The Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen Play Volleyball And the Dragons Rhondorf Couldn´t Secure Rebounds Falling 87-73

The extended basketball vacation away form the Dragon Dome didn´t feel like a long time for many, but moreover felt like an eternity. The last time that Dragons fans could witness a home game was almost 7 months ago. Back then all fans went home delighted having watched a 102-63 massacre over Essen. Not only was a lot different with the Dragons Rhondorf roster, but the usual procedure of watching a game was totally different. First of all the masks were standard procedure, not all stands were filled, because one had to obey to a 1,5 meter distance from the next person. COVID-19 was still very much alive, but at least basketball was being played again. The Dragons Rohndorf entered the season with a very very young roster with an averaged age of 20 years.  Having a young team is risky, but it´s worth it if it means being able to develop young players like Oshane Drews, Ousmane Ndiye and Clint Schonheiter the way they want to. On the other side of the court were the Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen that were able to keep 9 players from last season and boasted an average age of 28 years. The club had known German players like Benjamin Fumey and Daniel Boahane and had recently scoped up a real gem with Jordan Hill who had played at the very well known Wisconsin(NCAA) and reached an NCAA Final 4 twice losing to Kentucky and Duke and 2 NCAA Sweet 16´s. The guests were the favorite on paper while the Dragons Rhondorf were young and wild and had nothing to lose as they wanted to follow one of their season motto of leaving the court after each game as the toughest team. The Dragons Rhondorf gave it a good fight for 40 minutes, but half way through the fourth quarter, the experience and key plays of the Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen was too much as they escaped the Dragon Dome with a 87-73 win. After the win an elated Jordan Hill looked like he had just won a March Madness game, but in reality had just only won a Regionalliga game. “We stayed tough and stuck to our system. We made smart decisions and got all in involved. We also played aggressive defense and stayed true to playing defense”, stressed Ibbenburen guard Jordan Hill. The Dragons Rhondorf played a good game, but couldn´t hold it for 40 minutes, but at the end young 18 year old Bruno Albrecht was upbeat about the team´s performance. “We had this game in our hands. After a weak first quarter, we fought back, but when we could of turned game around, we couldn´t. Our 1-1 defense wasn´t good. We gave up way to many open lay ups and didn´t play enough transition. We also didn´t play enough zone defense. You need experience o be successful at that”, stressed ex Ehingen guard Bruno Albrecht.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Ibbenburen guard Jordan Hill after he dropped 13 points in the win in Rhondorf

The Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen had most guys on board except for Daniel Boahane while the Dragons Rhondorf were without Killian Binapfl, Oshane Drews and Ousmane Ndiye. The Dragons Rhondorf got off on the wrong side of the bed allowing the guests to get their offense cooking swiftly as they advanced out to a 9-3 lead. They were aided by 2 three´s from German Rene Penders who entered the game with 170 Regionalliga games played  and also got a lay in by Spanish versatile guard Alberto Del Hoyo. Bruno Albrecht got quick confidence in his shot nailing a trey. Rhondorf couldn´t generate much offense as Ibbenburen continued to move the ball well and got many different players involved. German Benjamin Fumey who played 18 NCAA games with Valparaiso scored inside as did Italian guard Juan Barga as the guests led 13-5. Rhondorf showed quickly their inability to stop the 1-1 as Ibbenburen got easy basket after basket. Rhondorf had some luck that German double license player Gabriel De Olveira was able to play. He came off the bench and gave the Dragons some rapid energy with back to back buckets to cut the Ibbenburen lead to 17-9. But it was German Fumey who was in control. After a beautiful extra pass to set up Marcel Schroeder who played many years with ASC Goettingen, he stepped back and nailed a trey which was followed by another lay in by Juan Barga. The Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen had the comfortable 22-15 advantage after 10 minutes. “Rhondorf had problems with Ibbenburen´s physicality while Ibbenburen got many easy baskets and hit their three pointers”, expressed ex Five magazine author Joerg Baehren. Ibbenburen were shootong an incredible 60% from the field and 75% from outside while Rhondorf couldn´t hit the ocean from outside shooting 25%. Ibbenburen also established themselves on the boards early 8-4.

                In the second quarter the Dragons Rhondorf fought their way back into the game as young 18 year old German Bruno Albrecht took control on defense which sparked the turnaround. American Jordan Hill had watched the whole first quarter, but made his mark in the second quarter coming in and taking charge with a steal and bucket and soon after a jumper for the 26-19 lead. The American from Pasadena, California finished with 13 points and 4 dimes in 14 minutes. “I just followed coaches lead. He told me I would go in the second quarter and be aggressive. I cheered on the team and then came in and added a quick burst of energy. I just try to be as efficient as possible. That is the most important thing for me. I had so much fun out there. I love Germany”, stressed Jordan Hill. Ibbenburen continued to be in control getting a bucket from German Philipp Lennartz, a 20 footer from Jordan Hill and a lay in from Jan Treichel who had began his career in Vechta and were looking at a very comfortable 32-21 lead. This was the moment where the game could of turned very sour for the Dragons Rhondorf as their defense was failing. However Bruno Albrecht who is a vicious defender and takes it very personal when he gets beat took over as if it was a title game. He led his team on a big 13-0 run as he scored 11 points. His defense sparked the offense. He made 3 steals in a row which led to 2 instant baskets. He also sunk free throws and hit a pretty step back in your face trey to tie the game. He then gave Rhondorf their first lead of the game with free throws 35-32. “My job isn´t to score every time, but give the team what it needs at that moment. I get steals and hit three´s and be aggressive. In the second quarter I stepped up. It´s just hard to do that the whole game”, reflected Bruno Albrecht. In the last few minutes both teams exchanged baskets and leads as Del Hoyo scored and Paul Albrecht hit a nice hook shot. German Tim Kosel who entered the game with 88 Regionalliga games played and does many things you don´t see on the stat sheet made a lay in giving Ibbenburen the 38-37 half-time lead. “Bruno Albrecht turned the game around being aggressive on the ball and Ibbenburen couldn´t get into their plays. Rhondorf got easy baskets and back into the game. Jordan Hill gave his own impact on the game”, reflected ex Telekom Baskets Bonn press secretary Joerg Baehren. Ibbenburen continued to shoot out the lights being at 64% from the field and 60% from the three point line while Rhondorf continued to struggle from downtown at 16%. Ibbenburen continued to have the advantage on the glass 13-10.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Bruno Albrecht after scoring 21 points in the loss

                In the third quarter, no club could escape as the game was tight and no club could lead by more than 5 points. There were also 8 lead changes as well. Rhondorf climbed out to the 46-42 lead as they got some key baskets from ex Leverkusen guard Jacob Engelhardt, Paul Albrecht and Bruno Albrecht. Every time when Rhondorf scored, Ibbenburen also had an answer. Ibbenburen got key baskets from Benjamin Fumey and Marcel Schroeder to cut the Rhondorf lead to 51-49. Rhondorf just didn´t have comfortableness on offense that Ibbenburen had and gave up the lead again as little used Jordan Hill displayed his efficiency nailing a trey for the 52-51 advantage. Barga continued to be aggressive with his drive and scored upping the guests lead to 54-51. Ibbenburen stayed calm and executed with their many weapons while Rhondorf was playing their hearts out, but inexperience led to more mistakes. German Mark Kotieno who had been quiet in the game and also had some misfortune on plays came up big in this phase with back to back buckets giving Rhondorf the 55-54 advantage. But Fumey and Hill continued to execute tying the game at 58-58. Ibbenburen closed out the third quarter with Del Hoyo scoring twice leading 62-58. “We had too many turnovers which allowed them to hang around”, stressed Jordan Hill. “They are a very good team and always had the right answer”, added Bruno Albrecht.

                Ibbenburen would never relinquish the lead against the Dragons Rhondorf as they continued to fight but just couldn´t get over the hump. Just like in the third quarter, Ibbenburen continued to always have good answers available when Rhondorf threatened. De Olveira and Engelhardt scored key baskets to cut Ibbenburen´s lead to 67-65, but Ibbenburen had another perfect answer ready going on a 5-0 run as Del Hoyo scored and Hill made a steal and left handed lay in for the 72-65 advantage. Bruno Albrecht continued to play out his heart as he made big play after big play in another comeback attempt. First he made a touch down pass to De Olveira for the easy lay in and then made a lay in waiting until Fumey committed and then made a free throw getting his team back to 72-70. But Ibbenburen continued to be aggressive as Fumey continued to be a one man wrecking crew inside scoring 6 points as Rhondorf continued to make mistakes trailing 78-72. After a De Olveira free throw, the Dragons were behind by 5 points, but then came the game closer as they couldn´t get 5 defensive rebounds as Tim Kosel made the put back on the team´s 5th try leading 80-73. That pretty much slammed the door shut on Rhondorf as they had no gas left. Ibbenburen closed out the game with a 7-0 run to win 87-73. Fumey scored again and Kosel and Barga nailed free throws. “Our experience was huge at the end and we had guys stepping up. That play by Kosel was huge. We were playing volley ball and they couldn´t get rebounds. We fought hard and finished plays”, added Jordan Hill. “You can´t let a small player like Kosel get the basket on the 5th try. We should have boxed out better. We just couldn´t hit our three´s today which cost us”, added Bruno Albrecht. The Bringiton Ballers Ibbenburen were led by Benjamin Fumey with 22 points. Albert Del Hoyo added 14 points and Jordan Hill had 13 points. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Bruno Albrecht and Gabriel De Olveira with 21 points a piece. Ibbenburen shot 57% from the field and 56% from outside and had 32 rebounds and 19 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 41% from the field and 18% from outside and had 22 rebounds and 14 turnovers.

Having An Extreme Youth Movement Is Worth The Risk For The Dragons Rhondorf In 2020-2021

The date was Feb 29, 2020 and the Dragons Rhondorf had destroyed the hapless ETB Wohnbau Baskets by 39 points 102-63 as the team had found it´s self despite losing their star player Curtis Hollis 6 weeks earlier. The club was still strong without Hollis and with one game to go at number 1 team RheinStars Cologne March 7th, fans were already a step ahead and thinking and dreaming about the Regionalliga playoffs and returning back to the Pro B. However nothing of that happened as COVID-19 appeared and shut down so many things in society including sporting events. The 19-20 season was soon cancelled and the extreme “What could have been thoughts” occupied everyone and instead of finishing the season, taking a break and forming a new roster, the Dragons Rhondorf like so many other clubs had to see where their future journey would go. Rhondorf continued to get the support of their co-operations partner Telekom Baskets Bonn, but still the off season was a strange one as the transfer market for many clubs began later. The Dragons Rhondorf actually did get active signing German players early and keeping young prospects all through the summer, but everyone was wondering who and when would the import arrive? In early September I visited a test game in Koblenz and observed a shocking win over the favorite Koblenz who have a roster this season filled with talent and depth that could win it all in the Pro B. After the grind out defensive victory, I asked head coach coach Julius Thomas when the American would come. “We will be playing without an import this season. If we have problems in the season then we might have to sign an import”, warned head coach Julius Thomas. In the Regionalliga many teams live by their imports usually Americans. In the last 3 years the Dragons Rhondorf were fortunate to have gems like Kameron Taylor, Zygimantas Riauka and Curtis Hollis that carried the team in good and bad moments. There have been teams that have gotten by without an imports like Deutz, but most teams don´t risk it. Instead the Dragons Rhondorf will rely on young players with very little experience. Only one player Paul Albrecht is older than young head coach Julius Thomas. The rest are young, flexible, motivated and hungry players wanting to prove their worth while some others want to keep developing as players.  Can an extreme youth movement give the Dragons Rhondorf success in 2020-2021? This could be a very risky experiment. “I think it can be risky to say that we want to finish the season at a certain spot. We want to play hard each game and keep improving. We have a very young team, but it is very talented. We want to give our young talents a chance on the big stage. This is worth the risk”, warned Dragons head coach Julius Thomas.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Paul Albrecht in Koblenz during pre season

Last season the Dragons Rhondorf had the best offense in the Regionalliga West averaging 95 points per game and on some nights really dazzled the home town fans with an abundance of points  eclipsing the 100 point mark 10 times. They were filled with offensive power and also the needed overwhelming experience at the point guard position with Anish Sharda and Enric Garrido Foz who were both 37 years of age. Their biggest weak point last season was their defense where they allowed 80 points or more in 18 games. The shoot outs are a very risky and dangerous way to live on the basketball court, but the Dragons Rhondorf simply were a way better offensive team than defensive team and were sometimes lucky that they were able to score more than what they gave up. Dragons associate head coach Yassin Idbihi has been known to have said that last seasons defense was the worst ever, but this season the club wants to make amends and play a lot better defense. Last season the club lived by gambling a lot, but had little consistency. They hope that it will be different this season. “We want to have more rules in the way we defend. We will gamble less and stopping the drive to the hoop will be essential. Clogging the lane each game will be vital for our success”, stated Dragons head coach Julius Thomas. On paper the club has a lot less fire power than last season, but will hope that they will be bale to live by their athleticism on the offensive end. “We want to play fast this season and give Paul Albrecht many touches. We will live by the short roles(pick and pop). We will have more structure than last season and play more team basketball. Good for grades”, stressed head coach Julius Thomas.

