DJ Woodmore is a 28 year old 190cm point guard that is playing his first season with the EPG Baskets Koblenz. Last season with Morgenstern BIS Basket Speyer (Germany-ProB) he played 21 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT-2 (50.0%), FT: 87.3%. In 2018-2019 13.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 60.2%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 71.6% in the Regionalliga. In his first two seasons with Speyer he averaged 14.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 72.1% and 17.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 3.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 76.4%. he played at Virginia Wesleyan College (NCAA3): from 2010-2014 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 20.1ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.3% (219/435), 3Pts: 46.0% (91/198), FT: 76.9% (93/121). Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and DJ Woodmore team up each week to talk basketball.
Thanks DJ for talking to germanoops.com 2021 is here. What new years resolutions did you make for 2021?
No problem at all, thanks for having me again! I actually didn’t have too many resolutions this year. Usually I’m full of them, but this time I’m just focused on staying healthy, and winning some games.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz had a extra free weekend leading up to the game in Karlsruhe. How tough was it preparing for the Arvato College Wizards for your first game in 2021?
No I didnt think it was too tough to prepare for them, I thought the most difficult thing was hoping that they didn’t change too much since the last time they played. I think they had over a month without a game and a team usually makes some major adjustments in that span of time.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz lost a tough 80-71 contest on the road. Usually the second time around teams are able to make adjustments. You won the first game 83-78. Did they make the better adjustment or did this loss have to do more with your team in general?
Yea definitely a tough loss this time, we wanted to start the new year off with a win. Especially because we have a stretch of pretty tough games coming up. But I thought we beat ourselves a lot this game. We were really poor offensively and couldn’t get anything going in the third quarter at all after starting the game so well again.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz controlled the first half, but the they came back late in the second quarter. With what areas of the Koblenz game were you content with in the first half and with what parts weren’t you content with?
I feel like one of our biggest weaknesses in the first half of season has been the way we started games. Trying to climb our way out of a big hole early. We’ve fixed that in the last few games, but there always seems to be a quarter where we lose focus and can’t score or defend consistently. We have to find a way to fix that. I thought we started extremely strong but just ran out of gas going into the half. And never could find our stride in the second half.
The Arvato College Wizards took control of the game and lead in the third quarter. American Alexander Thompson scored 7 unanswered points getting his team going. Is Thompson one of those guys that is too good for the Pro B?
He’s definitely a talented player. Has a lot of dimensions to his game. I think we did a good job on him in the first half but made some mistakes in the second half that gave him some easy looks. He’s going to do extremely well in this league and probably capable of playing higher.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz just couldn’t get over the hump in the fourth quarter. Why couldn’t the team buckle down better on defense?
They were picking us apart with one play. It just seemed like we couldn’t find the answer for it. But their point guards did a good job of creating the advantage on the pick and roll, and they made the right decisions. But it’s much easier to play defense when we are scoring on the other end. And we struggled with that forsake.
You had 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 dime and 2 steals in 20 minutes. You played 12 minutes less than usual. Was your performance efficient enough for the minutes you got?
I thought I was beginning to find my rhythm during the second quarter and into the beginning of the third. We were playing through Brian the entire first half and it was working. That started to open things up for myself but unfortunately ended up spraining my ankle pretty bad in the beginning of the third quarter. I had to watch from the sideline for the rest of the game.
This was one of those games where the team was just missing more consistent scorers which is hard to believe with a team that has so much talent. But some days shots aren’t falling. What will be most vital for the team to correct this week in practice?
I think to just focus on the little details within the offense and defense. I think we make it tough on ourselves at times when it doesn’t need to be. We have a lot of talent and should be able to exploit the mismatches each possession but it seems like were not seeing it all the time. I think breaking down some film will do us good going into next weeks game.
The next game is against Bavarian team TSV Oberaching Tropics who surprisingly won the first game 90-84. What memories do you have of that game and what will be key to winning this time?
I just remember them killing us on the offensive rebounds. They had some bigs that just took up a lot of space and created problems for us all game long. I think that will be a key for us. Also if we can get out in transition as much as possible, that will play right into our hands as well.
What have been your early observations of the new NBA season? What has stuck out most for you?
CP3 and how his leadership and skillset has turned another ‘non-playoff’ team, into a serious threat in the West. Last year with the Thunder and this year with the Suns. I think a lot of people were ready to write him off a few years ago, but he’s still one the best PGs the game has ever seen. And I’m glad his making it known again.
December 2020 was a month that 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen wanted to erase as rapidly as possible from their memory bank as they had lost 6 games in a row and were sporting a poor 2-7 record coming into 2021. Their luck changed instantly as they stormed into the new year and won on the road in Giessen which isn´t the same without their boisterous fans, but a win is a win as they gutted out a 92-90 victory. BG Goettingen wanted to continue their winning ways in Frankfurt, but they met a club that also celebrated a win in 2021 on the road in Weissenfels and also were sprouting a lot of self-confidence for more wins. Both teams fought hard in the first half as the game was tight, but the Fraport Skyliners totally broke open the game in the third quarter as Matt Mobley went on a scoring frenzy scoring 19 of his 30 points including whipping out a trace of Kemba Walker with his step back jumper carrying the Fraport Skyliners to the satisfying 81-63 victory. “This was our best game of the season on offense and defense. We did a good job limiting their offense rebounds in the second half and also contained Tai Odiase better in the second half”, stressed Fraport Skyliner rookie Jon Axel Gundmundsson. BG Goettingen did a fine job staying with Frankfurt in the first half, but in the second half couldn´t execute on offense anymore against the more disciplined Frankfurt defense and just couldn´t get consistent stops or get a grip on Matt Mobley. “In the first half we played together and grabbed rebounds, but in the third quarter when they went on their run, they got many loose balls which changed the momentum of the game. We fell apart and couldn´t regroup and go on a run like in the first half. We need to want to have the ball more”, warned BG Goettingen forward Will Rayman. Frankfurt made suitable defensive adjustments in the third quarter which BG Goettingen had no answer to. “Frankfurt did a good job getting us out of our plays and we couldn´t find any solutions. They played very cohiesive and we were a little more disjointed. We need to find back to our winning ways and find an offensive rhythm more early and not let them take us out of our plays”, warned BG Goettingen forward Aubrey Dawkins.
BG Goettingen got on the score board first as athletic big man Tai Odiase who played with the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League):last season made a runner as he would become a real sore spot in Frankfurt´s side in the first quarter. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t wait long to get going quickly scoring 5 unanswered points as ex wiha Panthers Schwenningen forward Rasheed Moore made a lay in and ex Davidson(NCAA) guard Jon Axel Gundmundsson dropped a trey for the 5-2 advantage. Both teams than changed leads as Odiase scored again and ex Rasta Vechta center Michael Kessens made a lay in for the 7-6 lead. Both teams were trying to get their big men involved and it worked. Frankfurt regained the lead as ex Auburn(NCAA) great Quantez Robertson nailed a trey in ex NBA player Jorge Gutierrez´s face for the 10-6 lead. But Frankfurt lost some intensity after this big Robertson three as BG Goettingen finished strong going on a 13-3 run to lead 19-13 after 10 minutes. In the run, BG Goettingen was aided by the continued very aggressive play by Odiase who scored twice with a hard dunk and tip off his own miss while Dawkins nailed a tough turn around shot and ex Long Beach State University (NCAA) guard Deishuan Booker hit a trey. BG Goettingen did a good job using the mis matches and played good inside out basketball and just dominated the paint area. BG Goettingen led 19-13 after one quarter. “We had problems containing Tai Odiase who was very aggressive, rebounded well and played the pick and roll well. He also had a nice mid range game”, stressed Jon Axel Gundmundsson.
In the second quarter the game was tight and a game of runs. The Fraport Skyliners raced out on a quick 6-0 run to dead lock the contest at 19-19. In the run, ex St Bonaventure(NCAA) guard Matt Mobley got going making a lay in and hit free throws while Michael Kessens also scored. Then it was time for BG Goettingen to find some daylight as they recuperated going on a 7-2 run to lead 26-21. In the run, it was ex Gonzaga German Matis Monnighof who hit a trey, Odiase connected on transition with a lay in and Gutierrez was lucky as a loose ball skipped directly into his hands as he was cutting to the rim getting the easy bucket. BG Goettingen kept the lead with another Gutierrez jumper, but Frankfurt remained on the guests heels as Moore and Mobley scored. Frankfurt had a better rhythm on offense and got the lead back through hard work and hustle as German guard Konstantin Konga snuck inside getting an offense rebound and put back tying the game at 29-29 and Mobley struck again scoring a tough shot in traffic for the 31-29 lead. Ex California(NCAA) center Harper Kamp made a nice spin move tying the game at 31-31. Kamp who last played in 2018 with Malvin Montevideo (Uruguay-LUB) still has game at age 32 and finished with 10 points in 17 minutes. Frankfurt then would play the game of runs game again going on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 36-31 as Konga drilled home an open trey and Kessens caught BG Goettingen napping on transition defense as he scored. But BG Goettingen ended the second quarter of runs quarter with a 7-0 run to trail only 38-36 at the break. In their run, it was all Harper Kamp who scored 7 unanswered points and continued the BG Goettingen dominance of the paint as Frankfurt wasn´t able to contain the big man. “We didn´t play physical enough against them and were too soft”, said Jon Axel Gundmundsson.
The Fraport Skyliners took charge of the game in the third quarter winning it 25-9 as Matt Mobley scored 19 points being a total offensive scoring wrecking machine. The Fraport Skyliners came out smoking as they reeled off a 17-4 run to totally broke open the game to lead comfortably 54-42. Rasheed Moore began the offensive onslaught with a pretty turn around shot which then was followed by a Gundmundsson bomb form at least 9 meters as Frankfurt led 41-38 and would never trail again. The good Frankfurt start was helped by three defensive stops. BG Goettingen finally got on the board at 7,26 as Gutierrez showed that he has mid range game making a shot as BG Goettingen trailed 41-30. Then came the Matt Mobley show as he scored 12 points in a span of 4 minutes. He scored 4 free throws, connected on two three´s and also made a runner. “He is tough to stop. He can make shots from the easyCredit BBL sign. He has nice range. I was guarding him and tried to go close up to him, but he drove right me”, stated Will Rayman. Rayman then nailed a three pointer and made a tip in, but that didn´t bother Mobley as he continued to be in attack mode as he scored 7 more points. He made 4 free throws and ended the third quarter with a beautiful step back three pointer ala Kemba Walker. “When he gets hot, he can make any shot. That step back was more like Kemba. Kemba likes taking those shot. His quickness makes him so hard to stop”, added Jon Axel Gundmundsson. After 30 minutes of action the Fraport Skyliners had the very satisfying 61-47 advantage. “We kept getting stops and got easy baskets. We got Mobley open shots and he kept attacking. When he gets hot, we know that he will be hard to stop”, added Jon Axel Gundmundsson. “Frankfurt was switching a bit more and were more aggressive in the post. We didn´t move the ball as well and had more 1-1 plays”, stressed Will Rayman.
