Zach Hankins is a 23 year old 211cm center from Michigan that is playing his rookie season with ERA Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL). He began his basketball career at Charlevoix High School. He then played at Ferris St from 2015-2018 playing a total of 103 NCAA 2 games averaging 14.7ppg, 10.6rpg, 1.7apg, 4.1bpg, FGP: 65.2%, FT: 62.1% and 15.1ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.5apg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 63.0%, FT: 71.1%. He played his senior year at Xavier University (NCAA) playing 35 games averaging 10.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.1apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 68.9%, FT: 61.5%. He contributed 14 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks in a 84-80 win over Brose Bamberg. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a basketball champions League game in Bamberg.
Zach thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome to Germany. Is this your first time to Germany? What has been your impression of it?
I went to Berlin with my teammate Deishaun Booker to get our Visa’s. My family is coming over for the Christmas break and we have been talking about making a day trip. Whenever I am in a new country, I try to walk around a little to get some of the culture.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? A coach at my high school Matt Stuck played 5 years in Germany. He told me that it is a beautiful country and they have great basketball.
Have you had friends or former teammates playing Germany? Quite a few ex Xavier guys have balled in Germany.
I know some guys that have played in Europe. One guy that I know that played in Germany was Matt Stainbrook.
You won three GLIAC titles as well as a NCAA 2 title and now have joined the greatest basketball organization in the Czech Republic with Nymburk.They won 28 titles since 2004. Is winning titles in your blood?
I attribute my success to hard work. I’m not a great shooter or handle the ball well, but it was hard work that made my identity. My hard work helped me move up and get to Xavier. That then gave me the opportunity with Nymburk.
What kind of experience has it been lacing up the sneakers for this great organization? Do you sense that special atmosphere when you set foot in the Tipsport arena?
It has ben a very different experience playing with this organization. I feel a lot of pride playing for this club. The team is expected to win. Every team is always gunning for you. You need to take pride and responsibility for gaining success.
The club is tearing up the national league like usual despite getting good competition from BK Opava.It is normal for you to blow away teams. The closest game was a 10 point win. Can it sometimes be difficult winning so easily?
It is a funny concept. It is normal to think that once your winning so easily that it comes easy, but it doesn’t. When your winning so much, it is still easy to get complacent. Even if you have talent, you need to work hard. There have been close games where it was very tight. You have to have that mindset to always bring you’re A game. Always to be focused is important for success. This has been a unique experience so far. You need to put in the time and effort for success.
Let’s talk about your teammates. What kind of experience has it been playing with Nymburk legend Petr Benda who is in his 13th season with the team and has 22 titles. How have you profited most from his daily presence on and off the court?
He is a quiet guy. Quieter than I thought he would be. He is always smiling and is focused. He is 37 and very consistent and works very hard to stay in shape. He wants to do everything right. He is always giving advice and likes to go over plays in his head. Often I will go over plays with him. He motivates me to work hard, because I don’t want an older guy to kick my but. He has a great basketball IQ and has a lot of experience. He is the quiet leader that is always there for you.
What kind of an experience has it been playing with American Deishuan Booker. He was a guy like you that started in a lower college level and worked his way up. Do you sense that he has that chip on his shoulder?
He has a chip on his shoulder. He played at many different levels of basketball. He never got the publicity at the lower levels. Because of that you get that chip on your shoulder. When he played exhibition games at the lower levels and played against a big school that played at a higher level, he got that feeling that he should be playing at their level. We have taken a similar path. He is a very hard worker and always wants more. He wants to show that he can stay dedicated for a long time.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 211cm center that can do a lot on the court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description? You got two kinds of centers. The pick and pop center and the center that likes to run the floor, get rebounds and get dunks. I don’t think that there are any more Shaq’s out there. I would classify myself as a new age center. I like to mold my game after a Clint Capella. He is obviously more athletic than me. I like to play off the ball, get rebounds and get blocks. I want to be that center that any guard can throw the ball up to or be the guy that can make the stop after the guard gets beat. Capella is so efficient, he probably takes like 3 dribbles a game. He plays hard and runs the floor well. That is how I play.
You’re a guy that can score and rebound the ball at ease. What other strengths does your game incorporate and on what things are you working on the most to keep getting better?
I always incorporate energy into my game and am always focused. I am a player that even when your down 10-0 will hit the opponent back in the mouth get the blocks and get on the guards on the switch. I need to get stronger and have been doing extra lifting to get bigger and have more strength. I want to continue to be as effective as possible in a big body.
You’re a very efficient player as a rookie getting the most out of your minutes. Has your efficiency been something that you have been developing since you were at Ferris State (NCAA2)
I feel that my style of play has allowed me to be efficient. I don’t focus on being efficient, but am just able to finish near the rim at a high percentage. I think that once you have taken so many shots with contact near the basket, you become efficient. Like I have said before, it all is an outcome of hard work.
Your also a very very good shot blocker. With added work how do you feel can you bring your shot blocking to the next level?
I think the key to good shot blocking has to do with learning timing and to read the offensive plays of the opponents. I also feel that my progress of being a shot blocker will continue as I play at a high level like in the Basketball Champions League. I need to continue to focus on my timing and if there is a shot fake or if the player goes up. Important also is not to foul. That is also a big focus. You need to stay straight up and take that hit in the stomach and not bend over and foul. Being a good shot blocker is a big mental thing.
You began your career at Charlevoix High School. In your senior year you broke your foot and played only two games. As a result no NCAA schools had you on the radar. You opted for Ferris State. Was breaking your foot like a blessing in disguise? Had you not broken your foot and played a full season you may never had had the Ferris State experience.
Going to Ferris State was amazing and a huge blessing. If I hadn’t gone there, my path may have been different. I am glad I went there. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t of had those amazing coaches and not had those close friends and gone to Xavier and be able to play in front of 10,000 people. At that the time it was difficult to deal with, but in the end going this path was a perfect plan to develop as a player.
You won 3 GLIAC titles. Was beating Finlay OH the sweetest victory for you?
Findlay was also a good win. It wasn’t a rivalry with Ferris State until my time there. We both became powers in the conference. My sweetest win was winning the NCAA 2 title. I am still buddies with some of the guys I beat.
You had some massive games at Ferris State, but was your 17/22 games against Cedarville your best game for them? That was a long time ago. I didn’t even realize I had so many rebounds. That was a crazy game. Like I said before my favorite game continues to be that NCAA 2 title.
Can you still relive the final seconds against Northern State when you won the NCAA 2 title? What was most special about the 71-69 win? The end was crazy. I have watched that game like 10 times in the last year just to relive that amazing moment. I remember that game as if it was yesterday. After I hit a hook shot in the last minute for the 70-69 lead, we got a stop. Then with like 20 seconds left, my teammate hit a free throw for the 71-69 lead. Then on the last play, they went on a high ball screen and I blitzed it and they passed the ball to the shooter and the last three fell short. We won and everybody went crazy. It was an unbelievable moment.
How vital was head coach Andy Bronkema for your early basketball development at Ferris State? What did he instill in your game that helped you make the jump to the NCAA?
I was part of his first recruiting class and he gave me the chance to red shirt and play behind great centers. This opportunity helped me learn mental and physical toughness and how to play the right way. He liked centers having post moves. He also helped me with my foot work. I exploded as a sophomore and he just gave me the freedom to play my game the right way. I give a lot of my success to him as a development coach.
You played your senior year at Xavier University (NCAA) playing 35 games averaging 10.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.1apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 68.9%, FT: 61.5% You had many great games, but was your 12/11/4 assists and 6 blocks in the win over Detroit Mercy one of your completest games in the NCAA? I would say that this win was an all around good game as a team. We came together as a team and the win was important at the start of the season where everyone was still feeling each other out. I think that my best game at Xavier was at the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden against Creighton. I stuck out in that game making the winning tip in. I was in the zone in that game.
How did head coach Travis Steele give you that last extra push and groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career? He treated me like a professional. I knew that I came in for that one year to help the team right away. He gave me the chance to play my game which is to bring energy. He needed me to do what I did best and that also continued to help my game. He gave me a lot of responsibility and it was like being a professional player. I was working more on myself.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Tyrique Jones? I would say me and he would say him. We are both talented centers. I am more the long finesse center and he is shorter and stockier and more athletic. We had some great battles in practice. We made each other better and smarter.
You played at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) averaging games: 15.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0bpg. What kind of feedback did you get and did you feel like NBA team took notice? I was an unseen player at first, because I had played only one year in the NCAA. Some teams did interview me and I made a little impact on some and got a few more NBA workouts than I thought I would get. I was able to put myself in the spot light for a second. It was beneficial for me.
You then joined the Philadelphia 76ers (MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas) and averaged games: 3.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.0bpg. What kind of experience was it playing NBA Summer League. What did you gain from it and do you feel like you are very far away from the NBA? It was a very different experience to play and see how an NBA organization works. The style in the NBA is very much different to college and the style in Europe. It was a good learning experience, but I feel I didn’t get enough of an opportunity to show what I can do. There were other players that the 76ers were investing in. I had one decent game. It was definitely great to learn for next year in the Summer League. I feel like I’m not that far away from the NBA. I need to continue to add strength. I feel that if I was on a G-League roster now that I could contribute with my style. I feel like there is a niche for me on every NBA team
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that reached the NBA or is currently playing there? A very tough guy I played against was Eric Paschall who is on the Golden State Warriors. He is leading all rookies in scoring mainly because of all the injuries that they have and is getting a lot of minutes. He is very talented and I matched up against him when they went small. Another tough match up and the best I played against was Jessie Govan who is playing in Japan now. He is a very good shooter. It was always a fun match up against him.
