Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

James Blackmon Jr(Dolomiti Energia Trento) Hasn´t Been Scoring As Much And Wants To Impact The Game in Different Ways

James Blackmon Jr is a 24 year old 193cm combo guard from ft Wayne, Indiana playing his third professional season and first with Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A). Last season he played with Consultinvest VL Pesaro (Italy-Serie A) playing 30 games: Score-2(19.8ppg), 3.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 89.9%. He played in the G-League as a rookie with the Delaware 87ers (NBA G-League playing 28 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 81.1%, and in Jan.’18 signed with the Wisconsin Herd (NBA G League) playing 19 games averaging 16.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 43.5%, FT: 92.7%. The Mcdonalds All-American played at Indiana(NCAA) from 2014-2017 playing a total of 75 games and as a senior played 30 games averaging 17.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 83.7%. He spoke to before a Eurocup game against the EWE Baskets in Oldenburg.

James thanks for talking to Welcome to Germany. Is this your first time in Germany. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball?

I don´t know that much. I had a few guys play here that I know with Kalani Martin I know that the German league is very competitive.

You only have very limited time in the Eurocup travels to other countries. What do you appreciate the most on trips even if you don´t get to see as much of a country and it´s culture like you would?

I am blessed to be able to travel and see Europe. We don´t have much time to see things. The best thing about this experience is being with your teammates.

Your playing your second season in Italy and first with Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A). Americans often rave about the whole basketball experience in Italy and many stay there for many years. Is Italy a place you could see staying for many consecutive years or are you a guy that will want to explore different countries and leagues down the road?

I saw Trento as being the best opportunity for me. I don´t necessarily want to be in one country. I take what is the best opportunity.

Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A) is 4-4 in the Serie A and 3-4 in Eurocup play. Would be correct to say that the team hasn´t found itself as a collective team yet despite being very talented?

We still have a long season. We talent and great players. We have to continue to work hard in practice and put it together in games.

In your rookie season in Europe you belonged to the top scorers in the Serie A. this season you aren´t as much of a scorer as last season, but still first and second in team scoring in the two competitions. Despite that do you have a similar role to last season?

Yes my role this season is similar to last seasons. But this season there are better players. That is why my scoring is down. It is all about finding the right balance.

Let´s talk about your teammates. How much easier does a guy like Aaron Craft make your game when he is running the point who is averaging 7,9apg in the Eurocup and 6,4apg in the Serie A? What have you learned to appreciate most about his game?

He brings a lot of energy and intensity to the game. That helps raise the level of my game.

With George King and Rashard Kelly, you have two fellow young guys sharing the court. How have they impacted the team success most and what do you appreciate most about their games?

They are two unselfish players that really work hard on the court. George has a great shot and can score the ball. Rashard can do many things well at both ends of the court. Both are good to play with.

Let´s talk about your game. You’re a 193cm shooting guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

Guys that I enjoy watching are Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. I am an explosive combo guard scorer that can change a game.

You shot the long ball very well in the NCAA and in the G-League. Last season with  Consultinvest VL Pesaro (Italy-Serie A) were at 34%. This season you are shooting the ball well again. What do you feel is the most important thing now at this stage of your career to keep being able to develop your shot more besides reps and shot selection?

The main thing is to always have confidence on the court. Knowing you can make the shots and taking the right ones are key.

Your already a complete player, but on what things are you currently working on most on your game to continue to help improve in certain aspects?

I want to become more of a leader. I want to be that vocal leader. I also want to be able to show more on both sides of the ball.

How much pride do you take on the defensive end? When your offense isn´t on, do you look to get your defense going to help spark your offense again?

Yes for sure. Each night is different. I want to be able to do different things to impact the game. I haven´t been scoring as much as usual so I want to impact game in different ways.

Last season as a rookie in Europe you played with Consultinvest VL Pesaro (Italy-Serie A) playing 30 games: Score-2(19.8ppg), 3.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 89.9%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie where you knew that you were very far away from home?

Just how the game is different. There is a lot less spacing here. The game is intense and physical in Italy.

As a rookie you played in the G-League with teams Delaware 87ers (NBA G-League) averaging 12.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 81.1%, in Jan.’18 signed with the Wisconsin Herd (NBA G League) averaging 16.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 43.5%, FT: 92.7%. How was this experience for you? You had solid stats. Did you ever feel that season that you were close to an NBA call up?

I started the season with the 76ers. I got an opportunity and they wanted to see me play point guard. I played with Delaware and showed I could get many assists. With Wisconsin, I showed that I could play off the ball and show my scoring side. It was a good development year. I think that I was closest to getting to the NBA with Milwaukee. My goal each day is to get better.

You were already a scorer at Indiana(NCAA), but how do you feel did you develop further as a player in the G-League where there is little team play and many playing for stats?

I am big for a point guard and showed with Delaware that I can be a combo guard. With Wisconsin, I showed I could be a scorer and make shots.

How vital was it playing with and against ex NBA players and young NBA player prospects. How valuable was this experience to raise your game a bit more?

My goal is always to be in the NBA. Each night you have the opportunity to show what you have in the G-league. Being able to play against all that talent definitely raised my game. It also helped that I was in the gym every day.

You played a short time with NBA player Emeka Okafor with Delaware. What kind of experience was it being able to share the court with him and hanging out with him and picking his brain on road trips?

He has had a long NBA career. I was always able to talk to him. He taught me a lot about taking care of my body and diet. He gave me tips about the NBA. He told me that had the perfect skill set and it was all about timing and getting there is something you can´t really control. He told me to work as hard as possible each day and always be in the gym.

You played at Indiana(NCAA) from 2014-2017. You had many different experiences there being teammates with Yog iFerrell, broke Eric Gordon´s record, was injured as a sophomore playing only 13 games and had a strong senior campaign. How do you summarize your three year career? What was your most memorable moment?

I came in as a Mcdonalds All-American and started as a freshman. I was a leader and handled everything well. My sophomore year was tough being injured, but my last year, I came back strong into that leader role and helped me get experience.

When was the last time that you watched your amazing buzzer beater against Penn State? Is this a video you like to watch to help motivate you?

I honestly haven´t watched that in a while. When I do watch it, it definitely motivates me and brings back memories.

How did head coach Tom Crean groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

He taught how important approach is. I don´t think there is a coach that went harder than him or was more in the gym trying to figure out how to get the upper hand on teams. I learned a lot from him.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Yogi Ferrell?

We always went back and forth. We always did limited dribbles and taking certain spots. We were always in the gym together.

