Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Having Had The JUCO Growing Pains Has Helped Quatarrius Wilson(wiha Panthers) Have That Tough Mentality And Be The Player He Is Today

There are hundreds if not thousands that have began their college career in JUCO and slowly fought their way up to the higher college leagues like NAIA, NCAA 3 or NCAA 2. But very rarely do you see a player go from the JUCO directly to the NCAA, but it has been done. Usually a player makes the next step after dominating in the JUCO or at least having very solid stats. One guy that came to mind was Mark Gordon who played two seasons at Daytona State College (JUCO) averaging 11/5 and 15/5 stats before making the direct jump to the NCAA with Bethune-Cookman University (NCAA)) where he had no adjustment time averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 62.2%. But what happens if you play two seasons in the JUCO and never averaged more than 2,8ppg but still reach the NCAA the season after? You would think the odds of reaching the NCAA would be as difficult as DeMarkus Cousins ever shooting 90% from the free throw or Kevin Duran deciding to play next season in the Czech Republic NBL league. But that is exactly what happened to Quatarrius Wilson (203-F-96, college: SEMO). He went from the JUCO playing at Moberly Area Community College directly to the NCAA and played his junior year for Mcneese State. ‘I was extremely blessed to make it there. Those coaches saw something in me and they believed in me. I had a good season being with those guys. Coach Dave Simmons believed in me and let me play my game. He helped me a lot and he believed in a kid that didn’t do too much in JUCO stat wise. He gave me the confidence’, remembered Quatarrius Wilson. It doesn’t matter to what player I have talked to that played JUCO, but all have stated that it was a difficult league, but that they wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. It wasn’t any different for Wilson. ‘Moberly area community college laid the foundation for me to be a tough player mentally. I dealt with injuries while I was there which hindered me from making more of impact. It definitely was humbling for me but I also learned a lot from my coaches to my teammates. It made me the player I am today. I definitely benefited from the growing pains. It taught me to be tough and play hard. It helped me with my basketball IQ. It help some players to be mature. It helped me to be mature. It’s definitely a tough league’, warned Quatarrius Wilson. Playing JUCO seems like ages ago, because now the American is a professional player who is coming off a monster rookie season in Holland and now wants to make the next step in Germany with Pro A team wiha Panthers.

Quatarrius Wilson who lists Malik Pope and Jalen McDaniels as his toughest foes in the NCAA was born on June 26th, 1996 in Mobile, Alabama. He started his basketball career at Gardendale High School. He then preceded to play at Moberly Area Community College (JUCO) for two seasons and totaled 56 JUCO games. He then got his massive break through at Mcneese State and rapidly proved that he could be an impact player at the NCAA level as he put up impressive 10.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.3apg,FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 61.5% stats. One may have thought that he might of felt some pressure putting up good stats after mediocre stats in JUCO, but he had an incredible mind set that blocked any pressure. ‘I didn’t feel no pressure because I always knew I’ll make it to that point/ level in my career. I always was prepared for it’, said Quatarrius Wilson. He finished with 18 games scoring in double figures and registered 14 double doubles. Some of his best games with Mcneese State occurred against Incarnate Word with 20 points and 10 boards as well as 20 points and 14 rebounds against SE Louisiana. He also had a game with 17 rebounds and three games with 16 rebounds. Even if he and Mcneese State got clobbered 83-52 against San Diego State where he chipped in with 15 points and 8 boards, this was his fondest moment in his college career simply because San Diego State had always been his dream school.

Coach Dave Simmons got fired from Mcneese State which prompted him to make one more move and he went to Southeast Missouri State University (NCAA). He had to sit out the 2018-2019 year because of transfer rules. His senior year wasn’t as good as his junior year at Mcneese State, but still having to sit out a year to further work on his game was beneficial. ‘I feel it improved gradually but right before entering my playing season I had an injury on my thumb that caused me to have surgery. My senior season wasn’t the best but I worked on my weaknesses for sure. Also, I developed more of my skills’, expressed Quatarrius Wilson who remembers his one on one battles in practice with teammate Sage Tolbert being equal. In his senior year he played 31 games averaging 7.1ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 63.2%. In his senior year he scored in double figures in 11 games and put up 3 double doubles. He finished his senior year strong scoring in double figures in five of his last six games. He was extremely valuable in back to back wins against UT Martin 74-72 having 12/7 stats and against SIUE 75-71 having 13/9 stats. He was also to mature his game a step further with the help of head coach Rick Ray. ‘He helped me with my IQ of the game. We watched film and it translated to my professional career’, stressed Quatarrius Wilson. He also will always be thankful for all the coaches that helped him guide his way to a professional career and having had the opportunity to play at three schools. ‘It benefited my game by learning quickly and adapting quickly to any environments I was in’, warned Quatarrius Wilson.

The American who lists his five best teammates of all-time as De’ Marco Owens, James Harvey, Trevor Jasinsky, Delfinkco Bogan, and Leonard Harper-Baker and wanted to name more guys played his rookie season overseas with Basketball Academie Limburg (Holland-DBL) and just like every other pro player had to deal with COVID. It wasn’t that typical rookie season as he had many challenges that he had to accept, but at the end of the day, it never effected his game. ‘The most challenging thing about Covid was staying in shape. Having little interaction with my teammates off the court and on the court social distancing. Also, dealing the league shutting in November and we did not know when the season will start back. The league started back up in January’, remembered Quatarrius Wilson. Not only did his game grow on the court, but so did he as a man thanks to COVID. ‘I learned a lot. I learned to be more patient and always be ready. Taught me to be resilient and be focus at the task. I really matured’, stated Quatarrius Wilson. He played 23 games in his rookie season averaging 14.7ppg, Reb-2 (10.1rpg), 1.6apg, FGP: 56.7%, FT: 61.2%. He had no problems adjusting to overseas basketball as not only was being a top 2 rebounder a gigantic achievement as a rookie, but so was winning the Dutch cup. ‘Just being mentally strong and believing my teammates, also my coaches helped me have success. When adversity hits you just have to handle it in a great way. Also, being a great teammate is what helped me. It was a great winning the cup. Making history and being with my teammates and coaches was the best memories’, added Quatarrius Wilson. He also was very fortunate to have a great teammate in Trevor Jasinsky who like him was a rookie and had had a stellar career at Western Washington University (NCAA2). ‘Trevor was extremely important to the front court. He released a lot of pressure for our team. He’s a clutch player and he plays hard. Whenever I had a bad game or when I was in foul Trevor picked up the slack. Yeah he had a great rookie season’, remembered Quatarrius Wilson.

Now the Alabama native who lists Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Stephen Curry, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore is prepared for the next challenge in Germany with the wiha Panthers. He already has done some research on Germany, but also knew the typical known information that Germany’s best basketball player ever has been Dirk Nowitzki and that Mercedes Benz manufactures from there. He also may have gotten some added information last season in Holland from German teammate Neil Masnic who had come from the Oldenburg farm team. The ex JUCO player also knows that the BBL is the highest level and that his new league Pro A is second highest. After having started to ball in JUCO, he knows that he wants to continue to climb the basketball ladder and the wiha Panthers will give him the best opportunity to do that. ‘The main reason for me joining was playing at a higher level. I feel coach will help me get there. Also, I know coach will push me to be a better player’, stressed Quatarrius Wilson. Like most other wiha Panthers who have played in Schwenningen in the last years, having had those crucial first talks with Alen Velcic set the foundation for a fine working climate. ‘He’s all about winning and he has high intensity that’s what I got from his character’, said Quatarrius Wilson. He had been very lucky to have had a coach who really had believed in him at Mcneese State with Dave Simons and it isn’t any different with Alen Velcic. His eyed sparkled when he heard that was Velcic’s most desired player to get in the off season. ‘I did not know that. It makes me feel great. I know I have to work extremely hard. It makes me feel like he believes in me which he does. I just feel motivated about it’, stressed Quatarrius Wilson.

So what kind of player can the German Pro A await this season with Quatarrius Wilson who last watched the Marvel movie Black Widow? He is a 203cm big man that is a mix of Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony. Like Davis, Wilson can score, rebound and play defense and with Anthony they have the same height and have similar movements. Wiha Panthers head coach Alen Velcic lauded his transition game, work under the basket to score consistently as well as run transition, but his biggest strength in his game is playing hard, because when he does that everything comes easy to him. As a modern big man a three pointer is still missing in his game, but one that will be added. ‘Definitely developing the 3 point is one of my goals. I feel if I can make those consistently it’ll take my game to a whole another level’, warned Quatarrius Wilson. Not only will German basketball fans see his overpowering scoring and ruthless rebounding, but also witness his unique skills on the defensive end. ‘I take a lot of pride in my defense. My strength is being able to switch on any position’, said Quatarrius Wilson. With the start of training camp not far away, he is occupied in the lab and continuing to refine his game as he wants to make the next step as a professional in Germany. Currently he is working hard on being more of a consistent shooter as well as getting his ball handling more crisp. He also is spending more time in the gym to get his body stronger. It is no secret that a majority of players balling overseas have a chip on their shoulders as the urge to get better and move up the basketball ladder is as important as it is for Steph Curry nailing every three pointer, but where is that chip for Quatarrius Wilson who has moved up the basketball ladder so nicely since playing JUCO? ‘I was hungry and I had a point to prove from the people that doubted me and peers I wanted them to see that I was a good player, also a competitor. I believed in myself all those sacrifices I made. My work ethic is not questionable I will always work hard’, warned Quatarrius Wilson. That should make head coach Alen Velcic happy, because as a coach seeing those underdog guys working their butts off is what makes coming to the gym and coach a player like that worth it every day.


