Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

The EPG Baskets Koblenz Prevail Despite Fourth Quarter Scare By The BIS Baskets Speyer 91-82

The fantastic season of the EPG Baskets Koblenz keeps rolling along even in 2023. After their bitter loss against Hanau shortly before the new year, the troops of Pat Elzie have won 5 games in a row including the last 2 away games in Frankfurt and Ludwigsburg. Their next opponent were the BIS Baskets Speyer who they destroyed on the road by 24 points. Alani Moore had been a scoring beast in the win scoring 22 points. This season Speyer have been up and down and came into the game with a 7-8 record. The EPG Baskets Koblenz also had another reunion with ex player DJ Woodmore who had played with them back in the 2020-2021 season. This season the EPG Baskets have played a number of games during the week and it was like that again as on a rare Thursday night they welcomed the BIS Baskets Speyer and once again played two different halves as they dominated the first and allowed a comeback in the fourth quarter allowing 33 points, but still held on for the 91-82 victory. ‘The second half was a problem. We lead by 28 points and then got into relax mode. We have to learn that other teams can play and get back into the game. It is a mental thing that we have to work on’, stated EPG Baskets head coach Pat Elzie. The BIS Baskets Speyer never gave up in the second half and if they had played better in the first quarter could of really made the game more exciting down the stretch. ‘The way we finish is the way we need to start. We came out flat in the first half and that is the advantage that they needed. Our shots just didn’t fall in the first half, but did in the second half’, stated BIS Baskets Speyer guard DJ Woodmore. The cycle in the way Koblenz ends game isn’t going in a sound direction as they witnessed in Ludwigsburg last weekend and now against Speyer. ‘We weren’t concentrated at the end. We have to work on this. I thought that we defended well overall but still gave up too many offensive rebounds. I thought on offense we did a good job reading the game knowing when to go 1-1 and when to play team basketball’, stated Brian Butler.

Marvin Heckel at the FT line

Ex easyCredit BBL player Dominique Johnson (194-SF-1992) got the EPG Baskets Koblenz on the board first with a sweet back door lay in as Butler recorded the dime. The guests then got two back to back buckets from young German Dennis Diala with a 20 footer and lay in. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz then found their rhythm and did what they do best by domination by closing out the first quarter with a lethal 27-8 run to lead 29-12 after 10 minutes. Koblenz got their clock work offense going getting some easy baskets from Alani Moore and Marvin Heckel as well as a one hand dunk and turn around shot from ex Ehingen center Brian Butler and a three pointer by Dominique Johnson to lead 13-6. Koblenz was real strong on the defensive side making every shot tough as the guests had to switch to 1-1 plays that resulted to contested shots. The Koblenz offense was gelling and had the momentum as German Moses Poelking was king in the paint making a dunk and offensive rebound and putback while ex Coburg guard Yassin Turan used his brilliant 1-1 play to score on the drive and Marvin Heckel made free throws for the 21-10 advantage. The EPG Baskets Koblenz also used the long ball getting three’s from ex Pro A players Niclas Sperber and Leon Friederici and Leo Saffer made a lay in. ‘We were good on transition and had good body language. Overal we had good team play, but could have been better on boxing out on the rebound’, stated EPG Baskets Koblenz manager Thomas Klein.

Ian Schmitt for 3

In the second quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz still led by a lot, but had some lapses where they lost their dynamic play at both ends and allowed the guests to score 19 points. DJ Woodmore began the scoring in the second quarter for the BIS Baskets Speyer with an off balance jumper. He had been contained very well by Koblenz in the first quarter and now was being more aggressive and trying to get involved. The EPG Baskets Koblenz continued to execute at a good rate getting easy baskets inside from Butler and Johnson continued to use his physicality and get inside and scored twice for the 37-19 lead. The guests executed better in the second quarter getting a trey from young German Samuel Schally, a lay in from Canadian Jake Babic and an off balance shot from German Niclas Geier to trail 43-28. Even if Koblenz had lapses on defense, they could always get a bucket on offense when they needed to. They closed out the second quarter and cruised into the break with confidence going on a 10-3 run to lead 53-31. They got vital baskets from bigs Poelking and Saffer and a three pointer from Marvin Heckel for good measure. ‘There were 2-3 minutes where our dynamic went down at both ends of the court and we didn’t move the ball on offense. When Marvin Heckel came in our dynamic and speed went up again’, stated Thomas Klein.

Brian Butler in the lane

In the third quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz kept the big lead despite letting it get shaved down a bit at the start. The guests used the energy of Jake Babic to go on a little run at the start as he netted 3 three pointers. ‘He is a strong player. He didn’t have the best three point percentage coming in, but tonight his shot was on. As a big guard being able to make that shot makes him so much more dangerous’, stressed Thomas Klein. The guests also got production and baskets from David Aichele, Nils Gesmann and Dj Woodmore to trail only 63-47. ‘We had to much 1-1 play and less team play. Babic got hot and quickly Speyer was under 20 points’, stated Thomas Klein. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz didn’t let the Babic three’s rattle them as they closed out the third quarter with a potent 12-2 run to lead 75-49 after 30 minutes. In the run the EPG Baskets Koblenz got good support from Sperber who contributed 5 points while Johnson nailed a trey and Leon Friederici made a three pointer. ‘Marvin Heckel came in in the last minutes and gave our game control and made it quicker. We dominated the rebounds and played better 1-1 defense’, stressed Thomas Klein. ‘They made it difficult for our offense being disruptive and switching everything on the ball screen and got in the passing lanes. Babic helped us with his timely shooting’, stated DJ Woodmore.

Niclas Geier at the FT line

In the fourth quarter the BIS Baskets Speyer exploded for 33 points and ex EPG Basket guard DJ Woodmore put on a show scoring 9 points in a row and 15 points in total, but the comeback attempt fell short. The guests went on a brutal 19-4 run to suddenly trail only by 79-68. In the run DJ Woodmore supplied 12 points including 2 three pointers, off balance shots and a lay in in transition. ‘DJ showed once again what he can do when he wants to. He can score any way he wants if it is with the drive, three or off the dribble. He gives his team scoring when it needs it’, expressed Brian Butler. ‘I thought like I was getting open looks in the first half, but they were falling a bit short. I got hot in the fourth and my confidence was oozing. I wish I would have hit more shots earlier’, warned DJ Woodmore. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz stopped the run and scored 8 unanswered points to extend their lead to 87-68 and have some more distance between them. Butler supplied 5 points in the drive with 2 dunks and Heckel supplied his divine bread and butter pull up jumper. ‘Heckel came in again and changed the game around. He gave the EPG Baskets control again and less 1-1 play’, stated Thomas Klein. Somehow the BIS Baskets Speyer still had some energy left and closed out the game strong with a 14-4 run, but couldn’t get over the hump. In the run the guests let it rain three’s and got 2 clutch back to back three’s from Schally, a trey from Babic and a three from Woodmore, but time ran out on the guests. ‘I don’t know why we can’t close out games. It is a mental problem, but that is human. We really have to correct this before the playoffs come. We have to be more consistent when closing out games’, warned Brian Butler. ‘We fought hard and did everything that we were supposed to do. We didn’t want to get blown out. We showed in the fourth quarter what we can do offensively when we want to’, stressed DJ Woodmore. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Dominque Johnson with 18 points while Moses Poelking and Brian Butler added 13 points a piece while the BIS Baskets Speyer were led by DJ Woodmore with 23 points while Jake Babic finished with 20 points. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 49% from the field and 33% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 14 turnovers while the BIS Baskets Speyer shot 46% from the field and 35% from outside and had 39 rebounds and 18 turnovers.


I Thought Of Arsenio Hall´s Famous Hmmm When The Fraport Skyliners Signed Justin Onyejiaka After Torvoris Baker Told Me In 2021 Not To Forget That Name

Growing up one thing I can remember my dad saying to me every now and then were words like remember this name or don’t forget the name or remember my words. I guess it was his way of trying to be hip and to feel important and smart. To tell you the truth, it was so long ago that I can’t remember exactly what examples he was boasting then, but in the summer of 2022, I had a dej vu moment again where I was able to think about my pops again. The Fraport Skyliners announced the signing of massive German talent Justin Onyejiaka (195-F-2004) and I had that feeling that makes you go hmmmmmm. Thanks Arsenio Hall for giving the world that remark. I remember hearing the name leading up to the 2022 NBBL top 4 where he couldn’t play with Rasta Vechta because of injury. He was their most vital player and it was a real shame for their program that he wasn’t able to show his abilities on a big stage. The funny thing is back in May 2022, I remember hearing that name but didn’t make the connection to retired baller Torvoris Baker who had a stellar 10 plus professional career in Germany and proved then that he belonged to the best big men in the Pro A when he was with Osnabrueck and Gotha. Back in November 2021, I interviewed Baker and at the end of the interview, he left the chat with these words of wisdom. ‘One last thing before the interview is over. Keep both eyes and ears open for Justin Onyejiaka. He’s going to be the next best player coming out of Germany. Don’t forget the name. Stay tuned’, warned Torvoris Baker. Obviously Justin Onyejiaka proved last season that he belonged to the best players in the NBBL, but this season I have been able see him play on a regular basis developing his game further with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the Pro B and have witnessed his hard work pay off with minutes with easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners.

Justin Onyejiaka was born on June 4, 2004 and began his basketball career with BBC Osnabrueck. But what is exactly the connection between Torvoris Baker and Justin Onyejiaka? At first I just figured that he was his dad, but then why didn’t Justin have Baker as a last name? ‘Justin is my stepson but we have known each other since he is 6. 2010 is when we first met because I was dating his mother now Magdalena Baker since 2014. Justin wanted to change his last name to Baker but didn’t out of respect for his father. I also had a long talk with Justin and we came to the conclusion that he could make a name for himself in the basketball world. And this is exactly what he has been doing’, stressed Torvoris Baker. After getting a feel for the game in very young years, he moved to the Artland Dragons/Rasta Vechta youth program and played for the Young Rasta Dragons in the JBBL (U-16 league). He took on a very good development in the last 2 years despite Covid thanks to the diligent work with NBBL and Vechta 2 head coach Hendrik Gruhn. He already showed in the JBBL league that he was a massive talent as he scored 30 points against Metropol Baskets. In the 20-21 season he started to play with men in the Regionalliga with Vechta 2 and nailed Wusterhausen for 15 points in October 2020, but then the season was cancelled. He also showed on the international stage at the U-18 European championships that he has game having a 15/6/2/2/1 game against Georgia.