How much of an influence has your dad been for you through your basketball career? How has he been able to shape and make you the man that you are today?

He put the ball in my hand. He groomed me as a player and showed me all I know. He was my coach in high school. He was a Mcdonalds All-American at Kentucky. He was every where where I wanted to be at.

You played NBA Summer League in 2017 and 2018, but not in 2019. How wide is the door open for you trying to get into the NBA or are you concentrating now on a European career and titles?

My goal is always the NBA and just getting better.

Who is the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

I had to guard Yogi Ferrell each day in practice. That was a tough cover.

If you had to construct your own personal NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you pick that best fits your taste?

Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaq and Michael Jordan

Where will the journey of the Golden State Warriors go now with the injury to Steph Curry? Is the Dynasty now over?

They will back next season on the comeback trail.

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

Everybody wants to say Jordan, but he was before my time. I have to say Lebron

What was the last movie that you saw?

Love and Basketball.

Thanks James for the chat.

Johnathan Williams 111 Is Thinking Only About Winning With Maccabi Rishon And Not As A Spring Board Back To The NBA

Johnathan Williams is a 24 year old 206cm forward from Memphis, Tennessee playing his second professional season and first with Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Winner League). Last season he split time with the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) playing 23 games averaging 6.8ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 60.2%, FT: 56.3%, and also played with the South Bay Lakers (NBA G League) playing 35 games averaging 15.7ppg, 8.7rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 23.8%, FT: 44.2%. He began his NCAA career in 2013 with Missouri (NCAA) playing a total of 67 games and then moved to Gonzaga University (NCAA) playing 56 games and as a senior played 37 games averaging 13.4ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 54.0%. He spoke to about basketball recently before a Eurocup game against ratiopharm Ulm.

Jonathan thanks for talking to Welcome to Germany. How have you been able to appreciate the European travel and cultures in comparison what you saw in the NBA and G-League?

While I have enjoyed experiencing European travel and cultures very much, I have to say that nothing has compared to experiencing Israel and experiencing what a unique and beautiful country it is.  From the people to the weather to the food I don’t think I have ever experienced anything quite like Israel.  I love it here. 

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Have you had any friends or ex teammates that have played here?

I know the German teams well from watching a number of games on my off days.  I also have friends that are playing and have played there.  So I definitely have a familiarity with it.

Your playing your first season overseas with  Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Winner League). You had a strong G-League season with the South Bay Lakers and also put up respectable stats for a roster filled Lakers team. Why did you choose to come to Europe and not take some of that momentum from your rookie season and remain there?

I enjoyed my time with South Bay and with the Lakers but I am also truly enjoying my time with Rishon now as well.  I wanted to embrace the challenge of playing successfully in Europe and that is all my attention is on for now: winning games for Rishon.

Americans are always raving about how great it was playing in Israel. How have you been able to appreciate the culture there besides just the good weather and food?

I love it in Israel.  I look forward to visiting many of the historic sites such as Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and other areas in whatever free time I have.  But for now my focus is on winning game for Rishon. 

 Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Winner League) has an interesting roster with five Americans and also players from other countries. You are a guy that will carry the team. Is this season like a spring board to get back to the NBA next season?

I don’t look at it like that at all.  This season is about helping Maccabi Rishon win games. Period.  I play for Rishon not for the NBA. 

How vital has center Darryl Monroe been for your early adjustment period. The guy is a true veteran that also knows how to play the game well. Is he a guy where you have been able to soak up some of the tricks of the European style?

He has been a great teammate for sure. 

What part of your game has already improved that has happened due to you playing in the European style?

I honestly haven’t had a chance to think about that.  As long as we win games I believe my game is improving in the right way.  It has to be if we are winning.  Hopefully many of the intangibles that I have brought to Rishon have helped the team and will continue to help the team win.  

You played your rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) playing 23 games averaging  6.8ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 60.2%, FT: 56.3%, and played also with the South Bay Lakers (NBA G League) playing 35 games averaging 15.7ppg, 8.7rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 23.8%, FT: 44.2%. You finished the season strong with the Los Angeles Lakers. There was talk of Anthony Davis coming for months. Did that trade end hurt your chances of remaining?

I have no idea.  Only the Los Angeles Lakers could answer that question.

What was your wake up call to being in the NBA where you knew right away that the NBA is foremost a business and any feelings of players is put aside?

I only had positive memories of my time in the NBA as I had an opportunity to play with some great teammates and learn from great coaches. 

You were teammates with Lebron James. Was there any quality of his game that you were able to soak up in the time that you were there?

There were a number of players in the NBA that I took bits and pieces of learning from what they do.  The NBA is a league of “specialists” and I tried to learn as much as I could.  Hopefully I am still learning. 

You were teammates with Isaac Bonga in the G-League and NBA. He also was effected by the trade being dealt to the Washington Wizards. He played a lot of point guard as a youngster in Germany. Where do you see his route going in the NBA?

Right now his route is as a starter for the Washington Wizards so I think is route is going just fine.

You had a solid NBA Summer League with the Houston Rockets averaging 8,6ppg and 6,0rpg. That was another situation where the club was packed with big men.Do you feel like German Isaiah Hartenstein will finally get a chance there this season?

 I think Isaiah is a talented, athletic front court player for sure.  But as far as his opportunity that he will get there you would have to ask that question to Houston.

You began your NCAA career with Missouri in 2013 and played two season´s there. You were able to improve your scoring and rebounding each season. Do you ever wonder where you might be today had you remained in Missouri?

I honestly don’t as I have a special place in my heart for both my experience at Missouri as well as my experience at Gonzaga.

You then moved to Gonzaga in 2016 and finished there putting up very solid stats of 10,2ppg and 6,4rpg and as a senior 13.4ppg, 8.5rpg. Was going to Gonzaga one of your best decisions in your life?

Going to Gonzaga is full of memories I will always cherish. 

You reached the NCAA final in 2017. What will you remember most from that 71-65 loss where you steered home 9 points and 5 boards?

I will remember most that we lost.  I wish we would have won.

What do you remember of the day to day battles in Practice with French forward Killian Tillie? Did some of his European skills rub off on you?

He was a solid player who had a unique set of skills.  I enjoyed playing and practicing against him a lot

How did head coach Mark Few groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

He taught me how to play hard every night; play responsibly every night; and to play the “right way” every night.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Killian Tillie?

I don’t remember scores from practice.  Only games

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

I wouldn’t want to narrow it down to one player.  I played against quite a few tough players but I also hope that I was one of the tougher players that others had to play against too.

Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time debate with Michael Jordan?

