Bracey Wright is a 34 year old 191cm guard that is playing his 14th professional season and first with CEZ Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL). He began his career at Indiana (NCAA) where he played from 2002-2005 and as a senior led the Big 10 in scoring. He finished three-year career at Indiana ranked 15th all-time in scoring with 1,498 career points and tied for third with 186 career three-pointers. He began his professional career in 2005 and played two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He began his career in Europe in 2007 and has been here ever since. He played for teams like Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1), DKV Joventut Badalona (Spain-ACB), Base Oostende (Belgium-D1), Paris-Levallois (France-ProA), Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia-A1), CAI Zaragoza (Spain-ACB), Krasnie Krilya Samara (Russia-PBL), Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem (Israel-Winner League),Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BSL), Acibadem Universitesi Istanbul (Turkey-TBL) and Demir Insaat Buyukcekmece Basket (Turkey-BSL): He won titles in Belgium and Israel. He spoke to germanhoops.com before the Basketball Champions League game in Bamberg.
Hi Bracey, thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome back to Germany. I read that you live full-time in Europe now. What do you miss from the States and what do you appreciate most of the European lifestyle?
I actually don’t live full-time in Europe. Players that play overseas spend a lot of time here. What I have enjoyed the most about the Euro lifestyle is the simple lifestyle. For example now I’m playing in the Czech Republic in a smaller city and everything moves at a slower pace and there is more quiet time. There are no distractions like in the states. But what I do miss most about the states is the comforts and conveniences I was accustomed to while growing up there.
Since 2008 you only played 4 games international club games against Alba Berlin and ratio Ulm. Could you give a guess what your record is?
I know I lost against Ulm and might have lost against Alba Berlin.
It’s 1-3. You lost two close battles against Alba Berlin and split with Ulm, but scored 36 points combined . Despite the many games you play, do you have any memories of playing against Casey Jacobsen or then ULM players current Euroleague player Will Clyburn or current Boston Celtic Daniel Theis?
I remember playing against Casey. I had the chance to see him play a long time with Bamberg. I remember the Ulm games better and remember playing against Clyburn and Theis. They had a good team that year. I also remember playing against Alba Berlin twice in Pre season with Hapoel Jerusalem. Even though I have never played for a German organization I have followed the league over the years. I think that it is a very entertaining league for the fans. There is great media coverage there and there is also a great hype building up to the games. I don’t remember seeing that hype in other countries. There the game just happened. You feel the energy of the fans in the arena’s. The arena’s are always full and the fans are great. You can see that the fans are passionate. It is a fun game to watch in Germany.
Bryan Smithson is a 33 year old 183cm point guard from Kennsesaw, Georgia playing his sixth professional season and first with the EBBECKE WHITE WINGS. He has led the team to a 2-1 record this season since his arrival averaging 9,0ppg, 1,3rpg and 3,7apg. He began his career with North Cobb High School and then started his NCAA career with Middle Tennessee St. (NCAA) in 2004-2005 playing 30 games averaging 6.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 38.3%, 3Pts: 31.1%. He then finished at North Carolina – Asheville (NCAA) playing 60 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 16.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.1apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3Pts: 41.1%, FT: 83.5%. He played his first three professional seasons in Germany with the Kirchheim Knights for two seasons where he was top 5 in the league in assists and also played a season with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA). He played the last two seasons in the Czech Republic with Turi Svitavy (Czech Republic-NBL) averaging 9.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 70.6% and with Dekstone Turi Svitavy (Czech Republic-NBL) averaging 8.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 81.9%. He talked to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Bryan thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Welcome back to Germany. This our seventh interview and it has been two and a half years since our last one. How has time flown by for you personally in the last few years? Hello Miles, great to chat with you once again. The time has flown by so quickly that it scares me. I am sure most athletes feel this way when so much of our time is invested into the game.
You have signed with German team Pro A team EBBECKE WHITE WINGS. It took you a while to find a team this season. Was there less interest or did the right situation not come about? I had plenty of interest throughout the summer but unfortunately, I did not get the deal I was looking for. I got married in July so I made the plan to wait for specific deals until the holidays and at that point I would negotiate more with teams who came to me. I did not get the deal I waited for, so I begin to negotiate with more teams during the holidays.