He then broke out in the 21-22 season as he helped lead the NBBL team to the Final 4 in Frankfurt and the Vechta 2 team to the Pro B. It was a big shame that injury derailed him from playing in the Top 4 in Frankfurt. ‘I think his absence played a big role in the title game against Alba but I think they still would have lost because Alba has a very good team and Vechta had big problems against them during the season. But not to take anything away from Rasta because it was nice watching them play’, added Torvoris Baker. He averaged 18.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 60.0% for Vechta 2 and for NBBL team Young Rasta Dragons averaged 22.4ppg, 7.1rpg, 4.4apg, 2.3spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 24.6%, FT: 60.3%. ‘Big big thanks to the staff in Vechta for developing Justin’s basketball craft. Especially Hanno Stein. Everything that he has done for Justin is and will be unforgettable. I think it was time to close that chapter in Vechta. And Justin felt like he needed a breath of fresh air after 5 years in Vechta and Frankfurt seemed to be new breeze Justin was looking for’, expressed Torvoris Baker. He had huge games in the Regionalliga scoring 33 points against Aschersleben and 32 points against Bergedorf and in the NBBL hit Paderborn for 49 points and Munster for 36 points.

The 18 year old shooting guard has begun a new chapter in his basketball life with 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner Fraport Skyliners. The Fraport Skyliners have been known for a decade as belonging to the best youth programs in Germany. Over the years they have developed guys like Johannes Voigtman and Danilo Barthel who became Euroleague players as well as Isaac Bonga who landed in the NBA. Lately they helped Len Schoormann become a national player and Jordan Samare is their current project along with Justin Onyejiaka. ‘We are very proud of Justin and his accomplishments and many more to come. Frankfurt should be a great fit for him. He’s very excited for this new chapter in life and basketball’, stated Torvoris Baker. With Frankfurt he has the usual route just as every other talented young player having a double license to play for the Pro B farm team and also have the opportunity to receive easyCredit BBL minutes. Last season he got a first taste of the Pro A playing 3 games. But the BBL is another massive step, but he has even more talented teammates that will help guide him. One of those guys will be freak athlete and Mr Frankfurt Quantez Robertson who is in his 14th season with the club. ‘It’s always great as a young player to have a Vet to take you under his/her wings to show him the ins and outs of high level basketball. So Quantez should be a great in Justin’s transitioning’, commented Torvoris Baker.

He may only be 18 years old, but already has a very versatile game. His former coach Hendrik Gruhn compares his game to Euroleague player Maodo Lo and ex NBA player Wade Baldwin while step dad Torvoris Baker sees some Donovan Mitchell in him. He has an all-around game that has exceptional scoring talent and is best at attacking the rim and also has a well rounded mid range game. But he also has other beneficial offensive traits. ‘Justin is very athletic and at times he has good court vision. He’s great at getting into the paint and finishing with contact or finding the open man when the defense collapses’, said Torvoris Baker. Currently in the Pro B he is averaging 13,6ppg, 4,7rpg, 1,3apg and 1,3spg. He has scored in double figures in the Pro B in 6 games including a 29 point explosion against Coburg and had his break out game in the easyCredit BBL against Alba Berlin with 11 points. He is a solid shooter and improved a lot during Covid as he worked very hard with Hendrik Gruhn, but his shot selection still isn’t consistent. He has the potential to be a very good defender as his athleticism, physicality and long arms allows him to defend many positions, but his consistency and going the extra mile is still a work in progress. ‘He is concentrating on defense because we would like him to be a two way player because I always preach that getting stops on defense will build up more confidence and with his confidence on high he can be unstoppable. But of course he’s working on every aspect of the game’, warned Torvoris Baker. Not only was the coaching staff a big reason for the positive development of his game, but also step dad Torvoris who has been there from the start. ‘I coached Justin in Gotha and a year here in Osnabrueck. He was always in the summer in Gotha at 6 a.m. in the gym with me. It would have been the same in Osnabrueck but here in Germany if you don’t have your own gym you can forget about summer training unless you practice on outside courts and that’s a no for me. But that and Justin missing practice in Vechta because of not making it to the train station on time after school was a big reason why we chose to put Justin in the hands of Hanno Stein in Vechta. In which he found Justin a guest family and he was a big help when it came to Justin’s schooling in Vechta. Justin and I always talk about game like situations, better decision making, court vision, and defense’, stressed Torvoris Baker. Step dad Torvoris has been a big influence and factor in his early basketball life and has seen many incredible games from him. But it wasn’t a game that has impressed him most about him, but moreover his work ethic that was already present at a young age. ‘The most fondest moment I have had with him was when he first told me he wanted to play basketball and how serious he took it at the age of 8. His hunger to learn and practice was remarkable. He would literally watch NBA basketball clips and wanted to try different moves that he had seen. He always has questions about the game and how he can improve’, added Torvoris Baker. It will be interesting to see how well Justin Onyejiaka develops with the Fraport Skyliners and has success so there will be no need to forget his name.


All-Time Eurocup 3 Point Shots Made Leader Jamar Smith(Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul) Just Keeps Playing As His Zeal To Win More Titles Is Immense

For me interviewing overseas ballers on a daily basis is as normal for me as Luka Doncic taking a step back jumper. It is simply what we do best. I love interviewing guys and even if I have interviewed so many there are so many guys that are still missing in my interview collection. So there are many guys I want to interview and then special guys who I really really want to interview and are still missing in my interview collection. So recently, I checked the new Basketball Champions League group of the Telekom Baskets Bonn and checked the 3 new teams from Turkey, Spain and Lithuania. All teams have interesting candidates, but one guy really stood out from the Turkish squad was Jamar Smith (191-G-1987, college: S.Indiana, agency: Inception Sports). He is a player that has had a stellar career and had success in many places that he has played in and always been consistent. I was really pleased when his agent Chet Irvin had no problem getting me in contact with him. It is always the best when a guy can not only answer my questions, but get back to me rapidly and on top of that answer a ton of questions almost at 40. His quick reply was most appreciative. His biggest claim of fame is probably his Eurocup title and MVP honors coupled with having the Eurocup record of having made the most three pointers in history. His three pointer will always be his bread butter and he definitely can shoot out the lights. He has won 4 titles and wants a 5th with the Basketball Champions League with Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul this season. ‘It’s definitely a driving force for this year. If I could add the Champions League trophy to my collection that would be crazy. I’m grateful for all the teams I’ve been on and won but this would be even more special because it would be two trophies in two years and that’s why they brought me here They hadn’t won any European competitions and hadn’t played in the cup or playoffs before I got here so that was a challenge for me that made me coming here so interesting. I haven’t not made the playoffs since I can remember and hopefully I can keep that run going’, warned Jamar SmithJamar Smith is a player who is still growing strong and wants more titles before his career ends.

Jamar Smith who remembers current NBA player Mike Conley as being his toughest foe in the NCAA was born on April 7th, 1987 in Peoria, Illinois. He began his basketball career at Richwoods high school as a 3 star recruit. He then played 2 seasons at Illinois playing a total of 53 NCAA games. He averaged 8.0ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, FG: 47%, 3PT: 48.2%, FT: 70.4% as a freshman and as a sophomore averaged 8.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 78.8%. His ride there began well as he led the Big 10 in three point shooting as a freshman and was a Big 10 all freshman team selection. But injuries and some other problems off the court ended his time there. One guy that stood by his side at Illinois was Chester Frazier a player that had a short professional career. He always knew that he had the knack to get into coaching. ‘I thought so because he is a natural leader. He can make a room of people that don’t know him follow him. And he leads by example that’s important for hoopers. I see him now and coaching at the University of Illinois and I can bet my life he laces up and challenges his guys sometimes because that’s just who he is. He is an alpha by nature without all the bark just the bite’, said Jamar Smith. He then decided for a change of scenery and played at the University of Southern Indiana (NCAA2).The start there wasn’t easy as he hadn’t played competitively in almost 2 years, but the long wait and grinding paid off as he had 2 outstanding years. He was able to improve his scoring, rebounding and assists each season averaging 18.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 47.6%, FT: 76.4% as a junior and 21.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 42.7%, FT: 79.2% as a senior. He took a step back to play in the NCAA 2, but a decision that was spot on. ‘When things change you have to be able to adapt and find your footing for what happens in life. I always had basketball to lean on and became even more focused on just being the best player that I could be. It made me resilient and flexible with change. I think that’s super important when being a pro because things change on teams monthly players coaches strategies you just have to adapt’, warned Jamar Smith. He definitely left his mark at Southern Indiana achieving numerous accolades like All-GLVC First Team 2009 and 2010, GLVC All-Tournament Team -2009, NCAA D2 All-America Honorable Mention (by Division II Bulletin) -09, Daktronics NCAA Division II All-Midwest Region Player of the Year -2010, Daktronics NCAA Division II All-Midwest Region First Team -2010, All-GLVC Player of the Year -2010, NABC Division II All-Midwest Region First Team -2010, NABC Division II All-America Team -2010, Daktronics Division II All-America Second Team -2010, and Division II Player of the Year by Basketball Times -2010. One guy who deserves a lot of credit for allowing him to develop and play a major role was head coach Rodney Watson. ‘He just let me do what I love and he told me to play basketball and don’t take it easy on people’, remembered Jamar Smith who remembers then teammate Brandon Hogg winning some 1-1 battles in practice, but he definitely won more.