The Dragons Rhondorf kept a slew of players but also have added some new faces to help bolster the roster. Key players from last season Killian Binapfl(15,7ppg, 5,9rpg, 2,9apg) and Gabriel Olverira(17,4ppg, 6,6rpg, 1,6apg) remain, but it has already been communicated that they will have more of a role with easyCredit BBL team Telekom baskets Bonn which most likely hamper and cut down their appearances in the Regionalliga. The club also held a second talented big man with 20 year old Marek Kotieno(8,8ppg, 4,5rpg) who made big strides last season after averaging only 2/2 in the Pro B with Wolfenbuettel in 2018-2019. He will have a bigger and more central role this season. He could easily get the minutes De Olveira had last season and flourish. The team also kept 18 year old multi talented German/Lithuanian Simonas Lukosius who averaged 8,6ppg, 2,5rpg and 2,8rpg and shot a blistering 48% from the parking lot. This young gun could become another vital scoring option this season. “We want him to slip into being an impact player. He showed last season what he can do and deserves a bigger role this season”, stated head coach Julius Thomas. The team also kept Pal Ghotra who played only 6 games last season averaging 6,8ppg. The club hopes that they will be able to profit more from his shooting this season. The team also brought back huge 16 year old talent Ousmane Ndiye from Senegal. He goes to school up the road from the Dragon Dome at Hagershof and outside the classroom continues to work on his game. He played 4 games last season at age 15 and showed a lot of potential. His game reminds one of Kevin Durant and he is ranked second best for his age in Europe. “He will get touches and the shots he needs. He will get the freedom to make mistakes. He will be allowed to show exactly what he has to offer”, stressed head coach Julius Thomas.

                The rest of the roster is filled with new players. The organization picked up 6 new players. The club gained the most experience with 27 year old Paul Albrecht who brings 162 Pro A games and 49 Pro B experience to Rhondorf. The ex U-20 German national player will have to provide scoring, but he will also offer something else vital. “We want to him to be more active inside”, stressed assistant coach Julius Thomas. The German ex Artland Dragons makes everyone around him better on the court. The club also brought in young talented Bruno Albrecht who began his career in Chemnitz, but last played in Ehingen playing 12 Pro A games and averaged 19,0ppg in the NBBL. He is a good playmaker that will get important minutes with the team. The club also brought in 23 year old Jacob Engelhardt who helped Leverkusen win the 2019 Pro B title. The pass first point guard is another guy who will play a vital role in the organization of the offense. Another newcomer is highly talented 17 year old Serb Nikola Petojevic who already turned heads in exhibition games. This is his first time in Germany hand and is the hardest worker on the team and doesn´t shy away from contact. Another new player for the Dragons this season is 18 year old 200cm German Clint Schonheiter. He won the 2019 NBBL title with FC Bayern Munich and last season played NBBL with IBAM(International Basketball Academy Munich). He didn´t play much the last 2 years, but that should change this season. The strong pick and roll defender is another player that won´t shy away from banging inside. Another new player is 19 year old 198cm guard Oshane Drews who already played Pro B with Stahnsdorf as a 16 year old averaging 6,7ppg. He last played NBBL with Braunschweig and will dazzle you with his fine 1-1 skills and has that dynamic fast break game that reminds you of Killian Binapfl.

This years Dragons Rhondorf club is very young and will feature an average age of only 20 years. The goals of the club are ambitious and the expectations are high, because the club has indentified that the talent is there. There are many talented and strong clubs in the Regionalliga West and the Dragons won´t step away from anyone. I think like with any young team that there will be growing pains, but this is a special bunch of guys with some having been off the radar´s of many clubs. Now it is there stage to step up and demonstrate what they have to offer. They have a lot of motivation and strong will to defend and want to be successful in that area. The offense is one of the question marks. Can they score enough to win games? A big part of the success will be just how involved the 4 double license players will be. Obviously a Paul Albrecht has to carry the team through out the season, but also the expectations will be high for guys like Marek Kotieno and Simonas Lukosius to have severe break out seasons.  “We will concentrate on transition, making quick passes on offense and toughness will be our identity especially on defense. We want to be the toughest team in every game. We want to play with the teams at the top”, warned head coach Julius Thomas. Nothing is what it was like before COVID-19 and that is the same with the Dragons Rhondorf. They are a totally different club from last season. Just as much as Covid-19 surprised the whole world, the same is with the Dragons Rhondorf. If they get some breaks here and there, then they could surprise many in their quest to be successful this season.

Give Tucker Haymond Pen And Paper And He Could Write A Bestseller About His Life In 2020

After having to pay his dues in the German Pro B with the RheinStars in 2018-2019 and beginning 2019-2020 in Cyprus, Tucker Haymond finally got his first real professional basketball break when he was signed by Pro A team FC Schalke in January 2020. First came the tragic death of Kobe Bryant which could have been a bad omen for what was about to come, but the American fought through the tough loss and really proved that he could ball at the Pro A level. The Seattle, Washington native was just getting heated up in the German Pro A and then COVID-19 hit the world the way ex New York Jet legend Mark Gastineau did opposing quarterbacks back in the day and wiped out his season. After experiencing so much hard ship beginning the last season in Cyprus, then leaving and working out in Cologne and having to have a soar body every morning after a night on the floor and then living through the reality of the passing of Kobe Bryant, he finally was rewarded for all his neverending effort with a contract with FC Schalke. He had misfortune coming to a losing team, but he made the best of it putting up very respectable stats. Then his season ended abruptly due to COVID-19 and he had to live a new life like the rest of world having to deal with new challenges each day and finding a way to keep in shape and taking on the difficult search of finding  a new team in hard times. “ Last season was definitely one to remember. There was a lot of ups and downs but I believe it made me a lot better because of it. I was able to become very comfortable with being uncomfortable and not knowing what else was next, but only staying positive and controlling what I can control which is preparation and mindset. Kobe Passing was really hard for me, he was a huge inspiration to me. Everything that happened last season has prepared me to be even better on and off the court, physically and mentally this upcoming season”, stressed Tucker Haymond.  The idea of taking pen and paper and writing a book about his crazy season isn´t so unrealistic. At least he has found a way to document the past 12 months.  “I thankfully actually recorded a lot of footage during this last year in the travel from country to country and how I was living, what I was doing every day in trying my best to stay ready for an opportunity. I will be making a short film to put out just to kind of give a more behind the scenes look at what happened last year, so my friends and family can see how different the overseas basketball lifestyle can really be, but why I love it so much”, stated Tucker Haymond.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Tucker Haymond in Frankfurt, Germany in 2018

                It´s September 2020, but let´s rewind back to February 2020 when Tucker Haymond was playing out his heart with Pro A team FC Schalke. Just like most other players when the American who played at Western Michigan(NCAA) first heard about COVID-19, he thought the rumors were fake and nothing would come of it. But then within 48 hours everything changed and he was back on a plane on his way home. Having to end the season was on no players menu and just was a tough pill to swallow. “It was very unfortunate, especially in my situation for just having signed to Schalke and shortly after the virus shutting everything down. However, I know it was for a reason that was for everyone´s safety. Which is more important than sports. I know I would have been able to continue to improve my performances throughout the rest of the season and win games with Schalke, however I’m just glad that the proper decisions were made and everyone was able to remain safe with their families during the very unusual times”, stressed Tucker Haymond.  FC Schalke had a tough season finishing in 16th place with a record of 8-19 when Corona hit and under normal circumstances would be playing in cities like Bochum and Itzehoe of the Pro B, but instead was allowed to remain in the pPo A on account of COVID-19. “My short time in Schalke was very good, I feel like we were just starting to get used to playing with each other with the addition of me to the team. I felt like we improved every game and had really started playing well. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t see what our future held with each other”, remembered Tucker Haymond. In the short time where the American was there who won the G-League title in 2018 with the Austin Torros, the club went 1-4, but lost some tough games like a nail bitter to Nurnberg 83-81. Haymond is more than convinced that had he been on board sooner, things could have happened in a more positive light. “I do believe that things could have been different, I noticed our game play and style forming together in the short time we were there. Even with small changes to teams with new players, it adds a whole new dynamic to a team and can be just the thing that filled in a small gap. I think we could have won games together. My teammates and coaches were very talented, I enjoyed playing with and for them”, warned Tucker Haymond. Despite having some hard times not winning as much, he did form nice new relationships on and off the court. He gelled especially well with the powerful guard duo of Belger and Newkirk and enjoyed playing with big man Adam Touray. “I loved playing with CB and Var, they made the game easier for everyone else. I think it was very difficult for teams to guard us with those two drawing a lot of attention. It made decision making for everyone else on the court easier because the teams really focused in on them a lot because they were very crafty with the ball, and amazing scorers! Adam was someone that every person wants on their team. He played hard every possession, and did his job every time. You could count on Adam to have your back and to do what you knew he was capable of. He was the ultimate professional, and was a great teammate. Its no surprise to me that he signed in the BBL. I think he has a bright future ahead of him for sure”, added Tucker Haymond.

                The 26 year old 198cm shooting guard who on some nights can shoot out the lights in any gym in the world had the most contact to his friend NFL player defensive end Daeshon Hall of the Philadelphia Eagles during COVID-19 looks back fondly on his short stay in Gelsenkirchen. Despite all the turmoil he went through prior to coming to Gelsenkirchen, it all came together there for him as he was mentally prepared. In 5 games he averaged 16,2ppg, 3,2rpg, 2,6apg and shot 41% from outside. “I think that everything that I went through prepared me for last season, as well as future seasons. Going through what I went through really just made me hungry and ready for an opportunity. I had days where I thought I was not going to be signed, I started to look at flights back to America. But I never stopped working hard. The day I got the call, I had literally 1 day left on my stay in my AirBnb. I kept my bags at my friends house and my wife and I travelled across Europe to tryout for Heidelberg, I had nowhere to stay after that. I stayed in a hotel then traveled to Schalke to tryout, living in the hotel there and played my heart out because I knew those were my only chances to continue my career or I had to go home because there was nowhere for me to live. I´m blessed I was able to earn an opportunity and it was inspired me to take full advantage of every opportunity in life. And to never give up, because on the final day, your opportunity can show up”, stressed Tucker Haymond. The year before he led the German Pro B in scoring with the RheinStars Cologne averaging (22.5ppg), 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 80.7% and had no problems adjusting to the Pro A, but saw a difference in both leagues. “ I think the biggest difference was just depth of teams. Teams are very talented with a lot more imports and the talent of the Germans is very good, to be honest the level of talent between imports and locals was back and forth through the different teams and very even. I have a big amount of respect for Pro A basketball and the teams”, answered Tucker Haymond. He has always been known as being a sniper and when you have those goods, you can be successful everywhere, but you have to still put in the work. “I think just having teammates around me that made me better in all aspects of basketball really helped me. My coaches put me in great positions to be successful. Also when working out in Cologne I would shot on the shooting machine and shoot sometimes over 1000 shots a day, going to the gym twice a day”, expressed Tucker Haymond. It wasn´t only his scoring and shooting that stuck out in the Pro A, but his total game profited in the higher league. “I think that in Pro A my versatility improved. I was able to play many different roles and positions. During my time in Schalke I was able to play positions 1-4 and facilitate, make my teammates better, as well as execute when it was in the offense for me to be aggressive. The play style and my teammates/coaches fit me perfectly”, commented Tucker Haymond. He listed Rhondell Goodwin from Bremerhaven as his toughest opponent in the Pro A and will always remember wearing the FC Schalke jersey. “-I actually really enjoyed Gelsenkirchen. It was different than Cologne, and very different then Seattle. But I really enjoyed my time there. Everything was very close, and I really enjoyed being able to use Medicos facilities every day. It was an amazing time to be able to play for Schalke, as well as use such an amazing facility”, remembered Tucker Haymond.

