Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Radwan Bakkali Has Faced A Lot Of Adversary And Knows You Can´t Win Until You Know How To Lose

I entered the Dragon Dome on February 29, 2020 at about 6:00 pm 1 hour before tip off of a Regionalliga game between home team Dragons Rhondorf against the ETB Miners and wasn´t expecting much from the guests. This was when the German world still seemed somewhat in order as the Coronavirus crisis had already torn apart China, but hadn´t arrived in Germany quite yet. The Miners had been the overwhelming cellar team in the Regionalliga West amassing only 1 win and I was expecting a huge blowout win by the Dragons as the Essen club didn´t have much depth and scoring power except for their two imports Chris Alexander and Radwan Bakkali. I love commentating the close nail bitters with the potential buzzer beater being a reality, but I knew that this would be pretty much a one sided game, but I was happy about one thing. I would at least get to watch American guard Chris Alexander who I had never seen play Live as well as British center Radwan Bakkali who I had interviewed last summer, but never seen play Live either. But my happiness quickly turned to disappointment when I learned that Alexander had returned back to the States. Well at least I could still witness Bakkali possibly achieve a double double. As I worked to my work table, I observed a huge guy on the bench watching warm ups. I quickly knew that that was Bakkali. I started to get a little nervous as he didn´t get up to start taking shots. He had his sweats on something not uncommon, but after a few minutes I got the feeling that I would be 0-2 on this night with my desire to see these 2 players play. In my thoughts, I had Rhondorf winning by 60-70 points now. I decided to go over to the bench and converse in a little small talk with the big man. He quickly told me that he was injured and couldn´t play. I mean how much more bad luck could this guy have. His misfortune and facing adversity began in the States at Kilgore(JUCO) where he never averaged more than 3,3ppg and that trend continued in the NCAA with Jacksonville and Indianapolis where he never averaged more than 9,9mpg and as a senior averaged only 1,8ppg and 1,5rpg. His bad luck continued in his rookie season in Germany as his new team ETB Miners began to lose and lose and lose and didn´t win their first game until their 17th try against Hagen Haspe. The only good news in this unforgettable first season was that he finally got to play. He averaged 29 minutes per game averaging 14,4ppg and 10,6rpg. Despite all this turmoil and extra mental baggage to carry around, he made a very positive impression on me when I chatted with him and a fellow who is trying to make the best of his situation. “Adversity seems to be the underlying theme in my career so far doesn’t it? But I believe it is all setting me up for the big successes and “wins” I will soon have in my career. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said that “You can’t win until you learn how to lose.” So I guess this is just my process at the moment. And at this point, it doesn’t feel like there is much more that can happen to me that I haven’t already experienced. So I’ll be ready for the bumps along the way! Through all this though I still remain passionate and determined to make my hoop dreams come true. I know I have what it takes to succeed”, warned Radwan Bakkali. Perhaps the season ending the way it did was a blessing in disguise, because had the Coronavirus not came, then his team would have been sent down to the 2 Regionalliga, but now can compete in the Regionalliga next season as the league announced. “ From a team perspective it was certainly a challenging year. It can be very demoralizing losing all those games, especially by such big margins. But as a competitor you still want to have the opportunity to play and test yourself against opposition. So no it wasn’t positive for the season to end in the way it did. I would’ve still liked the chance to finish our scheduled games. For any athlete, having their season cut short is extremely disappointing. These are the moments we live for. But in these circumstances we are forced to recognize that some things are bigger than basketball, and our health and wellbeing should be our number one priority at the moment”, said Radwan Bakkali.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Radwan Bakkali in the Dragon Dome in 2020 shortly before COVID-19 hit

            Just like for so many other players in Germany, the big man´s season ended early and abruptly as the Corona Virus hit Europe. Like so many other people, he at first thought the whole Coronavirus hype was a joke with all the playful nature on social media and soon saw how many people were dying and took it very seriously. “I was able to leave Germany and return to London before things got to the stage they are now. My original flight was cancelled and I was concerned that the travel would become even more difficult so I returned home a little earlier than expected. Better safe than sorry. My last few days in Germany were pretty uneventful as our practices were cancelled. Besides organizing myself to return home I didn’t leave my apartment much at all”, expressed Radwan Bakkali. With the season ending so soon, he could have had added hard times reflecting on his tough rookie season, but that isn´t what the center is about, but moreover he is a guy that didn´t think about the negative, but had his thoughts on others instead of himself. “In a time like this I think it’s very important to focus on the positive that you can, think about all the people in more challenging circumstances risking their lives to help overcome this pandemic and even more so all those who have lost their jobs and more. For many basketball players this will be a good time to spend with their families and make up for all the time we usually spend away from them”, stressed Radwan Bakkali. The Corona Virus hit Great Britain very badly, but he kept a cool head on his shoulder and despite having always practiced good hygiene protocals, they were more magnified now and he followed the guidelines to staying safe and practicing social distancing and refraining from any unnecessary contact with other people. Life just hasn´t been easy for the 24 year old 208cm center as with a country lockdown just doing normal daily activities and staying shape have been a real burden. “Spending most of our time indoors is not the most exciting thing in the world. Shopping trips for groceries and essentials take much longer than usual.  We are having to wait in a line outside the store with only a few people allowed in at one time. I understand how important the period is but I’m ready for things to go back to normal! With the lack of intensity in the Regionalliga in terms of how much we practice and the frequency of games, I won’t be needing to give my body too much rest. Instead I’ve already started working on my next goals surrounding my body and fitness. I’ve been following along with home workout videos and also incorporating some injury prevention and flexibility work to try and create some form of routine and regimen of improvement. All this plus focusing on clean eating I’ve already managed to lose 10lbs since my return from Germany and I believe I will lose a lot more over this period. I am determined to bring another level of productivity to whichever team I’m on next season”, warned Radwan Bakkali. Before leagues were shut down there were quite a number of games in Germany in various leagues as well as a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. Many players played this type of game for the first time in their career, but Bakkali didn´t, but knows that playing without fans wouldn´t be his cup of tea. “I can’t speak for all basketball players but I know right now with the amount of days I’ve spent indoors I would want to play a basketball game even if it meant there would be no spectators, simply for the love of the game. Of course though, basketball games with no spectators would feel like a glorified scrimmage. Fans are very important to bringing atmosphere and passion to the environment. I am looking forward to the day I get to step back on the court and play a game in front of a full house”, stressed Radwan Bakkali. Despite so much adversary that has accompanied him in his life, he sees light at the end of the tunnel for basketball. “Historically we’ve always found a way to bounce back. The economy will eventually return to its strong state and we will be in business as usual. Sports is big business and entertainment and there will always be a demand, especially for basketball. So I am not worried about the future of basketball. If anything after this quarantine is over it will probably inject a new energy as all the organizations, coaches, players and fans will be raring to go”, warned Radwan Bakkali. Despite the hard times in the world now, the big man not only has had a lot of time to reflect on life and on others, but has also learned things about himself and family. “As you are aware Miles, I’m no stranger to adversity. This is another obstacle to overcome. I think it’s important to do our best to remain even keel, never feeling to high or too low. This way you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand a little better. It’s important to keep ourselves as occupied as possible, stopping ourselves from focusing on any negative thoughts which can be easy to do in a time like this. I’m an only child, and a big mommas boy. So family has always been integral to me. I guess one of the blessings of this period is to have more time to spend with my family, especially since I’m usually away for most of the year. While I was studying in America I had a period of 3 years where I didn’t see my parents so I feel like I’m still playing catch up for that time lost”, commented Radwan Bakkali.

            The rookie team season of Radwan Bakkali with the ETB Miners Essen was one to forget. The club finished with a dismal 1-24 record. A lot of critics already questioned the signing of female coach Romaris Duran last summer, but Bakkali is more than sure that you can´t blame her for the club´s terrible start. “Hiring Coach Iria was not a mistake. Yes, in general it is rare to see female coaches in these positions but I believe it’s something that should become more and more common. We have some examples of this at the higher levels in basketball for example Becky Hammon, an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. Gender, race, age or religion should not determine whether someone gets a job or not but instead candidates should be judged by what they can offer in value. Coach Romaris Duran has a wealth of experience in the Spanish second division and has a lot to offer in terms of knowledge and coaching style. While I regret that it didn’t work out for her in Essen I’m sure she will go on to have a very successful career as a coach. Sometimes it’s all situation. I am extremely grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to start my professional career and I wish her nothing but the best”, warned Radwan Bakkali. The team lost it´s first 16 games before finally getting it´s first victory against Hagen-Haspe. Every new loss was an added punch into the face of the big man and mentally coping with losing really affected him. His rookie season and losing so much was something that was totally new to him. “I have never endured a losing streak like that in my career. It was very difficult. We had a successful pre-season so it was a shock for the official games to start the way they did. I think the most challenging part about this losing streak was trying to keep the team morale up and belief that we can go into the next game and be more competitive. The win at Haspe was sweet when it finally came. I hope I never experience a losing streak like that again”, said Radwan Bakkali. When a losing streak keeps growing and even when you play some games a lot better than others, you still find ways to lose the tight ones like they did against Dortsen by 3 points and 1 point against Leverkusen something that just lies within the misfortune during long losing streaks. “It is never nice to lose, in any way. But yes the close losses hurt more. We had been able to come together and be competitive for 40 minutes and to lose those games in the last minutes was certainly heartbreaking. I guess these are the growing pains of experience. I collected some memories that will help me in the future close games I’ll be involved in”, said Radwan Bakkali. The biggest problem of the team was the defense allowing 91 points per game. A big problem was that the team had only one veteran in Chris Alexander and the rest of the players were 23 years of age or younger. “Experience, or lack thereof, was definitely a big factor in our struggles. The local players had spent the previous season in the 2.Regionalliga and were struggling to make the adjustment to the 1.Regionalliga. I myself was initially learning to adjust to the bigger role I had on the team and my big performances didn’t come until about 6 games into the season. So inexperience definitely played its part”, commented Radwan bakkali. In a way the Coronavirus was a blessing in disguise as the club won´t move down but remain in the Regionalliga and the club resigned Chris Alexander for a 7th season. The club obviously have to find a way to reach the winning ground by doing things differently in the organization. “I don’t want to talk too negatively about the club that gave me an opportunity to start my professional career, but it is no secret that there were a lot of things that the club did not set up correctly in order for the team to have any success. If they have an intention to break the cycle of unsuccessful basketball in Essen the past few years, the administration will have to learn from their past mistakes and change the way things are done at the club for the better. Securing a player of Chris’ talent is a good first step. He will bring them instant scoring and team leadership. Hopefully he gets a supporting cast to help him turn his big performances into wins. Good luck to them”, warned Radwan Bakkali.

