Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

The Sam Van Rossom(Valencia) Vs Mike Tobey(Slovenian National Team) Teammate Basketball Insight

                When I mention the name Mike Tobey to Belgium national player Sam Van Rossom, you instantly hear his voice change to pure enjoyment. The American and Belgium guard will be going into their fifth season together with Spanish ACB club Valencia Basket and memories between them are as long as being stuck in traffic on interstate 405 in Los Angeles, California. I reach Sam Van Rossom on a mild August day in Germany while he is enjoying his summer in his homeland Belgium in Oostende. For the third straight season his ACB season ended in the semi-finals and one has to wonder if each summer, it is a bit more difficult to digest not making the final. “It doesn´t really annoy me. We know how tough the competition is and that all want to win. It is never easy to break through to the final. We aren´t frustrated but just try to be realistic and analyse what happened so we can doit  better the next time”, warned Sam Van Rossom.  The hottest topic at the moment besides the Los Angeles Lakers gobbling up Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony and who will be next has been the Summer Olympics and the basketball tournament. He has watched some games, but the time difference has been a pain in the butt. He has been watching games that have been available on Belgium television. He has only had two teammates that currently are at the Olympics and both play with Slovenia with Klemin Prepelic and friend ex NBA player Mike Tobey who received a Slovenian passport in 2021 and instantly became a teammate of one of the worlds current best players Luka Doncic. Sam Van Rossom has watched Doncic and Tobey play together at the Olympics and sees how well they are harmonizing. He has played together with so many great players that he isn´t jealous that Mike Tobey can practice and celebrate success with Luka Doncic. He also knows that soon his teammate will be back in Valencia and he is 100% confident he won´t flinch when he has to play with him again. He also has a very nice sense of humor concerning Mike Tobey. “Mike is a very good pick and roll player and is a good shooter. He has used the space very well that Luka has been giving him. They play very well together. I don´t think Mike will want to play with me anymore when he returns”, laughed Sam Van Rossom.

Mike Tobey who remembers Nigerian national and NBA player Jahlil Okafor being his toughest foe in the NCAA was born on October 10, 2004 and began his basketball career at Blair Academy where he averaged 21,0ppg and grabbed 9,0 rpg as a senior. He then proceeded to play at the well known University of Virginia(NCAA) from 2012-2016 where he played a total of 136 games. In his four seasons there, he never averaged better than 7,2ppg, but was an important role player helping the school win an ACC title and reach the NCAA Elite 8 and Sweet 16. “Winning the ACC tournament was the biggest moment. The Elite 8 was a great run, but I still have a sour taste not reaching the NCAA Final 4”, said Mike Tobey in 2017. One of his best games was by far his 15 points and 20 rebounds explosion in the 68-46 victory against Louisville. He was lucky to be teammates with NBA player Malcolm Brogdon who taught him something about hard work and to fight back after injuries. “Malcolm was an unbelievable hard worker. The first time I met him he had a broken foot. He worked so hard in the time that he was injured and continued so when he was healthy again. I am happy he is where he is today“, stated Mike Tobey in 2017. In order to be on top of his defensive game in Europe and at the 2021 Olympics, he got a good grip on what it meant to defend from his Virginia head coach Tony Bennett. “We played hard defense at Virginia. I didn´t really like to play defense before college. I feel I was able to improve my defense there and I knew how to play team basketball when I left”, remembered Mike Tobey in 2017.

Sam Van Rossum with the 2014 Eurocup trophy

The American who lists his personal NBA Mount Rushmore with guys Jordan, Lebron, Kareem and Larry Bird split his rookie seasons between the D-League team Greensboro Swarm where he averaged 12,0ppg and 9,0rpg and NBA team Charlotte where he played two games. The biggest challenge his rookie season wasn´t necessarily on the court. “The biggest challenge was the travel. Sometimes we had back to back games in different cities. The whole experience is a real grind where every player is trying to make a name night in and night out. It was very competitive. I would take the route again. That path depends on what situation is best for me”, stated Mike Tobey in 2017. He had no hard feelings that he only played 2 NBA games against Toronto and Detroit. He learned early that you have to understand one vital word business. “ I think no matter where you are be it in the NBA, G-League or Europe, it is a business everywhere. When you’re a professional you need to understand that it is a business”, warned Mike Tobey. One day he will be able to tell his grand children that he was teammates with NBA superstar Kemba Walker. The ex UConn great may not be a top 3 NBA point guard in 2021 even if Tobey thought he could get there in 2017. “I´m sure he could. In the short time that I was around him, I could see how much of a hardworker he was. He is very talented and produced a lot for the team. Anything is possible for him“, expressed Mike Tobey. He then finished the season with Valencia Basket playing 5 games. In the 2016-2017 season he played his first full season in the ACB with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 35 games ACB averaging 11.1ppg, Reb-3(6.6rpg), FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 58.0%; and played 14 BCL averaging 13.5ppg, 7.0rpg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 65.8%, 3PT-1(66.7%), FT: 65.8%. It was by far his best professional season. He then moved to Valencia Basket in 2018 and has been with the team ever since and will be playing a 5th season with them.

Slovenian national players Mike Tobey and Klemen Prepelic

In his first season in the ACB with Tenerife he played against Real Madrid 4 times and lost each game, but played extremely well especialy in the tough two game playoff series where he had 21 points and 9 boards in a 83-73 loss and then had a brilliant 18 points and 16 rebounds in a tough 84-75 loss. Now three years later Mike Tobey and Luka Doncic are teammates with the Slovenian national team after securing the passport in 2021. Slovenia is 4-0 going into the exciting semi-final clash against France today and the nation has had an overall invincible team effort. They have received great support from NBA player Zlatko Cancar, Klemen Prepelic of Valencia and Zoran Dragic of Baskonia, but one can say the two best players for them have been Luka Doncic and Mike Tobey who have formed a lethal one two punch. Doncic as usual is playing like he is from another planet as currently he is averaging a ridiculous 26,3ppg, 10,0rpg and 8,0apg while Mike Tobey averaged 14,0ppg, 7,5rpg and shot a crazy 63% from outside during the Olympic qualifying tournament and currently is averaging 11,5ppg, 12,5rpg and 2,3apg at the Olympic tournament. It is obvious that the big man´s game is hugely benefiting from Doncic´s presence on the floor. “Mike´s game is really profiting from the attention Luka is getting and his dangerous drive. This way Mike can use the alley-oop, his short range game and three. This makes it a lot harder for the opponent to defend him”, warned Sam Van Rossom. The two time Eurocup winner is really looking forward to watching Tobey and Slovenia battle France. “It will be a good game. Both teams are real close to each other. Slovenia has been cruising and dominated most teams except Spain. France on the other hand are playing well. They are deep and play physical. If France find some ways to stop Doncic, then they could have some options to win”, stated Sam Van Rossom. He also doesn´t see team USA having a cake walk over Australia. “I think it will be close. Team USA struggled at the start, but have recovered. At the start of the Olympics I would of said that USA can´t win, but now it will depend on how they feel that day and if shots fall. Australia play well together and play physical. The difference will be small between the team that wins. I don´t have that feeling that you had years ago where USA was invincible and could beat everyone. Kevin Durant said it in an interview that nobody is afraid to play USA”, warned Sam Van Rossom. It will be interesting to see how much the game of Mike Tobey will profit from playing at the Olympics. In 53 Euroleague games, he put up solid 9,0ppg and 4,0rpg which is nice but not great, but in the Euroleague nobody puts up crazy staggering stats, but could Tobey take another step with his game this season in the Eurocup? “I have to disagree with you. I think if you translate his stats over 40 minutes, then they would be very impressive. He has been our back up at the five and I feel he and Bojan Dubljevic compliment each other well. Mike has a name in Europe. I hope that he can keep growing and make new steps in the Eurocup. He is only 26 years old. There is still a lot of time. I feel that he will keep evolving”, stressed Sam Van Rossom.

Sam Van Rossum is a Valencia Basket lifer and going into his ninth season while Mike Tobey also can call Valencia his second home as he is going into his fifth season with them. When the ex University of Virginia(NCAA) center first came to Valencia in March 2017, he and Van Rossom right away had to gel. “We were both hurt and spent a lot of time together in the weight room. He is so easy going. We have always had a very good relationship. He is one of those guys that is liked by everyone. He is a great person”, commented Sam Van Rossom. Tobey is the type of player that will make any point guard anywhere and in any system just smile or lead him to rave on about his play. He just makes the basketball life for Van Rossom so much easier. “I can do so much with him. If it´s throwing up the lob to beat the big on the pick and roll, or get him on the short role or pick and pop. He is such a complete player. He is always a constant threat against the defense. He has helped me read the pick and roll a lot better. We profit from each other”, said Sam van Rossom. The American has proved that he has been a modern big man since years mainly because he has developed a dangerous outside shot. He has improved his three point percentage each season in the ACB as last season he reached the 40% mark and  wasn´t far behind in the Euroleague hitting 39%. The game in the post is eroding more and more as the big man has the complete package. Van Rossom has seen his development in Valencia since day one. “He adapted to Europe very well coming from the D-League. He understood his role really well and I think he made more steps on the defensive end than on the offensive end. Obviously his offense has been very good. It is even better now with his three pointer. He is always able to open up the court and help your team play in a good way. He is always able to bring something when he is on the court and always helps your team”, warned Sam Van Rossom. It is never easy to pick that one greatest moment, but when you remember the 2019 Valencia Eurocup title, then you can be sure that that is way up on the list. “It is always nicest when you win the title or a big game. That is bigger than that one alley-oop”, expressed Sam Van Rossom. When you have played so many games together finding that special best play can´t be difficult. Good for Sam Van Rossom that he remembered a remarkable play between him and Tobey last season to make his choice not as difficult. “I remember playing against FC Barcelona. It was a side pick and role with Mike. It was good timing. All went well”, stated Sam Van Rossom. No matter if Slovenia wins a medal or not, one thing is for sure, the unique and breathtaking plays between Van Rossom and Tobey will continue to dazzle fans in 20-21. Nobody will ever get sick of the lethal alley-oop between Sam Van Rossom and Mike Tobey.

