Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Kris Davis´s Ability As A Playmaker With Phoenix Hagen Was The One Quality That Increased The Most In His Game

Kris Davis is a 25 year old 188cm guard from Detroit that finished his fourth professional season and first with Phoenix Hagen averaging 13,6ppg, 2,4rpg and 3,5apg. He played the last three seasons in Spain. Last season he played with KIA Sakimovil Navarra de Pamplona (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 35 games averaging 14.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 75.0%. Two seasons ago he played with Arcos Albacete Basket (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 30 games averaging 15.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 72.5%. As a rookie he played with Penas Huesca (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 40 games averaging 7.1ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 65.3%. He started his basketball career with SIU Edwardsville (NCAA in 2011 playing a total of 110 NCAA games. In his senior year he played 28 games averaging 14.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 69.9%. He spoke to about his season in Germany.

Kris thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and what will be the first restaurant that you will visit when you get off the plane when you get home?

Miles, thank you for taking the time to reach out to me again. Right now I am still in Hagen enjoying some down time with my teammates. The first restaurant I will visit when I get home will be 8 mile Grill Coney Island. Straight from the airport, no stops!

Has the NCAA Madness taken your mind off not reaching the playoffs with Phoenix Hagen? 

Actually it has the opposite effect. Watching the NCAA tournament only reminds me that we should be playing post-regular season games too but it didn’t work out for us this season. 

The fight for the playoffs in the Pro A was fierce as the teams 9-12 were very close behind not more than two wins less. How disappointing was it not making the cut into the top 8?

It was very disappointing for everyone a part of the Phoenix club. With the same exact record last year, Phoenix was able to secure a spot to the playoffs but there was so much parity in the league this year that 15 wins was not enough for us this time around. We only have ourselves to blame because we had multiple chances to secure our spot in the play-offs; We just didn’t get it done. 

What is your summary of the team season. Were a few import players missing and what could the team have done better to have reached the playoffs?

It was definitely an up and down year for us. Firing our first coach after 6 games, then not having a head coach for the next 3 games, and finally adjusting to Coach Harris’ style of play was a lot to deal with in one season. Given the circumstances, I thought we did pretty well with handling most of the adversity. We had everything that a playoff team needed but we let too many chances slip away in games that we should have won. 

Phoenix Hagen had a very roller coaster season. It’s best stretch of the season was from mid November to Christmas. Why couldn’t the team find that success again in 2019? 

I think during that stretch we were playing so incredibly hard because at that point we had nothing to lose. I believe we won 8 games in a row before we eventually ended up losing to Ehingen. It’s hard to say exactly why we couldn’t harness that energy again to go another streak. The truth is we were winning on the road but couldn’t manage to win a home game in 2019. 

The club lost four of five games to end the season and miss the playoffs. Was the bitter 92-90 loss to Trier at the start of this five game skid the game that mentally broke you guys? 

Mentally everyone was still activated even after the loss to Trier because we knew we still had a chance to make the playoffs. Everyone was always optimistic and positive until the very end of the season. Coach Harris did a great job of keeping us motivated before, during, and after the games too, win or lose. I think during this skid we just had a bit of bad luck. 

Phoenix Hagen scored points and was one of the top rebounding teams, but despite giving up 80 points still ninth best. It seems like the Pro A is becoming more of a scoring league. Why do you feel are clubs having more difficulty keeping points off the board?

I think it’s more so to do with the quality of players in the Pro A. Compared to other leagues I have played in, the Pro A is more of a fast paced/one on one type of league. Of course there are some teams who are great at executing set plays but for the most part guys put their individual skills on display each game. So I wouldn’t say clubs are having trouble playing defense, it’s just the quality of players in the Pro A is at an exceptional level.

Despite missing the playoffs, what positives can the club take from this season? 

Even though we didn’t make the playoffs, everyone remained relatively healthy. Only one major injury with Marco and his knee. We managed to turn a 2-6 start around with 8 straight victories in a very close/competitive league. Through all the ups and downs of the season the team managed to stay together and not point fingers at each other when things didn’t go our way. I’d say these were the most positive things that we could take away from this season. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. What kind of a pleasure was it playing with Alex Herrera? How good is he and what stories from Spain did you tell each other?

I absolutely loved playing with every guy in that locker room, including Al. Al has a lot of weapons that most guys his size do not have. He can back you down on either block, finish with either hand, shoot the pick & pop mid-range shot, and he can even step out and hit an occasional three when he wants. Down on the defensive end the guy is a great rim protector. It’s interesting because we both had similar experiences from playing in Spain and we would always talk about how grateful we were for the situation at Phoenix. 

You played with many German players. Which player do you feel made the biggest jump in their development this season?

It’s hard to say because I didn’t get to see any of them play last year to have this year to compare it to. Just off of the top of my head, I think the younger guys who would practice with us sometimes (Emil, Tobi, Jonah) really learned and improved a lot this year. 

What was your impression of German Jonas Grof? He has had BBL experience. What do you remember from your duels with him in practice and what did you appreciate most about his game? 

With Jonas being 6’5, he has a size advantage that most point guards you’ll run across won’t have. He does an excellent job of getting into the lane and using his size/body to get where he wants to in the paint and finish strong. On top of his body control, he also has great court vision in transition and when reading pick & rolls. Above all of his qualities as a basketball player, Jonas is a great guy on and off the court. At all times he remained positive and he probably has the most contagious laugh I’ve ever heard. Just a fun guy to be around. 

Another German who had a solid season was Jannik Lodders. How did you see his development and what did you appreciate most about what he was able to display on the court? 

The thing is appreciated most about Jan is that he always give his maximum effort when he stepped on the court. He brought the same energy that he used offensively to the defensive end as well. He’s very athletic, can guard positions 1-4, and can shut down the opposing team’s best wing player. Jannik is a very good two-way player. 

What kind of impression did German Dominik Spohr who has BBL experience make on you. Was his glue guy like abilities one that helped the team most?

Dom’s leadership aura is the first impression I had of him. He’s just the kind of guy you want with you when it’s war time. Dom always put the team first when it came to anything basketball related. His basketball IQ and veteran savvy helped us out a lot when games were close down the stretch. 

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 13,6ppg, 2,4rpg and 3,5apg. How content were you with your first season in Germany? 

We didn’t make the playoffs so it was not enough. I should have done more to put our team in position to be playing in April. I’m not sure how most Americans do in their first year in the Pro A so it’s hard for me to say if I’m content with those numbers. I just know it was not enough for to make the playoffs so I have to be better next time around.

In our last interview you stated, ‘It’s always a challenge trying to keep your shot on point. Especially with the 3 point line being a little further back, you just have to adjust. However, practice makes perfect and I’m confident that I will reach 40% shooting from Three again’. You were so close at 39,8%. How much of a challenge was being a good three point shooter in the German Pro A compared to the Leb Silver in Spain?

The difference in level became clearer to me as each game of the season came and went. I found myself having to focus a little more and to pick my spots better because of the level of individual defense and team defense in the Pro A; So shooting well in the Pro A was a little bit more of a challenge. 

How do you feel were you able to grow as a player in the German Pro A. As a point guard it is vital to make the right play. Was this something that continued to grow in your game? 

