Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Andrew Barham Wants To Continue To Keep That Special Positivity And Confidence That Mike Taylor Gave Him For The Rest Of His Career

Andrew Barham is a 28 year old 198cm forward from Memphis, Tennessee that completed his fifth professional season and first in Germany with the Hamburg Towers (Germany-ProA) averaging 14,3ppg, 3,9rpg and 1,6apg. He was an instrumental player in the club winning the 2019 Pro A title. Last season he played with the Maine Red Claws (NBA G-League) playing 37 games averaging 4.9ppg, 2.8rpg. In his previous four professional seasons he gathered experience in Japan, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. He began his basketball career with Christian Brothers High School and then played two seasons at Memphis (NCAA) playing 49 NCAA games. He finished his NCAA career at Gonzaga playing two seasons from 2012-2014 amassing a total of 65 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 6.3ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 48%, FT: 64.7%. He spoke to at the end of the season.

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

I am currently in the Hamburg airport, waiting on my flight to board to Tel Aviv for a quick vacation before I head home to the USA. Basketball is treated me well this year. My father always said, ‘Use the game of basketball, but don’t let it use you.’ I think I have used it well this year and met great people in the process.

Congrats on winning the Pro A title with the Hamburg Towers. How blessed do you feel now having made the right step and going to the Hamburg Towers organization?

I am extremely blessed to not only have been in a great environment but to have a great coach that believed in me all year. I’m just trying to live in this great moment and be thankful for all these experiences!

How quickly did you know that you had arrived in a special place in Hamburg? From the top with Marvin Willoughby and head coach Mie Taylor going all the way down the ladder with your teammates, fans and city how special was the basketball culture with the Hamburg Towers?

I knew instantly. You can feel the passion the organization has for their city and their team. Coach and Marvin did a fabulous job in signing great players and high character guys that will do whatever it takes for the team to win. It was a special season. 

The Hamburg Towers played an unforgettable and exciting final series with Nurnberg. After losing the first game by three points, you won the deciding game by five points and title. How intense was the whole atmosphere leading up between games?

It was so much fun! Not many players ever get the chance to play for a Championship. The fans brought the energy and passion and the buzz was unparalleled. It was one for the history books in Hamburg Basketball. 

What kind of self confidence and mentality did the team have going into the last game? How sure were you that you would win the title as a club?

We had confidence in ourselves and belief that we were the best team in the league all year long. We had some ups and downs, but I believe that gave us valuable experience down the stretch. Coach told us every practice that he believed in us and we were the best team, just have to go out and prove it! 

The Hamburg Towers were very tough in the final game and never allowed Nurnberg over the hump in the fourth quarter. What was key for winning the game?

Yes, we were resilient all year long and even more so in that final game. We had players step up and make huge plays for us down the stretch that sealed the deal. 

The Nurnberg Falcons played an amazing and unforgettable season. Nobody had them on the list to move up to the easyCredit BBL. What did you appreciate most about their play?

They played as a team! Great post play and good guards that knew the game. Regardless of how the game was going they never quit playing hard.


Let’s talk about the Hamburg Towers season. At the start of 2019, the club lost three of five games. If someone had told you then that the club would win the Pro A title four months later what would you have thought?

I would have believed them. We did hit a rough patch, things weren’t clicking, we had some big injuries, but we went back into practice and just started to work harder! 

From then on the club had two three game winning streaks and two two game losing streaks. Why was the club a bit up and down in the last months?

We were figuring it out, plus injuries and many different factors. But great teams peak at the right time. 

The Hamburg Towers lost the last two regular season games to Chemnitz and Tuebingen. With what kind of mind set did the club go into the playoffs. Did Mike Taylor do anything special or different that got the team mentally ready for tough series against Rostock and Chemnitz?

Yeah, we were really bummed after the Tuebingen and Chemnitz losses. We believed we gave both of those games away by just making easy mistakes. Instead of going crazy, coach came up with an unreal game plan for the playoffs. We had a whole book to prepare us for what was to come. He refocused us. And had us believing that to be the best, you have to beat the best (which was Chemnitz at the time).

How big was the spectacular game four 98-96 win over Chemnitz? Was that the turning point of the playoffs which helped the team make the last push to the title?

I think it was. It was a do or die game for us and we came out to play. It gave us a chance to play game 5! After that win, I think the momentum shifted to us in the series. They had come ready to celebrate, and we ruined the Chemnitz party. 

What did you appreciate most about having the opportunity to strap on the Hamburg Towers jersey? 

I appreciated the opportunity to play the game in front of people that truly cared about our team and me. I enjoyed the positive atmosphere and it made the game enjoyable! 

Was there one experience in your time that you will for always hold on tight to?

I’ll always hold on to the belief and confidence that Coach Mike had in me. Regardless if I shot it well and had 30 or bad and had 4 points, he always believed I could explode offensively. I want to keep that confidence and positivity the rest of my career and into whatever I do in life.

How special was it playing for Mike Taylor. Was he a coach that gave even when it looked most bleak could get some positively to any difficult situation? How key was his unbelievable emotion that he gives during tough times?

He is one of my favorite coaches I have ever played for. He just gets it. I am blessed to have been able to cross paths and learn from him. His passion and positivity rubs off on everyone. To me, he was the MVP of these playoffs. 


Let’s talk about your teammates. You had some physical big men with Germans Freese and Raffington, but describe a bit how important the versatility of Beau Beech was and how his presence on the floor made a huge difference?

Beau was great for us all season. He was always a matchup problem the way he could space the floor and really shoot it. His sneaky athleticism helped us all year. He really played well for us all playoffs! 

How much of a pleasure was it playing with American guards Tevonn Walker and Carlton Guyton. Obviously their shooting was a big part of their games, but what other traits made them stand out from the opponents that they had to battle against?

Tevonn is an elite defender! I’m not sure anyone could score on him. He brought that toughness and scrappy mentality we needed every game. Carlton aka Scootie is a walking bucket getter! He can score anyway you like. Threes, pull-ups, floaters, post ups. When are backs were against the wall and the lights were the brightest, he shined the most!! Both were great teammates to play along side. 

How did you see the development of young German Justus Hollatz? What kind of interactions did you have with him and how did you help him best with his game?

Justus is going to be one of the top Germans in BBL before you know it. He understands the game, and can fit in seamlessly despite his young age. He has all of the tools, I just encouraged him to go out and not be scared to use them! Watch out for him in the future.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 14,3ppg, 3,9rpg, 1,6apg and 1,1spg while shooting 32% from outside. How content were you with your season?

I thought I had a great overall season. I hit a little slump towards the playoffs but anytime you can be leading scorer of a Championship team, you have to be happy! I’m very critical of my game, so there are many things I want to improve on and sharpen up over the summer, but in retrospect it’s been a good season! 

The last two seasons you have been around 32% from outside down from pervious seasons. You stated in our last interview that ‘I shoot when I’m hot, and shoot to get hot. A lot of the %’s has to do with the quality of the shots and the difficulty of them. But shooters shoot, so I don’t concentrate too much on the % but trying to get the best shot up and in to help my team’. How do you rate the season with Hamburg in terms of your shooting season?

I followed my motto, let it fly!! Shoot to get hot and shoot when I’m hot! Obviously before the playoffs I was way up around 38% and would have liked to have kept it there to finish the year but things happen and I learn from them, move on, and most importantly keep shooting! The next shot is going in.

You helped lead the Hamburg Towers to their first title and your first title. How do you feel did you develop further this season in a growing winning culture as the season went on?

Winning is very difficult, regardless of the level or stage you are on. And creating a winning culture is even more difficult. But we all achieved what we set out to do when we originally signed with Hamburg. The goal was win a Championship and move the team to BBL – mission accomplished! 

