Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Vladimir Bogojevic Wants The NBBL Crown in 2022 After Winning The JBBL Title In Frankfurt With Alba Berlin In 2017

German-Serbian Vladimir Bogojevic is an ex player that won 5 titles in Germany for teams Alba Berlin and Rhein-Energie Cologne. He also was a two time BBL allstar and played for the German national team at the 1997 and 1999 European Championships. Currently he is coach of the Alba Berlin U-19 youth team. He spoke to leading up to the 2022 Final 4 tournament in Frankfurt.

Thanks Vladimir for talking to With what kind of feelings are you returning back to Frankfurt where you won your first JBBL title 5 years ago?

I’m always happy to be in Hessen. I played in Giessen at the start of my career. I also won a cup in Frankfurt with Cologne 2004. I have nothing but good memories from Frankfurt. If I will win again, we will see

After not having the NBBL Final 4 for two years, how excited are you to be a part of it again?

I am so happy. This isn’t fake. I was happy for every game that was played after the long Covid pause. It is fantastic to see how the boys are developing. Not being able to play games was really missed. Being able to work with the boys together is so great.

How strange is it being in your third season with Alba Berlin as NBBL coach and having the last two seasons not being completed. How much did the German youth development of talented basketball players get effected?

We were powerless. In the first Covid year everyone was just trying to find a gym to practice in. Nobody knew what to do in this time. Covid came from one day to the next. We were lucky to get the kids in the gym. We had a plan for every player, but it was a very tough, because we couldn’t test their development because there were no opponents. It was a real challenge. Then we were seeing easing in other countries like Spain where they began playing with masks. What we lost on time to develop players with competition, we will never know. We will never know how a player would have developed under normal circumstances.

How did you experience the years 2019-2021 as NBBL coach? Despite Covid and all the problems, how did you see the development of players come along?

We did all we could. Training is nice, but after a while you want to play games again. After a while all the training and practice lies. People get used to each other. We had something like 6 games in two years. Having those game situations is so important for the development of a young player. You can shoot 30 three’s in a row in practice with no defense, but then going 2/5 in a game is a different situation all over again.

What did you learn as a coach during Covid that you would never have experience had Covid not come?

That is a very good question. I learned to become more patient. I learned to be able to put it all better into perspective how to deal with young players.

Alba Berlin had a great regular season. How proud are you of the team considering there was a two year pause. It can score a lot, but also great defensively. How would you define the philosophy of the team?

Our philosophy in the NBBL is the same as for the pro players. We want to play quick and defend aggressively. The pro’s show us how to do it and we try to do what we can to follow it. We want to always be active and play with tempo in both directions. I hope that we can play with different types of tempo and hope we can make the next step.

The team is stocked as usual with a lot of talent. What is your secret as a coach to keeping your players happy with the roles and minutes?

We have the understanding from the players that they believe in what we say. We want to have a certain discipline and the guys know that they have to fight for their roles. I think having that attitude is the best for a player’s development. They know that if they don’t defend or don’t rebound, they won’t play. We believe in the players and try to find a solution as a team.

How important will the experience of Lademacher, Aydinoglu and Schule play? Could it be the difference between a title or not?

Their experience will play a big role. Ulm also has a lot of experience. It is very important that they will give us the needed stability and physicality. I really hope that we can profit from their development this season.

How special is Elias Rapieque? How is he different than brother Evans?

Both are really good boys. Elias has more experience at that age and is more calm.

How raw is a guy like Nils Machowski? What can we await from him in the Top 4?

Let us be surprised how he will play. I really like his calmness on the court. He has a lot of self-confidence. He always knows what to do. He always has a plan.

You have a very tough match up in the semi-final against ratiopharm Ulm that has 7 Pro B players. What kind of game can we await?

I’m so overjoyed and excited to play against ratiopharm Ulm. They also have a lot of guys playing Pro B. At this level, it is so difficult to make a prediction, because you never know what can happen during a game. They are a really good opponent.

You won the 2017 JBBL title with Alba Berlin and Franz Wagner. Are you surprised that he was able to have such a good rookie season in the NBA?

No I wasn’t surprised. One saw early on in his development that he was special. He proved everywhere where he played with us and in college that he can play. He went his path and succeeded. Luca Doncic once said it is easier to score 30 points in the NBA than in the Euroleague. Malte Delow also played in Frankfurt 5 years ago. He also has developed into a good pro.

Thanks Vladi for the chat.

Rookie Jonathan Braeger´s Fondest Moment Wasn´t His 100 Point Game But Building Life Long Friendships In Vilsbiburg

Sometimes players will be forever remembered for a certain feat they accomplished than for anything else. Without really having to sit down and reflect and think too long about the question, things like Bill Russell’s 11 NBA titles in 13 years, Kobe Bryant’s 81 points or Will Chamberlain’s 100 point game stick out right away. It is isn’t any different for American Jonathan Paul Braeger (178-G) who not only experienced an incredible quadruple in the German regionalliga (4th division), but also scored 100 points in a 40 minute game. But as so often in life there was a catch to the extraordinary accomplishment that will pretty much be remembered just as much as his quadruple assistance of 12 rebounds, 16 assists and 12 steals. His team Baskets Vilsbiburg played against Wurzburg that had corona cases and didn’t want to play the game, but reschedule it, but Vilsbiburg didn’t cooperate and the game was played. Wurzburg had 5 players and in the second half had only 3 people. Braeger was playing 5-3 and in a way scoring open shots all night long. As great as the feat was, it was only normal that he would get a lot of hate. But the Wisconsin native carried himself like a true professional and two months later still remembers the game. ‘In all honesty the 100 point game was an amazing accomplishment but it’s not something I necessarily think about. I got a lot of love for that accomplishment but also got a lot of hate. Things have definitely died down. I don’t receive much hate anymore since it was a while ago but the love is still there from a lot of different players and of course my family and friends’, stressed Jonathan Paul Braeger. One thing is for sure, even if he got a lot of hate, his colleagues who leave it on the floor every night mostly understood what he went through and it was his duty to play. 80% of the players I talked to would have done the same thing. ‘I’ve talked to many professionals players and other basketball players and I would say 80% of them said they would of done the same thing like you said. I know it may of seemed selfish to a few people but as a professional I get paid to perform and compete no matter what the circumstances are’, stated Jonathan Paul Braeger.

He didn’t end the season with another 100 point game, but actually had to have his A game prepared as in the last game against Bamberg had to win a do or die game in order to keep the Baskets Vilsbiburg in the Regionalliga. He helped lead his team in the playdowns where the Baskets Vilsbiburg played against a few teams at the bottom for the ticket to stay in the Regionalliga. ‘Playing in the play downs this season was a bittersweet moment. It gave our club and myself more games to play. We were a pretty young team this season so it was nice to get more games in. We all would of loved to be in the playoffs but with our young and inexperienced team it was nice to get more games in to develop as individual players and as a team’, commented Jonathan Paul Braeger. As he demonstrated all season long, he once again had another masterful game with 21/8/15 stats. So being able to end the season on a positive note made him very happy. ‘ It was a very nice feeling winning our final game of the season. It’s every team’s goal to move up a league but unfortunately we missed that goal this season. Taking first place in the play downs secured our spot to stay in Regionalliga which is nice for the club’, expressed Jonathan Paul Braeger. One has to wonder how a competitor like him can enjoy a big game like he had considering he once scored 100 points in a game? ‘The most important thing before stats is winning. I love winning and it’s always nice to put up good stats but it’s more important to just compete and WIN! People don’t remember stats, people remember if you’re a winner’, warned Jonathan Paul Braeger. Despite scoring 100 points, he felt like nothing really changed after that with what teams threw at him on defense. ‘I’m not sure how many people noticed it. I mean it’s a crazy stat line and people that did see it were pretty amazed by it. Throughout the rest of the play downs I was basically face guarded full court all game. Even before my 100 point performance I still was getting face guarded most of the season as being one of the top scorers in the league’, said Jonathan Paul Braeger.

The 178cm guard who believes that the Golden State Warriors will win the 2022 NBA title in 6 games over the Milwaukee Bucks played his first season overseas and often guys that play in lower leagues quickly realize if continuing a career is worth it or not. The pay in the Regionalliga is little and often you are the only import on a team that has experienced and young Germans. But he was fortunate to be teammates with a real veteran with Kenny Fluellen who played in the German Pro A and Pro B, the two leagues above the Regionalliga where Braeger played. Playing with a player like that can only give him hope to continue to grind and move up the basketball ladder. ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure playing with Kenny. Coming in as a rookie Kenny took me under his wing and helped me tremendously. Kenny’s been a pro now for 8+ years and knows what it takes to play at a high level. The advice he’s giving me will stick with me for life. Couldn’t of asked for a better friend and teammate as a rookie. Kenny helped me stay focused and don’t give up. Even when times were hard with losing some close games this season he taught me to keep my winning mentality. To learn from the losses and keep pushing through the tough times. Kennys composure is amazing. He’s taught me to keep believing in myself and always push myself to get better’, added Jonathan Paul Braeger. As an American who is already 26, he was one of the older guys on the team and he was able to see the other players develop during the season. He had a birds eye view of which player was the most improved and which German kid made the biggest strides during the course of the season. ‘ I would have to say the most improved player this season was Thomas Kahlert. Thomas is one of the youngest guys on the team this season and this is his first year playing in Regionalliga 1 and he kept improving each and every week. He was our hype man with some nasty dunks and posters but also a great teammate that learned from all of us and is a very coachable player. Bright future for that kid. Besides Thomas I would say Mo made the biggest strides. Mo is the youngest player on our roster and this kid works. He plays on our club’s second team as well as the first team. He practices every single day and is the most coachable player. He’s only 20 years young and started playing basketball at age 16. So only playing basketball for 4 short years his improvement is incredible’, remembered Jonathan Paul Braeger.

