Author: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber

Basketball journalist and play by play commentator

The Miles Basketball Minute: Only COVID-19 Helped The Fraport Skyliners Reach The Playoffs In 2020

After a disastrous 7 game losing streak that began in January 2020, the Fraport Skylines finally buckled together and swept the seasons series against arch rival Giessen 46ers on the road with a 90-82 victory. They were led by an inspiring 23 points by American Matt Mobley who had just made his debut in the BBL. Basketball life for Frankfurt seemed  a bit better again, but the club also knew that it had minimal chances of reaching the playoffs and were focusing on closing out the season as best as they could. But only a few days later, the whole world would changed as COVID-19 reared it´s ugly head into everybody´s business. Giessen was the last game for Matt Mobley, Shaq Hines and Leon Kratzer. Most leagues would end the season while the easyCredit BBL did all that they could to continue and did including the Fraport Skyliners who would take part at the BBL tournament in Munich with 9 other teams. It became a 3 week affair where all you had to do was win one game and you had reached the playoffs. That is exactly what the Fraport Skyliners did. Of course it had been the right thing to play at the tournament to keep sponsors happy and keep their organization running. Because of making the playoffs, the Fraport Skyliners most likely will play Eurocup next season. That they had no real business being in the playoffs was demonstrated by high scoring team ratiopharm Ulm that won both games outscoring Frankfurt by a score of 197-130 and already sealing the fate of the Skyliners in game one blasting to outerspace and leaving Frankfurt on earth in the dust winning by 40 points. Frankfurt did a solid job staying with the Ulm team in the second game for a half  leading by a point, but then totally caved in in the second half where defensive mistakes, turnovers and unending given up fast break points cost them a 96-69 loss. The Fraport Skyliners ended the season with a total of 21 points in the second half and 6 points in the fourth quarter. Quantez Robertson said it best in my tournament ending diary with him. “We didn´t take care of the ball well in the second half. A big problem this season was when we had a good first half, we often came out sluggish in the second half and weren´t ready to play right away”, stressed Quantez Robertson. That was a huge problem this season with the Fraport Skyliners in that they weren´t able to play complete games and come together during crunch-time. There were other factors as well, but all in all, it was only COVID-19 that allowed them to reach the playoffs.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Lamont Jones in the Fraport arena conducted a one on one diary during the BBL Munich tournamnet

                A big problem this season were injuries which derailed them time in and time out as even when guys were coming out, the next guys were rushing to the doctor´s office. Their problems started as the season was about to begin as starting point guard Anthony Hickey got injured. They never recovered from that as a team and allowed combo guard shooting ace Lamont Jones to take over the reins. A guy who has been a scorer his whole life suddenly had to be a playmaker. That is like telling Shaq to get away from the zone and take three´s back in the day. Stat wise there were games where Jones did a solid job as a playmaker getting assists and running the team, but when it came down to winning games, he wasn´t the guy that they had to have. Jones made big plays during the season, but also didn´t make those shots in crunch-time that would have taken the Skylines to the needed win. Missed shots and turnovers were events that Jones manufactured at end of games. Frankfurt simply didn´t have much scoring material in crunch-time besides Jones. And when that is the case, it makes scouting and knowing what the opponent will do in the deciding moment easier for teams. Not only not playing consistent for 40 minutes was a problem, but closing out games. In December Frankfurt finally got that pass first point guard in experienced Joe Rathon who definitely understood how to organize the game, but the desired wins didn´t come on a regular basis either. The number of games that Frankfurt let slip away was frightening. When Corona hit the team had won only 5 games, but could have won 9 or 10 and been tapping on the playoff door. At Christmas time they had a disappointing 3 wins, but it could have been 6 had they not lost 68-67 to the Telekom Baskets Bonn, 68-67 to Wurzburg and 82-81 against Braunschweig. Not to forget the unbelievable 81-77 loss to FC Bayern Munich where they played their hearts out, but at the end had some unfortunate calls not go their way. They definitely weren´t a bad team, but just didn´t have the offensive resources to be in better position to win games. They were on of the better defensive teams, but it was more often than not their offense that let them done.

                Injuries played a huge factor as the injury bug hit the club hard in December as German players Leon Kratzer and Richard Freudenberg went down. Lamont Jones also missed games as did Akeem Vargas. When the team traded Adam Waleskowski to BG Goettingen for Darius Carter, they only saw the new guy play 5 games as injury also hit him as he couldn´t be a real solid offensive force the way the team would have liked. After Christmas the team won only 2 games and lost 8 games. The 2 wins were against arch rival Giessen and without much thought was the highlight of the season. One could say reaching the playoffs in the BBL Munich tournament was the highlight of the season, but one had to really question how high the value of this season ending 3 week tournament really was when 7 other teams didn´t want to play and the whole season was shortend as well as teams having to live together for 3 weeks. In 10 years when people look back at the 2019-2020 BBL season, every one will remember it was when COVID-19 wrecked havoc on the world and FC Bayern Munich was ousted. It may take some people some time to remember who actually won it all. The whole weight of the season ending tournament was one that had many doubters even if it was a good thing for the league in that it kept it running when most others didn´t. The Fraport Skyliners´s record of 1-5 doesn´t tell the whole story. Despite being without guys like Leon Kratzer, Shaquille Hines and Matt Mobley, they played Alba Berlin and the MHP Riesen tough and could have won. With a few breaks here and there, the team could have been 3-3 going into the playoffs. But heck if the team hardly got any breaks during the regular season they surely weren´t going to get any in Munich either. A positive aspect to the Munich tournament was that young players like Maxi Begue, Aaron Kayser and Jordan Samare got some minutes to help their self confidence as they go into the new season. It was the first BBL season for 36 year old German head coach Sebastian Gleim who had to face growing pains. He was criticized by some for how he dealt with young players and also was judged by the putting together of the roster and signing players like Daniel Schmidt and Adam Waleskowski. Despite giving Lamont Jones the power, they seemed to not to have the best relationship even if Jones had some positive words for him shortly before the tournament started. “Sebastian has become more patient. At the beginning, he had a lot of emotion and excitement. It was tough for him at the start as a first time BBL coach. But as the season went on, he became more patient and trusted us more and we trusted him more. It isn´t easy for an older player to have a younger coach. As an older player you want to say I know it and have more experience, but at the same time you need to know that he is your coach and just as smart as you are as a player”, said Lamont Jones. He was sent home before the Ulm series as he was injured and couldn´t help the team any longer as Leon Kratzer got the full duty cheerleading task.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Quantez Robertson conducted a one on one diary from the 2020 BBL tournament in Munich

            When looking at the complete season of the Fraport Skyliners it is difficult giving high grades to the players. Team captain Quantez Robertson finished at 11,0ppg, 4,9rpg, 4,0apg and 1,9spg. Even if he was named 2020 defensive player of the year, he was as humble as could be talking about his game. I will let him summarize his Munich experience. “I could of done better on defense. Defense was the main thing even if I did score in double figures in 5 games. As a leader I´m expected to score, but at the same time am also expected to play good defense. I wasn´t the defensive player that I needed to be to help us win more games. I wasn´t vocal enough, couldn´t fight through screens enough and didn´t get into the passing lanes the way I would have liked to”, stressed Quantez Robertson. He gets a B+ from me. It was a solid  season,but slowly , very slowly age is catching up with him and his three wasn´t consistent. Lamont Jones averaged 16,2ppg, 2,3rpg and 4,6apg. He played a solid season the way he knows how. He was put into an uncomfortable situation at the point and had his ups and downs. He gets a B. Leon Kratzer averaged 10,1ppg and 7,6rpg. He had a very good season, but injuries derailed him. He can be very dominating, but then again have games where he is nonexistent. The free throw bug continued in Frankfurt as after Mike Morrison, it hit the German big man who shot only 44%. He gets a B+. Akeem Vargas averaged 7,0ppg, 2,8rpg and 1,5apg and shot a potent 45% from outside. It was the highest % that he had shot from outside in his BBL career. He played his best basketball in 2019. He had his moments at both ends of the court, but the club surely was expecting more on the defensive end. He gets a C+. German Richard Freudenberg averaged 7,6ppg and 2,9rpg and shot 39% from outside. Everyone expected his break through finally in his 3rd season with Frankfurt, but it didn´t come. He has times where he is brilliant and then times where he looks like a Pro B player. His inconsistency is a problem and being soft and not a better passer for a modern four is something he needs to solve this summer. He gets a C. Shaquille Hines averaged 9,4ppg and 5,1rpg and shot 35% from outside. He was a player that Frankfurt was expecting a lot of and after a slow start, he looked to have found his rhythm in 2020, but then COVID-19 hit and his 29 points(7 three´s) against Crailsheim were quickly forgotten. It would have been interesting to see how he would have finished had COVID-19 not come. 3 months after COVID-19 came, he didn´t go to Munich to play. A reason was never given. He gets a C+

