Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Jason George´s 4 Free Throws In The Last Minute Lifts FC Bayern Munich 2 Past The Fraport Skyliners Juniors 78-73

In the last 10 days the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have had an abundance of meeting Bavarian clubs. Last week the Frankfurt club had to battle the TSV Oberaching Tropics twice within 72 hours. They displayed their best performance of the season winning 99-76 where they had five guys score in double figures and they cleaned up on the boards easily and coughed up the ball only 10 times. However in the return showdown in Bavaria, the TSV Oberaching Tropics were able to get revenge winning 84-68 as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were unable to take advantage of the 21 Oberaching turnovers. A new Bavarian team came to Frankfurt with FC Bayern Munich 2 who had a slow start this season, but have been playing inspired basketball in the last weeks having won four of their last six games. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors sought revenge after losing the first contest in Munich 87-51 where the Bavarian club shot very well from the parking lot and forced Frankfurt to 25 turnovers, but this time the contest wasn´t so one sided as Frankfurt was in the game from start to end, but made some little mistakes at the end and had to suffer four free throws from Jason George who iced the 78-73 victory for FC Bayern Munich 2. After the win FC Bayern Munich 2 head coach Andreas Wagner had that relieved look on his face as his team had finally won a crunch time game after losing a few too many this season. “We were streaky in the first half and didn´t play transition defense. In the second half we played better transition defense and took away their easy baskets. Key at the end was our defensive intensity and better ball movement that helped us secure the win”, stressed FC Bayern Munich 2 head coach Andreas Wagner. Frankfurt played a well rounded and spirited game, but just couldn´t make the right plays at the end.” I felt that we played a good first half. We started well and had good energy. I also felt that we had a good start to the second half, but we then lost our flow in the last five minutes. At the end we made easy mistakes that cost us the win”, stated Fraport Skyliners Juniors guard Mathew Meredith.

                Both teams had their offenses rolling right out of the gate as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got two baskets from undersized but powerful Noah Kamdem who scored twice while FC Bayern Munich 2 was carried by 17 year old German 199cm forward Michael Rataj who was active in the paint scoring twice tying the game at 4-4. Frankfurt would keep the slight 7-6 lead as German Maxi Begue who has played 4 BBL games and Jason George who has 3 played 3 BBL games traded baskets. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then cranked out a 9-2 run to get the overwhelming 16-8 advantage. In the run Frankfurt got vital baskets from Begue, German Jordan Samare who has played one BBL game and a trey from ex Wurzburg guard Philipp Hadenfeldt. Frankfurt did a good job getting transition baskets and on defense contained Munich top scorer Jason George. However not only Frankfurt had run on their mind as FC Bayern Munich 2 escaped out of their funk reeling in a 8-0 run to deadlock the game at 16-16. In the run the Bavarian team did a good job being aggressive and scoring in the paint getting baskets from 18 year old 204cm center Mohamed Sillah from Sierra Leone, 16 year old German Christian Skladanowski and Rataj. Frankfurt did keep the lead in the last minute getting baskets from Meredith and 2017 JBBL finalist Calvin Schaum. Jason George hit a buzzer beater ending the first quarter, but FC Bayern Munich trailed Frankfurt 21-18. “I thought that we defended well and did a good job on Jason George. We let up a bit at the end allowing them to come back”, stressed Matthew Meredith. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 25% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 5 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 39% from the field and 0% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 5 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Matthew Merdith after the loss to FC Bayern Munich 2

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors picked up their offense in the second quarter and led by as much as 11 points, but let up a bit at the end and led only 40-35 at half-time. Joshua Bonga who turned 16 four days ago got Frankfurt on the board first sneaking inside and fishing an offensive rebound and making the put back for the 23-18 Frankfurt advantage. Frankfurt kept the lead getting a big basket from 17 year German center Alexander Richardson and a tap in From Meredith who had gotten the offensive rebound for the 28-22 Frankfurt lead. But FC Bayern Munich 2 stayed in the game by Austrian guard Erol Ersek who always had an answer making a jumper and trey to shave the Frankfurt lead down to 28-25. Ersek finished the game with 24 points and carried the guests all night long. “I have known him for years. He is a good shooter and hits big shots. He has made good steps with FC Bayern Munich, but it is hard to establish one´s self on a team like that”, stressed Matthew Meredith. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then went on a huge 12-4 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 40-29. In the run it was Meredith who had the hot hand contributing 7 points. Defensive specialist Maxi Begue who has had some offensive off nights this season was spot on hitting a trey testing his 23% three point percentage and also displayed his crazy athleticism making a beautiful acrobatic lay in. FC Bayern Munich 2 had defensive lapses and continued to have difficulty getting back on transition defense while on offense bad shot selection cursed their offensive production. But Frankfurt lost some intensity in the last minutes and couldn´t keep the big lead letting up a costly 6-0 run. In the run, Munich began with a three pointer form Jason George which was strengthened by solid ball movement and Skladanowski scored inside getting the perfect back door pass from 2019 NBBL champion Luis Wolf. “Munich is a good team and fought back well. I was in the flow and sometimes everything goes in”, said Matthew Meredith. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 30% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 9 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 41% from the field and 28% from the three point line and had 18 rebounds and 11 turnovers.

In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors once again were able to lead by as much as 10 points quickly, but once again allowed FC Bayern Munich 2 to sneak back into the game and get the lead 59-58 after 30 minutes. Frankfurt began well stopping the Bavarian team on their first three possessions and forced two turnovers while on offense were rewarded by a transition basket by Jordan Samare and a trey from Calvin Schaum. But Frankfurt experienced another down phase not being able to mange their lead, but instead relinquished a brutal 12-0 run to FC Bayern Munich giving the guests the 47-45 lead. In the run FC Bayern Munich got big baskets from Jason George, 20 year old German Lukas Zerner, five points from Michael Rataj and another clutch trey from Erol Ersek. The guests heightened their aggressiveness on defense as Frankfurt totally lost their rhythm on offense. FC Bayern Munich shared the ball better and improved their shot selection. Frankfurt recovered from the big Munich run and got some added vital baskets from Noah Kamdem and Maxi Begue who made a thunderous dunk after being helped by the ref´s back as the loose ball bounced to him having a break away to the hoop with no Munich defenders in sight giving Frankfurt the 53-47 advantage. FC Bayern Munich fought back getting baskets from Ersek and Rataj to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 53-51. Both teams would trade baskets in the last minutes as Frankfurt was aided by a Hadenfeldt trey and Kamdem lay in while the guests got three´s from their top two players George and Ersek. Ersek then made a lay in at the buzzer for the Munich lead. “It was a back and forth game. Nobody could get away from the other. I felt that we felt good defense, but they hit tough shots. We took good shots”, said Matthew Meredith. FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 51% from the field and 43% from the parking lot and had 22 rebounds and 17 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 33% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

                The fourth quarter was a dog fight where FC Bayern Munich had the better nerves and in the crucial crunch-time got to the free throw line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t execute on the offensive end. Frankfurt got on the board first as ex TV Langen forward Leon Pullen made a terrific pass out of the double team finding Hadenfeldt for the easy bucket and 60-59 lead. As usual the dangerous and always aggressive Erol Ersek sunk another three pointer, but Kamdem struck back using his physicality inside and dead locking the contest at 62-62. Munich would take the lead three times in a row only for Frankfurt to tie the game each time. Mohamed Sillah had been contained well in the first half as he only made one basket, but in this phase he was the focus of the Munich offense scoring four consecutive baskets. He scored each time inside as Noah Kamdem wasn´t able to contain him. On Sillah´s fourth basket, FC Bayern Munich led 70-66 and they would never look back. “We did a good job on him in the first half, but we just couldn´t stop him in the second half”, stated Matthew Meredith.  Begue continued to have the hot hand drilling home a three pointer to cut Munich´s lead to 70-69, but as usual it was Ersek again who once again came up with a massive three pointer for the 72-69 lead. 16 year German Sebastian Hartman who made his Pro B debut made a huge basket for the 74-69 lead. Frankfurt then got a stop and got four free throws from Hadenfeldt to cut Munich´s lead to 74-73 with 53 seconds to play. But Frankfurt was unable to get the lead back as Jason George sealed the win with four free throws while Alvin Oniya made a turnover. “We were a bit more clever at the end. I also have to give a huge compliment on our young players today with Rataj, Skladanowski and Hartmann who helped us very much”, stated Andreas Wagner. “Turnovers cost us at the end and we didn´t play as a team. We also didn´t play our plays to the end playing pick and roll and seeing what will happen”, stated Matthew Meredith. FC Bayern Munich were led by Erol Ersek with 24 points. Jason George added 21 points while Michael Rataj added 11 points and Mohamed Sillah had 10 points and 7 rebounds while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Maxi Begue with 17 points. Matthew Meredith and Philipp Hadenfeldt added 12 points a piece. FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 48% from the field and 39% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 20 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 47% from the field and 30% from outside and had 30 rebounds and 20 turnovers.

Cameron Hunt Has A Possible Positive Omen For Future Success With The Kameron Taylor Wurzburg Connection

A little more than a year ago Cameron Hunt from Duncansville, Texas who never disliked a basket during his amazing and decorated NAIA career at Southwestern College, KS  averaging 27,0ppg in his last two seasons and 31,0ppg as a senior played a game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in Frankfurt in his rookie season and played in front of about 70 people. After a slow start his team TG s.Oliver Wurzburg stormed back in the third quarter deciding the contest with a ruthless 33 point onslaught winning after 40 minutes 99-67. It was another normal day at the office for Hunt who scored 28 points and dished out 7 dimes. There were two stretches in the game where the American showed how anyone could call him Mr scoring in bunches as he scored three buckets in a row. In the first quarter he started with a with a pull up jumper, then whipped out a left handed lay in and finished with a step back jumper showing exactly how much he had in his offensive arsenal. He then proceeded to do it again in the third quarter showing Frankfurt that he could score in so many different ways. He finished his rookie season leading the Pro B in scoring with 21.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 4.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 88.2%. He picked up so many awards, he could easily have decorated his grandmother´s living room mantle with All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -20, All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -20, All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Defensive Player of the Year -20, All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -20, and German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -20 awards. Last season Hunt had had the luxury of being able to practice with the easyCredit BBL team s.Oliver Wurzburg. Manager Kresimir Loncar knew all too well how good the American was lauding his versatility and basketball IQ not to mention his sniper qualities. Last summer the team signed him to an unbelievable three year contract something you seldom see in the BBL and even less for an unproven BBL player who had only dominated at the Pro B level. The decision to sign him has paid off as he has had absolutely no sophomore blues. A little more than a year later Hunt returns to Frankfurt, but not to play in the Skyliners practice gym like last season, but to play in the Fraport arena that can house 5,000 patrons. The arena is bigger, the players more skilled now, and the play more physical, but he has held his own averaging 10,9ppg, 2,0rpg and 2,3apg. Basketball life surely has changed, but despite these hard times, he is staying focused and concentrating on basketball. “Not much is going on as all I really do is practice and go home. Which I’m thankful for during these crazy times”. Stressed Cameron Hunt.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Cameron Hunt after he dropped 28 points in a 99-67 Wurzburg Pro B win in Frankfurt in January 2020

                It hasn´t been an easy season for s.Oliver Wurzburg as they have a 4-7 record coming into the game against the Fraport Skyliners. They lost five of their first 7 games, but have been playing more spirited ball as of late having a 2-2 record. “This year has been full of ups and downs. We have dropped many close games as our record could be the complete opposite right now. There is a long season ahead of us so we are pretty optimistic”, stressed Cameron Hunt. The club has been solid on the offensive end averaging 78 points per game, but have had their woes on the defensive end allowing 84 points per game. They have had a few good defensive games where there were signs of an indentity, but overall they are giving up way too many points allowing 80 points or more in nine games. “I think it all starts in practice. Making it a habit to make every possession count so when it comes to the game we are locked in”, warned Cameron Hunt. Last season the club had the luxury of having the amazing American guard trio of Cameron Wells, Jordan Hulls and Skyler Bowlin who produced consistently on offense, but also gave the defensive end that extra energy for 40 minutes. This season the club has a number of guys averaging in double figures, but no one is averaging more than 11,0ppg. One has to wonder if the club sometimes is lacking that true genuine scorer that can decide a game at any moment. “I feel with this team it is best if we all chip in how we can. I do feel everyone can add in a little more and I believe we can. We are down a couple guys so many guys will have to step up for the next few games”, added Cameron Hunt. They will have their hands full with the very much improved Fraport Skyliners who have rebounded fantastically after starting slow 1-4, have come back and won five of the last 7 games. But despite playing on the road and not being the favorite on paper, Wurzburg aren´t lacking confidence after winning against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. “With us down a few import players and losing both of our big men to injuries I think the most important thing to us will be playing physical. What we lack in size right now has to be made up in other areas. We did it against Bonn so now we have to do it against Frankfurt”, warned Cameron Hunt.

