Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Konstantin Schubert Achieves Career High 23 Points Leading The Fraport Skyliners Juniors To Insane 15-0 Run And 74-72 Win Over The Arvato College Wizards

After losing their first game to the top Pro B favorite EPG Baskets Koblenz, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have been perfect since riding a three game winning streak as their defense was red hot in the last two home games allowing an average of only 56 games per game. Squashed between the two massive home wins was an exciting nailbitter 78-77 win on the road against Giessen. Frankfurt wanted to continue their lucky streak and met the Arvato College Wizards Karlsruhe who came into the contest struggling with a 1-3 record. They lost their last three games and were clobbered 102-74 by Orange Academy. For any basketball fan being able to see 40 year old sharp shooter Rouven Roessler for another season is an incredible delight as he has put his name into the German basketball dino’s with guys like Chris Ensminger, Derrick Allen and Rickey Paulding who played for a very long time. Frankfurt had more than two hand full of players that could have been Roessler’s son’s, but the German’s play was still spot on as he poured in 20 points and even had the game winner on his finger tips, but it fell short propelling the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to an insane come from behind 74-72 win over the Arvato College Wizards thanks to a crunch-time 15-0 run. For 35 minutes the Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn’t play their best basketball and played catch up basketball for 25 minutes, but half way through the fourth quarter, Frankfurt went on an amazing run securing the win at the end. One of the hero’s at the end was 8 year man German Konstantin Schubert (200-SF-98) who had a career day netting 23 points and was all smiles after the victory. ‘This was an untypical game for us. We didn’t start off well like in the previous home games. In the fourth quarter Philipp Hadenfeldt gave us energy with big shots. We never stopped fighting and believed that we could win the game. I’m happy to come back off a tough injury and have a night like this I had no idea that I had so many points. My free throws helped tonight’, smiled Neu Isenburg native Konstantin Schubert. The Arvato College Wizards were shocked at the end. Karlsruhe legend Rouven Roessler snuck out of the gym and who could blame him for his team throwing away the game in crunch-time. ‘These type of things happen. That is how the game goes at times. Basketball is a game of runs and they went on one at the end. I have to give credit to Frankfurt. They were down and fought back and played well. We were unable to put together a few baskets at the end, but I’m still proud of how we played’, said Arizona native Richaud Gittens.

Richaud Gittens at the FT line

In the first quarter no team could get away from the other as there were 7 lead changes. Konstantin Schubert gave Frankfurt the 2-0 lead with a beautiful floater after making his man dizzy with his moves. But the guests quickly showed their inside game which would give Frankfurt head aches all night long going on a 6-2 run. German Vincent Hoffman and Moritz Bar scored baskets. Hoffman had a solid night with 11 points and 7 boards scored twice and Bar executed the pick and roll perfectly with Roessler. Frankfurt fought back getting the 9-7 lead with a trey by ex Gotha center Marco Voeller and a basket from 2017 JBBL finalist Calvin Schaum. Konstantin Schubert was a real work horse keeping Frankfurt strong with offensive rebounds and a few put backs. Karlsruhe got a trey by Gittens who began off the night slowly, but would find his range a lot better as the night continued. Frankfurt did a good job keeping Rouven Roessler from firing and let him be more of a playmaker, but had problems allowing easy baskets inside to the guests. Frankfurt didn’t find their touch from the field shooting only 33%, but were great on the boards with 6 offensive rebounds thanks to Konstantin Schubert who led the charge. ‘The game was pretty even. We knew Roessler wouldn’t penetrate much due to age, but our biggest problem was allowing easy baskets’, stressed Frankfurt NBBL coach Miran Cumurija.

Niklas Bilski foroutside

In the second quarter the Arvato College Wizards were able to find a consistent groove on offense and led by as much as 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors made some dents into the lead, but couldn’t get over the hump trailing by 8 points at the break. The guests didn’t waste any time getting their offense going as they sped out on a 10-2 run to lead 27-17. In the run, it was Roessler finally getting his scoring going netting two baskets while ex Weber State (NCAA) standout Richaud Gittens also scored twice. Frankfurt couldn’t get their offense going as they were irritated by the aggressive defense and rapid hands in passing lanes which led to turnovers. On defense Frankfurt had problems with 1-1 defense and just couldn’t annoy Roessler to take more contested shots. Frankfurt fought back going on a 7-2 run to cut Karlsruhe’s lead to 31-26. Frankfurt did a good job taking advantage of mismatches and just attacking inside and getting easy baskets as ex Trier forward Nils Leonhardt scored as did Marco Voeller. Hadenfeldt who was being guarded well at the three point line finally broke free and drilled home a trey. But just as Frankfurt was pressing, the guests came up with big baskets. Ex Heidelberg Pro A player Christoph Rupp nailed a trey. Consecutive stops by Karlsruhe led to a Gittens lay in and Moritz Bar lay in for the 38-30 Karlsruhe half-time advantage. Frankfurt continued to shoot poorly as their only real highlight was their rebounding work having the 23-17 edge with an excellent 10 offensive rebounds. ‘We were beat too easily on 1-1 defense and our intensity was missing. On offense we had too many easy turnovers. We were missing that second scorer to compensate the loss of Felix Hecker. We also didn’t have enough self-confidence in our shots’, stated Miran Cumurija.

Alex Richardson at the FT line

In the third quarter the Arvato College Wizards continued to control the game and were able to lead in double digits and led by as much as 14 points as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors just had no steady rhythm at both ends of the court. The guests came out on fire going on a 9-3 run to extend their lead to 47-33. In the run, they got excellent production from Christoph Rupp who hit a three and scored on transition as Roessler provided the touch down pass. Vincent Hennen continued to dominate inside getting an offensive rebound and put back and German big man Christian Okule also scored in the paint. Frankfurt had fits with the Karlsruhe zone and at times played wild attempting unneeded alley op attempts that faltered. Ex Giessen guard Niklas Bilski stopped the run with a three pointer, but Roessler stepped up getting 5 points and the 52-36 lead. Here and there Frankfurt had some good spurts of play inside as Schubert and Voeller scored, but wouldn’t be rewarded on defense as they couldn’t get back to back stops as the guests always had an answer. Especially their much improved intensity on the offensive glass hurt Frankfurt. But in the last few minutes, Frankfurt picked up their game and got over the hump to trail only 59-51 at the break. Konstantin Schubert and Alvin Onyia got some big baskets. On The Konstantin Schubert basket, his brother Bennet made the perfect pass for the assist. ‘It is a crazy feeling being able to play with my brother. He is getting more minutes. That is good to see for the big brother’, added Konstantin Schubert. Frankfurt closed out the third quarter with a bang netting a transition basket from young German Bennet Schubert scoring at the buzzer as he retrieved a spectacular long bounce pass ala Rajon Rondo from Niklas Bilski. ‘We did a good job executing and scoring at will. We had the confidence to break the game open’, expressed Richaud Givens. ‘We knew that Roessler would make shots. We fought, but still gave up too many easy baskets and offensive rebounds’, expressed Konstantin Schubert.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Konstantin Schubert after he achieved a career high 23 points

In the fourth quarter the Arvato College Wizards began on a swift 5-0 run to extend their lead to 64-51. In the run they got production from Okolie and Roessler. Konstantin Schubert kept his team at bay with a running hook shot and free throws while Karlsruhe got a key three from Vincent Hoffman. Roessler followed with a classic step back jumper for the 69-56 lead. At that point there seemed to be little hope that suddenly Frankfurt would break out of their funk and the guests would make a 180 degrees turn in the other direction and mercifully throw the game away, but believe it or not it did happen. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors finally performed their own magic going on a very very brutal 15-0 run to retake the lead at 71-69. In the run, it was ex Wurzburg guard Philipp Hadenfeldt that led the charge with two massive three’s and a left handed lay in. Frankfurt also got a key floater from Konstantin Schubert and a vital trey from Leonhardt for the 71-70 advantage. Okolie gave Karlsruhe the lead back 72-71 with less than a minute to go, but Frankfurt grabbed the lead back one more time as Alex Richardson made a lay in and free throw to secure the win. Richardso has made an incredible development in the last year as he is getting BBL minutes. He used his big body to perfection on this crucial bucket. The Arvato College Wizards tried to win the game as Roessler had a good look, but was off balance missing. ‘I have no idea how we managed this come back. We just kept playing. Their zone helped us and we got stops. Our defense got us this win. I was a bit scared at the end when Roessler shot’, stressed Konstantin Schubert with 23 points. Philipp Hadenfeldt added 16 points and Marco Voeller 10 points while the Arvato College Wizards were led by Rouven Roessler with 20 points. Richaud Gittens added 15 points and Christian Okolie and Vincent Hoffman added 11 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 30% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 18 turnovers while the Arvato College Wizards shot 45% from the field and 31% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 20 turnovers.

