Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

The Fraport Skyliners Stage Another Late Comeback, But Aren´t rewarded Losing Again This Time To Ratiopharm Ulm 97-82

After having a long 2 week break to regroup after starting 1-5, you would have thought that Frankfurt head coach Geert Hammnik would have had something special prepared for Brose Bamberg, but instead were destroyed 100-83. With every new loss, the Bundesliga life of the Fraport Skyliners keeps diminishing. Frankfurt more than desperately needed a win, but it didn’t get any better against the always tough ratiopharm Ulm squad coached by Anton Gavel. Despite another talented roster, Ulm began the season off on the wrong note losing 5 games in a row. But as of late the team seems to have gotten out of their funk having won 3 of their last 4 games including Eurocup action. On a cool Sunday afternoon in late November, Quantez Robertson wanted to have another good game after having hit Bamberg with 18 points the week before and also help spark his team to success. But once again Quantez Robertson had a disappointed expression on his face after 40 minutes and had to search for new answers why the club lost once again this time to Ratiopharm Ulm 97-82. ‘We didn’t get enough defensive stops, didn’t rebound well enough and gave up too many fast break baskets. We didn’t do much well. Our communication on defense was there and we didn’t play good pick and roll defense’, stated ex Auburn (NCAA) great Quantez Robertson. Ratiopharm Ulm came out strong and played good consistent ball for the most part of the game something that the Fraprt Skyliners would love to do so much, but can’t. Ex Fraport Skyliner Tyrone Mccoy who played more than 2 decades ago for them and now is an assistant coach with ratiopharm Ulm was pleased with the team effort. ‘We started off well. We had some guys out, but still felt comfortable playing with each other. We played very well in the second half and went on a run that was helped by Robin Christen (202-SF-1991) big shots that helped get our lead to 20 points. We then did a good job managing the lead until the end. I felt that you could see that every guy is finding their role and as a whole everyone was trying to give a little bit more’, warned Tyrone Mccoy.

Josh Hawley at the FT line

Both teams found their offensive rhythm right away in the first quarter and no team could escape the other as ratiopharm Ulm led 22-20 after 10 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners started the offensive attack first as German national player Lukas Wank found his game instantly scoring 5 unanswered points, but the guests didn’t waste anytime getting 2 pretty baskets as ex Rasta Vechta forward Robin Christen fed German beats Nicolas Bretzel for the alley op dunk and ex NBA Summer League player Karim Jallow added a reverse lay up to trail 5-4. Both teams tried to get their big men involved with Matt Haarms and Bretzel as both answered with buckets, and both had good games combining for 30 points. After both exchanged baskets, it was ex Tarleton State (NCAA2) great Josh Hawley that gave Ulm the 15-14 advantage with a hard two hand dunk as Frankfurt would have massive problems all day long with 1-1 defense. Then ex Alba Berlin youth player Nolan Adekunle was inserted. He had wooed everyone only 18 hours earlier making 29 points in the Pro B win against Orange Academy in front of the eyes of head coach Geert Hammink. But at the end of 40 minutes, the athletic German had only logged 2,48 minutes. It was a shame that he hadn’t received more minutes something he would have deserved. He made a pretty basket for the 16-15 Frankfurt lead. Ratiopharm Ulm then grabbed the lead back and didn’t give it up again the rest of the game. Spanish guard Juan Nunez made a lay in and then got to the free throw line as Montenegran forward Fedor Zugic made 4 of 5 free throws and Hawley also made one as the guests led 22-18. Then with 5,6 seconds left came the games most spectacular play of the game as American JJ Frazier went coast to coast making an acrobatic lay in as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 22-20. ‘There was no defense played on either side. Both teams were getting to their spots. We had problems taking care of the ball’, stated Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners shot very well with 44% from the field and 50% from outside while ratiopharm Ulm was still looking for their touch from outside as they were at 20%. Ulm had the slim 10-8 rebound edge while Frankfurt had 5 turnovers.

Laurynas Beliauskas from outside

The contest remained tight in the second quarter, but the Fraport Skyliners could never get the lead back and were constantly playing catch up basketball. Frankfurt got some early support from Joshua Obiesie who continues to show that he wants to take responsibility as he scored 5 points, but Frankfurt couldn’t get stops as Karim Jallow beat everyone on transition for an easy basket and Hawley nailed a trey as Ulm led 29-28. Ratiopharm Ulm then found some daylight escaping out on a 8-2 run to lead 37-30. Ulm got two three’s from Brazilian Yago Matheus and Austrian Thomas Klepeisz and a lay in from Hawley as Frankfurt simply gave too many open looks. But what the guests could so, so could Frankfurt as they responded on a 8-3 run to trail only 40-38. Wank continued to hit shots as did Lithuanian Laurynas Bellauskas from down town and Quantez Robertson inside getting the pretty pass from Wank. Wank finished with a career high 10 assists, but continues to be an underrated passer. ‘That pass impressed me the most in the game. He has great court vision and has the skills to be able to make passes like that’, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Bennet Schubert. Ratiopharm Ulm came back with a Matheus trey and Bretzel offensive rebound and put back for the 45-40 advantage, but Quantez Robertson closed out the second quarter with another lay in as Wank once again made the perfect pass, but Ratiopharm Ulm led 45-42 at the break. ‘Frankfurt didn’t have consistent offense. Frankfurt had problems controlling Matheus and Bretzel hurt the team also too much in the paint’, stated Fraport Skyliner Junior Calvin Schaum. Despite trailing the Fraport Skyliners were shooting better than ratiopharm Ulm over 50% from the field and outside, but had 5 turnovers more while both teams had 18 rebounds a piece.

Juan Nunez with the floater

The turning point of the game came in the third quarter as ratiopharm Ulm had a 31 point explosion and just steam rolled the Fraport Skyliners. Ratiopharm Ulm began with an explosive 12-3 run to extend their lead to 57-45. Instrumental in the run was ex Pro A player Robin Christen who was a late bloomer who played 6 years in the Pro A before becoming a solid easyCredit BBL role player. In the run he nailed 2 uncharachteristic touch three’s that you don’t see every day. ‘That shot is hard to make. He must be used to making that shot thanks to his quick release. He has been able to incorporate that into his game. He is a good role model and example of what hard work can do. It can help you reach the highest level’, expressed Bennet Schubert. ‘I practice this shot every day. It isn’t unusual that I can make that shot’, said Robin Christen. After a Haarms lay in and Wank trey, it was Christen again who showed his mastery at scoring making 5 points as Frankfurt trailed 62-49. ‘Frankfurt wanted to come out of half-time making a run. Frankfurt didn’t have clear plays and Ulm was more focused. They wanted to shut the door on Frankfurt. Frankfurt made dumb mistakes like that Jallow dunk’, added Bennet Schubert. Frankfurt simply had to little bright spots as even when a Joshua Obiesie sparkled with a trey, ratiopharm Ulm simply had a better bench on this day. Ratiopharm Ulm got steady support from David Fuchs who is a vital player for their farm team as well as a Nunez floater and 5 points from Zugic as ratiopharm had the very comfortable 76-54 advantage after 30 minutes. ‘We moved the ball well and got open shots. We had a good feel for the pick and roll and just did what we wanted to. We moved the ball and had 2-3 passes and then took the open shot’, stressed Tyrone Mccoy. ‘They executed their offense at a t. I thought we got good looks, but just couldn’t make shots when we needed to’, exclaimed Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners shot solidly over 40% from the field and outside, but now ratiopharm Ulm had upped their shooting percentages to 53% from the field and 47% from the parking lot. The guests had upped their rebound work having the 28-23 rebound edge and Frankfurt had 14 turnovers and Ulm only 6.

Joshua Obiesie at the FT line

Ratiopharm Ulm managed their lead well, until they were challenged by Lukas Wank who still had a little energy in his tank as his hot hitting brought Frankfurt closer, but really Ulm was never seriously challenged in crunch-time. At the 8,53 minute mark, new Fraport Skyliner Marcus Lewis who played at Eastern Kentucky (NCAA) made his first field goal in the BBL. He ended with 8 points in 16 minutes work. Frankfurt got a clutch three pointer from big man Jordan Samare and Matt Haarms continued to execute in the paint, but the Fraport Skyliners couldn’t make any ground as ratiopharm Ulm also continued to execute as Hawley and Matheus scored. One player they couldn’t control at all was beast Nicolas Bretzel who finished with 13 points and 10 boards as he continued to make easy baskets giving Ulm the 85-72 lead. But then came the big moment of Lukas Wank as he nailed back to back three’s and had the Fraport Arena cooking as suddenly Frankfurt trailed 86-78 with a few minutes to play. Wank finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. ‘This was his best game of the season. He was already at 8/8 at the half. He was moving ball and finding guys while being very aggressive on offense’, stated Quantez Robertson. But that was as close as the Fraport Skyliners would get as ratiopharm Ulm closed out the game with a potent 11-4 run to win the game easily. Nunez made 2 clutch lay ins and Klepeisz a trey to seal the deal. With a few seconds remaining and Frankfurt already getting ready to shake hands, Matheus hit a last second three to sugar coat his stat line. ‘Frankfurt did a good job at the end switching and slowing us down. It made us stagnant and made us go 1-1. We had a good lead and Nunez made big baskets at the end to finish the game for us’, said Tyrone Mccoy. ‘Frankfurt always plays well in the last quarter. But when you have been fighting the whole game to come back, it is just really hard to get consecutive stops when your down’, stressed Bennet Schubert. Ratiopharm Ulm was led by Robin Christen with 18 points. Yago Matheus added 15 points and Nicolas Bretzel 13 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Lukas Wank with 18 points and Matt Haarms added 17 points. Ratiopharm Ulm shot 55% from the field and 42% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 49% from the field and 42% form outside and had 27 rebounds 15 turnovers.