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Shaquille HInes during the 2019-2020 BBL season in the Fraport arena

Joe Rahon averaged 6,9ppg, 3,7rpg, 5,7apg and 1,4spg. I actually applauded the pick up. I liked his pass first qualities and he is that guy that makes his teammates better. He had his moments during the regular season, but also moments where crucial turnovers hurt him. In the Munich tournament he averaged 3,0 to´s per game. He gets a C. Rookie Matt Mcquaid averaged 5,9ppg and 1,1rpg while shooting 38%  from outside. He averaged only 13,6 minutes per game and I´m sure he had other expectations when he came to Frankfurt in terms of how many minutes he would play. He came as that 3 and D kind of player, but never really found his place in the rotation. It seemed like Gleim never got real trust in him. He had his moments and at times was efficient in the minutes he played. It will be interesting where he plays this upcoming season. Playing in a lower league like Finland or Holland or Pro A Germany should help his development. He gets a C.  Yorman Polas Bartolo averaged 12,5ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,7apg. He came to Munich and conquered. He put on the Skyliner jersey and it seemed like he had been here for years already. He needed no adjustment period and became a leader. He had a very strong tournament. He gets an A. Lithuanian Gytis Masiulis averaged 11,0ppg and 5,0rpg. He was another positive surprise at the tournament. Like Bartolo, he came in and found his role right away and played well. He was a good inside presence and it would have been interesting how he and Kratzer would have gelled during a whole season. He gets a B+. German Marco Voeller averaged 2,8ppg and 2,3rpg in 9,1 mpg. He is another one of those guys you need on your club. He has the heart, work ethic and character to be an important guy on the team. He reminds me a lot of Marius Nolte who didn´t play a lot, but who always gave his all. He gets a B+. Len Schoormann averaged 2,8ppg and 1,0apg in 9,1mpg. He began to play more down the stretch and became a regular during the Munich tournament. He is only 17 years old, and still needs to learn a lot but has a lot of heart. Frankfurt surely will continue to move him along delicately. He gets a C+.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Matt Mcquaid in Frankfurt

It will be an interesting off season for the Fraport Skyliners. COVID-19 has affected the planning for many teams world wide and it isn´t any different for the Frankfurt club. Players that have contracts for next season are Quantez Robertson, Richard Freudenberg and the 3 kids Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue and Bruno Vrcic. I would try to keep Yorman Polas Bartolo and Gytis Masiulis. Both had good Munich tournaments and have some chemistry on the team and are familiar with the team. I would also try to keep Marco Voeller, because his character and role model qualities are instrumental for the club. One can only hope that management have better luck this off season in finding the right player combinations for next season. Especially a strong point guard that isn´t too expensive will be vital. There are so many gems out there and Frankfurt have demonstrated in the past under Gordon Herbert that they can be signed. Even if the COVID-19 crisis makes it difficult to look forward, basketball will be played again sometime. The Fraport Skyliners have some young players that will be looking to have a bigger role next season with Schoormann, Begue, Vrcic and Kayser and most likely will play Eurocup where they can get additional valuable experience. On top of that Quantez Robertson is coming back. He will be turning 36 this season and knows he can´t sit back and be lazy the way he was 2 years ago where he came back to Frankfurt overweight. He knows he has to be sharp this off season in Alabama. “I have to make sure that I run more. It is a lot easier to get out of shape than getting back into shape. I also have to keep doing my basketball things and do weight lifting”, warned Quantez Robertson. It is always a thrill to watch the Skyliners identity figure Quantez Robertson play and nobody ever thinks about what could have been had he left in the summer of 2013 for an Alba Berlin or FC Bayern Munich. Tez has given Skyliner fans so many great memories over the years, but now it´s time for the organization to win again. Only time will tell if the Fraport Skyliners can find success again the way they did in previous years.

COVID-19 Has Made Mike Nwabuzor(BG Dorsten) Use His Driveway Hoop Again Reminding Him How And Why He Fell In Love With The Game

Mike Nwabuzor is a 188cm guard from Lakewood, California that completed his second professional season in Germany for Regionalliga team BG Dorsten playing 3 games averaging 21.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 6.0apg, 3.3spg As a rookie for BG Dorsten he put up massive stats averaging 22,2ppg, 8,2rpg, 5,6apg and 2,5spg. He scored 20 points or more 19 times and had an incredible 43 points against Hagen-Haspe. He also produced a triple double against Dortmund with 27 points, 12 boards and 10 assists as a rookie. He played at three schools with Central.Arizona JC (JUCO)UTRGV (NCAA) and finished at N.Mexico Highlands (NCAA2) playing 28 games averaging 12.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 80.3%. He spoke to during the COVID-19.

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

Hello I am at home in Los Angeles, the current mood hasn’t affected me too badly because I have still been able to stay in shape and shoot on a basketball court. 

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

Honestly when I first heard about it, I was in Germany and I thought nothing of it. As it began to spread to different countries, I realized that it was a bigger deal than my original thought, I never imagined that it would be pandemic that would put everything to a complete stop.

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

As soon as the virus began to spread and put all sports to a halt, I left Germany so I wasn’t able to experience the day to day lifestyle of the virus effecting the country. 

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

Yes, this outbreak has caused me to take more precaution from what I have already been doing and it will only be daps and elbow taps from now on. I will for sure keep my distance and stay out of the way if I see anyone coughing or having abnormal symptoms. 

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

Personally, for me I was disappointed because I only played in three games and wanted to finish out the season strong with my team in our last game of the season. Also, the game that was cancelled on the week of the outbreak was my birthday and I wanted to play on birthday. 

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

Fans are what get us going as players and it would be very difficult to play without them. They give us energy and they are almost like an eleventh man. On the other side we are getting paid to play the game, and if it has to be with no fans then so be it.

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

I’ve learned how disciplined I really am when it comes to certain things. I also realized how grateful I am to just be healthy and to be able to still do the things that I love.

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

Basketball is usually year-round for me so it won’t be a big adjustment to start earlier. If I’m not in season then I am always working on adding something to my game or tightening a skill. The only disadvantage would be that I wouldn’t have as much time to add what I had planned to add, to my game.

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

The only thing I can do is control what I can control. I will show up in my best shape and have a very polished game. I am worried though because I already assumed that there will be many drastic changes. Market will be different; less imports will be allowed and many teams will fold. I am just going to get into the best situation for myself and make the best out of it. This hit to professional basketball will not last forever, we just have to weather the storm right now.