                The American who won the MAC tournament in 2014 with Western Michigan returned home to Seattle in March 2020 and had to get used to a totally new way of life knowing that he had to keep staying in shape and finding a way to keep working on his basketball skills. “Life has been very different in America. You don’t go anywhere without seeing someone wearing a mask, which never ever happened here. There are still a lot of places that are shut down because of the virus, the whole summer we couldn’t eat at restaurants and fitness centers were closed. It was definitely difficult for athletes to remain fit and continue to prepare for this upcoming season. I know professional basketball players that haven’t been able to play on an indoor court since last season”, said Tucker Haymond. Being able to train the way he wanted to was a real challenge, but there is always a way to overcome the odds if you go out and just want to train, it will work. “My off season training consisted of a lot of dribbling at home and outside. I went weeks where I had no access to a hoop and all I had was a ball. Now that things have started to open back up, I practice basketball 6 days a week, and do strength and conditioning 3/4 days a week. I am in the best physical fitness of my life because I have had so much time to really focus and invest in my body. I´m more ready than ever to get back to playing because I know this is the hardest I’ve ever worked”, stressed Tucker Haymond. The American had enough area´s of his game to work on this summer and believes that he was able to progress with his game. “This Summer I really focused on my physical fitness and my body, ball handling, and shooting. I feel like I´m really a new version of myself that even I have never seen before. Every day after workouts I continue to get more excited to play games because I feel like it will be a lot more fun with all the new things I have learned. For me this is the biggest summer I’ve ever had In terms of overall growth. Physical and mental. I have never made this much progress with my body before, I have taken my diet and how I take care of my body very seriously, and I notice a HUGE difference. My plans are to make this my new lifestyle so that I can remain fit and healthy for the rest of my career. I have lost almost 10 KG and am stronger than I have ever been! I´m ready”, stated Tucker Haymond.

            Besides worrying about staying in shape and getting in enough time for basketball skills, he also has had to stay on the ball with finding a new club for this season. His German agency Athleadz have been hard at work trying to find the best fit for him, but like for so many other players around the globe, COVID-19 hasn´t made the search easy. “The transfer period has been very different, it has definitely been challenging because of all the unknowns of what will happen. I knew it was going to be a very special off season due to Covid and me only being able to play 5 games. The only thing I have stayed focused on is making sure I am physically and mentally ready for whenever I get the call. I know I can’t focus or worry on things I can’t control, I´m just very excited for when I´m able to play again. I miss Germany”, warned Tucker Haymond. He who lists Luka Doncic as the best point guard in the NBA enjoyed the Pro A, but doesn´t see himself still being without a team on account of not playing many Pro A games as the reason. “I think that teams are making decisions that they think are best for their teams, I respect the people who make decisions because their job is not easy. This is a very difficult season for them to choose players for many reasons, and I understand their pain. I know there is someone out there with their eye on me, and I have to focus on staying ready for when opportunity is the right one for me. I loved Pro A and the competitiveness. Can’t wait to see where I will end up and be able to compete for wins!”, warned Tucker Haymond. One realizes quickly that Tucker Haymond really misses having that week to week competitive edge and just wants to play basketball again. Playing anywhere and winning titles is at the top of the menu for him now. “I love Germany and everything about it. If I was able to play there for the rest of my career I would be very happy!!! To be honest, I am willing to do whatever it takes to win. Doesn’t matter what level that is at, I want to be a part of a championship. If that means I play 30 seconds or 30 minutes, I’m Okay with that. If I score 0 points, or 30 points, I´ll be just as happy either way with a win. I have been a part of championship teams before with the Spurs and WMU, and I have been able to adapt to many different roles to achieve a championship. I just want to win, and will do whatever it takes, no matter the cost”, warned Tucker Haymond. All the American needs now is a new team and then he could delay his best seller a bit and add a possible title to 2021 to help spice up his book

COVID-19 Helped Corey Raley Ross To Stay The Course Capture His Goals And Create New Ones.

Corey Raley-Ross is a 28 year old 193cm guard from Charlotte, North Carolina that has three professional seasons under his belt and this season played with KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-Superliga) averaging 18,7ppg, 6,4rpg, 3,9apg and 2,0spg. Last season he played with C.B. Aridane (Spain-EBA) playing 30 games averaging 15.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 71.1% In the 2017-2018 season he played with CB Virgen de la Concha Innova Chef (Spain-EBA) playing 28 games averaging 18.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 41.4%,FT: 64.8%. As a rookie he played for TTU Korvpalliklubi Tallinn (Estonia-Alexela KML) playing 28 games averaging 6.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 30.4%,FT: 63.6%; and played 9 Baltic League games averaging 8.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 11.1%, FT: 76.0%. He played at Buffalo (NCAA) from 2010-2014 playing 59 games. He spoke to about basketball.

Corey thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?

Thanks for the opportunity! I’m currently in Charlotte, NC gearing up for the 2020-21 season. The summer was unconventional as we know but great. I’m thankful that I was able to prepare the way I wanted considering the rules and regulations.

You played your fourth professional season with KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-Superliga) playing 22 games averaging 18.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.9apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 81.4%. You’re currently unsigned. How different has this summer’s transfer been and what has been the biggest challenge about finding the right fit this year?

This year’s transfer market is intriguing. I’m aware that there are many great players like myself without jobs at the moment. As for me it’s humbling. However, it gives me more time to prepare mentally and physically so my outlook is positive.The right fit will present itself at the right time, hopefully sooner than later.

How tough was it for you for the season to abruptly end in March 2020? You had won 5 of your last 6 games. How much of that ‘what if’ feeling was on your mind this summer?

I let it go as the season ended. What if’s are only hypotheticals. Though, we were surging as a team picking up steam for the playoffs. I thought we all believed that we could win the championship. That was the end goal from Day one.

How did you experience the whole COVID-19 crisis back home in the States. What was most challenging about life and basketball?

I was fortunate with the whole Covid-19 experience. My brother was playing in China so he was always a month or two ahead of what was happening on our side of the world. This allowed me to move accordingly. Also, I was able to work through my family business that gave me unlimited access to sports facilities. On the flip side the biggest uncertainty was how this season would unfold. 

How challenging was it for you to stay in shape and work on your basketball skills in the last 6 months? Did you come up with some new unique exercises to compensate the loss of gym time?

It wasn’t hard at all! I’m blessed to train with a group of professionals throughout the summer. Essentially, I’ve been in optimal shape for some time now. I’m always innovative in my approach to training. This summer I focused more on injury prevention, stability and balance as unique exercises.

How did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?

It has challenged me immensely. Mainly to stay the course, capture my goals and create new ones.

Let’s talk about your last season. You played in the Kosovo Superliga. How would you compare that league in skill to the leagues you played in in Estonia, Germany and Spain?

There are very talented players in all leagues. Being a middle tier European league, Kosovo is most similar to Estonia. It was very competitive. Competing against Fiba Cup teams, Balkan League, and VTB teams is more my flavor. 

You averaged 18.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.9apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 81.4%. and was top 10 in scoring. Were you content with your personal season?

I’m never content. Hindsight we could have won more games with better preparation, and I don’t feel that my 3pt percentage reflected well on how good of a shooter I’ve become. I believe that I can perform at a higher level, without a doubt.

Your stats were similar to what you put up in Spain a few years ago. Which season do you feel was your better one?

I’d take my season in Kosovo (Superliga) any day of the year. I performed in a much stronger league and we won more games!

How tough was the 93-91 loss to Feronikeli where you put up 32 points? Was this a game that you remembered into the summer?

This game was hard to swallow! I had a chance to win it and couldn’t deliver for my team. No worries, we returned the favor when we matched up with them again.

A year ago you really worked on your three point shooting, but wasn’t rewarded in Kosovo shooting only 28%. How much does a stat like that annoys you?

It’s encouraging. It’s a goal to shoot in the high 30s and 40s as a basketballer. For me it’s routine. As long as I’m confident and shooting quality shots for the team I have no doubt that they will eventually fall.

How do you believe you grew as a player in Kosovo? Do you feel like you improved in a certain aspect of your game?

I grew mentally a lot. First I had to make my imprint on the team. Gain my team’s trust, and then lead by example. That’s in practice, the weight room and off the court. I like to think that improving mentally allowed me to become a better leader and grow in every other area as well.

On what things did you focus on most this summer in helping you continue to improve your game?

My focus was primarily improving my skill and durability. Specifically IQ, decision making, efficiency and training regiment. My work habits changed and as a result I’ve taken my game to a new level. 

You’re a basketball junkie who constantly is watching basketball. Did you follow a bit more the NBA in Orlando? What do you watch more there than when you were watching the 2019 World Cup?

The ‘Bubble’ so they call it has been great to watch. It’s RAW and uncut. There aren’t any distractions, just players playing for themselves and their teams.I appreciate more how they’ve used their platform for social reform. This is the underlying issue after all.

In our interview a year ago you stated this in terms of how you could help any team now. ‘I believe I can help any team with my knowledge of the game, positive energy, athletic ability, defensive prowess; guarding 94 feet, defending multiple positions, play-making ability, shot-making ability, being accountable and by leading by example’. Is there anything new that you can add to that?

At this very moment, more experience. I’m excited for the next challenge

Who was the toughest American player that you battled in Kosovo?

There were two! My teammates Terick Bridgeman and Stevie Clark. Both of these guys like myself received accolades throughout the league. They challenged me every day to improve hence is why I felt so strongly about winning the championship. They are two guys who can take their careers where they believe!!!

You have been in Europe 4 years and saw the rise of Luka Doncic. Is it just ignorance or why can’t certain well known NBA figures accept how great this guy is?

It’s ignorance not to accept how good he is. And I’m not so sure if there’s anyone who doesn’t. His flare and court savvy is unmatched. Not to mention his age. All I can say is that the future of basketball is in good hands with him and a crop of other young players performing at an extremely high level. All in all, he’s a joy to watch.

Which 2 teams will reach the 2020 NBA final and who will win?

Lakers and Heat. The Lakers will take the championship!!!

What was the last movie that you saw?

Tenet!!! It’s a must watch.!!!!Thanks for the interview.

No problem Corey.

A Huge Goal Of Kyle Hines Besides Winning More Titles (AX Armani Exchange Milano) Is To Fight The Injustice Of Racism And Educate People

Kyle Hines is a 34 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that completed his seventh season with CSKA Moscow averaging 8,8ppg, 4,9rpg and 1,4apg in the Euroleague and 5,9ppg, 4,6rpg and 1,6apg in the VTB league. He recently signed with AX Armani Exchnage Milan after winning 2 Euroleague titles and 6 VTB titles with CSKA Moscow. He also won his first title with his new Italian squad beating Virtus Bologna 75-68 to clinch the Supercoppa title. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games averaging 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had pre draft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2) playing 40 games averaging 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2 (3.5spg), Blocks-4 (1.6bpg), FGP-3 (64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 10 Euroleague games averaging 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; and in the German League played 46 games averaging 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP-3 (61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. conducted it’s 20th interview with him earlier in the summer during the COVID-19 period. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Kyle Hines in Munich, Germany in January 2020

Thanks Kyle for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood with all the drama going on in the States?

I’m home right now in New Jersey. There is really a lot going on at the moment. Every one is dealing with the COVID-19 and social distancing as well as with the economy and how that will keep going. In the last week we have been seeing a lot of the racial protests. 2020 has been a very trying time that has impacted so many lives. All we can do is stay positive and worry about what we can control.

While most basketball seasons were cancelled in Europe, you remained longer in Russia waiting to hear if the Euroleague would start up again. When did you leave Russia and did it surprise you that the whole Covid-19 got worse after it didn’t have much of an effect at the start?

I have been home a while now. It has been about 2 months. My family and I left before they closed the boarders. We felt it would be better to be home just in case a loved one got sick. I have a yard here and my kids have a lot more space. I think the reason it didn’t spread right away at the start in Russia was because people thought that it was under control, but it really wasn’t. The Russians have been affected greatly by the COVID-19. CSKA lost it’s doctor. It is really sad. I feel for my Russian teammates who are going through COVID-19 now. 

How disappointed are you that the Euroleague season was cancelled. Why was the overall fear of the players to play this tournament so great? In Germany the players had nothing to say as the league and teams decided on playing the season. Do you feel like if the players wouldn’t have had a say that you might be playing Euroleague now?

I feel that the Euroleague did a great job in including the players in their decision. The Euroleague showed that it was a leader unlike many of the other leagues who are old fashioned and dictate the players and doesn’t allow them to speak. The players have their mind and the right to voice their opinion, because they are the ones effected. The Euroleague listened to the players which was a good thing. The players respected the competition and felt that if they had played that they wouldn’t have presented a good competition. We didn’t want to have that situation where the winner would be decided over which teams had access to a gym and not. There were a lot of teams like us that couldn’t practice. We thought not playing out the season was the best route. We also thought that we didn’t know how COVID-19 would play out if we didn’t have all the information. There were too many players that had been stuck in their apartments for 8 weeks and didn’t want to risk injury. 

How great is your ‘what would of happened’ feeling knowing that you will never know how CSKA would have finished in the Euroleague. How much does this put a damper on your season?

I think that every player has this question on their mind. For me having to end the season this way really sucks. Especially now that I’m leaving the club for Milan. I will never have that opportunity to have been able to defend our title. I would have had a chance to close out my CSKA career the right way. I think that every player will be asking that question ‘what if’ for a long time.