Having The Right Mix Of Character Guys From Top To Bottom The Last Years Has Helped John Patrick Lead The MHP Riesen To Success

John Patrick is head coach the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and will be going into his 10th season with the organization. He joined the club in the 2012-2013 season keeping them in the BBL. Over the years he has been an important factor for the club gaining consistency and reaching the playoffs in 8 of 9 seasons. Especially in the last two years the club has made huge strides reaching the final in 2020 and last season he led the team to first place in the regular season. He played at Stanford winning the NIT title and as a professional player played many years in Japan and later came to Germany playing for BG Sartorius Gottingen (Germany-2.Bundesliga). He began his coaching career in Japan and then came to Germany and helped BG Goettingen move up to the BBL in 2007. In 2010, he celebrated the Eurochallenge title. He then gained further experience coaching s.Oliver Wurzburg and leading them to the playoffs and upsetting Alba Berlin. He has been named BBL coach of the year three times. He spoke to about basketball.

John thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how has life been treating you in these difficult COVID times?

Thanks, Miles. It has been a blessing to be able to continue working and coaching during the pandemic. The league did a great job of managing a difficult and unpredictable situation. Lots to be thankful for

You have been with the MHP Riesen since 2013. Obviously this organization has become your second home. You surely must have had many offers the last years. Is having that absolute freedom and control something that over time has allowed you to be so successful there?

Ludiwigsburg is an amazing city, and our basketball Club is on solid footing; with experienced management and energetic people working in the organization. We work together as a team in the coaching staff and also in the organization side, After 8 years together, of course trust and routines are developed that makes working easier. It is a serious Club and work is done businesslike. I’m very fortunate to live and work here with the family nearby. It is often otherwise in our business.

COVID changed the whole world. The last year and a half made being a player or coach in the easyCredit BBL a real challenge. What was the biggest challenge for you as a coach in being able to bring consistency in terms of winning to the MHP Riesen last season?

The biggest challenge is always getting guys on the team who fight for each other and love the game. We were very fortunate the last two seasons to have some great characters here in the team and staff. When you can’t go out because of Covid, it helps a lot to be around people you like in the gym.

You helped lead the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg to a magical season which brought back memories to that fascinating Silvano Poropat group in the 2006-2007 season. If you look back to the last days before the begin of the first full Corona season would you have thought from the roster you had that the club could finish in #1 place in the regular season?

I never make predictions before a season. We have had some really good teams here, and I think each season is unique so I don’t really like to compare. Going 30-4 this season was pretty cool. So was going 17-3 last year. We just missed having the fans there. It would have been completely nuts at home. Our guys from this season might never know how loud it gets in the MHP arena.

We saw the character of the team during the regular season and in the playoffs as it won a game 5 against Bamberg and even in games 4 and 5 vs FC Bayern Munich never gave up. Was this one of the best character team’s you have had since you arrived in Ludwigsburg?

We had a group that gave everything on the court. Leaders on the team like Tremmell Darden, Jordan Hulls, Jaleen, Yorman, and Wobo set the tone. Having good guys from top to bottom on the team and in the staff makes playing hard come second nature. They fought for each other.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing John Patrick in the Ballsporthalle in Frankfurt in 2008 when he was coaching his first season in the BBL with BG Goettingen

You have keen sense of knowing which players will function best in your system. Your special touch of bringing in exactly the right players is incredible. How much credit has your assistant coach Josh King had in the off season scouting? It’s no secret that he had the connection to Jaleen Smith.

Josh is a stud. He is going to be a top head coach whether he ends up here in Europe or back in the NCAA. Josh gets along with everyone, and his knowledge of the game is off the charts., both tactically and technically.

Jaleen Smith deservingly was named league MVP. He can do so much on the court and has importantly great energy and leadership qualities. What steps did you see in his game that will allow him to share his game at the Euroleague level?

Jaleen checks all the boxes for what you want in a player. He loves the game, he is coachable, he has an extremely high basketball IQ, he is talented, and he works his butt off every day to try and get better. He deserves every bit of success that he gets. He is a humble and very likable person in addition to being a top player.

You brought in ex Stanford (NCAA) standout Oscar Da Silva for the stretch run to help raise his stock for the NBA Draft. I thought he did a great job of adjusting quickly and being a consistent offensive contributor. How do you feel could he add new nuances to his game after departing the NCAA?

Oscar did a great job of adjusting. Basketball at the BBL level is almost a different sport than college basketball. There are many points of difference. Oscar handled a lot of information in a short time frame, and helped our team to win. I feel like we had an opportunity to mutually benefit from this special situation, and Oscar was able to manage his time and do the things he needed to improve himself strength and skillwise, while also preparing for our games. His coach at IBA, Robbie, was very important in facilitating the transfer. We are thankful for his help.

Your two sons Johannes and Jacob already made their BBL debut last season. I remember seeing them play NBBL in January in Frankfurt and never would have thought that they would be in the BBL so quickly. It would already be difficult having one son to coach, but probably not easier with two. How important have their presence been for the development of Lukas Herzog? Healthy competitions has always been beneficial.

I don’t think it is easy to have your father as your coach, but having had Dave Gale and now Dave McCray as the NBBL coach has made it easier for our young guys to integrate early with the pros and feel confident competing. We have had others, like Quirin and Ariel, who like Jake, Johannes, and Luki, made their BBL and International debuts as teenagers. It helps for sure for our young players to have great competition and be pushed in the U19 practices, but I think that they practice with the pros on a regular basis is what makes them ready. Gets them daily out of their comfort zone.

You are already constructing the roster for next season. The most interesting pick up for me was Scottie James Jr. I noticed him last season and wasn’t noticed by the media, but other BBL teams had him on their radar. I think he is your next gem that could really break out the way Jaleen Smith did?

Scottie James plays hard and played well against us. So I like him.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and John Patrick in Frankfurt in 2018

I interviewed Quinton Hooker 2 years ago when he played in Latvia. Last season he had a very productive season with the Synatnics MBC: You are confident that he will make the next step with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. How quickly was he on your radar last season?

Ditto for what I said about Scotty. Quinton just plays a different position. I like guys from mid or small major colleges who are well rounded and versatile. It is also a positive thing that Quinton knows our league.

What has it been like working with David Mccray? What do you feel is his most vital coaching ability and when will he be easycredit BBL ready?

Dmac is first and foremost a great person, and if you walk into our arena there is one jersey hanging up there. It’s there for a reason. Dave is doing all the things that he needs as he steps to be a head coach some day. Right now he is an amazing role model and head coach for our NBBL guys, as well as our strength and assistant coach for the BBL.

You coached Charles Lee back in the day with BG Goettingen. He reached the NBA final as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. Have you been following his career and did you know when you coached him that he would be a coach one day?

Chuck ‘helkicopter’ Lee was a heck of a player, and a funny, articulate guy. It doesn’t surprise me at all that he is listed on the short list of NBA head coaching searches. As a young player he was blessed with toughness and a high basketball IQ. His teammates at the time, Kyle Bailey, John Little, and one year later Dwayne Anderson, Mike Meeks, and Chester Frazier are also very successful as coaches today.

You have coached many guys that would go on to the NBA in the last years like Kelan Martin and . Royce O Neal who were in Ludwigsburg in 2018-2019 and in 2015-2016 as a rookies. What do you remember being special about them most when you were able to coach them?

Maxi, Royce, DJ, Jack, Kelan, and next maybe Ariel, maybe Kareem, Nick, Jaleen, or Oscar. You never know who is going to make it but most of the time, the guys who do make it are determined and keep working to make it happen. They made some adjustments to get better. The guys who made it so far, all of them often did extra work after practice.
Germany is going back to the Olympics. What is your whole take on Joshiko Saibu. The outcry by German fans against his nomination has been huge. How would you have handled the situation had you been in Henrik Rodl’s shoes?

I am extremely proud and excited that we qualified. I watched the games with my family, and it was clear that we had a great team chemistry and never-give-up attitude. Joshiko ended up showing his stuff on the court. That is where we need to focus the discussion. This is a basketball team of young men representing their country with pride. Nothing more to say.

Who do you have winning the NBA finals. Obviously your heart has to be with the Bucks and Charles Lee, but as a fan you have to root for Chris Paul. Who will win the series?

You will have to ask our team manager, Yannick Rohatsch. He watches the NBA games. I can tell you about the FIBA U19 tournament.

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

I didn’t see it. Sorry.

Thanks John for the chat.

Jarelle Reischel Was Able To Improve His Defensive Game Under Dirk Bauermann And Is Looking To Make The Next Step In Bremerhaven

Jarelle Reischel (200-F-92, college: EKU) is a 29 year old 199cm forward that will play the 21-22 season with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. he played the 20-21 season with the Rostock Seawolves (Germany-ProA) playing 23 games averaging 9.6ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 90.9%. In 2019-2020 he played for Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL) playing BBL 18 games averaging 2.9ppg, 1.6rpg; and played 11 BCL games averaging 4.1ppg, 1.8rpg. In 2018-2019 he played for the Telekom Baskets Bonn playing 34 BBL games averaging 2.7ppg, 1.4rpg; and played 14 BCL games averaging 5.1ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 55.2%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 72.0%. In the 2017-2018 season he played with PS Karlsruhe Lions (ProA) averaging 13,9ppg, 5,9rpg, 3,0apg and 1,8spg. As a rookie in 2016-2017 he played with Rasta Vechta (BBL) and the Westchester Knicks (D-League). He was born in Frankfurt, Germany and grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. He headed back to the states in 2008 and returned in 2016. He played at Pleasant Beach HS and then played for three NCAA schools with Rice, Rhode Island and E Kentucky playing a total of 125 games. He had his break out season as a senior at E.Kentucky (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 17.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to after the 20-21 season.

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

I am currently in Frankfurt Germany. Basketball life has been treating me well, just being able to have a team during this pandemic is a blessing. So many of my friends and former teammates didn’t play this year because of the budget cuts and other covid related issues.

It has been a crazy season for all. What was for you the biggest challenge this season concerning COVID-19 and how you played on the court and lived in Germany?

