Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

Jguwon Hogges(SB DJK Rosenheim) Is The Smallest Guy On The Court And Makes Up For That Size Disadvantage With Heart

Jguwon Hogges is a 33 year old 173cm guard that completed his 6th professional season and sixth with SB DJK Rosenheim (Germany-Regionalliga). In his 6 seasons with SB DJK Rosenheim he never averaged less than 17,3ppg in a season. This past season he had one of his best statistical seasons playing 21 games averaging 22.7ppg, 8.1rpg, 4.4apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 72.1%. Before turning professional he played at Oregon Institute of Technology (NAIA). He spoke to germanhoops.com during the COVID-19 crisis. 

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

I am currently in America with my family. I feel sorry for all the people who are affected by the Corona Virus. It has caused me to miss out on the game of basketball but this whole thing is bigger than basketball.

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


I did not know to be honest. I just thought it was much like the Ebola outbreak where it may affect some people. I never thought it would get to the scale of affecting the whole world.

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


I was actually sent home right before the big shut down and the travel ban was enforced. If I would have stayed I would have been alone in my apartment. I am glad that I was able to come and be with my family this time. I am a very social person so for me to only see a certain amount of people has been hard. Plus I can’t go in the gym so I have been having to find creative ways to workout and interact with people. 

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


I did, but I think that is common sense. No one wants to be sick.

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?

I was disappointed, I really wanted to finish out the league. Our team has a couple of games that we needed to win to stay in the league, and I was sad that we did not get to face that challenge.

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?


In this instance I thought that was very dangerous and reckless. I understand they wanted to protect the fans, but what about the players. Ultimately the players and coaches and organizations drive the league so why put them in danger.

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?


I have learned that some things are just out of your control and you have to roll with what is given to you.

Will it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?


I like to give myself some time off normally away from basketball. I play a lot of golf and work on some project cars in my down time. Then I let my body tell me when it is time to start gearing up for the next season. This longer preseason will help me work on injury prevention and get my body ready for another season. The only disadvantage is not knowing when the leagues will start back up.

The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?

I really think it is going to be a lot different in the game of basketball for a while. I think it is going to take some getting used to when we do start playing again. Much like when Magic Johnson returned after contracting HIV. Some people will be ok with playing while others will be scared to catch something. It is just hard not knowing what can and can’t happen. There is just a lot of uncertainties at this moment. 

How have you experienced the day to day life back home in the States? How has the Coronavirus affected your daily life? How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls.


I have just been keeping myself busy with a couple project cars and playing my bass guitar. The first couple of weeks I was required to stay home since I had flown from Germany so I did not work out. Now that I can go outside I do some running and small circuit training in my front yard. Lots of plyos and strength workouts.

If you had to name another player besides guys from your team that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?


Peter Breitfeld

Let’s talk about the season of Rosenheim who finished in 13th place with a record of 6-16. How would you summarize the team season?


It was not a successful season record wise. We were young and I think the guys learned a lot being in the position that we were in this year and that is what is most important. Being able to take what we learned this year and apply it in the future.

The club began the season losing 5 of 6 games, then won 4 games in a row and then lost 11 of 12 games. How frustrating is it knowing this and why couldn’t the team have more successful moments during the season?


That is how basketball is sometimes. Like I said we were young this year and some of the guys had not had a full year in the 1st Reg, so it takes time to adjust to certain things. Most of those games we were in and just had a few mistakes here and there. So I do not see it as being unsuccessful, I see it as learning for our team.

In the 4 game winning streak the club showed steel of nerves winning 3 tight games. What did you enjoy most about the winning streak?


It was good to see the younger guys win at the level and validate that they could play there.

The team averaged 74 points and gave up 81 points. I personally think you were missing a couple more scorers to help score more points. How do you see that?


I think that we just could have been a little stronger on defense collectively as a team. We missed some assignments at critical parts of close games and that was the difference.

What was the season highlight? Possibly the exciting 77-76 victory over Jena 2?


Yeah that was a great game. We played well and our young guys really were tough on the road. We grinded that one out till the end.

Let’s talk about your teammates. Talk a little about the Marz brothers Jonas and Bastian. They play with the FC Bayern Munich youth teams and have been taking the long ride from Rosenheim to Munich to play the game they love for years. How have you observed their development in the last years?


It has been a pleasure to see the way they have grown as players. I got to coach Basti in his youth and he and his brother play hard and are exceptional talents.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 173cm point guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?


I would have to say Earl Boykins.

You finished your 6th season with Rosenheim and the club has finished in 10, 13,9,11,12 and 13th place. Is this a great example of when a team and coach like Bob Miller takes care of you, you don’t need to leave. Why do you keep coming back besides the magnificent landscape with the Bavarian alps?


I was blessed to be able to come and play for Sportbund and stay for as long as I have. The whole club has been a joy to be a part of. The club has been gracious enough to continue to want me to come back. I keep coming back because I love the club and the team and I want to set an example for the younger generation.

You have been a top guard in the German Regionalliga for 6 years. You must have had some offers from higher leagues. Or do you feel like you have been severely overlooked over the years?


That is tough. I understand that I do not pass the eye test. Most of the time I am the smallest guy on the court in stature but I try my best to make up for that size disadvantage with heart. So it is tough for teams from higher leagues to judge in the un measurable parts of the game. I think they want measurables, so when teams compare me with a player who is 189 cm and can do some of the things I can I think it is easy for them to go another route.

You have averaged 7,0rpg or more 4 times and averaged 8,0rpg the last two season’s. If you want to be a good rebounder at 173cm does effort at times outweigh skill and height in being able to get the rebounds?


Attention to detail/ desire are things I focus on when rebounding. This year my coach was on me about boxing out and it helped keep us in games this year.

Your turning 34 in September. Do you feel like your already past your prime? On what things are you working most on your game at this stage of your career?


I do not think I am past my prime. My body feels strong and I am healthy. So I continue to work on ways to ensure I stay healthy. I continue to work on all facets of my game. I think that is a problem for players as they get older. They work on one aspect of their game so much that other parts begin to suffer.

You produced a triple double this season against Vilsbiburg. You’re a guy who has produced double figures in rebounds and assists each season. What do you feel has kept you from achieving more triple doubles?


I am honestly not a true point guard, but this year it was easier to find open shooters. I think not having multiple weapons spotting up has kept that from happening more.

I couldn’t find the stats of the 2015-2016 season, but in your other 5 seasons with Rosenheim you scored in double figures in 136 games out of 143 games. What was your most memorable game in the 6 years?


My most memorable had to be the first win of my first season in Rosenheim. It was against Oberhaching and I made two freethrows with no time on the clock to win the game. It was the teams first Reg 1 win since moving up. 

You played at a NAIA school before turning professional. Have you always had that chip on your shoulder especially after being D-2 champion in 2008? How can you feel content with your career without always having to deal with the mental side of where you are?


Not a chip on my shoulder. More of a desire to prove to the people who said ‘ he is to small to play at the next level’ wrong. I have been hearing that my whole life. So every day I step on a basketball court it just drives me to be better and play bigger than I look.

Who was the toughest guy that you faced in the Regionalliga this season?


That is a tough one, but I would have to say Nick Freer.

You played at Oregon Tech (NAIA) winning the D-2 title in 2008. What memories do you still have of those great times?


I will always remember the times at OIT. There are so many memories that come to mind but I remember the fans and how I was treated at OIT. It is why I love Rosenheim so much, it has the same family atmosphere that OIT had.

How much of a pleasure was it playing with legendary head coach Danny Miles who had a 1043-437 lifetime record. How did he groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

I learned so much from Coach Miles. Things that I do not think I would have learned anywhere else. I still talk to him from time to time about basketball. The most important thing coach Miles did for me was prepare me to be a great person outside of basketball. Do things with integrity and you will go far in life. I try to bring that everyday on the basketball court.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Trenton Newton-Jones?


Me, sorry T – Newt!

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced that reached the NBA?


Demarcus Nelson – NBA
Scott O’Gallagher – NBA D league 

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Peter Breitfeld
Andy Siverly
Stephan Hlatky
Josh Wetzler
Ryan Lancaster

Please produce your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore with 4 heads past or present?

Michael Jordan/Kareem Abdul Jabbar/ Lebron James/ Kobe Bryant
Honorable Mention: Larry Bird / Shaq

What is your general opinion with the debate between who is greater Michael Jordan or Lebron James?


I am biased to this question. I had two cousins play for the Bulls with Michael Jordan (Craig Hodges/ Corey Williams) so you know how I am going to vote. But Lebron is great in his own right and it his time to carry the league. Good luck to whoever has to take up the mantle after Lebron is done because between him and Jordan I don’t know what else can be done.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Bad Boys 4 Life

Thanks Jguwon for the chat.

Vincent Garrett Knows That He Has Had A Different Journey Than Friend Alfonzo Mckinnie But Knows His Time Will Come

Vincent Garrett is a 29 year old 198cm forward that finished his 5th professional season and third with Science City Jena 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 17 games averaging 20.5ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 80.0%. He began his basketball career at John Marshall Metropolitan High Schoo and then played at Lee College (JUCO), Rutgers University and the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (NCAA) where as a senior he played 24 games averaging 6.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 50%, FT: 71.8%. He began his professional career in 2014-2015 with the Philadelphia Spirit (ABA). In 2015-2016 he went overseas and played with the Hannover Korbjaeger (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games averaging 20.5ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 78.5%. In the 2016-2017 season he had his first tour of duty with Science City Jena 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games: Score-3 (23.0ppg), 10.4rpg, 2.3apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 67.7%. In the 2017-2018 season he played with Baerum Basket Bekkestua (Norway-BLNO) playing 17 games averaging 17.1ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 23.9%, FT: 81.3%. In the 2018-2019 season he split time with the Kordall Steelers (Luxembourg-Total League) playing 3 games averaging 20.0ppg, 7.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.3spg, in Feb.’19 moved to Science City Jena 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 9 games averaging 17.4ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 64.5%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the COVID-19 crisis. 

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


I’m currently in back in the states Arizona to be exact. My mood is always the same staying positive and staying safe.

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


I honestly did not think it would have this much effect honestly no one could’ve predicted this or said this would happen.

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

There wasn’t much really happening around I mean the city closed down of course and my day to day dealings stayed the same nothing had really changed besides distancing myself from others for safety.

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


I was already safe I always carried tissue and hand sanitizer with me at all times

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person? 


Being financially stable so that times like these will not affect you 

Will it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this? 


No because I’m always working no matter the situation. Just because the season ends do not mean it’s over for me I have to continue to stay in the gym as much as possible. 

The whole world economy is going to be affected including Polish basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?


I’m not worried about it I’m willing to work and play regardless of the situation. Things will only get better and we have to see the positive in this.

How have you experienced the day to day life back home ? How has the Coronavirus affected your daily life? How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls.


Well I just recently left Germany on the 28 of April. Since I beenhome things are slowly opening. And I still have access to the gym because it’s in our home. 

If you had to name another player besides guys from your team that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?

Samuel Mpacko 

Let’s talk about your third season with Science City Jena 2. The club finished the season with a 12-5 record in 5th place. How would you summarize the season from a team stand point? 