The American who also gained professional experience with ABA teams Chicago Fury and Illinois Panthers and also played with the Wisconsin Blaze (WBL) had a brilliant first season overseas with the Baskets Vilsbiburg averaging 26.2ppg, 9.3 assists, 11rbs, 3.6 steals. After putting up stats like that, how can one not be content? ‘Individually I’m very satisfied with the numbers I put up. But more importantly I wish we would of won more. It was a great building season for the club as we had a handful of rookies including myself and our coach. I couldn’t of asked for any better teammates and coaches and I can see a lot of success coming in the future for the club of Vilsbiburg’, stressed Jonathan Paul Braeger. Coming from the States to overseas ball is never easy, but he had no adjustment period. ‘German basketball is very physical. The physicality is way more then what I was used to playing at UW Fox Valley. As a player your goal every season is to improve your game both mentally and physically. What separates a good player from a great player is knowing that there is always room for improvement and that there are better players then yourself out there. But the work ethic you have as an individual is what separates the good and great players’, said Jonathan Paul Braeger. He filled the stat sheet like no other and as a point guard was able to develop further which will help him make the next step next season. ‘I feel like the thing I matured most this season was learning how to control the game as a point guard. Learning how to control the pace of the game. It was one thing I really wanted to work on this season was controlling my pace. Playing back in the states I just wanted to run run run and go fast all the time. Not that going fast is a bad thing but there’s times and situations where you need to slow down and learn to control the game especially being a point guard’, commented Jonathan Paul Braeger. Not only did he make waves on the court and a reason to come back next season, but also the opportunity to experience wonderful new adventures off the court can help him return. ‘I made it one full season. Been blessed to stay healthy throughout this long season. My most memorable moments off the court was just traveling around Germany and the surrounding countries close by. The history behind everything and the scenery is beautiful. And of course hanging out with my teammates’, stated Jonathan Paul Braeger.
The Mr 100 point guy who played at Wrightstown high school and then at the University Wisconsin-Fox Valley will use his summer wisely. Even before he was on the plane back home to the States, he already knew exactly what his focus would be. Surprisingly it wasn’t seeking out his favorite eatery that he has dreamed of in the last 8 months, but about his career and where he wants to go with it. He knows that he is far away from being that complete player. ‘There’s always room for improvement. This summer I’ll be working my ass off in the gym. A couple things I really want to focus on is my finishing at the rim and my strength. With knowing how physical professional ball can be overseas I need to get stronger and learn to finish through contact. I’m not satisfied and I want to reach the level I know I can reach. The game of basketball is everything to me and has taught me many things. Not just the game alone but life lessons as well. I’ll keep pushing myself and I pray each and everyday to the man upstairs that a team will give me a opportunity to prove that I can play at the highest level here in Europe’, warned Jonathan Paul Braeger. Obviously his 100 point game helped put him more on the basketball map in Germany so why not come back to the place where he made history? ‘I would absolutely love to come back to Germany. The history and people here in Germany have done nothing but amaze me. The basketball here in a Germany is some of the best basketball in the world. My goal is to move up here in Germany but if not here I’m open to going to another country to experience the culture and different playing styles’, stressed Jonathan Paul Braeger. So when he is back home this summer and relaxing after a tough work out session, he won’t necessarily be thinking about how he produced bucket after bucket in Wurzburg, but being reflective about other beautiful moments in Germany off the court. ‘I don’t think much about my 100 point performance. That’s in the past now and although it was awesome to achieve, it’s not my fondest memory this season. I would say my best memory coming from this season is just building lifelong friendships. Each and everyone of my teammates made me feel welcomed from the very beginning. I love my brothers for life!’, warned Jonathan Paul Braeger. One thing is certain that despite pulling a Wilt Chamberlain in Germany, many people will still love Jonathan Paul Braeger no matter how he scored 100 points. He knows it was a unique experience, but at the end of the day, he cherishes the real finer things of life developing further as a person and continuing to build his character the right way.

Jonah Radebaugh(MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg) Has Learned To Strive To Play Perfect Basketball For John Patrick

Jonah Radebaugh (190-G-1997, college: N.Colorado) is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Northglenn Colorado playing his second professional season and second with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. He began his professional career with the Koping Stars (Sweden-Basketligan). He began his basketball career at Northglenn high school and then played at the University of Northern Colorado from 2016-2020 playing a total of 128 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 16.5ppg, 6.3rpg, 6.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 44.3%, FT: 78.9%. He spoke to after the 81-77 OT win against ratiopharm Ulm.

Thanks Jonah for talking to Congrats on the 81-77 win and 2-0 series lead. The first two games were like day and night in terms of scoring. Did it surprise you that game two was a lot more low scoring?

Not really. You kind of expected it. When you play a team a second time, things get more familiar. We knew more what to expect.

The game was a real tight affair and you could of won it after 40 minutes. You could of won the game with a three and then so could of Sindarius Thornwell. Ludwigsburg didn’t waste anytime in OT taking charge right away. What was key for getting the win at the end?

We knew that we had to come out and punch them in the mouth. We didn’t dwell on the misses at the end of regulation. We knew that we had worn them down and needed to bring extra energy. The big shot by Jordan Hulls helped us.

How refreshing was it to see defensive specialist Yorman Polas score 19 points? How comforting is it knowing any guy can go off on any night?

We love that. He has had some big games. When teams key in on me, Justin Simon or Jordan Hulls, we always have other guys that will step up. I don’t need to be stressed when you have guys like Yorman who can score. We have been doing it all season long.

Your playing your second season for the MHP Riesen. Last season you reached the final and this season rolling again in the playoffs. When you look back at the last 18 months, coming to Ludwigsburg was one of the best choices in your life?

I think so. I came in late to the team last season and didn’t know what to expect. The team was having a great season and it was tough adjusting. I didn’t know at first if it was the right situation and I would fit in. I really had to work on myself. But coming from a mid major school, I have always had to prove myself. Eventually I found my role. With many guys gone this season, I saw it as a big opportunity to have a bigger role.

As a hard nosed defender, coming into John Patrick’s system was perfect. What is the biggest challenge playing for him?

He does a lot of subbing especially when a player is new. It can be frustrating. Last season, if I made one mistake, I was out. I had to adjust. He made me want to play perfect basketball. Even now you know that if you do mess up, you can be thrown into the musical chairs. This is something that all guys go through.

Alba Berlin all play for each other and have fun on the court. Do you sense like that same type of culture of team togetherness is present with the MHP Riesen?

Yes it is. Everybody on this team loves to see the other have success. Seeing Yorman score a lot like tonight or seeing James Woodard come off the bench and be successful makes me happy. There is no selfishness in our culture. We just want to win.

After not winning the Basketball Champions League, is the hunger to win grown more? In what areas of the team game will the team have to keep growing in in order to make a playoff run?

We have to stay locked in on defense and take down the other teams key players. Everyone has to take on that personal challenge.

What kind of an experience has it been playing with Jordan Hulls. He recently announced that this is his last year. How contagious can his shooting be?

It has been great playing with Jordan. There were games this season where he was injured. You saw the difference on the court without him. He is a true floor general. Everybody loves playing with him and he is a great shooter. You always think that his shot will go in. With his good shooting, it gives everyone else more confidence with their shooting. We hope that that feeling of others thinking your ball will go in will happen.

How much of an inspiration has veteran Tremmell Darden been for you? Does his longevity make you think about the future and what you have to do in order to play as long as you can?

Tremmell has a lot of wisdom and you can always go to him for wisdom. I try to pick up things form him that will help me play a long time. He takes care of his body every day and is also a very nice guy.

You and Justin Simon have carried the team offensively this season. How valuable has he been for the team and what do you appreciate most about his game?

It has been great playing with him. When he isn’t on, then I will be and vice versa. He is always a helping hand, is unselfish and a great teammate. He is really good at making tough shots around the rim. I try to take some of that touch and add it to my game.

You made an incredible jump in your game from last season to this. It began in last season’s playoffs against Bamberg and then FC Bayern Munich. What happened in that period for you to be able to raise your game?

Last year I had the opportunity to play and was in the business of playing perfect. The success in the playoffs was because nobody knew who I was. The opponent keyed in on other players. I became more aggressive and I got freedom to make plays. When that works you get more confidence.

How much of an effect did the good playoff series have in you keeping your momentum and carrying it into this season?

It had a huge effect. My teammates also trusted me.

You have made a massive jump in your game this season. Your playing 14 minutes more and filling the stat sheet. Has Patrick giving you total freedom and you working hard to keep improving been the secret equation or has there been more to you having this success?

Yes I have more freedom this season. I have more freedom to make mistakes and plays. It is no fun playing on needles. I believe my game was able to shine because of the freedom I got. Also continuing to work hard on my game was important.

You averaged 6,0apg as a senior in the NCAA. You haven’t averaged more than 3,0apg as a pro. Is continuing to grow as a facilitator a part of your game you want to continue to work on?

There is a fine line between being aggressive and getting your team involved at the same time. I have had some good and bad assist games this season. Key is being aggressive and not forcing it. Last season no one keyed in on me. This season guys are keying in more on me and I have to find open guys more.

You began your rookie season with the Koping Stars (Sweden-Basketligan) averaging 11.1ppg, 6.6rpg, 3.2apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 81.8%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were very far away from home?

I think my wake up call was setting my alarm clock for 4Am so I could see the NBA finals. Back home I was used to seeing it at night at 8 or 9pm. It made me realize that I was across the world. But I had to see the NBA finals. It was a priority.