Luka Doncic is tearing up the NBA at the moment. Is he a top 3 best player in the NBA right now? Yes for sure. He is so dominant and has a great IQ. He is a great shooter and always plays hard. He is up there. He became a superstar so quickly.
If you had to pick your own personal NBA Rushmore which 4 heads past or present would you chose? Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Shaq, Blake Griffin
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan and Lebron James? Always Lebron. His level of play has never gone down, but continues to go up.
What was the last movie that you saw? The Edge Of Tomorrow.
It was about 5.10 on a bustling late Saturday afternoon as the Nordwest centrum mall in Frankfurt was in serious pre Christmas mode as it was difficult as always at this time of year to really be able to move at a comfortable rate as shoppers were all over the place getting a good start on their X-mas shopping. Only about 100 yards away is the BCM, the practice facility of easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners and the home court of their farm team Fraport Skyliners Juniors and there was a lot les commotion as the afternoon matinee between the Juniors and Bavarian club BBC Coburg had ended about 20 minutes earlier and fans were already gone while Skyliner Junior players were taking showers and departing. I was getting post game quotes from players and as I was waiting for Nigel Pruitt to appear from the showers, I hung out court side thinking about what my game article title would be. There were a few people in the stands and then I noticed a familiar face that I hadn´t seen for a while with Jermale Jones. He is a 33 year old guard from Birmingham, Alabama that has quietly carved out a fine 9 year professional career that has taken him to Luxemburg and Romania, but has spent 6 years in Germany and is in his fifth season with Lich who compete in the second Regionalliga. It´s always good to see the American since I have covered him for years and it´s always nice talking with him. After the usual small talk about his season and life, the topic Fraport Skyliners came about. He has been good friends with FraportSkyliner legend Quantez Robertson for years and is often at his games and spends the night at his apartment. On this night he and his friend Tez were on different courts as he was playing a game at 6.30 against Eintracht Frankfurt and Tez was in Crailsheim. We started chatting about the difficult Skyliner season and after analyzing the situation, I asked him if Tez has been frustrated with the season of the club. He answered quickly and directly “naw Tez isn´t frustrated”. A typical quick response from his friend sticking up for his friend. A player never wants to look like he is weak in adversary. Of course Tez is frustrated, but that is only normal. There are few warriors like Tez in the BBL, but he is doing the best of the situation. I reach Tez´s teammate Adam Waleskowski on Sunday morning 13 hours after the big win in Crailsheim. As usual I reach him when he is walking his dog Barney outside and he is in good spirits answering “No it was fine getting me now. I have been up since 8:30. We have had film and tonight is a dinner with the fan club”. He then was able to elaborate a bit about how Quantez Robertson has been coping with the current situation with the Skyliners. “Our season is part of the business. Tez knows that we are under performing. When he is on the court, he is always playing the best that he can. Of course he is frustrated. He is always trying to figure out ways how we could play at a better level. The situation isn´t an easy one as he is turning 34 soon and age starts to wear you down”,stressed Adam Waleskowski.
The Fraport Skyliners went to Crailsheim facing some tough last days as Akeem Vargas was out and new forward Tyrone Nash had failed the medical check. Plus they had a new player to integrate with Joe Rathon and had to face one of the leagues biggest surprises Crailsheim Merlins who had started the season winning their first 5 games, but had lost 4 of their last season games. The Fraport Skyliners gave a very good performance and in tight situations at the end were able to prevail in crunch-time and didn´t remember two crucial tight games the had lost earlier in the season winning 76-68. Coming to Crailsheim and winning on the road showed a lot of heart despite the last tough days. “Of course it was tough losing Vargas who had been shooting well and is the anchor of our defense and not keeping Nash. But with the addition of some new faces brought a new and better vibe to our practices. We came to Crailsheim very focused and that carried over into the game”, added Adam Waleskowski. The Crailsheim Merlins lived and died by their three hitting 14, but couldn´t muster enough points from the near range while the Fraport Skyliners shot the ball very well and took pretty good care of the ball, but importantly found some consistency on the defensive end especially in crunch-time buckling down and getting stops when they really needed it. “We moved the ball well. I think it was the best that we have moved the ball this season. We did a good job outrebounding them and held a team that averages 90 points per game too only 67 points”, stressed Adam Waleskowski.
Even if it was a total team effort one can´t deny focusing on the magical 161 seconds in the second half that was most vital in the Fraport Skyliners achieving this win. It started at the start of the third quarter as German Richard Freudenberg hit for 11 points and nailed three three´s in 55 seconds and then the veteran Adam Waleskowski hit a nail on the coffin mastering 8 points in 106 seconds to seal the win. “It was great for us. Richie has been shooting the ball very well the last games and has the skill to be consistent. The most important thing for him is confidence. He has to be loosened up to play well. We all know that he can rebound and play defense well. His game catapulted us and helped the rest of the team. My spurt at the end felt great. It felt good to take charge at the end. I didn´t do anything real crazy, but just read the defense and my teammates found me and I was able to finish. With every new bucket, I got more confidence. I am thankful that coach had confidence in me to bring me in crunch-time in a close game”, commented Adam Waleskowski. The ex Goettingen American finished with 10 points in 12 minutes hitting all 5 shots. Waleskowski has seen it all in Europe and despite him having his best game as a Skyliner, it was just another normal day at the office for him. Deep inside he knew that he had accomplished something big, but kept it all in perspective how a true professional should. “I just stuck to the game plan. I felt I did a good job on the pick and roll and kept them scrambling. My teammates found me open and I finished with confidence. When things went wrong in the game, we as a whole did a good job staying positive. We kept working hard and focused on the next play and stayed focused. That was helpful in crunch-time”, added Adam Waleskowski.
Freudenberg amassed 21 points and 8 boards including 4 offensive rebounds in 28 minutes. Waleskowski continues to have a lot of confidence in him and sees him continuing to be a very important piece of the Skyliners puzzle for success. “He is continuing to build confidence. He has the skill level. Often young guys feel like they aren´t doing anything if they aren´t making shots. He definitely had confidence in the game. You don´t hit left handed hook shots like he did when you don´t have confidence. I think he will continue to catapult his game and be able to maintain this level in the BBL.”, expressed Adam Waleskowski. The American often gives advice to the German, but didn´t tell him anything special after the game, but knows what kind of mindset he needs to have when shooting the ball. “I think that when your having problems shooting the free throws that you should just think your shooting a three. Often young players fret over little things. It is important to keep reinforcing young players that they have the ability to play. They need to believe that the games are like in a practice”, warned Adam Waleskowski.
The Fraport Skyliners had one real new face in the game with point guard Joe Rathon and another new face who played only his second BBL game with 17 year old raw talent Len Schoorman. The American Rathon had a solid BBL season last season with Braunschweig and had played well in Belgium in previous years began the season with Proximus Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Euromillions League). He made his Skyliner debut finishing with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 dimes and 2 steals . and showed that he could run a team. “There had been a lot of pressure on Lamont Jones this season at the point. Joe came in and did a good job. He is a great leader and a real floor general. He did make some mistakes, but he had only been here a few days. The next two weeks will be important for his integration and getting in rhythm with our offensive and defensive schemes. He handles the ball well and can shoot out the lights when he is open. He also makes great reads and has a knack of seeing the floor well. He will be a great help for our success”, added Adam Waleskowski. Another guy who was there was Len Schoormann who was one of the extra guards while surprisingly ex FC Bayern Munich 19 year old Bruno Vrcic who has seen action in a few BBL games was absent. He played in the Pro B game loss against BBC Coburg instead. It was kind of a riddle why Vrcic wasn´t in Crailsheim, but sometimes the coach knows best. Sebastian Gleim is a huge supporter of Schoormann and it´s no secret that the 17 year old is one of the biggest German talents from the birth year 2002. He made his BBL debut a few weeks ago in Wurzburg and scored his first two BBL points in Crailsheim. He had had a very strong week of practice with the BBL team and seems to be being moved along faster than one might have expected. “Len is super talented and is still young. He is getting confidence for that BBL role. Important is that he has to know that he can play at the BBL level. He has to get adjusted to the physicality and level of play. What he is going through is similar to what players are going through going from high school to college needing to get used to the pace. He will be a great player as soon as he finds his confidence. He was killing everybody last week in practice hitting shot after shot. He makes great reads and plays good defense. I think that he is BBL ready. He can give us good 6-10 minutes and take pressure off his teammates and gain experience”, warned Adam Waleskowski.
Now the Fraport Skyliners have another two week break before their next game at home against the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. All in all they will have had one game in a month which is unusual which can be good and bad. On the one had the team can continue to tweak on their faults, but then again be without that needed competition in game time situations. Waleskowski sees the long break as a positive thing. “It will be great to keep practicing as a team and get better. It will be vital getting Joe Rathon on board. We will be ready against Braunschweig”, warned Adam Waleskowski. With basketball business taken care of between me and the American, it is time for a little small talk with the friendly Waleskowski as he talks with great enthusiasm about his dog Barney. “My girlfriend and I found Barney in Bulgaria when he was about 5 weeks old. He was whining on the street. I am the only one who has a dog this year. When I was in Ludwigsburg, Jon Brockman and Coby Karl had two dogs a piece. I like to take him on a walk every day for an hour or an hour and a half”, added Adam Waleskowski. I would have figured that besides being a dog lover that he would also be a NFL football fan, but boy was I wrong. On Sunday night was the match up of the weekend between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots were denied in the last minute of tying the game and left with a bitter 23-16 loss. “I´m not so much a football fan., but I have no real desire of who will win, but I´ll cheer for your Pats. I´m no Patriot hater either. After a nice road victory, it will be nice to relax and watch the game”, added Adam Waleskowski.
