Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

The Fraport Skyliners Need That Second Defensive Dog With Tyler Larson

It was 15 minutes after the Fraport Skyliners suffered one of their most brutal loses in their 20 year history being slaughtered  unmercifully by 8 time easyCredit BBL champion Alba Berlin 105-70 in the semi-final of the German Cup as most fans had exited the Fraport arena and were trying to digest and somehow comprehend what they had just witnessed while most of the players had crawled back to the locker room and wondered what it  would take to shake the seven game losing streak. New Skyliner guard Tyler Larson had just given his debut with his new club and had caught on quickly that one of the normal post game procedures is to sign autographs for the fans win or lose. Despite the brutal slaughter to the hands of Alba Berlin, most players were good sports and signed autographs before escaping to hear the post game disappointment speech of head coach Gordon Herbert. Signing autographs is a part of the business and something that is common all over the world. In the states getting those NBA autographs can be more of a challenge as many are tired of the daily hazzle and lack of privacy which in a way is understandable, but then again when you consider that a James Harden made more than $ 28,000,000 last season, it is kind of sad when you’re the only guy waiting outside the Rockets Boston hotel and he just glides by you like you aren´t there while your politely saying “Mr Harden could you please sign my piece of paper”. Not only is Harden in his own universe on the court, but also off it.  The NBA is a whole another world in so many area´s, but in Europe getting that autograph is a lot easier and more enjoyable than in front of a hotel in New York when 20-30 autograph hounds are pushing and shoving trying to get as many signatures in order to help pay their rent. It also isn´t as prevalent to see autograph collectors waiting before or after games for the players in Europe. I remember seeing this guy year in and year out in Oldenburg and Bremerhaven waiting for players after they exited their hotel and only last week, there was a faithful soul who waited in freezing temperatures outside the Fraport arena after a Asvel Eurocup win and got Polish national player AJ Slaughter to stop and sign. In the Fraport arena, fans will never be denied an autograph and Tyler Larson was feeling the love of the fans when he began to sign and it felt like it might never stop. He had just suffered one of his new organization´s toughest loses in club history, but he still tried to make every fan happy and have that special one on one moment. “I have written autographs when I was with other teams, but this was a lot today. I must have been signing for at least 10-15 minutes. I like making an influence on people and enjoy writing autographs and making them happy”, stressed Tyler Larson. Of course the Fraport Skyliners didn´t haul in Tyler Larson to only sign autographs, but to help lead the team and give stability at the point guard position and getting that second defensive dog like Quantez Robertson wouldn´t hurt either.

James Harden leaving the Boston Harbor hotel in January 2017 with the club securtiy man leading the way and with one goal in mind of reaching the team bus with no interruptions

                Tyler Larson is a 27 year old 191cm guard from Las Vegas playing his fourth professional season and has found experience playing in countries like Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Belgium, Italy and Russia. He is a guy that never forgot where he came from and how he has gone down a tough basketball path and is just thankful that he can play the game he loves. That could also explain the friendlessness that he showcased in his first Frankfurt appearance to the fans as he went overboard with the autographs and selfies. His career start wasn´t easy as his route to South Dakota(NCAA) wasn´t a simple one as he had to prove his worth at Casper Community College first before getting his NCAA break. After being redshirted his sophomore season and having an unspectacular junior season, he finally broke out his senior year averaging 14.4ppg, 7.8rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 75.3%. He was very consistent and had some monster games and even held his own in a tough loss to top basketball school Stanford where he scored 11 points dished out 5 assists and had 4 rebounds against future NBA players like Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown and top talent Reid Travis currently a senior at Kentucky. His professional route also didn´t start off with a bang as he had to pay his dues for his first two years in Latvia, but his hard work and dedication rewarded him in his second season with BK Barons Kvartals Riga with the scoring title in the LBL league.  He made his breakthrough in his third professional season in Belgium with betFIRST Liege Basket (Belgium-Euromillions League) averaging 18.2ppg, 4.6rpg, 5.8apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 54.4%, 3FGP: 48.5%, FT: 83.3%, and also spent some time in Italy with Openjobmetis Varese (Italy-Serie A) averaging  7.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 62.5%. It was in Belguim where current Fraport Skyliner Jason Clark first saw the American ball and his effective play was still on his mind after the loss against Alba Berlin. “I played against him in Belgium. He can do everything all across the board. I like most how he has the ability to create for himself. I´m a big fan of his game”, stressed ex Georgetown guard Jason Clark. Before coming to the Fraport Skyliners this season, he began with Parma Basket Perm (Russia-VTB) and played 12 VTB United League games averaging 12.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 5.8apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 45.6%, 3FGP: 27.0%, FT: 72.4%. He had some strong games against Kalev/Cramo scoring 26 points and netted 23 points against N Novgorod. He also played against top team CSKA Moscow holding his own with 6 points and 8 dimes.

Polish national player AJ Slaughter of Asvel signing for a lonely soul camping out in the freezing cold after a Eurocup game in Frankfurt

He arrived in Frankfurt on Wednesday and took in the Eurocup game against French team Asvell and after passing the medical check had a few days of practice and had the opportunity to get to know his teammates. He made his debut in the biggest game of the season against Alba Berlin and had to witness one of the club´s worst performances in their history losing by 35 points. It wasn´t like he faced a weak team in his debut, but was hit by the Alba Berlin rampage and was impressed by the play of the Eurocup team. “They are obviously well coached. They knew exactly what they wanted to do and when. They played very well together and looked like a college program as if they had been together for 3 years. They hit a lot of shots and didn´t miss much. They are good, but not 30 points better. We had to play better”, stressed Tyler Larson. One really couldn´t expect much from him after only a few practices, but he did surprisingly well filling the stat sheet well adding 7 points, 2 boards, 4 dimes and a steal in 26,54 minutes of play while staying clear of the turnover stat, but didn´t find his range shooting 3/10 and was blocked twice. The American didn´t let the embarrassing loss dig into his focus and desire to win as he was more than annoyed with the loss and had that stern all business look on his face in the post-game chat that would have got most people to think twice before saying something to him that might not have sat right with him. “I like the style of the BBL. At first, I felt like I had to adjust, but as the game went on, I started to feel more comfortable. I felt great on the court, but I have no excuses. I should of played better. We as a team should of played better. We have to play better and get the win in Lyon. We can´t let this Alba loss beat us”, warned Tyler Larsen. “He played well and is still learning the system. He found me a few times for open looks. I like how he sees the floor. He will be good. He just needs to get to know his teammates. He will help us”, warned Jason Clark

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Tyler Larson after he gave his debut against Alba Berlin scoring 7 points and dishing out 4 dimes