You played at the University of North Colorado (NCAA) from 2016-2020. Was winning the CIT title your fondest moment there?

Yes that was definitely my biggest moment. Not many teams experience winning a title at the college level. It is something that I will never forget.

You made a huge leap in your senior year in your game. How do you feel did your game develop most in your senior year?

A few games into my senior year, my point guard got injured. So they made the decision for me to become the primary ball handler. That is when my game took off. But I was ready. I had watched other guys make plays so coming in and taking on that role was easier. Key was that my teammates and coach trusted me. I had to make the freedom to make plays and we lived with it. I also worked hard coming into my senior year because I wanted a big year after not such a good junior year.

You had memorable games against Portland State and Denver. What was your favorite game in your college career?

The Portland State was my most memorable game. I almost had 30 points. After that game my teammates called me 30 point Radebaugh. I had been in a shooting slump coming in and then I exploded. I saw all my hard work pay off.

How did head coach Jeff Linder groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Coach Linder was hard on us. He really pushed us towards his expectations. He made practices very hard, but in games he trusted us and let us make plays and mistakes. He is a very good coach and I loved playing for him.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Trent Harris?

I won. We called him John Gotti. He was a very good shooter but I won those games.

Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that went to the NBA?

Lari Markkanen was the toughest player. We almost beat him and Arizona that had guys like Bonn MVP Parker Jackson-Cartwright, my current teammate Rawle Alkins and Alonzo Trier.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Jordan Davis, Barry Brown, Desi Rodriguez, Jaleen Smith, Justin Simon.

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

Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kareem, Kevin Durant

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


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

Yes they should of.

Thanks Jonah for the chat.

Spencer Reaves Showed More Than Just Scoring In Leverkusen Being Able To Develop His Leadership and Playmaking Further

Foto credit Frank Fankhauser

Spencer Reaves (191-G-1995, college: Central Mo., agency: One Motive Sports) is a 26 year old 191cm guard from Newark, Arkansas that finsihed his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen averaging 14.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 43.9%, FT: 85.7%. He played his first three professional seasons in Spain with Azpeitia Juaristi Iraurgi Saski Baloia (Spain-LEB Silver) and UBU Tizona Burgos (Spain-LEB Gold). He began his basketball career with / Cedar Ridge High School and then played a season with North Greenville University (NCAA2). He then finished at the University of Central Missouri (NCAA2) from 2015-2018 playing a total of 85 games averaging 12.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 83.5% in his second season, 17.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 59.9%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 85.4% as a junior and17.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 88.6% as a senior. He spoke to after the completion of his fourth professional season.

Thanks Spencer for talking Your first season in Germany with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen has ended. How tough was it being swept by the Tigers Tuebingen?

It’s never easy to lose a series, especially being swept, but you have to give a ton of credit to Tubingen. They have been the best team all year and it showed with the last 3 games.

Is this one of those series that will take longer to digest or have you been able to put it by you?

I try to put everything on a 24 hour rule. Be mad, upset, happy about something for 24 hours then throw all the emotions away. You can’t let emotions of something fog your thinking for that long.

The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were so pumped after the exciting Trier win. Did Leverkusen peak during the Trier series?

I wouldn’t say we peaked against Trier. We were able to put together 3 good games in a row, which is important in the playoffs. We played most of the Tuebingen series without a PG which is never easy.

How vital was it losing game one 85-83 to Tuebingen? Do you feel like that loss effected the team mentally?

It hurt. I felt like we made too many mistakes to win that game though. And we still had a shot at the end.

In game two and game three Leverkusen had combined 41 turnovers. Was that the biggest reason for not being able to turn it around?

We didn’t have a real PG the last two games. Both went out with injuries so it’s trying to piece different things together to try to find something that works. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t.

You had an ok series but was pretty much wrapped up well in game three. You had 8 turnovers combined in the last two games. You had had only 7 turnovers combined in the previous 10 games. How much of the blame do you take?

I of course will take blame for any losses we have. I consider myself a leader and when you don’t win a game, there has to be reasons. I’ll take blame and work to improve so it doesn’t happen again.

When looking back at the season is this one of those seasons where the club could of achieved more considering the talent that it had? What is your summary of the season?

I would say it was a successful season here in Leverkusen. I fully believe we give ourselves a chance to win this series without all the injuries that have happened recently. But we are a Top 4 team in the Pro A, 14 other teams can’t say that.

How much of a pleasure was it playing with German Luis Figge who has BBL experience? What did you learn to appreciate most about his game?

It was great. Team was built and constructed with a lot of great human beings as well as basketball players. I really enjoyed seeing Figge’s ability to affect the game on the defensive end.

You shared the back court with Quentin Goodin. How did you experience his hunger to keep moving up the basketball ladder? Is he a guy you see making the next step?

He’s great. He is definitely a guy I see making the next step up the ladder. He’s a competitor and will do everything he can for the team to win and be successful. He will make whatever team he signs for next better.

Who made the biggest strides in the development from the young German’s on the squad? It’s really hard to pick one guy.

I feel like each of our young guys improved in different ways. And were all about to help the team win games. Can’t wait to continue to watch them develop.

You averaged 14.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 43.9%, FT: 85.7%. How content were you with your first season in the German Pro A?

Numbers are one thing but those wouldn’t mean anything without the amount of winning we were able to do here in Leverkusen. This was my first playoff experiences in this format and I’m happy we got to win a lot of games.

You had had solid seasons in the Spanish third and second divisions. But would you agree that this season in Germany was your best season as a professional?

I would say so. I think I was able to show more than just scoring this season as a leader, teammate and playmaker than in years before.

You were a scorer and a leader on a successful team. How do you feel did your game grow this season in the German Pro A?

Well I had great guys and teammates around me. I got to have fun every single day with practice and then games where the pressure is extremely low. I got to only worry about basketball and not other things that might be distractions with this team. And for that I am very thankful and appreciative.

Despite having a massive 28 points game with 8 three’s against Artland early in the season, you had a slow start. From December until the end. You scored in double figures in 26 of 27 games. Do you feel that your ready for the next step?

I believe that I am. We will see what comes in the next weeks, especially passport wise for me. And then me and my agent Drew will discuss all of the options. But making the next step is definitely a goal of mine.

What is the next step for you? I can imagine you will get some offers from BBL teams. Is Germany a place you would like to remain in?

I’m not sure yet. It’s early as of now. Just want to take a little time off and see what kind of interests Roll in. I loved Germany this season though and would love to come back to play in this country.

On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer so you will be ready for another potent season in 2022-2023?

I know I’ll need to really work on certain movements because if I make the step up, the speed will be completely different. But also just continue to work on my overall game so I can do whatever a team needs from me.

You had many nice memories on the court, but what was your fondest moment off the court where you really got to know the culture of Germany?

Probably when I went to Karneval in Koeln. Crazy amount of people and the atmosphere was so different than anywhere I had been before.

Who will reach the NBA final and win it all?

I think it will be Bucks/Suns rematch. With the Suns winning it.

Thanks Spencer for the chat.

Playing Pick And Roll With Amare Stoudemire And Finding Him Was An Unbelievable Experience for Tamir Blatt(Alba Berlin)

Tamir Blatt (184-PG-1997) is a 25 year old 183cm point guard form Israel that is playing his first season in Germany for easyCredit BBL team Alba Berlin. He played the last three years for Hapoel Jerusalem. Before that he played with Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Holon. The son of famous head coach David Blatt is also a Israeli national player. He spoke to after the 97-85 game two win over Brose Bamberg.

Thanks Tamir for talking to Congrats on the 97-85 win over Brose Bamberg and comfortable 2-0 series 10 years ago Alba-Bamberg was a brutal rivalry. Now Alba Berlin continues to be at the top and Bamberg has been struggling the last years. Are you aware of the history of the two teams?

Yes for sure. I had heard that Bamberg had been the top team in the BBL some years ago. They won a lot of titles. Now Alba Berlin is the top team. We did a good job protecting our home court against Bamberg. I’m happy that we got the wins and hope it continues.

After a up and down first quarter, Alba Berlin took control in the second quarter getting amazing offensive support from Jaleen Smith and Maodo Lo. How satisfying is it not always having to deal with pressure coming from the bench when they are able to produce so well?

Yes for sure. Both are great players and teammates. We are like a big family with Alba Berlin. We always support each other and want that the other does well. The most important thing for us is to enjoy ourselves on the court.

Alba Berlin kept up the offensive pressure in the third quarter, but also allowed 27 points. Alba Berlin has allowed 87 points on average in the two games. Is the team aware it still needs to up their defensive performance in the playoffs?

Yes for sure. The games have been high paced against Bamberg and a lot of possessions and points. Both teams have very skilled offensive players. We will continue to watch film to correct our mistakes.

Alba Berlin did a super job not letting Bamberg get over the hump in the fourth quarter. What was key for Alba Berlin to be able to close out he game in fine fashion?

We did a good job bearing down on defense and staying focused. On offense we continued to get into good position and work to get good looks and keep scoring.

Alba Berlin demonstrated again that even without Luke Sikma and Ben Lammers, it is able to compensate their absences. Is a total awareness of your roles and consistency one of the biggest strengths of this team?

Every player has to be ready at all times. In some games you might play more and in others less. You have to always be ready to give everything for the team success.

You have proven in young years that you understand what it means to be a good playmaker. Have you learned anything additional about passing from veteran Luke Sikma that you didn’t know before?

I don’t thing that it is something specific about passing. We play different positions and see different things on the court. I can always learn things from him. He is a great leader and teammate.