                Last season Cameron Hunt had some special teammates in the Pro B having the versatile Lithuanian Rytis Pipris and many many young Germans who he still has this season as they have double licenses to play Pro B and BBL like guards Nils Hassfuerter and Joshua Obiese. But this season he has teammates that are simply a lot more skilled then the guys he called teammates last season. He knows what it is like being a rookie and can relate to what American Tyson ward is going through. The two time Summit League tournament winner with North Dakota State University (NCAA) is putting up solid stats in the BBL as he is getting a grip on the style averaging 9,4ppg, 3,5rpg and 2,4apg. “I feel for this to be his rookie year I feel he is adjusting well to European play. He has a lot to learn but I feel he can have a long successful career”, said Cameron Hunt. Sometimes cruel things happen on the court that absolutely no one is ever expecting, but brutal injuries are a part of the game. In the last game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn ex Yale Ivy league champion Justin Sears suffered a tough ACL injury and being a witness of something like that will sit in a guy´s head for a long time. “The Justin injury was hard to watch and it’s still hard to think about right now. He was probably the most valuable player at the moment so his presence will be missed. I also have never witnessed anything like that live”, warned Cameron Hunt. Every once in a while, a club is blessed having that true veteran on the squad where not only the young bucks can profit from, but even older guys. In the last years, s.Oliver Wurzburg had the services of Croatian Kresimir Loncar who made a huge impact on the players. It isn´t any different with German 34 year old Alex King who helped the Opel Skyliners win the 2004 BBL title at age 19. “Alex has been a great addition for the team and also a great mentor for me. He is a very positive guy which I feel I can take from him. With him being a true veteran I always ask him questions since he has been around the league for so long”, expressed Cameron Hunt.

                The last movie that he watched was “This Is Not The End” began the season slow averaging 6,0ppg and 13 minutes per game, but has picked it up in the last six games scoring in double figures in five games. In the last six games he is averaging 15,0ppg in 22 minutes time. Even if he is always thinking about how he can get better with his game and how he needs to translate it over into games, the number one focus is always getting that next win. “I´m still not where I want to be as a player in this league but as of late. I am seeing improvements in myself. I have a long way to go. I feel I’m slowly figuring things out but I’m still not where I want to be individually. All that matters to me right now is figuring out how to beat Frankfurt”, stressed Cameron Hunt. He doesn´t only shine on the offensive end, but is also a very capable defender. He likes how NBA player D´Angello Russell is always looking to make the right play. It isn´t any different with the Texas native and has improved his lock in mentality from his rookie season. “I feel now that I’m aware what I’m capable of doing on the defensive end I can be even more locked in on defense. I still have some mess ups here and there but that’s basketball”, stated Cameron Hunt.. At the end of last season he made better reads and this season he has done a fine job getting adjusted to the easyCredit BBL physicality. “I’m slowly adapting to the physicality. Once I do that I feel I will be a great player in this league”, warned Cameron Hunt. He has the same kind of self-confidence that ex Wurzburg player Kameron Taylor did. Kameron Taylor like Hunt came from the Pro B to the BBL with Wurzburg three years ago and since has made himself into a very good BBL player. Perhaps Hunt can follow in the footsteps of Taylor and become an established easyCredit BBL player. It´s the same first name, but only a different first letter. Perhaps this is all good enough for a good future omen? “He is definitely motivation for sure. Seeing where he came from let me know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I also know he is a great guy. Hopefully I can follow in his path and even do a little more”, said Cameron Hunt. Hunt does know that he still has a lot of ground to cover with his game. “As of right now it’s knowing when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive. I feel I’m slowly understanding that game by game”, stressed Cameron Hunt. He also knows that it isn´t only about working and grinding his butt of until it falls off, but that having that head coach who stands behind him and guides him the way German Denis Wucherer does is vital. “Dennis has a great understanding of my capabilities and strengths but he is also teaching me how to use them to make others better as well. Which I’m grateful for so in return I want to help him win some ball games”, warned Cameron Hunt. The season already has felt like an eternity with all the COVID-19 drama around each day, so at times he just has to get away. But he isn´t necessarily tuning into the NBA now. “I personally don’t like the NBA right now without a packed house of fans but this is how it is. Sports are for the fans as well”, added Cameron Hunt. One team to watch closely are the Brooklyn Nets, because that whole atmosphere there is like a basketball soap opera ready to explode with Kevin Durant and Kyre Irving who already has been asked by Stephen Smith to retire. Some people like Hunt are optimistic about the Nets being successful even if his answer was a day before James Harden arrived. “I feel they can. I think it’s all about kyrie Irving locking in on the season”, stressed Cameron Hunt. Even if the James Harden signing won´t wet his NBA interest, all isn´t lost yet. He could still go to Alex King and ask for some special exclusive stories about Dirk Nowitzki. He definately won´t be disappointed.

When is Ricky Easterling Going To Finally Get A Type of Easterlinglouis Recognition in Saarlouis With a Wall Graffiti Or Statue?

Ricky Easterling recieving German citzenship in 2020

Ricky Easterling and Rickey Paulding have the same name and share a common talent of scoring, but play in two completely different basketball worlds. Paulding who played at Missouri(NCAA) and was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2004 is a 38 year old 196cm swing man that is in his 17th professional season, but what is most amazing about his career is that he has been a EWE Baskets lifer having played 14 seasons for them For an American playing for a very long time for one club is about as uncommon as Larry Bird not being named on the Boston Celtics all-time Mount Rushmore. In his 14 seasons in the BBL; the 6 time BBL allstar has belonged to the best small forwards each season, averaged double figures in scoring each season in the BBL and helped the club to their only 2 club titles. On top of that he is a role model for all having a good character and being a good family man. But Paulding isn´t the only identity figure for his team in Germany, but there a few other guys that have proclaimed their love for one organization as in Frankfurt you have Quantez Robertson who is in his 12th season with the Fraport Skyliners and in Saarlouis, you have Ricky Easterling who is a 37year old 189cm guard that has been 13 seasons with them. The only massive difference between Paulding and Easterling is that Paulding plays in the first division in Germany and Easterling in the 4th division called Regionalliga. He played at Bridgewater College (NCAA3) and came to Germany in 2007 and never played in any other country. He played 9 seasons in the Regionalliga, one season in the Regionalliga 2 and two seasons in the Pro B. He has belonged to the best of the best that the Regionalliga has ever seen averaging 26,0ppg in the 9 seasons. He had incredible seasons in the Regionalliga of averaging 34,0, 32,0, 29,0 and 28,0ppg. He helped the club move to the 3rd league Pro B and in both seasons showed that he was one of the best players in a higher league winning the scoring title both seasons. Showing that kind of incredible scoring consistency and love for a club certainly would deserve some kind of recognition. In Oldenburg, after 10 seasons with the EWE Baskets, Rickey Paulding was honored with a special wall graffiti called Pauldingburg. The question now is when will Ricky Easterling get a type of Easterlinglouis recognition in the city? That’s a great honor! I’m sure Ricky Paulding is thankful for that type of love for sure! He played in the first league so I guess things like that are accepted by the city but I can’t see Saarlouis doing something like that for me. Not meaning that they don’t appreciate me here but that might be a little overboard in the cities eyes. But if something like that were to happen, I would be very thankful and honored. I would like to think Saarlouis would show some type of appreciation and honor me in some kind of way. I can see them doing something like retiring the number 8 and making it a number that no one else can wear in the future. That would be pretty cool and manageable in a small city like Saarlouis. But I guess we have to wait and see! Still might play another year so something like this might have to wait a little while. This city gives me so much love! Maybe even more then I deserve. I love this place and I am very thankful for the opportunities they have given me over the years. I can’t thank the people of Saarlouis enough for that! And because of that Saarlouis will always own a place in my heart.”, warned Ricky Easterling. In November 2020 he was given the German citizenship with the help of the city of Saarlouis. A start to getting further love from the city with a statue?

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ricky easterling in Frankfurt in 2015

Last season the American from Baltimore helped Saarlouis finish in 8th place in the Regionalliga South West division. The division was as competitive as ever as between 3rd and 11th place there was only a difference of 2 wins. When the season abruptly ended because of COVID-19 there were 5 teams from 7-11 with identical records of 10-13 including Saarlouis. The Regionalliga has 4 divisions, but only the West were going to finish the season with playoffs, but than COVID-19 hit and abruptly ended the season. With such an exciting and very competitive south east division, playoffs would have been a great way to end the South West season. “Not to talk negative about the German basketball federation but I don’t really understand how they operate. They are always changing rules and doing things that don’t make sense to me. I mean they have their reason for doing things but I can’t sit here and say I understand. I think it was weird that they have playoffs for some divisions and not in others. It was very disappointing that one division had playoffs and others didn’t because our division was so up in the air and I think playoffs would be very interesting in the Southwest. Besides Karlsruhe anybody could have beaten anybody on any given day. But Corona came and no one in any division got to play it out unfortunately”, stressed Ricky Easterling.  The club had a positive stretch at the beginning winning 3 games in a row, but overall age and a lack of experience was a big problem for the team finding consistency. “It definitely was a rough season for us. We had a short roster and many young players were thrown in the fire and forced to play big minutes. That made things difficult. But on the flip side it helped our younger players grow and gain a lot of experience and I think that will help us in the future”, warned Ricky Easterling. Some positives was the team´s ability to win some tight games against Ulm 75-74, 72-70 against Mannheim and 78-77 against Tuebingen. It was tough for the American to pick just one most memorable moment. “These close games gave us a good learning experience. Most of our games throughout the season were this way. So when we were approached with this challenge it did not scare us at all. We had been there and done that many times before and it help us grow. A lot of teams that are used to winning comfortably might freeze up in these moments. But for us it was nothing new and I think that helped us win games that we probably did not deserve or thought we could not win. All these games were equally memorable because each game had their own lesson and we will use this in the future to be a better team in these moments”, expressed Ricky Easterling.

                Easterling may be the star with the club, but he can´t do everything by himself and has very capable teammates. One of those is 204cm Bosnian Muharem Mujkanovic. Some may not know it, but he would also be worthy of a special recognition because he just completed his 14th season with the club and also has had some great seasons. It is only obvious that Easterling and him are very close on and off the court. “That is my brother from another mother! Haha! I love that dude! We built a very strong bond over the years! He’s a great friend, person and family man! I can’t imagine my time here without him. I wish we could have found a way for him to play with us more than he was able to do because with him we are a totally different team. He brings us to a different level. That was evident in the win against Koblenz this past season. No one thought we would go in there and win and with him, but we did! Without him we wouldn’t have had a chance. That just shows you how important he is for us. I don’t even think he had a good game. His presence alone was key and in the clutch moments of the game he stepped up and helped us get the win. That’s my brother for life on and off the court. We are the P&R brothers and the best duo in all of Germany! I don’t care what league or what division you look at there is no duo better than us. I don’t care how arrogant that sounds that is straight facts and if anyone has anything to say about it lace them up and let’s go”, warned Ricky Easterling.  Another player that Easterling had a lot of praise for was second year man Filip Kamenov from Bulgaria. He is a player that should make the next step in his career this upcoming season. “Filip is a great talent and it was a pleasure playing along side him. He has an amazing work ethic and was playing in a league lower than his potential. I feel he has a great future ahead of him and if he keeps working the sky is the limit! I see him in the future playing at a higher level in any country. Of course there is room for improvement but what player doesn’t. I wish him the best in his career going forward and I hope to see him successful where ever he lands. He is also like a brother to me and will always be a guy I keep in contact with no matter what”, stressed Ricky Easterling. One of the great things about German Regionalliga is that you can see the older experienced Germans who aren´t good enough for higher leagues, but have game or the young German kids who are also fighting to move up to higher levels. Each season Easterling has young German teammates and is like a mentor for them. This last season he had Paul Fuchs and Nils Bergmann in the back court? “I’m a leader and mentor to all my teammates. I’m by far the oldest on the team so that is my duty as a captain and leader to be there for them all. Like I said before we were young with a small roster. I think they did an amazing job stepping up and playing big minutes for us! Even though the season was hard for us they were able to learn on the fly and I feel that is the best way to learn. And they handled that great. We had hard times and good times but at the end of the day this season allowed them to learn and grow as a player at a rapid pace. This season helped our young team develop and in the future the league better watch out and fear these young guys because they are on their way”, expressed Ricky Easterling.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ricky easterling in Frankfurt in 2015

                When every Regionalliga season ends, you expect Ricky Easterling to be at the top as best scorer. He has been doing it since 2007 and this past season he actually had a better season than the season before. It seems like the American is getting better with age. “This is something I have been doing and I don’t expect nothing less from myself. I’m my biggest critic and I am never satisfied. So that drives me to continue to work hard no matter what my numbers look like. 2 years ago I had surgery on my spine but not too many people know about that. I think that is one of the reasons my numbers were able to rise a little bit this season. The season before I had to rehab all summer long, so I was not able to but in the amount of time training like I normally do. I’m just glad I was able to come back strong and continue to be the same player I was before. With age comes knowledge and I think that also plays a factor in why I can continue to play at a high level in this league”, stated Ricky Easterling. This past season he put up great numbers averaging 24.9pp, 6.3rpg, 5.0apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 83.2%. What is even more amazing is that at the age of 36 he averaged an astounding 38 minutes per game. The older a player gets, the more he has to watch diet as well having that efficient and healthy off season training plan. Easterling has all of this, but one also has to consider him having incredible genes. “I´m blessed to have genes that keep me slim. But if I don’t put the work in then these slim genes would probably affect me in the opposite way that people normally think is out of shape. Out of shape for most people means to be overweight with no conditioning. But out of shape can also go the other way, which is my case. If I don’t put the work in I would be a weak skinny little man that would probably easily get injured. I’m a slasher and like to be aggressive going to the basket. Without putting in the work I think I would be more prone to injury and wouldn’t be able to play the minutes I play because I would be easily worn out because of the beating a slasher takes attacking the basket. So I understand where your coming from but I don’t feel my genes are the reason I’m able to stay in shape like I do! I’m just on the other side of the spectrum when it comes to out of shape. So with out putting the work in I don’t think genes alone would have allowed me to stay healthy and be as effective on the court as I have been able to do throughout my career. I put in a lot of work! More than a lot of others do and that’s why I lasted so long. No just my genes”, warned Ricky Easterling.