You had many great personal games on the court. What was your best game this season? Possibly your 28 point effort in the win over Kirchheim?

For me, the greatest games I had were the ones where I hit dagger threes or buckets to help seal or give my team a win. This are the moments I’ll remember and keep with me. 


What is the next step for you? Could you imagine remaining in Hamburg or would you consider going to a new country and culture?

At the moment, I’m not sure what the next step for me is. I am just living in the moment, enjoying this championship and looking forward to seeing my family and girlfriend this summer. I will see what offers I have come though and weigh my options when that time comes. 

On what things will you continue to work on in the lab this summer as you continue to improve as a player?

I will focus on finishing around the rim through contact. Leg strength to have that lift on my shot late in the game and season. And just refine what I already do well, shooting off the move.

Please list your all-time best starting five of teammates.

Kevin Pangos Will Barton Me Tarik Black Kelly Olynyk 

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

Shy Eli 

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

Anyone who has to name themselves as greatest of all time, isn’t greatest of all time. I feel that is a title that is given not self proclaimed. Plus I’m a big MJ guy.

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

I don’t, Michael Jordan changed the sport he played completely. His shoes and style are still selling out worldwide. He changed the way basketball is played now. Brady might had better numbers statistics, but I’m siding with MJ in this argument.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Greatest Showman – the soundtrack to this movie is fire by the way lol.

Thanks Drew for the chat.

A Winning Culture in Leverkusen Helped Alexander Blessig Become More Efficient Playing Less Minutes

Alexander Blessig is a 25 year old 188cm guard from Berlin that completed his third professional season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (ProB) averaging 8,7ppg, 2,8rpg and 3,4apg and shot 44,4% from outside. He began his basketball career with FC Bayern Muenchen (ProA) and also played with Alba Berlin 2. He then played a season with Florida Gulf Coast (NCAA) helping the team win the A-Sun tournament and reaching the NCAA Sweet16. He then moved to Rollins (NCAA2) and played three seasons totaling 66 games. He spoke to at the end of the season.

Alex thanks for talking to Before we get to the incredible season, I have to ask you about your stomach. When you touch back down at home what will be the first eatery that you will visit?

Of course, thank you for having me on – I appreciate it. Probably my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Cologne, yum!

Congrats on winning the 2019 Pro B title. How good does it feel winning the title and where does this rank in your basketball career highlights?

It is such an overwhelming and relieving feeling, we still cannot fully grasp what we have accomplished this year. Being ProB champion is a reward not only for the team but also the entire staff, volunteers and management, which fully supported us along the way. All the hard work that we put in together as a team over the course of the season has finally paid off. This season is definitely up there along with the Sweet16 run at FGCU.

How were the celebrations? Did the team do something special afterwards? Was there anything you learned about certain teammates in the celebration that you never would have dreamed of?
The celebrations were exciting! We stayed in the gym after our win to celebrate together with all our fans and the staff, we had a great time. Unfortunately, I was not able to participate until the end, because I caught a fever a few days earlier – needed to get some rest!

It was the first time that the arena was sold out since the legendary game 5 against Frankfurt in 2008 which I luckily was at. Please describe the atmosphere and what your feelings were after the buzzer sounded?

The atmosphere was something for the ages. As a player, I have never experienced something like that in a basketball arena. A huge thank you goes out to the Nordkurve12 soccer fans, who brought candles and flags to create a unique spirit during the game. I thought it was second to none, especially for the ProB. The last 5 minutes of the game felt like ages but when the buzzer finally sounded, I experienced pure joy.

After Munster played you tough in game one, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen came home and destroyed them. Was there anything special that head coach Hansi Gnad stressed before the game or was it pretty clear after a 28-2 season what had to be done?

Coming into game one, Coach wanted us to defend hard and take their 3 Point shooters out of the game. We have to give Muenster credit for totally crushing us from three and thus ripping our game plan apart. In our Thursday practice after game one, we focused on our Pick and Roll defense and on not overhelping on their shooters. I think we executed that well in the second game as we only gave up 60 points in total as opposed to 86 in the first matchup. We also knew that Muenster was not going to shoot 50% from three again and that we would not lose our first home game of the season. I want to congratulate Muenster on an amazing season. It is truly remarkable what they have been able to build over there, especially coming from 1. Regionalliga. Bringing 3,000 fans into the gym for a ProB game is second to none in the league, it highlights what their team has been able to accomplish on the court.

The Bayer Giants Leverkusen played a great game 2 at home hitting 11 three’s and outrebounding Munster by 26. How much fun was it playing this game at home and what will you always remember from it?

The atmosphere and the stakes of the game created a special environment. It was a perfect finals matchup, the first of the north against the first of the south clashing. Having the second game at home to close the series out was a big advantage for us as we are undefeated at home this season. The finals were definitely a great advertisement for basketball in Germany.

Let’s talk about the season. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen came out strong and finished consistently until the end. Is this the greatest team that you have been a part of in your career?

Apart from the FGCU team 2012/13 and Bayern Munich season in 2010/11, which I did not really play minutes on, this was the greatest season and team of my career. In terms of chemistry and team play this was by far the ultimate roster! I was never really in doubt that we would achieve the goals we set ourselves. Even with multiple key players being out because of injuries during the course of the season, we always managed to compensate as a team.

You stressed in our first interview this about the secret of the success. ‘We are definitely not doing everything right; there are many aspects we still need to improve. Generally, we are a defensive-minded team, which translates into easy offense. Therefore, we try to play intense defense and rebound well so we can run the floor and generate easy baskets – leading to a high scoring output. How do you feel was the team able to grow from the start to the end of the season?

Over the course of the year, one could feel how we were growing closer together each week, not just certain players but the entire team. We all get along and that visibly translated onto the court. I think our team defense as well as ball movement on offense has benefitted from that. This is what made us strong as a team and gave us a team identity, a sense of togetherness.

It is never easy to have such a consistent season after teams keep gunning for you each weekend and the pressure builds. What was most key for the team being able to cope with the building pressure week in and week out?

I don’t think we viewed our success as pressure but rather as a motivation. The team was constantly hungry, we were never satisfied with what we had achieved up to a certain point in the season. This is why we were able to continue winning in the important Playoff games, stepping up our game when we needed to.

How much of a challenge was it for the team being the team that everyone guns for you. How do you feel did the team grow in character during the season? Did you see teammates make a special transition in their character just through this incredible season?

I think we handled the pressure of being the number one team after the regular season appropriately. I wouldn’t say that anyone in particular grew in character, but we as a team definitely improved in that area. Especially in the playoffs, we managed to perform at our best when it counted the most.


Obviously the team chemistry was huge, but what part of the team’s game do you feel improved most over the course of the season?

Our defense and ball-movement on offense has drastically improved over the course of the season. Our team chemistry became so good, that we would always find the right people at the right time. We basically had a different top-scorer every game, which made our offense so versatile and really hard to scout us for the opponent.

The team had so many massive highlights during the season like the 103-101 win over Giessen, the exciting 94-92 playoff win over Schwelm or the crazy come from behind win in Bernau 101-97. What was your personal favorite team moment?

My favorite game was the win in Bernau. Coming back from a 21-point deficit in the second half is very rare and shows the character as well as the fighting spirit of the team. After we beat a decimated but great Bernau team we knew that we moved up to ProA, which was our ultimate goal this season.

You stated this about head coach Hansi Gnad in our last interview. ‘Hansi likes to play all of his players, giving everyone a chance if they practice well. He simulates game intensity in practice by getting us to work hard every day. As players, we sense his spirit of winning; often times, it seems a lotl ike he is one of us, he is a player’s coach for sure. He has been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and has taken full advantage of it now. Together with talented Jacques Schneider and Nick Bruewer, they form a complementary coaching staff. How do you feel did he grow further as a coach this season?