We could had a better season but we were hit with a lot of injuries early and lost a lot of key players 

The club began well getting out winning 4 of 6 games, but then had a tough stretch losing 5 games in a row. What was the cause for the team getting away from it’s winning ways? 


We had a lot of injuries early and we never really had a full roster due to players playing on the first team 

From December until Corona broke out, the club finished strong with a 8-3 record. The team won some tough games against Schwabing and Bamberg. How do you feel did the team grow in this period? 


We were back healthy and it was a chance to still win the league. We had a good rhythm and we believed when fully healthy no team was better then us 

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing with young Serbian Vuk Radojicic? How talented is he exactly?


He played for 3 Jena team’s so wasn’t always available for the Regionalliga team He is the true meaning of heart over height. He plays fearless and that’s something you have to love. He was mainly used of the first team roster. 

How skilled are the young Linartos twins Bartautas and Adomas? Both are guards and continue to make strides in their development. What did you learn to appreciate most from their games?


The sky is the limit for the twins. It’s been situation where they helped me more then I helped them with how they see the game. What I appreciate most about them is I never had to ask them to play hard it’s already installed in them. 

The team had so many talented young Germans no one older than 21. Which German player do you feel made the most improvement during the season?


Lorenz Bank most definitely the most improved. His game did a complete 360 jump from last season. He was a key reason to why we won most of our games.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 20.5ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 80.0%. How content were you with your season? 


Missed 7-8 games due to injury in the beginning of the season. But I gave everything I had once fully healthy. We would have probably been higher if the team was healthy the whole season 

You were the oldest on the squad at 29 and the second oldest was Julius Foerster at age 21. Did you sometimes feel old being around only kids on a daily basis? Did you play that mentor role every day in practice? 


I didn’t feel old. I felt like I had a purpose it’s was up to me to help get them get better everyday and they helped me just as much. Iron sharpens iron 

You’re a player that has filled the stat sheet at the professional level. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the bill?


I would say DeMar DeRozan 

You shot 40% last season with Jena 2, but this season was at 26%. In what area of your preparation lies the biggest problem in terms of getting a more consistent three pointer? 


Coming back from injury, it was hard to catch my rhythm with not playing so I much. There is nothing a gym can’t fix. It was more of a rhythm for me 

How much of a role model has NBA player Alfonzo Mckinnie been for you during the years? You played with him in high school and at the University of Wisconsin/Green Bay. He has that special Cinderella way to the NBA that few players ever achieve. Do you strive to develop a special chip on your shoulder the way he has or is yours special as well? 


We talk everyday along with another friend Keifer Sykes. We find ways to motivate each daily even when we are in the gym together. My journey just happens to be different but with them on my side I know it will happen for me I just have to keep pushing. 

Do you have a special story with him in school that you will never forget? The one that shows just what kind of a competitor and person he really is regarding the daily grind the never ending will to be successful? 


There no special story really when you saw what high school we went to and the area we grew up in Chicago you would understand why we play the way we play. 

You have played 5 professional seasons and are 29 years old. You are a versatile player that can fill the stat sheet with ease. In what area’s of your game are you working the most on to keep improving as a player? 


Seeing the entire floor. Allowing the game to come to me. 

What is the next step for you? You have played in Germany for 4 of your 5 professional seasons. Would you like to remain in Germany or could you see yourself going to another country? 


I’m honestly ready to go wherever the chance is given. I’m ready to get back to playing 

You began your career at Lee College (JUCO).You averaged 16.0 ppg, 6.0 rg and 2.0 apg. How important was this season in your early basketball development as a player?


That season was really just important due to it being my sophomore season. So I put everything into that season and the work showed 

You then spent a season at Rutgers University (NCAA) playing 12 games averaging 1.5ppg. It was your first season in the NCAA which is a huge difference from JUCO. Was the adjustment period tough coming from JUCO? Talk a bit about this season and what benefits your game got from this season?


It wasn’t a tough difference. It was a big difference going from a small juco to a university. 

You got into some blow out loses against top schools Syracuse and Louisville where you faced off against some top players that would reach the NBA. Are these games that you can still pin point certain plays or has there been too much time gone by? 


To much time has passed 

You then finished at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (NCAA) playing 24 games averaging 6.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 50%, FT: 71.8%. What memories do you have from your senior season? How did your game improve playing with great talent like Mckinnie, Keifer Sykes, Alec Brown and Carrington Love on a daily basis? 


Anytime I play with Alfonzo or Keifer I already know I’m going to be pushed to get the best. Playing with those guys made the game a lot easier for me. 

What was your fondest memory on the court? 


Making the conference tournament my sophomore season at lee college. 

How did head coach Brian Wardle groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?


He just told me he wished he could of coached me all four years 

Who won a one on one over the years you or Alfonzo Mckinnie?


I’ve easily beaten him more times than he beat me 

You began your career with the Philadelphia Spirit (ABA). How tough was this season and why do you feel did it take longer to get overseas? 


You don’t see to many guys have a senior year like me and make it overseas. So I had to take another route and show I could actually play when given the right chance 

You began your career overseas with the Hannover Korbjaeger (Germany-Regionalliga) in 2015-2016 playing 26 games averaging 20.5ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 78.5%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?


I was actually working at Best Buy on lunch break when I finally got the call so I had to put my two weeks in a go I couldn’t look back 

How important was your first season with Hannover for getting used to the European style? How key was it having 7 other nationalities on the club like point guard Gael Hulsen?


It was easy for me seeing how the team was well rounded. It was special because each guy brought something different to the game

In your second professional season you joined Science City Jena 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games: Score-3 (23.0ppg), 10.4rpg, 2.3apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 67.7%. You had a fantastic season. Is this still your best season as a professional? 


My best season will end with me winning the league wherever I am playing so the best has yet to be seen

You finished the season with 4 30 plus point games in your last 6 games. You have been a monster at the Regionalliga level in Germany. Do you feel like you have been overlooked by higher level teams in Germany or are there just too many talented plyers around and too little jobs? 


I know I get overlooked. I get asked all the time why haven’t I been called up. I’ll be ready for whatever chance is given. All I can do is play it’s up to them to give me the chance and I have been ready and waiting 

In 2017-2018 you sampled a anew experience in Norway with the Baerum Basket Bekkestua (Norway-BLNO, starting five) averaging 17.1ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 23.9%, FT: 81.3%. What memories do you have from the play on the court and what did you enjoy about the culture there? 


Missing the finals by one game. And missing one key player due to injury but we still fought for that game. 

Two seasons ago you split time with the Kordall Steelers (Luxembourg-Total League) averaging 20.0ppg, 7.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.3spg, in Feb.’19 returned to Science City Jena 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 17.4ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 64.5%. Did you realize after this season that Jena was like aa second home to you?


I’m actually in the process of moving to Germany full time. Jena will always be my home 

Who was the toughest player you faced in the NCAA from an opposing team that made it to the NBA?


Montrez Harrell. He dunked everything during his time at Louisville 

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?


Keifer Sykes Alfonzo Mckinnie Levon Carter Samuel Mpacko Moritz Schneider 

Please produce your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore with 4 heads past or present? 


Michael Jordan Lebron James Kobe Bryant Tim Duncan 

What is your general opinion with the debate between who is greater Michael Jordan or Lebron James? 


They are two different players they can’t be compared. Their game is not similar at all.

What was the last movie that you saw?


A kid from Coney Island

Thanks Vincent for the chat.

Yasin Kolo believes That The 2019-2020 Wiha Panthers Could Have Been An Even Better Team With The Talent That They Had

Yasin Kolo is a 28 year old 208cm center that is completed his fourth professional season and first with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (ProA) playing 15 games averaging 8.7ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 81.0%. Last season he played with the Rhein Stars Koeln (ProB) playing 11 games averaging 16.8ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 74.3%. AS a rookie he played 17 BBL games with Tuebingen and also boats professional experience with Ehingen and the Artland Dragons. He began his basketball career with ASC 46 Goettingen (2.Regionalliga) and then spent six years in the States getting valuable experience with the Fayetteville Christian School and palyed 15 NCAA games in total with East Carolina and Hartford. He finished his college career with Bellarmine (NCAA2) playing 29 games averaging11.0ppg, 5.8rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 46.6%, FT: 66.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the COVID-19 crisis.

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


I am in Niedersachsen with my family at the moment. Of course it’s a frustrating situation for all the people that have to go through the changes and new rules we all have to obey to stay safe.

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


I respected it but never thought that it would have such an effect worldwide. The Corona Virus is definitely something that we should take seriously. Especially to protect our older family members. 

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

Shops and restaurants started to close. Hand sanitizer was hard to get, and shelves with pasta or toilet paper were empty. Luckily, there was basketball still during that time to kind of get away from this worldwide problem. 

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


Yes, for sure. I started to wash my hands more often and longer than I used to. I kept distance between me and other people and made sure to not shake hands. I was also making sure that I am not close to huge crowds of people. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Pro A. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?


Of course it was tough to stop playing. The team had a great run and we were still having a chance to make the playoffs. But everything happens for a reason and it was the right choice to stop the leagues from playing. At this point, the health of the people is more of a priority than basketball. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?


Well, it limits the chances of people being infected by Covid-19 which is a good thing. Of course it is not the same for players to not have fans at the games. But again, it is more important to keep people safe since it could spread even more with fans sitting close to each other. 

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?


I learned that your health should always be the highest priority and that it is important to keep others safe as well. During times like these it is important for people to really do what they are supposed to do and obey rules for the greater good. 

Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?


Well, it just gives you more time to get your body right and prepared skill wise for the next season. If you had some nagging injuries, time is your best friend because you can find ways to make sure to work on those problems. Covid 19 makes it a little difficult because there are still rules that are present where you have to improvise your workouts. Some gyms are closed, so you have to work out on a basketball court in the park or wherever you can find one. However, you learn to find many different ways and tools to get better which is great. 

The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?


German basketball is definitely going to be affected like many other countries in Europe. But those are things that I can’t control. I think that good things come to those who work hard and stay patient. Therefore, I am just focusing on what I can control and the rest is going to run its course. 

If you had to name another player besides guys from the Panthers that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?


I am talking to a lot of guys here and there to catch up and talk about this offseason and next season. The basketball world is small so you really interact with a lot of different players, especially during the offseason. Hard to pick out specific one. 

Congrats on a fine season in the Pro A. For most the wiha Panthers Schwenningen were able to exceed expectations of reaching the playoffs except for maybe head coach Alen Velcic who always saw you guys as a playoff team. Did you share his optimism when the team was struggling in November?


I think that the team had a lot of talent. I think we all knew that the stretch where we lost a lot of games was just because we weren’t on the same page mentally. But as we figured it out we started winning. I definitely think that we could have been even better with the talent there was. 

Sometimes it is that one player that can change a whole season. When David Dennis left and Drew Brandon came on board you started to win as he led the team to a 10-3 record. How much credit does he deserve for the success of the team?


Drew Brandon definitely deserves credit. He came in and fit in pretty well and did his thing. He is a great player and knows how to be effective. 

Obviously Drew Brandon is a very good point guard, but what else changed when he came and the team started to play a lot better?

I guess that it was kind of a step in another direction. Obviously changes were made and we had to go from there. David and Drew are great players, but both are two different kind of point guards. Drew openend up the paint more offensively so that other players had more chances to be creative. And on the defensive end, he played hard and gave a different impulse as well. 