                Everyone knows and loves Ricky Easterling´s mid range game. Ok maybe not opponent defenders and coaches, but one reason for the consistency and longevity of Easterling has been his mid range game. He has driven opponents defenses crazy for years as it is unstoppable. Because he was able to score so much this way, he didn´t need to rely so much on his three pointer. But this past season he shot an incredible 38% from downtown a best in his career. “I have been working on my 3pt shot for years. I just recently was able to apply it to my game. It was a long but fun process. This season was a great challenge as we talked about earlier in the interview. I been around for a long time and teams really commit to going under screens or trying to cut off the lanes to prevent me from getting to the basket or to my pull-up mid range shot. Knowing that as a player I knew there would be a point where I needed to be more effective from the 3pt line. This season more than ever I really had to deal with teams concentrating on me because of the limited roster personnel. I had a bigger responsibility to put points on the board. So this season I had to unlock new attributes to my game to counter that. Thankfully I was able to do that for my team this season. It was a process that took years and this new challenge gave me something else to push for and made basketball even more fun knowing I had new goals and challenges to overcome”, stressed Ricky Easterling. He continues to develop his game and this past season he averaged the most rebounds in a season in his career. He knows that opponents will always be out to get him on the court. That is why he continues to set new goals each season to help his game always get better. “•I set forth new challenges for myself like developing an effective 3pt shot. Playing with different types of players from year to year and having to adjust my game to make things work together as teammates. And being a mentor / older brother figure to my teammates drives me to keep developing as a player. At the end of the day I like to lead by example so if I am preaching something to my teammates I want to make sure I am practicing what I preach at the same time. It doesn’t make much sense trying to help someone or telling someone how to do something when I am not doing it myself . So that has help pushed me to continue to improve. I also have personal goals to out play my competition. If I continue to keep playing I want to out play my opponent. That drives me the most I think. Now that I am getting older the first thing people will think if I start to slow down is “Ricky is getting old and he doesn’t have “IT” anymore!” I never want to hear them words come out of anyone’s mouth. So I put the effort in to never let that happen. If I feel like that’s the word on the street then that means it’s time for me to hang up my Kobes (I only wear Kobes shoes when I play) and start doing something else”, warned Ricky Easterling.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ricky easterling in Frankfurt in 2017

                The Baltimore guard can easily be called the greatest Regionalliga player that ever played in Germany, but even a great player like him has very tough battles. But what is even more commendable is that he is able to talk so easily about it and also give opponents credit for their stellar play.  Some guys ego´s would never allow for praise for the opponent. “Karlsruhe was by far the most difficult challenge this season. They were so deep and I used to play with half the players on their team when I was playing for BG Karlsruhe. So they knew my game better than any others in the league. My boy Aaron Schmitt always jumps to the opportunity to guard me When we play against each other because we used to have fun competing against each other in practice every day back in my BGK times. When we played them both times this year their whole team was all over me. There was no game this season where I had such a hard time getting the ball in a position to where I could do something. If I did get the ball they cut of half the court and forced me into double and triple teams. Playing them in Karlsruhe was the hardest challenge of the season and they exposed us to the point where it was embarrassing. I never in my life felt embarrassed after a game like I did against them. They were well prepared and executed their defensive plan to perfection. Even though it was embarrassing there was no hard feelings! It’s part of the game and I still stayed true to my normal routine and stayed after the game to kick it with my Karlsruhe homies and laugh the embarrassment off together with them. Idstein was also a difficult game to play because they kind of used the same defensive plan. They threw multiple players at me and forced me into double and triple teams. Shot out to my fellow Marylander Juilan DeBose for a great season in Idstein. Keep holding it down for MD brother”, warned Ricky Easterling. Continuing to be consistent on the court and being able to curb one´s ego are two good traits that will keep a player playing for a long time, but at some point comes the time when you have to begin thinking about the next step after the playing career. In the Regionalliga and especially in the BBL there have been guys scratching near the 40 age area. Easterling turns 37 on November 8th and loves the game, but at the moment he isn´t sure how much longer he will stay play. “I could imagine that happening but I am not sure if it will? To be honest the last couple years I have been thinking a lot about hanging it up and starting to coach. My team in Saarlouis would love for me to step up and take over as coach but it is hard to do because I am still playing at a high level. But this option seems to be more appealing than ever at the moment. I have to be honest with myself and just think about my future. There is honestly nothing more left for me to prove in this league. I been dominating this league forever and when I had the chance to play Pro B I did the same. Not to talk highly about myself and sound arrogant, because that is not what type of person I am. I´m just giving facts. Now if we would have moved up or something like that I could see myself trying to prove to myself and others I can still compete at a high level in the Pro B, but that is not the situation I face at the moment. I’m looking at another year of Regionalliga. Is it really worth it? That is a question I really have to think hard about”, stressed Ricky Easterling.

                Last season Ricky Easterling didn´t only have basketball in his life, but also had to deal with COVID-19 something that wasn´t only new for basketball players, but everyone else in the world. It´s been a few months since the Coronavirus hit Germany and the American has been in Germany since then. He is doing well, but has been trying to take everything in a positive way. “After every season I normally stick around in Germany until the beginning of June. Then I go back home to the states, visit my family and then I report to my summer job at Kutshers Sports Academy. I help run the basketball program there and I am also able to workout on a daily basis and prepare for the up coming season. Unfortunately it is still up in the air if the Academy will be running this summer. So this virus has really put a pause on my summer routine. Maybe it is good for the world to sit down and take a break from everything and reflect on what is really important in their lives”, stressed Ricky Easterling. The Americana has seen it all on the basket court, but the whole development of COVID-19 has taken him by surprise. “To be honest I never thought the Corona virus would have such an impact on the world. I thought it would be something like those other viruses from the past. Like the Bird Flu or the Schweine Flu. But unfortunately it is not. It turned out to be the most deadly pandemic of our era. In a way it is still unbelievable to me that we are in this situation now”, expressed Ricky Easterling. His life changed drastically from one day to the next as he suddenly had to totally get used to not doing the things he usually did and live with it and not mope round about it. “There has been a big change in my day to day life here in Saarlouis. As soon as things started to escalate world wide Saarlouis took matters very seriously and immediately went on lock down. I’m a very active person. I enjoy working out. I was basically every day in the fitness studio and the gym working on my game, coaching my teams, or working out others helping them improve their game. All that came to a screeching halt from 1 day to the next. Eventually I figured out a way to work out from home and keep myself busy fitness wise but it definitely was not the same. Had to make big adjustments to my daily routine because of the Covid-19”, added Ricky Easterling. He immediately knew that COVID-19 was very serious and right away handled himself very differently in public. He refrained from hand shakes and practiced social distancing and just had to get used to being only at home. He did see a friend every now and then but took the social distancing very seriously. He had a lot of time to think about how he would be staying in fit now and how he would go about getting ready again for next season. “I have been using some equipment I borrowed from some friends here in Saarlouis. So I have some barbells, dumbbells, pull up bar, and resistant bands and I have been using this equipment to do the NTC program (Nike Training Club). I also have access to basketballs so I been doing some at home ball handling drills with passing. For about a week or 2 I was able to get shoots up at a local outdoor court. But unfortunately the weather doesn’t always allow me to get effective shooting in and then on top of that the city took down the rims at the court. So I just get it in how I can under those circumstances. Of course there will be big adjustments starting to train earlier. Before there were no restrictions in our training. Now we are not allowed to participate in 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, and 5v5 drills/games/tournaments. No summer leagues to play in and training session must be smaller to prevent the spread of the virus. But at the same time there is still many ways to get better under the circumstances we are in. I’m big on the motto “No Excuses”. So for me I’m not going to sit here and cry about what I am not allowed to do. I’m just going to go out there and do what I can do and keep trying to improve as a player and coach. Everybody is in the same boat. It’s not like we can´t do anything. So take the situation for what it is and make the most out of it. That’s how I will approach these extra months of preparation and I advise others to do the same”, warned Ricky Easterling.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Ricky Easterling in 2016 in Rhondorf

                He also has been thinking a lot about basketball and keeps having the what if in his mind had the season not been stopped by COVID-19. On top of that he also knows that playing in front of no fans isn´t his cup of tea something that teams experienced shortly before the Coronavirus hit. “ It was very disappointing to hear that news that our season ended but I totally understand why it happened. So because of that it was somewhat easier to handle. But on the other side basketball is life and I sure do miss the game. Can’t wait for this to be over so we all can get back on the court and continue to play the game we love! It sucks because the fans create an amazing atmosphere in the arenas. It is also a big motivation factor. At least in my opinion. It motivates me to play at the top of my game. I always have this thought in the back of my head that there is someone here that never seen me play before so I need to show them how I get down! Haha! Every player enjoys to play in front of big crowds. I’m sure that was a weird feeling going into a big arena and having no one there cheering for you. It’s an unfortunate situation but sometime you got to do what you got to do to keep people safe”, stressed Ricky Easterling. He also knows that world basketball won´t be the same again, but also knows that every other professional basketball player on earth is in the same boat. “I’m old enough to realize this and once again I’m going to take it for what it is. It is a very unfortunate situation. I hope things are not affected too much but I am preparing myself for the worst. I’m just going to try to stay in shape as much as possible and wait and see what happens. I think a lot of imports will suffer because teams will not be able to afford to buy players. I don’t even want to think about it to be honest. It’s like a real life nightmare. But it is what it is and it is always good to have a plan B if things end up for the worse. So at the end of the day I am preparing myself for the worse case scenario. Which is not being able to be paid to play the game I love but at the same time staying ready for the possibility of being fortunate enough to continue my career here in Germany”, warned Ricky Easterling. He also hasn´t only thought about himself of trying to stay as best fit during these hard times with COVID-19, but also has come up with a new You Tube project called “No Excuse”. He wants to give back to the youth and help them with the game of basketball. “It all Started with a recommendation from my Boss Michael Gilberg from Kutshers Sports Academy. Come to find out our Club here in Saarlouis requested the same type of videos to send out to our players on how to continue to improve during the quarantine time. It had also been something that both Florian Kirsch and I being thinking about doing ourselves. So because of these requests and both having the same thoughts of making training videos we decided to come together and form a channel on YouTube. So we started with these two videos that are already posted and there will be many more coming soon! So expect to see more videos from F&R Basketball Workouts on YouTube. Hopefully people like our videos and support the channel. It would be great to build something out of this! If not it is also ok! The main point is to just spread our knowledge of the game to the youth coming up after us! Just like the older generations did for us as we come up as young players! So for those of you out there reading this interview. Go to YouTube and Support us and LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to the Channel! “F&R BASKETBALL WORKOUTS”, stressed Ricky Easterling. Not only has the American learned a lot about the game he loves over the course of his long and fruitful professional career, but also tries to learn in so many other phases of life. He also has taken the whole COVID-19 experience to heart and learned new things that will help him further in life. “It just put things in perspective and made me realize to never take anything in life for granted. Before this whole thing no one even thought of not being able to play basketball at your own will. This situation opened our eyes and shows us everything is life is a privilege. Even a simple thing like sport and athletics. Anything can be taken away from us at any moment so we should cherish EVERYTHING we have and are able to do in life. Even if I live in Saarlouis forever basketball will never be taken away”, warned Ricky Easterling. Ricky Easterling is a basketball legend in Saarlouis and I´m sure he will get his due recognition in time. A graffiti wall with him taking that lethal and deadly step back jumper would look good somewhere in downtown Saarlouis. No matter how much longer he plays, his exciting game and presence will always be greatly appreciated in any gym in Germany but no more than in Saarlouis.

