The Dragons Rhondorf Close Their Pro B Chapter For Now Ousting The RheinStars 89-75

Just a few weeks ago there was still hope in Rhondorf that the Dragons might be able to be saved and stay in the Pro B, but on the last playdown game day of the season, the ex Pro A team that won only two games in that league in the 2015-2016 season were playing for pride as they had no chance to stay in as Wurzburg had secured the last spot. The Dragons Rhondorf knew coming into the playdowns that they needed many wins and help from other teams, but that didn´t happen. Their 3-2 playdown record was ok, but not good enough and they didn´t get help from the other teams as Wurzburg did what they had to do keep winning and not to allow Rhondorf any chance of overtaking them. On the last game day of the season, it was a rather cool spring day as it felt more like a warm winter day in mid April as fans came to watch the last Pro B game for a while. Fans were able to see the amazing Zgimantas Riauka for one last time as he had been an absolute delight to watch and with the poor team season, his amazing stats of 17,2ppg and 12,4rpg were lost a bit in the agony of all the loses, but he will definitely be a player that will be remembered as his fierce never die attitude classy style and top character that was a role model for so many kids won´t go unnoticed. The Dragons Rhondorf entered the game not only wanting to close down their season with a win, but had a lot of revenge on their minds as they had had a poor and unsatisfying 1-2 record against the RheinStars Cologne. Especially their last loss was a nasty reflection of how their season went as their two best players Riauka and Waller carried the team with 59 points combined, but the rest managed only 9 points. They shot horribly from outside netting only three three´s, lost the rebound battle and had only one positive stat coughing up the ball only 5 times. The winner of the game would kick the other into the final standings cellar spot and the Dragons Rhondorf got revenge from their last loss in Cologne and closed out the season in fine fashion winning 89-75. After the big win, Zygimantas Riauka seemed like he was top of the world as he was smiling and totally thrilled about the win. “This was a total team effort. Every one showed up to play tonight. Everybody fought, everybody was unselfish and we played as a team”, stressed Lithuanian big man Zygimantas Riauka. The RheinStars raced to their faithful fans after the buzzer sounded after 40 minutes and then American Tucker Haymond reflected on the loss. “We definitely have played better, but I give a lot of credit to Rhondorf. They had more energy and outplayed us in every aspect of the game. It wasn´t my best game and since my team relies on me a lot to produce, there was a lot of pressure on them. It was just one of those days”, stressed Tucker Haymond.

                The first quarter had ups and downs for both teams and saw five lead changes, but after 10 minutes the Dragons Rhondorf had the slim 20-18 advantage. After German Benedikt Van Laack who had a whole fan club at the game and Riauka traded baskets, both teams traded leads. After American Kwan Waller gave Rhondorf the 4-3 lead with a pull up jumper, the RheinStars escaped out on a lethal 11-2 run to extend their lead to 14-6. In the run it was ex Dragons forward Thomas Michel who has 3 BBL games with Bonn on his resume led the charge with three three´s. With every new three, the more confident he got and the more aggressive he got. His hot shooting came in handy as top Pro B scoring leader Tucker Haymond was coughing up the ball more than he was scoring.  The Dragons Rhondorf had no real offensive rhythm and were turning the ball over too much. Rhondorf then led a come back and let their defense spark their offense cutting the Cologne lead to 16-14. The Dragons controlled the boards and upped their defensive intensity which led to a Lotola Otshumbe offensive rebound and hook shot basket, a Waller Floater and Riauka lay in off an offensive rebound. The Dragons Rhondorf traded a few leads at the end, but kept the lead due to continued hot execution from Riauka who netted two buckets for the 20-18 lead after 10 minutes. “We had a few jitters at the start, but came back strong. Michel played some years here and had something to prove and it showed with his three´s”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 50% form the field and 20% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 6 turnovers while the RheinStars shot 47% from the field and 50% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 8 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber post game interview with Zygimantas Riauka who finished the season with 18/12 stats

                The first few minutes were tight in the second quarter, but the Dragons Rhondorf then got away from Cologne, but they fought back only to see the opponents lead rise again. Thomas Michel continued to stay aggressive and have the hot hand as he dropped two baskets to give Cologne the 22-20 advantage. But the Dragons Rhondorf answered rapidly scorching the RheinStars with a swift 5-0 run as 36 year old Anish “the fountain of youth” Sharda nailed a trey and German Karl Dia scored inside for the 25-22 advantage. An interesting stat coming into the game for Sharda was that he led the team in three point shooting at 33%, but was the worst from the field at 18,2%. Young German Tim Van Der Velde scored on transition and 31 year old German Veteran Max Dohmen hit a free throw to dead lock the game 25-25. The Dragons Rhondorf then hit the RheinStars with a 10-4 run to lead 35-29. In the run, the club got valuable support from German big Man Alex Moeller who scored twice including a nice spin move around Dohmen on the baseline. After going 1/5 from outside in the first quarter, the Dragons started to hit their three´s better as Sharda connected again and captain Joe Koschade also dropped a trey. The RheinStars had a lack of concentration leading to turn overs and bad decisions on offense. A big difference in the game in comparison to the whole season for the Dragons Rhondorf was that whenever the opponent threatened to come closer, they had consistent answers ready. Another clutch three from Michel cut the Rhondorf lead to 35-32, but Rhondorf had offensive answers with a Sharda basket and Julian Jasinski who has 26 BBL games on his resume with a lay in and three from Waller quickly giving them the comfortable 43-34 lead. Rhondorf kept the lead despite three points from 29 year old German Jan Zimmermann thanks to a Bo Meister lay in and hard Kwan Waller one hand dunk. Haymond finally scored again cutting the Rhondorf lead to 47-39, but his halftime stat line read 5 points and 5 turnovers. “We made more shots and everybody put their bodies on the line”, added Zygimantas Riauka. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 51% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 21 rebounds and 9 turnovers while the RheinStars shot 48% from the field and 45% from the three point line and had 15 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

                In the third quarter the Dragons Rhondorf continued to control the game and lead by as much as 15 points never allowing the RheinStars to get over the hump and get below 10 points. The Dragons Rhondorf got off to a terrific start breaking out on a 7-0 to run to have their biggest lead of the game at 54-39. They upped their defensive energy stopping the RheinStars on their first five possessions which led to a Waller floater, Riauka steal and two handed dunk and the second trey from Koschade. The RheinStars finally achieved their first field goal of the third quarter as Michel hit a fade away jumper and then scored again cutting the Rhondorf lead to 54-44. In the past the Dragons Rhondorf would have wilted and fell apart, but they had enough support from many players that continued to keep the lead in double figures. Waller connected on another trey and then came vital added support from the bench as German David Falkenstein who has 2 BBL games on his resume scored on the set offense taking advantage of failed communication from Cologne and then scored on transition giving Rhondorf the 63-50 lead. The RheinStars continued to get little offensive support from Pro B top scorer Haymond, but got offensive aid from 31 year old Max Dohmen who got to the free throw line and made a fade away jumper. However the Dragons Rhondorf continued to execute at ease and shared the ball well and had many options. Riauka made a hook shot, Sharda a pull up jumper and Falkenstein a pretty alley-op tap in on the perfect feed from Sharda as the Dragons Rhondorf led 69-56 after 30 minutes. “We had a good start getting the momentum, but also got a bit sloppy making too many mistakes, but we fought through it and kept the lead”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. “We couldn´t get stops and just traded baskets. We didn´t give ourselves a chance to string together buckets and stops. We couldn´t match their intensity”, stated Tucker Haymond The Dragons Rhondorf shot 53% from the field and 41% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the RheinStars shot 43% form the field and 38% from the parking lot and had 22 rebounds and 17 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing RheinStars guard Tucker Haymond after finishing the season with 11 points

                The Dragons Rhondorf continued to control the fourth quarter and never allowed the RheinStars to cut the lead below double figures except for the first 34 seconds, but after that it was all Dragons Rhondorf. The RheinStars had a lightening start going on a quick 5-0 run in 34 seconds. Angolian Silvio Mendes-Mateus drilled home a trey and German Tim Van De Velde made a steal at center court and scored cutting the Dragons Rhondorf lead to 69-61. The last quarter would prove to be a game of runs as Rhondorf mustered three defensive stops and went on a crushing 7-0 run to extend their lead to 76-61. In the run they got big support from Sharda that hit a tough contested trey from the corner, Moeller made a 20 footer from the baseline and Sharda made free throws. Then it was time for the RheinStars to come back going on a 5-0 run to cut the Rhondorf lead to 76-66. Haymond was able to score in bunches something he did all season long, but couldn´t do in the first three quarters as he made a pretty floater over Moeller and then dropped a trey. The RheinStars couldn´t get the needed stops while they still executed ok, but couldn´t get over the double digit hump. Rhondorf got a vital offensive rebound and put back by ex Speyer forward Yannik Kneesch. A technical foul by Jan Zimmermann didn´t help Cologne´s cause which led to a Jasinski free throw and Riauka jumper and 84-70 Rhondorf lead. In the last minute Waller helped spice up his stat line with a trey and hard one handed dunk, while Cologne got some free throws from young German Sebastian Pritz who was inserted for garbage minutes closing out the game. “Our offense wasn´t working as we got sloppy and just tried to do too much. Our defense got us the win as we didn´t let them get over the hump”, stressed Zygimantas Riauka. “We were right there to get over the hump, but couldn´t. They continued to execute well down the stretch. Riauka was tough at the end. Nobody can stop him”, added Tucker Haymond. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kwan Waller with 19 points. Zygimantas Riauka had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Anish Sharda had 15 points while the RheinStars were led by Thomas Michel with 24 points. Max Dohmen added 12 points and Tucker Haymond 11 points. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 525 from the field and 38% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 20 turnovers while the RheinStars shot 42% form the field and 33% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 21 turnovers.

Josh Young(Rasta Vechta) I’ve Had To Become A Much More Cerebral Player This Season In Order To Be Successful

Josh Young is a 30 year old 185cm guard playing his ninth professional season and third with SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL). Last season he played Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA playing 38 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 46.6%, FT: 69.6%. H ehas had a solid professional career and played three seasons in the easyCredit BBL with the Tigers Tuebinbgen and also sampled Pro A experience with Vechta and Nurnberg. As a rookie he played with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-ProB). Before turning professional, he played with Drake (NCAA) from 2006-201 playing a total of 126 NCAA games. spoke to him recently about the successful Vechta season.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Josh Young since his rookie season in Leverkusen and has interviewed him on many occassions

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

At the moment, I’m in Vechta and life is pretty good. I can’t complain. 