After a two week break in the Pro B teams were back in action as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors returned home after losing their last two away games against Orange Academy where they mustered only 58 points while giving up 87 points and in Speyer they were led by 17 year old Len Schoorman´s 30 points a career high and despite scoring 95 points as a team, stunk up the building on defense allowing 101. They met Bavarian team BBC Coburg who have had a roller coaster season as they went on a 4 game losing streak to start the season allowing 81 points per game, but then had a great stretch winning 5 games in a row and cleaned up their defense allowing only 71 points per game. Two weeks ago they had lost at Oberhaching and received a severe blow as their big man Shore Andenekan tore his achilles heal and is out. BBC Coburg had to make adjustment as other guys had to step up and fill the void. That wasn´t easy against Frankfurt that are a team that is deep at every position. On a rare Saturday afternoon while many eager Christmas shoppers were getting their gifts only a few steps away in the Nordwest center mall, two hungry basketball teams were battling to get their sixth win of the season. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had a good start, but then allowed BBC Coburg to control the game and despite a late comeback against the Bavarian team weren´t rewarded losing 98-86. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors lost their third game in a row and after the loss American forward Nigel Pruitt reflected on the tough loss. “Rebounding was rough for us. We gave up 20 offensive rebounds. Anytime that you do that, it will be hard to win. We had ok ball movement, but at times weren´t moving well from side to side. We had too many lapses on defense”, commented Ex Kenneshaw State forward Nigel Pruitt. BBC Coburg started a new winning streak and were fortified greatly by their immaculate work under the boards where they dominated the glass and also shot very well. After the big road win forward Princeton Onwas who fills the stat sheet like no other was extremely pleased how the team played despite much movement in the roster. We played a lot better than I expected. We had two new guys with Keita from France who only had 1 practice and Kamdem who had 2 practices. They learned 5 plays. We knew that it would be battle under the boards and it would be key for winning. Having Shore Adenekan out hurt us, but we fought harder on the boards and boxed out very well. We played good defense on he down side pick and roll and communicated well”, stressed ex Utah(NCAA) forward Princeton Onwas.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without Jordan Samare and without Konstantin Schubert and Calvin Schaum who were both injured while Len Schoorman was with the BBL team in Crailsheim while BBC Coburg was without Shore Adenekan and Johannes Krug. Frankfurt came out storming out of the gates going on a quick 7-2 run. Ex Chemnitz big man Aaron Kayser got touches at once and supplied 4 points while ex Freiburg forward Cosmo Gruehn nailed a trey. But BBC Coburg didn´t wait long to make their comeback and achieved their first lead as they went on a 10-4 run to take the 12-11 lead. In the run BBC Coburg started to take total control of the glass getting offensive rebounds and easy baskets. EX BBL player Constantin Ebert was his usual aggressive self running the point and hitting a few step back jumpers, while young 20 year old 206cm German Moritz Bar made a basket as did new player Noah Kamden who had begun the season with Pro A team wiha Panthers Schwenningen. Frankfurt got the lead back getting key baskets form Kayser who scored his 8th point and ex FC Bayern Munich guard Bruno Vrcic as well as a bucket from Maxi Begue who scored 15 points on the day for the 17-13 lead. But BBC Coburg stole back the lead with a 6-0 run to lead 19-17 after one quarter. Onwas led the charge playing with nonstop energy and displaying his fine versatility making an offensive rebound and then making a hard 1 hand dunk on transition at the buzzer. “We knew that they would be physical and we wanted to match that. But the bottom line was that they had more size than we did. We would be under the basket crashing and fighting, but then they would get a tip because they had longer arms. It became draining losing so many rebound battles. On offense we had some good ball movement at times, but then also times were we held the ball too long”, stressed Nigel Pruitt. BBC Coburg shot 42% from the field and 0% from outside and had 12 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 17% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter BBC Coburg would slowly get away from the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and control the game and never look back. BBC Coburg began very well going on a quick 7-2 run to extend their lead to 26-19. The Bavarian squad did a super job sharing the ball as ex Breitengussbach guard Sven Lorber scored inside, new French player Tidjan Keita scored on a reverse lay up and Daniel Urbano who had played 12 Pro B games before this season with Wurzburg also scored on a lay up. Frankfurt was lacking physicality and intensity on defense and couldn´t match up on 1-1 defense. Frankfurt fought back going on a mini 4-0 run as Begue hit a runner and Kayser made a turn around shot to trail BBC Bayreuth only 26-23. BBC Bayreuth was getting the ball inside almost at every instance which gave Frankfurt big problems. BBC Coburg´s offense continued to work in harmony and they kept shooting at a sound rate while Frankfurt wasn´t. BBC Coburg went on another run of 11-4 to extend their lead to 37-27. After not attempting the long ball in the first quarter, they began finding their range in the second quarter as Ebert and captain Chris Wolf who has played 50 Regionalliga games nailed three´s. When they weren´t hitting trey´s, they continued to dominate on the offensive glass as Lorber and Onwas grabbed offensive rebounds and made easy put backs. Frankfurt got some offensive production from Kayser and Vrcic, but BBC Coburg continued to hit three´s as ex Breitebgussbach guard Timo Dippold nailed a trey as did Sven Lorber for the 47-33 lead. Onwas also continued to be a menace on offense scoring while spinning from the baseline. Alvin Onyia scored the last basket, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were starring at a huge 51-35 deficit. “We broke down defensively and were beat a lot off the dribble. We were never able to adjust. We opted not to change our defense and they went on a run. They began to hit more shots which opened up the game”, stressed Nigel Pruitt. BBC Coburg shot 53% from the field and 67% from the three point line and had 22 rebounds(13 off) and 6 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 10% from the three point line and had 12 rebounds(6 off) and had 8 turnovers.
In the third quarter BBC Coburg continued to control the game and were able to lead by as much as 24 points, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors weren´t down and out yet going on a huge run to cut the lead down to 12 points. BBC Coburg began quickly going on a 9-1 run to extend their lead to 60-37.BBC Coburg continued to shoot very well from outside as Dippold executed twice from the parking lot and Chris Wolf also scored inside. Frankfurt would find these offensive spurts, but they were short lived, because BBC Coburg would always find offensive answers. Frankfurt went on a 8-3 run as. Begue scored with his strength the drive and Pruitt connected on two three pointers to cut the Coburg lead to 63-45. Pruitt finished with 12 points in 13 minutes and one had to wonder why he received so little minutes while being so efficient. “My mentality each game is to do my job. If I´m open I take the shot. I either hit or miss. My team counts on me to make the shots. My shots came with the flow of the game. I didn´t force any”, stressed Nigel Pruitt. BBC Coburg just had too many offensive weapons as Ebert scored on a lay in and a trey to put the Bavarian´s club lead to 69-50. BBC Coburg also used every opportunity possible to get more easy points on transition as Wolf scored as did Keita who played NBA Summer League with the Toronto Raptors in 2017 made a hard two handed dunk getting the no look pass from Ebert as the guests led 74-50. It really didn´t seem as if the Fraport Skyliners Juniors would get anything going on this day, but they did. They closed out the third quarter hot going on a 13-1 run to trail BBC Coburg only 75-63. They finally got consistent three point shooting as Vrcic hit two and NBBL player Risto Vasiljevic also scored. Vasiljevic is one of the key role players for the Frankfurt NBBL team and was added as Len Schoorman was absent Frankfurt also got key help from Canadian Jazz Bains who stepped up his defense and made a steal lay up for the easy transition bucket. Vrcic also made a basket in the last seconds to preserve the huge Frankfurt comeback. “They hit tough shots in their run. They found the right guys. They lived and died by the three. They either go in or they don´t. We still did a good job battling and staying together”, stressed Princeton Onwas. “We made the game faster. After we got the rebound we attacked more attacking the rim or kicking the ball out. We also became more physical when we got bumped we bumped back. We fought harder on the glass than they did and capitalized on their misses”, stated Nigel Pruitt. BBC Coburg shot 52% from the field and 47% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds(15 off) and 8 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 53% from the field and 37% from the parking lot and had 20 rebounds(7 off) and 12 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to battle and were able to cut the BBC Coburg lead down to 5 points, but couldn´t get the necessary stops in crunch-time as well as coughed up the ball too much in crucial situations. The 10-1 run from the third quarter carried over into the fourth quarter as Frankfurt went on a lethal 8-0 run to shave down the BBC Coburg´s lead to 76-71. In the run Frankfurt got a huge bucket from 33 year old 204cm big man Tobias Jahn who proved that he isn´t old enough to get an offensive rebound and make the put back. Jazz Bains scored again as did Maxi Begue who went coast to coast for the runner. Bains and Wolf then traded three´s, but BBC Coburg still led 82-74. Onwas continued to be a menace as he stole a bad pass from Bains under the Frankfurt basket and made the two handed dunk. A short time later he made a big three for the 88-79 Coburg advantage. When Ebert made another trey for the Coburg 93-79 lead the game was over as their 9-3 lead with a minute and a half to go put a dagger in their hearts. Onwas then made one more beautiful play for the highlight reel. He had twice made the ESPN Top 10 list in college and in this game made a bullet pass to Wolf for the easy lay in and the 95-81 lead as the game was already decided. “I pride myself on being versatile. They played trap on me well, but I had my head up and was able to find him. He did a good job catching it and making the basket”, stressed Princeton Onwas. 18 year old Nico Wenzl who made his BBL debut against Ludwigsburg hit a trey as did Cosmo Gruehn too end the game. “They went zone and changed our rhythm. We hit big shots and made stops and made big plays”, stressed Princeton Onwas. “Our zone helped us early in the fourth quarter. That Wolf three that got the bounce was a back breaker. That broke the game”, added Princeton Onwas. BBC Coburg was led by Princeton Onwas with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Constantin Ebert and Sven Lorber contributed with 16 points a piece while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Bruno Vrcic with 20 points. Maci Begue added 15 points while Nigel Pruitt and Aaron Kayser had 12 points a piece. BBC Coburg shot 48% from the field and 44% from outside and had 39 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% form the field and 39% from outside and had 29 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