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

Day to day life has been going well. I am a person that is always on the go and likes to keep busy so that is one of the tough parts. Just not being able to do everything I want to do on a daily basis. I have been keeping in great shape though. My trainer, Ced Middleton, holds workouts on Zoom every other day and I just mimic these workouts on a daily basis. I also have a basketball court on my driveway so it helps me to be able to keep my jumper sharp and to continue to add new things to my game. You can look at this pandemic in a negative or positive way. If you look at it in a positive way, you see that it is opening you up to things that you’ve never done before or haven’t done in a while. For me, I haven’t used the court on my driveway in almost a decade because I’ve always had access to multiple gyms. Now, I use it every day and it reminds me how and why I fell in love with the game. Sort of like a nostalgic feeling. 

You came late back to BG Dorsten in January 2020. Despite a very good rookie season with BG Dorsten, did you expect a different 2019 summer signing process? Why did it take so long for you find a new team?

I definitely expected to be signing to a higher-level team after my rookie season with BG Dorsten. Things couldn’t have gone any better for me as a rookie and I was very excited to get the summer process started. I had my best summer up to date of working out and adding things to my game so I was ready to showcase it on a bigger stage. A couple Pro B teams inquired about me but never followed up. I had some complications with my agency at the time and they folded right before the season was getting ready to begin in August. That was the worst possible thing that could happen to me because I had no agent and no team and guys were already reporting to their clubs during this period of time. This put me in the situation of having to wait until that December break and hope that I would get picked up because the worst possible thing you can do in this profession is take a whole season off. Luckily, BG Dorsten made something happen for me and I will always be grateful for them.

How tough was the fall not having a team? What did you learn from this that you will do better this summer? Possibly resign with BG Dorsten in order to come back and have another strong season and then go from there? I’m sure that you don’t want to experience another long period of possibly not having a team.

It was very tough because every conversation I ever had with anybody during the time period was ,’What’s your next move?’. Not having an answer for that question gets old over time. It did help me look in the mirror and understand that this thing isn’t sweet. Everybody’s journey is different and you really have to be a dog to keep going through the adversity that comes with this profession. I also learned that I have to be my own best marketer, and I can’t rely solely on one thing or person to get it done for me. 

You came back to Dorsten in January 2020 to a team that was struggling and had lost 6 of 7 games. Did you feel a little pressure having that feeling of having to be that savior?

I didn’t feel much pressure because the club and Coach Franjo told me from the jump that they didn’t expect me to turn the whole season around or turn these games into wins. They just wanted the spirit of the club brought back and to give the fans something to cheer about and be excited about. Bring the excitement back that we had in the previous season. I feel that I did change the energy of the team and stirred up some momentum for the club going into next season.

You came back with a huge game having 31/6/4/5 stats but lost the game to Herten and on the next weekend lost to Recklinghausen. How tough was it playing well, but the team losing?

The toughest thing to do as a player is have a great game and your team lose. You can’t focus on what you did because it really doesn’t even matter. For me, I was happy that I was able to play well my very first game back and show that I had made many improvements to my game, but I wanted to top it off with a win. Losing back to back games but playing well was tough but it showed me that we had minor tweaks to make as a team and if we made those then we would be able to finish the season out strong with some big wins.

Then you ran into Naiona Schmidt and missed a month and you needed some teeth rearranged. How tough was this injury? How are you doing today and did an injury like that hurt you a bit mentality regarding your faith in the process?

It was a tough injury because it’s so weird. I could run and jump perfectly fine and everything felt good but I have two teeth that are out of place. If they got hit , they could potentially fall out so it was very deceiving at first but I realized it was just a random accident that is a part of the game and I just had to be patient. I had to get braces for about a month and I couldn’t eat what I wanted for 2 weeks. I’m doing well today and I would like to commend BG Dorsten and the dentist who worked on my teeth and did a great job. The situation could’ve been handled in many different ways and they handled it perfectly. The only thing the injury did for me is be more cautious about my teeth while playing. I’m still the same player and it will not change anything about my faith because everything happens for a reason.

In your time there the club lost 4 of 6 games, but ended the season well winning 2 of 3 games. How would summarize the season for BG Dorsten?

It was tough coming into a losing situation because the year before, we had been so successful for the history of the club. To our defense, the team was injury plagued from the beginning of the season to the end so we played 1 game with our full roster. It took some adjusting to do and some losing habits had to be broken in practice for us to get back on the right track towards the end of the season. I feel that if I had not been out for a month when I got out there, the season would’ve ended completely different than how it did. 

A big problem for the team was on the defensive end where it allowed 83 points. What difficulties did you see on the defensive end? Was at least the effort there?

Defensively, it was mainly just our second and third rotations that struggled. Somebody would rotate then somebody else would but there was always one person that wouldn’t rotate fast enough including me. The effort was there for the most part because we usually had good energy, we were just very undersized most of the time due to multiple injuries. This led to difficulties rebounding which led to second chance buckets for the opposing team.

Let’s talk about your teammates. Despite the injury, how much potential does young German Naionaa Schmidt have? What did you appreciate most of his game?

Nai has a lot of potential and he is a late bloomer which is going to benefit him in the long run. I tried to give him as much knowledge as I could to help him be a more efficient point guard. We both have the ability to use our speed but if not used right, we can seem very out of control. I appreciated how much he sprinted the floor and cut to the basket at the perfect times. His timing on those things are solid and a very underrated skill. He made it easy for me to make plays for him and to help him score. When locked in, he is also a good and athletic defender.

You were temmates with young Germn beast Arbnor Voca. How much potential does he have and what does he still need to do to become a better scorer with that huge body?

AB has all the potential in the world if he just understands how and when to use his strength. Once he slims down, he will also be nimbler and quicker. We played futbol in practice one time and it was the fastest I had ever seen him move. From that point on I understood that he has the potential to dominate at his size, he just needs to tap into it.

You played only 3 games averaging 21.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 6.0apg, 3.3spg. How tough is it to rate your season when you played so few games?

It’s such a small sample size that I can’t even really rate it. I think I played solid considering I came in towards the end of the season and I only played 3 games.

How do you see your development as a player this season despite the few games? Last season it was pace. Do you feel like in the months that you missed and being able to work on your game without playing games that you made some new steps or do you see your second professional year as a lost year?

I see myself always developing as a player whether it has to do with skills or just the small things that make a good player. I feel like my leadership and floor general skills took a big leap in this short amount of time because this team’s build up was completely different than last year’s build. This caused me to have to figure out how I could best help the team without hurting. So, all together I feel like I grew more as a person on and off the court.

You had a lot of misfortune this season. First getting signed late, then the injury and then Corona cutting your season short. What did you learn this season that will help you in the future when adversary and misfortune comes into play?

I learned that I can’t take any of these things for granted and that I have to always stay ready because I never know when I will receive an opportunity that can change the course of my career. I’ve had a lot of adversity throughout my basketball career but this season of adversity really built me up because it was at a high level. These lessons I learn during basketball are things that will help me later in life down the road.

What is the next step for you? There are many great American guards in the German Regionalliga. But what separates you from them when looking to move to the next level?

I think what separates me is my size, athleticism and instincts at the position. You can teach skill, but those things that I listed you can’t teach. I also bring other things to the table that don’t have to do with basketball such as how I interact with the fans, community and my teammates in whatever club I’m playing for. I am a pretty outgoing person and I think that helps my teammates from a completely different culture feel more comfortable around me. All these things lead to camaraderie and build trust with my teammates and staff which lead to successful teams and wins.

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

I am a big fan of Luka but I don’t think he has a large enough NBA resume to be conspired top 3 in the league right now. My top 3 would be
Lebron James
Kevin Durant
Kawhi Leonard

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

I was in Germany at the time, it happened in the morning at home in Los Angeles, so because of the time difference it was very late when I found out. I was actually born the year that he was drafted (1996) so there is some type of attachment to him as a player and also that draft class. It has been considered to be a top draft class of all time. Growing up, my first real introduction to basketball was in 2003 when Lebron got drafted into the league and he was always my favorite player. Basketball fans always made it seem like you had to choose one and I was always against Kobe but I understood his greatness. A lot of mentality things like waking up early and working on your left hand, I got from just soaking in game from Kobe and what he put out there for us to know. 