What is your summary of the CSKA season? You were a surprising second in the VTB and 4th in the Euroleague. Did the club underachieve?

I mean it’s hard to rate our season when we had no conclusion to it. I feel that right when COVID-19 hit we were starting to play our best basketball of the season. We had celebrated big wins on the road against Panathinaikos and Lok Kuban. We were struggling early on in the season as we were still feeling each other out. It was that time of year during March-June where teams want to reach their peak. Having to end the season like this is a very hard pill to swallow. 

How have you lived day to day at home with COVID-19. Are you shocked how Americans have been treating the Coronavirus or have the Americans become more disciplined with time?

It’s difficult to say, because each state has different rules and different laws concerning COVID-19. I live in the New York/New Jersey area which was one of the worst area’s that were hit. We followed the rules as best we could and have stayed home. The best way to fight it is to limit your contact with others.

You spent time in Russia and also in the states during COVID-19. How do you feel have you gotten stronger as a man in these difficult times?

COVID-19 has changed my perspective on life in general. When COVID-19 came nobody knew how it would play out. In a period of 1-2 weeks, life changed for everyone. People lost family, lost their jobs or were infected. So many people were going through so many issues. I learned that you have to enjoy the moment. I think that people in general look at the past or future, but forget the moment. My wife and I like to say ‘We win today’. I think that it’s important to do as much as possible each day with your loved ones. 

How difficult is it being an American at the moment? The senseless murder of George Floyd has put American upside down. How have you experienced the last week and what has been the most difficult thing for you in this time to see happening?

Being a black man in America today isn’t easy. I think that the rest of the world have taken notice of this senseless murder and see what we are dealing with now and have been for many years. This has put a spotlight on our culture. I am fortunate that I live in an area where this isn’t as prominent, but there are other places where this type of thing happens every day. It is a difficult video to watch, but the rest of the world have gotten a glimpse of what blacks deal with. I’m very happy that people have come together around the world to unite and try to help stop this. I hope that more people will fight against racism all over the world. 

If it was easy then Racism would have been solved many years ago. Why do you feel can’t we live in a world where every skin color is 100% accepted?

That is the million dollar question. This is the question that all human beings that try to figure out for the test of time. I really wish that I knew that answer. All I can do is spread awareness and educate my kids and community. This is a huge goal of mine. The only way to fight the injustice of racism is to educate people. 

The German BBL will finish their season with a 10 team tournament in Munich. Ratiopharm Ulm German legend Per Guenther who you have played against has stated he will pay the first 10,000 euro in player fines should players get involved with making some kind of protest during the tournament. Do you think that these could happen with the influx of Americans that are taking part in the tournament?

Not only Americans, but we have seen protests all over the world. I tip my hat off to Per Guenther for taking a leadership role. The BBL still have an old fashioned mentality not allowing players to have a voice. This is an important issue. Why can’t they allow players to express their feelings in this matter? 

Congrats on signing with AX Armani Exchange Milan. Do you feel like if COVID-19 hadn’t happened that you would have remained in with CSKA Moscow?

I honestly don’t know. For me leaving and going to Milan had nothing to do with CSKA Moscow. It was a decision solely made by me. I wanted a new challenge. I’m coming near to the end of my career and before I walk away, I wanted to have one more new experience. Milan allowed me to have that experience. I will be reunited with my old coach and former teammates. I think this new opportunity is great for me. 

Is COVID-19 part of the reason for the move to Milan? CSKA Moscow lost millions and most likely couldn’t pay you anymore

That wasn’t the case. Making the decision to join Milano had nothing to do with money. I wanted to have a new experience and do something different. 

How tough was it making the decision to leave CSKA Moscow. Did it give you some sleepless nights?

It was definitely a very tough decision to make. If you would have asked me 7-10 days ago about what I would do, I would have said I would be preparing for another season with CSKA Moscow. I wasn’t seriously thinking of leaving. But once I sat down and took deep thoughts and weighed what was best for my family, I knew that it was a decision that I had to make. It is tough to leave after 7 years and being captain. We had a life there and had friends. It wasn’t easy to walk away. 

You played 7 seasons for CSKA Moscow. The memories must be endless as you won 2 Euroleague titles and 6 VTB titles. How did the 7 seasons with CSKA Moscow shape you as a player and person?

My 7 years with CSKA Moscow changed me completely as a player and person. I arrived at CSKA Moscow at age 26 and was a single man. I left married with 2 kids. CSKA Moscow made me more mature as a player and man. I was able to be able to work with a great coach with Dimitris Itoudis. He helped me see and understand the game. The organization wanted me to step out of my comfort zone when I got there. When I got there, I was quiet and laid back. They wanted me to be a leader and more vocal in the locker room. The club helped me become a better player and person. 

How did Mike James grow as a player with CSKA Moscow? What was it that halted his way back to the NBA and to sign a 3 year deal?

He had his best season as a professional. He was asked to take more of a leadership role this season. CSKA Moscow has this special way to help make players become leaders. He was able to adapt to the system and felt comfortable. Coach Itoudis and him grew together. Key was that coach allowed Mike to be Mike and play his game. This paid huge dividends for the whole club. He also enjoyed being in Moscow and decided to remain. CSKA is like a family that treats all well. He was looking to find a place where he could stay his whole career and found it. CSKA has been a place where guys like De Colo, Langdon, Holden and I have stayed for a long time. 

Could Mike James take your role now as the new identity y figure in the making?

I don’t think that I was the identity figure of the team. We always had great players. He will put down his foot print and make his mark with CSKA. 

Congrats on with AX Armani Exchange Milan. How key was it for you to sign here knowing you would be reunited with your old coach Ettore Messina?

That was real key and one of the main reasons to come to play for Messina. I knew that Milan would also be an ideal situation, because I had played in Italy before and knew the league. Messina brought me to CSKA and even after he left, we still had a good relationship and remained in contact. 

You and your family are very excited to move to Milan. It will be your second time playing for an Italian team. What are you most looking forward to being able to play in the Serie A again?

When I first came to Italy, I played in the second division. It was always my dream to play in Serie A. I remember the great teams then with Milan, Siena, Rome and Treviso. It is almost a full circle in that now I have the chance to finish my career in Serie A. 

Milan has 24 team titles. Will the fact that they aren’t a dominant Euroleague team give you an extra motivation to play an incredible season at age 34?

Another reason about going to Milan is the whole aspect of having a new challenge. They haven’t won a league title in a few years and haven’t been to the Euroleague playoffs since 2014 or 2015. I want to help bring a title to Milan and try to bring back the glory years that they once had. It would be a big moment for the club to do that again. 

How excited are you to be playing together with ex NBA player Malcolm Delaney and one of the better young players in Europe Shavon Shields. Talk a little about them and your feelings being able to be their teammate?

Messina and management have shown early that they want to build a great balance within the team. They have older guys like Sergio Rodriguez and I that have experience and won titles while also adding younger guys like a Shavon Shields who has had success with Baskonia. I am really excited to get the opportunity to be able to play with them. I will try to help the younger guys grow and help the team come together. Delaney is a proven winner and has won everywhere he has played. He won in Germany with Munich and helped Lok Kuban reach the Euroleague final 4. He has proven that he can play at the Euroleague level. I have been very fortunate to have played with great guards in my career like Brian Roberts, John Goldsberry, Vassilis Spanoulis and Nando de Colo. Now I can add Malcolm Delaney to that list. 

Do you feel like you will have that type of role you had with CSKA or do you think Messina might give you a bigger role?

The club is building a balanced team. I will try to help my team win and put them in the best position to win. Whatever they need me to do, I will full fill it. My role has been different each season. I will be prepared to answer the call whenever needed.

What is your plan this summer? The tournament has been cancelled. Will this be a summer with more focus on you’re your work outs and preparation for Milan

At the moment I go day to day. We don’t know when things will open up. I want to get consistently into the gym again. Now I try to stay in shape as much as possible. I am looking forward to getting back on the court. When that happens, then I will be able to make a plan how my training will be.

The NBA will finish their season. Will there be any surprises by teams and what can be expect by the shorter season?

It will be interesting to see how the teams and players come back. They haven’t played in a long time. The NBA will give them enough time to get ready. It will definitely be a different kind of basketball. But at the end of the day it will be basketball. The guys are excited to play again. It will be different, but the fans are excited to have basketball back again.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Trolls World Tour with my kids.

Thanks Kyle for the chat.

John Murry(NEW Elephants Grevenbroich) Has Fought A Lot Of Adversary In His Career But COVID-19 Allowed Him To Find Back To His Old Self

Almost a year ago John Murry´s annoying calamity began as instead of wearing a smug jersey of the NEW Elephants Grevenbroich (Germany-Regionalliga) during games, instead he was slouching into gym´s in Germany with an expression on his face that could of even scared away the nastiest figures who lurk in the night. After playing only 8 games in his first 2 years of his professional basketball career in Canada and the CBA, the American from Indianapolis came into the 2019-2020 season excited and motivated to finally play his first full season. But instead he suffered a bitter metatarsal fracture that ended his season in preseason and then soon after during his rehab was hit with a second whammy with COVID-19 or was it really a whammy? Obviously getting injured was a massive tough set back for the athletic guard, but he didn´t mope around or hang his head in the sand like an ostrich, but got into a serious rehab mode and worked like mad to come back 100% again. But along the way, the world was hit by COVID-19 which also changed the basketball world as this summer´s transfer period was a lot different than ever before with falling prices. Even if COVID-19 effected the whole world in so many different aspects, the whole crisis actually was a blessing in disguise for him. Plus having the trust from NEW Elephants Grevenbroich (Germany-Regionalliga) manager Hartmut Oehmen didn´t hurt either. “As the world was affected by COVID-19 I was blessed by not being affected with the pandemic, also with the world being in a pandemic, it kind of slowed everything down for me and gave me more time to heal and get back to my old self again. The injury helped me slow my thinking down and study the game, I got smarter in areas where I was weak and got dominant in areas where I was strong. Things WERE NOT difficult for me AT ALL, I prayed and stayed focused on being better every day and before you know it, I was better after my injury than I was before! I am extremely thankful that Hartmut stuck behind me because a lot of people would not have done that. Me and Hartmut have developed a relationship during the time I was hurt and kept in touch while I was in the states. He knew how bad I wanted this opportunity to further my career. I feel like Hartmut appreciates my hard work and dedication to the game, he sees that I work my butt off, from the time I got hurt, until the time I was cleared to get back on the court. I don’t make excuses, nor do I take days for granted, I take full advantage of elevating and getting better at all cost”, warned John Murry.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and John Murry in Rhondorf, Germany in 2019

                The 25 year old 192cm guard that began his basketball career at North Central High Schooland then played 2 years at Owens Community College (JUCO) returned back home before COVID-19 struck the world. He didn´t waste anytime and began his comeback. I spoke to so many players during COVID-19 and not surprisingly most were able to find ways to stay in shape and work on their game even if it meant finding courts outside and battling the weather conditions, but it wasn´t always easy for guys as the conditions weren´t always great. But COVID-19 was never a road block for Murry to keep continuing his comeback. He did everything possible to be able to come back stronger even traveling hundreds of miles just to be able to work in a lab. “The phrase “The grind NEVER STOPS”!!! is not just a saying, it is a lifestyle that I live and maintain daily, so no matter what I had to do, where I had to go, or who I had to call. I was determined to put this work in. It got to the point where I had to fly to South Carolina and stay there  almost 2 weeks just so I could work out every day. I didn’t care what I had to, I refused to settle for being average, I wanted to be GREAT and the only way that was possible was by putting in work mentally and physically every single day”, stressed John Murry. COVID-19 has so many restrictions that has limited the interaction of people in society. So staying in contact with friends wasn´t always easy, but for John Murry the only contact he needed was with the equipment in a gym and a basketball. His focus was so strong that he sacrificed his relationships with people which didn´t help for the future and some friendships, but in the end his comeback was rewarded by his hard work. “During COVID-19 I stayed focused on my mission plan and took advantage of the world being shut down and elevated during that time to a level I had never been at before. There was nothing that I was willing to not do to make myself better. In all reality my time with family and friends decreased because I was so determined to be great and come back stronger that I used every minute of every day to be better. My schedule was so tight during that time that I kept anything that did not have to do with GOD or basketball away from my mental”, added John Murry.