Coming in as a head coach I think Hansi did an amazing job. He is a coach, who listens to his players and involved them in his decision making. He is open to advice and makes all his players feel like they are part of something bigger. Being a former standout player, he was able to transfer his energy and winning mentality onto the team. You could tell how he got more confident and experienced as a coach during the season.

What was your most special moment with Hansi Gnad this season. Was there a specific tip he gave you on or off the court where you will be forever grateful for?

I wouldn’t pick out a special moment with my Coach, but there were many instances in which we had 1-on-1 talks. Those helped me understand what he required of me as a player and made me feel like he really cares about his players and their comfort.

Let’s talk about your teammates. You stressed this about Nick Hornsby in our last interview. ‘To me, if there is one player standing out of this conglomerate of players, it is Nick. His versatility is unique: He rebounds extremely well, posts up, finds the open team mate like a point guard, finishes around the rim, and can hit the occasional three-pointer. I enjoy playing with Nick to the fullest’. How did his game grow further and does he have to be considered as an MVP candidate?

Going into the season, we knew that Nick would be one of our key players. Looking back at the season now, I believe he even exceeded those expectations on the court but also off the court. Apart from his endless skillset with the ball, he is also a great person. Nick doesn’t care about his own statistics, he wants to make his teammates better and did so very successfully – I personally scored many points of his passes (he has such good court vision and awareness). He also developed as a vocal leader this season, for example in the Bernau game, when Nick carried the team at a point when we needed it the most. If you ask me, he is he league’s best player and MVP – he leads the championship team, which only lost 2 games all year and won all its home games.

You stressed this about the guard duo Nino Celebic and Alexander Blessig. ‘We are both aggressive point guards who put the team first. Nino and I try to set the tone for the team on defense and push the ball on offense to generate easy shots for our shooters as well as layups for the big guys. The depth of our roster allows us to maintain that aggressiveness for 40 minutes’. How much of a pleasure was it being his teammate and on what phases of his game did he grow most on?

It was awesome playing together with Nino. As the season progressed, we played more minutes together on the court. That way, I was able to learn so much from his experience and skillset. Nino is a special player for our league as he reads the game extremely well, passes the ball like a true point guard and makes the crowd ‘awe’ every once in a while. We shared the starting PG position this year and the great thing about us was, that as soon as one of us exited the game while the other one entered, there was absolutely no drop-off in the game. We were able to play on a high level for 40 minutes.

How vital was co-captain Tim Schonborn. He is a player where you will always get 100% and that lethal three pointer. Is there something you picked up from him in the leadership area?

For sure, Tim was one of our most consistent weapons on the court. He really leads by example as he works hard at all times while staying humble. He is such a good three-point shooter that he opened up the lane for drives from guards and post-up plays for our big men. Whenever I passed the ball to Tim, I knew the ball was going in. I was able to feed off Tim’s desire to win during tough games, which gave the team a huge lift.

The club had many young Germans like Lars Thiemann or Lennart Winter. Which player so you feel made the most strides this season?

I think both of them made huge strides during the season. Coming into the year, they were both kids – mentally and physically. Today I can proudly say that they formed into young men. I think playing with an experienced pro team all season and having a big role on the NBBL team fostered their development as players. I am very proud of both guys and am sure that they have prosperous careers ahead of them!

Let’s talk about your game. Your stats have been pretty similar the last three seasons. How content were you with your stats despite having Nino Celebic. Obviously he was vital for you, but you may have had better stats without him, but I know for you in the end winning was the biggest.

That’s right. I actually was more efficient than the past two seasons, although I played less minutes. This is a testament to the depth and strength of our team. Almost all of our players played less minutes and had smaller roles than they could have had on other teams in the same league. However, all of us were able to put their egos behind and sacrifice for the team – in the end that paid off big time. Winning above all was the mindset not only for myself this year, but for the entire team.

You continue to grow as a three point shooter having improved your shooting each season with Leverkusen. This season you led the team at 45%. How content were you with that and how did that develop better over the course of the season?

Over the summer, I really focused on improving my shot by changing a few small things on my technique and getting a lot of repetitions in. Together with Jacob Engelhardt and Valentin Blass, we worked very hard on our game. During the season I made sure to always get shots up after practice or go shooting in the morning if my class schedule allowed me to. Those repetitions made me feel very comfortable shooting threes in the game. I still believe that I can be more aggressive, and look to form my shot a bit more, especially shooting at a high percentage.

In our last interview you stated this about improving your game during a season. ‘I constantly try to work on every aspect of my game – defense, ballhandling, shooting, passing, and hitting the weight room. Most recently, I have been focused on the mental part of basketball, reading many books and looking at the game from a different angle’. What part of your game improved the most in this championship season?

I think my leadership abilities have improved the most. This season was my first as the team captain, leading very experienced guys like Tim, Dennis or Marian. I constantly tried to improve team chemistry by talking to players a lot and knowing what was going on in their life. I focused on keeping a positive mindset every day in practice and motivating my teammates so that they can perform at their highest level. With some many good players it was important to keep everyone happy during the year so that no one would get frustrated because of their playing time.

What was your personal most favorite personal game? You had many great games but was your 26 point explosion in the exciting 103-101 win over Giessen your favorite?

Sure, statistically that was my best game. With Nino not playing that day, I knew I would have to carry a much heavier load. It turned out well as I got into the zone and felt like I couldn’t miss a shot in the second half. The best part was though that we got the close win over a tough Giessen team.

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

There were many tough opponents we faced. On my position it was probably Niklas Geske, his drives were extremely hard to stop, and he also shot the ball well from deep against us – a very tough cover.

What is the next step for you? I can imagine you will stay in Leverkusen or will you seek another opportunity in another country?

This really depends on the job I will pursue. In about two months I will be done with my Masters so I am currently looking for job opportunities. Once I have figured out my job situation, I will make a decision regarding basketball.

On what things will you be focusing most in the lab this summer as you continue to look to improve your game?

I would like to continue improving my shot, especially off the dribble and in Pick and Roll situations. Additionally, I want to work on my floater and high off the glass finishes. Lastly, I am looking to gain some strength and athleticism during the course of the off-season.

What was your most special Dirk Nowitski moment that you remember?

Getting up at night – although having school the next morning – to watch the Mavericks sweep Kobe and the Lakers in 2011. I will never forget that and hope that my mom doesn’t read this!

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

I am not a huge LeBron fan and I believe that the debate between him and Jordan is a waste of time.

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

I can’t really answer that as I don’t follow American Football at all. However, to me, there is only one GOAT and that is MJ!

What was the last movie that you saw?

Euroleague-Playoffs or books. I don’t really watch movies.

Thanks Alex for the chat.