The Fraport Skyliners kept their offensive pressure and consistency in the fourth quarter and never allowed BG Goettingen to cut the Frankfurt lead under double digits. Frankfurt got off to another good and quick start getting a lay in from ex Miami(NCAA) center Kamari Murphy and Quantez Robertson executed on a trey as Frankfurt led 66-50. Frankfurt showed some beautiful ball movement as ex Braunschwieg guard Joe Rahon made the extra pass to Tez for the perfect executed play. Robertson finished with 7 points, 11 boards, 4 dimes and a steal and got lauded after the game by head coach Sebastian Gleim for his ruthless defense on Aubrey Dawkins who finished only with 6 points way under his season average of 15,0ppg. “He is a very good defender. I can only image what kind of pest he was like 10 years ago. He is still going strong. If I could I would definitely pick his brain and ask him what it takes to play so long. He has the quick hands and feet that give him the tools for being a great defender”, said Aubrey Dawkins. One guy who is up for the Skyliners unsung hero and most improved in the easyCredit BBL is Rasheed Moore. This guy moved up 3 leagues in 3 seasons and is playing his first BBL season as if he has been here for 5 years. He scored 2 baskets in a row as he picked his spots well upping the Frankfurt lead to 71-52. The American finished the contest with 10 points, 7 boards and 4 assists. BG Goetingen got some garbage points form Germans ex FC Bayern Munich guard Nelsom Weidemann and Andrew Onwuegbuzie to cut the Frankfurt lead to 73-59, but Frankfurt closed out the game with a Gundmundsson trey and Kessens lay in. “It was important that we ended the game strong. We are a young team and that is an important strength for us. That will give us a lot of confidence for the next game”, warned Jon Axel Gundmundsson. “We let our heads down. We have to stay tough and come together. When you don´t get a rhythm on defense then it´s hard to do that on offense. Frankfurt was rewarded for their hard work. They got so many loose balls. They played harder than we did”, stressed Will Rayman. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Matt Mobley with 30 points. Michael Kessens added 12 points and Jon Axel Gundmundsson scored 11 points and Rasheed Moore added 10 points while BG Goettingen was led by Tai Odiase with 14 points and Harper Kamp added 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 38% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 15 turnovers while BG Goettingen shot 35% from the field and 27% from outside and had 30 rebounds and 16 turnovers.
I had the privilege of seeing the ex Penn(NCAA) standout Michael Hakim Jordan play for the first time in the 2005 easyCredit playoffs as he bowed out against the Deutsche Bank Skyliners with the Artland Dragons. I would continue to cover his illustrious playing career in Germany all the way up to 2011 when he retired and saw him win the BBL title with RheinEnergie Koln in 2006 and also covered his game when he won the German assist crown in 2009 and when he played with Phoenix Hagen, MBC and Giessen. He didn´t take a long break between being a professional and taking the next step in the real world and quickly became an assistant coach with Colgate in 2012 where he helped the Raiders rebuild their program in the 8 years that he was there. The basketball program made big strides in the last years having a 68-34 record in the last 3 seasons and in 2019 the club won the Patriot League title and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996. His duties included recruiting, player development and coaching which helped him shape and develop 9 players that would go on to play professionally. After 8 successful years at Colgate, he has made the next step and returned home to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia and is an assistant coach at Drexel(NCAA). There was one distinct moment in 2010 where one could have imagined that Michael Jordan could one day go into coaching. It was during the 2009-2010 season and his club then Phoenix Hagen was playing a regular season game in Frankfurt in early spring. Phoenix Hagen wasn´t having a great season and had brought Jordan in to help save a sinking ship in December 2009. Jordan didn´t play that day, because he was injured. I remember conducting some small talk with him before the contest and 20 minutes later, the basketball world would later see the legendary Jordan tantrum in the locker room as head coach Ingo Freyer and assistant Steven Wriedt were still on the bench looking over the stat sheet concerning the 44-27 Frankfurt lead at the break. Jordan strolled into the locker room sporting a Philadelphia Phillies sweat shirt and cap and chewed out his teammates. This amazing locker room tirade was captured for the great basketball documentary Phoenix In Der Asche which followed Phoenix Hagen´s 2009-2010season. Jordan played a major role in the documentary and was all fired up in the locker room as he tried to knock some sense into his teammates. One of his classic lines was “We have 20 minutes. We may not win, but play with some Fu*ken heart. Fuk somebody up”! 10 years later, I still love watching this classic moment as it is one of those behind the doors experiences that you don´t see every day. 10 years later, Jordan is a coach moving up the ladder and has been invited to the Miles basketball Minute Scouting Report. One of the many players at Colgate that profited under his guidance was Will Rayman that plays with German professional team BG Goettingen that won the 2010 Eurochallenge.
Rayman was born on April 1st in New York city. His began his basketball career at Millbrook and before going to University, he got an extra year of basketball grooming at the New Hampton Prep School. He then went on to play at Colgate University from 2016-2020 amassing a total of 134 NCAA games. He started as a guard in high school, but made a huge growth spurt in his senior year. He came to Colgate having a solid perimeter game, but had to get adjusted to new aspects of the game, because of his growth spurt. He worked hard and grew into a very good forward at Colgate. He demonstrated as a freshman that he had the game to compete at the NCAA level as he played 31 games averaging 14.0ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 68.0%. He scored in double figures in 22 games and scored 20 points or more 6 times. He had huge scoring games against Penn State with 28 points in a losing cause and scorched Army with 28 points. His extraordinary first season allowed him to garner the awards All-Patriot League Rookie of the Year and Patriot League All-Rookie Team. In his sophomore season he was able to make another step as he upped his rebounding and shot over 40% from outside for the first time playing 33 games averaging 14.7ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 80.7%. He scored in double figures in 26 games and mastered 20 points or more in 6 games. He had a few massive games including having Army´s number again netting 29 points, hit American for 25 points in a victory and had 23 points in a win against UMBC: he showed in his first 2 seasons that he could be a consistent scorer, but his game encompassed so much more. “Will’s biggest strengths are his high motor, his length and size, his defensive prowess and his ability to play inside and out. He’s a matchup problem. He does whatever you ask him to do. He only wants to win”, warned ex Colgate assistant coach Michael Jordan”. But another huge strength in his game is his work ethic, an asset that is always important, because that is what controls how far a basketball player can climb the basketball ladder in his professional career. He was a guy that would sneak into the gym on team off days late at night at Colgate to get extra work done. Head coach Matt Langel had to remove him from the court. That is how dedicated he was to always get better. I remember watching him play in early January 2018 at Boston University where Colgate lost 72-58. He didn´t have a great game scoring only 7 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, but his versatile game then did catch my eye. After his second season he achieved more awards like All-Patriot League 2nd Team , Patriot League All-Tournament Team, and NABC NCAA D1 All-District 13 2nd Team.
In his junior season, he played 35 games averaging 13.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 68.1%. He scored in double figures in 27 games and registered 20 points or more in 6 games. His best scoring games occurred against Boston University where he poured in 26 points in a 81-69 win, hit Loyola Maryland with 24 points in an exciting 75-72 win and scored 23 points in a 76-56 victory over Army. He had his second straight season eclipsing the 40% mark from outside and being able to achieve that didn´t come form snapping his fingers. “He put in the work to become the player and shooter that he is. I’m sure it will only improve because he’s going to continue to work at it. He’s just that type of kid”, warned Drexel(NCAA) assistant coach Michael Jordan. He continued to pick up additional awards after his junior year like All-Patriot League 2nd Team, Patriot League All-Tournament Team, Patriot League All-Tournament Team, Patriot League All-Defensive Team, Patriot League Regular Season Co-Champion and Patriot League Tournament Winner As a senior he played 34 games averaging 12.6ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 80.0%. He scored in double figures in 21 games and scored 20 points or more in 21 games and scored 27 points in a loss against Loyola Maryland and had 25 points in a win over Holy Cross. His scoring went down, but he became more of a beast on the boards and he also became more of an impact player on the defensive end. It was never boring at Colgate practices. I saw a few Colgate games at Boston University over the last years and Jordan wasn´t only responsible for the development for so many players, but also had the ability to use his unique character and personality to put some fun into the sometimes difficult college basketball process. It is great that he kept his special personality one that I witnessed often when he was playing overseas. “Will’s size length and athleticism bothers a lot of players. He covers a lot of ground. You think your open and then here comes his 6-10 wingspan and it changes your shot. He won´t change my shot though, I mean I’ll give Will 40 points”, joked ex Colgate assistant coach Michael Jordan. After averaging 14,0 ppg in his first two seasons, his scoring average went down. He didn´t grow into that explosive scorer, but there were reasons for that. Not having a big ego played a big role with Colgate and professional teams in the future will also profit from it. “Honestly as a staff we knew his scoring would go down because we started to surround him with other guys that could also score. To his credit he didn’t complain one time about his touches and attempts going down. Like I said earlier he just wanted to do whatever was needed for our team to be successful”, stressed warned ex Artland Dragon player Michael Jordan.. He picked up new awards after his senior year like NABC NCAA D1 All-District 13 2nd Team, Patriot League All-Defensive Team, All-Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and All-Patriot League 1st Team -20 He finished his 4 years at Colgate(NCAA) career averaging 13,7ppg and 6,7rpg. Jordan coached Rayman for 4 years and will always remember exactly how his game developed from day 1 until the last day. “Will has always been a hard worker so we knew he would a special player because he would put in the work that it takes. He improved on something new every year”, warned ex Phoenix Hagen guard Michael Jordan.
Rayman began his professional career overseas in Estonia with Tartu Ulikool Maks & Moorits (Estonia) playing 8 games averaging 22.5ppg, 9.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.5spg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 53.9%, 3FGP: 41.4%, FT: 77.4% . As the stats show, the forward needed absolute no adjustment period. He scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scored more than 20 points 5 times and had more than 30 points 3 times. He had a 34/11 explosion in a wipe out win over Kalev/TLU, and then scored 33 points against the same team again. He also scored 31 points and had 12 rebounds in a tough 76-74 loss against Rapla. The club had a 4-4 record with Rayman. Sometimes even when a player is putting up huge stats for a team, in the end it doesn´t necessarily mean that it´s a right fit. The American left Estonia and moved on to BG Goettingen. Belgium head coach Roel Moors of BG Goettingen is thrilled to have scooped up the American and knows exactly how he will help his club be successful. “He gives us more options at the position 4. He is a good shooter and has a very good basketball understanding”, stressed Roel Moors. Of course at the age of 23, sky is still the limit for him and he can still improve much in his game, but Michael Jordan wasn´t about to give opposing BBL teams an edge over his ex player. “I’m not going to give his opponents the scouting report on how to defend him but he knows what he needs to get better at doing. We’ve discussed it”, warned Michael Jordan. Rayman showed that he could be a wrecking crew in Estonia, but so far in the German BBL, he hans´t been able to make his mark yet averaging only 4,3ppg and 3,0rpg in 14 minutes. Despite the slow start, Jordan is convinced that his ex player has a big future ahead of him. “I think he will have a very long and successful career and he will do good things in the BBL. He loves the game and he plays it the right way. Good things happen for guys like him”. Stressed ex Colgate(NCAA) assistant coach Michael Jordan. Jordan has started a new chapter in his coaching career at Drexel(NCAA) while his ex player Will Rayman has begun a new chapter with BG Goettingen. One thing that nobody will ever be able to take away are the memories that these 2 individuals shared especially for Jordan. “My fondest moment is when we won the Patriot League Championship in 2019. To see the joy on his face at that moment was priceless. To see all his hard work he put in paid off and he accomplished one of his many goals”, remembered Drexel(NCAA) assistant coach Michael Jordan.