                The guard who played at Austin Peay State University (NCAA) and averaged: 16.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 81.1% as a senior and has an unending chip on his shoulder because of playing in the fourth German league whereas there are other guys on this planet that had a lot weaker stats in the NCAA, but have made it to higher leagues is 100% healthy now. But the price he had to pay in terms of losing friendships was high, but he didn´t want to come back at 80% or 90%, or not even at 99%. He didn´t go the whole nine yards, but far beyond in his quest to be the old John Murry again. “Things were very difficult and I’m putting emphasis on the difficulty. I reached new levels, my whole body felt better after the injury, things that hurt before didn’t hurt anymore and my flexibility increased tremendously, which allowed me to be more active and athletic. I had to tap into a different place and lock in mentally for 6 months straight. It was like doing a plank core workout and holding that position for 6 months straight. The rehab period was very difficult because people didn’t understand what I was going through and the odds that I was up against. People only understand what they wanted to understand and nothing more. I lost relationships with people just because I had made up in my mind every single day I’m going to work, I did not believe in cheat days or off days, during my rehab process. Some people were not very supportive with that idea. As of today, I am glad I went through it because it changed me, it made me mentally tougher and gave me the mindset of being even more unstoppable then before. It’s like I could feel myself turning into an assassin. People telling me “no I can’t help you out” or ignoring me was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I NEVER doubted myself in any way at any time, I had unbreakable confidence during the whole process because I took time and stayed focused on the end result. I believe in God and I know with him NOBODY can beat me. He gave me the strength possible to get through and once I seen myself touch new heights; I knew the sky was the limit for me”, warned John Murry. With basketball on hold all over the world, John Murry had a lot of extra time in 2020 to work on his game while being 100%. He didn´t lack working on many parts of his game as well as the metal aspect and the scouting part. “This summer I studied the game over and beyond the point of focus. I made sure I locked in on my decision making and put myself in a better position on the floor to have more options as I make my moves. Also, I made sure I got my body right in areas to where I can set down on defense and shrink the floor with my length and quickness, aside from those things I just kept doing reps on reps on reps to perfect and polish areas that I already had success in. This summer was dedicated to being better than last year, that goes from performance on the court to be a better person off the court. I put just as much work in on my personality as I did my game, that is what made all the difference. Like I said before it was complete ELEVATION. The American got back to 100% physically as well as continued to work on his game to get better, but COVID-19 also had another big impact on him something he may not have witnessed had COVID-19 not become reality. “During the pandemic I was able to slow down which I probably needed to do years ago lol. I played chess with my life, I processed my thoughts, and made my next move my best move every time I made a move. Every move made was with a purpose to be better. My theme all pandemic was ELEVATION. I watched film on myself and others EVERY single day. I searched for weaknesses in my game and my personality and attacked them full on. I narrowed my thinking down to God and basketball all pandemic/summer and never let a day go by without putting work in on the court and in the weight room. Things I joked about before I took seriously, I isolated myself and challenged my mind. When I thought I was good I did things over again to be GREAT! Long story short, with God as my leader, I made the impossible, POSSIBLE”, warned John Murry.

                Murry is back in Grevenbroich now and preparing for the new season. Not to much has changed in the city except for the obvious with everyone wearing masks around which he calls the new normal. He is really excited to test the German Regionalliga west for the first time as is optimistic about the chances that the club has for being successful this season. “I feel like we have some really good pieces on the team in order to be really successful. I like our energy every day in practice and we have done a great job in preseason. I don’t see any reason why we can’t keep this up heading into the regular season and into the playoffs. As far as myself, I’ll let my game do the talking. I will say I pushed myself to exhaustion this whole summer, I spend countless hours in the weight room and on the floor being uncomfortable. I will carry that mentality onto the floor this season and throughout the playoffs”, stressed John Murry. The club has a nice mix of experienced guys as well as young Germans and he is sharing the back court with Jonathan Coles who played at Emory University (NCAA3) and in Mexico and with ex BBL player German Moritz Krume(41 BBL games). He has formed a nice bond with them already on the court. “Myself and Johnathan complement each other well. We are both pests on defense which makes a good backcourt, especially with our style of play from our tremendous coaching this preseason, we are looking pretty strong heading into this season.  Mo is my guy. He performs well in practice and comes up big late in games with strong finishes around the rim and tough rebounds down the stretch. I have nothing but positive remarks about my new teammates. I really like his game and basketball mind”, expressed John Murry.

                It will be interesting to see how John Murry will present himself on the court in Regionalliga gyms this season. He put in the work and has the massive self-confidence that he will put many smiles on basketball fans in Grevenbroch this season. “I was anxious to come back and show exactly what it is the city of Grevenbroich and all of Germany had missed with me being hurt. I’m fearless when it comes to this game and had no fear when returning to Germany because I knew that I had put the work in. I gave it my all to be better, I did the little things and won the small victories day in and day out, ESPECIALLY during the pandemic and during rehab. That is what left no doubt or no fear in my return to basketball this season. I’m ready to give the city of Grevenbroich what they should have had from me a year ago”, warned John Murry. The American who believes that the 2020 NBA final will consist of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and hope to recreate the old gold and green tradition from back in the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson days has the game to be very successful in the German Regionalliga, but it hasn´t only been his abilities on the court, but having that incredible mindset of being unstoppable which has been there forever. It hasn´t always been easy being mentally consistent of being unstoppable with the seemingly unending adversary that he has had in his career, but in the end, this nonstop mindset of no one being able to stop him has made him stronger. “Keeping the mindset was definitely tough, but in the end, it was also what made me better. I wasn’t even cleared to play basketball and I was walking around my city saying nobody can stop me and although at that time it may or may not have been true, it was the principle of getting my mind and body on the same accord. Yes, I was probably at 65/75% but it’s the constant conversations you have to have with yourself to keep pushing yourself to absolute greatness. I remember an open gym in my city with all the pros being back who played in top leagues all over Europe and even in the NBA, I just kept telling them and myself, NOBODY can stop me I don’t care who you are, that was what I call “Mental Gymnastics”. I just knew once I could think mentally that I could perform the moves and actions physically after the injury. That was probably the sweetest part, just watching myself excel to new levels of the game”, warned John Murry. The last movie he saw was the incredible Netflix series about Michael Jordan called “The Last Dance”. No matter if it´s flying around the country to get better, working in the gym to exhaustion or finding another way to be able to study the game and get better with “The Last dance”, John Murry is the real deal who won´t stop to being the best he can possibly be.

Cameron Hunt Could Be Successful At The BBL Level If He Locks in Defensively For A Longer Period Of Time

Cameron Hunt is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Duncanville, Texas that completed his rookie season in Germany withTG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) playing 19 games: Score-1 (21.7ppg), 4.9rpg, 4.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 88.2%. He picked up All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -20, All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -20, All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Defensive Player of the Year -20, All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -20, and German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -20. He began his career at Duncanville High School and then played 137 NAIA games for Southwestern College, KS (NAIA) from 2015-2019. As a freshman he played 34 games averaging 6.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 63.2%. In his second season he played 36 games averaging 24 .5ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 81.8%. In his junior year he played 35 games averaging 23.3ppg, 5.7rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 82.4%. In his senior year he played 32 games averaging 31.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 6.8apg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 88.6%. He will remain in Wurzburg until 2023 and spoke to eurobasket during COVID-19. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Cameron Hunt after he steered 28 points in the 99-67 Wurzburg win in Frankfurt in 2020

Hi Cameron 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?

Hey how’s it going? Well right now I’m currently in Dallas Texas and I would say this outbreak is a bit frustrating. Knowing lives are at stake every day. I know better days are coming and I’m just praying that it is sooner than later.

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

At first when I heard about Corona I thought it was a very minor problem that would’ve been taken care of immediately. I never thought it would become this bad.

How did you experience the day to day life in Wurzburg when you were still in Germany? What things did you notice in the surroundings there that showed that life wasn’t normal?

In Wurzburg a lot of people like to walk around the city. When the corona virus came you saw less and less people in the city which was very weird to see.

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?

A: Yes I’ve been more aware of my surroundings. Making sure washing my hands more often is always on my mind. I can’t remember the last time I’ve given someone a normal handshake.

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

I was pretty disappointed as I felt we had a championship team. I also knew this might be my last time playing with those guys so it was hard to end a season like that.

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

I personally play basketball because I love the game. I would still play with no fans, but at the end of the day basketball is a spectators sport. The fans brings out the best in players.

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

I have learned that some of the things that I complain about are not worth it. People right now are fighting for their lives while I’m complaining about missing a jump shot.

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

I feel it is a huge advantage for me as I get to focus on my health more this offseason. The disadvantage is not knowing when your next basketball game is going to be.

How have you been staying in shape at home? Are there any special home work plan or exercises that you are doing to stay in shape and on the ball?

I have been sticking to a home workout plan to improve my strength. It has been kind of tough to get into basketball gyms so I’m just doing what I can right now.

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?

My mindset is to be ready for whatever and whenever. I am still preparing as if we will be starting up in the fall.

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

I wouldn’t just say it is one guy as Ive been trying to talk to a lot of my former teammates and upcoming teammates.

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

I have realized to not take family time for granted. This pandemic has just put things in perspective that not every day is promised.

Congrats on a great rookie season in Germany in the pro B with Wurzburg. You had the second best record in the Pro B south and second best record overall. How would you summarize the team season best?

The word I would use is unity. I feel for the most part we played for each other and stuck together through tough times which made us a better team.

How much does it hurt that you weren’t able to really know how the season would have panned out in the playoffs? The club had lost 2 of the last 3 games to begin the playoffs. You stated to me in January that ‘I think we play very hard on defense which is always good but we can improve on our pick and roll defense. Once that is solved I feel the sky is the limit for this team’. How did the defense improve in the last months and was it tweaked for a strong playoffs?

Once the season started to wind down it was obvious we were already looking forward to the playoffs. I feel we would’ve been the most ready in the playoffs.

What was the secret to the success of the team. Obviously you and Rytis Pipiris were a huge part of the offense, but what was key for the German role players buying into the system?

Everyone understood their role on the team and it showed every game.

The team had many highs, but describe a bit how it was playing top ScanPlus Baskets twice within a week in December. You lost both games, but one 90-89. What memories do you have of that series 

During that series we weren’t completely healthy. So I think that played a huge part, but that was a solid basketball team.

Let’s talk about your teammates. You said this to me about Jonas Weitzel in January 2020. ‘Jonas has been great for us. You never have to worry about how hard he will play because he will always give 100%. He is also improving every day and I feel he has a very bright future’. How did he improve the most during the season?

A: I feel he improved the most on the defensive end. He is very talented on the offensive side but I saw him become better and better on the defensive side.

How much of a pleasure was it being teammates with Rytis Pipiris. You stated to me in January 2020 that you would love to have his athleticism. What one thing do you feel helped your game most having been able to run an offense with him?

Rytis was very unselfish. This made it easy to play with him as he was always looking to make the best play possible.

What was your impression of German point guard Nils Hassfurter? I really love his high energy game. You practiced with the BBL team Wurzburg. Does he have the game to become an impact player in the BBL?

Nils is a great guy who always brings 110% to practice everyday. Which I feel makes the team a lot better.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 21.7ppg), 4.9rpg, 4.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 88.2%. How content were you with your rookie season in Germany?

Personally I felt I could’ve did more. I am very happy with our team success though.

You had some very explosive games at the start, in the middle and at the end finishing strong. How would you describe your development throughout the season. How was Cameron Hunt a different player at the end than in September 2019?

I felt during the end of the season the game was slowing down for me as I was able to make better reads in the offense.

A hidden strength in your game is getting unusual blocks. You averaged 1,2bpg as a rookie. Please explain how you have continued to keep making the next step as being a very good shot blocker for your height?

A: I think shot blocking is more about timing than height. I feel I have very long arms for my height and use them to my advantage.

You had the opportunity to practice a lot with the BBL team s.Oliver Wurzburg. On what things do you still need to work on to be able to get a legitimate chance of playing at that level?

A: I feel I can be very successful if I just lock in defensively for a longer period of time. I feel I will make the adjustment smoothly.

s.Oliver Wurzburg had some good guards. What do you feel could you soak up most from ex Citadel (NCAA) great Cameron Wells the most? Back in the day he belonged to the best guards in his conference with Golden State Warrior Steph Curry.

My time spent with Cameron Wells I tried to ask as many questions as possible. He probably got sick of me at one point, but I just wanted to pick his brain about his career.

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

I wouldn’t say it was one player but the team of ScanPlus Baskets was a well put together ball club.

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

I don’t think Luka is Top 3 yet. My top 3 is LeBron James, Kawhi Lenoard, and Kevin Durant.

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 my living room in Germany and it hit pretty hard as he was my favorite player growing up.

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 would tell these kids that everything happens for a reason. There will always be more joys in life.

What was the last movie that you saw?

A: Office party

Thanks Cameron for the chat.