The Physicality And Playing Multiple Positions In Italy Will Help Jaren Lewis(Hakro Merlins) Make Another Step In The easyCredit BBL

Jaren Lewis (198-F-96, college: ACU) is a 24 year old 198cm forward from Orlando, Florida that is playing his third professional season and second in Germany with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. Last season he played with Benacquista Assicurazioni Latina Basket (Italy-Serie A2) playing 27 games averaging 13.3ppg, 8.2rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 77.0%. He played his rookie season in Germany with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen averaging 13,0ppg, 4,9rpg and 2,1apg and 2,ospg. He scored in double figures in 21 games including a 28 point effort against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and 26 point games against Artland and picked up All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Newcomer of the Year -20, All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A 2nd Team -20 and German 2.Bundesliga Pro A All-Defensive Team -20 .. He began his basketball career at Lake Highland Prep and played at Abil.Christian (NCAA) from 2015-2019 playing a total of 123 games. In his freshman year he played 30 games averaging 9.7ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 72.6%. In his second year at Abil.Christian (NCAA) he played 28 games averaging 13.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 71.3%. In his junior season at Abil.Christian (NCAA) he played 31 games averaging 13.4ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 79.1%. In his senior year at Abil.Christian (NCAA) he played 34 games averaging 13.8ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.8%. He spoke to after the tough 81-77 Fiba Europe Cup loss against Tmoki-Minsk.

Thanks Jaren for talking to Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you how you experienced COVID. You were in Germany when it began and then Italy. What were the biggest challenges for you to embrace?

The biggest challenges for me to embrace were just adjusting to the new rules and regulations Covid came with. Life was different for everyone and it was tough to change your everyday lifestyle into something completely different

With everything that you saw off the court during COVID, how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?

I think Covid made me stronger just by getting through more adversity. It wasn’t easy for anyone but just getting through it and remaining steadfast in what I do and who I am really showed I can get through tough times

A tough 81-77 Fiba Europe Cup loss to Tmoki-Minsk. How much did this one hurt? This was truly a game you should of won.

It hurt a lot. We know we can do better and we must start to do a lot better.

Team stat wise there was no real difference. It literally came down to making the little things down the stretch. Do you feel like this loss had more to do with the team still finding themselves in crunch-time situations?

I feel like we could’ve started the game better. We fought back in the second half but we dug ourselves a hole in the first half

A TJ Shorts is so valuable to the team. In the last 40 seconds he missed a makeable lay up and then turned over the ball. On another night he would have been the hero. How did he take the loss and did he need comforting from his teammates after this loss?

He’s good. We all know we just have to move on to the next one. He knows we believe in him and trust him so we are all just focused on the next game

In crunch-time the very experienced Jason Clark made two big baskets and the winning assist. Do you feel like that big time experience is missing a bit at the guard position in Crailsheim?

No I don’t.

The Hakro Merlins began the season with a win but since lost 3 BBL games. You guys showed early that you can score many points consistently. Has it surprised you just a bit how well the team can function on the offensive end?

It has not surprised me. We know we have a lot of weapons and we know what we are capable of. We buy into our roles on the offensive end and that allows us to be successful.

What kind of defensive identity is Sebastian Gleim preaching for the team to become?

Coach has been preparing us to be a very physical defensive team that is very active and disciplined.

What has it been like being teammates with Maurice Stuckey probably the most experienced player on the team. How important are his leadership and scoring abilities?

It has been great being teammates with Maurice. He has been a great voice to have in the locker room and he is able to really change games with his outside shooting

How valuable is the versatile Terrell Harris? Could you see him becoming possibly the second scoring option on the team?

Terrell is very valuable. He can score from all three levels and he is able to create shots for others as well.

What kind of an experience has it been playing in Crailsheim? What does it feel like being a easyCredit BBL player?

It’s been a cool experience playing here in Crailsheim. It is a first class club and I’m thankful to be playing the game I love. The guys are great so it has been a great group to play with

You have had a super start to the season. You have needed no adjustment to the easyCredit BBL. Has being a versatile player opposed to being one dimensional helped you make the transition faster?

It definitely has helped some. I take pride in being able to do different things on the court to help my team. As I continue to work I hope to help the team even more as the season goes on.

Last season you played with Benacquista Assicurazioni Latina Basket (Italy-Serie A2) averaging 13.3ppg, 8.2rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 77.0%. What kind of an experience was it playing in the evry competitive A-2 league. How do you feel did your game make new strides there?

It was an important experience for me playing in Italy. The game over there was very physical and I was able to play multiple positions and have different responsibilities over there that I really think helped my game.

What kind of an experience was it having the very experienced Obie Trotter as a teammate? You were 10 years old when he was making a name for himself in the BBL in Germany.

Obie was a great teammate. He was a leader and someone I really enjoyed playing with. He could score and play make for others. He was a valuable piece.

The NBA has started. Many have picked the Lakers and the Nets to reach finals. What other teams do you see making a run?

I wouldn’t sleep on the defending champion Bucks.

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

I didn’t see it yet. I’ve only heard bad things so I don’t know if I’ll ever get to it haha

Thanks Jaren for the chat.

 Staying Active and Aggressive At Both Ends Of The Court Is the Key To Success For Terrell Harris(Hakro Merlins Crailsheim)

Terrell Harris (191-G-93, college: Georgia Coll., agency: Players Group) is a 28 year old 190cm guard from Indiantown, Florida that finished his fifth professional season and second with the NINERS Chemnitz (Germany-ProA) averaging 11,4ppg, 3,3rpg and 3,9apg. He will play his sixth professional season with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. In 2019-2020 in the Pro A with the Ninners he averaged 14,1ppg, 2,6rpg and 5,0apg. In 2018-2019 he played with the Rostock Seawolves (Germany-ProA) averaging 13.6ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 66.3%. Three seasons ago he played with the Svendborg Rabbits (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 24 games averaging 17.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 71.6%. In his rookie season he played with the Iserlohn Kangaroos (Germany-ProB) averaging 18,1ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,8apg. He started his basketball career at Mars Hill (NCAA2) in 2011 and then moved to Georgia College in 2012. As a senior he played 29 games averaging 24.6ppg, 6.7rpg, 4.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 76.8%. He concluded his college basketball career winning the All-PeachBelt Player of the Year 2016. Harris spoke to after the 81-77 Fiba Europe Cup loss to Tmoki-Minsk.

Thanks Terrell for talking to A tough 81-77 Fiba Europe Cup loss to Tmoki-Minsk. How much did this one hurt? This was truly a game you should of won.

Yes very tough loss, we came out flat. We got down 14 the first half but we were able to shake it off and fight back with a 20 point swing around. Those are the games we have to put away. Losing any game is tough but we have a quick turnaround tomorrow against a good Bayreuth team so no time to hold our heads down.

Team stat wise there was no real difference. It literally came down to making the little things down the stretch. Do you feel like this loss had more to do with the team still finding themselves in crunch-time situations?

We broke down at the end defensively and they made some tough baskets and we didn’t. Part of the game. Just have to close better and find a way to win those close ones.

A TJ Shorts is so valuable to the team. In the last 40 seconds he missed a makeable lay up and then turned over the ball. On another night he would have been the hero. How did he take the loss and did he need comforting from his teammates after this loss?

TJ is a great player and he will move on and prep for Bayreuth. He doesn’t dwell on turnovers or missed shots.

In crunch-time the very experienced Jason Clark made two big baskets and the winning assist. Do you feel like that big time experience is missing a bit at the guard position in Crailsheim?

Clark made some tough pull-ups and lay ups late. He’s a good player. I believe we have what it takes right now in the locker room and we just have to lock in more defensively. We lost some tight games that could’ve easily been wins.

The Hakro Merlins began the season with a win but since lost 3 BBL games. You guys showed early that you can score many points consistently. Has it surprised you just a bit how well the team can function on the offensive end?

We play fast pace with some great shooters, so the points will come that’s no surprise.

The team showed right away that it gives up many points. What has been the biggest problem on the defensive end so far?

We have to lock in defensively including myself. We have the ability to defend at a high level. We just need 40 minutes of focusing on defense.