After Southern Indiana he participated in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) and then had pre draft work outs with NBA teams Charlotte Bobcats, New Jersey Nets, and the Chicago Bulls (NBA). He also took part at the 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He then was signed by the Boston Celtics and played his rookie season with the Maine Red Claws (D-League) averaging 13.6ppg, 2.8rpg, 5.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 43.2%, FT: 88.9%. He already demonstrated his consistency in his rookie season scoring in double figures in 41 of 48 games. Despite not needing any adjustment period on the court, it was a big change going from the NCAA 2 to the D-League and remembers his wake up call. ‘Living in Maine and being out of Illinois it was my first year not living in my state. But I was committed to the game so it didn’t matter where I lived and played as long as I can play’, stated Jamar Smith. Back then the NBA and D-League still had so many older veterans, but nowadays the league is younger and always getting younger. ‘The league is about being young and having potential now unless you’re an established vet. Soon the game will look like the first space jam because all the players are huge and can all handle the ball and shoot the league is in great hands’, warned Jamar Smith: He hit Austin for 25 points and Sioux Falls for 23 points. After playing 1 game in Venezuela for Guaiqueries de Margarita, he was back at it in the summer of 2011 trying to reach the NBA. He had work outs with the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and Chicago Bulls, but nothing came out of it. He decided to go overseas and got his first contract with BK Prostejov (Czech Republic-NBL) playing EuroChallenge averaging 12.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 87.5%; and in the Czech Republic League averaged 14.9ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 76.5%. Often Americans have big problems adjusting to the culture shock, but once again his game was consistent, but he did have his overseas wake up call. ‘I remember getting lost for practice and being lost for almost two hours. There wasn’t Google maps and stuff like that then they gave you a car and you had to remember your way around town. That was crazy but I made sure after that I had one route memorized for everywhere I needed to go’, added Jamar Smith. He scored in double figures in 48 of 54 NBL games including scoring 28 and 26 points against BK Decin. He also played his first Eurocup game scoring 22 points nailing 4 three’s giving a first impression for what would come the next years. Heading into his third professional season in 2012, he tried to reach the NBA one more time putting up solid numbers at the AirTran Orlando Summer League (Boston Celtics) averaging 9.7ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.7apg and at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (Boston Celtics) averaging 9.2ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.2apg. He was invited by the Boston Celtics again to attend training camp, but was cut. That would be his last attempt for the NBA as his route then would be 100% Europe. Those NBA Summer League stats probably could have given him a better NBA shot today than 10 years ago. So many guys have stated that he could of played in the NBA, but he has had no regrets .’I don’t even think like that, because I’m happy with my story I’m blessed to have played as long as I have and still be playing professional’, stressed Jamar Smith. He made his real break through overseas in his third professional season playing in the respected Israeli Winner league with Altshuler Saham Galil Gilboa (Israel-Winner League) averaging 14.4ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 68.2%; and in the Balkan League averaged 16.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT-2 (58.1%), FT: 86.7%. It is a season that he won’t forget as he won his first chip and built a mental foundation for more to come. ‘That’s where it all started winning a title and building a bond and having ties to a team forever is special and that’s the first place I was able to do it. I have a lot of fond memories of my teammates and people I met there’, remembered Jamar Smith. He played with so many talented guys and Brandon Bowman was another one of those special players that was close to the NBA. ‘He was tough and could really do a little of everything. He wasn’t with us that long though because he had a knee injury but he definitely got game’, said Jamar Smith. He had some massive games in the Winner League hitting Hapoel Tel Aviv for 27 points and Maccabi Haifa twice for 24 points and hit Teodo Tivat for 31 points.

The ex Boston Celtic who lists Erick McCollum, John Brown, Kyle Fogg, Steph Lasme, and Zack Wright as his best teammates of all-time came into the 2013-2014 season and played with Euroleague team Brose Bamberg. He surely went there with high expectations as the club had formed a dynasty, but that ended in the season he played there despite having great pros like Casey Jacobsen, Rakim Sanders, D or Fischer and Elias Harris. He averaged 12.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 40.8%, 3PT: 48.1%, FT: 83.3%;in the BBL and in the Euroleague averaged 10.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 39.1%. ‘We had a lot of vets that year with some young talent as well. But all good things come to an end Casey John Goldsberry and Anton Gavel were the guys in that team. They brought them the success in the German league that they were known for and I believe that was Casey and John’s last year before they retired so I think their success just ran its course and me and Rakim were coming up and trying to establish ourselves’, remembered Jamar Smith. He scored 22 points against Tuebingen and had solid stints in the Euroleague scoring 19 points against Strasburg and 18 points a piece against Zalgiris and Efes. He also won’t forget Mr Bamberg at that time ex NBA player and Stanford (NCAA) great Casey Jacobsen. ‘He was a pro always on time and nice to people and a good example’, expressed Jamar Smith. In the 2014-2015 season he signed with Limoges ESP Elite in and would win his second pro title winning the Pro A. The club had celebrated much success in the 80’s and 90’s winning 10 league titles and hadn’t last won since 2000. It was a special season for the organization. ‘Limoges was making it to Euroleague because of winning the French League and like I said earlier in the interview budgets matter especially in Euroleague normally the teams that win are the teams with bigger budgets and no French team could compete with the budgets of other Euroleague teams. But a lot of guys in that team made great careers for themselves’, commented Jamar Smith. He put up super stats again averaging 12.7ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 82.9 in the Pro A and in the Euroleague averaged 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 59.5%, 3PT: 45.8%, FT: 81.8%. He scored 29 points against Boulogne and in the Euroleague had good games against CSKA Moscow with 19 points and 18 points against his future team Unicaja.

The sniper who lists Shaq, MJ, Kobe, and Giannis on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore then reached the big time in 2015 playing 2 seasons for Unicaja Malaga playing in the ACB and Euroleague. He played 61 ACB games in his 2 year stint nd 15 Euroleague games and in his second season had a fantastic Eurocup season averaging 10.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 78.3% and helped the team to the Eurocup title. Despite reaching the 2 best leagues in 2015, he hadn’t reached the pinnacle of his career yet. ‘They were the best leagues for sure but I wasn’t the player that I became in Kazan with coach Priftis. The confidence and freedom he gave me as a player and always challenging me helped me get there’, remembered Jamar Smith. He had huge games in the Euroleague scoring 22 points against Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos and 20 points against Banco di Srd. In the ACB, he had some stellar games against Valencia with 24 points and had 23 points against Manresa. He came up big in a do or die game in the Eurocup final against Valencia posting 20 points. He also had the fortune of witnessing a young Luka ‘magic’ Doncic at age 16-17 and played 7 times against him and Real Madrid posting a 1-6 record and twice scored in double figures. It didn’t surprise him that he would soon be a great NBA player. ‘He played for arguably one of the best teams in Europe and started some games and was a major contributor and turned the team into his own. Not many people that played against him when he was with Madrid had a good experience especially the year he won MVP of Euroleague’, stated Jamar Smith. He was also lucky to play against some of the world’s best players and be pushed to the limit on a daily basis from teammates like Demarkus Nelson and Kyle Fogg. ‘Those were my bros just the comradery we had and I still talk to both of them. Great players who used to compete like crazy in practice. Practice was harder than some games with those guys’, remembered Jamar Smith. He then played 4 seasons with Russan team Unics Kazan where he played 104 VTB League games and 77 Eurocup games averaging 13/1/2 stats where he would forever be immortalized as one of the premier players. He averaged 13/2/2 stats in the VTB in his 4 seasons. He topped off his career at Unics winning the Eurocup MVP in 2021. He never won the VTB league title simply because CSKA Moscow had their own monopoly on the competition, but he became the Eurocup all-time leader in three pointers made. ‘VTB league is tough and the travel is difficult also but CSKA built a powerhouse and had some of the best players along with one of the biggest budgets so they reigned Supreme. The Eurocup title is cool but it’s a title that’s meant to be broken. It’s cool while you have it but there is so much young talent coming up I’m sure it will be broken and the torch will keep being passed like it has now’, added Jamar Smith. Some of his biggest games in the Eurocup happened against Gran Canaria as he had 32 points and 26 points against Cedevita and Asvel and in the VTB controlled Avtodor with 29 and 27 points and had 31 points against Parma. In his 4 years he had a who’s who of incredible teammates like Isaiah Canaan, Jordan Theodore, Okaro White, Nate Wolters, Raymar Morgan, Mauric Ndour, and Anton Ponkrashov. He was also teammates with Erik McCullum another one of many guys that he played with that could of played in the NBA. ‘ I think a lot of guys could have going into the right situation with the right opportunity there are a lot of great players over here. Especially in Euroleague but for some people playing and actually contributing means more than playing in the NBA and riding the bench’, warned Jamar Smith.

Last season the guard who never watched the sequel to the classic Coming To America with Eddie Murphy joined Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) averaging 13.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.2apg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 76.9%; and in the FIBA Europe Cup averaged: 15.1ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.9apg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 47.5%, FT: 85.7%. He won his fourth chip with the Fiba Europe Cup. He knows how tough it was winning a title in the VTB and it isn’t any different in the Turkish BSL. ‘It is super tough because Turkey has some of the best teams in Europe in my opinion they are at the top of euroleague and euro cup that’s not a coincidence’, stressed Jamar Smith. The club just advanced to the Basketball Champions League top 16 now and have done it with only 3 Americans, and a talented French and Czech player and fine Turkish role players. ‘Our Turkish players are good and have been playing great for us. We had early injuries and got off to a slow start but have won 6 out of our last 7. We have a lot of experienced guys who know how to play and we all trust each other I think that’s what makes us dangerous’, warned Jamar Smith. He has won titles in Israel, France, Spain and last season Turkey where the team was 17-1 in the Fiba Europe Cup. Was that the best team he ever played on? ‘ It’s hard to compare the cups because they are two different levels but the team we had last year was really good and I think it shows because it was the most success the club has had and all the players from that team are still playing some are on different teams and still playing well’, expressed Jamar Smith. He will be turning 36 in a little more than 2 months. The question is how much longer can he still be going. One guy who turned professional a year before he did and has been 14 years with the same club Fraport Skyliners is legend Quantez Robertson. Back in the 13-14 season, he played twice against him and despite winning the games by 30 and 10 points, he never forgot him. ‘I remember him being relentless. He’s a dog. I liked how competitive he was and he brought it every game’, commented Jamar Smith. The question is how much longer can he still play? He is still in top shape, has superb skills and isn’t slowing down and still has a massive hunger to win chips. ‘I think 40 is a goal that’s realistic. My body will give out before my love for the game for sure I still feel like a kid when I come to the gym’, warned Jamar Smith. It will be interesting if he can keep his promise, because witnessing his love for the game at that age is refreshing.