You played the last four years in the Pro A. How do you feel has the easyCredit league changed in the last years on the court?

The league has grown tremendously. With all the games being shown on Magenta Sport, all the social media coverage, the level of the teams in the league, the BBL is making its mark as a top European basketball league.

If someone had told you in September of 2018 that Vechta would be in third place at the end of January 2019 what would you have thought?

I would have thought that’s a crazy prediction. When I looked at all the teams before the season, I didn’t think negatively about our chances, but I knew there were some great teams we would be competing with this year. 

Congrats on the great season your having. Does it feel like a real Cinderella story or do you feel like as competitors you would be selling yourself short knowing the potential the team had. 

Thank you. I’m not sure that anyone expected much from our group at the beginning of the season. Coming from the second league, usually means a middle to bottom of the pack season. But with this group, even from preseason we were always working for more. 

The club began slowly losing it’s first three games, but since then have rattled off 12 wins in 14 games. Was a reason for the turn around just the normal bla bla of the team having to find each other in the early going or were the reasons for the turn around a lot deeper?

We were able to turn our season around through consistency. We merely just became better at the things that we were already doing, working on. With each win, our confidence grew. Now we are at a place where we are creating winning habits so that hopefully it can translate to the game. 

You have found ways of wining in so many ways if it was through defensive battles, scoring shootouts or close wins which occurred three times. Half way through the season what do you feel is the teams biggest strength?

Our biggest strength at this point is that we are mentally all on the same page. We work hard in the week and when it’s gameday, all 11 of our guys are ready to go to war. It’s special. 

You have celebrated some memorable wins in your career, but please explain where the victory against Alba Berlin ranks? How special was this day for the team? 

That was a big day for the entire organization. We know that Alba plays at another level than we do but we also know that we have the opportunity to compete against great teams like that. I don’t know that anyone gave us a chance to win before the game. Not only was it special, it was shocking. And that’s a great feeling, to be able to prove people wrong when they doubt. 

Years ago winning in Bamberg would have been unheard of, but even now it’s no easy task. What did it feel like winning in Freak City? How big was this win for the team? 

That was a big turning point for us. It wasn’t that we won there but more so how we did it (tough defense, sharing the ball, playing smart). Bamberg is a good team so to be able to go there and steal one in their house felt great. 

How huge in general was the win against Alba Berlin for the team mentality and self confidence? Do you feel like that win proved to the team that it can beat anyone?

The win against Alba was early in the season. We knew from the beginning of the season that if we commit to playing harder than other teams that we would have a chance to be in most games, but winning creates confidence. That game definitely catapulted our thinking to another level. 

You have played against many talented kids and have seen Philipp Herkenhof and Luc Van Slooten develop, but just how raw is Franz Wagner at age 17? He didn’t do much against Vechta, but he has had some other really good games and even started games. Is this guy NBA material like his brother Moritz? 

Franz is extremely talented. Alba does a great job developing their young talent and so I think he’s in great hands to push the boundaries of his potential. For sure he is a high level player when it’s all said and done. 

Vechta averages 83 points per game and allows only 77 points per game which is third best. What has been the secret to the success on the defensive end? 

Our secret to defensive success has been hard work. We work on our defense practically every day. And the way people see us play defense in games, is the exact same way we play it when nobody is there watching. We are creatures of habit. And Pedro has developed very strict defensive habits within our group. 

How vital has head coach coach of the year candidate Pedro Calles been? How has he developed this season as a BBL head coach?

Pedro has been the biggest reason for the success of this club. From his ability to capture his players, to his coaching philosophy, to the way he approaches the game, he is the ultimate professional. Our guys love playing for him and as you can see, we play extremely hard under his leadership. It’s been cool to watch him grow as a head coach this season. I’m glad we are able to be apart it with him. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. TJ Bray brought experience and a special fire that really capitulated his game to another level. He was always a solid professional player, but he really made the next step with Vechta. What do you believe has been the biggest reason for his success? 

TJ is extremely intelligent and knows the game well. I think the combo of his skill set and our coaching staff putting him in situations to be successful attribute to how well he’s playing. He is an amazing passer, pick and roll player as well as shooter. He’s the engine of the team. 

Even if there no super stars, American Austin Hollins has been that type of go to guy that has carried the team in his own way. How important has his leadership qualities been?

Austin is our scorer. That’s what he is great at and does with the best of them. We look for him to make plays for us and he continues to deliver this season. Also his length on the defensive end gives us a lot of steals. We aren’t the same team without him. 

How important has the stellar play been of Seth Hinrichs this season? What has been his most important quality that has made the club better?

Seth is our all arounder. He can do a little bit of everything well and he has a high motor that we feed off of. He has come up big many times for us this season and is proving himself in the league. 

How important was the pick up of Max DiLeo for the Vechta defense? How has he made an impact on the defensive end most that has helped the team most?

Max is our defensive leader. We take our cues from his hustle, intensity and aggressiveness. When you see how he is able to impact games through his defense, it’s quite impressive. 

How cool is it being reunited with Tyrone Nash again. You guys were teammates from 2011-2014 early in your careers with Tuebingen. How has his game developed further in the last years?

I’ve known Ty for years, we are good friends off the court and also have a good chemistry when we play. It’s nice to see how his understanding of the game has expanded so much since the first time we played together. He plays well on both sides of the ball. 

Let’s talk about your game. Your stats are up from last season, playing more minutes and have improved your free throw percentage. How content have you been with your play this season?

My play is a direct reflection of the amazing teammates I have as well as the system of Coach Calles. Anytime I can go out and help my team be successful, I’m content. And I have been able to do that this season. 

You stated in our last interview that your constantly breaking down your own game film. Those things have helped you to become a better player over the years. What has been the most challenging thing on the court as your back in the BBL again after years in the Pro A?

The BBL is another level in terms of physicality and mental approach. I’ve had to become a much more cerebral player this season in order to be successful on the court.

In our last interview you stated saying that you saw your role being similar to last season in that you would be a leader on the court. What do you feel has been your most important input that you have given that has helped the team be so successful?

I tried to make sure that our guys understood from the beginning of the season that nothing would be given to us and if we were willing to go to war to gain our respect, we would do just that. 

Your are aging like fine wine. Your 30 years old. When you see the Jena legends Allen, Mcelroy, and Jenkins or other legends like Quantez Robertson or Rickey Paulding, do they motivate you further to want to strive to play a long career?

I’ve been seeing those guys play at a high level for a long time. It’s definitely inspiring and motivating to me to continue playing as long as I have the ability, just as they are doing. 

It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA? 

Absolutely. What he is doing already in his rookie season indicates that he is on the path to greatness. 

What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time? 

I think when you are the greatest, you don’t have to tell the world, the world will tell you. 

Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?

I think that Tom Brady is the goat in his sport just like Michael Jordan is in basketball. It’s difficult to compare the two. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Green Book 

Thanks Josh for the chat.

Mike Nwabuzor(BG Dorsten) You Have To Fall In Love With The Process So That When You Do Reap The Benefits You Don’t Take Them For Granted

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

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

I am currently at home, relaxing getting ready for my game tomorrow. The basketball life has been treating me great. I am truly blessed to be able to do what I love on a daily basis.

You experienced a lot in school playing at three different schools in three different leagues. Has your rookie season in Germany been a little less stressful concerning being able to concentrate on your rookie season and not having to worry from year to year where you would play and learn?

Yes, the biggest part that made it less stressful is not having to deal with schoolwork on the daily basis and being able to focus strictly on basketball. That time that I used to spend on studying and doing homework is now spent on studying the game and perfecting my craft. 

After having a solid senior season at New Mexico Highlands (NCAA2) how did you experience your first summer looking for that first professional job? 

Honestly, it was very stressful because I train multiple times in summer days, every day and there were for sure days where I didn’t believe I would ever get a contract or anybody would take a chance on me. Major shout out to my agency (Powerside Agency) and also my club BG Dorsten. This club was my only offer and it has been working out for the best so I am forever grateful for that. 

You know what it is like playing at different college levels, but was it tough for your ego having to start in the Regionalliga in Germany? How big is the chip on your shoulder? 

Personaly for me, I’ve always been a type that had to start at the bottom and work my way up with basketball so it was just another stepping stone in my journey. I know soon I will be at the top, it just takes time. You have to fall in love with the process so that when you do reap the benefits, you don’t take them for granted. Plus it was my only offer and in that case, you can’t have an ego. 

Was it a big adjustment for you coming to Germany? What have you learned to appreciate most about the country Germany?

The adjustment wasn’t too drastic because I have been to multiple states for college but it is my first time out of the country so I had to get adjusted to a different style of living. In Germany , I appreciate how professional things are here. Everything is on time and situated.

What kind of experience has it been for you being the only American and playing with very many Germans? 

It has been a very good experience. It has taught me to play basketball in a different type of way that I haven’t been used to. I’ve tapped into certain elements in my game that I didn’t know that I even possessed. Yes, as a point guard of a team, you should always be the leader no matter what the circumstances so I just live by that.

How important has very experienced guard Nederim Pelaj been for your rookie season. What has been most helpful from him that has helped you adjust best in Germany as a rookie? 

This has been very important. More important than people may know or what shows up on the stat sheet. I also like to play shooting guard so he relieves me of on-ball duties a lot and lets me be able to float around the court. This is what leads to many of my plays I make off of the ball. He also has given me good tips of never to force and let the game come to me which has helped immensely with my efficiency.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 188cm guard that can score with ease. If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description? 

I would like to compare my self to Russell Westbrook or De’aaron Fox. Both are fast and athletic guards like myself. I study both of their games a lot because I see characteristics in them that I possess in myself. 

Your averaging almost twice as much as last season with New Mexico Highlands (NCAA2). Has it been adjustment for having more of that central scoring role?

I think the biggest contributor to that is taking more shots and making more threes. I’ve been blessed with a coach in Coach Franjo Lukenda who believed I was a scoring guard even when I didn’t believe it. The best thing a coach can do is give a player confidence and that is what he has done to me all season. 