What kind of defensive identity is Sebastian Gleim preaching for the team to become?

Working as a unit through communication and everyone doing their part so we can look better and play better as a whole.

What has it been like being teammates with Maurice Stuckey probably the most experienced player on the team. How important are his leadership and scoring abilities?

Mo is a good person in general let alone basketball player. He works hard everyday and leads with his actions by shooting and defensively.

What kind of an experience has it been playing in Crailsheim in comparison to Chemnitz? I mean I think it’s very difficult to find more passionate fans than the Niners.

Two different systems. New situation for me this year after spending two years in Chemnitz. Miners fans are passionate but so are the Merlins fans. It’s get pretty loud in our arena.

Sebastian Gleim is a big fan of yours. Have you become a big fan of him? He wants to make the next step as a coach in the BBL?

Sebastian is a very passionate coach and cares for the players. You don’t always get those type of coaches. I’m sure he will prove himself as his career keeps developing.

You have had a solid start to the season. What kind of a role do you have this season in comparison to last?

In my eyes I haven’t been performing to my abilities so far this season. Roles are somewhat similar but a little more time at the point guard in games than I did in Chemnitz.

Last season you became more of a facilitator, but also showed that you can score. What is your personal goal as a player to continue to develop more this season?

Just staying aggressive offensively and defensively. I’m at my best when I’m aggressive and active.

I feel like there was more scoring depth with Chemnitz than with Crailsheim. Do you feel like you could become more of a scorer in your second BBL season?

Just trying to take what the defense gives me. The points will always come when you play the right way.

Before you reached the easyCredit BBL, you averaged 40% or better only once in Denmark. But since reaching the BBL your shooting at a higher clip. Has the IQ of your teammates and picking the right spots helped you become a better outside shooter?

Repetitions from the summer and staying locked in techniques helped me become a better 3pt shooter. Still have ways to go though.

You already played the EWE Baskets once this season, but that was before the legend Rickey Paulding announced that this would be his last season. When do you remember hearing his name the first time when you were with Iserlohn in the Pro B?

I can’t remember when I first heard of him to be honest. But he’s the blueprint of Americans having a successful overseas career at a high level for a long time. Blessings to him and his family.

The NBA has started. Many have picked the Lakers and the Nets to reach finals. What other teams do you see making a run?

I pick the Warriors or Nets but Bucks might be back to the finals as well. Going to be a good year

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

Yes the movie was still good, I got the concept. I like that they allowed a lot of young and upcoming actors and comedians to have a role in the movie.

Thanks Terrell for the chat.

Virgil Matthews Was A Real Dinosaur As A Player And Gave Consistency A New Meaning

Some guys hang it up in the early 30’s and by age 38 are already totally situated in a new life after basketball while others may actually stay in basketball. Then again there are other guys that just can’t stop playing the game they love like a Derrick Allen or Chris Ensminger that played into their late 30’s and were still able to leave a lasting impression in the easyCredit BBL even when their muscles might have been aching a bit more than usual and other priorities like kids were gnawing at their responsibilities on the court. Another one of those rare players that played into his late 30’s was Virgil Matthews (191-PG-83, college: Montana). Except for his summer flings at home in leagues like the IBL where he played at home with the Olympia Reign for five summers from 2010-2014, he played his whole illustrious 14 year career in Germany with teams like KICKZ Muenchen Basket (Germany-2.Bundesliga), Schwelmer Baskets (Regionalliga), Ehingen (Pro A), Nuernberg (Pro A) and the Niners Chemnitz. In Chemnitz he found a second home playing six seasons. He is also one of those scarce players that had to pay his dues for many years first toiling in leagues like the Regionalliga and Pro B before making the next jump into the second Bundesliga Pro A where he belonged to the top point guards every season. But his steep ascent up the basketball ladder didn’t end there as he did reach the top of the mountain the first league easyCredit BBL at age 37 in 2020 helping Chemnitz remain in the BBL in his last season. Like many guys before him, he has decided to give his love to the game as well as to the Niners and is an assistant coach under Rodrigo Pastore. I remember joking with him the last three to four years about when he would retire, but he always was prepared to fire a reply back and always returned to playing. But in the summer of 2021, he knew it was time and it was a decision where he had no sleepless nights. ‘It wasn’t difficult at all, it was time. I played long enough and my body was definitely ready. It wasn’t the wear and tear of the BBL. It was just the wear and tear of practicing every day and all the years before adding up’, stressed Virgil Matthews. If someone had told him in the spring of 2006 when he was finishing at Montana (NCAA) that he would still be a professional player in 2021, he would of probably declared that person insane. Instead he was able to endure an illustrious professional career that brought him titles and just supreme joy of playing the game. Virgil Matthews was a real dinosaur that gave consistency a new meaning.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Virgil Matthews in 2014 after a game in Giessen

The American who was born in Spanaway, Washington on July 17, 1983 began his basketball career at Federal way high school. He then had to go a route that many Americans overseas have to take early on with balling in JUCO. This is a place where players really learn toughness simply because absolutely every player has something to prove and will go through a brick wall to beat you. He played at Centralia College and left a lasting impression and was rewarded with the NCAA ticket to the University Of Montana. He had a tough junior season averaging 3,5ppg, 2,0rpg and 1,8apg, but helped his team win the Big Sky Conference tournament. Everything came together in his senior year as he played 31 games averaging 10,1ppg, 4,6rpg, 4,0apg and 1,7spg while shooting a potent 49% from the field and 48% from down town. He once again helped his team win the Big Sky Conference for a second year in a row and was named MVP. Success and the kind of stats he had could have easily given him a BBL contract, but instead he had to begin in the second Bundesliga with KICKZ Muenchen Basket (Germany-2.Bundesliga). He showed quickly that he had no problems adjusting to the style overseas as he played 29 games averaging 18.0ppg, 6.1rpg, 5.2apg, 2.6spg, 2FGP: 57.3%, 3FGP: 31.8%, FT: 66.5%. Often after a stellar season like that a player will make the next step up, but for him he took a few steps backwards. He would hang around in semi-pro leagues in the States and played in the Regionalliga. It would take him three years before his career would get going again. ‘After my season in Munich my agent quit the game late in the summer while I was waiting for a job. I had some issues with the coach. I was a rookie it was just not the best ending to my season. I ended up getting surgery on my knee that fall which made it hard to play that next season. So then I just had to redeem myself working my way back up. Luckily Ralph Junge (Ehingen) found me 2 years later and he still remembered me from that Munich season’, stated Virgil Matthews. In 2008-2009 he was back in Germany, but took a step back playing in the Regionalliga with the Schwelmer Baskets. He was very fortunate then to paly for up and coming German head coach Raphael Wilder. ‘I really like how he kept things simple, he also encouraged us players to go and experience the culture and kind of experience more than basketball and enjoy the experience of being a professional player in Europe. It’s a special thing that not everyone gets to see’, remembered Virgil Matthews.

For some guys experiencing the early growing pains could have been enough to head back home and call it quits and get a normal 9-5 job. But Matthews who lists American Devin Uskowski as his toughest opponent in the Pro B decided to keep grinding in the lab and wait for the next opportunity. Waiting and sticking it out was the right decision as his next opportunity came with German Pro B team Ehingen and one can say that after that the rest is history. Right in his first season he helped Ehingen win the Pro B title and move up to the Pro A. In 2011 was the start of his 9 year Pro A career. In Ehingen he built that consistency that would carry over to the next chapter in his career with the Niners Chemnitz that began in 2014. One has to seriously wonder where his career would have gone had Ralph Junge not grabbed him in 2010 and brought him to Ehingen. ‘Ralph was a vital role in my development and he brought me in and gave me a chance after being a year out of playing. He also taught me so much about the German way and the systems. At the time he was the best youth program in Germany and he was ahead of his time as far as the youth movements that are happening today by the big clubs such as Berlin and Bayern. I learned a lot from him, I’m will always be grateful for that’, warned Virgil Matthews. In Ehingen he had that special role of being a mentor for all the young talent that played there in his four years. Being able to give his experience further was also very important in his development as being that hard nosed leader was later vital for the success in Chemnitz. He was fortunate not to play with a few great young talents, but numerous. ‘I mean there were so many. I’m just glad to have seen them all grow up and play on high levels and be successful individuals. Kevin Bright, Malik Mueller, Kenneth Ogbe, and Sid Marlon-Theis are the one that come to mind right away.