Keith Hornsby(EWE Baskets) Has Always Been An Offensive Threat But He Also Digs In On The Defensive End

Keith Hornsby is a 28 year old 193cm shooting guard from Mouth Of Wilson, Virginia that is playing his fifth professional season and first in Germany with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Last season the American played with Polski Cukier Torun (Poland-EBL) playing 19 games averaging 15.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 75.7%. He played his first 3 professional seasons with the Texas Legends (D-League) playing 116 games and averaging 4.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg in his first season, 10.1ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 78.3% in his second season and 12.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT-2 (49.1%), FT: 84.1% in his final season. He began his basketball career with Oak Hill Academy. He then split time with 2 schools with the University of North Carolina – Asheville (NCAA) and : Louisiana State University (NCAA) playing a total of 116 NCAA games. His best season with the: University of North Carolina – Asheville (NCAA) was his last season where he averaged: 15.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 92.5%. He put up very consistent stats with Louisiana State University (NCAA) in both years averaging 13.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 78.4% and in his senior year averaging 13.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 81.8%. He spoke to about his basketball career.

Keith thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been despite the whole COVID-19 effecting the world?

I’m currently in Oldenburg, but I spent most of the last six months in the United States split between Virginia and Dallas, Texas. The summer was unpredictable, especially in the states. It was a struggle sometimes taking Covid precautions seriously in a place where many people weren’t following proper protocols, but my wife and I did a good job existing and being safe in that world before leaving for Germany.

How have you experienced the whole COVID-19 crisis in the States? How much did the last 6 months change your life and how much of a challenge was it finding the time and places to be bale to stay in shape and be able to work on your game?

When I started training again in early May, it was extremely difficult finding gyms that were open. I found myself working out outside much more than I ever have. At first it was frustrating, but eventually I found ways to be productive despite the limitations on open facilities. I can find a way to stay in shape, but it was tougher finding consistent basketball workouts. As the summer went on, I found a good group to workout with to keep things relatively fresh. The one thing I wasn’t able to do was play 5 on 5. No games were being played around me due to Covid, so I haven’t played 5v5 basketball since my last game in Poland. Luckily, I have a long preseason ahead to get my rhythm back.

How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?

Living through these past few months with Covid definitely made me appreciate certain freedoms from life before the virus. Little things like going out to dinner or venturing out to places without a mask. It made me appreciate those who made efforts to be responsible during the crisis. It made me frustrated with many people who failed to take the virus seriously, and you see how we’re still dealing with it in a way most countries aren’t.

Do all the questions about your famous father sometimes get on your nerves and how important was the fact that he was a very talented basketball player help you with your path as a basketball player from your youth until today?

I used to get semi frustrated in college, because the questions about him came in more frequently. I don’t get frustrated with questions about my dad at this point. I realize that it’s a unique thing to have a famous musician father as a basketball player, so it’s always an interesting topic to broach for the media. My dad loves basketball, and he’s more knowledgeable about the game than anyone would predict. A career in basketball on the sidelines is probably his road not taken, and I’m sure he would admit that. He’s done so much for me in the game. I won’t discredit myself, because I’ve put endless work in to give me new opportunities, but he instilled in me that mindset of work at an early age. Sometimes I like his fresh perspective on different issues I may be facing within the game.

Congrats on signing with the very ambitious EWE Baskets? What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had any friends play here in the past? 

I’m excited to play with Oldenburg this season. I’ve been aware of the BBL ever since I left college, but it took me a little while to get here haha. Germany has such a great reputation as a country. I’m very happy that my wife and I can call the country home during these times of Covid. I feel like there’s almost no better place to be. I’ve had tons of friends play in Germany from the BBL level to Pro B. German basketball rarely gets a bad rap. I will see this for myself very soon.

They are very high on your abilities. What was the deciding factor where you knew that you wanted to play your second season in Europe in Germany?

They were one of the first clubs to recruit me nice Covid hit and my season was canceled. A lot of the basketball benefits of Oldenburg speaks for itself, but in these times of uncertainty, I felt like you could hardly get a more stable place than One of the top clubs in Germany. I was also surprised excited to play in Eurocup, but the club decided against participating. I was disappointed at first, but when I woke up and put things in perspective, I realized in these times that’s a small thing to lose. There will still be a lot of great and challenging basketball to be played in the BBL.

You had a very strong season stat wise in Poland last season. What are your goals this season as a player concerning your game? It won’t be easy to top those stats as your playing with more talented teammates and in a higher league?

I’m sure the experience as a whole will be very different than my experience in Toru. I aim to be as unselfish as possible regarding stats, because I realize I have a lot of talent surrounding me. If I had to choose one thing I will want to improve at, its decisions in the pick and roll. With such a great front court in Oldenburg, I think it’s a must I’m able to make good reads in PnR actions and feed the big guys when they’re open. I know it’s a cliche, but I’m really aiming to come in to Oldenburg and focus entirely on winning. With the roster we have, I feel if things work out we should be competing for a BBL championship. I will do my best to be as productive as possible and control what I can control, but if my stats aren’t what they were last year and we’re winning, I will be extremely happy.

Let’s talk about your game. EWE Baskets Oldenburg CEO Herman Schuller compares your game to the ex Wright State great Vaughn Duggins. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

Vaughn Duggins. I’ve heard that before from them. I’m guessing that comparison is a good thing, so I’m happy with it. It’s hard for me to compare myself to anybody. I try to move without the ball like JJ Redick, but I feel my speed and athleticism makes that comparison a little fuzzy. I’m a scorer, so you can compare me to other scorers, but I can’t give you a specific comparison.

What stands out right away in your game is that you’re a fantastic shooter. Despite that, your good athleticism and good penetration skills on the court, what do you honestly feel like is your biggest asset on the court?

People always underestimate my speed and jumping ability. It’s always benefitted me to have that asset due to my shooting ability. If defenders close out too closely on my shot, I can get around them with my first step and create plays off the dribble. I’d say my pull up is my strongest offensive weapon. I try to get good elevation on the shot so it’s hard to block.

How much pride do you take on the defensive end? What is your biggest strength as a defensive player?

I’ve always been an offensive threat, but I truly try to dig in on the defensive end. I’ve always been a believer in the defense creates offense. Last season in Toru, we traded baskets too many times with people and it made it harder to defeat the intelligent teams (especially in BCL). I think my best attribute defensively is my strength. Bigger guys have a hard time posting me up directly. Sometimes I feel I’m too energetic. Almost to a fault.

On what area’s of your game are you working on most now as you prepare for your first season in Germany?

I mentioned above my decision making and productivity in the pick and roll action. I think I can improve my ball handling in the half court as well. I also want to improve my passing to the point where I consider it a true strength. Defensively, I want to work on positioning and fighting through screens. I got stuck on too many screens last year guarding the ball, so hopefully this year I can do a better job.

Last season your first overseas you played with Polski Cukier Torun (Poland-EBL) playing 19 games averaging 15.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 75.7%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas for the first time last season in Poland?

For the most part, I did pretty well for being my first year overseas, although I was more mature than the average euro rookie, which always helps. Due to my good play, I think the biggest wake up call was the extreme scouting and defensive efforts from some of the Polish players/teams last season against me. Their aggression, commitment, strength, and intensity would not be found in the G-League. I’d say that was somewhat of a wake up call.

You played your first 3 seasons in the G League with the Texas Legends improving your scoring stats each season. Some guys leave after 1-2 seasons to go overseas. How confident were you that you could make the NBA in your third season and do you sometimes wonder what might have happened had you returned for a 4th season?

I felt kind of trapped in the G League. I did not want to return for my third season, but due to almost zero European interest, I didn’t have much of a choice and appreciated the Texas Legends faith in me. The talent in the G League is top notch, so every year you compete with new, great players for playing time. During my third season while leading the G League in 3pt%, I figured I had a shot. After I never received that call during that stretch, I was over it. It was time to move on to a different basketball situation.

In your rookie season you were with the Dallas Mavericks and played 5 pre season games. What kind of experience was it being teammates with Dirk Nowitzki? Do you have a special Nowitzki story that you won’t forget?

That was an unbelievable couple of months with the Mavs. It was a dream come true to put on an NBA uniform with your name on the back of it. The only downside is that it was my first pro experience, so it gave me an unrealistic idea of how difficult the G League could be in the oncoming months. Sharing a locker room with Dirk Nowitzki was surreal. What a legend! He’d always made fun of me for being too muscular up top. He’d call me ‘upper body’ and tell me to do some leg work and stop doing bicep curls. Good guy!

That first season you were teammates with some real veterans in Texas with Dejuan Blair, Ben Gordon, and Courtney Fells. What was it like being with guys like this on a regular basis and did you take the time to pick their brains about the business?

I learned a ton that first year. It was the first time in my career I was competing against legit grown men and guys of all ages. I realized they had a different comfort within the game. Something I wasn’t close to obtaining at that point. Playing with Ben Gordon was amazing other than the fact he came in and took most of my minutes haha. That first year was incredibly eye opening. The gave me stories about overseas. A lot of them were horror stories haha because those are more interesting. I didn’t know what to think.

What is the best example that you can remember in your 3 years in the G-League where you can honestly say the NBA is a business first before a players feelings?

My first year Pierre Jackson was my PG. during November and December he was absolutely killing on the court. I’d never seen someone play so amazing. At times it was truly mind boggling. He thankfully got a call up to the Mavs in January and was playing well for a few games. In his first start, he had nine points in the first quarter before hurting his hamstring. They waived him later that night and he was back with us almost immediately. I couldn’t believe it. Then the Mavs signed Yogi Ferrell, and he took off on that whole Yogimania stretch. Pierre was with us for the rest of the season after that, and I could tell it took a slight mental toll on him. The guy could not have played better in many regards.

You played at the very well known Oak Hill Academy that has graduated countless NBA players like Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. How do you feel did this experience help your game most in young years?

It made me a man to some degree. I was a late bloomer in so many ways. Playing with the type of competition you see at Oak Hill every day helped my confidence incredibly.

You then began your NCAA career at University of North Carolina – Asheville and made a huge jump from your freshman season averaging 4.0ppg, 1.9rpg to 15.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 92.5% as a sophomore. You averaged 21 more minutes in your second season. Do you sometimes wonder how your career may have gone had you remained there?

Some people are surprised when I say this, but that first year at Asheville was one of the most important years of my career. I learned so much that season thanks to the seasoned seniors who were ahead of me in the rotation. My sophomore year, I came in a different player, and I was ready to contribute at a major level. If I had stayed at Asheville, I would’ve had a great career. A lot of people initially thought it was stupid of me to transfer from there to a major program, because I was giving up a great situation for myself for the unpredictability of the high majors. The one thing that was alarming for me at Asheville was how little respect their star players got on a professional level. My freshman year I was behind two all conference senior guards who I thought were amazing players, but they never got much of a shot at the next level. I figured if I wanted to play professionally, I would have to try my luck at success at a bigger program , and that’s exactly what I did.

How do you feel did your basketball experience at North Carolina-Ashviille help your game most as you then went on to Louisiana State?

Asheville gave me the opportunity to play a lot my sophomore season and naturally improve. Asheville also plays at least five high major schools every season, which was always exciting along with being somewhat of a trial against the big boys. I had some big time games, especially against Ohio State and NC State. It mainly came down to getting the opportunity to play. It was a huge confidence booster realizing I could have success at the division one level my sophomore year, and Asheville gave me that opportunity.

You had many great games at LSU, but do you still have memories form the tough 71-69 loss to powerhouse Kentucky where you steered home 17 points? That team had so many future great NBA players like Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein, the Harrison brothers, Tyler Ulis, etc. What player from Kentucky stood out the most?

Oh wow…. that game! That was arguably the most exciting game of my life. What a team that Kentucky group had. Most LSU people give me fun loving crap about missing the game winner at the end, but I’ll never forget the positives from that game including the unrelentingly rowdy crowd of purple and gold. The player who stood out most to me was Devin Booker. He played beyond his years. He was so calm, collected, and efficient with everything he did. He killed us that game. He hit several shots in my face where I figured I defended him extremely well. I was bummed I missed the tough game winning attempt, but I walked away from that game proud of myself and with a little disbelief at how far I’d come.

How easy was it playing with top NBA player Ben Simmons? Is there a play that has been cemented in your mind with him over the years?

Playing with Ben Simmons was quite the experience. He is the most naturally gifted athlete I’ve ever encountered. He had such raw basketball ability, but it was clear from the start of his only season that his game would be better fitted for the NBA. His passing is the most impressive to me, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. One game against Mississippi State he threw me a full court chest pass like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was like a bullet. It was so crisp. I caught it in motion with awe as I realized what had just happened. No normal player can do stuff like that.

How did head coach Will Wade groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

I never played for Coach Wade. I played for Johnny Jones, who is now coaching at Texas Southern University. I think Wade is a damn good coach, even if he’s a bit potentially controversial during this time period.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Antonio Blakeney back at LSU?

Great question. Antonio Blakeney is a skilled offensive player. That was a good match up. Tone is known for hitting tough shots, but how can I say I wouldn’t win. I was the senior after all. 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that went to the NBA?