In between preparing interviews or writing articles, I really enjoy seeking out player profiles on eurobasket.com that currently boasts more than 500,000 player profiles and checking out the stats. Sometimes when a player name pops into my mind and I have lost track of their career, I check their player profile to see in what country they are playing in. One guy I checked up not to long ago was Jason Boone who had played 9 years in Germany, but had turned his back on the country that gave the world Boris Becker and Wiener Schnitzel playing in Romania the last two years. Ok so Boone is 34 an age where most players have already hung up their jersey and are already involved with their new life off the court. It was the beginning of November and the last team he had was the team SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala) from 2018-2019. Not having a team yet this season didn´t panic me, but every new day where he stays unsigned makes it even harder for a 34 year old to find a job. Players still find teams in mid season and I was hoping that that would happen to Jason, but he had other ideas. I came upon an amazing piece written by him on the Good Pillar site called “Every athlete dies twice” https://www.goodpillar.com/good-pillar/everyathletediestwice and there he officially announced his retirement. In a way I was sad, because I always enjoyed watching him play, but after reading the article, I understood that it was time to hang up the jersey. The article was released on Thanksgiving and a day later, I prepared a career ending interview and had to ask him what his European Thanksgiving memories were. “There are too many to count, and I need to save the good ones for the book I’m going to write one day. As for the Thanksgiving memories one year my mother came to visit and made a full Thanksgiving dinner with John Little’s wife for all the Americans on my Wurzburg team. Another year the Reinhardt family sent a FULL dinner down from Roringen to Ludwigsburg with John Patrick in a box the size of a refrigerator for me to eat alone. It took me six days to finish it all. But my favorite one of all time was when one of our sponsors, the Miritz family, catered an amazing seven course meal for the team in Goettingen. Those were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I continue to be super thankful for them until this day”, said Jason Boone. Unlike my seemingly neverending articles, he got quicker to the point in his article and left the reader thinking for a second about the powerful words that he had delivered. I didn´t quite understand why he would announce his retirement this way, but he quickly cleared me up. “Come on Miles, you know I don’t do things like other people. I’ve always found that writing my thoughts down in an attempt to express my feelings on paper (without a character limit) allows people to understand me better. But more importantly, it allows me to understand myself better. So with a big announcement like this, I wanted to make sure I sat with my thoughts, and intelligently conveyed the message I was trying to get across”, stressed Jason Boone. He played 12 seasons and outlasted most of his teammates like Chris Oliver, Ben Jacobsen, and Joh Little from his Goettingen glory days as discipline played a huge role. “Discipline is everything. I had to change my eating habits, sleeping habits, workout habits and especially change the way I approached recovery. Unless you are extremely lucky, you can’t last this long without a high level of discipline”, warned Jason Boone.
I covered Jason Boone from 2008 until now and always saw him as a tough fearless warrior on the court, but off the court he was the friendliest guy ever. The kind of guy that anybody would want as a friend. But that he broke down in the weight room and had mental health issues really surprised me, because I always thought he had everything in control. But boy was I wrong. But that doesn´t make me change my opinion in any negative way, but actually my respect for him has grown as he showed unbelievable courage coming out and talking about his feelings. I mean come on which normal guy would do that. The least would, because it just isn´t natural. The man is strong and isn´t weak. I definitely can´t imagine how tough it was to write this article, because most players wouldn´t have gone this route. “This one was very difficult to write. I went back and forth a few times about how transparent I wanted to be. But in the end I just decided to put it all out there. I was struggling with a lot of things mentally my last few seasons and I think a lot of players feel the same way but think it is weak to show it. I believe that showing it is actually what it means to be strong, and I found it very therapeutic to honestly express me the way I was feeling during that time period”, added Jason Boone. After playing most of his career in the BBL a top 5 league in Europe, he played his last two seasons in Romania not really known as a strong basketball league and it was there he began to question himself. “I don’t think anyone would argue that the BBL is a much better league than the top Romanian league but those years were tougher more so because my body started to break down a little. And I wasn’t mentally tough enough to face the reality of that situation. In the article I addressed feeling like I let my teammates down because my play started to suffer and my confidence followed. But I knew when I was more concerned about “not getting hurt” than” winning or losing” then it was time for me to re-evaluate why I was playing the game”, expressed Jason Boone.
His biggest success was clearly winning the 2010 Eurochallenge title with BG Goettingen. What many didn´t ever think about was that after only three years as a professional, he had already reached the pinnacle as a professional winning that massive title which at that time had only been the third German international club title after Alba Berlin won the Korac Cup in 1995 and MBC the Fiba Europe Cup in 2004. For people on the outside, they saw Jason Boone as a very good player and he would up his stats in the next years averaging in double figures in the BBL and having 9/6 stats in the Eurocup, but stats are one thing and titles are something completely different and the slippers didn´t fit. “You ever see Cinderella? I was simply saying that once you win a title, that becomes the only goal going forward. In Wurzburg’s first year in the BBL, we made the playoffs and beat Berlin. Most people were happy and satisfied with the season but in my mind, we should have beat Ulm too and been playing for a championship. In hindsight, I can look back at my career as a success but I’d be lying if I said I never thought we could have accomplished a little more”, stressed Jason Boone. I always saw Jason as a winner. I mean he won a Eurochallenge title and reached the playoffs almost every season in the BBL with three clubs, but it wasn´t good enough for this fierce competitor. Perhaps he should of retired after his last season in Ludwigsburg where he hardly got minutes. But then again there is always that inner voice telling an athlete after a not so satisfying season that one can come back. Going to Romania seemed to be the right step for him in 2017 instead of retiring at age 31. “That was a tough year for me, I came back to Ludwigsburg even though they already had two centers signed because I was in the process of getting a German passport. It didn’t work out for me and luckily JP allowed me out of my contract so I could go somewhere and play more. I still feel like I had a lot left in the tank at that point but clearly my best years were all prior to that”, commented Jason Boone. His last two seasons in Romania weren´t what he expected and he had issues of mental health something that has come up among professional athletes, but something that is still not talked about much. “It’s a very complex issue and what works for some people may not work for other people. I don’t want the narrative to get misconstrued, when I wrote “struggled with my mental health” I was saying that when my body started to break down, I felt like I no longer belonged. And when my body felt better, my mind was telling me that this doesn’t make me happy anymore. I had a newfound anxious feeling that I didn’t know how to handle or talk about. I thought more about the possibility of getting hurt again and it affected the way I played. This was all stuff that came about in my last few seasons though”, stressed Jason Boone.
He has found a way to cope with his fears and seeing his career for what it was with meditation. “I approach it with the same regimen that I approach lifting weights. I started using a device to track how “calming” my meditation sessions are. I learned a lot about breath work and I think there’s a big place in professional sports for adopting this habit. But you’ll see more of those plans in the future”, added Jason Boone. There are few guys that can be able to play a long professional career coming from JUCO or the NAIA and even the NCAA 3 is a reach for most, but not for Jason Boone who played at New York University from 2003-2007 playing a total of 104 games and averaging 15/9 stats in his last two seasons. Very few guys from NCAA 3 schools go pro and even less or probably none go on to have a twelve year career like him and win a title and reach the playoffs with different teams. Everybody wants to win titles and many that even played as long he never tasted the champagne. With the help of meditation, he has been able to understand that he did very good as a professional and accomplished things that many didn´t. “For me, it was a gift and a curse to win so early in my career. It drove me, but like I said, it was a constant battle to accept success as anything less than winning a title. I would have loved nothing more than to bring a BBL title to Goettingen or Wurzburg. I felt like we also had a real shot that first year in Ludwigsburg, that would have been pretty cool too. But yes, as I look back on my career as a whole, I am content. It took me awhile to reach that point. But I’m there now”, warned Jason Boone. He definitely showed that you can go very far even if you played at a division 3 school. “If you really want something, going out and getting it. The time and effort isn’t going to put itself in, it has to come from you. He’s the perfect example of “hard work pays off”. He has put in so much time and dedication to be where he is today. I used to think the BBL was for ex NBA players and Division 1 athletes, but he is a prime example of proving me wrong. I will continue to work“, stressed Jason Boone´s brother Malcolm in 2013 when he was playing in Germany.