            The English man couldn´t have had his real break out season hadn´t it been for the assistance of his teammates. One who had the biggest effect on him was 37 year old point guard Chris Alexander who played his sixth season in Essen. Not only on the court could the big man count on getting dimes in perfect position, but also off the court he was a big help to him. Alexander knew what Bakkali has been dealing with in his life as he also has witnessed adversary in his career. “Getting the opportunity to learn from a player of Chris’s talent and experience was a pleasure. Seeing first hand his work ethic and intensity for the game at 37 years old was incredible. If I can emulate his longevity I’ll be a very fortunate man. Moreover, off the court is where he had the biggest impact on me. Chris dealt with a range of adversities during the season and witnessing him overcome these challenges with such professionalism was truly inspiring. I’ve personally expressed this to him but it is worth people knowing the quality individual he is”, stated Radwan Bakkali. One guy that made a quick impression on me was 17 year old Luca Michels. He had the club´s best NBBL player averaging 15,6ppg and played 4 Regionalliga games at the end of the season averaging 13,3ppg. He had his best game in the huge 102-63 loss in Rhondorf scoring 24 points. I wasn´t the only guy that was impressed with his game. “Luca is a dog! Fearless, talented and passionate. He’s got a lot of swagger to him. At 17 years old still it’s hard to put any limits on what he can achieve. I believe he should have been a part of our squad from the very start of the season. In the 4 games he did play with us he was a big help in scoring and defending the best opposing player. Luca and I talk quite a bit over social media now that I’m back home and I can’t wait to see where he goes in his career. The future is bright”, warned Radwan Bakkali. Another player that the Brit enjoyed playing with was Noah Westerhaus. It was only a shame for him that he left in mid season. “Noah Westerhaus, who moved to Koblenz during the season is a very talented German player that could also go on to be a good professional. At 6’7 he can play the 3/4, with a good three point shot and the quickness to create some interesting mismatches for the opposing team. We had some good moments as a 4 and 5 combination and I wish him all the best for his future also”, added Radwan Bakkali. He not only will remember his teammates, but also his opponents as there were some that really challenged him on the floor. “One player that stood out to me was Vaidotas Volkus of Herford. As you know, an experienced player who has played in some of the higher leagues in Europe, he felt like a brick wall! I definitely had fun being physical with him. What’s more, it was a good learning experience to see his little veteran tricks he would utilize in the game to create an advantage over his opponent. I’ll definitely be using what I learnt from observing and playing against him to make myself better for the future”, stated Radwan Bakkali. 

            Despite the massive team woes of the ETB Wohnbau Miners Radwan Bakkali had a season that he was never close to in the last years in the States averaging 14,4ppg and 10,6rpg. Now if the club had been a playoff team and had a great record, he may have been more content with his season, but when you struggle as a team for the whole season, you can always find negatives about your own game. “As an athlete you can never be content with your performances. I personally will always find aspects that I could have done better and there is always room for improvement. However, coming from my college situation not too long ago where I averaged a measly 1,8ppg and 1,5rpg, I’m pleased that I was able to show a glimpse of my potential. Stats never tell the whole story and I’m afraid they’ve become too much of a focal point in our game today but averaging a double double at any level is indicative of a player’s productivity. I was pleased to finally have a bigger role on a team and showcase my unique skill set. I believe with more hard work I can do even better than I did this season at a higher level”, stressed Radwan Bakkali. When you saw the Brit face to face, you encountered a big body who had been used to playing no more than 10 minutes in school in the States, but as a rookie his minutes jumped to 29 and one can say that he physically made a fine transition to channeling his energy wisely. “I’ll always be trying to improve my ability to be productive with high energy while I’m on the court. I enjoyed playing almost three times as much as I did in college. My body handled these extended minutes well. I was able to use my time on the court to gain experience, learn how to handle responsibility I wasn’t previously afforded in college and grow in confidence which was very important for me. My performances over the course of the season showed this”, warned Radwan Bakkali. The ex Jacksonville(NCAA) big man came into his rookie season wanting to play a role in affecting shots at the rim and being a good positional team defender. Last summer he challenged himself against high level guards. But when you checkout his stats, he only had 3 steals and 1 block in 24 games, but he feels that there is more to a player´s defensive qualities than the stat sheet. “ Stats have become an over-inflated aspect of how we analyse a players value. There is a lot that doesn’t go into the box score. While I have never been a shot blocker, I feel like my big body and long arms were useful in affecting some shots around the rim and clogging up the paint. My defensive ability is certainly an aspect of my game I will continue to improve nonetheless”. warned Radwan Bakkali. After missing the last 3 weeks of the season, he came back strong and had a 22/9 game in a tough 99-89 loss against Grevenbroich in the last game. All in all he will return to the lab this summer with confidence, because he did show good things on the court as a rookie. “I feel like I made the best out of the opportunity in terms of starting to show people my ability on the court. With multiple high scoring double double games I was able to show that I am comfortable with my back to the basket scoring in the post as well as being able to confidently step out in the midrange and knock down the midrange jumper. My passing ability is also an underrated part of my game and my highlights from this season show some examples of this. I was able to collect more points and rebounds in this one season than all my four years of college combined. Moving forward I will aim to continue working on my athleticism and lateral ability so that I can be more productive on both ends of the floor. Even more so, my efficiency is something I will look to raise as I wished my overall FG% was much higher. This will be something I correct with plenty of repetitions. I would summarize my rookie season as a good start, but I have so much more to prove”, warned Radwan Bakkali.

            Bakkali has been home for months and will have a lot of time to spend in the basketball lab to continue to grind and make strides in his game. But then again the question will be when the lockdown will end in the UK so he can finally concentrate and work on his game. “The biggest disadvantage right now is having no access to gyms or basketball courts to work out in. But I guess this is an opportunity to be creative and find alternative ways to improve as much as we can during time. It’s interesting to see how these body weight workouts I’m doing at home are in way harder than lifting weights at a gym or the other exercises our bodies are usually used to. So I’m just looking at this as an opportunity to improve in an area that I haven’t previously given much attention to”, stressed Radwan Bakkali. In the last 4 years, the big man attempted only 21 three´s. He took only 9 three´s in his last 3 college years and as a rookie with the Miners was a weak 1/12. He knows that to be able to showcase a more versatile offensive game, he will have to develop a 3 if he likes to or not. “Without a doubt my three point shot is something that I will look to improve heavily moving forward. I’m confident in my shooting form and touch and I’ve shown that my midrange jump shot is my sweet spot. It’s now my responsibility to extend this range beyond the three point line in order to make me more versatile and impactful to my future teams as I continue to climb in my career”, added Radwan Bakkali. It will be a long summer for not only Radwan Bakkali, but also so many other professional players who like him will be seeking that next opportunity for next season. If the Coronavirus crisis gets worse, there could be some very bad scenario´s including the new season´s being delayed or even cancelled in many countries. But sooner or later basketball life will get back to normal and at the moment the Brit will look at all scenario´s of how his career will continue. “ I am extremely open minded to all opportunities when it comes to options for next year. You never know where the game is going to take you. I would be willing to play in most places around the world. At the moment my personal goals are to keep climbing the European ranks and eventually reach the higher leagues of European basketball. I have shown this regular season and even in the preseason games against higher level competition that I can be a candidate for this with big performances against players who are also receiving minutes in the German Pro A, BBL and Basketball Champions League. So if I can continue to prove myself against better opponents, with the right situation and timing; bigger and better opportunities will present themselves”, warned Radwan Bakkali. One thing is for sure where ever Radwan Bakkali ends up for his second professional season, he will arrive there having experienced way too much adversary and some extreme tough losing, so now it is definitely time for some winning, because he definitely has learned to lose.

Keith Phillips´s(Howard Hoops) Making Teammates and Himself Better Trranslates To Being A Good Player

Keith Phillips is a 196cm forward from Detroit, Michigan that finished his college career with William Jessup University (NAIA) in 2019 and belongs to the 2020 Howard Hoops Tour roster. He was scheduled to play in Germany in August 2020, but couldn’t get a passport in time.He began his basketball career with Macomb Community College (JUCO) and then played a year with Chabot College (JUCO) playing 29 games averaging 15.7ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 66.3%. He then played at William Jessup University (NAIA) from 2017-2019 playing 30 games averaging 16.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 2.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 63.1% as a junior and as a senior played 33 games averaging 21.0ppg, 8.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 78.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career. 

Keith thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you held up the last months with COVID-19?


Right now at the moment I am currently in California with my girlfriend and I have avoided COVID by staying in the house but I also train everyday that’s the only time I come out.

How have you been keeping in shape best during COVID-19? Did you make a special plan so that you could train and work on your game as best as you could despite the tough times?


I have been working out every day with my trainers and still have a busy schedule due to COVID my workouts are solo so it’s just me and my trainers so I have been able to workout still.

How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man? What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know about earlier?


COVID has definitely made me a stronger man dealing with a few passing within my family caused by this disease. This disease has took some of my loved ones and have taught me to check in on your close ones because you never know who can go next.

You are from Detroit, Michigan. Talk a little about your childhood. It wasn’t easy growing up with the peer pressure. How tough was it not being a follower early on, but going your own way?


Growing up in Detroit was fun but tough at the same time you had to be mentally and physically tough growing up in a middle class/ poor community I actually chose to play basketball except for running with the wrong crowd but the good thing is that even though I grew up in a rough neighborhood everyone pushed me to make it out. They told me I would be the first person from that neighborhood to make it out which gave me the motivation to keep playing.

When you were growing up who were your main basketball inspirations and how did they influence your game the most?


One of my biggest basketball influences was my cousin Kenny Ford and Kobe Bryant. My cousin played ball back in the day and was nationally ranked almost getting a chance to play at Michigan state the same year Magic Johnson played but his career ended in a drive by shooting. He has been pushing me my whole life even though he is now in the hospital. Kobe is another where his game and attitude was kind of my style. He is fearless and never gives up and works hard even when he is tired so Kobe motivated me as well s as Draymond Green.

After a stellar career at William Jessup (NAIA) finishing in 2019, what did you do in the last season? Did you play some semi pro basketball? Why do you suppose was it so tough finding a job out of college?


After my season it wasn’t hard for me to find a job I had a few offers but I just worked out for a whole year due to the fact I still had one more semester of school. I could have left and went over seas but my mom and family always wanted me to get my degree and I know that would make them happy so I stayed an extra year to finish up. I wanted to be the first person on my fathers side of the family with a degree so I stuck to school and finished it out before I left to make my mother proud.

How big is the chip on your shoulder in general? You had a great NAIA career and there have been guys that put up your kind of senior stats that have had long careers overseas. Do you realize that you could have a career overseas? 


I have a big chip on my shoulder but I remain humble I have a chip on my shoulder because there are a lot of people who look up to me in my community and really want to see me succeed and go far. This is the way I want to feed my family and give them a better life. I think I can play with anybody and hopefully I can get a chance to show it in Germany I know guys that have played and gave me advice I heard people tell me I can play overseas but I just have to let God take control and let him work.

Let’s talk a bit about your game. You have been compared to Draymond Green. How have you seen the development of your versatile game grow in the last years?


I have seen my game change in so many ways in like a blink of an eye I transferred over to guard after playing the five my whole career. I play the five but I always have the ball in my hand like Draymond always talking and I have a good IQ with the ball. I also have a handle and shot being able to score from inside out is key I like my game because if I have a taller defender I can bring him out of the key and if I have a smaller defender I can post him up I’ve developed into a 2-way player thanks to the Sacramento King organization for helping me out.

You’re a guy that fills the stat sheet with ease. You really can do it all. What do you feel is your biggest asset on the court at the moment?


The biggest asset on the court for me is how much attention I can draw. I can draw a lot of attention on the court and I always like to keep a flow in the offensive. Yeah I can fill up the stat sheet but I like to keep a flow on the team so I can have the support from my teammates when I do have big games. I think the number one goal to being a good player is making your teammates better and working on yourself as well. I am a great team player and 2 way player. I can play defense guarding a big or a guard

Your also a player that has demonstrated good defensive qualities. How much pride do you take on the defensive end and what do you feel is your biggest strength on defense?


