Zygimantas Riauka(Dragons Rhondorf) Is The Double Double Beast With The Special Charm

A few minutes had evaporated since the Dragons Rhondorf pulled out one of the more exciting wins in the last years against the Basketball Lowen where they had to suffer and survive through 8 gut wrenching long seconds which must have felt like an eternity for the Dragon Rhondorf players to secure the hard fought victory. The guests had five chances to win, but came up short as the basketball God closed it´s eyes on them and allowed the home team to win only their fourth game of the season and second at home. 205cm Lithuanian giant Zygimantas Riauka who is 25 years old and is a double double beast and makes doing that this season look as easy as it is Luka Doncic giving NBA fans a new wow effect against every opponent he faces , but could easily pass for an overgrown teenager as his baby face and big compassionate smile makes him seen a lot younger than his true years is sitting next to me in the post game interview and is beaming with joy and one can notice right away that he is loving life at the moment. It isn´t just his pleasant demeanor and positive body language that makes you feel comfortable with him right away, but also the way he conducts himself and his choice of words are quite enticing. After the big win, it seems like he is still trying to catch his breath after being on the court for 27 minutes and putting up 21 points and 17 boards as the last 8 seconds might have been the most difficult for him, but he quickly collects himself and rapidly remembers the last seconds. ““I felt like I touched the ball three times at the end. I´m so happy that the ball didn´t go in. We are so used to have teams score on us at the end, but today the basketball God was on our side”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. A few days later, he still couldn´t get the last 8 seconds out of his mind. “The last 8 seconds of the game seemed like forever especially with the opportunities they had, but fortunately Alex managed to secure the rebound at the end and I was extremely happy. That game was a great battle for us and mentally I feel our team needed that since we have been battling in a lot of close games but haven’t gotten the chances to close them out hopefully this will turn things around for us”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.  When you hear him speak, he quickly comes over as a guy that anyone would love to be associated with. He could be the big brother for that 10 year old fan on the sideline, be the perfect son in law for the 55 year old woman on the sidelines that is watching her daughter perform the latest cheers during a time out or be that young brother to newly acquired 36 year old Anish Sharda. It didn´t take long for Riauka to find a special place in his heart for his new teammate Anish Sharda. ““Sharda is great. I love this guy. He always gives what the team needs. He takes everything away from his self and gives everything to the team”, added  Zygimantas Riauka. A big strength in his character is how he is there for his teammates on and off the court in good times and bad times. “I feel like my character helps my teammates because it provides them with a guy who trusts them and encourages them even when things aren’t going in the right direction. I try to pick them up and I’m very fortunate to have my teammates do the same for me”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. He is just a guy that you have to love old or young and even has that unique combination look of a Johnny Quest with the blond hair and Super Boy with his physique as his club the Dragons Rhondorf would love for him to continue to post almost super natural stats and save the season somehow. Zygimantas Riauka is the double double beast with that special charm.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Zygimantas Riauka this season after a game in Rhondorf

         Zygimantas Riauka was born on March third, 1993 in Klaipedos, Lithuania and moved to the states when he was 8 years old to Downers Grove, Illinois about a 40 minute car ride away from Chicago. It didn´t take long for him to already taste some future NBA blood when he battled future Wisconsin(NCAA) standout Frank Kaminisky and current Charlotte Hornet big man when he was playing at Benet Academy. The Lithuanian big man chose to play at Wisc.-Parkside (NCAA2) from 2011-2015. He gave the description consistency a new meaning as he put up stats of 11.4ppg, 5.7rpg, 2.1apg, 16.7ppg, 9.3rpg, 3.1apg and 14.5ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.8apg in his last three years. He helped lead his school to the GLVC regular season title in 2013 and 2014. He would face Frank Kaminsky in college again and many other fine players, but he remembers one guy very much with his head coach Luke Reigel as it was one of the best coaches that he ever played for in his basketball career. “Coach Luke Reigel made my game what it is now and made me understand that you can’t just rely on one thing. You have to have multiple options to score instead of just relying on my right hand hook”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. During his years in school, he also spent the summers playing with the Lithuanian youth national teams and once even faced Germany at the U-20 European championships in 2013 winning 74-62 as he contributed six points, four rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of work. In that game he played against many talented young Germans like current Alba Berlin player Kenneth Ogbe, but it wasn´t so much him that he remembered but ex Alba Berlin big man Bogdan Radosavljevic.   “I don’t really remember playing against Kenneth, but I do remember they had a very strong and tall center at the time that I had to play against”, added Zygimantas Riauka. He also played against talented German point guard Alexander Blessig who he battled already this season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen losing and is seeking revenge this weekend.

                The double double beast Zygimantas Riauka began his professional basketball career in 2015 as he suited up for El Olivar Zaragoza (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 26 games averaging 13.0ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 79.7%. He scored in double figures  in 21 of 26 games and registered six double doubles. His best personal performance was his 23 point and 16 rebound game in the 92-86 victory against Araberri. Despite his very good stats as a rookie, it wasn´t always an easy experience, but in the end, he was in a place that paid him to play the game he loves. “For me playing in Zaragoza was amazing. It was the first time ever in Spain and I was also on the second team. I became home sick for missing my family and friends a little but for the most part I loved it since I got to finally play basketball and be considered a professional”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. In his second professional season, he remained in Spain and moved up a league and suited up for Caceres Patrimonio de la Humanidad (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 34 games averaging 4.6ppg, 3.8rpg. He was a level up and played less minutes as his time got shaved down from 29 to 14, but overal he cherished the opportunity to continue to play the game he loved. “Playing in second league Spain was not that different from playing in 3rd league Spain. It’s just I wasn’t given as much minutes and I was brought there to play the 4 position but half way through the year they moved my back to center. I loved the city and the team”, added Zygimantas Riauka. Now with Rhondorf there is young German Alexander Moeller who can learn from Riauka and a few years ago in Spain, the Lithuanian big man was doing the learning. “I had an incredible center at that time there Alexander Marcius or Sandi how we all called him so it was another great experience for me to learn from an older guy and to develop my skills defensively”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. Last season he left the enjoyable winter of Spain for the cold winter of Denmark and played with Team FOG Naestved (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 30 games averaging 7.0ppg, 5.5rpg, FGP: 54.1%, FT: 72.9%. He scored in double figures in 11 games and had three double doubles. But overall it was an up and down year. He did have some huge personal games like his 23 points and 18 points and 11 rebound games against Randers or his 14 points and 14 rebound game against Stevnsgade. Especially in the playoffs, he was almost totally forgotten as in the last seven games he played only 46 minutes. But instead of sitting at the end of the bench like a spoiled kid, he did what the real teammate is supposed to do and support his team which is another example of why his character is one that any team should die for having. “One thing I learned about last year is just to support your teammates and wait patiently for your chance. It’s not always up to you if you are going to play but when you get the chance go and help the team no matter what role is given to you”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka.

