Tony Wroten(Anwil Wloclawek) Playing In The NBA Was A Dream Come True And It´s Not Over Yet

Tony Wroten is a 26 year old 198 cm forward from Seattle Washington playing his first season with Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-EBL). After many years in the NBA, he came overseas last year and played with BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Latvia-LatEstBL) playing 15 VTB United League games averaging 15.1ppg, 2.7rpg, 5.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 63.6%; and 3 Estonian KML games averaging 13.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 8.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 87.5%; and 17 LatEstBL game averaging 7.0ppg, 2.9rpg, Assists-1 (7.6apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 19.5%, FT: 46.9%. He played one season at Washington (NCAA) playing 31 games averaging 16.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.6apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 18.0%, FT: 57.6%. In 2012 he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies (NBA,1rd (25). He played in the NBA from 2012-2016 with the Philadelphia 76ers playing 110 games and averaged 12,8ppg and 16,9ppg in two seasons. He spoke to before a Basketball Champions League game in Vechta.

The USA U-19 team with future NBA players like Tony Wroten, Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist and Bradley Beal

Tony thanks for talking to Welcome back to Germany. You played in many big cities in the NBA and G-League. Is it a huge culture shock spending some time in the middle of nowhere in Vechta?

I’m used to it now. Last season when I was in Lativa it was a big culture shock. But now having traveled a lot in Europe, I’m more used to it. 

You have had so many teammates in your career, but does the name Martin Breunig ring a bell? He was your German teammate at Washington (NCAA).

Yeh I remember him. He went to my school. He was a good dude. He redshirted the year I was there so we never played together. I know that he is also playing in the Basketball Champions League. Maybe we will play against each other. Then we can catch up.

You played at the U-19 World Championships in Hamburg in 2010. What memories do you have of being in Germany and winning the Gold Medal?

What I remembered the most was just having that experience with my teammates. Just being able to play with guys like Michael Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Bradley Beal was priceless. We were in high school and just all the traveling and being without our families is also something I will never forget. Winning the Gold medal was huge. It is something that we can always tell our families forever. 

Your playing your second season overseas and first with Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-EBL). What kind of experience has it been playing in Poland. Do you still have needed adjustment to playing overseas or did you season in Latvia prepare you already?

I don’t need anymore adjustment now. I’m used to it now. I really love playing in Europe. I love the crazy fans and I am able to play for one of the best coaches in Europe. He wants to see me win and be successful. He pushes me to the maximum and never let’s me slack off. I see my future looking bright.

You have three other Americans on board and with Ricky Ledo another ex NBA player. Do you and Ricky sometimes talk about the good old days of the NBA? Do you remember playing against each other?

We actually never played against each other in the NBA. We talk about the NBA. My teammates want to hear stories about the NBA. I have no problem talking about my days in the NBA.I will always cherish the moments that I had in the NBA. Especially the local players on my team like to hear the NBA stories. Playing in the NBA was a dream come true and it’s not over yet.

Last season you played your first season overseas with BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Latvia-LatEstBL). What was your wake up call to being your first season overseas when you knew that you were very far away from home?

My wake up call was just knowing that family and friends couldn’t visit me with a 1-2 hour plane trip. 

Last season you led the LatEstBL in assists with 7,6apg. How proud are you of achieving this considering you never averaged that much in the NCAA or pro’s?

That’s what I do. I would always rather set up my teammates first. It was a big achievement, but it wasn’t surprising to me. My season in Lativa was a blessing and one I will build on. 

You played parts of four seasons in the NBA with Memphis, and Philadelphia. The trend has been for years to to come out early and go to the NBA. Do you ever wonder how your career might have gone had you played a few more years in the NCAA to further develop your game?

No I never thought about it. You can always ask the what if’s, but I never ever regretted my decision to come out early. Things always happen for a reason.

You were drafted by Memphis in 2012, but played that rookie season in the G-League with Reno. How tough was that first professional season not getting a chance to showcase your skills in the NBA?

It wasn’t tough. It just motivated me to get better. I knew that I still had things to work on. I knew that my time would come. I showed what I could do with the 76ers. 

In your second season you finally got a real chance with the Philadelphia 76ers. Playing 72 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 21.3%, FT: 64.1%. What was the first example that you witnessed in the NBA where you knew that you had arrived in the NBA?

Being the first person to get a triple double in his first start. 

In your first career start with the 76ers, you set an NBA record of producing a triple double in your first career start. What do you remember from this game and how proud are you of this milestone?

I just remember after getting the triple double that I was here. I realized that all the hard work that I had ever put in had paid off. My record is something that will never be broken. There will be guys that will do it, but I will always be the first that ever did it. 

You played two seasons with Michael Carter-Williams who had a great start to his NBA career. How vital was his presence and daily battles in practice for your game and are you surprised that he hasn’t had those huge roles with his last teams Bulls, Hornets and Rockets?

Michael played a big role. Most guys that play the same position usually don’t get along, but that wasn’t the case with us. We got along great and really went at it in practice. We made each other better and it translated into games. Our constant battles each day made us better and stronger. 

You had your best NBA season with the 76ers in 2014-2015 playing 30 games averaging 16.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 5.2apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 66.7%.. The season was going so well, but you then injured your knee. Did this injury cost you your career in the NBA? Do you think that you might still be there had you stayed healthy?

You can always speculate what may have happened if this or that happened. Injuries are a part of the game. You never know what can happen. I think that coming to Europe was a huge step for me. I had still had to mature in some areas. At the end of the day, I have seen my maturity grow here. It will continue to help me in my career.

In the 2016-2017 season you return back to the team that drafted you Memphis. You didn’t play in the NBA that season, but in the G-League and Venezuela. Was it strange returning there after they had given up on you?

It was easy going back to Memphis. It was pretty much the same team. I wasn’t a newcomer.

In the 2017-2018 season you played with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA G League) playing 35 games averaging 10.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 27.7%, FT: 53.7%. Did you ever have the feeling that season like you could earn a NBA call up?

Yes I did. I am always expecting it. I always want to better myself. Everything happens for a reason. My time will come. 

You played some years in the NBA and also had many great experiences. What did you cherish most about having had the chance to play with the best in the world?

Just being able to soak it all up from so many great players. I was able to take pieces here and there from so many players and add it to my game. In the summer, I’m always working with great players to continue to better myself. There are only 400 NBA players. All are good at what they do.

You played one season with Washington (NCAA) playing 31 games averaging 16.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.6apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 18.0%, FT: 57.6%. Was the 86-84 loss against Oregon State where you scored 29 points one of your toughest loses in your career?

That wasn’t one of the toughest. It is a part of the game. It was just a loss.

There were so many talented guys with you at Washington (NCAA) like Terrence Ross and Chris Wilcox and your self that made the NBA. Your talented teammate Abdul Gaddy didn’t. He had a solid season in the G-league last year and in Europe for years. Do you keep tabs on his career?

Yes I do. He is with the Oklahoma Thunder. He is doing very well with them. He may not get there right away, but if he stays with it it could happen.

How did head coach Lorenzo Romar groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

He is a great teacher. He groomed us for so much more than just basketball, but for everything in life. I will always be forever grateful for his guidance

Who won a one on one on one in practice you or Chris Wilcox

It’s crazy but we never ever played. I always played against Terence Ross.

Who was the toughest cover in the NCAA for you at Washington (NCAA) that reached the NBA?

Quinn Cook

If you had to name your own personal NBA Rushmore, which four heads would you chose?

Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant

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

Lebron is the best.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Joker. I wish that there would have been a little more action in it.

Thanks Tony for the chat.

