997, college: NDSU) is a 25 year old 198cm guard/forward from Tampa Bay, Florida that is playing his third season in Germany with and second with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Last season with Bonn he averaged 32 games: 7.0ppg, 3.7rpg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 62.5%. he played his rookie season with s.Oliver Wurzburg averaging 9.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 65.3%. He played at North Dakota State University (NCAA) from 2016-2020 playing a total of 129 NCAA games. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding season averages each year. In his senior year he played 33 games averaging 16.9ppg, 7.2rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after helping the Telekom Baskets Bonn win the 2023 Basketball Champions League.

Congrats Tyson on winning the Basketball Champions League title. Has it sunk in yet? How does your body feel in general when you’re a champion?

It still hasn’t sunk in yet, to be the BCL Champions is a crazy idea and insane. It’s a surreal feeling to think about. My body was in shock for the most part, a wave of emotions.

You know what it’s like winning a title having won the Summit League title in 2019 and 2020,but what does this title mean to you personally? Your first professional title?

This means a lot, it’s testament to all the hard work that me and my teammates have put in since day 1. My first professional title is a BCL championship, and one of the toughest international leagues to play in. That’s a solid first pro trophy if you ask me.

Talk a little about the 15 hours between hearing the siren and landing in Bonn. How long did you sleep?

I can tell you I definitely got enough sleep yesterday on the plane, and when I got home!

How did you experience the arrival at the Cologne airport and celebration at the Telekom Dome? How energetic were the fans?

They were ecstatic, our picture in airport billboards and on newspapers. It was a great experience, everyone welcomed us with open arms and love, we could feel the love as soon as we landed.

After the thrilling win over Malaga how sure were you and the team about winning it all? Despite the valiant effort by Hapoel Jerusalem, was the Malaga the secret final game?

We knew we had a great chance before the first game, everyone in that locker was extremely hungry and focused to make a dream into a reality. Both games were tough, when we won the first game we were excited, but knew we had another tough team in Jerusalem. The final game was the final game.

The final against Hapoel was another great game. In the first half Bonn as usual played their feisty defense allowing only 7 points. But in the second and third quarters Bonn allowed a total of 47 points. What adjustments did the opponent make in that phase?

I mean they are a high level team with high level players, we expected them to come out and swing. They never gave up.

What did head coach Tuomas Iisalo tell the team going into the fourth quarter. What adjustments did you make on the defensive end?

No adjustments, only to focus on what we do well and that’s our Identity. We really wanted to win so we made sure we emptied the tank.

I personally saw Malaga as a lot stronger roster wise than Hapoel, but they gave all they had. How annoying was this team? What was key at the end was key team wise for getting the win?

Same thing as before maintaining our identity and staying solid was the key, high level teams are going to make plays but we need to limit the amount of good plays they get.

Levi Randolph gave a spirited scoring battle with TJ Shorts. How menacing was he and what can one appreciate most from his game as a player?

He is a skilled guard of course, he hit some tough shots and all you can do is tip your cap. He is a high level player for sure.

TJ Shorts deserved the MVP award with 29 points and carried the team whenever he needed it. Does he secretly have a Super man cape under his jersey?

He’s a tough dude that’s for sure, I mean TJ is obviously MVP for a reason. He makes great decisions and is always making the right reads. He just just really really good!

If someone had told you in August 2021 after your first practice with Bonn that in May 2023 the team would win an international title and be the number 1 BBL team what would you have thought?

Sounds about right, From day one we knew what we had! It was just a question of what wouldn’t we accomplish

How satisfied are you with your own game coming in and playing your role and helping win a title?

Extremely happy! to say any different would mean I wouldn’t be playing my role correctly, I care about winning a lot, and I’m willing to do whatever the team needs to win! I think that goes for everyone on this team, we just excel in our roles!

Everyone knows how brilliant of a coach Tuomas Iisalo is, but did he grow another step in his coaching abilities in Malaga steering the team to the title?

Coach as you know has always been a great coach, nothing less! He learns at an insane rate and continues to help us improve along the way. So I would say yes!

You scored 8 points in the final. What play in the final will always be your favorite?

I was just happy to hoist the trophy, scoring the ball was the least important thing.

The season isn’t over as you began the playoffs tomorrow. How beneficial will this title be mentally for the team as it begins it’s quest to win it’s second season title?

I mean it can help and hurt, winning on a big stage like that can be huge for our confidence. But we must not overlook our opponents because these guys are very good professional, and no team in the BBL should be taken lightly!

The Niners played the Telekom Baskets Bonn tough and like every team will be gunning for you. What will be key in getting the series win?

Identity is the key to win this series!

What are your predictions Lakers-Nuggets and Celtics-Heat and who will win it all?

Lakers in 6
Celtics in 7
Lakers champions

Thanks Tyson for the chat


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