Kyndahl Hill is a 26 year old 201cm forward from Humble, Texas that is playing his fourth professional season and first with the SYNTAINICS MBC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) currently averaging 8,3ppg, 6,3rpg, 2,1apg and 1,5spg. Last season he played with BC Kyiv Basket (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 13 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 10.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 68.4%; played 4 BCL games averaging 8.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0apg; and played 22 Ukrainian Superleague games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 71.0%. The season before he played with BC Zaporizhye-ZOG (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 38 games averaging 16.7ppg, Reb-2 (8.3rpg), 1.7apg, 1.4spg, Blocks-2 (1.0bpg), FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 71.7%. He played his rookie season with the Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 30 games averaging 16.2ppg, Reb-3 (7.3rpg), 1.2apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-2 (1.2bpg), FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 78.2%. He began his basketball career at Humble High Schoo and then played at Weber State (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of129 games improving his scoring and rebounding stats each season. As a senior he played 33 games averaging 10.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 49.8%, FT: 76.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com at the end of the summer about his basketball career.
Kyndahl thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been despite the whole COVID-19 effecting the world?
At the moment I am in Germany preparing for the season. My summer was good despite the pandemic. I was able to spend time with my family and also still able to work on my game.
How have you experienced the whole COVID-19 crisis in the States the last months How much did the last 6 months change your life and how much of a challenge was it finding the time and places to be able to stay in shape and be able to work on your game?
I was able to find different ways to stay in shape such as working out outside, running and other home workouts. Also I was still able to get into a gym and work on my craft. I had a college teammate that had access to a court that would let me in to get work in. In the states they began opening places up a while after I had returned. Once that happened I was able to get back to lifting and other workouts also. How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?
I learned a lot about myself when the pandemic hit and I wasn’t able to compete again for a while. Having that happen gave me time to think about what it would be like once I am done playing the sport. It also gave me the opportunity to understand not to take the game for granted. Not saying that I have but just saying to cherish the opportunities that I receive.
Congrats on signing in the German easyCredit BBL one of the top 5 leagues in Germany with the SYNTAINICS MBC Weissenfels. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had any friends, ex teammates or opponents ball here?
I know a little about the league and Germany. That it’s a great league to be apart of and to continue to progress your career. Yes I have had a few ex teammates play here, also some friends that have played here. They have all given me some information about the league and the country.
You stated in the club press release that the BBL is a step up for you and an obvious reason for coming. But what was your first impression of head coach Silvano Poropat?
My first impression of Silvano, was that he knows what he want’s. He has a clear plan for what he sees this team doing and what he sees for each player on this team. He seems like a great person and coach and I’m looking forward to this year with him.
You had a solid career in the NCAA with Weber State, but as a professional had to pay your dues in Denmark and Ukraine in your first 3 seasons. Have you had a big chip on your shoulder the last years?
Yes, I have had a chip on my shoulder. I have something to prove each time I step on the court. I know what I can do and the work that I have put in to get to where I am. I am not stopping now. I want to be the best version of myself.
Let’s talk a little about your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
I’m not sure who I would compare myself to. I have taken things from players in the league and tried to add that to my game. My favorite player is Kevin Durant, but even before he got into the league I watched Kevin Garnett a lot because I loved his toughness every time he touched the floor. I have taken mid-post play from Carmelo Anthony. I don’t try and model my play after one person I watch players who are my similar position and see what I can add from there game to my own. I also loved to watch how Dwade played.
What really impressed me right away was that despite bringing very good offensive stats in the NCAA and at the pro level, it is defense that everybody lauds you about. Have you always been that defensive stopper or did that develop more with time?
I feel that I have been pretty good defensively but, I also know that I have grown each year. I put in work to make myself a great defender. Not to just be low post defender but to be an all around defender I take pride in defense.
You can defend every position from 1-5. How much pride do you take on shutting down that opponent and what do you feel is your biggest asset on the defensive end?
I feel that I can guard 1-5 I work to be able to move laterally and have the foot speed or the strength to guard who ever is in front of me. I take a lot of pride in trying to shut down the opponent. My biggest asset on the defensive end is being able to guard multiple positions.
On what area’s of your game did you work on most this summer in order to keep improving as a player?
The area’s that I worked on the most this summer are my ball handling, quicker first step, mid-post scoring, and getting up a lot of shots. I wanted to work on area’s of my game that I feel wil help me progress my career.
You played the last 2 seasons in the Ukraine for 2 different teams and was an allstar each season. How do you feel did your game grow playing in this league?
I felt that it grew in different ways both seasons. Going into the first year in the Ukraine my outside shot needed to become better and I feel like it did. That next year I wanted to grow and become a better defender and I was put on situations to were I was able to do that.
In your first season in the Ukraine with BC Zaporizhye-ZOG, you were teammates with the talented Mike Holton Jr. He stated this recently in an interview with me about you. ‘Kyndahl was a great teammate to have and it was fun playing together last year. I was happy to see that he had another great season. Year after year he is improving and showing consistently that he brings a lot to the table for teams. What did you appreciate most about him as a player and person?
I appreciated a lot of things about playing with Mike. He was a great teammate he helped me grow as a player. I feel that I learned things from him that helped me consistently showcase what I brought to the table. Also what we’re somethings that I could improve on in my game. He’s a great person to be around and talk about life and basketball with.
Last season you played with BC Kyiv Basket (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 13 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 10.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 68.4%; and played 22 Ukrainian Superleague: games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 71.0%. How thrilling was it playing Fiba Europe Cup? How do you feel did your game profit most from that?
It was a great experience playing in the Fiba Europe Cup. Playing against high level European competition learning things about myself and what I need to do to continue to progress. Also being able to play in all of the different countries that I was able to play in was great. I feel my game improved from playing in it. Those games showed me what I need to work on to become better.
You played your rookie season with the Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 30 games averaging 16.2ppg, Reb-3 (7.3rpg), 1.2apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-2 (1.2bpg), FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 78.2%. What was your wake up calling to being a rookie overseas where you knew that you were far away from Texas?
My wake up call was not being able to have family come and watch games or even see them online. The language barrier was also another thing not everyone there spoke English so that took some adjusting to.
You played at Weber State from 2013-2017 winning the Big Sky Conf. Tournament in 2014 and 2016. Which one was sweeter?
I think they both were great the first one being able to win it at our home arena in front of our fans was great. The second one could edge it out by a little bit because the year before wasn’t our best year as a team at Weber and we put in a lot of work that summer, off-season, and season to get to that point it was the best feeling.
You played many years together with Joel Bolomboy and Jeremy Senglin. Did these guys become like brothers for you and what are your fondest memories with them?
Yes, we did build a great relationship with each other. We still stay in touch to this day. Best memories with each other was being able to play together win Big Sky Championships together, and just being able to hang out and get to know one another.
What memories do you have of the tough NCAA tournament loss to Xavier in 2016? With so many basketball games and players moving around did you notice that you will battle Jalen Reynolds again who was on that Xavier team?
It was a great experience being able to play on that stage and battle a great team. I didn’t notice that he was playing in this league. It will be interesting to play against him again.
How did head coach Randy Rahe groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
By holding me accountable with bring energy everyday to practice and games. Helping me mature as a player.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Brekkot Chapman?
We actually haven’t played a game of one on one yet.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCCA or anywhere that went to the NBA?
One of the toughest players that I battled with on a teammate of mine and it was Joel Bolomboy. We played hard against each other every practice.
Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?
I don’t have a list of five best teammates. I have built different relationships with all of my teammates.
Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present players?
Charles Jenkins is a 31 year old 189cm guard from New York that is playing his 10th professional season and first with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-Euroleague) He is in his eighth Euroleague season and 176 Euroleague games under his belt. He has played for top European teams like KK Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (Serbia-KLS), EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) and BC Khimki Moscow Region (Russia-VTB. He laos played two seasons in the NBA playing 110 games for the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers. He began his basketball career at Springfield Gardens High School and then had an illustrious career at Hofstra (NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 126 games. In his last two NCAA seasons he averaged 20.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 80.5% and 22.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 82.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Euroleague game against FC Bayern Munich.
Charles thanks for talking to german hoops.com . Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I’m in Athens Greece at the moment. Life is good despite the circumstances. I still have a place to work. It’s a real blessing.
There is a young German player Alvin Onyia in Frankfurt that I asked a few years ago after which player he models his game and he said you? How does that make you feel?
I’m very flattered. If this was coming from a Serbian kid it would make more sense though. When I was playing in Serbia, I had relationships with all the young Serbians. I would watch their games and give them advice. Knowing that this German kid said that means a lot to me. You never know who is watching.
Before we get to your illustrious basketball career let’s talk about COVID-19. Your 2019-2020 season ended in March 2002. How did you experience COVID-19 and what was the most challenging thing that you experienced?
It was weird. I remember we were in Madrid. We were supposed to play at 9.00pm. Then the news that Trey Thompkins had tested positive came. We went back to Belgrad. My mind wasn’t thinking that there would be a long delay in the season. In the next 72 hours everything went so fast. I remember my teammate Kevin Punter and I checking this COVID website seeing how quickly it was spreading. We worried about our families and wanted to return back home as soon as possible. I thought that COVID would pass quickly and I would be back to Europe. The whole thing changed my perspective. The most challenging thing for me was seeing how I lost relatives. In a way the whole thing was also a blessing in disguise in that I could be home with my family. I made the best out of the situation. Finding the time to train in the mornings and then spend time with the family and help them get food. My girlfriend helped my mom lose 14 pounds with a special diet. I couldn’t work on my game from March to August because there were no gyms open in New York. They took out all the rims in the park. We did a lot of running and bike riding.
With everything that you have experienced off the court with COVID-19 how do you feel did you grow as a man?
It taught me to cherish each day. My best friend lost relatives and it was scary and brought me down to earth. Living in Europe, it is like a bubble for me and I live a different life. At home it felt real. It was a very humbling experience. My girlfriend was very supportive. My family and friends were all going through the same thing. Buying hundreds of dollars of groceries not knowing if you could go the next day was a totally new experience for me.
You played in the NBA and have won 9 professional titles. What goals do you still have as a player? I guess it’s all about the titles isn’t it
It’s all about the titles. I have only reached the Euroleague playoffs once. Playing in the Euroleague Final 4 is always on my mind. I’m always jealous of the guys who get to play in it. I remember leaving a team and then seeing the guys make it the year after was tough. It’s all about winning. I also want to get Euroleague defensive player of the year, but it will be tough against a guy like Tavares from Real Madrid.
Your playing your seventh Euroleague season and first with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-Euroleague). What is the biggest kick that you still get playing in the Euroleague?
I love to compete against the top guards in Europe.I have had a reputation of being one of the best all ball defenders in Europe. I take a lot of pride on the defensive end and always have to be ready. I watch a lot of highlights of the best guards so I can be ready and stop those amazing highlights.
What kind of an adjustment is it only playing Euroleague and having the weekends off? Is the pressure bigger to win games with only one competition?
The pressure is really big in Greece. The club is really respected and your always getting messages from fans. There is only one game per week and you always have that game of the week feeling. If you lose, then the next week is like a war zone. The coach gets on you. He is really emotional and gets on you. The practices become more intense. If you win then it feels great.