Your 33 years old now. Did the idea of retirement come into your mind in the last months as you were sitting around waiting for a team? I knew that I was not ready for retirement , so I did not allow the thought to creep into my mind. I understand that I am not a player who can perform when I have one foot out the door.
Your back in Germany now. You played 82 Pro A games for Kirchheim and Heidelberg. What did you miss most about German basketball?
First and foremost, Germany is like a second home for my wife and I so coming back will always been an option. I missed the structure of the league and the fans who follow German basketball so closely. Those two things create a great environment for competition.
What was so appealing about joining the EBBECKE WHITE WINGS. How did they convince you best that this was the absolute best situation for you at the moment? I had a similar situation come up in Czech a few years ago where the team was at the bottom and they had a minimal amount of time to climb out of that position. We ended up catching a great run and actually captured a playoff spot by the end of the season. I enjoyed the challenge of helping create change in the culture on and off the floor. I understand how difficult this can be and maybe I can assist my teammates with this experience. Also, there are some young talented players on the White Wings that I look forward to playing with.
You played twice against Hanau winning both games where you dropped 12 and 17 points in the wins. What memories do you have of the two games and do you remember head coach Simon Cote on the sidelines? I do not have many memories of the games but I do remember Coach Simon always having his teams well prepared.
The club has a well known experienced player’s coach in Simon Cote who was assistant coach with Frankfurt when they won the 2004 BBL title. What kind of talks did you have with him and what did you like about him that helped you make the decision to sign with Hanau?
Like you said, Coach Simon is a player’s coach. I can speak freely with him and gain an understanding for what his expectations may be. All point guards understand just how important it is to have open communication with their coach. While speaking with Coach, I quickly understood that I could be myself with him and that he would have my back in difficult situations. Both were extremely important to me.
The EBBECKE WHITE WINGS have been struggling and want to stay in the Pro A. Do you feel pressure coming in? I do not believe there is excess pressure. I understand the goal of the club and I will try to help them as much as I can. I also understand that I will only be able to control certain things so I will focus on those and keep improving.
With what kind of feeling are you going into this situation with your basketball abilities?
I am going in with lots of confidence and trusting in the things that make me an asset in this league.
Head coach Simon Cote describes you as a high character guy something any point guard should have to be. How are you a different kind of point guard compared to other guys just from your character?
I agree that high character should be at the top of the list for all point guards. Unfortunately, that is not as common as you are presenting. Those are flattering words for me considering I live a lot of life outside of basketball where I strive to be a good man. Aside from that, I separate myself by being multi dimensional and doing many things well. This allows me to stay on the floor in times where I may not be loading up the stat sheet.
Your 33 now. How do you feel? Do you feel like you have to do much more for your body to stay in shape then 4-5 years ago? I feel great. I do not have to do more, but I have to be much smarter than 5 years ago. I understand my body and I implement maintenance programs throughout the year which keep me playing at a high level.
Your role is obvious. You will lead the team and try to turn the season around. How excited are you for this challenge and what kind of Bryan Smithson with Hanau and the German Pro A experience this time around? I am very excited for this challenge. I am hoping that my maturity and experience will be visible this time around in Pro A. Obviously, it is late in the season and I want to make the adjustment period as smooth as possible.
You played the last two seasons in the first Czech republic league. What kind of experience was that for you and how would you describe the league and style to the German Pro A?
Playing in Czech was a great experience. I stayed with the same group of guys for 2 years and played for a professional club. The league is a bit top heavy with 2 champions league teams and 2 europe cup teams. Czech league is much more methodical than Pro A where guys are constantly attacking. Being a first league gives teams a balance of true big men where in Pro A there are more undersized bigs. Both are great leagues.
How do you feel did your game progress in the last two years there? Anytime you see a different style of basketball it expands you as a player. I have improved in the pick and roll through a better understanding of spacing.