In his debut with the Fraport Skyliners, he showed a diverse spectrum of what he can do. After the contest Frankfurt head coach Gordon Herbert had stressed that he had showed only about 30% of what he has as a player which gives a positive light of what can come in the next games from him as he gets better accustomed to the Skyliners philosophy and to the tendencies of his teammates. He came into the game against Alba Berlin in the first quarter and quickly showed that he has nifty passing skills as he made a no look pass to Jason Clark. After missing his first shot, he returned soon and made his first Frankfurt bucket scoring in traffic on transition. He also made a steal, but also was caught off guard by the intelligent Alba Berlin defense getting blocked. He came back into the game at the 7,39 minute mark of the second quarter and grabbed an offensive rebound. Soon after he was blocked for the second time in the game as this time he made a bad decision on attempting that shot. At halftime Quantez Robertson buddy and Alabama native Jermale Jones who is playing in the German second Regionalliga for Lich gave his first impression of the American. “He only played a few practices and it´s tough to come in and play against a top team like Alba Berlin. He played a mix of the one and two, but more the two as he didn´t know the system yet. He still has to understand the coaches philosophy. But from what I saw, he can handle the ball well and makes good decisions”, warned Jermale Jones. In the third quarter he took good care of the ball and played team basketball finding Robertson for an open three. In the fourth quarter, he had some more good plays. He did force a few shots, but did connect on a pretty deep trey and snuck inside the paint for a lay in. He also made a nice dish to Marco Voeller for the easy bucket. At one moment at the 6,02 minute mark, he was on the court with four Pro B license players and did a good job leading them as that unit contributed very well in garbage time. After the horrible loss, he got further praise and not only from his fellow Americans, but also from the German kids like ex St Johns(NCAA) forward Richard Freudenberg. “Tyler did a good job. I like how he plays. He is very calm on the court. He fits well into the team and I´m happy to have him here”, added Richard Freudenberg. Getting two extra guards with Larson and Trae Holder didn´t make the basketball life easier for young German guard Garai Zeeb who has been battling for minutes since arriving in Frankfurt in 2015, but he is happy to learn from experienced guys like Larson. “He has a lot of experience and I will try to take as much from his game as possible to help mine”, stated Garai Zeeb.

Agent Teddy Archer, Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Tyler Larson in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt Germany

Larsen is a combo guard that has the ability to do many things on the court. He came to Frankfurt having shown in the past that he can score the ball and fill the stat sheet with ease. He has the pleasant ability of knowing when to score and when to create for his teammates and is smart with the basketball and doesn´t make hasty decisions. When looking closely at his game and how he creates and handles the ball, names like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker come to mind when describing his game to NBA players. He has the game to make an impact with the Fraport Skyliners, but also hasn´t come into a easy situation as the team is riding a 7 game losing streak. Larson knows he isn´t a savior, but a guy that has to play his role to the fullest and just help get the team on the winning track again. “I will do what the coach wants me to do and what the team needs to get from me. I won´t be that guy that will try to be the main guy, but the guy that makes his teammates better while being effective and being a vocal and defensive leader. I want to get my teammates the ball and make them feel good”, warned Tyler Larson. A big problem for the Fraport Skyliners this season has been their poor defense which gives up an uncharacteristic 83 points something that has been unheard of in the Gordon Herbert era as he has consistently shaped good defensive squads that often averaged giving up under 70 points per game. The whole defensive package hasn´t functioned properly this season as a lack of consistent aggressiveness, one on one defense, perimeter defense, rotations and most importantly communication have been invisible. It isn´t too late to make adjustments on the defensive end and with the signings of Larson and Holder, the new youth spunk could add a new flair. Even if Larson is known more for his offense, one shouldn´t underestimate his defense and his zeal for improving in that area of his game. “I want to continue to be an all game communicator. Even if I´m tired or have a mental lapse, I want to always be communicating. I want to keep improving in this area”, said Tyler Larson. The American has only been in Frankfurt a few days, but quickly took a liking to Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson. The presence of Robertson could be a very pleasant blessing in disguise for the future of the Fraport Skyliners. “Tez has been around the game for so long and is like a mentor. I love how he is a dog on defense. I can really learn a lot from him. He is always talking and keeping everybody´s head up. He is a very positive guy. I don´t get down or angry on the court. I feel like I´m like him. We will mesh”, warned Tyler Larson. The season isn´t over yet and the goal now for the Fraport Skyliners is too reach the playoffs. They are only four wins away from the last playoff spot, but now is the time to start a season turn around. Tyler Larson won´t be the savior that will magically turn the team´s season around, but if he can be that second defensive dog like Quantez Robertson, then there could be an improvement on the defensive end which is the Fraport Skyliner´s biggest flaw at the moment.

Dennis Mavin Gets Revenge Leading The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past the ScanPlus Baskets 81-75

                Only two and a half months ago, Dennis Mavin showed a consistent and effective performance with the ScanPlus Baskets netting 14 points in 17 minutes in a 80-72 victory against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and now it´s 2019 and he is with Frankfurt and dueled against his ex team trying to help his new team get revenge for the early season loss. For Florida native Dennis Mavin, he brought 2 BBL games into the game with the Giessen 46ers from last season and a 2-1 record. He has had very good performances in all games with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors netting 15 points in his debut in the 78-65 win against Orange Academy, posted 21 points in the exciting 83-81 victory against the Dragons Rhondorf and last weekend steered 23 points in the tough 86-64 loss on the road in Leverkusen. Mavin faced his old team and his predecessor American Colton Ray who had arrived and played at Coastal Carolina(NCAA) before his professional career began was averaging 11.7ppg, 4,6rpg and 3,3apg and had scored in double figures in six games with the Scanplus Baskets. He had some great games like recently scoring 20 points in the exciting win against Orange Academy and 20 points against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. It was a duel of two guards who wanted to continue to show just how valuable they are for their teams and Mavin surely still had some memories of his time with his ex team and why it didn´t work out there. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors controlled the game and except for a late fourth quarter scare by the ScanPlus Baskets were able to get revenge for the first loss on the road winning 81-75. After the big win, Dennis Mavin was congratulated by many of his ex teammates and he reflected on the victory and how it was battling against his ex team. “This win was huge since we clinched a berth for the playoffs. It was a total team effort. We were missing a lot of guys, but all stepped up from the starting five to the last guy on the bench. We played hard and did a good job staying consistent on offense and defense for 40 minutes. It was weird at first playing against my old team, but at the end of the day it was just basketball. It wasn´t overwhelming since I had done this before in college”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Dennis Mavin. After the loss, one could easily spot the disappointment on the face of Colton Ray as he tried to describe the reasons for the loss and what it was like facing Dennis Mavin. “We didn´t play as hard as we should of. The younger guys on Frankfurt wanted it more. We didn´t match their intensity and when we did it was too late. Dennis was still with us when I arrived. He is a great player and I´m happy for how well he played and making that story book ending with the shot”, stated ex Costal Carolina(NCAA) guard.

