Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

The Coronavirus Disallowed The Dragons Rhondorf To Know Their Fate In 2020

In January 2020, I remember interviewing Dallas native Curtis Hollis after a massive 102-84 Dragons Rhondorf win over Ibbenburen and him having another normal day at the office in the Regionalliga dropping 29 points. After an away game in Herford the week after, Hollis and the Dragons would return home for a contest against Hagen-Haspe, but Hollis wouldn´t return ashe had returned back to Texas on account of personal reasons. I would never see Hollis again. During the season I had practiced the Miles Basketball Minute with him where we sat down each week and discussed basketball which had 16 epsiodes. His game and character had really grown on me and now all of a sudden he was gone. Then on February 29 the Dragons Rhondorf would play their last regular season home game against the ETB Wohnbau Miners and cream them 102-63 and then end the regular season on the road in Cologne and Dorsten. The club had played a solid regular season and I was looking forward to the Regionalliga west playoffs. Instead I´m experiencing my second non basketball weekend in a row all because of the Coronavirus that has put a lot of the world in lockdown and distress. You should always enjoy what you like to the fullest, because the world is full of surprises and you will never know when something will end. In terms of Curtis Hollis and the Dragons Rhondorf season, I was rudely surprised twice in a matter of 6 weeks. It was a roller coaster season for the Dragons Rhondorf which ended in the ex Pro A club not being allowed to ever find out what their fate would be in 2020 because the nasty Coronavirus rudely entered everyone´s lives. What would have been the fate of the 2019-2020 Dragond Rhondorf?

Curtis Hollis was a regular interview partner for Miles Schmidt-Scheuber during the2019-2020 season

                The Dragons Rhondorf came into the2019-2020 with huge expectations and returning right away back to the Pro B was their main goal. The club had replaced head coach Thomas Adelt with experienced coach Markus Rowenstrunk be he couldn´t fulfill the early expectations leading the team to a 3-3 record and being dismissed. The club demonstrated right from the get go that they could score an abundance of points as they scored at least 85 points or more in 5 of their first 6 games, but also showed that they couldn´t defend on a consistent basis allowing 85 points or more 4 times. After the dismissal of Rowenstrunk, Yassin Idbihi took command at the helm and prompt led them on a huge 8 game winning streak and suddenly the atmosphere and mood in the Dragon Dome was good again. They played their best offense of the season scoring more than 100 points 6 times and showing this special knack of overpowering teams. Even when injuries were prevalent, their deep roster and versatility helped power them to wins. Their biggest strength on the offense end was their sharing the ball and unselfish play. Even if Curtis Hollis was the star, the team played for each other and it didn´t seem like he was the star. Hollis had strong teammates like Killian Binapfl, Gabriel de Olveira, Jure Besedic and Anish Sharda who scored in double figures often, but also guys like Jefferey Martin Mark Kotieno and Simonas Lukusius had huge games on the offensive end. After the big 8 game winning streak, came another drought period,where they lost 3 of 4 games and allowed 97 points in the 3 losses. Scoring 85-88 points is a huge accomplishment for many teams, but when you score 95 points on average and allow 86 points, you can easily lose games even when you have had an average scoring game. The club finished the season well with a 4-2 record and surprisingly won their first 3 games in a row after the departure of Curtis Hollis and made a statement showing they could be successful without their star. They lost their last game of the season in Cologne 102-82 as their defense was their achilles heel all season long. Would they have been able to improve their defense in the post season and get by the RheinStars? Most likely not.

                The Dragons Rhondorf had the best offense in the Regionalliga averaging 95 points per game and were only 50th best on defense allowing 86 points per game. When Idbihi came on board, they switched up a few things, but overall couldn´t find that defensive identity for 40 minutes that would lead to consistency.A bit more pressure and gambling was a new way to defend, but it didn´t pan out and trim down their points allowed statistic.  Not having that consistency affected their self confidence all season. Maybe they wanted to have enough energy for 40 minutes on offense to be able to score the way they did, and shift a few gears back on defense to conserve energy. Team have showed in the past in Germany that you can win games when you only play offense and forget defense. Head coach Ingo Freyer of the Giessen 46ers was the master of the high scoring shoot outs with Phoenix Hagen and according to numerous ex Hagen players then never practiced defense. That is how the season often felt with the Dragons Rhondorf firing from all over the court, dominating in the paint and getting easy transition baskets, but that passion and effort to defend well was missing all season long. What brought down the Dragons Rhondorf on many occasions were three components. The club had problems communicating properly still had difficulty with rotations near the end of the regular season and had an inability to stop their man on 1-1 play. They had some good defensive efforts allowing 63 points against Essen and 65 points against Leverkusen 2, but consistently allowed too many points to be able to be in better position to win more games.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Killian Binapfl during the 2019-2020 season

                In the last few years Alexander Dohms had had a good touch of bringing in guys like Kameron Taylor and Zygimantas Riauka and it wasn´t any different this season with Curtis Hollis even if Yassin Idbihi had seen him in Baunach in 2018 and deserves the credit for the discovery. Hollis had had no real professional experience after playing a season at Hutchinson Community College (JUCO) averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3% where he had to take a seat and pay his dues, but then exploded with the Houston Ballers (JBL) in 2018 averaging 29.3ppg, 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%. He needed no adjustment period in Germany and left off of what he had done in the JBL and averaged 22,7ppg, 8,2rpg, 3,6apg and 3,0spg. He scored in double figures in all 18 games and scored 20 points or more in 13 games. His best games included a triple double against Leverkusen 2 scoring 26 points hauling down 11 rebounds and getting 10 steals. He also erupted for 38 points against Deutzer and had 29 points against Ibbenburen. He was without a doubt one of the top players in the German Regionalliga that was a massive force on offense never forgetting his teammates during his scoring attacks and had that knack for the extra pass. He was the teams best defender and created a lot of turmoil for other teams that led to easy baskets as his gambling and getting in passing games was a danger sign for every opponent. It was a shame that he had to leave the team as it was always a pleasure to watch him play, but the Dragons also showed that they could get on without him. In a way leaving the team a bit early was a benefit for him, because he didn´t have to put up with the whole Coronavirus mess in Germany. If Hollis doesn´t make the NBA, then we will see him back in Europe soon and observe how he continues to climb up the basketball ladder.

                There were some other big winners on the team like ex FC Bayern Munich forward Killian Binapfl and Gabriel De Olveira. Binapfel averaged 15,7ppg, 5,9rpg and 2,9apg and 1,7spg. He was the energizer for the Dragons Rhondorf and a sort of glue guy. He scored in double figures in 16 games and exploded for 31 points against Wulfen and had 29 points against Hagen Haspe. His overwhelming play in the Regionalliga allowed him to play 10 Basketball Champions League games and 5 easyCredit BBL games for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. De Olveira averaged 17,7ppg, 6,1rpg, 1,6apg and 1,3bpg. He scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games in the Regionalliga and had 3 double doubles. His best games occurred against Herten with 28 points and 12 boards and he exploded against BG Hagen with 31 points. He made another jump from his last season in Iserlohn and was rewarded with 5 BBL games and 6 BCL games with Bonn. Both guys got their first experience in the BBL and BCL and have the needed confidence to make the next step. Another big winner was German 17 year old Simonas Lukosius who averaged 8,6ppg, 2,5rpg, 2,8apg and 1,1spg. The shooting guard scored in double figures 6 times and shot an astronomical 48% from outside. His shooting and high basketball IQ as well as his non stop energy defined his refreshing game. He has a bright future ahead of him. German 19 year old 206cm center Mark Kotieno upped his minutes from 10 minutes and 2/2 in the Pro B to 20 minutes in the Regionalliga averaging 8,3ppg, 4,2rpg and 1,0apg in the Regionalliga. He scored in double figures in 6 games including a 25 point game against BG Hagen and 22 points against Essen. The rise in minutes was good for his game and development and has potential to continue to make the next step as his inside game and mid distance game was on. 27 year old 207cm forward/center from Slovenia Jure Besedic was a key role player for Yassin Idbihi. He averaged 10,4ppg, 4,6rpg and 1,8apg and shot 40 % from outside and scored in double figures in 13 games including 22 points against Dorsten and 19 points against Hagen-Haspe. He preferred the outside game, but here and there gave the team vital impulses in the paint.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Diijon Allen-Jordan during the 2019-2020 season