What has it been like being teammates with Yovel Zoosman? He said this about you to me recently. ‘Yes it has helped him being here and I hope the same for him with me. This is the first time that we are in a new culture. We have been together a lot before coming to Berlin where we were roommates during youth national team times and now are also roommates with Alba Berlin. We spend a lot of time together and it makes it easier for us to enjoy the team and be who we are for the team. When you feel down or weird about something then you feel happy that you can talk to someone from another perspective’. You have known each other for a long time. What do you appreciate most about him?

Yovel and I go way back. We have known each other since we were 17 years old and were roommates with the youth national teams. He is a good friend and we learn a lot from each other. Of course having him here with me made the adjustment a lot easier. This was our first steps out of Israel. Going to a different country for the first time isn’t easy. It is nice to have somebody around that you can talk to in your language.

Your playing your first season with Alba Berlin. What kind of an experience has it been playing for Alba Berlin? How have you experienced the culture of the organization?

Playing for Alba Berlin has been a great experience. Coming to Germany was a big adjustment at first when you played your whole career in Israel. But they welcomed me with open arms right from the start. They are a unique organization that know how to approach everything day by day. There have been ups and downs this season, but I feel that I have matured as a player and person. I also have been able to stay stable mentally through the downs.

What kind of an adjustment has it been coming form the Basketball Champions League to the Euroleague? What was the biggest challenge that you had to face?

The Euroleague is the best league in Europe where the level is very high at both ends of the court. It has been a dream come true being able to play Euroleague and a lot of fun. I hope that it continues for many more years.

You played a lot more minutes with Hapoel Jerusalem the last years. How challenging has it been attempting to be efficient for the time you get?

It has been a big adjustment playing less minutes this season. I came from a situation where I was the main point guard and had the ball in my hands a lot. Plus it was a different system. I knew that I wouldn’t be a starter and would have to be as efficient as possible in the minutes I get. I feel that I have found my way in the last two months where I have shown I can be efficient.

In your last 3 seasons in the Israeli Winner League you averaged around 6 assists a season. What do you need to do as a floor general to reach a new level in your game?

I think key will be just continuing to work hard and being smart will help me develop. I think also the more situations I get in games the more I will improve. I just want to continue to go my path and develop.

You never have been that explosive scorer and defensively a guy who still has a lot of potential. What do you need to do to raise your game in these areas?

Coming to Alba Berlin was good on helping me further develop as a defender. They work a lot on the defensive end. I have learned to be in better position and use my hands more. I also have gotten better being aware of things happening on the court. I think I have been able to implement a lot of what I have worked on in practice in games. I feel I have taken a step up as a defender. On offense there are some games where I will score more and other games where I will be more of a facilitator. Every game has a life of it’s own.

You are a player that has experienced some teams in Israeli. Why didn’t you ever land with Maccabi Tel Aviv considering having a well known basketball figure like your dad?

I don’t know. My goal was always to get out of Israel. Coming to Alba was a no brainer. This is the path I chose and I’m really happy about it.

How important has your dad David Blatt been for your basketball career? Do you feel like you would have been different as a player had you not had a basketball coach as a father?

It has been such a blessing to be able to have a dad that has so much knowledge of the game. We talk everyday. We always gives me different ideas to think about. I have no complaints.

You played your first game against Maccabi Tel Aviv as an 18 year old in 2015. What memories do you have seeing guys like baby Shaq and Jeremy Pargo?

I have had many crazy games in my career from watching them when they played for my dad and then playing against them. That game was one of them

How important were your three years at Hapoel Tel Aviv from 2014-2017? You made a huge jump in your game in your third season

They were the first organization that gave me a chance to play in the first division of Israel. I am forever thankful for their trust in me at age 17. I took a big step in my career there. I really began to work very hard on my game and got stronger physically. I got more disciplined and have been having this attitude up until now. I got more minutes and was able to show what I can do.

You played with so many veterans there like Alando Tucker or Robert Rothbart. Was there a player in that time that really inspired you?

I played with many great players. In my second season when I averaged 15 minutes a game we made a big run. I had teammates like Nate Robinson and Tre Simmons. We lost in the last seconds in game five. But we had a great group of guys and really connected.

You then played a season with Hapoel Holon. Was the guard rotation a big bog that made it hard to get more minutes?

Playing with Hapoel Holon was a good experience. I really grew here as well and got more experience. It was the first time I played BCL. We had ups and downs, but we won the cup. I always put goals to play for winning programs. I also was MVP of the game in a game 5 playoff game that we lost.

Yovel Zoosman described Guy Pnini being a legend. How do you remember your time with him there? Was he a guy that took you under his wing?

Guy Pnini is for sure a living legend. I experience him a bit different than Yovel. I watched him play for my dad and win the Euroleague with 15 and 5 years later I played with him. We won a cup together. It was an unbelievable experience. We still have good connection today. He is one of Israel’s greats to this day.

You played the last three seasons with Hapoel Jerusalem winning 3 league cups. Which one was the sweetest?

Winning the second one was the sweetest. We won the one on our home court with 11,000 watching., That was really special.

Here you also played with incredible veterans including Amare Stoudemire. Did a young Israeli guy become in awe or were you able to stay professional and just enjoy the experience?

In the beginning it was a big deal, but then we began to get to know each other. We sat next to each other in the locker room. Playing pick and roll with him and finding him was an unbelievable experience knowing he played with some of the greatest point guards like Steve Nash.

Last season you had a 20/14 game beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 83-82. How memorable is a game like that? You haven’t beat them often in your career?

I would say this game was top 5 in my career. We didn’t have a lot of Americans left on the team, because there was a war going on. They didn’t feel safe and the club respected that. Nobody believed that we could win this game. This was an unbelievable game for me.

What are the chances of Israel at the Euro 2022 and how competitive will Israel be?

We have a great group of guys that have been together for some years. I like our chances. I feel that we can have a good tournament. I’m really excited.

Who is the toughest player that you ever faced on the floor so far in your career?

I think Dennis Schroeder. Yovel and me played against him and Germany in 2018 in a qualifying game. We had good games. We lost in OT against Germany.

Please name your five best teammates of all-time?

That is difficult. I had so many with guys like Nate Robinson, Amare Stoudemire and Guy Pnini.

Please name your NBA Mount Rushmore of point guards.

Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Derrick Rose and Fred Van Vleet

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

I never talk about it when people are debating it. I have no opinion on it.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Beautiful Mind

Thanks Tamir for the chat.


Javontae Hawkins Didn´t Watch Any Extra Steph Curry Videos Before His Game Winner Against Hamburg Because He Has Been Hitting Long Three´s Since He Was a Teenager

Foto credit @Jörn Wolter

Javontae Hawkins (196-G-1993, college: Fordham) is a 28 year old 196cm forward from Huntigton, West Virginia that is playing his fifth professional season and first with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Last season he sat out because of injury. He played his third professional season with the HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim averaging15.9ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 79.4%. In 2018-2019 he played with Holargos B.C. (Greece-A1) playing 29 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 77.5%. As a rookie he played with the Salon Vilpas Vikings (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 54 games averaging 14.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 79.9%. He played NCAA basketball at three schools with S Florida from 2012-2014 playing 54 NCAA games, then had his break out season with Eastern Kentucky (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 17.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.5% and finished at Fordham (NCAA) playing 31 games averaging 14.0ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 84.3%. He gave spoke to after the big game one win over the Hamburg Towers.F

Congrats on the huge 100-98 win in game 1 against the Hamburg Towers. With such an exciting game one, can we expect games like this to continue?

Of course, this is the playoffs, both teams played hard and you’re not going to expect nothing less during intense playoff games like last night.

Hamburg had the one point lead at the break. Why couldn’t any team get away from the other?

They were executing their plays well the whole game and we just couldn’t seem to build a bigger margin of point difference so we had to fight literally to the end to seal the game.

In the third quarter the explosive guard duo of Brown and Homlesly kept scoring and combined for 47 points in the game. How key will it be slowing them down more between winning the series and not?

Thats the key, to make it as difficult as possible for not only JB and Homlesly but for their whole team, we have to be mentally locked in from the start. Those 2 guys have been on point all year, when they get going it’s tough to stop them both, much respect to those guys

How happy were you that the team trusted you in taking that big three to send the game into overtime?

It could’ve been any guy on the floor at the time to take and make that shot, however I believe the team had 100% in me and I’d have the same for them

Bonn called a time out with 4 seconds left in overtime. Was the play designed for you? Talk a little about that play?

The play was designed for whoever gets open, however coach and teammates trusted me with the ball in my hands and I had plenty of time to get a great look and thank God it showed how much hard work pays off.

Where does this game winner rank with all that you have hit in your career?

I think it ranks at #1 as of now because of how hard we fought to comeback and take the game after being down most of the game.

What has it been like playing together with Parker Jackson-Cartwright. You know how vital he is for the success of Bonn, but did it help to win the MVP more when TJ Shorts went down?

it’s been incredible, he’s like a little brother to me, I’m so proud of him and how hard he plays even through adversity, I don’t think he won MVP because of TJ becoming injured I think he won MVP because he worked hard and he deserved it, however TJ had an incredible MVP caliber season as well.

Even when Parker Jackson-Cartwright went down the Telekom Baskets Bonn still won 4 of 5 games. How important was for the team knowing it can win without him?

It’s not so much they we knew we can win without him, it’s more so about the character, identity and versatility this team displays. We knew it would be tough without PJC but that just meant guys have to step up even if it was uncomfortable and we showed great character in doing so.

What is the secret to the success winning games without Jackson-Cartwright and Jermey Morgan. Is it a combination of knowing your roles and just an incredible knack of having each other’s back no matter what?

Yes, absolutely it’s about being a star in your role and playing as a team and we did just that, I’m just happy those guys are back with us during these playoffs.

Talk a little about how vital guards Skyler Bowlin and Karsten Tadda are for the success of the team. Are these guys a good example of guys you love to hate but love to have on your own team?