In 2014 the guard who lists Ajay Calvin Terrell Harris Chris Carter Ivan Elliot Dan Oppland as his best teammates of all-time began his most successful and productive time as he would play for the Niners Chemnitz for six seasons with the exception with a Pro A season in Nuernberg. He was instrumental with Rodrigo Pastore in the club reaching the playoffs every season except for his first season and winning the 2019 and 2020 regular season and Pro A in 2020. Even if he is retired, his stay in Chemnitz continues and he will always remember one of the finer parts to why his job had so much enjoyment there. ‘The fans here are great. Coming from Ehingen Chemnitz was a big city so that was also nice. I think one thing about the organization is that I was here to kind of grow with it. It’s cool when you can see the changes and the things you may have had influence in, or to see the youth players grow up. It’s a special kind of thing to have these opportunities’, said Virgil Matthews. He scored averaging in double figures in three of five Pro A seasons and was top three in assists in the league three times. One season he averaged 7,6apg and two other seasons 6,1apg. He finally reached the easyCredit BBL in 2020. In what would be his final season he played 28 games averaging 2,5ppg, 1,8rpg and 2,9apg. It was no secret that there was a big change and difference in skill level from the Pro A to BBL. He won’t forget what the biggest adjustment was. ‘Just the speed. The teams and players at the BBL level are so smart that they don’t need much time to recover from mistakes. At the Pro A level you can expose players a lot easier. In the BBL every player can play’, stated Virgil Matthews. I remember telling him time in and time out again the last years that he deserved to have reached the BBL years ago. Not reaching the BBL earlier never seemed to bother him. ‘It wasn’t meant to be things happen the way they are supposed to sometimes. I’ve had so many good teammates and seen so many players develop and move on it is nice to have a little continuity. I played in college I’ve played against high level guys very often, so I never doubted my abilities even if I never got a chance’, stressed Virgil Matthews. It isn’t strange that he has a lot of love for his ex teammate Chris Carter. He is another one of those players that should have a permanent pass for the easyCredit BBL, but currently is balling in the Pro A with Rostock. ‘Chris still has time and he will get another opportunity. He’s a great leader and a hard worker. Fondest memory of him as a player was the double pump 3 pointer to win the Hagen game 2 years ago. He’s one of my good friends and I’m sure we’ll continue to also make crazy off the court memories too’, added Virgil Matthews.

The Washington native who lists ex NBA player Troy Caupain as his most difficult opponent last season and Aubrey Reese as his toughest foe in the Pro A who gave him the easiest 25 points that he has ever seen now commences on a new challenge in his life as an assistant coach for Rodrigo Pastore. It was a no brainer for him to remain in Chemnitz and work and learn from such a talented and knowledgeable coach like Pastore. It will be interesting to see how he develops as a coach in the next years. There are a few aspects to coaching that is most appealing to him. ‘ I love the thinking. I’m really into the X’s and O’s part of basketball and the relationships you develop while you work this job’, expressed Virgil Matthews. His most important duties is being at practices, doing video work and helping giving input to players during the transfer period. It will be interesting to see how this year’s Chemnitz teams does on the court. One player who should profit very much under Matthews is point guard Nelson Weidemann. His development has been solid, but not fast. He continues to have gained experience in Munich, Bamberg and Goettingen and this season should easily make another step up with the Niners. ‘Nelson is really talented, I remember when I saw him play against the NBBL team while I was there, he had a really good game. I think he will have a good chance to make that next step with us, I will do my best to help him in whatever ways I can’, warned Virgil Matthews.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber witnessing Virgil Matthews last game in Frankfurt in 2021

Even if the ex Ehingen guard who last saw the movie A Quiet Place 2 has his most focus on the court and trying to help the players best, I’m sure every now and then, he might think back to his career and try to aid players with what he learned. He played more than 400 professional games and there are many games that he can still picture in his mind today. ‘ I remember making a 3 and having a great game against Karlsruhe in Pro A, but I mainly remember it because it was the night the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. Our last game before Covid was also one that stands out double overtime and DJ’s three to send it to overtime one of the craziest games I’ve been a part of Lastly, beating Munich was great, I played awful but it was a great moment for the club’, remembered Virgil Matthews. I will always remember Virgil Matthews as being a floor general who played for ages and gave the word consistency a new meaning. It also refreshing to know that he has his memories over our working relationship and seemingly unending interviews. ‘I will remember your work as someone who tried to get people to know players better and always had interest in the game and helped keep German basketball in the light’, stressed Virgil Matthews. Last but not least, the hardcore Niners fans won’t forget Virgil Matthews either. He hopes fans will remember him like this. ‘Just as a smart player who had fun and enjoyed what he was doing and enjoyed the experience’, said Virgil Matthews. His smartness and playmaking led the Niners club too a lot of success. That success should carry on as he now continues to let his legacy grow as a coach at the professional level.

The Miles Vs John Murry Weekly Basketball Chat Volume 3

John Murry (192-G-95, college: Austin Peay) is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Indianapolis, Indiana that is playing his third professional season in Germany with BSG Grevenbroich (Germany-Regionalliga). Before that he had experience with the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans. He played two years at Owens Community College playing 63 games and two years at Austin Peay State University (NCAA) playing 56 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 16.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 81.1%. He and Miles Schmidt-Scheuber talk weekly about basketball.

John thanks for talking to Another game and another loss. Grevenbroich is 0-3. Does the team feel the pressure building after the loss against Wulfen?

It’s just the little things that we need to fix and I believe we will do just that.

Grevenbroich lost 90-7 to BV Wulfen. Please talk about the main reasons why you couldn’t pull out the win?.

I think team chemistry is something that we struggle with but the good news is things are getting fixed with the quickness.

The week before you allowed 102 points to Hamm and now 90 points against BV Wulfen. What continues to be the biggest problems having success on the defensive end?

We are just needing to focus on the little things as a team and be there for one another to be better and create W’s in the win column.

The club got 43 rebounds which isn’t bad as you defended the own basket, but also allowed 18 offensive rebounds. Is the effort just not there at the moment?

The effort is there just not the focus, but we are getting it together as time passes

The club also had 21 turnovers which continues to be a problem. How much of a burden does it put on you mentally seeing this problem continue?

The one thing we continue to talk about is taking care of the ball so we can make the most of our offensive opportunities.

What was it like playing against American Bryant Allen who continues to put up good numbers in the Regionalliga. He didn’t have a great shooting day but led his team to the win?

Pretty good player and we will continue to build off the lesson learned last game.

Is it a shock when you don’t get to the free throw line? Was the aggressiveness missing?

Yes I have to do better at that aspect of the game for sure.

The focus and hunger for a win and another good game must be bursting in you. How tough will the waiting be this week to finally get a new chance again?

Tough is an understatement, I can nearly sleep at night, I’m ready to play now.

You next play Recklinghausen another must win who is 2-2. There you will have your hands full with Kendall Stafford.

Yes that is definitely a must win game for us, no matter what.

What’s your take on the whole Kyrie Irving COVID drama?

I support kyrie Irving and anything another player who wants to make a personal decision for the better of themselves.

Thanks John for the chat.

Self-Motivation Has Been A Big Key In Angelo Warner(BC Tmoki-Minsk) Being Able To Ride The High´s And Low´s In His Career

Angelo Warner (188-PG-92, college: Morehead St.) is a 29 year old 188cm point guard from Orlando, Florida that is playing his seventh professional season and first with Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League). He has vast professional experience having played in the ABA early in his career and overseas in countries like Mozambique, Bosnia, Hungry, Cyprus and Italy. He began his basketball career at Jones high school and then played 4 seasons and 129 NCAA games at Morehead State. He spoke to before a Fiba Europe Cup game in Crailsheim.

Thanks Angelo for talking to Welcome to Germany. What do you know in general about Germany and it’s basketball? Did you know that you have an ex Morehead State guy Brandon Shingles that played here? He graduated from Morehead a year before you arrived.

I didn’t know Brandon played in Germany but me and Him have talked a few times before.

Before we talk about basketball I have to ask you about COVID. Since COVID broke you played in Italy, Hungary and now Belarus. How did you experience the whole COVID time? What were the biggest challenges for you on and off the court?

Well when Covid hit in Italy, it was terrible. We were on lockdown like no other. We couldn’t move for weeks! Only trips to the market or pharmacy. I remember going to the market to buy masks, and they were out. I had to use a towel for a face cover. In Hungary, my whole team caught Covid! It was terrible also. I never had a sickness so bad. I lost 10 lbs fast! Lost my smell and taste for 3-4 weeks. The biggest challenge was getting back in shape because we had games a week later.