The point guard duo of German Anish Sharda and Spaniard Enric Garrido-Foz who combine for 55 years of age had the most experience in the league at their position. Sharda who is like the fountain of youth averaged 9,5ppg, 3,1rpg, 4,1apg and 1,1spg had a solid season and hurt teams time in and time out again with his hot outside shooting while Foz averaged 7,5ppg, 1,6rpg and 4,8 was most effective with his non stop energy and ability to push the ball forward and be the playmaker that kept the offense honest. The Falkenstein brothers were able to help as the younger Jonas averaged 3,4ppg and shot a strong 45% from outside while David averaged 2,2ppg, 1,0rpg and 1,3apg, but unfortunately got a bit lost in the deep guard rotation. Jeffery Martin came to Rhondorf joining his 11th team in his professional career and averaged 5,7ppg, 1,2rpg and 1,2apg. If Rhondorf would have had half of the talent that they had, then the German would have been a star, but he also got lost a big in the deep rotation. He scored in double figures in 5 games and had his moments against Hagen-Haspe and Recklinghausen scoring 13 points a piece. American Diijon Allen-Jordan

came for the short stretch run, but the Coronavirus limited him to only 5 games where he averaged 20,4ppg, 5,6rpg, 3,2apg and 1,4spg. He had a very nice inside out game and showed promise from outside shooting 36%. He scored in double figures in every game including 22 points against Recklinghausen and finished the season with 22 points and 10 boards in a loss against the RheinStars. After having good seasons in England, he was able to make an impact in the Regionalliga and it would have been interesting how potent he would have been in the playoffs. The heart and soul of the team 35 year old Lotola Otshumbe got into 19 games averaging 1,6ppg and 1,3rpg. His best game was scoring 9 points, getting 4 rebounds and dishing out 1 assist in 15 minutes in a win against Deutzer. His effort and heart was left on the floor after each game. Fans also were able to see 15 year old Ousmane Ndiaye in the last few weeks as he played 4 games averaging 1,8ppg and 3,3rpg. He had 5 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes in a win over Hagen Haspe and had 2 points and 8 rebounds in 12 minutes in a win over Essen. He is definitely a player to watch and could be the biggest talent in the Telekom Baskets Bonn organization that they have ever had. Well known ESPN writer Mike Schmitz lauded Ndiaye recently and teammate Anish Sharda who played against ex Fraport Skyliner and current Washinton Wizard Isaac Bonga when he was with Koblenz as a 15 year old stated that he was better than Bonga was at that age. It will be interesting to continue to watch his development.

                The season was a solid season for the Dragons Rhondorf, but to be honest most people were expecting more. Just to make the playoffs wasn´t enough. Many wanted to see more fire come from the club and see them challenge the RheinStars for the #1 position in the Regionalliga West. Had they been able to do that from the start and been able to defend better they might have been able to do that. I felt that the Dragons Rhondorf were a more talented team than the RheinStars on paper, but all that counts are the results on the court. Now with the season over and no playoffs, there is no other winner than the RheinStars who played a super season. They were deservedly the best team in the Regionalliga West and deserve to get back to the Pro B. The Dragons Rhondorf had a solid season with many nice moments, but somehow the season doesn´t feel over and we will never really know what could have happened had the season continued with the playoffs. Some teams come to real life in the playoffs and that may have been the case for the Dragons Rhondorf, but it also might not have happened. With an inconsistent defense, they would have had to have been at the top of their game already in the first two rounds and then in the final?to beat the RheinStars in a three game series. The famous saying is that defense wins championships and it would have been very hard to do it without finally bringing some steam and aggressiveness on defense that would produce stops. There are just to many open questions and we will never know. What would have happened had the season gone on and Curtis Hollis had remained. It will be a long summer with that lingering question always popping up  What would have been the Dragons Rhondorf fate in 2020”?. What would have happened had the Regionalliga west playoffs been played? We just don´t know where the Dragons Rhondorf journey would have ended and we will never ever find out

Jordan Geist(Romerstrom Gladiators) Knew He Had To Continue To Improve His Shooting As He Wasn´t Always Able To Finish Over The More Athletic Defenders

Jordan Geist a 23 year old 193cm guard from Ft Wayne, Indiana that is played his rookie season in Germany with the ROMERSTROM Gladiators Trier (Germany-ProA) averaging 18,6ppg, 3,7rpg, 1,6apg and 1,2spg while shooting a strong 40% from outside. He belonged to the top shooting guards in the Pro A scoring in double figures in 24 of 26 games. He scored 20 points or more 11 times including a 38 point explosion against Heidelberg and had a 30 point outburst against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He began his basketball career at Homestead High School and in 2015-2016 played a season at Ranger CC (JUCO) playing 38 games averaging 15.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 75.0%. He then played at Missouri (NCAA) from 206-2019 playing a total of 97 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to last summer about basketball. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Geist at the Gezeiten Cup tournament in 2019 in Rhondorf Germany

Jordan thanks for talking to After having a stellar NCAA career at Missouri, how did you experience your first summer transfer period? Was there any chance that you could have played NBA Summer League to help make the team search easier? 

I was honored to get the chance to get out to Minnesota for a workout with the Timberwolves but nothing panned out for me in summer league. I think that’s one of my goals going forward is to get the chance to possibly play in the NBA Summer League! I did enjoy getting to be home for a while during the summer and had a little different workout schedule then you’d have in college. 

Congrats on signing with German Pro A team Romerstrom Gladiators. You hail from a big city Fort Wayne, Indiana and now have hit the jack pot living in a very beautiful city. How blessed do you feel being able to experience the German culture in Trier? 

I’m extremely blessed and thankful to be in Trier. The whole team and management has been great to me and very accepting. I’m looking forward to getting after it this season and getting to hopefully get to the playoffs. I’m extremely thankful for my parents and family pushing me to get to this level and my agent Adam Godes for getting me this great opportunity. 

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Did you get any tips from your ex teammate Kassius Robertson who had a solid rookie season in Germany last season with medi Bayreuth? 

I didn’t get to research a lot before coming to Germany due to signing my contract and heading over 3 days later but from what I’ve been told and now have learned it’s a great place! I have a few people over here in Germany and Belgium that I know so I feel like it’s a good fit for me. 

A legend in German basketball is Rickey Paulding who played at Missouri and was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He has played in Germany since 2007 for the same team EWE Baskets. Despite Missouri producing great players each season do you remember ever hearing stories about his time at Missouri? 

Rickey Paulding is a legend at Mizzou! Coaches always talk about the kind of player he was and how hard he worked. He’s had a great professional career and I hope to be able to have a similar career as him! He reached out the other day and it meant a lot to hear from him with some words of encouragement!

What was the deciding factor that made you decide to play your rookie season with the Romerstrom Gladiators? Did you sense that connection to head coach Christian Held early on?