I never saw Michael Jordan play in person so I am not really qualified to give an opinion on that. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Dolemite is my name

Thanks Johnathan for the chat

The Dragons Rhondorf Destroy BG Dorsten 104-76 For 7th Win In A Row

It continues to be a massive delight to enter the Dragon Dome in Bad Honnef and see the Rhondorf Dragons playing super basketball and winning. Especially now it is extra fun to watch the ex Pro A team, because they haven´t lost in a long time. They have won their last six games in a row and last weekend upset number one team Rheinstars 86-83 and were in the ultimate basketball heaven realizing that the team had talent and could beat anyone in the league despite their up and down start at 3-3. The club continues to score at a very comfortable rate averaging 93 points per game and have eclipsed the 100 point mark in 4 of the last six games. Their defense continues to be a work in progress, but had made steps forward in the last weeks. The third place team Dragons Rhondorf met 8th placed team BG Dorsten who they had never battled against as they sat in eighth place. They had started the season strong winning 3 of their first 4 games, but since then struggled losing 5 of their last 8 games and 3 of their last 4 games. Last weekend they lost a heartbreaker in the derby clash against BV Wulfen 77-74. They averaged 80 points on offense coming into the game and allowed 81 points per game. Both teams best players Curtis Hollis and Adam Picket continued to be on a tear and met for the first time in their professional careers and the Texas native won round one as the Dragons Rhondorf overcame a weak first quarter and poured home 85 points in the last three quarters to destroy BG Dorsten 104-76. It was the tenth win of the season for the Dragons and their seventh in a row. Their offense continues to be on fire as the give sharing the ball a new meaning while their defense is still a work in progress, their potent offense continues to hide their inconsistent defense. “We were lazy in the first quarter, but after that we picked it up. We played good team basketball sharing the ball and making the extra pass. Our rotations have to get better. We have to be better positioned on the help side. But I still feel our defense is getting better each game”, warned Dragons Rhondorf American Curtis Hollis. BG Dorsten fell to 6-7 and their top scorer American Adam Picket who entered the game averaging 26,0ppg didn´t hesitate to give his input to the Rhondorf lashing. “We have been practicing transition defense, but we did it well tonight only in spurts. We had too many stupid turnovers. We have to cut down on them. We got good shots and got to the free throw line, but our transition defense and turnovers hurt us. We didn´t hustle enough on defense”, added ex Winthrop guard Adam Pickett .”We continue to stay humble despite the 7 game winning streak. We want to keep working and building each day. We know that we are a talented team and have been getting rewarded in games. We still have a lot to correct, but it will only get better”,warned Curtis Hollis.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing BG Dorsten guard who poured in 27 points in the losing cause

                BG Dorsten got off to a quick start leading 7-2. Adam Pickett began the game showing rapidly what would give Rhondorf headaches all night long as he penetrated to then hoop with authority as nobody could match his quickness. Jan Peters who once struck Dortmund with 31 points and 9 three´s dropped a trey and ex Rhondorf NBBL player Nainoa Schmidt scored a lay in getting a pretty back door pass from German Wilhelm Koehler. This fast start didn´t intimate the Dragons Rhondorf as they finally got their offense going getting three scores from Hollis, ex FC Bayern Munich Pro B player Killian Binapfl and Slovenian big man Jure Besedic to cut the lead to 9-8. Rhondorf would dead lock the game twice 12-12 and 14-14 thanks to the physical inside play of Besedic who scored twice. The Slovenian likes the pick and pop, but stayed aggressive and did damage inside the paint. BG Dorsten did most of their damage on the penetration as Rhondorf didn´t defend well 1-1. BG Dorsten continued to put on pressure as Adam Pickett did a superb job drawing the defense on him and letting the three point shooters be open as young German Jan Peters dropped two treys. Schmidt also scored again while the Dragons Rhondorf stayed in the game getting production from Mark Kotieno and Curtis Hollis with a dunk on transition, but BG Dorsten led 23-19. “We didn´t have the intensity and mentality. We gave up to many offensive rebounds. Besedic played strong keeping us in the game”, added Dragons Rhondorf CEO Alexander Dohms. BG Dorsten shot 42% from the field and 37% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 0 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 56% form the field and 0% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 2 turnovers.

                In the second quarter came the turning point of the game where the Dragons Rhondorf took the lead and were able to build a comfortable lead and would never look back. After hitting no three´s in the first quarter, the Dragons Rhondorf came alive in the second dropping three. 37 year Spaniard Enrico Garrido Foz hit two in a row at the start tying the game at 25-25. BG Dorsten was able to grab back the lead one more time as Nderim Pelaj scored as did Peters for the 29-26 advantage. But then came the turning point of the contest as the Dragons Rhondorf rattled off a lethal 13-0 run to take the 39-29 lead and they would never look back. In the run, the former Pro B team got production from and the most damage from 37 year old Anish Sharda who scored 6 points while Curtis Hollis chipped in with 5 points scoring twice on the fast break. The Dragons Rhondorf stepped up their intensity on defense which BG Dorsten couldn´t come to terms with, finally started nailing three´s and allowed their aggressive defense lead to easy transition buckets on offense. The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t let up and kept the momentum and offensive consistency until the break. Rhondorf continued to get out on transition and got two more baskets from Hollis and Kotieno continued to score with ease in the paint. BG Dorsten had one ace in their deck with Adam Pickett who scored whenever he wanted in the paint while from outside he had no luck as he was 0/5 at the break. The Dragons Rhondorf had the comfortable 50-36 lead at the break. “You could see how valuable Enric Garrido Foz was as he came in and instantly improved our game. We had intensity on defense which led to easy fast break points”, commented Alexander Dohms. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 52% from the field and 27% from the three point line and had 27 rebounds and 7 turnovers while BG Dorsten shot 37% from the field and 26% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 6 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Curtis Hollis who supplied 23 points and 11 boards in the win