Sasha Grant And FC Bayern Munich Basketball Slam Door Shut On Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners 70-61

After four and a half months of summer vacation, the NBBL(U-19) youth league kicked off their season this weekend, but something was very much different. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners didn´t kick it off with an enjoyable, competitive and exciting Hessen derby against Giessen or TV Langen, but instead met the best red team in Germany with FC Bayern Munchen. In the past this famous club was never in Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners´s division and if one had to meet them then usually in the playoffs or in late may at the Final 4. But the NBBL league decided to change the structure of the divisions and created just two which actually made the regular season more competitive. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners not only have FC Bayern Munchen now to battle in the regular season, but also other NBBL powerhouses like IBAM from Munich, ratiopharm Ulm or Porsche Ludwigsburg. Of course it was bitter for Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners to kick off the season having to play against the defending champion, but on top of that even worse that the club´s two German leaders Len Schoormann and Maxi Begue were absent due to injuries. You can never expect too much in the first game of the season, but FC Bayern Munich entered the game as the overwhelming favorite. On a rather mild early autumn afternoon day that saw some spectators trade in the sneakers and bikes for the seats and hot dogs, fans witnessed a very interesting first NBBL game for Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners. The 2015 NBBL finalist fought hard for 40 minutes, but halfway through the second quarter they were playing catch up basketball for the rest of the game and just couldn´t get over the hump as they lost 71-60. The Pro B Munich team had played the day before and had stayed overnight and after the victory, both teams Pro B and NBBL hurried out of the BCM gym to get back home and were unavailable for comment, but new Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners center Julian Steinfeld had joy answering question. He made his debut in the NBBL at age 18, because the 211cm center spent the last two years in the United States. He disappointed no one with game as he was the best Frankfurt player on the court with a 20 point game, 15 rebounds(10 offensive), 2 steals and 2 blocks day. Despite the loss, he was upbeat and reflected on the loss. “The second quarter wasn´t a good one for us. Walz got going and changed the game with his shooting. We didn´t shoot our free throws well, but we defended very well. Grant took us apart, but it´s really difficult to defend him”, stressed Julian Steinfeld.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing NBBL rookie Julian Steinfeld who exploded for 20 points and 15 rebounds(10 offensive rebounds) in the loss against FC Bayern Munich Basketball

FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had numerous injuries to compensate as did Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners as they were with out Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue, Clavin Schaum and Risto Vasiljevic. Both teams also had a number of guys coming from the JBBL(U-16) as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had five players and FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had six players. Jordan Samare who averaged 18/10 with the Cologne JBBL team two years ago got Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners on the board first with a tip in. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball didn´t waste their time testing their offense as they got back to back buckets from the Italian Stallion Sasha Grant and big man Mohammed Sillah who was fed nicely from 2019 JBBL MVP Benjamin Schroeder. New Skyliner Erik Brummert who also plays for the Pro B team scored on transition as quickly the game was tied 4-4. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball continued to put on the pressure on offense and got another basket from Sillah and a trey from German Philipp Walz for the 9-4 advantage. FC Bayern Munchen did a good job getting Sillah many touches while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was making simply too many turnovers as they couldn´t come to terms with the Munich on ball pressure. But Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had a secret weapon with German Julian Steinfeld. He played with a high intensity from the get go and was nearly unstoppable the whole afternoon. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners went on a 7-2 run as Steinfeld scored twice including free throws. Both teams would trade leads back and forth with a total of six times. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball got key baskets during the lead changes from 16 year old Michael Rataj, got a Grant lay in and a trey from German Luis Wulf. While Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners saw 14 year old Joshua Bonga make his debut. He didn´t wait long to make his presence felt as he hit a runner. Bonga finished his first NBBL game scoring 3 points getting 1 rebound and two assists in 14 minutes of play. “He made some good plays. He demonstrated that he could play well against older players. He played with a lot of self-confidence and wasn´t afraid of anyone”, stressed TV Idstein head coach Igor Starkovic. With FC Bayern Munchen Basketball leading 20-16, Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners closed out the first quarter in spectacular fashion and Steinfeld continued to rule the offensive glass making a put back and point guard Frederick Fischbach hit a buzzer beater three to steal the lead away from the Bavarian squad 21-20. “Frankfurt did a good job getting offensive rebounds. Steinfeld did a good job in his debut”, added TV Idstein head coach Igor Starkevic. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 42% form the field and 40% from outside and had 12 rebounds and 6 turnovers while FC Bayern Munchen Basketball shot 64% from the field and 67% from outside and had 6 rebounds and 5 turnovers.

The turning point in the contest occurred in the second quarter as Philipp Walz got hot hitting numerous shots giving the Bavarian team a big lead and one that Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners couldn´t recover from. Both clubs had difficulty finding their offensive rhythm at the start so the guests got into their offense with good defense as Sasha Grant made a steal and went coast to coast for the hard two handed dunk. Steinfeld than made a free throw as the game was dead locked 22-22. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners then lost total control of the game giving up a brutal 15-1 run to trail the 2019 NBBL champion 37-23. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball let it fly as it started to rain three´s. Walz hit two while Schroeder hit one while also making a lay in. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners lost focus and intensity on defense something you can´t allow to happen against a top team like FC Bayern Munchen Basketball. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners just couldn´t get anything going on offense as they couldn´t get into their sets correctly due to the high defensive intensity and pressure the guests were putting on them on every possession. FC Bayern Munchen continued to execute all the way to the break. FC Bayern Munchen continued to feed big man Sillah the ball and he used the abundance of mis matches and scored twice. Grant let fly another trey and connected. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got a three pointer from German Pierre Bathoum and free throws from Bennet Schubert.  “Munich started to hit shots better and just played with more ease. Munich just played with a lot of power on defense forcing Frankfurt to take tough shots”, added Igor Starkevic. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball shot 71% from the field and 60% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 11 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 30% from the field and 27% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 11 turnovers.

In the third quarter FC Bayern Munchen had total control of the game and led by as much as 21 points as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners couldn´t get anything going at both ends of the court. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners showed more effort on the defensive end and started getting more stops, but they couldn´t take advantage of their better defense with good offense. It seemed like things were looking up for Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners as they got a basket from Jordan Samare and FC Bayern Munchen Basketball couldn´t hit the ocean. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got to the free throw line a few times, but couldn´t make all their shots. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had been hit early with their fifth team foul at the 7,25 minute mark, but Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners couldn´t really take full example of it as their 48% showed from the free throw line. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had made better decisions while the guests had lost total rhythm on offense. Steinfeld continued to carry Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners making a hook shot as suddenly the Munich lead had dwindled down to 49-35. But basketball is a game of runs and it is only a matter of time before FC Bayern Munchen finally start executing. They finally did going on a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 59-38. In the run, they got explosive support from Sasha Grant who scored six points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had lost their rhythm on offense and they began to do 1-1 play which didn´t give them positive results as Munich had the paint clogged and it was very difficult to score. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners closed out the third quarter with a 4-0 run as German Ben Karbe scored in the paint as did Steinfeld as they trailed FC Bayern Munchen 61-44. “We didn´t hit our shots consistently. We had problems defending their many offensive options. They have many weapons. Sillah was a monster”, stressed Julian Steinfeld. FC Bayern Munchen Basketball shot 53% from the field and 44% from the parking lot and had 29 boards and 16 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 33% from the field and 27% form the parking lot and had 28 boards and 17 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber catching up with ex German national player Steffen Hamann now an assistant coach for FC Bayern Munchen Basketball NBBL team

In the fourth quarter Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners made one last push, but couldn´t get over the hump never cutting the Munich lead down under 10 points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners started their push right away tightening up their defense and getting 5 consecutive stops on FC Bayern Munchen Basketball. However they couldn´t take full advantage as they scored only twice on offense. A big problem on this day was that Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners really only had one go to guy/offensive option with Julian Steinfeld. He continued his offensive domination scoring the first two Frankfurt buckets on a transition lay in and a hook shot as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was in range to keep striking only down 61-48. The German finished with 20 points and 15 boards including 10 offensive rebounds. “I was very excited to play. The dunk at the start helped my confidence. I played well on the offensive glass. I don´t know if the 10 offensive rebounds was a personal record for me, because in the States I played against a lot of smaller players”, smiled Julian Steinfeld. But FC Bayern Munchen Basketball had their own scoring weapon in Sasha Grant. It was kind of that situation where coach tells him to take the ball and do work. And that is what he did. He already had a huge physical advantage on every player he went against and he scored time in and time out again. He scored four buckets and even though Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got two clutch three´s from Karbe, they couldn´t make any ground as they still trailed 69-56. With a minute to play, Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was beat even if they gave it a strong fight. Steinfeld showed his high intensity and aggressiveness until the buzzer as he scored too more time improving his statline, but in the end not getting over the hump hurt them. “We defended very well, but once we got closer, they were able to hit shots.”, stressed Julian Steinfeld. FC Bayern Munchen was led by Sasha Grant with 30 points. Philipp Walz added 10 points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was led by Julian Steinfeld with 20 points and 15 rebounds. FC Bayern Munchen shot 48% from the field and 30% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 26 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 34% from the field and 25% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 24 turnovers.