With everything that you witnessed during COVID, how do you feel did COVID make you stronger as a man?

I feel that it made me feel stronger about Covid. I never felt that Covid wasn’t real but I always thought our team would do everything to be secure from it but obviously not.

Your playing your first season with Tsmoki-Minsk. What kind of an experience has it been sharing your game in the VTB? You played in Eurocup and Italia Serie A. How does the VTB compare to those two leagues in terms of competition and skill?

Serie A for me was very tough and physical. Every game was tough and then we played Eurocup also which was very tough. Physically it wasn’t a challenge for me, I just feel I wasn’t given my opportunity because of the veterans there. Vtb is similar to Serie A in many ways. High level players every game, mentality and approach has to be sharp every night.

You recently probably played against the most talented professional team in your career CSKA Moscow losing 92-44. What kind of a learning experience was this for you and how do rate your game against guys like ex NBA players Bolomboy and Shved and other high class players?

I think personally to have a chance with teams like CSKA, you have to match the players some sort, physically, and with some sort of talent. We obviously weren’t ready to play them as everyone saw but I think now if we played them, it’ll be a different game, and then we’ll see what happens at the last buzzer.

How focused are you to have a great season in the VTB after not being able to show your true class in Italy?

This year has been a difficult year mentally for me. Before coming here, I lost my mom, and then couple days later I had to come here so mentally I wasn’t prepared to play basketball. A Week later, 4 of my best friends were killed, my dad was fighting for his life with Covid, I couldn’t do anything about it. So I was basically playing out of anger which turned to success thus far for me. I have another reason to play now. I always knew I could play anywhere for any club. Adaption is easy for me. Unfortunately, Italy wasn’t the place for me but now I think that’ll be a different story obviously haha.

Last season you played with Szolnoki Olajbanyasz KK (Hungary-A Division) averaging 12.8ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 90.0%; and in the FIBA Europe Cup averaged 14.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 80.0%. How vital has Hungry been for your career. Twice it gave you great opportunities to play in Italy and now Belarus.

Hungary has been a place I’ve enjoyed for the years playing there. I had a great team in Szolnok were we did some good things. Practices was insane but like I said, mentally and physically I was sharp enough to keep healthy for one and produce.

What was toughest about losing the hard fought 5 game series against Szombathel and top point guard Kyan Anderson who is back in Germany again.

I think we had a chance to beat them. But Falco is Hungary Stronghold. Anderson was good on film but I think we didn’t have any trouble with him, the other players though were the challenge. National team players, no chance. To

Two season ago you played with Germani Brescia Leonessa (Italy-Serie A) averaging 3.6ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.2apg; and in the Eurocup averaged 2.7ppg, 1.6rpg. How tough were the basketball growing pains and what did you learn about your game and yourself as a man?

I always talk about playing in Brescia and what I learned from playing there. I learned a lot about my game, and things I do today has been a great habit for me still today. I try to help others with what I learned from there, it’s a hard place to play. Physical! Smarts! Talent! Top quality basketball for sure. Maybe one day I’ll play there again.

Despite the tough season you had some high class teammates like Ken Horton and Deandre Lansdowne who all have played in Germany and made the next step. Especially how much of a role model was Deandre Lansdowne who went from the NCAA 2 and third league Germany to top leagues in Europe?

Those guys were great, DJ was a good dude who I mostly challenged myself with in practice. Hard working guy for sure. Ken was more of the positive guy for me. Someone I could talk to and he kept it real with me. Still today I talk to ken. He’s like a older brother to me.

In 2018-2019 you played with Sopron KC (Hungary-A Division) averaging 19.4ppg 5.3rpg, 5.4apg, Steals-3 (1.8spg), FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 82.8%. You had many huge games in your career, but what memories do you have of your 33 point explosion in the tough 90-89 playoff loss against Kormend?

So long ago! I just look at it as something I had to do in order for us to have a chance. That’s just me! Always find a way!

In 2017-2018 you played with KK Vogosca Sarajevo (Bosnia-Division I) playing 20 games: Score-1 (20.4ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-1 (8.1apg), Steals-1 (2.7spg), FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 80.7%. Could one say after playing in the ABA, Cyprus and Africa that this was your real break through season? How vital was this season for your career?

At this moment for me I basically started all the way over. With changing agents, we had a plan for working my way back up properly. It was just an opportunity I took and ran with. Good thing is it paid off a good deal.

You played two seasons with Ferroviario Beira (Mozambique-D1). What kind of an experience was it playing Africa? Do you have a unique experience that you had there that you will never forget?

Playing there was just something I wanted to do during the summer. It was short time but different. Experienced something I thought I’d never see. Saw the good and bad of it all. Fiba Africas cup was fun though for sure.

After having a stellar career in the NCAA, how eye opening was it seeing how tough it is to get overseas? You did land in Cyprus, but not before paying dues in the ABA.

I would say representation. I had a guy who didn’t have his best interest in me and I knew him personally. Sold me a dream basically. I don’t think it’s tough getting from college to overseas because if you got it then you got it and nobody can take that away. Talent speaks for itself!

You won your first and so far only professional title with Mapfree Life (Cyprus-North League) averaging 28.8ppg, 8.3rpg, 7.8apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 58.3%, 3FGP: 42.1%, FT: 82.3%. What memories do you have from that title and does that itch to win that second one get bigger and bigger each season?

The will to win is crucial to me every night. Everybody wants to win but what separates you from another is mentality and smarts to outsmart the other opponent.

You played at Morehead State from 2011-2015. What memories do you have from your career there? What was it like coming in and having to follow up the club’s NCAA tournament appearance the year before?

It was different. Big shoes to fill obviously after a season like that. But we tried and that was that.

Your sophmore season you had Tennessee State’s number scoring 24 and 23 points including an amazing 101-100 win. Where do you rank that game in your favorite NCAA games and what memories do you have of it?

That game was one of many games for me. Just another game to help my team win. I was just lucky that day lol. But coming from Florida, hbcu colleges was all I knew. Family members attending hbcu and the culture and music is what was the best. Our family enjoyed it so I kind of stuck with me. But I had many memories from games not just that one in particular.

What memories do you have playing Kentucky with so many future NBA players? You had 2 points in a 81-70 loss. What Kentucky player do you remember standing out most?

I believe if I didn’t get a concussion that game, we would’ve beaten Kentucky. I think Archy Goodwin was there guy that year. I was the key to stop him. Unfortunately I go put out early in the game.

For three years you had intense battles with Corey Walden. Is there a certain game that you will always remember?

Me and Corey played together in high school games in Florida. But in college, he always got the best of us for some reason. He’s a good player, but the year we played at their gym on ESPN, That was my day! So that was fun.

He didn’t have better stats than you, but you actually had some better seasons, but he has been a Euroleague player for years. Does a guy like him motivate you to do more every day in the lab?

I don’t think like that. Another person motivating me to be better in the lab. I’m a strong firm believer of self motivation! If you don’t have self motivation and determination, how can someone else push you to be better. I’ll be there one day, if I do then my time has come, if I don’t then life continues. I don’t look at other people’s situation and compare it to mines. Some guys have better luck then the next. It’s the way of life.

How did Sean Wood groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Coach Woods was great figure in my career. Inside/ out! Realization is a great word for him. He made me tougher, gritty, well rounded. He was a person that challenges you and if you can’t be coachable and accept what he wants out of you, then you will struggle. I just picked up more and more as I played with and against other players in my life.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Kareem Storey?

HAHAHA!!! Kareem is my boy for life but he knows that’s my game any time of the week. It was a challenge though for sure. Short, strong, hard defense! But for sure me.

Who was the toughest player that you ever battled on the court that reached the NBA?

For sure Mike James! Without a doubt. But then again,Teodosic was just unbelievable in my eyes when I played in Italy. But again another hard question to ask because I played against some good players. In summer leagues and professional games.

Please name your five best teammates of all-time.

Oh man that’s a long list!

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

This is a never ending debate. I think the era and rules of today’s game is judgmental to the answer. I’m a Jordan fan all day long. I grew up watching vhs tapes of him. I still have them till this day. But Lebron in today’s era is the king without question. But another thing is mental. It’s important to me! The mindset of Jordan and the tenaciousness he had for any challenge was like no other. That’s why Kobe is my other favorite. Never backed down from a challenge. Not taking away from Lebron but that’s just me.