The biggest challenge this season concerning Covid was to get tested multiple times a week. The PCR test was very uncomfortable because I have a very sensitive nose. Also Not being able to physically interact with our fans, family and friends as much, as well as the constant schedule changes became a challenge.

Please give the best example from Sept 2020 to now where you experienced close hand how devastating COVID-19 was for you? One never knew what to expect in this COVID-19 season.

Thankfully everybody in my surroundings were and is healthy. However we as a team did experience a lot of schedule rearrangements due to other players catching the virus during the season.

Rostock was ambitious and wanted to move up to the easyCredit BBL. They beat Science City Jena 107-104 and then the season just ended. How disappointing was this?

It was very disappointing. Our mission the whole season was to move up to the BBL and we fell short. So yeah it hurts and will sting for a while. We had everything to move up. We were such a close group, everybody liked each other and worked extremely hard for our goal.

It was a great regular season as Rostock began 10-2, then had some mid season blues losing going 5-5, but finished out the season on a 11 game winning streak. How much fun was it playing basketball this season in a winning culture??

It was a lot of fun playing in a winning culture and being at the top of the Pro A for most of the season. We had a lot of unselfish guys on the team whose main priority was to win. winning is always fun.

Then the post season came and Rostock only had a 2-4 record. Did that first close loss against Jena 85-81 hurt the club mentally and let it effect their play the rest of the way?

I will say so, being the number one team and having to play maybe the most important game on the road as our first playoff game was definitely energy draining. The loss did not affect our play for the rest of the playoffs because we still had a chance to move up.

Did fatigue play a role in the playoffs that hurt Rostock’s play?

Fatigue did not play a role we had a very deep team where each player could be a starter on another pro A team.

How instrumental was Dirk Bauermann for the success of Rostock? How did his philosophy and way to coach lead to this consistency?

Dirk was great all year around and he is a very defensive oriented coach with a lot of enthusiasm and a very good offensive system. I believe his coaching style really pushed us to having such great regular season. The best season in Rostock history.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a thrill was it playing with American Trevor Lacey? A guy that has had much experience in international play. What were you able to soak up from his play?

It was great playing with Trav. He is such an unselfish scorer and a great guy to be around. His experience speaks for itself, but we also had a lot of other players who have first league and international experience.

Brad Losing was a high energy player that makes every team better. How vital was it for your play having a creator like him on the court with you?

Playing with Brad was amazing as his energy was through the roof all year around and his leadership skills were very impressive and helped us tremendously during our season.

Seldom do you see an Iranian player in Germany like a Behnam Yakhchali. What did you appreciate from his game and what did you learn about his culture and character? Let’s talk about your game.

What I learned from B was that Middle Eastern guys can really play! I also didn’t know that he was the first Iranian to ever play in Europe, which was huge for him his country and us. I wish that Covid didn’t exist so that we could show him a bit more of the European lifestyle.

How instrumental was the playmaking duties and leader ship qualities of Chris Carter for the success of the team?

Chris was great. He is a winner he does whatever it takes to win. I’ve known Chris for a while now and we always had a good connection. this year we were finally got to play together and were able to show how well we played off each other.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 9,6ppg, 4,2rpg, 1,4apg, 1,0spg and shot 34% from outside. How content were you with your season?

I felt like I’ve could’ve done more and better. But I always think that. I know it’s not possible but I always try to play a perfect game/season. that’s just me and my competitiveness. I am my own biggest critic.

After playing two seasons in the easyCredit BBL playing 54 BBL games how do you feel did your game grow in those two years in the BBL?
I gained a lot of experience after my two years playing in the BBL and the champions league. Just being able to understand the European game and to play good basketball along with being a complete professional is something I take away.

You had many great offensive options with Rostock. How do you feel did your game grow at both ends of the court under the guidance of head coach Dirk Bauermann?

I was extremely focused on the defensive side this year since we had so many offensive weapons. I would say my defense improved a lot especially under coach Dirk and Chris who are both coaches who preach defense day in and day out.

Who was the toughest player that you faced in the pro A this season?

The big man from Leverkusen. Heinzmann he is 7’2 whenever he came to play he impacted the game so much because of his presence.

On what areas of your game will you be working on most this summer to continue to improve your game?

Like every summer I will work on every aspect of my game becoming a more complete all around wing who can shoot pass dribble and defend at the highest level.

What is the next step for you? Would a new challenge in the BBL, another year in the Pro A for grooming or a challenge in another country be most appetizing for you?

I am not sure about my next step but whatever it is I will be ready for the challenge.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

Chris Paul is a great floor general which we all know. However winning a ring solidifies a player. If he gets it done then I believe he will go down as a top three point guard in NBA history.

How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points this season and recently 60. Where will his journey go as a player in the next years?

Tatum is so versatile and he is improving every year that I believe he could be one of the best players that played in the NBA when his career is finished.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

I believe the European and the NBA game are completely different. But I also believe that having a guy like Russell Westbrook improves any team.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

Green is a great player and a great defender. He still has some more work to do to be considered the best defender of all time. But that’s just my opinion.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

No sorry I did not see coming to America sequel

Thanks Jarelle for the chat.

Jaleen Smith Breathed NBA Air With The Utah Jazz As His Basketball Journey Continues To Rise

Before the 2021 easyCredit BBL semi-final matchup against FC Bayern Munich, I asked MHP Riesen guard Jaleen Smith (193-PG-94, college: UNH) if he was extra excited about going up against ex NBA player Wade Baldwin. The American was super diplomatic keeping his team Ludwigsburg first, but keeping that dream always in the back of his mind. ‘If I want to reach the Euroleague or NBA, I have to be able to go up against guys like that. But for me it isn’t about my game, but more the Lubo/Munich match up. I’m more focused on that then individual match ups’, warned Jaleen Smith. The basketball journey and rise of Jaleen Smith in the last years has been incredible and as eye popping as the realization that this years NBA finals would be a real breath of fresh air with no Lakers or Warriors, but the Suns and Bucks. Smith who hails from Freeport, Texas has taken on an even bigger upsurgence this year as a few months ago, as his stock as a player was growing was linked with top Euroleague team Maccabi Tel Aviv, a few months later won the easyCredit BBL MVP award and recently had a workout with NBA team Utah Jazz. Basketball and life in general is very very good for Jaleen Smith at the moment. But where will Jaleen Smith wind up next season? Will he make his first experience in the Euroleague or will that have to be put on hold as he possibly gets that much desired NBA opportunity to try to make a team in the next months?

But before the NBA is put into focus, one must rewind back 6-7 weeks ago where Jaleen Smith and the MHP Riesen were battling in the easyCredit BBL playoffs. The MHP Riesen gave everything they had in the playoffs getting by a tough Bamberg team always showing their fighting qualities and consistent team play. But in the semi-finals, they faced a very tough FC Bayern Munich team that was seeking revenge for their playoff loss to Ludwigsburg last season and won 3-1. In the end FC Bayern Munich wore down Ludwigsburg and just executed better in crunch time in game three and four. But the MHP Riesen still played an amazing season winning the regular season title with a 30-4 record, but for a competitor like Jaleen Smith digesting the playoff loss was difficult. He definitely hasn’t forgotten the series and has that amazing focus to always get better. ‘The loss hit me for sure but I’m refocused and recharged and I’m working on stuff that would’ve helped for that series’, warned Jaleen Smith. It is no secret that with his rising play in the last year and MVP title, that he would have to end his time in Ludwigsburg, but the memories there will last a lifetime. ‘I have nothing but love for the city. Germany in general helped me as a player but also as a person. Just meeting all the fans is so cool I’ll never forget my time in LUBU. Just my confidence in myself really just picked up the more I played in the system. The team really helped show my game that I haven’t played in a while’, stressed Jaleen Smith.

His two years with the organization MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg could be the most important in his career as he is ready for a new challenge elsewhere and in a higher league. In Ludwigsburg, he was surrounded by amazing players who were instrumental in allowing him to shine and raise his game. Even when he did ball with so many talented players, when asked which player had the biggest impact on his two years in Ludwigsburg, he didn’t have to think long. ‘I would have to say Marcos Knight. Just seeing what he did in the bubble last summer was crazy. He plays so hard and 4 double-doubles in a row as a guard that’s tough to do at this level’, remembered Jaleen Smith. Even if he was teammates with many incredible veterans like Tremmel Darden who is reaching 40 or Jamel Mclean, he also was able to be that mentor type of guard for the Patrick brothers or Lukas Herzog. He also witnessed the play of ex Stanford (NCAA) standout Oscar Da Silva who latched on a few months in Ludwigsburg to help raise his 2021 NBA Draft stock. He had the fitting words of advice for him before he left. ‘He can just keep working hard and out working the next guy because it’s always someone to climb over in this profession. Also to keep being him because he is a great guy’, stated Jaleen Smith.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jaleen Smith in Frankfurt in 2020

Of course his game wouldn’t have taken that growth in the last two years without the coaching staff of John Patrick, David Mccray and Joey King. One guy who probably has lifelong digs on any wish is assistant coach Joey King. King and Smith first crossed paths during Smith’s NCAA gig at New Hampshire. John Patrick brought King to Ludwigsburg and in 2019 King was instrumental in helping the 2021 BBL MVP land in Ludwigsburg. Smith and King will probably forever have a very special relationship. ‘That’s my guy now I know I can call him at anytime and he’ll keep it real with me. He’s really the person that got my foot in the door to come to LUBU’, warned Jaleen Smith. Obviously He also is very very blessed and thankful that he got the ultimate freedom from head coach John Patrick on the court. He knew quickly exactly how he would blossom in Patrick’s system. ‘He has a vision on how he sees his teams and if you don’t fit that mold he’s not afraid of letting you go. So whenever you do come in, you just have to come and play hard because that covers up all your mistakes with him. He loves guys that just get after it. He loves guys that are hungry’, stressed Jaleen Smith. With all that has happened I his career, he remains super humble especially when it comes to other competitive players like ex MBC guard Quinto Hooker who will be the new point guard this season in Ludwigsburg. ‘Quinton can really score the ball. He’s a big time scorer that can also pass the ball and that’s perfect for JPs offense. I wouldn’t say follow he is following in my footsteps but if he just plays the way he plays and he’ll be great even better than when I was in LUBU’, expressed Jaleen Smith. Head coach John Patrick has developed so many great players in the last years and surely will have a lot of joy with Quinton Hooker, but also never forget a player like Jaleen Smith. ‘Jaleen checks all the boxes for what you want in a player. He loves the game, he is coachable, he has an extremely high basketball IQ, he is talented, and he works his butt off every day to try and get better. He deserves every bit of success that he gets. He is a humble and very likable person in addition to being a top player’, stressed John Patrick.