Aaron Kayser Blocks The Fraport Skyliners Juniors To 68-62 Victory Over FC Bayern Basket 2

After two very unsatisfying Pro B loses on the road in Giessen and at home against Baunach, the dam finally broke for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they exploded against ex head coach Eric Detlev and his young Wurzburg squad exploding for 101 points as Germans  Bruno Vrcis and Cosmo Gruehn had career days. The ex FC Bayern Munich guard hit for 30 points while Gruehn netted 28 points and had a personal best of 8 three´s to bolster the offensive attack. Basketball life though didn´t get any easier for Frankfurt as they had a meeting with the mighty FC Bayern Munich who came into the game with a 2-1 record. But as is the case with many organizations, there is always a time for great personal changes and last summer the Bavarian team lost 3 key figures with Bruno Vrcic to Frankfurt, Killian Binapfel to the Telekom Baskets Bonn and Nelson Weidemann to Brose Bamberg. Despite a big void in their experience, the club still has unending potential and is stocked with young talent like Italian freak athlete Sasha Grant or Sierra Leonean beast Mohamad Sillah. It was also the first meeting between Bruno Vrcic and his ex team which had him extremely motivated for a positive effect. Also it is also always a treat to see ex German national team player Demond Greene behind the sidelines as he has been retired since some years as he began his coaching career in 2015. There is always moments in the time outs to reminisce about the good old days when he was flipping the ball to an open Dirk Nowitzki for the open three. On an untypical rather warm Saturday afternoon, one of the last beautiful days of the year, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors found back to their old defensive joy as Bruno Vrcic and Aaron Kayser combined for 29 points leading the club to a huge 68-62 victory in their own living room. Ex FC Bayern Basketball 2 guard Bruno Vrcic exploded for 30 points last weekend in Wurzburg and couldn´t reach that total this time, but his 16 points were golden as he made the big plays and big shots in crunch-time. After the win he reflected on how his team played and was thrilled with how the team made huge strides on the defensive end. “We played well today. Both teams were eye to eye in the first two quarters. We got away from our game in the third quarter and had good and bad phases. We played a lot better defense. We were compacter in the zone and there were less holes than there were in Wurzburg. We did a good job controlling their centers and made them work hard for every shot and we played good help defense”, stressed 2019 NBBL champion Bruno Vrcic. FC Bayern basketball 2 played a hard fought and spirited game, but just couldn´t get their offense going and couldn´t come to terms with the Frankfurt depth. After the tough loss, captain Viktor Frankl-Maus wasn´t pleased with the loss. “I am really proud of the team. We fought really hard despite having injuries and a number of guys not completely healthy that were on the court. We had too many turnovers and let up too many offensive rebounds. Despite the loss, we defended really well”, stressed ex Dragons Rhondorf guard Viktor Frankl-Maus.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Fraport Skyliner Aaron Kayser who finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had been without three key players Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue and Nigel Pruitt in the first three games, but against FC Bayern Basketball 2, they had two on board with Pruitt and Schoormann. In the first minutes both teams were unable to find a sound offensive rhythm as bricks and turnovers controlled the game while both teams had upped the defensive intensity which limited minimal points being produced. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors finally got going getting out on a 5-o lead as Vrcic made an offensive rebound and put back and ex St Johns forward Richard Freudenberg nailed a trey which had been made possible after an Aaron Kayser offensive reboud. easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners had had the luxury of not having a game this weekend, so they gave Freudenberg the green light to play. FC Bayern Basketball 2 finally got on the board at the 7,26 minute mark as ex Ehingen German Moritz Noeres scored in the lane. Frankfurt then scored again upping their lead to 7-2 as ex Niners Chemnitz center Aaron Kayser who had entered the game shooting 75% from the field got off too a fast start making a left handed hook shot. FC Bayern Basketball 2 then got some vital support from Frankl-Maus who led the Pro B in assists in 2017 with 7,0 hit a trey and made free throws to dead lock the contest at 7-7. Frankfurt lost their offensive rhythm in the last minutes as the Bavarian team got some key support from new player Dennis Alibegovic who drilled home a trey and after 10 minutes the score looked like an American football score as FC Bayern Basketball 2 led 13-9. “We are two young teams and are prone to making mistakes. Both teams defended very well and forced each other to many turnovers”, stressed 2017 NBBL champion Bruno Vrcic. FC Bayern Basketball 2 shot 33% from the field and 50% from outside and had 12 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 17% from the field and 25% from outside and had 10 rebounds and six turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and huge Italian talent Sasha Grant

The second quarter remained a tight affair with little scoring as both teams continued to defend hard and with passion and five lead changes were present. After 20 minutes the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the slim 34-31 advantage. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got on the board first in the second quarter as new player Tennessee native Nigel Pruitt who dominated the Regionalliga for two years with Westerstede made his debut and made a steal and ran the fast break like a guard scoring cutting the Munich lead to 13-11.Both clubs now had some solid offensive execution, but FC Bayern Basketball 2 kept the slim lead. FC Bayern Basketball 2 got a nice trey from ex Chemnitz Niner Emmanuel Womalla and 2017 NBBL champion Julius Duh made a lay in while Frankfurt got two lay in´s from Aaron Kayser who continued to feel comfortable dominating the paint area. The German who averaged 4ppg and 3rpg in his first season in the Pro B with Frankfurt has made a fine development in Frankfurt and finished with13 points and 11 rebounds and two blocks and has the respect of his teammate Bruno Vrcic. “Aaron had a super game. He plays very calm and has improved. We like to look for him on the pick and role. At the moment he is playing with so much confidence”, stated Bruno Vrcic. “I feel good after this win. It is good to have my own rhythm again. I have a bigger role this season. I feel a lot more comfortable this season. It simply took a little longer than maybe for other players. I want to keep building on my game”, warned Aaron Kayser. Frankfurt gave up some very bad turnovers which led to easy baskets as Frankl-Maus made a steal and coast to coast drive for the easy lay up and 20-15 FC Bayern Basketball 2 lead. It´s still early in the season, but Frankfurt´s communication wasn´t at it´s best in this game. But Frankfurt then found some daylight and were able to go on a lethal 7-0 run to retake the lead at 22-21. The run was started by a hustle play by energizer German Konstantin Schubert who is in his sixth season with the Frankfurt Pro B team made an offensive rebound and put back. After a FC Bayern Basketball 2 miss, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors produced the most spectacular play of the game as English man Jaz Bains and Richard Freudenberg teamed up with a massive alley-op dunk. “That alley-op worked well. One would have thought after seeing that dunk that they have been playing together for a longer time. He had a dunk last weekend against Munich and today again. He can really dunk”, stressed ex Bamberg center Leon Kratzer. Freudenberg wasn´t done with the stuffing, but then hit a trey as Frankfurt led. Frankfurt was spreading the scoring around as it seemed like every player got their chance. After Freudenberg, it was Jaz Bains chance as he nailed a trey made a lay in for the 27-24 lead. But FC Bayern Basketball 2 remained on Frankfurt´s heels as Noeres connected on a three to tie the game at 27-27. FC Bayern Basketball 2 continued to get valuable support from German Dennis Alibegovic with his second trey of the game to give the lead back to Munich. But Frankfurt grabbed the lead back getting big buckets from the kids Jordan Samare with a two handed dunk and 2018 JBBL MVP Len Schoorman hit a trey for the 34-31 Frankfurt lead at the break. “Both teams defended very well and there were many fouls. Frankfurt had the lead, because FC Bayern Basketball 2 never really found a good rhythm. Frankfurt´s offense wasn´t that great either, but they were playing ok”, added Fraport Skyliner Leon Kratzer. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 40% from the field and shot 21% from the three point line and had 15 boards and 11 turnovers while FC Bayern Basketball 2 shot 43% from the field and 33% from the three point line and had 18 boards and 14 turnovers.