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

I haven’t watched the new but I heard it’s very different and that’s why I believe I haven’t watched it yet. Some older movies shouldn’t be messed with. They change too much and makes the movies ridiculous!

Thanks Angelo for the chat.

 Jason Clark(Tsmoki-Minsk) Found His GOAT With Quantez Robertson And Favorite Coach With Gordon Herbert With The Fraport Skyliners

Jason Clark (190-G-90, college: Georgetown) is a 31 year old 190cm guard from Arlington, Virginia playing his 10th professional season and first with Tsmoki-Minsk (VTB League). He played at Georgetown (NCAA) from 2008-2012 playing a total of 130 NCAA Games. He began his professional career in 2012 and played 4 seasons in Belgium as well as in Turkey, Germany and Italy. He spoke to before a Fiba Europe Cup game in Crailsheim.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jason Clark in Frankfurt in 2019

Thanks Jason for talking to What does it feel like being in

Germany again. What do you miss most from the time you were there?

It feels great. We flew into Frankfurt and it was great seeing the airport again. Germany was always one of my favorite places to play. The league was very professional and the fans were great. One day I hope to be back in Germany on a team.

Before we talk about basketball I have to ask you how you have experienced COVID. You were in Italy and China since it broke. What was the most challenging thing for you to cope with on and off the court?

I never went to China. It was just a rumor. I got out of practice and my agent sent me a screen shot where it said I had signed in China. Nobody ever approached me. In terms of Covid, Italy was hit really hard. I was in Varese when Covid hit. My daughter was about to be born so I had to make the decision to go home or stay. I didn’t know if the season would be cancelled. I decided to go home to see the birth of my daughter. A week later the season was cancelled. It was the right decision. Seeing my daughter being born was the greatest feeling in my life. All in all being home with my family during Covid was the greatest feeling. I know guys that lost loved ones and others who didn’t have jobs. Covid hit everyone hard.

With everything you saw on and off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?

Covid made me realize how precious life is and the sport basketball. We dedicate ourselves to the game. This is what pays our bills. Some guys were at the start in the middle or at the end of their careers. Covid affected everyone is different ways. Covid really made me cherish sport and to always give my best.

Your playing your first season with Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League) and playing VTB. How are you best prepared for the difficult travel that is involved?

Yes VTB is heavy traveling. I’m totally prepared for it. My rookie season I played Eurochallenge and I remember we traveled a lot. My season in Frankfurt we played Eurocup and we had a couple flights to Russia. Traveling doesn’t bother me. I’m so focused on basketball. Being able to play against amazing competition motivates me not to worry about the travel. I just try to play my best each game.

Winning the VTB title will be difficult, but how realistic does the club see their chances at raising the Fiba Europe Cup in May 2022?

Winning the Fiba Europe Cup is a goal of ours. We want to advance and then take it one game at a time. We beat a very good Greek team and feel good about our chances. We definitely want to be near the end in 2022.

In Frankfurt Gordon Herbert had you play the point guard position. How comforting is it being at the shooting guard position and getting fed by Angelo Warner?

It’s very comforting. We are slowly building chemistry together. He can do it all with scoring and passing. The team was missing some help at the 2 spot and I was glad to help. We both have been helping each other out and everyone else and just want to win games.

If one looks at your stats, they have been brutally consistent since your rookie season. Are you in your prime now or past it at age 31?

I feel I’m getting into my prime. Mentally I feel great and physically as well. My self-confidence is very high. I raised the stakes this season. I held out a bit longer than usual looking for the right fit. I see the VTB League and it really doesn’t get any better than that. I’m ready to continue to be consistent.

You have some very talented teammates. What kind of an experience has it been being teammates with Cuban Darol Hernandez-Zanenko who is called the Russian and has never had an agent. He seems to be a real character.

The first thing that stands out is that he is a really funny guy. He is also a great teammate. We have him play at the 5 even if he is undersized. But that doesn’t show because how big his heart is. He doesn’t score much, but he is a key part of our offense. He gives his all each possession. There are a lot of big guys in the VTB, but that doesn’t bother him. He fights against each player. That is the kind of player you always want and need on your team. He is willing to go to war on each possession.

Last season you played with Reale Mutua Basket Torino (Italy-Serie A2) averaging 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 88.6%. Talk a little about the A-2 league. It isn’t talked about much but is a very strong league with very strong players. How would you compare the league to other top leagues you have played in like the German BBL and Italian Serie A?

A lot of people don’t realize how tough the Italian A-2 is. There are very good Americans playing here. A lot of players come from higher leagues to play there. There are also a lot of great coaches as well. I was blessed to be on a great team in Torino. We played team basketball. There wasn’t an American that got the ball and shot the ball 100 times. We actually played defense. It is similar in style to the Serie A. there just aren’t as much Americans.

You have seen many crazy things in your basketball life, but tell me what was going through your mind at the end of game 5 against Tortona where you up 2-1 and lost game four and game five by one point each?

That final loss was a heartbreaker. It hurts till this day. In game 4 all we needed was for the ball to hit the rim and pop up and let time expire, but instead it dropped into the hands of the opponent and they won the game. In game 5 we got a questionable call and Jamar Sanders made the free throw to win the game and title. It stopped us from moving up to Serie A. It was the worst feeling in my basketball career. It hurt so much seeing how hard my teammates had fought all season to get to this position. But that loss motivated to get right back at it. But that is the glory of basketball in that there is always another day to compete.

You were teammates with American Kruize Pinkins who began in the German Pro A and made to the Italy via the German BBL. What was it like playing with this work horse?

He is a great guy. He was always professional and we had a good relationship. He is very talented and can shoot from many different positions. It was really cool to have him on the team.

Even if you never played in China has 2 box scores of you in China. Many ex NBA players play in China and put up astronomical stats of like 35,0ppg. If you played 35 minutes how do you think would your stat line look like?

I would average 24 points, dish out 6 or 7 assists and have 5 rebounds per game.

In 2019-2020 you played with Openjobmetis Varese (Italy-Serie A,) averaging 11.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 83.3%. How did you rate that season until Covid came?

Serie A was a great experience. There are great teams, players and coaches there as well. I played against high talent. At that point that was the highest level that I had ever played at. It was amazing being able to have competed against such high talent.

You were teammates with Josh Mayo. What was it like sharing the back court with him? Which of you two ha s the more unorthodox jumper?

Yes we do. I don’t know which of us has the more unorthodox shot. He gets so much lift as he jumps shooting. He is still playing this season in Naples, Italy.

With what memories do you look back at your season with the Fraport Skyliners?.Statistically you had a good season. Where would you rank it statistically?

Stat wise I think it was one of my best seasons as a professional. It was my best season shooting the three and free throws. I felt I played very well all around. Gordie Herbert just put me in a great position to do well. Tyler Larsen believed in me and well Quantez Robertson did it all. It was one of my favorite seasons.

You have played with many many teammates over your career. Where do you rank Quantez Robertson alone from his sheer energy that he always gives?

Tez is my #1. He is the GOAT. I never saw a guy give it his all the way he did. You look at his age and you would think that he has got to slow down sometime, but he doesn’t. He goes out and plays 40 minutes, guards the other team’s best player and then still able to do it all on offense. He is also a great leader. He is also a funny guy. He always lightens the mood. He gets everybody to smile, but when it’s time to compete, he is a wolf. I heard about his injury. Other guys would be out for months, but he is supposed to miss 2-4 weeks. I bet he will be back even earlier.

Gordon Herbert is the German national team coach. What example can you remember from his coaching that really impressed you?

His mind for the game of basketball impresses me the most. It is at a very high level. It is amazing how he is able to control his players in terms of each guys different personality. That isn’t easy to do. He has so much confidence in his players. He always made it clear exactly what he wanted from each player. He is a coach that you want to battle for. He was one of my favorite coaches that I have ever played for. I had my best season under him, because he put me in the best position to sue my strength.

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

No I didn’t see it. Of course they should of left it alone. The first is a classic. That is probably the reason why I didn’t see it. It got mixed reviews. I want to have the forever memory of the first one.

Thanks Jason for the chat.

Darol Hernandez-Zinenko(BC Tsmoki_Minsk) Is A Cuban Called The Russian And Has Lived A Very Untypical Basketball Career Without An Agent

Darol Hernandez-Zinenko is a 32 year old 207cm forward from Cuba that is playing his fourth season in Belarus and first with  Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League). Previously he played for  BK Grodno-93 (Belarus-Premier League) and  COR-Borisfen Mogilev (Belarus-Premier League) in Belarus. He began his career in Cuba and also played 5 seasons in Ecuador and briefly in Mexico. He spoke to before a Fiba Europe Cup game in Crailsheim

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

I am currently in Belarus, and life thank God well, struggling every day to get ahead

When you hear the word Germany, how quickly do you think about your ex teammate Yorman Polas Bartolo?