I enjoy Christians passion for the game and you can tell he’s trying to win every single day no matter if it’s practice or a game. He’s going to push you to be your best and not let you slack. I think that’s what I respect the most from him. He’s got that competitive mentality that I think we have in common. 

How has the team chemistry come along with the team? You have had some good games in pre season. What can we await from this team this season?

I think this team’s chemistry is very good. Considering that I’m the only new player on the team that helps. They’ve really helped me join right in without feeling different. We have great chemistry off the court as well which helps on court too. We continue to grow everyday and I’m excited to see how that helps us.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 188cm guard that can do many things on the court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description? 

I think my game is similar to Damian Lillard. I’m a smaller combo guard but I feel like I can score at all 3 levels pretty good. Lillard is someone I’ve watched a lot of film on these last 2 years studying how he gets shots off against bigger defenders and how he finishes at the rim against big men. I think his game is how I’m trying to resemble my game with. 

You’re a very good scorer and very ambitious and aggressive defender. What other strengths does your game incorporate that will be on display in your rookie season?

I believe I’m a smart player who can read the floor quickly as well as help make reads throughout the game. I think playing smarter at this level will help me be able to eventually move up leagues. I’m not a crazy athlete so I have to bring something else to the table and I believe it is the way I can read the floor and use those reads to pick apart a defense. 

You have been a solid three point shooter the last two years averaging 35,5%. How confident are you that your shot will continue to rise as you climb up the professional ladder?

I’m confident I can get it close to if not above 40%. I think it’s one of my goals so that I’m a threat coming off ball screens and also coming of other screens. As I climb the ladder and head to different leagues I also won’t be able to finish at the rim against some of the better athletes so I will have to be able to be a better shooter.

You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet with ease. What do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that tends to be off the radar at the moment? 

I think people under estimate my ability to get to the rim and finish. I am smaller but I feel like I’m pretty crafty. Once I do that it opens up everyone else for open shots and backdoor cuts.

On what things did you work on this summer in the lab to help improve your game for your rookie season and did you ever work out with guys like The Plumee brothers or Caleb Swanigan?

I worked out with Vernard Hollins who played overseas in a few different spots and had a successful career. Our main focus was expanding my offensive game to be able to play 1v1 better and make shots like that. I was able to get some pick up games with VJ Beachem who is now playing in Russia and he helped me with my game, seeing the floor better, and just expanding my game. 

You worked out with the Minnesota Timberwolves. What kind of impression did you get of the NBA process? Is this a route you will continue to follow closely and look for future opportunities? 

I got feedback that I was too small. People don’t think I’m a pure point guard and more of a shooting guard. Depending on how this year goes I would love to get the opportunity at summer league and be able to prove myself.

You began your college career at Ranger CC (JUCO) an din your last season averaged 15.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 75.0%. How tough was it having to start in JUCO, but at the same time how did that time prepare you best for the NCAA? 

It helped make me a better leader. At JUCO I was the guy and had to lead the team. When I got to Missouri I didn’t have to do that until my late junior year and senior year. It prepared me for that and helped show me that you have to put work in to improve your game. Not just the off season but also in the season as well.

You finished your NCAA career at Missouri playing 118 NCAA games. You played for two good coaches and played with future NBA player like Michael Porter Jr. What was your fondest moment there on the court? Possibly playing in the NCAA tournament against Florida State?

My fondest moment was definitely getting to play in the NCAA tournament along with playing with a bunch of great guys who will be lifelong friends. 

You had many memorable games where you had good scoring games, but lost them. Was your 30 point explosion against Georgia or 28 points effort against Green Bay one of your favorite performances? 

I would have to say the Georgia 30 point game is memorable, but not my favorite. Definitely the UCF game is my favorite. I got a game thing 3 at the buzzer and a few other shots along the way to will our team to an overtime victory against a team that had a chance to beat Duke. That just showed how good our team was at our peak moments. 

How did head coach Cuonzo Martin groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach Martin prepared me for life as a man which also includes being a pro. Having good manners, treating your coach the same as the janitor, and other skills like that. He was a great coach but not a lot of coaches push you to be better men along with a better basketball coach.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Kassius Robertson?

Kassius most of the time. I learned a lot from the Veteran guard he was. He knew how to get open shots off the dribble and use his body to finish at the rim. Watched a lot of film on him going into my senior year that helped me use things that were successful for him. 

Who has been the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe?

I think Michael Porter Jr. in practice is the toughest player I’ve ever played. He has the skill to score at all 3 levels and when he catches fire I’ve never seen someone be more dominant. There isn’t a shot he isn’t confident to take and make. 

Please list your five best teammates of all-time? 

Caleb Swanigan Jordan Barnett Michael Porter Jr Kassius Robertson Dru Smith 

Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list? 

MJ Kobe Bill Russell Magic

What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

MJ hands down. I think that there will never be any

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Step brothers

Thanks Jordan for the chat.

Eric Cooper Knows How To Shoot The Ball But Would Also Like To Get More Credit For His Defensive Game

Eric Cooper Jr is a 190cm guard that was born in Ontario, California and also lived in Bradenton, Florida that played his rookie season in Germany for pro A team Bayer Giants Leverkusen averaging 5,2ppg, 1,5rpg and 1,0apg. He scored 10 points in a win over Rostock and 12 points in a win over Nurnberg He began his college career at the The University of Nevada (NCAA) in 2014 and played two seasons there. In his first season there he played 30 games averaging 7.2ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 36.5%, 3PT: 23.9%, FT: 78.2% and in his second season played 37 games averaging 9.5ppg, 2.1rpg, FGP: 39.9%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 81.6%. He finished his NCAA career at California school Pepperdine playing 19 games averaging 13.2ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 85.7% and as a senior played 34 games averaging 10.7ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 36.8%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 81.0%. He spoke to about basketball during his time in Germany. 

Eric thanks for talking to Congrats on signing with German Pro A team Bayer Giants Leverkusen. You were born in Hamburg, Germany and what do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball?

I was actually born in Amberg, Germany. Many people don’t know where that is and everybody keeps saying Hamburg, but it’s Amberg. And I know very little I wasn’t here in the country that long. My Dad did tell me a little about the times he did play in Germany while he was playing professionally.

Have you had any friends, ex teammates or opponents that have made their way to Germany to play professional ball?
I actually have my teammate/roommate from last year that is in the same league as me right now. Darnell Dunn. He’s about an hour away from me in Gelsenkirchen. We’ll be playing each other first in November and then last in April. And also playing in the top Euro cup division my high school teammate Grant Jerrett is out here playing for a team in Germany. 

What were the main reasons for you joining the Bayer Giants Leverkusen? What was the main deciding factor that made you choose to start your professional career with them?

The main reason for starting here was the fit. I think the situation, the system, and the people all fit me. My agent Mike Baron was the one who did all the research and he felt that this was the place for me. He also lives close by so he can mentor me in my first year

Your new basketball coach Hansi Gnad is a German basketball legend having won the 1993 European championships with Germany. What will it mean playing for him?

Hansi has been great to be around. You can tell he’s been a champion and knows what he’s talking about. It’s a pleasure just being able to play and learn under a coach with a high pedigree such as him. 

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 190cm combo guard that has a very nice versatile game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

If I had to compare to somebody In the NBA I would say a CJ McCollum from Portland type or a George Hill type combo guard.

You are a combo guard but how comfortable are you at the point and what is your biggest strength at that position?

I played point guard my freshman year of college so I have some experience playing the position. I think I bring scoring and smart instincts to the position. I can make plays in the open court and make passes to teammates, but also keep my shooting ability.

You’re a guy that knows how to score the ball and can shoot the three very well. What other strengths does your game encompass and will be on display this season?