Timothy Burnett(Howard Hoops Combine) Has The Heart Of A Lion And Never Takes Off A Play

Timothy Burnett is an American guard that played at Fulton Montgomergy Community College. He is aspiring to become a professional player overseas. He is taking part at the 2021 Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August 2021. He spoke to eurobasket about his basketball career.

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

This ain’t a really good part of my life right now a lot of trials came with staying out of the basketball life and it’s been a bit hard but just staying focused on task of the goal to be a professional basketball player was never not a focus.

You finished school at Fulton Montgomery Community. How have you been keeping busy the last years outside of basketball? Did you get a 9-5 job to help pay the bills?

Yes I started to work with my uncle’s company in the construction business for a year and a half just to keep myself busy staying out the basketball life and most importantly helping my mom with the bills because I’m the oldest of 7 boys so it was a priority to take care of the bills in the house when needed.

Were you able to use your college degree to get into the job field that you wanted?

I majored in business and athletic training to pursue my associates degree but unfortunately because of COVID-19 I couldn’t finish out. But it didn’t stop me from getting the position I wanted in that job field.

How much desire do you have to become a professional athlete? And what do you think held you back from becoming a professional athlete thus far ?

My desire to be a professional athlete is everything it’s all I ever dreamed of as kid , It’s my biggest accomplishment in my life and would mean everything to achieve. I feel like what held me back from being a professional basketball athlete was myself honestly, not being fully focused and not taking advantages of great opportunities that came my way . I feel like not putting myself on that stage to being seen plays a big part and I’m taking full advantage of this opportunity.

Let’s talk a little about COVID-19. What were the biggest challenges for you during this time? Was it tougher keeping that normal work out routine?

One of the biggest challenges of COVID-19 was not being able to play basketball as much as I was in college and having daily routines so at first it was difficult. Then I learned to adjust keeping up to my daily routine as COVID-19 was going on working out at home , running doing a lot of calisthenics keeping my body in shape then I was getting back to normal workouts as it went on.

With everything that you have experienced during COVID-19 off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?

COVID-19 helped me a lot with mindset especially being off the court, it taught me if the world shut down right now how would you be able to do better for yourself and never take anything for granted. When your pursuing to be something you have to go 10000% at all times because you never know when it could be taken from you. As a man this COVID-19 structured me to better physically and mentally and to be more wise most importantly just staying focused on your goal in life be the best at it.

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August. How excited are you to show your abilities in front of GM’s and coaches?

It’s honestly an honor and a blessing for me to be able to show my talent and to even have these GMs and coaches even take time out of their busy schedule to see if I’m worthy. Because you don’t get opportunities like these so when these chances come knocking on your door your got to give it your all, I’m excited to just show my talent and show I’m ready and what type of player I am on and off the floor.

How excited are you to be playing in Germany? What do you know about the country and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex opponents or teammates play there?

I’ve never been out of the country in my whole entire life so this is a first I’m just humbled and blessed to get the opportunity to show my talents on the other side of the map. Germany is a tough country so I know they are competitive, so it’s going to be fun and interesting Brooklyn competitive and aggressive so I don’t expect nothing less.

How did you get in contact with CEO and founder Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.)? Did he find you or did you find him?

Coach Japhet McNeil posted on his Facebook at the time of the opportunity so when I saw it I sent him message hoping he would answer back and then we d numbers. From there I was introduced to coach Ronald Howard so I found him and then we exchanged numbers as well. He gave me more details on this event , how it can change my life if I come there and do what I got to do.

Ronald Howard is a legend. He is the voice for the unknown players wanting to get a job overseas. What kind of relationship do you have with him and what do you appreciate most about his character.

Coach Ronald Howard I don’t really have too much of a big relationship with him we spoke a couple times over the months ,but he’s a up standing guy , he tells you how it is more than tell you what you want to hear. I respect that in a person as far as how I go about things so to see a guy I don’t know from a whole in the world is the same way is an honor. The most I appreciate about Coach Ronald Howard‘s character is his honestly , he tells you straight up gives you both sides of this basketball stuff how it can go if you take the right steps and how it can go if you don’t work hard and he cares about his guys so when somebody cares about you they tell you the truth instead of telling you what you want to hear.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 175cm guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

I don’t like to compare myself to other NBA players I feel like I have my own playing style on both sides of the floor and I don’t take off plays. But if I had to compare myself or see glimpses I would say Kemba Walker. I’m crafty like to get to my spots, I can score, pass make others around me better and I’m aggressive and I want to win.

Talk a little about your game. Your ultimate strength is that you will do anything to win. Would it be correct to say that you have a heart of gold?

I wouldn’t say heart of gold I would put in my words as heart of a lion. I don’t fear no one and when I’m on that floor nothing is stopping me from putting that ball in the basket Anything my team and my coach needs I will do to get that win. Making others better and winning is my game.

On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to grow as a player?

My footwork being a lot more explosive and being more of a consistent shooter. Being a lot more crafty with the strong hand and the off hand.

You played at Fulton Montgomery Community College. Talk a little about your time there. How do you feel did you profit most from your time there?

Playing and being at Fulton Montgomery Community College really matured my game and my mindset as far as life and what I want to be in life. I feel like I profited the most of my time being there was structure and time balanced. College taught me to know what you want and not to waste no time on what your pursuing. I Matured when I went to college it helped me stay focused and know my main goal in life.

Who was the best player that you ever battled that went to the NBA?

Moses Brown from the Boston Celtics we’ve played AAU together played against each other , Future lottery pick (James Bouknight ) Cam Reddish , G league player Tremont Waters it’s couple more of those guys but these are the ones that stand out and that really compete.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

My 3 brothers Marcus Burnett , James Burnett & Ezra Burnett and my uncle Kyle Giddings and my friend that passed away Theodore Senior

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

Michael Jordan , Kobe Bryant ,Shaquille O’Neil , Allen Iverson definitely going to throw Kevin Durant in there. By the time he is finished he will one of if not the best ever and plus he’s my favorite player.

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

Michael Jordan for sure just because his approach of the game and how it came at it , just being so dominant at that time of basketball one and two as a basketball player and going three straight on both times before retiring and coming back. That’s legendary.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Space jam 2

Thanks Timothy for the chat.


Two Way Player Camerron Cauley(Howard Hoops Combine) Knows That If He Can´t Play Defense Than His Offense Means Nothing

Camerron Cauley is a guard that went to Northern New Mexico Community College and American college. He is taking part at the 2021 Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August 2021. He spoke to about basketball.

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

I am at the best place as of right now basketball is treating me very well I am happy to see what comes next and am ready.

There are quite a few guys with the name Cameron Cauley, but none have the double r in the first name. Talk a little about the uniqueness of your first name.

I got my name from my grandmother she is always Unique with naming all the grandkids in the family she always came up with something nobody had seen or heard.

You have been looking and aspire to be a professional player. Have you had any professional experience?

I always wanted to play professional basketball all my life I never played in a professional league but I played against players that have been in the league so I’m aware how physical it is. This will be a dream come true.

Despite COVID being active, have you had a normal job during the day while working on your craft at night?

Yes I had a job but I tried my best to work on my craft and my shot even if I had to go to the park I put in work and you can’t be great if you don’t put the work in.

How big is your urge to become a professional player? Is the chip on your shoulder big having played JUCO?

This is very big to me all of people don’t get this opportunity to go to another country and show the talent. I wouldn’t say I have a chip on my shoulder but they got to watch out I got a lot of dog in me

Let’s talk a little about COPVID-19. What were the biggest challenges for you during this time? Was it tougher keeping that normal work out routine?

It was definitely a challenge. Gym’s were closed and I couldn’t get the exercise as I normally do and it put a lot of stress on me but I got through it.

With everything that you have experienced during COVID-19 off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?

COVID-19 was a big dealbreaker. Many family members got sick but my family stayed strong and we all got through it together and It made all of us stronger.

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August. How excited are you to show your abilities in front of GM’s and coaches?

I’m very excited as this will be my first time playing on a Professional stage This is what I worked hard for to get right here. I can’t wait to show the world who Camerron Cauley is.

How excited are you to be playing in Germany? What do you know about the country and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex opponents or teammates play there?

I’m very excited this is new to me and I really never heard of Germany but I heard of a lot of different other places I have a couple friends that have played in China Mexico and some other places but never Germany I heard great things about Germany.

How did you get in contact with Howard Hoops Combine founder Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.)? Did you find him or did he find you?

I got in contact with Howard Hopes through an old coach I played for After COVID-19 hit my college career went on hold and that’s how my old coach put me in contact with Howard Hoops and told me this will be the greatest opportunity for me to play professional.

Ronald Howard is a legend. He is the voice for the unknown players wanting to get a job overseas. What kind of relationship do you have with him and what do you appreciate most about his character.

I never met Howard in person yet but I love what he’s doing and giving a lot of basketball players opportunities to fulfill their dreams I hope our friendship can build more and more I appreciate the opportunity that he is giving me.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a point guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

A lot of people say Play like Kyle Lowry because I can create my own shot and I shoot very well and can get to the basket I watch a lot of basketball videos of Lebron James. He makes everyone on the court better that’s what’s it’s all about

Talk about your strengths. Would it be fair to say that you’re a two way player at the guard position?

Definitely a two way player in my book. My father always told me if you can’t play defense your offense means nothing if you can score, create and play hard defense.

What would you classify as your absolute biggest strength on the court?

I say my biggest strength would be being more of a scorer and defensive player and getting my teammates open.

How much pride do you take on the defensive end? Do you feel like you could be that lock down defender at the professional level?

I take pride in my defense but there a lot of work needed to be done on my defense Especially at a high level

On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to grow as a player?

Getting to my spots knocking down shots most definitely being comfortable .