Nolan Adekunle Powers The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past Orange Academy 100-72

It has been an up and down season for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they didn’t have a good start losing their first 3 games, but then recovered beating FC Bayern Munich and Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg. But then the team suffered the same day easyCredit BBL game something that happens every season where they traveled to Oberaching without many of their routine players and had 5 NBBL players on board. The season wasn’t a rosy one either for Frankfurt opponent Orange Academy who like Frankfurt often don’t have their full roster because of BBL commitments. Orange Academy came to Frankfurt with a poor 1-5 record, despite being close at the end in 3 of the 5 loses. On a cool Saturday evening in late November, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors began with a bang with unbelievable aggressive defense and played a consistent game for 40 minutes tearing apart Orange Academy 100-72. After the big win ex Alba Berlin wing player Nolan Adekunle (200-PF-2002) who steered home 29 points in the win was all smiles and summed up the reasons for the win well. ‘We came out with the right aggressiveness and totally surprised them. We played very well against the best rebounding team in the league. We beat them on the fast break and set play and integrated all in the win. It was a team win’, stressed Nolan Adekunle. Orange Academy head coach Baldur Ragnarsson looked speechless after the loss, but still found a way to sum up the embarrassing loss. ‘This was a tough loss for us. We had big problems on the 1-1 defense and pick and roll defense. It was a real struggle for us. They moved the ball really well and shot well. They were simply better for us. You will never win when you have 30 turnovers. We have talented young players, but they need to make the next step on defense and take better care of the ball’, warned Baldur Ragnarsson.

Jordan Samare at the FT line

The first few minutes was a real turnover fest dominated by Orange Academy as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors came out with extreme intensity as Nolan Adekunle and Justin Onyejiaka were a wrecking crew forcing 5 turnovers as Frankfurt took a rapid 6-0 lead in the first 4 minutes. ‘That phase was unbelievable. It was like that in chapters during the game. We were lacking in confidence’, stressed Baldur Ragnarsson. Big man Jordan Samare made a massive dunk and Adekunle made 2 transition buckets. German big man Antonio Dorn finally got Orange Academy on the board with a lay in at the 6,46 minute mark. Despite the guests getting a huge trey from you German Maximillian Langenfeld who recently scored 9 points in a Eurocup game, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors found their offensive rhythm early getting an offensive rebound and put back by Samare, a Adekunle three pointer and lay in by veteran Marco Voeller for the 13-6 Frankfurt advantage. Their quick begin with good defense sparked their offense on transition and then in the set play as their extra pass never let them down. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn’t let down and kept up the pressure and closed out the first 10 minutes with a forceful 19-7 run. Frankfurt continued to play smooth inside out basketball as Adekunle, Philipp Hadenfeld and Onyejiaka nailed three’s while Voeller had another lay in, ex Isaac Bonga teammate Alvin Onyia scored on a drive as did ex Wurzburg forward Nils Leonhardt. After 10 minutes, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the overwhelming 32-13 lead. ‘We had good ball movement, were cutting well and got in the open court. On defense we were very aggressive and got into passing lanes well. Orange Academy were rushing too much’, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot very well at 65% from the field and 57% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 4 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 33% from the field and 25% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 10 turnovers.

Orange Academy sniper Lenny Liedtke from outside

In the second quarter the guests had a good start to get back into the game, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got back on track and still led by double digits points at the break. Orange Academy stepped up their intensity and aggressiveness and caught Frankfurt off guard racking up an annoying 11-2 run to cut Frankfurt’s lead down to 34-26. In the run the guests got 2 quick buckets from their 2022 JBBL (U-16) champions Joel Cwick and Eric Reibe as well as 5 points from Danish youth national player Tobias Jenson. Frankfurt lost a little of steam from their first quarter explosion and got too comfortable with their lead while Orange Academy began to believe more in themselves. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors then found back to their game and soon were able to lead by double digits again. Instruemental in Frankfurt getting back into the game was JBBL (U-16) winner with Alba Berlin Nolan Adekunle who continued to be all over the court. He fed Samare for a basket and then scored another three pointer and scored on transition as Frankfurt led 43-29. Adekunle finished with a Pro B high 29 points. ‘Nolan takes pride in stopping g guys and he makes big shots. When the team needs big baskets, he makes them and he loves to attack the rim’, stated Quantez Robertson. Orange Academy received clutch three’s from Lenny Liedtke and Antonio Dorn, but it wasn’t enough as Frankfurt continued to execute well on offense as Albert Schweitzer tournament winner Hadenfeldt made a pull up jumper and ex Rasta Vechta guard Justin Onyejiaka made a lay in as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 48-34 at half time. ‘It was only natural that Orange Academy would make a run. We executed better on both ends but then ran out of gas. Frankfurt got big support from Adekunle and changed the rhythm back to Frankfurt’s side’, stressed ratiopharm Ulm assistant coach Tyrone Mccoy. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were still shooting well at 53% from the field and 42% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 12 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 44% from the field and 38% from the three point line and had 14 rebounds and 18 turnovers.

Alvin Onyia drives to the hole

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to heighten their game in the third quarter and led by more than 20 points. Frankfurt began well continuing to play beautiful team basketball where the extra pass was king as Onyejiaka made a lay in with the sweet back door pass by Marco Voeller and a Samare offensive rebound and put back by Samare for the 52-34 Frankfurt lead. Orange Academy then had a good spurt again going on a 8-2 run to cut Frankfurt’s lead down to 54-42 as Austrian youth national player David Fuchs and Tobias Jenson connected for three’s and Liedtke made a lay in. But Frankfurt never suffered long lapses on offense as they were capable to slap runs right back into the guests faces. Frankfurt responded with a 8-2 run to lead by 21 points again 66-45. In the run, Frankfurt was led by Hadenfeldt trey and lay in’s by Adekunle and Samare. Both teams continued to execute their offenses, but Orange Academy just couldn’t get over the hump. Orange Academy got buckets from Liedtke, and 2 from Dorn while Frankfurt got baskets from Adekunle, a pull up jumper from Hadenfeldt and a trey from Bennet Schubert. ‘We struggled on defense the whole game. We didn’t find ways to execute and just couldn’t take care of the ball’, stressed Baldur Ragnarsson. ‘Coach had a good speech at the break. He expected us to keep being aggressive and be calm’, stated Nolan Adekunle. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 58% from the field and 44% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 16 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 49% from the field and 48% from the parking lot and had 20 rebounds and 24 turnovers.

Austrian youth national player David Fuchs at the FT line

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to execute their offense and defend solidly while Orange Academy just couldn’t find a way to consistently get defensive stops. Orange Academy got a burst of instant energy by Thomas Guas as he began the fourth quarter with 5 points on a runner and three pointer as Frankfurt led only 75-60. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to execute well and spread the offensive love around getting a three pointer by Voeller, free throws by Leonhardt and 4 points by Onyejiaka while David Fuchs found some offensive inspiration scoring 6 points, but Orange Academy still trailed 83-65. Frankfurt got a late three pointer by Drago Crnjac, but it was Nolan Adekunle who continued to be in attack mode and sparked his stats with 8 points and 2 three’s. A few years ago, you wouldn’t have seen his outside shot as a strength on the scouting report, but in 2022, he can say it’s a weapon. ‘I’m very confident taking the three now. I have made big steps the last 2 years and especially last summer with the youth national team. I had confidence from my teammates and took three’s. I was the second best shooter at the tournament’, warned Nolan Adekunle. 16 year old huge German talent Joel Cwick also hit a late three pointer and finished with 12 points in 16 minutes and continues to excel at the men’s level. ‘Joel played well today. He always plays hard on defense and takes his chances on offense. He was one of the few positive aspects in the game for us. I was happy with his performance but in the end we need our older guys to step up’, warned Baldur Ragnarsson. With time running down, little used role player Isaac Obanor scored the 100th Frankfurt point on free throws. As always tradition in basketball Germany is for that player who scores the 100 to buy a case for the team or in some cases something else. ‘Isaac owes us donuts. I don’t know what it costs, but it isn’t cheap’, laughed Nolan Adekunle. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had 5 guys in double figures and were led by Nolan Adekunle with 29 points. Jordan Samare and Juston Onyejiaka added 14 points a piece while Philipp Hadenfeldt added 11 points while orange Academy was led by Joel Cwick and Antonio Dorn with 12 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 56% from the field and 48% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 20 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 46% from the field and 41% from outside and had 24 rebounds and 30 turnovers.


IBAM Have Massive Fourth Quarter Winning 76-66 As Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners Let Game Slip Away

Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners came into the game against IBAM sporting a 0-4 record. They were in striking range in the loses against Ludwigsburg and Bamberg, but had little chance against Urspring and FC Bayern Munich losing by 20 plus points. The biggest problem for the Frankfurt squad is scoring points consistently as they average only 61 per game while on defense are still searching for their identity as they allow 79 per game. Their opponent IBAM came to Frankfurt with a 2-1 record. After opening the season with a tough loss to Urspring, they bounced back with convincing wins against Jena and FC Bayern Munich. On a cool afternoon in late November Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners learned the hard way that a basketball game has 40 minutes as they played very well for 30 minutes, but had a total black out in the fourth quarter allowing a 22-4 run that allowed IBAM to fight back and win 76-66. IBAM didn’t play their best basketball in the first half, but slowly step by step heightened their game and played their best in the fourth quarter when it counted most. ‘We won the game in the second half. We didn’t play with energy in the first half. We cut down on the small mistakes in the second half. We had better stability on defense and executed better on offense. We had very good team spirit and took their strengths away in the second half’, stressed IBAM guard Tin Udovicic (190-PG-2005). Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumurija was down after the loss which was understandable as the team didn’t play bad for long phases, but it was just that horrible fourth quarter that decided the game. ‘I thought that we played well for 3 quarters. But then in the fourth quarter they hit back to back three’s and after that we got shaky not finding the right solutions anymore. We have to do a better job cutting down on our turnovers. We just aren’t ready yet to find the right solutions yet’, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumurija.