The third quarter experienced many lead changes and two runs and at the end of 30 minutes no team led as the game was dead locked at 48-48. Vrcic got Frankfurt going rapidly with a three pointer upping their lead to 37-31. But like in the first quarter, it was Frankl-Maus who led his team back closer with a trey while Duh scored inside as Frankfurt led only 37-36. Vrcic had no mercy and hammered another trey into the face of his ex team Fc Bayern Munich 2 for the 39-36 advantage. As dangerous as that three seemed, it had absolutely no impact on Bayern Munich 2 as they shot back with their best offensive execution of the game with an annoying 9-3 run to retake the lead 45-39. Frankfurt had defended so well in the game, but had some lapses in this run from which they couldn´t make adjustment on. Bayern Munich 2 did a good job spreading the scoring around as four guys contributed. The run started with a lay in from 2019 NBBL champion Sasha Grant, a trey from Austrian guard Erol Ersek, another three by Frankl-Maus and a steal and coast to coast run and lay in by Womalla. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had lost their rhythm and couldn´t control the boards in this run. 17 year big talent Sasha Grant finished with only 4 points and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes, but it isn´t always his game that gets the most admiration, but his body. “He has a very big body for his age. He still needs to fine tune his game, but he has the body for the BBL. He is very athletic. I remember his dunk from last years NBBL final game”, stressed ex Baunach center Leon Kratzer. Frankfurt finally calmed down and closed out the third quarter in style fighting back going on a 7-1 run to tie the contest at 46-46. In the run, Kayser continued to be productive at close range scoring, Vrcic nailed another trey and Cosmo Gruehn also scored a trey. Frankfurt had brought immense energy as Vrcic led the team forward while FC Bayern Munich 2 missed open shots. Vrcic  continued to play with a high amount of intensity and didn´t shy away from anyone going hard at the hole and scoring for the 48-46 lead. Shortly before the end of the third quarter 17 year old beast Mohammed Sillah who only started playing basketball two years ago reeled in the perfect lob pass from Frankl-Maus for the easy lay in and 48-48 game. “We wanted to play with a lot of motivation and play our game in the third quarter, but didn´t. But we finally found our game I the second part of the quarter. We didn´t force things, but found the open man. The way we ended the quarter gave us the feeling that we could win the game”, stressed Bruno Vrcic. “Frankfurt defended well and hurt us with their penetration and offensive rebounds. We couldn´t make big plays”, added Viktor Frankl-Maus. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 40% from the field and 24% from the parking lot and had 26 rebounds and 17 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich 2 Shot 43% from the field and 29% from the parking lot and had 25 rebounds and 16 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing game top scorer Bruno Vrcic with 16 points

In the fourth quarter the game witnessed some more lead changes as it was tight, but in crunch-time the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to execute better and made the big stops to secure the win. Frankfurt had one of their nicer scores to begin the fourth quarter as three year man Cosmo Gruehn muscled down an offensive rebound and went out and then beat his man and drove and fed ex Cologne player Jordan Samare with the massive two handed dunk and 50-48 Frankfurt lead. Both teams would trade leads as FC Bayern Munich 2 countered with an Ersel lay in and three from ex Heidelberg forward Constantin Schmitt while Frankfurt got support from a Schoorman step back jumper and then found back to his old ways of going coast to coast with a lethal hard one handed dunk as the game was dead locked 54-54. Frankfurt used the momentum of the massive Schoorman dunk and went on a 4-0 run as Kayser and Gruehn scored to extend the Frankfurt lead to 58-54. Frankfurt had upped their intensity and great defense led to great offense while Bayern Munich 2 had lost some energy. FC Bayern Munich 2 clawed back getting some free throws from Ersek and Womalla, but Frankfurt still led 58-57. But Frankfurt just was the fresher team and executed perfectly as Vrcic continued to lead the team nailing a jumper and Kayser remained confident and aggressive scoring inside again as Frankfurt led 63-57. “My teammates did a good job finding me. I thought that I moved well and took what the defense gave me”, stressed Aaron Kayser. But FC Bayern Munich 2 just didn´t give up and got free throw from Duh And Grant made a huge bucket inside to cut the Frankfurt lead to 63-60. Frankfurt also had some fortune as they got a few 50/50 balls. After going 0/6 from the free throw line Kayser finally made one for the Frankfurt 64-60 lead with 50 seconds to play. FC Bayern Munich 2 still had a chance, but then it was Kayser making a huge block on Duh sealing the win which led to a Vrcic runner for the 66-60 lead with 21 seconds remaining. “On the block I saw Freudenberg in front of me and the Munich player did a pump fake and waited until he shot and went up and blocked it. I thought that I anticipated it well”, smiled Aaron Kayser. Duh made a lay in with 4 seconds remaining to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 66-62. Gruehn then iced the win with free throws. “Defense was key for our win. They had real problems to score. We really have improved our defense and have to keep it up”, warned Bruno Vrcic. “We defended well, but they hit tough contested shots. They executed well and we had too many turnovers”, added Viktor Frankl-Maus. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Bruno Vrcic with 16 points while Aaron Kayser added 13 points and 11 rebounds. FC Bayern Munich 2 were led by Viktor Frankl-Maus with 14 points while Erol Ersek added 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 40% from the field and 21% from outside and reeled in 38 rebounds and had 19 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich 2  Shot 43% from the field and 27% from outside and reeled in 31 rebounds and had 21 turnovers.

Mike Taylor(Hamburg Towers) I Told The Guys To Go Out And Make Some Highlights Against Team USA That They Would Remember For The Rest Of Their Lives

Mike Taylor is in his 19th season as a professional coach and is in his second season as head coach of the Hamburg Towers. Last season he led the club to the easyCredit BBL and this past summer led Poland to an incredible 8th place finish at the World Cup. He is the son of Dick Taylor who was an NCAA coach and assistant with the New York Knicks. Mike Taylor started his coaching career in 2001 with Chemnitz (Germany-2.Bundesliga). In 2002-2003, he got valuable experience in the UK with the Essex Leopards London (United Kingdom). In 2003, he started to coach for ratiopharm Ulm leading them into the Beko BBL in 2006 and Beko BBL playoffs in 2009 before leaving in 2011. He had a record of 101-15 in four years of second Bundesliga basketball. He also has coached Kansas Cagerz (USBL) in the summer time as well as being an assistant for the Czech national team. In 2011 he made the jump back to the states and was an assistant for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League). He then was head coach of the Boston Celtics D League team Maine Red Claws and they reached the playoffs for the first time in team history. He spoke to at the start of the 2019-2020 BBL season.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Mike Taylor in the Maine Red Claws dressing room in 2013

Congrats Mike on an amazing and successful World Cup with Poland. Be honest on the flight back from China, do you think you reflected more on the World Cup success or were you already looking ahead to the Hamburg Towers season?