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Jordan Faison Who Combines Big City With Basketball Success

When Jordan Faison woke up in the mornings in the last two years and looked out the window, he would have seen a nonending sea of lavish tall skyscrapers that would have made Los Angeles look like a tiny village tucked in between the beautiful mountains and special lights at night that will always give it the glamour it deserves. Even if Faison is from Lake Forest, California, he is only 46 miles away from the city of lights and knows too well what it is like living in a bigger place. The last two years, he has called Tokyo home which ranks fifth in the world with 152 skyscrapers, but still way behind number one city Hong Kong that can boast 355 skyscrapers. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and their meager 24 skyscrapers make his current home Tokyo look like an ocean compared to a pond. For Faison having lived in bigger areas and being successful have come hand in hand for his whole life. He played his college ball at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) that has a population of 152,000 people plus won the CCAA tournament twice racking up MVP honors in 2015. As a professional he played his rookie season in Germany in Leipzig that has 560,000 inhabitants and even if the team wasn’t successful, he belonged to the top players in the Pro B earning All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year. And in the last two years, he never let up with earning team success and continuing to destroy opponents with his lethal play in Japan. He helped the club win the D-3 league and cleaned up with the individual achievements winning All-Japanese B League D3 Player of the Year , All-Japanese B League D3 Forward of the Year and All-Japanese B League D3 Import Player of the Year in 2019. After being away from Germany for two years, it was time to see how he was doing in the far east and how his game had developed further with the special category ‘The Miles where are they now player feature with Jordan Faison.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Jordan Faison in his rookie season after USC Leipzig won 73-67 in Frankfurt and he dropped 26 points and got 10 boards

Jordan Faison was born on October 17th, 1994 in Lake Forest, California and got his early basketball skills at El Toro high school. He then didn’t look far from home to get a good basketball education as well as to get all the advantages from the class room at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) only a 40 minute car ride away. Cal Poly produced two talented players in Larry Gordon and German Tobias Jahn that would play in Germany for many years. He didn’t need long to get accustomed to NCAA 2 ball averaging 8,6ppg and 3,0rpg as a freshman and after that was a vital player in the success of the school winning the 2013 and 2015 CCAA tournaments. In his rookie season he couldn’t pick between the two as one being sweeter than the other. ‘They both are equally sweet. So many great moments with both teams, and how hard it is to win a tourney in the CCAA.You can’t take winning either one for granted’, stressed Jordan Faison. He also was able to average double figures in scoring in his last three years there. In his sophomore season, he averaged 14,2ppg and 5,7rpg and 12,9ppg and 5,2rpg as a junior. He was able to step it up a notch in his senior season playing 30 games averaging 16.9ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.8apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 22.5%, FT: 65.4%. Of course his hard work paid off for him being able to win two titles and establish consistency, but he also wouldn’t have been so successful if it hadn’t been for the important guidance by head coach Greg Kaminsky. ‘Coach K, and I have to throw in my boy Coach Hill, both prepared me for a professional career the minute I stepped foot at Cal Poly. Coach K really taught me how to be confident in my offensive game and allowed me to expand it each and every year. Coach Hill was consistently on me about playing hard not only on the offensive end but on the defensive end. Those two really brought the best out within me and I couldn’t be more grateful for coaching staff I had for my time in college. They mean so much to me, and not only amazing coaches but amazing people as well’, added Jordan Faison. And of course not to forget Larry Gordon who lent some of his experience and wisdom to the American. ‘LG is really a great role model, he’s the constant professional and is someone I look up to for sure. He played in Germany for a while before moving on, so he just gave me some tips and heads up about basketball, living, and everything you need to know as an American coming over to Germany for the first time’, expressed Jordan Faison.

Despite having a strong senior season, a player is never guaranteed an easy ride to the professional ranks and even more difficult coming from division two. The American had to sweat it out a bit with his nerves in the summer of 2016, but he finally did get signed by German division 3 (Pro B) team Uni-Baskets Leipzig. ‘It was tough at times just being so eager to get out somewhere and play. But I just kept working hard and keeping faith that something would open, and here I am. It’s truly a blessing to have the opportunity to play professional ball overseas, and knowing how tough it is to get over here and start, I take none of this for granted’, said Jordan Faison in 2016. The American personally had an amazing rookie season averaging 20,5ppg,9,7rpg and 2,2apg. But despite dominating on the court, he couldn’t save his team from moving down to the Regionalliga. ‘I could summarize the whole season as a learning experience. Being challenged by a lot of adversity is tough, but fighting through and learning from it only makes you that much better in the long run’, warned Jordan Faison. He compares his game to NBA player Karl Anthony Towns and on the court he was unstoppable scoring in double figures in all 26 games and registered 18 double doubles. He also finished the season making 11 double doubles in his last 12 games and also mastered a triple double against Lich with 17 points, 16 boards and 10 assists. His scoring and rebounding really stand out while his passing still seemed to be a bit off the radar in 2017. ‘I think I’m a good passer. My coaches in college taught me that you don’t have to make the assist pass all time, but that hockey assist pass is just as important’, warned Jordan Faison He also had an unforgettable memory winning 73-67 in Frankfurt where he helped lead the team on an amazing 23-0 run in the fourth quarter and the team got 11 consecutive stops on defense. In the end he had 25 points and 10 rebounds. Coming from a winning environment like Caly Poly and suddenly losing so much in Germany was a tough new experience, but it was a part of the process and he did develop further as a rookie. ‘I think it was extremely important coming from a winning environment in college. It was a different kind of adversity that I had to deal with, and I definitely learned a lot from it. My jumper got better as the season went on, and I think that is something I will continue to improve and will help me in my next step’, warned Jordan Faison in 2017.

In the summer of 2017 we conducted our last interview in his rookie season and one of my usual questions is always what he feels will be his next step. I predicted that he would be on the radar of some German Pro A teams while every Pro B team would have been happy to have him on board. He was also confident that the Pro A could be the next step, but at the same time was unsure where he would be in the next season. ‘ I believe I can play in the Pro A, but I don’t know exactly what my next step will be but I plan on just keep making the best opportunity for myself and going as far as I can’, stressed Jordan Faison then. He had a neutral outlook, but instead of remaining in Germany which would have been the most logical choice, he surprised everybody by going to the far east. I also lost sight of him mainly because he didn’t return back to Germany. Sometime recently he was in my thoughts and I checked his profile and Japan had found his fancy. If someone had told him in the summer of 2017 that he would be playing in Japan for the next two years, he would have answered like this. ‘I definitely would’ve been surprised! I never know where I’m going after each season because I’m really open to playing anywhere in the world. So I probably would’ve said something along the lines of ‘Really? Well let’s do it’, stressed Jordan Faison. Even if he has been in Japan for two years, he never forgot Germany and can truly call Japan like a second home now. ‘They definitely have flown by, which really puts in to perspective the value you have to put on each year you get to play this game for a living. I definitely miss all the people and friends I’ve made during my time there. I’ve stayed in contact with most of them, but it’s still nothing like being there. I’m definitely comfortable in Japan, and have met a bunch of great people I consider close friends. I’m also very comfortable getting around and keeping myself busy’, added Jordan Faison. The American signed with Tokyo Excellence (Japan-B League D3) and recently finished his second season helping the team move up to the D-2. Despite coming from a different country and style with the Pro B, he had absolutely no problems coming to terms with everything on the court. ‘It’s really tough comparing the two because the style of play is so much different. In Japan it’s a lot faster pace, higher scoring, etc. In Germany it was a lot more physical game, with structured systems offensively, and very defensive low scoring games. Both have their positives and negatives for sure’, warned Jordan Faison.