Absolutely. I feel my ability as a playmaker/decision maker was the one quality that increased the most this season. I was given more opportunities to create for my teammates by making defensive reads and quick decisions. 

What was your personal best game this season? Possibly your 22 point effort in the victory over top Pro A team Chemnitz? 

I think this game against Chemnitz was probably my best game too. Not only because of the stats but because of the timing of the win. It was a very important road game for us and we needed the W badly. I was glad I was able to perform well and help us get the win. 

What is the next step for you? I’m sure you will get good offers from Pro A playoff teams and possibly some BBL teams. Would Germany be a big option on your list or could you imagine taking on a new challenge and culture in another country? 

Staying in Germany is definitely a big option. I don’t know exactly how this summer will unfold but I will talk with my agent and make the best decision for myself and my family. Seeing new cultures is always fun and exciting but sometimes it’s best to remain where things are familiar and comfortable for you. 

You have a long summer ahead of you. On what things will you be working on most in the basketball lab as you get ready for that next opportunity? 

Well I’ll start going to the weight room about a week after I fly back home. I need to become a little stronger and work on my core a lot in the off season. As far as in the lab, I’ll work on shooting off the dribble a lot and continue developing point guard/playmaking tendencies. I’m also going to prepare mentally a lot more to get over the hump from being good to being great. 

Please name your five all-time best teammates in college and pro’s

Wow haha this is a tough one. I think I would have to go with these five guys: Mike Torres, Derian Shaffer, Ray Lester, Joel Aminu, Rozell Nunn 

It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?

I don’t see why not. He has everything that an all-time great possesses. His offensive skill set is unbelievable and he thinks the game really well too. I guess it all comes down to if he will win enough to be considered an all-time great European player. 

What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?

I admire the confidence he has in himself and the journey he has taken to be able to say something like that. I’m not in a position to say if he is right because I was too young to see Jordan’s era but LeBron is the best player I’ve ever seen. 

Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion? 

Of course I do. Tom Brady went to the University of Michigan so by default he is more of a GOAT than MJ (I’m a huge Michigan Wolverines fan). But all jokes aside, I agree with Charles. MJ took a break in the middle of his career to go and play basketball. Tom Brady has been consistently great for as long as I can remember. I think his longevity gives him the edge over Michael. 

Tom Brady won sixth Super Bowl. Where will he be if he wins a seventh next season? 

He is already considered to be the greatest quarterback of all time so if he wins a seventh in the following season, I think that places him in a stratosphere all by himself. 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

The last movie that I saw was a classic called Money Talks. One of Chris Tucker and Charlie Sheen’s funniest movies to this day.

Thanks Kris for the chat

Shavar Newkirk(FC Schalke) Knows That Being A Player Is More Than What You Do On The Court

Shavar Newkirk is a 23 year old 183cm guard from the Bronx, New York that played his rookie season in Germany with FC Schalke 04 (Germany-ProA) averaging 15,4ppg, 4,2rpg, 2,8apg and 1,5spg. He began his basketball career at Cardinal Heyes HS /Bronx, NY. In 2014 he began his NCAA career with St.Joseph’s (NCAA) playing 31 games averaging 3.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.3apg. In his sophomore season with St.Joseph’s (NCAA) he played 37 games averaging 8.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 31.2%, FT: 73.8%. In his junior season at St.Joseph’s (NCAA) he played 12 games averaging 20.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 84.7%. In his senior year with St.Joseph’s (NCAA) he played 32 games averaging 17.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 76.4%. He spoke to after the season

Shavar thanks for talking to Has the NCAA madness distracted you a bit from not reaching the pro A playoffs?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk. I haven’t been able to watch any college games since I been out here, so the March Madness didn’t have any effect on us reaching the Pro A playoffs.

After having a 9-21 record and knowing the talent that the team had. Do you feel like the club underachieved this season or was the many players coming and going and inexperience factors that would justify the team not underachieving?

There is no reason why we didn’t have a better season than what we did have. The team were full of great talent and basketball players with high IQ. Players coming and going was one factor to the struggling performance we had. It was a rocky start , but when the team found consistency, you saw it in the game play. We played more fluently on offense and our team spirit was very high.

The team was up and down in the first months of the 2018-2019 season, but at least was winning games, but in 2019 the club won only 3 games, but lost 11 games. Why was winning so difficult in the second half of the season?

Winning was difficult in the second half of the season due to us not closing out games correctly. It is hard to beat teams twice because game plans are changed and intensity picks up. Plenty of games were close and came down to crucial possessions when we needed stops and key buckets. We just didn’t handle it very well at the end of the game. 

In basketball and many other sports you are always confronted about what could have been. You lost four very close games to Baunach, Trier, Rostock and Hanau. Was crunch-time a time this season a type of disease for the team in being able to make the right offensive plays and get stops?

As I mentioned in the previous question , the end stretch of the game was difficult for us. The last few minutes came down to who wanted it more, can get key stops and put the ball in the basketball. We just didn’t execute well in crunch time.

Despite not making the playoffs, the team was one of the top rebounding teams in the Pro A and had the seventh best defense in the league. The offense seemed not to score enough points this season. What do you believe was missing from the team offense that disallowed the team to score more points on a consistent basis?

We were missing execution. Coach Raffi did a great job with coming up with plays and sometimes we didn’t run it to a T, but when we did , we managed to score pretty easily .

Despite not making the Pro A playoffs, what positives do you feel could FC Schalke take from this season?

Schalke can take that we still remained in Pro A. The community instill in their people , ‘Schalke No Fear’ and lives by it. Just have to stay together and make strides next season.

Despite losing some tight games, you also had some big wins against Ehingen and Trier. What do you believe was the team highlight this season?

The team highlight this season was when we beat the number two seed at home and everyone knew that they were going to win. That was a great feeling .

Let’s talk about your teammates. In our first interview you stated this about Courtney Belger ‘Because of his experience I’m getting a lot of wisdom which will help me at game time. He has taken me under his wing like I’m his little brother. I can’t wait to war with him. I haven’t experienced game time with him yet, but what I’ve seen in practice is amazing. With his experience and my youth and me being a blur, I think we will make a dynamic duo’. What kind of experience was it being his teammate and how did you see his development this season? What one experience with him will forever remain with you as you keep your rookie season in your memories?

Courtney Belger was a great teammate and is a remarkable man. He taught me so much off the court while my time at Germany. It was also great playing a long side him on the basketball court, he was a true teammate . He did what it took to get the win and knew all the right things to say to his teammates I will never forget the late night shooting sessions we had, working on our game when we thought the previous game we played bad .

German center Adam Touray made the next step in his career making the jump from the Pro B to the Pro A. How did you witness his development and do see him becoming a very good consistent Pro A player?

Adam Touray is a true center. He has a high motor and is great defensively . His timing on blocking shots is impressive. His presence is felt inside.

You were also teammates with American Brandon Parrish. What did you appreciate most about his game and how did he improve his game?

I loved Brandon Parrish’s game. He was an underrated defender and came up big for us when we needed to lock down the key player. He also has a great shot and if he gets space he will knock it down.