The Miles Basketball Minute: A Little Dawkins, Gundmundsson and Barkley NBA Nostalgia For The Fraport Skyliners

Johnny Dawkins getting advice from legendary coach Mike Krzyewski of Duke

Even if the NBA is usually as far away from the Fraport arena and the Fraport Skyliners as Tom Brady is from a another Superbowl victory with the New England Patriots, a taste of the NBA does enter the arena on occasion. Sometimes it isn´t directly there, but one has to just look at the names of the players and that added 6 degree of separation at times that just flows along nicely. When Aubrey Dawkins of BG Goettingen was signed this season, it didn´t take me long to find out that his dad was the famous Johnny Dawkins who played at Duke reaching the 1986 NCAA final losing to Louisville and then would go on to have a solid 9 year NBA career where he averaged 11,1ppg. He now is a successful coach having coached 8 years at Stanford and currently is at UCF. I obviously watched the game of Aubrey more closely and so did Fraport Sklyiner legend and freak athlete Quantez Robertson. He had the task of guarding the ex Michigan (NCAA) player and was lauded after the game by head coach Sebastian Gleim as well as Dawkins as he was held to 6 points well below his BBL season average of 15,0ppg. ““He is a very good defender. I can only image what kind of pest he was like 10 years ago. He is still going strong. If I could I would definitely pick his brain and ask him what it takes to play so long. He has the quick hands and feet that give him the tools for being a great defender”, said Aubrey Dawkins. When I reached Quantez Robertson on Tuesday afternoon, he was content knowing that his hard work on defense was recognized. “I feel good that he said that. He is one of the team´s best scorers. I just tried to make it tough for him and make him take contested shots, be aggressive and just slow him down. Anytime you can slow a scorer like that down, it´s win for me and my team. When he gets going, his teammates feed off him, but that didn´t happen against us”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Tez who was born in 1984 didn´t know who Johnny Dawkins was and obviously wasn´t able to make the connection when he first heard about Aubrey Dawkins this season. Sometimes one sees just how small the NBA can be and sometimes how crazy it is that little coincidences surface out of nowhere. On the 1986 San Antonio Spurs roster, there was a Johnny Dawkins and a Petur Gundmundsson. Hmmm a Jon Axel Gundmundsson is playing for the Fraport Skyliners this season and could there be a connection? “Were not related, but I know him well. You get your father´s name as your last name so all it means is our fathers had the same name”, added Jon Axel Gundmundsson. Quantez Robertson found it neat hearing some of this NBA nostalgia “At first glance, one might have thought that the two dads of Aubrey and Jon played together and that would have been nice”, stated Quantez Robertson. But the NBA nostalgia and 6 degrees of separation  didn´t end there. Charles Barkley and Johnny Dawkins were teammates with the Philadelphia 76ers and the 1992 Dream team player played at Tez´s school Auburn(NCAA). “These are a bunch of coincidences. It´s interesting to know that two guys of their calibur were on the same team. It shows that Aubrey took after his father and went in his footsteps. He may not have reached the NBA, but was able to become a professional player”, commented Quantez Robertson. The NBA nostalgia and six degrees of separation isn´t present during every Fraport Skyliners game at home, but sometimes all one has to do is to do some inspecting and one can find out the neatest things.

Aubrey Dawkins playing NBA Summer League
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Aubrey Dawkins in Frankfurt

            After starting the 2020-2021 season 1-4 and having the misfortune of playing the top teams early, the 2004 BBL champion Skyliners have been playing good basketball as of late having won four of their last six games. Last weekend they beat 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen 81-63. After a pretty even first half, the Fraport Sklyiners pulled away in the second half thanks to the energetic and sniper qualities of American Matt Mobley and much improved defense that only allowed 24 points in the last two quarters. In the first half Frankfurt had problems with the BG Goetingen big men Odiase and Kamp, but that all changed in the second half. “We wanted to make it tougher for them and clogged the paint. We also made them take tougher shots. I think they were expecting more double teams from us, but our better 1-1 defense caught them off guard. We didn´t allow any more easy looks or easy passes out of the post”, stressed Quantez Robertson. It was without a doubt the best defensive performance of the season for the Fraport Skyliners. “I think that our good defensive game began during the week of practice. We communicated very well and helped each other out and that translated over to the game. We were more vocal and were all over the floor. We gave it our best on the defensive end”, said Quantez Robertson.

            A big reason for the Frankfurt win was Matt Mobley once again. In the wins over Chemnitz, Braunschweig, MBC and BG Goettingen he averaged 35 minutes and 29 points per game. In the contest against BG Goettingen he scored a lethal 19 points in the third quarter to totally slam the door in the guests face. Mobley not only belongs to the best scorers in the easyCredit BBL at the moment, but also in the history of the Fraport Skyliners. But Mobley didn´t get the full approval from Quantez Robertson in terms of being the greatest scorer in the history of the team. Robertson has played with many great scorers in the last 12 years. “It has to be between Matt, Wood, Theodore and Lamont Jones. When Matt gets hot, the rim looks like the ocean to him. He doesn´t see a bad shot, because most are going in. His shooting helps spread the floor for me. You can´t give him a lot of room and you can´t foul him, because he makes a lot of free throws”, stated Quantez Robertson. One guy who has made the biggest impact for me is American Rasheed Moore. He finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and shot 5/10 from the field. The way this guy has been able to adjust to a new league each season for the past 3 years and continue to perform well has been incredible. He is without a doubt one of the best players on the club and it´s just a shame that he doesn´t get the credit he should with his game. His biggest quality is that he just makes little errors and his fine play has also been noticed by captain Tez. The American agreed with me about what Skyliner award he would be deserving of. “He is always in the right spot. He always helps and for an undersized four man has held his own against others. He rebounds well and always plays hard no matter what and always gives his all. He would without a doubt deserve our team´s unsung hero award”, warned Quantez Robertson. It´s not always about the starts, but the bench is just as important as German Konstantin Konga has shown. His role isn´t as big as back in 2015-2016, but he comes from the bench plays his aggressive defense and knocks down shots. He finished with 5 points and 2 steals in 13 minutes. “Konsti has always been a heck of a ball on defender and goes the 90 feet. He was always good coming off the screen and taking three´s, but that is one area of his game that improved in the last years when he was gone. He hits his three´s more now off the screen”, expressed Quantez Robertson. Robertson had another tough shooting afternoon shooting 2/10. A few weeks ago he was mad about his lack of aggressiveness, but he wasn´t shy of taking shots last weekend. “I have been more aggressive, but I have to settle down and just start making more shots”, warned Quantez Robertson. But other then his dismal shooting, he did a good job as always on the boards hauling down 11 rebounds and dished out 3 assists and had 1 steal. There is never a knock about his defense. His killer attitude and focus is what always helps him be that ruthless lock down defender. “I just go out there and play my man as if he is taking that winning shot. Having the motivation to stop him is what fuels me on defense. I can´t let my guy make the shot, because that will let his team win”, stressed Quantez Robertson.

            The Fraport Skyliners are currently at 5-6 and next face s.Oliver Wurzburg who have a record of 3-7. The Bavarian club began the season at 2-5, but have been playing better in recent weeks sporting a 2-2 record. They started off 2021 with a tough 86-80 loss against Crailsheim, but rebounded last weekend beating the Telekom Baskets Bonn 89-77. Wurzburg have some talented Americans with Chapman, Hunt and Ward, a true German veteran with Alex King and many skilled young German role players. This will be another battle for the Fraport Skyliners. “We have to come in with a different mindset then what we had against BG Goettingen. They don´t have as many shooters as BG Goettingen. We have to help each other and attack the mis matches. They like to switch a lot. We have to pick our spots better than the way we did in pre-season. We have been rebounding well lately and have to keep doing that. We have to limit their second chances and continue to get offensive rebounds”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Basketball doesn´t get really interesting until mid March when the easyCredit BBL goes into the stretch run, but at the moment the NFL is on fire as 8 clubs are left competing for the Super Bowl. Robertson has no clear favorite to win it all this year. He is keeping an eye on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady as his ex teammate and friend Mike Morrison suddenly has Super Bowl win aspirations. “It´s tough making a prediction this year. The chiefs are looking good as are the Saints and Packers. You can´t really count anybody out this year. I expected Mike to being a lot more crazy about his Bucs now that they have Tom Brady, but he hasn´t been crazy”, smiled Quantez Robertson. Tez also comforted my fears about the new great Patrick Mahomes breaking Tom Brady´s 6 Super bowl wins one day. “Brady doesn´t have to be sacred. It isn´t easy to get to the Super bowl. It really takes a lot to win it”, warned Quantez Robertson. One thing is for sure, there may not be that NBA nostalgia or six degrees of separation each weekend in the Fraport arena, but Quantez Robertson could tell a crazy and entertaining Mike Morrison story every weekend which could easily compete with NBA nostalgia and six degrees of separation.

The Miles VS DJ Woodmore Weekly Basketball Talk Volume 6

DJ Woodmore is a 28 year old 190cm point guard that is playing his first season with the EPG Baskets Koblenz. Last season with Morgenstern BIS Basket Speyer (Germany-ProB) he played 21 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT-2 (50.0%), FT: 87.3%. In 2018-2019 13.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 60.2%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 71.6% in the Regionalliga. In his first two seasons with Speyer he averaged 14.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 72.1% and 17.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 3.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 76.4%. he played at Virginia Wesleyan College (NCAA3): from 2010-2014 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 20.1ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.3% (219/435), 3Pts: 46.0% (91/198), FT: 76.9% (93/121). Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and DJ Woodmore team up each week to talk basketball.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and DJ Woodmore in Frankfurt in Jan 2020

Thanks DJ for talking to 2021 is here. What new years resolutions did you make for 2021?

No problem at all, thanks for having me again! I actually didn’t have too many resolutions this year. Usually I’m full of them, but this time I’m just focused on staying healthy, and winning some games. 

The EPG Baskets Koblenz had a extra free weekend leading up to the game in Karlsruhe. How tough was it preparing for the Arvato College Wizards for your first game in 2021?

No I didnt think it was too tough to prepare for them, I thought the most difficult thing was hoping that they didn’t change too much since the last time they played. I think they had over a month without a game and a team usually makes some major adjustments in that span of time. 

The EPG Baskets Koblenz lost a tough 80-71 contest on the road. Usually the second time around teams are able to make adjustments. You won the first game 83-78. Did they make the better adjustment or did this loss have to do more with your team in general? 

Yea definitely a tough loss this time, we wanted to start the new year off with a win. Especially because we have a stretch of pretty tough games coming up. But I thought we beat ourselves a lot this game. We were really poor offensively and couldn’t get anything going in the third quarter at all after starting the game so well again. 

The EPG Baskets Koblenz controlled the first half, but the they came back late in the second quarter. With what areas of the Koblenz game were you content with in the first half and with what parts weren’t you content with? 

I feel like one of our biggest weaknesses in the first half of season has been the way we started games. Trying to climb our way out of a big hole early. We’ve fixed that in the last few games, but there always seems to be a quarter where we lose focus and can’t score or defend consistently. We have to find a way to fix that. I thought we started extremely strong but just ran out of gas going into the half. And never could find our stride in the second half. 

The Arvato College Wizards took control of the game and lead in the third quarter. American Alexander Thompson scored 7 unanswered points getting his team going. Is Thompson one of those guys that is too good for the Pro B? 

He’s definitely a talented player. Has a lot of dimensions to his game. I think we did a good job on him in the first half but made some mistakes in the second half that gave him some easy looks. He’s going to do extremely well in this league and probably capable of playing higher. 

The EPG Baskets Koblenz just couldn’t get over the hump in the fourth quarter. Why couldn’t the team buckle down better on defense? 

They were picking us apart with one play. It just seemed like we couldn’t find the answer for it. But their point guards did a good job of creating the advantage on the pick and roll, and they made the right decisions. But it’s much easier to play defense when we are scoring on the other end. And we struggled with that forsake. 

You had 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 dime and 2 steals in 20 minutes. You played 12 minutes less than usual. Was your performance efficient enough for the minutes you got?

I thought I was beginning to find my rhythm during the second quarter and into the beginning of the third. We were playing through Brian the entire first half and it was working. That started to open things up for myself but unfortunately ended up spraining my ankle pretty bad in the beginning of the third quarter. I had to watch from the sideline for the rest of the game. 

This was one of those games where the team was just missing more consistent scorers which is hard to believe with a team that has so much talent. But some days shots aren’t falling. What will be most vital for the team to correct this week in practice?

I think to just focus on the little details within the offense and defense. I think we make it tough on ourselves at times when it doesn’t need to be. We have a lot of talent and should be able to exploit the mismatches each possession but it seems like were not seeing it all the time. I think breaking down some film will do us good going into next weeks game. 

The next game is against Bavarian team TSV Oberaching Tropics who surprisingly won the first game 90-84. What memories do you have of that game and what will be key to winning this time?

I just remember them killing us on the offensive rebounds. They had some bigs that just took up a lot of space and created problems for us all game long. I think that will be a key for us. Also if we can get out in transition as much as possible, that will play right into our hands as well.

What have been your early observations of the new NBA season? What has stuck out most for you? 

CP3 and how his leadership and skillset has turned another ‘non-playoff’ team, into a serious threat in the West. Last year with the Thunder and this year with the Suns. I think a lot of people were ready to write him off a few years ago, but he’s still one the best PGs the game has ever seen. And I’m glad his making it known again.