I take pride in defense. A funny story is that my uncles and father would yell at me if I let another kid get buckets on me and plus I came from Detroit right behind the Pistons ( bad Boy) Era so Detroit basketball was all about defense and being physical. Kawhi Leonard is my defensive motivation and Patrick Beverly.

Your ex head coach at William Jessup Lance Von Vogt said that you have a heart of gold. How important was your mother for instilling this quality in you?


My moms and my grandma always told me to treat people how you wanted to be treated I give people my respect and they give it back. I am very respectful person and would never disrespect anyone unless they cause harm to me I believe we are all god’s children and we must help each other not bring each other down

On what things are you currently working on so that you can continue to get better as a player as you attempt to climb the basketball ladder the next years?

So right now I’ve been working on making my shot more consistent from NBA range and also my ball handling. I can take care of the ball but the biggest thing is staying in shape and making sure I get the proper rest .

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Tour in August. How excited are you to play in Germany and how hungry are you to show everyone that you have game?


I’m very excited to be a part of the tour I just want to go out and play basketball I m thrilled to come to Germany I have never been thereand I have always been afraid to go due to the history but I am ready I think this is going to be exciting and fun I just want to show the world that I can play.

How excited are you as well to be able to play with your ex teammates Pindo Drammeth and Oliver Amajoyi? Have these guys become friends for life?


Pindo and Oliver and like brothers to me and it will be exciting to see us all reunite I think it will be fun me and olive and pindo were working on our game before we separated after school. This will be a very fun trip but also I told them it’s. Business trip so we have to stay focused.

How did the contact to Howard Hoops CEO Ron Howard come about? What was the deciding moment that made you chose to play for him?


I contacted Ron through Instagram and to be honest he seemed like he was about his business and I am a guy about business so that got my attention. Another thing is that he was in the Midwest and I am from the Midwest so that got my attention as well plus he has played over there so he has the experience and I’m pretty sure he knows what he is doing.

Ron Howard has a great track record of helping players find jobs. How aware are you that you have a real golden opportunity to get a job because of him?


I hope to bring a show like I said I’ve never been the type to say I’m going to do this on the court but I will give you my all and my goal is just to remain calm and do what I love to do the most and have fun while doing it. You guys will see me being aggressive but under control and I definitely want to show off my inside out skill set

You played your first 2 years of college ball with Macomb Community College (JUCO)
and Chabot College (JUCO). How important was this early time for your basketball development? What do you feel did your game achieve the most in JUCO?


In Juco it showed me that either I had to fix my game and grow as a player. I made a lot of errors in Juco but I learned from themJjuco showed me all the things I needed to work on if I wanted to go further with my basketball career.

You sat out your first season at William Jessup because your mom was suffering from cancer. You went back home to Detroit to be with her. How do you feel did that year back at home shape to be the man that you are now?


The year I sat out showed me how much of a man I really was having to go home and provide for my family and my mother while she was sick. I had to grow up fast but that’s also one of the reasons people support me because I have always given back or gave them my all. That year turned me closer to my family my community and the city of Detroit seeing how many people were truly behind me

You had 2 great seasons at William Jessup averaging 16.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 2.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 63.1% and 21.0ppg, 8.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 78.2%. How do you feel did your game grow in your 2 years there?


I mean those two years showed me that I could really play somewhere. Those two seasons made me learn how to adjust to teams while being targeted and made me more of a team orientated guy because I was getting double teamed so much. Those teams in that league really pushed me every game going up against every teams best defender and getting doubled showed me how to move with out the ball as well.

You reached the 2019 GSAC final losing to Masters. How tough was this loss being so close to getting a title as a senior?


The loss in the GSAC tournament hurt but I was proud of my boys unfortunately our coach got sick and gave it to the team before going into the game. I was weak and low on energy I tried my best but I had the flu and so did like 3 of my teammates so it was tough most definitely.

You had some of your most memorable games against Hope International scoring 35 points in your first year and 33 points in your last season. Was the 33 point game in the exciting 93-91 victory one of your most memorable games in school?


Yes that would be one of them. I tip my hat to Hope international That is a great program and they have a good coach and they are one of the best defensive teams in the country around that time so they made you work which is something I like to do. I want to work for it and that was a very tough team to beat most definitely in my top 5 most memorable games.

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced on the playground or in a gym that has been in the NBA?


I have faced a few names in the NBA like Andrew Wiggins Jabari Parker, Aquille Carr, a lot of tough names but the most toughest I think I’ve had to guard was Ben Mclemore. He is family but he is tough to guard just because he can shoot it from any where at anytime and he is athletic to which makes him unpredictable. You don’t know if he is going to shoot or blow by you.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Austin Dill?


In a one on one game I would most definitely would win but Austin’s footwork is crazy. He can put you in a spin cycle really fast and he is very fundamental but I got him though. He would guard me in practice all the time.

Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of 4 heads past or present.


My four would be Kobe, MJ, Larry Bird , and Allen Iverson for sure

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?


I was actually in Los Angels when it happened and I thought it was one of those pranks on social media but it crushed me. It was like losing on of my closest family members.

Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in the standard conversation of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?


You know what I couldn’t even tell you but I think it’s funny how they put LeBron and don’t get me wrong Lebron is in the talk but if Jordan’s the best player to touch a basketball how is Kobe not in the conversation when he literally was our Jordan for this era. He has literally done every move Jordan has done made tough game winners won championship idk I would be confused. He was to me like a remake of Michael Jordan.

Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?


I think the Lakers are going to win it all to be honest but I’m a KD fan so I think the Nets have a chance at pulling it off to if they can click well.

What was the last movie that you saw?


The Last movie I watched was Chuck and Larry with Adam Sandler which is a funny movie. By the way must see for sure if you haven’t

Thanks Keith for the chat.

Being Resilient And Focused Under Pressure Hasn´t Only Helped Ethan Lorenzo(Howard Hoops) On The Court But Also During Covid-19

Ethan Lorenzo is an American guard that grew up in the Bronx, New York and currently is living in Florida. He played basketball in the marines and will be taking part at the 7th annual Howard Hoops Tour in Germany in August. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball. 

Ethan thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you held up the last months through this?

I am currently located in Gainesville Florida. During this time that everyone is dealing with COVID and its’s impacts I’ve remained positive, taken the necessary safety precautions, and remain focused on my basketball training. 

How have you been keeping in shape best during COVID-19? Did you make a special plan so that you could train and work on your game as best as you could despite the tough times?

During this tough time, I’ve stuck to a strict regimen of:
Running daily 
Skills and drills daily
dieting to maintain weight

How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man? What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know about earlier?


During this time I have not forgotten what I’ve learned in the Marine corps- which is to remain resilient, and focused under pressure especially during this time of uncertainty. 

You are from the Bronx, New York. Talk a little about your childhood. Was it tough growing up in the Bronx. What were the biggest challenges then for you?


Growing up was kind of tough due to the restrictions my mother had on my brothers and I. One of my biggest challenges were staying out of trouble while living in a rough neighborhood.

When you were growing up who were your main basketball inspirations and how did they influence your game the most?

Growing up my main basketball inspiration was my cousin Kenny. He’s the one who first introduced me to basketball. He had a lot of influence of my game due to the fact we are both left handed. 

You went to Timber Creek high school. Was this the time where you got infected by basketball? Do you remember the moment where you were hit by basketball?

Yes while I went to Timber Creek I’ve became enthralled with basketball at a younger age. The moment my father told me that my twin brother was better than me, it sparked my determination to be better.

Talk a bit about the basketball experience that you have. Did you go to college and do you have any professional experience? Please talk about the last years and what kind of experience you have had?


I do not have any college or professional experience under my belt. However I did play on different teams while enlisted in the marine corps.

How big is the chip on your shoulder in general? Have you been one of those guys that was always doubted? Has your chip on your shoulder grown over time?


The chip on my shoulder is big just because I’m trying to prove something to myself. As the tour gets closer, I feel as if it’s getting bigger. This does have much to do with people doubting me but more of self-doubt. Even though I have a chip on my shoulder I’m still going to give it 110 percent and leave it all on the court.

Let’s talk a bit about your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?


If I had to compare my game to any NBA player, that player would be Fred VanVleet.

What are the biggest strengths in your game and on what parts of your game have you been working on most now so you can continue to improve as a player?


Some of my biggest strengths of my game are court vision and the ability to have shot consistency. I am currently working on getting back to where I was, physically. I am also working on being a well-rounded player, as I improve on my defensive skill set.. 

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Tour in August. How excited are you to play in Germany and how hungry are you to show everyone that you have game?


I am excited to preform and showcase my talent while in Germany .

How did the contact to Howard Hoops CEO Ron Howard come about? What was the deciding moment that made you chose to play for him?


I was introduced to Ron Howard by a friend of mine. After searching up information and communicating with Mr. Howard I deiced to join his tour. 

Ron Howard has a great track record of helping players find jobs. How aware are you that you have a real golden opportunity to get a job because of him?


I am well Informed and greatly appreciative of the opportunities Mr. Howard has for me.

With what kind of personal expectations are you heading into the Howard Hoops tour? What kind of player will we see in Ethan Lorenzo?


Some of my expectations going on to this tour is to preform to the best of my abilities and show the type of guard I am. 

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced on the playground or in a gym that has been in the NBA?


The toughest player I ever faced in a gym would have to be Austin Rivers.

Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of 4 heads past or present.

Magic Johnson
Kobe Bryant 
Michael Jordan 
Shaquille O’Neal

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?


During Kobe Bryant’s death I was driving home from school while my mother called me and told me the news. I couldn’t believe it. Kobe Bryant had a huge impact on my life. Truly understanding Kobe mentality influenced my game. 

Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in the standard conversation of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?


I personally believe that Kobe Bryant should be mentioned in the conversation of who is the greatest of all-time with Michael Jordan and Lebron James. 

Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?


Yes, I will be following and keeping up to date with the NBA restart. Due to this COVID-19 incidents I believe that everyone still has an equal chance to winning. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


Bad Boys for Life.

Thanks Ethan for the chat

Stretching The Floor and Protecting The Rim Will Take Pindo Drammeh(Howard Hoops) To The Next Level

Pindo Drammeh is a 206cm center from Anchorage, Alaska that just completed his college basketball career and will be taking part at the 2020 Howard Hoops tour in Germany in August. He began at Sierra College (JUCO) playing 29 games averaging 3.0ppg, 2.5rpg. He also got furtehr experience at Clarke University (NAIA) playing 30 games averaging 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 50.6%, FT: 70.4%. He finished his basketball college career at William Jessup University (NAIA) playing 7 games averaging 1.4ppg, 1.3rpg. He talked to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.

Pindo thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you been holding up the last months during COVID-19?


I have been in my hometown working out, completing summer classes. The pandemic has had an impact on me because I’m not used to staying home this long but it did give me things that I needed to work on.

You played your last college game on Feb 29 against OUAZ. How tough was it having to end your NAIA career like this?


It was extremely hard for me this season because I did not get the playing time I felt like I deserved but it helped to become stronger mentally and to get through the hard times.