German Bjoern Rowher who had been playing for years in the Ulm organization came to Schalke and made the most of his opportunity. Is he still a raw talent or has he reached his potential?

He hasn’t reached his potential and he’s not raw. He’s a good player and getting better everyday . He has a lot of upside.

Let’s talk about your game. You had a very strong rookie season with FC Schalke and needed no adjustment period coming to a losing team. What do you feel helped you most being able to be strong on the court despite not having success as a team?

The coach really helped me with that. He said he liked my talent and didn’t want me to be timid. He wanted me to play my game and do whatever it took to help the team win. So everyday I laced up my shoes and went to work .

What was the biggest adjustment that you had to make coming rom the NCAA to the German Pro A?

The biggest adjustment didn’t come on the court, it came off the court. It took me a while to get adjusted to the time difference.

You averaged 15,4ppg, 4,2rpg and 2,8apg. How content were you with your shortened rookie season in Germany?

I made the best of my opportunity in the time frame I was given. I’m never content with what I do because I know I can always do more. I feel like my numbers could have been way better.

You said in our first interview that you wanted to be the best player that you could be with FC Schalke. Do you feel like you achieved that?

No I do not feel like I did that. Being a player is more than what you do on the court. I feel like I can work on my leadership skills more .

You had some big games, but they came in loses. What was your personal highlight on the court as a rookie in Germany?

My personal highlight came in the last possession of the Rockstock game, the coach put his faith in me to take the game winning shot. Even though I was successful in that moment that meant a lot that he wanted me to take that shot.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro A this season?

The toughest player I had to go against this season was the Point guard from Tuebingen. 

What is the next step for you? You were able to perform well and make a name for yourself in Germany. Would you welcome returning to Germany or could you imagine finding a new challenge in another country?

The experience of Germany was great and I can see myself coming back next season.

You have a long summer ahead of you. On what things will you be working on most in the basketball lab as you get ready for that next opportunity

The mind and body is key to having longevity . This summer I will be enhancing my body and mind.

It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?

I don’t think hewill be just be one of the greatest Europeans to play the game , but one of the greatest period. The kid has talent .

What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?

My reaction was as he should be, but when you make that claim you have to back it up . This season as a Laker he didn’t do that .

Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?

I do not share the same opinion due to the fact , they are in two different sport categories. Now if they were playing the same sport then I would might share that thought.

Tom Brady won sixth Super Bowl. Where will he be if he wins a seventh next season?

Tom Brady will just be adding on accolades to solidify him being in the Hall of Fame.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movies I saw was Us. 

Thanks Shavar for the chat.

Demetrius Ward Just Wanted To Be Himself And Play His Game In His First Pro A Season With The Uni Baskets

Demetrius Ward is a 28 year old 188cm guard from Detroit, Michigan that played his seventh professional season and first with Pro A team uni Baskets Paderborn and averaged 9,1ppg, 4,4rpg and 5,6apg. He played his first six professional seasons with MTV Wolfenbuettel Herzoege (Germany-ProB) playing a total of 138 games. He played at Western Michigan from 2008-2012 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 76.2%. Currently he is averaging 17,4ppg, 6,4rpg and 4,7apg. He spoke to at the end of the 2018-2019 season.

Thanks Demetrius for talking to Where are you at the moment and has the NCAA Madness helped keep your mind off not reaching the playoffs with the Uni Baskets Paderborn?

Hello Miles, I’m currently still in Paderborn. The NCAA tournament is really interesting this year. I’m going for Texas Tech to win it all.

After five Pro B season and one in the Regionalliga, you made your debut in the Pro A at age 28. One could say better late than never. After playing Pro B for so many years and never getting an opportunity in the Pro A, were you able to fully enjoy it and appreciate the opportunity despite the tough season? 

Yes I was able to enjoy the opportunity this season. It was a blessing after so many years finally getting the chance to prove myself in the Pro A. I really enjoyed the live streams of the games. After 6 years in Germany my mom could finally watch a game.

With what kind of expectations with your game did you go into the Pro A? Talk about your experiences on the court and what were the biggest differences between the Pro A and Pro B? 

I wanted to be myself and just play my game. The experiences I had were pretty good, our home crowd was unbelievable. I would say the differences from the Pro B to the Pro A is there are more referees and more imports on the court at one time.

It wasn’t a very good season for the Uni Baskets Paderborn. Did the 77-64 win against FC Schalke ease the woes of the season a bit? At least you closed out the season on a winning note.

Winning the last game was so important for us. It was Uli’s last game coaching after 5 seasons. We wanted to go out and win for him he deserves it.

There was a short span at the end of January where the club won two of three games against Trier and Hanau. But then the club went on a seven game losing streak. What do you feel went wrong in that time?

It was also one quarter where we didn’t play our brand of basketball. We had a lot of mental breakdowns and wasn’t able to recover from it.

A big problem this season for the Uni Baskets was the inability to get stops. The team gave up 84 points per game. Playing good hard defense has to do with passion and effort. What were the biggest problems this season in not being able to defend better?

Playing hard defense does has to do with passion and effort and it also has to do with being focused. Many times I think we would lose focus and let people get easy buckets. Or we turn the ball over and they score this way. I think we wasn’t focused for 40 minutes.

Do you feel like the club was able to take some kind of positives out of the season? Will the win in Rostock and sweeping playoff team Trier be some of the more memorable moments?

Yes I think there is always something to take positive from a season no matter the outcome. I think this season we were able to stay in the league. The Trier sweep was also positive for us.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How did it feel playing among so many rookies like Matt Klinewski, Darnell Foreman and Grant Benzinger. Did you at times feel a little old? Did you have a special kind of extra role with your experience?

It felt a little different, last year I had only one rookie this year 3. I did feel old at times during some of our conversations. It was good to have them around, I experienced a good time with the guys on and off the court.

What kind of an impact did Darnell Foreman have on the club. He came in late but put up great stats. Could the season have gone differently had he been there from the start?

Darnell is very competitive and he brought it every day. The season could’ve went different if he was there from the start but nobody really knows.

How did you see the development of Connor Wood. He had a solid rookie season. Do you think that he could play at an even higher level than the German Pro A?

Coming in we all knew that Connor could shoot the ball. We didn’t know how athletic he was and that he could play defense. His development over the season was good, he didn’t only shoot the ball but he was one of our best defenders. I think he could play at a higher level than the Pro A if giving a chance.

Another guy that had a very solid rookie season was Grant Benzinger. How bitter was it seeing him go down for the season prior to the seven game losing streak? What did you appreciate mostly about his game and did he tell any stories about his baseball dad?

Before Grant’s injury he was leading the team in points and rebounds. He was off to a good season. It sucks seeing I’m go down with an ACL injury. He always worked hard and was always in the gym getting in extra shots. He never told me any stories about his dad but I did meet him when he came to visit. He’s a cool guy.

What kind of experience was it battling Darnell Foreman on a daily basis. Do you think that that kind of mentor student relationship developed or was there more of that competitive nature there?

It was a fun experience, we both are very competitive and don’t like to lose. We both talk a lot of trash during practice so it got pretty intense.

What kind of an experience was it playing for German coach Uli Nachster? You have played for other German coaches. What was something that you could take from him that you hadn’t seen from other coaches that you have witnessed in Germany?