I may have to give Alex Caruso this award. His teams at Texas A&M were always hard to beat! He’s just a tough player, and he was always an annoying defender and pesky presence each time we matched up. He talked a fair amount of trash too. I’m not surprised he’s carved out a role for himself in the league with his size and PG abilities.

Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time? 

I’ll list these as best teammates and not necessarily most skillful. Josh Gray (LSU) Chris Wright (Toru) Jameel Warney (Legends) JJ Avila (Legends) Aaron Cel (Toru)

Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present players?

Nice! LeBron James – George Washington Michael Jordan – Thomas Jefferson JJ Redick – Teddy Roosevelt Steph Curry – Abe Lincoln

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

Although everybody’s opinion seemed to shift towards MJ during the airing of the Last Dance, I’m still going to go with Lebron James. It’ll forever be a difficult debate, but I just think what LeBron has done on and off the court is unrivaled.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Toy Story 1 with my wife. We’re going to watch the whole series of movies, because none of us have seen 3 or 4! We’ve been in a Pixar craze lately. These movies have been giving us positive vibes in times of unrest in the USA.

Thanks Keith for the chat.

Marco Porcher Jimenez(RheinStars) Prides Himself In Being A Threat In Any Situation

Marco Porcher Jimenez is a 28 year old 193cm guard that was born in Cordoba, Spain and grew up in Benalmadena Costa, Spain, but also has the American citizenship and is playing this season for Pro B team RheinStars. He began his basketball career with the well known Oak Hill Academy. He began his NCAA career in 2010 at Fairleigh Dickinson University (NCAA) playing 14 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg. He then moved to Florida International University (NCAA) in 20102 and played 3 years there amassing a total of 89 NCAA. He played his first 2 professional seasons in Spain with Lucentum Alicante (LEB Silver) playing 27 games averaging 5.7ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 71.0% and with CB Novaschool Malaga (Spain-EBA) playing 19 games averaging 11.4ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 85.5%. In 2017-2018 he played his first season in Germany with the: Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 13.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 75.4%. In 2018-2019 he played with WWU Baskets Muenster (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games averaging 6.9ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 60.5%. Last season he played with TV Ibbenbueren Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 15.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 83.0%. He spoke to during the Coronavirus crisis.

Hi Marco 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?

At the moment I’m in Ibbenbueren. The team allowed me to stay here during this time since things are so much worse back home in Spain. 

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

Not at all! I knew it was something to be taken very seriously. But I never imagined it getting to this point. 

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?

My day to day here since the outbreak has been very chill. I try to keep busy with training and learning German. Other than everyone wearing masks and gloves and the social distancing, things seem pretty normal here in Germany. 

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 

For sure! Now I’m way more conscious about what I touch, how often I touch my face, and also washing my hands a lot more than before.

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

I was pretty disappointed when they announced that the season would be canceled. My teammates and I were really looking forward to the playoffs.

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? 

For the sake of finishing competitions and declaring a champion, I think this is a great idea. However, the element of the fans is one that will be missed if these ‘Ghost Games’ continue. 

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

Basketball wise, I’ve learned that with some creativity and effort you can really get a lot of work done when it comes to training. Really all the exercises I would normally do in a weight room can be done from home with some simple materials. I’ve also learned how small and connected the world truly is. In times like these Nationalities, race, gender, age, ect. Make no difference. We are all in this together. 

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? 

Personally this won’t be an adjustment for me. I see no disadvantages to the extra time in the off-season. I think athletes can take this time to really assess their bodies and their games and any weaknesses they have down to the smallest details. And really take this time to work on that. 

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

I am pretty optimistic about things. Although the uncertainty of it all can be stressful I am trying to stay positive and focus on the things that I can control. Eventually things should be back to normal and I’ll be ready when that time comes. 

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. 

My day to day life hasn’t changed so drastically compared to others since I really love chilling at home and watching movies and things like that. But when it comes to training, not having access to a weight room and gym to shoot has been the biggest thing for me. At home I’m training pretty much everyday. I’m working a lot on my strength and flexibility thanks to an online program called ATG (check it out!), and also my explosiveness and vertical jump. Since I can’t shoot I found an old beat up basketball and I work on my ball handling a bit each day. 

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

I’ve been talking to my former teammate and good friend from FIU, Juan Ferrales a lot. And also another former teammate and good friend from Spain named Joaquin Reyes. 

Let’s talk about the season of Ibbenburen. The club finished in 4th place with a 15-9 record. How would you summarize the season from a team standpoint?

In my eyes the season was a success despite the slow ending. We proved that we were a top team in this league and when we played our game we were very tough to beat. 

It was a tale of 2 seasons. The club started strong winning 10 of 12 games, but then went 5-7 the rest of the season. What were the main reasons for not being ever to get out of the hole in the last 3 months. 

Slumps are just part of the game. Be it individually or collectively I think when in a slump you have to keep things simple and focus on the basics. Overthinking or overanalyzing is probably the worst you could do. Perhaps we were just thinking too much into it.

Do you feel like the team underachieved in that 5-7 run? How disappointing was that negative turnaround? The team didn’t have any serious injuries and everyone on board.

We definitely underacheived in that last stretch of games. We all knew how good we were so we expected that each night. Although it was disappointing looking back now, I think the most disappointing thing is us not having the chance to redeem ourselves in the playoffs. 

How key were the two narrow loses to Reckilinghausen and BG Hagen at the end of November. Do you feel like those loses stuck in the heads of players? 

Those were 2 big loses for us. Because it was 100% in our hands to close those games and leave with a W. Road wins are extremely valuable in any league and you can’t afford to let them slip away. However we did not dwell too much on those losses. We were focused on getting back on track. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. Bryce Leavitt said this about you. ‘Marco belongs in the Pro A, I don’t think he’s missing anything. He has a really complete game for an off-ball scorer, and he’s physical enough to play at that level. I think he just needs a team to believe in him and put him in a role that fits his strengths’. What did you appreciate most about his game? 

Man. Bryce is my guy! We had instant chemistry on the court in practice. He is probably the most unselfish teammate I’ve ever had in my career and his basketball IQ and court vision are off the charts. It’s a blessing to play with a PG like this, especially for a wing player that is good at moving without the ball and getting to open spots, because he ALWAYS sees you. Another aspect of his game that is overshadowed is his scoring ability. Me and Bryce played a lot of 1-on-1 this season and they were always really heated. This is probably overshadowed because of how unselfish he is. 

Do you understand why a versatile player like that is only playing in the Regionalliga?

Unfortunately for Bryce he had a serious injury at the end of his season with WWU Baskets Muenster. That season he led them to a championship and a promotion to Pro B. If it wasn’t for the injury Bryce would have been right there with me in Muenster at the Pro B level doing his thing. And who knows where that could have led to. Many GMs were insecure about his health so he used this season as an opportunity to show he is healthy. I think he successfully showed this. 

You are a versatile player as well. How important was it having another versatile player like Juan Manuel Barga on the squad. How do you feel did you profit most from his game? 

Juan was huge for us and for me individually as well. I profited most from his rebounding ability as a guard. Our identity this season was to play fast pace and when you have rebounding guards like Juan it makes things easier, because they can rebound themselves and start the break. Defensively Juan also pushed me a lot in practice and prepared me for going up against tough defenders in the league. He took practice very seriously and helped me improve because of that. 

Let’s talk about your game. If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would you pick? 

This is always such a hard question to answer for me since I really take pieces from many players. But if I have to pick 1 I would say Jimmy Butler, because he is physical, loves the mid range, can score at all levels and he is a lock-down defender. Other guys that I watch a lot are Demar Derozan, Jrue Holiday, Manu Ginobili, and James Harden (really any lefty in the league I watch a lot of). 

Talk a little about your best attributes on the court. You were never a scorer in the NCAA because you didn’t get sufficient minutes. You proved in Spain and Germany that you can be a scorer. Have you always been a scorer or is that something that you developed further as a professional?

My best attribute on the court is just my versatility. If a coach needs me to score I can do this, if they need a stop on defense or a rebound I can do this as well. I pride myself for being a threat in any situation. I always knew that I had the ability to be a scorer. However in the NCAA I was much more of a spot up shooter, as this was the role I had on the team. This never kept me from working on other aspects of my game because I knew sooner or later I would have the opportunity to show my full ability. 

You shot the ball really well this season from outside at a clip of 35% the best percentage since turning professional. What was your secret to being able to do this? Was it more reps and shot selection or did you change up something with your mechanics? 

The only secret was consistency and confidence. Me and Bryce really worked a lot on our free time and we held each other accountable to not miss these extra workouts. The confidence aspect came from that work. This season I could’ve missed 10 shots in a row and I would’ve believed the 11th would go in. I give a lot of credit to my coach, Marc Pohlmann, for having that same confidence in me. A coach’s confidence can really make or break a player. 

You have played in the Pro B with Munster. What is the next step for you. Do you believe that you can play in the Pro A now or is proving yourself in the Pro B the next step? Or would you play in the Leb Silver or Gold in Spain? 

My plan is to stay here in Germany and continue to grow here. I know for a fact that I can help a Pro A team, and if that opportunity presents itself I will be ready for the challenge. Having another season in the Pro B to really prove myself and showcase my abilities at that level seems like a more realistic plan for next season. I know I could dominate that league. 

What are the most key things that you are continuing to tweak in the lab that will continue to help you improve your game? 

I’m really focusing a lot on my ball handling and my decision making in the Pick n’ Roll. I would like for coaches to feel confident playing me at the point guard position if needed. Also I’m really focusing on my body and just being more explosive, more flexible, quicker, faster and stronger. 

This season you hit Grevenbroich for 34 points on 7 three’s. Was this one of the best games in your career?

Scoring wise it was one of my best games so far. But overall I don’t consider it one of my best games since all I really did was score.

Last season you played with the WWU Baskets Muenster (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games averaging 6.9ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 60.5%. How cool was it having that exciting season and great run? What did you cherish most from that season?

That experience is one I’ll remember forever. I think it’s every athlete’s dream to be part of a ‘Cinderella Story’ and with WWU Baskets I got that chance. The thing I’ll cherish the most is the city and the love and support that they showed us. The entire city really rallied behind us and made us feel super appreciated. That feeling was amazing. Big shout out to all the fans of WWU Baskets.

In 2017-2018 you played your first season in Germany with the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 13.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 75.4%. What was your wake up call to being your first season in Germany where you knew that you were far away from home? 

Honestly the wake up call was when I was offered an extremely low contract to play in Spain. That really made me question my value and what I believe I’m worth. There I kind of realized that maybe it was time for me to leave Spain and try my luck elsewhere. It was a great decision. 

You played your second professional season with CB Novaschool Malaga (Spain-EBA) playing19 games averaging 11.4ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 85.5%. The EBA is Spain’s 4th league. How competitive is this league exactly and how would you compare it in skill and level to the German Regionalliga?

I would say that EBA is at the level of Regionalliga 1 overall. However, there are many clubs in EBA that are more like the Pro B level. It really depends on where you go in Spain. 

In your rookie season you played with Lucentum Alicante (LEB Silver) playing 27 games averaging 5.7ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 71.0%. What memories do you have of your rookie season and is this a league you might like to play in again? 

What I remember most about my rookie season is how close we were as a team. A lot of those guys I still talk to now and they will be my friends for a lifetime. Also Alicante is such an amazing city. I really loved it there. If the opportunity presents itself I would love to go back home to play. However, I’m very happy playing and living in Germany. 

You played at the very well known school Oak Hill Academy for a year that has graduated many many future NBA players like Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony. What kind of experience was this and talk a bit about the history and kids you played with that would go to the NBA. 

I could probably write a book about this experience haha. I was at Oak Hill for 2 years and I have to admit that they were 2 of the hardest years of my life. The experience was extremely humbling, as I went from being the best player on my team in Spain to being the worst player on the team. Life at Oak Hill was school and basketball. Nothing else. We probably played basketball at Oak Hill an average of 6 hours a day. And playing against that kind of talent you have no choice but to get better. But it was for sure very challenging. I remember my first day there being embarrassed in practice by Doron Lamb. It’s funny now but back then not so much lol. I got there the year after Brandon Jennings. I played with players like Doron Lamb (drafted to NBA, now in turkey), Juwan Staten, Momo Jones (who played last season in the BBL), and many others as well. They are all somewhere in the world playing pro ball. 

You began your career at Fairleigh Dickinson University (NCAA) in 2010 playing 14 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg. What memories do you have of your freshman year and could you gain anything positive from that time? 

My fondest memory of my freshman year was playing Uconn, who actually ended up being the national champion that year. In that game, for some reason, I got a lot more minutes than usual and was assigned to play a box and 1 on Kemba Walker. That is something I’ll always remember.