Thanks DJ for the chat.

Matt Mobley Whips Out A Trace Of Kemba Carrying The Fraport Skyliners Past BG Goettingen 81-63

December 2020 was a month that 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen wanted to erase as rapidly as possible from their memory bank as they had lost 6 games in a row and were sporting a poor 2-7 record coming into 2021. Their luck changed instantly as they stormed into the new year and won on the road in Giessen which isn´t the same without their boisterous fans, but a win is a win as they gutted out a 92-90 victory. BG Goettingen wanted to continue their winning ways in Frankfurt, but they met a club that also celebrated a win in 2021 on the road in Weissenfels and also were sprouting a lot of self-confidence for more wins. Both teams fought hard in the first half as the game was tight, but the Fraport Skyliners totally broke open the game in the third quarter as Matt Mobley went on a scoring frenzy scoring 19 of his 30 points including whipping out a trace of Kemba Walker with his step back jumper carrying the Fraport Skyliners to the satisfying 81-63 victory. “This was our best game of the season on offense and defense. We did a good job limiting their offense rebounds in the second half and also contained Tai Odiase better in the second half”, stressed Fraport Skyliner rookie Jon Axel Gundmundsson. BG Goettingen did a fine job staying with Frankfurt in the first half, but in the second half couldn´t execute on offense anymore against the more disciplined Frankfurt defense and just couldn´t get consistent stops or get a grip on Matt Mobley. “In the first half we played together and grabbed rebounds, but in the third quarter when they went on their run, they got many loose balls which changed the momentum of the game. We fell apart and couldn´t regroup and go on a run like in the first half. We need to want to have the ball more”, warned BG Goettingen forward Will Rayman. Frankfurt made suitable defensive adjustments in the third quarter which BG Goettingen had no answer to. “Frankfurt did a good job getting us out of our plays and we couldn´t find any solutions. They played very cohiesive and we were a little more disjointed. We need to find back to our winning ways and find an offensive rhythm more early and not let them take us out of our plays”, warned BG Goettingen forward Aubrey Dawkins.

                BG Goettingen got on the score board first as athletic big man Tai Odiase who played with the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League):last season made a runner as he would become a real sore spot in Frankfurt´s side in the first quarter. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t wait long to get going quickly scoring 5 unanswered points as ex wiha Panthers Schwenningen forward Rasheed Moore made a lay in and ex Davidson(NCAA) guard Jon Axel Gundmundsson dropped a trey for the 5-2 advantage. Both teams than changed leads as Odiase scored again and ex Rasta Vechta center Michael Kessens made a lay in for the 7-6 lead. Both teams were trying to get their big men involved and it worked. Frankfurt regained the lead as ex Auburn(NCAA) great Quantez Robertson nailed a trey in ex NBA player Jorge Gutierrez´s face for the 10-6 lead. But Frankfurt lost some intensity after this big Robertson three as BG Goettingen finished strong going on a 13-3 run to lead 19-13 after 10 minutes. In the run, BG Goettingen was aided by the continued very aggressive play by Odiase who scored twice with a hard dunk and tip off his own miss while Dawkins nailed a tough turn around shot and ex Long Beach State University (NCAA) guard Deishuan Booker hit a trey. BG Goettingen did a good job using the mis matches and played good inside out basketball and just dominated the paint area. BG Goettingen led 19-13 after one quarter. “We had problems containing Tai Odiase who was very aggressive, rebounded well and played the pick and roll well. He also had a nice mid range game”, stressed Jon Axel Gundmundsson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Fraport Skyliner Jon Axel Gundmundsson after the win

            In the second quarter the game was tight and a game of runs. The Fraport Skyliners raced out on a quick 6-0 run to dead lock the contest at 19-19. In the run, ex St Bonaventure(NCAA) guard Matt Mobley got going making a lay in and hit free throws while Michael Kessens also scored. Then it was time for BG Goettingen to find some daylight as they recuperated going on a 7-2 run to lead 26-21. In the run, it was ex Gonzaga German Matis Monnighof who hit a trey, Odiase connected on transition with a lay in and Gutierrez was lucky as a loose ball skipped directly into his hands as he was cutting to the rim getting the easy bucket. BG Goettingen kept the lead with another Gutierrez jumper, but Frankfurt remained on the guests heels as Moore and Mobley scored. Frankfurt had a better rhythm on offense and got the lead back through hard work and hustle as German guard Konstantin Konga snuck inside getting an offense rebound and put back tying the game at 29-29 and Mobley struck again scoring a tough shot in traffic for the 31-29 lead. Ex California(NCAA) center Harper Kamp made a nice spin move tying the game at 31-31. Kamp who last played in 2018 with Malvin Montevideo (Uruguay-LUB) still has game at age 32 and finished with 10 points in 17 minutes. Frankfurt then would play the game of runs game again going on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 36-31 as Konga drilled home an open trey and Kessens caught BG Goettingen napping on transition defense as he scored. But BG Goettingen ended the second quarter of runs quarter with a 7-0 run to trail only 38-36 at the break. In their run, it was all Harper Kamp who scored 7 unanswered points and continued the BG Goettingen dominance of the paint as Frankfurt wasn´t able to contain the big man. “We didn´t play physical enough against them and were too soft”, said Jon Axel Gundmundsson.

The Fraport Skyliners celebrate the 81-63 win over BG Goettingen

            The Fraport Skyliners took charge of the game in the third quarter winning it 25-9 as Matt Mobley scored 19 points being a total offensive scoring wrecking machine. The Fraport Skyliners came out smoking as they reeled off a 17-4 run to totally broke open the game to lead comfortably 54-42. Rasheed Moore began the offensive onslaught with a pretty turn around shot which then was followed by a Gundmundsson bomb form at least 9 meters as Frankfurt led 41-38 and would never trail again. The good Frankfurt start was helped by three defensive stops. BG Goettingen finally got on the board at 7,26 as Gutierrez showed that he has mid range game making a shot as BG Goettingen trailed 41-30. Then came the Matt Mobley show as he scored 12 points in a span of 4 minutes. He scored 4 free throws, connected on two three´s and also made a runner. “He is tough to stop. He can make shots from the easyCredit BBL sign. He has nice range. I was guarding him and tried to go close up to him, but he drove right me”, stated Will Rayman. Rayman then nailed a three pointer and made a tip in, but that didn´t bother Mobley as he continued to be in attack mode as he scored 7 more points. He made 4 free throws and ended the third quarter with a beautiful step back three pointer ala Kemba Walker. “When he gets hot, he can make any shot. That step back was more like Kemba. Kemba likes taking those shot. His quickness makes him so hard to stop”, added Jon Axel Gundmundsson. After 30 minutes of action the Fraport Skyliners had the very satisfying 61-47 advantage. “We kept getting stops and got easy baskets. We got Mobley open shots and he kept attacking. When he gets hot, we know that he will be hard to stop”, added Jon Axel Gundmundsson. “Frankfurt was switching a bit more and were more aggressive in the post. We didn´t move the ball as well and had more 1-1 plays”, stressed Will Rayman.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing BG Goettingen forward Will Rayman

            The Fraport Skyliners kept their offensive pressure and consistency in the fourth quarter and never allowed BG Goettingen to cut the Frankfurt lead under double digits. Frankfurt got off to another good and quick start getting a lay in from ex Miami(NCAA) center Kamari Murphy and Quantez Robertson executed on a trey as Frankfurt led 66-50. Frankfurt showed some beautiful ball movement as ex Braunschwieg guard Joe Rahon made the extra pass to Tez for the perfect executed play. Robertson finished with 7 points, 11 boards, 4 dimes and a steal and got lauded after the game by head coach Sebastian Gleim for his ruthless defense on Aubrey Dawkins who finished only with 6 points way under his season average of 15,0ppg. “He is a very good defender. I can only image what kind of pest he was like 10 years ago. He is still going strong. If I could I would definitely pick his brain and ask him what it takes to play so long. He has the quick hands and feet that give him the tools for being a great defender”, said Aubrey Dawkins. One guy who is up for the Skyliners unsung hero and most improved in the easyCredit BBL is Rasheed Moore. This guy moved up 3 leagues in 3 seasons and is playing his first BBL season as if he has been here for 5 years. He scored 2 baskets in a row as he picked his spots well upping the Frankfurt lead to 71-52. The American finished the contest with 10 points, 7 boards and 4 assists. BG Goetingen got some garbage points form Germans ex FC Bayern Munich guard Nelsom Weidemann and Andrew Onwuegbuzie to cut the Frankfurt lead to 73-59, but Frankfurt closed out the game with a Gundmundsson trey and Kessens lay in. “It was important that we ended the game strong. We are a young team and that is an important strength for us. That will give us a lot of confidence for the next game”, warned Jon Axel Gundmundsson. “We let our heads down. We have to stay tough and come together. When you don´t get a rhythm on defense then it´s hard to do that on offense. Frankfurt was rewarded for their hard work. They got so many loose balls. They played harder than we did”, stressed Will Rayman. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Matt Mobley with 30 points. Michael Kessens added 12 points and Jon Axel Gundmundsson scored 11 points and Rasheed Moore added 10 points while BG Goettingen was led by Tai Odiase with 14 points and Harper Kamp added 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 38% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 15 turnovers while BG Goettingen shot 35% from the field and 27% from outside and had 30 rebounds and 16 turnovers.

The Miles Basketball Minute: The Ex Coach Scouting Report Michael Jordan(Drexel) Vs Will Rayman(BG Goettingen)

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Will Rayman in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt, Germany in January 2021

I had the privilege of seeing the ex Penn(NCAA) standout Michael Hakim Jordan play for the first time in the 2005 easyCredit playoffs as he bowed out against the Deutsche Bank Skyliners with the Artland Dragons. I would continue to cover his illustrious playing career in Germany all the way up to 2011 when he retired and saw him win the BBL title with RheinEnergie Koln in 2006 and also covered his game when he won the German assist crown in 2009 and when he played with Phoenix Hagen, MBC and Giessen. He didn´t take a long break between being a professional and taking the next step in the real world and quickly became an assistant coach with Colgate in 2012 where he helped the Raiders rebuild their program in the 8 years that he was there. The basketball program made big strides in the last years having a 68-34 record in the last 3 seasons and in 2019 the club won the Patriot League title and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996. His duties included recruiting, player development and coaching which helped him shape and develop 9 players that would go on to play professionally. After 8 successful years at Colgate, he has made the next step and returned home to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia and is an assistant coach at Drexel(NCAA). There was one distinct moment in 2010 where one could have imagined that Michael Jordan could one day go into coaching. It was during the 2009-2010 season and his club then Phoenix Hagen was playing a regular season game in Frankfurt in early spring. Phoenix Hagen wasn´t having a great season and had brought Jordan in to help save a sinking ship in December 2009. Jordan didn´t play that day, because he was injured. I remember conducting some small talk with him before the contest and 20 minutes later, the basketball world would later see the legendary Jordan tantrum in the locker room as head coach Ingo Freyer and assistant Steven Wriedt were still on the bench looking over the stat sheet concerning the 44-27 Frankfurt lead at the break. Jordan strolled into the locker room sporting a Philadelphia Phillies sweat shirt and cap and chewed out his teammates. This amazing locker room tirade was captured for the great basketball documentary Phoenix In Der Asche which followed Phoenix Hagen´s 2009-2010season. Jordan played a major role in the documentary and was all fired up in the locker room as he tried to knock some sense into his teammates. One of his classic lines was “We have 20 minutes. We may not win, but play with some Fu*ken heart. Fuk somebody up”! 10 years later, I still love watching this classic moment as it is one of those behind the doors experiences that you don´t see every day. 10 years later, Jordan is a coach moving up the ladder and has been invited to the Miles basketball Minute Scouting Report. One of the many players at Colgate that profited under his guidance was Will Rayman that plays with German professional team BG Goettingen that won the 2010 Eurochallenge.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Michael Jordan in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in 2010 one hour before his legendary locker room tirade that is in the documentary Phoenix in der Asche

                Rayman was born on April 1st in New York city. His began his basketball career at Millbrook and before going to University, he got an extra year of basketball grooming at the New Hampton Prep School. He then went on to play at Colgate University from 2016-2020 amassing a total of 134 NCAA games. He started as a guard in high school, but made a huge growth spurt in his senior year. He came to Colgate having a solid perimeter game, but had to get adjusted to new aspects of the game, because of his growth spurt. He worked hard and grew into a very good forward at Colgate. He demonstrated as a freshman that he had the game to compete at the NCAA level as he played 31 games averaging  14.0ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 68.0%. He scored in double figures in 22 games and scored 20 points or more 6 times. He had huge scoring games against Penn State with 28 points in a losing cause and scorched Army with 28 points. His extraordinary first season allowed him to garner the awards All-Patriot League Rookie of the Year and Patriot League All-Rookie Team. In his sophomore season he was able to make another step as he upped his rebounding and shot over 40% from outside for the first time playing 33 games averaging 14.7ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 80.7%. He scored in double figures in 26 games and mastered 20 points or more in 6 games. He had a few massive games including having Army´s number again netting 29 points, hit American for 25 points in a victory and had 23 points in a win against UMBC: he showed in his first 2 seasons that he could be a consistent scorer, but his game encompassed so much more. “Will’s biggest strengths are his high motor, his length and size, his defensive prowess and his ability to play inside and out. He’s a matchup problem. He does whatever you ask him to do. He only wants to win”, warned ex Colgate assistant coach Michael Jordan”. But another huge strength in his game is his work ethic, an asset that is always important, because that is what controls how far a basketball player can climb the basketball ladder in his professional career. He was a guy that would sneak into the gym on team off days late at night at Colgate to get extra work done. Head coach Matt Langel had to remove him from the court. That is how dedicated he was to always get better. I remember watching him play in early January 2018 at Boston University where Colgate lost 72-58. He didn´t have a great game scoring only 7 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, but his versatile game then did catch my eye.  After his second season he achieved more awards like All-Patriot League 2nd Team , Patriot League All-Tournament Team, and NABC NCAA D1 All-District 13 2nd Team.