How did you keep busy for the last 4 months? How much of a challenge was it staying in shape? Did you know in March 2020 that you wanted to prepare and be ready for a possible professional career?


I kept busy with online school also doing outside and in-home workouts. It was a challenge for sure because being in the comfort of your own home because it can be a distraction with all of the unproductive things to do around me.

You just finished your college career at William Jessup University (NAIA). How excited are you to be able to test the professional waters this summer?


I’ve never been more excited in my life to pursue professional basketball as it has been my life’s dream to play at this level.

COVID-19 has affected the whole world. How do you feel have you become stronger as a man off the court during these hard times?


I believe I became a stronger man during these difficult times because with all the time I had in the day with very few things to do. It helped me put myself into many different things and truly discover what I am good at as person and what I can do to improve that daily.

I have often met American players having high expectations of themselves and not knowing how brutal the professional basketball world is. How aware are you that having that long professional career coming from NAIA isn’t easy, but it can be done?


I mean anytime someone is trying to pursue their dreams regardless of the profession, it is noted to me that it is not going to be easy with whatever level basketball that person had come from and I simply believe that if I put in the work that I can have a good chance of having a lengthy career.

How big is your hunger to prove people wrong after playing at 3 schools? How big is your chip on your shoulder to show people just what you are made of on the court?


My hunger comes within myself and not the schools that I had played for. For me, I felt like that if I can prove to myself that I can play this game at a high level then and I can prove everyone around me that I am here to stay and to make an impact

You have signed up with the Howard Hoops Tour. How did the contact with Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.) come about? He is currently living in Minnesota and has been training young hungry players for years. Is that how the contact came about?


The contact had come about when one of my teammates had sent me information about Ron and his Instagram page. From there I had told him about my basketball background and I am just trying to take advantage of this opportunity at hand.

How excited are you about having the opportunity to go to Germany and show your talent as a player? What do you know in general about the country of Germany and it’s basketball?


I could not be more excited to even have the opportunity of traveling to another country but to show my talents is probably the biggest blessing I could ask for in my life till this point.

What do you know in general about the Howard Hoops Tour? How aware are you of the positive record of Ronald Howard helping get guys like you with little or no experience jobs? Has that increased your hunger even more to succeed?


At this moment in time, I do not know much about the Hoops Tour, but the important thing I have noticed has placed many players on the road of success to help them achieve their dreams. The hunger to succeed has came within me but going on the tour definitely helps my chances a lot of pursing my dreams.

How big is your dream of becoming a professional player? Does your feeling of wanting that succeed any kind of feeling you have ever had for anything in your life?


Ever since I was a child all I wanted to do was to achieve my dream of becoming a pro player. Succeeding in this profession that will give me a feeling unlike I have never had in my lifetime, I am simply doing whatever it takes to be the best I can possibly be at this game.

Talk a little about the man Ronald Howard. He is an absolute basketball workaholic. How have you gotten to know the man on and off the court the best and what do you appreciate most about him?


I have gotten to know him through various phone calls. I am very appreciative of the fact that he had given me the opportunity to participate in the hoops tour. I also appreciate the fact he has given me the advice to help myself improve not any as a basketball player but a person as well.

How important will it be for you not going into the Howard Hoops tour alone as there will be some fellow William Jessup University players along for the ride.


I think that going on the tour with a couple of college teammates will give me a sense of comfort and happiness because I want to see them succeed as much as myself.

Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 206cm center. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?


The player who would best fit the description would be Pascal Siakam, because he impacts the game in so many ways other than scoring and I see a lot of his game within myself.

Talk a little about your strength as a player. What kind of attributes will be on display when you play in Germany?


The strengths of my game are the ability to stretch the floor knock down the open jumpers and protecting the rim with my shot-blocking ability, but I do see myself as a versatile player as well

On what parts of your game are you working on most in the lab so that you can continue to improve your game as you continue to move forward as a player?


I feel that to take my game to the next level footwork is a must and the ability to create a shot for myself. Also, my strength is something I have been taking seriously to drastically improve.

You’re from Alaska. Basketball isn’t the most popular sport there. How did you come to love basketball growing up? 


As a big surprise basketball is one of the more popular sports but the state is mostly known for our guards so taking advantage of my height was a big thing for me. I came to fall in love with the game by seeing what it takes to be great in the game and I simply love to work hard and constantly better myself

You began your college career at Sierra College (JUCO) playing 29 games averaging 3.0ppg, 2.5rpg. I hear from guys all the time that JUCO ball is real tough. Is the league filled with so many guys with chips on their shoulders that you just have to get better with the immense competitiveness of each player?


JUCO ball is tough but with facing those difficulties it had given me an opportunity of improving that I did not see at the time. The competitiveness attributed to my improved mental and the mentality that I need to become more aggressive to become successful in this game.

What positives do you feel could you get from your season at Sierra College (JUCO that helped you take a step there?


Coming from my junior college the positives I got from there were what it means to work and I began to see true improvement in myself, but the biggest positive I learned from I started to gain confidence within myself and my abilities.

You then played at Clarke University (NAIA) playing 30 games averaging 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 50.6%, FT: 70.4%. How important was this season for your mental health that has come from a tough JUCO season?


This season I had begun to show the self-confidence and the boost had also come from my teammates who had my back on and off the court 



Were your 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the 93-86 win against Cardinal Stritch one of your most memorable games there?



That game was extremely memorable to my teammates and me because we had been trailing most of the game and to come back had shown we would do anything it had taken to win the game.

You made another change playing your last season at William Jessup University (NAIA) playing only 7 games averaging 1.4ppg, 1.3rpg. How tough was this season coming from a solid year at Clark? Do you ever wonder what may have happened had you remained at Clarke? 


This season was not the easiest at all, I had come off my best season in collegiate basketball mentally and physically. For me to sit on the bench had affected the self-confidence that I had worked so hard to achieve the frustrating part about the whole experience is that I knew in my heart that I can play basketball at a high level. I always think about playing out my senior year there but I truly am thankful for the experience that I had there.

How did head coach Jim Blaine groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?


I think it dates back to my recruiting visit when he had made it known that I can be a big part of the team’s success but at the same time he did not sugar coat anything and I earned all of the playing time that was given to me if I had stayed there I probably would have made a bigger impact.

Who won a one on one you or Josh Meier?


Unfortunately, we never got the opportunity to play one on one

Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?


Kylar Hayes (Clarke), AJ Stewart (Clarke), Keunte Howard (Sierra), Ernie Bolden (Clarke), Nathan Fromm (Service High)

Who has been the best player that you have battled on a court anywhere that has been in the NBA or a high level?


The best player I have played against is Jalil Abdul-Bassit

The best known NBA player from your home town Anchorage is Mario Chalmers. What kind if influence did he have on you growing up?


The Chalmers impact was huge for a kid like myself at the time that it was impossible to reach the highest level of basketball regardless of where I grew up

Please list your personal NBA Rushmore of 4 NBA heads past or present?


MJ, LeBron, Kobe, Tim Duncan

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How much of an influence did a guy like that have on you growing up?


I remember hearing about the news while I was studying preparing for the week ahead, I could not believe it was real and in pure shock that whole day and ended up playing basketball that day in his honor

People often compare Jordan and Lebron as the best ever, but why isn’t Kobe Bryant mentioned more often in this discussion? Do you feel like Kobe gets a little sidetracked in this discussion?


I feel like Kobe doesn’t get mentioned more in this debate. Many people look at him primarily as a scorer and fans of the other two players look at more versatility than but at the same time it is quite confusing because Kobe modeled his game after MJ.

What was the last movie that you saw?


Ant-Man 

Thanks Pindo for the chat.

Rene Melendez(Howard Hoops) I Always Started At The Bottom Because I Lived In A Country That Wasn’t Mine And I Had To Get My Spot In Every Team

Rene Melendez is a 190cm point guard from Mexico that will play at the 2020 Howard Hoops tour in Germany. He recently completed his career at Mayville State University (NAIA) where he played 43 NAIA games and as a senior at Mayville State University (NAIA) playing 28 games averaging 11.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 70.5%. He previously played at Trinidad State Junior College (JUCO) playing 59 JUCO games averaging 4.4ppg, 1.8rpg and in his last season averaged 5.5ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 72.7%.He played with the Mexican U16 National Team at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Punta del Este (Uruguay) -in 2013 averaging 11.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 22.6%, FT: 64.3%. he also won two North Star Tournaments. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career. 

Rene thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you been holding up the last months during COVID-19? 


I was living in Denver, Colorado, USA. For a couple months after the school and the basketball season ended. I’m currently in Mexico. 

You played your last college game on March 1stth against Waldorf winning 65-62 and steering home 17 points. How tough was it ending your NAIA career like that? 

As a team and for me personally we made our goal. We accomplished everything we wanted, but we didn’t finish the way we wanted because we still had to play in the NAIA national tournament, and we couldn’t do it. I had a great game in my last college basketball game, it was a great feeling, I wouldn’t change it for anything, I know I have more to come. The time will decide.

How did you keep busy the last 4 months? How much of a challenge was it staying in shape? Did you know in March 2020 that you wanted to prepare and be ready for a possible professional career?


It was hard to keep my body in shape but I did what I need it to do. I was working-out at home, dribbling the ball everyday and running every morning in a park close to my house and doing pushups, squats, using any weight that I could. Being a professional player has always been my goal. It’s something that I can do. I’m ready to show people what I can do. 

You just finished your college career at Mayville State University (NAIA). How excited are you to be able to test the professional waters this summer?


I’m very exited to start my professional career. I know I can show others what I can do. This is something that I been waiting for years. 

COVID-19 has affected the whole world. How do you feel have you become stronger as a man off the court during these hard times?


Those hard times are the ones that make us a better person and be really close to the ones we love. This pandemic still coming to us, but we will be able to overcome everything that comes against us. Personally, I spent more time with the ones I love, more than any other time so, I feel great right now but now is time to work. 

I have often met American players having high expectations of themselves and not knowing how brutal the professional basketball world is. How aware are you that having that long professional career coming from NAIA isn’t easy, but it can be done?

Being from Mexico, I already know that being a professional player its hard because since I left Mexico to go play in the best basketball of the world in the United states, it’s been always hard but, the hard part won’t stop me to make my goal reality. I know a lot of basketball players from Mexico that have told me that it won’t be easy but I will take the risk and be ready for whatever is coming.

How big is your hunger to prove people wrong after playing at 2 schools in 4 seasons? How big is your chip on your shoulder to show people just what you are made of on the court?

I have been on teams where things weren’t easy, coaches, players, etc. have a role in a team, and everything that other people say or do will affect the team but I have always overcome those things around me and I finally made my goal of playing at a great level and I have always improved my game in each of the past 4 years. The journey has been hard with little bumps sometimes but like I say, I’m ready to show what I can do. My last coach has taught me that things won’t be easy. 

You have signed up with the Howard Hoops Tour. How did the contact to Ron Howard come about. He is currently living in Minnesota and has been training young hungry players for years. Is that how the contact came about?


Ron Howard became a friend when I signed at Mayville state University, He was really close to coach Thigh and he told me to keep working to be a professional player. Ron Howard is doing a great job teaching young people for their future. I Know Ron knows what I can do. Ron is a great person.

How excited are you about having the opportunity to go to Germany and show your talent as a player? What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball?

I can’t wait to go over there and play basketball, represent myself, my family and my country. I know Germany have great basketball leagues, beautiful people and I heard they like people from Mexico. 