Marvin Esser at the FT line

The first quarter score wise looked more a like a low scoring NFL football game then a basketball game as no team could establish an offensive rhythm. IBAM star Tin Udovicic didn’t even start the game. Spaniard Alexander Moreno who played 23 EBA games for Zaragoza got the first bucket of the game, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got the lead back rapidly with a trey from German guard Julian Haskins. Both teams then traded the lead as IBAM 100 kilo man Philipp Roos made an old school hook shot and athletic Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners player Alexander Lageman scored on the drive and Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 5-4. Then 17 year old Croatian U-16 national player Tin Odovicic was inserted and made a pretty step back jumper that reminded one instantly of Luka Doncic as IBAM led 6-5. Both teams were plagued with turnovers and the inability to hit three’s. IBAM then got a step back jumper from Jamie Jaeger as IBAM led 8-5. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners didn’t back down but got a vital three pointer from 18 year old 198cm forward Viktor Malinowsky who made his Pro B debut recently to dead lock the contest at 8-8. Daniel Riedlich and Marvin Esser closed out the first quarter with free throws. ‘Both teams defended well. We had no idea on offense. We ran good plays, but shots weren’t falling’, stressed Tin Udovicic. Both teams had low percentages from the field and were only combined 2/14 shooting from downtown while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also had coughed up the ball 7 times.

Alexander Moreno at the FT line

In the second quarter both teams finally found their offensive rhythms, but it was Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners that exploded on offense with 29 points and got the momentum and closed out the game in potent fashion going on a 20-8 run to lead 38-28 at half-time. Esser got Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners on the board first and then Ognyen Cocic and Haskins traded three’s and Jeremy Kolev made a lay in to tie the game at 14-14. Both teams stepped up their intensity and aggressiveness, but still no team could get away from the other. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners then was able to lead 18-14 with free throws form Lagermann and Collin Toelke, but IBAM stood up and escaped out on a 6-0 run to recapture the lead 20-18. In the run IBAM was benefited by another bread and butter shot from Mr mid range Tin Udovicic, but the last 2 buckets were early Christmas presents. Moreno scored both times as on the first one he got an easy lay up on an inbounds pass and on the second made a transition basket after Syllah made the steal on a bad Frankfurt turnover. IBAM was playing heads up basketball while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had gotten lazy and too contemplative in their sets. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners woke up and played their best phase of the game closing out the second quarter with a positive 20-8 run to lead 38-28. In the run Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was led and carried by athletic German Alexander Lagerman who supplied 7 points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also got key support from the bench from young German Finley Pruever who scored 5 points as well as Hector Izquierdo and Barnabas Bode who scored. IBAM received buckets from Silver Bieling, Daniel Riedlich and Tin Udovicic. ‘We totally got away from our game. We lost our identity on defense and made bad decisions and shots’, added Tin Udovicic. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners upped their shooting at 42% from the field and 33% from outside and had 26 rebounds and 13 turnovers while IBAM shot 32% from the field and 8% from outside and had 19 rebounds and 7 turnovers.

Barnabas Bode from outside

Both teams executed well in the third quarter, but IBAM couldn’t make a dent in Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners offense as the home team still had the comfortable 58-48 advantage after 30 minutes. Lagermann gave Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners a huge boost to begin the second half with a trey and 41-28 lead, but IBAM was never to let down as they slowly raised their game step by step. IBAM put an early scare into Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners game rattling off a nasty 7-0 run to cut into Frankfurt’s lead and trail only 41-35. IBAM executed very well and moved the ball well. Udovicic ran the pick and roll well with Syllah who scored and Kolev nailed a trey and Udovicic a 20 footer. But at this phase Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still had answers to IBAM runs something they would lack in the fourth quarter. Lagermann and Esser combined for 6 points as Frankfurt suddenly led in double digits again 47-35. Both teams continued to execute well, but IBAM couldn’t make any ground. Both team’s stars Lagermann and Udovicic continued to carry each other’s teams scoring multiple baskets as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners increased their lead to 55-42. IBAM did a better job on the offensive rebound as Roos made an offensive rebound and put back while Moreno made a jumper and Udovicic a 20 footer, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still led 58-48. IBAM definatley upped their intensity something that would increase even more in the fourth quarter. ‘We got back to doing our basics well and moved the ball better. We also rebounded the ball better and stayed away from dumb fouls’, stated Tin Udovicic. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to shoot well at 43% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 35 rebounds and 18 turnovers while IBAM shot 35% from the field and 11% from the three point line and had 30 rebounds and 12 turnovers.

Tin Udovicic from down town

The giant turning point of the contest came in the fourth quarter as IBAM went on massive run by which Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners couldn’t recover from. IBAM went into the fourth quarter having shot a pathetic 2/18 from outside, but then bang let it rain 3 three’s from Riedlich, Moreno and Udovicic which totally changed the game as suddenly Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led only 60-57. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners just totally lost their intensity and began to think more and more about each new IBAM 3 and just let the mental part effect their execution. IBAM was reborn and just 1-2 steps ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners in every phase of the game especially on the boards. The best example was an offensive rebound and put back by Kisma Syllah who was all alone under the basket as no Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliner player was there to contest as the game was deadlocked 60-60. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners lacked effort and fight. Syllah then made the and one free throw for the 61-60 and IBAM would never look back. Silver Bieling then added a trey for the 64-60 advantage. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got a bit more aggressive getting to the free throw line but couldn’t execute as well getting only free throws from Haskins and Zentgraf to trail 64-62. IBAM then put the final exclamation mark on the win with a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 71-62. In the run IBAM received a clutch basket from Udovicic who came into the game averaging 22,0ppg. He had another solid stat line with 23/6/8/3. ‘I didn’t have a good first half shooting wise. I went into the second half wanting to make better decisions and take better shots as well as putting my team in the best position to win’, expressed Tin Udovicic. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners made stupid turnovers in the last minutes and IBAM sealed the win with class with free throws by Moreno and Bieling. ‘We showed big time energy in the fourth quarter. We believed that we could win and had the momentum on our side. We rebounded even better, got the loose balls and did transition. We played the total opposite to the first half’, expressed Tin Udovicic. ‘We were too nervous and thought too much. They did a good job taking our entry pass away something they couldn’t in the first half. We took what they gave us in the first half and didn’t do that in the second half’, stated Miran Cumurija. IBAM was led by Tin Udovicic with 23 points while Alexander Moreno had 12 points and Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was led by Alexander Lagermann with 28 points and Julian Haskins added 10 points. IBAM shot 39% from the field and 22% from outside and had 41 rebounds and 16 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 32% from the field and 32% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 29 turnovers.


The Miles Basketball Minute: Are The EPG Baskets The FC Bayern Munich Of The Pro B?

All pics except for Uli Hoeness courtsey of the EPG Baskets Koblenz

Many of the EPG Baskets Koblenz games are on Sunday’s during the season, a day where FC Bayern Munich legend Uli Hoeness is spending a lazy and relaxing day somewhere in Bavaria. The absolute last thought in his mind would have to be spending a few hours in Koblenz in the CGM arena to watch basketball. This season the EPG Baskets Koblenz are dominating the Pro B in brutal fashion and having that attitude of taking no prisoners as they are steering down a one way road to the Pro A. They are playing beautiful basketball and winning which is very refreshing in Koblenz. They are winning with ease and in a fashion that could remind one of FC Bayern Munich. One has to wonder what it would take to get a Uli Hoeness into the CGM arena? I mean if there was an announcement that superstar Ronaldo would be visiting a game, would that be enough to get him there? ‘Probably so. I don’t think Uli Hoeness knows who the EPG Baskets are, maybe sign LeBron James, KD, Giannis, Luka or that caliber of player. But I guess that’s the goal eventually in years to come, to put Koblenz on the Map as a serious basketball Club’, stressed ex easyCredit BBL player Dominique Johnson (194-SF-1992). The club is simply at a totally different level and added ex easyCredit BBL players left and right the last few years with Dominique Johnson, Marvin Heckel and Leon Friderici who all have come with grace and wanting to win for the organization. ‘I think through our careers we witnessed similar things here and there. And I think with Koblenz we felt like there is a chance to build and create something a little different. We want Koblenz to be a place where people want to come because they are valued. Plus we want to build a family culture. Where even when you leave it’s still something like a brotherhood. Plus what makes this team special is just the hunger for success, but being humbled at the same time’, stressed Dominique Johnson. Are the EPG Baskets Koblenz the FC Bayern Munich of the Pro B? ‘Well I wouldn’t go there yet. I think it takes a lot more with being called that. But in think we do have a status here in the Pro B, where everybody thinks we are the team to beat’, warned Dominique Johnson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and FC Bayern Munich legend Uli Hoeness in the Audi Dome in Munich in 2013

There has been a steady rise in the development of basketball in Koblenz in the last 9 years. In the summer of 2014 they were a Oberliga team and then the climb up the basketball ladder went very quicky. After one season in the second Regionalliga, they made the jump to the Regionalliga where they were for 5 years. Even if their time stalled a bit there, the club was always ambitious and showed early on that they were very serious about continuing to move up and always made potent rosters. They were rewarded in 2020 moving up to the Pro B. They continued being ambitious in constructing competitive teams and made big steps in the last 2 seasons finishing in 7th place in 2021 and in 2nd place last season. The goal Pro A was already there last season, but the team just wasn’t ready yet. But this season they want three to be a charm and finally reach the Pro A. So far they are playing like a club that wants to move up basking in the limelight with a 7-0 record. The prosperity of the organization can easily be described in one sentence. ‘The success of the EPG is because of camaraderie and sacrifice’, stressed Dominique Johnson. The organization run by basketball mastermind Thomas Klein did a good job holding a good component of last years team like ex easyCredit BBl players Dominique Johnson and Marvin Heckel and added vital pieces like Alani Moore, Moritz Huebner and Leon Friederici. The team looked great on paper in August 2022, but did anyone expect the team to be 7-0 by the end of November? ‘In all honesty, YES! I knew we where going to be good! At least that’s what I expected us to be! We are hungry! After failing our goal last year’, stated Dominique Johnson. Last season the club was very strong and deep, but there a few differences this season that the team didn’t have last season, plus the bitter memory of how the season ended has stuck with the returning guys. ‘Experience and mindset are two big components I’d say. Especially guys that were here last year, still have that bitter taste of failure in the mouth. The new guys that came in fit perfectly. It’s like a puzzle. And the front office and coaches did a great job of adding the right pieces to what we already have. It feels like a family. Coach is the father and everybody else are like brothers. Sure we argue and fight but at the end we all want to win! So yea chemistry is on point! And I’ll go to war with these guys any day of the week’, warned Dominique Johnson.