Thank you Miles! To be honest, I slept 7 of the 10 hour flight from Beijing back to Germany. The World Cup in China was a fantastic basketball and life experience and I am thankful our Polish National team could enjoy it together. I definitely tried to reflect on the flight but it was more flashes as the entire run had not completely set in yet. Coaching against team USA Saturday, I tried to be completely present in the moment because it was such a special game. On the flight home, there was also a lot to look forward to in the inaugural Bundesliga season with the Hamburg Towers. Mostly I just thought that I am thankful to have two great teams to coach.

You already had legendary status in Poland as a head coach as you helped the country reach the first World Cup in 52 years. What kind of feedback and congratulatories from Poland did you get after this masterful run?

Poland was so positive after our run. Many nice messages and phone calls from friends to say congratulations. President Radek Piesiewicz and the Federation have been so generous to the team and we really appreciate it. There was so much coverage of the team and the players and the success. The World Cup run has been a positive boost for basketball in the country and I am so thankful our players will be remembered for doing something special for Polish basketball in their National team careers. I hope it helps inspire the next generation of boys and girls playing basketball and lifts up the game in Poland. 

You have had a lot of success as a head coach leading ratiopharm Ulm and the Hamburg Towers into the BBL and now this with Poland. Was having this World Cup success the biggest success in your career?
Finishing in the top 8 at the World Cup is the biggest success of my coaching career to this point and I am so thankful to have shared the experience with our team and staff. Winning on the World stage with our team and leading Poland to a historical World Cup run is something I will always hold in my heart. 
Please explain what the secret to the success of this summer’s Poland national team was? They surely didn’t have their most talented team as a Marcin Gortat wasn’t there, but had very good players that came together.Our success was rooted in teamwork and toughness which developed over time. Throughout our time together starting in 2014, we developed our core of players through both positive and difficult experiences. As our qualifications for the World Cup went on, we focused on players who put their heart into the Polish National team and really wanted to be there. Of course this meant maybe passing on a more talented player or bigger name player in favor of a hardworking, blue collar guy who would be completely committed. Our experience together and chemistry became our strength and powered us to the top 8 finish in China. While our team may not have NBA names, we have a core of high quality Polish professionals who put the team first. Prior to my arrival, many Polish teams were built for star players or big names. I believe basketball is a team game and teams win. I am proud our Polish National team developed into a tremendous example of that.

Poland reeled off four wins in a row in the World Cup. Was this a perfect example of what a basketball team can do with a very strong preparation period leading into the competition?
I think we peaked at the right time. It was years of hardwork and teamwork coming together. Our experiences together from the past prepared us for the moment in a deep way. Our core knew itself and our identity very well and we used our preparation games to help develop a few young players for important moments in China. We knew we needed some contributions from a few players new to the team. An example would be 18 year old Olek Balcerowski who was the youngest player in the World Cup. Olek gained confidence and important experience in our 10 preparation games prior to Beijing. As it turned out, Olek really helped us throughout the tournament. I was very proud of him holding his own against high level players. Our first win against Venezuela set the stage and our big win over China was something special we will remember forever. That win was all about toughness and overcoming adversity. The guys took care of business against Ivory Coast and then really showed their heart coming back to beat Russia in the second Round. The World Cup became the dream run we hoped it would be and a lot of it was about peaking at the right time.

You beat two very good countries with China and Russia, but then lost the last four games to three very good countries Argentina, Spain and USA and good country the Czech Republic. Is the loss to the Czech Republic where you once served as an assistant coach one of those loses that will stick with you for a while and not be forgotten so quickly?
It was a matter of our team reaching our limits. Playing in the first World Cup for Poland in 52 years was something special and our 4 game winning streak was an amazing experience. It was uncharted territory for our team and we were doing our best to rise to every challenge. After beating Russia, Argentina’s victory over Venezuela sealed our spot in the Quarterfinals and opened up two great games for our team. Playing Argentina and Spain, the two teams who eventually met in the finals, we did our best. I was very proud of our players and staff. For me, the game against the Czech Republic was special because of my connection with Czech basketball. My wife’s father Gerald Dietl is a former Czech National team player and coaching four summers for my good friend Pavel Budinsky as an assistant with the Czech National team was so much fun. For both Poland and Czech Republic to be the two positive surprise teams in China added to the story. When we met, we really wanted to win but Tomas Satoransky made the difference and they made more plays down the stretch than us and earned the win. For me, that was like losing to your brother — despite coming up short, you are happy for their success. I think all of the games will stick with me, but the Czech game will stick with me for positive reasons because it brought so much of my personal past together on the World Cup stage

I believe you witnessed the development of Tomas Satoransky early in his career and have followed him since then. Does he have the potential in the next years to really move up and become a top European player in the NBA?

Saty is a great story. He is a player everyone should root for because he is a positive person and brings positive energy every day. I enjoyed working with him when he was younger on his way up and it is fantastic to see the player and person he has become. It has not come easy for him. Saty has worked his way up and earned everything in Europe and now in the NBA. What impressed me about his play in the World Cup was how he made his teammates better. To me that is what a star does — raises the level of his team and teammates. I hope he takes confidence and experience as a leader with him to Chicago and am really rooting for him in his career. He also said he has me scouted pretty good too joking with me he always knew my first plays. We tried to change it up on him in Shanghai. Another interesting fact about Saty is that he is a singer. Saty Loves to sing and is always humming a toon or singing something. And he is good too! He is really a fun guy for a team. 

You guys didn’t have much luck against Argentina who found back to their amazing form from 2002-2006 with some ex NBA players an aging Argentine super star Luis Scola. What have been some of the biggest reasons why this country made such an amazing run and is back on the basketball map?
Argentina was so impressive in China. They really took us out of our offense with their defensive pressure and they really played an excellent offensive style. Of course Luis Scola was a great story playing at that level at 39. I really enjoyed watching the two young Argentine guards Facundo Campazzo and Nicolas Laprovittola. Sergio Hernandez did an excellent job coaching the team. While fans may remember the former generation of players, I think this World Cup gives Argentina a lot to be excited about for the future. 

How special was it playing the United States. You coached in the G-League for many years and are a known coach there. How did you experience the whole process leading up to the game and what will you remember most from having had the opportunity to battle against your home land?

It was a dream come true coaching against Team USA. It was something we really did not expect adding an amazing finishing touch to our World Cup. I will remember the professionalism of Coach Popovic and the team USA staff. Something small that really impressed our team was 90 minutes before the tip off, one of the first people onto the floor for team USA was coach Steve Kerr who was putting Kris Middleton through warm ups. You could tell he was there because he loved the game and wanted to help the players. One of the most enjoyable parts was simply the game preparation with all the NBA players. I was really thankful that our Polish National team players were on the big stage for a moment playing against team USA. I have seen how hard our guys have worked over years. I told them to go make some highlights that they would remember for the rest of their lives and they did!

You have coached so many games, but what is like playing against your home country? How is it having to beat your own country?

That game definitely stood out as something special. The most emotional part was hearing the Star Spangled banner pre-game. I have been coaching with National teams for 10 years with both Poland and Czech Republic. Standing at attention for national anthems is always respectful and part of the routine, but I never imagined I would hear the Star Spangled Banner. It was a nice moment and really brought everything together. I am a big basketball fan and a big Team USA fan so matching up with them was fun to begin with, but the Star Spangled banner meant a lot.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Mike Taylor in the Kuhberg gym in 2008 in Ulm

How vital was the success of the team and game success of the three top players Mateusz Ponitka, AJ Slaughter and Adam Waczyinski? Do you feel like the added exposure will continue to help them make steps up the basketball ladder?

I love those guys. Mateusz was tremendous throughout the tournament and really made plays. He will go down in Polish basketball history for his big plays in the China win. I was really proud of Mateusz and his performance, especially as a go-to-guy and team leader. Some of the highlights he made against team USA made me happy. Adam, our captain, was such a great leader. His shooting sparked us and he led the entire tournament in Free throw shooting. Adam is such a smart player, it has been so much fun to see him establish himself on the highest levels in Europe. I enjoy talking basketball with Adam and really respect his basketball IQ. I am also so proud of AJ. To see AJ grow into the impact player that he has become has been one of the best things about my experience in Poland. I am so proud of AJ as a player on the floor and as a person off the floor. These three guys are really meaningful to me and I appreciate coaching them so much. When you work with guys for 5 or 6 years, sharing those moments of success is the best feeling in the world. Poland can be proud of Mateusz, Adam and AJ and our entire team.