You played at Northern New Mexico Community College. What kind of experience was that for you and how did your game benefit most from it?

When I went to Northern I didn’t know what to expect at the time it was a little different but it did make me a better player and really learned the game. A lot of things were different It was all about me and it was about the team.

You also played at American College. What kind of experience was this for you and how did the coaching staff help develop your game most?

The coaching staff was amazing really helped me develop my games in ways I never thought

Who was the best player that you ever battled that went to the NBA?

There are a couple JR Giddens, Tony Snell, Cory Sanders, Antonio Blankly

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Braxton Daniel Bryce Alex Jalen

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

Lebron Curry AD Kobe Jordan

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

I say they are the greatest in the their own ways and they are in different era’s.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Space Jam 2

Thanks Camerron for the chat.

Tyler Dean´s Versatility Of Guarding Multiple Positions And Reading The Defense Should Make Him (Howard Hoops Combine) A Hot Commodity

Tyler Dean (196-G) is a 196cm guard from Rome, Georgia. He began his basketball career at Southside Christian high school. He then played two years at State University of West Georgia and finished at the University of North Georgia (NCAA2) playing three seasons and played 69 games. His best season was in 2018-2019 where he averaged 6.3ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 26.5%, FT: 63.6%. He will take part at the Howard Hoops Combine in August 2021 in Germany. He spoke about his basketball career.

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

At the moment, I’m in Rome, Georgia, and basketball life has been okay. The gyms in Rome aren’t fully open yet, so I’ve had to improvise to try to stay in basketball shape.

You haven’t found a professional team since finishing at the University of North Georgia (NCAA2). How was the whole process for you in the last year trying to find a club or did you postpone it because of the difficulties with COVID?

I postponed it because of covid. But, I’ve been trying to stay in the best shape that I can until everything started opening up again.

How big has your urge been to be a professional player since leaving school? Why do you believe hasn’t your dream of being a professional player panned out?

Being a professional player has always been one of my dreams since I was a kid, and that same love for the game has not changed. I believe it didn’t really pan out is because of covid. I didn’t want to risk my health with everything that was going on.

Let’s talk a little about COPVID-19. What were the biggest challenges for you during this time? Was it tougher keeping that normal work out routine?

One of the biggest challenges was getting some shots up and actually getting to play. It was definitely tough trying to keep a routine since everything was closed down. So, I did a lot of running and shooting in my driveway a lot.

With everything that you have experienced during COVID-19 off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?

I do. 2020 has been really tough mentally. But persevering through all of the obstacles that came my way made me very tough minded.

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August. How excited are you to show your abilities in front of GM’s and coaches?

I’m very excited it has been a minute since I’ve played organized basketball.

How excited are you to be playing in Germany? What do you know about the country and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex opponents or teammates play there?

I’m very excited! This is my first time ever leaving the U.S. in my whole life. One of my old teammates, Shaquan Cantrell, actually played out there for a year or two. And one thing he told me was that is to always play with a chip on my shoulder.

How did you get in contact with CEO and founder Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.)? Did he find you or did you find him?

One of friends, Korley Grier, told me about it and I immediately hit Ron up seeing if there were any spots available.

Ronald Howard is a legend. He is the voice for the unknown players wanting to get a job overseas. What kind of relationship do you have with him and what do you appreciate most about his character.

I don’t really know much about him. But I’ve seen what he has done to help players like me get an opportunity to keep doing what we love, and I appreciate him for that

What is your biggest goal at the Howard Hoops Combine besides getting a job overseas?

My biggest goal is to make sure I get better every day while I’m there, and to make connections with the people there.

How big is the chip on your shoulder? There are guys at this combine that have JUCO and NAIA experience, but you have played levels higher at the NCAA 2. Your drive must still be big because you didn’t play at the NCAA level.

I’ve always had to play with a chip on my shoulder. I’ve always had to fight for my minutes in college so I’m taking that mentally with me to Germany.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a guard that can take it to the hole, are a good spot up shooter and solid defender. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

I couldn’t really tell you. I’ve heard different players, but I don’t know if I can pinpoint who I actually play like.

What other strengths do you have on the offensive end? What would you classify as your absolute biggest strength on the court?

I think one of my strengths offensively is reading the defense. I used to play point guard all the way up to my senior year in high school. And I think my biggest strength is being versatile. In college, I played and guarded every position.

On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to grow as a player?

One area that I’m working on is my creativity to create shots for me and others.

Despite that you were able to reach the NCAA 2 and played at State University of West Georgia (NCAA2) for two years. But also there you were unable to get minutes. How aggravating was it once again not being able to get minutes. How did this effect you mentally and how did you deal with it?

It was pretty aggravating because I never had to worry about that in high school. But I had to remember that I was only a freshmen at the time, and whenever my opportunity came to make the best of it.

You then finished at the University of North Georgia (NCAA2) playing 69 NCAA 2 games and was integrated better and one season averaged 6.3ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 26.5%, FT: 63.6%. How do you feel did your game mature here?

I think my game matured pretty well there. Being there helped my become a way better rebounder and being tough.

How did coaches Chris Faulkner and Chris Evans groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

They taught me to always go hard at all times, and to never quit.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Shawn Hopkins?

I actually don’t think me and him ever played one on one. But if we did I’m betting on myself.

Who was the best player that you ever battled that went to the NBA?

The best player I’ve played against had to have been Rui Hachimura

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

My high school teammates: Dwight Hall and VJ Saxton.
My UNG teammates: Kj Jenkins he plays at New Mexico now. Shaqaun Cantrell.
My West Ga teammate: Steph Branch

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

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Allen Iverson

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

I’m always going with MJ. He’s the GOAT.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Space Jam 2

Thanks Tyler for the chat.

Despite Missing The NBBL Season Being Able To Practice With The MLP Academics Helped Niclas Geier(Howard Hoops) Develop His Game

Niclas Geier (192-PG-02) is a 192cm German guard that will take part at the 2021 Howard Hoops Combine in Germany. He began his basketball career with the USC Heidelberg U19 Team (NBBL). In 2019-2020 he played 10 games averaging 12.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 55.1%. Last season with the USC Heidelberg U19 Team (NBBL) he played only 2 games averaging 15.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, before COVID-19 ended his season. He also made his Pro A debut against PS Karlsruhe last season. He spoke to about his basketball career.

Niclas thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Thank you for having this interview with me. So far I am doing fine and working out every day. Besides working on my basketball skillset I enjoy lifting weights in the gym as well.

Your one of two Germans along with Adrian Worthey that is taking part at the 2021 Howard Hoops Combine. Over the years the Howard Hoops Combine has been dominated by American players. What prompted you to join the combine?
I was in contact with Japhet Mcneil who is also in the organization with Coach Howard. We talked about my current situation and about work outs in the off season. Japhet invited me to this Combine and gave me the opportunity to show my game, which I am thankful for.
Have you ever met Adrian Worthey or played against him. Are you looking forward to being his teammate?
As I can remember we played against each other in the first year of my NBBL career. We both played a great game so I think that he is a talented player, so I am excited to share the court alongside with him as well as the other American players.
You already have a huge advantage over the Americans since you have played in Germany. What advantages do you see having in taking part at the Howard Hoops combine?
Last year I was able to gain a lot of experience at the pro level in Heidelberg. I had tough competition every day in practice so I think this helped my development a lot. I think there will be good competition at the Combine as well, so my advantage would be that I was able to get used to pro players already.

Let’s talk a little about COVID-19. What were the biggest challenges for you during this time? Was it tougher keeping that normal workout routine?
To be honest the biggest challenge was not letting this Pandemic get in the way of me getting better. Of course a lot of gyms closed down during the year, but I tried to keep the same routine as I had before in the gym, which worked out fine.
How tough was it not being able to play the NBBL (U-19) league in 20-21. How disadvantageous do you believe this will be for players. Will a season of not competition severely hurt the development of young players?
Not being able to play the 20-21 season in the NBBL was tough, because I couldn’t show my game on the court this year. However I was able play a good season the year before that, even being younger than the rest. I think players who didn’t have the chance of playing or practicing in another team will notice that it was bad for their development for the upcoming years. Personaly I would say you should try to get better every time and not let this be an excuse one day.
With everything that you have experienced during COVID-19 off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?
I think it made me realize to value the time we spend with our friends and family as I couldn’t see everybody as often as usual throughout the years. I think it made me grow individually as well and made be even more mentally tough to stick with basketball.
You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August. How excited are you to show your abilities in front of GM’s and coaches?
I am very excited and thankful for this opportunity. I thank Coach Howard and Japhet Mcneil for this invitation. I can’t wait to step on the court, show my skillset and learn new things.

How did you get in contact with CEO and founder Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.)? Did he find you or did you find him?
As I mentioned before the whole idea of me joining the Combine started through Japhet Mcneil. He talked with Ronald Howard and let me participate in this year’s Combine.

Ronald Howard is a legend. He is the voice for the unknown players wanting to get a job overseas. What kind of relationship do you have with him and what do you appreciate most about his character.
If I am being honest I have not met Ronald Howard personally yet, but all I can say is that I am excited for what this combine holds ad that he is a very supportive person.

What is your biggest goal at the Howard Hoops Combine?
My biggest goal as always is to get better every day and learn new skills. I also want to meet the other players and get to know them on and off the court. You never know if you play with one of these players in the future as there will be a lot of talent.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 192cm point guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
My coaches always tell me that they would compare me to Damian Lillard. His leadership is off the charts and when it comes to scoring options I think the comparison fits the best. I am a good defender as well, so I think Lillard is the best comparison.
At the NBBL level you have put up solid stats. Talk a little about your game and biggest strength on the court?
I would describe my game like being an athletic point guard that can score out of many options. I like to use my speed to get to the basket or set my teammates up for an open shot. I can score from distance as well and play good on ball defense. I can read the game and use my vision to set up my team.