The Quadruple Double Is On His Mind But For Now CJ Bryce(s.Oliver Wurzburg) Will Settle For Being The Best Versatile Player That He Can Be

So what is wrong with aiming for seemingly impossible heights? Some guys are living legends in their own minds while others can back it up. Ok so achieving a triple double in the easyCredit BBL in Germany is rare. Some guys have achieved it more than once like Luke Sikma and Rashid Mahalbasic, but a quadruple double? C.J. Bryce (196-SG-1996, college: NC State) is a talented player that had a solid NCAA career for 2 schools and played in arguably one of the best basketball conferences in the nation with the ACC. But despite doing that nothing was given to him as he played his rookie season in Hungary which isn’t exactly a top league in Europe. Still easyCredit BBL team s.Oliver Wurzburg took a chance on him and so far he hasn’t disappointed and put up not only stellar stats with 16,1ppg, 3,3rpg, 1,1apg and 1,0spg while shooting 43% from downtown, but displayed exquisite versatility. He has scored in double figures in all 15 games and scored 20 points or more 4 times. I can’t remember too many guys coming from Hungary and putting up stats like that in the easyCredit BBL. Some must be wondering what his secret is too adapting so well to a higher league? ‘There is no secret. Whatever you do in life, you must remain true to it. Whatever you put in life is what you attract, and my goal is to attract as much success as possible with basketball at this point. I have a great coaching staff around me and teammates that push me every day to continue to grow on the court’, stressed C.J. Bryce. He is putting up incredible stats and proving to be a stat filler for the hungry surprise team of the season s.Oliver Wurzburg. ‘I pride myself on impacting the game in every area possible for me. I think that is a quality that the greatest players of all sports possess. Offense and defense. Even the best teams have great offensive players and also great defensive players. I think it is important to be versatile in all areas of life. Maximize your potential. I look forward to putting up some triple doubles in the future! Maybe even a rare quadruple double’, warned C.J. Bryce. He most likely won’t achieve a rare quadruple double in the easyCredit, but his high energy versatile game will continue to power s.Oliver Wurzburg to success.

C.J. Bryce who lists NBA beast Zion Williamson as his toughest foe in the NCAA was born on October 30th, 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He grew up in Huntersville and got his first basketball experience and played at North Mecklenburg high-school. He then played 2 years at the University of Noth Carolina Wilmington playing a total of 68 NCAA games. He gained success in both seasons winning the CAA title twice. ‘I would say the 2017 title was sweeter just because I remember winning my freshman year and seeing my older teammates playing so well and it really inspired moving forward because I really wanted that feeling of success again. I was blessed to receive tournament MVP as a sophomore and another chance to play in the NCAA tournament which on 1 team technically from our conference could participate in so it was very special for me and my team’, remembered C.J. Bryce. In his freshman season he averaged10.1ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 55.2%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 63.2% and in his second year picked up his game drastically and averaged 17.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 68.0%. In his 2 years there he scored in double figures in 49 games. He had many great games like scoring 28 points against Towson or hitting Delaware for 27 points and Campbell for 26 points all in wins, but he will never forget scoring 16 points against NCAA powerhouse Duke and matching up against future NBA stars like Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen. ‘It was great for me although winning is so important to me that the loss really stuck with me, because it was a winnable game for us. Duke was a very talented team. I really enjoyed the competition that game’, said C.J. Bryce. In his two years at Wilmington, he also was able to monitor the development of future NBA player Devontae Cacok who was the perfect role model for everyone. ‘Devontae dedicated his life to his craft and it has shown every year as he continues to improve and develop as a player. He always gave his all and nothing less, which has made him a great player but also speaks a lot about who he is as a person’, added C.J. Bryce. He was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team , All-CAA All-Tournament MVP -and was All-CAA First Team

After 2 years in Wilmington the guard who remembers beating teammate Torin Dorn in daily 1-1 battles in practice chose to make a change and went to North Carolina State who are best remembered for their 1983 Cinderella run and win with head coach Jim Valvano beating the highly favored Houston Cougars with Hakeem and Clyde Drexler. It was a no brainer for him to attend there. ‘I felt that I wanted the chance to play in the best conference in the country. I think that staying at Wilmington would have been a great decision also but I took a step outside my comfort zone with my decision to transfer. It really helped shape who I am today on and off the court’, stated C.J. Bryce. He had the chance to play some of the greatest schools in the NCAA like North Carolina and even beat Duke scoring 22 points. ‘I remember playing at Carolina and it was an amazing experience. The facilities and atmosphere there was on a different level. I remember missing the game winning shot against Carolina at home my junior year. After the game my coach simply told me that I was prepared for that moment. It shaped me. This is the way that I prepare now for life, being ready for whatever is thrown my way. Especially on the court, I work on all game situations at game speed. It was huge for us beating Duke. At that time I would say they weren’t the Duke that they were known for being, although still having some big time players on roster and a Hall of Fame coach, it was going to be tough for them to beat us at home that year. I would call it a top 10 moment in NC State history, but they just did it again this season’, stressed C.J. Bryce. He played 64 NCAA games in his 2 years at North Carolina State averaging 11.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 75.6% and in his senior year averaged 13.3ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 77.9%. One person that was vital in his development here was head coach Kevin Keatts who saw his potential at a young age. ‘Coach Keatts saw my potential in high school and took a chance on me and put me in the starting lineup as a freshman. He took another chance on me and brought me from the CAA to the ACC. He believed in me, and sometimes that all it takes to bring out the best in someone. I am glad I had the chance to play for him at those two levels’, remembered C.J. Bryce. He scored in double figures in 42 games and had big games against Georgia Tech scoring 24 points and against Miami scoring 22 points. Being able to be in North Carolina and play for 2 different schools is something that not many kids get a chance to do. ‘I loved playing so close to home. UNC Wilmington was a beautiful experience, being able to be so close to the beach and on top of that we had excellent back to back seasons making it to the NCAA tournament and playing against to top ACC teams in Duke and Virginia. I also really enjoyed Raleigh and being able to play at that level with a huge fan base and so much history on that campus’, remembered C.J. Bryce who believes that Lebron James is the GOAT.

The North Carolina native who lists Markell Johnson, Stanley Whittaker, Devontae Cacok, Allerick Freeman (redshirt year), and Omer Yurtseven (redshirt year) as his best teammates of all-time got his first taste of the pro life playing for the Charlotte Tribe (ECBL). He came overseas for the 21-22 season and balled with Hubner Nyiregyhaza BS (Hungary-A Division) averaging 20.6pp, 6.9rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.5%, 3PT-3 (44.9%), FT: 84.1%. Every American has that wake up call and for him it was definately not hearing English in the arena. ‘The first game in Hungary was my wake up call! The energy was so different in the building. Hearing the announcer speaking but not understanding anything he is saying pre game, to hearing the different horn from the scores table. The European game experience has been so different for me and with this being my second year I am still learning the ins and outs. At the end of the day basketball is basketball’, warned C.J. Bryce. This season he is playing for the s.Oliver Wurzburg who have won 8 games and are fighting for a playoff spot averaging 85 points as a team and allowing 85 points. They have been the big surprise of the league. The team is pretty much carried by him, the guard duo of Cameron Hunt and Stanley Whittaker and Xeyrius Williams. ‘We have a lot of offensive weapons, and we have really focused on our defense. We know that we can score but at this level everyone can score the ball. The games come down to how locked in we are on defense and we have bought in to that mindset that we want to stop everyone’, expressed C.J. Bryce. The team didn’t begin great and has picked up their play and are 5-2 since December. They have locked down on defense which has been massive for their success. ‘With this select group of guys playing together for out first time ever this season, we have had to grow and learn each other. We are learning to trust each other more every week and picking up on each others energies and approaches to the game. I think the more we continue to grow as a team off the court will on benefit us in the long run’, commented C.J. Bryce. Three guys who have been very instrumental for the success has been head coach Saso Fillipovski and the guard Duo of Cameron Hunt and Stanley Whittaker who have huge chips on their shoulders having played in the NAIA and have proved that heart can get you to places you may never have dreamed of. ‘Coach has a lot of experience and success with the game of basketball, and his knowledge for the game has been incredible to see. He has a mindset to improve in every aspect and this has been passed down to the players. We are a very young team so I think being able to learn from a coach of his caliber has been great for us all. Hard work beats talents on any given day. Those two guys have been incredible for us this season, and I have personally learned a lot from them playing the guard position. They have high IQ’s for the game and it definitely shows on the court’, warned C.J. Bryce. Tonight he will face the best team that he has ever faced as a professional with Alba Berlin. An upset would be another big step for the team in the Cinderella season. ‘I am excited for every game as it is truly a blessing to be able to play this game for a living. We want to beat them and every other team we play just as bad every game. Our first game of the season was against Bonn, which I believe was an eye opener for us. I think this game against Alba is a chance to see just how far we have come as a team. With them playing EuroLeague, they see the best European talent on a weekly basis. We look forward to a hard fought game from both sides and hopefully we can get the win on our home court’, added C.J. Bryce.