With every new win, the expectations continue to rise in Koblenz and the pressure doesn’t get any less either. ‘There is a certain pressure with being the best team! But I think there was more pressure last season! They way we work and challenge each other in practice everyday makes it easy to overcome though. Because we gain so much confidence through it’, expressed Dominique Johnson. A big focus of head coach Pat Elzie coming into the season was to be a great defensive team. The team’s size and being active is a big part of why they are a good defensive team. It seems like at times they are flying all over the court. They are giving up a solid 72 points per game, but can still get better to be a great defensive team. ‘Even though it doesn’t always seem like it we focus a lot on defense and try to generate out offense and fast play through our defense. And yes your right we still do many mistakes on defense. Little things like communicating or having our hands up every time. But we make up a lot of that with our athleticism and defensive IQ. If your active and cover your brothers you can make up for a lot of mistakes. And on the other hand our offense is just clicking! That was probably our biggest problem last year. Being to stagnant and not really executing most of the time! It was all through individual ability which is different this year’, said Dominique Johnson. The experience and having brought teams up levels has been a huge strength of head coach Pat Elzie and he has a knack of having players perform very well for him. ‘Pat has been great, really. I never had a coach like him. I was more the Balkan/Yugo Coach Type. That’s when I played my best basketball. But after being around Coach Pat. It’s a lot more chilled, but he will hold you accountable when you do mess up. He gives so much confidence to guys, but is open to everybody if a player thinks something else might work better for that person. It’s a good mix of holding the ropes but giving enough freedom. I mean it’s easy to see just look at the way Leo and Moses are playing this season they are having a huge impact on the court for our team’, warned Dominque Johnson.

Even if the EPG Baskets Koblenz have much talent at all positions, it is the guard play that really carries the team. The guard duo of experienced ex BBL player Marvin Heckel and the flashy and speedy Alani Moore are a set of guards that any team in the Pro B would dream of having. They can be walking buckets at anytime, but overal still have that team first mentality before anything else. ‘Playing with Marvin and Alani is great. The way they play makes it so much easier for everybody on the court because they can score and pass at a high level. They create Buckets. Where do they rank? That’s tough since I played with a good amount of guards but they will be in my Top 5 for sure. They are so important but they are our primary ball handlers. We depend on them to get us going especially on offense’, commented Dominique Johnson. Another big part of the team is 3 year man Brian Butler. The ex easyCredit BBL slam dunk champion is a walking bucket and can out dance defenders at ease the way Mr ballerina Derrick Allen did back in the day, but he also has another valuable asset that every player profits from. ‘Brian is just a great guy! Obviously there is nobody in this league that can stop him if he is locked in. Because off the court it’s not like he is to vocal but it’s more selective with him. He is more the guy that takes you to the side and tells you what he thinks. Which makes his voice so much more heard when he does voice his opinion in front of everybody’, added Dominique Johnson. Just when one thought basketball life couldn’t get any better, they added ex easyCredit BBL player Leon Friderici. A guy like that could be the extra exclamation mark for the climb to the Pro A. ‘I think people that follow Basketball seen Leon and what he brings to the table. This guy is a beast. His work ethic is Top 5 of people I played with. He’s a blue collar player! Comes in plays defense with a high intensity and offensively a variety of ways to impact the game! He can shoot the 3, drive to the baskets and finish with a dunk or pull-up for a midrange. I think his passing is underrated. He has a good feel and vision to create for teammates. What a lot of people don’t know, Leon and I lived together in Braunschweig in a 4 man WG! So just seeing how our path and how he developed, I’m stoked to play with him’, smiled Dominique Johnson.

Dominique Johnson is playing his second season with the EPG Baskets Koblenz and when you observe him during the game on the bench when he unleashes his big smile, you know right away he is 100% happy to be in uniform. There aren’t many guys that will go from the easyCredit BBL to the Pro B, but he did. He put his ego into the closet and has been a solid contributor the last 2 seasons. He is averaging scoring in double figures and 6 rebounds and 2 assists the last 2 seasons, but this season is playing 6 minutes less. Has he changed anything? ‘I don’t think too much has changed for me. Obviously I’d say a couple less touches and like you said less minutes but. Now I can be more efficient. And focus on the little thing that don’t show on the stat sheet’, expressed Dominque Johnson. The team has so much scoring power that it is obvious that his biggest focus is being as consistent and effective in the minutes that he gets. ‘These guys make it easy for me. I can just come in and play the way I played my whole career. I can just be a complete team guy. Because I know we have plenty of guys that can score. I like playing basketball the right way! What I mean by that is not forcing shots, playing for your teammates. I adapted this from the Chemnitz Basketball culture led by my Ex Coach Rodrigo Pastore. His philosophy was always WE over ME mentality and passing up a good shot for a great shot! So yea now it’s just fun to play basketball and I can lead the guys with my experience! But also sit back and watch these guys have fun’, smiled Dominique Johnson. He has done a super job with shot selection, but more important that putting up good stats is just winning. ‘Shot selection is a huge focus. Last year a lot of time I shot a lot of my shot contested or late shot clock, which I don’t mind but this year I’m trying to get some easy looks first before I start shooting those. What is also a big focus are rebounds. I take Pride in those. You can ask my bigs if you get a chance who was the leading rebounder last season! And I’m playing on keeping it that way. All honesty I’ll do whatever it takes. I see myself as a Swiss Army knife. I think I’m versatile enough to score when you need me to, create or even just calm the game down a little. I just try to be the guy that you can count on at any moment for any situation! I just want to win and reach out final goal of moving to the Pro A’, warned Dominique Johnson. The EPG Baskets Koblenz are a lot of fun to watch this season and I know that won’t change. With Thomas Klein at the helm, good things have happened and nothing will change. They are moving up the basketball ladder at their pace and having fun. If one sees FC Bayern Munich officials in Koblenz some time this season, then you know the interest and curiosity will have tickled FC Bayern Munich. Earliest on December 17th when FC Bayern Munich and massive talent Ivan Kharkenkov visit the CGM arena in Koblenz. Perhaps Uli Hoeness can give the EPG Baskets Koblenz an early Christmas gift with a visit.

The Miles Vs Chris Miller Weekly Basketball Conversation Volume 8

Christopher Miller (192-G-1993, college: Salem) is a 29 year old 193cm guard from Brooklyn, New York who is playing his eighth professional season and first with GoldCoast Wallabies NLB (2nd League). He played 3 seasons with the Giessen Pointers (Germany-RegionalligaThis season for Bensheim he averaged 19,5ppg, 3,8rpg, 2,0apg and 1,5spg. He has had experience in countries like El Salvador and Bosnia. He recently played for the South Shore Monarchs (TBL) playing 8 games averaging 22.4ppg, 5.6rpg, 4.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.3%. He began his basketball career at Clinton Community College and also played two years at Salem University (NCAA2). This season he teams up with Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with weekly chats about his basketball season.

Wallabies suffered a 79-71 loss against GC Zurich. It was your third loss in your third game. Does every new loss hurt more than the last?

This one hurt because I feel we played a complete game and lost it in the last 2 minutes. This was a tough one to let slip away.

Talk a little about the 40 minutes. When was this game decided?

The last 2 minutes of the 4th they went on a run and we couldn’t make up for . They went from down 3 to up 7.

Wallabies rebounded better and had less turnovers. Where was this game lost?

Little plays and execution at the end if the game.

Bench points was a problem as the team only had 3. How much pressure do you and the other starters feel when you seemingly have to do so much more?

I have faith our bench will get things together. I think they will be better for us in the future and make their mark on the game.

You filled the stat sheet well, but have had 16 turnovers in 3 games. Have you been studying extra film to get best acquainted to the league play?

I have been studying the league. I am the main ball handler and I think it’s an adjustment period and getting chemistry with my teammates . I know this number will decrease.

You have made a massive jump in your three point shooting percentages compared to Bensheim. What has changed?

Nothing has changed honestly if my stats were shown correctly from Bensheim it would show I was shooting 50% there also . I worked on my game this summer and really made it a focal point to shoot more 3s

You next play Grand Saconn who have an identical record with you. What will be key for the win?

This game is important for us in the standings we have dropped a few games and I think we need it for our confidence moving forward.

Thanks Chris for the chat.


The Miles Vs Jeremy Ingram Weekly Basketball Chat Volume 5

Jeremy Ingram (183-G-1991, college: AAMU) is a 191 cm guard that was born in Alabama and has played his entire professional career in Germany for teams like Speyer, Idstein, Bensheim and recently SG Mannheim.This season he is playing for Regionalliga team Bargteheide. Last season with SG Mannheim he picked up South West Regionalliga player of the year while averaging (32.1ppg), 5.7rpg, 4.2apg, Steals-4 (2.6spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 35.4%, 9%. He began his career with Enterprise State Community College (JUCO) and then finished with Alabama A&M University (NCAA). He spoke will team up with Miles Schmidt-Scheuber on a weekly basis this season to talk basketball.