What do you know in general about the Howard Hoops Tour? How aware are you of the positive record of Ron Howard helping get guys like you with little or no experience jobs? Has that increased your hunger even more to succeed?


I have always started at the bottom because I been living in a country that wasn’t mine and I had to get my spot in every team, like I said before I have always had that hunger to succeed. I thank Ron Howard for the opportunity that he has brought to me and for trusting myself. It’s time to keep working.

How big is your dream of becoming a professional player. Does your feeling of wanting that succeed any kind of feeling you have ever had for anything in your life?

My dream to become basketball player is so big that I would like to live from the basketball, I’m willing to give everything I have to be successful. I always represent myself and my family. 

Talk a little about the man Ron Howard. He is an absolute basketball workaholic. How have you gotten to know the man on and off the court the best and what do you appreciate most about him?


Ron Howard has trusted me to work with him. Ron loves basketball like I do. I didn’t know much about him but I Know he trusts me for how I play, and he believes that I can play that’s why he is giving me the opportunity to play in Germany representing his name and his agency. I don’t have words to say how grateful I’m to be part of this agency. I appreciate the opportunity that he has brought to me. 

He also played at Mayville State many years ago. Is his legacy still present there? Do you remember hearing stories about him? 


Yeah, people know him a lot in Mayville. I have heard stories about him and I have seen videos of him. People know that he did very well during his time in Mayville. 

Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 190cm guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would bets fit the description? 


I would say Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics, someone that plays hard all game, intense defense, can shoot 3’s and can dribble. 

Talk a little about your strength as a player. What kind of attributes will be on display when you play in Germany?


Someone that plays hard all game, intense and smart. I describe myself has a shooter and I can finish at the basket. 

On what parts of your game are you working on most in the lab so that you can continue to improve your game as you continue to move forward as a player?


My midrange shoot, I just need more consistency. 

You were born in Mexico and live in Denver Colorado today. Talk a little about your childhood and when you got infected by basketball?


I started to play basketball when I was 6, my family played sports all my life and it’s something that I like to do in my daily basics, each and every day. I was one of the best players in my city in Chihuahua, Mexico. I went to play in EL Salvador and Uruguay, representing Mexico U15 and U17. I moved myself to Denver, my junior year of high school. After high school I went to Junior college Called Trinidad State University, and then I went to Mayville State University. 

You began your college career at Trinidad State Junior College (JUCO) playing 59 games over 2 seasons, but never averaged more than 5,5ppg. Despite fighting for minutes, what positives could you take form this experience?


I take a lot of experience, the reason why I say this is because we had great players that went D1 and I wasn’t very athletic or couldn’t do things that others could do, but I had to play better and make crucial shots when I was in the game. I did something that other players didn’t do like take charges and play defense. 

You then moved to Mayville State University (NAIA) playing only 13 games your first season averaging 2.8ppg. How tough was this season coming from JUCO and continuing to play little minutes in the NAIA? How did you survive that first season?


I survived knowing that I could play, I really had a tough time with the coach and other players but I knew that I could be in the game any time. I just didn’t have the opportunity to play because of other seniors. I was very depressed but I knew it and I did it at the end showing people what I could do. 

In your second year at Mayville State University (NAIA) you went from 6 minutes to averaging 25 minutes playing 28 games averaging 11.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 70.5%. How do you feel did your game grow the most in this season?


I knew that coach was trusting me and I knew that I could be doing that the past season. I just didn’t have the opportunity to demonstrate it to the coaches. Obviously, my game improved in every aspect but the most in character, my mind was stronger and my body was feeling great. 

You had many memorable games at Mayville State (NAIA), but was the exciting 65-62 win in your last college game one of your more memorable games in terms of personal play?


Yeah, my last game as a comet was the best game I had. Because I played very well.

You won the 2019 and 2020 North Star Tournaments. Which one was more sweeter?


Obviously, the one in 2020 because I played more and I was more involved on the team. 

How did head coach Darren Tighe groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?


Leadership, and having a stronger mind. Coach knew that I had to be in that process which was very hard my first season but I did something that others couldn’t do, like I say I didn’t play my first season at Mayville State but I came back to see if I could play my second season, and I did it. Most of the players that didn’t play one season they transfer, I took the risk and I made it. My game and mind have improved in every aspect. 

Who won a one on one in practice you or Jalen Valverde?


Jaylen Valverde is a great player, but I’m taller and I could shoot better. Me. 

Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Jesus Martinez 
Xavier Towne 
Tobyn Lawson 
Job Alexander
Tykeem Anderson 

Who has been the best player that you have battled on a court anywhere that has been in the NBA or a high level?


Jayson Tatum in 2014 with the USA National team. 

Please list your personal NBA Rushmore of 4 NBA heads past or present?


Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson 

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How much of an influence did a guy like that have on you growing up?

I was in a restaurant and I was on my phone, I saw the news and I couldn’t believe it. I grew up watching Kobe Bryant, watching every game, every night. I saw the hunger on him for the basketball.

People often compare Jordan and Lebron as the best ever, but why isn’t Kobe Bryant mentioned more often in this discussion? Do you feel like Kobe gets a little side tracked in this discussion?


Of course, I feel like he gets a little out of the discussion, I think those three players could be in the same page but there is a reason why Kobe isn’t in the discussion. I would say Kobe is more versatile, but Lebron is more a team player great skills Kobe as well. But I think Kobe should be in the discussion. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


Above the Shadows by Claudia Myers. 

Thanks Rene for the chat.

Bryan Johnson(Howard Hoops) Fought Through Adversary in School Learning To Work Hard And Be Consistent

Bryan Johnson is a guard from Bogalusa, Louisiana that played high school ball at Bogalusa and Bensford academy. He then played at William Carey University. He will play at the 2020 Howard Hoops tour in Germany. He took some time to talk to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.

Bryon thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you held up the last months through this?


I want to thank eurobasket.com for giving me this opportunity. Through this entire quarantine I have been located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It has been a little difficult to find a gym I must say. Especially, with the COVID cases going up daily. 

How have you been keeping in shape best during COVID-19? Did you make a special plan so that you could train and work on your game as best as you could despite the tough times?

During the tough times my gym was closed for the first stage of COVID-19 I just used the outside city parks to stay in shape. I did have to travel a few hours just to use someones gym to put up shots work on ball handling and defensive slides sometimes. 

How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man? What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know about earlier?


I can definitely say COVID-19 made me a stronger man mentally because it put me in a lot of difficult situations especially when it came time for me to help my family. The difficult times made me realize that I can go through anything as long as I keep a positive mind set and stay consistent. 

You are from Louisiana. Talk a little about your childhood. You attended W.T White high school. When did you know that you were hit with the basketball bug?


When I was growing up I watched a lot of sports with my family. My favorite players were Tracy Mcgrady, Derrick Rose and Allen Iverson. I attended Bogalusa high school for a bit then transferred to Bensford Academy. During that changing of schools I met a few coaches and worked out with them a few times. They told me that I had game and should play travel ball , but my family couldn’t afford it. So I just played for the schools and made the most out of my opportunity. 

When you were growing up who were your main basketball inspirations and how did they influence your game the most?


I can say growing up my inspiration was my grandfather as he always watched sports when I came to visit him. He would always say, watch grandson you might learn something. I felt that gave me the confidence I needed to get started with sports at a young age. 

Talk a bit about the basketball experience that you have had in your life. You played at William Carey University. What kind of experience was this and how do you feel did you benefit most from the opportunity?


I can say my basketball experience has taught me a lot. Especially, when it comes to having chemistry with people and learning how to trust in difficult situations. My time at William Carey University had it’s ups and downs. I had to learn a new system and basically change my game. In high school I played point guard and when I got to college they put me at shooting guard. So I pretty much ran off screens and learned how to play without the ball in my hand. Which helped me push my game to another level. I became a very good shooter in the process. 

How big is the chip on your shoulder in general? Have you been one of those guys that was always doubted and haven’t had fair opportunities? How tough is it having to accept your situation and how big is your chip on your shoulder grown over time?


The chip on my shoulder is always going to be there. During my time at William Carey University it was tough. I had to fight for every minute of playing time I got. The coach that recruited me left to go coach at another school after my red shirt year. When he left it wasn’t the same. I wanted to transfer to the Juco he was at, but I would of only had one year to play because it was a community college so I stayed at William Carey University. I honestly should of left because all I did was get recruited over from the new coaches bringing there players in. It taught me a lot about people and how the system works. I became a much stronger person that learned how to just work hard and be consistent. 

Do you have any kind of professional experience? Or is the Howard Hoops tour going to be your professional debut?


I have worked out with professional oversees players , but that’s about it. I am really looking forward to my first debut with the Howard Hoops Tour.

Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a two way guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

If I was to compare my game to an NBA player it would be an Avery Bradley or Patrick Beverley. 

Your a very good offensive player that can shoot as well as find the open man. But you also give 100% on the defensive end. How much pride do you take on being a hard nosed defender?


I take pride in my defense because I don’t like when the other team scores. It should be a hard battle every time for them. 

On what things are you currently working on so that you can continue to get better as a player as you attempt to climb the basketball ladder the next years?


What I mainly focus on is my ball handling and developing my IQ because I believe in making the right decisions at the right time. I feel like if I continue to develop my understanding of the 1 and 2 position the sky is the limit for me. 

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Tour in August. How excited are you to play in Germany and how hungry are you to show everyone that you have game?


I am very excited to participate in the Howard Hoops Tour. The game will speak for itself. I’m just going to continue to work on my craft and learn from others around me. 

How did the contact to Howard Hoops CEO Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.) come about? What was the deciding moment that made you chose to play for him?


I was working out with one of my high school coaches and he was like man you should try and go overseas. So I contacted the coach that recruited me from William Carey University and he told me about Ronald Howard. Then we started from there. 

Ronald Howard has a great track record of helping players find jobs. How aware are you that you have a real golden opportunity to get a job because of him?


The coach that recruited me told me that Ronald Howard is the real deal no gimmicks. If you show him you are serious he will be behind you one hundred percent. 

Have you met Ronald Howard and trained with him. He truly cares for the best for his players. How have you gone to appreciate him as a coach and person the most?


I haven’t had the opportunity to train with Ron yet , but just by speaking with him on the phone I could feel the energy of greatness. He is definitely someone you need in your corner. The man is about his business. 

With what kind of personal expectations are you heading into the Howard Hoops tour? What kind of player will we see in Bryan Johnson?


My main focus heading into the Howard hoops tour is to win with my team and enjoy doing it. of course want an overseas contract that would be a dream come true. The most important thing is just learning from other people and continue to get better every day. The type of player you should expect from Bryan Johnson is someone that is going to bring positive energy and confidence to his team. 

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced on the playground or in a gym that has been in the NBA?


I would say there has been a lot of overseas players and a few G League players I have played against in open gyms I don’t really no them by name.

Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of 4 heads past or present.


My NBA Mount Rushmore is Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?


I was actually asleep at the time and my phone was just going off like crazy. So I woke up and looked at my news feed saying Kobe Bryant and Gigi died in a plane crash. I just couldn’t believe one of the greatest players the world has ever seen dead just like that. Kobe Bryant influenced me with his fade away. My grandfather and Aunt loved to watch Kobe Bryant. He was the first NBA player I remember seeing on TV. 

Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in the standard conversation of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?


I honestly believe everyone has their own opinion of who is the greatest. When you take the time and just look at the film of those players you will see the skill level. Kobe Bryant is the most skilled in my opinion out of Michael Jordan and Lebron James. The man’s footwork is off the charts. It can’t be matched at all. 

Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?


I will most certainly be following the NBA restart this season. I believe that the Lakers will bring it home this year. It will be a tough road for them, but they will be victororious in the end. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


The last movie I saw was called Hanna. 

Thanks Bryan for the chat.

Can Kevin Franceschi Be A New Cinderella Story And Reach The EasyCredit BBL?

It´s the dog days of summer, but the professional European basketball market is buzzing as loud as a Bee´s nest resting under a roof of an Iowa farm just outside Iowa city. Especially in Germany the countries leagues have really had an influx of signings in the last week and it will probably continue in the next few weeks before it will begin to calm down. This is a very testy time for team´s fans as they hope that their teams will get the right mix of players that will spell success for the course of the season. Some fans just aren´t patient and are able to wait for the team´s official press release, but instead are rather impatient and will try to do anything in order to find out which player might come. Some put in false or wanna be rumors and give wild speculation while other´s play detective. For some playing detective means stalking a club´s Instagram and seeing which people have recently followed the club. As soon as a player starts following a club, the wildest speculation starts to run it´s course. Often when a player follows a club, there is a reason for it and often it is the beginning of a relationship with a player and club separated only by the contract. For anyone who might think I have a pseudonym at Schoenen-Dunk(Germany´s most known online basketball forum), I don´t, but I try to read as much as I can. A few days ago, I noticed in the Basketball Lowen Baskets thread that a fan had mentioned that Kevin Franceschi had began to follow the team on Instagram. The fan gave in his 2 cents about this and it didn´t really interest anyone else, but it did interest me. Could an ex Pro B player reach the easyCredit BBL? Well a few years back, the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig had given the ultimate Cinderella story Deandre Lansdowne his BBL break, so why not again now for Franceschi? Franceschi felt amused when I told him about a fan mentioning him in the forum “I didn’t know about this but it is intriguing, it shows how involved the supporters are there. Braunschweig got a great organization and ambitions, they’re hungry. I support that”, warned Kevin Franceschi  Now it was time for me to do some detective work.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Kevin Franceschi in the 2018-2019 season when he dropped 16 points in a tough 74-69 loss in Frankfurt

         Kevin Franceschi is a 26 year old 191cm guard that can literally jump out of the building grew up in France, but spent a lot of time in the United Sttaes in his young life. He played high school ball at Romain Rolland HS) and then played at 3 different schools in a span of 4 years playing at Weatherford College (JUCO) averaging 5.6ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 10.5%, FT: 22.2%, the University of Missouri – Kansas City (NCAA) averaging 2.6ppg and finishing at Oklahoma Baptist University (NCAA2) averaging 13.9ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 21.5%, FT: 82.7%. He returned back to Europe in 2017 playing in Spain with BEHAPPY2 – CB Myrtia (Spain-LEB Silver) averaging 9.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 62.2%. In 2018-2019 he made further strides in his basketball career in Germany with BBC Coburg (Germany-ProB) averaging 15.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 78.5%. He had his absolute best game as a professional with the German side scorching Rhondorf for 39 points at home on 9 three´s. In his third professional season he played in the second Greek division for Vivechrom A.O. Agriniou (Greece-A2). It is absolutely no secret that the scoring machine is craving for another opportunity in Germany. But this time he isn´t looking little at the Pro B, but looking big at the easyCredit BBL. Could current German NBA player Dennis Schroeder have a say in his future in Germany?

Only  a few minutes after I read this interesting tidbid about Kevin Franceschi at Schoenen-Dunk, I reach the athletic 191cm French player in Paris. Just like many other players, he has had to deal with the whole COVID-19 crisis as best as possible. In the last months, he also found some time to return back to Germany to train with his ex teammate Yasin Turan who will play for the  BSW Sixers Sandersdorf (ProB) this season after a 6 year stint in Coburg. The French man has been concentrating on working on his game and just making sure to capitalize on every day to get better in the lab, but also remembered using the extra time for other important things. “ COVID-19 affected me on many levels, but I try to use it as positives. I spent a lot of time with my mum and brothers in Paris, I rarely get to do that, I’m usually in the US training in the summer”, stressed Kevin Franceschi. Players have had to be really innovative, not picky and extra dedicated in getting in the best workouts, even if COVID-19 didn´t always make it an easy task.  “In the beginning it was rough, just playground and “street-workouts” I used it to rebuild the foundation and get sharper mentally. As time went on, I left for Germany and had access to a weight room and a gym more usually”, added Kevin Franceschi. In the last months the ex BBC Coburg player didn´t only continue to add to his game in the lab and spend quality family time, but also let the whole COVID-19 mess help make him stronger as a man. “ You can’t take anything for granted in life, I thought that this summer would be as usual, and that I wouldn’t have a problem to find a great opportunity to move up and compete against stronger competition, but it made everything harder. I just have to stay patient, it’ll come”, warned Kevin Franceschi.

            After his very potent season in Germany, he made the next step last season in Greece with Vivechrom A.O. Agriniou (Greece-A2) playing 21 games averaging 16.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 75.2%. He showed his consistency not only as a scorer scoring in double figures in 19 of 21 games, but filled the stat sheet like usual. He felt very comfortable in Greece and even if his game might be better suited to the German style, his fine game showed on the court in Greece. “ It was great, I had a great coach Ioannis Diamantakos that taught me a lot about the game, the league was very competitive, lot of great players, they breath and eat basketball there. The style in Greece is different, it is more of a physical and half court league, a lot of plays, pick and roll, etc. In Germany the game is faster and more athletic, a lot more transition game, which would fit me better  ”, stated Kevin Franceschi.  Two seasons ago, he stated in an interview that he felt that he had put his mark on the German Pro B. Did he feel as if he had also left his mark on Greece division 2? “I think I did yes, I’m always looking for improvement in my game so I always see the mistakes and things I need to work on the following summer. I grew a lot, especially mentally, it’s important to learn how to play for different playstyles, to adapt quicker when needed”, stressed Kevin Franceschi.  If he ever does return back to Greece, he definitely will be ready for the difficult Greek names. In his first season in Greece, he didn´t waste anytime producing special nicknames for his teammates.

            Let´s turn back to Germany, the Schoenen-Dunk fan comment about Kevin Franceschi and how is Dennis Schroeder involved in all of this. Recently the French guard took part at a Summer League in France called the Amiral League with many French national team players and other 1st league players like Charles Kahudi and Amara Sy. He was named the revelation of the tournament. This was a great opportunity for the talented guard to make a name for himself and it was an opportunity that he will never forget. “ It was great, I haven’t played in France in a while, last summer I was at the Skinz League in Oklahoma city, and this year the Amiral League in Cergy. Amara Sy, who is one of the main ambassadors of French Basketball, put up an amazing event, in a short time span, the competition was great and the atmosphere amazing. I always knew I could compete with accomplished players and I showed that in France. It definitely brought a lot of exposure, but now it’s not up to me. I controlled what I could, that’s all I know”, warned Kevin Franceschi. In the last years there have been special Cinderella stories of guys making the easyCredit BBL from lower leagues in Germany like a Kameron Taylor, Zack Wright or Chris Carter so why not Kevin Franceschi? He definitely has a big heart for Germany. “ I love the culture in Germany, people are respectful and they love sports, so I fit in well there. My hunger is big, it’s a very competitive league and I hope to get an opportunity”, stressed Kevin Franceschi. When a player begins to follow a professional team like on Instagram, there is usually a reason and there definitely was a link between him and the Braunschweig organization. “I got in indirect contact and then direct contact with Dennis Schröder, but nothing concrete yet. I have a lot of respect for him to take his time to talk with me about his team. Very humble guy, for his stature. Besides that I’m staying patient for the right fit”, warned Kevin Franceschi. A great thing about Kevin Franceschi is that he knows he is a strong player and has his limitations and knows he has to keep grinding, but a certain touch of being arrogant doesn´t hurt either. “I know I can compete in 1st league and have an impact. But I also know I have to prove myself. I keep the same hunger to learn and improve, with that I think I’ll be fine”, stressed Kevin Franceschi.

            As he continues to work diligently hard of improving and moving up the basketball ladder, he knows that there are certain area´s of his game that he needs to get better at. One of those area´s is his three pointer. He hasn´t had the best percentages in the last two seasons in Germany and Greece with 28% and 30%, but the guy can explode on any night and hit 6 or 7 three´s as if it was the easiest thing. “My catch and shoot needs to be more dead on. It’s repetitions and repetitions, it’ll grow a lot more this season”, expressed Kevin Franceschi   One thing he doesn´t need work on is sharpening his attitude, because it is as piercing as a shark´s tooth. He understands 100% why he is on the court and is able to bring that exemplary attitude where ever he has played in his career  He is a player that entertains the fans and inspires his teammates to play better. “ I give everything I have every day, practices and games, and the fans always stuck with me, they pay to come watch basketball games and it’s our jobs as athletes to give maximum intensity to help the team win and something fun to watch with the way we play”, warned Kevin Franceschi.  Kevin Franceschi may reach the easyCredit BBL or he may not. One thing is sure though, he will have a job somewhere this season in Europe. easycRedit BBL or not, his chip on his shoulder will always be there no matter if he were even to reach the NBA or Euroleague. Nobody can take that away from him or strip that chip. “The chip on my shoulder will continue to grow until I leave the game, it is my strength. When I will lose that hunger, I won’t be a threat anymore, I never consider myself the most talented, but my work ethic and my mindset helped me exceed the expectations that people had of me”, warned Kevin Franceschi . The chip will always be there and it is what will continue to get him the good basketball jobs every season. Everybody knows that in life it´s always about who you know and being in the right place at the right time especially in the NBA. He already seems to have Schroeder in his corner. Now he needs head coach Pete Strobl a guy who demonstrated last season that he had audacity reeling in players from lower leagues. Maybe it will happen again with Kevin Franceschi as there would be a second Pro B to BBL Cinderella story in Braunschweig after the BBL birth of Deandre Lansdowne was established there. .

Jaylon Pullen(Howard Hoops) Was Doubted A lot As A Kid But Now As A Man It´s All About Showing He Knows What To Do On The Court

Jaylon Pullen is an American basketball player from Dallas that has semi-pro experience. He will be part of the 2020 Howard Hoops tour in Germany. Eurobasket spoke to him about his basketball career.

Jaylon thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you held up the last months through this?


I’m currently in Dallas Texas and I’ve been pretty good just have been working and training trying to stay ready

How have you been keeping in shape best during COVID-19? Did you make a special plan so that you could train and work on your game as best as you could despite the tough times?


Best way I have been keeping in shape is not over eating and making sure I am running daily. No special plan just trying to stay active Due to some gyms being closed I’ve improvised

How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man? What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know about earlier?


Covid 19 has helped me become more aware and grateful due to the lives taken by it so far

You are from Dallas, Texas. Talk a little about your childhood. You attended W.T White high school. When did you know that you were hit with the basketball bug?