The off season is always such an exciting time for players wanting to make the next step. For example where will a guy like Bonzie Colson go?. After not getting a chance with the Milwaukee Bucks, the ex Notre Dame (NCAA) great took a step back last season and went to France to Strasburg and prompt won the league MVP. With a season like that, Euroleague teams have to be knocking at his door and he should be back on the radar of NBA teams. Another player that made the next step is Kameron Taylor. This guy who helped lead the Hamburg Towers to their first ever playoff appearance has to be the biggest Cinderella story ever that played in Germany. In a span of three seasons, he went from the German third division Pro B and now landed in the Euroleague with Maccabi Tel Aviv. A few months ago there were rumors that Smith was on their radar. Of course Euroleague teams are always deep and he could still land there. Just seeing Kameron Taylor on the roster and being a guy he battled the last two seasons made him smile about his continued rapid rise up the basketball ladder. ‘You love to see guys that work their way up through hard work. Kam is the perfect example of keep your head down and where ever you go just play hard. Because that’ll get you paid’, commented Jaleen Smith.

The American who last watched the classic movie Space Jam is definitely keeping his options open and didn’t sign in Europe anywhere yet. Being able to showcase his vast basketball skills for NBA team Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City recently was a good reason to still be free on the transfer market. Was he in awe of the whole setting or was he professional and not let the NBA reality get to his nerves? . I was a little of both just knowing I’m really on the doorstep of making my dreams a reality. The experience was nice. We had like a mini NBA experience and for me being the first time in a NBA Facility was amazing’, warned Jaleen Smith. He had no problem holding his own as the 10 guys invited were all Champions League level players with the same amount of skill. He definitely left a lasting impression on the Utah Jazz coaching staff. ‘They loved my game and the story I have. They told me just to work on my game which is always good’, said Jaleen Smith. With having his small breath of NBA air with the Utah Jazz, will there be an additional NBA opportunity with the Jazz like a Summer League invitation? ‘We’ll have to see these next couple of weeks how everything goes. After the workout I’m excited about how everything is going to go down’, added Jaleen Smith. The next weeks will be very thrilling as he will learn eventually for what organization he will compete for. He is in absolutely the best hands with his agent Teddy Archer who will get him to the next great basketball destination. ‘I’m VERY CONFIDENT my agent Teddy Archer will put me in the best possible position to succeed and I firmly believe it. Even when I don’t believe in myself at times. He’s throwing all his chips on me and that’s great to hear from your agent. This gives you a sense of relaxation or no worries’, warned Jaleen Smith

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and current Milwaukee Buck forward PJ Tucker at the 2012 German BBL Allstar game in Ludwigsburg

As he waits what the future has in store for him, he will continue to grind in the lab during the swelting summer in Texas, but at the same time enjoy the 2021 NBA finals during normal hours something that everyone else overseas have to set their alarm clocks for in the middle of the night. One thing that he didn´t even know was that one of John Patrick´s ex players Charles Lee is an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. Having and developing guys further with a high IQ only makes it more apparent that they can have a future in coaching later on down the line. “To be honest I haven’t even looked down the line for that with some of my teammates. All my teammates I’ve played with have a high IQ for the game so I would say any one of them could be a coach in future”, stressed Jaleen Smith. The guy that most are really crossing their fingers to win the 2021 NBA title is ex Wake Forest(NCAA) great Chris Paul. This guy gets an incredible amount of respect from every player I have asked the last months about where he stands in the greatest point guard of all-time and it isn´t any different for Jaleen Smith who stated this at the end of April 2021. “He is in the top 5. You saw what he did with the Suns. Before he came they were missing a true point guard and he came in and helped them become better. He is a winner“, stressed Jaleen Smith. At that time, Chris Paul was still far away from an NBA ring, but is even closer now. It is more than obvious how much his heart is with Chris Paul finally getting that NBA chip. He also knows that he can also follow his game closely to get some new nuisances for his game.I want CP3 to win him a title. He’s put so much into the game for him not to be crowned a champion. I also want him to win the Finals MVP. I’ve been studying him for a while but now he’s in the FINALS so I’ll be looking paying close attention to him now more than ever”, warned Jaleen Smith. He also will be watching Bucks guard Jru Holiday closely as he battles Chris Paul on every possession. “Jrue is a 2 way kind of guy. I love his game and he’s a really good player. I think he matches up well with CP3 really well”, said Jaleen Smith. He also has a firm grip on which team is going all the way this season. “I will say Phoenix in 6 for sure. I think Chris Paul’s leadership will carry them. Giannis will be back but this year is a learning experience for him and he’ll get him a ring for sure”, warned Jaleen Smith. If Smith signs with a team overseas before that NBA team is crowned or if he will hang around longer in the States and play NBA Summer League is still up in the stars, but one thing is for sure this will be his busiest summer as a professional player.

Eric Thompson Proved In Asia That He Could Produce Crazy Like Dennis Rodman Rebound Stats And Now Is Trying To Survive in Israel

Eric Thompson (204-C-93, college: Pacific) is a 28 year old 204cm center from Detroit, Michigan that has been a professional for five seasons. He began his basketball career at Saddleback College (NJCAA) and then finished at the University of Pacific (NCAA). He began his professional career in 2016 with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen (Germany-ProA). Since his rookie season he has been a double double monster in many countries with teams like Swiss Central Basket Luzern (Switzerland-SBL) averaging 15.9ppg, Reb-3 (11.0rpg), FGP-1 (65.2%), FT: 60.5% Hefei Yuanchuang (China-NBL) averaging 23.0ppg, Reb-1 (20.0rpg), 1.6apg, 1.2bpg, FGP-1 (69.6%), FT: 65.3%, Hiroshima Dragonflies (Japan-B2 League) averaging 11.8ppg, 10.3rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 60.8%, FT: 56.4%,, Kagawa Five Arrows (Japan-B2 League) averaging 16.1ppg, 14.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 60.0%, FT: 57.1%. In the 2019-2020 season he played with Hapoel Eilat (Israel-Winner League) averaging 11.6ppg, Reb-5 (9.3rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 52.5%, FT: 58.9%. This season he split time with Inchon ET Land Elephants (South Korea-KBL) averaging 7.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 52.5%, FT: 68.1% and Hapoel Altshuler Shaham Beer Sheva (Israel-Winner League) averaging 7.8ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.1%, FT: 59.4%. He spoke to about his basketball career.

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

Thank you for having me! At the moment I am playing professional in Israel. Basketball has been treating me great it’s been nothing but a blessing to play the game I love.

It’s been almost 5 years since we did our first interview. Has time flown by in those years?

Time has flown by but it’s been a great learning experience as always as time goes by the more knowledge learned and given.

Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about some other pressing issues. Your in Israel where at the moment there has been severe turmoil in Tel Aviv. How is your present state mentally?

Mentally it’s a tough situation but I’m just talking each day at a time while counting my blessings.

The city your living in Beer Sheva is 108 kilometers from Tel Aviv. Are you fearing for your life?

I won’t say fearing for my life but I am worried about what’s going to happen next because it is a difficult situation to be present in.

How are your Israeli teammates handling this situation? The drama in their country has been an ongoing problem for years. Do you sense having gotten closer to some guys because of everything happening in the country?

My Israeli teammates are great! Throughout my professional career I am fortunate to have be en blessed with great teammates better yet great individuals around me. As well I am always close with all my teammates I’m lucky enough to build great relationships.

There have been American players declaring to end the season in the Winner League. Are you also one of those guys that wants to get out of there as quickly as possible?

I’m a person when I start something no matter what I’ll always see it through to the end. Due to the certain circumstances I feel it’s not safe here at the moment and I would like to leave. However if season continues and it’s safe to finish I will finish out strong.

How have you experienced COVID in the last year? What was the biggest challenge for you on and off the court?

I am blessed and lucky to not received the virus. As for the experience it took a lot adjustments in my daily routine. It was hard but it gave me a different prospective on how to adjust to different situations.

With everything that you have seen in the last year with COVID, how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?

With everything that happened the past year Covid thought me on how to think/adjust on the spot. Before Covid it was always a schedule, after Covid I am able to plan better as well manage my time better. Therefore to answer the question it made me a better person overall.

You began the season with Inchon ET Land Elephants (South Korea-KBL) averaging 7.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 52.5%, FT: 68.1%. You have played parts of three seasons in Asia. What have you learned to appreciate about playing there the most?

Asia has been nothing but great to me! It’s different and I love to learn different cultures. I was able to see and learn the culture, which is great to me.

Now your with Hapoel Altshuler Shaham Beer Sheva (Israel-Winner League) and the second time in the Winner League. Your playing against ex NBA players on a regular basis. Is this the best league you have balled in as a professional?

The Israel league is great! It’s a honor to be a part of this league. It’s a challenging league and it brings out the best of you

You recently beat Macabbi Tel Aviv and beat them last season. How much does it mean to you having beaten a top Euroleague team?