I would say that coach was very patient with us. He didn’t yell or scream much but you understood when he was mad. I had a great experience with coach Uli, he gave me the chance to play in the Pro A. He believed in me from day 1.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 9,0ppg, 4,3rpg and 5,6apg How content were you with your debut season in the Pro A?

I like winning more than stats. The season could’ve went a lot better. The personal achievement for me was I was able to play all 30 games without any injuries. My numbers weren’t the greatest but it shows I’m an all around player

What was the biggest adjustment that you had to make coming from the Pro B? You shot only at 22% from outside. Did the faster pace of the game make it more difficult to shoot the three or was it other factors?

It was a mental things for me shooting 22% from 3 this season. 

You played 7-8 minutes less than what you usually did in the Pro B? Was it difficult at first getting used to playing less minutes and still be effective in the minutes you got?

It was difficult getting used to playing these minutes but I made the best of the opportunity.

You averaged only about half the points 9,0 per game than what you did the last years in the Pro B. With so many scoring options did you have more of that playmaking role than in previous seasons?

Scoring wasn’t my role for the team, I didn’t need to go out and score this season. 

A big issue we have had in previous interviews was your goal of not taking too many shots or taking a hundred dribbles. How did that part of your game continue to develop in the Pro A?

I didn’t take many dribbles and you could see that in my assist to turnover ratio. I want to be efficient without the unnecessary dribbles and taking so many shots. 

You averaged nearly 6 assists in the Pro A which proved that you can be that good playmaker at the Pro A level. How did your playmaking improve in the Pro A and with the harder competition do you feel like you also are a better passer?

I think I’m a good passer, I like to share the ball. I think my passing improved on watching a lot of film and learning from my mistakes the past season.

Are you in your prime? You had a solid Pro A season? Do you feel like other Pro A teams took notice? Are you confident that you will get another chance in the Pro A?

I’m in my prime for sure. I think I will get another chance in the Pro A. I didn’t have the best season but I didn’t have that bad of a season. I think some teams noticed me. 

What was your season highlight? Possibly your 15/6/7 game in the win over Tuesbingen?

I would say the game against Baunach were I didn’t score a field goal but had 14ast and we won.

On what things will you be working on most this summer as you prepare for next season? After playing your first Pro A season do you feel like you will be working on other things than usual to get you ready for a higher level than the Pro B?

I will work on my body and nutrients, that will be my main focus this summer.

What is the next step for you? I can imagine that you will stay in Germany. Or would that challenge of seeing a new culture and style of basketball in another country be appealing to you? 

I will apply for the German passport and would like to continue playing in Germany.

Please name your five all-time best teammates in college and pro’s

Keith Appling, Deon Dismuke, Khalil Kelly, David Kool, Donald Lawson

It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA? 

Yes I think he will be one of the best .

What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time? 

I think he deserves it 

Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?

I don’t believe in anything Charles says 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Girl with the dragon tattoo 

Thanks Demetrius for the chat.

The Miles 2019 BBL Quarterfinal Playoff Preview EWE Baskets Oldenburg-Telekom Baskets Bonn 3-1

Years come and go in Bonn and in the end it is never them heaving that BBL plaque in the air, but moreover watching on the other side of the court as their opponent is doing the celebrating or watching on television. Since reaching the BBL in 1997, they are still seeking their first professional title despite having reached 8 finals. With so many opportunities of being better than their opponent over 40 minutes, one has to wonder if the basketball God is doing something to keep them from getting that championship. If one look at their neighbors Fraport Skyliners, they came into the BBL a few years later and in 7 finals have won three titles. Basketball life can be very difficult in Bonn and it doesn´t get any easier when you have to battle the EWE Baskets Oldenburg who have been a nasty thorn in their sides for many years. The Telekom Baskets Bonn have played the EWE Baskets in three playoff series since the 2008-2009 season and lost all three in five games. They lost back to back series in 2013 and 2014 and were always so close, but just couldn´t make the right decisions and small things cost them each time. Their most bitter series was in 2009 where they were as close to winning that first title, but then let it slip away losing 71-70. Basketball can be so curious and fascinating and who knows what their future would have looked like had they won that first title back then. Current Telekom Baskets Bonn guard TJ DiLeo wants no part of a curse, but then again he is from New Jersey and not from Boston and never had to deal with unwanted long losing or stupid curses. He never thought of a curse being present in Bonn. “ I can’t speak for others. But I look at every season as a new opportunity. I think everyone just wants us to go out and fight and make them proud”, stressed ex Giessen guard TJ DiLeo. Usually three is a charm, but Bonn lost that third straight playoff series to Oldenburg in 2014. Maybe the Telekom Baskets Bonn can start a new trend with four is a charm? The only bad news is that Mr Oldenburg and BBL legend Rickey Paulding was present in all three series and has a 3-0 playoff series record against Bonn. If that isn´t a bad omen.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Rickey Paulding since his arrival in Germany in 2007. This was Schmidt-Scheuber´s first interview with him in the 2007-2008 season in Oldenburg

            It was a very strong season for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg who for the first time in many many years didn´t have the extra load of inter week international club competition. They had the luxury of being able to prepare extensively each week just for BBL teams which they definitely profited from. They finished the regular season with a 28-6 record. The Oldenburg troops had a very consistent regular season winning 12 of their first 14 games to get a good grasp with the top teams in the league. It then lost two of three games including a bitter buzzer beater in Frankfurt at the hands of Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson, but then proceeded to finish the season strong going on a 15-2 record despite slipping and losing the last game on the road against the weak Crailsheim squad 99-87. Their biggest wins was the thrilling 83-82 victory against FC Bayern Munich, sweeping Brose Bamberg and also winning against Alba Berlin. The team was able to shine at both ends of the court as they had a lethal offense that averaged 92 points per game best in the league scoring 90 points or more in 18 contests. But after scoring an amazing basket, they didn´t let up on the defensive end, but continued to give it their all allowing only 83 points on average third best in the league. They also belonged to the top rebounding teams grabbing 31 on average fifth best on the club. There was already a healthy team chemistry as the season started as only three new players were hauled in. The team featured five players scoring in double figures and head coach Mladen Drijencic had the right feeling getting point guard Will Cummings(20,5ppg,3,0rpg,4,3apg) who led the team with the perfect combination of scoring/playmaking and won the MVP award. With him as a go to guy, the club also had two others that can decide games at any time with Rashid”Mr triple double” Mahalbasic(13,8ppg,8,9rpg,4,8apg) who belongs to the top centers in the league and Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding(13,3ppg,3,9rpg,1,8apg) who at age 36 still plays at a extreme high level. Three other versatile offensive forces that shoot above 40% from outside is American Nathan Boothe(12,1ppg,4,5rpg,1,0apg 48,5% 3pt) who is also a force on the defensive end, energizer Franz Massenat(11,5ppg 40,5% 3pt) and experienced sniper German Philipp Schwethelm(8,8ppg,3,4rpg, 43% 3pt). Ex Alba Berlin guard from Macedonia Vojdan Stojanovski(8,2ppg) also gives scoring punch. The club has a number of young German players with Marcel Kessen, Haris Hujic, Marko Bacak and veteran Karsten Tadda, but don´t get many minutes as the club has concentrated on giving it´s top players the majority of the minutes and limit the development of further role type players.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been interviewing TJ DiLeo since his rookie season in Giessen. Here another chat at a Pro B game in Rhondorf in 2019