The versatile player who lists Magic, MJ, Lebron James, Wilt and Shaq on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore is a 196cm shooting guard that can’t compare his game to an NBA player simply because he is an evolving player. He has had the luxury of having played many different positions which can be credited for him evolving into a versatile player. ‘I was playing the power forward and center position my freshman year of high school. It has been a long journey and a lot of work to come into the shooting guard position. I would like to continue to progress into playing the point guard position. Even though scoring comes natural to me I love the passing game and getting others involved. I hope to show this part of my game at a high level one day’, stressed C.J. Bryce. His offensive game is growing and a big part of his game, but his defensive game has also made strides in only a short time in Germany. ‘I think that my defense has come a long way within just a few months of me being in Germany. I think it has come a lot from me working on my body and position. My reactions are becoming better and I am reading the game better than ever on the defensive end. I think I am a versatile defender. I can guard 1-4. On ball, off-ball, post-ups. My coaches this season have really pushed me from day one to become better in this area. I really want to continue to work on my position on the court as I think this is very important when it comes to defense. You can be very athletic but position can be the difference between and still and an open shot. I think Marcus Smart is a great example of an elite defender. His effort is unmatched on defense. But he also pays attention to the details and I think with more experience I can get to that level’, warned C.J. Bryce. He is already performing at a high level in the easyCredit BBL, but his drive and hunger to get even better is always on the rise. ‘I am working on my pick and roll reads the most at this point. I think that this area could really take my game to the next level. I think that if you can master the pick and roll in Europe then the NBA style of play becomes relatively easier, as there is more spacing and less physicality. I wish to continue to become a better scorer, but I think the more I become unpredictable with ball in my hands the more dangerous I can be on the offensive end’, stated C.J. Bryce. It will be interesting how much more his game will grow in the easyCredit BBL and where the Cinderella season of s.Oliver Wurzburg will end. He may never achieve the quadruple double, but his versatility will always be present as his hunger to improve will always drive him as he continues to move up the basketball ladder in the next years.


Jorke Aav And Mateo Vidovic Pace Team Urspring Over Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners 84-75 In Overtime In NBBL(U-19) Play

Jorke Aav

The NBBL season of Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners has been one to forget this season. The club has fought every game, but not been rewarded in any way by the basketball God. Two weeks ago they were so close to finally celebrating their first win of the season, but instead got a dagger rammed into their heart twice as they were leading in the regulation period and overtime only to see them get hit with a buzzer beater each time. That brutal loss took time to digest and they had a long time to think about it, because the game in Ibam was postponed last weekend. But it didn’t get any easier as their next opponent was the perfect Urspring team with a record of 8-0 came to Frankfurt. Urspring may only produce 65 points per game, but defend with passion and heart and allowed only 47 points per contest. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners who entered the game with a poor 0-8 record really had their hands full, but as so often this season played really well, but as usual couldn’t finish the job. Like the game before vs Ludwigsburg, they should have won it in regulation time, but allowed Team Urspring to send it in overtime where Jorke Aavkardo (189-PG-2005) and Mateo Vidovic hit big shots to secure the win. ‘We had problems in the first half. They knew every play. We had to adjust to their zone. But as the game went on our man to man defense always got better. We depend on our defense’, stated team Urspring head coach Oliver Heptner.

Joscha Zentgraf at the FT line

The first quarter was a tight affair as no team could get away from the other. The guests got off to the quick 3-0 start as Estonian guard Jorke Aavkardo hurled a three pointer. His calmness and nice touch and execution rate would hurt Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners all night long. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got going quickly rushing out on a 6-0 run to lead 6-3. Power forward and dirty work boy Joscha Zentgraf as usual was banging inside and drew two fouls, but made only 2 shots while Dusan Nikolic and Hector Izquierdo began aggressive and scored twice on drives. But the guests reacted well and got some offensive input going as the German with the English name Jared Grey showed his offensive qualities making a dunk and three pointer for the 10-6 Urspring advantage. That little burst of offense didn’t hinder the execution of Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners getting a 7-2 run to lead 13-12 as they got a clutch three pointer from Hector Izquierdo, a lay in from Alexander Lagerman on transition, and possibly the team’s dunk of the year from Dusan Nikolic who flew through the lane like a combination of Len Schoorman and Elijah Clarence and finished with the hard 1 handed dunk. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners ccouldn’t hold the lead as Aav stepped again unleashing that pretty three point shot as Team Urspring led 15-14 after 10 minutes. Crazy stats after one quarter showed the guests shooting incredibly well as 45% from the field and 60% from outside while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were shooting a weak 28% from the field and even worse 17% from outside despite trailing only by 1 point. Frankfurt were hustling more having the 11-8 rebound lead including 8 offensive rebounds and 4 turnovers while the guests had 5 turnovers. ‘It was tough for us to get going. We had a long drive and had to play on a Friday night. But as the game kept going, the better we got into the game’, stated Jorke Aavkardo.

Brenden Velaj at the FT line

In the second quarter showed Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners totally break out and hammer Team Urspring with a 26-12 explosion and lead by 13 points at half-time. Nikolic began the second quarter with a lay in as his aggressiveness got bigger in the second quarter for the 16-15 Frankfurt lead. Team Urspring then got on the board getting back to back buckets in the paint from Aav who besides having a routine good three, also was able to use his speed to hurt Frankfurt scored as did 18 year old Albanian Brendon Velaj who came to Germany from Albania as an immigrant without his parents and has been able to produce a solid life with the combination of school and basketball thanks to the Urspring program. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners trailed 19-16, but the storm was about to hit Team Urspring. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners exploded for an incredible 19-0 run to totally paralyze Team Urspring. In the brutal run everything functioned at both ends of the court. The duo of Lagermann and Izquierdo were a 2 man wrecking crew that the guests had no answer for. Nikolic began the charge with a lay in as his 1-1 skills seem to get better with each game. Flashy and athletic Alexander Lagemann then added 6 points with 2 lay ins and free throws and Izquierdo added 7 points with 3 lay in’s and a free throw while Zentgraf also scored free throws. It was the heightened defense by Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners that pushed their offense as they tried to get on transition each team and were then mostly rewarded with easy buckets as the guests always seemed a step to slow. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were always in attack mode and the classic and potent 1-1 skills of Lagermann and Izquierdo were too much for the guests. Team Urspring closed out the second quarter getting some solid bench support from German Jermy Wontroba who followed Aav’s aggressiveness getting to the free throw line and also made an off balance shot while Mr poster dunk specialist Linus Ihle made free throws. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got a dunk from Izquierdo in the last minute and a basket from Lagermann to lead 40-27 at the break. ‘Our defense was lacking man to man as there was no help. It was little details that they picked apart’, added Jorke Aavkardo. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners upped their shooting from the field to 44%, but couldn’t hit the ocean from outside shooting 13% while the guests shooting percentages also dipped to 32% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 23-17 rebound edge and 10-7 offensive rebound edge and 7 turnovers while Team Urspring had 10 turnovers.

Dusan Nikolic with the lay in

Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were able to keep the steady lead, but weren’t executing as well anymore like back in the second quarter, but still led by 10 points after 3 quarters. Lagermann made a super hustle play getting the rebound off his own miss and giving Frankfurt the first points of the second half and 42-17 advantage. Team Urspring couldn’t convert on their first 3 possessions, but then added a spark of energy getting 5 unasnwered points as Aav hit another trey and Ihle made a thunderous two handed dunk as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 42-32. Both teams would produce their own little runs as now Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got a three pointer from Nikolic and another hustle play by Lagermann as he was present on the offensive glass getting the rebound and put back for the 47-32 lead. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were unable to keep this lead or extend it as Team Urspring were more confident and were executing better on offense. The guests countered with a lightening 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead down to 47-38 as AAv made one free throw, Velaj made a put back and Vidovic drilled home a trey as Urspring trailed only 47-38. The guests inserted a zone and press that annoyed Frankfurt that didn’t allow Frankfurt to execute as much with their 1-1 play and disallowed easy points while on offense were calm and played their sets getting success. The Urspring defense forced Frankfurt to 7 turnovers in the quarter. Aav and Nikolic gave their team some added support down the stretch with baskets, but Team Urspring couldn’t really make any ground as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 54-44. ‘We came back being stronger mentally. We worked harder and showed more pride and played better as a team. We attacked more and our press also helped’, added Jorke Aavkardo. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to shoot well from the field at 43% while their three point shooting was nonexistent and Team Urspring shot 32% from the field and 35% from outside. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still had the rebound advantage at 34-27 and 14-11 offensive edge and had 14 turnovers and 13 turnovers.

Justin Gray with the jumper

In the fourth quarter Team Urspring heightened their game another notch scoring 24 points foiling Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners attempt to gain their first win forcing the game into OT. Vidovic began the fourth quarter with a clutch three as he was continuing to get warmed up for his heroic OT run as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 54-47. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to execute well on offense keeping some space between them and Team Urspring going on a 7-2 run to lead 61-49. Point guard Barnabas Bode made a lay in, Lagermann a crushing 2 handed dunk coming form the base line and Nikolic a lay in getting through the defense again. Ihle and Lagermann then traded buckets as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was still standing strong and it looked like they may finally pull out their first win of the season. But then came the crushing turning point of the game. In a short span of about 30 seconds Team Urspring totally punished Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners going on a 7-0 run as steals by Ihle and Velaj led to 2 Velah baskets and Aav dropped a trey and suddenly Frankfurt led only 64-60. Nikolic made a massive lay in under pressure and it looked like Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners could still pull it out in crunch-time, but Team Urspring just had the better nerves. The guests kept chipping away and executed as Aav made a lay in to cut the lead to 66-62. Frankfurt superb role player Marvin Esser made a huge lay in to lead 68-62, but Frankfurt just couldn’t hold down the fort. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners allowed a crushing 6-0 run. Ihle came up with a big block and Grey made a dunk and AAV a three to tie the game at 68-68. ‘We are a good defensive team and that 7-0 run just showed the kind of team that we are. Our game starts on defense. If we stick to our defensive principles then that translates over to our offense’, warned Jorke Aavkardo.