It’s always great to face-off against Macabbi because you know the game is going to be Top Tier! Games like that bring the best out of you and it’s a honor to be a part of them.

Last season you beat NBA guys like Tyler Dorsey, Quincy Acy, Othello Hunter and Deni Avidija. When you look at how your game has progressed over the years, do you feel like your skill level isn’t that far away from guys like that?

Playing against guys like them is a honor. I feel my game did improve more over the time but there’s always room to improve and get better.

What was it like being teammates with ex Georgetown (NCAA) big man Henery Sims. When there are only two Americans on a full of Koreans, did one get a closer bond?

Playing against/with Henry was great because I was able to learn and pick off his game. He’s a great guy and always competitive.

Last season you played with Hapoel Eilat (Israel-Winner League) playing 21 games averaging 11.6ppg, Reb-5 (9.3rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 52.5%, FT: 58.9%. After playing in Japan, China and Switzerland, how do you feel did your game make another jump in your first Winner League season?

I believe my game made a jump because I became more aware of certain situations that happen over the course of the game/season.

In 2018-2019 you split time with Hefei Yuanchuang (China-NBL) averaging 23.0ppg, Reb-1 (20.0rpg), 1.6apg, 1.2bpg, FGP-1 (69.6%), FT: 65.3%, Hiroshima Dragonflies (Japan-B2 League) averaging 11.8ppg, 10.3rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 60.8%, FT: 56.4%, and Kagawa Five Arrows (Japan-B2 League) averaging 16.1ppg, 14.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 60.0%, FT: 57.1%. Those stats for 3 different teams are insane. This must have been your best season. What was your secret to that crazy consistency?

That was my best professional season so far and the key to that season was confidence. Because I came into season with a chip on my shoulder for the third time in a row in my professional career. I was picked to become the last import player as well the less skilled player. Knowing that coming into the season I knew there was going to be G league and Ex NBA players playing in the league so therefore that was enough motivation to dominate!

In China you had games where you scrapped 34 and 33 rebounds off the glass in two games. Did it at times feel like your were a man playing with kids or was it difficult work?

I won’t say man against kids just that I knew where the ball was going to go after the shot was taken. Rebounding to me is all about heart and who wants the ball more.

How big do you rate your 20/20 stats for a season? That is an amazing feat. No player in the NBA has averaged 20 plus rebounds since 1969 and legend Dennis Rodman never averaged more than 18,7 in a season.

I honestly don’t know how to rate that season because I didn’t even know I avg 20rebs till after the season was over. I’m proud of myself for completing that mile stone but I still have more goals to reach and that’s to win a championship. Dennis is one of the guys I study for rebounding. He played with heart and he went after every ball with 100% energy and effort.

You played your second professional season with Swiss Central Basket Luzern (Switzerland-SBL) playing 23 games averaging 15.9ppg, Reb-3 (11.0rpg), FGP-1 (65.2%), FT: 60.5%. What memories do you have of this season? After a soldi season in Germany, you were able to raise your game to a new level. You got 20 rebounds for the first time as a professional in that season.
I had a great team around me and I had a great coaching staff that believed in me. Always gave out tough orders but out of tough love as Same for Germany!

What memories do you have of your rookie season in Germany with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets. It was your rookie season and you had top point guard Chris Alexander as your point guard. How much easier did he make your offensive game?

My rookie year was a complete learning year for me that’s when I developed understanding of how overseas basketball works. Chris helped me a little but most things I had to learn on my own because we played two different positions. He made my game a lot easy because during the games he would shoot the ball and say ‘easy money E I can take that shot and if I miss I know you would tip it back in’ that coming from a Veteran like Chris and saying that to a rookie installed confidence in me.

Your only 28. Don’t you feel like you deserve a chance to play Basketball Champions League or Eurocup? I’m sure that is a goal of yours and one you will be pursuing this summer

Oh yes that has always been a goal of mines but when that opportunity present itself it won’t be taken for granted because I know what I bring to the table and it’ll be honored.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

This year he’s winning his first ring bank on it! As well he’s top 10 in my book but he still has more to go and years left to play

Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?

Jayson is a special player and his ceiling and potentially is through the roof. As for being a top 10 player in the league now it’s a toss-up.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

Oh yes seeing Russell play in person and seeing how he makes everyone around him better. He can most definitely lead a team to success in the Euroleague.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

Draymond is not the best defender of all time. He still needs to prove more on that side! Can’t forget about what Tony Allen and Gary Payton did during their time in the league!

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I haven’t seen coming to America sequel at all but if they think about making another movie they should leave it alone because the movie is already a classic.

Thanks Eric for the chat.

Coming To Rasta Vechta Was A Good Stepping Stone And A Right Direction For Jesse Hunt In His Career

Jesse Hunt (203-F-97, college: EWU) is a 23 year old 203cm forward from Australia that completed his second professional season with Rasta Vechta averaging 7,9ppg and 5,9rpg while shooting 45% from downtown. He had began the season with Keravnos Strovolou (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) playing 7 Basketball Champions League games averaging 10.0ppg, 8.7rpg, 1.3apg, 2FGP: 41.4%, 3FGP: 39.1%, FT: 73.1%. He played his rookie season with Manisa Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 20 games averaging 9.2ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 66.2%. He played at : Eastern Washington University (NCAA) from 2015-2019 playing a total of 116 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 14.6ppg, 8.7rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 75.2%. He spoke to at the end of the 20-21 season.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jesse Hunt in Frankfurt in 2021

Jesse thanks for talking to Where are you and how is basketball life treating you?

No worries! I just got back to the United States after spending 9 months overseas. First five months with Keravnos in Cyprus, and the next 4 months with Rasta Vechta of the BBL. The basketball life is treating me well! I’ve loved being able to play in Europe.

What would have been the first eatery that you visited had you gone to the States right away back to Washington?

My girlfriend and I went to a nice Restaurant in Spokane, Washington called Wooden City.

Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about COVID. What was the most challenging thing for you in your second season with COVID?

Definitely having to be on lockdown in both countries I played in. Also not being able to have my girlfriend or family fly out to come visit. Going 9 months away from them was definitely the toughest part.

How can one honestly rate this season with all the drama that went on with COVID? Every team had their problems.

Definitely had some problems. But I think the leagues did a great job of keeping the schedules normalized and not having to postpone too late in the year.

Rasta Vechta may have been one of the best 18th placed teams in the BBL ever. Was the team better than what it’s record showed?

We certainly were. We simply couldn’t escape injury. Missing certain players like Jean Salumu, and Dennis Clifford for extended periods of time hurt our team big time and we had other players missing games due to injury often. We showed potential as a team when we were all healthy, but struggled when we weren’t.

If you don’t play defense, it obviously will be more difficult to win games. Why wasn’t the club ever able to find a solid identity on the defensive end?

I honestly believe we could have been a much better defensive team. Once again, missing great defenders like Jean and Dennis for a lot of the season hurt our team. Especially Dennis being a great rim protector.

Despite finishing in 18th place and not getting a wild card, what positives do you feel could the organization take from the season that will lead them in the right direction?

I believe Rasta is a tremendous organization. From the management, coaches, and players. I truly believe Rasta will be back in the BBL in no time and wish the club nothing but success for the future.

Let’s talk about some of your teammates. How much of a thrill was it being able to call Josh Young your teammate? What did you learn to appreciate most about him on and off the court?

Josh is not only a great basketball player, but an amazing teammate and captain. Getting to know Josh and follow his lead was an honor. He’s a legend over there in Germany and I can easily see why!

One young German player who continues to develop is Philipp Herkenhof. How did you see his game continue to grow more in the time that you were there?

Unfortunately I only got to share the court with Phillip for 2 games before I got a concussion and prior to that, Phillip was injured. Although it was only for a short stretch, I can easily see his potential being 6’10 and a great perimeter shooter. Phillip has a very bright future!

Let’s talk about your game. You came to a new team in mid season averaging 7,9ppg and 5,9rpg and shot 45% from outside. How content were you with your own game?

I’m never content with my game. I always believe I can do more. But it was certainly a good stepping stone in the right direction for my career.

How content were you with your defensive game coming from a lower league and having to cope with the physicality of the easyCredit BBL?

I thought I did good defensively. I bring a lot of energy and can guard multiple positions. I definitely need to get physically stronger to matchup with some of the 4’s and 5’s better, but overall I think I did fine.

You shot a very strong 45% from outside. Getting off that shot quicker is something you have stated you continue to work on. How content were you with how you were able to shoot at a high clip?

I was happy to shoot 45% this season. Getting extra shots up after practice is something I try to do everyday. I still need to work on getting a quicker release, but I was happy with the percentage.

On what areas of your game besides physicality, from the perimeter and in post up situations so you can continue to move up the basketball ladder?

I think the biggest thing for myself is to continue to get physically stronger not only for defense but offense. Being a versatile player I believe getting physically stronger will certainly elevate my game.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the easyCredit BBL this season?

I would have to say Luke Sikma. He’s just incredibly smart on both ends of the floor and can hurt you in a variety of ways.

How powerful was that comment Kwame Brown recently let go about his career and Michael Jordan?

I haven’t looked into the Kwame Brown stuff too much, but it seems to me he was dealing with a lot of anxiety as a young man which can be tough for anyone.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

I think Chris Paul is a top 5-10 point guard of all time. Despite never winning a ring, he impacts winning on every single team he plays for. That to me, is a hall of fame player and one of the best to play the position.

Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?

Tatum will have an amazing career. He’s very poised and has a tremendous offensive package. I believe he is a top 15 player in the NBA right now but not top 10

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

I disagree with that. Russell plays with passion, determination and athleticism that you simply haven’t seem out of a 6’4 point guard in the history of basketball. He also impacts winning wherever he goes. Russell is a winner!

Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?