                The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got off to a quick good start leading 8-2 as their guards got aggressive and scored in the paint with ease with Dennis Mavin and 16 year old German Len Schoormann displayed. They also hit a pair of free throws. The only bright spot for the ScanPlus Baskets early on was German big man Kristian Kuhn who played 24 BBL games getting two buckets and dominating the boards. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors might have been without Zeeb, Freudenberg, Trtovac and Clarance, but that didn´t necessarily take away from their team athleticism as there were enough kids around as 17 year old Maxi Begue showed getting three baskets in a row including a pretty floater for the 14-7 Frankfurt lead. The ScanPlus Baskets had no outside game and also had to rely on their athleticism as 2017 easyCredit BBL slam dunk champion Brian Butler got busy and made a few buckets cutting the Frankfurt lead to 16-13 with a few minutes remaining in the first quarter. The three pointer had been invisible for Frankfurt, but at the end the club got huge back to back three´s from ex TV Langen guard Niklas Pons and ex Kronberg guard Felix Hecker. After a tough last season where Pons battled injuries and not having accuracy on his shot has returned strong this season and has made strides with his game and took full advantage in his increase in minutes. After 10 minutes, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the comfortable 22-15 lead. “We hit nothing, missed easy lay ups and had bad pick and roll defense”, stated ScanPlus Baskets sport director Dario Jerkic. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 33% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 5 turnovers while the Scanplus Baskets shot 36% from the field and 0% from outside and had 6 rebounds and 3 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Dennis Mavin

                The ScanPlus Baskets got off to a roaring start in the second quarter going on a 12-2 lightening run to take their first lead of the contest at 27-25. In the run the ScanPlus Baskets finially  hit shots as they got many guys involved. Bosnian big man Edin Alispahic scored 6 points including 4 free throws while Croatian 206 cm big man Jere Vucica dropped a trey and ex BBL player Marin Petric nailed a pull up jumper. Mavin briefly slowed down their run hitting a trey to give Frankfurt the lead back at 28-27, but the guests continued to chip away and force Frankfurt turnovers with more aggressive defensive pressure and offensively got four free throws and a lay in from Kuhn and a massive dunk from Brian air Butler for the 34-28 advantage. The ScanPlus Baskets did a great job creating mismatches and executing with ease. The contest proved again in this phase that basketball is a game of runs as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shut down the guests run and started clicking on offense again going on a 11-1 run to lead 39-35 at the break. In the run, Frankfurt got key bench points. Frankfurt practiced a sound inside out game as Felix Hecker hit a three and NBBL captain Alvin Oniya scored in bunches with two lay ups as his quickness stifled the guests. Cosmo Gruehn also continued to shine as he scored in the paint and then closed out the second quarter with a pull up jumper buzzer beater. Frankfurt´s young kids continued to take responsibility and executed and were simply effective. The ScanPlus Baskets had no fire on the defensive end and allowed the Frankfurt kids to stick it to them. “We got back into the game with offensive rebounds. We were fighting well, but not scoring”, added ScanPlus Baskets sport director Dario Jerkic. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 52% from the field and 42% from the three point line and they had 21 rebounds and 11 boards while the ScanPlus Baskets shot 36% from the field and 25% form the three point line and had 15 boards and 4 turnovers.

                In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to distance themselves again from the ScanPlus Baskets as they found their accuracy from outside again. The ScanPlus Baskets came out strong again like they did in the second quarter going on a 4-0 run to dead lock the game at 39-39. Brian Butler scored both baskets with a lay in and massive two handed dunk on transition after a Stefan Fekete steal. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to grab another nice lead again as they let the three fly and execute as Schoormann and Mavin scored for the 45-41 Frankfurt lead. Despite a Alispahic three, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to build their lead as they got to the free throw line as Mavin, Begue and Gruehn scored for the 53-45 lead. After a Fekete left handed lay in, it was Gruehn hitting a huge three to extend Frankfurt´s lead to 56-47. It was another very good game for Cosmo Gruehn who continues to develop very well for Frankfurt. In his first season he averaged 4 points and 2 rebounds and last season it was 6 points and 2 rebounds. This season he continues to take responsibility especially in those games where other guys are missing. He finished as the game´s top scorer with 18 points, top game rebounder with 9 and top assist man with 3. “I´m so proud of Cosmo. He was huge for us today. He is playing with a lot of confidence and really stepped up for us”, stressed Florida native Dennis Mavin. Hecker followed with another three and ex Ehingen big man Tobias Jahn also scored with a pretty turn around bank shot as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 62-51 after three quarters. “We stuck to our defensive principles and stayed consistent while matching their defensive intensity”, stated Dennis Mavin. “Simple mistakes hurt us and we had break downs on defense”, added Colton Ray. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 47% from the parking lot and got 28 rebounds and had 15 turnovers while the ScanPlus Baskets shot 38% from the field and 21% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and had 10 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Colton Ray

                In the fourth quarter the ScanPlus Baskets were able to stage two come backs, but when it counted most were unable to stop their ex player Dennis Mavin. The ScanPlus Baskets got off to their third straight quick start in the fourth quarter going on a 9-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 64-60. In the run, the ScanPlus Baskets were led by free throws and lay ins by Kuhn, two by CJ Oldham and by Petric. The ScanPlus Baskets got easy baskets inside and stepped up their defense forcing Frankfurt to uncharachteristic turnovers. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to get on track again and start their own 11-7 run and lead comfortable again 75-67. In the run the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got continued big play from Cosmo Gruehn with 5 points, a lay in by Jahn after getting the inbounds pass from Schoormann catching the guests napping and Begue also scored in the paint. With 3,21 minutes to play the ScanPlus Baskets attempted one last comeback going on a 8-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 77-75. In the run they got 5 points from Croatian forward Jere Vucica who also produced a trey and got a Oldham bucket and Butler free throws. With the clock winding down Frankfurt had possession and the ScanPlus Baskets did a great job on defense getting the shot clock down on Frankfurt´s possession as Dennis Mavin had to create his own shot and did hitting a very difficult fade away jumper for the 79-75 lead with 26 seconds to go. On the next Possession the ScanPlus baskets had 4 chances in the paint, but were halted while Cosmo Gruehn closed out the game with free throws for the win. “It was a broken play and I knew that I had to make something happen. I was confident that if I got to my spot that I would make it. I take that shot all the time”, stated Dennis Mavin. “We were close at the end. We played good defense, but Mavin made a tough shot”, stressed Colton Ray. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Cosmo Gruehn with 18 points. Dennis Mavin added 15 points and Len Schoormann had 10 points while the ScanPlus Baskets were led by Jere Vucica with 13 points while Kristian Kuhn and Brian Butler added 12 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 47% from outside and got 38 rebounds and had 22 turnovers while the ScanPlus Baskets shot 38% from the field and 20% from outside and got 35 rebounds and had 12 turnovers.

Zygimantas Riauka(Dragons Rhondorf) Is The Double Double Beast With The Special Charm