You’re a very talented defender. What do you believe is your biggest strength on the defensive end?
I appreciate that. Personally I think my biggest strength on the defensive end is that I can anticipate the attacker’s next step and read their game which is my advantage to press on ball, force a bad and late pass or get a steal.
On what areas of your game are you working on most so you can continue to grow as a player?
As I want to compete at the Pro level more and more I have to prepare my body for much older players. So I think working on my stability and athletic strength is an important part in my development.
You began your career with the USC Heidelberg U19 Team (NBBL) What kind of experience has it been playing there and what steps did your game take especially in the NBBL?
I started playing in Heidelberg when I was 14. So I went through almost every age group there is. With 15 I spent one year in North Carolina where I could see the American way to teach basketball. Playing in Heidelberg was always fun because I played with many friends of mine. In the NBBL I learned to be a leader especially on the Point Guard Position. Very significant at the higher level is to control the pace in the game which is not as important in the younger ages. So I think learning to control the game and the pace was a big step for my development.
How important has NBBL coach Moritz Naegele and Noschrevan Tavhelidse been in your early development? What do you believe was the most important thing that you could gain from their guidance?
Early in my first year of the NBBL both of them gave me a lot of confidence, which helped me to play the way I like. I think from Moritz I learned lot individually about how to be a better player, especially different technique approaches for the shot or ball handling were important from him. Noschrevan was a mentor for me through the last two years on and off the court. We spent a lot of time in the gym and he helped me to build my strengths on the court. So I am very thankful that I had these two coaches in my early career.

Despite COVID being a pest, could you profit by practicing with Pro A team MLP Academics? Talk a little about playing with men and how it helped your game last season
It was a very exciting experience. I learned a lot from all the older players which took me in the team better than I could imagine. The whole team chemistry was awesome and the spirit we had was perfect. I was able to play against the best guards in the league every day in practice. This helped me develop very much and was an important step for my career.
You played your first Pro A game against Karlsruhe playing two minutes. What memories do you have breathing your first Pro A minute?
It was awesome to be on the Pro court my first time. Of course I was a bit nervous when the coach called my name, but I think it was more the excitement of playing on this level. I mean this will always be a great memory to hear my name from the announcer, especially because the other players were happy for me which helped me to be ready.
Talk a little how beneficial point guards Shy Ely and Niklas Wuerzner have been for your develop? Have they been like mentors for you?
Both of them are great guys. I mean Shy the MVP taught me so much from the first minute. He talked a lot to me and gave me tips on how to do certain things different and better. I could watch his game every time and still find some new things to adopt into mine. Niklas Wuerzner was also a great guy I learned a lot from. He especially helped me to understand different parts of the game better and was a great guy off the court as well. I think both of them were mentors to me as well as the other guards like Jordan Geist and Sa’eed Nelson. Everyone taught me different things and options to help me be a better player.
Who was the best player that you ever battled that went to play in higher leagues in Germany?
From my standpoint the toughest battles I had were against Jordan Geist and Sa’eed Nelson which I faced in practice every day when I played for the MLP Academics Heidelberg.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Those would be Shy Ely, Jordan Geist, Sa’eed Nelson, Niklas Wuerzner and Shaun Willet.

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or LeBron James?
I can only say one name: Michael Jordan. End of debate.

What was the last movie that you saw?
I think the last movie I saw was ‘Snowpiercer’, which was recommended to me by my good friend Sa’eed Nelson. Go watch it!

Thanks Niclas for the chat

Japhet Mcneil(Howard Hoops Combine) Is The Smooth Talking New Yorker Not Preaching On TV But On The Court With Combine Sports

If your in an arena in Germany and have your ears on properly in radar mode, it is very possible you could hear a Japhet McNeil (183-PG-85, college: Bridgeport) smooth talking someone even when your in a line dreaming of sinking your teeth into a juicy German Hot Dog. Even if your totally preoccupied as your watching a food stand attendant prepare the scrumptious Hot Dog, you will notice Japhet McNeil no matter what. Even if you don’t know him personally, just seeing him in front of you in his modern threads, massive wide simile and hearing his mesmerizing words, you could easily think that back in the day he was one of those guys that was loved in school and was popular. His smooth talking is something everyone notices. ‘My wife tells me that! I guess that’s from growing up in the heart of New York City. When I attended East Carolina Univ. The Southern people would say ‘ Jah your talking to fast ‘ and I would reply ‘ I’m not talking to fast, your just listening to slow’, laughed Japhet McNeil. Japhet and I go way back and still have a nice relationship today after having first met during his rookie season in 2008-2009 when he balled for USC Heidelberg. I remember watching a game between TV Langen and USC Heidelberg and seeing his dazzling basketball talent for the first time. USC Heidelberg was a team that had another young and talented player named Jibril Hodges who is the son of NBA champion, NBA three point contest winner and Michael Jordan teammate of the early 90’s Craig Hodges. The team also had a very young Danilo Barthel who currently is one of the big guns for the German national team at the Olympics in Japan. The American knew early on that Danilo Barthel was special. ‘Sometimes when you see a kid and he has the goods you know he got that ‘IT’ Danillo Barthel had it’, remembered Japhet McNeil. We met and understood each other masterfully and over the years a nice friendship developed as well as various interviews that today stands at 8. The first interview we did together was in 2009 and how could he forget when I invited him to my weekly basketball radio for Radio Fortuna in 2009 which at that time was the first ever weekly basketball radio show on German radio. ‘8 .That’s the Number!!! 2009. Woooow!!! That’s a blessing. I’m all about longevity. Father time is definitely undefeated. I Remember our first interview like it was yesterday. It was in Frankfurt. The set up was really cool. It reminded me of a radio station room. You gifted me a bottle of wine or maybe it was Sekt. Your hospitality was on point. I remember my girlfriend at the time, who is my wife presently accompanying me and she kept saying how cool the experience was on our way back to the city I lived in at that time. Honestly I’ve lost count on how many. But I do know that every time we’re able to chop it up about basketball and life. It’s always real. I truly enjoy our encounters and I appreciate and thanks your continued support and allowing me to express myself over the years! You mean a lot to the basketball community and I’m glad I’m able to share my continued journey through your journalism!! Your a legend Miles stay blessed’, stressed Japhet McNeil. I love meeting Japhet again in arena’s and it has happened on occasion in the last years in Frankfurt in Bonn. I’m always amazed to witness everyone that he knows. I remember over the years when he would watch his buddy fellow New York native and former Euroleague and Seton hall great Jordan Theodore (his brother from another mother) or observe him conduct passionate talk about basketball with coach Joey King who worked under top German coach John Patrick. Mcneil’s smooth talking never eludes him and sometimes he inserts that special New Yorker language that I don’t understand. I always wondered why he didn’t go into acting. I could easily have seen him slip into the Eddie Murphy role in Beverly Hills Cop and watching him weasel out of jams. ‘That’s interesting you say that because I would love my daughters to go into acting. I’m a big movie guy. I watch all genres. Eddie Murphy is a big act to follow. He’s one of the Goats ( Greatest Of All Time ) I’m not sure if I can play Eddie but you better believe if I put my mind to it I can come close. To believe is to achieve’, warned Japhet McNeil. Instead of having gone the Hollywood route, he did something way better for the game of basketball. Instead of preaching on TV, he decided to keep preaching on the court.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Japhet Mcneil in 2019

Even if Japhet McNeil who remembers ex easyCredit BBL player Wayne Bernard being his toughest cover in his rookie season is 36 years old, he is still playing professional ball today even if it isn’t in the foreground anymore like usual as he has found another big Love called Combine Sports. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended Christ The King High School where he led the team to a Catholic Division A title in 2003. He averaged 18,0ppg as a senior and finished with over 1,100 points and finished third on the school’s all-time assist list behind future NBA players Omar Cook and Erick Barkley. He then had a steady NCAA career at East Carolina from 2003-2006 where he played 81 games. He then finished at Bridgeport University where ex NBA 229Cm player Manute Bol played as he averaged 16.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.9apg, StealsNCAA2-1 (4.0spg), FGP: 38.3%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 67.3%. He began his professional career in 2008 in Germany with USC Heidelberg averaging 14.8ppg, 3.1rpg, Assists-1 (7.9apg), Steals-1 (3.5spg), FGP: 45.4%, 3PT: 24.1%, FT: 63.3%. He belonged to the top players in the German Pro A and after that would carve out a solid professional career. He brought his talent to Finland to Kori-Konkarit Loimaa (Finland-1st Division) and also played two seasons for Schieren Black Frogs (Luxembourg-N2). But somehow he found a second home in Germany where he would always come back to and play. He also had experience with teams BG Karlsruhe (Pro A),BSW Sixers (Pro B), 1 FC Kaiserslauteren (Regionalliga) and DJK Nider-Olm (Regionalliga 2). Despite his age, he has always kept in shape mainly because of his new baby and business Combine Sports which has allowed him to still compete and play the game he cherishes. ‘I am still playing professional. I say that proudly because the journey hasn’t been easy you constantly have to find ways to reinvent yourself because it’s a young man’s sport. Off course you can play at an older age but your glory days are when your in your early to late twenties. The body recovers faster. Younger legs. You have less responsibility in life. The list goes on. The last team I was signed to was DJK Nieder-Olm. Regionaliga-2. Due to COVID 19 we were not able to play a full season. For a numerous amount of reasons I decided that playing at a lower level in Germany would be beneficial for the current phase I am in pertaining to my life’, stated Japhet McNeil.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Japhet Mcneil in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in 2016

So let’s fast forward to 2021. At the moment as usual Japhet McNeil who remembers ex NBA players Travis Diener and Darius Washington being his toughest covers in the NCAA is in Germany and has declined to take a trip back home to New York to visit family and friends as he has preferred to get a jump on some opportunities. ‘Basketball is great and has been great to me, I will continue to use basketball as a tool. The possibilities are endless’, warned Japhet McNeil. One of those great new opportunities has been teaming up with Ron Howard to form the Howard Hoops Combine which will run from August 5th to the 9th in Germany. Life has been extremely tough for everyone in the last year and a half with COVID and obviously has affected him in many ways which is very understandable. ‘First and foremost. I’d like to send out my condolences & prayers to the families that experienced losing a loved one / ones due to COVID 19. I Also want to highlight the people who was tested positive and was able to beat COVID 19. I had a few challenges with COVID 19 but the biggest challenge I’d say was not knowing. I’m thousands of miles away from my family & Parents. God forbid if any one of them would have came down with Covid. There’s NO WAY that I could get home and aid them. It was a zoo. Travel bans in full effect, hospitals wouldn’t allow family members to visit patients, you couldn’t even have a proper burial. Really tough time that our world experienced. I’m very happy that we are returning to a sense of Normalcy’, stressed Japhet McNeil. By nature he is a very upbeat human being who is always good for a joke and having a good time, but COVID also has given him time to reflect on serious things and helped him learn new things. ‘Going through this time period that I’ve encountered off the court with Covid made me appreciate the little things that we have in life. For example. Going to a restaurant of your choice, taking trips with family to see family, the option of going to the gym to hoop and most importantly the health of your loved ones. As a man I value those things a lot more and it taught me to never take life for granted’, warned Japhet McNeil.