These 2 guys have been big for us all year, those are our captains and more seasoned vets, they play a huge part in our team’s success with the dynamic experience and toughness they bring along with making big plays defensively and offensively down the stretch of games.

How precious has the input been for Justin Gorham since Jeremy Morgan has been out. What do you appreciate most about his game?

I appreciate his resilience and his response during adversity. Whenever he gets his name called JG always delivers for us whether it’s a rebound, a charge, or a huge shot, I’m so proud of how much he’s grown this year and he’s only a rookie

You came in December. How great was it coming back to play for your old coach Tuomas Iisalo? How is your role different here than in Crailsheim?

It was a blessing to come back and play for TI, it’s always good to get back with familiarity with personality, coaching system and style of play. My role is the same as it’s always been playing under TI nothing has changed but the year, and team.

You didn’t get many minutes at the start, but have been playing incredibly the last months. Was it a tough situation slowly getting into the rotation?

It wasn’t tough at all, I knew as well as the coaches and team knew I was on a minute restriction due to coming off a knee injury when I played in Ludwigsburg, so by God’s grace it was only a matter of time I would be able to get my rhythm with my new teammates

You had two 20 point plus games in March and then 4 in a row in April including back to back 30 point games. How do you explain this extreme heightening of your scoring?

Its something that’s a gift. It’s been an incredible year for me especially after sitting out last year so I’m just thankful for the opportunity I have at hand to showcase my abilities.

You demonstrated often that you are an incredible 1-1 scorer. Has that always been or did you work on that in your comeback?

I have always been a great 1-1 scorer since HS, I grew up playing 1-1 everyday with friends, so it’s kind of natural I would say.

You also have demonstrated that you can heave the very long three into the hoop. Did you take extra time watching Steph Curry videos?

I think the game has evolved to deeper range, but honestly I’ve been shooting deep range since I was a teenager. It’s kind of a natural feeling when you work on those type of shots in the off season and even during the season.

An interesting fact is that you have never averaged more than 1,0apg in a season. Is playmaking something your really keen to keep improving on?

I’m always looking to improve every aspect of my game, playmaking is actually one of my better attributes along with scoring and defending. However I’ve been never asked to be a playmaker so it’s never been my role.

What is your opinion of Charles Barkley’s assessment that Giannis would only come from the bench back in the day?

I believe Charles Barkley doesn’t under how Giannis is the most dominant player in NBA since Shaquille O’Neal, so there nothing else to be said. He’s wrong.

Do you feel like many of these legends from the 70’s and 80’s are a bit jealous of the crazy athleticism that guys have today?

I don’t think they’re jealous I just think they’re in denial about how much the game has evolved from a physical point.

What do you feel made Kendrick Perkins say he would take Russell Westbrook’s career over Allen Iverson’s?

To each it’s own as they say, personally I would take Allen Iverson based on how much he had an influence with my culture and how tough he was, but I would argue with Perkins statement because Westbrook has had an incredible career as well.

Who will reach the BBL final and win it all?

Only time will tell as we take it 1 game at a time I look forward to being in the BBL finals.

Thanks Javonte for the chat.


John Murry Has Never Stopped Grinding And Is Ready For The Next Step In A Higher League in 2022-2023

Even with Covid having been around for more than two years and many people having suffered, time still has flown by for some as greatly as it must of have for a guy like Luka Doncic who only three years ago had had an incredible rookie season and since then has become a consistent top 5 player in the NBA. But for other guys time may not have flown by as much like for ex Austin Peay (NCAA) guard John Murry who is a guy who loves the game as much as anyone, but has had some serious growing pains in his professional career. The guy just finished his fifth professional season, but in that span has played only 36 professional gams. For some players that would be a total that one would play in one season. It was that bad that in his first three pro seasons he played only 8 games. I can remember in the fall of 2019 as I met John Murry for the first time in Rhondorf. I was really looking forward to seeing him play and duel against Dragons freak athlete Curtis Hollis. But shortly before tip off, he came moping across the floor in street clothes with a face as long as Shaq’s if he had been just told that his local Mcdonalds had been shut down. Murry was injured and wouldn’t play that season. Then came Covid which put another dent into his career. He would play three games at the start of the 2020-2021 season and explode averaging (27.3ppg), 7.7rpg, Assists-5 (5.0apg), Steals-5 (2.3spg), FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 85.7%, but then came the next unwanted road block in his career as Covid cancelled the season. But finally in 2021-2022 the high scoring guard finally could show his overwhelming abilities and played a whole season in Germany with Grevenbroich.’ It’s so Refreshing to see that.I feel a lot of teams wouldn’t give me a chance in higher leagues because of the rough start that I had in my pro career which I couldn’t control at all. It’s also gave me a boost of motivation because technically those other seasons were out of my control with an injury and then corona happening so it was unfair for me as well, But being persistent and willing to prove myself got me to a better space and I feel I’m ready for ANY league in the world no matter what others might think about it’, warned John Murry. He had a dominant season with Grevenbroich and belonged to the top guards in the Regionalliga. It is only fitting that Murray’s self confidence is as sky high as is Ja Morant’s who made another step in his stellar career as he wants to continue to move up the basketball ladder as any league would do.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and John Murry in the fall of 2019 in Rhondorf, Germany

But sometimes even when your having an incredible personal season, not everything is rosy. He was a constant force every weekend as a player, but his team had an unsatisfactory season. The team was actually saved on the last game day in that their last game was cancelled. ‘I’m not 100% sure why it happened but I definitely wish we could have played that last game but since we didn’t here we are, just getting prepared for the next time I step on the floor’, stated John Murry. So instead of finishing in 14th place where Dorsten Ended up with a record of 7-19, Grevenbroich finished in 13th place with a record of 7-18. Even if the team had such a tough season, they were able to close out the season with a 112-88 victory over the Lowen. ‘I couldn’t have wanted anything more or better, I literally just wanted to win and make sure the fans and staff could remember us going out as winners. We did enjoy for the most part, me and the team along with the staff went for pizza after the game and enjoyed each other’s company one last time. I can say I honestly felt the warmth and love from people as our last home game was the last game we played’, stressed John Murry.

The American who last saw the flick Next Friday will never forget this season. It was his first full season as a professional. But the losing is something that he won’t be able to shake so quickly. One thing that teams couldn’t get rid of this season were the short rosters that were so often seen in the box scores which was due to Covid cases and injuries. This had a big effect on Grevenbroich who often had to play tired in the second half of games. ‘Injuries really took a toll on us as a team as we had 4 players get hurt early on during the season. With a full rotation of players we actually played a good game, it’s just hard to win a 40 minute battles with only 6 players to show up on gameday’, added John Murry. Who knows but the season could have had a total different route had the team not lost a tough 99-97 nail bitter to Bonn 2 in the first game. After that a six game losing streak followed from which the club could never recuperate from. ‘I still remember the 2 free throws that we needed at the end of the game to seal the win against Bonn, each game we almost won but it came down to last second decisions where we just couldn’t pull it out’, expressed John Murray. Their biggest problem was defense. They allowed 80 points or more in 23 of 25 games and on average gave up 94 points per game while scoring only 87 points. Is there just not enough talent level to be able to play consistent good defense in the Regionalliga? ‘Talent plays a role but I don’t think the Regionalliga is difficult in any way, it’s more about heart and will to want to defend and get stops at the end of the day’, warned John Murry. As a competitor, he also is aware that as the point guard, some of the blame is pointed toward him. ‘I do take blame in some areas of the game but not as much this season simply because I leave it all on the floor when I step in between those lines, I play as hard and as smart as I can to will my team to a victory’, warned John Murry. The whole season was a wash out as the team came together at the end winning three of four games including beating Essen, Deutzer and the Lowen. ‘At the end of the season we started playing together and had the right players on the floor at the right time, we also played smarter cut down on turnovers and made shots which helped us win games’, remembered John Murry.

John Murry who hit SE Missouri State for 33 points in the NCAA was pretty much a one man wrecking crew, but he also had strong support from Dzemal Selimovic. He is a 22 year old 205cm Montenegran center who had gathered a little Pro A and Pro B experience with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He came to Grevenbroich in 2020 and in his first season with Grevenbroich averaged 9.0ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0apg and this season made a massive leap averaging 16.9ppg, 15.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.8%, FT: 57.9%. He was a real work horse and scored in double figures in 20 of 23 games and scored 20 points or more 10 times including hitting BG Hagen for 31 points and had 28 points against the Lowen. His ruthlessness and power on the boards showed as he had 20 double doubles and had double figures in rebounds in each game. He also hauled down 20 or more rebounds three times. It is no surprise that he was John Murray’s logical choice for the most improved player on the club. ‘I loved playing together with Dzemal. I feel like we are unstoppable, he also got way better from last year to this year with his effort energy towards the game and his footwork. I’m very proud of the player he is becoming. Dzemal has been ready just like many other players who want to move up to Pro B or Pro A. It’s just the matter of a coach giving him the opportunity that he deserves. He will do well with his chance’, warned John Murry. The American also had praise for young German Julian Mikhail who made the biggest strides from the young Germns on the squad. The American also wouldn’t have had the season he had, had he not received the unending freedom from head coach Ken Pfuller. ‘Playing for coach Ken was a blessing. I learned so much from him as a player and as a person, he kept me level and pushing forward through a tough season like the one we just had. Nothing but respect and blessing for him and his family’, commented John Murry.