What was the last movie that you saw

A movie called Queen and Slim.. 10/10

Thanks Mike for the chat.

The Miles 2020 BBL Munich Tournament Diary With Jaleen Smith(MHP Riesen) Vol 6

Jaleen Smith is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with the MHP Riesen. Last season he played with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) averaging 12,7ppg, 3,9rpg and 2,7apg. In his rookie season with Heidelberg he averaged 7,6ppg, 2,8rpg and 2,9apg. He had a stellar four year career with New Hampshire (NCAA) from 2013-2017 where he played a total of 120 NCAA games. He improved his scoring, rebounding and assists average each season and as a senior he played 32 games averaging 15.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 78.1%. He is conducting a special diary from the BBL tournament in Munich with

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jaleen Smith in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in 2020

A tough 88-65 loss to Alba Berlin. How does this loss feel considering how well Ludwigsburg has played in Munich the last weeks?

I felt crushed having worked so hard to lose like we did. I felt it took something out of me but well bounce back on Sunday. 

It is no secret that not having Marcos Knight would have hurt any team. You never want to make excuses, but when you have a guy like Knight who has put up sick MVP numbers in the Munich tournament, do you feel like his absence was in your heads as the game started>? 

Yes for sure the way Marcos was playing we relied on him for scoring and rebounding and we missed that during our game. Replacing a MVP like him is tough. 

The MHP Riesen stayed well with Alba Berlin, but they broke away in the second quarter and had a comfortable lead at the break. What do you feel gave the team the most problems in the down stretch of the second quarter? 

We started turning the ball over and giving up easy baskets to Alba that’s how they made their run on us in the second quarter. 

Alba Berlin went on a huge run to seal the win in the third quarter. What do you feel let the team down most defensively? 

We just gave up easy baskets especially 3 pointers and when they have the 3 point shot falling they are tough to deal with. 

Young German center Ariel Hukporti started. He began slow, but finished strong. You have seen him play all season long. How good is this guy and how raw is he still at the moment? 

He’s going to be good. He still is young and body still has time to develop but only time and Ariel can determine what kind of player he wants to be in the future. 

One guy that we haven’t talked about has been German Lukas Herzog. He had a solid game with 8 points in 10 minutes. How have you seen his development and how much credit does a guy like John Patrick get for how the guards have grown with the MHP Riesen?

He’s been big for us in place of Konga during this tournament. He plays super hard on defense and he can shoot the ball. You can tell as the tournament went on he’s has become more comfortable playing with the top German teams.

You had 5 points and 8 dimes, but another tough shooting day from outside. How are you mentally after a second consecutive tough shooting day. How will you not let that eat at you as you continue to focus on game 2 this weekend? 

My mental towards the game never changes. I can have the worst game of my career and ill still have the same focus as if I had my best game of my career. I can never be too high or too low. I just have to stay even-keel and humble while I’m playing on this stage of basketball. 

The MHP Riesen are in a huge hole. You have to win by 24 points or more to win the title. How does one prepare for this and is saying your prayers more realistic than anything against this tough Berlin squad? 

We have nothing to lose. We just have to go out and play loose and have fun because for most of us this will be the last time well play together. 

The Munich weekend is winding down. You have been there 3 weeks. What do you feel will you miss the most from the whole time? Has time flown by?

The time here has flown by I mean playing games every other day is a blessing to stay busy during this whole thing. I won’t miss much. I’m just ready to get back home and see my family and fiance again until my next destination for next season.

Thanks Jaleen for the chat.

The Miles 2020 BBL Munich Tournament Diary With Jaleen Smith (MHP Riesen) Vol 5

Jaleen Smith is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with the MHP Riesen. Last season he played with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) averaging 12,7ppg, 3,9rpg and 2,7apg. In his rookie season with Heidelberg he averaged 7,6ppg, 2,8rpg and 2,9apg. He had a stellar four year career with New Hampshire (NCAA) from 2013-2017 where he played a total of 120 NCAA games. He improved his scoring, rebounding and assists average each season and as a senior he played 32 games averaging 15.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 78.1%. He is conducting a special diary from the BBL tournament in Munich with

Jaleen Smith and Mles Schmidt-Scheuber in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt 2020

Congrats Jaleen on reaching the 2020 BBL finals. How does it feel ousting Ulm in comparison to ousting FC Bayern Munich? 

ULM played really hard through out the 2 games and you can tell they wanted to win just as much as us to get to the finals. 

How strange was it for you personally entering a do or die game where no team had won or lost the game? 

The feeling was we were just playing another basketball game and we always playing to win the game. 

Ratiopharm Ulm led 24-16 after one quarter and had a good lead in the second quarter, but Ludwigsburg finally came back to cut it to 4 points. Why did it take Ludwigsburg so long to finally find a better rhythm? 

We just got our defense started and we started running more on offense and that got us started on offense. 

The MHP Riesen led by 2 after 3 quarters. Did you sense at this time that the game was turning in your direction and Ulm was reeling a bit and were unsure? 

Yes after our 2nd half start I got a sense that we got them on the ropes and we didn’t look back since. 

The turning point came in the first minutes of the fourth quarter as you went on a 9-3 run with 3 three’s to totally shift the game in your direction. The three hadn’t been falling well up to that time. Do you believe like the basketball God was a bit more fan of Ludwigsburg than Ulm on this day? 

Of course, they wanted us to advance and do something special this season. I just thank my God for allowing us to be where we are. 

Then with ratiopharm Ulm treading water, along comes Marcos Knight who puts on the exclamation point with 7 unanswered points. Even if you don’t win the final is Marcos Knight the 2020 MVP of the BBL? 

Yes for sure he’s been doing something special man. I never seen a guard like him averaging a double double through out a league playoffs. The stats are crazy. 

What do you feel was John Patrick’s biggest strength on this day? What did you appreciate most about him on this night?

He just lets us play. He knows we will bring it on defense. On offense, he will let us do whatever we want. Which is relaxing for any player that plays. 

You had another solid game netting 14 points, 4 assists and 2 steals, but shot 1/5 from outside. Will you get up some extra shots in the next days before the Alba Berlin series?

No matter a great shooting game or bad shooting game I’m always going to be in the gym working and perfecting my craft. 

The final opponent will be Alba Berlin. You were 1-1 against them. How excited are you to be playing them?

I’m really excited to play against them. We owe those guys from the group playing during the tournament.

Is it a special feeling playing against a guy like Peyton Siva? You were a senior in high school in Freeport in 2013 when he won the NCAA title with Louisville. Did you exchange any words in the other two meetings you had this season? 

Yeah, I remember watching him in the NCAA tournament the year they won the championship and now playing against him is crazy. Just shows what kind of level of basketball I’m playing at. 

Alba Berlin play beautiful basketball and Ludwigsburg effective defensive basketball. What kind of series can we await? 

Well expect a DOGFIGHT. We will try and be as physical as we can with them and try and slow their offense down. I’m just ready for the match-up with those guys. 

The hotel is getting very empty now. Does this give you even more time and opportunity to really be locked down and get ready in your own way for the final? 

With the hotel being empty, its weird just having 2 teams in this place.

Thanks Jaleen for the chat.