                In his fourth professional season he made the jump to the German Pro B and signed with the Dragons Rhondorf. A big credit for making this successful transaction was head coach Thomas Adelt. After his up and down season in Denmark, he was hungry for a new challenge and he hasn´t disappointed, but taken the league by storm as he belongs to the top players. He remembers what it was like talking to Thomas Adelt and how he convinced him of making the Dragon Dome in Bad Honnef his new home. “After I talked to the coach I was very happy of what he had to say and especially since he watched my games before so he knew what I can give to the team plus that I would be given such great conditions such as a shooting gun and practice time at the gym when needed”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. Through 16 games he is averaging 17,0ppg, 12,1rpg, 3,1apg, 1,4spg and 1,6bpg. He compares his game to the Lithuanian triple double genius Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and is a power forward/center that is your classic work horse that won´t back down from anyone and go where it hurts. His biggest strength is his rebounding as he hauled down 22 against the ScanPlus Baskets, 20 rebounds against Wurzburg and last weekend had 9 offensive rebounds in the big win over the Basketball Lowen. He is also a good defensive player as he is always a defensive presence in the paint. At Wisconsin—Parkside he averaged 2,5 blocks per game in his last three seasons. His blocks were down a bit the last years due to being more hesitant of getting fouls, but this season he is back at a good block rate. Despite his monster season he has been content with his development, but is nowhere near the end of his development. “My game has been most inside under the basket this year and it’s great since I’ve been doing that my whole career. Coach has given me a ton of freedom and it’s done wonders for me. And am I happy with my progress this year I would say yes but I have so much more to go I’m nowhere near to what I want to have in my bag. I still have a lot to learn and to improve on”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. He has scored in double figures in all 16 games and registered 10 double doubles. He had some serious monster games against the wiha Panthers with 23 points and 19 boards, 15 points and 17 rebounds against the RheinStars and 21 points and 14 rebounds against Coburg to name just a few. Even a guy like Riauka isn´t sitting back and enjoying the ride, but constantly in the gym continuing to perfect his basketball trade as he continues to climb the basketball ladder. “Currently I’m trying to work much more on pick and roll defense and limiting silly mistakes and fouls that I make on the court. Plus trying to find a perfect balance of when to create for others and when to be more aggressive offensively which has been a key focus game to game”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.  In the last game he came from the bench and took it like a professional. Any other top player most likely would have been annoyed not too mention the NBA diva´s who would have started a war on Twitter, but not him. He took it like a man displaying again that he doesn´t only have charm, but has a top character that is hard to find in today´s professional game where ego´s and crying is as normal as a missed Andre Drummond free throw.  

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Zygimantas Riauka after he dropped 21 points and had 17 boards in the win against the Basketball Lowen

            Even if he is having an amazing season, the club Dragons Rhondorf have been struggling this season currently in 11th place with a 4-12 record as they continue to fight to stay in the league. Some of their problems have been the normal team blabla occurrences like their two import players not panning out and departing before the first frost set in in Bad Honnef, or the the usual injuries, or losing some key role players who went to new teams, but then again being able to defend is a thing that any team can do as it starts with effort. The club has difficulty defending the way they should and allow  81,9 points per game which is 24th worst in the league. They have relinquished 80 points or more eight times, but also have had their moments, but still lost games, because they couldn´t muster enough points on offense. A big problem is the help defense, rotations and one on one defense something they haven´t been able to do well for long stretches of games to get into a better position of winning. Another key for being successful would be to get more consistency from the German role players. A vital component for being successful in the Pro B league is to have good production from it´s German players. The Dragons Rhondorf have many German players some better than others, but every guy gives 180% each game no matter how talented or less talented they are. Captain Joe Koschade is the best example as he came from the Regionalliga from Duesseldorf and has probably been the most improved player in the last year and a half and the team´s assist leader even though his biggest strength is his heart and fighting qualities something that most likely has been fueled further by the presence of Zygimantas Riauka.

But there are three Germans who have BBL experience with Alex Moeller, Julian Jasinski and Bo Meister as well as Pro B veteran Yannick Kneesch who have had their moments, but haven´t been consistent enough. The Lithuanian big man knows the worth of his teammates and is always there on and off the court to motivate them. “Our young Germans guys are great and are improving each day It’s great to watch especially in practice You can see the confidence growing. Alex has been getting better each game. His offense on the block has provided us key buckets during games and his jump shot has gotten so much better even on the three unfortunately not many people see how hard he works every day in practice. Julian is just a huge piece we are missing unfortunately he hasn’t been with us due to BBL in the beginning of the season and injuries currently once he is back I feel his athletic ability will allow us to play much bigger and provides us with a huge advantage on the rebound and defense. Bo has been improving and finding what player he is this season when you are young the biggest struggle is consistency and putting in the hours on and off the court but he has done a great job. I love his work ethic he’s usually the first one in the gym and getting up shots and working on his game. Yannick is extremely important for us because of the things he does not only in games but in practices his IG is fantastic. Unfortunately he was facing some medical problems last year and wasn’t able to play but he’s finally worked himself into game shape and has been doing an amazing job especially in practice you can see his athleticism coming back when he’s finishing. I’m sure it won’t be long until we see him not only making 3s but always finishing with dunks”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. Riauka isn´t the only import player that has shone, but also American Kwan Waller who has been huge at both ends of the court and a bit in the shadow of Riauka. The Lithuanian big man profits from his game as well as he often gets the ball in the post from him and also finds him on the break with his breathtaking outlet pass. “Kwan Waller has been huge for us especially with the scoring and defense he brings in not only in games but in practice as well. Plus he has been great for the younger fellas to help them improve on their defense and ball handling”, warned Zygimantas Riauka.     

The Dragons Rhondorf are now in the home stretch of the season and have six games left. They are in a real battle for the positioning of where they will begin in the playdowns which features the four worst teams with the best two staying in the league. The club has two tough battles against top team Bayer Giants Leverkusen who have a 15-1 record and who they lost to 84-68 at home and play against this weekend on the road and play against up and down 9-7 team ScanPlus Baskets who trounced them 95-74 in their living room. But they have four games against teams that are between six and ten in the standings with Giessen, Munich, Wurzburg and Orange Academy and these are games they really have to focus on winning. They made a huge step last weekend winning the nail bitter against playoff candidate Basketball Lowen and overall have been playing better basketball in the last weeks as they were very close to beating the wiha Baskets, RheinStars and Frankfurt, but just couldn´t hold their nerves in crunch-time and get the wins. Riauka is positive that the win against the Basketball Lowen could turn their season around. “I believe this game was extremely important for us especially with it being so close. We haven’t won many close games and it’s great to see one finally go our way. Plus this win is also great for our fans who have  been with us throughout this whole year and always show us support. Some of the positives I saw was from our players taking on the challenges given to them. I was very proud of how they stepped up especially with David Falkenstein giving us huge points when needed and Alex Moeller starting and Lotola Otshumbe coming in off the bench and giving us great minutes”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. It would be a real basketball tragedy if the Dragons Rhondorf failed to remain in the league after this season, but Riauka will do all in his power for this not happening as his whole presence has been an enrichment similar to top character guy Kameron Taylor last season who like Riauka was one of the top players in the league, but the only difference was that the American celebrated more team success. It isn´t all about him which is the case for many top players no matter what league they play in, but for him he gives credit elsewhere to his success. “This season has been great actually I love all my teammates and coaches. I feel like the success of me this year has a lot to do with that. In previous years the teams I’ve played on have had good chemistry but not like this. I feel the competition in this league is good and it’s a battle every game and you can’t take days off or someone will show you up. Also I really enjoy the way the Dragons have taken care of me this is the first year I have my own car and my own apartment. Plus this is the first year where I am able to go in the gym when I would like and get some shots up on a gun unfortunately I have never had that ability before and I believe it shows this season in my performance on the court and the confidence it has given me”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. No matter what happens this season, this will most likely be his only season as his stellar stats will get him offers from higher leagues and more money the way it did Kameron Taylor last season, so fans should definitely enjoy the last few months with the amiable big man on and off the court as his big charm and character won´t be forgotten so quickly and neither will his brilliant outlet pass. Riauka has described his outlet pass starting the fast break as a hidden strength in his game prior to the season, but it isn´t a secret anymore as he has displayed it time in and time out this season stifling opponents. Recently his role model Nikola Jokic performed a breathtaking outlet pass hauling down the rebound turning and throwing a full court touch down pass ala Tom Brady style that found athletic Canadian beast Jamaal Murray for the easy basket. This play of course didn´t go unnoticed by the big guy. “That joker pass was amazing but I feel like I make it at least once a practice. I love to have my guard leak out as it creates a perfect fast break opportunity. Hopefully I will be able to make it next game”, smiled Zygimantas Riauka. Even if we don´t see that pass anymore this season, we definitely will see more double doubles and his high class character and charm continuing to make every visit to the Dragon Dome an unforgettable experience for everybody.