This season I would like to show my passing skills and a little bit more rebounding as well to either stop possessions from the other team and start ours or continue ours after a missed shot. 

You improved your three point accuracy in each season in the NCAA. How confident are you that you will be able to make continued strides with your shooting as you start in the pro ranks?

I think I’ll be able to shoot it very well in the pro ranks. I improved every year due to reps and hard work and I’ll continue that going into the pro ranks. Also having confidence in your work is big, it can help go a long way.

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

I think defensively I’m more solid than I get credit for. I know usually where to be have the instincts to make plays on that end, but I don’t think it’s recognized at all

On what things have you been working on most on your game to help keep improving?

I’ve been working on more off the dribble shots and dribbling. To make sure I can score whenever they take away my 3 point shot. So far I think it’s been going well. 

You won two state high school titles with Lutheran High School in La Verne, California and then played a post graduate at the well known IMG academy in Florida which recently produced NBA players Dwight Powell and Jonathan Isaac. How important was this extra year for your development as a player and person in Florida?

It helped me mature physically and mentally. The facility there is top notch and everything there is high level. It also allowed me to live in a place not close to home so mentally I had to stay locked in and focus and be aware while I was away from home.

You began your NCAA career at Nevada (NCAA) playing two seasons averaging 7.2ppg and 9,5ppg. You then left to go to Pepperdine. Why did you feel that you wouldn’t develop further there as a player?
I just felt in order for me to sort of expand myself individually a change of scenery was needed. I really enjoyed my time at Nevada under the 2 different coaches that I had there. I learned a lot from those experiences and took them to the next place that I went to.

What memories do you have of guard Marqueze Coleman who was your teammate there and played in Germany a few years ago. Was the healthy competition one there that helped you grow in the time that you were there?

Marqueze and I have known each other since we were young and my time there was spent with him as a guy who I could talk to and ask him for advice. Also to help me adjust to the college life. Basketball wise he pushed me and we had competition that made me better and him better as well. So yes I would say we had healthy competition.

What did it mean playing against UNLV? You had some good games against them, but always came up short. What kind of a rivalry do these two schools have?

I always loved playing against UNLV. You have that extra motivation to beat them. The rivalry is pretty crazy. It’s like any other rivalry in college basketball. It’s all about the bringing rights. Unfortunately we would come up short the most of the time that I was there, but we did win a few times as well. Marqueze’s game winner my freshmen year was crazy. That was probably my best game up to that point in my freshman campaign. 

You finished at Pepperdine. How tough was your junior season having to fight through injuries? You had some good games that season?

My Junior year I was ready to start off with a bang. Unfortunately I got hurt before the season began in a scrimmage against Cal State Northridge. I had to miss the first 9 games of my Junior year with a shoulder injury. When I came back I played well but I think if I was healthy I could’ve played even better. I had to play with a big bulky brace on my shoulder and it was a little bit of an adjustment, but overall I felt proud with what I was able to do hurt. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the season and had to get surgery but it was necessary for my health going into my Senior year.

What does it mean to you when you play very well scoring 19 points against top program Gonzaga, but lose by 30 points. Are there any positives that one dares can take from their own performance despite losing like that?

There isn’t really much you can take out of that type of game. When they are that good of a team you just try to play hard and make the best of it. I think that’s what I can say is a positive about that type of game. I played hard and tried to make the best of the game even when being down by 30.

How did head coach Lorenzo Romar give you the last push and help you be groomed and best prepared for a professional basketball career?

Lorenzo Romar helped me with my effort, efficiency, and attention to detail. He wants you to play hard and play the way that you know how to play. He doesn’t want you doing things that you can’t do or aren’t good at. He’s going to put you in the right position and get the best effort out of you or you won’t play. Professionally you have to do a lot of these same things or you won’t play.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Colbey Ross?

Surprisingly me and Colb were talking and we couldn’t remember a score or specific time playing each other in one’s. I think we’re going to have to say it’s a tie for now. I might have to come back to Pepp after the season and give an update.

Who was the toughest opponent that you played in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe now

There’s a few that I’ve played against that had given my teams problems that are in the NBA. The best I might have to say was either Rui Hachimura or Fred Van Vleet.

Please list your five best teammates of all-time?

Colbey Ross, Marqueze Coleman, Lamond Murray, Cameron Oliver, Jordan Caroline/Marcus Marshall

Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal

What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

Kobe Bryant and I’ll stay with that.

What was the last movie that you saw?

I just saw, Once upon a time in Hollywood, with my German teammates recently. I thought it could’ve been a little better movie.

>Thanks Eric for the chat.

Jordan Theodore(Unics Kazan) You Can´t Live In Fear Of The Coronavirus But Just Be Smart

Jordan Theodore is a 30 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his seventh professional season and began with Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey BSL) averaging 13,8ppg, 2,8rpg and 6,8apg in the Turkish league and 11,8ppg, 2,8rpg and 5,6apg. He recently moved to Unics Kazan and currently is averaging 10,3ppg, 4,5rpg and 7,7apg in the VTB and 8,7ppg, 2,2rpg and 4,8apg in the Eurocup. Last season he played with AEK Athens (Greece-A1) playing 20 games averaging 8.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 80.0%; and played 8 BCL games averaging 9.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 71.4%. Two seasons ago he played for EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) playing 20 games averaging 10.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 75.0%; and played 23 Euroleague games averaging 11.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 86.5%. In the 2016-2017 season he played with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL) playimg 31 games: Score-3 (18.4ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-1 (7.2apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 81.2%; In the BCL, he played 19 games: Score-4 (16.2ppg), 4.1rpg, Assists-1 (7.5apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 76.3% In the 2015-2016 season, he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 127 NCAA games and as a playing a total of senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five )playing 17 games averaging 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to eurobasket during the coronavirus crisis.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Theodore in Bonn, Germany in 2019

Hi Jordan Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?

I’m in Kazan, Russia. I’m good and happy that I’m healthy. My family is also good and safe. My first priority that all are safe and healthy.

Has this been a time where you have had contact to other players over social media, whats app and possibly with people you didn’t have so much contact in the past just trading stories and advice about this tough time?

Yes definitely. I have been able to be closer to my teammates in this time. I also have been talking to friends who are playing in other countries. Every one wants to know the others situation. Each situation is different. It is a very weird time at the moment. I’m making the best of it.

What has been the day to day schedule for you and the club. Many teams took the weekend off and resumed individual practices this week. How has it been for you?

We had off from Friday to Monday. We got back to work on Monday. We are still having normal team practices. The virus hasn’t hit Kazan yet. We have a quarantine three times a day at our practice facilities. Everything is cleaned and wiped down. These are safety precautions for all. We practice each day at 12 noon for an hour or an hour and a half and that’s it. Coach isn’t killing us in practice. I feel safe here. The scariest places for me now are airports. My wife is well and safe in Turkey. My first born is due to arrive in the first week of May.

How is the current state in Russia with the Corona Virus. In some places it’s better and in other places worse. Does something like this put fear into you?

I don’t have fear. I predicted that this would happen. I started getting people ready in January as it got known that it had hit China. I’m young and healthy. As long as I don’t put myself in harms way, I will be ok. I am making sure not to be around many people, always wash my hands and not touch my face. There hasn’t been many infections in Russia. It’s somewhere around 60. I feel pretty safe in Kazan. Many people here are doing their regular routine. I really care for my safety because you can never know what may happen.

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?

It began as a virus in China and it didn’t surprise me. China is a huge country with many airports and many people flying in and out of China each day. It is hard to stop a virus spreading when you have so many people traveling around the world. I told my family at the beginning of the virus that it would get worse. I travel so much that I know what’s it like being at an airport. You get on a plane and right away you see people coughing. Plus all the touching that goes on. There are too many people and it’s just easy to get infected. 