A few minutes had evaporated since the Dragons Rhondorf pulled out one of the more exciting wins in the last years against the Basketball Lowen where they had to suffer and survive through 8 gut wrenching long seconds which must have felt like an eternity for the Dragon Rhondorf players to secure the hard fought victory. The guests had five chances to win, but came up short as the basketball God closed it´s eyes on them and allowed the home team to win only their fourth game of the season and second at home. 205cm Lithuanian giant Zygimantas Riauka who is 25 years old and is a double double beast and makes doing that this season look as easy as it is Luka Doncic giving NBA fans a new wow effect against every opponent he faces , but could easily pass for an overgrown teenager as his baby face and big compassionate smile makes him seen a lot younger than his true years is sitting next to me in the post game interview and is beaming with joy and one can notice right away that he is loving life at the moment. It isn´t just his pleasant demeanor and positive body language that makes you feel comfortable with him right away, but also the way he conducts himself and his choice of words are quite enticing. After the big win, it seems like he is still trying to catch his breath after being on the court for 27 minutes and putting up 21 points and 17 boards as the last 8 seconds might have been the most difficult for him, but he quickly collects himself and rapidly remembers the last seconds. ““I felt like I touched the ball three times at the end. I´m so happy that the ball didn´t go in. We are so used to have teams score on us at the end, but today the basketball God was on our side”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. A few days later, he still couldn´t get the last 8 seconds out of his mind. “The last 8 seconds of the game seemed like forever especially with the opportunities they had, but fortunately Alex managed to secure the rebound at the end and I was extremely happy. That game was a great battle for us and mentally I feel our team needed that since we have been battling in a lot of close games but haven’t gotten the chances to close them out hopefully this will turn things around for us”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.  When you hear him speak, he quickly comes over as a guy that anyone would love to be associated with. He could be the big brother for that 10 year old fan on the sideline, be the perfect son in law for the 55 year old woman on the sidelines that is watching her daughter perform the latest cheers during a time out or be that young brother to newly acquired 36 year old Anish Sharda. It didn´t take long for Riauka to find a special place in his heart for his new teammate Anish Sharda. ““Sharda is great. I love this guy. He always gives what the team needs. He takes everything away from his self and gives everything to the team”, added  Zygimantas Riauka. A big strength in his character is how he is there for his teammates on and off the court in good times and bad times. “I feel like my character helps my teammates because it provides them with a guy who trusts them and encourages them even when things aren’t going in the right direction. I try to pick them up and I’m very fortunate to have my teammates do the same for me”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. He is just a guy that you have to love old or young and even has that unique combination look of a Johnny Quest with the blond hair and Super Boy with his physique as his club the Dragons Rhondorf would love for him to continue to post almost super natural stats and save the season somehow. Zygimantas Riauka is the double double beast with that special charm.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Zygimantas Riauka this season after a game in Rhondorf

         Zygimantas Riauka was born on March third, 1993 in Klaipedos, Lithuania and moved to the states when he was 8 years old to Downers Grove, Illinois about a 40 minute car ride away from Chicago. It didn´t take long for him to already taste some future NBA blood when he battled future Wisconsin(NCAA) standout Frank Kaminisky and current Charlotte Hornet big man when he was playing at Benet Academy. The Lithuanian big man chose to play at Wisc.-Parkside (NCAA2) from 2011-2015. He gave the description consistency a new meaning as he put up stats of 11.4ppg, 5.7rpg, 2.1apg, 16.7ppg, 9.3rpg, 3.1apg and 14.5ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.8apg in his last three years. He helped lead his school to the GLVC regular season title in 2013 and 2014. He would face Frank Kaminsky in college again and many other fine players, but he remembers one guy very much with his head coach Luke Reigel as it was one of the best coaches that he ever played for in his basketball career. “Coach Luke Reigel made my game what it is now and made me understand that you can’t just rely on one thing. You have to have multiple options to score instead of just relying on my right hand hook”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. During his years in school, he also spent the summers playing with the Lithuanian youth national teams and once even faced Germany at the U-20 European championships in 2013 winning 74-62 as he contributed six points, four rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of work. In that game he played against many talented young Germans like current Alba Berlin player Kenneth Ogbe, but it wasn´t so much him that he remembered but ex Alba Berlin big man Bogdan Radosavljevic.   “I don’t really remember playing against Kenneth, but I do remember they had a very strong and tall center at the time that I had to play against”, added Zygimantas Riauka. He also played against talented German point guard Alexander Blessig who he battled already this season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen losing and is seeking revenge this weekend.

                The double double beast Zygimantas Riauka began his professional basketball career in 2015 as he suited up for El Olivar Zaragoza (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 26 games averaging 13.0ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 79.7%. He scored in double figures  in 21 of 26 games and registered six double doubles. His best personal performance was his 23 point and 16 rebound game in the 92-86 victory against Araberri. Despite his very good stats as a rookie, it wasn´t always an easy experience, but in the end, he was in a place that paid him to play the game he loves. “For me playing in Zaragoza was amazing. It was the first time ever in Spain and I was also on the second team. I became home sick for missing my family and friends a little but for the most part I loved it since I got to finally play basketball and be considered a professional”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. In his second professional season, he remained in Spain and moved up a league and suited up for Caceres Patrimonio de la Humanidad (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 34 games averaging 4.6ppg, 3.8rpg. He was a level up and played less minutes as his time got shaved down from 29 to 14, but overal he cherished the opportunity to continue to play the game he loved. “Playing in second league Spain was not that different from playing in 3rd league Spain. It’s just I wasn’t given as much minutes and I was brought there to play the 4 position but half way through the year they moved my back to center. I loved the city and the team”, added Zygimantas Riauka. Now with Rhondorf there is young German Alexander Moeller who can learn from Riauka and a few years ago in Spain, the Lithuanian big man was doing the learning. “I had an incredible center at that time there Alexander Marcius or Sandi how we all called him so it was another great experience for me to learn from an older guy and to develop my skills defensively”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. Last season he left the enjoyable winter of Spain for the cold winter of Denmark and played with Team FOG Naestved (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 30 games averaging 7.0ppg, 5.5rpg, FGP: 54.1%, FT: 72.9%. He scored in double figures in 11 games and had three double doubles. But overall it was an up and down year. He did have some huge personal games like his 23 points and 18 points and 11 rebound games against Randers or his 14 points and 14 rebound game against Stevnsgade. Especially in the playoffs, he was almost totally forgotten as in the last seven games he played only 46 minutes. But instead of sitting at the end of the bench like a spoiled kid, he did what the real teammate is supposed to do and support his team which is another example of why his character is one that any team should die for having. “One thing I learned about last year is just to support your teammates and wait patiently for your chance. It’s not always up to you if you are going to play but when you get the chance go and help the team no matter what role is given to you”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka.

                In his fourth professional season he made the jump to the German Pro B and signed with the Dragons Rhondorf. A big credit for making this successful transaction was head coach Thomas Adelt. After his up and down season in Denmark, he was hungry for a new challenge and he hasn´t disappointed, but taken the league by storm as he belongs to the top players. He remembers what it was like talking to Thomas Adelt and how he convinced him of making the Dragon Dome in Bad Honnef his new home. “After I talked to the coach I was very happy of what he had to say and especially since he watched my games before so he knew what I can give to the team plus that I would be given such great conditions such as a shooting gun and practice time at the gym when needed”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. Through 16 games he is averaging 17,0ppg, 12,1rpg, 3,1apg, 1,4spg and 1,6bpg. He compares his game to the Lithuanian triple double genius Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and is a power forward/center that is your classic work horse that won´t back down from anyone and go where it hurts. His biggest strength is his rebounding as he hauled down 22 against the ScanPlus Baskets, 20 rebounds against Wurzburg and last weekend had 9 offensive rebounds in the big win over the Basketball Lowen. He is also a good defensive player as he is always a defensive presence in the paint. At Wisconsin—Parkside he averaged 2,5 blocks per game in his last three seasons. His blocks were down a bit the last years due to being more hesitant of getting fouls, but this season he is back at a good block rate. Despite his monster season he has been content with his development, but is nowhere near the end of his development. “My game has been most inside under the basket this year and it’s great since I’ve been doing that my whole career. Coach has given me a ton of freedom and it’s done wonders for me. And am I happy with my progress this year I would say yes but I have so much more to go I’m nowhere near to what I want to have in my bag. I still have a lot to learn and to improve on”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. He has scored in double figures in all 16 games and registered 10 double doubles. He had some serious monster games against the wiha Panthers with 23 points and 19 boards, 15 points and 17 rebounds against the RheinStars and 21 points and 14 rebounds against Coburg to name just a few. Even a guy like Riauka isn´t sitting back and enjoying the ride, but constantly in the gym continuing to perfect his basketball trade as he continues to climb the basketball ladder. “Currently I’m trying to work much more on pick and roll defense and limiting silly mistakes and fouls that I make on the court. Plus trying to find a perfect balance of when to create for others and when to be more aggressive offensively which has been a key focus game to game”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.  In the last game he came from the bench and took it like a professional. Any other top player most likely would have been annoyed not too mention the NBA diva´s who would have started a war on Twitter, but not him. He took it like a man displaying again that he doesn´t only have charm, but has a top character that is hard to find in today´s professional game where ego´s and crying is as normal as a missed Andre Drummond free throw.  