Linus Ihle dunk

In the overtime period both teams were at eye level in the first few minutes, but Team Urspring then closed out the game strong with a run to clinch the win. Vidovic and Lagermann offered a back and forth battle as Vidovic displayed his fine inside out qualities with a catch and pop three and lay in while Lagermann continued to be aggressive and showing he is that go to guy with 2 clutch three pointers to dead lock the game at 73-73. But Team Urspring then closed out the game with a swift blow with a 11-2 run. Vidovic and and Aav combined for 5 points as Team Urspring led 78-73. Team Urspring still had that needed burst of energy on defense forcing Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners to a tough shot which Finley Pruver missed and then a turnover. Izqierdo did make a bucket after seemingly the 5th offensive rebound to trail 80-75 with 32 seconds to play, but the guests closed out the game with Philipp Schneck free throws and a powerful Ihle dunk. ‘We looked for Mateo Vidovic. He was very active and aggressive in the Ot. We pressed and remained aggressive. My shot kept falling and I felt very comfortable. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates’, stressed Jorke Aavkardo. Team Urspring was led by Jorke Aavkardo with 31 points. Mateo Vidovic added 16 points and Linus Ihle had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals and 3 blocks while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were led by Alexander Lagermann with 25 points and Dusan Nikolic added 22 points and Hector Izquierdo had 17 points. Team Urspring shot 40% from the field and 42% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 14 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 18% from outside and had 52 rebounds and 27 turnovers.

Marko Boksic Supplies The Money Ball In The Fourth Quarter Powering The Iserlohn Kangaroos Over The Dragons Rhondorf 74-68

The Dragons Rhondorf continue to search for consistency. The ex pro A team began the season strong winning 4 of their first 5 games and showing no remorse on the road but haven’t been as lucky since mid November as since they have ridden a 5-4 record. They came into 2023 losing a tough nail bitter against Vechta 2, but last week found revenge against the RheinStars Cologne who had destroyed them at home 83-59. The Dragons continue to play with a 7 man rotation and so far everything is functioning. They met the 5-9 Iserlohn Kangaroos who had a positive 4-3 road record and were a way better team than what their record showed. They lost 3 very close games and played top team Sixers tough both times they met. It is no secret that the pro B is stuffed with many top guards and this weekend could have been the next great battle between Devon Goodman and Toni Prostran, but the latter had knee problems and couldn’t play. But the guests didn’t really need Prostran as they did fine without him playing tough for 3 quarters and then let Mr money ball Marko Boksic (203-PF-1993, agency: PEPI SPORT) take control in the fourth quarter and buckled down on defense to pull out the 74-68 victory. ‘We played tough all game. We kept playing hard and once our shots started to fall, the basket began to look bigger. We did a good man taking Goodman away from his strengths and stayed consistent down the stretch’, stressed Iserlohn guard Michael Cubbage. The Dragons Rhondorf had signed last season’s top scorer Mubarak Salami, but he only played a minute and couldn’t be a factor. The Dragons had problems taking care of the ball and executing consistently all night long that ultimately also cost them the game in crunch-time. ‘Little mistakes brought us down and we just didn’t execute well and sometimes forgot to play together as a team’, stated Mubarak Salami.

Emil Loch lay in

The first quarter had 2 stories as the Dragons Rhondorf began with a huge run only to watch Iserlohn end the first quarter with a big run and led only 22-16. The Dragons Rhondorf jumped all over the Iserlohn Kangaroos and exploded to lead 17-4. The Dragons found their offense rhythm quickly playing sound inside out ball as Germans Florian Koch and Nicolas Buchholz nailed three’s while Devon Goodman and Swedish youth national player Zaba Bangala scored in the paint. It also helped Rhondorf’s cause that the guests suffered their fifth team foul at the 7,09 minute mark. Iserlohn was hectic in their sets and were forced to tough shots. But Iserlohn calmed down and started to attack the rim more getting easy baskets from Germans Patrick Tekka and Emil Loch. Iserlohn stepped up their defense and got easy baskets as well. The guests also got key three’s from Germans Joshua Dahmen who is in his 15th season with the Kangaroos and from ex Ehingen forward Mathias Groh. Rhondorf got 2 key buckets from captain Paul Albrecht. The Dragons Rhondorf led 22-16 after 10 minutes. ‘We began well sticking to the game plan, but then made concentration mistakes which helped make them strong’, stated Mubarek Salami. The Dragons Rhondorf shot over 50% from the field and from outside and had 12 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the guests shot39% from the field and 25% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

Devon Goodman from outside

The game remained a close battle in the second quarter despite the Dragons leading by 8 at one point could only lead by 3 at the break. Iserlohn began to attack the paint more aggressively getting three baskets in a row by German forward Elias Marei. The German big who is playing his fourth season in Iserlohn continues to make progress and gain minutes this season finishing with a double double of 10/10. Iserlohn stayed on the Dragon’s tail 26-22, but the Dragons wouldn’t give up the lead. They got consistent execution getting a lay in by Bangala and three’s by Buchholz and Koch to lead 36-28. But the Dragons Rhondorf couldn’t keep up the pressure and momentum caving in and allowing a brutal 12-2 run to let the guests take the 40-38 lead. Boksic was getting warmed up for his fourth quarter heroics scoring 5 points while Dahmen added a runner and American Michael Cubbage a trey. Rhondorf couldn’t muster inside living off their three while Iserlohn did good work on the offensive board getting extra chances as well. Rhondorf closed out the second quarter on a high with 5 consecutive points as ex Giessen guard Florian Koch nailed a trey and Goodman made a lay in on transition. ‘Iserlohn made a big comeback. We made turnovers which helped them get back into the game’, added Mubarek Salami. The Dragons Rhondorf continued to shoot over 50% from the field and three point line and had 22 rebounds and 9 turnovers while Iserlohn shot 44% from the field and 29% from the three point line and had 14 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

Marko Boksic from downtown

The third quarter was a low scoring affair that showed Rhondorf lead briefly by 6 points, but couldn’t capitalize on it. The first few minutes saw both teams not execute until Samuel Mpacko and Buchholz traded three pointers as Rhondorf led 46-43. Iserlohn then went on a mini run as Cubbage made a finger tip lay in and Loch made a tap in on the glass as Iserlohn led 47-46. Rhondorf then had a super spurt of 2 minutes going on a 9-2 run to lead 55-49. Florian Koch was really potent in the run with 7 points and displaying his knack of being able to score in bunches. With the exception of a Koch three pointer, the Dragons attacked the rim three times and were rewarded with 2 Koch lay ins, and a Florian Wendeler lay in. But once again the Dragons couldn’t hold the lead and expand it. Instead they let Iserlohn break out a 6-0 run as Marei scored over Wendeler, Dahmen scored inside and Cabbage scored in the lane to tie the game at 55-55. Salami made a free throw giving Rhondorf the 56-55 advantage after 30 minutes. ‘They didn’t do anything special or different. We knew their game plan. We just had lapses in concentration and made so many little mistakes’, added Mubarak Salami. ‘We stayed cool and stuck to our principles. That helped us stay in the game’, said Michael Cubbage. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 51% from the field and 41% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the Iserlohn Kangaroos shot 41% from the field and 24% from the parking lot and had 24 rebounds and 9 turnovers.

Mubarak Salami at the FT line

In the fourth quarter the Iserlohn Kangaroos had to withstand a Paul Albrecht 4-0 run to start, but then took control and never looked back being able to control a close and tight game and let Marko Boksic do his magic. Boksic didn’t waste anytime scoring 5 unanswered points to dead lock the contest at 60-60. The 5-0 run by Boksic turned into a 10-0 run as Cabbage added an off balance shot and free throw and Boksic struck again with a jumper as Rhondorf trailed 65-60. Iserlohn were calm and played their game while Rhondorf couldn’t find a rhythm and couldn’t tame the Boksic and Cabbage show. Bangala finally stopped the 10-0 run with a lay in to trail 65-62. But Boksic and Cabbage continued to execute scoring twice for the 69-63 lead. Goodman added a clutch trey to trail only 69-66. But Boksic then made the next money shot with a trey for the 72-66 lead with 47 seconds to play. ‘My team wanted me to have the ball and put me into a situation that I feel comfortable with. That makes it so much easier’, warned Marko Boksic. ‘I know where Marko likes to have the ball. It took us a while to find the reads and when we did he hit big shots’, added Michael Cubbage. Goodman added a quick lay in with 36 seconds to play to trail 72-68. But Iserlohn closed out the game with Boksic free throws. ‘We have been lacking a defensive identity all season and are still trying to figure it out. But tonight our intensity allowed us to win this game’, stated Michael Cubbage. ‘We were too slow covering Boksic. He got stronger with every new shot that he made’, said Mubarak Salami. The Iserlohn Kangaroos were led by Marko Boksic with 23 points. Michael Cubbage added 13 points and Elias Marei and Samuel Mpacko 10 points a piece while the Dragons Rhondorf were led by Florian Koch and Devon Goodman with 18 points a piece. Paul Albrecht added 12 points. The Iserlohn Kangaroos shot 43% from the field and 26% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 11 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 45% from the field and 33% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 18 turnovers.


The Miles Vs Jeremy Ingram Basketball Chat Volume 9

Jeremy Ingram (183-G-1991, college: AAMU) is a 191 cm guard that was born in Alabama and has played his entire professional career in Germany for teams like Speyer, Idstein, Bensheim and recently SG Mannheim.This season he is playing for Regionalliga team Bargteheide. Last season with SG Mannheim he picked up South West Regionalliga player of the year while averaging (32.1ppg), 5.7rpg, 4.2apg, Steals-4 (2.6spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 35.4%, 9%. He began his career with Enterprise State Community College (JUCO) and then finished with Alabama A&M University (NCAA). He teams up with Miles Schmidt-Scheuber on a weekly basis this season to talk basketball.

Bargteheide suffered a brutal 113-83 loss to Neustadt. What makes Neustadt such a tough team to play?

Neustadt was a very strong team. The starting lineup and including the guys coming off the bench. They had a well rounded team that played together and moved the ball very well and it’s always hard to beat a team who is very disciplined like they were. Especially when we were not disciplined this game.

Talk a little about the contest. Does the final score indicate how the game was played or were there phases where the game was closer?

We led after the 1st quarter but we got away from our game plan 2nd quarter on and Neustadt pretty much ran away with it from there.

Neustadt shot the ball really well. What made it most tough on the defensive end to find an identity and keep them better contained?

They move the ball very well and when you moving the ball as well as they are , you usually finding shooters for open shots and they did that a lot.

They had very good guard play from Jelovcic and Braimoh. Talk a little what made their play so tough to control?