After finishing at New York University in 2007, he embarked on a professional basketball career overseas. He began his rookie season with SSV Lokomotive Bernau just outside Berlin and in 17 games averaged 17.1ppg. Then he made the jump from the 4th league to the best league BBL in Germany to BG Goettingen. He played three full seasons in Goettingen from 2008-2011 and despite averaging 4,4ppg in 2008-2009, he really upped his stats in his last two seasons averaging 10.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 53.8% in the Eurochallenge, 9.1ppg, 6.1rpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 55.9% in the BBL and the next season averaged 8.5ppg, 5.9rpg, FGP: 59.8%, FT: 34.9% in the BBL and 9.1ppg, 6.2rpg, Blocks-4(1.1bpg), FGP: 59.8%, FT: 36.0% in the Eurocup while being a regular guest in the playoffs. His time in Goettingen was the sweetest time in his professional career and it won´t be the basketball that he will remember the most, but something else “The relationships I made with the people of that city. My time in that city will always be bigger than basketball. I can go back there any time and be welcomed like a legend, but when I go back there, basketball is the last thing on my mind. I’ve grown to love the people of that city like I do my own flesh and blood, and I’m forever grateful that they love me the same way”, stated Jason Boone. He had many very memorable games, but two that stick out were his 16/10 and 20/11 games in the Eurochallenge competition against AEL “Those were some fun times. I felt like every game that year I had a monster dunk or block that would end up on the video highlights. And probably a lot of free throw misses, but stats in games aren’t what I remember as much as the bus ride karaoke sessions, hotel room Uno games and team dinners. That’s where the real memories were made”; Added Jason Boone.
He then made the next step in his career going with John Patrick to Wurzburg in 2011 where he would play three seasons, but only one with Patrick who was gone after the season. This was clearly his strongest and most consistent time as a player. His second season there he averaged 10.1ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP-2(68.9%), FT: 51.3% in the BBL and was riding the roller coaster at times. He explained that his three years there were All-Encompassing. “I went through the full spectrum of emotions during those years. We were literally two quarters away from going to the Finals my first year and just fighting to stay in the league my last year there. Lots of highs and lots of lows. I was probably playing my most efficient basketball at that time but those were the years my younger brother was also playing in Germany, so those were probably the most enjoyable years for me off the court as well”, stressed Jason Boone. One of his highlights was tossing Alba Berlin out of the quarterfinals and scoring 16 points in one game. You know time has flown by when he can´t remember who Alba Berlin´s point guard then was. It was Dashaun Wood. “That one was up there too. Beating them in that Playoff series was special. Especially since their PG, I honestly can’t remember his name, beat us the year before in Frankfurt and wouldn’t stop talking trash on the court. It’s nice when you get a chance to shut people up”, added Jason Boone. He also had the privilege to play with a young Maxi Kleber who is in his 3rd NBA season now with the Dallas Mavericks. Boone wasn´t only a very good basketball player and charming character, but always kept his humor. I asked him what he would of said in 2013 if someone had told him that Kleber would sign a 30 million $ contract with the Mavericks in 2019 and he said “I would have thought that he would have already paid me back for all those nights Ben Jacobson and I didn’t let him pay for anything at those Wurzburg nightclubs”. After playing seven years in Germany straight, he sought a new challenge outside Germany in the 2014-2015 season and split time with Torku Konyaspor (Turkey-TBL) averaging 6.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2FGP: 60.7%, FT: 46.2%, and played with SO Maritime Boulogne (France-ProA) averaging 9.7ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 63.6%, FT: 51.4%. He was able to experience two different cultures in a short time and when I interviewed him in November 2014, he was excited about being in Turkey. “I’ve heard that Konya is very different than other parts of Turkey. It’s a very high population of conservative Muslims and maybe that’s why socially I haven’t found nearly as many things to do as in Germany. But the fans are great and I’m adjusting pretty well. I just started taking a few Turkish lessons and understanding the German language opened so many doors there, that I feel like learning some Turkish will do the same,” said Jason Boone.
He came back to Germany in 2015 to play parts of two seasons with theMHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL) and with head coach John Patrick for a third time. The American had been used to getting good minutes under John Patrick in the past but in Ludwigsburg his minutes dipped to 13 minutes in the BBL where he averaged 6.0ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP-1(71.6%), FT: 51.9%; Eurocup: 16 games: 5.7ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 61.8%, FT: 56.1% and had the best field goal percentage in the BBL and averaged 15 minutes in the Eurocup averaging 5.7ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 61.8%, FT: 56.1%. But in his second season his minutes got reduced greatly to 5 minutes in the BBL where he averaged 1,0ppg and 1,1rpg and 5 minutes in the Basketball Champions League averaging 2,0ppg and 2,0rpg. It wasn´t difficult to understand that his last German organization wasn´t an easy one, but he swallowed the hardship, lived with it and remained a great teammate from the bench. “ Everything seems difficult as you go through it but in hindsight is never as bad as it seems in the moment. This season definitely wasn’t the easiest but at the end of the day I was able to be a part of a successful team and a great group of guys. Putting pride aside for the betterment of the team is something that a lot of players have a tough time doing. It often becomes detrimental and causes more harm than help. I was determined to show that if that was what the team needed from me, I would be able to do it. When you genuinely like the guys on your team it isn’t as difficult as one may think”, stated Jason Boone in 2017. Many players would have been irate with not playing a lot under a coach that he had always played for, but his character and overall understanding about what is right prevailed. “One of the most interesting dynamics in basketball is between the player and coach. It’s rare that they see the same thing in the same way. What I do understand is that it’s hard to play three guys at the same position. And JP has always been about winning. I’ve trusted his decisions for the teams success my whole career”, added Jason Boone in 2017.
After leaving Ludwigsburg, he finished the season with TBV Start Lublin (Poland-PLK). He went to Poland focused to finish strong. “The main reason I chose this team is because I had something to prove and because what they were looking for doesn’t require me to do things out of my comfort zone. Play hard on offense and defense, bring a physical presence and push my teammates to improve on a daily basis. That’s all I’ve been doing my entire career. This will be a great chance to show everyone I can still do it”, warned Jason Boone. He definitely proved that he still had it averaging11.4ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 68.3%, FT: 58.1%. It has been almost 3 years since he left the MHP Riesen and despite all that happened there, John Patrick will always be one if not the most important basketball figure in his professional career. “, I credit a lot of my success to JP. He was one of the first people to reach out to me when I published the article and he’ll forever be someone I look at as a catalyst to where I was able to get to. It’s easy to sit here now and speculate what it may have been like with or without him as my coach but I don’t feel like there is anything to come from that. The fact is, we both benefited from working together, and we both understand that”, stressed Jason Boone. Over the years his appreciation for Patrick rose and he also understood what it took to play for him. “JP understands that no one player is bigger than the team. And the players that struggle the most with him are the ones that put themselves before the team. If you understand the role he wants you to play and play it well, then you’ll be good. I’ve never met a player that agreed with or loved every thing a coach did. But no one gets more out of his players than JP. Even if his tactics are sometimes a test of your mental strength”, said Jason Boone. He finished his professional basketball career in Romania playing with Steaua CSM EximBank Bucuresti (Romania-Liga Nationala) averaging 7.7ppg, 4.8rpg, FGP: 64.9%, FT: 63.6%; and with SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala) 8.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 67.5%, FT: 56.4%. He was teammates with Porter Troupe a guy that has made Romania a second home playing most of his career there and was the perfect teammate to end his career with.” He’s hands down the best leader I’ve ever played with. At that point in my career I thought I had seen it all, I knew enough and the young guys looked up to me for guidance. But I think I learned more about how to lead a team from Porter than anyone else I ever played with. His intellect and passion may be his biggest strength both on and off the court. But I’ll always remember him as a teammate for his approach to effective communication. That’s a guy who I will be close with long after we both hang em up for good”, stressed Jason Boone.
I reach Quantez Robertson on an early Wednesday afternoon in early December and tell him that Jason Boone has retired and also mention to him what the big man will always remember about him. “When we matched up in the playoffs that last year in Goettingen, he caught an alley oop in Frankfurt that caused the gym to break out in an eruption of cheers. It basically sealed the game for them but he was emotionless and picked up our PG full court. His motor never stopped and I will always remember him for his intensity on both sides of the ball”, stressed Jason Boone. After hearing such a nice tribute, Tez returned the favor with his memories of the New York native. “He always set very tough screens and played aggressive defense. He and Jon Brockman were a very tough duo. For me he was top 3 if not the most physical center I ever played against in the BBL. He was strong and dedicated to being a physical force on the defensive end. He was also a good guy off the court. I remember he would come to our games when John Little was playing in Frankfurt. I remember talking to him in the VIP room and him having fun with the kids and joking around”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. Boone also remembers his one on one battles with ex NBA player Jon Brockman in practice and with Jon Bryant who was his toughest cover as a professional.. “I felt like I always had an advantage on every player I played against my whole career. I was either faster, stronger, smarter, in better shape. Something. But Brockman was something special. He was the only player I’ve played against where I had no clear advantage. But I learned so much from him. Only regret is that we didn’t play together longer and that we never had a chance to matchup in a real game one on one. I would have loved that battle John Bryant has one of the best sets of hands in Europe, without a doubt. He’s too tall and heavy to stop around the basket. And he can shoot all the way to the 3pt line. My approach was always to wear him out, make him run on defense but he knew how to take plays off and if I tried to use my speed and strength to beat him up, he was a master at getting the refs to call fouls. No one else comes to mind as immediate as him”, stressed Jason Boone. I could have sampled more quotes from former teammates and opponents, but this piece focuses more on his memories, but I did catch a quote from his ex teammate Adam Waleskowski to help spice up my piece a bit more. “Jason is one of the hardest working most resilient guys I know. He always had a smile on his face when he wasn´t competing on the court and was the type of person everybody wanted to be around. He was charismatic and enthusiastic in everything he did. He took hard coaching and criticism better than anyone I know. He is retiring from a long successful career and whereever the next step goes, I´m sure he will excel at it no matter what it is. We had a lot of great memories together throughout our careers. I wish him all the best as he starts that new chapter of his life”, stressed ex Floridia State center Adam Waleskowski.