How do you feel have you developed further as a head coach in the last 8 months in the time from leading the Hamburg Towers to the Pro A title to the 8th place finish at the World Cup with Poland?
I think just the experience preparing to win on the big stage and winning pressure games. The experiences over the last year with Poland and Hamburg have been a fantastic ride. I appreciate the support from both the Polish Federation and Hamburg Towers organization. Many people on both ends work hard to support me and I am fortunate enough to have two great teams to coach. I love to coach basketball and have enjoyed the time with players and staff from both teams. This summer, when Poland came to Hamburg for the Super Cup we took a team picture with both the Polish National team and the Hamburg Towers. That is one of the most meaningful pictures I have. I love it. 

You are with the Hamburg Towers now having been in a training camp in Budapest and now getting ready for the BBL. What was the toughest adjustment for you coming from the World Cup to the BBL right away?
I think I paced myself well in China so I feel good ahead of the new BBL season. It’s not a difficult adjustment. We have developed both teams in a way that the systems are similar. I know the personnel well. We have good support staff in Hamburg. Our assistants Benka Barloschky and Austen Rowland along with conditioning coach Melvin Wierdu have done an excellent job with the team while I was with Poland at the World Cup. I see Poland as an example for Hamburg. Poland at the World Cup is the finished product after developing a team throughout different experiences over several years. In Hamburg we are at the beginning of the process and will be challenged in our first year in the Bundesliga. I love to coach and build programs so I am very excited about the future in Hamburg. 

How involved were you with the off season transfer period of the Hamburg Towers? Were you able to be involved despite your duties with the Polish National team?
In Hamburg, Marvin Willoughby and I work closely together and I was heavily involved in events throughout the summer with the Towers. Again, the support from both Hamburg and Poland makes it possible to work with both teams and the results speak for themselves. When a person is organized and manages time well, it is possible to effectively balance both coaching situations well. 

You want to play team basketball on offense and play an aggressive defense. Can one look more ahead than just having that goal of staying in the league with the quality of players that you have now?
We must respect the challenges ahead and respect the Bundesliga. For us, it is about maximizing the potential of the Hamburg Towers team. We must find the Bundesliga level and establish our ability to win. It will be a process but I am looking forward to helping the players and team grow throughout the season. We will start at ground zero and work our way up. 

The Heiko Schaffartzik pick up was huge. You coached against him a lot back in the day with ratiopharm Ulm. Is there a particular game you remember vividly where he totally displayed his amazing ability to turn a game around instantly with his sniper qualities?
We are so happy to add Heiko to our team. His experience and playing style will really help us. I have coached against Heiko a lot in Ulm and with Poland. I remember him making so many big shots from deep range with his quick release. It is great to finally have him on our side! Heiko has made a positive first impression and is ready for a great season ahead.

Do you see young German talent Justus Hollatz being able to make a big jump now that he has a possibly mentor in Heiko Schaffartzik on the team?
We love Justus. He has such a great feeling for the game and his passing ability is something special. We want to help Justus grow and develop in all aspects of his game. I see him having a solid role in our Bundesliga team and I do believe Heiko has a lot of experience and expertise to offer him. Justus is a great kid and I really enjoy working with him. I hope he can have another quality developmental season with us in Hamburg. As a 17 year old in Pro A last season Justus really improved and showed his skill making the game sealing three against Nurnberg in the finals. This season, we hope Justus can make another big jump and make some more big jump shots!

German Kevin Yebo has had a Cinderella type career coming form an unknown Regionalliga player to Ehingen and becoming one of the leagues best power forwards. What will be most important for his game development this season for him to make the transition to the BBL best?

In Hamburg Kevin will play at the small forward position for the first time in his career. It will be a transition for him, but we believe for his future it will be great for his development. We hope to help Kevin develop his perimeter skills and perimeter defense this season. Kevin has so much talent and a long, athletic basketball body. He fits the profile of our team and we are really happy to have Kevin with the Towers. In the preseason, Kevin has already had some highlight alley oops and dunks in our games. I hope Kevin fills Edel Optics Arena in Hamburg with highlights all season long!

You saw the Fraport Skyliners recently winning a test game. What is your impression of them? Your 24/7 basketball and follow the sport closely, but with all your duties can you still be able to know that young Skyliners coach Sebastian Gleim has been a huge force in the development of German players in Frankfurt?
We played the Skyliners after our training camp in Budapest and it was our final preparation game. After a slow start, we were able to come back and edge out a close win in a low scoring defensive game. I was happy for our guys because it did not come easy. Frankfurt looks solid and they have some explosive scoring in the backcourt along with the veteran presence of Quantez Robertson. I met Sebastian in Las Vegas this summer. He impressed me as a good young basketball coach and I have heard many good things about him from the Towers people who know him from his time coaching in Wedel.

How will the Boston Celtics be better with Kemba Walker than with Kyrie Irving and will Daniel Theis have an even bigger role and can he make his real break through this season?
I expect Boston to play better together with Kemba Walker this season and I hope Daniel Theis can earn a bigger role with the Celtics. 

What was the last movie that you saw?
Spider man into the Spider Verse

Thanks Mike for the chat

The Miles Basketball Minute: When Will The Real Dragons Rhondorf Step Up To The Plate

Ok so you won´t see a Baseball plate in the Dragon Dome, but moreover many white plates in the VIP room to help hungry people wet their appetites during games, but the way the Dragons Rhondorf have started into the 2019-2020 Regionalliga season, one definitely can use that well known American phrase “when will the real Dragons Rhondorf finally step up to the plate. In English terms, the plate is the base in baseball that players stand next to and try to hit the ball as far and accurate as possible and also the base that a player needs to reach in order to gain a run to help the team be successful. A sound definition for this phrase is “to take responsibility for doing something, even though it is difficult”. One could also define it as when will the Dragons Rhondorf finally play up to their potential instead of just showing flashes? After many years in the Pro B, the Dragons Rhondorf have found themselves this season in the Regionalliga a place quite foreign to them and so far it´s been an up and down struggle. Of course the expectations are very high, but the club went over board during the summer to construct a very competitive roster, but so far the club haven´t fulfilled their expectations and rest in sixth place of the West standings with a solid 3-3 record, but somehow their performances haven´t really satisfied anyone yet in Dragons country. So when will the real Dragons Step up to the plate.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Curtis Hollis

            After losing their first game on the road, the Dragons Rhondorf rebounded well winning three games in a row and it seemed like they were on a good way, but then they fell into a rut and lost two games in a row and suddenly the pointing fingers and reasons for the up and down play start to slowly pop up. After the disappointing 97-91 loss to BBG Herford a game they could have won after they cut the 17 point lead down to 2 points with a little than a minute to play in the fourth quarter, Dragons Rhondorf import player Curtis Hollins was there in body during the interview, but also entangled in his own thoughts about suffering another loss. His face looked like he had just seen  a ghost. Ok so the Dragon Dome isn´t as ancient as the former Boston Garden, but there have been some amazing games and players perform their magic in the gym over the last 20 plus years that perhaps some ghosts may have made the gym their new home. Hollis had that look on his face as if his best friend had just told him that his neighborhood Mcdonalds in Arlington, Texas had closed for ever or if his doctor had told him that he could never jump through the roof again. Times are hard for the Dragons Rhondorf at the moment and Hollis isn´t pleased with how things are going. In the interview he kept repeating himself that the team just wasn´t ready to play. He was definitely correct in that assumption. He also admitted that he wasn´t always mentally there on the floor like his teammates and that he was frustrated with how his team played. But as a leader of the team, he didn´t want to show any negative emotions on the court, but instead continued to fight as hard as he could and came up with vital baskets and plays in the come back at the end. But at the end of 40 minutes, his 24 points meant nothing, because the ex Pro A team couldn´t secure the dub. A big problem in the loss to BBG Herford was the overall effort. It was there at times, but then again was totally missing in other spots. One has to wonder how this talented and hungry team aren´t mentally prepared? It is a problem that has to be corrected. Fixing mistakes is a harder task then just showing up to games. The effort has to be there for 40 minutes every game and the club has to be ready every game.