                In the third quarter the Dragons Rhondorf kept up the pressure and were able to extend their lead to 21 points. BG Dorsten had the better start catching the Dragons Rhondorf on the wrong foot and going on a rapid 5-0 run to cut down the Rhondorf lead to 50-41. 31 year old German Wilhelm Koehler who entered the season with 133 Regionalliga games on his resume scored a 15 footer after 6 seconds and made an offensive rebound and put back. Sharda put a short dagger into the BG Dorsten run with a trey extending the Dragons lead to 53-41, but BG Dorsten still had energy despite the comeback effort and rolled out on a 9-2 run to cut the Rhondorf lead to 55-50. Picket who played 120 NCAA games at Winthrop was a one man wrecking crew with his penetration scored 7 points while Peters scored on transition to cut the Rhondorf lead to 55-50. “Every USA guard that we play give their best. He was quick and could finish at ease. Yassin told me to cover him and I was able to slow him down a bit. We did what we could throwing a couple of bodies at him”, stressed Curtis Hollis. Pickett finished with 27 points, but wasn´t overall satisfied with his play as a playmaker since they didn´t win. “For me it´s important to score and find my teammates. Scoring 27 points doesn´t mean much when I don´t get my teammates involved and we don´t win. I need to be able to find a balance between scoring and finding my teammates and wining games”, stressed Adam Pickett. Despite cutting the Rhondorf lead down to 5 points, the home team then totally dominated ending the third quarter with massive 20-4 run to lead 75-54. In the run, it was the Beseidc show as he scored 12 points including two treys and Simonas Lukosius also gave his fine shooting touch scoring 9 points including back to back three´s. “Yassin ran a lot of plays with Besedic. When Besedic is playing hard, it opens up shots for others”, commented Curtis Hollis. “Besedic killed us inside. They were doing early post ups where he had to do no work except take the quick turnaround shot”, added Adam Pickett. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 53% from the field and 38% from the parking lot and had 36 rebounds and 13 turnovers while BG Dorsten shot 39% from the field and 25% form the parking lot and had 25 rebounds and 12 turnovers.

                The Dragons Rhondorf continued to be aggressive and execute on offense in the fourth quarter and extend their lead to as high as 30 points while BG Dorsten lost more intensity on the defensive end. Kotieno got the Dragons Rhondorf going with a basket for the 77-54 lead. Then came the big moment for German Sven Morlock who had 5 Pro B games experience had played 5,24 minutes in the game and brought a 28% from outside into the game rattled off back to back three´s to cut the Dragons lead to 77-60. Both teams took a rest from defense and both teams executed at a fine rate on offense, but that didn´t help BG Dorsten´s come back attempt. BG Dorsten starting point guard Pelaj had been quiet for the first 30 minutes scoring only 5 points, but now in the fourth quarter scored 5 points while Rhondorf received buckets from Foz and Kotieno as BG Dorsten trailed 84-67. Even if didn´t seem like BG Dorsten could get over the hump and challenge the Dragons, the home team didn´t want to risk anything and completely slammed the door shut on the guests with a ruthless 13-0 run to extend their lead to 97-67. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf got production from Hollis and Jonas Falkenstein who hit consecutive three´s while Kotieno and little used German Lotola Otshumbe scored baskets. BG Dorsten had lost intensity and energy on defense while the Dragons Rhondorf continued to share the ball and play fine team ball. The only thing that interested Dragon fans now was if they would hit the golden 100 mark again. They did as Lukosius hit a jumper and had to buy donuts for the team for the second time this season. It was another normal day at the office for the Dragons Rhondorf as they eclipsed the 100 point mark for the fifth time in the 7 game winning streak. “We kept pouring it on. It is hard to contain us with so many pieces”, added Curtis Hollis. “We lost intensity on defense. You need to fight for the complete 40 minutes. We didn´t compete enough. You play with pride and need to compete at all times”, warned Adam Pickett. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Curtis Hollis with 23points and 11 rebounds. Jure Besedic added 22 points and Simonas Lukosius had 13 points. Anish Sharda and Mark Kotieno added 10 points a piece. BG Dorsten was led by Adam Pickett with 27 points while Jonas Peters added 15 points.  shot 55% from the field and 41% from outside and had 49 rebounds and 17 turnovers while BG Dorsten shot 39% from the field and 26% from outside and had 32 rebounds and 16 turnovers.

Jaren Lewis(wiha Panthers) Believes He Will Be Consistent As A Rookie Because Of His Habits And Routines

Jaren Lewis is a 22 year old 198cm forward from Orlando, Florida that is playing his rookie season in Germany with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen currently averaging 9,6ppg, 3,9rpg and 1,6apg through 9 games.. He began his basketball career at Lake Highland Prep and played at Abil.Christian (NCAA) from 2015-2019 playing a total of 123 games. In his freshman year he played 30 games averaging 9.7ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 72.6%. In his second year at Abil.Christian (NCAA) he played 28 games averaging 13.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 71.3%. In his junior season at Abil.Christian (NCAA) he played 31 games averaging 13.4ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 79.1%. In his senior year at Abil.Christian (NCAA) he played 34 games averaging 13.8ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.8%. He spoke to about his career a few months ago.

Jaren thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

Right now I’m in Houston, Texas. I’ve had a pretty good summer I’ve been staying in Houston with my older brother since I graduated in May. And I’ve just been in Houston working out, training, and getting ready for the upcoming season.

Congrats on signing your first professional contract with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen. From Sacramento to Schwenningen. One place is a city and has an NBA team and the other is more a town and a Pro A club. Are you afraid that you will witness a culture shock?

No I’m not afraid about witnessing a culture shock. It will definitely be different for me and will be something I will have to adjust to. But I think I am ready for it . I’m ready to get there and get to work.

Describe what kind of a feeling it was working out for the NBA team Kings. How did it come about and what will you never forget about this experience?

It was a great experience working out for the Sacramento Kings. It came about because my agent did a great job getting my name out there and marketing me. Once he did that teams started taking a closer look at me and I’m grateful for the Kings giving me an opportunity to come work out there for them. It happened kind of fast because I took a while before signing with an agent, but as soon as I did my agent got to work for me and it has paid off. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how I performed. I feel like I had a pretty good workout and I’m just eager to build on it and to continue getting better.

What other players were there and with what coaches did you work with? Did they just give you the normal blabla advice about continuing to work hard or did they offer other tips on your basketball journey?

I worked out with Kyle Guy from Virginia’s national championship team, BJ Taylor from the University of Central Florida, John Konchar from Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne and two big men one from Eastern Kentucky University and another from Louisiana Lafayette. The workout was put on by assistant coaches of the Sacramento Kings, but most of the organization and newly hired Luke Walton watched and evaluated the whole workout. A couple coaches had a few tips for me regarding to my basketball journey but that was it.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Have you had ex teammates or friends play in Germany in the past?

 I have heard Germany is very beautiful and that the food is very good. I’ve read that Germany is a very diverse place and it can be full of the world’s different languages. Germany has a very large population so I wasn’t surprised to find that out. I don’t know much about German basketball and I don’t have any friends or ex teammates that have played in Germany in the past. But I am looking forward to learning more and gaining more experience.