His most fondest time was with BG Goettingen and having the opportunity to have amazing moments on and off the court. I also predicted right that if I were to ask him who his list of five all-time teammates were that Ben Jacobsen would be on the list. It also didn´t surprise him that John Little was hired by the Milwaukee Bucks organization to be an assistant coach with their G-League affiliate Wisconsin Herd. “I may hurt some feelings with this one, but who cares, what can they do to me? Ben is first and foremost on that list. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that one. I would say that Porter Troupe and David McCray would make two and three. Brad Loesing of course, and my final spot would obviously go to John Little. Lot of guards on that list, but those guys I will forever view as brothers. We ALL knew that John was going to be a coach one day. He was the coach on the court every year I played with him. He’s the only guy I’ve ever known who could run every play from every position at morning shootaround. Anyone that has played for JP knows we don’t take a lot of shots at morning shootaround, it’s structured like a practice where you have to get actual stops, and Lit would be correcting our assistant coach on where the opposing four man starts the play. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.”, stressed Jason Boone.
It is December 2019 and Jason Boone has left the basketball court and has began his second chapter in his life. He is even farther away from Germany now as he isn´t in New York anymore but in Los Angeles. He is working in marketing for the company Core and is happy with his new life. “I am enjoying this new chapter of the Jason Boone story, fun exciting challenges. Core was started by a female NYU basketball player who I was close with in college. I’m coordinating their social media until the product launches in the beginning of 2020. It’s interesting how the timing of things work out, I’m learning so much about mental health and wellness. But I’ll tell you what, not having to deal with that German style winter is the thing I’m most looking forward to here in LA”, stated Jason Boone. Now that he is far away from Germany and back in the States, he has more time and can watch the NBA at normal hours. He has the same opinion as I do that Slovenian Phenom Luka Doncic could become the greatest of all-time. “I try to watch a lot more NBA games now since I don’t have to stay up until 3am to see them live anymore. And with Maxi on the Mavs I’ve seen a lot more of Luka. I was fully under the impression that Giannis was going to be the next best player in the world when that LeBron class is all retired but this kid is something special. And we certainly may be talking about his as one of the best to ever do it. Let’s chill out with the best ever talk right now, but I’ll settle for a definite MVP and top two/three foreign player of all time”, warned Jason Boone.
The fans in Germany will always be dear to him, because they showed him a special love that not every player can say they ever got.from them. He wanted to give thanks to the fans and hope they remember him like this “I would want them to recognize the only three reasons I played basketball were to win, to have fun, and to make people happy. If I could accomplish those three things, then I did my job. I probably had more missed free throws than monster dunks but in the end I hope you enjoyed watching me compete every game. And please just remember there’s Only One Jason Boone”, stated Jason Boone. Before I give my own two cents about my memories, I have to thank Jason for showing me some love for my nonstop basketball media work. “You don’t ask the “typical” interview questions. I have to really sit and think about my answers to the things you ask. You’re nothing if not unique, so I suggest you keep carving your own lane in this field. Thank you for keeping up with me for that long and I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future”, added Jason Boone. Jason Boone will always be a very special player for me. Not only on the court, but also off the court. As a player he was a physical ruthless fighter that played as if he was in the trenches every game. I´ll never forget those games against Wurzburg where the games were low scoring and the players left the court after 40 minutes as if they had just fought their last battle. Ok so he couldn´t shoot the free throw, but so couldn´t Shaq, so what. But he could dunk and I enjoyed watching that display. I don´t know exactly how many interviews that we did, but it was in the vicinity of around 40-50. I remember the Eurochallenge season with BG Goettingen in 2010, we were doing interviews every week, sometimes twice. It was a crazy time, but he must of enjoyed it a little, otherwise he wouldn´t have done it. Sometimes I was intimidated by him, because he was a very good writer. I enjoyed reading his blog and I always wanted to ask the right questions. Now I am relieved that I did ask the right unique questions. And I have to be honest, from my 1,300 plus interviews that I have conducted with players, he is without a question top 5 of the best interview partners that I ever had. I don´t really have those special memories off the court, because the only time I conversed with him was after games and he would give me the great answers that every reporter wants. He was always friendly added with wit and humor that very few players have. I would of thought that he might go into show business. I mean he is in L.A and Hollywood is just around the corner and he has been in movies before. But who knows anything is possible so perhaps we might see him doing some acting again at one juncture or the next. I don´t know how it was in other BBL places, but I´m sure it wasn´t any different, but I can remember many female Skyliner fans were unable to resist him. Even I could see that his smile was irresistible. I can understand girls talking about him on a game day, but his name popped up even when he wasn´t playing Frankfurt. He once told me this in an interview in 2010 “Since childhood I’ve always dreamed about playing professional basketball, seeing the world, and going on a date with Stacey Dash. Two out of three isn’t bad is it“? Stacy Dash is taken, but it won´t be any different now in L.A with him being irresistible for the women. Without really knowing Jason Boone well, I know that he will be having the time of his life in L.A.
Curtis Hollis is a 21 year old 198cm forward from Arlington, Texas that is playing his first season overseas and first in Germany with the Dragons Rhondorf currently averaging 20,7ppg,8,1rpg,3,6apg and 3,2spg. He began his career at Mansfield Summit High School. In 2017-2018 he played with Hutchinson CC (JUCO) playing 34 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3%. In 2018 he played in Lavar Ball’s new league with the Houston Ballers (JBL) playing 7 games: Score-5 (29.3ppg), 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%. He and I will team up every week to talk basketball in the Miles basketball minute
Curtis congrats on the huge 120-86 win against BSV Wulfen. You scored the 100th point for the first time this season. How weird is that and how was the donut party with the teammates?
It’s wasn’t weird it was funny. I just knew I had to bring donuts haha. It was cool it’s starting to get pretty normal!
It was the sixth time the Dragons Rhondorf eclipsed the 100 points and it was the most points that the team have scored this season. Was this the best offensive performance of the season?
I guess you could say that! Everybody played well and pitched in when they could so it was for sure a good performance.
The defense gave up 86 points, but a big problem was the given up offensive rebounds. How aware is the team that once they cut down on the offensive rebounds, the team will let up a lot of less points?
We’re aware of it and understand what we have to do now we just have to do it. It’s big for us holding teams to 1 possession.
You told me after the game that there is too much going to the ball instead of boxing out. How confident are you that the team will be doing a better job under the boards in the next two games?
I’m very confident. We always talk about and try to quickly fix our mistakes.
It was difficult stopping American Bryant Allen. What did you appreciate most about his game and what part of his game hurt Rhondorf the most?
He was good gets to his spots. His 3s hurt us but we did a good job on him. We just had to contain him.
The next game is on the road in Grevenbroich who you defeated 85-72 early in the season. They lost Enric Garrido Foz, but got a new American rookie Troy Harper from Drexel (NCAA). Both teams are changed. What kind of game can we await? A good game. We plan to get a big win for Keke and play like we always do!
The teammate spotlight this week is on Jure Beseidc. He has proved to be a solid big man that prefers the outside shot. But since the injury to Gabriel De Olveria has produced in the paint. What part of his versatile game do you appreciate the most?
Everything. He works, he’s getting better and better. His presence is huge for us.
You had another normal day at the office with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Defense isn’t only about getting steals. It was your second game of the season without a steal. How do you feel did you impact the game best on defense?
I did well. Stayed in front, closed out on shooters so I feel it was a good game overall for me defensively.
You only had 1 foul in the last two games. Have you been playing a bit less risky or how do you explain the better discipline with the fouls?
Yes I have. Just trying to be smart show my hands more. I know my team needs me on the floor so staying out of foul trouble is key.
I also liked your stroke from outside. Did you change anything up on your mechanics during the week or were my eyes deceiving me?
No didn’t change anything just a lot of shots during the week. A lot! So the work is just coming to light.
James Harden recently scored 60 points which seems like a regular thing. What does this guy have to do to get a real wow response from the basketball world?
I think he gets a wow response from the world every game. At least from me he does. Haha
Where will Andre Iguodala end up? Would he be a better fit with the Lakers or the Mavericks?
Radwan Bakkali is a 23 year old 108cm power forward/center from England that is playing his rookie season in Germany with the ETB Wohnbau Miners(Germany-Regionalliga) curently averaging 14,2ppg and 9,6rpg. He began his basketball career with the Barking Abbey Leopards (EBL D3). He then played at Kilgore JC (JUCO) from 2015-2017 playing a total of 57 games. In the 2017-2018 season he made new experiences with Jacksonville (NCAA) playing 27 games averaging 3.3ppg, 2.3rpg. Last season he made one more jump and played with Indianapolis (NCAA2) playing 21 games averaging 1.8ppg, 1.5rpg. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Congrats Radwan on signing with German Regionalliga team ETB Wohnbau Miners. After four years in the States playing college ball, why did you decide to start your professional career in Germany and not at home in the UK?