Your scoring and rebounding really stand out, but what other parts of your game do you feel is always important for the success of the team?

I feel that I am really good at shooting gaps and getting steals off the ball and I am also an underrated passer. Coming up, I was always the 2nd or 3rd best player on my teams which caused me to be a pass first player and also helped me to learn how to get guys the ball in their spots where they excel at. 

Your highest scoring game this season was netting 43 points against Hagen-Haspe. Did you know early on that you would be in the zone? 

The game started the same way every other game did but I knew something was different when I hit back to back threes in the 3rd quarter. That’s when it clicked in my head that I just might be doing something. From that point on I just continued to play my game and things went smoothly. 

You had a triple double against Dortmund. Was that your first triple double in your career and how important is it for you filling the stat sheet on a nightly basis?

In junior college at Central Arizona, I had a total of 6 triple doubles on the year so it was not something new for me. I just play hard and play the game the right way and the stats come. My intentions are to win on a nightly basis, if the stats come with it then so be it. 

Your are an amazing rebounder leading the team with 9 a game. Were you always a good rebounder or did you continually improve that in the last years?

I have always been a good rebounder because of my athleticism but rebounding is also about mentality and will. My junior college assistant coach Rich McCray instilled that mentality into me one game and I got 16 rebounds that game. Since that game and on, I come with that same mindset to rebound the ball. 

Your three point shooting continues to be a work in progress. What is your biggest challenge as you continue to improve your shooting? 

My biggest challenge would have to be confidence. I put the work in on a daily basis but the work is one thing and confidence means even more when it comes to shooting. My shot will continue to improve with in-game reps and summer days of getting shots up. 

How do you feel has your game progressed as a professional this season? On what things do you continue to work on most as you mature as a professional?

The thing that has progressed the most in my opinion is my pace. The game has slowed down and it is slower than ever for me right now. Nobody can speed me up or take me out of my groove and that’s very important at the point guard position. I would like to continue to work on taking care of the ball. As I mature , I understand more and more how important possessions are and how important taking care of the ball is. 

You began your basketball career at Cent.Arizona JC (JUCO) in 2014 playing two seasons and 59 games. How important were these two years for you getting your foot into the door at the college level?

The most important of my life to be honest , Central Arizona was my only scholarship offer coming out of high school so from there everything began. My true work ethic , my athleticism, everything got exploited when I was there in those two years and it helped put people on notice. 

You then played a season with UTRGV (NCAA) playing 29 games averaging 2.0ppg, 1.4rpg. You averaged 9,3 minutes per game, but didn’t get a real chance. How tough was this time and what did you learn about yourself as a player having to watch more than actually playing? 

This was a very tough and low point in my basketball career. It was a point where I always believed I was good enough but got minimal opportunity. I had no confidence in myself at the time also but it was a blessing in disguise because it brought the dog out of me that I didn’t know was in me. It made me work harder than ever and let me know to never take playing the game for granted because you can easily be at the end of any bench, no matter how good you are. I learned that I am persistent because many would have folded in my position and given up. 

There you played together with Xavier Mcdaniel, the son of the famous NBA player. What kind of relationship did you guys have and was there a touch of an NBA flair around? 

Xavier was a freshman in my one year there so we did not hang out that much off the court but I would say he definitely possess his father’s superior athleticism. 

You played your senior season with N.Mexico Highlands (NCAA2) playing 28 games averaging 12.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 80.3%. You made big strides especially with your shot. Do you feel like your senior season play has carried over to your rookie season?

I do feel that way completely because at New Mexico Highlands , I gained a new born confidence in my shot. I also have that same confidence in the way that I played the game and that stayed with me during summer in pick up sessions and now over here playing professionally. 

Did you know that Robert Franklin who played at N.Mexico Highlands (NCAA 2) is still a professional at age 38 and playing in Germany with the Basketball Lowen in the Pro B. Do you remember hearing stories of him when you were there?

I was only at New Mexico Highlands for one year so I didn’t get a chance to dive deep into the school history but I do remember seeing and hearing his name multiple times. 

You had many good games there, but would you count your two games against W New Mexico as some of your most fondest? 

Those are my highest scoring games while I was there but I wouldn’t count them as my most fondest because scoring wasn’t my best attribute that I brought to the table at the time. 

How did head coach Craig Snow give you that last needed push to groom and prepare you best for a professional career? 

Coach Snow gave me a chance to showcase my talent and I am appreciative of that. If I wasn’t able to play and play through mistakes , I wouldn’t be where I am at right now. 

Who won a one on one in practice you or Jacob Holland?

Even if he did win , I wouldn’t tell you. But I definitely won, I shoot the ball better than him haha. 

Do you ever wonder where you might be today or how you might have developed had you visited only one school instead of three?

Yes, I think about that all the time. I am grateful for my journey because it is all God’s plan. Going to three schools built me up to be able to go to any state, country, or basketball system and learn how to thrive in a couple months time span. I wouldn’t change my story one bit. 

Lakewood is a big community, but have you ever had dealings with ex NBA player Josh Childress or seen him around in the gym? 

It’s funny you ask that because Josh is actually like a big brother to me. He is also one of the biggest reasons I am playing professional basketball. Since I got out of high school, every summer, I train with Josh. That is where I learned how to play, train and act like a professional basketball player. He also sponsored our high school team while I played at Mayfair High School so we’ve had a solid relationship since I was about 16. 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

The toughest I would say would be Rob Gray from the University of Houston. He was a bucket.

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

In the backcourt I’m going with me, Nick Dixon and Trace Dimeff. My two bigs I would have to go with Dillion Reise at the 4 and Chris Lewis at the 5. I like to play small ball. 

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

Michael Jordan LeBron James Shaquille O’Neal Magic Johnson

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

My favorite player is Lebron James , he inspired me to start playing basketball player of all time is Michael Jordan and there is no debate. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Last movie I saw was Creed II

Thanks Michael for the chat.

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Made The Playoffs And Continued To Move Forward The Players Of Tomorrow

In the last game of the season for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors fans saw a bit of everything against Lok Bernau, but then again some things were also missing. After a stroll through the park against Bochum where they took revenge from last season´s series loss with a stellar sweep, they weren´t so lucky against Lok Bernau getting swept. Against Lok Bernau fans got to witness huge 17 year old German talent Franz Wagner who is the brother of Los Angeles Lakers forward Moritz play something not as common in the Pro B as he is already a strong part of the Alba Berlin roster and plays more with them, a rare three pointer from Tobias Jahn that got the extra attention of Fraport Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson who quickly remembered Mike Morrison´s rare three last season and had to admit that even big men can have some luck shooting the trey. One also saw the game changing play of the game as diminutive 178cm Lok Bernau guard Bennet Hundt hit a massive three after being 0/8 from the field sealing the win for them as Frankfurt didn´t play bad at all controlling the boards and hitting 12 three´s thanks to big contribution from German Felix Hecker, but Frankfurt couldn´t execute in the last 42 seconds and the guests closed out the game and series with six free throws. Two major things missing from this last game was Swedish super star Elijath Clarance and German Richard Freudenberg who could have made the difference between an early summer vacation and a date with top team Bayer Giants Leverkusen. Clarance had left the Pro B team in mid February to help bolster the BBL team Fraport Skyliners guard rotation, but in that time he played only three BBL games getting 19 minutes and 9 points and one Eurocup game. Ok so Frankfurt was fighting for a playoff spot, but already had a pretty good and deep guard rotation and could have let him also compete for the Pro B team. Freudenberg was injured and also would have been a big help had he been available. All in all it was another fruitful season for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors that was rewarded with the playoffs and continued to move forward the players of tomorrow.

Fraport Skyliner lifer/Legend Quantez Robertson doesn´t miss any Pro B games supporting his teammates with Miles Schmidt-Scheuber during pre season in August 2018

               The Fraport Skyliners Juniors began the season on fire winning it´s first 6 games, but then suffered a lull losing 4 games in a row as they had scoring woes including netting only 48 points against new team wiha Panthers Schwenningen. They then had another good span winning 5 of 7 games including a big 81-75 victory against 2018 Pro B champion ScanPlus Baskets. In this span they belonged to the best 4 teams in the Pro B south and continued to fight and hold the home court advantage for the playoffs. They then had another winning drought losing three games in a row, but finished the season strong beating the RheinStars and BBC Coburg and hung on to the home court advantage in the playoffs. Their biggest strength on the court this season was their defense ranked number one in the Pro B giving up an average 72 points per game holding teams to 70 points and under 11 times as they defended with passion and heart something not always present among young players, but head coach Sebastian Gleim installed serious discipline from the first day of practice and since being known as a very good coach with youth players since years and had been key for bringing Isaac Bonga to Frankfurt in 2015, the players had no problem buying into his defensive system. The whole willingness to defend well is something that has been seen for years starting in the easyCredit BBL under head coach Gordon Herbert even if it hasn´t been there this season, it remains alive in the youth area as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners are also the top ranked defensive team in the NBBL(U-19 league).