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Zygimantas Riauka after he dropped 21 points and had 17 boards in the win against the Basketball Lowen

            Even if he is having an amazing season, the club Dragons Rhondorf have been struggling this season currently in 11th place with a 4-12 record as they continue to fight to stay in the league. Some of their problems have been the normal team blabla occurrences like their two import players not panning out and departing before the first frost set in in Bad Honnef, or the the usual injuries, or losing some key role players who went to new teams, but then again being able to defend is a thing that any team can do as it starts with effort. The club has difficulty defending the way they should and allow  81,9 points per game which is 24th worst in the league. They have relinquished 80 points or more eight times, but also have had their moments, but still lost games, because they couldn´t muster enough points on offense. A big problem is the help defense, rotations and one on one defense something they haven´t been able to do well for long stretches of games to get into a better position of winning. Another key for being successful would be to get more consistency from the German role players. A vital component for being successful in the Pro B league is to have good production from it´s German players. The Dragons Rhondorf have many German players some better than others, but every guy gives 180% each game no matter how talented or less talented they are. Captain Joe Koschade is the best example as he came from the Regionalliga from Duesseldorf and has probably been the most improved player in the last year and a half and the team´s assist leader even though his biggest strength is his heart and fighting qualities something that most likely has been fueled further by the presence of Zygimantas Riauka.

But there are three Germans who have BBL experience with Alex Moeller, Julian Jasinski and Bo Meister as well as Pro B veteran Yannick Kneesch who have had their moments, but haven´t been consistent enough. The Lithuanian big man knows the worth of his teammates and is always there on and off the court to motivate them. “Our young Germans guys are great and are improving each day It’s great to watch especially in practice You can see the confidence growing. Alex has been getting better each game. His offense on the block has provided us key buckets during games and his jump shot has gotten so much better even on the three unfortunately not many people see how hard he works every day in practice. Julian is just a huge piece we are missing unfortunately he hasn’t been with us due to BBL in the beginning of the season and injuries currently once he is back I feel his athletic ability will allow us to play much bigger and provides us with a huge advantage on the rebound and defense. Bo has been improving and finding what player he is this season when you are young the biggest struggle is consistency and putting in the hours on and off the court but he has done a great job. I love his work ethic he’s usually the first one in the gym and getting up shots and working on his game. Yannick is extremely important for us because of the things he does not only in games but in practices his IG is fantastic. Unfortunately he was facing some medical problems last year and wasn’t able to play but he’s finally worked himself into game shape and has been doing an amazing job especially in practice you can see his athleticism coming back when he’s finishing. I’m sure it won’t be long until we see him not only making 3s but always finishing with dunks”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. Riauka isn´t the only import player that has shone, but also American Kwan Waller who has been huge at both ends of the court and a bit in the shadow of Riauka. The Lithuanian big man profits from his game as well as he often gets the ball in the post from him and also finds him on the break with his breathtaking outlet pass. “Kwan Waller has been huge for us especially with the scoring and defense he brings in not only in games but in practice as well. Plus he has been great for the younger fellas to help them improve on their defense and ball handling”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.     

The Dragons Rhondorf are now in the home stretch of the season and have six games left. They are in a real battle for the positioning of where they will begin in the playdowns which features the four worst teams with the best two staying in the league. The club has two tough battles against top team Bayer Giants Leverkusen who have a 15-1 record and who they lost to 84-68 at home and play against this weekend on the road and play against up and down 9-7 team ScanPlus Baskets who trounced them 95-74 in their living room. But they have four games against teams that are between six and ten in the standings with Giessen, Munich, Wurzburg and Orange Academy and these are games they really have to focus on winning. They made a huge step last weekend winning the nail bitter against playoff candidate Basketball Lowen and overall have been playing better basketball in the last weeks as they were very close to beating the wiha Baskets, RheinStars and Frankfurt, but just couldn´t hold their nerves in crunch-time and get the wins. Riauka is positive that the win against the Basketball Lowen could turn their season around. “I believe this game was extremely important for us especially with it being so close. We haven’t won many close games and it’s great to see one finally go our way. Plus this win is also great for our fans who have  been with us throughout this whole year and always show us support. Some of the positives I saw was from our players taking on the challenges given to them. I was very proud of how they stepped up especially with David Falkenstein giving us huge points when needed and Alex Moeller starting and Lotola Otshumbe coming in off the bench and giving us great minutes”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. It would be a real basketball tragedy if the Dragons Rhondorf failed to remain in the league after this season, but Riauka will do all in his power for this not happening as his whole presence has been an enrichment similar to top character guy Kameron Taylor last season who like Riauka was one of the top players in the league, but the only difference was that the American celebrated more team success. It isn´t all about him which is the case for many top players no matter what league they play in, but for him he gives credit elsewhere to his success. “This season has been great actually I love all my teammates and coaches. I feel like the success of me this year has a lot to do with that. In previous years the teams I’ve played on have had good chemistry but not like this. I feel the competition in this league is good and it’s a battle every game and you can’t take days off or someone will show you up. Also I really enjoy the way the Dragons have taken care of me this is the first year I have my own car and my own apartment. Plus this is the first year where I am able to go in the gym when I would like and get some shots up on a gun unfortunately I have never had that ability before and I believe it shows this season in my performance on the court and the confidence it has given me”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. No matter what happens this season, this will most likely be his only season as his stellar stats will get him offers from higher leagues and more money the way it did Kameron Taylor last season, so fans should definitely enjoy the last few months with the amiable big man on and off the court as his big charm and character won´t be forgotten so quickly and neither will his brilliant outlet pass. Riauka has described his outlet pass starting the fast break as a hidden strength in his game prior to the season, but it isn´t a secret anymore as he has displayed it time in and time out this season stifling opponents. Recently his role model Nikola Jokic performed a breathtaking outlet pass hauling down the rebound turning and throwing a full court touch down pass ala Tom Brady style that found athletic Canadian beast Jamaal Murray for the easy basket. This play of course didn´t go unnoticed by the big guy. “That joker pass was amazing but I feel like I make it at least once a practice. I love to have my guard leak out as it creates a perfect fast break opportunity. Hopefully I will be able to make it next game”, smiled Zygimantas Riauka. Even if we don´t see that pass anymore this season, we definitely will see more double doubles and his high class character and charm continuing to make every visit to the Dragon Dome an unforgettable experience for everybody.