Before becoming a part of the Howard Hoops Combine, the Queens native who has Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Lebron James on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore first had to build up Combine Sports something he has done successfully, but with COVID he met many new challenges. ‘Building my own business and brand was always part of my plan. My only problem was always being on the move. I never got the opportunity to sit down and actually map out the direction I wanted to go in because I was always chasing the next basketball contract. When COVID hit that forced me to sit down and really think about what’s next. Life after basketball. I had to find something that I was just as passionate about and for most athletes that’s not an easy task. This COVID period gave me some time that I needed to get my mind right mentally. It allowed me to get my paper work in order so that I can gain Dual Citizenship. American & German Passports, I accomplished that. It also allowed me to spend quality time with my wife and daughters which validated the reason for me playing at a lower level with a less strenuous schedule. The COVID period allowed me to set the blueprint for my business / brand and execute. I began investing in the market. My main goal was to gain in life because it was so much time taken away due to our COVID 19 rough patch’, warned Japhet McNeil. He has built up Combine Sports steadily over the years and continues to build it up. It may not have been the best choice in his life now, but I bet it’s at second place tied with his wife. ‘What we do at Combine Sports is basketball skill development. I wanted to find a way to sculpt our younger generations through basketball. My intent is to introduce and instill the things I’ve learned from the game of basketball to all nationalities, to all people whether your black, blue, yellow, green, white, or orange!! In this world hate and racism still exist, but through competition and sports we become one. I’ve met some of my closest friends from competing on the basketball court and they had different backgrounds, had different beliefs, dressed differently and spoke differently as well. The one thing we had in common was our will to be better basketball players and our will to win. A Universal language!!! I’ve learned so much by being open minded and it made me a better leader, player, trainer, person, father, son, friend, Husband. Hopefully I can spread that amongst the people I encounter with Combine Sports. – The best Choice I could have made at this phase in life is Josie and Jiana Mcneil. My daughters. Everything stems from them. They are the reason why I work smarter & harder’, warned Japhet McNeil. Some guys go into coaching or get normal 9-5 jobs while others just want to remain on the court and help the youth of today get better. ‘I love to develop and train players. I’m very passionate about it. Basketball has been my job ever since I can remember. I got free gear, free trips, through AAU, my tuition paid in full at Christ the King High School b/c of basketball. Awarded a full athletic scholarship for college. A 12 year playing career as a professional athlete overseas. I wanted to find a way to stay in the field without feeling like it’s a job. I’m able to train players that I’ve competed against. Players that are still playing professional. I train JBBL Players as well as NBBL players here in Germany. Last week My bro Tyrone Nash a Notre Dame University standout that also played in the BBL here in Germany called me up and booked some sessions. My BROSKI Jordan Theodore Ex Unics player, just signed to a team in Tokyo plans to come punch the clock with Combine Sports. I’m not big on name dropping because just as I look forward on training those great players, I’m looking forward to training my 8 year old client whose parents sacrifice their time. Drive them to and from the workout. Sit and watch the workout. Doing all of the above after working their 9-5 shift. The real MVP’s! The future for Combine Sports is to become a international household name for developing basketball players. I want to continue to build the brand. Grow my following with the Combine Sports Clothing brand. (Combine-Sport.Com ). I want to help young European basketball athletes attend High Schools and Universities on full athletic scholarships in America using my connections I’ve made throughout my career. I want to have the option of helping basketball athletes from America come play professional in Europe. The options are limitless. My short term goal is to invest in a location that I can build a Combine Sports Basketball lab. That’s the main problem in Germany. Resources. A Gym. A Vertimax machine, the shooting Gun machine, high quality modern training equipment that enables the athlete ETC. Once you own a space with a basketball court. You can set the bar!! Ownership!! That is the short term Goal’, stressed Japhet McNeil.

Networking is something that is done everywhere to help build connections and just help a product grow and with Japhet McNeil and Ron Howard coming together to join forces is a no brainer. Ron Howard is the God Father of helping unknown players and sometimes with no resumes help attain their dream of becoming a professional basketball player. Ron Howard also played professional ball in Europe at the same time as Japhet McNeil. Howard formed Howard Hoops in 2015 and the German basketball community is so small. but why did it take so long to come together? ‘Ron and I go way back. We used to see each other out all the time at events whether it was in Frankfurt or Kaiserslautern on and off the court. We had mutual friends. I respected his basketball mind and his will to help basketball players and he respected mine. We’ve had several conversations on where or what could we bring to the table together. Our main objective is to give back, to help the next person change their surroundings, change their lives through basketball. We came up with the Howard Hoops Combine. Your Right about that. The German basketball community is small. I guess it was more about timing. We are trying to recover from a pandemic. A lot of players lost out on opportunities to play overseas. Seasons for European basketball Clubs were affected by the pandemic tremendously. Sponsorships were cut. That means less money for budget. So many factors played apart. When you look around there’s not to many platforms that allows players to come display their talent and earn a professional contract to play overseas basketball. Not in Europe!!! Coaches in Europe or Club managers receive 25 emails with game film a day from different players and agents. That can be overwhelming for the club and coaching staff. A lot of players become lost in the pile of emails. We want to create and build an atmosphere where players can be seen or talked to directly by European coaches, agents, or club managers. With hopes of signing a contract to start their career or further their careers’, stated Japhet McNeil. It is too bad that they never actually faced off on the court. That would have been a brutal basketball battle. ‘ I heard Ron was a Dawg!! If he attacked his opponents like he does his goals then I have no doubts about his hooping ability!! He’s a lefty. Lefty’s are uncanny, very hard to guard’, said Japhet McNeil. The combination of Howard and Mcneil with their talent of finding players, placing them on pro teams and developing their skills is one of a kind. ‘Our Main Goal is to create a platform that basketball players can use to earn a professional contract to play overseas basketball. Not only Americans. We hope to have all nationalities. The best player for the job. We aim to build relationships with players, agents, agencies, club managers and coaches. To build trust worthy relations that if a player or team is needed we are able to help both parties. When it all boils down to having two individuals with a lot of experience in Europe that’s passionate about the game of basketball. Passionate about helping basketball players change their lives. Both platforms Howard Hoops and Howard Hoops Combine’s general purpose is to use basketball as a tool. Ron Howard has encountered and helped so many basketball players through and through. I have in different ways as well. Now we are Combining our powers as a unit to continue to push the basketball culture forward’, warned Japhet McNeil. The Howard HOOPS Combine will have the biggest roster ever and will play games against each other as well against German regionalliga teams Ibbenburen and Bigger See where German coaches and Gm’s will be in attendance to observe the raw talent.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jahet Mcneil in the Telekom Dome in Bonn Germany in 2019

Even with the Howard Hoops Combine being his biggest issue at the moment, the American is always good for giving his two cents on certain basketball topics and he is never short with his answers. Americans living in the states who never saw Luka Doncic develop in Europe with Real Madrid continue to be slow on giving him the deserved props on his ability. But if you ask American players in Europe who played against him years back and saw him play give him more respect. It isn’t any different with Japhet McNeil. But he doesn’t share the same opinion with me yet that he is currently a top 3 NBA player. ‘I’m Very high on Luka ‘Magic ‘Doncic. But what I’m not big on is giving a player that top 3 tag so easily. The basketball culture known for that. They love the New kid on the block ready and willing to give that top 3 tag away. For other great players they drag them through the mud to get that tag. They have to be Superman in order to get that top 3 tag. They pick and choose swayed by what have you done for me lately, it’s funny how quickly sports fans forget. That goes for the fans and sports analyst. First they love you and then they hate you. Then they Love you again! Thats a Hov Bar – Luka is dead NICE!! But he’s not top 3 yet. Has to learn how to lead. He knows how to win. Won in Europe. Won several awards individually. He has to figure out how in the NBA. Last but not least Luka has to make free throws! He supposed to be shooting 85% and up! He is a great young talent. Slovenia and the NBA will be in great hands’, expressed Japhet McNeil. He also gave his personal opinion about where Chris Paul is in the top point guards of all-time and how team USA will fair at the Olympics. ‘With or W/o a ring I believe Chris Paul ( CP3) is Top 5 PG’s all time. He will be a first ballot hall of famer. It’s only right I go with team USA. I do think it’s a lot of parity in teams. When you look at every roster you see a legit NBA player or two or a Very good European player listed. I won’t be surprised if team USA doesn’t win it all. I can tell you that’, commented Japhet McNeil. You also have to be very careful when asking him about the biggest basketball debate question currently about who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James. I mean how can one seriously omit Kobe Bryant in this discussion? ‘Michael 1 ( A ) Kobe 1 ( B ) LBJ 1 ( C ) – It’s the highlight watching fans and the sports analyst who never played a lick of basketball that don’t have The late GREAT Kobe Bryant In the GOAT discussion. The real students of the game. Current and past NBA players mention Bean in the Greatest of all time discussions!! Real Hoopers know!!! #BlackMamba’, warned Japhet McNeil. Of course, he is no stranger to my last question in interviews ‘what was the last movie that you saw’, but this time, he gave his feedback on the Coming To America sequel and why they should have left it alone. ‘I did see the sequel to Coming to America and I took it for what it was worth. It’s hard to top part one. I think they prolonged the sequel. All the actors in the sequel accomplished and established. As opposed to part one no Hollywood household names. The actors and actresses were trying to be where they’re at financially as actors in the sequel. It’s a DIFFERENT Funny way more Raw’, warned Japhet McNeil. In my book Japhet McNeil could easily moonlight as an actor, but then again if that didn’t work, he could easily be a movie critic.