How much did it hurt that the season ended and you never got to see how far the team would get? Is this something that will affect you in the next months just never knowing what would have happened?


I try to stay away from thoughts like ‘What could’ve been?’ I just try to focus on what is ahead and learn from things I could have done better. Last season should be motivation enough to get even better and work harder when we are finally allowed to play again. 

The club won 6 of their last 7 games. Had the team reached it’s peak in the season or did you still see enough energy with the team to make a run in the playoffs?


I think we definitely reached our peak. There’s no way of telling if we would have made the playoffs. But I am sure that we were talented enough to make a run in the playoffs. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it being teammates with Jaren Lewis. Did you see early on in the season that he would be able to keep his consistency until the end?

Jaren Lewis is a great player and did a lot of good things during the season. He improved a lot during the year and got better and better every game. Especially towards the end of the year he truly showed his potential and couldn’t be stopped. He is also a great teammate that is fun to play with. Off the court he is a great person and friend. It was a pleasure teaming up with him. My guy for life. 

What was it like having Marco Bacak as your big man teammate. How did you guys compliment each other best and what did you appreciate most about his game?


Marco is a great player. We complement each other very well. Our high low actions in some games were hard to guard for other teams. He is a good passer for a big man and very unselfish. Marko is also a smart player and great team player. A lot of things to appreciate him for. 

How proud are you of teammate Leon Friedrici who was named most improved player by eurobasket.com. In what part of his game did he improve the most?

He definitely deserved this award. Hardly ever met a guy that worked so hard to get better. I think his confidence improved the most, the reason why he started to take off. Very proud of him and the award was well deserved. 

Let’s talk about your game. You played 15 games averaging 8.7ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 81.0%. How content were you with your personal season despite also being injured?


After a long time being hurt I was just thankful to be able to play again. I knew, that it would take me some time to get back to 100%. 

It was your second Pro A season after playing with Ehingen back in 2017-2018. You have had the misfortune to be plagued by injuries the last years. How tough has this been for you and the further development of your game?


Injuries are part of the game. It’s not fun. But after a while you learn to take better care of your body even more and to prevent injuries. I definitely lost some time playing the game, but I always take the positive out of everything. And I learned a lot about myself during the time I was hurt. 

Do you sometimes wonder where you might be today as a player in your development had you been more healthy?


Of course. But like I said, I try to focus on what’s ahead. 

You stated this season you wanted to improve on your lateral quickness as well as explosiveness. That was a big goal of mine to improve in those areas, especially after my injury. Were you able to do that this season?

Since my last surgery was a month before preseason started, I had to learn how to do the basic things again. I am proud of how fast I recovered but now is the time for me to really focus on improving my weaknesses. My goal then changed from improving these things to how I can play basketball and be the best teammate possible after being away from the game for that long. 

You finished the season strong on the court. On what things will you be focusing on this summer so you can continue to improve and grow as a player?


So far I lost 26 pounds (12kg) since the season got shut down and I feel much better. I had two surgeries last summer and didn’t really have an offseason, so this time gives me even more time to prepare and catch up on what I missed. 

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


There were a lot of good players this season. But I think that Kendale McCullum from Paderborn gave us the most problems. 

Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?


That is a tough call. Luka is amazing. Maybe not right now, but soon. 

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 


(I was 4 when he began in the NBA) I was at a Spa with my teammate Jaren Lewis for our recovery day when he told me the news afterwards. At first I thought it was a bad joke. He was a reason why I even started to play basketball. Kobe was the closest thing to Michael Jordan that ever stepped on a court and I loved watching him play. One of my favorite players of all time. Him and his daughters death shook up the whole world and he will never be forgotten. Motivates me to go even harder now. 

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


It is very heartbreaking for the players and fans. Many people live for college sports, especially march madness. I know a few guys that missed that opportunity to play during March Madness and I am very sorry for them. It’s hard to find words to make them feel better because that is what many guys worked so hard for. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


Wonder

Thanks Yasin for the chat.

All Of A Sudden Toddrick Gotcher(KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom) Was The Lone American And Had To Take On Bigger Roles To Help The Team Win

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Toddrick Gotcher in Bonn, Germany on October 29th, 2019

It was October 29th  2020 when I ventured to Bonn to watch a mid-week Basketball Champions League game between the Telekom Baskets and top Turkish club Besiktas Istanbul. In all my years of covering basketball, I have come upon many players and Jordan Theodore who I covered extensively one season when he played for the Fraport Skyliners belongs in my top 5 players that I have covered in my career. It was a no brainer that I would venture to see my guy Jordan play again after not having seen him in 3 years. The Besiktas squad had a very talented roster with up and coming German guard Ismet Akpinar , but also had 2 other very top notch Americans with 2 time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors James McAdoo JR the son of ex NBA scoring freak James McAdoo and Shaquille Mckissic who made the jump to Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-Euroleague) and has a huge career ahead of him. On any night, you won´t find a better trio of American players on one team with Theodore, McAdoo and Mckissic in the Basketball Champions League. But wait there was a fourth American on the squad with Todderick Gotcher and I actually had a connection to him and also wanted to see him play and meet him. He had hit me up early in 2019 lauding my work which was nice being he had never played in Germany but still read my work and had been playing in France and I decided  to give him an interview.  He is a player that tailors his game after an Eric Gordon and Bradley Beal and just plays his role not thinking about putting up the eye opening stats. On this cool rainy evening in Bonn, the American from Garland, Texas didn´t catch his best night playing 16 minutes and scoring 0 points. Playing on a team with so many scoring options, he didn´t necessarily have to score 20 every night, but as always focused on trying to be the smartest on the court offensively and defensively. At the end of the night, Besiktas Istanbul suffered a tough 86-82 loss. That was only the beginning of more hardships to come for the Turkish squad. Not too long after, Todderick Gotcher all of a sudden was the lone American on the team and had to take on bigger roles to help the team. “It was not too tough on me personally. In college, I played for 4 different head coaches and changes so I am used to adapting to whatever situation I am in. I just tried to make the best of the situation by doing my job the right way and keeping a positive mindset. It was tough to see my teammates leaving. I have built great relationships with each of them. We continue to keep in touch but each of them went to great situations for them and their families. But I just continued to put the work in on my end. Shaq McKissic & Jordan Theodore were the ones that got me prepared everyday. Battling them in practice everyday elevated my game.”, stressed Toddrick Gotcher. The team was up and down in his lone time there, but then as quickly as all his American teammates left, came COVID-19 and his season abruptly ended.

                When COVID-19 struck like a fierce hurricane in March 2020, Toddrick Gotcher was still in Turkey. When he first heard about it, he wasn´t too concerned, because his wife who is a nurse kept him updated about what was happening in the medical world. But he did utter a phrase that just about every player I interviewed in the last 6 months said to me. “I must admit, I did not expect it to shut down the entire world”, stressed Toddrick Gotcher. He didn´t go home right away, but had the experience to see how the Turkish culture was responding to COVID-19. His time in Turkey during COVID-19 was a time where he could actually get a gripe on other things in life and be a very special role model to his 1 year daughter concerning how to handle one´s self. “In Istanbul, I stayed at home and read many books during this time. It was helpful because I had the time to catch up on things unrelated to basketball. The Turkish culture was not too bad, people stayed home. I was more aware of how I handled myself. The main reason is because I have a 1 year old daughter so I was more worried about her more than anything”, stated Toddrick Gotcher. The first few months in 2020 were tough for all basketball players and it wasn´t any different for Toddrick Gotcher. A benefit from the ending of the season was focusing more on family, but it also had other disadvantages like playing the last few games without fans and not to mention having to take a long time to digest the meaningless tragedy that the basketball world suffered with the death of Kobe Bryant which set off 2020 on a very low note. “We as players, were all disappointed and wanted to finish the season. This is what we go overseas to do and it is something we love to do. It was disappointing, but we could use this for good and spend quality time with family for the time being. I think it is tough for us to play without fans. Obviously, we do not mind it, but it is tough and Lebron James said in the media “What is sport without fans. When I heard about Kobes death, I was in a restaurant. I got at least 5 calls about it and I was in disbelief. He definitely had a huge impact on my life. Everytime I shoot a piece of trash to the garbage, I still scream Kobe”, commented Toddrick Gotcher.

            It was a very long extended summer for all involved in basketball. When had a Toddrick Gotcher ever been on summer vacation in early March as a professional player? As a professional your usually off in May and if you make the playoffs don´t return home to weeks or a month later. The American returned back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and like in Istanbul was around many many other people. At least he was back home with his loved ones, but the mood was very tense as the United States were going through hard times with COVID-19. “I believe there is fear everywhere. Obviously in the bigger cities due to more people being receptive to the virus. But I would think it is equal with everyone’s mood and everyone being more aware”, warned Toddrick Gotcher. Having extended family time was a huge plus for all overseas basketball players, but they also had to contend with something totally new. Often players return home, do nothing for 2 weeks, then go on a vacation and start training in June while their agents look for teams. But now players could start training in April, but also had the disadvantage of finding a place to train as gyms were closed. Just as creative he is on the court, he had to be even more creative where he could work on his craft. “  It will be a huge adjustment for us all. It will be pretty weird to start workouts earlier knowing we will not have to be in game shape for a while The advantages of this is allowing our body to recover, but the disadvantage is too much time off”, warned Toddrick Gotcher back in March 2020. COVID-19 was an eyeopener for all and it was something that made many stronger as well as the American. “During this tough time, I have learned to just appreciate everything in life. Take some positive out of every negative. Use this time to our advantage with our families”, expressed Toddrick Gotcher.

            When COVID-19 hit back in March 2020, the American who played 135 NCAA games at Texas Tech had more time to reflect on his season with Besiktas Istanbul. Despite losing high class Americans, the club got the last playoff spot despite having a 11-12 record. It wasn´t an easy season for the club in the last few months, but he took on the challenge. “There were many ups and downs this season but we had a next man up mentally. Everyone stepped up when we needed them. It was good to see how resilient we were as a team”, added Toddrick Gotcher. Not only did the American learn to deal with a new challenge of being the lone American at the end, but didn´t have a Theodore or McAdoo to get a Mcdonalds midnight snack, but had to form new kind of relationships with his Turkish teammates. “I spent great quality time with my Turkish teammates. They are great guys and showed me the Turkish way, so I have give them appreciation for everything. We all have great relationships as well”, stressed Toddrick Gotcher.