I’ve played basketball since 4th grade and have been addicted to it since. It’s always been a certain joy the game gives me and in 7th grade I was cut from my first AAU team and kind of set a fire inside of me and as I got older improving was the only thing that I wanted. High school ball was a fun experience I played all 4 years on freshmen and a little JV and was actually moved up to Varsity in the middle of my sophomore year which made me feel great for accomplishing that and made me want even more out it

When you were growing up who were your main basketball inspirations and how did they influence your game the most?


Growing up I enjoyed watching Lebron James but I’m not his size so I tended to look at guards around 6′-6’3 range like Tony Parker or Lou Williams and even Derrick Rose watching how they play the pick and roll and change pace to create their own shots

Talk a bit about the basketball experience that you have had in your life.. You played at St Gregory’s in Oklahoma for a year, but then had to depart because of family problems. How tough was this part of your life and how did you survive?


When I Had to leave school it broke me . I had no control over the situation at the time and though I had to come home to help my family I continued to play basketball and even started coaching along side a coach I once played for so that passion for the game remained in me. Bad times come and go and we managed to get through it. Seeing the game from a coaches perspective gave me more respect for the coaches I’ve had in my life

How big is the chip on your shoulder in general? Have you been one of those guys that was always doubted and haven’t had fair opportunities? How tough is it having to accept your situation and how big is your chip on your shoulder grown over time?


I wouldn’t say I didn’t have fair opportunities but I did feel doubted and that’s normal it’s basketball but I tried using that to fuel me because I love to play and I wasn’t going to let criticism stop me from playing growing up and being older now it’s just about showing I know what I’m doing when I play

You have had semi-professional experience in Dallas under Torrance Moody. What kind of experience was that for you? Could you get any positives from that?


When I First Started playing semi pro it was a good feeling it was nice being back on the floor and playing in games against good basketball players some of them are pros now so I think it helped me a lot seeing the other levels you could possibly reach and seeing what others hard work got them …I just think to myself …Why Not Me!?

There are so many guys in the States playing semi-pro ball that could play at higher levels. What has bene the toughest aspect of having to accept having to have gone this route for years?


Taking this route wasn’t by choice but god has plans for everyone even if it includes basketball or not but it’s so many people I know and I’m sure others may know people that could be playing somewhere and but one thing that’s tough to accept is I didn’t finish school completely basketball wise and I feel that could hurt me but then again what’s life without hope?

Currently you also have been coaching in Dallas. What kind of experience has that been and if a professional career doesn’t work out, could you imagine getting more involved with coaching down the road?

Coaching has been great and I’ve learned a lot from it and from other coaches I’ve met. If a professional career didn’t happen I’d still coach definitely. Being a player you spend a lot of time on self improvement to help your team of course and coaching gives you the chance to not only help your team get better but also watch them grow as individuals and that’s great to me personally

Let’s talk a bit about your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?


I honestly don’t compare my game to anyone else’s but I do watch certain players like Bradley Beal or CJ MCollum always trying to find new moves

What are the biggest strenghs in your game and on what parts of your game have you been working on most now so you can continue to improve as a player?


Growing up I’ve always been a shooter but as I’ve gotten older I’ve stressed to pace myself and ball handling focusing on being able to get to my spots

You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Tour in August. How excited are you to play in Germany and how hungry are you to show everyone that you have game?


I’m very excited to not only play in Germany but be in Germany and I’m anxious to get out there. This is a big opportunity so I look to make the most of it

How did the contact to Howard Hoops CEO Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.) come about? What was the deciding moment that made you chose to play for him?


I first saw Ron on Instagram and he happened to follow me and I seen he was a coach and I messaged him after he posted about a tour to Dominican Republic and I talked it over with my coaches in Dallas and my family and everyone told me to go and roll the dice and after meeting him and being trained by him and going 10-0 in DR and ended up going back thanks to Ron so I had to see what this Germany tour would be like because he knows what he’s doing

Ronald Howard has a great track record of helping players find jobs. How aware are you that you have a real golden opportunity to get a job because of him?


I am very aware I have a great chance to get a job because of him and all I can do is do my part and hear him out to succeed in the areas I want to succeed in

You have met Ronald Howard and trained with him. He truly cares for the best for his players. How have you gone to appreciate him as a coach and person the most?


I’ve appreciated him since I landed in DR on Day 1 because it’s all about basketball yes but he also tries helping each player he meet grow as a individual and I’ve seen first hand so not only player to coach he has my respect and appreciation but man to man as well

With what kind of personal expectations are you heading into the Howard Hoops tour? What kind of player will we see in Jaylon Pullen?


Personal expectations are to play hard every second and focus on making plays for the team and be a team player

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced on the playground or in a gym that has been in the NBA?


I personally have never played against anyone that’s been in the NBA I bet you’d learn a thing or 2 if you have though

Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of 4 heads past or present.



My Mount Rushmore would be Lebron James Kobe Bryant Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?

I was at a basketball tournament when I found out Kobe died and it changed everyone’s mood that day. .Kobe’s work ethic is what made him different so always try to maintain a good work ethic

Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in the standard conversation of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?


Kobe is brought up nonstop where I live so all 3 will forever have that conversation between them

Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?


I will definitely watch the NBA when it’s back and it’s surely a chance something crazy can happen due to what’s going on with Covid 19 so I wouldn’t be surprised

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last Movie I saw was The Old Guard

Thanks Jaylon for the chat

Ron Howard Gave Cameron Gause That Dawg Mentality Something That Helped His Aggressiveness On The Court

Cameron Gause is an American basketball player that is a point guard and grew up Tucson, Arizona. He has college experience with New Mexcio State and Northern Colorado and professional experience in the ABA. He was going to take part at the 2020 Howard Hoops tour in Germany for a second year in a row, but won´t due to a passport problem, but it´s always fun to talk basketball with him. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball. 

Cameron thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how have you been holding up the last months during COVID-19?


Hey wassup Miles. At this exact moment I am In Los Angeles, California. I have been holding up well, I can’t complain too much.

How has the whole COVID-19 crisis affected your life in the last 4 months? What kind of adjustments did you have to make in terms of training?


The COVID-19 effect has been pretty interesting these past 4 months. It hasn’t affected me as bad as other, it was sort of a blessing in disguise for my situation. The adjustments I made for my training were just workout the body as much as I can at home or away from the gym. For actually basketball activity training wise. There really wasn’t any until the parks started back opening. LA had pretty much shut the city down by placing a curfew, and taking down all the hoops at parks around the city or boarding them up.

COVID-19 has affected the whole world. How do you feel have you become stronger as a man off the court during these hard times?


I wouldn’t say I became stronger as man during this time with Covid, I would say it just taught me more to rely on God more and more everyday than rely on anything else.

This is our second interview. Last summer I interviewed you as you were to play at your first Howard Hoops tour. What memories do you have of last summers Howard Hoops tour? How much of a positive experience was it for you?

Last year’s Tour was definitely a overall good experience, it could have gone a little better. But I feel like I controlled was much as I could to the best of my ability at that time. Some of the memories I have are leading the tour in scoring for our team. Going 5-1 in our games, seeing a different part of this beautiful world. And getting a taste of what it’s like to be a Professional overseas.

Did you make any meaningful connections and life long friendships with the teammates that you had then?


Yes, I definitely feel like I made life long friends. We still have a group chat from that tour, even though we don’t use it that much. But I definitely feel like if I ever need anything and those guys can help me they would. And vice versa.

What was the coolest experience that you had at last years Howard Hoops tour that continued to be in stories that you told to people?


I think the best part personally for me was the first game we played. That was my first competitive game in a while so I was anxious to get out there. So it was like a breathe of fresh air to get on the court outside the country and play for something. Which resulted in me scoring 20pts off the bench first half & leading our team to a win!

You are going to take place at a second Howard Hoops Tour which isn’t so normal as players usually find a job then. With what kind of expectations will you be coming back to Germany in 2020?


I am coming back to Germany expecting to be on a team this upcoming season, as long as basketball is being played.

How much hungrier are you this summer than last summer to make your mark at the Howard Hoops and to continue to grow as a player and ink that much desired contract


I am definitely hungrier because I am in my prime years and I’m not getting any younger. I’ve spent a lot of time this year studying and at NBA G-League games and I feel like I can eventually play on that stage, so I am eager to get this ball rolling.

How did you experience the whole transfer period after your first Howard Hoops tour? Some teammates found playing jobs. How was it for you? Did you find a job in the last year?


It was interesting. I stayed in Europe and visited friends and family in England. I was in talks with one team through Ron who’s coach said they wanted me on the team. But with the GM pulling all the strings and living situations still being needed to figure out. They went in a different direction.

One phrase that I remember vividly from our last interview was when you said ‘Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.) doesn’t need me, but I need him’. Give a good example of his selfless approach to life and how important every single player is for him form his Howard Hoops tour?


I feel like a good example is his tours. He’s doing this to help underdog players get jobs that wouldn’t necessarily be available without him. Every player is important to him because the better we do the better it reflects on him. Especially for RSI guys like myself who have signed to him, we are a family.

Talk a bit about how you experienced Ronald Howard at the last Howard Hoops tour. What kind of relationship did you have with him and what was the most important piece of advice that he gave you?


It was my first time meeting him so I wasn’t fully sure what to expect. But we built a solid relationship. If not I probably wouldn’t be back again ha! I remember him saying you have to be a Dawg! And have that Dawg mentality. So I’ve definitely kept that in mind as far as being aggressive as a player. I definitely took that with me when I had a tryout with the Delaware Blue Coats once I came back to the United States.

Ronald Howard is a workaholic and has done so much in the last years from starting Howard Hoops, to training players individually to helping guys get jobs with his agency. Ultimately he wants to coach. From having him as a coach last summer, how far do you feel can he go as a college coach?


I feel like he can be a good Head Coach. He’s a players coach, he lets you go out there and play your game. But he also knows that players can and can’t do, so for the X & O’s he will put you in the best position to succeed.

What have you appreciated most from his coaching style and how did he help your game most in the short time that you were with him in the summer of 2019?


I appreciated that he let me play my game, which always instills confidence in a player. once we started playing and he saw more of my ability to shoot the ball and run a team. He put me in the position to do exactly that.

How did you spend the last year off the court? You studied journalism in school and had been working at a Jewish community center. Did anything change in the last year in terms of the things you did off the court?


I officially extended my Stay in LA. When the season started and I was jobless basketball wise. I started working at Starbucks which i still work at. I wanted a job to which i could pick up and leave at any moment if need be.

In our last interview you stated that you would compare your game to a Quinn Cook or Tyler Ulis and your strengths are quickness, ball handling, effort, passing, and I’ll say shooting because I’ve spent a lot of time this past year shooting and working on my shot. How would you say has your game grown in the last year with the countless work that you have put in?


I would say shooting still because you can never become too good at shooting. Just look at Steph Curry as an example. And I’ll say lower body strength and quickness.

On what things are you working on currently to continue to improve as a player and achieve the type of growth that you need as a player?


I’m working on defense, overall strength, and conditioning. And different finishes going to the rim. If you look at the top undersized guards in the world. They are very crafty at finishing different ways at the rim. And of course more shooting.