The Indianapolis native who sees the Bucks and Suns returning to square off in the 2022 NBA final had an outstanding season on the court averaging 28.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 4.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 82.2%. That the player has very high standards of himself is nothing new as he described his feelings about his game in every weekly interview during the season. But after a consistent dominant season, you can have a heart and be more generous with a grade. ‘I’d give myself a B just because for me 82% at the FT line is unacceptable and I’d like to have had my assistance higher with getting guys involved more but at this point I’m just thankful for the full injury free season and looking forward to the future’, stressed John Murry. He scored in double figures in 25 games and had 20 points or more 23 times. He scored 30 points or more 11 times and 40 points or more twice. He hit Hamm for 42 points and Wulfen for 40 points. I was always hoping for 50 points, but even in the Regionalliga, you need a lot of luck and teammates that are finding you. ‘I definitely thought about it but at the end of the day I just wanted my team to get the Win and sometimes scoring 50 may not be the answer to a win but down the road who knows? It could happen as long as we get the win to go with it’, said John Murry. Even if the team lost many games, he did help win seven games and did sample some fond moments during the season. ‘The time we beat the #1 team in the league with conviction and everybody in the league wrote us off was a nice moment. I tend to do well in situations where people think I will fail. I actually enjoy people writing me off and thinking I won’t succeed, it just adds fuel to the fire’, warned John Murry. He finally played his first full season something he had never done before. It is only logical that his game grew. ‘I feel like my game grew tremendously, I found out certain things about myself this season that I didn’t know I had in me, I grew mentally when it came to dealing with younger players who hadn’t played this game for a long while, I also grew as person and became better on the floor but more importantly better off the floor’, added John Murry. He is already at home getting prepared for next season while other guys are laying low at home on the couch with ding dongs and Jerry Springer reruns. He knows exactly what has to happen with his game if he wants to continue to climb the basketball ladder. ‘Just making sure I maintain my court awareness and improve my decision making, I will make sure to do everything else that I have planned out in taking my game to a new level’, stressed John Murry. It will be a very interesting and exciting summer as he should be getting in very many offers. ‘Only God knows my next steps as of now, I’m just controlling what I can control in order to make an impact on winning with whatever team I sign with for next season. I believe I can play at the highest level in any country in the world and that’s no disrespect to any player or coach that came before me, multiple coaches and players told me I am Pro A material but I haven’t played Pro A so I can’t say it for sure, but I believe in my abilities and all the things I hear about Pro A I am sure I would do well in that league’, warned John Murry. His self-confidence is sky high which is only normal. He is an American basketball player and if you aren’t aware of your abilities than you shouldn’t be playing the game. Sky is the limit for him. If he doesn’t at least find his name on a German Pro B jersey next season then I will be very surprised. This guy has paid more than normal dues. He deserves a shot at a higher level. He can play and has the right mind set and is point blank a real competitor.

After A Very Strong Pro A Season Stanley Whittaker Is Ready For The Next Challenge Possibly In The EasyCredit BBL

Stanley Whittaker (183-G-1994, college: Keiser) is a 27 year old 183cm point guard from Philadelphia that completed his third professional season and first in Germany with PS Karlsruhe averaging 22.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 84.6%. He played his rookie season in Lithuania and last season had his break through with UBSC Raiffeisen Graz (Austria-BSL) playing 24 games: Score-2 (21.5ppg), 6.3rpg, Assists-2 (8.0apg), Steals-1 (2.6spg), FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 78.4%. He played his college ball at Frank Phillips (JUCO) and Keiser (NAIA). After teaming up with for a weekly talk that generated 30 interviews, he took the time one more time to give a summary about the season.

Thanks Stanley for talking Your season with PS Karlsruhe has ended. Rostock was favorite to win the series. Still as a competitor you took the loss hard. Was going out like this one of the harder defeats that you had to take in your career until now?

It was tough series although we weren’t able to win a game in it, it was competitive. I was able to learn a lot from that series, so I’ll move forward & continue to grow.

Was the turning point the 107-103shoot out loss?

Turnovers & offensive rebound hurt us.

In that game like vs Jena earlier in the season you played 50 minutes, but lost both games. What do you believe did you learn from these two games concerning minutes, fatigue and success?

I just learned that our group will battle until the very end. We came up short both times but we were battling.

In game three Rostock showed their total game hitting many 16 three’s and winning the rebounding duel. Is it fair to say that at the end of the day that the Rostock depth was too much for PS Karlsruhe?

It was more so on us, we had 6/7 bodies it’ll be tough for anyone to play against another team with 10/11 guys.

All in all it was a super season for PS Karlsruhe. To bow out against one of the top teams is nothing to be ashamed of. Please give your summary of the season for you.

It was a successful season for our group through the ups & downs we battled through and showed resolve. I’m happy for this team, I enjoyed it.

Would it also be fair enough to say that the team overachieved a bit. The Pro A is very competitive and I wouldn’t necessarily have seen PS Karlsruhe as a playoff team.

Maybe in the eyes of you & everyone else, but that never mattered to us, we knew what we had in our locker room, we knew that we were one of the better teams in the league from start to finish and I would bet other teams in the league felt the same.

The team often played with small rotations due to injuries or Covid. What do you believe was the secret to playing so well in those times? Do you feel your duty as a point guard to lead was instrumental then?

My duty is to always lead so that kind of goes without question, no matter the circumstances we have to be ready to play & compete in the games so that was always our mentality.

The team had so many big and memorable wins like sweeping Rostock or beating Bremerhaven on the road. What was your most memorable win?

The most memorable win for me is clinching the playoff against Schwenningen.

We already spoke about most of your teammates during our weekly interviews this season. Please reflect a bit on your teammates and how important they were for the team success and your success?

I’m just so proud of my guys and how they battled throughout the entire year, it was a long 9 months and they showed up to work every day and gave it what they had. Each one of them was important to our team success.

Please name the team’s unsung hero, most improved and best young player this season?

I can’t really name an unsung hero, in my eyes they were all heroes. Matthew Moyer improved the most and all our young guys were good and played well for the minutes that they got.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Stanley Whittaker teamed up for 31 interviews during the 2021-2022 season

After dominating in Austria, you came to Germany and had a great pro A season leading the league in scoring 22.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 84.6%. Talk a little about your season. I know your never content as a competitor should be, but you can’t be disappointed with your scoring consistency.

I think I had a solid season, didn’t finish as strong as I would have liked but in all it was a solid year.

How much did you grow as a facilitator? You scored a lot, but also averaged 6,5apg. What was key in your play for being able to score and facilitate well?

I think I can still be a better facilitator. But just reading the game honestly it’s not a complicated answer, just reading & reacting.

What you read on the stat sheet doesn’t always reflect how a player really performs. Talk a little bit how you were able to bring your defense forward. Did your on ball defense grow?

If it wasn’t Leo, I took on all of the toughest assignments on the perimeter of the opposing team’s top player. I know I can defend at a high level & I still have room to get better in all facets of my game.

You battled against many great guards. Which two players will most stick out whenever you look back on this season? –

I like Rohndell from Kirchheim, & Simmons from Jena.

What is the next step for you? I can imagine first division in a top country. I know the BBL offers will come. How excited are you for the transfer summer?

We’ll have to see, I’m looking forward to it.

If you had a wish and opportunity to play in another country, which country would tickle your interest most?

Spain if I had the choice

On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer? Will your work in the lab be intensified with your next goals wanting to be accomplished?

I’ll work on all facets of my game, my passing, my play making, my shooting, my defense and my body, all those will help me continue to grow & develop which is a goal of mine.

Which 2 NBA teams will meet in the finals and who will win?

That’s a tough one it’s soo competitive I’ll go Philly & Phoenix

What activity are you looking forward to doing most this summer back home?

Just working on myself.

Thanks Stanley for the chat.

Fight Defined The 2021-2022 Dragons Rhondorf But Youth And Not Getting Over the Hump Brought Them Back To The Regionalliga

It was May 7 and the Dragons Rhondorf had one game left. It wasn’t just any kind of game, but a do or die game in Bernau 694 kilometers away from their living room in Bad Honnef. All the hard work that the club had put in this season came down to a damn 40 minute game. The loser would be regulated to the Regionalliga. The Dragons Rhondorf had a good start leading 12-6, but then came a severe break down where it seemed like the Dragons had gotten their mouth closed and that fierce throwing fire that they are known to do was halted. And from that point, Lok Bernau took control of the game and ran to the finish line with the 84-69 victory. The Dragons Rhondorf picked up their game again, but Lok Bernau had done the needed damage and the Dragons couldn’t recover. The Dragons Rhondorf suffered that typical season dilemma that had plagued them all season long with having to get over the hump and always using more and more energy. This scene happened so often this season where the Dragons Rhondorf were trailing and just couldn’t get over the hump. It was a sad evening in Bernau. Tears were flowing like a waterfall, but what do expect from a team that played with heart all season long. ‘Everything was missing in Bernau. They were better than us in many areas and deserved to win. Unfortunately we missed many well played out shots. If our three’s aren’t falling, then we always had problems the entire season’, stated Dragons head coach Julius Thomas. Fight defined the 2021-2022 Dragons Rhondorf, but massive youth and not getting over the hump plagued them all season long and sent them back to the Regionalliga.