Competing Against Team USA Was A Great Experience For Philip Jalalpoor(Iranian National Team)

Philip Jalalpoor being guarded by 2021 NBA champion Jrue Holiday

Philip Jalalpoor (188-G-93, college: UBC, agency: Blacktop Management) is a 28 year old 188cm Iranian guard that is currently playing with Iran at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Japan. He was born in Schifferstadt, Germany and began his basketball career with the BIS Baskets Speyer in 2010. He then played college ball in North America from 2013-2018 starting with Lower Columbia College (JUCO) and then played a season with Olds College (Canada-CCAA). He then finished at the University of British Columbia (Canada-CIS) where he played from 2015-2018 and as a senior averaged 16.6ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 44.2%, 3FGP: 36.3%, FT: 67.9%. he played his first three professional seasons in Spain, Austria and Germany for teams Bodegas Rioja Vega Logrono (Spain-LEB Gold) averaging 3.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.0apg, SKN St. Poelten Basketball (Austria-BSL) averaging (18.6ppg, 6.4rpg, Assists-1 (6.9apg), FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 68.3% and last season played for medi Bayreuth averaging 2.2ppg. He spoke to after he battled against team USA.

Thanks Phil for talking to If someone had told you 2 months ago after the easyCredit BBL season ended that you would be playing at the 2021 summer Olympics what would you have thought?

My pleasure! Well the Iranian Basketball federation had shown interest last summer so I knew I will have the opportunity to fight for a spot in the training camp for the Olympics. And now I am obviously really grateful that it all worked out.

After you found out that you would go to the Summer Olympics how many messages did you get? What was the coolest message that you got from someone that you not necessarily would have thought would come?

I received quite some messages and that meant the world to me since a lot of those people with their continued support are part of the reason, I ended up making it. Probably the coolest messages were from young athletes that have been following my journey and said that this brought a lot of inspiration and hope to them. And that is what it’s all about for me!

Playing at the 2021 Summer Olympics is obviously your biggest experience in your young basketball career. How have you experienced your time there? What has been the most overwhelming thing that you have had to contend with?

It definitely is an unbelievable experience and I am enjoying every second of it. I think just the confirmation that anything really is possible is making these moments even more special. Overall especially the village experience being among and getting to know some of the best athletes in the world has been a lot of fun.

The total Summer Olympics experience would have been different without COVID. What has been your impression with how everything has been run by the organization of the Olympic committee? Have you felt comfortable?

That is true and it would have been a great experience to play in front of fans and getting to see more of Tokyo but understandably keeping everybody safe should be the top priority. I can obviously only speak for myself, but I had a great experience so far and I have everything I need. I am feeling very comfortable and I think the organizers are doing all they can to provide everybody with the best experience possible.

You lost against Team USA 120-66. Were you in total awe? Was it difficult getting in game mode with your emotions playing against the best players in the world?

That was a rough game, but the result is a lot worse than it should have been. I think a lot of players were trying too hard to show that we can compete with the best in the world and therefore we ended up not playing the way we usually do. Also, Team USA had a great game especially from the 3point line and played very aggressive since they had to bounce back after losing to France. Those two factors in combination obviously did not lead to a good result

Team USA offense is based on ball movement that legendary head coach Gregg Popovic lives by. They had problems against France but not against Iran. What was the toughest thing that Iran had to handle on the court?

I think their switch defense ended up being our biggest problem. We did not execute well and rarely took advantage of the resulting mismatches. This allowed them to get stops, get comfortable, and get out running. Also, on defense we did not really force them to play like a team lacking especially second and third rotations which played into their hands by allowing them to play simple offenses.

Team USA have let up many points and don’t defend the way teams do in Europe. What was it like for you standing on the court and showing your abilities against the best players in the world?

Team USA has so many incredible players. Of course, their defense seems to be more based on simply stopping guys 1on1 versus the team defense in Europe. But I would not say that they are a bad defensive team. Especially when Green was out there leading the way, it was extremely difficult to get any open looks. It was obviously a great experience playing against these guys, but I approach every game the same way by trying to make a positive impact at all times.

Which player impressed you the most which you might not have thought before the game? You played 10 minutes getting 4 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists. How happy were you with your own performance? You took 2 shots. Were you pleased with your aggressiveness?

I think they are all great players, but I was too focused on trying to get us back into the game, so I was not able to pay close attention to what player was especially impressive. I honestly was not upset about my performance since I did what the coaching staff wanted me to do. I think we played well in the time I was on the court and that is all I can control. But I still think we could have made this a way more competitive game.

What was your personal favorite play in the game? Maybe one of your 3 assists? What was it like playing against Damian Lillard, Devin Booker and Jrue Holiday? How do you feel were you able to hold your own against these top players?

Yea maybe one of the assists when I was able to get by Holiday and kick it out for a corner 3. That play is still in my mind. Those guys are at a level that everybody is trying to get to in their careers, so it was a good experience to see what they do on the court and to see for myself that I am able to hold my own at that level.

What was it like seeing Draymond Green on the court? Many say he is one of the best defenders ever. How did you experience his defense?

His defense is obviously incredible, but one of the things that stood out the most is how much he communicates. He is constantly talking getting everybody on the same page and picking up his teammates when they need it. Also, we ended up talking after the game and he is a really genuine and nice person.

You have showed your scoring abilities in the CIS and Austria. What exactly is your role on the team?

I am all about winning so I do whatever the coaches/organizations need me to do for them. In those seasons my role was to score the basketball and I was able to showcase my abilities in that regard. Now, I was brought to the national team here to organize the game and to make sure we move the basketball. We have a lot of aggressive players that look to score so I was brought on to complement that style by putting players into good positions and by making sure we execute as a team when we need to.

What kind of a relationship do you have with Behnam Yakhchali? He had a great season in the German Pro A. Are you surprised that a guy like that wasn’t in the easyCredit BBL?

Behnam is a great guy and a really talented player. I think it was difficult to go directly from the Iranian league to the BBL so the season in the Pro A was perfect for him. He was able to adapt and show everybody he deserves to get a chance in the BBL. I am really happy it all worked out for him and I expect him to have a great season.

Is Behnam Yakhchali a player where you enjoy trying to soak up as much from as possible on the court?

It is very easy to play with Behnam because he is an intelligent player that constantly makes the right decision. So, I think the times we are on the court together we play well.

What kind of an experience is it being teammates with legend Hamed Haddadi? What is he like off the court? Does he tell any stories from his NBA time?

Hamed truly is a legend. It has been a lot of fun getting to know him and he is the nicest and most humble guy you will ever meet. Of course, he has a lot of great stories and it was a true honor for me to compete alongside him. This guy can pass the ball like no other big man I have ever seen.

Iran played very well against the Czech Republic. What was your impression of them? They are a very hungry team. Could they upset USA?

The Czech Republic have shown especially through the Olympic qualifying tournament that they are a great team. They play together and obviously have some exceptional players. I think they are capable of anything if they have a good day, but beating the USA is definitely a big challenge.

What has been your coolest experience at the Summer Olympics? Have you met any interesting athletes from other countries?

I think the best thing is just talking to all the athletes. I have met so many fascinating people with incredible stories. How they have put in 20+ years of work into this one big moment and how difficult it was to get here. Just listening and hearing some of those stories is something that I will forever be grateful for.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Sandy Wexler

Thanks Philip for the chat

Cameron Gause(Howard Hoops Combine) Is Back Hungry After Not Being Able To Participate Last Year

Cameron Gause is an American basketball player that is a point guard and grew up Tucson, Arizona. He has college experience with New Mexico State and Northern Colorado and professional experience in the ABA. He spoke to before taking part at the 2021 Howard Hoops Combine.

Cameron thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is life treating you?

Hey Miles glad to talk to you again. I am currently in Los Angeles, California. Life has its ups and downs, and it’s a real grind right now. But God is good and things could always be worst so I try to stay positive and not complain too much.

Your taking part at your second Howard Hoops founded by Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.). Only this time it is called the Howard Hoops Combine. How excited are you to come back?

I am definitely very excited to be coming back, I have some un-finished business in regards to this so I’m definitely excited!.

What memories do you have from the Howard Hoops Tour in 2020? What positives did you gain from it?

I wasn’t actually able to make the 2020 trip due to Covid, problems with my passport and the death one of my younger brothers.

What are your goals at the Howard Hoops Combine in 2021 besides finding a job?

My Goals outside of landing a job is to network and build relationships, as well as enjoy Germany once again. Building relationships is very key in life and enjoying the moment is as well.

How tough was Covid-19 for you in the last year? Did you find a professional job?

Since I didn’t make the 2020 trip i stayed here in LA and played Semi Pro in the ABA on the weekends where I averaged 22ppg and have been training 5 days a week.

How do you feel has your game grown in the last year despite COVID-19?

I actually sustained 2 injuries right when covid started, a broken toe and a bone bruise on my other foot. So covid actually helped me rehab and get back to a high level. But I feel like my overall game has improved, with specific detail on my off hand, handle, and defense.