Congrats on the massive 112-111 win. How good did it feel to be back competing?

I love nothing more than playing basketball so being out there enjoying those important moments in a big game like this with my team meant the world. Really happy to be playing again.

You were gone for a while. What was the first thing you thought about when you got the ball for the first time?

Well I mean I wasn’t playing in the games for a while Sure, but I was always in the gym working. So it came kind of natural. Just play my game. It didn’t take long for me to get back comfortable.

You witnessed a wild shoot out. Talk a little about the 40 minutes and what was key for reaching the overtime period?

This was probably 1 of the most exciting games i’ve ever been involved in. Both teams fought to the very end. When 1 team thought they had the game wrapped up the other team stepped up and made big plays. I’m happy to say we came out on the winning side of that 1, was very entertaining.

What was key for getting the win in double OT. It seemed like Westesrtede was a team that you just couldn’t shake?

A couple of time we thought we had the game won they came down and hit huge 3 point shots They couldn’t shake us and we couldn’t shake them. Just so happened we hit 1 more big shot than they did which got us the victory.

You and Marvel Hoppe combined for 67 points. He had an incredible 32 points. Do you feel like your return sparked his play?

No Marcel is a very good player. I’m sure my return has nothing to do with sparking his play. He’s going to be ready to play whether I’m there or not but I do think me being back makes his job a little easier.

You Hoppe and Abbakar combined for 87 points. What kind of dimension does the team have when all 3 are on? Are you then unbeatable?

I think us 3 are strong together. We still have a lot of work to do for us to all be on the same page then I think we will be very tough but that’s only our 1st game as a trio so the chemistry will come soon enough.

You had incredible 35/6/4 stats. How pleased were you with your game?

Not pleased at all. Actually was very disappointed in my play. Everybody on the outside tells me how good I played coming back from injury but all I can think about is the 6 free throws I missed and all these easy midrange shots that I can normally make in my sleep. But I’m only about 60% so I’m still proud of myself for getting out there fighting with and for my team. I really missed that.

You had 25 free throw attempts. Was that the most you have had in Germany?

I mean pretty much every season I lead the league in free throw attempts so going to the line a lot is nothing new but 25 free throws in 1 game is crazy, definitely think that’s the most for me in 1 game.

I can imagine you were very happy with your aggressiveness?

I will always be aggressive. Still not able to do a lot of things I want too because my foot is still not all the way there yet, but you will never be able to question my aggressiveness and determination.

You next play 6-3 Aschersleben. That will be a tough encounter. What will be key for the win?

Well we hope to have our team back healthy, a few injuries and illnesses right now. I think defense definitely will be the key because our offense is strong enough but if we can get stops too I think we can get the job done.

Thanks Jeremy for the chat.


Deishuan Booker’s (Hapoel Nofar Energy Galil Elion) IQ And Adapting Against Plenty Of Different Schemes Has Come From Playing At 3 Schools

Deishuan Booker (190-G-1996, college: LBSU, agency: Octagon Europe) is 190cm point guard from Las Vegas, Nevada playing his fourth professional season and first with Hapoel Nofar Energy Galil Elion (Israel-Winner League). Last season he played with Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-Betclic ELITE ProA) averaging 7.2ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.0apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 62.2%, 3FGP: 27.0%, FT: 80.6% and in in March’2022 moved to FOS Provence Basket (France-Betclic ELITE ProA) averaging 17.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.7apg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 84.9%. He played his second professional season with Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-EBL) averaging 15.3ppg; 3.3rpg, 5.4apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 52.5%, 3FGP: 41.5%, FT: 80.0% and in in Dec.’20 moved to BG Goettingen (Germany-BBL) averaging 9.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.8apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 82.8%. He played his rookie season with ERA Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL) averaging 6.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-4 (1.6spg), FGP: 43.0%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 83.3%; and played 16 BCL games averaging 10.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 59.3%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 81.6%He began his basketball career with Democracy Prep Agassi Campus averaging 27.7ppg and scored over 1200 points in his two seasons. He played at Gillette CC (JUCO) averaging 11.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 30.5%, FT: 76.7%. He then moved to to S.Idaho JC (JUCO, starting five) averaging 9.8ppg, 4.4rpg, 6.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 71.8%. He played at Long Beach State University (NCAA) from 2017-2019 playing 65 games and as a junior averaged 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 85.8% and in his senior year he averaged 18.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 91.2%. He spoke to before a Fiba Europe Cup game against Brose Bamberg.

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

I´m in Bamberg preparing for our match against Brose Bamberg. Basketball has been a blessing man it has taken me all over the world and I’ve made some life long friends from the sport.

Welcome back to Germany. You lived half of a season in Germany during Covid. What could appreciate most about Germany during these difficult times?

I actually enjoyed my time in Germany. There’s some memories I’ll never forget. The team and organization made the time there very easy. It was the season after Covid so not much was opened during the time they made sure we wanted for nothing. The team welcomed me with open arms. So shout out to BG Goettingen. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to experience the fans but I still feel the love from them until this day.

Your playing your first season with Hapoel Nofar Energy Galil Elion (Israel-Winner League). Every guy I have interviewed that played in Israel have loved it. What have you discovered about the culture that has amazed you the most?

The culture here is very similar to home in Israel. I think that’s what most guys relate to. A lot of people speak English and it’s very easy to adapt to. For me my favorite is the weather. I’m from Las Vegas so the heat is my type of party. The different sites and history you learn about is cool it’s a place I can’t wait for my family to see.

You played in top leagues Germany and France and now your in the Winners League. Where does this league compare to these 2? Where would you rank it from 1 to 3?

Aww man this is a tough question. I appreciate the leagues for different reasons you know. This is crazy, some people might be mad at me for this but if I had to choose it would be. France, Israel, and Germany. But it is very close.

You have played well in every pro league you were in, but the Winner League really suits your game as you were flirting with a triple double in one game. How do you feel does the Winner League cater best to your abilities?

I appreciate that man, but I believe the Winner League is a great fit because of the pace/style of play. It is more high tempo and those are usually the environments that I excel in. Throughout my entire youth we played a high tempo game.

You’re a player that has demonstrated at many levels that you can be a scorer. What is your biggest goal as a player besides winning titles? Do you set goals like Eurocup and Euroleague?

For sure man, I train and prepare as a basketball player. I’m comfortable being in uncomfortable situations. I can score with the best of them, I can pass with the best of them. The pick and roll, IQ and reads. I believe I can play at the highest levels now. I was very close this season to being at those levels but it fell through so we will just keep working until we reach those goals.

Last season you played with Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-Betclic ELITE ProA) averaging 7.2ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.0apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 62.2%, 3FGP: 27.0%, FT: 80.6%; in March’2022 moved to FOS Provence Basket (France-Betclic ELITE ProA) averaging 17.6ppg), 3.0rpg, 4.7apg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 84.9%. Talk a bit about that season. You finished the season well with FOS Provence Basket scoring 92 points in your last 3 games.

I have a lot of love for the team and organization at Fos Provence. The beginning of the season was very difficult man and hopefully one day I will be able to say what happened at Le Mans. But I don’t want to speak about them at all honestly. But shout out to my teammates that were there with appreciate y’all. We can talk about it in person. Fos Provence took a chance with me because I hadn’t played in almost 2 months dealing with the situation at Le Mans. It was a family environment and genuine they cared about your well being and that translated into us being able to what a lot of people thought was impossible. That season in France just goes to show that situation/environment can be everything. My goal is to have a 50/40/90 I will get that soon man.

In 2020-2021 you split time with Anwil Wloclawek and with BG Goettingen (Germany-BBL) averaging 9.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.8apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 82.8%. What memories do you have of this Covid season. Did you see any differences in the country protocols for Covid?

Man honestly I think my nose might be partially damaged from all the tests we had to take every week, but honestly that was a season with no fans and it was a weird time. The fans make all the difference in the world. Germany was cool about it because they made cardboard cutouts of our family and some of the fans and had them in the stands. That was smooth. By the time it was getting strict in Poland I was on my way leaving.

In Poland you had some special talented teammates with Rotnei Clark and Garlon Green. What memories will you always cherish from them?

Rotnei came towards the end we got to play about 2/3 games together crazy shooter man. It was easy playing with him. My guy Garlon man, great teammate and person. He is a comedian it wasn’t much to do so we spent a lot of time playing warzone. And we were with the same agent at the time. I need to get to Texas and see him and DJ Stephens by far the two most athletic people I have played with. Garlon is actually playing in Fos Provence this season. Shout out to those guys.

You played your rookie season with ERA Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL) averaging 6.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-4 (1.6spg), FGP: 43.0%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 83.3% and averaged 10.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 59.3%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 81.6% in the BCL. What do you remember being your wake up call to being a rookie overseas where you knew that you were very far away from home?

Man the very first night of my rookie season I got in pretty late to Nymburk and they got me taken care of you know got my car and apartment. But when I got there I realized none of my cords would plug into the wall I needed something different. So I had found my way to the store I had about 20 minutes before it closed. I didn’t have google translate or nothing so I’m completely lost in the store no clue what is what. I bought the wrong kind of milk and all type of stuff it was bad. THEN I get back in the car to go back to the apartment and have no idea what the address is or any idea how to get around lol I didn’t want to cause any issues on the first night being there so I drove around 40 minutes before making my way back home. After that night I knew I had a whole lot to learn about Europe.

What kind of a feeling was it playing with Czech veteran Petr Benda that has won close to 20 titles? Do you feel some of that champion rubbed off on you?

The legend man. It’s a myth how he does it man. I really am trying to figure out the secret to play as long man. And for sure he had every right to make excuses while playing and not once about being old or anything. He always handled his business, BUT he also enjoyed himself and has fun during the process. Being at Nymburk was a great example for me in terms of being a professional playing under guys like Petr and Pumpy. And for sure it rubbed off man I wish Covid would’ve allowed us to enjoy the fruits of that season. Nymburk set the bar high in terms of my experience in Europe and how things should go. Great place and I’m forever thankful for them. For introducing me to Europe.