            Ok so a 3-3 record isn´t the end of the world, but when playing in a very competitive West  Regionalliga division, one has to be aware that jockeying for the crucial playoff spots won´t be a cake walk. When looking at the three Dragons loses, one quickly notices that in two of the three games, they were able to put up points on the board averaging 85 points, but still lost. The big problem with this team has been their defense. In their three wins, the club came to defend and gave up 74 points per game, but in their three loses gave up 90 points per game. The club definitely reached their early season low point in the loss to BBG Herford. They had some good moments on defense, but really only very little. In their come back run in the fourth quarter, they were able to stick together and play good team defense. But what happened for the other 32-33 minutes of the game? It was a disaster. After a while, I lost count of how many back door buckets were given up. BBG Herford were burning the Dragons Rhondorf on this play all afternoon long. After a while, it was no fun seeing easy basket after easy basket being made by the opponent. The man to man defense was weak as was keeping an eye on the three point line as BBG Herford was able to sink three pointers at their will. The rotations were nonexistent and the rebounding work was weak as the opponent dominated on the offensive glass. The Dragons Rhondorf have a very talented team and really can grow into a potent defensive team, but there has to be more harmony and communication and most important a defensive anchor. Who could be that player? I feel that task could be split with the trio of Curtis Hollis, Gabriel De Olveira and Killian Binapfel. The club needs an identity on defense and needs that defensive leader now. Currently the team is scoring 83 points per game, but allowing 82 points per game. The club needs to carve down their points allowed so they can have better chances of winning games.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Anish Sharda in the Dragon Dome

            The Dragons Rhondorf will score many points this season. They have that all around big talent in Curtis Hollins who will continue to fill the stat sheet and two very valuable German players in Gabriel De Olveira and Killian Binapfel who are the consistent scoring German players that they didn´t have last season. They also have a reborn Anish Sharda who at 37 became a daddy again and still sprouts that fountain of youth and will be a big key between where the club lands in the standings in March 2020 depending whether he can be that fourth consistent scorer. I feel he will be that consistent scorer. He continues to play with unending aggressive energy and has good accuracy at knocking down three´s. If Jure Besedic and Jeffrey Martin can give scoring stability on occasion and step up on nights when a known scorer is having an off night, then this will be a very consistent scoring team this season. But in order to be successful on a consistent basis the team finally have to defend with a passion. That passion to defend against BBG Herford was as far away as ex NBA player Greg Monroe is from ever wearing a Dragons Rhondorf jersey. If the Dragons Rhondorf can find that much needed identity on defense soon then there should be a positive turn around in the play of the club. The club now have a big weekend coming up where they can make amends. They will have back to back games within a 24 hour period something quite unusual in German basketball. They begin with a cup game Friday on the road against second Regionalliga team DJK Erftbaskets Bad Munstereifel and on Saturday return to league play visiting SV Haspe 07 that currently have a 2-4 record. This is a great opportunity for the club to get back on the winning track and upping their self confidence again with two successful experiences. Both games are winnable and losing won´t be acceptable. The club is young and will have it´s growing pains this season. One has to be patient. It will take some time to tweak the defense, but it will happen in time. The last thing anyone wants to see is a depressed Curtis Hollis, because his warm smile will light up any room from Arlington, Texas via London to Bad Honnef. As soon as one sees Curtis Hollins boasting that wide smile again as if some of that late Texas summer had found it´s way to Bad Honnef where the American now calls home then it will be obvious that Dragons basketball have finally stepped up to the plate.

Bryan Coleman Has Experienced Playing In Many Countries But Germany Is Still On His List To Play In

Bryan Coleman is a 27 year old 198cm forward from Southfield, Michigan that has five seasons of professional basketball under his belt. He has seen a lot of the world having played in countries like Finland, Norway, Luxemburg, Argentina, Dominican Republic and Australia. Last season he played with UU-Korihait Uusikaupunki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 35 games averaging 12.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 68.9%. This past summer he played for the Logan Thunder (Australia-QBL) playing 16 games averaging 18.3ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 75.5%. He is currently searching for a team and spoke to eurobasket about his basketball career.

Bryan thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment? 

I am currently back home in Detroit, Michigan working out and staying ready for another opportunity. 

You have played five professional seasons and played in six countries. It doesn’t matter where you play. As long as there is a court it seems like you are happy. Could you be described as a basketball junkie? 

Yes I would say I am a basketball junkie. I do care about where I play but where ever I go I try to make the best of my situation. 

Last season you had a solid season in Finland in the korisliiga and this past summer played in Australia, but are unsigned at the moment. Why do you believe has it been so difficult to land a new job this season?

I definitely didn’t think I still would be unsigned at this moment but everything happens for a reason. I received a few offers late in the off season but I ended up getting injured towards the end of my season in Australia and wasn’t able to play right away. I’m 100% healthy now and it’s time to get back to Europe for this season.

It isn’t always common for a division 2 player to have such a long career like you. How blessed do you feel having had so many opportunities and what do you believe has kept your career going since 2014? 

God has blessed me a lot and I give all thanks to him. I believe being prepared, being coachable, a great teammate, and producing have kept my career going as long as it has.

How tough has it been for you at the moment with staying positive. Are you confident that you will land at least a mid season job? 

It’s been very tough but I try to stay positive. I’ve been down this road before so the only thing I can do is stay sharp and ready. I’m very confident I’ll at least land a mid season job. 

You have never won a professional title. Is choosing that right fit often like playing the lottery, because you want to try to play for that chip somewhere or at least be in a good position. 

I’m still pushing to win a professional title. I want to be in a good position to compete for one every season. Regardless of the situation I’m going to give my all, play hard, and try to lead the team as far as possible. 

Talk a little about your game and why you could help any professional team in the world right now?

I’m an 6’7 athletic wing/stretch 4 and a good defender that can guard positions 1-4. I can shoot the 3pt at a good percentage and rate. I have a knack for scoring the basketball. Most importantly I’m a great teammate and leader that wants to win and will do whatever it takes. Winning matters more to me than personal stats and accolades. 

Your last job was with the Logan Thunder (Australia-QBL) playing 16 games averaging 18.3ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 75.5% You were teammates with last season’s top Pro A point guard Rayshawn Simmons. How would you classify the skill level there to other leagues you have played in? 

Shout out to Ray great teammate and he’s doing this thing in Belgium now. The Australian QBL is a decent league. The skill level there is somewhat similar to Norway or Luxembourg. Good league to work on your game during the European offseason and to stay in shape. 

Last season you played with UU-Korihait Uusikaupunki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 35 games averaging 12.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 68.9%. The Korisliiga is a very well respected league where guys often put up big stats like your ex teammate Stephon Jelks and then come to Germany. How did you experience this league and are you a bit disappointed you couldn’t follow him to Germany? 

Playing for Korihait was a great experience and a good step for my career. Finland Korisliiga is well respected and a great league that many of the higher levels sign imports from. I had a good experience there just needed to win a lot more games. I got better there and improved though out the season so that was big for me. Shout out to Damion Dantzler for bringing me back to play for him again previously playing for him my rookie season. Steph is a dawg on the court and a great teammate. I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t follow him to Germany since I’m open to play in any good league. The German Pro A and BBL are definitely leagues I want to play in for sure though. 