Well I wouldn’t say they were tough to control, but again the ball movement got them many open looks and they capitalized off of our bad shots and turnovers by getting out on the fast break.

The trio of Hoppe, Abakar and you had 64 of the 82 total points. Does the fact that there was little production from the rest worry you?

Nah, we actually just took most of the shots. We didn’t get more people involved like we should have this game. That’s something we talked about and will work on.

You had 25 points and shot well as usual from close range but only 3/12 from outside. Was it one of those days for you?

Rough day shooting the 3 ball . It happens. I had very good looks but I rushed a lot of shots because we were playing catchup most of the game and just a few of the 3s rolled in and out but it happens, I’ll bounce back. I always do!

How are you feeling now physically after your injury? At how much % are you now?

I say I’m about 85% 90%. I still don’t have my explosiveness back and first step and quickness still not all the way back yet but I’m working on it. Still a lot of soreness where the fracture is also so it’s been difficult to train hard to get back to where I want to be but things like this takes time I guess.

The next game is against 9-5 Braunschweig. What will be key for getting the season sweep?

I think we will be motivated since we lost so badly last game. I think we just need to get back to what made us successful in the past wins and we should be able to pull out this road win.

Thanks Jeremy for the chat.


The Miles Vs Chris Miller Weekly Basketball Conversation Volume 13

Christopher Miller (192-G-1993, college: Salem) is a 29 year old 193cm guard from Brooklyn, New York who is playing his eighth professional season and first with GoldCoast Wallabies NLB (2nd League). He played 3 seasons with the Giessen Pointers (Germany-RegionalligaThis season for Bensheim he averaged 19,5ppg, 3,8rpg, 2,0apg and 1,5spg. He has had experience in countries like El Salvador and Bosnia. He recently played for the South Shore Monarchs (TBL) playing 8 games averaging 22.4ppg, 5.6rpg, 4.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.3%. He began his basketball career at Clinton Community College and also played two years at Salem University (NCAA2). This season he teams up with Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with weekly chats about his basketball season.

Congrats on the 79-73 win over Zurich. How good did it feel to get that first win in 2023?

It feels great to start the new year with a win. We have been working hard to change for the better as a team and everyone has a new focus. Hopefully we can keep going in the right direction.

Wallabies has been up and down since the end of November having a 3-2 record. What makes it so tough to find a consistency with this team?

I am not sure, hopefully this second half we put more wins than losses. First half we dropped a few that we should of won.

Talk a little about the 40 minutes. Was the whole game a close battle or were there phases where a team got away from the other?

The whole game was back and forth. GC plays a tough game and did not quit it was a great game to be a part of.

How fortunate do you feel having been able to win despite having 22 turnovers?

The turnovers could be worked on but we still showed toughness and made plays when it counted to get the win.

Matt Kellenberger shot out the lights with 6 three’s. Did you know beforehand that he had that capability?

Yes we always knew Matt is capable of this he is a very good shooter and he showed it this game hitting timely shots and catching fire to help us take the lead .

You had a solid game with 14/3/2 stats. How vital was starting the new year off being a force on defense?

My offense was ok. It could of been better, but my main focus was winning. Other guys were bringing the offense so I focused on my defense and just making plays for us on that side of the ball. At this point I just want to win no matter my stats.

How was the looks in the game for you? You took a lot of shots from close range but only 2 from outside?

I didn’t shoot so much mostly layups I stopped shooting because it wasn’t my night . We had 5 guys in double digits the ball was moving well which was good to see.

The next game is against Villars who have an identical record with you? You won the first game 79-75. What will be key for making the sweep?

This will be my first time playing this team but I think if we play with the energy and focus similar to last week we will have a good chance to compete.

Thanks Chris for the chat.


That Wasn´t Kemba Walker In The Corner But Bryce Jones(Limoges ESP Elite) Who Nailed The BCL Game Winning Buzzer Beater Over The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

It was Tuesday night when I reached Bryce Jones (183-PG-1994, college: Murray St.) in Germany. Limoges CSP Elite had just landed in Frankfurt and now the team was on their way to Ludwigsburg via bus to prepare for the big do or die Basketball Champions League game against the MHP Riesen. The American who played at Murray State (NCAA) was calm in his speech, but totally focused on telling his life long basketball journey to me. He is one of hundreds of very talented guards overseas who had to start in lower leagues and pay their dues. It took him 4 seasons of toiling around in Montenegro and Serbia to finally reach an elite league with the Pro A in France. He had that refreshing positive self confidence in his words, but nothing that was too overblown. Besides he could back it up with the consistency that he has had in his first 4 pro years. Plus he had needed no adjustment period in the Pro A and Basketball Champions League as he is putting up stellar stats. This Season he destroyed Euroleague team Asvel scoring 28 points in a convincing win and hit Benfica for 26 points in a easy win in the Basketball Champions League. Early in the interview he had a defying sentence that showed that he is fully aware that he has been putting in the work and has been able to be consistent wherever he has performed. He said, ‘I think that my name is on the rise’. Little did I know that 24 hours later, he would put up another magical game with 26 points, and aid his team in coming back from 22 points most in BCL history and making the shot to bring the game to overtime and then going the extra step and nailing a brutal buzzer beater that ended the MHP Riesen’s Basketball Champions League season. After that incredible display of firepower and killer instinct, the guy definitely raised some more eyebrows in Europe. He also showed he was the best player on the court and held his own against ex NBA player and Lebron James teammate Will Cherry. ‘That’s crazy. I didn’t know he was in the NBA. It adds confidence to me knowing that I belong. I have played against many at that level. I just want to remain humble and confident and keep working and see what happens’, warned Bryce Jones. With every new breathtaking performance by the Brooklyn native, you can be sure more and more clubs will notice maybe even Euroleague and Eurocup clubs? ‘Possibly, but I have no idea. I have no idea what is next. As I have told you before for me the most important thing is to always get better. I just need to keep my progress going forward. That is all that matters for me’, warned Bryce Jones.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

I reach the 28 year old 183cm Bryce Jones on Thursday afternoon after he and his teammates had landed at home in Limoges that is known for it’s decorated porcelain a little less than 16 hours after he and Limoges CSP Elite had made history being the first team in Basketball Champions League history to come back from 22 points down at halftime and win. There wasn’t celebrating in Ludwigsburg. ‘We pretty much chilled in the hotel. I don’t think there is any activity to be done in Ludwigsburg’, said Bryce Jones. It is difficult to imagine how massive this victory was for the organization. ‘This win is historic for the club. It is like another milestone. It is known that history will repeat itself. I’m really pleased that we could get it done and that I was a part of it’, said Bryce Jones. But at first it looked like the French team would have a long trip home as the German side jumped all over them and scored an unbelievable 36 points in the first quarter. It looked like the game was decided then. But it wasn’t the most points a team had put up against him in his career. ‘I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. They are a team that shoot the three really well. We went to zone early and tried to switch it up with mis match defense, but nothing worked. They swung the ball around really well and found their shooters. They got hot early which helped them’, stressed Bryce Jones. But the one sided game didn’t continue as Limoges rebounded and fought back into the game and trailed by only 11 at the break. ‘Our solid run calmed us down. We knew then that it was a game again. We were never rattled and just kept our composure. That comes from the experience that we have with certain guys’, said Bryce Jones. The American also knew that they couldn’t afford another first quarter in the third quarter and listened closely to what head coach Massimo Cancellieri barked at half-time. ‘He just told us to be real aggressive and pick full court. He also said to attack the ball, play with confidence and trust each other’, remembered Bryce Jones.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

Instant success didn’t come right away for Limoges ESP Elite, but it came very slowly, but step by step. Their offense was functioning better, but the MHP Riesen had an answer ready a lot of the time. A big problem were the errors that Limoges did on defense fouling too often behind the three point line that the German side gobbled up with free throws. ‘Some three’s were ill-advised and others were bad close outs. There were also some questionable calls. It was tough to keep fighting so hard and trying to stop elimination and then allowing those mistakes. That can break you, but we stayed calm and focused on moving to the next play and making up for it’, expressed Bryce Jones. The guard who played 3 seasons in Serbia has had many great games in his career and was feeling it all game long and then came up big at the end to send the game into OT. Despite him having the hot hand all game long, he believes it was only logical to get the ball during money time. ‘My mid range was working well in the game and coach wanted me to continue to have the ball in my hands. I played through the pick and roll and trusted myself and my teammates. I like to play for the big moments. I’m from Brooklyn and not afraid of anything’, warned Bryce Jones. The tide didn’t turn in the Overtime period as the MHP Riesen continued to keep up the pressure and rapidly led by 6 points with about 3 minutes to play. ‘It was a small scale and I thought here we go again. They began with good defensive pressure and just played the way they usually do and got the crowd into the game. We took a deep breath and responded. That first bucket was really important, because we then knew that we would be fine’, commented Bryce Jones. He made two huge baskets in the overtime to get the team real close. ‘The first shot was the toughest, because I had just been subbed in. But honestly I had had a real feel for my jumper the whole night. It all felt routine and as if no one was there remembered Bryce Jones.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

The last possessions by the MHP Riesen weren’t bad, but they just couldn’t execute. Johnson missed a shot close to the rim a shot he usually makes, but didn’t which kept Limoges CSP Elite alive. With the clock running down and the contest dead locked at 94-94, the French team had one last possession to win the game. Everybody in the arena knew he would make the last shot. He has been studying guys like Dam Lillard, James Harden and Kyrie Irving his whole life, but his buzzer beater from the right wing looked more like Kemba Walker. ‘Cardiac Kemba. All those players are very comfortable taking shots in a situation like that. When I couldn’t turn the corner, I stepped back to see how much space I had to my defender. I was fortunate that he jumped first and that showed me that he couldn’t time it so I just shot it like it was a natural routine’, expressed Bryce Jones. The shot definitely looked good which was followed by that surprised look by him. ‘I won’t lie but I knew it was going in. From the release, I had a good flick. It felt like an automatic shot. It was muscle memory. My surprised look was just a human reaction. Oh damn we just won. I had that look when I saw the red light. I knew then that we had really won and they can’t react. So that is when I went running’, laughed Bryce Jones. He has connected on some buzzer beaters in his career and this will always be a very special one. ‘I hit one against Thomas Jeffersson in high school in OT. That first one will always be the biggest, because it told me I can make that shot. I also made one in JUCO and one for Murray State to send a game to OT’, said Bryce Jones. He may have been the hero, but one guy who won’t be forgotten by him and was a bit in his shadow was Jayvon Graves who had a huge 24 points in the monumental win. ‘We don’t win the game without him. We were down 22 and he had the heart to take risks and make shots. We don’t comeback without him. I was extremely happy for him. He had an outstanding game. I will continue to be on him to keep going’, stressed Bryce Jones. This win was massive for the club, but they want more. The sky is the limit for Limoges ESP Elite. ‘We aren’t satisfied, but will keep working hard. I won’t make any predictions, but I feel very confident in myself and team. We will continue to battle against everyone’, warned Bryce Jones