You won your first chip in the Czech Republic with the cup. What was your fondest moment from the cup run?

Championships are always great man and that championship game was extremely difficult man I think we won in overtime against Prague. I don’t know what it was with them man but we struggled every time we played them. But at this point in the season I feel like we had a swag about us that losing wasn’t an option. I actually just seen and hung out with a couple of my teammates from that team. Hayden Dalton and Zach Hankins.

You played at Democracy Prep Agassi Campus averaging 27.7ppg; scoring over 1200 points in his two seasons. Didn’t you get any D-1 offers. How can a guy with those stats only play JUCO?

You know I agree with you this is wild. I have a unique/different type of play style. Usually guards at my size are extremely athletic, extremely quick you know. I’m skinny, I wasn’t crazy athletic. So I guess it was hard for them to see my game translate to the next level. I had to sit in the office with my high school coach and go from getting about 3/4 calls a week and then close to the end of the season the phone stopped ringing. I was told I couldn’t play at the D-1 level because it would be too fast and physical. So again I just got back in the lab and worked. The cool thing about this was that the same schools came back calling after JUCO and even while playing at Long Beach state. I still have the emails and things that I was sending out to all schools just for a chance.

You played at 3 schools Gillette College (JUCO), College of Southern Idaho (JUCO) and Long Beach State University (NCAA). How important was getting experience at 3 schools instead of 1. What did each school give you?

I’ve played for a lot of different coaches throughout my life. I was a gym rat. I would workout all week and whoever would call and want me to play that weekend I would go play and work on my craft. I feel this has given me an advantage in terms of IQ and the way I can adapt against plenty of different schemes. Each coach and each school had their own schemes and philosophies. I’ve taken bits and pieces from all of them. In High school I saw a lot of double teams, box-and – one, triangle and 2. Which is why I’m comfortable in tight spaces and high intensity. I appreciate each and every coach that I’ve played for because they helped me get a step closer to the player I’m becoming. The biggest thing I took away from Long Beach from my coach Dan Monson. ‘ Your job is difficult. It’s like a puzzle. Each game is a different puzzle and you have to put the pieces (teammates) in position to make the puzzle work.’ This taught me to take the time and actually learn about my teammates. Where are they most comfortable on the floor. This has been my greatest gift. My ability to learn my teammates like that back of my hand. And that’s why I have the relationships until this day with a lot of my teammates. The team is only as good as the last man. So none gets treated differently we are all here to reach the ultimate goal and we are going to have a lot of fun while doing it. People will enjoy playing with me for these simple reasons. I believe if I don’t go to as many schools or play for as many coaches. I might be more of a predictable or one dimensional player.

Every guy that I have interviewed that played JUCO have said that playing JUCO was very difficult but an experience they wouldn’t have traded the world for. How was it for you? You played at 2 JUCO schools.

JUCO is for sure the hardest basketball I’ve played. You have to really love the game to survive through it. If you don’t love it I don’t think you can make it through. It’s a grind man and I’m appreciative of it. And it works you know so just trust your own process. A lot of players think if you don’t go division 1 right away. It’s a failure or the end of the journey. Completely wrong lock yourself in the gym and do focused work. Watch film and just keep building brick by brick.

Talk about your 2 JUCO coaches. How did each guy help you most in being able to develop and play in the NCAA?

I appreciate both of those guys man. Went to the National Tournament and won championships with both coaches. They were different in their own regards. Coach Neary was more to himself and handled business. But you know, he took me on the team as a favor you know. I wasn’t recruited there or anything like that. After that he kind of gave me my confidence that way I play wasn’t wrong and in fact just different. The only reason that I even started getting into the rotation was because my good friend of mine rolled his ankle and he had no choice but to play me. And after the game he called and told my mentor ‘you said he was a good player, and I didn’t know what to expect because every player always a good player that’s trying to get recruited, but I Didn’t know it was going to be like that.’ We won’t on to finish in 3rd and I believe we finished the season with 7 players so we could hardly even practice. Coach Phay was a players coach. You can tell he’ll put it on the line for his players. And it gets reciprocated in the way his teams play. He would freestyle his pre game speeches. Ripping the shirt and all. He put more emphasis on me being a vocal leader inside and outside of practice being a leader only wasn’t about while on the court.

You then finished at Long Beach State University (NCAA) averaging 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 85.8% and 18.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 91.2% as a senior. How did your game grow in these 2 years?

It was a village you know. Coach Scholl, Coach Q, my guy mark. BUT, Gerald Woods, I have him saved as the Guru in my phone. He would never leave the gym because he was always working getting the hotels and meals and stuff prepared for our trips. He noticed that I had a similar appreciation for the game and he broke down my game. From the way I step when I dribble. The way my elbow is placed. Where my thumb is placed. Watching film. Cut film of practices. He helped me take it to a different level. To help him, was my guy in Las Vegas, Coach DT, he added the creativity, separation. I’ve been working with him for a while. He was coaching me my senior season of AAU and maybe he can better explain the mindset of the coaches that we’re deciding to pass on me. Working with these two guys combined it was the perfect recipe. Still to this day they continue to prepare me to have no weaknesses in my game and it’s the ultimate goal. I appreciate and love those guys man see y’all soon.

You had so many great games as a senior, but lost some, but also won against Cal Ploy-SLO and Cal-Davis. What was your fondest moment on the floor?

It used to be some battles in the Big West man. For sure some classic games. Some crazy guards were in there man a lot of which are doing well as professionals now which is dope to see. Gabe Vicncent, TJ Shorts, Max Heidegger, Kyle Allman, and Khalil Ahmad just a couple of the guys off the top of my head. Shout out to those guys continue to stay healthy and keep doing y’all thing. My fondest memory of mine may be the Game winner against Santa Barbara easily. The other is we had a tournament in Las Vegas and my college held practice at my high school where they told me that I wouldn’t be able to play at the Division 1 level that was a full circle moment. I’m glad my coach and school got to experience that.

How did head coach Dan Monson groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Coach consistently held me accountable. Consistently challenged me never allowing me to be complacent in anything. Taking care of your business outside of the court and family. He was more concerned with preparing us for life in general. I was a better man, player and leader after playing for him. At the time you know dealing with the stuff I didn’t understand. But still to this day I use the things he taught me. And it hurts when I think about that I wasn’t able to help him get to the tournament. Shout out to coach Monson and y’all go check out them boys at the Beach.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Jordan Griffin?

My guy J Griff. I’m not sure if we ever played ones just us. But I would’ve got J Griff man. I will tell you this though it’s not someone you want to play against. He has a different type of game. He can shoot from the parking lot. He is fast as hell. And will shoot off one leg. And can run around all day. We used to have a drill where we need three stops in a row and that drill might last 20 minutes because J Griff hitting shots like I described before. Easily one of the best shooters. Shout to J Griff.

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced in the NCAA that reached the NBA?

Deandre Ayton the game was way to easy for him man. Way to easy. He might have had like 18 and 6 before the 2nd or 3rd media timeout. Scored every way you can think.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

This is tough actually. It’s hard to choose favorites. I’m going to go with Darrion Daniels, Kwinton Hinson, Kavell Bigby-Williams, Jake Hendricks, and God. Easiest guys to play with and they compete I will line it up with them any day of the work. There’s more obviously I appreciate all my guys

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

Steve Nash, Tracy McGrady, Lebron James/Kobe Bryant, Jamal Crawford, and Gilbert Arenas These are just some of my personal favorites and some of the guys that I studied to borrow some of their game.

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?

They both are great man. Basketball gets better and players get better as time goes on. I’m going to go with Bron just more of a complete player. But I believe there wouldn’t be a Kobe or Bron if Jordan didn’t pioneer the lane for them to follow. In the next 20 years they will be another player who will enter the discussion that’s the beauty of the game it’s always growing and evolving. That’s all respect to Jordan by the way. He is HIM still.

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

I did see I’m a fan of the first one and not really a fan of sequels. Especially when it’s years later you know. The actors/actresses have different motivations and are just different people so it’s hard to get the same energy as the first one. But it wasn’t a bad movie.

Thanks Deishaun for the chat.


Cameron McGriff(AEK Athens) Will Never Forget Having To Guard Lebron James And Hearing What´s Up Young Fella From Carmelo Anthony At The Free Throw Line

Somestimes all it takes is playing against 1 team in your life that will take care of the most important basketball stories that you will ever be able to tell your grandchildren. It was December 31st and no matter how 2021 had gone for Cameron McGriff (201-F-1997, college: OK State), he definitely closed out the year in tremendous fashion. Only a little bit more than 7 months earlier, he had closed out his rookie season in Belgium being swept by Limburg, but now as 2022 was about to begin, the Texas native was in the Staple center in Los Angeles and within only a few feet of him on the court, legends left and right with Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. This would be his last game in the NBA for now as it would only be 3, but on this evening, despite losing by 33 and seeing a 43 point masterpiece by Lebron James, the forward was in basketball heaven and will never forget the 14 minutes on the court and 7 points and 5 boards that he produced. ‘I didn’t have any small talk with any of the Lakers. I was the new guy in town. I didn’t know anybody. I guess there was a little bit of chat here and there. Melo said what’s up young fella at the free throw line. It is nothing out of the norm how I would approach any other game. The Lebron performance was like a welcome to the NBA moment. When I got in the game in the third quarter, he already had like 30 points. Seeing his game up close and personal is exactly as advertised through the TV and video games growing up. He was a beast that night and tough to stop him. I had the opportunity to guard him and he scored a few buckets. I can tell my kids when I get older’, laughed Cameron Mcgriff. He will never forget being able to guard Lebron James and hear what’s up young fella from Carmelo Anthony at the free throw line.