Two seasons ago you gained experience playing with Atletico Echague Parana (Argentina-TNA) playing 16 games averaging 8.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 2FGP: 43.4%, 3FGP: 30.4%, FT: 66.7%. The TNA league is another place Americans like to go to because the money is good. What do you remember most about the time off the court? Is there any chance of seeing as passionate basketball fans as they have soccer fans in that country?

I mainly remember it being super hot there and exploring the city when I wasn’t in the gym. Argentina has the most passionate fans that I have experienced so far. Soccer is the bigger sport there but they like basketball as well. 

Do you remember having some battles against ex NBA players in Argentina. There you often will find those guys you haven’t heard of in a while and then pop up in the twilight of their career.

I know the Argentina league have many ex NBA players in it. I didn’t really check on who was there while I was there but I do know Dejuan Blair that used to play for the Spurs and Mavs was there the same season I was. 

In 2016-2017 you played with Grengewald Hostert (Luxembourg-N2) where you tore up the second division averaging 26.7ppg, 8.2rpg, 3.2spg, FGP: 53%, 3FGP: 38%, FT: 86%. This also a league where I have seen guys from Germany or after a big season come to Germany. Did you in that season at least set foot in Germany and explore on an off day? 

Yes I’ve been to Germany many times such as Trier and Munich. My bro Jeremiah Ingram played in Germany so I would go to some of his games in Saarlouis as well.

In your second season you played with Gimle BBK Bergen (Norway-BLNO) playing 9 games averaging 15.1ppg, 5.8rpg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 68.8%. Was this one of your toughest professional seasons because after a strong rookie season in Finland you didn’t get signed to January in Norway. 

It was a tough offseason because I did have a strong rookie season and wanted to be signed during the offseason. My experience in Norway was great and I definitely enjoyed my time there. We had a good team and started the winning culture there. They have made it to the finals the past 3 seasons I believe. 

Was this a offer you had to take then simply because of not taking the risk of sitting out a whole season? When you look back was going to Norway the wrong decision? 

Yes once that offer came I took it since I was at home waiting. I don’t regret it because it was a great experience and I made the best of the situation I was in. 

As a rookie you played with at Kaarinan Ura Basket (Finland-1st Division) playing 12 games averaging 16.6ppg, 8.8rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 26.2%, FT: 66.7%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Finland where you knew that you were very far away from home? 

My wake up call was not understanding any of the Finnish language and experiencing the dark winters all day.

Sometimes it is fun to check box scores and then be surprised with the saying ‘Wow did I really play against him’? On March 11 you lost 102-64 to HBA Marksy. You had 24 points and 7 rebounds while on the other side an unknown Lauri Markkanen had 15 points. Last season he averaged 18/9 for the Chicago Bulls. Do you by any chance remember this encounter? 

Yes I remember the battles with Lauri. I played him in a 3 game playoff series. I knew then he was going to make the NBA in one or two years. Highly skilled and athletic stretch 4 that’s playing well in the NBA. 

You had a stellar career at Wayne State MI from 2010-2014. Was winning the GLIAC tournament in 2011 your most memorable achievement there? 

Winning the GLIAC tournament in 2011 was definitely my most memorable achievement at Wayne State. 

You really achieved a lot at Wayne State MI and had so many great games. When you look back at the four years there, what do you cherish most from that experience? 

Wayne State taught me how to really work hard on the basketball court. I cherish the college experience and being able to compete every day and work hard with my teammates and coaches. We had a close group and built great relationships that still exist today.

You had battles against top division 2 school Bellarmine. You probably remember playing against Braydon Hobbs who reached the highest level in Europe the Euroleague with FC Bayern Munich. What memories do you have of him and do you sometimes wonder if getting a job like that sometimes has to do more with timing and luck than skill. Not to take anything away from a Braydon Hobbs who is an amazing player and has deserved everything he has achieved. 

Braydon Hobbs is legit for sure. He is a high level point guard that can run a team, pass well, and shoot it. He deserves everything he has achieved. I think getting a job has a lot to do with your skill but also having a good agent to market you to teams is a must. 

How did head coach David Greer groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career? 

Coach Greer helped turn me into a man and made me work for everything. He helped me become a better defender and more efficient player. What he taught me has translated over into my pro career. 

Who won a one on one back in the day you or Mike Lewis?

Haha we didn’t play many one on one games but I won them all.

Who was the toughest player that you have ever faced in the NCAA 2 or in the open gym that made it to the NBA?

Toughest NCAA 2 player I’ve faced was Braydon Hobbs and Jeremy Kindle from Bellarmine. Toughest NBA player I’ve faced was Anthony Davis and Jordan Crawford.

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore. 

In no particular order Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James 

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James? 

Michael Jordan is the greatest to me. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Last movie I saw was the Joker.

Thanks Bryan for the chat. 

The Miles Basketball Minute With Curtis Hollis Volume 3

Curtis Hollis is a 21 year old 198cm forward from Arlington, Texas that is playing his first season overseas and first in Germany with the Dragons Rhondorf. He began his career at Mansfield Summit High School. In 2017-2018 he played with Hutchinson CC (JUCO) playing 34 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3%. In 2018 he played in Lavar Ball’s new league with the Houston Ballers (JBL) playing 7 games: Score-5 (29.3ppg), 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%. He and I will team up every week to talk basketball in the Miles basketball minute on

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Curtis Hollis after the tough loss against BBG Herford

Curtis thanks for talking to The team has suffered it’s first two game losing streak of the season. Was this loss against BBG Herford tougher to swallow then the loss in Ibbenburen three days earlier. 

I wouldn’t say tougher to swallow because every loss is tough to swallow but it did sting a little bit because were trying to build on every day and get better but when we play like that we take steps back.

The Dragons Rhondorf lost 96-91 against BBG Herford. How annoying is it executing very well on offense, but then just not giving the effort on defense

It’s frustrating for everybody. We just have to do a better job. No excuses.

It seemed like the team allowed 20 easy back door baskets. Is this aspect of the defense one of the team’s biggest worries or can one actually correct this quickly?

Yes we just have to be in the help side when somebody gets back door cut. We just let them get a open lay up when there’s no help from the backside.

At times you had to cover that beast Derylton Hill who had to step aside at half-time due to an injury. Is defending the beasts at times more challenging than the long athletic guys?

Not necessarily. It’s just about keeping your man in front of you. That’s just how I look at regardless or size or length.

The club now has two games within 24 hours. On Friday a cup game and on Saturday a league game. With a deep roster and most healthy how confident are you of the team rebounding for a perfect weekend?

I’m confident because we have no other choice. We have to win and we have to fix our mistakes so I’m extremely confident.

Killian Binapfel continues to be one of the top performers on the club. Does his energy infect the club at times and what have you appreciated most about his game. 

Yes it does. Killian is extremely talented. I appreciate his defensive ability & athleticism. He’s a young guy he’s still learning but the potential is all there for sure.

You had another solid game scoring 24 points. As you slowly continue to adjust better to the Regionalliga what still is difficult getting used to at this level?

Driving into lanes and not getting fouls. I have to realize I’m playing in the Regionalliga and the refs aren’t the best. So I have to adjust to knowing when to drive to the basket and when to drive and kick out.

You had a massive block in the first quarter. Do you feel like you can continue to grow in this area and how important is your athleticism to helping you become a good blocker?

Yes I feel like I have great timing and know when somebody is going up or trying to score. Lord willing god gave me this great athleticism so I try to put it to use as much as I can. I feel like it will for sure helped me as a blocker but more importantly as a defender.

Brandon Frazier of the Telekom Baskets Bonn was at the game today. Have you watched any Bonn games yet and what has been your overall impression of the style of how they play at that level?

Yes I have. I love Bonn & the energy and intensity of the Bonn Games. My overall impression has been that’s the level I want to be at. That’s the level I want to play at so it’s been a great impression for me. I appreciate Brandon & TJ coming out to watch us. That’s always good to see to have that support from the top guys not just for me but for the whole team.

Thanks Curtis for the chat