How have you experienced the day to day life in Kazan during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?

I have began to see it having more of an effect here even if the coronavirus hasn’t hit here. People are cautious and want to be prepared. I saw that there have been more things being bought in supermarkets than usual here. People have been taking the right precuations here. Russia was one of the first places to put that travel ban into effect. People aren’t stupid here. We are watching the news and are aware of what is happening. You can’t live in fear of the coronavirus.

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing?

I limit myself being around other people. I hardly leave home except for going to the gym and supermarket. Russia is big on shaking hands, but at the moment people are limiting it. My teammates are doing the same as me with limiting contacts. If I want to go to a restaurant then only to one’s that aren’t crowded. Being at home for weeks is tough. You can’t live in fear Of the coronavirus but just be smart.

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. How do you see the situation of playing games without fans?

I played a game in front of no fans. We had a very important Eurocup game in Monaco for first place and got our butts kicked. It was a tough game playing without fans. Fans are important and it sucks playing without them. Fans bring out the best in you. 

Do you fear that the coronavirus could really have a huge effect on the next player transfer period with salaries possibly taking a huge dip?

The market will get worse, but it will effect the lower budget teams more than teams with higher budgets. Player salaries will take a dip. Teams don’t want to pay their players now, but our contracts are guaranteed This coronavirus wasn’t in the hands of the players. I just hope we can get around to finishing the season. 

You played your last game on March 7 beating N Novgorod steering 21 points and 6 assists. Will this be a game that you will remember for a long time as basketball then completely shut down.

That could possibly have been my last game of this season. It sucks, because I just got to Unics Kazan 2 months ago. I feel really good with this organization. This is a place that feels like home. This is the perfect time of the season for us. We are all healthy and clicking and now this. 

You already had a tough season starting in Turkey with Besiktas and then going to Russia to Kazan. How tough is it having to abruptly end the season and never being able to know where the season may have ended?

It is tough. I try not to think about it. The most important thing is that we continue to get better as a team and I continue to get better as a player. We are focusing not if the season will continue but when it will continue. That is our goal. This period now is a time when you can work on many things. You never get a big break like this at this point of a season. You can get healthy, work hard on the game and return stronger. We have gotten word that the VTB league will resume play on April 10th again.

You never played CSKA Moscow in your 6 games. They were the favorite, but Unics Kazan had 7 very skilled Americans. Do you feel like you could have had a very good chance of challenging CSKA for the title?

I feel that we can beat anyone. When we are healthy we can beat everyone. We have great players and a great coaching staff. The club did a good job putting together the pieces. We have the potential to make a run. 

You began the season in Turkey with Besiktas. You came back from a long injury and put up pretty good stats. Just your three wasn’t falling like in the past. After a while players began to leave the organization. In the end the only American left was Toddrick Gotcher. What happened in a short span of time that so many left?

Coach Dusko had been with Besiktas a year and a half. We were up and down, but were starting to play better, but then he got a offer from Euroleague team Baskona and left. Management also changed and they told me that they weren’t sure if they could still pay me. So I left. There were no hard feelings. It was a business deal foremost. I have a lot of love for Besiktas. Coach Dusko and I left on the same day even though we had no idea of it. Many other guys left to. James Mcadoo got a good situation with Partizan and Shaquille Mckissic got a great deal form Olympiakos. 

How proud were you of ex teammate Shaquille Mckissic who reached the Euroleague with Greek team Olympiakos Pirus? Why did it take him longer to reach the top?

Every situation is different and it isn’t easy getting to the top.His hardworking caught up with perfect timing. He had a good season with Besiktas and earned it. This was his break out. He has had good seasons in the past and has been able to put up good numbers vs top teams. He is a hard worker. It isn’t often that a coach will tell you to be yourself. He has gotten that trust form his coach. I think that he can stay at that level. He just needs guys to believe in him.

You moved to Unics Kazan and put up respectable stats. How did you experience the Russian culture and what did you enjoy most about your short time there?

I really enjoy my teammates. We have a group of guys that are mature and have been around the game and know how to win and work hard each day. This club has no flaws. I have been waiting a long time to be able to play for an organization like this. This club put together the pieces and wants to win. Kazan is a nice city. The people are nice and there are nice restaurants. But it is cold as hell here. 

How much easier did Errik Mccollum make your job and is he the prime example of a walking bucket?

He is definitely a walking bucket. He knows how to score and is flat out a scorer. He can shoot, get to the rim and draw fouls. 

How would you summarize your season on the court? How content were you with your play in Turkey and Russia despite coming back from a long injury and having to change teams. How far are you away from the Jordan Theodore of old?

I’m back. I can’t wait to get back on to the court. I’m 100% healthy, have my lift back, am shooting better and am dunking again.

Would it be easier or more difficult to get motivated to get into the lab each day to keep working on your game after not having a chance to get rewarded with a title with all the work you put in in the last year if the season were to really end?

It would be very frustrating if the season ended after having worked so hard. We reached the top 8 in Eurocup and are tied for third place in the VTB league. But in terms of getting back into the gym to continue to work on your game isn’t difficult. As a professional player it is our job to be able to feed our family. My motivation will always be there. I don’t need motivation. You go sign a new contract and have a new focus again.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 12 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

We had just beat Zenit and were in St Petersburg at the airport. I was talking with my teammates Raymar Morgan Jamar Smith, Alex Tyus, Erik Mccullum and Jamil Wilson. When we heard the news we were shocked and were in silence. We began to search if it was fake news. Kobe bRyant was our Michael Jordan. He was the goat. He was fearless and everyone wanted to be like him. He saved a lot of us. Kobe was everything for me. He was on a way to a game to do something he loves. He had a major effect on my life and had a big influence on me

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?

March Madness is a time to show your worth in front of many scouts. These kids work hard all year long and it’s really unfortunate that it got cancelled. My school Seton hall ahd a good season and would have been a thecan control your own destine by grinding hard each day third or forth seed. It is unfortunate that Miles Powell can’t show his worth. The tournament would have helped his draft stock. You just can’t control some things. These kid’s next focus should be to continue to stay in the gym and get better. The NCAA is a time where you work hard on becoming a pro. You can control your own destiny and keep grinding each day to reach your goals.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was Harriet.

Thanks Jordan for the chat.

Kyle Hines(CSKA Moscow) It Has Been A Tough Year With The Passing Of Kobe Bryant And The Coronavirus

Kyle Hines is a 33 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his seventh season with CSKA Moscow and last season won the Euroleague And VTB titles and has 4 Euroleague titles in all. He currently is averaging 8,8ppg, 4,9rpg and 1,4apg in the Euroleague and 5,9ppg, 4,6rpg and 1,6apg in the VTB league. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games averaging 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had pre draft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2) playing 40 games averaging 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2 (3.5spg), Blocks-4 (1.6bpg), FGP-3 (64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 10 Euroleague games averaging 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; and in the German League played 46 games averaging 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP-3 (61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. conducted it’s 19th interview with him in Moscow during the coronavirus crisis.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Kyle Hines in Munich, Germany in January 2020

Hi Kyle Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?

I’m in Moscow at the moment. We are living in a difficult time. Life is changing day by day and sometimes even hour by hour as we get new news about the coronavirus. My family and I continue to remain optimistic and calm and continue to be prepared.

How are you and your family doing and how have you been coping through this world crisis?

So far every thing has been good. We are in the beginning stage and are hopeful. The Russian government has done a good job containing the coronavirus and we have been doing our part limiting our activities and not to be as much in public and just stay at home as much as possible. 