I think he’s the best help side defender especially in today’s NBA. But I don’t believe he’s the best on ball defender on the planet.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I have not seen it yet.. I’ll have to watch it and let you know! Thanks for the interview, Miles!

Thanks Jesse for the chat.

Nate Britt Never Looks At Stats But Felt He Got The Most Out Of His Teammates And Led The wiha Panthers To A Winning Season

Nate Britt (185-PG-94, college: UNC) is a 27 year old 185cm guard from Washington DC that complated his 4th professional season with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (Germany-ProA) playing 29 games averaging 13.2ppg, 3.9rpg, 5.4apg, Steals-1 (2.2spg), FGP: 43.7%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 80.9%. Last season he played with Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) playing 21 games averaging 14.5ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5 (1.8spg), FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 77.5%. He began his basketball career at Gonzaga College High School and also played a year at the very well known Oak Hill Academy. He then had a stellar NCAA career at North Carolina winning the 2017 NCAA title and reaching the final in 2016. After finishing at North Carolina, he played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV (Atlanta Hawks) averaging 1.7ppg, 1.7apg. He then began his professional basketball career with the Glasgow Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 25 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5 (1.8spg), FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 81.5%. In 2018-2019 he began with Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1) and finished with the: Boca Juniors (Argentina-La Liga) playing 10 games averaging 3.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.2apg. He spoke to after his season in Germany.

Nate thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is
COVID-19 life treating you?

I am currently still in Villingen-Schwenningen. Our team was infected with Covid-19 so I
just finished my quarantine and I’m looking to make my way back to the states soon. We
ended up missing our last two games of the playoffs. Can’t say Covid has been very kind to
me recently.

What a crazy year it has been with COVID-19. How tough was it for you personally in this
season dealing with the challenges of the pandemic and trying to live a normal life on and
off the court?

It has been crazy! As players we had to adapt and adjust in ways we never had to before.
This season we had a total of three games canceled that were not made up. We also had a
few games rescheduled. It can be tough to prepare for a team all week and one day before
the game, it gets rescheduled, and then the game is potentially replaced with another
opponent in short notice. Off the court was even harder. Our team did our best not to do
anything beyond what was needed to avoid any contact with the virus. This took away the
experience of being abroad and indulging in new culture and experiences. We spent the
majority of our free time in our apartments.

The Pro A season for the wiha Panthers ended abruptly on account of 8 people of the
organization testing positive for Corona. Did you ever have a feeling during the season that
something like this could happen?

I did believe that we may miss a game or two from someone in our organization catching
Covid-19 but never the way it happened. We went the entire regular season without testing
positive for Covid-19. It’s still unbelievable to me that we caught the virus right before our
last two playoff games.

How disappointed were you with how the season ended? What was your first feeling when
you heard 8 guys had been tested positive and the season was over?

I was very disappointed! I believe we would’ve won our last two games which would’ve
put us in a position to finish in the top two of our group.

How can one honestly rate a season like this where there were so many road blocks for
every team in the league?

It’s hard to give a completely fair rating. Some teams had back-to-back cases of covid,
which put all preparations on hold. The situation made it extremely hard for teams to build
momentum and sustain it. The season came down to which teams could do the best job
dealing with adversity and adjusting to the complications of Covid-19.

The club played a very solid season. Despite all the drama with COVID-19 how pleased
were you with the season the team played?

The is the first time this club has ever been to the play-offs at this level. No one predicted
us going that far. We played many games at a high level. We had players get hurt and miss
games but we still found a way to compete and win games. I’m extremely proud of my
team and our determination this season!

The club lost 3 of 4 games in the post season. Was the team physically a little tired at the
end in order to sustain more power to win games?

I don’t think tired is the proper term for the time. It’s the end of the season so every team is
tired and dealing with some nagging injuries. I think we were worn down. We had two of
our best players get hurt during the playoffs. Both injuries were too serious to play through.
We didn’t have the depth to afford that kind of loss, especially at their positions. I believe
that is what hurt us the most.

How correct was it releasing Shaun Willet and bringing in Courtney Stockard? Once again
head coach Alen Velcic had the right move up his sleeve.

It’s not my position to determine whether Coach Velcic’s decision was right or wrong. The
situation of Shaun leaving the team worked out for both parties. We picked up Courtney
and later clinched the playoffs. Shaun moved on to another club and won the

Despite all the problems COVID-19 brought to the team and how it finished what positives
can you take from this season?

The first positive is that we made it to the playoffs. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to
finish because I still liked and was confident in our chances. Throughout the season we
improved tremendously. Towards the final games of the regular season I believe every
team knew we were the most dangerous team to face.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a joy was it playing with Courtney
Stockard? Apparently he has numerous offers from BBL teams.

I really enjoyed playing with Courtney. He knows how to play the game. Courtney is a big
guard with the athleticism to get anywhere he wants on the court. He is a serious problem
in transition and he’s an outside threat. He understands what he does well and he executes
those things. That made my job a lot easier as a point guard. His talent level is well beyond
Pro A. We were very lucky to have landed him at all.

Chris Frazier said this about you. ‘Nate is probably the best PG I’ve played with. He can do
a little bit of everything, wherever you need him he can fill that void. I didn’t ask for to many
NC stories because I’m sure he is tired of telling them over and over again’. What did you
learn to appreciate most about his game?

Chris can shoot the cover off the ball. He shoots it well in any situation: spot-up, on the
move and off the bounce. When you have a specialist like Chris on your team and he’s
given the opportunity to do what he does, he can be extremely hard to stop. Chris always
gave 100 percent on both ends of the court. That’s a skill not many players have. I
appreciate those parts of his game the most.

How did you see the development of German Jonas Niedermanner? He continued to make
new strides in the Pro A.

Jonas has a ton of potential. He has a strong build and he’s super athletic. He can be deadly
from 3 point and tough to contest when going downhill to the basket. He’s also very very
active on defense. I saw this in the first week of us practicing together. His ceiling is really
high. He made improvements throughout the season but I wasn’t surprised. It’s only a
matter of time before he really puts it together to be a really great player.

Of all your teammates who do you feel was the most improved?

In my opinion Felix Edwardson was the most improved guy on our team. He adjusted to what our
coaching staff asked of him and he learned what ways he could most affect the game. Once
he figured that out he consistently executed in those areas. It really hurt us when he got
injured late in the season.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 13,2 ppg, 3,9rpg, 5,4apg and 2,2apg while
shooting 35% from outside. How content were you with your own game?

I’ve never been too big on numbers. I know they are important for measuring output in
certain aspects of the game but I’m more concerned with the picture and my impact on
getting teams to reach its highest potential. I feel I got the most out of my teammates and I
led us to a winning season. I’m very proud of myself for those achievements, but I’m never

You stated to me last summer that your game in the half court, enduring physicality and
rebounding improved in Cyprus. How do you feel did your game make new strides in

Statistically, I shot a better percentage this season but I knew that was going to happen as
the comfortability of my shooting hand increased and I was able to take better quality
shots. I credit the latter to my teammates and their level of play.
More importantly, I was able to learn specifically where I can really affect the game and
find those opportunities within a system.

You made a massive jump with your outside shot. How do you believe did you profit most
from Alen Velcic’s system that allowed you shoot at a higher clip?

We had guys who know when to move the ball and are good at finding the open guy. That
allowed me to get more spot-up 3 point shots. Coach Velcic also valued my prowess in the
pick and roll so he gave me the opportunities to make plays that way. I was able to knock
down some 3’s there too…both situations gave me good quality 3 point looks.

You play defense with a lot of heart and passion and it showed it Germany. How do you
feel did your defensive game grow in the Pro A?

I take pride in all of my match-ups, which includes being able to contain and stop
whomever I’m guarding each game. This league has a lot of great competition. There were
no days off at the point guard position. The better competition helped me to grow even
more as a defensive player. I gained more experience picking up on individual and team

What is the next step for you? You won’t be returning to Schwenningen. Would you like to take a
new challenge in Germany or will you go elsewhere?

I‘m not sure. I’m open to everything. I did my work this season and now I’m just trusting the
process. I have the goal in mind of where I want to be a few steps down the line but the
route to getting there will happen as it should. This part of the career is out of my control.
Now is the time for off-season preparation.

Who was the toughest guard that you faced in the Pro A this season?

That’s a tough question. There are a lot of talented guards in the league. Much respect to all
the guards in the league. My favorite guard in the league is probably Haris Hujic from Leverkusen.
He is really poised, and affects the game in many different ways. He really picked us apart
at Leverkusen.

On what areas of your game will you be working on most this summer to continue to
improve your game?

I want to continue to work on the physicality aspect of my game. I was able to get a lot of
paint touches which allowed me to pick up fouls. Eventually I stopped getting those calls. I
want to be more creative adjusting to that situation. Shooting can always get better no
matter the percentage. I want to watch film and be more prepared for in-season
adjustments. I have a lot of tools in my bag and I want to be more comfortable applying
different ones at different times.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank
him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

I hate to include championships in these kind of arguments. I think CP3 is the best point
guard of this era without question. He performed well on different teams, in both
conferences. He’s been playing at a high level for a long time. All-time, I’d say he is
definitely behind Magic and maybe behind Stockton, but no further

How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50
plus points this season and recently 60. Where will his journey go as a player in the next

I played against Tatum in college. He has the potential to be a superstar. That’s about all
you can get out of me about a Dukie. LOL!

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to
success. Do you agree?

Russ would kill Europe! He might not fit in every Euro coaches ‘system’ but he’d dominate.
He plays with an extremely high motor and he’s athletically superior to most.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

NO. He’s a great defender. There just needs to be more longevity before I’d agree to him
being the best of all-time.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they
just have left it alone?

I have not seen it. I don’t want to ruin my image of the movie. It’s been too long since the
first movie. I honestly think they should’ve left it alone.

Thanks Nate for the chat.