In his first season with the Tokyo Excellence (Japan-B League D3) he excelled playing 62 games averaging 17.2ppg, 8.7rpg, 2.5apg, Blocks-5 (1.3bpg), FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 23.6%, FT: 64.4%. He scored in double figures in 54 games, had 24 double doubles and scored 20 points or more in 25 contests. Not only did he to get used to playing many more games, but also the fact that he would play teams back to back within a 24 hour period. ‘It’s definitely easier in the aspect of being more familiar with what each player does. On the other hand it’s a lot harder on the body, and sometimes the other teams game plan can completely change based off the previous game’, commented Jordan Faison. He was fortunate to have another potent American on board with Justin Herold who showed him the ropes that first season on and off the court. ‘Justin was great! He always played hard and played to win, so being able to have a teammate like that always makes it easy to adjust’, stressed Jordan Faison. In his second season in Japan, he was able to heighten his game a bit more as he played 59 games averaging (22.4ppg being the fourth best scorer in the league, 10.0rpg, and showed just how well his passing had improved being the fourth best assist man at 4.9apg, led the league in blocks at 1.8bpg), and was second in FGP at 63.8% 3PT: 26.2%, FT: 70.4%. He scored in double figures in every game, had 35 double doubles and scored 20 points or more in 42 games and had two triple doubles. But most importantly he won another title something he hadn’t done since his days at Cal Poly. ‘It was awesome. Coming into the season we knew we had a good chance of winning with the team we had. I think our chemistry and ability to pull out close games really separated us from everyone’, warned Jordan Faison. He was fortunate again to have special American teammates like center Ryan Stephan who like him also put up massive stats. ‘Ryan’s IQ for the game, and all around play is something special. Like being able to actually communicate on the court and being able to communicate without having to say anything really made the game so easy! It felt like we had been playing together forever’, stressed Jordan Faison. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Faison in Rhondorf after he contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds in a playdown game

His game has continued to grow in the last two years and with the massive influx of more games has found a way to continue to be consistent and win games even if the adjustment wasn’t easy, he mastered it somehow. ‘It was definitely was a big adjustment in terms of just wear and tear on the body. But our trainers did an amazing job keeping us fresh and always being attentive to our needs’, added Jordan Faison. He has always been a good versatile player before coming to Japan, but now he is a great versatile player that knows exactly in what areas of his game have progressed. ‘ I definitely moved out to the perimeter a lot more while I’ve been in Japan. And my passing and decision making has improved because of that. I definitely feel like I’m a more all around player’, added Jordan Faison. When your dominating in every game and putting up 25 points a game, it gets difficult to pick a favorite personal performance. ‘I think one of my most memorable games was when we were able to pretty much seal the championship against the team we were fighting for first place against. The gym was packed and it was a very competitive weekend. But being able to pull that out and have the trophy presented to us at home the next week was special’, said Jordan Faison. When your making the court in Japan your own stomping ground and winning many games, why would you want to leave? The American will remain in Japan with the Tokyo Excellence for a third season and see how successful they can be. But he does remember his wake up call and that he did have to get used to a new different culture especially the exchanging of business cards which was a whole new process for him. ‘My wake up call was getting used to getting around using the trains. And it was pretty easy getting used to the culture because they’re so welcoming and very helpful’, stressed Jordan Faison. So what exactly is the secret to having the big city connection everywhere he has played to be able to translate over to success? I think playing in bigger cities obviously brings more fans naturally. And being known around the city as a successful basketball team brings an exciting energy to the games. So I think having the support of fans due to the big cities is a huge contributor to our success. It puts a good kind of pressure on us as players to want and win for the fans that support us’, warned Jordan Faison. With the luck that he has had in Japan, it would almost only make sense for him to remain in the gigantic city and let success continue to rule his basketball world. 

Juwan Parker Is Focusing On Becoming A Player That Plays Most Of The Game By Continuing To Work Hard To Achieve This Goal

Juwan Parker is a 24 year old 193cm guard form Tulsa, Oklahoma that completed his rookie season in Germany with Pro A team Nurnberg Falcons helping them move up to the easyCredit BBL averaging 6,3ppg and 2,6rpg.. He began his basketball career at Booker T. Washington High School and moved to Georgia (NCAA) in 2013 and played a stellar four year career playing a total of 116 games.In his junior season he played 32 games averaging 9.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 15.7%, FT: 85.6% and as a senior at Georgia (NCAA) played 33 games averaging 8.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 40.1%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 85.7%. He spoke to at the end of his rookie season.

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

I’m currently in Nurnberg and basketball is treating me amazingly. I’m enjoying my last couple of days over here with friends and teammates I met during this great season, so live is amazing.

Congrats on the amazing season with the Nurnberg Falcons. With everything that you have achieved in your basketball career, where does this magical season rank?

Man Honestly, it’s up there as one of the best. The guys on the team, the coaches, the fans, everything was amazing. I honestly don’t know if I’d ever have that much fun day-in and day-out with a group like this. It’s definitely one of those seasons I know I’ll look back on in 5-10 years with super fond memories.

Most of basketball Germany never thought it would be possible for Nurnberg to achieve moving up. Did the fact that the club overachieved a bit lessen the disappointment a bit not being able to win it all over the Hamburg Towers?
Yes and no. As a competitor you definitely want to win every time you step on the court. At the same time you have to realize everything we had accomplished this season and still feel good about it.

It was a very exciting final series against the Hamburg Towers. You won the first game by three points and lost the second game. Will that last three by German Justus Hollatz be one of those shots that will always creep back into your memories when look back on this final series?
It was a great shot he hit, but no I don’t think it’ll creep back into my memories. Like I said, we had accomplished so much up to that point and I enjoyed everything so I’ll remember the good times way before I’ll remember that shot.

Let’s talk about the season. If someone had told you on January 26 after having an 8-11 record and having lost 6 of the last 7 games that the club would reach the final and move up to the easyCredit BBL what would you have said?
I honestly wouldn’t have known what to say. January was a hectic month for us playing an unusual amount of games, I had been injured and didn’t play in a lot of them. Basti wasn’t back yet. So we really didn’t have our full team the whole season, but we were just trying to stay afloat at that time.

After that the club went on a furious 11 game winning streak to end the regular season. What were the main reasons for the amazing turnaround?

The main reasons were defense, communication and a belief in the individuals as well as the group. Our team became better because different guys stepped up each game. We were playing really well defensively and taking teams out of their comfort zones.

How was the team different going into the playoffs where you swept Trier and beat Heidelberg 3-1. Did it feel invincible?
We were confident. We knew what are strengths and weaknesses were and we stuck to them. I wouldn’t say we felt invincible, but personally I didn’t think a team was going to beat us, let alone in a 5 game series. Even games where we were behind, I still felt like the team was calm and never wavered.

What did you appreciate most about this club this season? What made it so special to strap on a Nurnberg Falcons jersey?
Everything. Getting the chance to continue to play basketball first and foremost. Then when you’re going out every game playing for such a passionate fan base and then you are really close with your teammates, it’s like going out and playing with family every game. So I appreciate how my teammates and the fans welcomed me, especially a guy coming in the middle of the year that they probably knew nothing about, the love I’ve received here has been humbling.

The club had so many season highlights this season. If you had to pick one which would you chose?

There’s a couple that come to mind. All of Ish’s pindown blocks. A few of Marvin’s dunks, Jackson’s game winner in Chemnitz.

How vital was head coach Ralph Junge for the success and how did you see his development grow. He has been known for years for developing young Germans which he did in Ehingen and kept doing in Nurnberg. Now he had his first huge success on the men’s level

Coach was awesome the entire year. Really keeping us focused on our energy and intensity levels at all times and making sure we were playing with pride.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How vital was Ishmail Wainright for the success of the team? What did you appreciate most about his game and what will be your most long lasting memory of him?

Ish was MVP of our team for me. His unselfishness was key. Whether he scored 20 points or 2 points he was always locked in defensively, rebounding, assisting. He brought whatever we needed to each game. The memory will be just his personality. He’s goofy and very easy going and just enjoys life.

In our last interview you stated that American Jackson Kent had helped you with certain tricks. What were some of those tricks and how did he develop further?

Jackson helped me a lot teaching me about angles and attacking in certain situations. Defenses started keying in on Jackson and he developed by always trying to make the right play or pass. He’s much more than just a shooter and it showed later in the season.

You worked closely with talented Germans Moritz Sanders, Ben Gahlert, and Matthew Meredith. How did they develop further and which guy do you feel made the biggest strides?
Ben was injured when I arrived but you could tell his confidence in his game grew. Same with Mo and Matthew. They’re all very skilled but as the season went on you could see their confidence growing and growing.

How vital was the leadership and energy of German veteran Basti Schroeder? What one experience will you never forget with him that truly showed what kind of guy he is?