            The Telekom Baskets Bonn experienced a turbulent regular season that saw head coach Predrag Krunic have to pack his bags as assistant coach Chris O´Shea took over, have players come and go as well as underachieving in the Basketball Champions League. But in the end, the club was able to give their fans another playoff appearance extending their season a few weeks more. Often when a season starts off one can´t always understand it, but then again can´t understand how a quick good start translates into sudden losing. Bonn won it´s first three games, but then lost 8 of 10 games as Krunic obviously wasn´t reaching his players anymore and it seemed like they didn´t know how to win anymore and had difficulties beating weak teams like Science City Jena and the Crailsheim Merlins. The team brought in O´Shea who made changes and the team responded playing better team defense and letting the transition game shine more again. The team then won 9 of 11 games to get back on track. They had a weak April losing four of five games, but got the needed wins at the end against Braunschweig and Jena to get into the playoffs. They closed out the regular season with a big 102-98 win against FC Bayern Munich, but with the playoffs starting got a bit lost in the shuffle and upcoming challenge against the EWE Baskets. They are a good offensive team averaging 86 points per game eighth best, but also allow 86 points per game 12th best in the league. The team do a good job under the boards getting 31 per game sixth best in the league.The team has a nice 9/10 man rotation led by guard Josh Mayo(14,3ppg,50%3pt) who is really shooting the lights out this season. Center Martin Breunig(10,6ppg,4,6rpg) who had his break through season after Charles Jackson got injured. Charles Jackson(13,0ppf,6,2rpg) was injured for some time, but is back giving the club the needed extra physicality and stability in the paint. The guard duo of TJ Dileo(8,5ppg,4,9apg) who made another step as a playmaker and athleticism and defense continues to be vital and Yormon Polas(9,0ppg,4,3rpg) who belongs to the best defenders in the league can always change the impact of a game in seconds with their energetic play. They have two further big men with Bojan Subotic(8,6ppg, 3,8ppg and Stefan Bircevic(7,1ppg,3,8rpg) who spread the floor with their inside/out game. Ex NBA player James Webb(6,0ppg, 4,2rpg) didn´t become the consistent scorer, but can explode at anytime and is a key helper under the boards. Ex Boston College guard Oliver Hanlan(8,3ppg) has been a solid player from the bench and ex Euroleague player Nate Linhart(4,6ppg,3,3rpg,2,4apg) hasn´t exploded, but gives energy and superb basketball IQ from the bench.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Rickey Paulding in 2019 in Frankfurt

            The EWE Baskets Oldenburg swept the regular season series without problems winning 98-78 with Rickey Paulding exploding for 32 points at home and 109-95 on the road where Will Cummings had 32 points and Rasid Mahalbasic a 28/13 outburst. In their home win, they shot out the lights from the two point range while Bonn made only 1/3 of their shots from there. On the road, Bonn rebounded better, but their inability to take care of the ball hurt their chances of winning. The EWE Baskets have the best offensive machine in the league and if the Telekom Baskets Bonn aren´t able to set some vital impulses on defense then this could even result in a sweep by Oldenburg. The Telekom Baskets Bonn are a good rebounding team, but so is Oldenburg and will have to take advantage of the extra chances. Even If Bonn can slow done 1-2 of Oldenburg´s best players which isn´t a given, Oldenburg still have enough options to get enough scoring from other guys. Bonn has a lot of talent and are deep and have to come together for once and play consistent. Josh Mayo is having his best season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and it´s time that his leadership qualities get rewarded with a brilliant series from him. But the EWE Baskets Oldenburg simply have too much fire power that the Telekom Baskets Bonn won´t be able to stop in a five game series. History and luck have been on the side of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the last three playoff series against the Telekom Baskets Bonn and nothing will change this time as they will lose for the eighth time in a row in the quarterfinals.

The Miles 2019 BBL Quarterfinal Playoff Preview: FC Bayern Munich-Basketball Lowen Braunschweig 3-0

One can easily say that both impact players Derrick Williams and Deandre Lansdowne have seen it all in their professional basketball careers as they both belong to the top players in the easyCredit BBL, but their paths have been as completely different as night and day or the NBA and the Czech Republic professional first division. Deandre Lansdowne is a guy that has truly lived the Cinderella basketball life and would warrant making a movie about with a Denzel Washington type actor playing him. Only three years ago he was about as far away from the easyCredit BBL as the Boston Celtics are from a NBA title after their mind boggling pathetic display of basketball in the Milwaukee series. The American had just come off a brilliant Pro B rookie season with Pro B team Herten where he was second in league scoring 22.9ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.6apg, 2.6spg, but he hasn´t been the only guy in the past that have dominated the league as two years ago it was a Kameron Taylor or this season a Tucker Haymond, but it is simply not only rare to make the jump form that league to the BBL, but to become the third best scorer in the league is an unbelievable feat, but one that Lansdowne mastered. His amazing rise in the last three years in the Pro A with the Hamburg Towers and the last two years with Braunschweig just shows that there are players off the radar in lower leagues and those talented guys should never lose faith in the process. With nonending hard work and having that healthy self confidence and continued drive to get better has brought him to the level of player he is today. Early in the season he explained why he is where he is today. “I have an obsession of being great. I’m never satisfied with where I am, I always want to keep climbing. I want to continue learning more, getting better, and playing basketball at a high level. But I also never lose sight of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve enjoyed the ride”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. The path of Derrick Williams has been totally different and one where he was never doubted, but was a star already at La Mirada High School and needed only two NCAA years at Arizona where he averaged 19,5ppg,8,3rpg as a sophomore and then prompt was drafted at #2 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then played parts of six NBA seasons totaling 377 games for teams like Minnesota, Sacramento, New York, Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers. He put up solid stats and was teammates with guys like Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Dwayne Wade and played against the best players in the world. This playoff series has to be the biggest challenge and most enjoyable for a guy like Lansdowne while for Williams it will be just another day at the office and not rate anywhere as big as what he saw in the NBA. The FC Bayern Munich-Braunschweig series has that David vs Goliath effect, but so does the Lansdowne-Williams careers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Deandre Lansdowne in the Fraport arena in 2018