It´s A No Brainer That Shy Ely Wants To End His Career As A MLP Academics Lifer

Shyron Ely (194-SG-87, college: Evansville, agency: Slash Sports) is a 33 year old 194cm guard from Indianapolis that has played 389 professional games spanning a 12 year professional career. He recently finished his seventh season with the MLP Academics having played 156 games and helped lead them to the easyCredit BBL averaging 14.1ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 46.1%, FT-1 (95.6%). He also played two seasons in the G-League and in countries like Switzerland and France. He began his basketball career at Speedway High School and then played 121 NCAA games with the University of Evansville (NCAA). He spoke to after the 2020-2021 season.

Congrats Shy on the 2021 Pro A title. As a guy from Indiana, did you learn something new about celebrating Heidelberg style after a title win?

Thank you, it’s a great feeling. And yes, celebrating with the team after our championship is a night I will always remember.

What an interesting final series. You won game one by 30 points and the second game was 93-93. Will you remember that game two was a tie in 30 years?

Yes, I think I will always remember game 2. It seems so strange to end a game with a tie. But I will also remember how we handled business in game 1 in Leverkusen, to put ourselves in a good position to play at home.

How did it feel ending a game in a tie and have you ever had that before in your career?

The tie was strange, and something I haven’t experienced before. Just a couple weeks ago we played a triple overtime game against Kircheim. In basketball I believe a winner must be decided no matter how long the game takes.

The second quarter of game one decided the title as you won it 24-9. Was that the perfect quarter of balanced offense and defense?

It was as good a quarter as we’ve played all season. To hold a team like that to 9 points in their gym is a great accomplishment.

The MLP Academics shot better, rebounded better and took care of the ball better in game one. Did the MLP Academics want it more than the Bayer Giants Leverkusen?

I’m sure Leverkusen wanted it as much as we did, but it all comes down to what you do on the floor as a team. I truly believed we were the best team for most of the year.

The team had six guys in double figures. How much fun did this season have taking care of the ball?

That’s one special aspect of this team: that we had 8 or 9 players that could legitimately score 20 points on any given night. It’s difficult for a defense to prepare for that.

It was a crazy and unpredictable PRO A season with COVID. How highly can one rate this title win with all the drama happening around COVID?

Very unpredictable. That’s why I’m so proud of our first and second year players for how they stay focused throughout this difficult season. I’m not sure how I would’ve handled it as a 22-23 year old. The degree of difficulty is very high.

The MLP Academics obviously had a great bunch of guys, but if you look back on the season what was the secret to the success?

I think a lot of it is the way we practice and train. We hold each other accountable on the floor. Our strength and conditioning coach, Serena Benevente, also did an amazing job of preparing our bodies for everything.

How much credit do you have to give coach Frenki and manager Matthias Lautenschlager? How strong was their vision and what was key for them be able to transport this belief of moving up to the team?

Both of them deserve a lot of credit for what we accomplished. Frenki has always had his own philosophy on how to win ball games and did a great job instilling that into the players. Matthias is a hands on manager that always makes sure the players know that they can voice their concerns about matters relating to the team. Together they’ve created a great culture to play in.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it to be reunited with Evan Mcguaghey came back to Heidelberg. How did his game keep progressing since your rookie season?

It was great to play with Evan again. He sent me a message right after he signed with us, saying how excited he was to be back and that we can reach our goal of moving this team up to the first league. Evan has always had the skills set to be a great player, but what I really noticed this season was his confidence.

How key was scorer Jordan Geist this season? What did you appreciate most about his game?

Jordan was amazing for us the whole year. One of the most talented scorers I’ve been around. I believe he’s also an underrated and very scrappy defender. I just really appreciate his competitive nature.

Saaed Nelson played a very good rookie season. How did you see him develop in the season and is he a guy that you see making the jump to internal ball competition in the future?

Sa’eed is a very special talent. I believe he was the engine to our team. The pace he plays with and his ability to make plays was phenomenal. I saw him score at the basket at will, and then become a more confident shooter from the outside. I definitely see him playing internationally in the future.

The team has so many scorers, but how important was the consistency inside form the two German big men Armin Trtovac and Philipp Heyden? How much did they give support to the success?

In my opinion, nobody else in the league had 2 big men like we had. Phillip is our captain and emotional leader, and has so much experience. And Armin is so talented and such a hard worker and I believe could start on any team in the league. They were our anchors.

From all the players that you witnessed this season with the MLP Academics who was the most improved player?

I would say Armin.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 14/3/2 stats and shot 46% from outside. How content were you with your season?

My main goal for the season was to remain healthy, so I’m very happy with that. I knew I would do the work I needed to produce on the court so I never worry about numbers.

This was your seventh season with the MLP Academics Heidelberg. You have been consistent for most of your stay here. What has been the secret of your overwhelming consistency?

I think it’s just the attitude to never be satisfied and to know that there’s always something I can improve.

This was your third best outside shooting percentage with the MLP Academics after shooting 50% and 47% once. How much motivation does a guy like you at age 33 have to keep getting better as an outside shooter?

I put a lot of work into my shot. And whenever I shoot, I fully expect it to go in. I wasn’t always a great shooter, so I just put in the reps and combined that with confidence

You didn’t score as much as in past years, but you won the title. How do you feel did your game grow this season having so much talent around and being in a winning culture?

I was happy to share the scoring load with our other talented players. I’ve always been a good scorer and I only do that because usually it helps our team win. At the end of the day it’s about winning.

What does it mean for you to be a MLP Academic player and being a lifer like Quantez Robertson in Frankfurt. I can imagine it is a no brainer to want to finish your career in your second home?

It means a lot to me to be a part of this organization for some years now, and to be a part of our next journey in the BBL. This city is very special to me and of course I want to end my career here.

On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this season to keep improving as a player?

We missed a lot of time in the weight room this season so I will be looking to improve my strength, conditioning and explosiveness.

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

Gerel Simmons from Artland

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

I think he plays the position close to perfect. A true floor general. For me, he’s a top 5 PG of all-time even if he doesn’t win a championship

Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?

I’m not sure he’s a top 10 player right now, but he’s definitely on his way. Great talent and so young and only getting better.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

I believe he could. Just based on his mentality and competitive nature.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

I disagree with Draymond, but I believe he should feel like that about himself.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I haven’t seen the sequel to Coming to America yet. The original is in my top 5 favorite movies of all time. I will watch the new one soon but I believe they should’ve left it alone.

Thanks Shy for the chat.

After Undergoing The Uncomfortable Grind Javontae Hawkins Is Mostly Looking Forward To Smiling Having Fun And Helping His Team Win

In the last year and a half nothing has been normal as the whole world has experienced very very hard times with COVID-19. Obviously nothing ever can match the sadness of millions of people dying on account of COVID-19 so for a professional basketball player to miss a whole season due to injury can be seen more as a side note in comparison to precious lives being lost. Javontae Hawkins (196-G-93, college: Fordham, agency: Higher Vision Sports) is more than blessed to be alive during COVID-19 and been able to survive so any other type of hardships that he witnessed is just like adding a P.S when you have forgotten to add something at the end of a letter. The upbeat American was unable to play last season due to injury after having played his best season as a professional with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim in 2019-2020. He was rewarded after a fantastic season with the big surprise team of 2019-2020 Hakro Merlins Crailsheim by being able to make the next step with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg another club that continues to make massive steps up due to the first class coaching methods of John Patrick. But the Basketball God had something different in mind for him as he unluckily tore his ACL in a pre season battle against his ex team Crailsheim. So instead of being able to be a part of another winning season with new team Ludwigsburg, the American who hails from Huntington, West Virginia saw his season go a totally different route as rehab and surgery was as present in his vocabulary as title, title, title is at the moment for Phoenix Sun Chris Paul. On top of that he also had to struggle like every other human being with COVID-19. He could of easily wrote a book about his troubles and the ‘Uncomfortable Grind’ could have been the perfect title. ‘It was definitely tough to sit out last season due to injury, however I learned a lot sitting out, I didn’t know how mentally strong I was until I had to sit out and do what I call ‘The Uncomfortable Grind’. With it being the most challenging time in my career I still found peace and had support from current and former coaches and teammates. My wife and Dad were the most motivating during this time as well’, remembered Javontae Hawkins.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Javontae Hawkins in 2020 in Frankfurt

The American who didn’t go the normal NCAA route with one team but actually battled on the floor with three schools with South Florida, Eastern Kentucky and Fordham not only had the nasty ACL injury and COVID to deal with in 2020, but also a brutal financial confrontation with his former team Crailsheim. One could of thought like the basketball God really had it in for him last year, but at least the money side got sorted out. ‘ I had my best professional season with the Hakro Merlins, however the money situation was eventually resolved in Crailsheim. I just feel that my mental was tested and God saw me through it all as I’m looking forward to making a remarkable comeback this upcoming season’, warned Javontae Hawkins. He will never forget his Crailsheim season, because it will forever be one of those what if seasons as he felt the club could of finished at the top. He also will never forget head coach Tuomas Iisalo who he sees being able to make the Telekom Baskets Bonn back into a winner again. ‘Tuomas, will change that organization and get them back on the winning side for sure. He will bring a certain toughness, grit and hunger out of his players. He is definitely one of the most underrated coaches in all of Europe. I expect nothing but great things to happen over there at Bonn under him’, warned Javontae Hawkins. Even if Covid-19 was a very negative experience for so many, it actually helped him in certain ways during his long road back to being 100% as a player. ‘It was tough with it being my first surgery, but it also helped me realize that I am a resilient, strong minded individual. I enjoyed the rehab process with the physios (Marco, Tobi, and Manu) at MHP they were some of the best out there and I appreciate them to the fullest. I feel Covid made me very strong as a man as well as a husband. It showed me that life is precious and we must protect and hold the one’s close to us very close’, stressed Javontae Hawkins.