Wiha Panthers Schwenningen head coach Alen Velcic is real high on your skill level. Did you have the feeling with the first phone call that he had a special heart for his team and players?

I did have that feeling on the first phone call that we had I can tell the Coach Velcic is really passionate about the game of basketball and he is going to give his all to ensure that we are successful on and off the court. Coach Velcic really does have a special heart for his players. You can tell by the way he talks about developing players not only as basketball players but also as men.

What other reasons were there for you making the wiha Panthers Schwenningen your home in your rookie season?

 The main reason for me signing is the opportunity the league and team present. I can really grow and develop in this league and it can be a great platform for me to showcase my talent. I have connected with Coach Velcic several times and we have common goals. We have started to form a really great relationship and I feel this partnership will benefit us both.

Let´s talk about your game. You’re a versatile and athletic 201cm forward. If you had to compare your style of play on the court to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

That’s tough I can’t really say there is a NBA player that I can compare my style of play to I feel like I’m very unique and I bring a lot to the table. I am very versatile so it is hard to compare my game to other people.

Consistency could be your middle name. You averaged 13,0ppg in your last three NCAA seasons. How important is it for you to be consistent and do you believe you can continue to carry it in the professional ranks?

It is extremely important for me to be consistent and I do believe I can carry it on to the professional ranks because of my habits and my routines. The work I put in makes me feel confident that I will continue to be consistent. I feel like my preparation will continue to help me find success and consistency.

You’re a guy that can really do a lot at the offensive end. What other strengths does your game possess that you will display on the court in Germany this season?

I think my complete game will be on display on the court in Germany this season. I really can do a lot on the offensive end and I look forward to putting that on display every time I go out to play. I think exactly that will show, I will do whatever it takes to help the team win.

How much pride do you take on the defensive end. What part of your defense do you feel will be most exposed in your rookie season?

I take a lot of pride on the defensive end. I don’t feel like any part of my defense will be exposed in my rookie season if I continue to stay locked in and consistent.

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

I feel like my passing ability doesn’t always get noticed right away on the court. I feel like I am a very good passer and have an excellent feel for the game.

On what areas of your game will you be working on most this summer so you will be most prepared? How well oiled is your three pointer? The highest you averaged in the last three seasons was 35%. Do you feel like your shot will be getting better over time?

This summer I’m working a lot on shooting and also getting stronger. I do feel like my shot will be getting better over time and I’m ready to show the strides and improvements I’ve made.

You played at Abil.Christian (NCAA) from 2015-2019. How great was your NCAA time. Was winning the Southland Conf. Tournament as a senior your most cherished moment or leading your team to the NCAA tournament for the first time in over 100 years?

It was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and yes I would say winning the southland conference tournament as a senior was my most cherished moment in my time at Abilene Christian it was just so rewarding because we had been working so hard for that moment. And to see that hard work pay off meant a lot because we went through a lot to get there.          

How proud are you that you are only the second guy from your prep school Lake Highland with ex Duke great Joel Berry to have made the NCAA tournament. You guys were teammates there. Was he like a role model for you?

I am very proud that I got a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. Joel was a great teammate and set a great example to follow. I did learn a lot from him and I’m grateful for the time we spent together at Lake Highland.

You were very consistent in your last three seasons in the NCAA. How do you feel did your game grow in this time?

I feel like my game grew a lot and I truly became more versatile over my time at ACU I think when I came in I was primarily just a scorer but over time my game grew and I begin to be able to do multiple things on the court and it really helped my personal growth and my team’s success. I added a post and mid post game to my skill set and became a better leader.

How did head coach Joel Golding groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach Golding prepared me by challenging me. He always challenged me to do more or to get better at something. He consistently challenged me to be a better leader but he also helped me get better at playing off the ball. He challenged me with a leadership role in my sophomore year and he never gave up on me even when there were times I thought I wasn’t ready.

Despite losing 69-65 to Nicholls State in your junior season, you scored 18 points and had 20 rebounds. Was that one of your best games in the NCAA?

That was one of my best games but I think in the same week I recorded 20 points and 18 rebounds or something like that in a game against the University of Incarnate Word. I also had 26 points in a game against Charleston Southern my sophomore year. And 20 points against the university of the pacific my senior year. Those are just some games that come to the front of my mind when thinking about some of my best ncaa games.         

In your last NCAA game you lost to powerhouse Kentucky 75-44, but you left a lasting impression with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks. What memories do you have from that game?

I’ll always remember it because it was the last game of my college career, but I will also remember it because it was in the NCAA tournament. To play on that stage was a dream and to finally do it felt great.

When you look at a guy like Keldon Johnson or Tyler Herro who were both drafted by the NBA in the first round or a Reid Travis who probably will play in the NBA, do you feel like there is so much difference in what they can offer on the court and what you can offer. How important was your play in this game for your self confidence?

I don’t feel like there is much of a difference. I have never felt like that. I think it is because I have been playing against the so called top players my whole life. But it was a great experience playing against Kentucky but I already have a great self confidence so my play just made me hungrier to get where they are.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Hayden Farquhar?

I don’t think we ever played one on one before.

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

There were a number of guys that are in the conversation for me. Kay Felder from Oakland was tough I think he is in the G league. Jordan Howard was tough to stop as well I know he was in the G league this past year. Rashawn Thomas was very tough as well I know he spent time in the g league but I think he is in Europe now. But aside from that I played against Brandon Ingram in high school and he was pretty tough as well.

Please list your five best teammates of all-time?

Joel Berry, Jaylen Franklin, Jovan Crnic, Jalen Little, Drake Green

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

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Magic Johnson

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

Neither. I’m t Kobe Bryant fan so I believe Kobe Bryant is the greatest basketball player of all time. I just believe he was more skilled than Michael Jordan and Lebron and I feel like he always found a way to do more with less. Whether that was less athletic ability than Michael or Lebron or worse situations.

What was the last movie that you saw?

I just saw the movie child’s play, I’m a huge fan of scary movies.

Thanks Jaren for the chat.

The Miles Basketball Minute With Curtis Hollis Volume 9

Curtis Hollis is a 21 year old 198cm forward from Arlington, Texas that is playing his first season overseas and first in Germany with the Dragons Rhondorf currently averaging 20,5ppg,7,7rpg,3,8apg and 3,6spg. He began his career at Mansfield Summit High School. In 2017-2018 he played with Hutchinson CC (JUCO) playing 34 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3%. In 2018 he played in Lavar Ball’s new league with the Houston Ballers (JBL) playing 7 games: Score-5 (29.3ppg), 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%. He and I will team up every week to talk basketball in the Miles basketball minute.