You have played semi-professionally in the ABA, but how much of a void do you believe has the non college experience been for professional teams?

I really didn’t want to play ABA for the risk of getting hurt but was convinced which turned out to be a good idea. But without an agent lobbying for me with the Professional teams, I haven’t had any contact with them so I wouldn’t say it’s a void. But if my college career would have gone as planned, or even if I had touched the floor just a bit. I know I wouldn’t be in this position

You practiced with New Mexico State in the 2016-2017. Despite not playing games what benefits did you get form this experience having the day to day opportunity to be in a competitive basketball environment?

All the guys on the team then except two or three I had been playing with from my previous time at New Mexico State so the main thing that was different was just seeing my improvement over time from my own work. Which really just boosted my confidence and let me know that I belong on the court with those guys. It also kept the dream alive for me, I was able to visualize the goal more clearer.

When head coach Paul Weir left a new coach came in and brought in new players and you were left in the cold. What were you able to soak up best in that year from head coach Paul Weir that you believe helped your game most?

I love coach P Weir, although it didn’t work out all the way how I wanted it to. He really gave me a great opportunity that year to earn a spot, which kept the dream alive. I enjoyed every single day, which really made that the best year in college for me! I remember he sent me this quote ‘ To pursue greatness, is to pursue maybe’ – John Bare. That really stuck with me and fueled my fire.

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

I would say Quinn Cook,or Tyler Ulis with some flashes of other players.

Talk a bit about the strengths of your game and on what areas are you continuing to work on most in the lab to get better?

Strengths are quickness, ball handling, effort, passing, and I’ll say shooting because I’ve spent a lot of time this past year shooting and working on my shot.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? What are you looking forward to most?

I don’t know anything to be honest. I’m looking forward to testing the work I’ve put in and my confidence level. As well as seeing a different part of the world and experiencing something new.

Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore. Which 4 heads old or present would you pick?

Kareem, MJ, Bron, Steph Curry. Even though I think Kobe is better than Lebron.
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

I got go with MJ, maybe Lebron later.

How sad is it that Chris Paul didn’t win the NBA title? Where does his legacy stand now?

Haha to me it’s not that sad, growing up partially in Arizona I just couldn’t imagine the Suns winning this year so I wasn’t shocked. But I think his legacy is still stamped, he will be in the HOF one day and can potentially still win a title so it will be all good for him.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Suicide Squad.Thanks Cameron for the chat.

Impact Defender Labyron Harris´s(Howard Hoops ) Senior Stats Weren´t Eye Popping So He Is Ready To Give The GM´s And Coaches The Eye Test

LaByron Harris (202-F-97, college: Miles) is a 24 year old 202cm forward from Alabama that is seeking the professional career. He played at three schools at Wallace Community College Selma (JUCO) playing a total of 49 games averaging 2.4ppg, 1.2rpg and in his second season averaged 10.3ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, 3.9bpg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 64.9%. He then played a season at Blue Mountain College (NAIA) playing 24 games averaging 7.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 49.6%, FT: 63.3%. In his senior year he moved to Miles College (NCAA2) playing: 29 games averaging 6.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 64.1%. He will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August 2021 and spoke to about his basketball career.

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

I’m in Birmingham, AL right now & basketball life is great, I’m not where I want to be but I continue to workout everyday!

You finished school in 2019. How have you been keeping busy the last two years outside of basketball? Did you get a 9-5 job to help pay the bills?

Well I actually stopped going to school during the spring semester of 2020 in January, that was due to personal reasons. I had a lot to take care of dealing with my family at the time. I want to go back to school but I want to do it online because going on campus won’t work with my life now. As far as outside of basketball activities, I have my beautiful 3 year old daughter that I take care of & I had a job but I quit for a couple of reasons. Day Care was down because of Covid so I chose to stop working so I could have my little girl throughout the week so her mom could work, also I wanted to pursue basketball full time which is what I’ve been doing. I also did door dash when I had my car & that brought in a lot of money for me to take care of what I needed. Also door dash enabled me to bring in money while I had my little girl with me because you’re in the car delivering food the whole time.

Were you able to use your college degree to get into the job field that you wanted?
I have not graduated yet. I have my brick masonry certification from JUCO but that’s it so far. I made the deans list in college but like I said previously I had a lot of personal things going on at the time that hindered my schooling but all that is fixed now & I’m in a much better place now.

How big has your urge been to be a professional player since leaving Miles College (NCAA2)?. Obviously it isn’t easy to turn pro from a NCAA 2 school but it can be done. Why do you believe hasn’t your dream of being a professional player panned out?

My urge to play professionally is extremely high, I’m a student of the game & I love basketball in general. If I’m not playing it then I’m watching it. My dream hasn’t panned out yet because being in Division 2 ball with not great stats is not helpful. It’s like that because our coach emphasized team ball so we had multiple players that could go get you 20 points but we didn’t play that way, we really executed the system & also trying to make it professionally without an agent is also another reason. I’ve literally had to ask players that I know who are already overseas or people that played in the past just trying to see what I need to do because obviously this is my first time in this process so it’s been a struggle but I’ve found beauty in it & that’s why I keep going no matter what.

Let’s talk a little about COPVID-19. What were the biggest challenges for you during this time? Was it tougher keeping that normal work out routine?

Personally I didn’t really have challenges during Covid besides basketball because I’m a simple guy. I don’t really go anywhere, I like to stay inside & chill. I’m not really with all the outside activities. I like to have fun but I’m just a chill person. For basketball it was definitely hard because all the gyms closed & they even took down the goals on the outside rims so it was hard to get shots in but I worked out as hard as I could at home with in home workouts. It got better towards the middle of Covid because private sessions started being held. So that helped a lot.

With everything that you have experienced during COVID-19 off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?

Well I can say that it helped me find myself & get more in tune with myself mentally because we couldn’t go anywhere even though I really don’t go anywhere anyway. But that’s about it, I didn’t really have a hard time staying still during Covid.

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August. How excited are you to show your abilities in front of GM’s and coaches?

Oh man I’m extremely excited to show what I can do. The main reason is because I know my senior stats aren’t eye popping because of our system play so I’ll be able to show them what I can do for the eye test because I know how important the eye test is. Also, I honestly feel I belong so I’m ready to prove it to myself & the GM’s

How excited are you to be playing in Germany? What do you know about the country and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex opponents or teammates play there?

I can’t even put into words how excited I am to play in Germany! It is really a dream to even get a chance. I know it’s a good place to start your overseas career. As far as the country, I don’t really know too much honestly but I’m a quick learner & I’m ready to learn the culture & everything dealing with Germany! No I do not know anybody who played in Germany specifically.

How did you get in contact with CEO and founder Ron Howard? Did he find you or did you find him?

I found him! I saw a flyer & immediately contacted him through email & filled out the application for the combine. Also we connected on Instagram.

Ron Howard is a legend. He is the voice for the unknown players wanting to get a job overseas. What kind of relationship do you have with him and what do you appreciate most about his character.

I’ve had a few conversations with Coach Ron but mostly about what I need to do for the combine, I haven’t really just had a heart to heart with him yet but from what I’ve observed, he’s really helpful & he truly wants to see people like me succeed. He’s also really genuine & reliable!

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 202cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

If I had to honestly compare myself to an NBA player is would probably be offensively kind of like Jeff Green because I can spot up shoot, I can cut backdoor & I can pick & pop or roll or Brandon Ingram because also I can create off the dribble if need be & I can also get into the lane & finish effectively! Defensively I’m probably like Ben Simmons because I can guard 1-5 on the court & I make it tough to score with my length & defensive instincts.

You can score and rebound, but what really stands out is your shot blocking abilities. Is defense your biggest strength?

Yes my defense is my biggest strength because of my defensive versatility. My blocks are not just me standing in the paint, I come from the wing to block a shot also I’ll chase a block down. I also get blocks on ball when a player tries to shoot on me because of my length & if I don’t block your shot I have good shot contest skills to really make a shot difficult for my opponent.

Would you be comfortable to say that you are a type of defensive stopper?

I wouldn’t say defensive stopper but I can definitely slow a player down & give him a rough night because it won’t be easy to score in bunches on me.

On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to grow as a player?

My midrange game as far as pull ups & my ball handling to get it more secure. Also just continuing to get shots up.

You played at 3 schools and moved up the ladder each year going form JUCO to NAIA to NCAA 2. How big is your chip on your shoulder? It must be bursting?

The chip on my shoulder is huge! Everywhere I played I put the work in to play. I was also a very vital piece on every team I played on. I had to really spend a lot of nights in the gym because I started playing basketball late so I actually didn’t have a scholarship coming out of high school only playing 2 years of it, so to think I’m at this point now really humbles me & makes me grateful all the time.

You began at Wallace Community College Selma (JUCO) and made a massive jump from freshman year to sophomore year averaging 2.4ppg, 1.2rpg to averaging 10.3ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, 3.9bpg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 64.9%. Every guy I speak to say JUCO was hard, but an experience they wouldn’t trade anything for you. How vital were these two years in your development?

Oh man like I said previously only playing 2 years in high school, those 2 years in JUCO was basically like my other high school years. JUCO is where I truly came into myself & my style of play. We had a dribble drive offense so I shot a lot of shots & had to create off the dribble a lot. That really elevated my game playing in that style of play. JUCO made me the player I am today so I am very grateful for that experience. Also my coach really believed in me & that helped me produce the way I did.

How vital was head coach Duane Evans in your development in those two years? How do you feel did he help your game most?

Coach Evans was very vital in my development because for one he actually cared & that meant a lot to me. He really trusted me with the ball & helped me develop as a perimeter player which caused a lot of mismatches because I’m dribbling & shooting at 6’7, which is crazy for JUCO ball especially when I’d come back down on the other end & check the same person I just scored on whether it was a 6’0 guard or 6’8 big. He really wanted me to shoot & that’s what I did because we got up a lot of shots up on the shooting machine so I trusted the preparation

You then played a season at Blue Mountain College (NAIA) averaging 7.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 49.6%, FT: 63.3%. What do you remember from this year and what positives could you take form it?