Esli Edigin

It was no secret that the season wouldn’t be an easy one as the organization communicated early on that it would go with the youth. Even if the club did get American Will Christmas for the season as the lone import spot, their cooperation ended early as they decided to keep their import choice with Senegal sensation Ousmane Ndiaje. So just like in the 20-21 season, the club went with no American import taking on the risk of not getting that guaranteed high power scoring and versatile play that players often give. The team was very young with an average age of 19 years and the first game rapidly showed that the season wouldn’t be easy. The club had one experienced player with Paul Albrecht (208-PF-1993) who had had 162 pro A games experience. The club got destroyed at home against top team Munster 107-74 and a week later were tortured in Wedel 88-48. But a week later, the club experienced their first big success moment with a massive 69-68 victory over the TKS 49ers. But that fury of success wasn’t able to power the team to new heights then as it would lose five of it’s next seven games and were early near the bottom of the standings. A big problem was their defense as they allowed 80 plus points in every loss. Their biggest problem was discipline, consistency and 1-1 defense. If they could of reached an identity on defense earlier in the season, they probably would have won a few more games as they were a talented offensive team, but when you score 78 points a game and can’t defend consistently, you will have problems winning games. ‘The Pro B is a totally different level than Regionalliga or NBBL. The Pro B is a lot more physical. We couldn’t get used to that at all at the start. We also were punished with allowing many baskets out of our turnovers. But with time we did improve that’, commented Julius Thomas.

Paul Albrecht after recording a rare triple double

Then came a good span where they won three in a row including beating top team Wolmirstedt. They defended more aggressively and played with more passion on the defensive end, but they couldn’t hold the momentum. After that they lost 7 of 8 games where their season was ultimately decided. They would have to play in the playdowns. In this weak phase, the club began to get back into bad habits and just give up too many points. They would be down by 7-8 points in the fourth quarter and lose many games not being able to get over the hump. Youth and experience and not having the needed energy was their downfall in these times. ‘WE weren’t able to turn around games often this season. Our wins were usually when we began well and finished strong. If I would of known an answer, I would of changed it’, added Julius Thomas. They proved that they had heart and those fighting qualities as they chipped away at the end in the playdowns and won 4 of the last 6 games. But it is ironic that they were able to sweep the season home series against Bernau, but in the most vital game of the season against Bernau, couldn’t get the job done on the road. Besides the defensive woes and being in the hole to often in the fourth quarter, this team was just too young to be able to compete in the Pro B. The club did haul in identity figure Viktor Frankel-Maus in December, but having only Frankl-Maus and Albrecht as those hardcore veterans wasn’t enough. Most other Pro B teams had much more experience and those players that could take on responsibility and make the right decisions in crunch-time. What also was disappointing was that BBL cooperation team Telekom Baskets Bonn didn’t have more faith in the young players and give them more minutes in the BBL. The only player that saw a little action at the BBL level was Marek Kotieno. When you look at a team like Lok Bernau, they not only had guys playing for Alba Berlin, but had 3 NBBL youth players that had distinctive roles on the pro B team. Guys like Aydinoglu, Lademacher and Schulte were immense during the season. That is also a reason why Alba Berlin is favorite to win the 2022 NBBL title. Young players don’t only develop further getting minutes at the Pro B level, but also with seeing BBL minutes. ‘It is difficult to give a season summary as there is still a lot of disappointment after the loss on Saturday. In a few days we will sit together and see what can be improved. We had a strong development this season. When you compare the first games to the last games, it was a very much i9mproved team’, stressed head coach Julius Thomas.

Ousmane Ndiaye

Making a season summary of the players is never easy especially when you move down. Nicolas Buchholz averaged 17.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 81.8%. After playing with the Rostock Seawolves and playing only 12 Pro A games, he took a step back to play Pro B. He made a good development taking the opportunity to be that go to guy at the Pro B level. He proved that scoring in double figures in 19 games and scoring 20 points or more in 10 games in 31 minutes per game including 31 points against Iserlohn. So often he hit big shots in crucial moments. he could be seen as one dimensional as a scorer so now it’s time to make the next step in other areas of his game like rebounding and facilitating. Playing another season in the Pro B could help his development instead of going right back to the pro A. Paul Albrecht who developed the best this season in the eyes of head coach Julius Thomas averaged 12.5ppg, 8.0rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 72.3%. He was the team’s heart and soul this season and held it together as best he could. In weak phases his scoring in bunches would give the team new energy. His relentless work in the paint and always helping to make his teammates better was refreshing. He was always the first guy getting his teammates into a huddle to get new motivation. He scored in double figures in 17 games and had 7 double doubles. Who could forget his magical triple double against Bernau. He finished the season strong scoring in double figures in the last 9 games. Keeping him has to be a big priority. Oshane Drews averaged 11,7ppg, 4,1rpg and 4,7apg and had 1,6spg and shot 29% from outside. After being up and down and having a lull between January and March, he made huge strides in the last two months. He felt that he had to take on more responsibility and was a big factor in the offense. He scored in double figures in 8 of his last 9 games including 23 and 22 points in crucial playdown wins over Hamburg. His drive is almost unstoppable and he is a fierce defender that can be that lock down defender. Getting a more consistent three pointer and touching up his facilitating will help him reach the next level. Viktor Frankl-Maus averaged 8.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 29.1%, FT: 64.3%. He played an Ok season, but more scoring punch and consistency was missing for me which he had showed in Munich and in previous years in Rhondorf. He scored in double figures in seven games. If his leadership qualities had been present since day one of the season, then the season may have gone in a totally different direction. Marek Kotieno averaged 8,0ppg, 3,9rpg and 1,3apg and shot 38% from outside. He scored in double figures in 8 games. It is no secret that he is a modern day forward. He continues to grow as an outside shooter and run the break well, but I would have liked to have seen more physicality inside. That balance just isn’t there. It seems like he won’t get a real chance from the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Maybe it’s time to settle on a Pro A career. There are enough Pro A teams with interest.

Nicolas Buchholz and Marek Kotieno

It is a shame that Covid disallowed fans in Rhondorf to see more of Ousmane Ndiaye who is one of the biggest talents in Europe for the year 2004. He played only 26 games in the last 3 seasons. This season he averaged 8.6ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.4apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 52.6% and scored in double figures in 8 games. He had a solid season that was hurt a bit by injury in the second half that slowed his development. He had some big games against Hamburg with 13/20 stats, 18/14 stats against Wolmirstedt and 17/16 stats against Schwelm. He played 30 plus minutes six times and when he got minutes, he proved that he could fill the stat sheet like no other. He is a versatile offensive player and lock down defender. His three pointer is still a work in progress. He is already on NBA Mock draft lists for the 2023 NBA draft. He should make the next step and play elsewhere next season. Ralph Honnou averaged 7,4ppg, 1,3rpg and 1,1apg and shot 28% from outside. He had a solid season despite injuries woes and averaged 15 minutes. As a young player, consistency was missing, but his winning mentality and neverending fight qualities was very refreshing. His drive continues to be his weapon. He still has a lot of potential. The club should keep him. Bruno Albrecht averaged 8,4ppg, 1,8rpg and 2,3apg and shot 37% from the parking lot. Unfortunately his season was cut short as he missed more than three months. It wasn’t easy in the first few months finding a good spot in the crowded guard rotation, but he did the most of his minutes. He continues to show that he can be that explosive scorer and trustworthy facilitator. He needs to stay healthy and consistency will come with experience. He is an interesting project and should be kept. Esli Edigin continues to be an incredible raw prospect. I remember Yassin Idbihi raving about him in 2020 before he had even worn a Rhondorf jersey. The kid just turned 17 and already has shown special talent at age 16. He averaged 4,9ppg and 1,3rpg in 16 minutes per game. He scored in double figures in 6 games. His athleticism is great and he has all the pieces to becoming a good player. He also should be kept. Marcelo Ruediger from Brazil averaged 5,4ppg and 4,6rpg. He came late to the team and needed time to adjust to the European game. He had some good games against Muenster scoring 11 points and averaged 11/7 in the two playdown games against Hamburg. He helped the team in the paint with rebounding. Unfortunately his foot problems probably will only allow him a few more years to play before he has to retire. From the young kids Sam Nellessen, Kai Mueller, Robin Straub, Michael Ejumeta and Lars Brodisch, Nellessen made the biggest strides. He showed in enough games that he was aggressive and would take big shots. Julius Thomas did a fine job in his first full season as head coach with the Dragons. His zeal for the game and knowledge for his young age was always present. His coaching talent should further be realized with the club. So what is the next step for the Dragons Rhondorf? Heading back to the Regionalliga is disappointing, but staying in the Pro B because of other teams not opting to remain in the Pro B could give the Dragons the chance to remain in the Pro B. With Giessen heading to the Pro A and most likely not keeping their Pro B team could mean that Rhondorf will be able to remain in the Pro B. The next months will be interesting to follow in what direction the club will go.

Terrell Harris(Hakro Merlins) Had To Reinvent His Game And Was Able To Heighten It As TJ Shorts Went Down

Almost 7 months ago Terrell Harris (191-G-1993, college: Georgia Coll., agency: Players Group) was in the beginning stage of playing his second full season in the German BBL and first with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim and after 40 minutes against ratiopharm Ulm, the Merlins had lost by 22 points and started with a brutal 1-4 record. In the game he had 8 points. Almost 7 months later, he was fighting for the last BBL playoff spot and on the road in Ulm. He lost again against ratiopharm Ulm, this time only by 10 points, but the big difference this time was that he was the best player on the floor having posted 24/6/7 stats and held his own against ex NBA players Sindarius Thornwell, Semaj Christon and Jaron Blossomgame. The ex NCAA 2 player who worked his way up from the Pro B to the easyCredit BBL and has always had a chip on his shoulder wasn’t even in awe playing against guys like that. It’s no secret that the world is filled with exceptional talent and that there aren’t enough spots on NBA rosters. Already last year he had shown time in and time out again that he can battle against any ex NBA player and hold his own. He knows he has nothing to prove anymore. ‘I wouldn’t say that game was a proving point, I always felt like I belonged here. It would’ve meant more if we would’ve won that game. I can hold my own against anybody I wasn’t worried about that. No disrespect to their players, all of them are good players in their own way’, said Terrell Harris. He just wants to win and in the last game he faced his ex team Niners Chemnitz and won an incredible nailbiter 95-93, but he and the Merlins didn’t have fate in their own hands. They were praying for a Hamburg win over Bamberg to give them the last playoff spot, but in the end, the basketball God gave Bamberg the last ticket. But at least he beat his old team of whom he has the utmost respect for. ‘This one hurts more because it leaves a big what if, fully healthy I saw us beat 6/8 playoffs teams very comfortably. I feel like we would’ve been there at the end but who knows what would’ve happened. I for sure learned a lot from this season. I wish I can get back the last possessions of the MBC, Ludwigsburg, and Ulm game. I knew it would be a tough game for whoever we played at home so it didn’t matter if it was Chemnitz or whoever. Chemnitz is a good team and organization. Coach Rod played a pivotal role into the player I am now, I can never have ill feelings towards Chemnitz’, warned Terrell Harris. He missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season and understands that one can’t control certain issues. ‘ It was by far the most unluckiest season I ever been part of, but injuries and health issues are a part of the game. We still had opportunities to create our own destiny and we didn’t execute’, stressed Terrell Harris. His sixth professional season proved one to be of many highs and little lows and one where he had to reinvent his game in the second half of the season and heighten it after TJ Shorts got injured.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Terrell Harris in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in Dec 2021