Congrats on the huge 86-83 win over the RheinStars Colonge. While you were in the dressing room celebrating an unsavory act happened as a RheinStars fan spit at a kid. Have you ever experienced something like this in your playing career among fans?

No that’s crazy man. Our manager told us and we were disgusted. But it’s different in Europe rivalries are big here so I’m not too surprised but that can’t happen

You told me after the big win that it was the biggest victory of the season for the Dragons Rhondorf. How proud are you of the guys and how do you feel did the team grow once again during these 40 minutes?

I’m proud that we battled and played together as a team. We’re extremely talented when we play right we are really hard to beat. I feel like we grow every game just going through different situations that are going help us in the long run! 

Two weeks ago after the win against BG Hagen, Yassin Idbihi said the defense was a catastrophe and after this win he praised the defense. Is the club slowly learning to love to play defense?

Yes we are. We go over the little details every day in practice so we’re slowly getting to where we need to be.

What new strides did the team do on offense? The Dragons scored 86 points against a team that gave up only 67 points coming in? I think that the over all execution especially after an opponent´s run was strengthed against the RheinStars. Would you agree?

Nothing new. Just like I always say when we play together we can’t be guarded. We did a great job weathering the storm every time they went on a run so that was huge for us. Yes I agree.

After celebrating a big win like this the team obviously is able to gain a lot of self confidence beating the #1 team. What will be key mentally now not to lose focus? You’re a guy that doesn´t reflect long on the last win and looks forward to the next task. Is this a focus that you have to help teach your teammates or are they following your lead?

I think they are on the same page with me when it comes to that. We just move on to the next game win or lose and know the intensity and energy we have to bring going into every game! 

Yassin Idbihi is a very tough coach, but in order to be successful you have to let your players know the truth. How thankful have you been that doesn´t let the players hear what they want to hear, but give hell when it is needed?

I know I can’t speak for everybody but for me I’m extremely thankful. I know I can go on and on about Yassin but he’s amazing. Not just as a coach or GM but as a person. He cares for everybody and really wants us all to succeed and reach our dreams. So I think everybody is thankful that he doesn’t let anybody slack off and he stays on us.

The teammate spotlight this week is Jere Besedic. He had another good game that never gave up after having a tough start and later finding his rhythm. Even if he is a different player than Gabril De Olveira, how vital is his consistency now during the German´s injury?

His consistency is huge because when he is killing that’s another area for us that we can dominate. He’s a beast! 

You had another big game recording 28 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 6 steals. There were phases in the game where you disappeared a bit, but only because they keyed in on you and did a good job. What goes through your mind in times like this where you can´t contribute as much as you would like?

Nothing really. I just continue to play, I try to find ways to help us win and get our other guys off. I know I’ll always get mine when the time comes.

You had two huge defensive rebounds at the end of the game. When looking back at your game, how important were these two plays in comparison to all the other things you were able to achieve on the court?

They were important but nothing too crazy. I was just going what I had to do to pull out the W.

After “Easy Work” a nickname you offered me to use, I have come up with a second one called Curtis “As composed as a ballerina” Hollis. How do you feel would you do as a ballerina if you had a one day course?

There’s no way I would be a ballerina haha. The name is cool though! Your creativity is nice.

The next game is against BG Dorsten. Will it be difficult to get back down after beating the top team? Are let downs something at the moment that this team is able to avoid with the continued self confidence growing?

Yes we’re able to avoid them and we’re going to avoid them. We can’t take steps back so we have to keep playing how we have been.

A player that you like very much and compare your game to is Jayson Tatum. After the win against the Golden State Warrriors he stated. “We are a relentless group. When things get tough, we never put our heads down”. Is this something that you can say about the development of the Dragons Rhondorf since Yassin Idbihi´s arrival as head coach?

Yes. We have fought through a lot of adversity but I think it’s made us who we are today. We don’t get rattled we just keep going and keep pushing.

What does Isaiah Hartenstein still have to do to get a fair chance with the Houston Rockets and somehow get by the older heads centers down there?

It’s tough because they are in win mode now so the coaches have to find ways to trust him. The bigs they have are vets and proven guys as well so it’s tough for him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo made a fierce double poster dunk on the Indiana Pacers. Is that something that is still missing from your highlight reel?

I’ll get it forsure! Haha

Thanks Curtis for the chat.

The Miles Basketball Minute: A New Hollis Nickname And Continued Defensive Improvement For The Dragons Rhondorf

                After 40 minutes the buzzer sounded and Dragons Rhondorf fans were in basketball heaven in the warmer than usual Dragon Dome something which showed that more people were breathing in there in comparison to the last weeks where it was frostier due to a lack of spectators and one wondered if the heater would ever be turned on. Not for the 30-40 RheinStars fans that had made the short 30 minute drive from Cologne, but for the Dragon fans there was pure enjoyment after the upset 86-83 victory over the first placed team. One could see it on the faces of the Dragon players just how happy they were that the hard work that they had put in in the last weeks had paid off. It was the sixth win in a row for the Dragons Rhondorf placing them near the top of the standings with a 9-3 record. As most fans had left and the Dragon players  were celebrating in the locker room, a not so nice act happened on the sidelines as a RheinStars fan spat on a young boy. By pure chance, the dirty act was caught on camera and the culprit was quickly caught. This is the type of thing that shouldn´t happen at a basketball game, but it did. I don´t know if disciplinary action was sought, but in a few years that act won´t be remembered except for maybe the two guys involved, but this amazing win will as it will remain in the hearts of Dragons fans. This massive win was just another huge step in the further development of the Dragons Rhondorf under the watchful eye of interim head coach Yassin Idbihi.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Dragons Rhondorf glue guy Killian Binapfel in 2019

                The Dragons Rhondorf are truly for real and continue to grow under Yassin Idbihi. The offense continues to be their bread and butter. I personally was a bit skeptical that they would execute as well against first placed team RheinStars as the last weeks against teams simply because they hadn´t really met a strong defensive team. They had destroyed teams the last weeks and made it look like a cake walk and in four of the last five games eclipsed the 100 points. They met the second best defensive team in the Regionalliga that on average was giving up 67 points per game and hit them for 86 points. They didn´t panic, but went into the game and played their game, playing team basketball and sharing the ball well. Their 16 assists didn´t match their 29 from Essen the week before, but they faced a lot better defensive team this weekend so that was expected that their input wouldn´t be as high. The most important aspect about the offensive success against the RheinStars was that they were able to overcome adversary in certain phases against the second best defensive team in the league. There were times when the RheoínStars made consecutive stops and went on little runs, but that never fazed the Dragons. They had a solid offensive execution rate and didn´t fall into bad habits relying on the hero ball something the RheinStars did do in crunch-time. The Solid consistent team play of the Dragons Rhondorf was a big reason that they could be successful against the Cologne Defense. There were phases where top team scorer Curtis Hollis was more keyed on and couldn´t perform certain offensive duties, but that was when other guys stepped up like a Jure Besedic or an Enric Garrido Foz who made big shots. Killian Binapfl as always was a force at both ends of the court and carried the team in certain phases just as did Hollis in the second half when he broke free from the RheinStars defense.