At This Point In Bryce Jones(Limoges ESP Elite) Career It Isn´t About The Accolades But To Continue To Always Get Better

Bryce Jones (183-PG-1994, college: Murray St.) is a 28 year old 183cm point guard from New York that is playing his 5th professional season and first with Limoges CSP Elite averaging 15/2/5 stats in the Pro A and 12/2/4 stats in the BCL. He played the last 3 seasons in Serbia with KK Borac Mozzart Cacak (Serbia-KLS) and last season with KK FMP Beograd (Serbia-KLS). He played his rookie season with KK Ulcinjska Rivijera Ulcinj (Montenegro-Erste Liga). He began his basketball career in Brooklyn, New York at the Boys and Girls high school. He then played 2 years at Jones County Junior College (JUCO). He finished his college career in the NCAA with Murray State averaging 12.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 42.0%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 87.1% as a junior and 12.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 88.8% as a senior. He spoke to before a Basketball Champions League game in Ludwigsburg.

Thanks Bryce for talking to Your playing your first season in France Pro A with Limoges CSP Elite. How blessed do you feel having made this step in your 5th pro season? Is it fair to say that you have paid your dues?

It is an honor to play for this organization. It has a lot of history in French basketball. I have been a pro now 5 years and it feels like it has been a long road, but still feels like it went fast. I think that my name is on the rise. I believe I have been doing a good job here.

You had a great NCAA career but played your first 4 seasons in Montenegro and Serbia. Do you feel your size has slowed down your progression moving up the basketball ladder overseas?

No I don’t think so. I think the reason was that I began my pro career a year late. I had a tough start with the agent that I had. He sent me to a try out in Greece and I got cut. Then I returned home. I couldn’t find a job that first season. I also think that coming from a mid major, my stats weren’t really outstanding. I think that that could of played a role. But once I got that opportunity in Montenegro, I took it and ran with it.

What kind of an experience has it been playing in Limoges? What have you learned to enjoy most about the experience?

I think the best part has been the fans. They are a big part of it. They pack the gym every night. The fans really show a lot of love. They give you that family feeling. It’s pretty cool.

The team has a do or die game in Ludwigsburg in order to reach the next round. How big would you classify that game in your career up to now?

I think it’s one of the biggest games in my career. It means a lot to advance. I have to be honest that at this point in my career, I’m not in it for the accolades. Now it’s all about how I can get better.

The first game was a tight affair as you lost by little and in game 2 you blew them out on home court. They seem rattled and were missing a few key players. Limoges has the momentum. How confident are you that Limoges can pull it out?

I think key will be to stick to the game plan and to be able to execute against their defensive pressure. They are an aggressive and physical team and I think that if we stay calm and respond well to what they bring, then we have good chances to win.

Talk a little about your American teammates Javontae Hawkins and Jayvon Graves. What have you appreciated most about their games this season?

Jayvon is one of the best athletes that I have ever played with. He is a quiet kid, but he listens. He comes to me for advice. He doesn’t know the ropes yet so well so I try to do the best I can to help him. He is going to be a great player. Javontae is a go getter and can get a bucket at any time. I appreciate his scoring abilities and communication skills. I try to help him with playmaking so that he can reach the next level. He is a big time threat at any time. He is definitely a 4 level scorer.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 183cm point guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you compare it to most?

I have no idea really, but I can tell you who I like to watch and study. Those players would be Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, James Harden and Kevin Durant

You’re a player that can fill he stat sheet with ease. What do you believe is your biggest strength?

I think that I can score at a high level if I put my mind to it. But I have this unselfish gene in me where I tend not to be as aggressive and rather get my teammates involved. But I do like to score. I can’t lie.

How did your game grow in Serbia? How are you a better player now then in 2019?

I think that my game grew through experience in my time there. In my first year, I didn’t really have to do much. We had a solid team. In my second year, I had more responsibility to have to score and do playmaking. I accepted the challenge and was able to adapt to the play in the league. In my last year, I had figured out the schemes and how teams scout me. The game slowed down and I picked teams apart. That experience has helped me stick to a routine and that is keeping me consistent.

You have proved that you can be a lethal playmaker in Serbia. What will be most key to be able to continue to this at higher levels?

I think key will be adjusting to the players and my teammates on the court. Also having a better feel for the game will help. There are so many leagues and all are different. It is all about how fast you can adapt to each level. Being able to play through mistakes is also important. That is how you learn.

What kind of a defender are you now and what kind of defender do you still want to become?

I feel like I’m a pretty solid defender at the moment. I have good hands and instincts on rotations. In the future, I want to be able to be that defender that can do things to help his team win. Doing the dirty work and hustle plays.

On what areas of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to improve your game?

I’m working on my weak hand and developing more range from outside.

Last season you played for KK FMP Beograd (Serbia-KLS) averaging 15.7ppg), 3.1rpg, Assists-1 (6.7apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT-2 (93.8%). That was your third season in Serbia. Playing that long in 1 country like Serbia is untypical for an American. What did you learn to appreciate most about the country and it’s basketball?

We won a title during Covid. Budgets went down during that time elsewhere, so I decided to return. I did well my second year and in my third year I went to another Serbian team as they offered me good money. It was a logical decision. I knew the league and style. I was used to so much and I made a lot of friends. Everyone embraced me. I liked the coaches, food and language. It was a life changing experience for me. I’m really happy that I did it. I had good character and saw the good side of Serbia.

You played with KK Borac Mozzart Cacak (Serbia-KLS) from 2019-2021 averaging 11.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 86.5%; and in the Adriatic League averaged 10.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.0apg, Steals-4 (1.8spg), FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 80.6% and in his second season averaged 12.7ppg, 2.7rpg, Assists-5 (4.6apg), Steals-1 (1.7spg), FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 77.4%. What memories do you playing in Serbia during Covid? The circumstances surely didn’t hinder your game at all.

Covid was tough. My team had a great fan base. Our gym would always had been full had Covid not come. I wish I could of played in front of the fans. Each game felt like a practice game. It was always quiet. It was tough because so many games got cancelled. You had to be ready and take care of yourself.

You played your rookie season with KK Ulcinjska Rivijera Ulcinj (Montenegro-Erste Liga) averaging 20.2ppg, 5.0rpg, Assists-2 (6.5apg), Steals-2 (2.3spg), FGP: 56.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT-3 (88.8%). What do you remember being your wake up call to being a rookie overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?

My wake up call was going into the first restaurant and no one knowing English. Then I got into my apartment and turned on the TV and there was no English. That is when I realized that I was far away from home. That was the first time in my life where I got home sick. I had been traveling since I was 17. I really felt alienated. It was crazy.

You had a rare triple double against Zeta scoring 34 points, getting 12 rebounds and 11 assists. What memories do you have of that game? Where do you rank it in the best games of your career?

I knew I was playing well and had buckets in my head, but I honestly had no idea I had achieved a triple double until like 3 days after the game. I never checked the stat sheet. My performance made the newspaper and that is how I found out after my teammate brought it to the gym. I had had no idea that I had scored so much. It had been one of the most efficient games in league history. It is a top 5 game in my career.

You played at Jones County Junior College (JUCO) from 2012-2014 averaging10.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 5.0apg, 2.3spg
and 19.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 5.9apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 80.2%. Most guys I have talked to have said that playing JUCO was tough but one of the best things they ever did. How was it for you?

I agree with you. Jones County is a special place. It’s a very small college in Mississippi. I had no idea that I would end up there. I went there with some friends from New York. We had an up and down season, but ended up winning the title. I sacrificed a lot of time in the gym. I always felt like we could win the national title and did. We proved each game that we were a good team. My JUCO experience was a lot better than my NCAA expereince I had more fun in JUCO. It was a life changing event. I did something that had never been done before in the history of Mississippi. No one can take that away form me. I made life long friends. I still talk to guys to this day. People downgrade Juco, but shouldn’t. All have the mindset to get a scholarship to go to division 1. So you have guys battling each other on a daily basis in order to get ahead. It was the best feeling getting that scholarship. I don’t necessarily recommend JUCO, but it can definitely help you out.

What do you remember from winning the JUCO title? Did that group of guys become brothers for life?

I have created a good bond with a number of guys.

You had many memorable games at Murray State but where do you rank the 85-84 win over Tennessee State where you logged 41 minutes and scored 12 points?

Yes it was. That game was historic. That game was crazy. I almost played the whole game. I was more in awe just in playing and watching Jonathan Stark hit the buzzer beater. I will never forget it.

How did head coach Matt McMahon groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Coach was all about positivity. He always had super energetic and had positive energy. He was always in a good spirit.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Jonathan Stark?

We only played once and I beat him by 1 or 2 points.

Who is the toughest player that you ever faced in the NCAA that reached the NBA?

I don’t think anyone that I played against went to the NBA

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Leroy Fludd, Johnny Zuppardo, Dezi Rodriguez, Garret Nevels and Dusan Miletic

Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?

Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, KD

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron and why isn’t Kobe mentioned more?

They are both completely different players and one of a kind. Lebron has the overall game and Jordan is the assassin. It is like picking between apples and oranges. It depends who you like better. I take Jordan.

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

They should of left it alone.

Thanks Bryce for the chat.