Your playing with some very good Greek players and some legends with Printezis and Vassillis Spanoulis. How much of a joy is it being able to play with a legend like Spanoulis at your age. What still amazes you about his game?
I played against Spannoulis since many years. He prepares his game so well and cares so much about winning. He is one of the best vocal leaders I have been around. He can also be hard on guys if they aren’t doing their jobs, but overal he is great to be around. He is one of the most respected guys and it great to see how his mind works.
Last season you played : KK Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (KLS) playing 10 Adriatic League: games averaging 6.4ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 66.7%, 3PT-1 (52.8%), FT: 75.0%; and 23 Euroleague:games averaging 3.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.8apg. It was your third tour of duty with them. This organization must be like your second home.
They love me there. Whenever I played somewhere else and I became a free agent then they were usually one of the first teams that contacted me I won a lot there. It was the first club that I played for when I came overseas. I have a lot of respect for that organization and friends there. One of the main reasons I came back again was the coach. He gave me more freedom. It was more about the coach this time then the club.
You have played with so many head coaches including Dejan Radanovic. What has it been having played so long under him?
When I first got there I didn’t like him. He was tough on me at first. He cared most about my personal life. He wanted to know when I went to bed and when I was tired on the court, he thought I had been out at night. On the court he was always on me about not being aggressive enough or not denying the ball. I really didn’t like that. I remember calling my agent and asking why he was so hard on me. Then somewhere around Feb in my first year things changed. He was still hard on me, but gave me more freedom. That made me become more comfortable to want to return. He encouraged me to do more and in my second year we won our first title together. Later I signed with Milan, but he still kept contact to me. I would return back in 2016. We then became like two friends that work for each other.
You played 2 seasons with BC Khimki Moscow Region (Russia-VTB). You have played with so many teammates, but what were you thinking in the summer of 2018 when you heard of the sad passing of Tyler Honeycut?
I was very hurt. When I signed at BC Khimki, Tyler was the first guy that reached out to me. We were roommates and always went out to dinner. We spent a lot of time together. I didn’t pay attention to what he was going through, but he never told me. His death was very tough. I had seen him only a few weeks before his death.
Everyone says that Mike James and Shane Larkin are the best Euroleague players, but why does a guy like Alexy Sheved get lost in the discussion?
I don’t think that he gets lost in the discussion. You have to remember that Mike and Shane play for more successful teams. That is really the only thing that separates them. I think talent wise Alexy is one of the best in Europe. He is tall and always plays free and doesn’t think of mistakes. He passes very well and is one of the best shooters.
You have had amazing three point percentages in the last 5-6 seasons in the Euroleague and other leagues shooting over 50%.Do you sometimes wonder where your career may have gone without your deadly three pointer?
No I haven’t. In my first season with Red Star I remember we shot a lot of three’s in practice. I gained a lot of self confidence during that time. We did a lot of shooting drills like make one plus one but if you miss then minus two. After a while I felt more comfortable. My role was to play defense and space the floor. It was like a gift from God. Having the freedom to shoot and always taking the three when I was open.
In the 2015-2016 season you played with EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) playing 29 Serie A games averaging 5.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 83.3%; 10 Euroleague: games averaging 6.7ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-4 (1.5spg), FGP: 37.9%, 3PT-3 (58.3%), FT: 50.0%; and 8 Eurocup games averaging 4.3ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg. How proud were you of winning 2 titles including the Serie A? The team only had 2 Americans.
No we actually had more Americans. Jamel Mclean, Rakim Sanders and Oliver Lafayette were also on the team. My favorite title was winning the Italian Cup. It was the first time that my mom and dad were overseas together and could watch me play. I won the title in front of them which felt great.
What kind of an experience was it playing for coaching legend Ettore Messina? What was the most worthwhile thing that you could soak up from him that season?
To be honest our relationship wasn’t that great in Milan. It was the first time in my career that I had that three and D role. I remember playing 35 minutes against Trento and not taking a shot. It was a real adjustment. The team didn’t rely on me as we had many good players. I wasn’t happy about the role and it affected me mentally. I just didn’t know what to expect that season.
You had a massive 31 point explosion in the 86-84 win over Openjobmetis. Can you remember a game like this with so many games that you have played in your career?
I actually do remember that game. We didn’t have many guys that game. We only had three guards and a young Italian who wasn’t going to play. I knew going into the game that I had to be more aggressive. After I hit my first three shots my confidence grew. I didn’t miss much that night.
You played your first two professional seasons in Europe with KK Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (Serbia-KLS). What example will you never forget concerning the wild fan base with Red Star?
I remember playing Unics in the Eurocup Final 4. I remember that I couldn’t breathe in the arena. I remember putting ice on my neck during time outs. It also was very difficult to hear anything. There were 24,000 Serbians in the arena, but it was more like 30,000. There were so many people sitting on each other. I remember practicing with signals leading up to the game because it would be so difficult to hear the plays. I remember the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic being at the game.
What was your wake up call to being your first time in Europe as a professional where you knew that you were very far away from home?
My wake up call was the practices in Serbia. If anyone knows how the traditional Serbian coaches are then they will know that they have very hard practices. I remember having a hard morning practice from 11.00-1.30 and then thinking ok I can go back to my room and chill, but no. We had a second practice at 7.00pm. That was when I knew I was in a different place.
What kind of early career relationship did you have with Marcus Williams? He went kind of the same route you did playing a few years in the NBA and then carving out a nice career in Europe.
Marcus is a really good friend of mine. I remember that at the beginning he was a bit difficult to be around. He is a Sagittarius. They are usually tough people that are very protective of their own feelings. We felt each other out before opening up to each other. When that happened we became good friends. It was nice being around him. We had experienced so many similar things. We were roommates. We would criticize each other, but it never led to more. We gained a lot of respect for each other. Once he trusted me, our friendship worked out.
How important was it having veteran Demarcus Nelson as a rookie? Was he a guy that took you under his wing?
Yes he took me under his wing. When I met him, he was a great guy to me right away. He told me everything that I needed to know. He cut my hair at his place, told me about the best restaurants and told me which players and what teams to look out for. Now we talk about investments. I remember one time he ordered burger and fries, but there was a delay with the order and it arrived at 6.00pm. We had practice at 7.00pm. He was so stuffed that he couldn’t move. He kept saying I can’t do anything because I just ate. His jersey was full.
You played against NBA superstar Luka Doncic in many stages of his development in Europe. Is there a memory that you had with him on the court that you will never forget?
Not really. I played against him like 4 times. It wasn’t really the best experience playing against him. I remember the first time I played against him was in Belgrad. We were playing him very physical. His coach took him out, because they didn’t want him to get hurt. The next time we lost like by 40 points in Madrid. The third time, I played against him in Khimky. He had the chance to win the game, but missed. I remember him being so pissed that he almost ripped off his jersey. I remember how much his game grew each game. You could see with how much confidence he was playing with. It also helped that his teammate Sergio Lull allowed him to play his game.
You played your rookie season with the Golden State Warriors being Steph Curry’s back up and also started games when he was injured. What kind of a guy was Curry pre superstar status?
Steph was great He supported me. I actually knew him from high school. I remember the first time I saw him in the locker room, I said do you remember me and he said yes. We both went to small schools and understood what each other went through. I remember during the summer, he got the team to book me a flight to North Carolina so I could train with him. I remember then he could go out shopping, but I think now with him being so famous it isn’t possible. He is a good guy.
In your rookie season you had the Timberwolves’s number twice. Were those 2 games that you look back on fondly?
I actually watch the Portland game more than anything. I had 27 points against them. I played really well against Minnesota. I had the game winner in the first game. I remember we had many injuries and I played something like 48 minutes. I remember the coach saying that we didn’t have enough guards and he wanted me to be aggressive. I remember in the second game we were tanking. I had a game winning steal. After the game my Twitter account was lighting up with so many messages. Fans were writing me that I had to play with my brain and lose the games. Fans were already looking to next season for that #1 draft pick
It seems like now adays there are less older veterans on NBA teams as they continue to get younger. You had some real vets with guys like Brandon Rush, Monta Ellis, Richard Jefferson, David Lee, Nate Robinson and Kwame Brown. Did it at times feel like you were a kid in a candy store?
Yes it did. I grew up watching these guys. But It was also nice to see guys that I grew up with in the NBA like Dorell Wright. That was just as eye popping as seeing the others guys. I was in summer school with Dorell Wright. Dorell was super helpful. He was my vet. I remember running a lot of errands.
You played together with a young Klay Thompson and a Steph Curry that would have his break out season then. Did you see that championship flair as something that was coming or had it not have happened without Draymond Green?
I did notice a change from the first season to the second season. I remember the club having a different approach to defense during NBA Summer League. I remember coach sending a letter telling us to come to training camp a month early. We watched more film. I knew that something would change, but I never thought that they would win a title. I did know that Steph Curry would become one of the best guards in the league.
You finished the season with the Philadelphia 76ers together with Kwame Brown and had had Doc Rivers as head coach. Did you know that your NBA run was ending?
Yes when I got there I knew my NBA career was coming to an end. I was playing less. I was just trying to finish out the season. I was still working on my game to get better. This was the point where I wanted to see what could come next in my career. I remember Jeremy Pargo was always watching Maccabi Tel Aviv games on the plane. He told me that I didn’t have to settle with being here, but that I could make a good living in Europe and build my resume. He told me that he would show me saying he was done with the NBA. He then signed with CSKA Moscow. He sent me his contract and said that I could also do this.
You played against legends Lebron and Kobe. What specific memories will you always have about them in your memories when you were on the court with them?
I don’t have any real memories with Lebron, because I was never on the court when he was. I remember beating him once at Golden State. I have a memory with Kobe that I will never forget. It was shortly before the playoffs and it was known that Kobe wouldn’t play. I was usually on the court at 3,30 for a 7.00pm game. Kobe was already there when I arrived and had a good sweat going. He shot 50 fade aways on the left side always attacking a coach. Then he ran 17 teen times sideline to sideline. In between breaks he shot free throws. He then showered and watched the game. Then I heard he was back at the gym at 4.00am. I never had the courage to talk to him. I heard he only spoke to accomplished guys.
Your NBA run ended after 2 years. The NBA is a lot different today than back in 2013. What do you believe needed to have happened in your 2 year run to have allowed you to remain?
I believe what kept me from a longer NBA career was having a position. I wasn’t a pure point guard and wasn’t tall enough to be a shooting guard. I was never one or the other, but was a tweener. In the NBA you need a position. I was just a basketball player. There weren’t many guys my size except guys like Rodney Stucky and ben Gordon.
You have seen so much of the business side happen in the NBA. What was the best example you remember seeing where you saw that the NBA will always be a business first before anything else?
When I got traded. It was a tax thing. It was a money dump issue. Jeremy Tyler and I were traded for money.
You played at Hofstra University (NCAA) from 2007-2011. How important was it being able to play at home instead of somewhere at the other end of the country?
I didn’t have a lot of offers coming out of high school. My mom was sick my senior year and I wanted to play close to home. Hofstra was 20 minutes from my home so it was a no brainer. They recruited me and I had the opportunity for a lot of playing time.
You have won so many awards, but what did it mean to win the Haggerty award 3 times winning it as much as NBA legend Chris Mullin?
It meant a lot to me. At first I didn’t know much about it. The next season I won it and I saw who had won it and I took more pride in my game and winning. It gave me motivation to work more. I stayed in school all year and took no time off. I worked very hard to win it.