What was your fondest memory in the Czech Republic? I enjoyed being with the same group of guys for 2 years. I was part of the winningest team in club history where we medaled in the national cup and made it to the semi finals of the playoffs before losing to Nymburk. We had a hard working team and I made a few great friends.
Last season you lost both games to top Czech Republic team CEZ Nymburk where you had some very good games. Were battles against top guard Eugene Lawrence a good test giving you the confidence to know you still have game at age 33? I enjoyed every game we played against Nymburk. At that time, they were one of the best teams in Central Europe. Battling against Lawrence and Kendrick Ray can only help you improve and gain confidence. Nymburk is a professional organization that continues to be a juggernaut in Czech basketball.
What kind of experience was it playing possibly the last time with ex Michigan (NCAA) forward Brent Petway who isn’t playing at the moment and might have hung up his sneakers. Did you notice his special basketball abilities after having played a season with the Harlem Globetrotters? I have known Pet since we were 14 years old. We grew up in the same area and played in the same circles. I have known his abilities for much longer than those who begin to follow him in Europe. The Harlem Globetrotters put his special leaping ability on the grand stage, but more impressive to me was that he was a Euroleague finalist and true professional. I helped get him to Svitavy where he helped make us a much smarter defensive team. I am proud to say he is my friend and even more proud to see everything he has accomplished in his career.
If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose? That is a difficult question and maybe better to answer this after I am done playing.
If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick? As of today, the four heads on my Mount Rushmore would consist of : Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Pete Maravich.
What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James? What was the last movie that you saw? I am not a fan of this debate because in my mind it is not even an argument. Michael is the greatest for many reasons that stats will never show. Lebron is a great player, but comparing him to Mike is taking away from the greatness we are actually seeing from him.
It was still late summer, the weather was great and the Pro B season was just underway in it´s second weekend on September 29th, but the season of the Dragons Rhondorf had began slowly and their disgusting 102-56 drubbing in Giessen should have been a bad omen for the season. In this game the 2015-2016 Pro A team Dragons Rhondorf couldn´t muster anything on offense and shot only 3/21 from the parking lot while Giessen was very sharp from downtown nailing 12 trey´s and totally dominated the boards 42-25. Another interesting stat that would haunt the Dragons Rhondorf the whole season was how well their German players were able to score. Giessen got an incredible 74 points from their German players while the Dragons had to settle for only 37 points. This season has been a major struggle for the Dragons Rhondorf and with the stretch run of the season having arrived, they are in severe danger of moving down to the Regionalliga if they can´t start winning some games now in the last month to be in better position in the playdowns where each of the last four teams play each other twice and the best two remain in the league. The Dragons Rhondorf came into the game in the Pro B cellar with a 4-14 record while Giessen has been the big surprise team of the season as they sit comfortably in the playoff area in fourth place with a 10-8 record. They have had a tale of two seasons as they lost seven of their first nine games, but since then have won eight of nine games including three games in crunch-time. The Dragons Rhondorf were desperate for a victory and wanted to seek major revenge for their pathetic loss by 45 points in Giessen and played a lot better than the first game, but couldn´t full end their amazing fourth quarter comeback as the guests escaped the Dragon Dome with a 74-70 victory. After the win a disappointed Lotola Otshumbe tried to explain why the club was unable to pull out the win. “Our energy on defense wasn´t consistent. If you want to be successful in the Pro B, you need to bring this for 40 minutes. We had big problems on transition defense in the first half. We rebounded very well, got steals and fought back in the second half. If we can stay positive and bring energy than we can play with anyone. The question is why we can´t do it from start to end”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf forward Lotola Otshumbe. After the big win Giessen guard Jesten Lewis was relieved that the team could pull out the win despite the big comeback. “Defensive rebounding got us the win. We were outrebounded in the first half, but rebounded better in the second half. We played together on offense and stayed composed at the end”, added ex Mercer(NCAA) guard Jesten Lewis.