Man when Basti came back it brought new life to the team, he truly is The Captain. There’s not just one experience, but he definitely is a great guy. He always looked out for me and the other guys and made me feel welcome and apart of the team. So for that, to him, I’m very thankful.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 6,3ppg and 2,6rpg in 14 minutes per game. How content were you with your season?

I believe I had a very solid first season. Definitely have some things to work on, like all players. I need to get my percentages up amongst other things. I am content, but ready to get back to work on it.

You played only 20 minutes or more four times. How difficult was it for you having 14 minutes on average? What positives did you get out of it? Possibly having that continued motivation to prove yourself in practice?
As a player and competitor you want to play every minute, especially when you feel like you should be out there. Positives that I got out of it was just having a hunger every time you go out to prove you can play and produce at this level. Also, it was learning a role, my role was to come off the bench and bring energy, so I believe I excelled at that. But really it’s given me huge motivation for this summer, I want to be a guy that plays most of the game so it’s inspired me to work even harder.

You stated this in our last interview. ‘I think I can do a little bit of everything. I think coming out of college my ability to handle the ball and defend were questioned but I think I can hold my own with anybody’. How do you feel did your game develop despite the playing time?
My game developed a lot. It’s not easy to go from playing college basketball, not playing for 9 months, then coming to play Pro in Europe. It’s a different type of game, and coming in the middle of the season you’re learning everything on the fly. I believe I proved I could guard anybody on the perimeter. Also, I feel my ballhandling and passing got better because Coach allowed me to play the 1 in practice quite a bit. In college I never really came off ball screens or got to bring the ball up, so being allowed to do that in practice helped a lot. I also developed in my ability to read the game, read what defenders were doing.

How did head coach Ralph Junge help you develop further) Talk a little about your relationship to him and how each other’s characters were involved?
He helped me by giving me some tricks of the trade, allowing me to play PG in practice and in some games. He’s a great guy. Very encouraging and he helps instill and build confidence in me how he speaks to you and shows and teaches.

What was your personal season highlight on the court? Possibly the 24 point 9 rebound explosion in the big win against PS Karlsruhe?

I think the Karlsruhe game is up there, as well as Game 2 vs Trier in the playoffs. I think they were just really solid games that were able to show what I could do on the court.

What is the next step for you? Could you imagine remaining in Nurnberg or would you consider going to a new country and culture?

That’s up to God man. My job is to take a little rest and then get back to the court trying to improve every day. I would love to return to Nurnberg, it’ll forever have a special place in my heart, especially with the move to the BBL. But I’m open to just about whatever, I get to play basketball, I have the best job on earth.

On what things will you continue to work on in the lab this summer as you continue to improve as a player?

I want to get in elite shape and conditioning, you can tell the guys who are in elite shape and I think that’ll help me tremendously. Skill wise of course ballhandling and shooting, being able to create shots for myself and teammates at a higher level.

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

That’s hard to say, there’s so many good players and each team has a unique challenge or threat.

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

That man’s entitled to his opinion and as a guy who is an All-timer and an competitor I hope he does feel that he’s the GOAT. Doesn’t mean he’s right, but he could be.

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

I don’t. Tom Brady is the GOAT of football, but in football you play one side of the ball and especially quarterbacks, they don’t have to be athletic or anything besides have a mind and an arm. Jordan is the GOAT because he’s on the greatest offensive and defensive players ever.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was cold pursuit.

Thanks Juwan for the chat.

Will Dan Oppland Follow Guys Like Mcelroy And Jenkins And Continue Playing Into His Late 30´s?

Dan Oppland is a 35 year old 203cm forward that completed his 13 professional season and first season with the MLP Academics averaging 10,7ppg, 4,9rpg and 1,6 apg. He started his basketball career with Valparaiso (NCAA) in 2002 where he played until 2006. He started his professional basketball career in 2006 for Hanzevast Capitals Groningen (Holland). He then played in countries like Poland and Sweden before coming to Bayreuth in 2008. He then played for seasons four Allianz Swans Gmunden (Austria-A Bundesliga) where he won three titles. He also played for Namika Lahti (Finland-Korisliiga) in the 2013-2014 season playing 47 games averaging 15.7ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%. He played 119 games with Nurnberg from 2014-2018 and was able to improve his scoring average each season. spoke to him after the end of the 2018-2019 season.

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

Hey Miles. I am still in Heidelberg at the moment. Season just ended on Monday after a tough loss to Nuernberg in the playoffs.

What was the first eatery that you visited first upon arrival back home in the States?

Well I haven’t gone home yet, I won’t be going until the end of June, early July. But if I had to choose an eatery to visit as soon as I touchdown in the states, it would have to be Chipotle.

Congrats on the great season in Heidelberg. You were semi retired last summer, but latched on another season with Heidelberg. How special was this season for you?

It was a very special for me because I never thought I would be playing another season. It was a great experience and great season. Plus, my daughter was born here as well, which made it most special.

What kind of experience was it playing against your ex team Nurnberg Falcons and having to bow your hat to them? I can imagine that despite losing to them, it was one of the only times in your career where you were truly happy about the opponent winning.

It was an amazing experience to play against Nuernberg. The loss still hurts and will stay with me for a long time. I can’t sit here and say I’m happy they won, but I am very happy for Basti Schroeder, Ralph Junge and the rest of the organization for getting the opportunity to move up to the BBL. I wish them nothing but the best.

With what emotions did you say farewell to the season? On the one hand the team achieved so much, but on the other hand just missed reaching the final.

I am still very disappointed we didn’t get it done this year because I feel like we had the team to get it done, but that’s life sometimes. It doesn’t always go the way you want it.

You split the season series with Nurnberg and lost 3-1 in the playoffs. What is your semi-final playoff summary? I believe this is a series that many in Heidelberg will remember as being one where the Academics didn’t take advantage off enough

I felt like Nuernberg took advantage of our mistakes better than we did of theirs. We also didn’t protect our homecourt which is something you have to do if you want to win in the playoffs. Overall, I didn’t feel like we played a good series, and a lot of that had to with Nuernberg, so give them credit

I believe the turning point was game three. Heidelberg let that game get away. What do you feel really cost you this game the most?

After we took the ten point lead in the middle of the third quarter, we really should have put the game away there, but we didn’t. We let Nuernberg hang around and a few costly mistakes at the end of that quarter gave them the momentum they needed for the fourth. We also didn’t protect the three point line in the second half which really was key for them.

What did you respect the most about the Nurnberg Falcons this season? This is a team that nobody except people in Nurnberg would have had the audacity to proclaim months ago that they would move up.

I respect the way they fought and played together. You could tell this team had great chemistry. I credit a lot of that to Basti Schroeder, who is an amazing leader and captain. I’m sure he set the tone early in the season, which made it easier for Ralph and Vytautas to coach this group. Plus, the development of the young players was huge for this team.

Let’s talk about the whole season. The MLP Academics were 7-6 at the start of December. How vital was it closing out 2018 with that three game winning streak that included a big win against Hamburg. 

It was very important because we seemed to find our identity during that stretch before the break. 

You had two tough crunch-time loses to Trier and PS Karlsruhe at the end of the regular season. Were those losses like a blessing in disguise letting the team know that there was playoff business coming up. You easily disposed of pesky Ehingen by an average of 14 points in the three game series.

Those two losses were definite wake-up calls for us, and I think we really did a job of regrouping after that. We went into the Ehingen series with right mindset, knowing that their team was ready to play. 

What really impressed me about the MLP Academics this season was their consistency despite not having a deep rotation like many other Pro A teams. What was the secret to the success and was there a special mentality that continued to grow during the season that allowed the team to be so successful?

Our team chemistry was instrumental to our success this season. We have a great group of guys who came in every day with the same goal in mind, and that was to get better. No one ever complained, it was always about business.