How did head coach Tom Pecora groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He was tough. He always spoke about my image and told me I had to be a leader. He told me it would be rare to turn professional, so I always had to be prepared. I stayed late in the gym and watched a lot of film to help my game. He always told me even if you don’t score a lot, if you play hard then good things will happen. He told me to live life in the middle. Never be too high or low, but be even.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Mike Moore?
We never played. I played against Nat Lester. I beat him. He is a close friend. He is a police officer now.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
I played against so many. Kent Bazemore, Xavier Henry, Malcom Delaney, Trevor Booker and KC Rivers.
COVID-19 has played so much havoc in so many basketball seasons and it hasn´t been any different in the Pro B league. Clubs have had to postpone games because of Corona cases with players that they then had to find ways of being able to reschedule games. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were supposed to have played Bavarian team TSV Oberaching Trpoics back in November, but that game had been postponed and now both teams finally met on a rare Wednesday afternoon. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors arrived in the game with a poor 1-8 record and had only lost 72 hours earlier in a hard fought nail bitter to Dresden 67-62 while the TSV Oberaching Tropics last played on December 28th, 2020 losing to Hanau 77-71. The Bavarian club came to Frankfurt having some injury woes, but also had some young German players on board ready to do battle with the very young Frankfurt side that only have an average age of 19 years. After a very solid first half where the Fraport Skyliners Juniors displayed more disciplined defense, they erupted in the second half for 60 points to totally tear apart the TSV Oberaching Tropics 99-76. It was without a doubt the best performance of the season on both ends of the court and the rebound work was very much improved as well as the team gathered 15 offensive rebounds. “A big reason for the win today was our hustle and we fought for 40 minutes. We played team basketball today and communicated very well on the defensive end. We still made a lot of mistakes, but overall it was a very good performance”, stated Fraport Skyliners Juniors center Noah Kamden. After the loss a disgusted Mario Matic head coach of the TSV Oberaching Tropics was furious about his team´s performance as despite having injuries, he did expect more from his players. “I´m very disappointed. We gave up way too many second chances. In the second half they began to hit shots. We made them strong today. This was simply not a very good game at both ends of the court. We have to be better on Saturday when we face Frankfurt again”, warned Mario Matic.
The TSV Oberaching Tropics were without their big man Moritz Wohlers and Shkelzin Bekteshi while the Fraport Skyliners jUniors were without German forward Konstantin Schubert. German Calvin Schaum got Frankfurt on the board first, but that didn´t last long as the guests got good production from their two bigs Bent Leuchten and Bernhard Benke as the latter made a lay in to tie the score 2-2. Frankfurt then received a huge three pointer from German Alvin Onyia who entered the contest shooting only 25%. The German´s early aggressiveness would pay off as he would bea huge offensive factor for the team on this day. Frankfurt would set the tone and keep the slim lead throughout the first quarter as both teams found an identity on the defensive end and kept the game low. Frankfurt´s offense was still trying to find itself, but showed early on that many players were contributing as ex Nurnberg guard Matthew Meredith scored inside and ex Coburg center Noah Kamden scored. German Maxi Begue also added a 10 footer giving Frankfurt a 12-7 advantage. French player Joris Ortega who moonlights as a photo model hit a huge three over Begue, but Kamden responded right back catching a Jordan Samare airball for the lay in and 14-10 lead. Frankfurt held the lead until the end, but allowed the guests to cut the lead down with two baskets from 17 year old Lithuanian Emilis Butkus who snuck inside twice and caught Frankfurt napping on help defense scoring as Frankfurt had only the 17-14 slim advantage after 10 minutes. “We had a good start which was helped by us setting the tempo and defending well”, said Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 32% from the field and 14% from outside and had 13 rebounds and 0 turnovers while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 33% from the field and 33% from outside and had 13 rebounds and 2 turnovers.
The second quarter was a real dog fight as there were 8 lead changes. Half way through the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to stabilize the lead and go into the break with the 4 point lead. Maxi Begue who has been struggling on offense recently had a better game as he made a pretty turnaround shot, but TSV Oberaching Tropics got key baskets from captain Janosch Koegler and Ortega who used their speed and scored in the paint. Both would do this all afternoon long as this was the only real deficiency with the Frankfurt defense on this day. “Koegler scored four three´s, but the rest all came with lay ins and free throws. He is a very good player. He knows how to play and when he finds space he is hard to stop. We have to be better with our 1-1 defense”, warned Frankfurt head coach Miran Cumurija. Both teams traded leads back and forth as the Bavarian club got a huge trey from ex FC Bayern Munich guard Benjamin Schroeder, a lay in from ex IBAM center Bent Leuchten, a three from ex BBL player Peter Zeis and a lay in from ex Leitershofen center Bernhard Benke. Frankfurt got key baskets from Kamdem who was a beast on the offensive glass, a runner from Alvin Onyia and a three pointer from ex Hanau forward Calvin Schaum, but Frankfurt still trailed 29-28. But Frankfurt then showed a first sign of what their offense is capable of going on a brutal 11-1 run to take the comfortable 39-30 lead. In the run Frankfurt got another trey from Schaum, received two buckets from Onyia who made a pretty pull up jumper and scored on transition and Noah “Mr put back” Kamdem dropped free throws and made a put back after hauling down one of his seven offensive rebounds on the day. Good defense led to easy baskets on transition while on defense there was good communication and keeping the Tropics big men out of the zone. Alvin Onyia finished with 13 points, 6 boards and 5 assists in 18 minutes and showed that he can be a valuable scoring option. “Alvin´s primary job is defense and distributing the ball, but he has a lot of self-confidence and proves that he can carry the team. When he gets room, he can make the lay up and even make the three pointer. You can´t underestimate his three. His shot is improving”, warned Miran Cumurija. Frankfurt couldn´t keep their run going into the break as they allowed a Oberaching 5-0 run to close out the second quarter. Koegler nailed a tough deep trey and then made a great decision and perfect feed to Leuchten who scored at the buzzer as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 39-35. “We continued to defend well and just fought harder than they did”, added Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 38% from the field and 20% from the three point line and had 23 rebounds and 1 turnover while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 41% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 23 rebounds and 6 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors broke the game wide open in the third quarter exploding for 30 points and allowed only 15 points taking the overwhelming 69-50 lead after 30 minutes. TSV Oberaching actually got going first getting four points from Koegler to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 41-39. Koegler once again beat Frankfurt with his quickness scoring with his left hand. Frankfurt then finally broke out going on a 13-2 run to extend their lead to 54-41. In the run they got three three´s as Calvin Schaum knocked down one, Len Schoorman did and Alvin Onyia hit another one as well. Schoorman also took something from Kamden´s put back game getting an offensive rebound and put back. “It is always good when our defense gives us transition opportunities. We have an advantage with our athleticism. They went to zone and we stayed cool and moved the ball well and got open looks and hit our three pointers. We attacked well, played unselfish and played together”, stated Miran Cumurija. Every once in a while Oberaching would get some points as usually Koegler was the recipient, but overall Frankfurt continued their offensive consistency. Frankfurt would continue to execute at a healthy rate extending their lead to 20 points as they continued their solid inside out game attacking the rim getting baskets from Matthew Meredith and Len Schoormann and a trey from German Jordan Samare. Koegler did it again being involved in a buzzer beater ending quarter this time making the lay in, but Frankfurt had the massive 69-50 advantage. “We went on a nice run and were able to make our three´s. Everything was working for us”, stated Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 32% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds and 4 turnovers while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 43% from the field and 31% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors defense let up allowing 26 points in the fourth quarter, but the guests couldn´t make up any ground because the home team dropped 30 points to keep up their healthy lead. Koegler continued to give Frankfurt head aches with his scoring nailing two more three´s while for Frankfurt Calvin Schaum finished with 15 points continued to execute hitting a trey and lay in. 17 year old German Benjamin Schroeder who will play in the NCAA next season continued to showcase his athleticism and speed scoring twice in the paint, but the guests couldn´t gain any ground as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 78-60. Kamdem´s dominance grew as he scored three buckets including two offensive rebounds and put backs while Koegler drilled home another three pointer and made a massive one handed dunk, but Frankfurt still led 86-66. German Robert Becker finished with 4 steals and made two in a row and also scored while Koegler nailed another trey. Matthew Meredith who was kept fairly quiet in the first three quarters found some offensive momentum down the stretch hitting a three and making a lay in as Frankfurt led 93-74. Len Schoormann who entered the game with 15 BBL games under his belt finished made a lay in in the last minute finished with 20 points and was very significant for the team having played two back to back Pro B games. “He gives us that extra punch. His aggression and athleticism gives the defense problems. I´m happy how well he got integrated which isn´t easy. He helps us a lot and I´m happy he got game practice”, said Miran Cumurija. Frankfurt could have reached the magical 100 points at the end, but Schoormann missed a free throw. “We let up a bit, but overall we closed out the game ok. Everybody came in and gave their best and made plays. Our team paly is always getting better”, stressed Noah Kamdem. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Noah Kamdem with 21 points. Len Schoormann produced 20 points while Clavin Schaum added 15 points and Alvin Onyia had 12 points and Matthew Meredith contributed 11 points while TSV Oberaching Tropics were led by Janosch Koegler with 32 points. Benjamin Schroeder and Joris Ortega added 10 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 48% from the field and 31% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 10 turnovers while TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 43% from the field and 36% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
In 2003 like any other year, a lot was happening in the sports world in the United States. In baseball, Sammy Sosa continued to clobber baseballs left and right out of stadiums as he hit his 500th, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers whipped the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl 37, but it was sports basketball and ice hockey that really left the New York metropolitan area proud as two New Jersey teams had terrific seasons. The New Jersey Devils won their third Stanley Cup in history after winning their second only 3 years earlier in a exciting 4-3 series win over the Anaheim Ducks while basketball team New Jersey Nets who would move to Brooklyn in 2012 lost to the San Antonio Spurs 4-2. It was a very exciting period for sports fans and probably had many new young boys at age 8 or 9 finding new sports hero´s like Patrik Ellias or Scott Gomez of the Devils or Jason Kidd or Richard Jefferson of the Nets. However not every little boy was on the playground shooting hoops from dawn to dusk on a Saturday in Brooklyn, New York as Kamari Murphy actually was indoors playing video games. Back in 2003 there were some great and popular games like Ratchet and Clank or Beyond Good &Evil that could of held little guys from spending their time on the play ground for hours. So not every kid discovers their love to basketball at the age of 7 or 8. Who knows where Kamari Murphy would be today if a slightly annoyed step father hadn´t pulled the plug on him playing video games. Making that jump from video games to basketball wasn´t any easy one for the American especially if you feel like your being forced to play. He had never played much and simply didn´t have any skill set. That finally came to him as he played in a youth organized league. The coaches did a good job helping him to learn the game and with that so did a slow craving for the sport. On top of that he lived in a violent area and it was often said you had to be a performer/entertainer or jock to get out of there. Basketball saved his life and the rest is history as Kamari Murphy has carved a nice professional basketball overseas. He traded the joystick for the basketball and can´t complain today. Even 17 years later, you never totally lose the interest of having that joystick in your hands again. His ex teammate Josh Young remembers what interested Murphy off the court last season “We definitely had other teammates that were more interested in playing video games but Murph for sure was one of the guys who played as well”, stressed ex teammate Josh Young of Rasta Vechta. Today Kamari Murphy balls for the Fraport Skyliners and is featured in the ex teammate scouting report Josh Young Vs Kamari Murphy.