Cameron McGriff who lists Thomas, Dziagwa, Lindy Waters Isaac Likekele Jalen Cruther, and the entire AEK team as his best teammates of all-time so far in his career was born on September.30th, 1997 in Grand Prairie, Texas. As a kid he enjoyed playing flag football, but soon as he began to grow immensely took up basketball and could dunk by sixth grade. He got his first basketball experience at South Grand Prairie High School averaging 14,3ppg and 7,4rpg as a senior. He was ranked as the 10th best recruit in Texas by ESPN. He then chose to attend Oklahoma State to further his game. He balled at Oklahoma State from 2016-2020 and played a total of 130 NCAA games. He was able to improve his game dramatically from his freshman year to his sophomore year averaging 3.8ppg, 3.1rpg as a freshman and in his second year averaged 8.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 86.0%. Taking 1000 shots a day was instrumental in his game really moving along at a fine pace. ‘It helped my game develop. My percentages were raised between my first two seasons. I became a hard worker at the end of the day. Working hard has helped me become the player I am today and that is what I hang my hat on day in and day out. I always have been the first and last to leave from the gym. That has got me to the point I am today’, warned Cameron McGriff. He really stepped up his game in his last 2 seasons demonstrating what consistency is all about averaging 12.4ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 76.7% and as a senior averaged 12.3ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 83.2%. His biggest achievement there was reaching the NIT Elite 8. ‘It was great going to school there. I played in the NCAA tournament, got far in the NIT, played against rivals, and playing against many great players was great. In the NIT we played against a few guys we may see like Justin Johnosn in the BCL and other guys. It’s always great playing in the post season’, remembered Cameron McGriff. In his last 2 seasons, he played 64 NCAA games and scored in double figures in 44 games. His best scoring games occurred against Oklahoma and LSU where he hit both for 28 points apiece. He got a Big 12 honorable mention in his senior year. Especially beating the school’s huge rival Oklahoma and scoring 28 points was a big career highlight.’ This was the last game. There is so much history and it is a huge rivalry. The state lives for the rivalry. It was my senior year and we played against a pretty good Oklahoma team. It matched my career best. I went out with a bang and there wasn’t a better feeling than that. That was probably my best game in the NCAA especially with the energy around it. It is a moment I will never forget’, stressed Cameron McGriff. All the extra hours of grinding in the lab was monumental for his development, but so was head coach Michael Boynton. ‘He groomed me as a player but also as a man in this world. He told me where ever I go hard work will always help you. That always stuck with me. He led by example. He was one of the hardest workers as a coach that I have known. Even when I met him he was an assistant coach, but he worked his tail off to become a head coach’, stated Cameron McGriff. He also has a huge smile recounting his battles with current Oklahoma Thunder Lindy Waters in practice at Oklahoma State. ‘I let you ask him about who won. There wasn’t much competing back then since we played different positions. My game has evolved so I can play the 3-5. He can come into the paint with me and I can go out on the perimeter with him. We made each other better and I’m really happy with the success he is having with the Thunder’, added Cameron McGriff.

The athletic forward who lists Trae Young, Dean Wade and Jonathan Motley as his toughest opponents in the NCAA played his rookie season in Belgium with Okapi Aalst (Belgium-Euromillions League) averaging 13.5ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 89.6%. Every American has that wake up call to being overseas for the first time and it wasn’t any different with him. Being in the middle of Covid didn’t make it difficult reciting that wake up call. ‘It was tough my rookie season. Plus it was the year of COVID. Being in a closed off country where I couldn’t experience the atmosphere of being somewhere else wasn’t easy. It was like being locked in a room and just going to the gym every day. It made me a solder. If I can overcome that I can overcome anything. I had some tough hardships. It was a long 9-10 months. But I was able to focus on basketball and it helped me make a big jump which has helped me get to where I am today’, expressed Cameron McGriff. He scored in double figures in 21 of 27 games and had a 26 point explosion against Liege. He ended his rookie season being swept in the first round of the playoffs against Limburg where he was solid averaging 12,0ppg and 5,0rpg in the 3 game series. ‘The level is raised in the post season. Every game counts but playing in a series where you have to make adjustments and have the big time players step up, the team has to become closer together. Limburg was closer as a unit. It was a good experience. I helped the team become top 4. It was a good year for the team’, commented Cameron McGriff.

The American who lists Kobe, Jordan, Lebron, and Shaq on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore left Europe and came back to the States in his second professional season. He was with the Charlotte Hornets Summer League team and later signed with them, but was waived. He then signed a contract with G-League team Greensboro Swarm and played most of the season with them, but also was very fortunate to profit from the NBA Hardship exception and signed a 10 day contract with the Portland Tralblazers where he got into 3 games. He had a very solid G-League season averaging 11.7ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 77.8%. Overall it is very difficult to get an NBA call up because being able to keep consistent stats is very difficult with all the movement happening. ‘It was definitely tough, because you never knew what the roster was going to look like the day before a game. You have to be on your toes every night. In Athens there can be changes, but you normally know what you will get on a regular basis. The team put me in many different spots, but I was still able to be successful. That was a good point for me during my stay with Greensboro’, remembered Cameron McGriff. In the G-League he scored in double figures in 25 games and had a 33 point explosion against Windy City. His stay in the NBA was brief, but sweet. Right away in his first game, he had the fortune of having a type of home game playing against the Dallas Mavericks. ‘Playing my first game against Dallas was surreal for me. It was special for me since being a kid from the Dallas area.The city embraced me even though the game was in Portland. I got a lot of love form family, friends and long time teachers. It was a moment that I will never forget. It was a good day’, stressed Cameron McGriff. Even if he was benefited in a way from Covid in helping him reach the NBA, it also hurt him on January 2nd 2022. Who knows what could have happened had he remained healthy. ‘The greatest example that the NBA is business before anything else was when my 10 day contract got cut short, because I had got COVID after the game against the Lakers. After that it was just over. There were no more questions or get well soon remarks. That is how you know that the NBA is definitely a business. I just picked up my bags and moved on. There were no hard feelings. I had the chance to go to camp the next summer. You just can’t get too emotionally invested’, warned Cameron McGriff. In the summer of 2022, he still had the NBA on his mind as he was with Charlotte again in the NBA Summer League, but didn’t play. That helped him comeback to Europe, but is the NBA a done deal? ‘It was tough for me mentally, but I never could get too down on myself. I know I will always find a way. I’m really grateful that I got the offer to play for a great club like AEK Athens. I wouldn’t say not being in the NBA is the biggest loss, but I’m just thankful that I can continue to play the game I love at a high level. Now I’m focusing on growth of myself and AEK’, warned Cameron McGriff.

The American who believes that the classic Coming to America should have been left alone now has a new challenge in Greece with Basketball Champions League team AEK Athens. He definitely chose a great country to live in as well as playing in a very respected league. ‘It has been a great experience. You can feel the fan enthusiasm in the gym. You can see the black and yellow everywhere in the arena, city and even seeing the support from the fans at grocery store is great’, said Cameron McGriff. Leaving the NBA isn’t easy for any guy that was there and being teammates with a veteran who was there for 8 seasons like Tim Frazier can be tough getting reminded so often, but on the other hand also very beneficial. ‘It has been good being teammates with Tim. Having a veteran around where I can ask him questions about the NBA, but also as a professional there is that automatic respect, because we both have been in the NBA. I ask him questions about his professional career things off the court as well. He is a great leader and he carries himself in such a professional way. It isn’t about scoring, but for him it is about how he carries himself as a professional’, added Cameron McGriff. He has needed no adjustment period in the Greek first division averaging 13,5ppg, 6,2rpg, 1,2apg and is shooting a very respectable 42% from the parking lot. He also has made his mark in the Basketball Champions League averaging 10,3ppg and 7,7rpg while shooting 37% from outside. He has proven that versatility is something the team will always get from him. ‘I can do multiple things. I am defensively versatile, bring energy on the court on offense and defense. The team can always count on my effort, because I will play hard’, warned Cameron McGriff. He has experienced so much since his rookie season in Belgium and is a totally different player now. ‘My game has grown in that in my first season I was trying to find my identity and how I could fit at the next level. I worked a lot on my jump shot and becoming more consistent. I also focused on becoming more aggressive defensively guarding multiple positions. I put all that on to display in the NBA and G-League. There really wasn’t that much change besides becoming more physical and getting my body better in shape. Now I focus on the tactics and understanding the different philosophies of teams. I also attack the game with all my weapons and don’t be a one dimensional player’, warned Cameron McGriff. It will be interesting to see where the journey will go with him this season. AEK Athens are mixing it up with Euroleague teams Panathinaikos and Olympiakos in the Greek standings and will most likely compete for the Basketball Champions League title. His game will continue to grow this season that getting a NBA call down the road could become a reality again. After having some legendary stories for the grandchildren about the Laker greats, why not add some new ones in the future?


Josh Ward-Hibbert(London Lions) Had A Practice Session With Rafael Nadal And Was Clocked With A 133 Mile An Hour Serve But Later Chose Basketball

Joshua Ward-Hibbert (196-G-1994) is a 28 year old 196cm forward that was born in Mansfield, England and is playing his third season for Eurocup team London Lions. He was a massive Bristih tennis talent growing up, but switched to basketball in 2016. He began his basketball career with the Derby Trailblazers (EBL). He then played 3 years with the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders (BBL). He spoke to before a Eurocup game against the Hamburg Towers in Hamburg.

Thanks Josh for talking to Your playing a Eurocup game in Hamburg Germany. What do you know about the country Germany and it’s basketball?

I’ve been Germany before and had good experiences there, and on the basketball side they have strong league and great players come out of Germany.

Sometimes I’m just amazed. If I hadn’t checked Wikipedia I would never have known that you were a professional tennis player just from looking at your eurobasket profile. At a young age you were playing tennis and basketball. What was the most difficult challenge juggling these 2 sports?