What made it so special to play for the MLP Academics Heidelberg for a second season? Did you notice that that the basketball culture is continuing to grow in there and that something special is happening?

I think here in Heidelberg is growing especially after the success of this year. Hopefully the momentum from this year can push the club to new heights next season and future seasons to come.k the culture

The MLP Academics had many season highlights. Was it possibly sweeping the Hamburg Towers or beating Chemnitz or was it something else?

Sweeping Hamburg and beating Chemnitz were probably two of the biggest highs in my book. Advancing to the semis was also a big deal since it had never been done in Heidelberg before. 

One of the real great and seemingly underrated coaches in Germany is coach Frenki. Please talk about how important he has been to the new winning culture in Heidelberg?

Frenki set the tone for our season on the very first day of training camp. He has done a great job in Heidelberg and it was an honor to play for him this season. I wish him continued success in the future.

Let’s talk about your teammates. For many in Heidelberg Shy Ely was an MVP candidate. Most of the Pro A players I interviewed after this season stated as him being their toughest cover. How vital was he for the success of the team?

Shy was our guy this season. We relied on him heavily throughout the entire season. It was a pleasure to watch his approach to the game. He always brought it with a ferocious intensity and focus that you don’t see all the time.

Last year your teammate Jaleen Smith said this about Niklas Wurzner after being his teammate. ‘Nikki turned himself into the floor general of our team. If you watched our games, you can just see it. He’s going be really good in a year or 2 so be on the lookout for him. He just has a great feel for the game. He plays at his own pace and doesn’t let the defense dictate how the game going to be played. I feel his passing got more and more better as the season went on. More like his vision on the court was through the roof. He could see everything in front of him or behind him’. How did you see his development continue in your second year? How did you see his development grow this season?

Since this is my first year with the team, I can only say that Niki really developed throughout the entire year. That was evident in the passion he played with in the playoffs. I wish him nothing but the best in the future.

How vital was it having Jaleen Smith on the team for the success? In a very guard orientated league, he seems to get lost in the shuffle a bit. How vital was he for the success of the team?

Shy might have been our best player but I felt like Jaleen was our most important player because he did everything for us. It was amazing to watch his improvement throughout this season and to see the steps he made from last year. He has turned himself into a great player and it will be exciting to see where he ends up in the future.

Last season Jaleen Smith stated this about veteran Eric Palm. ‘It was great having Eric, he taught me a lot of stuff that I will carry with me for a long time. He didn’t just teach me shooting tips but more importantly he taught me how to move without the ball. Just learning when to cut on offense. Having him come in was such a joy and a great pick up for the team’. What new things could you soak up from him in your second season as teammates? What was it like having that second real experienced guy on the team? What special qualities were you able to detect in his game?

Eric and I really jelled from the onset. His knowledge and basketball IQ is as good as it gets. I really enjoyed discussing the game with him. You could see that on the court because we really played well together. He is a student of the game and l loved being his teammate this year. 

How key was it having that added German veteran Philipp Heyden on the team. How did his 9 years of BBL experience show on the court best?

Phil is a beast, and he was huge for us this season. It is tough to find a player of his size and skillset, especially in the Pro A, so we were lucky to have him. I am happy he will continue his career in Heidelberg.

In our last interview you stated that you hoped people would remember how hard you worked and that you did everything you could to win. Did you know last summer that you would miss the game and day to day grind if you had really retired?

I didn’t know that but I think no matter when I stop, I will always miss those things, but like I have said before, you can’t play forever.

You turned 35 during the last season played lofty minutes and had solid stats. Did some of the older guys in the BBL like Ricky Paulding or the Jena trio of Mccelroy, Jenkins and Allen motivate you to continue? You are in your mid 30’S and still play like a 28 year old.

Haha, I appreciate that. When you see guys like that playing at such a high level, it does motivate you because if they can do it, why can’t I do it too? I never have looked at my age as a determinant of my playing because I still feel good. If I feel young, that is all the matters.

You averaged 10,7pp, 4,9rpg and 1,6apg. How content were you with your game this season?

I’m always content with my game because my approach has always been the same. As long as I am giving all that I can, that’s all I can ask of myself. I was happy with how my best play came in the playoffs this season. I tried to leave all out on the floor, so I was happy with that.

Obviously your experience is very key, but was there anything you did differently that helped Heidelberg this season achieve success that you didn’t have to do with Nurnberg the last seasons?

Not really. I feel like my approach was the same as it was in Nuernberg. 

You had many great games during the regular season like your 16 point effort in the win over Chemnitz, but I can imagine your personal season highlight was giving your all and stepping up your game in the Nurnberg series. 

Yeah, like I already said, I felt like I left it all on the line in that series, so I can be happy with that. But the frustration will stay with me for a while. I’m too competitive to forget about that series. It just hurts too much.

What is the next step for you? Are we going to do another retirement interview and then see you come back to play another season or do you see yourself really retiring?

I really don’t know at the moment what the next step is. I’m not going to give a retirement interview just yet, because I still need to sit down with my wife and decide what’s best for our family.

On what things will you be working on the lab this summer to continue to improve your game if you happen to decide to return for another season?

Like always, my 3 point shooting needs to get better. I will also continue to work on my athleticism and quickness. 

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

Wow, that’s really tough. I’ve been privileged to have some great teammates over the years. My obvious number one answer would be my brother, Mike, but excluding him, here it goes:
Sebastian Schroeder, Braydon Hobbs, Jaivon Harris, Josh Young, Virgil Matthews.

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? 

After what he did in his rookie season, he’s on track to do some special things that we have never seen before.

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

I understand where he is coming from, but I don’t agree on him saying that since no one before him as ever done that. To me, Mike is the greatest, but that’s just my opinion. 

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

Wow, that’s tough to say. They both are killers. I don’t know if I can say that. Can I put them both on the same level???

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

He will where he has been for the past few years, at the top of the mountain looking down at everyone else. 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Bohemian Rhapsody

Thanks Dan for the chat.

Averaging A Season Double Double Was Never An Issue For Rayshawn Simmons As Wins And Durability Were More Important

Rayshawn Simmons is a 25 year old 192cm guard from St louis, Missouri, that completed his fourth professional season and first in Germany with Team Ehingen averaging 11,5ppg, 3,4rpg and 9,4apg. Last season he played with the Logan Thunder (Australia-QBL) playing 18 games averaging 12.6ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-1 (8.4apg), FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 76.2%. As a rookie he played with Orli Prostejov (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 15 games averaging 11.9ppg, 4.5rpg, Assists-4 (5.3apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 71.2%. He began his basketball career with Moberly Area CC and then finished at Central Michigan (NCAA) playing 95 NCAA games over the course of three seasons and as a senior played 33 game averaging 12.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 5.0apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 64.1%. He spoke to after the 2018-2019 season.

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

I’m currently in my hometown Saint Louis, Missouri (USA) spending some time with family. 

It has been some months since our last interview. How has basketball time flown by in this time? 

Basketball has been good. Took a tough first round loss in playoffs not long ago, so now I’ve just been relaxing spending time with family. 

Congrats on helping Ehingen reach the Pro A playoffs. The team had a massive turn around from the season before. What was the secret to the success this season? 

Thank you. The secret to the success was just a group of guys willing to do whatever it takes to win and having a group of guys that enjoyed playing together. 

After remembering the season with Ehingen last season reaching position 15, what would you have said if somebody had told you in preseason that the club would finish in seventh place?

I was a guy that came in from day one and told the GM we would be going to the playoffs this year and emphasizing it to guys on the team until everyone believed it. The team last year had nothing to do with our group of guys. 

Ehingen didn’t have an easy playoff foe with Heidelberg who swept you. After getting swept do you feel like the team underachieved a bit in the playoffs and should have given them a better fight? 