                The other big strength of the organization Fraport Skyliners since many years is the youth development where they have brought two German players Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann to the Euroleague ranks and with a bit more luck, the right contacts and right timing might have reached the NBA, but now a days you find the most curious signings happening so anything is possible even still now for the two German national players. This season the club inserted 22 players with the majority being young German talents and a few older guys like Tobias Jahn at age 32, and Dennis Mavin at age 27, but still youth was the main dish on the menu as the club still had an average age of 20,6 years. When you have a guy like Garai Zeeb that is 22 and is the fourth oldest on the team then you know that the club is very young. Even if four of the seven teenagers on the team were primarily NBBL(U-19) players with Leon Pullen, Calvin Schaum, Alvin Oniya and Jordan Samare totaled 20 games in all, three were role players with Aaron Kayser, Maxi Begue and Len Schoormann that totaled 66 games in all.  There were also some guys like Garai Zeeb, Armin Trtovac, Richard Freudenberg, Cosmo Gruehn and Konstantin Schubert who have been with the club for many years and also have had BBL experience. It is important to take each player under the microscope and evaluate the steps they made in the last season. After the loss to Lok Bernau, veteran Tobias Jahn made a quick assessment of his teammates and who he felt made the biggest strides. “Schoormann, Begue, Gruehn and Hecker all developed further. Trtovac had a great season and for me was the best center in the Pro B”, warned Tobias Jahn. But there were many other players that got minutes, worked hard to get better and also needed to be evaluated including the two oldest guys Jahn and Mavin, the next generation players and then the real young kids.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Dennis Mavin in the BCM training facility of the Fraport Skyliners

         Tobias Jahn was in his second season with the club and didn´t play much of a role in games, but was important to have as a mentor for the young players and helping the big men with their games. After averaging 5,6ppg and 6,1rpg two seasons ago, his minutes shrunk dramatically from 18,7 to 9,0 minutes and averaged only 3,5ppg and 2,3rpg in 8 games. Dennis Mavin played his fourth professional season and after a strong Pro B season with Giessen last season where he averaged 18.4ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 71.7%, he split this season between the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) playing 7 games averaging 10.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 40.7%, 3FGP: 16.7%, FT: 50.0% and then came to Frankfurt where he averaged 14,8ppg, 4,0rpg and 2,2apg and shot 37% from outside. He couldn´t get going with the ScanPlus Baskets as he got lost in the veteran shuffle, but in Frankfurt was allowed to be the veteran and be more vocal helping the young guards and finished the season well. He scored in double figures in 12 of 13 games and had a 23 point game against Leverkusen and 21 point games against Rhondorf and Bochum. He improved his shooting in Frankfurt and can be a top Pro B guard. The question now is will a Pro A team take a chance on him and give him an offer for next season? The most exciting player on the squad this season was Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance. Fresh off being the leading scorer at the 2018 U-20 European championships in Chemnitz, Germany, he came to Frankfurt with a double license to play with the BBL team and Pro B team. He practiced more with the BBL team than got into games at the start and concentrated more on the Pro B team. In his first game in Rhondorf, he scored 21 points and erupted with some massive dunks that would continue the whole season. He played 17 Pro B games averaging 12,3ppg, 3,6rpg and 3,9apg and 1,5spg. He had some big games against Elchingen with 26 points and 24 points against the wiha Panthers. He came to Frankfurt to learn to become a point guard and at times his swing out pass resembled that of FC Bayern Munich guard Stefan Jovic and he had some nice playmaking abilities, but all in all too inconsistent. His biggest weapon is his dunk and athleticism and is always in attack mode like a Westbrook. Gordon Herbert lauded his unending work ethic and with the NBA being his ultimate goal, it definitely won´t be his hard work that will keep him from there. He is an amazing talent and a guy you would go to pay money extra to see because of his ESPN moment dunks, but he still needs to make better decisions, but hey the kid is 20 and is allowed to make mistakes and continue to learn the game. He had big moments in the BBL already and hit top Russian team Lok Kuban for 15 points in the Eurocup.This guy is so raw and has a huge future ahead of him.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Elijah Clarance after a game in Frankfurt

            After the two older players, you have the new generation Juniors veterans with Zeeb, Trtovac, Freudenberg, Cosmo Gruehn and Konstantin Schubert. Zeeb played his fourth season with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and after improving his scoring in the first three seasons from 7 to 9 to 14, he fell this season to 11,2, but he made new strides with the BBL team. Currently he is at 51 BBL games and has 45 in total with Frankfurt. He had some fine Pro B games in wins against Bochum with 28 points and 21 points against FC Bayern Munich, but one could see that his focus was with the BBL team. He continues to be a solid three point shooter around 33%-34% in the Pro B, but can´t seem to make strides there. His playmaking combined with decision making continues to grow and he controls the tempo well. Despite having extreme stiff competition at the guard position in the BBL he has held his own and stepped up from the bench in many games hitting big shots, making key assists or big plays on defense. He hit 13 points against BG Goettingen and had 10 points against ratiopharm Ulm. There were enough games where he didn´t play more than 5 minutes. He needs to be in a situation where he gets full trust and receives consistent BBL minutes. He would be a star in the Pro A, but his focus will always be the BBL. Armin Trtovac played his fifth season and made another step. 2017-2018 was his break through season in the Pro B registering 11/8 stats and this season he went up a bit more averaging 13,4ppg and 7,4rpg and scored in double figures in 15 games and had 5 double doubles. Some big games of his included against the Lowen with 23 points and 12 boards and 22 points and 11 rebounds against Rhondorf. When he wants to, he can dominate the paint area in the Pro B like no other. He is still 21 and is raw and just needs to continue to believe that he can mix it up with anyone. Like Zeeb, he is in good company under the basket and never got much of a chance with the BBL club. Currently he has just 5 BBL games under his belt. He needs to get more confidence from the BBL coaching staff and take his aggressiveness from the Pro B to the BBL more.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Garai Zeeb since 2015 when he came to the Fraport Skyliners

            Richard Freudenberg played his second season with Frankfurt and stat wise improved, but did he develop further? Injuries took a toll on him this season, but he had his moments. Known for being a shooter all his life, his shot didn´t fall as well in the BBL last season, but this season his focus was to rebound more and not think about his shot and it did wonders. Like Zeb his focus was on the BBL where he had some shinning moments like 21 points against Giessen or 12 points against Alba Berlin and Crailsheim, but his inconsistency has seemed to stand out the most. In the Pro B he averaged 12,5ppg and 5,6rpg and had some big games against Fc Bayern Munich with 23 points and 18 points against Bochum. His shooting also was very inconsistent in the Pro B, but better in the BBL, but can be a weapon if he continues to work at it. He needs to have a good summer of training so he can come into next season motivated and mentally ready for a possible make or break year. Konstantin Schubert has that baby face and is only 20, but completed his fifth season with the club and has 6 BBL games experience under his resume. He has had a nice development in Frankfurt and was able to improve his scoring and rebounding each season until this season where he averaged only 3,6ppg and 3,7rpg, but he had injury woes and a new deep roster shaved his minutes from 23 down to 14 minutes. It was a very tough season for him. His shot continues to be a work in progress, but he is a hustler that has a nice inside out game and runs the floor well. He could have a long Pro B career, but will need a break out season for him to be able to make the next step. One of the big development winners was Cosmo Gruehn who played his third season and improved his stats again going from 4/2 to 6/2 to 7/4 this season. In his first season in 2016-2017 he was one of the NBBL stars together with Isaac Bonga and Konstantin Schubert and now he is one of the most important role players on the farm team. He is a superb inside out player that can hit the three and won´t be shy to grab a rebound over a taller or stronger opponent. Even if his three might be his biggest weapon, he lives off his never ending energy that he brings at both ends of the court. He had two 18 point games against the ScanPlus Baskets and Giessen and led all players in the game against Elchingen with the most points, rebounds and assists. He is a team player that will continue to make strides up the basketball ladder.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and one of Germany´s biggest talents form the year 2002 with Len Schoormann

            Two guys that made huge strides were 16 year old Len Schoormann and 18 year old Maxi Begue.Just last season the German 16 year old was named JBBL MVP at age 15 and already averaged 10 points per game in the NBBL. This season he made the jump to the Pro B and became a solid role player from the bench and even started some games. He averaged 5,0ppg, 1,5rpg and 1,9apg and had three 10 point games against Coburg, Rhondorf and the RheinStars. He displayed 8 assists against Bochum. The guy plays older than his age and has an athleticism and explosiveness that most 16 year old German basketball players would dream of. Even if he shot only 29% from outside one could see a new confidence with his shot as he was more aggressive and didn´t hesitate as some might playing against men. He has the complete package and just getting minutes and the trust from Sebastian Gleim did wonders for his confidence and game. Watching his development will be exciting in the next years as sky is the limit for him. Maxi Begue also made great strides. Last season he was still a bit shy at the NBBL level, but this season became the leader of the team as his all around play and filling up the stat sheet was something he hadn´t had the year before. He got his shot at the Pro B level and didn´t disappoint. He started some games and averaged 3,7ppg, 2,0rpg and 1,3apg and had a 13 point game against Wurzburg and 10 point games against Elchingen and Orange Academy. The German shone with his aggressive drive and floater and just all around hustle and being everywhere grabbing rebounds and steals. He has an unorthodox looking shot, but at times had accuracy from outside, but that also is still a work in progress. He could be one of the young leaders on the team next season. Aaron Kayser came from Pro A team Chemnitz where he had had 14 games experience. He had been a top big man at the NBBL level and came to Frankfurt looking to make the next step. The blond haired big man played 25 games averaging 4,8ppg and 3,3rpg. His best two scoring games was a 14 point effort against Coburg and 10 point game against the Lowen. He will be 20 when next season starts and still has a lot of upside. His biggest strength is his shooting accuracy which at times was around 70% this season. When he gets the ball in the paint, there is a good chance it will go in. He always gave energy from the bench and made key buckets in many games. His biggest weakness is his free throw shooting which was at 36% and his footwork is also still a work in progress. He is also a big talent and Frankfurt has been a good breeding ground for big men in the last years. Not to forget German guard Felix Hecker who played his second season as stat wise he averaged 17 minutes in both seasons and averaged 4,0ppg in both seasons and his three was around 30%. Even if his big strength is his three, he whipped up two amazing stats from his first two seasons as he shot a mindboggling 17/21 combined in the two seasons from the two point range. His shot selection at that range is more than impressive. He also had a lot of upside and most likely will continue to work on other areas of his game to get a more complete game and be able to help his team in more ways next season. Guys like Alvin Oniya, Leon Pullen, Calvin Schaum and Jordan Samare are waiting in the wings to make the next step like Schoormann and Begue did this season in the Pro B. It will be interesting to see how these guys come in next season and how they develop further while one also wonders now which new prospects will be in uniform next fall as a new Pro B season commences.        