John Boyer(TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen ) Knowing The Tendencies Of Every Teammate Is Something Very Important For Me

John Boyer is a 31 year old 185cm guard from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania that is playing his seventh season and fifth in Germany and second with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga). Currently he is averaging 11,5ppg, 5,5rpg, 5,1apg and 2,5spg. Last season with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga) he played 24 games averaging 12.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.1%. He first made a name for himself playing three seasons with the Baskets Vilsbiburg (Germany-Regionalliga) where he filled up the stat sheet like no other averaging double figures in scoring each season, averaged six rebounds per season and twice averaged seven assists. He also played in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Spain. He played at Buffalo (NCAA) from 2006-2010 playing 98 NCAA games and as a senior played 30 games averaging 7.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 78.7%. He spoke to about basketball. 

John thanks for talking to Six years ago you were in the states finishing up graduate work at the university of Buffalo after having had a short two year professional career. Turn the clock to the summer of 2018 and your heading into your seventh professional season. Do you ever wonder where you would be today and how life would be had you remained in the states and not gone to Germany to continue your professional career?

Yeah of course! I am very grateful to Holger Prote for sending me that Facebook message. I have had a lot of opportunities available and doors opened because of the opportunity Holger offered. I don’t really consider playing in the Regionalliga as ‘professional’ because the main focus has never been on basketball, but it is without a doubt pretty cool to still be able to play the game

Since the time back in the states you have played 4 years in Germany and now are going into your fifth season in Germany and second with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga). How blessed do you feel to be able to play the game you love at age 30 as a professional?

Usually at this point I’m pretty happy when I can walk without pain at work on Monday, but it’s definitely awesome to still be able to play at this level.

After being German Regionalliga (South-East Group) Runner-Up in 2017 with the Baskets Vilsbiburg and in 2018 with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen, how hungry and motivated are you to finally helping win a title and help a team move up?

Of course, you always want to win at everything you do, but I think for us it’s important to take it one game at a time and really enjoy the season. Let’s just say we aren’t the youngest group of guys

You have belonged to the absolute best point guard in the German Regionalliga for years and from 2014-2017 averaged 8,0apg. Over the years there have been guys moving up with their teams as well as special examples of guys being signed in the Pro B despite not having won a title in the Regionalliga. I can’t imagine you haven’t ever gotten offers. Have the offers been there are have you for some reason been off the radar of teams?

I thought about trying to play ‘professional’ again a little bit and had a few opportunities, but for me once I finished my last year in Spain, I made the decision to focus on work outside of basketball. I really enjoy the game and the level of the Regionalliga is competitive without the crazy practice and travel schedules, so it works out well being able to balance work and family at the same time.

How much are you looking forward to this season with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen) and how is the team shaping up and what are your feelings of how this team will pan out?

Like I said, we aren’t the youngest group of guys, but I think we are looking forward to getting back in shape and seeing what we can do.

You already established your self as a top player with Vilsbiburg, but despite playing less minutes last season, how vital was head coach Mario Matic in helping you make further strides in your game?

I’ve been definitely lucky with both of my coaches in Germany (Holger and Mario)! My wife and I had twin boys just before the season last year, and Mario was very understanding of the situation. He did a great job of managing everyone’s personal situations throughout the year, while keeping us motivated and competitive.

How much are you looking forward to playing together with Serbian Ognjen Zoric again. How important has his added experience been for the success of the team and can you soak up added basketball pieces from his game which you add to yours?

I definitely love playing with Oggy, but I really enjoy speaking German with him. The German guys laugh and shake their heads when they hear us talk in German for some reason – maybe we have funny accents.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a classic point guard that looks to make his teammates better. If you had to compare yourself to an NBA player who would best fit your style?

I don’t think I could ever compare myself to an NBA player due to lack of athletic ability, among other things, but I loved watching Steve Nash with the Phoenix Suns when they made their run.

You have belonged to the top defenders in the German Regionalliga for years. A few years ago you averaged an amazing 5,0spg. What has been most vital in your case to being able to improve as a defender?

That’s always a running joke – I don’t really consider myself a great defender. I have to credit Holger for playing a lot of zone that year, making it easier to jump passing lanes.

You shot your best from outside last season since moving to Germany. Was it taking less shots and being better aware of what was a good shot and not something that helped you learn better shooting habits last season as well as improve in that area?

Yeah, I think in Vilsbiburg I took more forced shots off-the-dribble that weren’t necessarily good for us as a team. Last year I had a more spot-up chances, so that helped.

You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet at ease, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away on the court?

I think the most important thing is that team chemistry is there. I usually try to make sure that everyone feels comfortable on and off the court and bring the team together in whatever way would be needed. On the court, it’s more important for me to put the other guys are in a position to succeed compared to my personal stats – so knowing the tendencies of every teammate is something that very important for me.

You played three seasons with the Baskets Vilsbiburg. You had some amazing games including a triple double. What were your fondest memories in those years?

I think more than anything was just being around a great group of guys for so long. We definitely made a lot of memories those three years. Beating Bayern in the Audi Dome the year they moved up, when we only had 5 players to finish the game, would be the best basketball memory.

You played a season together with American Orlando Parker who has gone from the Regionalliga to the Pro A. Would you agree with e that he belongs to the top teammates that you ever had simply with his combination of dedication and hard work that he gives the game every day?

Yeah for sure. Orlando is not only a great player and teammate, but also a great person. He tries to give back to the community every chance he gets and is a monster on the court. I definitely miss playing with him, but I’m extremely happy he has been able to climb the ladder in Germany. I think he deserves a spot in the BBL.

What do you remember from the 111-52 win against Leitershofen where you had a double double of 17 points and 13 steals. Getting 13 steals in a game is mind boggling. Was your anticipation on this day out of control?

That game is kind of a sore spot for me, because it was the last game Ado coached for Leitershofen and he’s a great guy. We were playing zone and could read what the players wanted to do pretty well, and then I guess the stat sheet said what it said.

You played your rookie season for BK Decin (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 40 games averaging 4.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.6apg. what was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?

In Decin we had a very talented team that year and finished 3rd in the league – I think that was the club’s best finish at the time. I felt it was my job to put everyone in a position to succeed, and unfortunately, that wasn’t reflected in personal stats, but we had a great year as a team.

What memories do you have of Seton Hall (NCAA) stand out and Czech Republic legend Lavelle Sanders who played an incredible 16 seasons there. Was he like a mentor for you in your rookie season?

Ell was awesome at showing me the ins-and-outs of European basketball on and off the court. At first it was a little challenging for me because we played the same position, but once I got to know him, he was nothing but great to me. He has so much knowledge of the game it’s unbelievable – and currently he’s translated that knowledge into coaching and taking Pardubice to a new level.

What memories do you have of the crazy three games against top team CEZ Nymburk? You won the first game by 28 points then lost by 27 points and then got creamed 73-28.