That Blue Mountain year was only so rough because of outside issues for me personally. I had just found out my daughter was on the way along with many other things. The school is great & I like what they’re doing but our team as a whole was never on the same page, we had a brand new team, all transfers mostly & we went through 3 coaches so it was rough but some positives I can take from that year is that we beat a few ranked teams as bad as we played & I also got bigger while I was at Blue Mountain. As a player I definitely took a step back though & that’s on me!

You then finished at Miles College (NCAA2) averaging 6.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 64.1%. You helped win the SIAC tournament. Was this your most enjoyable time in your basketball career?

Miles College was definitely the highlight of my college career. Everything I went through previously prepared me for Miles & it was definitely a blessing in disguise. The stats don’t even do it justice how good we played that year as a team. I didn’t shoot much at Miles. I mostly attacked the rim & had to help my guys on defense & we were able to have the top defense in the nation which is major! We were a big team also. We won the Western Division, & also won the SIAC Championship which both were the first time in our school’s history! My contributions to the championship run secured the MVP for me! That definitely topped of my college career & I went out with a bang because that was my senior year! Also we played the playoffs & championship at the crossplex arena which is in Birmingham, AL which is where I’m from so that really meant a lot to me personally playing in front of my hometown!

Who won a one on one in practice you or Rashawn Champan?

Rashawn & I only played a couple of times but I got the best of him because of my shooting, he’s a really good, long defender like me so it was a battle.

How did head coach Fred Watson help give you that last push in your game?

Coach Watson really helped me more so mentally than physically. He didn’t want me to let opponents off the hook because I played passive, he wanted me to be more aggressive & use my skills to create mismatches because I’m quicker than bigs & bigger than guards so that was his biggest thing with me just being more aggressive & being in attack mode more instead of being passive because he knew what I could do on the court.

Who was the best player that you ever battled that went to the NBA?

I’ve never played against a guy in college & then he went to the NBA. Most of them have went overseas though so I would have to say probably the lead guard for Kentucky State during our year, I can’t remember his name but he is a bucket & he can score with the best of them! I’ve played against NBA players but not like in college & then watched them go the league

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Well I actually love all of my teammates from all three schools first off. But if I really had to narrow it down to just 5 wow, I’d have to say Gene Davis, Damien Archer, Jaylon Bardley, Rashawn Chapman, & Jelani Watson-Gayle. That was tough because I love all my teammates but I thinks that’s my best 5.

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

I’d have to say LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, & Magic Johnson. That’s my personal Mt. Rushmore.

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

Haha well my favorite player of all time is LeBron but in my personal opinion I don’t mind if people say MJ is the goat because I only feel like 3 people could be the goat. Either LeBron, MJ, or Kareem. If you say either one of them is the goat I won’t argue but me personally my absolute favorite player is LeBron but I’d put MJ number 1 & LeBron 2 reluctantly

What was the last movie that you saw?

War for the Planet of the Apes

Thanks Labyron for the chat.

The Miles Basketball Minute: Experiencing The Dog Days Of Summer With Quantez Robertson(Fraport Skyliners)

                It has been more than two months since the Fraport Skyliners ended the season in fine fashion beating Wurzburg and Hamburg in their last two games despite not reaching the easyCredit BBL playoffs. A few days later Quantez Robertson was on his way home back to the United States. Over the years he has been making the trip back over the pond flying from Frankfurt and depending how beneficial the ticket price was flew over Dallas, Atlanta or even Charlotte to Huntsville, Alabama. He had a lot to contemplate about on his long flight home in May 2021. “I thought that we played hard and fought each game. I feel like we were only a few games short of making the playoffs. A few mishaps got in the way”, stressed Quantez Robertson. It is the dog days of summer as I reached Quantez Robertson on a Saturday afternoon on the first day of the Summer Olympics. The ex Auburn(NCAA) stand out was in good spirits and why shouldn´t he be when he can be with his family, but as is always is the case in the deep south, finding that cool spot outside is a massive reach. “It´s been a very hot summer. We have had 100 degree days. I´m glad that we have great air conditioning in the house”, laughed Quantez Robertson. Even if it was a very scorching hot summer, he didn´t sit around lazy, but kept very busy. He obviously stayed very occupied concerning the game he loves. He will be turning 37 in December and has to battle guys 10 years younger and more on a regular basis. Even at his age, he is still very focused on perfecting his game. He got up in the morning at headed to the gym at 10:30 or 11:00 and then did two hours of basketball work. He then went home relaxed and would go to his kid´s sports games or play with them around the house. He didn´t hit the weight room, because he didn´t want to put on added muscle weight. He also stayed active with his conditioning running on the track and running on the treadmill. The biggest highlight for him this summer was being able to spend a lot of time with his family. Even if it only a phone call, you know his eyes were lighting up when talking about his kids. “My eight year old daughter plays soft ball and my five year old son baseball. He is also playing flag football. I went to a lot of their practices and games. They couldn´t play basketball because of Corona, but they will in the future. It has been a pretty full summer for me”, stated Quantez Robertson. But the family also were able to check out a famous amusement park that the Brady Bunch helped make famous in the early 70´s. “We went to Cincinnati and visited some amusement parks with some friends and their kids. We went to Kings Island and had a blast”, commented Quantez Robertson.

                As rapidly as he got home in mid May, just as quickly he will have to head back to Germany in a few weeks to start his 13th professional season with the Fraport Skyliners. As usual at this time of the year, clubs seek out new players for the upcoming season and it wasn´t any different with the Fraport Skyliners. They first got a new coach with Diego Ocampo a Spanish instructor that is looking to follow in the foot steps of Aito and Pedro Calles in the easyCredit BBL. Robertson is really excited to play for a Spanish coach, but is still guessing about what type of style we will see from the team. “I´m not too familiar with the new coach yet. But I feel like we will be one of the youngest teams so I can imagine us being a fast paced team”, said Quantez Robertson. Tez also has been observing the new player transactions from a far and took the news very neutrally and wasn´t surprised that the club didn´t get any experienced BBL players. “I think that it really has to do what the coach prefers. New guys are always coming each season and guys work out”, stated Quantez Robertson. The moves that the Fraport Skyliners have made have been surprising in a way, but in a way also weren´t. In terms of the imports they have added three guys with Donovan Donaldson who has that special chip on his shoulder having played NCAA 2 chip ball and has put up huge stats in lower leagues as a pro, Dutch rookie Matt Haarms who is a 221cm giant who played at Brigham Young and has a lot of potential and another big man named Brooks DeBischhop who put up solid stats in Belarus last season. Robertson who kind of was a player that was off everyone´s radar in 2009 except Murat Didin knows what it is like to come to an organization not being a household name. “I can remember my first few years that we had guys that weren´t known. Guys like Ramon Galloway and Jared Dubois were guys like that. But they showed that they could do good things. I am very confident that our team will do good things this season”, warned Quantez Robertson. He also will have to get used to not seeing former teammate Marco Voeller on the court, but see him watching the guys play from his office window in the BCM. But calling the new Sport manager boss may be a step too steep for Tez. “His new job in a way is funny and also kind of weird. It will take some getting used to seeing him in the front office and not on the court. My favorite memory of him was in Vechta when he hit a turn around shot to give us the lead a few years ago. It was just something you didn´t expect from him”, said Quantez Robertson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Quantez Robertson in the Fraport arena in 2021

                If your going to shoot the breeze with Quantez Robertson during the dog days of summer, you obviously have to include basketball and what better topics then the Olympics and 2021 NBA finals. Team USA stunk up pre season losing to Nigeria and Team Australia and did it again in their first Olympic game in Japan against France. The pre season loses shocked Quantez Robertson immensely. “They shouldn´t have lost those games to Nigeria and Australia. They don´t have much time to get ready. The lacking chemistry and overall physicality of the game in Europe will hurt them. Even the American TV commentators said that the game is a lot more physical in Europe. Team USA just don’t have many bigs”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Obviously the physicality of the other nations could give Team USA problems, but the American knows exactly where their strength lies. “Team USA´s perimeter defense and great outside shooting will help them. The additions of Booker, Holiday and Middleton will be important. They have so many scorers. They just have to somehow play strong under the basket”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Despite the early loss to France where Evan Fornier put on a show with 28 points, there is no doubt for Tez who will win the Gold. “Team USA will win the Gold. I have a lot of confidence in the guys”, warned Quantez Robertson. He also has team Germany on his radar as many of his ex teammates and opponents from the easyCredit BBL are battling in Japan. “I think Australia will advance and it will be between Germany and Italy for that second spot. Nigeria is good, but even with so many NBA players, many don´t play solid minutes there”, added Quantez Robertson. Robertson who had many play ground duels in Cincinnati with ex Phoenix Hagen guard Mark Dorris obviously also followed the NBA finals between the Suns and Bucks. The Bucks win surprised him. “I thought the Suns would win, because they looked better at one point. The difference was Jru Holiday. He stepped up his scoring in the last games when Chris Paul had some bad games”, said Quantez Robertson. Even if Chris Paul still hasn´t won a NBA ring, the guy simply has too much respect form the basketball community to be classified as a chocker. “He isn´t that at all. Things just didn´t fall in place for him. He had some great games. He just wasn´t good enough to get over the hump”, expressed Quantez Robertson. Paul still has the skills despite being 36 to play some more years. Wouldn´t it make sense to go to the Lakers? “Yes it would. He is good friends with Lebron, but I don´t know if it could happen”, said Quantez Robertson. The dog days of summer are winding down for Quantez Robertson as in a few weeks, he will be expected in Frankfurt for the new season. Now he can enjoy the Olympics and his kids and know that he has one up on Chris Paul. Even if Tez never reached the NBA despite having the defensive skills to teach many guys one thing or two there, he has that one chip having won the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup title and nobody can ever take that away from him.