            The American got a bit lost with his game with the American trio of Theodore, McAdoo and Mckissic, but here and there he did break through and have some strong games like his 22 points in a huge crushing of Italian team Brindisi in the Basketball Champions League. In the end, he held his own averaging 9,9ppg, 4,7rpg 2,3apg and 1,5spg while shooting 33% from outside in the BSL league and in the BCL averaged 10,8ppg, 3,5rpg and 1,6spg while shooting 41% from outside. and didn´t need his American teammates, because he did just fine with his Turkish teammates. “I honestly started off the season really slow. I was not playing the way I needed to and was not getting the job done. But as the season progressed, I got better and better. I still have a lot to improve on with my game, but I think I can bring more to the game”, warned Toddrick Gotcher. It was obvious that as the Americans left, his minutes increased and his role changed as well. “My role changed a lot. At first, my job was to only shoot 3s to space the floor and defend. But as my teammates were leaving, I had to take on bigger roles, whether it be playing with the ball in my hands or rebounding doing whatever I can to help the team win”, added Toddrick Gotcher. He came to Turkey in the summer already as a versatile player, but as the season progressed, he had many more duties and became even more versatile. “I actually did score more as the season progressed due to my bigger role. My main focus was just doing whatever I can for the team to win. I appreciate the trust of my coach and teammates for allowing me to be myself”, said Toddrick Gotcher. He finished the season strong scoring in double figures in his last 5 games in the Turkish league and had two double doubles and had stats leading toward a triple double and took new steps in his 4th professional season after playing 2 seasons Greece averaging double figures in scoring in the A-1 league and playing in France. “The new step I took was playing the point guard. I enjoyed having the ball in my hands and setting my teammates up to score. I believe that I improved my game and improved my ball handling to get my teammates involved”, stated Toddrick Gotcher. He definitely will never forget Istanbul, but it´s time to move on as basketball player lives like a nomad. “Istanbul, Turkey is one of the best places I have ever lived. It is safe and beautiful with great people. Great environment to live in. One of the top places to stay in my opinion for basketball players”, stressed Toddrick Gotcher. The American will commence his fifth professional season with KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (North Macedonia-Prva Liga) and continue to look to develop further as a player as well as helping his team be as successful as possible. He also will have a parallel to the second half of the Besiktas season in that he won´t be the lone American, but have one teammate with Hassani Gravett and have many North Macedonian teammates but also a Serb teammate. Learning to play only with Turkish players helped strengthen his game last season and this season he will have the opportunity to continue to develop and get by with mostly North Macedonian players. He may not find a Mcdonalds in Skpje because it was banned, but at least he will still have Burger King and not have to go alone, but have a good conversation in English with lone American Hassani Gravett and for a little period feel like he could be back home in America.

After Fighting A Brutal Knee Injury Kerry Carter Has Learned That He Isn´t Built To Be A Worker But Built To Champion A Cause

Kerry Carter is a 28 year old 188cm guard from West Covina, California that last played in the 2017-2018 season with Generazione Vincente Cuore Napoli (Italy-Serie A2) playing 12 games averaging 20.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.0apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 44.6%, 3FGP: 37.6%, FT: 76.0%, in Jan.’18 moved to Hapoel Haifa (Israel-National League) playing 10 games averaging 19.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.3apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 74.3%. In 2016-2017 he played with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-ProB) playing 24 games: Score-1 (24.8ppg), 4.0rpg, 5.2apg, Steals-2 (2.9spg), FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 84.2%. He racked up Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -17, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -17, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -17, Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -17, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Defensive Team -17. As a rookie he played for Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 5 games: 3.2ppg. He started his basketball career with Citrus College and then moved to St.Mary’s, CA (NCAA) where he played 63 NCAA games and as senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg. He spoke to germanhoops.com during COVID-19 in 2020.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Kerry Carter after he scored 31 points in a tough 92-87 loss in Rhondorf in 2016

Hi Kerry Our last interview was from September 2017 as you had arrived in Italy. How fast has time flown by and what have you missed most about basketball?


Miles, thanks for having me. Seems like the days are long but the weeks fly by. In regards to basketball I miss competing more than anything. There’s nothing like going to battle every night and putting your preparation to the test. That and some of the lifelong relationships you make through the game. 

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


I’m home in California. Since the beginning of the pandemic my mindset has been to win the wait. A mentor of mine told me that there are winners and losers whenever there are interruptions like this. So, I’ve made it a point to ensure that I come out of it all as one of the winners. 

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

This has been kind of a black swan event for me. I have never seen anything like this so I didn’t really know what to expect. I see now why people who have lived through serious historic events like the Great Depression take such precautious measures now. When you’ve never seen anything like it though, you don’t understand the fragility of it all and how quickly normalcy can be taken away. 

How Have you experienced the day to day life in West Covina? How has the general public there accepted the Coronavirus?


Daily life back home is different. You see a general feeling of fear with all of this because people don’t really understand it. The energy is different. 

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

I’ve always been a bit of a germophobe with that stuff, staying clear of people who appear sick and I don’t really like to dap up unless I really know somebody. This stuff has only reaffirmed that for me. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. Have you had any contact to ex teammates and friends that have been overseas?


Definitely. LA is one of the hubs for basketball talent so I have talked to a lot of guys that are back home due to having seasons cut short and some that live in other areas as well. There’s generally a lot of mixed feelings about how all this has unfolded. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?

I know guys have expressed different opinions but for me, I’m a true competitor through and through. I don’t care who’s in the building I’m trying to win. So as much as the fans contribute to the atmosphere, I think guys just have to get back to the root of it all and remember why they do it. It’s a blessing to play the game, no matter who’s watching, especially when you get paid to do it.

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?


I’ve had to switch gears from being a player. I stay in shape and in the back of my mind there was always a belief that I would go back and play. But these times have shown me that it’s bigger than hoops. I can take that passion I have for the game and apply it to anything and be successful. Ultimately, I learned the importance of knowing my WHY and making sure every decision I make aligns with a clear set of core values. 

You have been recovering from injury. Have you been able to keep in shape at home? What kind of exercises have you been able to do and do you have a specific routine?


Absolutely. I have a ton of equipment at home so this time has been extremely productive for me from a physical standpoint. From resistance bands to Viprs to kettlebells. I’ve been able to really get after it now that there’s a little more downtime. 

The whole world economy is going to be affected including Italian basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?


I think there will be a huge discrepancy between price and value for a lot of players. As the global economy tanks, so do team’s resources so it will be interesting to see which teams manage financial hardship best. This is going to be a make or break deal for a lot of organizations that can’t afford to have many mistakes. 

How has your approach to family changed since the outbreak of Corona? What things have you seen yourself do that you may not have done before?


Being that I didn’t play this year, my time was dominated by work schedule. I found time to get my workouts in and I am almost done with my master’s degree but there wasn’t time for much else. The family aspect has benefitted the most from all of this. The amount of time I’ve been able to spend working on my relationship and being there for my queen has been a blessing. 

You missed the last 2 seasons due to injury. How tough have this time been for you? Has there been a specific person that has been the biggest help besides family?

When I had my surgery, it was a revelation for me to just how special my girl really is. Anybody who’s been through a knee surgery knows how vulnerable you are during the recovery process. I couldn’t even put my socks on by myself and to just make myself something to eat required an effort that would put me in a full sweat. On top of that you’re not able to workout like you used to or do some of the things that brought you peace to begin with. She held it down for me and did all of the little things to make me feel comfortable on top of being my emotional support. 

Talk a little about the injury you had and how your rehabilitation period went? Are you 100% again and ready to go again with basketball?


My injury was a combination of things. I initially had a strained ACL and that’s when it started giving me problems. From there I learned that I had basically destroyed the cartilage in my knee and had to get it replaced. The rehabilitation period was great and I’m now almost 15 months post op so I’m back to 100%.

What did you learn about yourself in the last two years that allowed you to get through this tough period?


That’s a loaded question. Some things I learned and some things were reaffirmed. One of the things I learned is that I’m not built to be a worker, I’m built to champion a cause. Whatever I’m doing has to be a direct reflection of my purpose or I’m not going to reach my potential. 

You haven’t played in two seasons. Are you a bit nervous what will await this summer with the Coronavirus effect and you long absence of how teams will pursue you?


Not at all. What’s for me won’t miss me. What misses me isn’t for me. I firmly believe it will all work out as it’s meant to. 

After missing two full seasons, how will you start training on the court again to get back to the type of player you once was?


First thing I had to do was get my body ready for the impact of the game. I had to get back into physical shape. I was coaching and jumping in on scout so I got a ton of live reps this year against some young guys who are hungry to prove themselves. From there it was just about getting my rhythm and my feel for the game back. 

You had an amazing season in Germany and made the next step in Italy and Israel. How intense are your own mind games concerning how well you will find back to your game?


Being away from the game made me appreciate the present moment. I’m not stressing over things I can’t control and there’s even less reason to stress if I can control it. I’ve been able to explore meditation and mental stimulation in a lot of ways that calms the mind so that hasn’t been an issue for me. 

In your last season you split time with Generazione Vincente Cuore Napoli (Italy-Serie A2) averaging 20.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.0apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 44.6%, 3FGP: 37.6%, FT: 76.0%, in Jan.’18 moved to Hapoel Haifa (Israel-National League) averaging 19.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.3apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 74.3%. Were you proud of your achievements with your game or was it something expected simply after coming from the German Pro B which was a lower league?


I expected to have a better turnover ratio, better shooting percentage and FT%, but most importantly more wins. I never got a championship and if I could go back I would make more strategic decisions to put me in a position to help a team win one. 

After making the next step in Italy and Israel as a player how do you feel did you make the next step in your game as a player? After Germany you stated you made this step with the fluidity your game changed and you felt more comfortable in certain situatiosn where you usually rushed things. What new steps did you make in Italy and Israel?


I became more comfortable on the ball and making the right reads in pick & roll situations. I focused on getting to the midrange instead of all the way to the basket sometimes so I could be a threat before the help would get there. I didn’t like how sped up I got at times so I tried to just let the game come to me. 

You recently began a Podcast called ‘Feed The Fam’. How did you come up with the idea and what is your goal with the program?


The goal is to just have an authentic space to share content. There are so many creative people that want to share their knowledge and help others. The objective is to collaborate and bring them together in a place that can be mutually beneficial for them and anyone listening. 

Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?


No but he’s special and he definitely put the world on notice. 

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

I was at home. Growing up in LA, Kobe is a huge part of the culture and he is a large part of why I took basketball so seriously. The finals series between him and Allen Iverson changed my life. 

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


It was a really unfortunate situation for a lot of programs. To work that hard and not have the opportunity to play on that stage is tough. I would tell the seniors to stay patient and win the psychological. You have to have supreme faith that everything will work out. Doubt is the enemy, especially for the rookies. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


Above the Rim. 

Thanks Kerry for the chat.

Despite Becoming A 40 Percent Shooter From Outside Abel Baptista Won´t Relax As There Is Still More Work To Be Done To Be A Threat

Abel Baptista is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Belgium that last season played with VOO Liege Basket (Euromillions League) playing 9 games averaging 10.7ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 82.1%. In 2018-2019 he played with Fellows Ekeren BBC Antwerp (Top Division I) averaging 15.8ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, 2.8bpg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 58.6%. In 2017-2018 he played with Hubo Limburg United (Euromillions League) playing 19 games averaging 2.0ppg. In 2016-2017 he played with Kon BC Gistel Oostende Duva Fruit (Top Division I) playing 20 games averaging 16.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 72.3%. He began his basketball career with Port of Antwerp Giants B . He spoke to germanhoops.com during the summer of 2020 about basketball. 

Abel thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been despite the whole COVID-19 crisis?


Thanks for having me. At this moment I’m at home with my family in Antwerp, Belgium. Despite the crisis my summer has been quite busy. I’ve had rehabilitation workouts and also basketball workouts and lifting weights, all of the good stuff basically.