The only challenged juggling the two sports was time. Balancing my time between the two and school

You were a very good junior player winning the Australian doubles junior tournament. Were you better suited to be a doubles player than a singles player?

I think especially when your young you just play both singles and doubles, most people focus on singles first but i enjoyed both but wanted to pursue singles.

You were clocked with having the fastest serve at Wimbeldon at 133 miles per hour. Who were your favorite serving players at Wimbeldon when you were growing up?

I liked watching people play not just there serves but players like Roddick and Federer and Tsonga and Monfils was great to watch

Do you have any cool story that you had with a well known professional tennis player early in your career that you will never forget? Like meeting a Boris Becker or John McEnrow at Wimbeldon who were always around commentating matches?

No crazy stories really, had a practice session with Rafael Nadal and that stuck with me because of his focus during the session. He showed me how to do it if you want to be great

In 2016 you made the switch from tennis to basketball. What was the deciding moment where you knew basketball would be your future?

There was a lot of reasons but basketball kind of fell into place, the decision wasn’t necessarily to switch to basketball. It just kind of happened

You have carved out a wonderful basketball career having won 6 titles already as a pro. Do you ever wonder where you might be today had you stuck with tennis?

Not so much really, I try and make the choices best I can at the time and just live with whatever comes from it

Let’s talk a little about your game. Your a196cm guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

I would like to compare it to Jimmy Butler.

You can score and rebound the ball well. What other assets does your game have?

I feel like I got many attributes to my game and can help my team succeed in whichever way is needed whether rebounding or scoring, or defense and energy

How important has your tennis skills been in helping your basketball game. I can imagine the lateral movement, agility and foot work is something that has helped your defensive game?

I definitely think tennis helped me in basketball, as you said with my movement and coordination. I think it allowed me to be the player I am today

On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to improve your game?

Really I’m trying to work on everything and get better at all aspects of my game

Your playing your third season with the London Lions. What kind of an experience has it been playing for this organization?

Yes it has been my third season and it’s been great, I’ve personally had some ups and downs but being around the club and the team it’s been amazing, I’ve learnt a lot and developed here a lot too.

What have you appreciated most about it? The expectations must be very high.

I always expect a lot of myself regardless. So no one can expect more of me then I expect of myself.

Do you feel pressure having to win titles? How tough is it for you having a smaller role than other players?

I don’t think about that too much, something I can’t control, everyday day and every game I just want to impact winning as much as I can, and do anything which will give the team a better chance of winning

In your first season you played with one of my favorite guys that I covered in Germany Orlando Parker. What memories do you have form his time there?

Orlando Parker, great player and great guy. Was great to share the floor with him, a real talented scorer.

You have played with many ex NBA players like Deandre Liggins and now Kostas Koufos and Sam Merrill. Talk a little about how each guy has enriched your time there?

There been some great players, role models and veterans I’ve played with here including the ex nba players. I’ve learnt a lot from each of them and there still teaching me things today. I just wanna keep learning and keep building the best I can from them.

Some guys move around from season to season while others remain with a team forever. Are you at an age where you could imagine finishing your career with the London Lions?

Who knows what the future holds, that’s something for future Josh to worry about. For now I got nearly a whole season to focus on

You were a U-16 British national basketball player. How is the state of British basketball at the moment? Where do you see it going in the future?

British basketball is definitely on the rise, you can see it and feel it, It’s moving it the right direction and it’s exciting to see whether it will be in years to come

The UK have brought on many talented players over the years but one that I covered early in his career in Germany was Myles Hesson. He is a guy that moved from lower leagues to top leagues. Is he a role model for you?

Myles is a great player and great role model for many young British players, and watching him and training with him has helped me with my game more then he probably knows

Who was the toughest player that you encountered your career on the court that would reach the NBA?

couldn’t say who’s the toughest player I’ve played against, I’ve faced so many great pI layers and wouldn’t want to leave anyone out

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

My 5 best team mates, I gotta extend that to 12 and say every player currently on the London Lions team. We had a great squad and we working towards something special

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

Mount Rushmore is Kobe, MJ, Lebron, and Wilt

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

My never ending debate ends with kobe – he was my role model when I was playing tennis and he will forever be the greatest ever in my eyes

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

I haven’t watched coming to America haha so I can’t say.

Thanks Josh for the chat.


The Miles Basketball Minute: Bringing In Robin Benzing Would Be Interesting For The Fraport Skyliners And Where Is Danilo Barthel?

Before Robin Benzing (208-F-1989, agency: BeoBasket) unleashed his scoring excellence in the easyCredit BBL with Ratiopharm Ulm and FC Bayern Munich and 4 years in the best league ACB in Europe in Spain, he first came on the scene in the summer of 2009 at the European U-20. That was so long ago, it wasn’t back in the day, but moreover feels like it was in another lifetime. He was the top player at tournament dominating like a Luka Doncic averaging (22.2ppg), 5.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 80.0% and showing future NBA players and Euroleague players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Nedovic, Vladimir Lucic and Zoran Dragic who boss was. After that his career took off like crazy as he became a house hold name in Germany putting up great stats with Ulm for 2 seasons and then becoming a sturdy and solid role player for FC Bayern Munich for 4 seasons. He then played in Spain for Zaragoza where he averaged double figures in scoring in 3 of 4 seasons and also played a season in Turkey with Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul and last season at age 33 played with Fortitudo Kigili Bologna (Italy-Serie A) putting up potent stats averaging 13.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 85.3%. He has always been a consistent player in his 17 year career and has played more than 100 games for the German national team and played at 5 European championships, 2 World championships and at the 2021 Olympic games. It is November 22 and Robin Benzing isn’t under contract with a professional team. He may be turning 34 in January 2023, but he still has the offensive qualities that the Fraport Skyliners could use right now.

There have been times in the last few years where basketball life has been extremely bad for the Fraport Skyliners, but currently it is at an all-time low. The club is currently at 1-6 and are the doormat of the easycredit BBL hanging out in the basement and the door out being seemingly held shut by angry and annoying Giessen fans. Where is Michael Hakim Jordan when you need him most? Well he is head coach at Lafayette(NCAA) and a type of tirade that he let go in 2010 in Frankfurt against his team Phoenix Hagen could help any team now. Phoenix Hagen somehow was saved that season. The Fraport Skyliners definitely aren’t a bad team, but they aren’t a good team either. The only thing that matters right now is achieving wins and somehow trying to get better step by step day by day. Even if they could have won 3 of the 7 games so far, at the end of the day the only thing counts are wins and that is something they are having a lot of difficulty doing. They want to be a good defensive team, but still allow 82 points per game. On offense they are the 17th worst offensive team scoring only 76 points per game. The biggest problem is that they just don’t have the personal to keep up with their competitors and aren’t getting enough firepower. On top of that, they have injury woes at the big man position with guys like Einaras Tubuties and Lorenz Brenneke out. The club got active a few days ago signing experienced American forward Marcus Lewis, but is he the right fit? They probably didn’t have any better candidates. He definitely has proved his scoring capabilities in places like Canada where he did it on a consistent rate for years, Finland where he was the third best scorer in the league, averaged double figures in scoring in the Basketball Champions league and in Poland. But can he keep doing it at a higher level like the easyCredit BBL? The Fraport Skyliners also need support under the boards and that is why a name like Robin Benzing has popped up. But is he the right player now?

Not only would bringing in Robin Benzing make sense with his scoring capabilities, but also with his early history. He grew up only 45 kilometers south of Frankfurt Seeheim-Jugenheim and learned to play ball with TV Langen. Back in 2008 there was a trio of TV Langen players practicing with Frankfurt with the Barth brothers Sebastian and Kai and Robin Benzing. I was under the impression that then Skyliner head coach MuratDidin didn’t like Benzing, but that was false. He wanted Benzing in Frankfurt. ‘I watched Benzing a few times and told Gunnar Wobke to sign him tomorrow. The problem was that Benzing’s father was tough. He felt that the kid still had time. If he had been born in Belgrad then Partizan and Belgrad would have been fighting over him. I said let him come. He was cheap. I told Gunnar to pay him extra. That weekend we were in Hamburg playing the cup top 4. I was ready to put him in the starting 5 against Duesseldorf without him having played a single game with the Skyliners. Gunnar thought I was crazy. He was born to be a basketball player. In the end he left for Ulm’, stated Murat Didin in 2020. Benzing definitely has one supporter in EPG Baskets Koblenz head coach Pat Elzie who feels that Benzing would be the right man now. ‘I know Robin for a long time and am a big fan of him. When he asked me a few months ago if he could stay fit and practice with us, it was a no brainer. He heightens the quality of the training with each team. He still is one of the best offensive players that I have seen. He may be a bit slower on defense, but he balances that out with his high basketball IQ’, warned Pat Elzie. Benzing surely won’t be a rabbit on defense, but Frankfurt simply needs someone that will take responsibility and be that consistent go to guy on offense. ‘Robin could give important impulses with his offensive qualities and experience to a team like Frankfurt’, stressed EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein. Frankfurt simply doesn’t have that player. Martinas Gebens can be that player as well, but Frankfurt need more than just one. One massive priority is to hold Gebens as well. They can’t afford to let him go and waste time to integrate another new player. But then again what happened to Danilo Barthel. He seems to have disappeared from the German basketball scene. He played the last 2 seasons with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). But already last season he had severe injury problems. If fit he could help the Fraport Skyliners right away. It would be refreshing to have him back. Benzing can’t be too expensive now while Barthel should be out of the Skyliners financial range. It would be like a dream to have a guy like Barthel back. But at the moment the club can’t dream, but have to be realistic. Two other interesting big men available are ex easyCredit BBL player Chris Otule and Jackie Carmichael. Both are over 30 and have a lot of experience. The club has to react now before it’s too late.