No, I don’t feel like we underachieved at all. We had a team that could’ve advanced but after having two starters (one German and one American) go down with 4 games left in the season before the playoffs we knew we’d have our hands full. We were one of the youngest 3 teams in the league and had one of the lower budgets in the league, so making playoffs or even not finishing bottom two we couldn’t underachieve. 

You came into the playoffs with the third best offense averaging 83 points per game, but against Heidelberg averaged only 69 points. Do you feel like the offense let you down or did Heidelberg defend better than what you expected? 

Hat off to Heidelberg. They did a terrific job with their defensive scheme but the biggest difference in the scoring was Seger Bonifant and Tim Harsbargen being injured. Those were our two best shooters and Seger was the leagues best shooter. Those two combined average 24-26ppg. 

Ehingen played with a slim rotation in the playoffs. How much of an effect did that have on your success? 

That had a huge affect but we were forced to ride a slim rotation because of injuries. 

Seger Bonifant missed a game and in the other two games couldn’t explode. Do you feel like the lethal Seger Bonifant was missing and if present would have turned the series into a different one?

The series would’ve definitely been different if he was able to play. I’m not saying we’d have won the series but for sure would’ve won a game. 

It was a very special season for Team Ehingen. How vital was the team ability to always get up and being successful in certain down times of the season? 

It was vital that we all maintained our relationships with each other because we all had a respect for each other and genuinely cared about each other.

The team played it’s best basketball in January and February winning 8 of 9 games. What was the team doing so well in this time that they couldn’t always do in other stretches of the season?

We just had it rolling then had some injuries and stuff going on in the month of March and cooled off. 

The team had many big wins, but what was the team’s biggest win of the season? Possibly the two exciting back to back two point wins against Artland and Phoenix Hagen?

I would say the Paderborn game because it was a point in our season where it would turn into a couple straight wins or losses. I would probably say the win at Nuremberg in January as well.

You have seen many very talented shooters in your career with Seger Bonifant. Do you believe he has what it takes to get a chance to play in the BBL? Wouldn’t be a delight if you and him were in the BBL next season?

I believe there’s no real ceiling for him as a player and can play anywhere in Europe at the rate he shoots the ball. It would be nice for sure. 

Another guy that has made huge strides is German Kevin Yebo. In our last interview you stated about him. Kevin Yebo is one of the best players in the league. He has no real ceiling & I’m excited to see him continue to improve this year & in his career. He’s a special player with athleticism you just can’t coach or teach. He’s extremely coachable with a eagerness to learn & improve daily. I really appreciate his natural feel for the game. He knows when to cut, pop, screen & fill the lane with me on the break in transition. We work & play off of each other extremely well. He’s a special talent who works hard & is also a testament to Coach Dom’s track record of improving players.’. Is he another guy ready for the BBL? 

Yes, Kevin for sure is ready for the BBL, he’s a rare talent and only been playing basketball for about 6 years. HE’s only going to get better. 

What kind of experience was it playing with versatile forward Tanner Leissner? How did his game make your game easier?

Tanner made my game easier just simply because I could always depend on him to be where he is supposed to be and if I saw something he would try it or challenge me to be better daily. 

Talk a little about the development of German Dom Uhl and Gianni Otto. What strides did they make and what did you appreciate most about their games? 

They both got a lot better from game 1 to the end but I feel we all did. I appreciate the fact that I knew no matter what I could count on them to make an impact in every game and never complain about minutes or touches.

Let’s talk about your game. You had very good stats in your first season in the German Pro A averaging 11,5ppg, 3,4rpg and 9,4apg in 30 minutes. How content were you with your personal season on the court? 

I wasn’t content honestly because I feel I could’ve done more. I’m one of my toughest critics. 

What do you believe your stats would have been had you played 36-37 minutes which are always possible in the Pro A? 

I think my scoring would’ve been higher for sure and I probably would’ve averaged the double double. The season wasn’t about that though so I was never concerned. Wins and durability was more important to me.

In our last interview you stated that ‘. I think I can lead with the best of leaders in the world & have the ability to make every single guy around me better’. You didn’t lie because you led Ehingen into the playoffs a team that had been fighting against staying in the league the previous years. How do you feel did you grow as a leader with Ehingen? 

Thank you. I think I grew as a leader and better at communicating or finding how to get certain people going or comfortable. 

You showed that you are a very strong playmaker always finding your teammates and almost averaged 10apg. Was it just a few minutes that was missing for you to attain double double stats in points and assists?

I’m not going to blame it on minutes but even with minutes played it was attainable. 

You stated in our last interview that your defensive qualities often go unnoticed on the court. Do you feel like area’s in your defensive game grew in the Ehingen system?

I think I learned how to be more active with my hands and being disruptive. 

There are so many talented guards all over the world, but BBL teams get a closer look at the guys in Germany. Do you feel like possibly some BBL teams took notice? Do you feel like you could be an impact player in the BBL?

I hope so. I think I could impact a team for sure. 

What was your personal best and favorite game with Ehingen? Possibly the wins against Heidelberg, Rostock or Trier? 

My favorite game was the one at Rostock. 

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

There was a lot of good guys. It’s tough to say just one. 

What is the next step for you? Could you imagine remaining in Germany or would you like to give a new country and culture and basketball style a chance? 

My next step is to continue getting better and I’ll discuss teams with my agent here soon.

On what things will you be working on this summer to continue to keep improving as a player and keep moving up the basketball ladder?

I will be working on getting my shot better along with becoming more flexible.

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

Chris Fowler Braylon Rayson Seger Bonifant Kevin Yebo Tanner Leissner 

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James? 

Two different eras and can’t compare. 

What is your early opinion where Luka Doncic will end one day in the NBA? Could he be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA when all is said and done? 

He should win rookie of the year in my opinion and for sure. 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Us. The new Jordan Peele movie.

Thanks Rayshawn for the chat.

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Taevaunn Prince Who has Adopted the Mamba Mentality

In the early summer of 2017, basketball life was really really good for Canadian Taevaunn Prince who was coming off a spectacular rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen. The then 25 year old 191cm guard who split time at South Dakota(NCAA) and Missouri Southern(NCAA2) before going pro was as upbeat as an American teenager would be leaving the school grounds on the last day of summer as he was very confident and was excited about where his basketball journey would go. Now it´s the summer of 2019 and he is very happy about his basketball life, but in between, his basketball life and luck took a 180 degree turn in the other direction and now he is very blessed and thankful that he is still playing ball and has a bright future, but it could have been totally different. Let´s rewind back to the summer of 2017. In my season ending interview with the athletic beast who averaged 17.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 83.4% as a rookie with German Pro B team ScanPlus Baskets, he was so excited about his future, but at the same time knew that he still was far away from being the player that he wanted to be. “I had a very strong rookie season for me. I have improved as the season went on but I still have a lot of work to do in the off season and I am excited and obsessed with the process of getting better and adding to my game. I have not even scratched the surface, my goal is to maximize my potential and looking back I made plenty of mistakes and can be so much better as a player”, stressed Taevaunn Prince. The exciting guard who help pound FC Schalke with 29 points in a nail bitter 76-74 win had goals for his sophomore campaign wherever that would be and was just focused about making the next step. “The next step for me is getting back in the gym and perfecting my craft, I feel this year was decent and ok but I know I can do more and this was just the first step for bigger and better things. Pro B was a test to see if I can hang professional and I displayed that, I think I can play at the Pro A level and prove myself once again. My goal is always to play at the highest level so I will continue to push myself until I get there”, warned Taevaunn Prince. But instead of continuing to ride that high of continuing his basketball journey and signing with a new team for the 2017-2018 season, he would sit at home and be wondering if he would ever continue his professional career.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Taevaunn Prince in Frankfurt in 2017