            Despite some turbulence during the end of last season with the coaching change, FC Bayern Munich came together and won the BBL title and this season cruised through the BBL regular season to a commendable 31-3 record. Their two sore spots in the season was getting ousted in the cup competition and not getting farther in the Euroleague competition. In the BBL the club didn´t suffer their first loss until Valentines Day losing a bitter 83-82 contest in Oldenburg after winning their first 20 games. After a non spectacular 91-80 win at home against the floundering Eisbaeren of Bremerhaven, they prompt suffered their second loss in three games on the road against Cinderella team Rasta Vechta. They then closed out the regular season winning 11 of their last 12 and go into the playoffs having lost in Bonn 102-98. The team is without a doubt the best team in the league with the best players and deepest and most versatile bench. They may of only had the fourth best offense that averaged 88 points per game, but glittered on defense allowing the fewest points in the league at 76. The club have five players that average in double figures and when they need a rest have a second five that could start for any other team. It was amazing to see the kind of quality the team had on the bench, but only normal for a team with the highest budget. The potent offensive attack starts at the guard position with top pick and role player Stefan Jovic(6,4ppg,4,4apg), speedy Maodo Lo(7,1ppg,2,8apg) versatile Braydon Hobbs(6,0ppg,2,4apg) in only 13 minutes per game and a guy who should have had more minutes and sharp shooter Petteri Koponen(8,9ppg,40%3pt). At the forward position Danilo Barthel(12,1ppg,4,6rpg,2,5apg,44%3pt) has become the best German forward playing in the BBL, versatile Vladimir Lucic(10,3ppg, 4,0rpg, 45%3pt), the energy machine and sniper Nihad Djedovic(12,4ppg,3,0rpg 45% 3pt) and ex NBA player Derrick Williams(12,0ppg,3,4rpg,45% 3pt). Devin Booker(10,0ppg,3,4rpg) who played only 15 games due to injury and experienced Leon Radosevic(5,9ppg,2,2rpg) round out the center position. All in all so much fire power scoring 80 points or more in 32 games, and three point accuracy shooting 41% as a team and but also that willingness to defend with heart and passion as they gave up 70 points or less seven times. The club simply has all the ingredients to defend their BBL title with their amazing athleticism, length in the back court and can at anytime dominate little teams like Vechta with their inside game or demoralize big teams with their quickness.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and ex NBA player Derrick Williams in the Fraport arena in 2019

            For the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig just reaching the playoffs has been an amazing accomplishment. Just 48 hours before the start of the playoffs the hope wasn´t great to get there, but it was there. The small miracle happened due to beating the Fraport Skyliners at home with a big second half and a crushing 100-85 win against medi Bayreuth slipping into the playoffs with a respectable 17-17 record.  However at first the playoffs looked like a serious reach as a few days before Halloween 2018, the team was 0-5 and reeling to find that first win. They finally found out of their seemingly growing hole rattling off 9 wins in 10 games. Everything seemed to work for them in this phase as they defended strongly as a team kept three teams under 70 points, won a 100-99 nail bitter against Ludwigsburg and surprisingly did the impossible beating Bamberg and Alba Berlin. But that was the end of their consistent success as they then lost 11 of 17 games, but didn´t always play that bad, but just suffered misfortune. They were the recipients of the short end in six games losing by 6 points or less and lost by three points or less in four games. Their biggest strength is their rebounding as they pulled down 33 a game best in the league and had pretty good team chemistry which helped them win their last two games and secure the playoffs. They have four players that average double figures in scoring. Even if no where in the league it will be like this, but in Braunschweig they have the best center with Scott Eatherton(17,1ppg,9,1rpg,2,2apg) who excels on the pick and role and best guard with Deandre Lansdowne(19,3ppg,3,6rpg,3,8apg) who´s versatile offensive game made him the third best scorer in the league. Austrian national player Thomas Klepeisz´s(10,5ppg,4,7apg,403pt) combination of playmaking and shooting has been instrumental on the offensive execution and German rookie Christian Sengfelder(10,7ppg,5,9apg) has been vital on the boards and with Eatherton getting more space with his lethal outside shot. American Brayon Blake(9,1ppg,4,0rpg) has given the team added scoring expertise and added muscle on the glass while Shaquille Hines(7,4ppg,4,1rpg) has been a defensive enforcer and contributed solidly on offense and American Joe Rahon(6,4ppg,4,6apg) has been that pass first guard that has shown flashes of skill on the offensive end. “Reaching the playoffs is a huge accomplishment for this club and everyone apart of it. No matter who we may play against it’s just a great feeling to be apart of the post-season. We’re the underdogs, we’re just going to go out there and continue trying to play our style. With a high amount of intensity, have fun, and just play basketball”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Braydon Hobbs in the Fraport arena in 2019

            The question isn´t by how many games FC Bayern Munich will win the series by since a 3-0 sweep is the best bet unless the starting five gets sick and three bench players lose their skills, then Braunschweig could have good chances to win the series. But the question is by how many points will FC Bayern Munich win each game by. FC Bayern Munich had no difficulty sweeping the season series winning each game by an average 16 points. FC Bayern Munich have no real flaws except their rebounding where they were only 17th best in the league grabbing 28 per game. Even if they have an off day shooting, they probably will still shoot better than Braunschweig as they have seven players that are shooting 40% or better from the parking lot. Braunschweig have a lot less options on offense as they live by the pick and roll and aren´t the best three point shooting team in the league. Braunschweig has a solid 7 man rotation, but after that they have many talented Germans that lack the minutes and experience in the playoffs. FC Bayern Munich will sweep this series with ease and be a warmup for their most likely semi-final meeting with Brose Bamberg. Even if Lansdowne pulls a Damien Lillard or Scott Eatherton makes like Anthony Davis and score 40 points apiece, Braunschweig still won´t win. Even if it will be a real big challenge for Braunschweig, Deandre Lansdowne is as optimistic as he can be. “Hopefully the series will be a fun, and full of good basketball, with us coming out on top. But we’ll have to be detailed on defense and be disciplined on offense, we’ll really have to rebound the ball though”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne.

The Miles 2019 BBL Quarterfinal Playoff Preview: Alba Berlin-ratiopharm Ulm 3-1

Ex Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly probably can´t go anywhere in Buffalo today and not be recognized or asked why he never won a Superbowl after making it to four in a row from 1990-1993, in England the football national team have been blanked since 1966 not winning another title again and in German basketball the Telekom Baskets Bonn are the best example of the German version of the Buffalo Bills as they have reached 8 finals(5 league, 3 cup) since 1997 and are still looking to sip champagne for that first title as fans have been hit hardest as every new season and no hardware haunts them just a bit more. Ok it isn´t nearly as bad with Alba Berlin who have celebrated cup titles the last years totaling three since 2013, but have been stumped winning that league title for some time as the last championship dates back to 2008. Alba Berlin´s last title was in 2016 where they upset FC Bayern Munich led by head coach Sasa Obradovic and American Jordan Taylor, but going into these playoffs could have had two more added to their previous 19 titles, but this season were more than rudely denied where one had to wonder if someone had been unfriendly to the basketball God. The season title hardships began in Bamberg where they were as close to winning the title as Oklahoma was a playoff game a few weeks ago until a certain Damien Lillard demonstrated that there are other elite guards who know how to win and sent Russell Westbrook home with a long summer to ponder why he can´t lead teams to titles. But Greek legend guard Nikolai Zisis hit a brutal buzzer beater sending Freak City into basketball ecstasy and giving Alba Berlin their first nasty hardship of the season. Their second title miss was in the Eurocup where they faced up against a talented tough Valenica side in the final, but not as an intimidating team as many others as they took them to three games. Alba Berlin won an unforgettable game two 95-92 in OT, but ran out of gas in game three getting clobbered by 26 points. An interesting fact is that in 2010, Alba Berlin also lost the Eurocup to the Spanish side. Perhaps three is a charm in the BBL playoffs, but first they will have to erase ratiopharm Ulm from the playoffs. Ratiopharm Ulm like the Telekom Baskets Bonn are also looking for their first title. They arrived in the BBL in 2006 thanks to the elite coaching of Mike Taylor who recently did it again bringing Hamburg to the BBL and have reached 5 finals(3cup, 2 league) in that time. In a span of five years from 2011-2016, they reached a final each year except in 2015. Ratiopharm Ulm has been a consistent playoff team in the last years and even finished first in 2017 after having an unforgettable amazing season, but couldn´t win a title. It looks very much like the club will have to wait another season as this season their inconsistency and lack of cohesiveness won´t get them by Alba Berlin. A title would be a nice way to say farewell to head coach Thorsten Leibenath who will step down after the season and step into the front office. But there are better chances of Mike Taylor returning to Ulm than ratiopharm Ulm hoisting their first ever BBL title in June.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Alba Berlin guard Martin Hermannsson