You then played at Florida International University (NCAA) from 2012-2015 amassing a total of 89 NCAA games. Talk a little about that amazing season and tough 65-63 loss to W Kentucky in the Sunbelt tournament final. 

That season was amazing! It was the first season for our new coach Richard Pitino (son of legendary coach Rick Pitino). I remember the first team meeting we had and just the intensity and drive of coach Pitino. He transformed us from a bottom of the league team to a team that was 2 points away from the NCAA tournament. He is easily the best coach I’ve had and I learned so much from him that year. I’m very grateful for that opportunity. 

You got more minutes mid way through your first season and scored in double figures in 4 straight games against LA Lafayette, S Alabama, Middle Tennesse State and LA Monroe. Was that some of the best basketball that you played there? 

Definitely. I almost forgot about that stretch of games. Coach Pitino really had confidence in me and that meant a lot to me at the time. 

What memories do you have of guard Dennis Mavin? He is a guy that has really had to fight for getting jobs. Is he a good example of just how much abundance there is of very talented guards in the world and just not always enough jobs available at higher levels?

I remember clearly when Dennis first came to FIU. We played 1-on-1 as soon as he got there and I remember thinking “wow this guy is quick!”. We had a few battles in practice. He for sure made me a better player. Dennis is a clear cut example of the talent that’s out there. I have so many friends back in the USA that are working a regular job and these guys love basketball and have so much talent. Unfortunately the foreign player rules makes things a lot harder for them to get an opportunity to play over in Europe. 

How did head coach Anthony Evans groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Coach Evans really instilled toughness in me. He made it clear that if I did not defend and play physically, then I would just not play. That physicality and defense is still with me today. 

Who won a one on one in practice back in the day you or Dennis Mavin? 

Back in the day Dennis won most of the time. He ended up being one of the leading scorers in the country that season. It would be really interesting to see us go at it now.

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

There’s so many that I can’t say just one. The one and only guy that truly left me in awe when I saw him play was Kyrie Irving. I had the chance to see him in high school then with FIU he actually practiced with us a few times when he was preparing for the NBA Draft. Other guys that I just feel bad not mentioning are Demarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker, Lorenzo Brown, Keith ‘Tiny’ Gallon, Domantas Sabonis, and many more. 

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time? 

Tough question. But I think I have to say: Bryce Leavitt Jojo Cooper Eduardo Guillen Juwan Staten Keith Hornsby 

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

Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant Lebron James Hakeem Olajuwan

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

It’s a tough debate and honestly a never ending one. I think MJ is the greatest of all time and he has a competitive drive and intensity that can’t even be compared to LeBron’s. However when you talk about them both as players, MJ was an elite scorer and defender, while LeBron does it all. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Thanks Marco for the chat.

A Late Run Propels BG Goettingen Over The Fraport Skyliners 83-76 In Preseason Action

All I could think the last days was nothing would be the same. As I was approaching Basketball City Mainhatten, the short phrase “nothing would be the same” got louder and stronger as I was in the building. I passed the restaurant and the entrance to the Titus Terme and then I reached the BCM. Instead of just walking in, I was greeted at the door and there was that COVID-19 mask once again something that has become a part of everyone´s life in 2020, the way us Bostonians love our Fenway Franks at Boston Redsox games. Those Franks and masks are a part of life. Seeing no fans was something I had to get used to, but the worst thing for me personally was the post game procedure something that I would have to get used to quickly this season. Having that special proximity to the players is very important, because I love getting those exclusive quotes to spice up my tell all articles and just going up to them and introducing myself was as normal for me now for more than a decade the same way it is for me to brush my teeth or do my 10 KM training each day on the roads. I didn´t want to think about the post game yet and just enjoy 40 minutes of basketball. One thing that hadn´t changed was that Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson was still there as each season. That will most likely not change until the Alabama native can´t run anymore. The only thing that really remained the same was that there were many new faces on each team. 2010 Eurochallnge winner BG Goettingen had many new faces and for me the 2 most interesting were ex NBA player Jorge Gutierrez and rookie Christian Vital who came from legendary NCAA school UConn and will handle the point guard duties this season. On the other side the Fraport Skyliners as usual weren´t complete yet as a few Americans were still missing, but also had many new interesting faces on the floor like Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Rasheed Moore, Michael Kessens and Matthew Meredith. An old known head was back with the versatile guard Konstantin Klein. Another thing, I had to get used to was the special seating arrangements. Each journalist had a certain place to seat which made me feel like I was not at a basketball game, but in the German cinema where seating arrangement has always been an option. Even If the Fraport Skyliners led after the first, second and third quarters, a game has 40 minutes and in crunch-time, the 2016 FIBA Europe Cup team let the game slip away and in the end lost 83-76. After the game Fraport Skyliners head coach Sebastian Gleim stood behind a plastic like window and answered the journalists questions. Despite the loss, he was upbeat since you can´t overrate the first test game. “Everyday we have 2 opponents with COVID-19 and our basketball opponent. Life right now is a big challenge for all. We were all happy today that we could play a game again. I thought it was a pretty good game to watch. I liked our energy on the court. At the end there was a difference in the physicality and we missed some things on defense and didn´t make shots. We had a lot of players not playing their natural position. But overall we reached more today than I expected”, expressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Sebastian Gleim. After the win a low beat Christian Vital expressed his thoughts about the win. “This was the first time that we played against a different team. We didn´t respond well in first half, but in the second half brought more energy, we started hitting more shots, rebounding and finishing better”, explained ex Uconn Huskie Christian Vital.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex UConn guard Christian Vital who scored 16 points for BG Goettingen

                Both teams were without key players as the Fraport skyliners were without Konstantin Klein while BG Goettingen was without ex NBA player Jorge Gutierrez. Frankfurt also presented Belgium national player Emmanuel Lecomte who has been in Frankfurt just staying in shape. Sebastian Gleim called him up 10 days ago and asked him if he wanted to come to Frankfurt and he obliged and took a train from Brussels to Frankfurt to help the team. Also practice player Alex Herrera who had belonged to the best Pro A forwards the last years with Phoenix Hagen and Science City Jena had left after signing with a club in Austria. The Fraport Skyliners got up on the wrong side of the bed as BG Goettingen jumped all over Frankfurt in the first few minutes taking a swift 8-0 lead. BG Goettingen got huge support from young German Marvin Omuvwie who last played with the Hamburg Towers scoring twice, big man Tai Odiase who came from the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League) and also played in Greece made a tap in and Aubrey Dawkins who is the son of ex NBA player Johnny Dawkins made free throws. BG Goettingen played aggressive at both ends of the court while Frankfurt were erratic in their set plays. The Fraport Skyliners finally got on the board at the 7,10 minute mark as ex wiha Panthers Schwenningen forward Rasheed Moore dropped a trey. Basketball is a game of runs  and now it was the Fraport Skyliners turn and they produced with a 13-0 run to take the 16-10 advantage. Key in this run was Emmanuel Lecomte who didn´t start came off the bench scoring in bunches with a jumper and trey and young German talent Jordan Samare who wasn´t playing his natural position made a tap in and lay in and German veteran Marco Voeller also made a tap in. Lecomte gave Frankfurt instant offense and confidence while BG Goettingen let up on aggressiveness on defense. Down the stretch BG Goetingen got some crucial baskets from rookie and ex North Carolina A&T State University (NCAA) forward Ronald Jackson and Christian Vital nailed a tough three pointer while Frankfurt got baskets from new players Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Michael Kessens as Frankfurt led 22-18 after 10 minutes. Both teams shot over 40% from the field, but poorly from outside while the story of the game was the Frankfurt 14-6 rebound advantage where Michael Kessens had 7.

Belgium national player Manu Lecomte

            In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners were able to keep their lead upping their defense and holding BG Goettingen to 13 points. Tai Odiase got BG Goettingen on the board first, but their inconsistency in execution allowed Frankfurt to go on a 5-0 tun to extend their lead to 27-20 getting a tip in from Moore and free throws from Lecomte and Len Schoorman. Both teams were sloppy, but that is expected in the first preseason game, but Frankfurt kept their lead and got valuable baskets from Gudmundsson and Moore for the 32-24 lead. One interesting stat in the second quarter was the team fouls. Frankfurt had got 4 early, but BG Goettingen could take advantage of it and later were hit with their 5th as Frankfurt still had 4. Every once in a while, BG Goettingen got some points as Dawkins and Jackson scored, but at the break, the Fraport Skyliners still had the 37-31 lead. Frankfurt had a bad shooting quarter from the field while BG Goettingen was still over 40%, but both teams shot 25% from outside. Frankfurt continued to dominate the boards 24-16 and had 11 offensive rebounds, while BG Goettingen couldn´t take care of the ball having 8 turnovers in the quarter.

Rasheed Moore nailing a three pointer scoring 14 points in his Frankfurt debut

            In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners were able to keep the lead, but had problems generating sufficient offense as BG Goettingen defended better and held Frankfurt without a field goal for almost 7 minutes. Despite defending so well, BG Goettingen had massive problems scoring and could compensate holding Frankfurt 7 minutes without a field goal. Despite Kessens controlling the boards, BG Goettingen big man Odiase continued to be a work horse as well on the boards made a put back while the German combination of Omuvwie and Nelson Weidemann who was 2017 NBBL champion with FC Bayern Munich combined for a bucket. Omuvwie made a block and Weidemann went coast to coast for the basket, but Frankfurt led 38-37. BG Goettingen was close to taking the lead on a British national player Luke Nelson´s three to tie the score at 40-40, but Frankfurt was able to find ways to get to the free throw line while still waiting to get that first field goal of the quarter. Frankfurt then went on a crushing 8-0 run getting free throws from Moore and Lecomte and Kessens then scored twice giving Frankfurt it´s first goal of the quarter at the 3,30 minute mark. Frankfurt has Lecomte for scoring in buckets while BG Goettingen countered with Dawkins who scored 6 unanswered points to get his team back close to 48-46. Vital scored and Dawkins then gave BG Goettingen the 51-50 lead, but Lecomte had the last laugh getting a lay in for the 52-51 Frankfurt lead after three quarters. “We picked up our defense and just continued to stay poised”, stressed Christian Vital. The Fraport Skyliners continued to shoot poorly from the field at 33% and only 16% from outside While BG Goettingen was still above 40% from the field and at 20% from outside. Frankfurt continued to control the boards at 34-28 and had an amazing 15 offensive rebounds. BG Goettingen continued to be careless with the ball getting 8 turnovers in the quarter totaling 18.

Manu Lecomte throwing up the floater

            The fourth quarter was a dog fight, but in crunch-time, it was BG Goettingen that executed better. BG Goettingen also began the fourth quarter better going on a quick 6-0 run to retake the lead at 57-52. The run was started by Vital making a pull up jumper which was followed by a three pointer and free throws by 25 year old German Andrew Onwuegbuzie. Frankfurt had no rhythm on offense and made bad turnover´s including a missed dunk. Frankfurt found some daylight with a Rasheed Moore offense rebound and put back to cut the BG Goettingen lead to 57-55. But Vital quickly silenced Frankfurt with a big trey for the 60-55 lead. “I always try to help my team. I made a good read and made the shot”, stressed Christian Vital. “Vital is a good shooter. We had to have done a better job taking that away from him”, added Frankfurt head coach Sebastian Gleim. Frankfurt suddenly executed well getting 3 consecutive baskets to tie the score at 62-62. Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson scored inside, Marco Voeller scored in the lane and Moore nailed a three pointer. Both teams were high on adrenaline and were trading baskets and runs. BG Goettingen took the lead back with a Weidemann trey and Vital free throws to lead 67-62, but Frankfurt responded right away with a Kessens bucket and three free throws from Lecomte to dead lock the game at 67-67. After Dawkins and Kessens traded buckets, it was Odiase who made a exciting and spectacular hard two handed alley op dunk for the 71-69 lead. But Frankfurt had an answer again as Quantez Robertson stroked home a clutch trey for the 72-71 advantage. But Frankfurt then would have no more answers as BG Goettingen rattled off a 9-0 run to secure the win. In the run, BG Goettingen got clutch baskets from ex MBC player Benedikt Turoic, Dawkins and Weidemann for the 80-72 advantage. Len Schoorman made 1/3 free throws and Vital and Robertson traded three pointers to end the game. “Basketball is a game of runs. After we took the lead, we took control late getting the win”, said Christian Vital. “We weren´t tired. They hit some tough shots. If they make 2 less three´s then it´s a different ball game”, stated Marco Voeller. BG Goettingen was led by Aubrey Dawkins with 21 points. Christian Vital produced 21 points and Tai Odiase added 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Emmanuel Lecomte with 16 points, Rasheed Moore added 14 points and Michael Kessen had 13 points and 14 boards. BG Goettingen shot 50% form the field and 32% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 23 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 36% from the field and 25% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 16 turnovers.