Has this been a time where you have had contact to other players and possibly with people you didn’t have so much contact in the past just trading stories and advice about this tough time?

My role as part of the player association has had me be in contact with many players from different teams and just checking in on their situation. There are many different situations and experiences that guys are going through. I make sure that guys have the resources needed to be able to carry on their normal daily lives. 

What has been the day to day schedule for you and the club. Many teams took the weekend off and resumed individual practices this week. How has it been for you?

We were having a shoot around Thursday when we heard about the postponement of the leagues. Friday we had a normal practice and had the weekend off. Since Monday we have had normal practices again to stay in shape and stay prepared. We have no idea what will happen.

How is the current state in Russia with the Corona Virus. In some places it’s better and in other places worse. Does something like this put fear into you?

I wouldn’t say fear, but the coronavirus has made us be more prepared. We have seen what it has done to places like Italy, Spain and Germany. In some places there is full quarantine. In Moscow we are preparing to what may happen. Russia has been lucky that it hasn’t been affected so much. I believe there have been something like less than 100 cases. The virus hasn’t spread fast here, but the numbers can change daily. We are trying to continue to do our part and stay away from the public. 

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?

Not really. You don’t really think about that until it enters your daily life. I saw what happened in China and Italy and saw the travel bans. It didn’t affect us at much then, but as we heard about Rudy Gobert being diagnosed and the NBA cancelling the season, then we realized that it was serious. 

How have you experienced the day to day life in Moscow during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?

I have noticed in the last days that Russian people are getting more prepared and are more cautious of what the future could hold. We saw how other countries got prepared and then people began buying food needed for a quarantine or people going more to the pharmacy and restaurants and malls being less crowded. 

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing?

Yes definitely. With all the news that I saw and information that I gathered, you have to be more aware and cautious of your surroundings. Every little thing could make a difference. Imagine if Gobert or Thompkins didn’t test positive right away, there could have been more players and teams infected. Everyone has to do their part to beat the virus. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Euroleague and the VTB were you compete. How disappointed would it be not finishing the season?

I think there are many scenario’s on the table at the moment. Five days ago, I feel that nobody really thought that we would be in the situation that we are in now. It is a day to day thing. The players and fans are optimistic that the Euroleague will resume again and that we can all get back to our normal lives. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. How do you see the situation of playing games without fans?

In certain places the fans are the pulse of the game. Everybody wants the fans to be there. We play for the fans. The most important concern now is the health and safety of all. It doesn’t make sense to have fans at the games now. I understand that. 

You played your last game against Lokomotiv winning 77-71 where you steered 11 points and 8 rebounds in the victory. Is this a game that you will remember for a long time?

I don’t think that I will only always remember that game, but this whole year. It has been a difficult year. First the passing of Kobe Bryant and now the coronavirus. The game of basketball has been tough in the last 3-4 months.

How tough would it be having the season end this way? CSKA Moscow were on their way to winning the VTB and would have had good chances in the Euroleague as well. How can you summarize a season when it ends so abruptly?

If it were to really end, then I could only summarize it as incomplete. Nobody would want it this way. We worked so hard in practice and battled so hard during games. I feel that we were at our peak and were playing our best basketball when play stopped. It is looming in the back of our heads that the end could be possible. 

There are many leagues that have shut down while others that are just suspended. Do you have any hope of the Euroleague resuming play in the next few months?

We are optimistic that play will continue, but at the same time know that a lot has to happen for that to occur. The health and safety of all remains the number one concern. The best case scenario would be that the virus is tamed and doesn’t spread as fast. Finding a solution to resume play and finish under normal conditions would be best.

In Germany there will be many teams fighting to survive if this break turns out to be a longer one. How is the basketball economy in Russia. Could a team like CSKA Moscow who are the richest team also be affected by the Corona Virus?

Many teams with big and small budgets in many countries and leagues will be affected. So many teams rely on the revenues from games and sponsors. The whole world has been affected financially. You can just hope for the best.

How has the whole Corona Virus affected you mentally? Your family is obviously your first priority but you also want to continue to play as long as you can. Does a break like this concern you about how you will return again once the virus is history?

No it doesn’t. The best thing for me is to just remain fit and ready. Important for me is not break my normal routine. I continue to prepare as if the normal season was going.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 12 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

We had just come back from a game and landed back in Moscow. The news was devastating for all. Kobe Bryant meant so much for everyone not only in the States, but globally. He effected so many people not only as a player, but also of the court. I always had a connection with him, because I was from the same area as him and I knew many that knew him and knew coaches that coached him. He was my favorite player to watch then and today. Nobody will get over this anytime soon. 

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?

It is devastating for all involved. March Madness is a big deal. It is tough times not being able to fill out the bracket or watch games. I really feel for the seniors or kids form schools that don’t always make the tournament. If I had to give advice, I would say to find a positive moment and reflect on your great career. Try to use your career as motivation and momentum for your next step after school.

What was the last movie that you saw?

With my kids home from school, we are watching a lot of Disney movies. The last movie I saw was Frozen 2.

Thanks Kyle for the chat.

Vinny Curta May Have averaged 32,0PPG In A Season But He Would Still Rather Have A High Assist Game than High Scoring Game

Vinny Curta is a 196cm guard/forward from Oak Lawn, Illinois that played his rookie season in German with Regionaliga team Nordlingen averaging 21,0ppg, but his season ended in December 2019 due to injury. He had a fascinating four year career at Grinnell playing a total of 95 NCAA 3 games and averaged an incredible 25,2ppg, 32,7ppg and 25,0. He spoke to germanhoops about his basketball career prior to beginning his professional season in Germany.

Vincent thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how way our summer?

I am currently in Nördlingen in my apartment. My summer was great. I was in Chicago working out with my Dad and former teammates every day.

Congrats on signing with German Regionalliga team Nordlingen. There aren´t many NCAA 3 players that can say they were able to turn professional. How thankful are you for being able to make your love to your profession?

Thank you, yes, it’s tough trying to secure a contract because there are so many great players from not only the US but all over the world that are fighting for spots. It hurts your chances even more the lower the level that you come from in the NCAA or NAIA. I am beyond thankful and grateful to this city of Nördlingen and the club for this opportunity to play as a pro here. They have turned my dreams since I was a little kid into a reality.

What do you now in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Have you had any friends, ex-teammates or opponents play in Germany?

I know first and foremost that Germany has great talent across all basketball divisions. I know that they have one of the most respected first leagues around the world. I’m also aware of course of the great talent that has come out of Germany and had success in the NBA.  I was excited and relieved that when I touched down here everyone was very welcoming and wanted to bring me into the culture as soon as possible. As far as people I know playing here, I have had plenty. Not just in Germany but in other European countries as well.

History is on your side. You went to a high school named after Dwight Eisenhower and history was your major. Now your living in a very old city Nordlingen that has a wall around the city. What has impressed you most about the history of Germany that you will be able to experience this season?

The city of Nordlingen is incredible when you first get here. The drive from Munich to Nördlingen showcased a beautiful landscape. It was amazing to see the structure of the city in general and walk around with some teammates and talk about how old buildings were and some stories and history that made the town what it is today. The tower at the center of the city and the authentic German food were some great things to experience. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out as much as I can about the city and then traveling with some teammates to other parts of Germany before my time here is up.

How was your summer transfer period? Was it tough getting interest coming from an NCAA 3 school and did your massive stats raise some more eye brows from teams besides Nordlingen?