FC Bayern Munich Survive Massive Scare Overcoming The Fraport Skyliners 91-87 in 2OT

The Fraport Skyliners season was still alive, but for the team to reach the playoffs now there will have to be a miracle and many wins happen at once or can one recruit Jordan Theodore back for the stretch run? The 2000 BBL cup winner has just been too up and down to deserve a playoff berth as at the start of February they lost three games in a row, but then buckled together and won three of four games, but currently had found another dry spell losing two games in a row and seeing their playoff hopes sink to horrible proportion. In their last loss, they controlled the game for the first half, only to watch s.Oliver Wurzburg crawl back and be aided by the Frankfurt turnover fest which ended with 25 especially in crunch-time experienced Tyler Larson had difficulty taking care of the ball and English national player Gabriel Olaseni gave Frankfurt a lesson on how to dominate the boards. With the Fraport Skyliners hanging out in 13th place and three wins behind the eighth placed team, they had a giant hurdle meeting number one ranked team FC Bayern Munich who had said farewell to the Euroleague season and now could concentrate fully on the easyCredit BBL. In the first meeting FC Bayern Munich won at home 80-71 and Frankfurt didn´t play that bad totally dominating the boards, but couldn´t handle their depth and consistent three point shooting as the Bavarian team scorched Frankfurt with 12 three´s. The only positive thing for Frankfurt fans was to see the return of German national player Danilo Barthel who departed Frankfurt in 2016 for Munich and since then has become the top German power forward in the easyCrdit BBL with some asking why he isn´t in the NBA like a Daniel Theis or Maxi Kleber. Barthel returned back to Frankfurt and was focused as usual while the Fraport Skyliners were playing for pride and had nothing to lose and took the guests to 50 minutes and two OT´s, but had some misfortune at the end missing some easy baskets and rebounds losing 91-87. After the tough loss ex Arizona State guard Tra Holder tried to reflect on the tough loss. “This was one of the craziest games in my career. We gave all we had against the best team in Germany and one of the best in Europe and had a chance to win. This was a great learning experience. We played hard, but some rebounds didn´t go our way and they hit some tough shots. We put ourselves in a good position to win. You can´t ask for more than that”, added Los Angeles native Tra Holder. FC Bayern Munich didn´t have their best day and seemed sluggish after winning 48 hours earlier against Gran Canaria in Euroleague action, but they came up big when they had to to secure the victory. “We struggled for 35 minutes and they played us tough. We put on more pressure in the last five minutes and that was the difference”, stressed FC Bayern Munich guard Braydon Hobbs.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and ex NBA player Derrick Williams

                4,900 fans made the trek to the Fraport arena on a beautiful spring day and saw Jason Clark and Richard Freudenberg out while German Niklas Kiel was rewarded for his fine game in Wurzburg with a starting nod. No team needed to take long to find their offensive rhythm as both teams were hitting shots and there were six lead changes in the first 5.12 minutes of the game. In the early going offensive onslaught, the Fraport Skyliners were led by  guard Akeem Vargas who had the hot hand early scoring five points, German center Leon Kratzer was aggressive netting 4 points while American Tyler Larson  made a lay in and Quantez Robertson made free throws. For FC Bayern Munich they also got solid support from many as ex Alba Berlin center Leon Radosevic scored twice, ex Skyliner Danilo Barthel nailed a trey, ex Valencia foreward Vladimir Lucic scored inside and Icelandic national player and ex FC Barcelona guard Petteri Koponen iced a catch and pop jumper, but Frankfurt led 15-13 thanks to a Kiel tap in off a Robertson miss. The Fraport Skyliners had no offensive break downs and defended well going on a 11-2 run to extend their lead to 26-15. In the run, they received superb guard play as Larson added 5 points on a trey and a runner while German Garai Zeeb gave huge minutes from the bench hitting a runner and scoring on transition. The Fraport Skyliners did a great job keeping up with the furious Munich tempo and with many shots made heightened their self confidence while the current BBL champion didn´t seem totally there playing at about 60%-70% of their abilities and missing open shots. FC Bayern Munich then got a break pouching on the Frankfurt bench that was inserted and breaking out on a 6-0 run as ex Columbia(NCAA) guard Maodo Lo scored three points and ex Bellarmine(NCAA2) guard Braydon Hobbs dropped a trey to cut the Frankfurt lead down to 26-21. “Frankfurt came out very aggressive and played very hard like they wanted to win very badly. Munich was too relaxed like nothing would happen. Frankfurt lost a little moment tum at the end as Munich made a push”, stressed Lich(Regionalliga 2) guard Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners shot 65% from the field and 40% from outside and had 8 rebounds and 1 turnover while FC Bayern Munich shot 53% from the field and 50% from outside and had 5 rebounds and 1 turnover.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex Arizona State guard Tra Holder

                The second quarter remained tight, but the Fraport Skyliners remained in control as FC Bayern Munich was unable to get over the hump and capture the lead back. 27 year old 203cm ex Los Angeles Lakers forward Derrick Williams began the second quarter with a bang making a huge dunk cutting the Frankfurt lead down to 26-23. “That was a real NBA dunk. Williams is familiar of putting guys on posters. He brought a lot of excitement to Munich”, added Lich(Regionalliga 2) guard Jermale Jones. Frankfurt didn´t lose any of their offensive zip and quickly cruised out on a 6-2 run to keep the 32-25 lead. In the run Frankfurt got big time production from ex Alba Berlin center Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman who supplied a hook shot and thunderous one handed dunk while ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb made an amazing circus shot in traffic after weaving in and out of some surprised Munich defenders. “That looked a foul, but he was totally focused on putting the ball in the hole. He played with instinct. If he knows where the glass is and has the right touch then the ball will have a good chance of going in”, said Alabama native Jermale Jones. This Frankfurt run somehow rattled Munich awake as they started to defend better and play more calm and intelligent on offense and they started coming back. FC Bayern Munich made it really tight down the stretch getting another big trey from Barthel and an off balance jumper from Koponen and Radosevic free throw to cut Frankfurt´s lead down to 37-35. “Barthel wasn´t so focused at the start getting two quick fouls, but then calmed down and made some shots and started to play better”, added Jermale Jones.  After another Larson lay in, FC Bayern Munich surprised Frankfurt´s full court press by whipping a touch down pass over it from ex Alba Berlin guard Nihad Djedovic to Serbian guard Stefan Jovic for the easy basket. But on the last play of the second quarter, Tyler Larson made a massive veteran play as he was under severe pressure and almost every other American would have opted to finishing tough in traffic, but he timed the perfect back door pass to Finish national player Shawn Huff scoring at the siren as Frankfurt led 41-37 at the break. “FC Bayern Munich played a lot harder, got the ball inside more and made more shots. Due to Munich´s better defense, it forced Frankfurt to hold the ball longer and force tough shots”, added Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners shot 57% from the field and 22% from the three point line and had16 rebounds and 6 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich shot 52% form the field and 44% from the three point line and had 10 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

                In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners began to play a lot better again and heightened their defense and led by double figures as FC Bayern Munich couldn´t muster consistent offense. The third quarter has usually been a sore spot for Frankfurt, but against FC Bayern Munich, they were all business going on a brutal 10-2 run to extend their lead to 51-39 and got the Fraport arena cooking as Frankfurt fans couldn´t believe the fortune of their team giving the huge Bavarian favorite massive problems. In the run the Fraport Skyliners did a great job banging the ball inside and using the mis matches as well as possible. Ex Bamberg big man Leon Kratzer connected three times, Kiel was supplied a back door pass from Larson for the easy bucket and Larson hit a step back jumper. FC Bayern Munich looked like a desolate pre season team that was coughing up the ball way too much. The Fraport Skyliners defended very well and their offense also didn´t let them down as they could hold their double digit lead getting solid production from Tra Holder with a shot in traffic, Larson hitting a deep three over Derrick Williams and Zeeb dropping free throws for the 58-45 advantage. FC Bayern Munich then added some pressure and closed out the third quarter strong going on a 7-2 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 60-52. In the run, Williams missed a dunk, but didn´t give up staying with it and finishing in traffic while ex Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (KLS ) forward Nemanja Dangubic  made a strong dunk and Koponen hit a big trey. “We came out well. A big problem this season has been us coming out flat in the third, but we played well and kept the lead”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Tra Holder. “We can´t make excuses that we had a tough Euroleague game a few nights before. We came out sluggish and they hit tough shots”, added Ohio native Braydon Hobbs. The Fraport Skyliners shot 53% from the field and 19% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 10 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich shot 44% from the field and 40% form the parking lot and had 18 rebounds and 7 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex Bellarmine(NCAA2) star Braydon Hobbs

                In the fourth quarter FC Bayern Munich started to slowly crawl back into the game inch by inch and then force overtime with a huge shot at the end. Despite the guests getting some offense with Jovic free throws and a Lucic lay in, the Fraport Skyliners were still in control of the game early in the fourth quarter as they got huge contribution from their bench as Holder nailed two long three´s and one from Huff keeping their comfortable lead at 69-56. “I have confidence and just try to help my team as much as possible. Whether it´s being the cheerleader or being on the court, I just try to give my best”, added Tra Holder. FC Bayern Munich had some defensive break downs in this phase concentrating on the bigs inside and closing that down but not keeping an eye on the three point line. FC Bayern Munich then took advantage of Frankfurt´s fifth team foul at the 6.07 minute mark and went on a 6-0 run getting free throws from Barthel and Williams and a easy Lo lay in cutting Frankfurt´s lead down to 69-62. FC Bayern Munich concentrated better on defense and Frankfurt wasn´t moving the ball well a big problem for them this season as that has been up and down. Frankfurt couldn´t generate much offense in this phase except for Larson while FC Bayern Munich continued to supply fierce pressure going on a lethal 9-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead down to 73-71. In the run, FC Bayern Munich got valuable production from Djedovic who dropped a trey and Williams was extra aggressive in the paint having no problems against double and triple teams showing why he played many NBA seasons making a hard dunk and lay in. Frankfurt should have won the game at the end, but Leon Kratzer missed two free throws and Robertson one. Had Tez made both then Frankfurt would have led by 4 points. Instead they led only 74-71 and Lo stepped down the floor and drained a huge three with 8 seconds on the clock. Larson missed a shot for the win forcing overtime. “We switched our defense picking up full court. We changed our intensity and Lo hit a big shot”, stressed ex Nurnberg guard Braydon Hobbs. “Lo made a tough three at the end. Kudos to him for making a shot like that”, added Tra Holder. The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 30% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 15 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich shot 44% from the field and 36% from outside and had 26 rebounds and 7 turnovers.