John Boyer(TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen ) Knowing The Tendencies Of Every Teammate Is Something Very Important For Me

John Boyer is a 31 year old 185cm guard from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania that is playing his seventh season and fifth in Germany and second with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga). Currently he is averaging 11,5ppg, 5,5rpg, 5,1apg and 2,5spg. Last season with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga) he played 24 games averaging 12.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.1%. He first made a name for himself playing three seasons with the Baskets Vilsbiburg (Germany-Regionalliga) where he filled up the stat sheet like no other averaging double figures in scoring each season, averaged six rebounds per season and twice averaged seven assists. He also played in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Spain. He played at Buffalo (NCAA) from 2006-2010 playing 98 NCAA games and as a senior played 30 games averaging 7.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 78.7%. He spoke to about basketball. 

John thanks for talking to Six years ago you were in the states finishing up graduate work at the university of Buffalo after having had a short two year professional career. Turn the clock to the summer of 2018 and your heading into your seventh professional season. Do you ever wonder where you would be today and how life would be had you remained in the states and not gone to Germany to continue your professional career?

Yeah of course! I am very grateful to Holger Prote for sending me that Facebook message. I have had a lot of opportunities available and doors opened because of the opportunity Holger offered. I don’t really consider playing in the Regionalliga as ‘professional’ because the main focus has never been on basketball, but it is without a doubt pretty cool to still be able to play the game

Since the time back in the states you have played 4 years in Germany and now are going into your fifth season in Germany and second with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-Regionalliga). How blessed do you feel to be able to play the game you love at age 30 as a professional?

Usually at this point I’m pretty happy when I can walk without pain at work on Monday, but it’s definitely awesome to still be able to play at this level.

After being German Regionalliga (South-East Group) Runner-Up in 2017 with the Baskets Vilsbiburg and in 2018 with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen, how hungry and motivated are you to finally helping win a title and help a team move up?

Of course, you always want to win at everything you do, but I think for us it’s important to take it one game at a time and really enjoy the season. Let’s just say we aren’t the youngest group of guys

You have belonged to the absolute best point guard in the German Regionalliga for years and from 2014-2017 averaged 8,0apg. Over the years there have been guys moving up with their teams as well as special examples of guys being signed in the Pro B despite not having won a title in the Regionalliga. I can’t imagine you haven’t ever gotten offers. Have the offers been there are have you for some reason been off the radar of teams?

I thought about trying to play ‘professional’ again a little bit and had a few opportunities, but for me once I finished my last year in Spain, I made the decision to focus on work outside of basketball. I really enjoy the game and the level of the Regionalliga is competitive without the crazy practice and travel schedules, so it works out well being able to balance work and family at the same time.

How much are you looking forward to this season with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen) and how is the team shaping up and what are your feelings of how this team will pan out?

Like I said, we aren’t the youngest group of guys, but I think we are looking forward to getting back in shape and seeing what we can do.

You already established your self as a top player with Vilsbiburg, but despite playing less minutes last season, how vital was head coach Mario Matic in helping you make further strides in your game?

I’ve been definitely lucky with both of my coaches in Germany (Holger and Mario)! My wife and I had twin boys just before the season last year, and Mario was very understanding of the situation. He did a great job of managing everyone’s personal situations throughout the year, while keeping us motivated and competitive.

How much are you looking forward to playing together with Serbian Ognjen Zoric again. How important has his added experience been for the success of the team and can you soak up added basketball pieces from his game which you add to yours?

I definitely love playing with Oggy, but I really enjoy speaking German with him. The German guys laugh and shake their heads when they hear us talk in German for some reason – maybe we have funny accents.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a classic point guard that looks to make his teammates better. If you had to compare yourself to an NBA player who would best fit your style?

I don’t think I could ever compare myself to an NBA player due to lack of athletic ability, among other things, but I loved watching Steve Nash with the Phoenix Suns when they made their run.

You have belonged to the top defenders in the German Regionalliga for years. A few years ago you averaged an amazing 5,0spg. What has been most vital in your case to being able to improve as a defender?

That’s always a running joke – I don’t really consider myself a great defender. I have to credit Holger for playing a lot of zone that year, making it easier to jump passing lanes.

You shot your best from outside last season since moving to Germany. Was it taking less shots and being better aware of what was a good shot and not something that helped you learn better shooting habits last season as well as improve in that area?

Yeah, I think in Vilsbiburg I took more forced shots off-the-dribble that weren’t necessarily good for us as a team. Last year I had a more spot-up chances, so that helped.

You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet at ease, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away on the court?

I think the most important thing is that team chemistry is there. I usually try to make sure that everyone feels comfortable on and off the court and bring the team together in whatever way would be needed. On the court, it’s more important for me to put the other guys are in a position to succeed compared to my personal stats – so knowing the tendencies of every teammate is something that very important for me.

You played three seasons with the Baskets Vilsbiburg. You had some amazing games including a triple double. What were your fondest memories in those years?

I think more than anything was just being around a great group of guys for so long. We definitely made a lot of memories those three years. Beating Bayern in the Audi Dome the year they moved up, when we only had 5 players to finish the game, would be the best basketball memory.

You played a season together with American Orlando Parker who has gone from the Regionalliga to the Pro A. Would you agree with e that he belongs to the top teammates that you ever had simply with his combination of dedication and hard work that he gives the game every day?

Yeah for sure. Orlando is not only a great player and teammate, but also a great person. He tries to give back to the community every chance he gets and is a monster on the court. I definitely miss playing with him, but I’m extremely happy he has been able to climb the ladder in Germany. I think he deserves a spot in the BBL.

What do you remember from the 111-52 win against Leitershofen where you had a double double of 17 points and 13 steals. Getting 13 steals in a game is mind boggling. Was your anticipation on this day out of control?

That game is kind of a sore spot for me, because it was the last game Ado coached for Leitershofen and he’s a great guy. We were playing zone and could read what the players wanted to do pretty well, and then I guess the stat sheet said what it said.

You played your rookie season for BK Decin (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 40 games averaging 4.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.6apg. what was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?

In Decin we had a very talented team that year and finished 3rd in the league – I think that was the club’s best finish at the time. I felt it was my job to put everyone in a position to succeed, and unfortunately, that wasn’t reflected in personal stats, but we had a great year as a team.

What memories do you have of Seton Hall (NCAA) stand out and Czech Republic legend Lavelle Sanders who played an incredible 16 seasons there. Was he like a mentor for you in your rookie season?

Ell was awesome at showing me the ins-and-outs of European basketball on and off the court. At first it was a little challenging for me because we played the same position, but once I got to know him, he was nothing but great to me. He has so much knowledge of the game it’s unbelievable – and currently he’s translated that knowledge into coaching and taking Pardubice to a new level.

What memories do you have of the crazy three games against top team CEZ Nymburk? You won the first game by 28 points then lost by 27 points and then got creamed 73-28.

Nymburk has been on another level in comparison to the other Czech teams for a while now, and they very rarely lose to another domestic team. I think they kind of underestimated us the game we won, and then maybe had some extra motivation for the other games.