This past summer was great. I put in a ton of work and was lucky enough to have my dad, who is a coach of 20 plus years, work me out and put me through different training sessions. It’s really a credit to him for sacrificing so much of his time to making me a better player. I am beyond thankful. I think the journey from NCAA 3 to a professional team is rough but definitely not impossible. My stats may have turned some heads but not enough to pull the trigger on me. As for looks from other teams, I got a few looks from other areas but nothing was as exciting as talking to Coach Moll and what he had planned for me and the way that he talked about how I would become part of the family here.

Nordlingen is really high on your basketball abilities. What was the deciding factor that helped you make the decision of starting your professional career in Germany easier?

I would have to say that talking to the Coach and learning about what my role on the team would be played the biggest factor. Coach Moll stressed to me that I would be able to be a leader and that I could have the chance to coach some of the younger guys as well, which was great in my mind because I want to become a coach at some point in my life.

Head coach Sebbi Moll wants you to take over in key situations and lead the young team. You are only 22 years old and had much experience at a young age. How large is this challenge for you?

Actually, I am 22 years old, but I am straight out of college and have never really played the European style before. I would say it’s a challenge to have such a large role but I will work as hard as I possibly can to be the player, they want me to be and to help the team have success this year.

You were a student at Grinnell and now you will be teaching the Nordlingen U-18 team. How much of a challenge will this be teaching young men that aren´t really that much younger than you?

I think that my first chance to coach a team will have its up’s and downs for sure, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I know what it’s like to lead a team and to explain what needs to be done as a player, so hopefully some of this can translate to me coaching and we can get better day in and day out.

Let´s talk about your game. You’re a 196cm guard/forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

This is a tough one. NBA players are in a different world when it comes to talent. I honestly have no idea who I play like maybe my teammates can decide that one. 

You averaged 27,0ppg and 5,5apg in your last three NCAA 3 seasons. What really stands out is that you can also find your teammates. Some guys who are prolific scorers have told me they would rather get an assist than a bucket. How is it with you?

This is exactly the type of player I am. I think I work best as a player when I know that I can incorporate all other players on the floor and trust them. I would most definitely have a high assist game over a high scoring game. And a win of course.

What other strengths does your game have besides scoring and getting your teammates involved?

I think that I communicate effectively and I am very passionate. I try each day whether it be practice or a game to get better at talking with my teammates about what’s going right and what’s going wrong on certain plays or about the ideas in general. I also think that people underestimate my athletic abilities which in turn allows me to make some good defensive plays and surprise defenders.

Your three pointer continues to be a work in progress. You will have much free time as a Regionalliga player as sometimes there are only 2-3 practices per week. Do you feel that with even more reps than what you might have had the last years at Grinnell, that you could up your three-point shooting percentages?

Of course, this is a goal of mine. I will be in the gym every day trying to improve all of my game but especially my shooting stroke.

On what other things will you continue to work on to help raise your game to the next level as a professional?

I will continue to work on evolving my game to one that suits the European style of play as well as committing to becoming a better all-around defender and rebounder. Pretty much I want to improve every aspect of my game. I also am committed to getting in the weight room and putting on muscle and getting more explosive.

You played four years at Grinnell (NCAA3) from 2015-2019. Despite not winning a title what were your fondest memories on the court?

Some of my fondest memories of playing at Grinnell were that I got to play with my older brother Nick Curta, and I got to play against some really good teams throughout my career. I really enjoyed being able to play basketball with my best friends for 4 straight years.

You averaged only 13,0ppg as a freshman and then made a huge leap average 25,0ppg, 32,0ppg and 25ppg. How do you explain this enormous jump in scoring?  How did you grow as a player from your first season to the next?

I think that a shift in the team chemistry and the confidence that the coaches gave me at the end of my first season allowed me to go to work in the offseason and to really develop into more of a solid player. Getting in the gym every day with my Dad and brother and working as hard as possible.

As a junior you averaged 32,0ppg. That is like Michael Jordan back in the day or Lebron James today or Kevin Durant. What did it feel like averaging so many points per game? Did you develop that invincible scoring instincts that always had you confidence to score so much?

I just tried to be aggressive and as confident as possible because that is what the coaching staff asked of me. I had such great teammates who trusted me to make plays and once I put up a couple big numbers early on in the season, I just gained a mentality to be super aggressive and to make the defense have to work hard to stop me.

What memories do you have scoring 48 points against Lawrence University? How quickly did you know in the game that you would have a good day?

I just remember that early on as a team we were playing very solid defense and communicating very well with each other. I knew early on in the second half when Lawrence didn’t make any serious adjustments to their defense that I was going to be able to put up a big number.

How did head coach David Arseaneault groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

He himself was a pro player for a season after he graduated. He gave me advice on what to expect and just told me the work ethic that I need to continue if I want to have a shot at playing overseas. He was real with me and didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, which I appreciated greatly.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Hannes Kogelnik?

This one makes me laugh, I never really got a chance to play against Hannes, He would have probably given me some trouble.  I did however never figure out a way to beat Griffin Boehm, the hardest working player I ever played with in my life.

Who has been the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe?

The toughest player that I played against was actually during the summer of my Junior year going into my senior year. I played against Talen-Horton-Tucker who made everything look easy and was crazy good.

Please list your five best teammates of all-time?

  1. Griffin Boehm
  2. Nick Curta
  3. Anthonio Johnson
  4. Khalil Williams
  5. Heavy Lamacchia

Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?

  1. Michael Jordon
  2. Larry Bird
  3. Antoine Walker
  4. Allen Iverson

What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?


What was the last movie that you saw?

Dazed and Confused

Thanks Vinny for the chat.

The Miles Basketball Minute: We Have To Accept The Corona Virus And Believe Basketball Germany Will Survive

I never ever thought that it would come to this. Spending a weekend with no basketball. I mean how often does that happen to me during a regular basketball season? It hasn’t happened often. I mean when it does, I will go back to Boston for 10 days to visit my mother and check out the NBA while still working on Basketball in Germany while in the States. One weekend tops per season where I will have a free basketball weekend, but never more than one. I cover so much basketball that I will be usually in Frankfurt for a BBL, Pro B or NBBL game and if that by chance isn’t happening that weekend, I still have other fine options like Giessen, Bonn, Langen Koblenz or other places. Heck I’ll even go to Berlin even if it’s a 6 hour drive. I just love basketball too much. But now I have a serious problem. It’s mid March and I have actually another free basketball weekend and it will go on and on for months. Usually my basketball season with calling games and covering games ends in June, but this season it ended on March 10 in Bonn. Thanks to the Corona virus. Now there will be no more games until next season. But wait it could go even longer. The speculation is really massive with some very confident people saying that in Germany the virus may pass in 4-8 weeks while other say that it will go into next season and disrupt the new season. Where in heck will this corona virus take us. I’m very very disappointed about no more basketball, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is our health. So many people have perished in Italy and many more in other countries. It is only right that the world is trying to do all it can to slow down the virus as best as possible so countries can get back to normalcy. How long that will take, nobody can pinpoint at the moment. All we can be is aware of our surroundings, act with intelligence and try to avoid contact as best possible with other people. It was only logical that big sports events had to be cancelled. There is no way around it. I will really miss basketball, but that’s life. People’s lives are what at stake and what is most important. A week ago despite the corona virus spreading, the basketball world looked a lot different and few really had any ideas that everything would get cancelled. It went from having fans at games to having no fans at games to having no more games. We have to accept the corona virus and believe that basketball Germany will survive. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber in an empty Telekom Dome as the BCL game with AEK Athens was played in front of no fans