                In the first overtime, FC Bayern Munich got the lead at first and held it until the end where Frankfurt brought the game into a second overtime. Guard play dominated the first few minutes as Lo scored twice including a pretty floater while Larson also scored in the paint, but FC Bayern Munich led 79-76. Kratzer then made a line drive one handed shot to cut Munich´s lead to 79-78. Ex Tuebingen guard Akeem Vargas then missed two free throws and it seemed like he could be the tragic loser, but he redeemed himself after Williams made two free throws. With Frankfurt trailing 80-78 with one second to go, Vargas was on the free throw line, but this time he drained the two pressure packed shots like Rick Barry in his best days forcing a second overtime. “Both teams played great defense. Vargas hit big free throws. I was confident that he would make them”, stressed Tra Holder. “Vargas hit big free throws. He had a mental battle, but it was a good time for him to bounce back. FC Bayern Munich shot 42% from the field and 31% from outside and had 30 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 47% from the field and 29% from outside and had 42 rebounds and 17 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Icelanic national player Petteri Koponen

FC Bayern Munich continued to keep the lead in the second overtime as Frankfurt just couldn´t get over the hump and get the lead back. Radosevic who had been invisible since the first quarter took a mis match on the first play and made the bucket for the 82-80 Munich lead. Holder then connected on another huge three giving Frankfurt their last lead at 83-82. FC Bayern Munich then did a good job drawing fouls and making free throws as Williams and Djedovic connected, but Larson made a floater dead locking the game at 85-85. Larson did a great job carrying the team for 50 minutes and finished with 24 points and 8 dimes. “Tyler was unbelievable and kept us in the game. He was hitting shots and distributing the ball all game long. He made a crazy lay up and when all is going well, all tends to fall. His two big three´s over Williams were also nice. He also encouraged me to do it when they were switching bigs”, smiled Tra Holder. Djedovic then hit a huge trey for the 88-85 Munich lead.  Shawn Huff then made a huge block on Williams inside the paint which led to a Holder transition basket to cut Munich´s lead to 88-87. But FC Bayern Munich then did the little things to secure the win as Lo made a big time block on Larson and then on the next possession, Frankfurt couldn´t buy a basket inside as Larson and Wolfart-Bottermann missed easy shots. With 10 seconds to go, it appeared like Djedovic made the insurance basket, but at closer inspection, it had been Robertson who had tipped it in. The Fraport Skyliners had 8 seconds to go to bring the game a third overtime, but Holder missed a last shot from the corner. One had to wonder about the Frankfurt decision making here as Holder shot the ball  a few seconds after the inbounds pass. Larson may have been the better option, but then again Holder had hit some huge deep three´s in the game, so he definitely was an option. “I was in a hard position and jumped wanting to pass the ball to Huff, but I couldn´t so I shot it. If I could do it over I would have liked to have passed the ball”, stressed Tra Holder. “We gave Frankfurt different defensive looks and made stops. Key was not giving up easy lay in´s like earlier in the game”, stressed Braydon Hobbs. FC Bayern Munich had five players in double figures as Derrick Williams, Danilo Barthel, Maodo Lo and Nihad Djedovic added 12 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Tyler Larson with 24 points. Leon Kratzer added 13 points and 10 boards and Tra Holder supplied 11 points. FC Bayern Munich shot 42% form the field and 32% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 29% from outside and had 48 rebounds and 18 turnovers.

Mike Morrison Is A Terrific Player And Would Also Shine In The Mike Mo And Tez Comedy Show

That Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison can play basketball very well is no secret as both have demonstrated it combined for a total of 18 years in Europe. Robertson who is known everywhere he goes as Tez except for the passport control at airports is a freak athlete that could have alone from his athleticism and defensive qualities played in the NBA, but never got a chance and has belonged to the top defenders and league identity figures in the BBL for years while Morrison has had a consistent career where rebounding and blocking shots have been his strong point and not to mention his thunderous dunks as living on the rim has been as usual for him as going to the beach in his hometown in St Petersburg, Florida. However what many don´t know is that they have a lot more than just basketball skills, but also have comedy skills as their continuous ribbing of each other over the last years has been something I witnessed often and always wondered when will the two have a comedy show, because I would definitely pay money to see it. The two jokesters shared a room on the road for four years and no matter if they were chilling in Russia, Estonia, Slovenia, Israel, Oldenburg or Bremerhaven, one can be sure that more practical jokes were done. Who knows exactly what these two will be doing after their playing days are over, but I could imagine a Quantez Robertson teaching young kids basketball while I could imagine a Mike Morrison donning that stunning suit daily at a 9-5 job in the business world. But it would definitely add something special if somehow the Mike Mo and Tez comedy show would be born. The many comical situations of the two are numerous, but I do have a few over the last few years that are long lasting.

The two stars of the Mike Mo and Tez comedy show

Last season in a 90-63 crushing home victory against Tuebingen and the game long decided Robertson made a steal and went on a break away, but saw the big man Morrison running the floor like a guard and made a underhand pass off the back board for him the way Lebron has displayed catching it and dunking, but it wasn´t perfect and it sailed out of bounds. After the game both gave each other the blame. “ I knew that Tez would throw me the ball. He threw it too soon and I had to jump inward instead of upward. It was Tez´s fault”, joked Mike Morrison. “Of course Mike said it was my fault, but he missed it”, yelled Quantez Robertson. Another funny example of the two making fun of each other was when they met for the first time since their Frankfurt days recently where Morrison had moved on to s.Oliver Wurzburg. Morrison would sweep Robertson and Frankfurt and both were firing away after the Frankfurt loss at home. “It is always fun to play against Mike. We were roommates for four years and had many road trips. I hit a three on him on the first play. We were talking some junk. Mike thinks he is one of the best big man that can guard guards on the perimeter”, smiled ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. “I do think that I am one of the best big men that guards guards on the perimeter On that play I had to see how he was feeling and see how he would do. It was a lucky first shot”, smiled Mike Morrison. Another comical example of their good off court chemistry happened when Robertson was watching a Pro B playoff game of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors last weekend against Lok Bernau and watched a rare three by Frankfurt big man Tobias Jahn. Last season Morrison hit a big three against FC Bayern Munich in the playoffs and it had been the first in his professional career. “Tobias hasn´t taken many three´s this season. He played good offense and was getting rebounds. Morrison´s three was funnier. Jahn can shoot, but Mike can´t smiled Quantez Robertson. When Morrison heard of this comment by Tez, he was quick to reply. “Tez can say what he wants. The fact still remains that I have the highest 3 point percentage in the history of the BBL and when someone passes 100 percent let me know”, stressed Mike Morrison. Despite all the joking around, the Florida native has the utmost respect for his ex teammate. “Tez is a jack of all trades. He makes a coaches job so much easier because you can use him in so manydifferent ways. His best attribute is his work ethic. Goes hard every day, forcing others to do the same. Plays so hard during games and can play 40 minutes.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison for a combined 15 years and has heard many great examples of their comical power over the years

There are many more examples of their comical banter of these two guys so come on somebody give them a show. But we can´t forget that Mike Morrison has had a very respectable career and is a terrific player. Mike Morrison was born on October 31st 1989 in St Petersburg, Florida and attended Lakewood high school. He then played at George Mason(NCAA) from 2008-2012 playing a total of 127 NCAA games and had his best statistical season as a senior playing 32 games averaging 9.8ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.4apg, 2.0bpg, FGP: 59.0%, FT: 55.0%. As a senior he had some memorable games like his 14/15 game in the 61-58 win over Georgia State or his 17/7 game in the 89-63 victory over Delaware, but his favorite game memory is another. “On the court the most memorable moment for sure was beating Villanova in the tournament. That game was an instant classic”, stressed Mike Morrison. It wasn´t only scoring and rebounding, but he also developed his shot blocking at George Mason and once swatted away 7 balls in a game to share the school record with the general George Evans who played in Germany for Trier. “I didn´t even know that. But to do anything George Evans has done is a meal of honor to us Mason Patriots so that´s pretty cool”, answered Mike Morrison. He credits ex Ohio State standout Jared Sullinger as his toughest cover in the NCAA and also had very formidable competition when he was a freshman with Darryl Monroe who he would later meet again head to head as professionals in a Fiba Europe Cup game in 2016. “Darryl was and is still so talented and really thinks the game. In that 1 year I soaked in as much knowledge as I could. physically I was 200 pounds, there was nothing I could do with him”, said Mike Morrison. The big man also remembers coaches Jim Larranaga and Paul Hewitt for grooming and preparing him for a professional basketball career. “They both are very successful coaches but, more than that, great people. Those 2 and all the assistants played a big part in making me the man I am today on and off the court”, stressed Mike Morrison. He also did something very untypical in his senior year in that he didn´t experience that last summer of freedom before turning professional, but went overseas a little less than two months after his last NCAA game against VCU and turned professional with Port of Antwerp Giants (Belgium-D1): playing 7 games averaging 2.7ppg, 3.0rpg. “My time in Antwerp was a blur. I had to learn a new team, new system, and a different level of game. Being thrown right into playoff basketball wasn´t easy. With all of that I still had school work between practices so I could graduate. The guys were really just helping me adjust to Europe and the game”, added Mike Morrison.

                He began his first full professional season in 2012-2013 with Cytavision Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) playing 28 games averaging 11.8ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP: 62.6%, FT: 48.1%. He scored in double figures in 20 games and had one double double. Some of his best games was a 28 point explosion in 28 minutes in a 80-59 victory over Enad and a 21 point effort in a 85-69 win over Apollon. He finished his rookie season losing 3-1 against AEK.  He was already very mature as a rookie and he could have been anywhere in the world and he would have been able to adjust. “Basketball is basketball. That´s the easy part. But you really have to learn to take care of yourself, your body, your home. Your on your own for real”, stressed Mike Morrsion. In his second professional season he made another jump in his career and moved to Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 55 games averaging 14.0ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.5apg, Blocks-1(1.6bpg), FGP: 60.2%, FT: 57.7%; and played 6 EuroChallenge games averaging 13.3ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.5apg, 2.0bpg, FGP: 49.3%, FT: 53.8%. The Korisliiga is one of those leagues that can be a stepping stone for players to get to the easyCredit BBL and it would be for the big man. He totally dominated in Finland scoring in double figures in 49 of 55 games and registered 15 double doubles. That season he helped the club reach the finals beating Tapiolan Honka, and Nilan Bisons, but lost to Pyrinto. There he had a special teammate in Jared Newson who had been the last cut of the Dallas Mavericks in 2007 and had won the BBL slam dunk contest when he played with Leverkusen. The American remembered Newson who recently retired form the game. “The guy is still athletic, amazing. We were having game dunk contests in Finland. I miss that”, stressed Mike Morrison.