                Even if Alba Berlin lost two finals, they had a solid BBL season with a record of 27-7 and would have finished in second place had the EWE Baskets Oldenburg not have had such a surprising strong season. The club played fairly consistent this season having a seven game winning streak and two five game winning streaks. They lost some uncharachteristic bitter crunch-time games against FC Bayern Munich, Braunschweig and Bayreuth. Their biggest success in the regular season was surely sweeping Brose Bamberg. Their biggest strength is their team chemistry and without a doubt they play the most beautiful basketball in the league. They have the second best offense averaging 91 points per game and second best defense allowing only 80 points. They are well balanced at every position and have five guys that average in double figures. They have 2018 BBL MVP Luke Sikma(11,3ppg,5,9rpg,4,5apg) who belongs to the most complete players in the league. They have one of the best point guards in the game with Peyton Siva(10,7ppg,6,7apg). Sharp shooter Martin Hermannsson(11,7ppg, 41% 3pt), athletic shooter and defender Niels Giffey(10,7ppg) and the versatile Rokas Gieraitis(12,6ppg, 42,8%3pt) round out the scorers in double figures. The club is well taken care of inside with Landry Nnoko and German national player Johannes Thiemann and guards Joschiko Saibu and ex Michigan(NCAA) standout Derrick Waltin Jr. Their great team play often overshadows their other big strength rebounding which is second best in the BBL as they haul down 32 per game. The club also has a lot of discipline and get hit with the fewest fouls in the league. This will come in handy in the down stretch of games when the game may be tight. They also dish out the most assists per game at 22. When their offense is rolling and they are defending well, then they can beat anyone in the league and would even give FC Bayern Munich a good series. The club also has one of the deepest benches in the league and have the luxury to bring big German talent 17 year old Franz Wagner who belongs to the core rotation and has been given the chance to develop further under legendary Spanish head coach Aito.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Javonte Green after a game in Frankfurt in 2019

                Ratiopharm Ulm had an up and down season as they finished in sixth place with a 20-14 record. They started off the season slow losing five of their first six games. They then had a good stretch winning nine of 11 games, but then prompt lost four of five games. In mid march they picked up their game and finished strong winning nine of their last 12 games. Injuries and having two games a week with the Eurocup coupled with inconsistency had an effect on their success. They were unable to beat neither of the big three of Munich, Berlin and Bamberg and one would have to say that sweeping Cinderella sensation Rasta Vechta was their BBL season highlight. They have scoring power with the seventh best offensive team averaging 87 points per game and had their moments defending allowing 85 points per game which is tenth best in the league. Like Alba Berlin they have a deep roster as seven players average 20 minutes or more and five guys get 10 minutes or more. The club has five players that average 9,0ppg or more and three guys averaging double figures stats. If they had been more of a factor at the top of the standings then Dwayne Evans(14,7ppg, 6,7rpg) would have been an MVP candidate.  Just three years ago, he was in the Pro A dreaming of the BBL and now he is a top 20 player in the league. Leibenath did a good job hauling in Javonte Green(14,0ppg) and point guard Patrick Miller(11,4ppg) that can change the outcome of a game quickly. Other solid players are veteran Ryan Thompson(9,4ppg) and German national player Ismet Akpinar(9,4ppg). Big man Bogdan Ravosavljevic(6,4ppg, 3,0rpg) and forward Isaac Fotu(7,6ppg,4,2rpg) are other guys that can lead the team in scoring on any given night. The bench has further talented guys with David Kramer(5,0ppg) who continues to develop nicely, Ulm legend Per Gunther(5,0ppg) and sharp shooter Katin Reinhart(6,1ppg). All in all a talented bunch, but over the course of the season, the club has displayed inconsistent shooting percentages and still hasn´t found their peak. They are near the end of the team stats in assists despite having three talented point guards with Miller, Akpinar and Gunether. That is a stat that is hard to believe, but the club was unable to develop that lethal playmaker. Will they suddenly and unexpectedly find their peak in the playoffs against power house Alba Berlin?

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and ex Michigan(NCAA) standout Derrick Walton Jr in Frankfurt

                Alba Berlin swept the regular season series winning 92-74 and 92-81. In both games Alba Berlin crushed ratiopharm Ulm on the boards 57-41 and crushed them inside with scoring. In the second game, both teams had problems taking care of the ball as Siva, Miller and Akpinar coughed up the ball combined 17 times. Both teams come into the playoffs strong and won´t be lacking self confidence. Alba Berlin are the favorite and ratiopharm Ulm have nothing to lose and will be able to risk more. Ratiopharm Ulm have an athletic bunch and should have success if they can get a majority of the mis matches to their advantage and execute especially at the guard position. Alba Berlin is very difficult to stop when their offense is flowing. Ratiopharm Ulm will have to find a special identity on defense in this series and have consistency if they want to present Alba Berlin with problems, but that is easier said then done. If they can defend better than in their best games this season, then they will have a chance like in the second game where they forced Alba Berlin to 21 turnovers. If the game is close, then the sometimes shaky free throw shooting of Alba Berlin could become a thorn in their side. Ratiopharm will need to get more input from their German players. Alba Berlin is one or even maybe two classes to much for ratiopharm Ulm. The underdogs have the depth and talent to be successful, but not in a five game series against Alba Berlin. Alba Berlin wins this series 3-1. It would be nice for Thorsten Leibenath to win a playoff round, but with an early exit he can focus on getting the new head coach for next season unless he is already on tap to be announced as soon as the season is over.