            In his junior season, he played 35 games averaging 13.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 68.1%. He scored in double figures in 27 games and registered 20 points or more in 6 games. His best scoring games occurred against Boston University where he poured in 26 points in a 81-69 win, hit Loyola Maryland with 24 points in an exciting 75-72 win and scored 23 points in a 76-56 victory over Army. He had his second straight season eclipsing the 40% mark from outside and being able to achieve that didn´t come form snapping his fingers. “He put in the work to become the player and shooter that he is. I’m sure it will only improve because he’s going to continue to work at it. He’s just that type of kid”, warned Drexel(NCAA) assistant coach Michael Jordan. He continued to pick up additional awards after his junior year like All-Patriot League 2nd Team, Patriot League All-Tournament Team, Patriot League All-Tournament Team, Patriot League All-Defensive Team, Patriot League Regular Season Co-Champion  and Patriot League Tournament Winner As a senior he played 34 games averaging 12.6ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 80.0%. He scored in double figures in 21 games and scored 20 points or more in 21 games and scored 27 points in a loss against Loyola Maryland and had 25 points in a win over Holy Cross. His scoring went down, but he became more of a beast on the boards and he also became more of an impact player on the defensive end. It was never boring at Colgate practices. I saw a few Colgate games at Boston University over the last years and Jordan wasn´t only responsible for the development for so many players, but also had the ability to use his unique character and personality to put some fun into the sometimes difficult college basketball process. It is great that he kept his special personality one that I witnessed often when he was playing overseas. “Will’s size length and athleticism bothers a lot of players. He covers a lot of ground. You think your open and then here comes his 6-10 wingspan and it changes your shot. He won´t change my shot though, I mean I’ll give Will 40 points”, joked ex Colgate assistant coach Michael Jordan. After averaging 14,0 ppg in his first two seasons, his scoring average went down. He didn´t grow into that explosive scorer, but there were reasons for that. Not having a big ego played a big role with Colgate and professional teams in the future will also profit from it. “Honestly as a staff we knew his scoring would go down because we started to surround him with other guys that could also score. To his credit he didn’t complain one time about his touches and attempts going down. Like I said earlier he just wanted to do whatever was needed for our team to be successful”, stressed warned ex Artland Dragon player Michael Jordan.. He picked up new awards after his senior year like NABC NCAA D1 All-District 13 2nd Team, Patriot League All-Defensive Team, All-Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and All-Patriot League 1st Team -20  He finished his 4 years at Colgate(NCAA) career averaging 13,7ppg and 6,7rpg. Jordan coached Rayman for 4 years and will always remember exactly how his game developed from day 1 until the last day. “Will has always been a hard worker so we knew he would a special player because he would put in the work that it takes. He improved on something new every year”, warned ex Phoenix Hagen guard Michael Jordan.

            Rayman began his professional career overseas in Estonia with Tartu Ulikool Maks & Moorits (Estonia) playing 8 games averaging  22.5ppg, 9.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.5spg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 53.9%, 3FGP: 41.4%, FT: 77.4% . As the stats show, the forward needed absolute no adjustment period. He scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scored more than 20 points 5 times and had more than 30 points 3 times. He had a 34/11 explosion in a wipe out win over Kalev/TLU, and then scored 33 points against the same team again. He also scored 31 points and had 12 rebounds in a tough 76-74 loss against Rapla. The club had a 4-4 record with Rayman. Sometimes even when a player is putting up huge stats for a team, in the end it doesn´t necessarily mean that it´s a right fit. The American left Estonia and moved on to BG Goettingen. Belgium head coach Roel Moors of BG Goettingen is thrilled to have scooped up the American and knows exactly how he will help his club be successful. “He gives us more options at the position 4. He is a good shooter and has a very good basketball understanding”, stressed Roel Moors. Of course at the age of 23, sky is still the limit for him and he can still improve much in his game, but Michael Jordan wasn´t about to give opposing BBL teams an edge over his ex player. “I’m not going to give his opponents the scouting report on how to defend him but he knows what he needs to get better at doing. We’ve discussed it”, warned Michael Jordan. Rayman showed that he could be a wrecking crew in Estonia, but so far in the German BBL, he hans´t been able to make his mark yet averaging only 4,3ppg and 3,0rpg in 14 minutes. Despite the slow start, Jordan is convinced that his ex player has a big future ahead of him. “I think he will have a very long and successful career and he will do good things in the BBL. He loves the game and he plays it the right way. Good things happen for guys like him”. Stressed ex Colgate(NCAA) assistant coach Michael Jordan. Jordan has started a new chapter in his coaching career at Drexel(NCAA) while his ex player Will Rayman has begun a new chapter with BG Goettingen. One thing that nobody will ever be able to take away are the memories that these 2 individuals shared especially for Jordan. “My fondest moment is when we won the Patriot League Championship in 2019. To see the joy on his face at that moment was priceless. To see all his hard work he put in paid off and he accomplished one of his many goals”, remembered Drexel(NCAA) assistant coach Michael Jordan.

Despite Reaching The easyCredit BBL Kyndahl Hill(SYNTAINICS MBC Weissenfels) Still Feels He Has To Prove Something On The Court

Kyndahl Hill is a 26 year old 201cm forward from Humble, Texas that is playing his fourth professional season and first with the SYNTAINICS MBC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) currently averaging 8,3ppg, 6,3rpg, 2,1apg and 1,5spg. Last season he played with BC Kyiv Basket (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 13 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 10.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 68.4%; played 4 BCL games averaging 8.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0apg; and played 22 Ukrainian Superleague games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 71.0%. The season before he played with BC Zaporizhye-ZOG (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 38 games averaging 16.7ppg, Reb-2 (8.3rpg), 1.7apg, 1.4spg, Blocks-2 (1.0bpg), FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 71.7%. He played his rookie season with the Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 30 games averaging 16.2ppg, Reb-3 (7.3rpg), 1.2apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-2 (1.2bpg), FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 78.2%. He began his basketball career at Humble High Schoo and then played at Weber State (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of129 games improving his scoring and rebounding stats each season. As a senior he played 33 games averaging 10.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 49.8%, FT: 76.0%. He spoke to at the end of the summer about his basketball career. 

Kyndahl thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been despite the whole COVID-19 effecting the world?

At the moment I am in Germany preparing for the season. My summer was good despite the pandemic. I was able to spend time with my family and also still able to work on my game.

How have you experienced the whole COVID-19 crisis in the States the last months How much did the last 6 months change your life and how much of a challenge was it finding the time and places to be able to stay in shape and be able to work on your game?

I was able to find different ways to stay in shape such as working out outside, running and other home workouts. Also I was still able to get into a gym and work on my craft. I had a college teammate that had access to a court that would let me in to get work in. In the states they began opening places up a while after I had returned. Once that happened I was able to get back to lifting and other workouts also.

How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?

I learned a lot about myself when the pandemic hit and I wasn’t able to compete again for a while. Having that happen gave me time to think about what it would be like once I am done playing the sport. It also gave me the opportunity to understand not to take the game for granted. Not saying that I have but just saying to cherish the opportunities that I receive. 

Congrats on signing in the German easyCredit BBL one of the top 5 leagues in Germany with the SYNTAINICS MBC Weissenfels. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had any friends, ex teammates or opponents ball here?

I know a little about the league and Germany. That it’s a great league to be apart of and to continue to progress your career. Yes I have had a few ex teammates play here, also some friends that have played here. They have all given me some information about the league and the country.

You stated in the club press release that the BBL is a step up for you and an obvious reason for coming. But what was your first impression of head coach Silvano Poropat? 

My first impression of Silvano, was that he knows what he want’s. He has a clear plan for what he sees this team doing and what he sees for each player on this team. He seems like a great person and coach and I’m looking forward to this year with him.

You had a solid career in the NCAA with Weber State, but as a professional had to pay your dues in Denmark and Ukraine in your first 3 seasons. Have you had a big chip on your shoulder the last years?

Yes, I have had a chip on my shoulder. I have something to prove each time I step on the court. I know what I can do and the work that I have put in to get to where I am. I am not stopping now. I want to be the best version of myself. 

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

I’m not sure who I would compare myself to. I have taken things from players in the league and tried to add that to my game. My favorite player is Kevin Durant, but even before he got into the league I watched Kevin Garnett a lot because I loved his toughness every time he touched the floor. I have taken mid-post play from Carmelo Anthony. I don’t try and model my play after one person I watch players who are my similar position and see what I can add from there game to my own. I also loved to watch how Dwade played.

What really impressed me right away was that despite bringing very good offensive stats in the NCAA and at the pro level, it is defense that everybody lauds you about. Have you always been that defensive stopper or did that develop more with time?

I feel that I have been pretty good defensively but, I also know that I have grown each year. I put in work to make myself a great defender. Not to just be low post defender but to be an all around defender I take pride in defense.

You can defend every position from 1-5. How much pride do you take on shutting down that opponent and what do you feel is your biggest asset on the defensive end?

I feel that I can guard 1-5 I work to be able to move laterally and have the foot speed or the strength to guard who ever is in front of me. I take a lot of pride in trying to shut down the opponent. My biggest asset on the defensive end is being able to guard multiple positions.

On what area’s of your game did you work on most this summer in order to keep improving as a player?

The area’s that I worked on the most this summer are my ball handling, quicker first step, mid-post scoring, and getting up a lot of shots. I wanted to work on area’s of my game that I feel wil help me progress my career. 

You played the last 2 seasons in the Ukraine for 2 different teams and was an allstar each season. How do you feel did your game grow playing in this league?

I felt that it grew in different ways both seasons. Going into the first year in the Ukraine my outside shot needed to become better and I feel like it did. That next year I wanted to grow and become a better defender and I was put on situations to were I was able to do that. 

In your first season in the Ukraine with BC Zaporizhye-ZOG, you were teammates with the talented Mike Holton Jr. He stated this recently in an interview with me about you. ‘Kyndahl was a great teammate to have and it was fun playing together last year. I was happy to see that he had another great season. Year after year he is improving and showing consistently that he brings a lot to the table for teams. What did you appreciate most about him as a player and person?

I appreciated a lot of things about playing with Mike. He was a great teammate he helped me grow as a player. I feel that I learned things from him that helped me consistently showcase what I brought to the table. Also what we’re somethings that I could improve on in my game. He’s a great person to be around and talk about life and basketball with. 

Last season you played with BC Kyiv Basket (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 13 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 10.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 68.4%; and played 22 Ukrainian Superleague: games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 71.0%. How thrilling was it playing Fiba Europe Cup? How do you feel did your game profit most from that?

It was a great experience playing in the Fiba Europe Cup. Playing against high level European competition learning things about myself and what I need to do to continue to progress. Also being able to play in all of the different countries that I was able to play in was great. I feel my game improved from playing in it. Those games showed me what I need to work on to become better.

You played your rookie season with the Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 30 games averaging 16.2ppg, Reb-3 (7.3rpg), 1.2apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-2 (1.2bpg), FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 78.2%. What was your wake up calling to being a rookie overseas where you knew that you were far away from Texas?

My wake up call was not being able to have family come and watch games or even see them online. The language barrier was also another thing not everyone there spoke English so that took some adjusting to. 

You played at Weber State from 2013-2017 winning the Big Sky Conf. Tournament in 2014 and 2016. Which one was sweeter?

I think they both were great the first one being able to win it at our home arena in front of our fans was great. The second one could edge it out by a little bit because the year before wasn’t our best year as a team at Weber and we put in a lot of work that summer, off-season, and season to get to that point it was the best feeling.

You played many years together with Joel Bolomboy and Jeremy Senglin. Did these guys become like brothers for you and what are your fondest memories with them?

Yes, we did build a great relationship with each other. We still stay in touch to this day. Best memories with each other was being able to play together win Big Sky Championships together, and just being able to hang out and get to know one another.