In your second season you played with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 22 games averaging 4.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-5 (1.6spg), in Feb.’13 moved to Grupo Eule Carrefour El Bulevar de Avila (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 6 games averaging 5.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 62.5%. Was this a phase where you had doubts about if a professional career was the correct choice to keep pursuing?

Yeah, I’m thankful for both opportunities and ended the season pretty well with Avila. We had talked about the following year at Avila, but given the economic status and outlook at the time, it made more sense to focus on life after basketball. 

What many don’t know was that in your short time in Spain you were teammates with a then unknown 18 year old Moussa Diagne who is only 24 now but playing in the top Spanish league ACB for years. Did you know then that he would get as far as he has?

That team was made up of a lot of young prospects, who are currently playing at a very high level. Moussa was already practicing at Fuenlabrada with the ACB guys at the time, and he was so athletically talented. For me it’s not really surprising that he’s doing so well.

In your first three seasons at Buffalo you hardly played, but as a freshman was an important part of the team playing 30 games averaging 7.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 78.7%. What did you learn about your game in your senior season?

I actually played a lot the first half of my freshman season before getting sick with mononucleosis, and it took a while to come back. I think the most important thing was understanding the game and what exactly the coaches wanted from me, and being more in control of every possession.

How did head coach Reggie Witherspoon groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Buffalo?

He definitely challenged us every day to be better and to grow up into men. I think that the biggest thing was going through the daily physical, mental, and emotional challenges with him to become a better person and player. I am very thankful for the opportunity that he and all the UB guys offered

Who won a one on one back in the day you or Rodney Pierce?

Rodney, hands down.

When you look back at the talent of your guard teammates Rodney Pierce and Calvin Betts, are you surprised none of them chose the professional route?

Talent-wise they both definitely could have played professionally and had a long career. But in life there are things that are more important than basketball and they chose another route. I definitely miss the time at UB with them

When you were a freshman, German Yassin Idbihi was a senior and would go on to have a stellar basketball career. What memories do you have of him and did he give you an early introduction to how Germany is?

Personally, the best on-court memory was when we both were on the court to put up a defensive stand to finish-off rival Canisius my freshman year. Of course, he had so many highlights throughout his college and professional career. I’m happy to see he’s currently doing so well and has such a beautiful family.

You played against so many great players at the NCAA level, but which player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?

I guess you could say the best NBA-player would be Kemba Walker, but there were so many tough guys that we played against.

How did your 2018 summer work out plan look like? On what things will you work on most to help prepare you for your seventh season?

Well I’ve been taking the twins for a run in their jogger a few times a week to try to stay in shape, but the older you get the harder it is. 

If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new? 

I think I’d go with a mix of both – but only guys that I’ve been able to watch. So MJ, Kobe, Lebron and maybe Shaq.

What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan? 

2 different eras – they were both the best of their era.

Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening? 

That could be true, but there are so many factors that influence teams anymore that are outside of basketball – it’s really hard to judge. But they have constructed a great team at the moment.

Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick? 

I haven’t really seen Deandre Ayton play so much, so I can’t really say, but I’m definitely excited to see what Luka Doncic will bring to the NBA. 

How did you follow the 2018 NBA Draft? How cool is it having two Germans being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers? 

I didn’t really follow the draft so much, but it’s definitely a positive for German basketball in general that 2 players were drafted by a franchise like the Lakers. 

Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game? 

It depends on what they define as an assist in the NBA, but he could probably lead the league.

What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther? 

I can’t really remember the last movie I saw, but I did watch Sesame Street this morning with the kids. 

Thanks John for the chat.

The Lost Interview Now Recovered With EX NBA Player Phil Pressey(Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul)

Phil Pressey is a 27 year old 191 cm point guard playing his sixth professional season and second in Europe and first with Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) currently averaging 7,3ppg, 2,7rpg and 3,8apg in the Turksh BSL league and 6,7ppg, 1,8rpg and 3,8apg while shooting 43% from outside. Last season was his first in Europe as he balled for FC Barcelona Lassa playing 24 games averaging 4.8ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg;and played 18  Euroleague games averaging 4.4ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.1apg. He played his first four professional seasons in the NBA and G-League. He played his first two professional seasons with the Boston Celtics totaling 124 games and in his third season played in the G-League with the Idaho Stampede and played 13 games for the Philadelphia 76ers and 9 games with the Phoenix Suns. In his fourth season he played with the Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League) playing 49 games averaging 17.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-5(8.0apg), Steals-5(2.0spg), FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 77.2%He began his career at Cushing Academy and then played at Episcopal School of Dallas. He then played at Missouri(NCAA) from 2010-2013 playing a total of 105 NCAA games. In hiss enior season he played 35 games averaging 12.1ppg, 3.2rpg, 7.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 73.6%. He spoke to before an Euroleague game in Bamberg last season and the interview was Temporarily lost, but now recently found again and released exactly how it was made last season.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber meeting Paul Pressey the dad of Phil in the 80´s when he played with the Milwaukee Bucks before a game in Boston against the Celtics

 Phil thanks for talking to Welcome to Germany. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball. Have you been here before?

 I do not know much about Germany but really enjoyed the country while I was there 

You play Brose Bamberg in a Euroleague game. Would there have been any trash talk between you and Quincy Miller-Scott concerning a certain BIG 12 title game from 2012 if he had been on the floor?

 There was no trash talk between me and Quincy, I do not know him very well.

After playing your first four professional seasons in the NBA and D-League, you are playing your first season in Europe and have picked one of the finest organizations in Europe. How is it different playing for a tradition team like FC Barcelona than to a traditional NBA team like the Boston Celtics?

 Very similar, FC Barcelona is a great organization and their fans are fantastic. The city of Barcelona really wants their sports teams to do well whether if it’s soccer or basketball. As for the Celtics, their fans LOVE winning. So they will support their team no matter what and playing for the Celtics you really feel the support. 

What kind of an overall experience is it playing with FC Barcelona? Do you feel the deep tradition that this club has each day? What has been the coolist experience  so far. Have you met Lionel Messi yet?

  My experience playing for Barcelona has been great, I have really enjoyed my time since I have been here. My teammates and coaches have made it easy to adjust here. I feel the tradition that this club has everyday when I walk into the gym with the picture on the wall of past championship teams. The best experience I’ve had so far is getting to play at Palau in front of our fans. I have not met Messi yet, unfortunately. 

What have you appreciated the most about playing with this team and so many great players. How do you feel will your game progress this season with the style of play that you are getting to know this season?

I have appreciated how supportive the fans and organization have been to me. My game will continue to get better everyday as I adjust to the style of play. 

There are many great players on it, but what kind of experience has it been playing with Spanish legend Juan Carlos Navarro. Do you sense a special era on the court and off when he is around?

  Playing with Juan Carlos Navarro has been a great experience. He shows us everyday in practice and in games why he is a legend. He is a great guy off the court and is always willing to help if you need anything. 

What kind of adjustment has it been for you coming from the States to Europe? In the D-league you were a top player averaging 32 minutes and in the ACB league 11 minutes and one among many great players.

  It took a little time to adjust. but, on my team now we have a lot of good players and everyone deserves a chance to play. As long as we win games, I am happy. 

What is your goal this season with FC Barcelona besides helping the team win? Are you looking to get back to the NBA again or are you concentrating on a European career?

 This year with Barcelona my goal is to win a championship. My mindset right now is to help my team win a championship. I am not worried about what happens next year.

Let´s talk a bit about your game. You’re a smaller type point guard. What point guard did you watch closely growing up and to what NBA player would you most compare your game to?

When I was younger I watched Allen Iverson and Steve Nash. I liked Steve Nash because of his court vision and able to make every player on the court good. 

You’re a guy that can fill up the stats sheet, but what do you feel is still a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?