In our last interview you described that having played for winning programs is something that any team could use in terms of your services as a player. How big is your chip on your shoulder to prove that you can give more on the court than the average player


I meant to correct you on the last interview, but only One winning program I was under but didn’t play outside of practice. That was New Mexico State University. The other University I attended I had sat out and only worked out with the players and ran open gym. The chip on my shoulder is bigger than ever. Especially with getting that taste last year and then playing with High level guys my confidence in myself is through the roof! If you ask anyone that knows me. They will all tell you I work extremely hard at my craft, whether that be the weight room, skill work, shooting, or conditioning. I’m always the hardest worker.

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?


RIP Kobe, I was just getting to work when someone told me. First thing I said was stop playing, I don’t know why you even joking like that. I wanted to cry at work but I couldn’t. I couldn’t believe the Great Kobe was gone, and I hadn’t even gotten to meet him yet. He influenced me greatly, with him playing High school ball in Philly. Me being Born in Philly I felt we had that Philly connection. I’ve worn almost every shoe, tried to model my game after him growing up footwork wise and mid- range jumper wise. MY FAVORITE PLAYER OF ALL TIME.

In our last interview I asked you one of my standard end of interview questions of who is the best of all-time MJ or Lebron and you picked MJ and said maybe Lebron later. Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in this conversation more?


Kobe is still mentioned in that. To me Kobe is Jordan. But to the Jordan era folks. Kobe is the copy cat, so it’s like if you see someone copying someone else and doing it great your going to just go with the original. But now it’s more like rings and stats which determines greatness.

Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?


Of course I will be, got to see if my guy Pascal Siakam will win another ring for New Mexico State Aggie nation. And see what Bron can do with my Lakers. But yeah this years NBA championship is up for grabs, I feel like the way the season was suspended and with the new play in situations. Anyone can win.

What was the last movie that you saw?


The last movie I’ve watched was The Jordan Documentary. Thank you for your time Miles, much love. God bless you, stay safe and make sure you #getyafruitsin .

Thanks Cameron for the chat.

Oliver Amajoyi (Howard Hoops) Wants To Use His Love For The Game To Help Inspire And Help People Wherever

Oliver Amajoyi is a 201cm forward from Rancho Cucamonga, California that began his basketball career at Los Osos HS. He then played at 2 JUCO schools Trinidad State Junior College (JUCO) and Citrus College (JUCO). He then played at William Jessup University (NAIA) from 2017-2020 playing a total of 73 NAIA games and as a senior played 21 games averaging 7.1ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 45.4%, FT: 66.1%. He will take part at the 2020 Howard Hoops Tour in Germany and spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.

Oliver thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you been holding up the last months during COVID-19.


Currently I’m back home in Rancho Cucamonga, California after graduating from William Jessup. Lately I’ve been holding up well just working out and staying safe.

You played your last college game on March 5th against Arizona Christian losing 92-81 scoring 7 points and hauling down 5 rebounds. How tough was it having to end your NAIA career like this?


No it wasn’t the best way to end my college career but even getting to the conference tournament was a blessing itself despite my team’s injuries and other walls of adversity that hit us throughout the year but we never backed down and that’s one thing I could always hold my head on.

How did you keep busy the last 4 months? How much of a challenge was it staying in shape? Did you know in March 2020 that you wanted to prepare and be ready for a possible professional career?


These last 4 months have been hard working, a little creative and rewarding. So far I’ve dropped 20 pounds since I’ve been at school so now I’m sitting at that 240 range now. The fact that gyms were closed did make it difficult but then it gave me the opportunity to go back to where it all started at the parks so I would get some work in on the outside courts after my morning runs while making the best of what I have at home to get my exercises done there and just been keeping at it and its lead to my body feeling at its best. It was well before March that I wanted to be ready for this because I know I would regret it if I didn’t chase my dream.

You just finished your college career at William Jessup University (NAIA). How excited are you to be able to test the professional waters this summer?


I’m looking forward to testing the professional waters since I’ve been motivated by my playing experiences in the Venice Basketball where I was blessed to receive an All Star team accolade and the Drew League. Playing with and against all those professionals and holding my own against them gave me inspiration that I could take this to the next level and excel in it.

COVID-19 has affected the whole world. How do you feel have you become stronger as a man off the court during these hard times?


The pandemic helped in quite a few ways. I learned how to be quick to adjust which I know will help me going to a foreign land. Along with that it forced me to be more patient with waiting for this opportunity. Then another would be learning how to make the best of the situations or conditions that come about.

I have often met American players having high expectations of themselves and not knowing how brutal the professional basketball world is. How aware are you that having that long professional career coming from NAIA isn’t easy, but it can be done?


I am truly aware of how difficult it is to get to that professional basketball journey started and lasting but I’m confident that I’ll be able to push through those walls given the obstacles I’ve had to beat it in the past which motivates me to always keep striving to be better at anything I do and always bounce back when being hit.

A good example of how tough professional basketball is Kendall Williams who played at your high school Los Osos. He had an amazing career at New Mexico, played NBA Summer League and played at some top levels in Europe, but now after some years last played in Ireland as his career has gone backwards a bit. Is he like a role model for you? Have you met him or seeked advice from him in how to survive overseas?


It is funny you mention that because Kendall and I go way back to when I was a 4th grader when him and my brother are very close friends and even played on the same team from 8th grade through high school so I grew up with him basically. I never got any advice from him though I wish I could’ve.

How big is your hunger to prove people wrong after playing at 3 schools in 6 seasons? How big is your chip on your shoulder to show people just what you are made of on the court?

I have a big chip on my shoulder for the fact that I’ve been doubted multiple times throughout my time in basketball at every level I was on, I am a late bloomer considering I had some setbacks during my college career. Grateful to God that I was able to push through those obstacles.

You have signed up with the Howard Hoops Tour. How did the contact to Ron Howard come about. He is currently living in Minnesota and has been training young hungry players for years. Is that how the contact came about?


The contact actually came from my teammate from William Jessup. Yeah, my guy Erik Kinnebrew connected me with Ron around March then its history from there on.

How excited are you about having the opportunity to go to Germany and show your talent as a player? What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball?


I’m very excited to go and show my talents along with experiencing a new culture. About basketball in Germany I know that it is growing out but that’s about it, but I’m looking forward to learning about it all because it will help me get better and while gaining more knowledge.

What do you know in general about the Howard Hoops Tour? How aware are you of the positive record of Ron Howard helping get guys like you with little or no experience jobs? Has that increased your hunger even more to succeed?


I know how the process of how Ron is doing this helps put his clients in the best position to get a contract. He’s proven that he’s done so along with that he’s always kept it real with me and that’s what made me trust him while it motivated me to prove him right since he believes in me. 

How big is your dream of becoming a professional player. Does your feeling of wanting that succeed any kind of feeling you have ever had for anything in your life?


This dream of mine is pretty big. I just want to use my love for this game to help inspire and help people wherever I’m at the best way I can and my desire for wanting to help people keeps me going because this is the first time I’ve been this passionate about something. 

Talk a little about the man Ron Howard. He is an absolute basketball workaholic. How have you gotten to know the man on and off the court the best and what do you appreciate most about him?


Personally I’ve only gotten to know Ron through phone calls and social media, but I’ve learned how dedicated he is to his craft which is being an agent in this sense. One thing I do appreciate about the man so far is that he’s straight forward with you and that’s what makes people better. 

How important will it be for you not going into the Howard Hoops tour totally alone as there will be some fellow William Jessup University players along for the ride. 


Yeah it feels good knowing I got one of my best teammates going with me on this tour does help since I’ll have someone who I already have chemistry on the court with.

Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 201cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would bets fit the description? 


I would give my comparison to a Eric Paschall of the Warriors since we have around the same build as undersized post players that are versatile in shooting and scoring inside the paint along with the ability to guard multiple positions. Then to top it off with the athletic ability.

Talk a little about your strength as a player. What kind of attributes will be on display when you play in Germany?


I look to bring toughness and defense to Germany along with the ability to display my I.Q to the coaches and scouts. I look to show my ability to make the open shot along with doing the dirty work rebounding through traffic. I also look to show my ability to be coachable and do what is needed to win whether that is defense, rebounding, scoring, etc. 

On what parts of your game are you working on most in the lab so that you can continue to improve your game as you continue to move forward as a player?


This summer I improved on my footwork and shooting. Dropped 20 pounds so far so I could build up my quickness, and endurance, but it actually helped me with my overall game completely. I’m still looking to improve on all aspects of the game moving forward because you never know what a team will need

You began your college career at Trinidad State Junior College (JUCO) playing 24 games averaging 2.0ppg, 2.0rpg. What kind of experience was it getting that first JUCO experience? I have interviewed many JUCO guys in my career and often hear that playing JUCO is really tough. Is that why so many guys have chips on their shoulders?    

 That first year was an experience like no other because it was the first time I left home and I soon come to find out that I wasn’t ready for that even though there was a lot more I could’ve grown being out there but at the end of the day it was God’s plan and I learned from it. 

You then played a year at Citrus College (JUCO) playing 5 games averaging 1.2ppg, 1.8rpg. How tough was this season after having played so little the season before? Did you get any positives out of this experience?


Okay, this was a time for real growth in my basketball journey. I partially tore my ACL, MCL, LCL, strained calf and pulled hamstring all in one play on November 21, 2015 and took me out that season then again on July 16, 2016 with the same ACL and my meniscus root which sat me the following year so my experience at citrus wasn’t really positive but more life learning and knowledge rewarding on how the game should be played.


You then played at William Jessup University (NAIA) from 2017-2020 playing 73 games. How important was it being able to be with this program for 3 years. What did you learn about yourself as a player and man here that wasn’t present in your 2 JUCO years?


I believe Jessup was the school I needed to be at to really find out who I really was as a basketball player and how to get my basketball IQ up to prepare myself for the next level. I learned how to survive on my own compared to the JUCO lifestyle where I commuted from home

You were able to improve your scoring and rebounding each season. How do you feel did your game grow in your 3 years at William Jessup University (NAIA)?


The more healthy I was getting after that knee surgery was when I made my jumps each year. I’m a late bloomer and I was able to accept that keep pushing and getting better.

What memories do you have of the 2019-2020 season? You won a really exciting semi-final game against Vanguard before losing the final to Masters.


Going to the NAIA National tournament

As a senior you scored in double figures in 8 games. Was your 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win against Ottawa, Arizona one of your most memorable games?


I wouldn’t say it was my most memorable, but it will be a remembered game most definitely.

How did head coach Lance Von Vogt groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?


Coach V taught me most how to react when adversity hits.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Erik Kinnebrew?

Haha I did.

Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Keith Phillips 
Khalil Williams 
Austin Dill
Kevin Maclemore
Jaydon Clark

Who has been the best player that you have battled on a court anywhere that has been in the NBA or a high level?


Ben Maclemore 

The best known NBA player from your home town Rancho Cucamonga is Darren Collison. You live in a big area, but is he a guy that you have come across in your life and possibly even trained with in a gym?


No I wish I could that would be a blessing 

Please list your personal NBA Rushmore of 4 NBA heads past or present?


MJ, Lebron, Kobe, Wilt

Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How much of an influence did a guy like that have on you growing up?


I was driving home from school and it hurt me deeply knowing the reason for me playing basketball past away.

People often compare Jordan and Lebron as the best ever, but why isn’t Kobe Bryant mentioned more often in this discussion? Do you feel like Kobe gets a little side tracked in this discussion?


Kobe gets very side tracked in this debate but I don’t think the people are ready for that talk.

What was the last movie that you saw?


The 5 bloods.

Thanks Oliver for the chat.