Murphy was born on December 14, 1993 in Brooklyn, New York and is a 27 year old 203cm forward and is the second oldest of six boys with Jacori, Kusamae, Maalik, Mikwan and Kieron. He continued to develop his game in high school at / Lincoln High School playing for head coach Dwayne Martin averaging 17ppg, 10rpg as a senior. This school produced future NBA stars like Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson. He was the 6th best player in New York in 2011. Before going to the NCAA, the American decided for one more season of fine tuning and attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida averaging 20ppg and 10rpg. After being recruited by schools like Miami, UConn, Missouri and Florida, he chose Oklahoma State where he played 67 NCAA games from 2012-2014 averaging 3.8ppg, 4.0rpg as a freshman and averaged 6.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 53.6%, FT: 57.1% as a sophomore. In his freshman year he scored 13 points against Virginia Tech and 12 points against Tennessee Tech while in his second season he scored 12 points against Kansas and 10 points against Butler, Robert Morris, Texas and Louisiana Tech. He wanted to go to Miami initially, but turned it down because of the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal. Two years later, he changed his mind and finished his last 2 years at Miami averaging 5.6ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 53.4%, FT: 55.8% as a junior and as a senior averaged7.1ppg, 7.3rpg, FGP: 51.1%, FT: 60.9% reaching the NCAA Sweet 16.In his junior year he scored 11 points against Buffalo, Notre Dame and Charlotte. In his senior year he had a 16 point 10 rebound effort against Syracuse, scored 15 points against Clemson and had 14 points and 10 boards against Wofford. The American finished his 2 year NCAA stay at Miami with 740 points, 769 rebounds (241 offensive / 528 defensive), 114 blocks, 79 assists and 51 steals in 3,219 minutes.
He turned professional in 2017 and had his first taste of how the NBA works playing at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV (Brooklyn Nets) playing 4 games averaging 1.5ppg, 3.5rpg. He played his rookie season with the Long Island Nets (NBA G League) playing 50 games averaging 10.4ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 70.6%. He had more of an offensive role with Long Island scoring in double figures in 23 games and had 8 double doubles. His best games occurred against Wisconsin scoring 22 points in the 109-105 victory, 21 points in the 115-99 win over Ft Wayne and 20 points in the victories over Reno and Raptors. In the summer of 2018, he played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV again (Brooklyn Nets) playing 5 games averaging 5.0ppg, 4.6rpg, FGP: 35.7%. In his second professional season he had a very short stay with Filou Oostende (Belgium-Euromillions League) before coming back home and suiting up for a second season with the Long Island Nets (NBA G League): playing 51 games averaging 8.5ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 73.1%. He scored in double figures in 20 games and registered 6 double doubles. He put up a 25/12 game against Canton and had a 22/10 game against Lakeland. Last season after 2 years in the G-League, the Brooklyn native came back to Europe and stayed until COVID-19 hit playing with Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL) playing 21 games averaging 5.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 23.5%, FT: 72.0%; and played 12 BCL games averaging 6.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 47.8%. With Rasta Vechta, the American was teammates with 32 year old 185cm guard Josh Young who is playing his 11th season in Germany and 5th in Vechta. The Oklahoma native has seen many many players in his basketball career and gives his personal scouting report and memories he had with Kamari Murphy last season.
Anybody that has followed or knows Josh Young the last years knows that he is a team player and leader and a guy that sprouts positive energy in any locker room. He is a guy that can get a long with any teammate and it wasn´t any different with Murphy. Last season they were teammates and this season opponents as Murphy will suit up with the Fraport Skyliners. “Murph is my guy. I’m happy he’s back in Germany playing and nice to be in a great city, program like Frankfurt”, stressed Josh Young. Murphy is one of those players that can bring it at both ends of the court on a consistent level. But it isn´t anything special on offense or defense that Young appreciated most, but moreover the attitude he brought to work day to day. “The thing I appreciate the most is his willingness to compete. Whether it’s blocking shots on the defensive end or making plays on the offensive side”, added Josh Young. He had some good games in the BBL scoring 13 points against the EWE Baskets and hauling down 10 boards against Wurzburg and in the BCL league scored 15 points against Anwil and 11 points against Bandirma and Pau Lacq Ortez. Last season BBL fans already got to experience his game and it isn´t any different this season as he brings that multifaceted game every night. “He’s a very versatile player who has tremendous athletic ability. His ability to guard 1 through 5 make him a big asset. He also can run the floor very well and is extremely mobile. At times, he will step out to the three and stretch the floor as well”, added Josh Young. Last season the American played with highly talented and touted head coach Pedro Calles who moved to the Hamburg Towers this season. Murphy couldn´t have played for a better head coach in his first season overseas in terms of being able to adapt and develop further in the easyCredit BBL. “Pedro is going to get the best out of his players and he demands a lot. Murph as well anyone who has played for him has benefited in that. He helps bring out the best in the strength of his players”, remembered Josh Young.
Now Murphy has a new challenge with the Fraport Skyliners in his 4th professional season and second in Germany. He has joined a traditional organization that has had some growing pains the last 2 years missing the playoffs. Reaching the playoffs probably won´t be any easier this season, but he has a role and performs it to the best of his ability. He is in good company in the front court sharing space with Michael Kessens and German Marco Voeller. “He will fit in well in Frankfurt. He and Kessens know each other and can compliment one another. With someone as physical as Voller, it makes for a good combination”, warned Josh Young. Currently he is averaging 7,6ppg and 3,9rpg. He isn´t the big time scorer and won´t need to be with the Skyliners as they have enough of that, but will add his expertise in other areas for head coach Sebastian Gleim. “On the offensive end, his ability to create separation out of the pick and roll mixed with athletic ability to finish is definately one of his biggest strengths.”, stressed Josh Young. Murphy will most likely showcase his athleticism on a daily basis as well making those showtime plays that he also displayed with Rasta Vechta last season. The only difference now will be that Young will only be able to remember the acrobatic plays in a Vechta uniform as now he will be on the other end seeing him do it in a Frankfurt uniform. “I remember connecting on a lot of alley oops out of a cross screen play we’d run for him. He was always able to go upstairs and get it”, said Josh Young. He has already made huge dunks this season for Frankfurt. Another positive basketball trait that Murphy brings to Frankfurt is his passion that he showcases after a big play. “I used to enjoy Murphs celebrations during the game, after a dunk or one of his teammates makes a big play. He plays with a lot of emotion and I think that’s clear to anyone who watches him on the court”, warned Josh Young. Murphy is an enrichment to the Fraport Skyliners and will give the club a lot of joy on the court. If he continues to play video games with his teammates the way he did in Vechta is possible. His main focus is basketball and helping the Fraport Skyliners be as successful as possible, but if he really needs to get away from basketball for a moment, then he can always find a good video game mate in Quantez Robertson
Ronny Weihmann is a 38 year old German professional player and individual coach who currently is playing with the Sunkings Saarlouis (Regionalliga). He had experience in the United States playing with Dubuque (NCAA2) and Emmanuel College (NAIA):, but since 2004 has crafted a fine professional career in Germany playing with clubs like the Baskets 98, BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Regionalliga), BSW Sixers (Regionalliga), USC Leipzig (Regionalliga), TuS Red Devils Bramsche (Regionalliga), Wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (Regionalliga), SG TV Duerkheim-BB-Int. Speyer (Regionalliga) and 1. FC Kaiserslautern (2.Regionalliga). He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Ronny thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
First of all thanks for having me, I feel honored to have this interview with you guys here at EuroBasket. Basketball is always love and just like everyone else I’m making the best out of this situation that we are currently in.
Currently you’re a very ambitious individual trainer. How challenging and what kind of an adjustment was COVID-19 for your basketball life and being able to perform your job?
Well having your own Training facility helps a lot, that way I am more flexible when it comes to the training aspect and I can really work with professional players in a closed one on one setting. As freelancer and trainer, you must find a way within the rules and you have to be able to adapt to the situation, I mean its not a secret that the COVID-19 is hard on the whole basketball world especially the players and organizations, but we have to keep going right. Therefor we will always find a way.
From everything that you experienced off the court how do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?
Of course, this whole pandemic is a life changing experience for a lot of people and all we can do is grow and become stronger individuals from this.
I thought that you were retired, but your still playing professional with Regionalliga team Saarlouis. How thankful are you that your work as a individual trainer has been able to prolong your professional basketball career?
I am thankful because it helps me to stay on top of my game and keep my body right. As a trainer you want to lead by example especially if you want to be one of the best in the business. So, taking care of your body must be a priority.
Let us talk a bit about your work as an individual trainer. When did you know that you wanted to be a individual trainer and when did you start?
Well, that is a funny story because that was never really my goal, I always just wanted to play basketball and play as long as I can professionally. I started working as a personal trainer while I was still playing just to have an extra income and build something for later. Back in 2014 a kid that was sitting on the side watching us play pick up, was dribbling the ball and I saw some things and started to talk to him and helped him out with some stationary drills on the spot. His dad saw us and asked me to train his son, my reply was ‘no I am not a skills trainer I just want to hoop’. After a long conversation and constantly asking me to train him, I gave it a shoot and here we are now.
Talk a little about your pool of players and which players you are helping on a regular basis? On regular basis I have been working with;
Pros: Brian Butler Dimtrj Kreis Anish Sharda Gergely Hosszu Kelvin Okundaye David Blackburn Chris Miller Aaron Reams Chelsea Waters I work with DBBL Team in Saarlouis and I have a big pool of Highschool Athletes from US Military Bases around Germany. Which includes the top and most dominant player on this level for the past 3 years in Chandler Pigge’.
You have a cooperation with Weller Sports And Entertainment. How vital is it to give young players the opportunity to get that extra training from an a player agency?
That’s big because together we can really work on getting our young athletes to the next level as a player and on the business side of things.
There are many basketball agencies in Germany but Weller Sports And Entertainment only handle German players. What kind of an advantage is it for you being able to work together with this agency?
Well, the advantage is that Weller Sports And Entertainment works with a lot of German talent, young German talent is the future of German basketball and if I can be a part of developing these talented players, I’m all for it.
You and Weller Sports And Entertainment also have important contacts to American colleges. Do you see the interest of German kids going to play basketball at college to rise again in the future?
I think College Basketball is always an option and a great experience, especially for kids coming from Germany. Receiving a free education that will help you in the future while playing the game you love is a beautiful option to have. So yes I think it will rise in the future for sure.
Talk a little about your individual training methods. What is your formula for success that you attempt to give the kids you train.
Real Basic, fundamentally sound, tailored to the players needs. It is the little things sometimes that makes big difference. My formular to success is work hard work smart work often.
What future goals do you still have as an individual trainer? Do you want to expand this job more or do you have interest in tackling other fields in sports?
Well I started as personal & athletic Trainer, I have always been working with athletes from different sports, such Soccer, volleyball, Track, American football and much more. Now I’m at a point where I can expand the basketball part because that’s what I’m really passioned about.
Let’s talk a bit about your playing career. 16 years ago you played at the University of Dubuque (NCAA2) and also played at Emmanuel College in Georgia (NCAA2). What do you remember from your days in the States and what do you feel was the most important thing you gained from this overseas experience?