 A hidden strength that doesn’t get noticed I think is my ability to control a game.

Last season you had great stats with the  Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League) playing 49 games averaging 17.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-5(8.0apg), Steals-5(2.0spg), FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 77.2%. You definitely deserved an NBA call up. Were you a bit disappointed it didn´t happen?


Yes I was disappointed I did not get a call up. 

Your teammate last season Dennis Clifford who plays with Alba Berlin this season was also hoping for an NBA call up last season. Could you imagine him and you being in the NBA down the road?

 I would hope so, but right now I am in Barcelona and enjoying every moment of it. 

After two seasons with the Boston Celtics, you played your third season with various team bouncing around from the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA), released in Oct.’15, later that month signed at Utah Jazz (NBA), in Nov.’15 signed at Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) playing 13 games averaging 4.2ppg, 1.7rpg, 3.5apg, released in Dec.’15, later that month signed at Idaho Stampede (D-League) playing 32 games averaging 13.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 6.9apg, Steals-5(2.1spg), FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 72.0%, in Feb.’16 signed at Phoenix Suns (NBA) playing 9 games averaging 2.4ppg, 3.1apg.Was this more a disappointing season for you? Did you get anything positive from this season that made you stronger as a player?

  That season made me stronger as a player. Mainly because I was able to play with different teams and learned a lot about each. 

You played two seasons with the Boston Celtics. In 2005 you went to Waltham high school and trained at the Boston Celtics training facility and later went to Cushing academy. Would you have ever thought in your wildest dreams that you would play there seven years later?

 I knew I would play in the NBA but never would I have thought that I would be playing for the Celtics 

As a rookie and played 75 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg, 3.2apg. When you look back on that season and the roster that they had are you more angry or disappointed that you couldn´t crack the rotation better with Rajon Rondo being injured for a long whileboth seasons?


Despite not making a real breakthrough with the Boston Celtics did you learn anything valuable from head coach Brad Stevens?

 Brad Stevens is a great coach but even better person. He will only become better and better every year. 

You played three seasons at Missouri winning the Big 12 tournament in 2012. What are your fondest memories form this game that still swirl in your mind today?

 Playing against Kansas, similar to Barcelona playing against Madrid. 

You played three seasons with Michael Dixon who has had a very good European career. What memories do you have of him and how did each profit from each other?

 Michael Dixon is a great player. He works hard and is a fantastic teammate.

Thanks Phil for the chat.

The Dragons Rhondorf Experience The Longest 8 Seconds Of Their Lives Squeaking By The Basketball Lowen 88-87

It could have been the perfect title last weekend as “Kwan Waller and the Dragons Rhondorf beat Frankfurt again with a game winning shot, but instead the club left the BCM gym with a bitter 83-81 loss and more questions as to why this team can´t have any basketball luck this season especially at the end of a game. Last season it was Kameron Taylor that did the honors with a buzzer beater against Frankfurt, but last season everything was working with the Dragons while this season it has been a major struggle as the club still sat slumped in the Pro B cellar with a disheartening 3-12 record. Their record definitely looked frightening for Dragons fans, but the last weeks haven´t looked that bad as they had very good chances to have won the last three games against the wiha Panthers Schwenningen, RheinStars Cologne and the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. But at the end of the day the only thing that counts are wins and not the almost wins. 2019 is still young and the schedule didn´t get any easier for the Dragons Rhondorf as they met the Basketball Lowen Erfurt who have had a massive turn around in their season. They began the season with a tough five game losing streak, but since the end of November had won eight of their last 10 games and are resting comfortably in the playoff range with a 8-7 record. They lost last weekend against the Giessen Rackelos 89-66 and were looking to get back on the winning streak, but they didn´t need a win as badly as the Dragons Rhondorf who are getting dangerously closer to midnight as the alarm bells are getting louder and louder. It had been a horrible rainy day as the nasty wind made everything outside more unbearable, but inside the Dragon Dome the atmosphere was amazing as always and fans were offered a real battle between both teams with lead changes abundant throughout the contest. But after 40 minutes and the longest 8 seconds in the Dragons Rhondorf basketball life, they finally won a tight game again something they couldn´t achieve in the last weeks overcoming the Basketball Lowen 88-87. Kwan Waller was a key factor in the waning minutes as he was in Frankfurt, but this time the basketball God was on their side as the Basketball Lowen couldn´t buy a basket in the last 8 seconds with five misses. After the big win that gave Rhondorf four wins this season and another step in securing their place for another season in the Pro B, the Lithuanian double double beast Zygimantas Riuaka was mentally and physically exhausted and thrilled he withstood the last 8 seconds. “Rebounding was key for the win. Our offensive rebounding was great, our fight was great and we played together. We always play together, but couldn´t always execute at the end when it counted, but tonight we finally did”, smiled ex Wisconsin-Parkside(NCAA2) big man Zygimantas Riauka. After the loss one could see the frustration on David Taylor´s face and it took him a long while until he could reflect on the loss. “We played with a lot of intensity, but turnovers and offensive rebounds hurt us. We made a nice come back and Kuhle hit big shots and we played good basketball in between, but at the end a little was missing for us to get the win”, stressed ex Pacific(NCAA) guard David Taylor. David Taylor´s dad Derrick Taylor who is known to German fans as Daddy Cool and reached the NCAA Final 4 in 1986 with LSU and won the 2005 BBL title with Bamberg was impressed by both teams. “It was a very competitive game and both teams played hard. At the end Rhondorf defended better, had steals and came up with loose balls. In close games defense always wins games”, warned Derrick Taylor.

Post game inetrview with Zygimantas Riauka who dropped 21 points and 17 boards including 9 offensive rebounds in the win

                The Dragons Rhondorf tried something new by removing their top scorer Zygimantas Riauka from the starting lineup. It seemed to do wonders as the Dragons Rhondorf got off to a blazing start and led 13-6 after some minutes. Three point shooting has been a negative aspect of Rhondorf´s game this season as coming in they were shooting a miserable 24%, but that didn´t seem right as Americans Kwan Waller and Anish Sharda were firing away and hitting as they both hit two a piece. The Basketball Lowen couldn´t muster too much offense in the early going as they got baskets from 25 year old 206cm center Tobias Bode who looks like he could be related to Napoleon Dynamite and was active at both ends of the court and 37 year old 196cm rebounding beats Robert Franklin also scored. Rhondorf had done a good job closing down Lowen´s top scorer David Taylor, so they had to find other ways to score and did going on a 8-2 run to cut Rhondorf´s lead to 15-14. In the run the club from Erfurt relied on two key three´s from 20 year old German Justus Klinke who played last season in Wurzburg and 18 year 189cm guard Lukas Wobst who won two Regionalliga titles. The game remained close until the end of the first frame as both teams offenses were rolling. The Basketball Lowen did a good job limiting the touches of Riauka who would have only 1 point and three boards after 10 minutes. Rhondorf received key baskets from Germans and ex Telekom Baskets Bonn 2 guards David Falkenstein and Phiipp Gruber while David Taylor got on the score board for the first time at the 1.26 minute mark scoring on a lay in and would do it again a short time later, but the Dragons Rhondorf had the slim 23-22 advantage after 10 minutes. “Every team goes on runs and that happened in the first quarter. The difference tonight was that in the past we would get scared and have problems coming back, but tonight we stayed focused and Anish Sharda did a good job keeping us relaxed”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 30% from the field and 50% from outside and had 15 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen shot 47% from the field and 33% from outside and had 12 rebounds and 5 turnovers.