The days after the season ended haven’t been easy for the Florida native who believes that 20 year old German Aleska Kovacevic made the biggest strides in the pool of the young players on the team and knows instead of getting some extra sunrays in Germany in May, he could of been getting locked in for a tough series against Alba Berlin in the playoffs. One thing that will be tormenting the organization this summer will be the what if question of the TJ Shorts injury. Where would the team have landed at the end of the regular season and in the playoffs had the diminutive guard not gone down in Leiden, Holland. ‘Yes of course but everyone else had injuries as well. It sucks but is part of the game. I will also dissect what I could’ve done better as well personally then move on. Still feel like I could’ve got us to the 8th seed without TJ and through the Covid situation’, remembered Terrell Harris. The club played a superb Fiba Europe Cup season reaching the Quarterfinals and bowing out against a tough Leiden team and also reached the German cup top 4. But in the eyes of the American not reaching the playoffs doesn’t classify as a total successful season. ‘We didn’t make the playoffs, so I don’t look at the BBL season as a success’, warned Terrell Harris.

The ex Rostock guard who feels that the Golden State Warriors will win the 2022 NBA title believes that there wasn’t just one crucial loss in the season. Losing To Oldenburg, Ludwigsburg or MBC wasn’t more crucial than the other. ‘All the losses were crucial including both to Frankfurt. I can’t really say this one outweighed the other one. We should’ve taken care of business late in those games. You can’t change the past so I will learn and move forward’, commented Terrell Harris. Everything was rolling along for the Merlins in March 2022 as they were prepared to take the momentum from the BBL cup top 4 in Berlin, but then came a shock as TJ Shorts went down in Leiden. The club was hit hard and all of a sudden had to be successful without their MVP candidate. The club never gave up and regrouped and just continued to fight. Without Shorts the team was 5-8 and came so close to reaching the playoffs. ‘I mean he probably would’ve won MVP if he didn’t get hurt. Any team losing a MVP candidate will struggle to adjust. We ran a lot of our offense through him with the system we had. It worked for the most part until he got hurt then we had to readjust roles. Unfortunately we dropped literally one too many. I think the team learned TJ had a great supporting cast behind him as well. Jaren Lewis and I stepped up huge for us along with the others’, expressed Terrell Harris. Last season I witnessed ex Davidson (NCAA) sniper Jon Axel Gudmundsson have some massive scoring games with the Fraport Skyliners where he showed what scoring in bunches meant. This season he couldn’t find his role in Italy and came to Crailsheim in mid season. In Frankfurt he averaged 12,2ppg in 28,7 minutes and with Crailsheim only 5,9ppg in 14,7 minutes. Why wasn’t this guy used more especially when the team needed scoring support? ‘Last year the Frankfurt the team wasn’t as talented nor deep as the team we had here. He came midseason and the adjustment period was kind of tough since we were already rolling. You have to ask Sebastian why he didn’t play more, I don’t make the subs’, added Terrell Harris. The whole club had to step up with out TJ Shorts and one of those was Jaron Lewis who like Harris never got any gifts in his basketball life and had to battle to the BBL from the Pro A. ‘Jaren is my guy, very reliable and can do it all. His game is smooth and underrated. He’s a quiet and humble guy as well but he gets the job done every night. He’s for sure underrated and overlooked like myself. The things we do for teams can easily be taken for granted and overlooked because of our personality and most of it can’t be measured. Teams are not successful if you don’t have guys like Fabi, Mo, and Jaren’, warned Terrell Harris.

The versatile guard who names talented BG Goettingen guard Kamar Baldwin as the toughest player he faced this season played in two competitions for the first time in his career. In the Fiba Europe Cup he averaged 12.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.0apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 77.1%. Being able to play against advanced competition was vital in his further development as a player. ‘Fiba Eurocup was a fun competition. You had to bring it every game especially since the top 2 advance. I think I for sure I held my own in Fiba Eurocup. Of course I could’ve shot the three ball better but overall I think I held my own’, remembered Terell Harris. He scored in double figures in 10 of 13 Fiba Europe Cup games including nailing Antwerp and Leiden for 18 points apiece. In the easyCredit BBL he averaged 13.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.5%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 75.5%. One can say that he had two parts to his season before and after TJ Shorts went down. ‘I struggled at first it was a huge adjustment coming off the bench and playing the one entering the game then switching over to the two once TJ came back into the game. We ran a lot plays for TJ, therefore at the wing spot I had to spot up a lot. If I made shots from the corner three I had good games. If I didn’t then it showed in the stats. For sure it wasn’t my ideal situation, but we won so I had to put my pride aside for the team. Once TJ went down, I was our next best playmaker. For us to have any chance I had to make plays along with Jaren and I think I showed what I knew I was capable of. I was able to play my game shoot, drive, and keep others involved’, said Terrell Harris. He scored in double figures in 24 of 32 games including 24 points against MBC and 21 points against Chemnitz. His season changed when TJ Shorts went down. Suddenly he had to reinvent his game and suddenly basically continue to do what he did before, but now with even more efficiency, consistency and success. He heightened his game averaging 16,7ppg, 3,2rpg, 4,0apg and shot 48% from the field and 37% from outside and 55% from the two point area. It was a challenge that he loved to accept. ‘TJ is a special player so missing him was crucial. He created a lot of the offense for everyone so without him being able to play, someone had to pick up the slack. Teams were coming at us hard as they should’ve but I think we put up a fight for the most part. I knew what I was capable of so stepping up wasn’t too big of an adjustment for me. I wanted the pressure to lead this team in the playoffs with everything that was going on. It was a challenge but fun one’, commented Terrell Harris.

In the last 8 games as the playoff stress continued to rise and the pressure rose, he was able to step his game up a few more levers averaging 19,0ppg, 3,5rpg, and 4,7apg and shot 53% from the two point range and 41% from downtown. You never wish an injury for a player, but so often an injury can be that next opportunity for a player. The most famous example is when Drew Bledsoe went down in 2001 and then an unproven Tom Brady stepped in and the rest is history. In a way the injury to TJ Shorts was like a blessing in disguise for Harris’s game even if he doesn’t want to admit it. ‘I don’t look at his injury as a blessing in disguise because he got hurt very bad. I wish we can have that play in Leiden back. I started to find myself before he was injured. Either way I was going to have a big second half because I made the adjustments over break that I needed to make for the second half’, stressed Terrell Harris. At the end of the day, this season was an important one for Harris as he had to react quickly to the injury to Shorts and the whole experience before and after the injury helped him continue to mature as a player. ‘We ran a lot of the offense through TJ and it worked well, I had to play a role to support him and the team. We had no time for personal feelings or etc. I accepted it and adjusted my game. It brought the leadership out of me. I would say it helped me add the spot up shooting to my game for sure. I was comfortably taking more threes than I ever have in my career. Once he went down for us my role changed where I had to be extremely aggressive to have a chance. I had to take over the one and playmake from the two. I was able to use my speed and get out on fast breaks, get down hill, get to pull-ups, and still hit spot up threes’, stressed Terrell Harris. A big strength in his game is his outside shooting and that it dipped from 48% to 36% doesn’t worry him at all. ‘I broke my pinky on my shooting hand vs Hamburg. I had to adjust the last 10 games and my percentage dipped. I’m not worried at all I will be back to 40% next year’, warned Terrell Harris. An attribute that he has to why he has been so consistent in his career is that he has never been satisfied with his game. When you have a chip on your shoulder, you always want to get better. It will be another summer where he invests a lot of time to continue to craft his skill in the lab as there will be so many things to work on. ‘I have a lot more to go. I feel great mentally and physically. So many years left in me I hope. the love of the game and motivation is still there. I have a lot to prove I feel. This year I battled a lot of things. I’m highly motivated to prove myself right. I know what I’m capable of and what I need to work on to get to that top level’, stressed Terrell Harris. Not only will he be focused in the gym, but also in making his next step. He could play in so many other countries, but why not remain in Germany where he has played most of his career? I honestly could see him strap on the Alba Berlin jersey, but perhaps that step is a one season too early and an opportunity the Euroleague team won’t risk yet. But clubs like Oldenburg, Hamburg or Ludwigsburg should give him an offer. ‘This business is tricky as we all know. I have to sit down and analyze everything. I’m at that age now where these next few years are going to be crucial especially my next move. So we will see, right now I just need to decompress and heal up’, stressed Terrell Harris. He has made a big new step every season since turning pro in 2016 with Iserlohn. I’m sure it won’t be any different when he begins the 2022-2023 season with his new team.