Of course I remember my friend Yorman, although we don’t talk very often, I am always proud of the growth he has had in European basketball. I wish him the best and I hope to see him soon

Your Cuban and since 2010 you have played in only 2 countries Belarus and Ecuador. A very untypical career route. Would it be fair to say that you haven´t had the usual basketball career of a Cuban player?

The truth is that since I left Cuba my professional career has been very difficult and even more so when you don’t have an agent to represent me.

Your nickname is the Russian. How did you get it? Does it have something to do with having played in Belarus?

My nickname was born since I was in Cuba in the National team, so my mother is Russian and they nicknamed me Russian

After starting your career at home in Cuba you then ventured to Ecuador as a 21 year old and played there four years for four different clubs. Why did you make this move?

Well, my years in Ecuador served me a lot, since it was my first professional experience, the difficult thing is that I only play there for 4 months. Also at that time there was not the ease that exists now of being able to sign a contract outside the country of Cuba and at that time Ecuador was the only door that was opened to start my professional career

You then made the jump to Europe to BGU Minsk (Belarus-Premier League) playing 22 games averaging 17.6ppg, Reb-2(10.8rpg), 2.6apg, Steals-4(2.7spg), FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 61.0%. What do you remember being your wake up call where you knew that you were far away form the warm climate of Cuba? I can imagine that the winter was tough for you?

At first when I arrived in Belarus it was difficult since nobody knew me and I had to make myself known, and thank God the possibility of playing for Bgu came out. The weather also shocked me hard, since one was used to a bit of heat and suddenly you are in a country where the temperature is at -20

You showed that you had no problems adjusting to overseas ball. What really stands out is your versatility? Is that something that you always had or something that grew with time?

I think I always played so versatile although I confess that I love European basketball and it makes you grow more as a player and in the way of understanding basketball

You also have very high assist numbers. Are you one of those guys that would love to play point guard for a game if given the opportunity?

I like to pass the ball. I don’t see myself playing the pg position

In your second season in Belarus you played with BK Grodno-93 (Belarus-Premier League) averaging 5.8ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 18.4%, FT: 70.1%. Your stats really dipped. What do you remember from this season and was this a reason why you returned back to Ecuador?

My season in Grodno was a bit strange, since I could never adapt to the coach’s philosophy and no, I returned to Ecuador because my daughter had just been born and also that I live there

How tough was it usually being the only import that wasn´t from Belarus? Was it difficult remembering every player´s name on the team?

Well in Grodno it was a bit difficult, all because communication with my colleagues was difficult and it was also the first time that this team had hired an import.

You then returned back to Ecuador for two seasons playing with Club Iccan de Macas (ECU-National League). How important was it returning to a favorable environment and just having fun again?

Returning to Ecuador and starting a new project with the Iccan club was special, since I met players and people who helped me to mature as a player. In addition to participating in the South American league of clubs, which is a high level in South America, was something for me super special and exciting

You then came back to Belarus and played parts of three seasons with COR-Borisfen Mogilev (Belarus-Premier League). That first season was great stat wise, but in the second you weren´t as dominant and also fled to Mexico to finish the season and then returned back to Belarus after Mexico. Talk a little about this time about your highs and lows?

After 2 seasons in Ecuador, the Borisfen club called me from Belarus, the first year went well for me personally and also collectively. The second season my intention was to participate in the Fiba Eurocup and after the tournament I got the opportunity from going to play in Mexico, which at that time was the best league in South America. Then the pandemic happened that paralyzed everything that is sport in all of South America and where the only job was in Europe and the opportunity came to return to Borisfen. As I told you at the beginning my entire career without an agent

In this time you also lost two finals to Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League). I guess moving to Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League) this season was the most obvious choice to make. Winning that chip is what it is all about.

Losing two finals against Tsmoki was difficult and even more so the second final. Now the club gave me the opportunity and I will do everything I can to help the team reach some goals this year

Your turning 32 in November and are playing in the best league in your career with the VTB League. What kind of an experience was it starting against top Euroleague team CSKA Moscow and seeing all those ex NBA players?

Starting the first game of the season against CSKA was something very hard. I think that in general the VTB league has a very high level and every game is difficult

What was it like battling that beast Tornike Shengelia? How do you feel did you hold up in this game?

Shengelia is a great player and for me a good experience to face him.

What is your biggest goal with Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League) besides winning titles? Your one of the older guys. Is being a mentor type to the younger guys a thing you like to do?

Well, my goal this season is to adapt to this league and do it well and to help the team win games and also to be able to give that energy that characterizes me and to give some advice to the younger players

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

In my opinion they are both great players and the two best in history along with Kobe

Did you see the sequel to the classic movie Coming To America? Shouldn´t they just have left it alone?

I did not see the movie.

Thanks Darol for the chat.

Noah Westerhaus Gives The Bona Baskets Limburg The Needed Boost Of Energy Propelling Them By The Fellbach Flashers 91-76

Fellbach is one of those teams that is slated to be one of the favorites for the Regionalliga South-West crown this season, but instead of having a possible 4-0 record, they were dumpling around in position 7. They have been up and down winning two shootouts with 100 plus points and then losing two defensive battles averaging only 53 points per game. They have been very unpredictable which can be very dangerous for teams. While the Bona Baskets Limburg are also a team that could give a lot of teams problems and be in the fight for the top three spots, but have also underachieved so far having a 1-3 record and were in 11th place. They returned home after sustaining a tough 93-72 loss in Kronberg and showed a lot better performance breaking open the game in the third quarter thanks to the boost of energy from Noah Westerhaus (200-PF-98, agency: Gamble Sports Management) and then cruising to the win 91-76 over the Fellbach Flashers. After the big win KJ Sherrill who didn’t have his explosive scoring game, but still filled the stat sheet nicely with 17/11/5/1/1 stats reflected on the victory. ‘Our zone did a good job recognizing their best shooter Lars Berger. We always knew where he was on the court and all his shots were contested’, stressed ex Koblenz forward KJ Sherril. Fellbach stayed with Limburg well in the first half, but in the second half didn’t execute as well on offense anymore and when they did get behind couldn’t get over the hump anymore. They also averaged giving 65 points coming into the game, but couldn’t get consistent stops all night long ‘We didn’t defend well. Our communication and help side wasn’t good. I have to give credit to Limburg for being able to get to the basket and score’, added ex easyCredit BBL player Kostas Karamatskos.
The first quarter was pretty even as no team could escape from the other and go on a run as there were 6 lead changes. Fellbach had the first lead getting baskets from ex Coburg German Daniel Eisenhardt and ex Arizona Christian (NAIA) forward Anton Ivy, but the Bona Baskets also found their offensive rhythm quickly getting a trey from captain Justin Stallbohm for the 8-5 advantage. But Fellbach swiped the lead back getting two buckets from Ivy who has found no adjustment period needed getting adjusted to the European game as he displayed a lot of aggressiveness as Fellbach led 13-10. But Limburg remained in offensive striking mode getting the lead back at 14-13 thanks to a Westerhaus left handed hook shot and a Sherril put back. Fellbach was getting many easy baskets inside as their three point game was non existent while Limburg played with a high intensity on offense. Both teams got the lead back again with three’s from Stallbohm and 31 year old Lithuanian Vilius Sermokas who came into the game shooting 50% from the parking lot for the 20-17 lead. The Fellbach Flashers held the lead to the end as Limburg played catch up basketball, but were supported by baskets from Sherrill who scored twice including on the pick and roll with Stallbohm as the game was deadlocked at 24-24 after 10 minutes. ‘Fellbach came out with a lot of energy and we couldn’t stop their transition. Once we stopped the ball, it slowed them down a bit’, stated KJ Sherrill. Both teams shot at a high click from the field at 50%, while Limburg shot 42% from outside and Fellbach a pathetic 16,7 from outside while Limburg had the 7-5 rebound edge.