The Miles 2019 BBL Quarterfinal Playoff Preview Brose Bamberg-Rasta Vechta 3-1

In the upcoming 2019 BBL quarterfinal clash between Bamberg and Vechta, there are two players with Josh Young and Ricky Hickman who go into the playoffs with a different kinds of feelings. In the case of Josh Young the famous better late than never phrase is the perfect phrase in 2019 that fits to his solid nine year professional basketball career. He is a guy that had to start in a lower league Pro Be with Leverkusen in 2010 and then incredibly with hard work and luck reached the BBL with Tuebingen and proved there that he belonged at that level. He also played some Pro A seasons only to find another surge and return back to the BBL in 2018 with Rasta Vechta. In his first years in the BBL, he played for a lower budget team Tuebingen that never made the playoffs, but now in his ninth season, he has finally made it to the promised land with the leagues Cinderella team Vechta that have been the little darlings of the league and added some special spunk to a continuing rising league in Europe. So for the Oklahoma native, the inspiring amazing season of Rasta Vechta was a ride that he will never forget and now with his first playoffs it is like the icing on the cake for his unforgettable season. He has that winners smile just like many other ex BBL players like Michael Hakim Jordan or Jimmy Mckinney who won titles and reached the final in the BBL, but his path to the title will be a steep climb, but one he will cherish forever and give his all like he has his whole career. For Ricky Hickmann reaching another playoffs is a special experience especially at the age of 33 when one never knows when the career could suddenly end. Hickman also has had that type of Cinderella career in that he didn´t reach a top league the Serie A until his fifth professional season after toiling around in lower leagues in Hungary and Finland and having difficulties in the BBL in 2008 with Giessen. But with nonstop hard work, he reached the top winning titles in Italy, Israel and Turkey and reaching the pinnacle in 2014 with the Euroleague title with Maccabi Tel Aviv and playing five seasons of Euroleague ball totaling 124 games. Reaching this years playoffs is just added icing on the cake on a very respectable and great career for the North Carolina native.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Josh Young in Frankfurt in 2019

                    Rasta Vechta has had an amazing and extremely unexpected Cinderella season which no team has achieved in the last decade as the only team that came close to scratching what they have done was medi Bayreuth a few years back and Ludwigsburg 13 years back who also met Bamberg in the playoffs that year in 2007 but lost. Will Rasta Vechta also have this fate a second time around?. Rasta Vechta had an incredible 24-10 record and if one had asked anyone before the season that the club would be so potent and consistent one would have said, it would be more probable of a Thomas Mueller of FC Bayern Munchen making a full court shot in the Rasta Dome with a whole gym booing him. Of course in Vechta nobody would have doubted a poor Vechta season except for the one or other Bayern fan who happens to be living there. On offense they share the ball very well averaging the third most assists in the league and on defense have the most aggressive team in the league that practice an unorthodox play that force the most turnovers playing a press with two guys pressuring the ball handler. “We were able to turn our season around through consistency. We merely just became better at the things that we were already doing, working on. With each win, our confidence grew. Our secret to defensive success has been hard work. We work on our defense practically every day. And the way people see us play defense in games, is the exact same way we play it when nobody is there watching. We are creatures of habit”, stressed guard Josh Young. Even if reaching the playoffs was a great feat, they also did something that very little teams can say they did in the last years beating FC Bayern Munich, Alba Berlin and Bamberg in the regular season. Their success hasn´t only been being able to score(average 87 points per game 6th best) and give up 82 points per game(4th best, but also have the perfect coach with Pedro Calles that has formed the best team chemistry that has translated in success. “Pedro has been the biggest reason for the success of this club. From his ability to capture his players, to his coaching philosophy, to the way he approaches the game, he is the ultimate professional. Our guys love playing for him and as you can see, we play extremely hard under his leadership. It’s been cool to watch him grow as a head coach this season”, warned Josh Young. The team has no real superstars, but guys that play for each other and have big hearts. Guys like Austin Hollins(16,1ppg) and TJ Bray(14,8ppg,7,6apg, 41,5% 3pt) grew into league stars, but never lost their unselfishness. The pick ups of experienced BBL player Tyrone Nash(10,0ppg, 5,1rpg) and talented big man Clint Chapman(13,6ppg,3,5rpg, 53% 3pt) were big in the stretch run. Guys like Josh Young(11,8ppg) and Seth Hinrichs(13,0ppg,5.0rpg,3,1apg) stepped up after many years in the Pro A. The team also had a solid bench with guys like Marcel Kessins, Robin Christin and Max DiLeo that never ever let the team energy weaken when they came in.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and TJ Bray in Frankfurt who will have to show his A-game for Rasta Vechta to be successful

        For Brose Bamberg, it was also a very productive season despite the circumstances after experiencing some woes after the Trincheri era ended. The club reached the playoffs again and also won a title again with the cup taking the underdog role and upsetting Alba Berlin. Bamberg finished with a record of 22-12 despite having a coaching change from Ainars Bagatskis who was relived of his duties after the brutal 85-67 loss at home against Rasta Vechta and 34 year old Federico Perego took over the helm. The club didn´t start off so bad under Bagatskis winning 9 of their first 11 games, but their results reminded one of the old Phoenix Hagen teams under Info Freyer where offense was golden and defense rotten. In Hagen they practiced offense while defense was put on the back burner. In Bamberg defense was worked on, but didn´t translate to success in games. Playing good defense had always been the norm under old coaches Fleming and Trinchieri, but now it wasn´t which was disheartening. The team then lost three of four games and Bagatskis had to depart. Under Perego the team won 8 in a row, but the defense remained weak as the club allowed 85 point or more in five games. The club ran out of gas in the last two months losing 7 of 11 games. All in all they had the fifth best offense in the BBL averaging 88 points per game and even the ninth best defense allowing only 84 points, but for a club that has played superb defense in the last years, allowing that many points isn´t satisfactory. Their biggest strength is their experience and inside game as the trio of Augustine Rubit(14,8ppg, 5,2rpg), Cliff Alexander(9,2ppg, 5,6rpg and reborn Elias Harris(9,2ppg, 3,3rpg) who are as dominant of an inside trio as you will see in the league. The club has a lot of experience and talent at the guard position with MVP candidate Tyrese Rice(15,8ppg, 6,1apg) and up and down Euroleague winner Ricky Hickman(11,2ppg, 40,0% 3pt) in the scoring department, but after that many question marks with guys like Bryce Taylor, Niko Zisis, and Maurice Stuckey. Another strength is their depth, but that will have to be more consistent in the playoffs.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and 2019 BBL MVP candidate Tyrese Rice

                In the regular season the two teams split as Bamberg got creamed at home and then won a typical shoot out on the road 101-95. Rasta Vechta played a great game in the 85-67 blow out victory in Freak City. It was an almost perfect game as they shot out the lights dropping 13 trey´s, won the rebound battle, forced Bamberg to 21 turnovers and limited their bench to only 8 points. In the return game, Brose Bamberg came to terms with the Vechta aggressive defense and connected for 101 points. Vechta won the rebound battle again as it was little things that decided this game. Rice scored 30 points and Rubit and Harris combined for 39 points. This will be an interesting series, but a few weeks ago, one could have predicted a 5 game series, but with the serious blows of losing glue guy Seth Hinrichs and consistent versatile big man Clint Chapman as combined they average 26 points , it suddenly gets a new dimenstion. Of course guys like Hollins and Bray are vital for the success, but Hinrichs leadership and all around play will be dearly missed and Chapman is the only dominant big man. These two loses will put extra pressure on Hollins and Bray and possibly too much for them to carry an inexperienced team. Bamberg has more experience and will need to destroy the inside area over and over and just punish them there to be successful. Bamberg hasn´t been a good outside shooting team and Vechta will have to take away the paint area and possibly have success with different zones to keep the underdog off balance. Vechta will win a game at home, but succumb to their inexperience and not enough overall firepower despite playing against an instable Bamberg defense.