The Super Bowl is a day that is part of American culture and a day where surely every American that is in some way football interested can give a memorable story to. It is a day where after 6.30 at night in the states, you can roam the streets in some towns and really see nobody and is the night where retail workers could literally take the night off as there is very little customers venturing into the store except for maybe at half-time to reload on Coke and chips, but then again who wants to really miss the usually interesting half-time show and all the new innovative commercials. Obviously any Super Bowl that my favorite home team New England Patriots won was special to me, but if I had to look back in my life at a Super Bowl, then it would be Super Bowl 20. It was rather uneventful as I had to see a feisty Chicago Bears team led by slick coach Mike Ditka and the offensive duo of Jim Mcmahon and legendary running back Walter Payton destroy my team as their defense led by Mike Singletary stifled our offense. I will also never forget the tank William the refrigerator Perry who was called biscuit as he was one biscuit shy of 350 pounds barrel into the end zone for a touchdown and later his infamous commercials. I was attending prep school and of course could of watched it at school, but me and a couple of friends decided to sneak off campus and catch the blow out loss at a girls house who was having a party. The whole thrill of watching the game off campus and doing something naughty made the whole experience worthwhile. The score and loss though didn´t sweeten the few hours off campus though. We didn´t get caught and got back on campus without incident.
Basketball buzzer beaters are a rare occurrence and as seldom as DeMarkus Cousins hitting a three, but when they do happen, they often find a very strong hold in the hearts of those that were affected by it. It is even rarer for a guy playing his first ever home game for his new team being a part of a buzzer beater and witnessing the electricity of the arena as the ball splashes through the netting as the buzzer sounds. Rookie Tra Holder experienced this recently in Frankfurt for the Fraport Skyliners as teammate Skyliner lifer legend Quantez Robertson who is in his 10th season with the team hit first ever professional buzzer beater. In the last years there have only been a few buzzer beaters in the Fraport arena as Justin Gray nailed one in 2011 helping Frankfurt defeat Wurzburg while Antonio Graves hit two buzzers beaters one with Artland against Frankfurt and then dropped one with Frankfurt against Ludwigsburg. But none was as exciting and had as much meaning as the one Quantez Robertson hit over the EWE Baskets Oldenburg last weekend. The team were in the midst of a 8 game losing skid, were down by 10 points to the second place team and then to come back and win in buzzer beater fashion was a very special moment in the clubs 20th season. Holder was on the court and witnessed the whole thing. He was parked in the corner and could of got the ball, but American Tyler Larson had little time and his only safe option was Tez as he is called by everyone in Frankfurt except for maybe the passport control at the airport. “ It looked like it would go in. I fell to the ground when he took it and was so happy he made it. It was really cool, because it was my first home game, we were in a drought and we were able to beat the second best team. It was simply spectacular. I hope it can jump start our season”, stated Trae Holder. Seeing that amazing buzzer beater brought back special memories for Trae Holder as he looked back on his younger days and also what he has seen other guys do. “I have made two buzzer beaters. I made one in high school where we won the title. I also made one against USC with Arizona State. The one against USC was similar to the Frankfurt one. Against USC, we were down by 10 points, but had only 1,30 minutes to play. I also remember the one Kyrie Irving hit with the Cavs beating the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA finals”, stressed Tra Holder. The first week with the Fraport Skyliners has been very thrilling for the rookie while the first part of his rookie season battling injuries and never playing a game for Fiat Torino was rather unpleasant, but the guard wants to finish the season strong and help his new club as much as possible. He came into his rookie professional season having a great career at Arizona State overcoming some hardships along the way, but he learned to block out negativity and continued to work hard to achieve success.
Jordan Theodore is a 29 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his seventh professional season and first with AEK Athens (Greece-A1). Last season he played for EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) playing 20 games averaging 10.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 75.0%; and played 23 Euroleague games averaging 11.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 86.5%. In the 2016-2017 season he played with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL) playimg 31 games: Score-3 (18.4ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-1 (7.2apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 81.2%; In the BCL, he played 19 games: Score-4 (16.2ppg), 4.1rpg, Assists-1 (7.5apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 76.3% In the 2015-2016 season, he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 127 NCAA games and as a playing a total of senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five )playing 17 games averaging 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Eurocup game against Dijon where the American enjoyed a dish of Spaghetti Bolognese and grilled salmon with sauteed spinage in Athens.