Fellbach guard Vilius Sermokas at the ft line

The contest remained very tight until the break as no team led by more than 5 points. There were 4 lead changes, but the Bona Baskets took control at the end taking the lead into the break. Ex Croatian U-18 national player Matej Kljaic had been quiet on the scoring front in the first quarter, but got more aggressive in the second quarter scoring twice giving Limburg the 29-24 lead as his penetration is very difficult to contain as he has lightening speed. But basketball will always be a game of runs and almost as rapidly as Kljaic scored, Fellbach struck back stealing the lead back with two three’s from Sermokas and young German Jovan Vukovic for the 30-29 advantage. After getting many easy touches around the basket, Fellbach finally got their three game going. After Sherrill hit his bread and butter a 15 footer and giving Limburg the lead back, it was Fellbach again who retrieved the lead back with a Ivy reverse lay up and Berger lay up. Fellbach was breaking the Limburg zone and getting easy baskets leading 34-31. But Limburg then woke up going on a 17-7 run to lead 47-41 at half-time and they would never look back again. In the run they got a big three pointer from Westerhaus and vital production from German Norman Klima who is playing his 9th season in Limburg and never averaged more than 5,0ppg in a Regionalliga season. He dropped a massive trey and made a tap in at the buzzer. ‘We played good team basketball and just trusted each other and helped each other’, stated KJ Sherril. The Bona Baskets continued to shoot very well at 40% from the field and outside while Fellbach upped their three point shooting to 26%. Limburg also controlled the boards 18-13.

Justin Stallbohm driving to the basket

In the third quarter the Fellbach Flashers stayed close to Limburg, but half way through the Bona Baskets erupted on a 10-0 run to break open the game and led by as much as 14 points. Fellbach was playing sound inside out basketball and still continued to get easy baskets inside. Daniel Eishardt scored twice and Tauras Ulevicius nailed a trey and scored a runner to trail Limburg only 51-50. Fellbach didn’t look in bad shape, but as is usually the case, a run suddenly comes which partially paralyzes the team. The Bona Baskets struck with a blow scoring 10 unanswered points and grabbing the 61-50 lead. Noah Westerhaus exploded scoring 7 points in a row. He showed why he is a good inside out player scoring in the paint, hitting a three and then scoring a two handed dunk on transition. Stallbohm added a trey for good measure. Westerhaus showed brilliant aggressiveness while the Limburg zone stopped Fellbach making their game static. Fellbach finally executed on offense again getting a three pointer from Lars Berger who had a rough 3/11 shooting night from outside and a lay in from young German Mark Golder who started his career in Munich at IBAM. But the Bona Baskets continued to execute smoothly on offense getting two more buckets from Kljaic and a thunderous two handed stuff from Westerhaus for the 69-55 lead. Limburg had control and the momentum of the game. Fellbach wasn’t totally gone as they closed out the third quarter with a 5-2 run getting another trey from Sermokas and lay in from Berger to trail only 71-61. ‘We know that when somebody has the hot hand, we should keep feeding him. We know what Noah is capable of and he showed it. Kljaic also played exceptional. He had told us at half-time that we need to win together. It wasn’t about you or I. We trusted each other’, stressed KJ Sherril. ‘We weren’t running our plays offense and doing too much 1-1. We missed free throws and they hit big shots. We also had bad shot selection shooting too quickly’, stated Kostas Karamatskos.

Matej Kljaic at the FT line

The Fellbach Flashers gave some resistance in the first minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Bona Baskets Limburg then went on a lethal 8-0 run to decide the game. Berger and Golder scored important baskets to cut the Limburg lead to 74-67, but the Bona Baskets didn’t looked rattled by this come back attempt. Limburg continued to play their game and was supported greatly by their great point guard Matej Kljaic who scored 5 points in a row. He came into the contest shooting only 20%, but hit timely trey’s when the team needed them. Stallbohm did the same also scoring from down town as Limburg led 82-67. Fellbach also had a lot of mis fortune as nothing fell for them anymore. Here and there Fellbach scored, but were never able to get it under double digits again. A Ulevicius jumper and Berger jumper cut the Limburg lead to 84-74, but Limburg closed out the game in style getting another lay in from Westerhaus and another three from Stallbohm as he shot a potent 62% to end the game. ‘We knew that we had to keep the lead. They got fatigued and coach Danny told us to keep being aggressive and run our plays. Plus Matje Kljaic was our floor general and did a great job running the game. We all listened to him’, said KJ Sherril. ‘It was tough not playing with a real big man and having to go against their two bigs. We had a 7 man rotation and got tired. We didn’t have the energy from the start’, explained Kostas Karamatskos. The Bona Baskets Limburg were led by Matej Kljaic and Noah Westerhaus with 25 points apiece. KJ Sherrill added 17 points while the Fellbach Flashers were led by Lars Berger with 16 points while Tauras Ulevicius had 14 points and Vilius Sermokas 13 points. The Bona Baskets Limburg shot 52% from the field and 46% from outside and had 31 rebounds and 9 turnovers while the Fellbach Flahers shot 46% from the field and 35% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 12 turnovers.

Matej Kljaic(Bona Baskets Limburg) Remembers Matjaz Smodis Being The Strongest Player He Ever Played Against And Made Him Scream On The Screen

Matej Kljaic (189-PG-93) is a 27 year old 189cm point guard from Croatia that is playing his second season for the Bona Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga). Before coming to Limburg he played a season with TV Idstein (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 15 games avergaing 9.6ppg, 4.3rpg, Assists-2 (7.1apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 70.7%. In that season he recorded a triple double against Sutggart. Before that he played his career in his native Croatia. He had early experience playing for the U-16 Austrian national team and U-18 Croatian national team. He spoke to about basketball after the win over the Fellbach Flashers.

Thanks Matej for talking to Congrats on the big 91-77 win against Fellbach. What were the main reasons for the win?

The key tonight was defense. We had beat them last summer with our zone and did it again this time. Once our zone worked we played with more confidence on offense and had better ball movement. We played team basketball.

Your playing your second season with the Bona Baskets Limburg. How tough was last season starting the season and then having it abruptly stopped and What were the biggest challenges for you with COVID?

It was tough that all gyms were closed and we couldn’t practice. Some teams practiced while others didn’t. We didn’t have our school gym. I found another solution and went home and practiced with my old team.

How do you feel did you get stronger as a man with everything that you experienced?

I saw the world in a different light

Talk a little about your experience with the Bona Baskets Limburg. What have you enjoyed most about playing for head coach Danny Stallbohm?

I have a lot of freedom in Limburg to play my game. I have the confidence to give my maximum. I am able to lead the team.

How much fun is it throwing up the ball to the rim and knowing that KJ Sherril will get it and score?

It is a lot of fun. I love our pick and roll game. We have played more than a half year but really know each other well. We always find a solution together.

What kind of an experience has it been being teammates with Justin Stallbohm? What have you enjoyed most with his game?

Justin is a great player, guy, friend and three point shooter. When he is hitting shots, he makes everything easier for us. He opens up our inside game.

You’re a top point guard in the German Regionalliga with 20/3/6 stats. Have you ever wondered if you could average a double double with points and assists?

Yes of course I have. I have never been a guy that looks at the stats, but I first watch the team results.

I feel like you could easily play in the German Pro B. How big is your motivation to keep moving up the basketball ladder?

I hope I can play in the Pro B one day. I looked last summer, but there was no interest. Then I came to play for Danny. I like playing with Limburg. Here I can wait for new opportunities. I am a physical therapist, but in order to do that job in Germany, I need to know the language. I’m taking German courses. Currently I work at DHL delivering packages.

You are a very quick point guard that can get to the basket easily. Who were your role models growing up?

I enjoyed watching Vassilis Spanoulis and Dimitris Diamantidis

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

I work on everything. My shooting, dribbling and pick and roll situations. But I actually learn more from watching. I have been watching Euroleague since I was 16 years old.

Two seasons ago you played in Idstein. You had a triple double against Idstein. What memories do you have of that game?

I remember that game. It was in Stuttgart. I didn’t know I had reached a triple double until I saw the stats. That was my best game in Germany.

You played in your homeland in your early years. Now you have been in Germany some years. Do you think you might play in other countries in the future?

I’m very happy in Germany, but I wouldn’t mind playing in Spain. I think it’s the best country for basketball.

When you were 17 you played against future NBA player Bojan Bogdanovic. What memories do you have of this battle?

He is a great player. But I played against many great players. I also played against Mike James.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Bona Baskets Limburg point guard Matej kljaic

Who was the best player that you ever faced?

Matjaz Smodis. He was the strongest player that I ever played against. I was guarding Dontaye Draper and Smodis made me scream on the screen.

Who wins a one on one in practice you or Justin Stallbohm?

Me of course.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The series You.

Thanks Matej for the chat.