Post game interview with David Taylor who added 23 points in the loss

                In the second quarter fans got their money´s worth of exciting basketball as there were 6 lead changes, but at the break the Dragons Rhondorf had their noses ahead leading 54-49. David Falkenstein gave the Dragons Rhondorf a lot of energy being aggressive and scoring twice in the lane including a reverse lay up  as his penetration was lethal. However the Basketball Lowen had their own weapon ready with Maxi Kuhle who has 107 Pro A games on his resume having played with Cuxhaven, Nurnberg and Paderborn and he started to unleash bomb after bomb from the parking lot including four in five possessions as suddenly the Basketball Lowen led 37-31. The Dragons Rhondorf may usually have had problems withstanding the pressure, but not on this night. Anytime the opponent tried to get away, they usually had an answer. Riauka began to get the ball more and made an easy bucket and connected on free two free throws even if he had his problems on this night shooting 7/12 from the free throw line at a clip of 58%. Rhondorf also got a three from German forward Yannick Kneesch who played 45 Pro B games in the past with Speyer and Rhondorf was back traling only 41-38. After a Taylor floater, the Dragons Rhondorf went on a 7-0 run to regain the lead 45-43 and were benefited by a technical foul by German head coach Florian Gut of the Basketball Lowen and got all 7 points from ex Kentucky Wesleyan guard Kwan Waller who scored twice in the paint and hit three free throws. The Basketball Lowen would tie the score twice with Kuhle and German 18 year old big man Andreas Kassioumis, but the Dragons Rhondorf closed out the second quarter very strongly going on a 7-2 run to lead 54-49. A big aid in this game was that the Dragons Rhondorf got solid production from many guys in key situations and especially guys that have been inconsistent like a Andreas Moeller who made some big shots at the end scoring two buckets and the team also got a bucket from Riauka. “We made key stops and got key shots from guys like Yannick Kneesch. It came down to making more shots than usual”, added Zygimantas Riauka. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 37% from the field and 36% from the three point line and got 30 rebounds including 16 offensive rebounds and had five turnovers while the Basketball Lowen shot 54% from the field and 50% from outside and got 21 rebounds and had 9 turnovers.

                In the third quarter both teams continued to display fine offense and it stayed a game of runs as the Basketball Lowen came back only to see the Dragons Rhondorf come back and dead lock the game after three quarters. The Dragons Rhondorf came out lethargic into the third quarter allowing the Basketball Lowen to go on a 7-0 run to retake the lead 56-54. In the run, they got two quick steals and were fortified by a three pointer from David Taylor, a Robert Franklin steal and lay in and a Kuhle lay in. Waller would tie the game at 56-56 with a steal and lay in. But the contest remained a game of runs as the Basketball Lowen had the better offensive rhythm and had shifted their defensive intensity up a few gears and went on a 9-2 run to lead 65-58. In the run the Basketball Lowen got key baskets from David Taylor as he burned the Rhondorf defense again twice as nobody could contain him. Taylor played 21 BBL games last season for Gotha and took two steps back this season to play in the Pro B and is focusing on becoming a true floor general while continuing to improve his leadership, communication and reading the game. He finished with 23 points, 7 boards and four assists and his mentor and dad gave his two cents about his sons development this season. “This season David has had to relearn how to lead a team and be a guard. He has made good progress this season. He has learned to pick his spots and always plays hard on defense”, stressed Derrick Taylor. In the run the Basketball Lowen also got a big offensive rebound and tap in by Robert Franklin who played 7 seasons with Recklingshausen and has two professional triple doubles and also made free throws. The Dragons Rhondorf stopped the run with Philipp Gruber and Riauka buckets, but couldn´t get over the hump as Taylor continued to punish Rhondorf with no mercy scoring twice again in the paint as he made the Dragons one on one defense look non existent as the Basketball Lowen led 69-62. The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t collapse now, but caught fire at the right moment like so many times this season closing out the third quarter on a 9-3 run to tie the score at 71-71. In the run the Dragons Rhondorf were carried once again by their three point consistency in this game as Kneesch who demonstrated two seasons ago shooting 48% in the Regionalliga that he can shoot and Sharda nailed trey´s. “Sharda was great. I love this guy. He always gives what the team needs. He takes everything away form his self and gives everything to the team”, warned Zygimantas Riauka. “We started well forcing two turnovers, but we let up letting them come back. When ever you let a home team come back, it´s difficult to win”, warned David Taylor. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 39% from the field and 33% from the parking lot and 41 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen shot 51% from the field and 47% from the parking lot and had 29 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and 1986 LSU NCAA Final four player Derrick Taylor

                The fourth quarter remained a tight affair with a few runs and it went down to the wire. The Dragons Rhondorf set the tone from the start and the Basketball Lowen did a good job staying on their heels and not breaking down. The Dragons Rhondorf showed a lot of passion especially Zygimantas Riauka who had to battle and get three offensive rebounds before making the put back. 37 year old Robert Franklin was still on full throttle and got a bucket tying the ball game at 74-74. After a Riauka free throw and Waller lay in for the 77-74 Rhondorf lead, it was the Basketball Lowen that gave another run at getting the lead back and did with a 7-2 run to take the 81-77 lead. They got some big defensive plays that led to easy baskets by Kassiusmis and Kuehle and a trey from Franklin. In the past this would have been a moment where the Dragons Rhondorf would have folded, but not tonight as their grit and heart was intact and they totally shocked the Basketball Lowen with a 8-0 run to haul the lead back 85-81. Crunch-time is Waller time as he took control with a pull up jumper and lay in and also got valuable support from Riauka with a lay in as Falkenstein registered the dime and little used 34 year Lotola Otshumbe took some responsibility being aggressive and used his strength to muscle inside for an easy bucket. The Basketball Lowen took a time out with 2,08 minutes to play. Both teams did a good job getting to the free throw line. After Kuhle free throws and a Waller pull up jumper, Kuhle and Waller got to the free throw line again as Rhondorf led 87-85 with 1,35 to play. After Rhondorf got stopped, David Taylor sunk two free throws to cut the Rhondorf lead to 88-87. With 37 seconds to play, the Dragons Rhondorf had possession and Waller threw up an airball. The Basketball Lowen had possession with 19 seconds to play and had all the time in the world to win the game. “We didn´t do a good job at the end with taking care of the ball”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. “We weren´t totally there mentally at the end”, added David Taylor. With 8 seconds to play, the Basketball Lowen began their start to go for the win the away a jet plane does their decent to the runway. The next 8 seconds would seem like an eternity for the Dragons Rhondorf as the ball seemed to live up on the ring as they were unable to secure the defensive rebound. Kuhle started with a runner and missed got his own rebound and threw up another shot that Frankflin tipped twice to no avail and with a few seconds left Tobias Bode gave a fifth attempt for the win with a tip that failed and Alexander Moeller grabbed the rebound and the Dragon Dome went wild with the win. “I felt like I touched the ball three times at the end. I´m so happy that the ball didn´t go in. We are so used to have teams score on us at the end, but today the basketball God was on our side”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. “I saw the mis match with Kuehle and got him the ball. The basketball God wasn´t on our side today. It is usually on the side of the team that plays harder”, stressed David Taylor. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kwan Waller with 27 points. Zygimantas Riauka added 21 pints and 17 boards while Anish Sharda had 10 points. The basketball Lowen were led by David Taylor and Maxi Kuehle who added 23 points a piece. Robert Franklin added 19 points, 12 boards and 6 steals. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 38% from the field and 30% from outside and had 55 rebounds and 18 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen shot 43% form the field and 38% from outside and had 46 rebounds and 20 turnovers.

Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners Give Jordan Samare Birthday Present Win Destroying BG Goettingen 110-61 In NBBL Play

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing 2018 JBBL MVP Len Schoormann who dropped 20 points in the Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners victory


Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners were breezing through the NBBL season as if they were waltzing through the park on a beautiful Sunday summer day with any turbulent storm about as far away as it is for a Len Schoormann to ever be held scoreless in a NBBL game. But then suddenly that comfortable walk through the park became uncomfortable last weekend as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners unexpectibly lost 75-68 at home. The way the club was dominating the competition one could have had the idea that a perfect season was in the works, but sometimes a loss does a team good. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners returned home with a clash with BG Goettingen who they had easily disposed of in the first game of the season 96-44 as they showcased a ruthless defense forcing the guests to cough up the ball an amazing 33 times while keeping their opponents shooting percentages under 30% while they had an awful shooting day from the parking lot going 1/12, but hit very well from everywhere else at 59%. The club had four guys in double figures as German Leon Pullen led the charge with 19 points. BG Goettingen still had the big fat 0 in the win column and were reeling and looking for their first win on the road, but against top team Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners, the chances of accomplishing that seemed as difficult  a pig mysteriously arriving in the gym from the sky wrapped around with a BG Goettingen jersey and giving them the needed luck for the win. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, BG Goettingen arrived in Frankfurt with a short rotation of eight players as eight were missing due to injuries, sicknesses and even a school ski trip something that can only happen at the youth levels as stop scorer Domenik Jaschewskiand Tobias Perkovic were missing in action as their combination of 21 points per game were dealing missed as the deep lineup of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners breezed to an easy 110-61 victory moving to 9-1 as BG Goeetingen slipped to 0-9. After the game a relaxed Len Schoorman of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners reflected about another day at the office for the team. “We didn´t see video of our opponent this week, but focused more on our game. We had a team meeting yesterday where coach told us that he wasn´t happy with our communication. Today we were always yelling at each other. Our communication to day was key for our win as well as our ball movement”, stressed 16 year old guard Len Schoormann. It was a tough afternoon for BG Goettingen as they were severely limited, but despite the difficult circumstances played their hearts out and that was all anybody was asking for. “I thought that we did a good job as a team despite the loss and got better. We never gave up and did the best that we could. We played well as a team and showed less one on one play”, stressed Henrik Hadenfeld.

BG Goettingen got on the board first with a trey from 18 year old small forward Robin Oron, but it didn´t take long for Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners to find their offensive groove. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got going quickly thrusting out on a 15-3 run to lead 15-6. The athleticism of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners took a toil early on BG Goettingen as Maxi Begue who began his career with BC Darmstadt hit a floater and that was followed by the first massive flight to the hoop by ex BC Darmstadt guard Len Schoorman who lifted off from the wing and rammed home a hard one handed dunk. Schoormann added a left handed lay in later and also got a bucket from birthday boy Jordan Samare who turned 17 on the pick and roll from Begue. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners also got added support from captain Alvin Oniya and a lay in from 18 year old 198cm bull Goran Lojpur. BG Goettingen wasn´t impressed by the lightening Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners start and got some own offense going with a 8-4 run to cut Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners´s lead to 19-14. In the run BG Goettingen received key baskets from 18 year old guard Ben Lemmer and a trey from 18 year old guard William Heinrich. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners stifled BG Goettingen with their aggressive press and got some easy transition baskets from Schoormann and Oniya as well as a pretty left handed hook shot from 18 year old 198cm forward Leon Pullen. Oniya closed out the first quarter with a three pointer as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners led 31-16. “We started well. 31 points is very good for us and the communication was there”, stressed Len Schoormann. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was shooting at a high clip at 79% from the field and 67% from outside and had 13 rebounds and 5 turnovers while BG Goettingen shot 40% from the field and 25% from outside and 2 rebounds and 5 turnovers.

The Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners offensive machine continued to execute very well as they began where they left off in the first quarter going on a 17-9 run to lead with plus 20 points 48-25. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumurija did a fine job already in the first quarter clearing the bench and letting many guys play and continued to do so in the second quarter. A lot of the attention may have been on Jordan Samare since he was the birthday boy, but in the second quarter it was 17 year old role player Risto Vasiljevic who would climb into the spotlight on this day and hit three three pointers and be on his way of having his best game in the NBBL netting 26 points. “On this team anybody can have a huge day. I felt good after the first half and kept shooting. This wouldn´t have been possible without my teammates. This game gave me a lot of self confidence. You know a team is good when there are many scoring options”, stressed Risto Vasiljevic. Jordan Samare was also key in the big Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners run scoring three buckets and being very active on the boards as he had a huge height and weight advantage over his defenders mostly having that mismatch and using it to his advantage. Oron scored five points for BG Goettingen and Heinrich hit a trey. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners kept up the pressure and rode into halftime clutching on to a convincing 60-34 lead with the game as good as out of reach for BG Goettingen. In the last minutes the Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners press continued to give BG Goettingen large headaches as they turned over the ball, but had only 9 at the break which was a big improvement to their 33 in the first game for 40 minutes. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got ample offensive support from Maxi Begue who averaged 10 points and 5 assists in the NBBL last season getting two lay ups and Leon Pullen also got inside the paint and made a few easy baskets as he continues to be a vital role player on the team. BG Goettingen received some offensive support from 2018 JBBL top 4 player Andrew Elawure and baskets from Oron and Lemmer. “We all know Risto Vasiljevic can shoot. He always shows it in practice. He is a smart player and just shoots when he is open”, stressed Len Schoormann. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 66% from the field and 63% from the three point line and had 26 boards and 6 turnovers while BG Goettingen shot 43% from the field and 33% from the three point line and had 9 rebounds and 9 turnovers.

In the third quarter Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to play their game pounding BG Goettingen on the offensive end while annoying them with their press defense. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners began with a quick 12-3 run to extend their lead to 72-37. In the Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners run, they got vital aid from Leon Pullen as he scored an old school hook shot and then spun to the hoop around a man for the easy basket. 2017 JBBL finalist Clavin Schaum who was coming off an injury hit a lay in while the birthday boy Jordan Samare made an offensive rebound and put back and then made a sweet alley-op dunk with Pullen supplying the dime. “That alley-op dunk was the perfect birthday gift for him. We sang him happy birthday in the locker room after the win”, added Risto Vasiljevic. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to get support from the bench letting the starters get more breathing space as Len Schoormann spent more time on the bench, but when he was on the court supplied a smooth trey, but it was Vasiljevic who continued to perform at a high level and took some of that shooting momentum from the first half and supplied more fire power in the waning minutes of the third quarter. The 17 year old hit two three´s with one being more beautiful than the other. On the first one, he had a few hands in his face while stepping back and hitting at the shot clock buzzer. The second trey gave Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners a 44 point lead, but even with such a big lead they continued to play as a team and showed no selfishness, but real solid team ball. 16 year old 182cm Frederick Fischbach gave this example as he penetrated to the hoop in traffic, but instead of trying to be like a Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook did like a classic guard finding the open man for the open three. Oron closed out the third quarter with three, but Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners led 85-44 after 30 minutes. “We had good consistent team play. When the communication is there, it is easier to find the open man”, stressed Len Schoormann. “Frankfurt is a top 4 candidate and just a lot more athletic than we are. It is just difficult to play against them when they play their press. We had too many turnovers”, said Hendrik Hadenfeldt. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 64% from the field and 62% from the parking lot and hauled down 38 rebounds and 11 turnovers while BG Goettingen shot 46% from the field and 28% from the parking lot and hauled down 17 rebounds and had 17 turnovers.