Thank you. I’m really excited about this opportunity in Germany. I’ve always wanted to travel doing what I love and now I have the chance to do that. I believe I’ll have the opportunity to develop and continue growing and getting better. I think I’ve found a great situation to start my career.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? There have been guys from England in the last years that have played in Germany. Have you known of any guys that have played in Germany?
For a long time I’ve understood that Germany is a country with great basketball development, where the sport is appreciated and there have been a lot of British guys over the years do well there. I have spoken to Jamal Tahraoui a lot recently about his experience last season at Ibbenbueren and it was good to get his insight.
The ETB Wohnbau Miners like your game and especially your mentality. What was so appealing about this organization that made it easier for you to come to play?
Coach Iria Uxía Romarís Durán is extremely ambitious with great experience in the Spanish leagues and wants to bring Essen up to the level it once was. Her ambition and drive as well as the opportunity she sees for me to play a key role in the team was important for me. Having the opportunity to play and produce this next year is what I wanted most and I believe I have that with this coach and this organization.
You never averaged more than 3,3ppg in three leagues in the States with the JUCO, NCAA 2 and NCAA. How hungry and excited are you to finally play more and put up big time stats that will help Essen have success?
Despite not playing a lot in college I was able to learn a lot about myself as a player and a person. Even with all the adversity I have faced in my career so far I still have the enthusiasm and hunger to give this game everything I have. I’m very excited to get to Essen, to work hard and to prove the quality of player I am. I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface. With more experience I’m only going to get better.
With what type of expectations are you going into your rookie season in Germany? The Regionalliga is a guard dominated league when talking about the imports, but you are a big man. Are you confident that you could be an impact player in the Regionalliga?
The only expectation I have is to control what I can control everyday. Give maximum effort and the rest will take care of itself. I’m confident in my work and my abilities but it is time to show it. And I will be doing everything I can to show what I have to offer and most importantly impact team success. I have to match the coaches ambition of doing as best as we can for the club this season.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a 210cm center that is hungry to show his abilities. If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
I’ve never been one to compare myself to anybody else. But I am a fan of some of the foreign bigs in the league like Nikola Jokic, Marc Gasol and in the past, Hakeem Olajuwon. I appreciate Jokic’s game a lot because he is so effective in every facet of the game without being super athletic and I hope I can have that type of impact in the future as I continue to improve.
What kind of Radwan Bakkali will fans see this season on the defensive end and do you feel like you could be a defensive stopper in important moments?
I have a lot of work to do but with my size, wide frame and length I believe I can play a role in affecting shots at the rim and being a good positional team defender. I have been challenging myself against high level guards defensively this summer and hopefully this will show when it is time to come against players in my position.
When looking at your game, what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?
I feel as though when people see my size and body type they box me in as a “back-to-the-basket” big man. While this is a big part of my game and I enjoy getting physical on the inside, I am very comfortable facing the basket as well and I believe in my touch. Especially my midrange jump shot that is one of my favourite aspects to my game.
On what things have you been working on most on the court this summer so that you will be best prepared when you start your Regionalliga season in Germany?
Like I mentioned before my body is a constant project for me, trying to be in the best shape to play extended minutes with my frame. I have been doing a lot of work with my diet and in the weight room. Hopefully this will show on the court. I’ve been working out at my old high school this summer on my skill development with Rikki Broadmore (Head Coach of Hemel Storm), on top of joining in with Barking Abbey practices and I’m in a good groove at the moment.
After not getting many minutes in the last four years, how big is the chip on your shoulder to show everyone that you can truly produce on the court?
In this business you have to prove yourself everyday, whether I played a lot or not in the past I would have had to prove myself all over again at the next level. So I mentally don’t see myself at a disadvantage. Instead I am highly motivated to make the most of this opportunity and repay the coach for the chance she has given me to be part of the team and the organization.
After starting your basketball career with the Barking Abbey Leopards (EBL D3), you then played two seasons with Kilgore CC (JUCO) What kind of experience was this and what do you feel did you get most out of the experience?
I’ve only played 6 years of organized basketball and I’m very grateful to Lloyd Gardner and the other coaches at Barking Abbey for giving me a shot to pursue my dreams of going to America, getting a degree and now playing basketball professionally. When I first started I couldn’t even catch a ball! So this whole process has been a blessing. My time at Kilgore College with head coach Brian Hoberecht was probably the most important of all my time in America, getting acclimated to the change of culture and the change in level of basketball. Kilgore College was very demanding but it prepared me for the next level in terms of life as well as basketball. I still have a very good relationship with my coach and a lot of good life-long friends that I made there.
You then jumped to Jacksonville (NCAA) playing 27 games averaging 3.3ppg, 2.3rpg. How tough was it making such a huge jump from the JUCO to the top level NCAA? What was your wake up call to being an NCAA player?
Genuinely I feel like my time in JUCO prepared me for D1. What many people don’t understand is that JUCO is a lot more demanding in terms of practice and intensity than a lot of NCAA schools and the environment in JUCO is a lot tougher so I feel like I was well prepared. For the most part I enjoyed my time at Jacksonville, it’s a great school in a sunny location in Florida by the beach. Of course I would’ve liked to play more but having the opportunity to play against teams like Georgetown, NC State and Michigan was amazing. I used to watch their games in England as a fan and then suddenly I was in their gyms playing live on television!
You suddenly come from playing in empty gyms to playing Michigan and German big man Moritz Wagner losing 76-51 and playing 21 minutes and hauling down 3 rebounds. What memories do you have of that game?
Losing is never fun but the atmosphere in that arena was very surreal. Like you mentioned playing against high level players like Moritz Wagner was a great test. I remember getting into it with him a little because I caught him with an elbow on a box out. That whole game in general was a good memory and a great experience.
What do you feel was key at Jacksonville and playing for head coach Tony Jasick that helped you make the transition easier to the NCAA 2 and Indianapolis?
Coach Jasick gave me the amazing opportunity to achieve one of my dreams and play Division 1 basketball. I will always be grateful for that. Him and his staff were great, especially at player development and they definitely created a family vibe while I was there. Off the court he was the kind of guy to help you in anyway to make your experience more comfortable. I still keep up with their games and I think I’ll always be a Dolphin deep inside.
You finished at Indianapolis (NCAA2) playing 21 games averaging 1.8ppg, 1.5rpg. How tough was this season once again not playing much and just watching mostly during games?
It was probably my hardest season mentally if I’m honest. I feel like I had done everything in the summer to put myself in a position to be a key player in the team, we certainly had the talent to do more than we did which was also a shame. However, the coach is entitled to his decision and again I had the chance to learn a lot about myself. I know a lot of people who would’ve (and have) quit basketball after such an experience and because of that I am proud of myself for still having the desire and enthusiasm to excel in this sport no matter what.
You played at three different schools and at three different levels. How do you feel did you become a better player in the four years that you were abroad?
I’m truly proud of my experience in America. It was unorthodox but a lot of things about me are. At the end of the day I was able to go to America having only played basketball for two years, I experienced three different institutions, states and cultures and end up being the first person in my family to graduate with a bachelors degree. And still I am in a position to kick start my professional career so I have a lot to be proud of. Not every story has to be success after success. I think my story is interesting because it starts with what some people might perceive as failure after failure and yet I am still able to come back every time and give it another go.
Who was the toughest opponent that you played in the NCAA 2 that is in the NBA or in Europe now
You know what, I played against a lot of good bigs in my time in the NCAA but one player that stuck out to me was Dani Elgadi. He’s a skilled Canadian player from Brock University that I played against when I was at Jacksonville and we took a summer tour to Toronto. I never underestimated Canadian basketball but we had no clue about the level. He played extremely well against us, dominating all aspects of the game and this was a memory that sticks out for me. Very humbling. He also played his rookie season in Germany for Rasta Vechta. I have a lot of respect for him and he doesn’t even know it.
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
Tye Wilburn – played with me at both Kilgore and Uindy. We remain great friends and he always pushed and motivated me when things got tough, we would train together 1-on-1 a lot in our own time. When he’s done playing professionally overseas I reckon he’s going to be a great skill development coach/motivational speaker.
Malik Griffith-Johnson – played with me at Barking Abbey. Still to this day one of the fastest players I’ve ever seen with a basketball. We developed a brotherly bond in my early days of playing basketball and still keep up with each other to this day.
Josh Steel – Also a teammate from Barking Abbey, one of the best guards in England and has had pro experience in the Spanish second division already. He has helped me a lot this summer with rebuilding and getting back to myself mentally and physically.
Joe Lockwood – another Barking Abbey graduate. Someone I looked up to a lot when I first started out. He has had experience playing for Great Britain as well as Post University in America. I remember he would always check my packed lunches to make sure I was eating healthy when I was trying to lose a lot of weight at the beginning of my career, simple things like that let me know he was someone who genuinely wanted to see me doing good and I’ve always appreciate him for that.
Patrick Lyons – also went to Barking Abbey, an Irishman who is as resilient as they come. Despite having many injury niggles he had the toughness and determination to make his dreams come true of playing basketball in America and I have a lot of respect for him. I truly believe as long as he’s breathing he’ll find a way to get on that court and do the best for his team. Definitely a good example of never giving up.