                Before I get to the defense, I have to talk a bit about the performance of Curtis Hollis and his new nickname. He had another normal day at the office scoring 28 points and shooting a strong 63,6% from the field. He was a pest on the defensive end in the second half ending with 6 steals playing speculation defense. He also dished out 3 dimes and had 6 rebounds. One can´t forget that he is a rookie and not all is perfect with the Texas native. He already is doing so much on the court and filling the stat sheet like a Westbrook that at times doing that might not come easy. He surprisingly had no rebounds at half-time which is difficult to believe. Yassin Idbihi who discovered him in the summer of 2018 in Baunach during a game where Hollis poured in 40 points as a member of a USA select team with LaMello Ball took him to the side and explained that he had to be more aggressive on the boards. Hollis took the Idbihi words to heart and amassed 6 boards in the second half of the game. He did many great things in the game like being perfect from the parking lot 3/3, making big steals and making the unselfish extra pass, but the two clutch defensive rebounds he made in crunch-time could have been his two biggest feats in the game. The Dragons Rhondorf had had difficulty rebounding the ball all night long, but when getting two defensive rebounds on two possession was most needed, the American came through with flying colors. He isn´t in the top10 in scoring in the Regionalliga, but is easily the most complete and versatile player. He reminds me a bit like Kameron Taylor two season ago when the now Bambergguard  played for the Dragons. Both are guys that standout with their phenominal play and are simply big time leaders. Hollis is continuing to grow into that very special player that could lead the Dragons Rhondorf to special heights. Before the season began, I asked him for a good nickname for my play by play games. He said use “Easy Work”. He said that his play on the court looks like it´s easy work. A few days ago, I came up with a second nickname “As composed as a ballerina”. I haven´t used the word ballerina on a regular basis since the 2009-2010 season when I yelled Derrick “the ballerina” Allen in my calls since he moved on the court like a ballerina. I feel that when you watch Curtis Hollis, he is always so composed and has the same expression if up by 30 or down by 30. A ballerina also has to be composed during her routine. I wonder what kind of figure Hollis would give after a day wearing the ballerina tights.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Curtis Hollis after the upset win against the RheinStars

                The Dragons Rhondorf defense has been a work in progress this season and still is, but it made further steps in the victory over the RheinStars. They gave up 83 points which wasn´t their best this season and only the fifth best, but they did it against one of the better offensive teams in the league. Sometimes wins don´t tell the whole story. Two weeks ago in the team´s home win over BG Hagen, they allowed 96 points and only won because their offense was cooking and scored 104 points. I have stated before that playing the shoot out game can be very risky, because there will be nights where the offense is solid, but not great and that is when the losses start to pour in. In the win against BG Hagen there was so many individual mistakes that head coach Yassin Idbihi said that the defense was a catastrophe. Many of the other basic things like help defense and rebounding were also things that weren´t executed well on. Since the arrival of Idbihi the club has changed a few things and one of those is using the Telekom Baskets Bonn system of speculation defense. Trying to read the opponents offense and gamble which can be risky. The BBL Bonn team have flink and quick aggressive guards with Saibu, DiLeo and Polas where this works. It´s no difference with the Dragons Rhondorf. With guys like Hollis, Jeffrey Martin, Foz and the Falkenstein brothers, you have players that can be successful with this strategy as they swiped away 10 balls that led to some easy transition baskets. This kind of play can quickly sway the momentum on your side and with continued quick offensive execution can quickly help a team get a double digit lead and slowly drive the opponent into the ground having to practice catch up basketball. Of course the team still has to rebound better and there are times where the success rate of the individual defense isn´t there. A few weeks ago, I stated that the Dragons Rhondorf have to love to defend and show passion. According to Dragons Rhondorf CEO Alexander Dohms, the motivation is there and slowly the team is understanding how to defend and getting more confident with it. Head coach Idbihi also sees a changed team on the defensive end. “We are starting to defend better. We are starting to feel it on defense, but we still aren´t where we want to be. But we made another step on defense”, warned Yassin Idbihi. These are very exciting times in Dragons Rhondorf basketball country as a big winning streak is intact, the defense is improving and growing and the offense is giving fans shooting clinics. The only thing missing is seeing Curtis Hollis giving a ballerina routine, but we will stick to enjoying his flights to the basket instead.

Without His Two Host Families in Arkansas Moses Kingsley(Peristeri GS Athens) Wouldn´t Be Here Today

Moses Kingsley is a 25 year old 208cm forward that is playing his first season with Peristeri GS Athens (Greece-A1) He was born in  Enugu, Nigeria and moved to Mississippi when he was in tenth grade. He played at Huntington-St.Joseph Prep School averaging  8.3ppg, 8.4rpg, 4.1bpg. He then played at Arkansas(NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 134 games averaging15.9ppg, 9.3rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 54.8%, FT: 63.7% as a junior and as a senior averaged 12.1ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.3apg, 2.6bpg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 75.2% as a senior. He played his first two professional seasons with the Telenet Giants Antwerp (Belgium-Euromillions League) averaging 11.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, Blocks-1(1.4bpg), FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 13.6%, FT: 67.5%;and in the  FIBA Europe averaged 6.5ppg, 6.2rpg, FGP: 35.7%, FT: 81.8%. Last season with the Telenet Giants Antwerp (Belgium-Euromillions League) he averaged 7.5ppg, 5.3rpg, Blocks-4(1.0bpg), FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 56.1%; and in the BCL averaged  2.3ppg, 1.7rpg. He spoke to before the Basketball Champions League game against Brose Bamberg in Bamberg. He was the team´s most efficient player in the 72-69 loss with 11 points and 11 rebounds in 22 minutes.

Moses thanks for talking to Welcome to Germany. Your preparing for a Basketball Champions League game in Bamberg. Last season you played in the Basketball Champions League Final 4 beating Bamberg scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. What memories do you have of that game?

