Vinny Curta May Have averaged 32,0PPG In A Season But He Would Still Rather Have A High Assist Game than High Scoring Game

Vinny Curta is a 196cm guard/forward from Oak Lawn, Illinois that played his rookie season in German with Regionaliga team Nordlingen averaging 21,0ppg, but his season ended in December 2019 due to injury. He had a fascinating four year career at Grinnell playing a total of 95 NCAA 3 games and averaged an incredible 25,2ppg, 32,7ppg and 25,0. He spoke to germanhoops about his basketball career prior to beginning his professional season in Germany.

Vincent thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how way our summer?

I am currently in Nördlingen in my apartment. My summer was great. I was in Chicago working out with my Dad and former teammates every day.

Congrats on signing with German Regionalliga team Nordlingen. There aren´t many NCAA 3 players that can say they were able to turn professional. How thankful are you for being able to make your love to your profession?

Thank you, yes, it’s tough trying to secure a contract because there are so many great players from not only the US but all over the world that are fighting for spots. It hurts your chances even more the lower the level that you come from in the NCAA or NAIA. I am beyond thankful and grateful to this city of Nördlingen and the club for this opportunity to play as a pro here. They have turned my dreams since I was a little kid into a reality.

What do you now in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Have you had any friends, ex-teammates or opponents play in Germany?

I know first and foremost that Germany has great talent across all basketball divisions. I know that they have one of the most respected first leagues around the world. I’m also aware of course of the great talent that has come out of Germany and had success in the NBA.  I was excited and relieved that when I touched down here everyone was very welcoming and wanted to bring me into the culture as soon as possible. As far as people I know playing here, I have had plenty. Not just in Germany but in other European countries as well.

History is on your side. You went to a high school named after Dwight Eisenhower and history was your major. Now your living in a very old city Nordlingen that has a wall around the city. What has impressed you most about the history of Germany that you will be able to experience this season?

The city of Nordlingen is incredible when you first get here. The drive from Munich to Nördlingen showcased a beautiful landscape. It was amazing to see the structure of the city in general and walk around with some teammates and talk about how old buildings were and some stories and history that made the town what it is today. The tower at the center of the city and the authentic German food were some great things to experience. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out as much as I can about the city and then traveling with some teammates to other parts of Germany before my time here is up.

How was your summer transfer period? Was it tough getting interest coming from an NCAA 3 school and did your massive stats raise some more eye brows from teams besides Nordlingen?

This past summer was great. I put in a ton of work and was lucky enough to have my dad, who is a coach of 20 plus years, work me out and put me through different training sessions. It’s really a credit to him for sacrificing so much of his time to making me a better player. I am beyond thankful. I think the journey from NCAA 3 to a professional team is rough but definitely not impossible. My stats may have turned some heads but not enough to pull the trigger on me. As for looks from other teams, I got a few looks from other areas but nothing was as exciting as talking to Coach Moll and what he had planned for me and the way that he talked about how I would become part of the family here.

Nordlingen is really high on your basketball abilities. What was the deciding factor that helped you make the decision of starting your professional career in Germany easier?

I would have to say that talking to the Coach and learning about what my role on the team would be played the biggest factor. Coach Moll stressed to me that I would be able to be a leader and that I could have the chance to coach some of the younger guys as well, which was great in my mind because I want to become a coach at some point in my life.

Head coach Sebbi Moll wants you to take over in key situations and lead the young team. You are only 22 years old and had much experience at a young age. How large is this challenge for you?

Actually, I am 22 years old, but I am straight out of college and have never really played the European style before. I would say it’s a challenge to have such a large role but I will work as hard as I possibly can to be the player, they want me to be and to help the team have success this year.

You were a student at Grinnell and now you will be teaching the Nordlingen U-18 team. How much of a challenge will this be teaching young men that aren´t really that much younger than you?

I think that my first chance to coach a team will have its up’s and downs for sure, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I know what it’s like to lead a team and to explain what needs to be done as a player, so hopefully some of this can translate to me coaching and we can get better day in and day out.

Let´s talk about your game. You’re a 196cm guard/forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

This is a tough one. NBA players are in a different world when it comes to talent. I honestly have no idea who I play like maybe my teammates can decide that one. 

You averaged 27,0ppg and 5,5apg in your last three NCAA 3 seasons. What really stands out is that you can also find your teammates. Some guys who are prolific scorers have told me they would rather get an assist than a bucket. How is it with you?

This is exactly the type of player I am. I think I work best as a player when I know that I can incorporate all other players on the floor and trust them. I would most definitely have a high assist game over a high scoring game. And a win of course.

What other strengths does your game have besides scoring and getting your teammates involved?

I think that I communicate effectively and I am very passionate. I try each day whether it be practice or a game to get better at talking with my teammates about what’s going right and what’s going wrong on certain plays or about the ideas in general. I also think that people underestimate my athletic abilities which in turn allows me to make some good defensive plays and surprise defenders.