With the game long decided, Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners gave the bench more added minutes and closed out the game in style. BG Goettingen didn´t give up and started off the last frame well getting some three´s from 18 year old Alan Bause and Henrich and a lay in Hadenfeldt as their execution got better. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got started by getting another three from Vasiljevic who was 6/7 from downtown at that point and also aid from 16 year old 210 cm center Liam O´neill and 16 year old 184cm shooting guard Isaac Ibanor. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to execute on offense and get to the free throw line while their defensive press now really hurt BG Goettingen as fatigue had set in and the turnovers now really began to add up as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got closer and closer to the 100 point mark. With Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners up 97-61, every player had scored up to that point except 18 year old Vincent Dietrich, but he then stepped up and hit a trey marking the 100 points. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners closed out the game in style going on a 10-0 run as Oniya scored and Len Schoormann got three more buckets including a hard two handed dunk. “My second dunk the two handed one was better. One hand dunks are easier to do”, smiled Len Schoormann. “We continued to play our game looking to get open shots and didn´t try to get away form that”, added Hendrik Hadenfeldt. “They were a little tired of our press. Our press was ok. Sometimes we tried to hard to get the job done”, added Len Schoormann. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was led by Risto Vasiljevic with 26 points. Len Schoormann added 20 points while Leon Pullen added 15 points and Jordan Samare supplied 14 points. BG Goettingen was led by Robon Oron and William Heinrich with 15 points a piece and Ben Lemmer added 11 points and Alan Bause 10 ponts. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 60% form the field and 59% from outside and got 47 rebounds and had 18 turnovers while BG Goettingen shot 37% from the field and 325 from outside and gotb25 rebounds and had 33 turnovers.

Siyani Chambers (Giessen 46ers) Has The Winning Mentality And Children Skills To Always Fit In Anywhere

John Bryant has seen hundreds of point guards in his career and played with hundreds more since he picked up a basketball in San Pablo, California, but he definitely hasn´t come across a player like Siyani Chambers before in his career as he doesn´t possess only extra ordinary fine basketball skills, but also has another skill that definitely not all basketball players have and something that if he and his current teammates really wanted to get on the back of the Minnesota native could possibly rob a lot of free time and even have him moonlighting from basketball on certain nights. Chambers didn´t only have a magnificent NCAA career at Harvard where he won more titles than most college players in a four year career, but he also learned another trade only because of an injury and a service that isn´t usually handed to a man and definitely something that most men wouldn´t feel proud of doing or want to do it, but it has been done not only by women. In the summer of 2015 the American interned at Adidas in Portland. While playing pickup, his left knee gave out and he tore up his ACL. He withdrew from Harvard for the 2015-16 academic year because Ivy League schools don´t allow redshirt seasons. Instead of getting a typical job that a man would do, he did something very untypical becoming a nanny for Reverend Jonathan L. Walton, Harvard’s Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. It was a route that most men would have cringed at and thought “are you crazy and why would you do something like that”, but Chambers didn´t go against the norm and found the experience very enriching and gave his life new meaning and also helped him get his mind of the nasty injury. “, I want to thank Rev. Walton and his family for their hospitality and allowing me to stay in their home. Caring for the kids, Zora, Elijah, and Baldwin was not only fun but it also helped take my mind of the injury. As a competitor any injury that will keep you away from the game is tough. I had to learn to be patient and understand that my recovery would be a process, and to mentally stay focused and believe during times when things weren’t as fast as I wanted”, stressed Siyani Chambers. This whole experience wasn´t easy having to sit out a year and be away from competing on and off the floor, but his ex Harvard teammate Brandyn Curry knew exactly what he was going through. “Whenever you are faced with some adversary like that how you respond really determines if it was a blessing in disguise and I think that´s exactly how it ended up being for him. He took that year and worked extremely hard on making the most of it. I had a similar situation when he was a freshmen and I had to take a year off so we talked a good bit when he had his. I think as the years go on he will continue to value that year off more and more just like I have”, warned Brandyn Curry. Should a fan over hear a John Bryant whispering something to Siyani Chambers after a hard fought victory to the words of “hey man how about watching my kids tomorrow night while my wife and I check out that new Spiderman movie The New Universe”, then it will be clear that his teammates have exploited the child caring talents of Chambers and given him a new moonlighting job as a babysitter. Siyani Chambers has the winning mentality and children skills to fit in anywhere.


Tired Legs And Short Shots Doom The Fraport Skyliners Giving The Hakro Merlins Crailsheim The 91-77 Win

The holiday season is always a memorable one off the court for the players, but in the last week, it was anything but noteworthy as the Fraport Skyliners had to face ratiopharm Ulm twice in the easyCredit BBL and Eurocup and lost both games. The first game cost the club rookie Trae Bell_Haynes and Akeem Vargas who will be out for a long period of time. The 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner had had enough of the ratiopharm Ulm team and now had no other choice but to come home and have to take care of business with cellar team Hakro Merlins Crailsheim who came into a game with a 1-12 record while the Fraport Skyliners were doing their own type of balancing act in 12th place with a 5-7 record and three wins away from the last playoff place. The game also remarked the return of an old Skyliner friend Konrad Wysocki. The last time the German who played at Ivy League school Princeton wore a Skyliner jersey, Barack Obama was just beginning his first term as president, Derrick Allen was his teammate and still in his twenties and Dennis Schroeder was a huge basketball talent on the Braunschweig playgrounds. The 36 year old Wysocki played for the then Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 36 BBL games averaging 6.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 43.8%. He returned back to the Fraport arena having a BBL record of 3-2 against his old time since his departure in 2009. He was perfect with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg posting a 3-0 record and winning two nail bitters by two points, but had lost both contests with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. It was pretty much a game that both sides had to win badly with Crailsheim a tad more and did as the Fraport Skyliners despite having injury problems and fatigue gave an unsatisfactory performance losing to the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim 91-77. After the big win a relaxed Konrad Wysocki exited the locker room with a big smile and was right away greeted by his ex team attendant Wulle Buhr and after rapping about the good old days, he greeted me and commented on his return back once again after a few years in the Pro A. “Obviously the faces change over the years, but then you see some of the familiar faces from then and the memories return. This was a big win for us. It has been a tough season losing some close games. We really needed this win very much. Maybe this is the start of seeing more wins”, stated ex Fraport Skyliner Konrad Wysocki.

                The Fraport Skyliners continue to struggle through the season and it showed most against the lowly Hakro Merlins Crailsheim as they had good moments on offense, but their defense continues to be their achilles heel as they can´t rely on this part of their game. Of course the many injuries as well as the many games they have had in recent weeks have had their toll on the club, but still showing effort is something that doesn´t take the most talent and is something any team can always display, but that is something the club has had problems sticking to. After the loss ex Georgetown guard Jason Clark had a long face as he tried to digest another loss after losing back to back games in Ulm and explained what went wrong this time. “We can´t give fatigue as a reason why we lost this game. Every team goes through stretches like this where they have injuries, but this is what we play for. We have to find a way to win these games. Yes were tired, but we can´t have a performance like this. We have to do the little things right and show effort. I have a lot of respect for Crailsheim and they played a hell of a game, but at the end of the day we are a way better team than what we showed. We have to win these kind of games. This game was winnable”, warned Jason Clark. After the huge victory, the diminutive 180cm point guard Dewayne Russell who seems like a few centimeters smaller felt a lot larger than he was after the game even if he didn´t show it as his hot shooting third quarter where he scored 15 points carried the team to the win. The ex Grand Canyon(NCAA) stand out was as humble as could be about the performance of his team. “We played well. This was one of the few complete games we have played this season. Coach did a great job preparing us and our veterans Wysocki and Turner kept our heads up. We did a good job staying together when they had runs. We executed very well what we wanted to against their different coverages”, stressed Dwayne Russell.

Post game interview with Crailsheim guard Dewayne Russell who led his team to the win with a game high 22 points including 15 in the third quarter