How did you experience the whole COVID-19 crisis in Belgium. You played your last game on January 11th. Did you have tough injuries that effected your last season?


Because of the crisis I actually had more time to spend with my family, being with them basically 24/7 almost everyday for a couple of months. Something that I haven’t been used to ever since I joined the youth program at Antwerp Giants back in 2012. Yes I did get injured last season. I had plantar fasciitis which is a very nagging injury in the heel and feels like someone is stabbing a knife in your foot, that’s how painful it was. But I had treatment and rehabilitated and now I’m finally healthy and working out and playing basketball again. Thanks to the crisis (weird to say this) I had more time to rehab and work on my body. I feel good right now.

Was it a difficult challenge for you during COVID-19 to find gym time and a suitable place to keep in shape and practice your basketball skills?

Yes it was really difficult because in Belgium there are no open gyms and you have to use your creativity a little more. I worked out in my backyard and in my room to get back in shape but it’s really different from actually going to a gym because of the lack of apparels. I just made the best out of it and thank goodness the gyms are back open so I got back in shape pretty quickly since then.

How do you feel has the whole COVID-19 experience made you stronger as a man during these hard times?


It definitely made me stronger, it also made me a little more patient because everything actually slowed down and there’s nothing I could do about it. I can only control what I can control.

You played last season with VOO Liege Basket (Euromillions League) playing 9 games averaging 10.7ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 82.1%. You left in January 2020. How content were you with your season? Would it be fair to say that it was your strongest season as a professional?

I’m really hard on myself so I’m not really that satisfied with my season. I honestly feel that I could’ve done way better but I’ll try to do better wherever I might end up next season. Yes, this is my strongest season as a professional but I feel like there’s more to come. I feel like I can do more and I can do better.

What is your focus now as you search for a new club? You have played in Belgium your whole career. Do you feel like you might stay at home or could you imagine playing in another country?


Right now I’m focused on working on my game.And I’m staying ready for an opportunity whether it’s here in Belgium or abroad.

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


That’s a very good question. I think I play like DeMar DeRozan (without all of the athleticism lol) but with a better three point shot. And maybe a little bit like Jimmy Butler. But I try to watch as many as possible different NBA players so I can add a little something of everybody in my game.

Talk a little about your strengths. What do you feel is the biggest asset in your game?


My drive to the basket and creative finishes are definitely the biggest assets in my game. But my three point shot has also become a threat for sure. You can’t leave me open.

You shot 42% from outside in the Euromillions league last season. Do you feel like you have the needed self-confidence now to be able to keep shooting high percentages from outside?


Yes, I feel more confident about my shot right now but I’m not going to relax because it still needs more work to become a real threat. As were speaking right now, I’m actually extending my range a little more and working more on the off dribble pull up.

What kind of experience was it taking part at the 2020 Euromillions Allstar 3 point shooting contest? Which shooter in general is your biggest role model?


I didn’t take part in the Allstar 3 point shootout because I was injured. But my favorite shooter right now is definitely Damian Lillard

On what parts of your game are you working on most as you continue to work yourself up the basketball ladder?


I’m working on every aspect of the game. I think it’s important to work on everything, especially with the time I have right now. I just work on everything.

Two seasons ago you played with Fellows Ekeren BBC Antwerp (Top Division) averaging 15.8ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, 2.8bpg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 58.6%. How important was this season for you taking a step back after a tough season with Limburg?


It was a step back I had to take to stay ready for the next opportunity.

In 2017-2018 you played with Hubo Limburg United (Euromillions League) playing 19 games averaging 2.0ppg. What do you remember from this season and what do you feel was the most positive thing that you gained from this time?


I remember everything from that season. Despite the lack of playing time I had a really good time learning from all of my teammates and coaches, everybody was cool. And I’ll definitely remember the life lessons I got from the team captain Wen Mukubu.

After playing the first years of your career with Port Of Antwerp, in 2016-2017 you switched to Kon BC Gistel Oostende Duva Fruit (Top Division I) playing 20 games averaging 16.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 72.3%. What memories do you have from this season and how vital was that season for your development being it was your first club after Antwerp?


I remember every single detail of that season. That was my favorite season ever for sure, I had great teammates, a great coaching staff and we had a great supporting cast over there. Everything was great in Oostende.I could say that it prepared me for the professional basketball world.

You began your basketball career with Port Of Antwerp. What memories do you have from your early basketball schooling and could you imagine returning back in the future to play?


I remember the first practices there. Very tough because it was my first time practicing twice a day everyday but I learned a lot and it made me better. I could see myself returning one day but we’ll see what the future holds.

Who was the toughest player that you ever played against that was in the NBA?


I never played in the NBA but the toughest player I played against in the Euromillions League is Braian Angola

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?


There’s too many to just name 5 lol

Please list your NBA Mount Rushmore of players past or present

Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant 
Kevin Durant
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Wilt Chamberlain 

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate between who is the best between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?


I think it’s something subjective and everybody is entitled to have its own opinion but MJ is the GOAT by far!

What was the last movie that you saw?


I don’t really watch movies that often, therefore I can’t remember. But I love watching series and the last series I watched is called Black-ish.

Thanks Abel for the chat.

Niklas Kiel(Fraport Skyliners) Could Of Had Everything But Instead Has To Retire At Age 22 Because He Couldn´t Elude Misfortune

It was a very unseasonably warm afternoon in February  2020 when I found myself at Frankfurt airport with my son as we were in Terminal 2 watching planes land from far away places like Hong Kong and Los Angeles and planes take off to far away places like Buenos Aires and Sydney. Life was still feeling good as COVID-19 had struck in the far east, but was still a few weeks away before totally paralyzing the rest of the world. After watching some planes, I went inside and watched my son play in the indoor play ground and in the corner of my eye, I saw a giant waiting to get some food at a take out place. I knew instantly that that person was a basketball player and not too long after, I recognized a familiar face in Fraport Skyliner power forward Niklas Kiel. Right away his young career flew through my mind like lightening and my first thought was “How much misfortune can a person only have”? Here was a 22 year old 207cm power forward who could have had everything he wanted as a basketball player, but just like thousands of players who asked themselves in March 2020 “what could have been with our season had COVID-19 not been reality”, Kiel and many more will wonder forever where his career would have gone had he been able to continue his career until retirement in his 30´s. Instead the big friendly German will have to look for a new job as he announced his retirement at age 22, 2 days shy of his 23rd birthday. Anybody that knows me as a basketball journalist might have expected me to go over to Kiel in the food line and be a semi pain in the neck drilling him with questions about his medical condition. Instead I walked over to him smiled and said hello. We had a little small talk and then said goodbye. I respected his privacy and for once in my life didn´t have interview plastered all over my face. “I have never known a player that had as much bad luck as Niklas did. I seriously believe that if he hadn´t had all these health complications that he could of reached a Euroleague or even a NBA team. That is just how good he was”, stressed Fraport Skyliners captain Quantez Robertson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Niklas Kiel in the 2015-2016 season after a Fraport Skyliners Juniors 89-68 victory against Speyer where he posted 13 points, 7 boards and 4 dimes

                Kiel was born on September 4th, 1997 in Herford and began his basketball career at BBG Herford. He learned quickly what it meant to play with men as he played with BBG Herford as a 15 year old and overall played 27 Regionalliga games between 2012-2014 while also playing for the Paderborn(U-16) youth team. Before he even landed in Frankfurt, he was a huge basketball prospect and had experienced a lot. Before coming to Frankfurt, he had played 2 U-16 European championships, played a few JBBL(U-16) championships where he was named MVP in 2013 posting 26.9ppg, 20.0rpg stats and in 2014 he was named NBBL rookie of the year with impressive 15.1ppg, 13.5rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3bpg stats. He also played at the famous Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany (Unofficial World Championships U18) in 2014 putting up strong 12.7ppg, 10.7rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 20%, FT: 66.7% stats. He came to Frankfurt in 2014 with a lot of self-confidence and put up solid numbers for the farm team Juniors averaging  9.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 19.6%, FT: 70.8%, and also played for the Skyliners U-19 team and also celebrated his first BBL game in October 2015 against Tuebingen and nailed his first shot which was a three pointer. “I can still remember a young Niklas when he arrived in Frankfurt. He was excited and had so much energy. He was so happy to be part of a high level organization like the Fraport Skyliners”, remembers Quantez Robertson. In his second season, he continued to get extended minutes with the Pro B farm team and had his break out there playing 24 games averaging 14.1ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT-2(90.4%). He was still getting groomed as a future BBL player and was only inserted into one BBL game scoring 5 points in 8 minutes in a crushing 92-64 victory over Tuebingen. In his third season he had his break-through as he played 27 BBL games averaging  6.4ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 55.9%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 79.0%; in 14 minutes per game and also got his first taste of international club basketball playing 12 Basketball Champions League games averaging 2,8ppg and 2,3rpg in 12 minutes per game. During this time, he was living with a host family. It happened to be with his teammate Max Merz and he saw close hand how quickly a career can end as Max´s brother Jakob had to retire at age of 17 on account of massive cartilage damage in both legs. Merz wasn´t the only young Skyliner that had to retire because of injury, but it also had happened to other players Dominik Hennen and Kirsten Zoellner. Kiel was already a good kid from nature, but this experience showed him up front how valuable an education was and he proceeded to finish school and have a degree in his pocket.

            The 2017-2018 season was when the basketball God no longer looked after him and the annoying misfortune came and just wouldn´t leave him alone. After a solid third season, the expectations grew for the talented German who was a modern day forward that could score in the paint, rebound, pass and hit the three pointer. His goals were clear. He had to continue to develop and wanted to test the NBA Draft in 2019. But instead of steady development came constant agony. He suffered his first concussion in preseason as he got a unintentional elbow to his face from teammate Mike Morrison in practice. Instead of taking more time to analyse his condition, he was back on the court a few weeks later. It didn´t take long until he suffered his second concussion in his 3rd game back and then he sat out for 3 months. All in all, the big man played only 10 games in his fourth season averaging 1,1ppg and 1,6rpg. In the summer came concussion number 3 as he suffered dizziness and fell on his head. This was the absolute down point in his young life. He had to sit in a dark room for many weeks as his sense of balance and ability to smell were damaged, his sight was limited and he had severe physical and coordination deficits. He never gave up and fought his way back in the 2018-2019 season and made his come back on March 29th against Rasta Vechta playing 12 minutes 316 days after his last game. He finished the season strong considering all that he had suffered in the last 12 months averaging 4,8ppg, 4,1rpg and 1,2apg. He had 2 9 point games against Wurzburg and Bremerhaven. In August 2019, the Fraport Skyliners announced that Kiel wouldn´t be in their plans for2019-2020 season. Obviously his health wasn´t 100% as his concussion history must of continued to give him set backs. I reached his ex coach Gordon Herbert in Russia today and one could feel just how much respect and love he has for his ex player. “Niklas was a tremendous prospect with a great future. A very sad situation that ended his career. He is a great kid that faced tremendous adversity and fought his way through it a couple of times. The last time was just too severe with the after effects. He was a great inspiration to all of us that saw what he went through. He is a young man with great human values which is a reflection of his parents. I wish Niklas all the best going forward”, stressed ex Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert. Despite Kiel playing his last BBL game in May 2019 and having had all that health baggage accompany him, his teammate Quantez Robertson still saw a lot of growth in his game. “He was a hard worker and tough. He always crashed the boards strong and was a good rim protector at times. He was that modern day power forward, a player that could score with his back to the basket, get to the rim and hit the occasional jumper. He was working on his three pointer the most at the end”, added Quantez Robertson.