Despite having the tough ACL injury, he was able to do his rehab process in Germany in Ludwigsburg and was able to follow the exciting MHP Riesen season. The American who respects Golden State Warrior Draymond Green for proclaiming he is the greatest defender in the world is blessed that he was in such good hands with the MHP Riesen medical staff, but seeing his teammates compete on a daily basis was very tough for his nerves and mind. ‘It was tough to sit and watch, but I was at every home game rooting and cheering them on and was glued to the tv watching my them during the away games. I was beyond proud of what they accomplished. I think I would’ve added more power, those guys were consistent all year’, expressed Javontae Hawkins. Not only the medical staff took good care of him, but he also appreciated the fact that head coach John Patrick who would check in on him and his wife on a regular basis. He was very fortunate to have been able to play with one of the top easyCredit BBL point guards Dwayne Russell in Crailsheim two years ago and last season could of done it again with MVP Jaleen Smith, but instead had to follow his rapid rise something he did with joy and is confident that they both would of done amazing things on the court. ‘Jaleen had an exceptional year. He definitely was consistent and showed that he was the MVP every night whether it was offensively or defensively. He made big plays down the stretch plenty of times all season long. His MVP was well deserved for sure. We meshed pretty well in practice in preseason before the injury so I’m pretty sure we would’ve made a great duo’, warned Javontae Hawkins. The guard who has also played in Greece and Finland is excited not only to play somewhere again, but also to see exactly where Dewayne Russell’s development will go this season. ‘That dude has heart. Me and him had the best connection on the court, I think he can show that he’s a TOP point guard in Europe this upcoming year. These past couple of years me and Dewayne (Weezy) become very close friends, we talk every week, our wives talk to each other very often as well too’, commented Javontae Hawkins.

The American who was born in Flint, Michigan and sees Chris Paul currently as a top 5 point guard of all-time and top 3 if he propels the Phoenix Suns to the NBA crown. His journey back to being 100% Javontae Hawkins the player was a strenuous road, but in the end all the effort was worth it since soon he will be able to play the game he loves again. ‘The negatives were the surgery and never really being injured to the point where I had to get surgery, however after I threw myself a pity party for a few days, I locked in and attacked rehab like never before and 8 months later I’m getting even more stronger physically and mentally. I just thank God for keeping me level headed, humble and in a positive state of mind through it all’, added Javontae Hawkins. He has been lucky that not only in Germany having had the best support from trainers, but also in California. ‘I believe my trainers were important in not only the physical part but the mental part as well by helping me trust my body again and get back to a new and improved version of myself. Even my trainers in California are doing the same as I continue to work and prepare for this upcoming season’, said Javontae Hawkins. Somestimes when a player returns after a very grueling injury and surgery, he won’t return back the way he was before it happened. Despite everything he went through, his mentality is very strong and he is confident that he will be a good player that will be able to help his team in so many different ways. ‘I don’t believe my game suffered at all. As unfortunate my injury was, I believe I’ve become a more mature, seasoned player who can still display athletic ability, shooting, defense and making my teammates better’, stressed Javontae Hawkins. He has been working very hard on his game so he will be best prepared no matter what league he plays in and has been focusing on certain aspects of his game most. ‘I’m working on making plays for others, making shots at a high and consistent rate, being a complete player as well as being able to do whatever is asked of me’, stated Javontae Hawkins. He is grinding and he is continuing to work on his skills and all he needs now is an organization that believes in him and will give him a opportunity. Sometimes after a brutal injury, clubs will be skeptical about a player and not take a risk, but he isn’t in the least worried about not finding a club soon. ‘The team search is going well. A lot of teams have reached out lately, I believe teams are anticipating me to come back more than being reserved or worried about what happened last year. I’m still young, and have a bright future ahead with lots of basketball left to play. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for this upcoming year’, warned Javontae Hawkins. The ex Huntington Prep great who believes that Coming To America should have been left untouched is at peace with himself at the moment and has a very positive mind set and ready to battle on the court again. The itch to get back on the court is as huge as Chris Paul’s will to win that chip and currently is looking forward most to three things. ‘ I’m just looking forward to smiling, having fun, and most importantly doing whatever it takes to win’, warned Javontae Hawkins.

Kevin Yebo Is Ready For Another BBL Challenge After Learning That He Can Get Through Anything That Basketball Life Throws At Him

Kevin Yebo (207-PF-96) is a 25 year old 203cm forward that played the 2020-2021 season with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (ProA) playing 19 games averaging 9.6ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 63.6%, 3PT: 27.6%, FT: 66.7%. In the 2019-2020 season he played with the easyCredit BBL team Hamburg Towers averaging 3,7ppg and 2,8rpg. He scored in double figures in 2 games with 14 points against MBC and 10 points against Ludwigsburg.. He began his basketball career with SG Sechtem 1971 (Germany-Regionalliga). He had his break out season with the EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) in the second half of the 2015-2016 season playing 17 games averaging 14.1ppg, 8.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 65.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 69.4%. He made another step with EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) in 2016-2017 playing 26 games averaging 16.5ppg, Reb-3 (11.0rpg), 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 61.7%. In 2017-2018 he made the jump to the Pro A with Team Ehingen Urspring (ProA) playing 30 games averaging 10.9ppg, Reb-3 (7.4rpg), 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 64.5%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 77.5%. In his second season with Team Ehingen he matured further playing 33 games averaging 15.2ppg, Reb-1 (9.5rpg), 1.6apg, FGP: 61.6%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 65.3%. He spoke to about basketball.

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

I’m in Bremerhaven at the moment and I got to be in quarantine for one more week because the last team we played had some corona issues so we got to be quarantined too. Basketball is treating me great like always. I’m blessed.

Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about how you personally survived COVID-19 in the last season. What was most challenging for during these hard times on and off the court?

I personally survived corona pretty good. This season was really tough to be honest. We had to be in quarantine three times and it’s always a little bit tough to find back to the rhythm. To play without Fans is really sad too to me because I’m a emotional player and the fans always give me that extra push.

With everything that you have experienced off the court in the last year how do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?

It made me stronger for sure. It showed me that everything can go how you didn’t expect it but that I am strong enough to fight through it and make the best I can do out of everything I am getting.

You couldn’t finish last season with Hamburg due to COVID-19 and this season also was ended by COVID-19. How tough was ending the season abruptly again and was it tougher than last season?

Both wasn’t that tough to me. I think everything is happening for a reason, so I’m looking pretty calm on the whole situation.

The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven played a super season in the Pro A. With all the success that the club had, how can one honestly rate this season when there were so many road blocks getting in the way of really being able to prepare and play at 100%?

I am really proud of the team how every player that stayed to the end fought. I think everybody learned something from this season and will be better for next season for sure.

The club started off strong with a five game winning streak, then had a little lull having a 3-5 record, but then finished strong winning 11 of 12 games. Talk about what was special about the team this season?

The best thing about the team was that we had guys that fought through this season. We had some real fighters. After everything we went through this season (Corona, teammates which left the team ect.)

The club was up and down in the playoffs losing two tight games to Heidelberg and Kirchheim, but then showing class beating the feisty wiha Panthers twice. Was the club physically at the limit in the playoffs?

We still fought till the end. In the playoffs we just weren’t good enough and to be honest we couldn’t fix the issue we had with the referees.

With all the drama that happened this season in the pro A how do you summarize the season and what were the positives from the season?

Like I said I think everybody learned something from this season and everybody can be proud of themselves.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing with American Trey Davis who had been close to the NBA? Where do you see his journey going in the future?

It was nice to play with Trey. I really appreciate him especially for all after what he’s done for us.

What was it like having fellow German Max Ugrai as a teammate. How beneficial were the daily battles in practice with him?

Max is a great player and even better teammate. To have him as the captain was very beneficial for us and I really learned a lot playing against him and see him playing.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 9,6ppg and 4,7rpg. How content were you with your season?

My season was alright. I had to fight with some little injuries and this season with corona was really weird, but I fought through it and I think I can be proud of me.

How instrumental do you feel was your experience having played in the easyCredit BBL? How do you feel did your game grow there ?

The BBL experience really changed my game and showed me that consistency and discipline is one of the most important things everybody should add to their game.

You have stated in the last years that you continue to work on your shot. You continue to shoot at a high percentage from the two point range, but shot only 27% from outside. What has been the most difficult thing about getting consistency from outside?

I think I can be a solid shooter but I need to work on getting my shoot more consistent. I think when I can get 2 or 3 looks from outside per game that this will change my percentage and my game for sure.

stated to me before you went to Hamburg that if your shot gets more consistent, your ball handling gets more secure, your decision making gets faster and my body gets a little bit stronger and more powerful, you could really can be a good modern forward. How do you feel did you grow as a player this season in the Pro A?

I grew for sure this season, but I think the most important think I learned was that I am able to go through everything that basketball life throws at me.

Who was the toughest player that you faced in the pro A this season?

It’s always tough to play against Shy Eli because he is so all rounded skilled.

On what areas of your game will you be working on most this summer to continue to improve your game?

I will work on my shoot and my body the most. To be honest I will work on everything In my game like always.

What is the next step for you? Do you see yourself remaining another season in the Pro A for grooming or do you feel that your ready for another easyCredit BBL attempt?

I think I am ready for the BBL for sure. So my plan is to be a part of a BBL team in the future.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

He is one of the greatest PG’s in the game. Despite he isn’t that fast or athletic as other guards, how he’s is reading the game and how controlled his game is, is very inspirational.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

I think there are a lot of players in the NBA that couldn’t lead teams in Europe to success. First of all it’s never just one player which is making the difference and second European basketball is different than the basketball in the NBA. I think we still got to appreciate what Russ is doing. He will go down as one of the best player in NBA history and that is a fact.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

Hell nah he is not even top 3.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I have seen it. It was alright lol. I think it was a good thing and that we have to push the black community more.

Thanks Kevin for the chat.