I remember the crowd being crazy. We had a lot of energy because we hosted it. We wanted to win it for the city.

How excited are to be in Bamberg and playing against your ex coach Roel Moors and teammate Paris Lee. How much vital was coach Moors for your early development as a professional and what will you never forget about Lee?

Coach Moers was really important for my development the last two seasons in Belgium. He accepted my game and made me challenge myself each day to work hard. He was a big reason why I came back for a second year. The two years were a very good experience. Paris is a very hard worker. He was always in the gym and was a very good role model for everyone. He helped everyone get better. He carried us the whole season and was always good for a big play.

What kind of experience has it been for you playing in the Greek first division. Has it been more of a challenge than playing in the Belgium

It has been a good experience. I loved playing in the Belgium League and do love playing in the Greek league. But the Greek league is more physical and the talent is better there as well.

Let´s talk about your teammates. I covered Mike Morrison in Germany closely from 2014-2018. What have you learned to appreciate most about his game? Does his good humor make certain situations easier?

Mike makes everything a lot easier. His character makes everyone better. He always puts everyone in a good mood. He is always making jokes .He also is a very good player. Before he got hurt, we were on a roll. But since he has been injured we lost two in a row. That speaks for the kind of player that he is.

How vital has 35 year old experienced American William Hatcher been for everyone? Does his leadership skills rub off on you that makes you want to be that kind of leader as you continue to gain experience and climb the basketball ladder?

Hatch has been a professional for like 14 years. He knows what he is talking about. When he speaks, you need to listen. He has been a big help helping me to fix things with my game. He is also very important in the locker room as he is always vocal.

Let´s talk about your game. You’re a 208cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

I like how my game is and it´s hard to compare my game to an NBA player. But if I had to I would say Serge Ibaka. He plays the 4 like me. He has the spot up three, can ru the floor, rebound and block shots.

You added a three to your game as a junior at Arkansas(NCAA). Would you classify yourself as a player that is becoming more of a modern forward?

Yes I would say that I´m a modern forward. I don´t want to be known as just being a player that does one thing well. I want to be a complete player. 

You don´t shoot the three that much, but are extremely efficient. How would you describe your overall continued development of your outside game now in your third professional season?

My coach here has confidence in me to make the three. If I miss shots, he just tells me to keep shooting. He tells me that if I have a three, it will only make the team better. If I start to become consistent with my outside shot then we will be a better team.

On what area´s of your game are you most working on in the moment .On what part of your game do you the most improvement necessary?

Making more shots. I want to be more consistent with my game and take smaller guards to the post and be more aggressive in the post. On defense I want to become better defending smaller guys on the switch.

You led the Belgium Euromillions League in blocks as a rookie and last season was 4th best. How much of a challenge is it for you to be the best shot blocker possible. How do you see yourself making steps as a defender in your third professional season?

It has been very challenging playing the four this season. I played the five my whole life. At the five position I am more inside while playing the four out on the perimeter. I need to step it up more and I will

You reached the Euromillions League final with Telenet Giants Antwerp the last two years. How hungry are you to finally with that first professional chip?

I am very hungry for that first professional title. I need that first title bad. Losing the final my first year was a heartbreaker. I got injured in the playoffs. Last season we were the best team in the league. Our opponent Oostende had more experience. We let a 10 point lead go to waist at end. They then won the title at their place. That was also a heartbreaker.

What memories do you have of veteran Jason Clark in your rookie season in Belgium. Was he a guy that gave you advice about things?

Jason was a good leader. He has been playing for a while. He is a good player and teammate. He helped Paris Lee more than me because he is a guard. He wasn´t so talkative, but he did all he could to lead us to success.

You played at Arkansas(NCAA) from 2013-2017. You played 67 games in your first two seasons and never averaged more than 3,9ppg. You played together with current NBA player Bobby Portis. What do you remember with your battles with him in practice and how what vital things did you learn from his game that helped you break out as a junior?

Bobby was a very hard worker. I never saw a guy work as hard as he did in my life. I had already known him before coming to Arkansas, because we were teammates in AAU. I saw how hard he worked hard and how it payed off for his game and I wanted to do the same. I did that and had a huge break out season as a junior.

How important was the whole Arkansas experience not having any family around?

Being at Arkansas was the best time in my life. There were great people there that showed me love. It felt like they were family. That is why I came back as a senior. I had to host families. I can truly say without them, I wouldn´t be here today.

As a junior you averaged 15.9ppg, 9.3rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 54.8%, FT: 63.7%. You were thinking about the NBA draft. Do you ever wonder where you might be today had you opted for the draft after your junior year?

I do think about it now and then. But I can´t go back to that time. Now I am here.

What memories do you have of your last NCAA game against North Carolina where you lost 72-65 and you had 9 points, 5 boards and two blocks? How tough was it playing against current NBA player Kennedy Meeks?

I never watched that game again. I didn´t even know my stats until now. It was another heart breaking loss. We were up 7 points with 3 minutes to play. We had the big chance to beat the #1 team in the NCAA and go to the Sweet 16 and then lost. Meeks has a very high IQ. He is a very good player. I already went against him in AAU. He really knows how to use his body. I haven´t seen him play in a while. I remember him being chubby. He wasn´t athletic but had good hands.

How did head coach Mike Anderson groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach Anderson was like a dad for me. I talk to him every now and then. I had no family in the states and he helped me very much get through the years. He taught me the meaning of hard work. He taught me how to be a man.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Bobby Portis?

Probably me. I don´t think we ever played, but if we did, I would win.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

Damon Jones was tough, but I had a good game against him. Nobody really comes to mind. I always did well. But if I had to pick one, it would be Tyler Davis. He was tough to guard.

In 2017 you played at the NBA Summer League with the Minnesota Timberwolves. What kind of experience was that for you? What kind of feedback to do you remember getting and did you meet any important basketball heads during the days?

It was a learning experience. It wasn´t what I expected. I didn´t really feel a part of it, because I was added at the last second. I learned form it, but it was really a good experience.

If you had to construct your own personal NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you pick that best fits your taste?

Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Durant, Magic Johnson

Where will the journey of the Golden State Warriors go now with the injury to Steph Curry? Is the Dynasty now over?

It isn´t over for them. A lot of people have been taking shots at them, but they won 3 of the last 5 NBA tiles. They changed the NBA. Everybody wants to shoot the three now. Credit for what they achieved in the last 5 years.

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

I take Jordan. Lebron will end up having the most points. Even if he wins one more, he won´t be the best. Jordan went to 6 finals and won each one.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The criminal. It was very good.

Thanks Moses for the chat.