                I never had that special one on one relationship with Niklas Kiel, but it was nothing personal, because it has always been the Americans that I have clicked best with. But any encounter I had with him was always positive. He was always friendly and had good manners the way any young person should be. I remember seeing him play every weekend in his first 2 seasons sometimes 2-3 times because he was playing for many teams like the Pro B team Juniors and NBBL(U-19) youth team. I saw Niklas grow as a player and like so many other basketball junkies am very disappointed that I will never see how he would have turned out as a player. Obviously the most important thing is that he can have a healthy life after basketball and be able to matriculate into a profession where he will be content and happy. His ex teammate Quantez Robertson is sure that Niklas will go his way successfully after basketball even if it won´t be a cake walk at the start. “It will be tough for him to get over this. It will take some time. It took him this long to decide to retire. That just shows how much he really loved the game”, stressed Quantez Robertson. The German goes into retirement having played 49 BBL games for the Fraport Skyliners, 51 Pro B games and 12 Basketball Champions League games. Fans will remember him as a hard working player that had a lot of talent, but just couldn´t shake the injury and misfortune bug. Gordon Herbert surely could of mentioned many fondest moments with him, but instead will always remember 2 qualities of him that defined him as a player and person. “: “I will remember most how he competed overall and how much he wanted to succeed”, warned Avtodor head coach Gordon Herbert. His teammate Quantez Robertson stayed brief about his fondest memory, but it was one that clearly showed how he saw life. “Niklas always had a big smile and was just a happy kid. That is how I will remember him most”, stressed Quantez Robertson. I wish Niklas Kiel all the best and maybe he will come back every now and then and watch some home games. I´m sure that that big smile will still be on display.

Despite Being A Top Regionalliga Player Kendall Stafford(Baskets Vilsbiburg) Will Never Get Complacent And Continue To Work To Get Better

 Kendall Stafford is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Corinth, Mississippi that completed his rookie season in Germany hooping with the Baskets Vilsbiburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 20 games averaging 21.3ppg, 9.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 61.7%. he began his basketball career at Corinth High School and then played at Northeast Mississippi Community College (JUCO) from 2015-2017 averaging 6.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 57.9% as a freshman and 10.7ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 68.0% in his second year. He then moved to the University of North Alabama (NCAA2) averaging 15.6ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 45.8%, FT: 65.8% as a junior and 10.6ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 65.9% as a senior. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis.

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


I am currently at home, in Corinth, MS. My mood is actually pretty good, because I am finally at home with my family and friends. I am enjoying spending as much time with them (at a distance) as I can before returning back overseas. I miss them so much. Although, I am disappointed our season was cut short. 

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

When I first heard, I did not expect it to be as serious as it is. The main reason why is because public officials and media did not portray it to be a big deal. They acted like it was just a common flu or seasonal allergies. I believe that America should have acted sooner, and possibly this could all be under control by now. It is crazy how this one virus has affected almost the whole entire world. 

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


I did not get to experience the effects of COVID-19 in Germany. My coaches sent me back to America before things became how they are. I do believe that the Germans would take it more seriously than us, Americans.

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

Yes, I have learned a lot about the 4-6 feet rule, washing my hands often, and avoiding crowded places. I also try to avoid people who think they have been in contact or showing symptoms of COVID-19. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?

I was very disappointed because we just had begun figuring each other out and all it took to win. We were also on a win streak and I believe we could have won the rest of our games at the rate we were playing. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?


I would personally not like playing without fans, because I enjoy having people watching me. It is a motive to do good and try my hardest. When the crowd’s energy is there, so is mine. 

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?


These times have taught me to not take life for granted. You never know when your last game, practice, social event, or just day alive will be. We all need to start taking better care of ourselves and our environments.

Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?


The advantages will be getting back in the gym sooner and working on perfecting and advancing my crafts. I will be able to get back doing what I love. There are really no disadvantages to this when you are a gym rat and basketball is your passion. 

The whole world economy is going to be affected including Polish basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?


I believe that in the beginning a lot of people are still going to be afraid of big crowds and big events, so fan base will smaller. I am not really worried about the future though, because I know everyone loves sports. Everyone is constantly talking about sports starting again and being broadcasted. Although, I am anxious to see how things will turn out next year.

How have you experienced the day to day life back home in the States? How has the Coronavirus affected your daily life? How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls.


It is difficult being at home and not being able to do some things. I was so excited to come home and go eat at my favorite restaurants and go shopping at my favorite stores. When I got home, everything was almost already closed or closing soon, and I did not get to enjoy those things. I wanted to go on vacation also, but unfortunately that will probably not happen either. 

If you had to name another player besides guys from your team that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?


Kendarius Smith

Let’s talk about your rookie season in Germany with Baskets Vilsbiburg. The club finished in 6th place with a 11-9 record. How would you summarize the team season?


I would not say it was the best season, but it was pretty solid. A few factors contributed to our season not going as successful as it could. One factor was injuries and the other factor was team chemistry. Like I said in a previous question, I believe we would’ve finished higher if we were able to complete our season. We were just figuring each other out and we were becoming unstoppable

The club began the season 6-8, but played their best basketball in 2020 winning 5 of their last 6 games. Why do you feel did it take so long to finally get some team consistency?


We had a coach change in the middle of our season and I believe getting to know the new coach’s style was an adjustment that took time for us. We also had a few injuries that changed the lineup and we had to get used to that as well. 

The club scored 88 points per game, but also allowed 86 points per game. What kind of an adjustment was it for you coming from the NCAA and experiencing how defense is played overseas?


There was not really an adjustment. 

You and experienced American Kenny Fluellen averaged 40 pointscombined per game. Do you feel like the club at times relied too much on you 2 guys for the scoring?


No, every person on a team has a role. It just happened that Kenny and mine role was to score and we were fine with that if it meant our team would win. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing with Kenny Fluellen? Was he like a mentor for you and was that NCAA 2 connection a big benefit as you both knew where the other came from


A big pleasure, he was a great player and friend. Our games really complemented each other’s.

What was it like being teammates with Czech republic big man Lubos Novy. He got injured just as the team started rolling. How was his game most valuable for the team?


He was fully of energy and we needed that. He was unstoppable offensively and defensively. We really need his inside threat for our offense.

Let’s talk about you game. You averaged 21.3ppg, 9.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 61.7% as a rookie. How content were you with your game?


I was not content at all. Every day and every game I worked to be a better player than the day before. I will continue to work to get better. I will never get complacent. 

If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?


Lebron James because I am a versatile player just like him. I am just a little bit less athletic and explosive. 

You are an amazing and lethal rebounder for 193cm. You made huge strides from JUCO to the NCAA in terms of rebounds and continued into the pro ranks. How do you explain your huge surge in being able to rebound the ball?


All of my coaches told me I had it in me to get all rebounds, I believe them and I went for it. To this day I still do. Plus, getting rebounds leads to easy points. 

You have been an ok three point shooter in your last 2 seasons in the NCAA and pro’s, but shot an overwhelming 45% in your junior season. What is your strategy in continuing to improve your outside shooting?


I will keep getting up as many shots as I can in my free time. I will also continue working on my confidence, when I am confident I see my shot is a lot better.

On what other aspects of your game will you continue to work on as you attempt to climb the basketball ladder?


Ball handling is something I also need to work on. 

You had 2 amazing games as a rookie scoring 40 points against Troester Breitengussbach and a fascinating 28 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 steals. What game was more memorable?


28, 17, 7, & 7. I had a good overall game and I also had my teammates involved. The win was just a good one for all of us.

Against Regnitzal you were on a quadruple double path. Was that the best game in your career and what did you learn about your game after 40 minutes on this night?


I do believe it was the biggest game of my career. I realized that I can be a versatile player, and I have what it takes offensively and defensively. It showed me that when I am locked in and focused, it is really hard to stop me.

Who was the toughest guy that you faced in the Regionalliga this season?


Erik Land.

You showed as a senior at University of North Alabama (NCAA, that you can be a very good NCAA player, but had to pay your dues in JUCO and did it this season in the German Regionalliga. Talk a little about how huge the chip on your shoulder is and how you deal with it mentally. It must be very high at the moment after a strong rookie season overseas.

I do have a chip on my shoulder, because I know that I can play on a high level. Although, I humble myself enough to know that I am not where I want to be and I have a lot of work to do to get there. 

How important were your two years at Northeast Mississippi Community College (JUCO). What was key for your game in these 2 years that helped you make the jump to the NCAA?

Northeast prepared me for what it took at UNA to be the player I was. I was formally a guard coming to NE, but ended up playing multiple positions. It helped me become the well-rounded player I am today. 

You played at the University of North Alabama playing NCAA 2 in your junior year and NCAA in your senior year. How cool was being able to move up and how do you feel did your game develop best I these 2 years?


It was cool because I got to play against a variety of different talents and environments. I feel that my game developed best in the Division 1 & 2 level because the talent I played was good. My basketball IQ and efficiency was changed the most these two years. With my IQ increasing, my efficiency increased as well because I was seeing things better and taking better shots.

You lost 96-51 against powerhouse basketball school Gonzaga. How did it feel standing on the floor against this school and future NBA players after having played in JUCO only 2 years earlier. What will you remember most from this game?


It was a great experience being in front of such a big crowd and being on that stage with great players. When you are presented an opportunity like this you have to give it your all. You never know when you will get another opportunity to be on a stage that big to showcase yourself and what you have to offer to someone else.

How did head coach Tony Pujol groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?


Coach P was one of the coaches that pushed me to be the rebounder I am today. He also molded me into a leader my last year at UNA. I tried to bring my leadership role to Baskets
Vilsbiburg and I believe that it helped our team.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Jamari Blackmon?


Never got the chance, but if we did it would be a good game!

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced that reached the NBA?


Devin Booker

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Kendarius Smith
Leroy Buchanan
Raheem Sorrell
Sharwyn McGee
Wesley Harris

Please produce your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore with 4 heads past or present?


Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Paul Pierce, and Carmelo Anthony

What is your general opinion with the debate between who is greater Michael Jordan or Lebron James?


Michael Jordan is the best basketball player and competitor. Although, Lebron is the best ‘ALL-AROUND’ player. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


Angels in the Outfield

Thanks Kendall for the chat.