Expanding your horizon as a young adult in a country that’s in a different part of the world with no family just by yourself makes you grow up really fast and being able to see things from a different perspective.
You have played most of your professional basketball career in the German Regionalliga. Were you a guy that had ambitions to play at a higher league and do you feel like you just didn’t get the right opportunities?
I had the opportunity to play higher a couple of times but most of the Regionalliga teams I’ve played for had ambitions to move up and therefor invested more money than some other clubs that was one or two leagues higher, at the same time I never saw myself as a role player. Because at that time that is what they did with German talent in the higher leagues. I was good with making my money and playing 35 minutes a game and being a leader instead of playing a role with 15-20min. a game.
You played 2 seasons with the Wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (Regionalliga). What memories do you have of head coach Alen Velcic and are you surprised what he has done with that club and been so successful?
I had a great time in Schwenningen a lot of ups and downs a lot of great people. I’m not surprised that they are where they are now, if you have a club that is financially stable over years it is just a matter of time till you can buy the players that will help you win on a high level.
You played 6 seasons with 1. FC Kaiserslautern (Regionalliga) and had your best seasons from 2017-2020. How do you explain that your performance got better as you got older?
Just keeping my body right and getting smarter while getting older
What kind of an experience has it been being teammates with Ricky Easterling. He is a ambitious gym rat likw you. You guys could make a competition as to who will play the longest? Do you have any feeling who might retire first?
Yes Ricky is one of the hardest workers I know, and I always loved to compete against him. We both could probably play at least 3-5 more years but with my business and the time I invest in that, I might be the one retiring first.
Who wins a one on one on the court in basketball and who wins a 200 yard dash?
Well, I have to say me in both even thou Ricky wouldn’t see it that way It definitely would be a good match up, because both of us are true competitors.
Who is the best player that you ever faced as a professional player?
Monyea Pratt played with him and played against him, one of the most versatile players you will ever see, and that is a big reason for his long and successful carrier.
2020 was a really difficult period for everyone in the world, but also in sports, it wasn´t generous to certain clubs like the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. Basketball life could only get better for Frankfurt in 2021.They began the season with a 6 game losing streak and finally beat Karlsruhe at the beginning of December. Frankfurt which has an average age of 19 have no real experience and that has shown on the court as they only average 61 points per game and allow 80 points per game. Their opponent the Dresden Titans on the other hand came into the contest with a very solid 5-1 record, but came to Frankfurt for their first contest in 2021 last having played on November 28th. They were hit by the Corona bug as were their opponents which gave them a very long Corona break. It was a homecoming for Dresden big man Aaron Kayser who played in the Frankfurt organization last season and Georg Voigtman also returned even if he had never played for the Fraport Skyliners club, but his brother Johannes had made history bringing the team their third club title in 2016. Both teams came into the game motivated especially Frankfurt who had been blown out in their last game in Koblenz by 43 points. But the Dresden Titans showed strong nerves in crunch time getting big stops as they were able to grind out a nail bitting 67-62 victory over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they moved to 6-1 and Frankfurt fell to 1-8. “I have to give a huge compliment to Frankfurt. They are much improved from the first game. We made this game unnecessarily exciting in the second half. We shot very poorly and when you give up so many offensive rebounds, it is likely that it will be a tight game”, stressed Dresden Titans head coach Fabian Strauss. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors played a very spirited game, but in the end it was their inexperience and errors that cost them the game. “We played la la in the first half. We had our ups and downs on offense and defense. In the second half we came back and played with more pressure on defense and got stops. We had our chances to tie the game, but we just couldn´t do it”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors guard Maxi Begue.
The Dresden Titans didn´t waste anytime jumping all over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors going on a rapid 6-0 lead. Frankfurt couldn´t handle the Titans intensity as ex Chemnitz center Georg Voigtmann scored a massive two handed dunk, ex Alba Berlin youth player Daniel Kirchner used his speed for a lay in and ex Stahnsdorf German Julius Stahl also scored in the paint as Frankfurt´s one on one defense was non existent. The first quarter would be an up and down affair for both teams as now Frankfurt responded with a 7-2 run as NBBL allstar Jordan Samare made a tip in, Len Schoorman who had played in Weissenfels the night before connected on a floater and two time ANGT player Alvin Onyia scored on a lay in, but Dresden still led 8-7. Now it was Dresden´s turn again to find some offensive daylight going on a 8-1 run to extend their lead to 16-8. Dresden upped their defensive intensity getting two steals in a row that led to easy baskets by ex Chemnitz German Arne Wendler and ex BBL player Lennart Laryaz. Ex Skyliner Aaron Kayser also made a lay in in the run. There was time for one more run as the Fraport Skyliners delivered a swift punch with a 8-2 run to cut the Dresden advantage to 18-17 after 10 minutes. In the Frankfurt run, Frankfurt got some potent three point support from ex Nurnberg guard Matthew Meredith and ex BG Goettingen guard Philipp Hadenfeldt. Meredith also made a huge hustle play under the Dresden basket getting a loose ball and making a shovel pass to ex Rostock Noah Kamden who made the easy lay in. The Dresden Titans shot well from the field at 53%, but hadn´t made a three pointer, while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were struggling shooting 32% from the field and 33% from down town. Dresden had 11 boards and 5 turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 rebounds and 3 turnovers.
In the second quarter the offense was reduced in the first few minutes, but half way through the second quarter the Dresden Titans were able to break away and lead by as much as 10 points and led 37-28 at the break. There were four lead changes in the first few minutes as ex TG Hanau forward Calvin Schaum gave Frankfurt it´s first lead 19-18 with free throws. Georg Voigtmann then scored on transition for the Dresden 20-19 lead, while Jordan Samare reacted catching a Schaum airball and tapping in the ball for the 21-20 advantage. Voigtmann struck again nailing a pretty 20 footer for the 22-21 Dresden lead. This was followed by a Stahl transition basket and Max Von der Wippel free throw for the Dresden 25-21 lead. Schoormann followed up with a hard two handed dunk from the wing giving a nice head fake as he had a clear lane to the rim and Frankfurt trailed 25-23. But as quickly as Frankfurt was tight on Dresden as quick as they were trailing by 10 points as Dresden manufactured another swift run of 9-1 to extend their lead to 34-24. In the run, Dresden got valuable support from their big men as ex Coburg center Von Der Wippel who did a fantastic job using his massive body to get easy position next to the basket for a lay in and Voigtmann scored on transition while Laryaz hit a runner. Frankfurt had problems taking care of the ball while Dresden lived off Frankfurt turnovers and got easy baskets. Frankfurt got some vital buckets at the end as Matthew Meredith was aggressive getting an offensive rebound and tap in while 18 year old raw German Alexander Richardson made a lay in off the lob pass from Calvin Schaum, but the Dresden Titans led 37-28. Dresden still was shooting at a high percentage from the field at 54%, but couldn´t hit the ocean from outside at 14% while Frankfurt had their shooting woes at 33% from the field and 22% from the parking lot. Dresden controlled the boards 21-16.
In the third quarter it looked like the Dresden Titans would shut the door tight on the Fraport Skyliners as they extended their lead to as much as 17 points, but a late Frankfurt run which was helped by Maxi Begue´s aggressive defense helped Frankfurt get back into the game. Dresden got some early buckets from Laryaz and Stahl to give Dresden the 45-33 advantage. Frankfurt had some defensive break downs as there was little communication and the switching wasn´t working which led to easy Dresden scores. Begue then made a huge play on defense making a steal under the Dresden basket and making a lay in. This didn´t infect the Frankfurt team defense yet as Dresden was able to execute on offense well going on a 10-4 run to extend their lead to 54-37. Dresden was having no luck with their outside shooting so they always continued to rely on their guard quickness as Bryan Niessen who has been with Dresden since 2013 scored as did Laryaz and Wendler. Frankfurt couldn´t contain the Dresden transition and on offense couldn´t execute. Begue then made a monster block denying a Dresden player on transition. “Making a block like that has to do with your attitude. I had lost the ball so I came back and just tried to reach him. I was happy that I did and was rewarded with a block”, stressed Maxi Begue. This block was the start of a 12-2 quarter ending run by the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to trail only 56-49 after three quarters. In the run, Frankfurt was aided by the heightened Frankfurt defense which led to Dresden turnovers. On offense Frankfurt received massive support from Jordan Samare who was a beast on the offensive glass and scored 9 points in the run. He also nailed a quarter ending buzzer beater and Kamden helped in the run with a left handed hook shot. “Anybody that knows me knows that defense is my strength. I knew coming in that I would be covering Laryaz one of their best players. I upped my pressure in the third quarter, but it wasn´t just me but was a team effort”, stressed Maxi Begue. “Begue is a very interesting player. If he wants to make the next step he will have to do more on offense. But he is without a doubt one of the best defenders in the league”, added Dresden Titans head coach Fabian Strauss. Dresden continued to shoot at a high rate from the field at 53%, but only shot 10% from outside while Frankfurt was at 37% from the field and 14% from outside. Dresden still had rebound edge at 30-26, but had 17 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 15 times.
The fourth quarter was a real dog fight as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to cut the Dresden lead down to 4, but were never to get over the hump despite having their chances. Frankfurt made some big defensive stops, but just couldn´t execute on offense. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors began the fourth quarter with vengeance stopping Dresden´s first 5 possessions, but couldn´t get more than 3 points with a Samare lay in and Schoormann free throw. German Daniel Kirchner then dampened the great Frankfurt defensive beginning with a real deep trey giving Dresden the 59-52 lead. Kirchner was one of many great Dresden role players who ended the night with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 dimes. “On the stat sheet he was everywhere, but I still saw mistakes. He was a bit impatient passing the ball and that is a reason why he isn´t at a higher level. But he did make a lot of huge plays and hit that big three. He has a lot of potential”, stressed Fabian Strauss. Schoormann then responded with a lay in coast to coast to cut Dresden´s lead down to 59-54. Kirchner then made free throws which was followed by another Schoormann lay in to cut Dresden´s lead to 61-56. Frankfurt then made huge stops, but couldn´t capitalize on offense. Kamden and Schoormann missed two tough lay ins. With time running down, Dresden was able to keep a comfortable 5-6 point lead getting free throws from Voigtmann and Kirchner. Kamden and Schoormann would score garbage points, but it all wasn´t enough. “At the end, we just had more experience, that was it”, added Fabian Strauss. “We just weren´t consequent enough to finish off the plays. If you give 99% then that 1% will be the ball rolling off the rim. In some situations we just lacked the needed communication and execution”, stated Maxi Begue. The Dresden Titans were led by Georg Voigtmann with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Daniel Kirchner added 12 points and Lennard Laryaz had 10 points while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Jordan Samare with 19 points while Len Schoormann produced 13 points. The Dresden Titans shot 42% form the field and 9% from outside and had 45 rebounds and 24 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 35% from the field and 11% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 18 turnovers.