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
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’ve always believed that you can’t compare these two because Lebron has always been more Magic Johnson than he is Michael Jordan. If I was pushed to pick however I would say Michael Jordan because of the impact he had on not only the game but society and hoops culture, especially in that era, an effect that is still felt today. Having said this I’m a big fan of Lebron and everything he’s achieved for himself and his family. We can appreciate both without having to hate on the other!
What was the last movie that you saw?
I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan so I feel like I’m always watching one of the eight movies even though I’ve seen them all a million times. The last one I saw was a Deathly Hallows Part 2 re-run.
After more than a month away from their living room Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners were back in their living room boasting a solid 3-2 record. The season hasn´t been an easy one with many JBBL(U-16 league) players to integrate as well as having the long injury to Maxe Begue. Top player Len Schoormann also hasn´t been available all the time as he continues to be an important role player for the farm team in the Pro B and exploded last weekend in Speyer with 30 points and recently celebrated his BBL debut in Wurzburg. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners didn´t meet an easy foe even if they haven´t had a good start into the season. Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach reached the 2019 NBBL final losing to FC Bayern Munich. This season the club is only 2-3 and like the Frankfurt side haven´t always had some of their top players with Elias Baggette and Leon Bulic avaliable, because they play for the farm team Baunach in the Pro B. They have some very strong players with Becks and Bergmann, but the overall depth is missing in the roster. On a cold and brisk December Sunday the two teams met in the BCM in Frankfurt and Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners were as awake from the jump ball as a child is on Christmas morning in the States as they tore apart Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach 94-65. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners played marvelous offense sharing the ball excellent, and on the defensive end remained consistent and stuck together for 40 minutes. After the big victory Maxi Begue of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners reflected on the win, but despite the big success was quick to name problems in their game. “We played a solid game and a goal of our was to win the rebound battle which we did. We overall had good ball movement even though there were some plays in the second half where we should of kicked instead of gone to the basket. Our communication has to get better on defense. We gave up too much inside especially to Beck. I personally thought that it would have been more difficult to play them”, stressed ex BC Darmstadt guard Maxi Begue. The disappointment was written on the faces of the Bamberg players after the blow out loss. German 17 year old 197cm shooting guard Miles Osei tried to summarize why the club couldn´t put up more of a fight in Frankfurt- “They rolled over us at the start and we never recovered from it. They hit their outside shots well and we couldn´t stop their pick and roll. We gave up too many easy baskets”, stated Miles Osei.
Before Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach even knew what had hit them in the first minutes, they were down 13-1 and they would never recover. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners came out focused from the first second and played with high intensity and got instant rhythm on offense. Bamberg was also without three vital player with Germans Adrian Bergmann, Paul Guck and Jannis Sonnefeld and were without 25 points htat they averaged together. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners did a super job getting big man Julian Stenfeld involved early on as he got easy baskets in the paint and got to the free throw line. Begue also scored twice and Len Schoorman also scored. Frankfurt did a great job getting easy baskets off great defense and playing their feared transition game. The Bavarian team couldn´t muster good shots and often made bad decisions. It also hurt that they couldn´t involve their big men Beck and Bulic early on. Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach didn´t get their first field goal until the 5,30 mark through Beck. Bamberg then did a better job getting the ball inside as Beck would score three more times. But Bamberg couldn´t execute on defense. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners began with getting baskets inside and then unleashed their lethal outside game as Frederick Fischbach, Schoormann and ex BC Darmstadt guard Risto Vasiljevic nailed three´s upping the Frankfurt advantage to 27-7. Bamberg did a good job closing out the first quarter with a 8-3 run to trail only 30-15 after one quarter. In the run the Bavarian team got solid production from Beck who scored twice and from Baggette who unleashed his nasty floater. “Frankfurt had good ball movement and got out on transition. They did a good job keeping the middle closed, but had difficulties switching on Baggette”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Aaron Kayser. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 67% from the field and 67% from outside and had 5 rebounds and 1 turnover while Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach shot 46% from the field and 0% form outside and had 8 rebounds and 7 turnovers.
In the second quarter Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to keep the pressure up at both ends of the court and hold the double digit advantage with ease. A big strength of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was that they got a lot of input from their bench as 9 players scored in total while for Bamberg it was only 6 guys. Miles Osel had to move to the four, but his aggressive play rewarded him with hard fought baskets. He got some big buckets in the post cutting the Frankfurt lead to 39-24, but Frankfurt continued to do damage as they got vital bench points from 2019 JBBL finalists Bennet Schubert and Pierre Bathoum. Bamberg simply had too little weapons to really be able to compete wit Frankfurt on this afternoon. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners stayed consistent and calm on offense waiting for the best shot and practiced inside out basketball. Bamberg continued to cough up the ball and had phases where they couldn´t get baskets inside. In the second half of the second quarter, they began to be more active in the paint as Beck got a few baskets and Bulic hit a jumper, but he was too quiet on this day scoring only 7 points. The bench continued to come up big as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got big production from Vasiljevic with a trey, Isaac Ibanor who´s athleticism and penetration coupled with his good defense has given him more minutes than last season made an offensive rebound and put back while Schubert nailed a trey. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to give Bamberg nightmare´s as their clock work offense wasn´t weak. Baggette hurt Frankfurt in the last minute with two floaters including a buzzer beater, but Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners were able to go into the break with their heads held high leading 55-39. “Frankfurt did a good job staying consistent on offense. They had some holes in the defense and gave up easy baskets, but overall it was a very good performance”, stressed ex Chemnitz center Aaron Kayser. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 65% form the field and 67% from the three point line and had 12 rebounds and 6 turnovers while Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach shot 55% from the field and were still 0% from the three point line and had 15 rebounds and 13 turnovers.
In the third quarter Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to play their game and lead by double digits not allowing any form of comeback for the guests. Bulic had little luck all afternoon wit his offensive game but hit a three in the first minute. But Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to display so many different ways of scoring as they continued to flaunt the fast break as Schoormann scored and Steinfeld continued to look good on the offensive glass getting two offensive rebounds and put backs as Frankfurt led 63-44. Fraport Skyliner Junior Aaron Kayser watched his fellow big man and had his two cents to say about his game. “Julian is always ready in the post and has good hands. He also is good on the dunks, rolls well to the basket and gets to the free throw line. He needs to be better on contact though”, stated Aaron Kayser. Steinfeld had an excellent game finishing with 19 points and 7 boards. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners then went on a 9-3 run to earn themselves their biggest lead of the game at 70-47. In the run, Frankfurt got valuable help from Begue with a three pointer and Steinfeld and Schoormann hurt Bamberg two more times on transition. Last season Begue had a strange looking shot, but corrected his mechanics last summer and has improved his shot. Frankfurt continued to perform their consistent offense while they upped their defensive intensity and pressure getting easy baskets while Bamberg lost intensity on defense and were missing those key role players. In the last few minutes, Jordan Samare did some work to help his stats getting two baskets inside. The first on a lob pass from Begue and the second on a nifty shovel pass from Fischbach. After 30 minutes Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners still had the very comfortable 74-51 advantage. “We played aggressive and used our full court press. It was risky, but still did a good job limiting their points. We continued to take out Bulic well”, stressed Maxi Begue. “We couldn´t get stops and allowed too many transition baskets”, added Miles Osei. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 59% form the field and 50% from the parking lot and 26 rebounds and 11 turnovers while Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach shot 47% form the field and 25% from the parking lot and had 22 rebounds and 19 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners kept up the pressure while Bamberg lost intensity and seemed to get tired. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got an influx of easy baskets as the guests had less intensity on the defensive end. Bamberg got the first field goal on the first possession with Beck, but then gave up a brutal 9-0 run by Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners as they extended their lead to 83-53. In the run Frankfurt got a lay in from Samare who got the perfect bounce pass from Schoormann, then Vasiljevic showed how dangerous he can be from behind the three point line as he dropped a trey and Samare made a steal on the press defense and made the lay in. Samare remained a beast on defense getting in a passing lane and going coast to coast with the hard two handed dunk. Bamberg had a good offensive phase again inside which was up and down all afternoon as Beck executed twice in the paint, but on defense they had nothing left in their gas tank as Frankfurt led 87-60. Begue scored twice on the drive as no Bamberg player challenged him. On the next play the 192cm swing man Begue blocked the 2010cm big man Bulic as the German proved again that he does so much at both ends of the court. Begue filled up the stat sheet like no other finishing with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. “I feel that I´m one of the best defenders in the league. In the last years I focused on my rebounding, but now I´m focusing on making the next step on offense”, stressed Maxi Begue. In the last few minutes, Steinfeld continued to play well and finished strong with two baskets. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners head coach Sepehr Tarrah inserted little used 17 year old 210cm center Liam O´Neil and he registered a nice assist on the Schubert lay in off the drive from the wing for the last points of the contest. “We never let up and finished the game well. We kept up our aggressiveness and broke them in the last quarter”, stated Maxi Begue. “We continued to give up easy baskets. We had a mix of having lost our intensity and not having any energy left”, stressed Miles Osei. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was led by Julian Steinfeld with 19 points. Jordan Samare added 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, and Maxi Begue had 15 points while Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach was led by Jekabs Beck with 22 points and 11 boards. Elias Baggette added 21 points and Miles Osei delivered 10 points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 61% from the field and 51% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 18 turnovers while Brose Bamberg/Troester Breitengussbach shot 45% from the field and 18% from outside and had 27 rebounds and 26 turnovers.