Nymburk has been on another level in comparison to the other Czech teams for a while now, and they very rarely lose to another domestic team. I think they kind of underestimated us the game we won, and then maybe had some extra motivation for the other games.

In your second season you played with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 22 games averaging 4.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-5 (1.6spg), in Feb.’13 moved to Grupo Eule Carrefour El Bulevar de Avila (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 6 games averaging 5.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 62.5%. Was this a phase where you had doubts about if a professional career was the correct choice to keep pursuing?

Yeah, I’m thankful for both opportunities and ended the season pretty well with Avila. We had talked about the following year at Avila, but given the economic status and outlook at the time, it made more sense to focus on life after basketball. 

What many don’t know was that in your short time in Spain you were teammates with a then unknown 18 year old Moussa Diagne who is only 24 now but playing in the top Spanish league ACB for years. Did you know then that he would get as far as he has?

That team was made up of a lot of young prospects, who are currently playing at a very high level. Moussa was already practicing at Fuenlabrada with the ACB guys at the time, and he was so athletically talented. For me it’s not really surprising that he’s doing so well.

In your first three seasons at Buffalo you hardly played, but as a freshman was an important part of the team playing 30 games averaging 7.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 78.7%. What did you learn about your game in your senior season?

I actually played a lot the first half of my freshman season before getting sick with mononucleosis, and it took a while to come back. I think the most important thing was understanding the game and what exactly the coaches wanted from me, and being more in control of every possession.

How did head coach Reggie Witherspoon groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Buffalo?

He definitely challenged us every day to be better and to grow up into men. I think that the biggest thing was going through the daily physical, mental, and emotional challenges with him to become a better person and player. I am very thankful for the opportunity that he and all the UB guys offered

Who won a one on one back in the day you or Rodney Pierce?

Rodney, hands down.

When you look back at the talent of your guard teammates Rodney Pierce and Calvin Betts, are you surprised none of them chose the professional route?

Talent-wise they both definitely could have played professionally and had a long career. But in life there are things that are more important than basketball and they chose another route. I definitely miss the time at UB with them

When you were a freshman, German Yassin Idbihi was a senior and would go on to have a stellar basketball career. What memories do you have of him and did he give you an early introduction to how Germany is?

Personally, the best on-court memory was when we both were on the court to put up a defensive stand to finish-off rival Canisius my freshman year. Of course, he had so many highlights throughout his college and professional career. I’m happy to see he’s currently doing so well and has such a beautiful family.

You played against so many great players at the NCAA level, but which player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?

I guess you could say the best NBA-player would be Kemba Walker, but there were so many tough guys that we played against.

How did your 2018 summer work out plan look like? On what things will you work on most to help prepare you for your seventh season?

Well I’ve been taking the twins for a run in their jogger a few times a week to try to stay in shape, but the older you get the harder it is. 

If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new? 

I think I’d go with a mix of both – but only guys that I’ve been able to watch. So MJ, Kobe, Lebron and maybe Shaq.

What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan? 

2 different eras – they were both the best of their era.

Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening? 

That could be true, but there are so many factors that influence teams anymore that are outside of basketball – it’s really hard to judge. But they have constructed a great team at the moment.

Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick? 

I haven’t really seen Deandre Ayton play so much, so I can’t really say, but I’m definitely excited to see what Luka Doncic will bring to the NBA. 

How did you follow the 2018 NBA Draft? How cool is it having two Germans being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers? 

I didn’t really follow the draft so much, but it’s definitely a positive for German basketball in general that 2 players were drafted by a franchise like the Lakers. 

Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game? 

It depends on what they define as an assist in the NBA, but he could probably lead the league.

What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther? 

I can’t really remember the last movie I saw, but I did watch Sesame Street this morning with the kids. 

Thanks John for the chat.

18 year Old French Phenom Theo Maledon Lifts LDLC Asvell Villerbanne Past The Fraport Skyliners 70-58 In Eurocup Action

The last time the Fraport Skyliners won a game, it was 2018 and some holiday lovers were still digesting their Christmas food while others were already in the gym working on shaving some pounds off their frames. Now a few weeks into 2019 the 2000 BBL cup winner Fraport Skyliners are still waiting for their first win in the new year as they were riding a hideous 5 game losing streak having lost twice to ratiopharm Ulm, to BBL cellar team Crailsheim Merlins, Eurocuo team Lok Kuban and top BBL team FC Bayern Munich. A big problem in their game is that they can´t play consistent as they demonstrated in Munich getting down by 20 points, coming back to cut the deficit to three points and then trailing in double digits again only to lose 80-71. Injuries continue to be a big worry and concern and the departure of Canadian Brady Heslip left a void in the offense, but not on defense. Their French opponent LDLC Asvell Villerbanne have had a great season up to now leading the France Pro A in the standings and came into the Frankfurt clash having a 2-0 record in Eurocup action and definitely not the type of opponent where the Fraport Skyliners would have good cards of winning. The Fraport Skyliners wanted to have some kind of success experience going into the big cup semi-final game on the weekend against 8 time BBL champion Alba Berlin, but were unable to handle LDLC Asvell Villerbanne as they fell 70-58 moving to 0-3 in Eurocup action. After the loss, American Jason Clark did have a smile on his face as it was his birthday, but when the topic came to the loss, the 29 year´s demeanor shifted to disappointment. “We came out well and had defensive intensity in the first half. It was a low scoring game, but they broke away in the second half. They started to do things on offense that they couldn´t do in the first half. We stayed with them, but they ran away with it at the end. We are still fighting which is good. Nobody is giving in. We have that fighting spirit”, warned ex Georgetown guard Jason Clark. Despite winning the game and moving to 3-0 LDLC Asvell Villerbanne guard Demarcus Nelson who played at Duke(NCAA) form 2004-2008 wasn´t happy with the play of his team, but glad for the win. “Our fight got us this win. We made a lot of mistakes in the first half, but cut them down in the second half. We were able to run some things on offense better in the second half. This wasn´t one of our better performances, but it was an important win. Our experience was key as was that we have many guys that can do multiple things on the court”, added Demarcus Nelson.


Miles Schmidt-Scheuber meeting 18 year old French shooting star Theo Maledon as many see as a potential 2019 NBA Draft pick


The Lost Interview Now Recovered With EX NBA Player Phil Pressey(Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul)

Phil Pressey is a 27 year old 191 cm point guard playing his sixth professional season and second in Europe and first with Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) currently averaging 7,3ppg, 2,7rpg and 3,8apg in the Turksh BSL league and 6,7ppg, 1,8rpg and 3,8apg while shooting 43% from outside. Last season was his first in Europe as he balled for FC Barcelona Lassa playing 24 games averaging 4.8ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg;and played 18  Euroleague games averaging 4.4ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.1apg. He played his first four professional seasons in the NBA and G-League. He played his first two professional seasons with the Boston Celtics totaling 124 games and in his third season played in the G-League with the Idaho Stampede and played 13 games for the Philadelphia 76ers and 9 games with the Phoenix Suns. In his fourth season he played with the Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League) playing 49 games averaging 17.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-5(8.0apg), Steals-5(2.0spg), FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 77.2%He began his career at Cushing Academy and then played at Episcopal School of Dallas. He then played at Missouri(NCAA) from 2010-2013 playing a total of 105 NCAA games. In hiss enior season he played 35 games averaging 12.1ppg, 3.2rpg, 7.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 73.6%. He spoke to before an Euroleague game in Bamberg last season and the interview was Temporarily lost, but now recently found again and released exactly how it was made last season.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber meeting Paul Pressey the dad of Phil in the 80´s when he played with the Milwaukee Bucks before a game in Boston against the Celtics

 Phil thanks for talking to Welcome to Germany. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball. Have you been here before?