If I were to track down Kameron Taylor in Hamburg and ask him the magical phrase “are you still happy that you took a step back to take two steps forward”? I´m more than 100% sure the Maryland native would release that golden smile and in his soft voice say “yes I am” He said that more than three years ago as he career turned into a total Cinderella story. After having a solid Pro A rookie season in Ehingen where he averaged 10,0ppg, he decided to take a step back to the Pro B(3rd division Germany) to the Dragons Rhondorf and he totally dominated the league putting up crazy stats of 23.4ppg), 7.9rpg, Assists-4(5.6apg), Steals-2(2.6spg), FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.4%. He picked up six Eurobasket.com awards and then made the jump to the easyCredit BBL joining s.Oliver Wurzburg thus proving he can go back a step and make two forward. Since then he dominated a season in Hungry and returned back to Germany last season averaging 10,0ppg with Bamberg and this season is having his best BBL season with the Hamburg Towers averaging 14,0ppg. This basketball cycle of players deciding to take a step back just keep repeating itself. Currently in the EasyCredit the best example of a player taking a step back to take steps forward is Crailsheim Canadian guard Trae Bell-Haynes. Two seasons ago as a rookie, he had some good games in Frankfurt, but also sustained growing pains. So last season he took a step back to play in Finland for the Seagulls and put up solid yet not spectacular stats of 12/3/4 and returned back to the BBL this season and is having a type of season that has him as an early MVP favorite. The Canadian is leading the league in scoring and assists and is near averaging double double stats. Another player who would like to follow in Kam Taylor and Bell-Haynes foot steps is Kendale Mccullum. Last season he tore up the German Pro A averaging 18.1ppg), 5.3rpg, Assists-1(7.2apg), Steals-2(2.6spg), FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 76.2%. He even racked up a triple double against the wiha Panthers as he won five eurobasket.com awards including player of the year, but his fascinating rookie season didn´t reward him with a ticket to the easyCredit BBL. “Honestly, I was devastated! I know I’m better than some of those guys in that league but now I am okay and I will be ready when it´s time for me to perform. I thought after the year I had in Pro A, there would be no question I’d be playing at the level. Even with COVID-19, there was no doubt in my mind. But some teams struggled with money issues, some teams just took guys who were already in the league, or took guys who had experience. I talked to some of the higher level teams there at one point! But never pulled the trigger but I’ve now accepted that”, said Kendale Mccullum. Playing for the Helsinki Seagulls could prove to be a very good omen, because his point guard predecessor was Trae Bell-Haynes. Mccullum could profit from his head coach Jussi Laakso the same way Bell-Haynes did. “Coach and I have talked about Bell-Haynes before! He’s a talented player. I’ve been watching him play this year. He’s doing it all. But of course, before coming here Jussi told me they have good connections with the Crailsheim coach and that a lot of players end up in the BBL Or they go to France or Italy”, stressed Kendale Mccullum. The American is in the driver seat now playing for a great new team, coach and teammates and sees Bell Haynes as a huge motivation. “I think yes since he’s played here and he’s now proven teams wrong that he belongs there! But, I’m also looking at other PG´s that I see playing. The steps they took to get to where they are”, warned Kendale Mucullum. So far his game has been soaking in some serious Seagulls magic the same way it has helped Trae Bell-Haynes and now it will be interesting to see if the American can hold his consistency in Finland.
2021 has finally arrived and everybody is hoping that the new year will be better while trying to forget 2020. Before landing in Finland, Kendale Mccullum had to deal with COVID-19 just like everybody else. His season ended early in Germany and suddenly he was back home in March. He quickly realized that it would be a big challenge being able to continue to work on his craft. “It was definitely tough because there was nothing to do! Nothing was open. So, I’m working out in my basement, going outside to run then back in the house for video games or movies or puzzles. But, around June was when gyms opened up and I finally got to work on my craft”, remembered Kendale Mccullum. COVID-19 really made him look at life in a totally different way and also had to accept that the whole brutal Corona calamity could be a blessing in disguise in terms of what kind of direction his basketball career could go. “It definitely helped me grow mentally! I feel as COVID is the reason why I’m not playing in the BBL or some other countries because of money budget. But, maybe it’s a sign saying in need another year of experience and to get better. So, when I get that phone call, I will be ready to perform”, warned Kendale Mccullum.
The American last watched the movie Soul with Jamie Foxx is playing his second professional in Finland and despite having dreams of making the next step to the German easyCredit BBL, he has accepted his move to Finland. The Koriisliga has proved over the years to be a league that players like to pick to help refine their game. There have been many players that have made the next step from Finland to higher leagues like a Trae Bell-Haynes or Ken Horton. “I’m happy because I still get to play. I get the chance to grow as a player and get more experience. There are some very talented players who are still back at home waiting for opportunities to get a call. This system is perfect for me and it allows me to show what I can do. I’m showing I can lead a team as a point guard! The club is off to a huge start having won it´s first 11 games and the American is enjoying basketball life to the fullest. “It’s nice being in a winning team. Knowing you have a high chance of holding that trophy come March is what gives me the most joy! I don’t think I’ve ever started a season 11-0 in my entire basketball career. I’ve been on 14+ game winning streaks but never started 11-0”, stressed Kendale Mccullum. So far the club has done everything right. It has defended on a very consistent rate, and have won the nail bitters, but their biggest strength is their lethal offense that have scored 100 points or more in 5 games. “We just have so many offensive weapons. We’re a tough team to defend. There is no secret to success. We work hard every day, we take care of our bodies, and we do the little things. But, I guess you can say the old guys with their experience is our secret. They never get frustrated or panic when things aren’t going our way”, said Kendale Mccullum.
A big reason why the American has been able to be so successful on the court with his game is because of his talented teammates. With Tuuka Kotti an ex BBL player and Timo Heinonen he has two 39 year old veterans who still shine on the court and give their expertise to the younger guys like Mccullum. He is also teammates with another ex BBL player Shawn Huff who played six years in Germany with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and Fraport Skyliners. He is that ultimate glue guy player that plays hard defense and can hit the three pointer and a player that he can soak up a lot of basketball knowledge from. “Shawn is a great guy! He’s a very talented veteran! But, seeing where he been definitely gives me hope. Not just to play in the BBL but other high level leagues in other countries too”, stated Kendale Mccullum. Another guy who just keeps chugging along year for year is 37 year old three time Romanian allstar Porter Troupe. He became an identity figure in the Romania-Liga Nationala) and even though he isn´t a point guard, he has been able to give the American valuable advice. “I’ve learned a good amount from Porter. He’s played at some high levels and he has a lot of experience. So, any time he speaks to me i listen and take his advice. Biggest thing he taught me so far I would say would be having even more patience when playing within the ball screen”, added Kendale Mccullum.
Last season he played in the second division in Germany called Pro A while this season in the first Finish division. In both leagues he was able to put up great stats. But there are distinct differences to the two leagues. “I think the competition and the players were slightly better in Pro A. Especially, at the point guard position. I was battling a tough PG every night in Pro A! Also, I’m on the best team here in Finland with the most money. To whereas, in Germany, I wasn’t on the best team and we had the least money”, expressed Kendale Mccullum. So far this season he is racking up stats of 15/5/8/3 stats which is very solid, but especially when your on a team that has so many scoring options, one can´t expect him to be averaging 20,0ppg. Even if he is second in the Finish league in assists with 8,0 and leading the league in steals with 3,3, he isn´t doing cart wheels in joy about how he views his performance. “I’m never satisfied, I could always be better at something. There’s still a lot I can improve on to potentially make those stats better. Especially, not that I am 100% healthy”, stressed Kendale Mccullum. Last season he shot a very respectable 42% from outside, but so far this season is struggling at 31%. After an amazing rookie season in Germany, his self confidence is still very high concerning his outside shooting. “I started out well shooting from three! I think I was around 44%! But after our 5th game I believe it was, during practice I got an injury. I partially tore 4 ligaments in my hand and it was swollen. I missed one game but played and the others and caused my % to go down! It was hard to dribble, shoot and pass. I haven’t practiced since before the FIBA break. My first practice back was a couple days before Christmas. Just trying to find my rhythm from 3 again. The shots will fall, I’m not worried about that. If I go 3-3 from 3pt next game I’m back to 37%. So no worries here”, warned Kendale Mccullum. There have been two significant areas of his game that have really improved since he arrived in Germany in August 2019. When he came to Paderborn, he had some self doubts at the beginning if he could compete in the Pro A believing that he was only good enough for the Pro B. He then had a talk with head coach Steven Esterkamp and after that everything clicked and he knew he had the game to be successful. “I think the biggest thing for me was trusting my craft. Also, to know wherever I end up playing that I belong there and I’m there for a reason. Even if I’m one of the best players in the league or in the middle of the league. I’m there because I can play”, remembered Kendale Mccullulm. The other area that has improved is his leadership that he felt was a bit off the radar in his rookie season as he still had to get used to the idea that leading a team as a professional is more challenging than his college team. “I am more vocal now here, I’m more controlling of the game here. I don’t get mentally frustrated when things are going wrong. It’s not because even the older guys listen and take my advice when I say something. And most of them have been playing for over a decade”, stressed Kendale Mccullum. One can´t forget that he has played hurt this season at about 60%, but is back at 100% now. He definitely wants to cut down on his 4,2 turnovers per game while also working on other areas. “I´m continuing to work on weight, different finishes around the rim. Such as floaters. Then, just coming off the ball screens and pulling up from the three”, stated Kendale Mccullum.,
Not only is there a difference in the German and Finish leagues that he has experienced, but also in the two cities he has been able to call home the last two years. In Paderborn, he could take a quick city tour in his car in about 15 minutes as only 148,000 people live there, while in the Finish capital of Helsinki he could take days touring the city that has 631,000 inhabitants. Even if COVID-19 has hindered his sight seeing a bit, he has found the time to explore and understood to enjoy every moment of his overseas experience. “With COVID, it’s hard to go out and go sight seeing. I have done a little and seen some beautiful things. The city is gorgeous here. There’s a Rocky Mountain I would go chill and just relax and clear my head and remind myself not to take things for granted”, stressed Kendale Mccullum. The days are short in Finland, so when he does have some extra time and isn´t dreaming about making his mark in the easyCredit BBL, he does follow the NBA One guy he does monitor closely is 2019 NBA champion with the Toronto Raptors Jordan Loyd who is in Europe now balling in the Euroleague with KK Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (Serbia-KLS). They both battled in the NCAA 2 and took completely different basketball journeys. Loyd is another one of those players where he can take a lot of inspiration and hope from and won´t forget how focused he was when they battled head to head in the NCAA 2.. “They way he led his team in the heat of the moment! When it was crunch time, you were not stopping him. We still talk here and there and I do watch his games. Learning a lot from him. That’s the level I want to be at. He gives me hope since he came from where I came from. I just have to be patient. That’s what he has told me”, warned Kendale Mccullum. He also saw the 5 minute video of Steph Curry drilling home 103 three´s from the corner. He didn´t quite reach the amount of three´s that Curry sunk last summer, but simply can take Curry´s feat as more motivation to hit more with his never satisfied attitude. “My trainer, Matt Mooney and I had a drill this summer. You shoot from 5 spots and you see how many you can make in a row. No time. I made 32 from the corner and 21 in a row from the top”, said Kendale Mccullum. Obviously he wants to make the next step after his Finland stint and follow a Trae Bell-Haynes to a higher league, but for now he wants to take care of business with the Helsinki Sea Gulls. He will never be satisfied with his own game and also has the ultimate highest goals with his team to win a championship. “Life is good here in Finland. We’re all happy but we’re not satisfied. We have more we want to accomplish as a group”, stressed Kendale Mccullum.