What memories do you have of the tough NCAA tournament loss to Xavier in 2016? With so many basketball games and players moving around did you notice that you will battle Jalen Reynolds again who was on that Xavier team?

It was a great experience being able to play on that stage and battle a great team. I didn’t notice that he was playing in this league. It will be interesting to play against him again.

How did head coach Randy Rahe groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

By holding me accountable with bring energy everyday to practice and games. Helping me mature as a player.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Brekkot Chapman?

We actually haven’t played a game of one on one yet. 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCCA or anywhere that went to the NBA?

One of the toughest players that I battled with on a teammate of mine and it was Joel Bolomboy. We played hard against each other every practice.

Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time? 

I don’t have a list of five best teammates. I have built different relationships with all of my teammates.

Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present players?

Micheal Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Hakeem Olajiwan, Shaq 

What is your personal opinion between the never ending debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James concerning who is the greatest of all-time?

Michael Jordan

What was the last movie that you saw?

John Wick 

Thanks Kyndahl for the chat.

Seeing Kobe Bryant On The Court Three And A Half Hours Before A Game Sweating And Back At 4Am Was Unforgettable For Charles Jenkins(V Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus)

 Charles Jenkins is a 31 year old 189cm guard from New York that is playing his 10th professional season and first with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-Euroleague) He is in his eighth Euroleague season and 176 Euroleague games under his belt. He has played for top European teams like KK Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (Serbia-KLS), EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) and BC Khimki Moscow Region (Russia-VTB. He laos played two seasons in the NBA playing 110 games for the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers. He began his basketball career at Springfield Gardens High School and then had an illustrious career at Hofstra (NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 126 games. In his last two NCAA seasons he averaged 20.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 80.5% and 22.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 82.4%. He spoke to before a Euroleague game against FC Bayern Munich. 

Charles thanks for talking to german . Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

I’m in Athens Greece at the moment. Life is good despite the circumstances. I still have a place to work. It’s a real blessing.

There is a young German player Alvin Onyia in Frankfurt that I asked a few years ago after which player he models his game and he said you? How does that make you feel?

I’m very flattered. If this was coming from a Serbian kid it would make more sense though. When I was playing in Serbia, I had relationships with all the young Serbians. I would watch their games and give them advice. Knowing that this German kid said that means a lot to me. You never know who is watching.

Before we get to your illustrious basketball career let’s talk about COVID-19. Your 2019-2020 season ended in March 2002. How did you experience COVID-19 and what was the most challenging thing that you experienced?

It was weird. I remember we were in Madrid. We were supposed to play at 9.00pm. Then the news that Trey Thompkins had tested positive came. We went back to Belgrad. My mind wasn’t thinking that there would be a long delay in the season. In the next 72 hours everything went so fast. I remember my teammate Kevin Punter and I checking this COVID website seeing how quickly it was spreading. We worried about our families and wanted to return back home as soon as possible. I thought that COVID would pass quickly and I would be back to Europe. The whole thing changed my perspective. The most challenging thing for me was seeing how I lost relatives. In a way the whole thing was also a blessing in disguise in that I could be home with my family. I made the best out of the situation. Finding the time to train in the mornings and then spend time with the family and help them get food. My girlfriend helped my mom lose 14 pounds with a special diet. I couldn’t work on my game from March to August because there were no gyms open in New York. They took out all the rims in the park. We did a lot of running and bike riding.

With everything that you have experienced off the court with COVID-19 how do you feel did you grow as a man?

It taught me to cherish each day. My best friend lost relatives and it was scary and brought me down to earth. Living in Europe, it is like a bubble for me and I live a different life. At home it felt real. It was a very humbling experience. My girlfriend was very supportive. My family and friends were all going through the same thing. Buying hundreds of dollars of groceries not knowing if you could go the next day was a totally new experience for me.

You played in the NBA and have won 9 professional titles. What goals do you still have as a player? I guess it’s all about the titles isn’t it

It’s all about the titles. I have only reached the Euroleague playoffs once. Playing in the Euroleague Final 4 is always on my mind. I’m always jealous of the guys who get to play in it. I remember leaving a team and then seeing the guys make it the year after was tough. It’s all about winning. I also want to get Euroleague defensive player of the year, but it will be tough against a guy like Tavares from Real Madrid.

Your playing your seventh Euroleague season and first with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-Euroleague). What is the biggest kick that you still get playing in the Euroleague?

I love to compete against the top guards in Europe.I have had a reputation of being one of the best all ball defenders in Europe. I take a lot of pride on the defensive end and always have to be ready. I watch a lot of highlights of the best guards so I can be ready and stop those amazing highlights.

What kind of an adjustment is it only playing Euroleague and having the weekends off? Is the pressure bigger to win games with only one competition?

The pressure is really big in Greece. The club is really respected and your always getting messages from fans. There is only one game per week and you always have that game of the week feeling. If you lose, then the next week is like a war zone. The coach gets on you. He is really emotional and gets on you. The practices become more intense. If you win then it feels great.

Your playing with some very good Greek players and some legends with Printezis and Vassillis Spanoulis. How much of a joy is it being able to play with a legend like Spanoulis at your age. What still amazes you about his game?

I played against Spannoulis since many years. He prepares his game so well and cares so much about winning. He is one of the best vocal leaders I have been around. He can also be hard on guys if they aren’t doing their jobs, but overal he is great to be around. He is one of the most respected guys and it great to see how his mind works. 

Last season you played : KK Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (KLS) playing 10 Adriatic League: games averaging 6.4ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 66.7%, 3PT-1 (52.8%), FT: 75.0%; and 23 Euroleague:games averaging 3.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.8apg. It was your third tour of duty with them. This organization must be like your second home.

They love me there. Whenever I played somewhere else and I became a free agent then they were usually one of the first teams that contacted me I won a lot there. It was the first club that I played for when I came overseas. I have a lot of respect for that organization and friends there. One of the main reasons I came back again was the coach. He gave me more freedom. It was more about the coach this time then the club. 

You have played with so many head coaches including Dejan Radanovic. What has it been having played so long under him?

When I first got there I didn’t like him. He was tough on me at first. He cared most about my personal life. He wanted to know when I went to bed and when I was tired on the court, he thought I had been out at night. On the court he was always on me about not being aggressive enough or not denying the ball. I really didn’t like that. I remember calling my agent and asking why he was so hard on me. Then somewhere around Feb in my first year things changed. He was still hard on me, but gave me more freedom. That made me become more comfortable to want to return. He encouraged me to do more and in my second year we won our first title together. Later I signed with Milan, but he still kept contact to me. I would return back in 2016. We then became like two friends that work for each other.

You played 2 seasons with BC Khimki Moscow Region (Russia-VTB). You have played with so many teammates, but what were you thinking in the summer of 2018 when you heard of the sad passing of Tyler Honeycut?

I was very hurt. When I signed at BC Khimki, Tyler was the first guy that reached out to me. We were roommates and always went out to dinner. We spent a lot of time together. I didn’t pay attention to what he was going through, but he never told me. His death was very tough. I had seen him only a few weeks before his death.

Everyone says that Mike James and Shane Larkin are the best Euroleague players, but why does a guy like Alexy Sheved get lost in the discussion?

I don’t think that he gets lost in the discussion. You have to remember that Mike and Shane play for more successful teams. That is really the only thing that separates them. I think talent wise Alexy is one of the best in Europe. He is tall and always plays free and doesn’t think of mistakes. He passes very well and is one of the best shooters.

You have had amazing three point percentages in the last 5-6 seasons in the Euroleague and other leagues shooting over 50%.Do you sometimes wonder where your career may have gone without your deadly three pointer?

No I haven’t. In my first season with Red Star I remember we shot a lot of three’s in practice. I gained a lot of self confidence during that time. We did a lot of shooting drills like make one plus one but if you miss then minus two. After a while I felt more comfortable. My role was to play defense and space the floor. It was like a gift from God. Having the freedom to shoot and always taking the three when I was open.

In the 2015-2016 season you played with EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) playing 29 Serie A games averaging 5.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 83.3%; 10 Euroleague: games averaging 6.7ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-4 (1.5spg), FGP: 37.9%, 3PT-3 (58.3%), FT: 50.0%; and 8 Eurocup games averaging 4.3ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg. How proud were you of winning 2 titles including the Serie A? The team only had 2 Americans.

No we actually had more Americans. Jamel Mclean, Rakim Sanders and Oliver Lafayette were also on the team. My favorite title was winning the Italian Cup. It was the first time that my mom and dad were overseas together and could watch me play. I won the title in front of them which felt great.

What kind of an experience was it playing for coaching legend Ettore Messina? What was the most worthwhile thing that you could soak up from him that season?

To be honest our relationship wasn’t that great in Milan. It was the first time in my career that I had that three and D role. I remember playing 35 minutes against Trento and not taking a shot. It was a real adjustment. The team didn’t rely on me as we had many good players. I wasn’t happy about the role and it affected me mentally. I just didn’t know what to expect that season.

You had a massive 31 point explosion in the 86-84 win over Openjobmetis. Can you remember a game like this with so many games that you have played in your career?

I actually do remember that game. We didn’t have many guys that game. We only had three guards and a young Italian who wasn’t going to play. I knew going into the game that I had to be more aggressive. After I hit my first three shots my confidence grew. I didn’t miss much that night.

You played your first two professional seasons in Europe with KK Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (Serbia-KLS). What example will you never forget concerning the wild fan base with Red Star?

I remember playing Unics in the Eurocup Final 4. I remember that I couldn’t breathe in the arena. I remember putting ice on my neck during time outs. It also was very difficult to hear anything. There were 24,000 Serbians in the arena, but it was more like 30,000. There were so many people sitting on each other. I remember practicing with signals leading up to the game because it would be so difficult to hear the plays. I remember the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic being at the game.

What was your wake up call to being your first time in Europe as a professional where you knew that you were very far away from home?

My wake up call was the practices in Serbia. If anyone knows how the traditional Serbian coaches are then they will know that they have very hard practices. I remember having a hard morning practice from 11.00-1.30 and then thinking ok I can go back to my room and chill, but no. We had a second practice at 7.00pm. That was when I knew I was in a different place.

What kind of early career relationship did you have with Marcus Williams? He went kind of the same route you did playing a few years in the NBA and then carving out a nice career in Europe.

Marcus is a really good friend of mine. I remember that at the beginning he was a bit difficult to be around. He is a Sagittarius. They are usually tough people that are very protective of their own feelings. We felt each other out before opening up to each other. When that happened we became good friends. It was nice being around him. We had experienced so many similar things. We were roommates. We would criticize each other, but it never led to more. We gained a lot of respect for each other. Once he trusted me, our friendship worked out.

How important was it having veteran Demarcus Nelson as a rookie? Was he a guy that took you under his wing?

Yes he took me under his wing. When I met him, he was a great guy to me right away. He told me everything that I needed to know. He cut my hair at his place, told me about the best restaurants and told me which players and what teams to look out for. Now we talk about investments. I remember one time he ordered burger and fries, but there was a delay with the order and it arrived at 6.00pm. We had practice at 7.00pm. He was so stuffed that he couldn’t move. He kept saying I can’t do anything because I just ate. His jersey was full.

You played against NBA superstar Luka Doncic in many stages of his development in Europe. Is there a memory that you had with him on the court that you will never forget?

Not really. I played against him like 4 times. It wasn’t really the best experience playing against him. I remember the first time I played against him was in Belgrad. We were playing him very physical. His coach took him out, because they didn’t want him to get hurt. The next time we lost like by 40 points in Madrid. The third time, I played against him in Khimky. He had the chance to win the game, but missed. I remember him being so pissed that he almost ripped off his jersey. I remember how much his game grew each game. You could see with how much confidence he was playing with. It also helped that his teammate Sergio Lull allowed him to play his game.

You played your rookie season with the Golden State Warriors being Steph Curry’s back up and also started games when he was injured. What kind of a guy was Curry pre superstar status?

Steph was great He supported me. I actually knew him from high school. I remember the first time I saw him in the locker room, I said do you remember me and he said yes. We both went to small schools and understood what each other went through. I remember during the summer, he got the team to book me a flight to North Carolina so I could train with him. I remember then he could go out shopping, but I think now with him being so famous it isn’t possible. He is a good guy.

In your rookie season you had the Timberwolves’s number twice. Were those 2 games that you look back on fondly?

I actually watch the Portland game more than anything. I had 27 points against them. I played really well against Minnesota. I had the game winner in the first game. I remember we had many injuries and I played something like 48 minutes. I remember the coach saying that we didn’t have enough guards and he wanted me to be aggressive. I remember in the second game we were tanking. I had a game winning steal. After the game my Twitter account was lighting up with so many messages. Fans were writing me that I had to play with my brain and lose the games. Fans were already looking to next season for that #1 draft pick

It seems like now adays there are less older veterans on NBA teams as they continue to get younger. You had some real vets with guys like Brandon Rush, Monta Ellis, Richard Jefferson, David Lee, Nate Robinson and Kwame Brown. Did it at times feel like you were a kid in a candy store?