The easyCredit BBL is Enriched Anytime A New UConn Player Like A Christian Vital(BG Goettingen) Comes Into The League

Coming from Boston, it isn´t unusual for a basketball enthusiast kid to like 2 basketball teams. The first major choice was obviously the Boston Celtics who had the amazing 60´s dynasty around Bill Russell and in the 80´s it was Larry Bird and Co which made many a nights more enjoyable in the living room. The second most obvious choice at least for me growing up was Boston College. They are a basketball program that have reached the NCAA tournament 18 times and have placed countless players in the NBA and in Germany over the years. I´ll never forget getting my first taste of the Boston College Eagles close hand in the early 80´s. After watching Doug Flutie punish Rutgers 27-21 on the football field, I ran across the street after the game and ran into the Eagles basketball practice gym and would see future NBA players like John Bagley, Michael Adams, John Garris, and Jay Murphy practice their autographs for me. That was my earliest basketball NCAA memory and I was always a close follower of college basketball as a kid and also loved the Georgetown teams around Patrick Ewing and North Carolina around Michael Jordan, but soon UConn would also be a school that I would constantly be reminded of. I don´t know how many bus rides I took from Boston to Harford when I was going to Avon Old Farms school, but it was a lot and every time we were chugging down I-90, not long after entering Connecticut a sign would pop up “Storrs” home of the UConn Huskies. UConn basketball has been around since 1901 and their program didn´t start to have big success until 1999 where they won their first NCAA title and the next ones followed in 2004, 2011 and 2014. They have played in 33 NCAA tournaments, reached 5 NCAA final 4´s and 11 Elite 8´s. The basketball factory have placed many former players in the NBA with the most notable being Kemba Walker, Ray Allen, Rudy Gay, Richard Hamilton, Caron Butler and Emeka Okafor. But there have also been a few players that have played in Germany that played at UConn. My journalistic connection to the basketball school is traced to 3 of their NCAA titles. I was fortunate to interview ex NBA player and 1999 NCAA winner Khalid El-Amin who played with BG Goettingen for 2 seasons, saw Souleyman Wane play in 2005 in Germany when he played for Giessen who won the 1999 title and I have been covering Niels Giffey for years as he is the only German player to have won 2 NCAA titles with the 2011 one with Kemba Walker and 2014 title with NBA player Shabazz Napier. I was fortunate to interview Nils Giffey back in the fall of 2010 when he was a freshman at UConn and when he turned professional in 2014 with Euroleague team Alba Berlin. There haven´t been many guys that played at UConn to have played in Germany as the list is short with Khalid El Amin, Niels Giffey, Souleyman Wane, Marc Suhr, Enosch Wolf, Leon Tolksdorf, Sam Casell Jr and Daniel Guest, but a new one has arrived with Christian Vital. The easyCredit BBL is enriched anytime a new UConn player like a Christian Vital(BG Goettingen) comes into the league.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and ex Boston College great John Garris in the 80´s before a game in Boston as he wore the Cleveland Cavaliers jersey then

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and 2 time nCAA champion with UConn Niels Giffey at the 2015 BBL allstar game in ULM

                Christian Vital was born on March 21st 1997 in Queens Village, New York and is the oldest of 6 kids and was an avid chess player as kid beginning at age 5 and took part at tournaments in New York through high school. Even if he is a player who loves the quick paced game, chess gave him that calmness that he would be able to bring to his game in certain situations where the game had to be slowed down. He played at various schools like the Rectory school in Pomfret, Connecticut and the Thomas More school in Connecticut where he played his final 2 years of high school averaging 16.8 ppg, 7,0rrpg and 2,2apg leading his team to a 31–7 record and the National Prep Championship final. He earned New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class AAA first team honors and was picked to play in the Jordan Brand classic scoring 13 points, dishing out 7 dimes and had 4 steals. UConn wasn´t first on his list of school´s that he wanted to attend, but he actually wanted to play at UNLV, but then declined as head coach Dave Rice left. Despite getting an offer from Louisville, he chose UConn and the rest is history.

            The American like so many other guys in the NCAA was a player that set foot on the Storrs campus and wasn´t a high recruit coming in, but instead of sinking his head in the sand, went on a mission to make his UConn career a memorable one. He never ever was short of self-confidence, but actually possessed a very healthy one which allowed him to perform at a high level and knew that if he worked hard, he would be rewarded in games. Even if the program wasn´t winning during his stay, he had extraordinary leadership skills that helped him keep his teammates on the same page in tough times. As a freshman, he started 10 games and averaged  9.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.0%, 3PT: 36.6%, FT: 70.8%. UConn finished with a less than satisfactory 16-17 record and it was the school´s first losing season something that the American had to swallow. In that first season he did score in double figures in 13 games. With head coach Kevin Ollie at the helm, the club continued to be a losing program then going 14-18 in his second season, but Vital made big strides in his game averaging 15.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 84.5%. He would set records at UConn and the first ones occurred that season as he ranks second and third with most points off the bench with 30 against Boston University and 29 points against Columbia. He led the team in rebounds and steals and scored in double figures in 24 contests He declared for the 2018 NBA draft, but decided to return to school as he still had things to prove in the win column.  In his junior season, he had a new coach with Dan Hurley, but they still couldn´t get over the hump registering a 16-17 record. He continued to offer consistent stats averaging 14.2ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 81.3% and led the team in steals. He scored in double figures in 27 games.

As a senior everything turned around as the team finally got back on the winning track having a 19-12 record and was 5th in the ACC with a 10-8 record. It was too bad that COVID-19 hit, because like for so many other players in leagues around the world, the American was left with that sour “what if” feeling about how the season would have ended. He improved in many categories in his senior year having his best stats in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals averaging 16.6ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.6apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 89.7%. He scored in double figures in 25 games and finished his career red hot averaging 24,0ppg in his last 7 games and in his last 3 games averaged 27 points as he scored 28 points against Tulane, 27 points against East Carolina and 26 points against Houston and helped the school win it´s last 5 games in their shortened season. UConn assistant coach Tom Moore is in his 16th season as an assistant having been part of 2 NCAA titles and in between coached 10 seasons at Quinnipiac University. ““My favorite memory of Christian is him playing a great game in a huge win against a tough Houston team in his last appearance at home in Gampel Pavillion. To see him address the crowd and thank them for all the support after the game was heartwarming and something I won’t forget.”, added UConn assistant coach Tom Moore. For a player who never played in an NCAA tournament at UConn in 3 decades, he sure played like he wanted to be there. Sometimes things just don´t work out as well as you want. If he would have been a bit older, he could of experienced totally different scenario´s with guys like Walker and Napier on his side. He continued to leave it all on the court in his senior year and was rewarded as the team had a winning season. He played 110 games in a row and scored 1,735 points in his UConn career, nailing an AAC-record 265 three-pointers. For a guy where nobody was expecting much from when he began at UConn, he didn´t do badly as he passed ex NBA players like Donyell Marshall and Khalid El-Amin to become the 13th leading scorer in UConn history. ““He had the misfortune of coming to UConn during the only rebuilding period in the last 30 years of the program. That did not ever beat him down though as he kept his belief in himself and his teammates until the end. It was extremely frustrating to see COVID take away the end of his career because he was playing at the highest level he’d ever played at and he was extremely excited to see if we could finally get into an NCAA Tournament.”, stressed UConn assistant coach Tom Moore

                Now he begins his professional career in Germany with 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen. The club reached the easyCredit BBL in 2008 and until this season had mostly been led by 2 head coaches with John Patrick and Johan Roijakkers. Roijakkers came in 2012 and after 2 seasons back in the Pro A have stayed in the BBL since 2014. BG Goettingen is one of those clubs that doesn´t have the biggest budget, but mostly have been able to remain in the league because of good coaching and being able to land steals with players. Roijakkers has made the next step to Bamberg and now BG Goettingen will be led by head coach Roel Moors of Belgium who came from Bamberg. It will be a rebuilding year as many new faces will grace the floor like ex G-League player Aubrey Dawkins and ex NBA player Jorge Gutierrez or German BBL veteran Akeem Vargas who returns back to his old stomping ground  or British national player Luke Nelson who has played in Europes best league in Spain called ACB. So how will Christian Vital fit in? He should fit in well. Head coach Roel Moors is thrilled about having the rookie start his career in Goettingen. “He is a very versatile guard that can play various positions at both ends of the court. He is a good shooter from outside, a very good defender and for a guard a good rebounder”, added Roel Moors. If there is any doubt that Christian Vital can get the job done with BG Goettingen, then UConn assistant coach Tom Moore quickly dismisses those doubters with brutally strong and effective words. ““Christian is a tough-minded, determined young man. He has as much self-belief as any player I’ve been around in my 33 years of coaching college basketball. That may be his biggest strength. He has great confidence that he can make the next shot, the next play, or get the next stop.”, warned Tom Moore. One thing is for sure, it is a good omen that an ex UConn guy like Khalid El Amin had played in Goettingen 5 years ago. He almost brought them into the playoffs his first year and saved them his second season from moving down. Maybe Vital will do something that El Amin didn´t do and help the club reach the playoffs? He finished strong at UConn and why shouldn´t that momentum carry on with BG Goettingen. No matter how the season goes, Vital will leave it all on the court. It is what he did at UConn and really all he ever did and knows how to do.

2

Trevon Evans Knows That The Process Is A Marathon And Believes He Will Make It To The Place He Wants To Play At

Trevon Evans is a 24 year old 183cm guard from Kansas that completed his rookie season in Germany with the HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 22 games averaging 20.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.7apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 58.0%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.0%. He began his basketball career at Eisenhower High School. In 2014-2015 he played at Pratt Community College (JUCO) playing 32 games averaging 7.1ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 58.6%. In 2016-2017 he moved to Dodge City Community College (JUCO) playing 28 games averaging 9.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 75.4%. He played his last 2 college seasons at the University of Sioux Falls (NCAA2) averaging 21.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 78.9%, and : 22.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 75.9%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the COVID-19 crisis. 

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

Right now I am currently in Sioux Falls, South Dakota working out and training trying to get ready for this upcoming season. I’m trying hard not to let this whole situation get me in a weird mood. I’ve taken this time to work on other things outside of basketball that are helping me mature in all areas of my life. This time made me realize how many things I’ve taken for granted, especially basketball.

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


At first I wasn’t really worried about it, but as more cases and casualties started to happen all over the world I realized pretty quickly that this thing is REAL. It’s sad and everybody is affected by it in some way I do believe that better days are coming though.

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


Not much changed. It was at the very beginning so a lot of places were still deciding if they should shut down or not. I came home before it got any worse because I wasn’t trying to be stuck in Germany during all of this. 

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


I feel like before all of this happened if anybody coughed it wasn’t a big deal. I still try to keep my distance regardless, but coughing happens if you’re sick or not. I’m already the type of person who gives fist bumps instead of hand shakes or just a head nod. But this situation definitely helped me to enforce that instead of handshakes. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?

I was upset. I wanted to finish out the season more than anything. We were having a pretty solid year too so it sucked that we couldn’t finish it out. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?


I feel like it would feel more like a scrimmage than a game if there is no spectators. The fans bring a lot of energy to the games and without that, it just kind of feels like a exhibition game or something. It’s definitely a different feeling to the game when there are spectators at the game.

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?


Perseverance. Tough times aren’t meant to break us. Everybody experiences hard times throughout life, but maintaining and pushing through the storm helps us mature and grow. It’s not easy but it’s worth it in the end.

Will it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?


I don’t think so. I feel like it’s more of an advantage than disadvantage. It gives players either more time to rest if they need it, more time to get their body ready, and more time in the gym. Off season is extremely important so a little extra time Is more beneficial. 

The whole world economy is going to be affected including Polish basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?


I’m trying not to worry about all of that. All I can do is focus on what I can control and that’s how I perform on the court. I can’t do anything about the other stuff. If I tried to worry about that then it would cause more stress to my life that I don’t need, especially not right now. Just trying to keep praying and letting God take care of the rest. 