The Miles 2020 BBL Munich Tournament Diary With Jaleen Smith(MHP Riesen) Vol 4

is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with the MHP Riesen. Last season he played with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) averaging 12,7ppg, 3,9rpg and 2,7apg. In his rookie season with Heidelberg he averaged 7,6ppg, 2,8rpg and 2,9apg. He had a stellar four year career with New Hampshire (NCAA) from 2013-2017 where he played a total of 120 NCAA games. He improved his scoring, rebounding and assists average each season and as a senior he played 32 games averaging 15.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 78.1%. He is conducting a special diary from the BBL tournament in Munich with

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jaleen Smith in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in 2020

A new first for you. No winner in the first game between Ludwigsburg and Ulm as it ended 71-71. With what kind off feelings did you go back to the locker room knowing you wouldn’t be coming out for the OT? 

With the game finished, I didn’t know how to feel after the game. Either to be defeated or happy about the game. 

What do you feel are the advantages and negatives of ending a game like this as you prepare for the do or die game in 48 hours? 

An advantage to a game like that is we don’t lose any points and we basically start 0-0 again. The negative is We don’t gain any points from the game so we have to come out attacking from the beginning. 

The MHP Riesen had a slim 36-34 halftime lead. You had a done great job keeping Goodwin and Harvey combined to 3 points in 24 minutes. Was the 2 point lead a surprise? 

No the lead was no surprise. We just let one guy go off against us that shouldn’t have and they stayed in the game because of it. 

Nick Weiler-Babb was superb in the first half with 17 points. What had been missing in some games before that we didn’t see this explosiveness?

Some people just have a slump and all it takes is one game for someone to get out of it and I think this is the game Nick gets out of it. I know he wanted to bounce back after the series against Munich. 

Ratiopharm Ulm got a lead again in the second half, but as usual the MHP Riesen fought back and the last minutes were a real battle. What were you most proud about your team accomplishing down the stretch? 

We just stayed together and never gave up. We just kept pushing and sticking to our game plan.

How big could that game ending block by Marcos Knight have mentally on the MHP Riesen? Was that block like a blessing in disguise for the team?

Yeah it was big especially having the game ending in a tie like it did. 

When you were a freshman at UNH you played your first game against Boston College losing 58-50 but scoring 14 points. Do you remember that game and when you came to Germany were you ever aware that you had played against Patrick Heckmann in your first NCAA game? 

I remember Heckmann in college I think they had him at a wing at the time, but yes I remember playing against him 

You played against him again for the first time in 6 years winning by 31 points and he scored 2 points. In the playoffs he had 16 points and 8 rebounds. Can you still remember how he was as a senior at Boston College and now see how his game has progressed?

He looked more confident this time around more than the first time around and I think that’s because of the playing time he has been given. 

How good was it to have Zamal Nixon back who played 9 minutes. Do you see him playing a bigger role in the deciding game? 

Yes, he’s going to be a big part in how we play out in this tournament. He’s a PG that can control the game which we need in our offense.

You had 4 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. When you have 2 guys like Weiler-Babb and Knight combine for 45 points, you know early your focus is on the playmaking. Do you feel like it is these type of big games where your playmaking profits the most by playing with great players? 

Yeah for sure I know if those 2 or Thomas Whimbush is on fire then all I have to focus on is defense and running the offensive show. I can get a basket every now and then but my job would be to get those guys involved.

Can we await a real dogfight in the deciding game. Both teams shot poorly from outside. How key could the three point accuracy play a role on Tuesday? Do expect to get extra shots up before then? 

Expect more shots to be made the next game. I think both teams were seeing how the other one would be and nobody figured the other out. I’m always going to get extra shots no matter how my games goes.

You have 48 hours until do or die. Will you look at any basketball videos for inspiration or will you just leave it to knowing and trusting your self in a big time atmosphere?

I always look at our games after were done to look at different reads on offense and how each team plays their defense so you can find the open player.

Thanks Jaleen for the chat.

Ishmail Wainright(SIG Strasburg) RASTA Vechta Will Be A Part Of My Family Forever.

 Ishmail Wainright is a 24 year old 196cm forward from Kansas City, Missouri that will be playing his third professional season in France next season with SIG Strasburg. He completed his second professional season and first with Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL) averaging 10,4ppg, 5,8rpg, 2,5apg and 1,8spg in the BBL this season and 10,7ppg, 5,8rpg, 3,8apg and 1,9spg in the BCL. Last season he completed his first season in Germany with the Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA) averaging 12,1ppg, 7,3rpg and 2,8apg. He began his basketball career at Montrose Christian School and then played 131 NCAA games at Baylor (NCAA) from 2013-2017 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 5.5ppg, 5.1rpg, 3.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 68.3%. He spoke to shortly before it was announced that he would be playing with SIG Strasburg next season.

Ishmail thanks for talking to The season for Rasta Vechta has ended. With what kind of feelings have you left Munich and will go back to the States with? 

Satisfied with the season the team had. Even after the break, coming back without everyone and adding a few guys, man we fought every game to the very end. 

After experiencing 10 days in Munich and playing 5 games, what do you think will be the most frequent story you will tell family and friends when your back home? 

It really felt like a AAU tournament but at a professional level. We were locked in a hotel and I don’t think that’s ever been done. We all made history. Haha 

After finishing group B with a 0-4 record, how good did it feel to win the last game 95-66? How proud are of the guys finishing the season in style? 

Extremely proud of the guys. We gave it our all. We stuck by each other and played with everything we had. It feels good to win. Word to Max ! 

7 of the 8 guys finished in double figures. Did the unselfishness show that the guys played for the organization and each other than trying to add to their stats in the last game? 

Yes for sure. When we ran and got out in transition we were almost unstoppable. Everyone loves fast breaks ! 

Talk a little about your highlights from the BBL Munich tournament. The club had good chances win the first 2 games against Ludwigsburg and Frankfurt. Was this one of your better moments or did you experience something on the court that you will keep more in your memory? 

hHaha the dunk was nice but it doesn’t mean anything if we didn’t get the win. We lost and that canceled the dunk. 

Did you have any conversations with ex NBA player Jordan Crawford? Was it cool having this closeness to so many guys from other teams and having that opportunity to talk with them in ways you normally wouldn’t have under these circumstances? 

No I didn’t really speak to him. I look up to Luke Sikma, I didn’t get a chance to speak with him like I wanted to but every chance I get I made sure to say what’s up to him and check on him. He’s someone that plays the game right. Perfect at the 4 position. But no I didn’t speak a lot. 

There are some very interesting Quarterfinal pairings. This is a tournament with many new changes with the team personel. It seems like there are many teams that can win it all. Who do you think will take the 2020 title? 

Berlin for sure. They are a team that plays collective basketball with or without the Peyton Silva, Luke and Noko. They are what a team wants to play like you know. So I will go with Berlin. 

How do you summarize the season of Rasta Vechta having played the regular season and now the tournament in Munich? Are you a guy that will have those ‘What if’ questions? The season may have gone totally different had COVID-19 not come. 

There will always be a What If. Before the break we were in 6th and just got things rolling. Down to 1 game a week. Guys were starting to really feel their game and we were clicking. You never know what ‘ would’ve ‘ happened. 

What will you cherish most from your second professional season with Rasta Vechta. It seemed like you were part of a very special group of guys and one of the best coaches in the BBL. 

Yes. Every bit of it. I will cherish the fans. The team. Pedro and the coaching staff, man, it was an amazing year. Everyone knows about RASTA now on the international level. What more can you ask for ? Loved every bit of it !

How much of a pleasure was it being teammates with Trevis Simpson? He had been a consistent scorer all season long, but how do you feel did he make new steps in these different circumstances in Munich? 

Dude is a problem ! Can score at each level. It was a pleasure playing side by side with him. He stepped up and took the challenge Pedro gave him and ran with it. That boy is GOOD ! 

German Philipp Herkenhoff scored in double figures in 6 games this season and in 3 of the 6 games in Munich. What kind of steps did you see him take as a player in Munich? Do you see him being a more consistent scorer next season? 