Yes it did. I grew up watching these guys. But It was also nice to see guys that I grew up with in the NBA like Dorell Wright. That was just as eye popping as seeing the others guys. I was in summer school with Dorell Wright. Dorell was super helpful. He was my vet. I remember running a lot of errands. 

You played together with a young Klay Thompson and a Steph Curry that would have his break out season then. Did you see that championship flair as something that was coming or had it not have happened without Draymond Green?

I did notice a change from the first season to the second season. I remember the club having a different approach to defense during NBA Summer League. I remember coach sending a letter telling us to come to training camp a month early. We watched more film. I knew that something would change, but I never thought that they would win a title. I did know that Steph Curry would become one of the best guards in the league.

You finished the season with the Philadelphia 76ers together with Kwame Brown and had had Doc Rivers as head coach. Did you know that your NBA run was ending?

Yes when I got there I knew my NBA career was coming to an end. I was playing less. I was just trying to finish out the season. I was still working on my game to get better. This was the point where I wanted to see what could come next in my career. I remember Jeremy Pargo was always watching Maccabi Tel Aviv games on the plane. He told me that I didn’t have to settle with being here, but that I could make a good living in Europe and build my resume. He told me that he would show me saying he was done with the NBA. He then signed with CSKA Moscow. He sent me his contract and said that I could also do this. 

You played against legends Lebron and Kobe. What specific memories will you always have about them in your memories when you were on the court with them?

I don’t have any real memories with Lebron, because I was never on the court when he was. I remember beating him once at Golden State. I have a memory with Kobe that I will never forget. It was shortly before the playoffs and it was known that Kobe wouldn’t play. I was usually on the court at 3,30 for a 7.00pm game. Kobe was already there when I arrived and had a good sweat going. He shot 50 fade aways on the left side always attacking a coach. Then he ran 17 teen times sideline to sideline. In between breaks he shot free throws. He then showered and watched the game. Then I heard he was back at the gym at 4.00am. I never had the courage to talk to him. I heard he only spoke to accomplished guys.

Your NBA run ended after 2 years. The NBA is a lot different today than back in 2013. What do you believe needed to have happened in your 2 year run to have allowed you to remain?

I believe what kept me from a longer NBA career was having a position. I wasn’t a pure point guard and wasn’t tall enough to be a shooting guard. I was never one or the other, but was a tweener. In the NBA you need a position. I was just a basketball player. There weren’t many guys my size except guys like Rodney Stucky and ben Gordon.

You have seen so much of the business side happen in the NBA. What was the best example you remember seeing where you saw that the NBA will always be a business first before anything else?

When I got traded. It was a tax thing. It was a money dump issue. Jeremy Tyler and I were traded for money.

You played at Hofstra University (NCAA) from 2007-2011. How important was it being able to play at home instead of somewhere at the other end of the country?

I didn’t have a lot of offers coming out of high school. My mom was sick my senior year and I wanted to play close to home. Hofstra was 20 minutes from my home so it was a no brainer. They recruited me and I had the opportunity for a lot of playing time.

You have won so many awards, but what did it mean to win the Haggerty award 3 times winning it as much as NBA legend Chris Mullin?

It meant a lot to me. At first I didn’t know much about it. The next season I won it and I saw who had won it and I took more pride in my game and winning. It gave me motivation to work more. I stayed in school all year and took no time off. I worked very hard to win it.

How did head coach Tom Pecora groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

He was tough. He always spoke about my image and told me I had to be a leader. He told me it would be rare to turn professional, so I always had to be prepared. I stayed late in the gym and watched a lot of film to help my game. He always told me even if you don’t score a lot, if you play hard then good things will happen. He told me to live life in the middle. Never be too high or low, but be even.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Mike Moore?

We never played. I played against Nat Lester. I beat him. He is a close friend. He is a police officer now.

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

I played against so many. Kent Bazemore, Xavier Henry, Malcom Delaney, Trevor Booker and KC Rivers.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Boban Marjanovic, Georgis Printezis, Shaquielle Mckissic

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

Kobe, Jordan, Lebron, Iverson

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

You can’t compare era’s. I think that both would have had success in each other’s era’s. They are two different players. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Don’t fuuk with cats. It was pretty weird.

Thanks Charles for the chat.

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Offense Erupts Tearing Apart The TSV Oberaching Tropics 99-76

COVID-19 has played so much havoc in so many basketball seasons and it hasn´t been any different in the Pro B league. Clubs have had to postpone games because of Corona cases with players that they then had to find ways of being able to reschedule games. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were supposed to have played Bavarian team TSV Oberaching Trpoics back in November, but that game had been postponed and now both teams finally met on a rare Wednesday afternoon. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors arrived in the game with a poor 1-8 record and had only lost 72 hours earlier in a hard fought nail bitter to Dresden 67-62 while the TSV Oberaching Tropics last played on December 28th, 2020 losing to Hanau 77-71. The Bavarian club came to Frankfurt having some injury woes, but also had some young German players on board ready to do battle with the very young Frankfurt side that only have an average age of 19 years. After a very solid first half where the Fraport Skyliners Juniors displayed more disciplined defense, they erupted in the second half for 60 points to totally tear apart the TSV Oberaching Tropics 99-76. It was without a doubt the best performance of the season on both ends of the court and the rebound work was very much improved as well as the team gathered 15 offensive rebounds. “A big reason for the win today was our hustle and we fought for 40 minutes. We played team basketball today and communicated very well on the defensive end. We still made a lot of mistakes, but overall it was a very good performance”, stated Fraport Skyliners Juniors center Noah Kamden. After the loss a disgusted Mario Matic head coach of the TSV Oberaching Tropics was furious about his team´s performance as despite having injuries, he did expect more from his players. “I´m very disappointed. We gave up way too many second chances. In the second half they began to hit shots. We made them strong today. This was simply not a very good game at both ends of the court. We have to be better on Saturday when we face Frankfurt again”, warned Mario Matic.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Noah Kamdem after he dropped 21 points in the win over TSV Oberaching

The TSV Oberaching Tropics were without their big man Moritz Wohlers and Shkelzin Bekteshi while the Fraport Skyliners jUniors were without German forward Konstantin Schubert. German Calvin Schaum got Frankfurt on the board first, but that didn´t last long as the guests got good production from their two bigs Bent Leuchten and Bernhard Benke as the latter made a lay in to tie the score 2-2. Frankfurt then received a huge three pointer from German Alvin Onyia who entered the contest shooting only 25%. The German´s early aggressiveness would pay off as he would bea huge offensive factor for the team on this day. Frankfurt would set the tone and keep the slim lead throughout the first quarter as both teams found an identity on the defensive end and kept the game low. Frankfurt´s offense was still trying to find itself, but showed early on that many players were contributing as ex Nurnberg guard Matthew Meredith scored inside and ex Coburg center Noah Kamden scored. German Maxi Begue also added a 10 footer giving Frankfurt a 12-7 advantage. French player Joris Ortega who moonlights as a photo model hit a huge three over Begue, but Kamden responded right back catching a Jordan Samare airball for the lay in and 14-10 lead. Frankfurt held the lead until the end, but allowed the guests to cut the lead down with two baskets from 17 year old Lithuanian Emilis Butkus who snuck inside twice and caught Frankfurt napping on help defense scoring as Frankfurt had only the 17-14 slim advantage after 10 minutes. “We had a good start which was helped by us setting the tempo and defending well”, said Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 32% from the field and 14% from outside and had 13 rebounds and 0 turnovers while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 33% from the field and 33% from outside and had 13 rebounds and 2 turnovers.

The second quarter was a real dog fight as there were 8 lead changes. Half way through the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to stabilize the lead and go into the break with the 4 point lead. Maxi Begue who has been struggling on offense recently had a better game as he made a pretty turnaround shot, but TSV Oberaching Tropics got key baskets from captain Janosch Koegler and Ortega who used their speed and scored in the paint. Both would do this all afternoon long as this was the only real deficiency with the Frankfurt defense on this day. “Koegler scored four three´s, but the rest all came with lay ins and free throws. He is a very good player. He knows how to play and when he finds space he is hard to stop. We have to be better with our 1-1 defense”, warned Frankfurt head coach Miran Cumurija. Both teams traded leads back and forth as the Bavarian club got a huge trey from ex FC Bayern Munich guard Benjamin Schroeder, a lay in from ex IBAM center Bent Leuchten, a three from ex BBL player Peter Zeis and a lay in from ex Leitershofen center Bernhard Benke. Frankfurt got key baskets from Kamdem who was a beast on the offensive glass, a runner from Alvin Onyia and a three pointer from ex Hanau forward Calvin Schaum, but Frankfurt still trailed 29-28.  But Frankfurt then showed a first sign of what their offense is capable of going on a brutal 11-1 run to take the comfortable 39-30 lead. In the run Frankfurt got another trey from Schaum, received two buckets from Onyia who made a pretty pull up jumper and scored on transition and Noah “Mr put back” Kamdem dropped free throws and made a put back after hauling down one of his seven offensive rebounds on the day. Good defense led to easy baskets on transition while on defense there was good communication and keeping the Tropics big men out of the zone. Alvin Onyia finished with 13 points, 6 boards and 5 assists in 18 minutes and showed that he can be a valuable scoring option. “Alvin´s primary job is defense and distributing the ball, but he has a lot of self-confidence and proves that he can carry the team. When he gets room, he can make the lay up and even make the three pointer. You can´t underestimate his three. His shot is improving”, warned Miran Cumurija. Frankfurt couldn´t keep their run going into the break as they allowed a Oberaching 5-0 run to close out the second quarter. Koegler nailed a tough deep trey and then made a great decision and perfect feed to Leuchten who scored at the buzzer as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 39-35. “We continued to defend well and just fought harder than they did”, added Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 38% from the field and 20% from the three point line and had 23 rebounds and 1 turnover while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 41% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 23 rebounds and 6 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Tropics head coach Mario Matic

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors broke the game wide open in the third quarter exploding for 30 points and allowed only 15 points taking the overwhelming 69-50 lead after 30 minutes. TSV Oberaching actually got going first getting four points from Koegler to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 41-39. Koegler once again beat Frankfurt with his quickness scoring with his left hand. Frankfurt then finally broke out going on a 13-2 run to extend their lead to 54-41. In the run they got three three´s as Calvin Schaum knocked down one, Len Schoorman did and Alvin Onyia hit another one as well. Schoorman also took something from Kamden´s put back game getting an offensive rebound and put back. “It is always good when our defense gives us transition opportunities. We have an advantage with our athleticism. They went to zone and we stayed cool and moved the ball well and got open looks and hit our three pointers. We attacked well, played unselfish and played together”, stated Miran Cumurija. Every once in a while Oberaching would get some points as usually Koegler was the recipient, but overall Frankfurt continued their offensive consistency. Frankfurt would continue to execute at a healthy rate extending their lead to 20 points as they continued their solid inside out game attacking the rim getting baskets from Matthew Meredith and Len Schoormann and a trey from German Jordan Samare. Koegler did it again being involved in a buzzer beater ending quarter this time making the lay in, but Frankfurt had the massive 69-50 advantage. “We went on a nice run and were able to make our three´s. Everything was working for us”, stated Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 32% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds and 4 turnovers while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 43% from the field and 31% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 11 turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors defense let up allowing 26 points in the fourth quarter, but the guests couldn´t make up any ground because the home team dropped 30 points to keep up their healthy lead. Koegler continued to give Frankfurt head aches with his scoring nailing two more three´s while for Frankfurt Calvin Schaum finished with 15 points continued to execute hitting a trey and lay in. 17 year old German Benjamin Schroeder who will play in the NCAA next season continued to showcase his athleticism and speed scoring twice in the paint, but the guests couldn´t gain any ground as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 78-60. Kamdem´s dominance grew as he scored three buckets including two offensive rebounds and put backs while Koegler drilled home another three pointer and made a massive one handed dunk, but Frankfurt still led 86-66. German Robert Becker finished with 4 steals and made two in a row and also scored while Koegler nailed another trey. Matthew Meredith who was kept fairly quiet in the first three quarters found some offensive momentum down the stretch hitting a three and making a lay in as Frankfurt led 93-74. Len Schoormann who entered the game with 15 BBL games under his belt finished made a lay in in the last minute finished with 20 points and was very significant for the team having played two back to back Pro B games. “He gives us that extra punch. His aggression and athleticism gives the defense problems. I´m happy how well he got integrated which isn´t easy. He helps us a lot and I´m happy he got game practice”, said Miran Cumurija. Frankfurt could have reached the magical 100 points at the end, but Schoormann missed a free throw. “We let up a bit, but overall we closed out the game ok. Everybody came in and gave their best and made plays. Our team paly is always getting better”, stressed Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Noah Kamdem with 21 points. Len Schoormann produced 20 points while Clavin Schaum added 15 points and Alvin Onyia had 12 points and Matthew Meredith contributed 11 points while TSV Oberaching Tropics were led by Janosch Koegler with 32 points. Benjamin Schroeder and Joris Ortega added 10 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 48% from the field and 31% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 10 turnovers while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 43% from the field and 36% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 15 turnovers.