 I do not know much about Germany but really enjoyed the country while I was there 

You play Brose Bamberg in a Euroleague game. Would there have been any trash talk between you and Quincy Miller-Scott concerning a certain BIG 12 title game from 2012 if he had been on the floor?

 There was no trash talk between me and Quincy, I do not know him very well.

After playing your first four professional seasons in the NBA and D-League, you are playing your first season in Europe and have picked one of the finest organizations in Europe. How is it different playing for a tradition team like FC Barcelona than to a traditional NBA team like the Boston Celtics?

 Very similar, FC Barcelona is a great organization and their fans are fantastic. The city of Barcelona really wants their sports teams to do well whether if it’s soccer or basketball. As for the Celtics, their fans LOVE winning. So they will support their team no matter what and playing for the Celtics you really feel the support. 

What kind of an overall experience is it playing with FC Barcelona? Do you feel the deep tradition that this club has each day? What has been the coolist experience  so far. Have you met Lionel Messi yet?

  My experience playing for Barcelona has been great, I have really enjoyed my time since I have been here. My teammates and coaches have made it easy to adjust here. I feel the tradition that this club has everyday when I walk into the gym with the picture on the wall of past championship teams. The best experience I’ve had so far is getting to play at Palau in front of our fans. I have not met Messi yet, unfortunately. 

What have you appreciated the most about playing with this team and so many great players. How do you feel will your game progress this season with the style of play that you are getting to know this season?

I have appreciated how supportive the fans and organization have been to me. My game will continue to get better everyday as I adjust to the style of play. 

There are many great players on it, but what kind of experience has it been playing with Spanish legend Juan Carlos Navarro. Do you sense a special era on the court and off when he is around?

  Playing with Juan Carlos Navarro has been a great experience. He shows us everyday in practice and in games why he is a legend. He is a great guy off the court and is always willing to help if you need anything. 

What kind of adjustment has it been for you coming from the States to Europe? In the D-league you were a top player averaging 32 minutes and in the ACB league 11 minutes and one among many great players.

  It took a little time to adjust. but, on my team now we have a lot of good players and everyone deserves a chance to play. As long as we win games, I am happy. 

What is your goal this season with FC Barcelona besides helping the team win? Are you looking to get back to the NBA again or are you concentrating on a European career?

 This year with Barcelona my goal is to win a championship. My mindset right now is to help my team win a championship. I am not worried about what happens next year.

Let´s talk a bit about your game. You’re a smaller type point guard. What point guard did you watch closely growing up and to what NBA player would you most compare your game to?

When I was younger I watched Allen Iverson and Steve Nash. I liked Steve Nash because of his court vision and able to make every player on the court good. 

You’re a guy that can fill up the stats sheet, but what do you feel is still a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?

 A hidden strength that doesn’t get noticed I think is my ability to control a game.

Last season you had great stats with the  Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League) playing 49 games averaging 17.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-5(8.0apg), Steals-5(2.0spg), FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 77.2%. You definitely deserved an NBA call up. Were you a bit disappointed it didn´t happen?


Yes I was disappointed I did not get a call up. 

Your teammate last season Dennis Clifford who plays with Alba Berlin this season was also hoping for an NBA call up last season. Could you imagine him and you being in the NBA down the road?

 I would hope so, but right now I am in Barcelona and enjoying every moment of it. 

After two seasons with the Boston Celtics, you played your third season with various team bouncing around from the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA), released in Oct.’15, later that month signed at Utah Jazz (NBA), in Nov.’15 signed at Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) playing 13 games averaging 4.2ppg, 1.7rpg, 3.5apg, released in Dec.’15, later that month signed at Idaho Stampede (D-League) playing 32 games averaging 13.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 6.9apg, Steals-5(2.1spg), FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 72.0%, in Feb.’16 signed at Phoenix Suns (NBA) playing 9 games averaging 2.4ppg, 3.1apg.Was this more a disappointing season for you? Did you get anything positive from this season that made you stronger as a player?

  That season made me stronger as a player. Mainly because I was able to play with different teams and learned a lot about each. 

You played two seasons with the Boston Celtics. In 2005 you went to Waltham high school and trained at the Boston Celtics training facility and later went to Cushing academy. Would you have ever thought in your wildest dreams that you would play there seven years later?

 I knew I would play in the NBA but never would I have thought that I would be playing for the Celtics 

As a rookie and played 75 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg, 3.2apg. When you look back on that season and the roster that they had are you more angry or disappointed that you couldn´t crack the rotation better with Rajon Rondo being injured for a long whileboth seasons?


Despite not making a real breakthrough with the Boston Celtics did you learn anything valuable from head coach Brad Stevens?

 Brad Stevens is a great coach but even better person. He will only become better and better every year. 

You played three seasons at Missouri winning the Big 12 tournament in 2012. What are your fondest memories form this game that still swirl in your mind today?

 Playing against Kansas, similar to Barcelona playing against Madrid. 

You played three seasons with Michael Dixon who has had a very good European career. What memories do you have of him and how did each profit from each other?

 Michael Dixon is a great player. He works hard and is a fantastic teammate.

Thanks Phil for the chat.

Kendal Williams (BG Aschersleben) I Want No Let Downs This Season And Continue To Grow On And Off The Court

Kendal Williams is a 26 year old 183cm point guard from Dover, Delaware that is playing his first professional season in Germany with BG Aschersleben Tigers (Germany-Regionalliga). Currently the team has a 6-9 record and he is averaging 15,3ppg, 5,6rpg and 5,0apg. He scored 30 points against Rendsburg and 29 points against Neustadt TSV. He sampled previous professional experience with Mgzavrebi-Armia Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague) in 2015-2016 playing 15 games averaging 6.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 66.7% and played with the Baltimore Shuckers (CBA). He began his basketball career with Dover High School and played two years with Baltimore Co. CC (NJCAA). He made the jump to Delaware State (NCAA) in 2013 and played 30 games averaging 8.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 71.1%. In his senior year at Delaware State (NCAA) he played 33 games averaging 8.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 39.0%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to about basketball during the summer. 

Kendal thanks for talking to After playing your rookie season in Georgia, it has been a rough last two seasons. You played briefly in the CBA, but other than that nowhere. Why was it so difficult finding a team the last few years?

Honestly just waiting on the right situation for me to be successful for my career. I had a few countries in between the 2 year window I was supposed to go play in but things didn’t work out in my favor unfortunately

Do you have a chip on your shoulder at the moment and has it become heavier over the two year period?

Yes I have a big chip on my shoulder. My rookie season wasn’t good enough for me personally. I’m hungry and my game has definitely improved. Most of all ready for a new start.