To be honest , I challenged him to a few things and he killed it !! I’m very proud of him. We’ve been on him all season about certain things and prove that he can and will have a huge roll on his team. He took Huge steps and I know I’m not the only one that saw those steps taken this tournament. He took care of his business. 

You played with many teammates this season. Which player do you feel improved the most on the squad? 

We all did to be honest ! Each and every last one of us improved. We were a team , we got each other better every day in practice and that carried over to the games. So everyone really. 

You had a solid tournament filling up the stat sheet and doing what you could to help your team win. How do you summarize your performance in Munich? 

Could’ve been better. I’m extremely hard on myself. I could’ve ran harder. I could’ve crashed the boards harder. I could made more shots. Got more steals. Talk more. You know? So personally, I am not happy with my performance. Others may think differently, but that’s just me. 

Stat wise you finished the season against Crailsheim with your second most effective game of the season after the first one against Crailsheim. It seemed like you had their number this season. Are you content with how you ended the season with your game? 

In a way , I am but I know I have a lot more work to do. Shooting. So I have to get to work.

You stated in the last interview that your chip is still high and that you play to the limit and will carry that with me where ever I go throughout my career. My game has developed a lot and still will continue. Shooting the ball. Scoring off the dribble. Finding my spot on the floor. Things I still have to work on to being one of those top guys in Europe’. How do you feel did your game grow in your second season as a professional? I feel like shooting was a lot better and will get even better. I feel like I still have a lot more to improve. What is the next step for you? Could you imagine continuing to remain in Vechta or will you seek another new challenge? 

As much I love the organization and the team. I have to make another step. We made my mark this season and I am going to seek new challenges. RASTA will be a part of my family forever.

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

Luke Sikma hands down. 

What was the last movie that you saw?365 days . Hahah don’t judge me.

Thanks Ishmail for the chat.,

Former MHP Riesen Player Justin Love Passes Away At Age 41

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Justin Love in Frankfurt during the 2005-2006 season

He may have only dazzled opponents and impressed fans in German arena´s for one season, but former BBL player of Ludwigsburg Justin Love had a long and stellar 14 year professional career and after his playing days ended gave back by teaching young kids play basketball. Unfortunately his life ended way to early as former BBL player Justin Love has passed away at only the age of 41. Love had been Head Basketball Coach of the Mascoutah High School Boys Basketball program since 2017. He was found unresponsive on campus.  He was rushed to the hospital and later pronounced dead. Early in his career he moved around very much playing in the minor leagues in the States, Italy, France and China, but in the second half of his professional career he had found  a second home in the Ukraine where he would play the last 7 years of his career and retire in 2015.

Love was born on November 6, 1978 in San Francisco, California. He began to play at Sacred Heart HS and then played at Canada JC averaging 22ppg, 6rpg, 5apg. Like so many professional players, he had to start at the bottom, but was rewarded for his hard work and was able to play 2 seasons of NCAA ball at St Louis University where he had a good junior season averaging 13,7ppg and 4,4rpg and a great senior year averaging 18,2ppg, 5,0rpg and 2,5apg.He began his professional career in 2000 with the Phoenix Suns, but got cut and was with the with Kansas City Knights (ABA), in Jan.’01 was tested by Kinder Bologna (Italy-A1) and then finished the season with the Dan Shanks at Gravelines (France-ProA) playing 4 games. He then got to know a new culture in China and played two seasons there tearing up the league with the Beijing Aoshen (China-CBA) averaging 26,4ppg and 6,3rpg and returned back the next season playing with the Beijing Olympians (China-CBA) averaging 19.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 53.8 2-PT FG, 35.9 3-PT FG, 88.0 FT. During these years, he couldn´t get enough of basketball and also played with the : Saint Louis Sky Hawks (USBL) when his contract had ended in China. In the 2004-2005 season he had his first tour of duty with BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL) playing 14 ULEB Cup games averaging  13.5ppg 3.2rpg 1.4apg 1.5spg FGP: 46.5% 3Pts: 43.9%; and 19 Baltic league games  averaging 15.1ppg 3.4rpg 2.0apg 1.5spg FGP: 54% 3Pts: 42%; and in the LBL playing 23games averaging 15,3ppg, 3,7rpg, 3,0apg and 1,5spg.

In the 2005-2006 season he came to Germany and played with EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 30 games averaging  14.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 55.7%. He then returned back to Latvia and played 2 seasons in an old stomping ground with BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL) playing 10 ULEB Cup games averaging 10.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.9apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 44.7%, 3FGP: 45.2%, FT: 81.8%; played 20 Baltic League games averaging 11.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.1apg, 2FGP: 55.9%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 87.0%; and played 16 LBL games averaging 9.1ppg 2.6rpg 1.8apg 1.2spg. In the 2007-2008 season he played 12 ULEB Cup  games averaging 12.0ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 83.3%; played 13 Baltic League games averaging  11.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 83.1%; and played 17 Latvian League games averaging  13.1ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.9apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 49.0%, 3PT-2(53.0%), FT: 74.0%. He then played his last 7 years in the Ukraine. He played 2 seasons with MBC Mykolaiv (Ukraine-Superleague) from 2009-2011 and in his first season shot an amazing 52% from outside. He played parts of 5 seasons with BS Odessa (Ukraine-Superleague) putting up strong consistent stats in 4 of his 5 seasons. He showed that he was an unbelievable consistent player in his career. From 2002 when he played his first season in China to 2015 when he retired, he averaged double figure in scoring in 17 of the 19 leagues he played in.

The American also picked up many awards and achievements in his stellar career like 1998 Co-Juco Player of the Year in California -98, ConfUSA Tournament Winner -00 (MVP), ConfUSA 1st Team -00, Deset Classic All-Tournament Team -00, All-Chinese CBA 2nd Team -03, Chinese CBA All-Imports 1st Team -03, All-CBA Imports 2nd Team -04, Latvian League All-Star Game -05, 08, Baltic League Semifinals -05, 07, ULEB Cup Quarterfinals -05, All-Baltic League 2nd Team -05, Baltic League All-Imports Team -05, All-Latvian League Forward of the Year -05, All-Latvian League Import Player of the Year -05, All-Latvian League 1st Team -05, Latvian League All-Imports Team -05, 07, 08, Latvian League Regular Season Champion -05, 07, Latvian League Champion -05, German Bundesliga All-Star Game -06, Baltic League All-Star Game -07, Latvian League Finalist – 07, Latvian League Regular Season Runner-Up -08, Latvian League Semifinals -08, All-Latvian League 2nd Team -08, Ukrainian UBL Cup Finalist -09, Ukrainian UBL Semifinals -09, All-Ukrainian Superleague Guard of the Year -11, All-Ukrainian Superleague 1st Team -11, Ukrainian Superleague All-Imports Team -11, Ukrainian Cup Semifinals -12, and All-Ukrainian Superleague Honorable Mention -12. The San Francisco native was a young coach at age 41, but was making a mark at the high school level. In his three seasons coaching the Indians, his record was 55-42, including the IHSA Class 3A regional championship in 2019, and went to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to eventual state champion East St. Louis in the sectional final.For those accomplishments, Love was named the Illinois Basketball Association’s boys Coach of the Year. His coaching philosophy was very simple: “Play tough, play smart and be unselfish. Everybody who had dealings with Justin Love in Germany will never forget his versatile play on the court and vicious scoring qualities.I did meet Justin Love after  a game in Frankfurt in the 2005-2006 season probably getting a post game quote, but didn´t have more than a few minutes with him. I did not know Justin Love personally, but his teammate Nils Mittmann did. “Justin Love was an extraordinary person. I was allowed to get to know and appreciate Justin as a player in Ludwigsburg. His sudden death affected me very much. My thoughts and condolences are with his family, I wish them much strength in this difficult time. Besides his undisputed quality on the field, Justin will remain in my memory as a humorous, life-loving, open and always friendly person. Above all, the many hours spent together between training sessions, at lunch at the “Blauer Engel” in Ludwigsburg, our trips to nearby Stuttgart and the road trips. Justin’s calm manner, his humor and the fact that he never took himself too seriously made him a link and often a mediator between the players and their different cultural backgrounds. On one side the American guys around Jerry Green and on the other side the players from former Yugoslavia around Miljan Goljovic and Ermin Jazvin. I will miss Justin“, stressed former German teammate Nils Mittmann