On the weekend of March 7-8, I was in action calling two games in Frankfurt with Pro B action on Saturday with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors vs Orange Academy and on Sunday NBBL (U-19) play between Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners vs The Nurnberg Falcons. I remember after both games hearing when the next games would be with the Pro B Skyliners having to battle in the playdowns against FC Bayern Munich 2 last night and in NBBL play against Giessen next week. I love the post season and last Monday I already prepared for my Sunday game not knowing that it would never come. The week before I had asked for a press pass for the Basketball Champions League game in Bonn against Greek side AEK Athens. I wasn’t feeling too good on Monday night and I was seriously contemplating not going to the game on Tuesday. But I’m so glad now that I did go. If I hadn’t gone to that game, I would have regretted it. The big draw for me attending was the amazing AEK Athens smorgasbord of players like ex Miami Heat and 2 time NBA champion Mario Chalmers, or top European player Keith Langford or ex Real Madrid beast Marcus Slaugther or guys like Americans Jerai Grant and Kendall Ray. On Tuesday I decided to go. I mean you live only once and if there are great players like the ones I just mentioned all assembled on one court, then a slight cold won’t stop me from driving an hour to see them play the game they love. When I arrived at the Telekom Dome at 5.40 in the afternoon, I quickly learned that the game would be played, but without spectators. I wasn’t surprised since there had been talk since days of teams having to go that route. I wasn’t sure if the press would be allowed, but luckily they were. I had come so early for an 8.00pm game because I wanted to get photos with all these great players before the game so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress after the game. I’m glad I did this, because I got photos with all the players I wanted.

An empty Telekom Dome. It may be a long time until fans will see a game in here again

As I entered the Telekom Dome for the first time, it was empty, because it was two hours before the game. But as game time was slowly approaching and the arena was still as good as empty except for the players, press and team employees, it slowly dawned on me that I would actually experience a Geister spiel (ghost game) as they say in Germany. Two teams battling against each other, but in a relatively quiet arena without the usual great atmosphere that is transported by the effort of the fans. What was really bitter wasn’t only that the Telekom Baskets Bonn would be missing to give vital fan support, but also the Greeks had their fans that had made the trip, a group of about 30-40 that couldn’t watch the game. After AEK Athens won the game, about 30 minutes after, the faithful Greeks were celebrating at the team bus and no one would have noticed that they had never been in the arena. I had seen many team practices and scrimmages in my life and even exhibition games behind closed doors to the fans, but those games were all in a small practice facility gym. Now I was in the 5000 plus modern Telekom Dome and could have yelled across the court to the Bonn bench and asked when Alec Brown would come in again to display his lethal trey and head coach Will Voigt would of most definitely heard me and been able to answer back. With no fans and hardly any noise, you could pick up a lot better how the teams communicated on defense and the plays that were called. You also could hear the harsh interactions between player and referee. There was a situation where one could easily follow the conversation between player and referee. Jerai Grant was continuing to dominate in the paint, but had to contend with extra Bonn bodies and made a massive dunk, but was called for traveling. Grant exploded with ‘I didn’t move’, but the referee just blurted out ‘too many steps’. It was a game played at a high intensity, but it just didn’t seem the same without that amazing fan atmosphere. In the end it was the better experience of AEK with Kevin Langford and Marcus Slaughter who combined have 71 years of age, 29 seasons of professional experience and 292 Euroleague games as they showed their true colors and class on the court helping the Greek side to the 90-86 victory. Even if the contest lacked fans, basketball is basketball and I did see great basketball and many great plays. The only thing missing was that amazing fan atmosphere which would have been that extra frosting on the plays.

On Wednesday came the second game in Germany without fan participation as medi Bayreuth played a Fiba Europe cup home contest against Romanian side U- banca-transilvania-cluj-napoca. After an unsatisfactory first half, medi Bayreuth stepped it up in the second half to win to advance to the next round in the playoffs. The only bitter reality for the club is that they won’t play for a title with so much being cancelled. The best example of that not only won’t medi Bayreuth play for this title or in the easyCredit BBL again this season was the departure of ex Gonzaga stand out Reid Travis (203-F-95, college: Kentucky) With Americans players in Germany and other countries leaving right and left in fear of the Corona Virus and wanting to be home with their families, playing for that title becomes secondary. Everything becomes secondary even finishing a season as so many leagues have announced the end in the last days. On Wednesday I was slowly having to accept that I wouldn’t only not be seeing the Fraport Skyliners-Rasta Vechta on Saturday but possibly no more games. Telekom Baskets Bonn president Wolfgang Wiedlich stated in a Bonn paper on Wednesday that he couldn’t see the BBL season continuing with ghost games as it would ruin teams financially. Last weekend the Pro A games in Germany were cancelled and that had an effect on all teams. One team that shall remain unnamed lost 80,000 Euro on one home game. On Thursday the EasyCredit BBL announced that they would postpone the league for 2 weeks and then see how the status would be. I was always hoping that at least other leagues would remain. There was talk that contests with less than 1000 spectators could be played. But no league had the guts to try this. In Germany the NBBL and Regionalliga’s also followed the easyCredit BBL and cancelled their seasons while the Barmer Second Bundesliga will meet today to talk about trying to find a resolution. But in my mind just a waste of time and keeping the imports longer in Germany. Americans will have much more of a difficult time getting home the longer they wait, while Donald Trump closes up the United States. The Heidelberg imports Stephon Jelks, Davonte Lacy, Adam Eberhard and Grant Teichmann didn’t waste anytime and already took off last Friday to get home to their loved ones. The Barmer second Bundesliga will have to cancel their season as the lower the league gets the more difficult teams will have of surviving.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has more time now to play basketball with his son

As the weekend approached, I was still waiting for some miracle, but nothing happened. I spent my early Saturday night doing my running instead of being in the Fraport arena and on Sunday I was writing this article when in reality I would rather have been in the BCM in Frankfurt calling a playdown game between Frankfurt and FC Bayern Munich 2. Now a new week is here and there will continue to be no basketball. It is tough for the players and the fans and really just everyone who is involved with the game. It is extremely bitter for those teams that are having very good seasons. This may have been the year where possibly the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg could of made a run for the BBL title with the extreme unmotivated FC Bayern Munich team not playing their best basketball or possibly Alba Berlin winning their first league title since 2008. If the easyCredit BBL doesn’t return then Alba Berlin will have the only title with the cup something that they will be able to live with. Anytime you win more titles than a FC Bayern Munich in a season, it’s a massive victory. For me writing about basketball has been something I have done for 17-18 years now. Of course it helps when a season is running, but even when there is a break like there is in the summers, I have always continued doing interviews and doing player portraits. That won’t change now. I will continue to do that. All you have to do is be motivated and innovative and you can come up with interesting pieces. It won’t be any different with me. I will continue to be active and deliver frequently during the basketball free time like I always have. For some basketball fans accepting this long basketball free time will be easier than for others, but in the end no matter how much you love the game and miss it, you have to be aware of the importance of getting this world crisis resolved. The only way one can do that is to stop the spreading of the virus and that can only be done by avoiding places where many people are. Not only in sports, but the entertainment world also will be affected like so many other areas in life. The world has never seen anything like this before and nobody knows what the future holds. It is a time where we all have to stick together and especially with basketball in Germany try to help as much as possible so the sport will survive. There are corona developments each day and all we can do is be patient and smart in what we do. Working from home and just generally staying at home is the best. This is a good time to spend more time with your loved ones and just realize how serious the corona virus is. I loved nerf basketball as a kid and these are times where I can spend more time with my three year old playing mini basketball in his room. It might not be the easyCredit BBL or Euroleague, but I can get just as much joy playing with my son as I can watching a Donald Sloan hit a crazy three pointer with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Basketball is basketball and you can enjoy it in so many ways. Sometimes in tough times, you just have to make priorities. We will see basketball again. We just have to stick and fight together in keeping the sport alive in Germany.