How have you experienced the day to day life back home in the States? How has the Coronavirus affected your daily life? How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls. Have you been able to work with Shane Hennen?


To be honest my trainer, Shane Hennen, has been able to get me in the gym and start working out so I haven’t had to do much workouts inside my house. If anything I would go on runs outside or run hills to try and stay in shape. But, now I’m able to be on the court so I’m beyond thankful for that. 

If you had to name another player besides guys from your team that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?


I can’t even name just one I stay in touch with a lot of my guys who are playing overseas. Cameron Hunt, Cameron Clark, and Justin Taylor to name a few. 

Let’s talk about the season of Crailsheim 2. The club finished in 5th place with a record of 12-11. How would you summarize the season as a whole from a team standpoint?


Overall I feel like we had a pretty good season. We lost a few games that we should’ve won so our record doesn’t show how good we really were. Plus we were the youngest team in the league so we played really well against a lot of the more experienced teams. 

Just how competitive was the Regionalliga South West this season? From standings #3-11 there was only a difference of 2 wins. What did you enjoy most about the league and competitive level this season?

Each game was a dog fight. Not one game was considered ‘easy’. Especially since all the teams were so close. One loss could take you from 3rd place to 11th so you had to play your best every single game. I wasn’t sure what to expect before I went out there but the league was really competitive so I enjoyed it.

How much did the competitive level and skill of the league help to continue to push your game as a rookie? With every game being so tough, do you feel like that helped your game and let you give your best?


It definitely did. Especially playing against the more experienced teams. You can’t take any games off so you had to prepare yourself mentally and physically to go out there and play the best you can play. That’s what I like though. 

Talk a little about the season. The team had a 4 game losing streak in January, but finished strong winning 3 of 4 as Corona halted play. Did you end the season with a good feeling?


Yeah we had a little slump in the middle of the season. What’s crazy is the fact that a lot of those games we lost were close games and we were all in a shooting slump during that time. We shouldn’t have lost 4 straight. We found our rhythm again going into the last few games of the season and we felt good as a team so yes, I say we ended the season with a good feeling. Especially since we won our last game. 

I can imagine that the season team highlight was sweeping second placed team Koblenz and especially winning one of the games in very exciting fashion with 86-84. What are your memories of that game?


Most definitely! That was the best memory from the season for me at least. I remember we played Koblenz at home earlier in the year, the game we won 86-84, and that was one of the most intense and hyped up game I’ve ever played in. The energy was unreal and both teams were playing at a high level. I’ll always remember that game

Talk a little how special this team was. There was a 28 year old with leo Vrkas and you were 24 and a rookie. The rest were all younger. The team was so young and still had a very strong season. How much credit goes to Marco Stankovic and the coaching staff?


Right I feel like the coaches did a great job! It’s not easy coaching younger players especially when all the other teams in the league are older. They took the challenge as coaches and definitely helped us all get better. I give a shoutout to Coach Marko and the assistants because they really took the time to make sure we would be ready every game. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a joy was it playing with the most experienced guy on the squad Leo Vrkas? How key was his presence also for you to be able to sometimes take some pressure away on offense?


Leo is a great player and an even better teammate. He brought a different level of energy, hustle, and work ethic to the team even during practices. It’s nice to have an experienced player who knows what it takes to win in this league. He definitely made it easier for me offensively because with a player like him it forces the defense to spread out and gives me more space to work. He also worked hard defensively and crashing the boards. He’s a very good player overall. 

How important were the 2 young imports Sandro Antunovic and Vladan Lazic for the success. They were big time contributors on offense as well. What did you appreciate most about their games?


Sandro and Vladan were a HUGE part of our success. Both came ready to play and work every day. Sandro was a great pick and pop player so again it forced the defense to space out and give me more space. Teams had a hard time guarding the pick and roll against Sandro and I. Vladan is extremely aggressive offensively so I loved that about him. He is constantly in attack mode and putting pressure on the defense. He’s also a great shooter so that made it easier for me to drive the lane and if teams collapsed on me its an easy kick out 3 for Vladan or whoever. 

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 20.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.7apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 58.0%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.0%. How content were you with your rookie season?


Statistically, it looks good, but I know I was capable to do so much more. I got in a bad shooting slump in the middle of the season, battled fatigue, etc. So it irritated me that I wasn’t doing what I knew I could do. It’s okay though because I’m happy with how I played my rookie year and I know what I need to improve on to keep getting better,

You’re a guy that fills the stat sheet well and have been a prolific scorer the last 3 years. What happened coming from Pratt Community College (JUCO) and Dodge City Community College (JUCO) where you never averaged double figures in scoring to the University of Sioux Falls (NCAA2) where you began to average over 20,0ppg and continued to take it into your professional career?


JUCO ball is not the same as D2 or professional. There wasn’t much team play in JUCO, but I’m thankful for the experiences I had at JUCO. I always knew I could score and make things happen for whatever team I play on and once I got to the University of Sioux Falls, coach Johnson told me I would be that guy for the team to do so. So hearing that from him gave me more confidence in myself and made me want to work harder to help contribute to the team.

You shot 40% once from outside in JUCO and been near 40% the last 3 years. What do you feel will take for you to become a 40% shooter? Is it the usual bla bla of taking more reps and watching shot selection or could there be other factors like mechanics?


It’s a mix of all of that. I need to get more repetitions of course so I can feel more confident with my shot, make sure I’m taking the right shots in a game instead of forcing at times, and I have a problem with my guide hand sometimes when I shoot. So working on all of that will help me a lot. But at the end of the day, I just have to make the shot regardless. 

The amount of steals doesn’t tell the whole story of how a guy defends, but you averaged 1,0spg the last years, but as a rookie heightened it to 2,3spg. How do you feel did you make another jump in your defensive game this season?


It was something I tried to take pride in this year. I’ve always heard that I don’t play defense so I took it as an insult to my game. Also, the way our team played defense was aggressive and fast paced so I loved that. I know I can be a great defensive player too. It’s a mindset that I’ve been trying to work on. 

How much does a game like your second last to the season against top ranked team Karlsruher SC where they held you to 5 points motivate to grind even harder in the gym. What was so tough playing against them? In the first game you did score 16 points.


It was one of those games where I couldn’t find a rhythm offensively. They did a good job scouting and making sure I had a hard time getting to my spots or even getting the ball. I hate having games like that so it makes me want to get back in the gym and work on my game. I missed a lot of shots I usually make too so it was irritating for me. I’m working on being more consistent with my jumper this off-season.

On what things will you be working on this summer to continue to grow as a player? Your left hand has been a weak point. Is that something that you believe improved during this season?


Most definitely. I’ve been working a lot on being more confident when using my left hand. It’s not that I can’t go left or finish with my left, it’s more of me being more confident in doing it. I actually prefer to go left most of the time but it’s something I’m trying to work on. Also, my pick and roll reads, passing, more consistent with my jump shot, making sure that I’m in better and taking care of my body. 

Who was the toughest guy that you faced in the Regionalliga this season?


Ricky Easterling. Dude could fill it up from anywhere. I’m pretty sure he had 40 on us at their place. He was hitting 3s, taking it to the rim, making pull ups, etc. Even with good defense he was still making tough shots. He’s a bucket getter for sure. 

You played your first two college years at 2 different JUCO schools named Pratt Community College (JUCO) and Dodge City Community College (JUCO). How important were these 2 years for your development and why do you feel was it key having that experience at 2 schools instead of only 1?


It helped me mature as a player. You have to be a dog to play JUCO and I feel like JUCO gave me that mentality. There isn’t anything like the JUCO life though I can tell you that. All JUCO players know what I’m talking about. 

You then moved to the University of Sioux Falls (NCAA2) exploding both seasons averaging 21.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 78.9% and 22.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 75.9%. You proved any doubters wrong about your basketball skills. How do you feel did your game mature in these 2 years?


I became more of an all around player at USF. Coach helped me grow in every aspect, not even just offensively. The way we played helped me strive as well which is what I’m grateful for. Having a coach/coaching staff who believes in you more than you do yourself at times is a blessing and that’s what I had at USF. The fact they believed in me so much gave me more confidence in myself! 

American Players that hoop in the German Regionalliga would be lying if they said that they don’t have a chip on their shoulders, because they all do if it’s Tyseem Lyles from Eimsbuettel, Christopher Edward from TV Langen or a Curtis Hollis from Rhondorf. How do you deal with that chip being a player that has a lot of talent but has to continue to pay your dues? 


It’s part of the process. Yes, it’s tough paying your dues but that’s the hand we were dealt. If that doesn’t fire you up and make you want to prove people wrong then you aren’t going to move up. At the end of the day it’s a marathon and I believe I’ll make it to where I want to play at. May take some time, but I’ll get there. Everybody’s route is different.

You had so many huge games, but also many in losing causes like your 39 points in a loss against MSU Moorhead or your 42 points in a loss against Northern State. You had 2 great back to back games with 35 and 33 points at the end of your junior season in wins against Concordia-St Paul and Minn-State-Mankato. What was your most memorable game?


The game against northern was my most memorable out of those games. I was lighting them up from everywhere. It was one of those games where I felt like every shot I took was going in and nobody could stop it. I will never forget the game against MSU Moorhead my junior year at Moorhead when I hit the game winner though. It was right after the 42 point performance against Northern then the next day played at Moorhead and had 29 plus the game winner. The game was crazy!

How did head coach Chris Johnson groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?


More than anything I feel like coach Johnson made sure I was ready in all areas. Offensively, defensively, leadership wise, etc. I remember at practices coach would tell all the players that they can’t communicate or say anything because he was trying to get me to be more vocal on the court. At the time I was pissed because I didn’t see the big picture. But those lessons and experiences helped me out a lot. Coach didn’t let me take it easy, ever. But that’s why I love him and appreciate him. 

Who won a one on one in your senior season Milan Surlic or you and did he give you a good introduction to how basketball is played in Europe?


Sorry Milan, but I was definitely out there taking all the W’s. Milan is my boy! He definitely helped me with a lot preparing for the European game. Also, if it wasn’t for Milan I wouldn’t have the agent I have now. Out of all the teammates I’ve ever had Milan and I bonded faster than anybody. Weird because we are both from two completely different cultures and all of that, but Milan and I are similar people and it’s scary. That’s my brother for life.

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced that reached the NBA?

Alonzo Trier, Stanley Johnson, Devin Booker, Malik Newman and Kelly Oubre were TOUGH. I can’t even name one so I named a few. All scored in different ways but were elite in their own way. 

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

I have played with some really good players. It’s tough to pick 5. I’ll have to say Allonzo Trier, Shake Milton, Drew Guebert, Dennis Jones, and Vladimir Brodziansky

Please produce your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore with 4 heads past or present?


Kobe, MJ, LeBron, and Shaq. 

What is your general opinion with the debate between who is greater Michael Jordan or Lebron James?


We will never have the true answer of who is better because they won’t ever play against each other. They are both great players for the era they played in and I feel like if either player played in the other era they would still be dominant. It’s tough though that’s for sure. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


Angel Has Fallen I watched that whole series. Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, and then Angel Has Fallen. GREAT series. 

Thanks Trevon for the chat.