Source and

The Miles 2020 BBL Munich Tournament Diary With Kameron Taylor(Brose Bamberg) Vol 7

Kameron Taylor is a 26 year old 198cm guard from Hyattsville, Maryland that is playing his fourth professional season and first with Brose Bamberg. Last season he played with Pecsi VSK-Veolia (Hungary-A Division) currently averaging 19.2ppg), 8.1rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-1 (2.2spg), FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 74.8%. Two seasons ago he played in Germany with the Dragons Rhondorf and tore up the Pro B averaging 23,4ppg, 7,9rpg and 5,6apg, and 2,6spg. As a rookie he played with Team Ehingen Urspring (Germany-ProA) playing 29 games averaging 10.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 43.9%, FT: 80.2%. He started his basketball career at DeMatha Catholic and in 2012-2013 started his career at Seton Hill (NCAA2) and as a freshman played 28 games averaging 7.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 70.0%. In his second season at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 27 games averaging 12.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.6apg, 2.0spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 77.9%. In his junior season at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 16 games averaging 13.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 70.6%. In his senior year at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 27 games averaging 20.8ppg, 8.7rpg, 4.1apg, 2.2spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 76.8%. He and have teamed up sharing a diary from the 2020 BBL tournament in Munich.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Kam Taylor in Frankfurt in 2018

A tough 89-75 loss against the EWE Baskets which has ended the season of Brose Bamberg. How tough is going out like this at a time where the team had found themselves going into the Oldenburg series?

It’s really tough.

Was this one of those games where no matter what you tried as a team, the other team was just better or was this loss credited more to the mistakes that you made as a team?

We weren’t playing our best basketball. And against Oldenburg they quickly take advantage of mental lapses and easy scores.

Did the 11-2 EWE Baskets start in the third quarter decide the game and how much did the early 5th foul of Jordan Crawford hurt?

There are a lot of parts that hurt us in the game. Jordan being one of our best scorers was definitely one of them.

Everyone is always talking about the great play of a Paulding and Mahalbasic, but today it was other guys that really stepped up like Hummer, Boothe and Larson. How tough was it going against them on the defensive end?

With a team like Oldenburg there are so many guys capable of scoring that it’s hard to pinpoint who’s day it will be but I think we gave up to many easy buckets.

Despite losing in the quarterfinals, what positives do you feel could Brose Bamberg take from the Munich tournament?

The positive is that we got to bond during the tournament. It really made us bond with each other and some of the other players and coaches in the hotel.

How did you see the development of young German Nelson Weidemann this season? Is he a guy that will be able to make an impact at the BBL level in the next years?

Sky is the limit for him. He has all the tools, and the more experience he gets, the more dangerous he will be.

You had another strong game with 20 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. How content were you with your play in Munich considering that you hadn’t played in 3 months competitively?

I’m not content, I play for wins, Not I would have been content if we won.

What is your summary of the Munich tournament for Brose Bamberg? What was your personal highlight during the 2 weeks?

I definitely expected us to better this tournament. But the personal highlight was quality time with my team.

After playing last season in Hungry how do you feel is Kameron Taylor a different and better player than 2 years ago when he ended the season with s.Oliver Wurzburg?

or sure. The goal is to grow each and every year. If I can do that then I know I’m on the right path.

What is the next step for you? Could you imagine remaining with Brose Bamberg or would you want to seek a new challenge elsewhere?

I’m looking forward to expand my game and next year be ready to be a great impact for Bamberg or any other team.

What is something you are looking forward to finally doing again at home once COVID-19 has let up a bit?

Walk in the city and have some family bonding in my city Washington DC. And see BLACK LIVES MATTER PLAZA in DC.

The 2 BBL semi-finals are Ludwigsburg-Ulm and Berlin-Oldenburg. Which 2 teams will make the final and who will take it all?

I like Ludwigsburg and what they have been doing. But it’s anybody’s tourney at this point.

Who would win a one on one tomorrow you or your brother James Robinson?

No one beating me one on one

Thanks Kam for the chat.

Drew Brandon Helped Build A Winning Culture With The wiha Panthers But His Eyes Now Are On Proving Himself In The BBL

Drew Brandon is a 28 year old 193cm guard from Corona, California that finished his 5th professional season in Germany. He began the season with Legia Warszawa (Poland-EBL) averaging: 8.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.1apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 42.0%, 3FGP: 40.0%, FT: 59.1%; and played 6 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 8.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 4.3apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 81.8%, in Dec.’19 moved to the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (Germany-Pro A) playing 13 games averaging 11.6ppg, Reb-5 (6.1rpg), 3.9apg, Steals-4 (2.3spg), FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 72.7%. He also gained experience for 2 other Polish teams and also played in Finland and Romania. He played his rookie season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games averaging 10.4ppg, 5.8rpg, 4.3apg, Steals-1 (2.4spg), FGP: 39.0%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 71.1%. He began his basketball career with Santiago High School and then played at Sierra College Calif. (NJCAA). He finished at Eastern Washington University averaging 10.4ppg, 6.2rpg, 5.1apg, FGP: 39.9%,3PT:32.3%,FT:76.0% and : 9.7ppg, 6.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 24.7%, FT: 81.0%. He spoke to during the summer as COVID-19 was still an issue. 

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

I’m in Southern California, situation is getting better as things open up. Still need mask in public. 

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

No never thought it would turn into this. I thought it would blow over in a week or 2 like most people. But then our game was cancelled and within that week we were leaving to come back to the states. 

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

When I was in Schwenninngen, we were just staying at home until more news came out. It wasn’t big at that point, it was just the beginning stages. 

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

It’s disappointing because how much we fought to make the playoffs, but it’s bigger than basketball. 

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

It’s not a players first choice to play in front of no fans, but games will have to be played with no fans if leagues choose to continue like the BBL and some other leagues may do. 

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

These times will separate the ones that want to get better and the ones who don’t, with all gyms closed and having to find ways to get better is a true test of who wants it most. 

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

I do not dwell on things I can’t control, I will be ready no matter what changes there are. 

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

I haven’t been in to much contact with players from the Panthers, but have been in contact with a lot of my past teammates. 

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

Coming to the team my first talks with the coach I told him we were going to make the playoffs and even though we were at bottom of the league before I arrived we never took our mind off the goal to make it and if the virus didn’t happen we would have. 

Sometimes it is that one player that can change a whole season. When David Dennis left and you came on board you started to win as you led the team to a 10-3 record. What made the adjustment period so easy for you? 

Yeah we were a top 2 team the second half of season. Everyone on the team seemed to have a new energy and elevated their play. Teams are all about fits and I brought the leadership that this team needed to get over the hill to be serious contenders. 

I knew right away when you were signed that their season would turn around. How was your confidence coming from Poland back to Germany for a second tour of duty? Did you have a good feeling that success could be a reality with the teammates you had? 

Playing champions League and Europe FIBA cup this season made me expand my game and helped me grow as a player. Like I said in one of the previous questions I knew we would make the playoffs I had something to prove after leaving Poland and I believe I did that coming to Germany

Obviously your a very good point guard, but what else changed when you came and the team started to play a lot better? 

Thank you, the whole environment and vibe of the team changed. The team was enjoying the game and the wins followed. 

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

At first it was disappointing because we were going to go on a great playoff run but as I learned more about this virus, I can accept it and move on and prepare for next season and be better then ever. 