Colton Ray is a 196cm guard from Williamsburg, Virginia playing his second professional season and first in Germany with Pro B team ScanPlus Baskets. He began the season with KK Ulcinjska Rivijera Ulcinj (Montenegro-Erste Liga). Last season as a rookie he played with St. John’s Edge (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 13 games averaging 3.6ppg, 1.7rpg. He began his basketball career with Lafayette HS and also played with Saint Ignatios Prep (S.C.). He played at Coastal Carolina (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 119 NCAA games and as a senior played 37 games averaging 9.4ppg, 6.4rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com a few months ago about basketball.
Colton thanks for talking to germanhoops.com You recently celebrated your first Thanksgiving in Germany. What kind of experience was that for you and how American was the experience in Germany for you? It was pretty cool they made it really Americanized for me so that it kind of felt like home. Not all the traditional foods but definitely had all the important ones.
After having been briefly in Montenegro this season you are now for good in Germany in the Pro B. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had any friends that have played in Germany in the past?
I don’t know much about Germany other than Dirk Nowitzki but I’m enjoying it. I have a few friends that played here in the BBL so I knew about the style of play from watching it online back home.
You have joined reigning Pro B champion ScanPlus Baskets. What was the deciding moment where you knew that this team would be the right fit?
Obviously knowing they were the defending champions I knew they would be a contender for a championship and that’s what drew me in. Then meeting the players and the coaches I knew it would be the right fit.
You have joined one of the most talented and deepest teams in the Pro B. What is your role on the team and would not being the number one scoring option be ok with you? My role on the team is to do a bit of everything and no that’s not a problem with me as long we get the dub that’s all that really matters. I’m just trying to win a championship.
The team has many different players with different nationalities. What has been your impression of the club and how important is it having so many different type of basketball cultures playing as one? I’m loving it so far just being able to meet so many guys from so many different areas and being able to connect through basketball is such a cool thing to me.
You’re a guy that likes to dunk so you should feel right at home having a guy like Brian Butler as your teammate. What have you appreciated most about his game in the early going?
Well Brian is our captain so from the jump I immediately respected him because you don’t get that title without earning it. I mean the guy is a hard worker and a high flyer and I’ve enjoyed being able to go out and compete on the same side as him.
Have you picked up anything from Brian Butler’s dunking abilities in practice or does a guy like you not need any extra dunking tips?
Hahaha I mean nothing crazy. He has a lot more in his dunking bag than I do. I’ll try to do something a little crazy in the warm up line and then he’ll do the same thing and make mine look awful so I really leave the dunking up to him.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a very flashy player that can really do it all on the court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?
I mean I don’t know because those guys are so extremely talented but I watch a lot of Zach Lavine clips and athletic wings who can put it on the floor and try to model my game and take a little piece out of all of their games and put it in mine.
You can shoot the ball well, run the floor well and can finish with the best of them. What other strengths does your game have that you will showcase in Germany?
I think I’m a guy who can defend pretty well too. I might not be your typical pressure full court kind of guy but in a half court setting I take pride on the defensive end making sure my man doesn’t score and sacrificing my body by taking charges as well.
On what parts of your game are you working most on to continue to make your game as versatile as possible? I think just remaining consistent is a big thing for me. I stay in the gym and try to go to any optional shooting practices there are in an effort to help do that. I’ve learned as a pro consistency is key and it helps you maintain a job as well as get jobs later on.
You’re a player that can fill up the stat sheet with ease, but what do you feel is still a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away? I’m not sure. Maybe my creating for others. I’ve always been a team player and I try my best to get everyone involved on the court to a fault sometimes.
You played your rookie season with St. John’s Edge (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 13 games averaging 3.6ppg, 1.7rpg averaging only 9,9 minutes per game. I am sure you expected a totally different type of rookie season. How tough was your rookie season and did you experience any positives? Well honestly I don’t even consider it my rookie season because I suffered a torn meniscus prior to the season officially starting. I tried to play through it but the pain dealt too much and I wasn’t performing at a level I knew I could. Luckily Coach Jeff Dunlap and the front office gave me the opportunity to stay and rehab and even put me in some games toward the end of the season just to let me get my feet wet in the pro game which was huge. Nothing but love for the St John’s Edge and still keep tabs on them. But yeah I really consider this my rookie season.