                Morrison then began a new chapter with the Fraport Skyliners in 2014 where he would battle for four seasons. In his time with the Frankfurt organization he played 137 BBL games, 12 Eurochallenge games, 19 Fiba Europe Cu games and 16 Basketball Champions League games. He was able to put up very solid stats and improved his scoring in his last three seasons, but had his best shooting year in his first as he shot 69% from the field. Not only do German players profit from the coaching staff, but so do Americans. “Player development is what coach Gordie and Klaus do so well. That´s why young Germans love to come play under them. They both helped me greatly. Not only with my skills, but also knowledge of the game. I see things developing before it does just because I´ve listened to them for so long. If coaching is in the future I will be using a lot of their philosophies”, stressed Mike Morrison. His biggest games included a massive 35 point game in the Basketball Champions League 90-80 win against Turkish team Pinar Karsiyaka and a 25 point effort in the bitter 99-98 loss against Bayreuth. His favorite own play was his dunk over Oldenburg center Robin Smeulders, but his favorite most cherished moment was winning the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup in Chalon, France and just experiencing the last moments. “Just finally watching the seconds run off the clock. Knowing we finally did it after falling short the year before”, added Mike Morrison. Obviously Quantez Robertson has had a huge effect on Morrison if not the biggest, but he is quick to add that he couldn´t name just one. “John Little showed me my intensity could always be higher. Aaron Doornekemp showed me how to be a real professional on and off the court. Jordan Theodore showed me to keep your confidence in self no matter what. Phil Scrubb showed me how not reacting to uncontrollable things can help your focus. Sean Armand reminded me that sometimes you just have to go kill the guy lined up in front of you and Shavon Shields reminded me a few years later”, added Mike Morrison. This season he has witnessed the amazing surge of former teammate teenager Isaac Bonga who has been in and out of the Los Angeles Lakers roster and could ask him hundreds of questions about Lebron and Rajon Rondo, but surprisingly it doesn´t even get to that. “It may sound weird but I haven’t asked him about that stuff at all. We’re still friends and talk about anime, TV shows and Marvel movies all the time. Me, Isaac, and Phil Scrubb have a group chat that gets pretty nerdy”, smiled Mike Morrison. Even if he is from Florida and has a new basketball home in Wurzburg, a piece of his heart will always be in Frankfurt and he explained what made it so easy to play and stay there. “Just all around good people. That´s important to me. I spoke with everyone from players, coaches, to the people in the office, and the workers at the arena. Everyone was cool”, warned Mike Morrison. Morrison recently played against Frankfurt sweeping them and reflected on his ex team in 2019. “It was just great seeing the fans that have shown so much love over the years. They were awesome and I will never forget that. Of course I want my friends on the team to be successful but my focus is 100 percent on S. Oliver Wurzburg when it comes to basketball”, added Mike Morrison.

                Last summer there were many wondering if Mike Morrison would return back to the Fraport Skyliners, but he didn´t and resumed his career with Panevezys Lietkabelis (Lithuania-LKL). For some basketball experts no surprise as some felt that a change of scenery would be a good thing, while many of his Frankfurt fans would have liked to have seen him remain in Frankfurt. At the end of the day it´s all about choosing the best situation for your family and the Fraport Skyliners didn´t seem to fit into the equation anymore. “I loved Frankfurt, the players, and the coaches and still do. It´s just about choosing what´s the right opportunity for you. I love basketball and wouldn´t mind playing anywhere that´s a good opportunity and a great experience”, expressed Mike Morrison. One of the great advantages of playing for an organization like the Fraport Skyliners is their amazing facilities which has a state of the art training facility, spa club, mall and apartments in walking distance. This is something not seen in many places and obviously not in Lithuania. “Of course moving to a new place is always an adjustment but it was a pretty smooth transition. I´m not in a mall, but the city is much smaller so getting places is pretty easy. They do a pretty good job of taking care of us and whatever we need”, stressed Mike Morrison. There were only two Americans on the squad with him and veteran Jamar Wilson, but the Florida native didn´t feel lonely at all as with his outgoing nature, he was able to bond with everyone even the influx of Lithuanians on the team. “I can relate with Jamar a lot more on some things but as far as getting along with guys we all have good relationships. These guys are cool and I can´t help but be social. I even got Phil (Scrubb) to talk to me a lot”, smiled Mike Morrison.  He held his own with Panevezys Lietkabelis (Lithuania-LKL) averaging 10,7ppg, 5,5rpg and 1,5apg in the country league and also played BCL averaging 7,0ppg ,4,6rpg and 2,1apg. So he might not make the Harlem Globetrotters, but he definitely would have gotten a smile on his ex teammate Johannes Voigtman´s baby face when he showcased a slick behind the back pass early in the season. “Jumbo Jo has all the moves for sure but I didn´t steal that one from him lol. I´ve always been a pretty good passer but It´s not flash, it was actually just the best pass to make that play to hold the defender. A regular bounce pass would have been easier to react to”, added Mike Morrison. Despite his good stats, he was out of a job around Thanksgiving 2018. “The team decided to hire a new sports director who decided to make coaching changes and a lot of player changes. I wasn’t a part of his vision I guess but I still wish my guys over there good luck”, said Mike Morrison.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Mike Morrison in 2019 as he returned back to Frankfurt with his new team s.oliver Wurzburg

                It took him only 13 days to be in uniform with his new team s.Oliver Wurzburg and suddenly he was in Germany again and would be battling against his former team Fraport Skyliners within only a few weeks. It was obvious that Germany and the easyCredit BBl had a special place in his heart so coming back wasn´t a difficult decision for him. “ It was a no brainer. I’m familiar with the league and liked the idea of coming in and helping change the team identity. A lot of great players are here and things gelled pretty easily”, warned Mike Morrison. In a way this new situation is very similar to what he had three seasons ago in Frankfurt. “The BBL season is very different but the FIBA season is very similar. When I got here we were 15th I believe now we’re fighting for a playoff spot. 2016 in Frankfurt we were already locked in the playoffs and had more focus on FIBA”, warned Mike Morrison. The club has won 6 of it´s last 7 BBL games and has real good chances of bringing home a chip to Wurzburg as they are 8-1 in the Fiba Europe Cup and now battle against Italian squad Openjobmetis in the semi´s which could be a good omen as Morrison beat them with Frankfurt in the Fiba final in 2016. “We believe In each other and every game is a playoff game from here on out. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that we are capable to lift the Fiba trophy if we play the way we can”, warned Mike Morrison. Even if he did come to a new team, there was one very familiar face on the team with Johannes Richter who had been his teammate in Frankfurt. When asked about the German big man, the other big man shows his comical side in his description of the younger player. “You can’t describe Peanut (Jo), he really is one of a kind. Funny, annoying, sometimes stupid (but he’s going to be a Doctor), but really a great guy. We all make fun of him all the time and he keeps the team in good spirits. His game has developed for sure. He’s very physical and has an amazing motor”, stressed Mike Morrison.

                s.Oliver Wurzburg is known for having very skilled guards in Jordan Hulls, Skyler Bowlin, Cameron Wells and Brad Loesing that keep up the pressure for 40 minutes and just drive opposing guards insane as Fraport Skyliner guard Tyler Larson witnessed 48 hours ago as he coughed up the ball 8 times and especially made costly turnovers when the game was on the line. But the club also have other important players on the team like Xavier Cooks and new comer Devin Oliver. “‘X’ is a walking bucket. He’s really gifted offensively and bothers a lot of plays defensively. What Impresses me most about X is his knowledge of the game. He understands better than most and he’s a rookie. Reminds me of myself in that light. But the boy can play. He will be a millionaire really soon. Devin was a very good pick up. He’s a jack of all trades and brings great energy. He’s strong and posts up smaller guys but on the outside lives trying to cross up guys that can’t stay in front. Great aggression. He’s always in attack mode”, warned Mike Morrison. Morrison gives added strength up front and currently is averaging 6,8ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,4 apg and is shooting a respectable 62,5% from the field in 16,8 minutes per game while in the Fiba Europe Cup he is averaging 8,7ppg, 4,1rpg and 1,4apg and shooting a strong 62,5% from the field in 16,2 minutes per game. He is playing in a system under Denis Wucherer that is different from ex head coach Gordon Herbert, but he has fit in all right. “My role is to set good screens and roll to the rim to open it up for my shooters and they’re shooting opens up the lane for me. It’s a tandom. Also bringing energy and physicality”, warned Mike Morrison.  Just like he profited in Frankfurt under Gordon Herbert, he has done the same under new head coach Denis Wucherer in Wurzburg. “Coach Denis really understands offense, spacing, and manipulating the defense. His offense is structured but really free flowing. Coach trusts me to make decisions on passes and what options I see out of certain sets. I don’t know if I would say there’s more or less freedom. I think it´s just a different system”, stressed Mike Morrison. Not only has the big man profited from Wucherer, but has seen the advantages of having British national player Gabriel Olaseni as a teammate. The Brit is highly talented and one of those unfinished products. Both have the utmost respect for each other. “It has been great having Mike on the team. I remember when he came in that management said that they wanted a change and I totally welcomed it. He is one of the vocal leaders on the team and so passionate. He always pushes you in practice. I have profited from him in many ways. He has helped me with running the floor, drawing fouls and understanding mismatches and playing angles”, warned ex Bamberg center Gabriel Olaseni. “Me and Gabe are really cool. We are both Super hero nerds so most of our conversations lead back to new Marvel and DC movies that are about to come out. I think we both are just good players. There’s no drop off when one or the other goes in and we push each other to get better”, stressed Mike Morrison. It looks like Mike Morrison may have found a replacement for Quantez Robertson in Wurzburg with Gabriel Olaseni as his new comical side kick as with all that Super Hero content there is surely enough material for funny moments and practical jokes. Now the question is would there be room in the Mike Mo and Tez Comedy show for a third with Gabriel Olaseni?