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

We were playing good basketball but we didn’t reach our peak, we had a lot of room to grow. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. You a guy with a lot of experience, but what was it like playing with the walking bucket Bill Borekambi. Did you see something new in his amazing 1-1 play that you could soak up for your game?

It was great having Bill as a teammate. For a point guard he is a guy you love to play with because he doesn’t need plays for him to be effective. He fills the stats sheets under the radar. 

What was it like having Jaren Lewis as a teammate? With some other first year players like Sean Lloyd, Junior Searcy and David Dennis having to leave, what did you learn to appreciate most about his play? 

Jaren has a lot of potential and he really started playing with confidence later in the year and glad he showed his skills. He has a bright future. 

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

One of the hardest workers I have come across in Europe. He worked hard every game and every practice. I’m happy for him and all my teammates for getting the recognition they deserve. 

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 12,1ppg, 6,1rpg, 3,9apg and 2,3spg. How content were you with your season on the court? 

I could always be better. I had a couple games when I first got there that I struggled to get a rhythm. But I am happy with coming to this team and turning them into a championship contender. I have never been a player that focuses on stats even though I normally fill up the different categories, I judge success by winning, and we were doing that. 

You last played in the German Pro A in 2015-2016 with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. Has the league changed since then? Are the teams better from top to bottom and what about the overall skill level of the players? 

A lot of the teams are different from when I played in Germany my rookie season. It is hard to compare how good the league is from then till now because I have got a lot better as a player. 

You have spent most of your time the last years in Poland but also played in Finland. How is Drew Brandon a better player today then with Leverkusen? 

I was a skinny kid back then looking at film from back then. I have grown into my body and countless hours of work to become a better all around player and leader. 

Did you notice that there is a special chemistry with the Panthers and a special winning culture there. Would this be a place where you would like to come back to and finish something amazing in a complete season? 

It was great to build a winning culture with this team. My sights are set on moving up and elevate my career my eyes are on proving myself in BBL 

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

I was so focused on our team and doing everything to win. 

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

I leave all the argument on players to media. I like Luka’s game and hope he keeps up his great career.

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

I was in Germany and my girlfriend showed me a post about it and I couldn’t believe it. I hit me hard, I grew up on Kobe winning championship and a big reason why I fell in love with basketball. Kobe will live on through the game. 

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

I feel bad for those kids because I knew what it meant to me to play in the NCAA tournament, but they can’t dwell on it and time to move on and get ready for what the future holds.

Thanks Drew for the chat.

The Miles 2020 BBL Munich Tournament Diary With Quantez Robertson(Fraport Skyliners) Vol 3

Quantez Robertson is a 35 year old 188cm guard that has played his whole professional career with the Fraport Skyliners. He is playing his 11th season with the club and his biggest feat was helping the club win it’s third club title in 2016 with the Fiba Europe Cup. He belongs to the BBL identity figures with Rickey Paulding and Per Guenther. He began his career at Laurinburg Prep Institute and then played at Auburn (NCAA) from 2005-2009 playing a total of 126 NCAA games. He and teamed up with a diary form the BBL tournament in Munich. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Quantez Robertson doing play by play of the 2010 BBL All Star game in Bonn, Germany

The Fraport Skyliners season came to a disappointing halt losing 96-69 against ratiopharm Ulm. Was the result of second half a good way to describe the season one where the team was never able to play well for 40 minutes this season?

Yeh it felt like that. We didn’t take care of the ball well in the second half. A big problem this season was when we had a good first half, we often came out sluggish in the second half and weren’t ready to play right away. 

The Fraport Skyliners came out a lot better than in the first game against ratiopharm Ulm. You led by 10 points with a few minutes to go in the half, but then allowed a 9-0 run to lead only 48-47. What annoyed you most of the end of the second quarter?

We didn’t execute well on offense and couldn’t make open shots. We didn’t have good energy on defense stopping their transition. 

In the third quarter Frankfurt allowed Ulm to lead by 13 points late. Transition and turnovers were key. What did head coach Sebastian Gleim tell you guys to do better for the last 10 minutes of the season?

Coach told us to take care of the ball and when we did turn over the ball to sprint back.

You wanted to end the season with a win, but the team managed only 6 points in the last quarter. Was there anything positive that you can take back home to Alabama for the summer?

I think the biggest positive that we can take away from this tournament is that we fought hard until the end and no one ever gave up. We always played hard despite being shorthanded. The young kids also gave it their all. Even when we did lose a game, we always came back with a positive attitude

The team coughed up 23 balls. Ulm didn’t have the overwhelming defense, but still gave you problems. How big of a factor was the team mentality in this game?

I felt that we went out there and was was aggressive and just played our game. We didn’t take care of the ball well against Ulm. We were able to run all our plays. We made a couple of bad mistakes including me where I jumped in the air trying to pass the ball. I don’t think that it was so much the Ulm defense that gave us problems, but we just made bone head mistakes. 

Talk a little about the development of the kids Schoormann, Begue and Samare. Can the last 2 players find a role next season in the BBL?

It all depends how our team is structured for next season to how much of a chance those 2 will play. Maxi and Jordan showed even in the few minutes that they played that they can do some good things. Len has come a long way with us this season and will find his spot on the team next season. He will play Pro B and dress with us. Just how many BBL minutes he will get next season, I don’t know, but he showed this season that he can play good minutes. I think for him to become a good point guard, ball handling will be key. The point guards in the BBL are tough that can handle the ball well and play tough on ball defense. As soon as he can get his handle tight and better, than he will be ok in the BBL.

When you stood face to face with Zach Ensminger, what memories arose with his did Chris who you battled against early in your career?

I didn’t even know that that kid was Chris’s son until the end of the game. Akeem Vargas asked me after the game if that was Chris’s son. I said to Akeem, ‘you know it looks like Chris’. He is a short kid compared to his dad who was like 210cm. The kid played tough though. If he is anything like his dad in terms of how he approaches the game then he will be a pretty good player. 

You scored 10 points and scored in double figures in 5 of the 7 games and filled the stat sheet as usual. How do you summarize your own personal Munich series?

I could of done better on defense. Defense was the main thing even if I did score in double figures in 5 games. As a leader I’m expected to score, but at the same time am also expected to play good defense. I wasn’t the defensive player that I needed to be to help us win more games. I wasn’t vocal enough, couldn’t fight through screens enough and didn’t get into the passing lanes the way I would have liked to. 

What was your personal Munich summary for the league and club and what was your favorite moment?

Munich was a very good experience. We hung out as a team more together. We relaxed and were able to play games. I think what was great about this trip was that we all were able to get to know each other better than we would have had we not come. Especially we were able to get to know the young guys better, because they weren’t always with us during the season. My highlight was playing table tennis against the young guys. I beat them. 

It wasn’t a great season for the Fraport Skyliners. What is your season summary and what was your biggest moment?

I felt that despite the circumstances and the cards that we were dealt, we fought hard and played as hard as we could. 

At age 35 how do you go about doing your off season work outs? How are they different from 10 years ago when you got into the league?

I have to make sure that I run more. It is a lot easier to get out of shape than getting back into shape. I also have to keep doing my basketball things and do weight lifting. 

Do you keep in touch with Isaac Bonga? How have you been following his NBA career?

I really haven’t talked to him so much since he went to the NBA. I wished him a happy birthday on Social Media, but that’s it. I don’t have his new number and haven’t been able to stay in touch. I think that Washington is a better fit for him than are the Lakers. In Washington he gets to play while in L.A there are to many veterans. 

What is something you hope on doing again at home that you couldn’t do the last months because of COVID-19?

I want to go on vacation. I’m supposed to go to Barbados for my anniversary. I’m confident it will happen.

Thanks Tez for the chat.