In your 13 games there no team scored less than 88 points. I have heard good things about the NBL league in that it continues to grow. However is this league similar to the G-League in that guys are playing solely for stats as the big scoring games would suggest? The league is a lot tougher than people give it credit. There were some really good players that were exceptional offensively which provided a lot of scoring. I don’t think that it’s just scoring though because every night guys were trying to win and stats didn’t matter as much, at least on our team.
You played with quite a few guys that had played in Germany like Carl English and Rashaun Broadus. But when I saw the name Ransford Brempong, I chuckled a bit. I mean he retired ages ago. He came out of retirement after being out of basketball for 7 years. How did you experience the big man? Was it amazing that he could just come back after such a long time and play at a level like that? Big Rans was my guy from the minute he arrived. Hearing his story and seeing him come out of retirement and being a key contributor was awesome to witness. He gave me so many lessons that I’ve carried with me to Germany and we still talk every now and then to this day.
You played at Coastal Carolina (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 119 NCAA games. You won two Bug South Conference titles in 2014 and 2015. Which one was more sweet? They both were REALLY sweet but 2014 was special because it was our first NCAA tournament birth in 25 years and we endured a lot of hard losses that year that really shaped us into making a run in the conference tournament and ultimately as a 16 seed taking a 1 seed UVA down to the wire and almost pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history.
You reached the NCAA tournament in 2015 losing to Wisconsin 86-72. What memories do you have of this game despite not getting many minutes?
Honestly just seeing how good that team really was up close instead of on TV. Frank Kaminsky dominated us effortlessly and everyone else really followed his lead. After playing them we understood how they went to two straight Final Fours.
You had many great games as a senior, but many that resulted in loses. Was your 15 point 16 rebound effort in the 81-77 win against S Alabama one of your fondest games concerning your overall play? Awesome game from a rebounding standpoint and pushing the game to overtime and winning on the road was awesome as well. My fondest game was probably my senior night which was my last game in the home gym with the guys I came into Coastal Carolina with and securing that win will always hold a special place in my heart.
Is Elijah Wilson like a brother for you? You went through thick and thin in school for four years. Now he is a top player in Austria. What was your fondest memory with him?
Blood wouldn’t make us closer. Talk to him still all the time and even lived with him this summer. Funny story actually we played each other in prep school when we were both committed to Coastal and his team cheated and beat us by 1 in a holiday tournament. My fondest memory of Elijah would have to be when we played Minnesota as freshman. It was maybe our 4th or 5th game playing a top program on the road and we came out absolutely on fire together. I finished with 15-16 points and didn’t miss a shot and he finished with 25. I knew our time at Coastal would be special after that and ultimately we became two of the most winningest players in our schools history.
How did head coach Cliff Ellis prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career? Coach always had belief in my talent and knew if I panned out and worked hard I would play professional at some level. So he made it a point to stay on me and coach me tough because he could see my potential as a player. At times I didn’t understand but looking back now it all makes sense.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Elijah Wilson? Obviously me but he probably won’t ever admit it. He did win the last time but I’m definitely winning the overall series.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now? Either Eldridge Payton or Frank Kaminsky
Who would be your starting five of best teammates you ever played with? Elijah Wilson Badou Diagne Tristan Curtis Warren Gillis Myself And Ron Trapps off the bench
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
LeBron MJ Curry KD
What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
Jordan will always be the greatest player ever however LeBron has solidified second. Mike just was so ahead of his time and his killer instinct would make him a problem in the modern day era as well.
The Los Angeles Lakers are over 500 at the moment. Where do you see the journey of them going this season with Lebron James? I picked them to go to the conference finals. You can’t ever bet against LeBron. Only when he’s playing against the Warriors
Luka Doncic is the real deal and the top rookie in the NBA at the moment. Do you feel that with time he could become one of the greatest European players to ever play in the NBA? He’s definitely on track. The things that guy can do at his size is unreal. Definitely a believer.