Bright Mensah(KIT SC Karlsruhe) I’m More Than Just A Scorer But I´m Also A Lockdown Defender

is a 26 year old 190cm guard that has the American and Ghana citzenships and playing his first season with KIT SC Karlsruhe (Germany-Regionalliga) and tearing up the league averaging 22,5ppg, 4,4rpg and 3,6apg. He grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey and played at William Pater. (NCAA3) form 2012-2016 and as a senior played 25 games averaging 21.3ppg, 6.7rpg, 3.0apg, 2.2spg, 0.5bpg. In 2017 he was drafted by the London Lightning (NBL Canada,1rd (11), but never played a regular season game. He is playing his rookie season in Germany and spoke to recently about his basketball career.

Bright thanks for talking to A few months ago you were second on the Daily leaders of points at with 46 points. How does that make you feel getting exposure like that. Do you hope that you name was somewhat passed around after your performance last weekend?

Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed. Seeing my name on the daily leader board has been a big accomplishment and a very proud moment for me. I definitely hope that my performance will bring me more exposure and connections. 

You hit an amazing 46 points in a huge 122-55 win over Mannheim. You also nailed 10 three pointers. You had a monster season at William Paterson (NCAA3), but was this your highest point total and most three’s you have ever made in a game at any level? 

I’ve had some high performing games but this by far has been one of my highest point totals along with the efficiency of the three pointers. 

When did you know in that game that you would have a great scoring day? Did you feel any different going into the game than usual or was it just that normal game feeling?

Leading up to the game, I put a lot of extra work in. I felt confident in my preparation and excited to get on the court. I would say it was a normal game day feeling. Working on my shot and my touch definitely contributed to my performance. 

You scored 46 points in 28 minutes. Did you ever wonder how many points you may have had had you played 7-8 minutes more? You might have hit 60. Would you have liked to have played more?

I actually asked myself that after finding out I scored 46 points. I didn’t realize I scored that much, but allowing my teammates that don’t play a lot to get in the game was more important to me. 

You finished school in 2016 and didn’t play your that first season and left Canada after pre season last season. How difficult were the last two years not knowing if your professional career would ever take off? 

The past two years were extremely frustrating because I knew I was able to compete at a professional level, but I continued to be overlooked and was never given an opportunity. 

Did you ever have ideas about quitting basketball and doing something else? What kept your basketball dream alive in the last two seasons? 

I graduated with a degree in Business Management, which is also a passion of mine. I’ve thought of becoming a real estate agent and actually took courses to become certified. However, something always pulls me back to basketball. It’s my true passion and something I would love to do for my career. I’ve trained hard during the last two seasons and I would say what’s kept my dream alive has been the support of my friends and fiance. They have encouraged me during my lowest of times and helped me to remember how bad I want this. 

Your playing your first professional season with KIT SC Karlsruhe (Germany-Regionalliga). Your tearing up the league averaging over 20 points per game. Did the two long years of waiting spark something special inside you that has helped you have such a fine rookie season?

I’ve always had a drive to succeed and prove myself on the court. I had the opportunity to play in a league called Pro City in New York City. I got to play alongside NBA players and I’ve always known I can compete against high caliber players. 

You had a solid career at William Paterson (NCAA3) and had to wait two long years to start your professional career. How large is the chip on your shoulder and do you feel like it will always be there as proving yourself to others will most likely continue as you climb the basketball ladder? 

Since coming from William Paterson, I’ve felt I’ve had to prove myself. I felt underrated because people judged my skill level based on the name of my college. I always feel I must do more than the next guy to stand out because I know I am able to compete among the best. 

KIT SC Karlsruhe (Germany-Regionalliga) is having a very good season, but Speyer is in your way for moving up. What has been the key for the team being so successful this season?

I feel the team has a diversity of talent. We all bring something unique to the table and our style of play compliments one another. I also feel our Coach Jaivon has strategically implemented a plan that has helped our team grow and thrive this season. 

How confident is the team of it’s chances to move up and what does it have to improve to be able to pass teams like Speyer and Koblenz? 

I feel during the beginning of the season, our two losses hurt our chances from moving up. However, we are confident and hope that those teams slip up to increase our chances. It hurts but I know at this point all we can control is how well we play for the remainder of the season. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. How pleasurable has it been playing with 38 year old ex German national player Rouven Roessler? He doesn’t seem to be aging at all. Does he ever mention how long he still wants to keep playing?

Rouven is a really good player and mentor. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from him as an offensive player and from his high basketball IQ. There’s a joke between him and myself about how old he is but we have never talked about when he would stop playing. 

It is very rare to see two guys averaging over 20 points a game at any level in German basketball. Talk about your relationship and is there one true go to guy or is it both of you?

I feel as a team, our style is fast. This allows us to get a lot of shots up. Although Rouven and I have two different styles of play, I feel we compliment each other in the game. I don’t believe there is a go-to guy. As a team, we end up going to whoever is having a better game that day. We have built trust and I think it shows. 

What do you like most about Rouven Roessler’s game? He is a very good shooter. Do you get tips from him on shooting or other aspects of the game? 

I feel Rouven is a great shooter, crafty on the offensive end, and has a high basketball IQ. I feel he has definitely helped me in reading the game and knowing when to slow it down. 

What has been your impression of German talent Eyke Prahst? Where will his journey go? Does he have the drive to continue to develop and play at higher levels or has he chose a job and playing basketball more for fun?

Since the start of the season, I have become close with Eyke. He is a really good kid and a good basketball player. After his injury, he is focusing on recovering and is working hard while studying for the university. He is working on getting back to health and getting back on the court. Even before his injury, he was in the weight room and gym all the time. I still believe he wants to continue and get to higher levels. 

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 193cm shooting guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?

I feel my NBA comparison would be Victor Oladipo. I feel we share the same work ethic on the court and continuously working to improve our game. We are both 6’4 combo guards who can direct offense and score. Regarding defense, we play with high intensity and focus. 

You’re a very good shooter, but what other aspects of your game do you do you show that wouldn’t let anyone ever believe that you are only a one dimensional player?

I pride myself on being a versatile player on the court. Although I’m a great shooter, I’m able to drive to the basket while also creating shots for the team and myself. My defensive style is also just as strong as my offensive skill set. I can defend the toughest of players, which can be critical during tough games. 

How do you continue to develop your biggest weapon your shot besides just taking more reps and better shot selection? Do you ever work on your shooting mechanics if someone gives you a tip? 

I watch great shooters on how they get to their shots and their mechanics. 

What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away on the court?

My athleticism doesn’t always get noticed right away. People are surprised that I can jump with the highest of jumpers. 

How important has head coach Javion Harris been in your rookie season? What have you appreciated most about his coaching abilities? 

Coach Jaivon has played a huge role during my rookie year. He has helped me to understand the different style of German basketball and to adjust. I’m thankful that he allows me to be myself on the court and puts a lot of time in to get our team better.

Last season you were with the London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada), but only in pre season. You were the 11th #1 draft pick of the NBL league. For me that would warrant a good future there. Why was your stay so short there and couldn’t you have been picked up by another team?

As a rookie, I learned politics plays a big role as well as who you know. The London Lightning were the defending champions and they kept the same roster. I recently met my agent David Saltzman this year, who has been instrumental in getting this opportunity for me. I feel if I would have known him then, I would have been picked up by another team.

Your from Hackensack, New Jersey which is a 10 minute drive from New York city. How was your childhood and when did you know that basketball would play a big role in your life?

I had an amazing childhood growing up and played every sport including basketball, soccer, and even American Football. However, playing basketball was my biggest passion. I had interest in high school for American Football but I knew I found most enjoyment in basketball. 

What kind of dealings have you had with professional players from your area in New Jersey? I know that Jordan Theodore lives one town over in Englewood. 

Being right next to New York City, I’ve been able to compete with some of the best basketball players around. Many of us share the same basketball trainers. Jordan Theodore and I actually both train with Leo Jones, who is a well known trainer in New Jersey. I look up to Jordan and feel motivated to get to that higher level. 

After finishing at William Paterson (NCAA3) in 2016 you didn’t play professionally in 2016-2017. What did you do that year and why wasn’t professional basketball in your cards yet? 

Without proper representation and not having an agent, I was unable to get a opportunity. Teams didn’t know who I was and I felt underrated coming from a division three university. 

You played at William Paterson (NCAA3) from 2012-2016. What was your fondest memories there? Possibly reaching the NJAC Tournament Final in 2015? 

It would definitely have to be the bonds I created with my teammates. Traveling on the road and getting to know each other, has left me with lifelong friends that help support me even today. 

You won the 2015 All-NJAC Defensive Player of the Year award. What does this award mean to you coming from an explosive offensive player?

I would also say winning defensive player of the year was a huge accomplishment for me. I felt my hard work was finally paying off and I was being noticed. That award means a lot to me because I take pride on playing both ends of the floor. I want teams to know I’m more than just a scorer but I am also a lockdown defender. 

In your senior year at William Paterson (NCAA3) you played 25 games averaging 21.3ppg, 6.7rpg, 3.0apg, 2.2spg, 0.5bpg. Talk about your individual highlights in your senior season and how did you develop as a player that season?

My senior year was one of the hardest years at William Paterson, 3 games into the season our head coach was fired and 3 of our starters went out with injuries right after. I was forced to carry the team during the season and it helped me develop my offensive game and my leadership.

How did head coach Brian Chapman groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at William Paterson (NCAA3)? 

Coach Jose Rebimbas played a big role regarding my development and helped me become the player I am today. Coach Chapman also allowed me to be myself on the court and entrusted me to lead our team. 

Who won a one on one in practice you or Terrik Bridgeman? 

I would say me but if you ask Terik I’m pretty sure he will say him (haha). But he is a real talented player and my closest friend still today. 

Who was the toughest player you ever battled on any court anywhere that made it to the NBA?

I played against a lot of good players that made it to the NBA but I would have to say Kyrie Irving was the best. 

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

1-jaques conceicao, 2- myself 3- Terik Bridgeman 4-Davon Daniels 5- Eyke 

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

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Magic Johnson

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

Michael Jordan by far! There should be no comparison- not even close!!

When all is said and done, could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest European players that ever played in the NBA?

Luka is going to be one of the greatest players of all time when it’s all said and done. 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Bird box

Thanks Bright for the chat.