Your three pointer continues to be a work in progress. You will have much free time as a Regionalliga player as sometimes there are only 2-3 practices per week. Do you feel that with even more reps than what you might have had the last years at Grinnell, that you could up your three-point shooting percentages?

Of course, this is a goal of mine. I will be in the gym every day trying to improve all of my game but especially my shooting stroke.

On what other things will you continue to work on to help raise your game to the next level as a professional?

I will continue to work on evolving my game to one that suits the European style of play as well as committing to becoming a better all-around defender and rebounder. Pretty much I want to improve every aspect of my game. I also am committed to getting in the weight room and putting on muscle and getting more explosive.

You played four years at Grinnell (NCAA3) from 2015-2019. Despite not winning a title what were your fondest memories on the court?

Some of my fondest memories of playing at Grinnell were that I got to play with my older brother Nick Curta, and I got to play against some really good teams throughout my career. I really enjoyed being able to play basketball with my best friends for 4 straight years.

You averaged only 13,0ppg as a freshman and then made a huge leap average 25,0ppg, 32,0ppg and 25ppg. How do you explain this enormous jump in scoring?  How did you grow as a player from your first season to the next?

I think that a shift in the team chemistry and the confidence that the coaches gave me at the end of my first season allowed me to go to work in the offseason and to really develop into more of a solid player. Getting in the gym every day with my Dad and brother and working as hard as possible.

As a junior you averaged 32,0ppg. That is like Michael Jordan back in the day or Lebron James today or Kevin Durant. What did it feel like averaging so many points per game? Did you develop that invincible scoring instincts that always had you confidence to score so much?

I just tried to be aggressive and as confident as possible because that is what the coaching staff asked of me. I had such great teammates who trusted me to make plays and once I put up a couple big numbers early on in the season, I just gained a mentality to be super aggressive and to make the defense have to work hard to stop me.

What memories do you have scoring 48 points against Lawrence University? How quickly did you know in the game that you would have a good day?

I just remember that early on as a team we were playing very solid defense and communicating very well with each other. I knew early on in the second half when Lawrence didn’t make any serious adjustments to their defense that I was going to be able to put up a big number.

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

He himself was a pro player for a season after he graduated. He gave me advice on what to expect and just told me the work ethic that I need to continue if I want to have a shot at playing overseas. He was real with me and didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, which I appreciated greatly.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Hannes Kogelnik?

This one makes me laugh, I never really got a chance to play against Hannes, He would have probably given me some trouble.  I did however never figure out a way to beat Griffin Boehm, the hardest working player I ever played with in my life.

Who has been the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe?

The toughest player that I played against was actually during the summer of my Junior year going into my senior year. I played against Talen-Horton-Tucker who made everything look easy and was crazy good.

Please list your five best teammates of all-time?

  1. Griffin Boehm
  2. Nick Curta
  3. Anthonio Johnson
  4. Khalil Williams
  5. Heavy Lamacchia

Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?

  1. Michael Jordon
  2. Larry Bird
  3. Antoine Walker
  4. Allen Iverson

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


What was the last movie that you saw?

Dazed and Confused

Thanks Vinny for the chat.

The Miles Basketball Minute: We Have To Accept The Corona Virus And Believe Basketball Germany Will Survive

I never ever thought that it would come to this. Spending a weekend with no basketball. I mean how often does that happen to me during a regular basketball season? It hasn’t happened often. I mean when it does, I will go back to Boston for 10 days to visit my mother and check out the NBA while still working on Basketball in Germany while in the States. One weekend tops per season where I will have a free basketball weekend, but never more than one. I cover so much basketball that I will be usually in Frankfurt for a BBL, Pro B or NBBL game and if that by chance isn’t happening that weekend, I still have other fine options like Giessen, Bonn, Langen Koblenz or other places. Heck I’ll even go to Berlin even if it’s a 6 hour drive. I just love basketball too much. But now I have a serious problem. It’s mid March and I have actually another free basketball weekend and it will go on and on for months. Usually my basketball season with calling games and covering games ends in June, but this season it ended on March 10 in Bonn. Thanks to the Corona virus. Now there will be no more games until next season. But wait it could go even longer. The speculation is really massive with some very confident people saying that in Germany the virus may pass in 4-8 weeks while other say that it will go into next season and disrupt the new season. Where in heck will this corona virus take us. I’m very very disappointed about no more basketball, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is our health. So many people have perished in Italy and many more in other countries. It is only right that the world is trying to do all it can to slow down the virus as best as possible so countries can get back to normalcy. How long that will take, nobody can pinpoint at the moment. All we can be is aware of our surroundings, act with intelligence and try to avoid contact as best possible with other people. It was only logical that big sports events had to be cancelled. There is no way around it. I will really miss basketball, but that’s life. People’s lives are what at stake and what is most important. A week ago despite the corona virus spreading, the basketball world looked a lot different and few really had any ideas that everything would get cancelled. It went from having fans at games to having no fans at games to having no more games. We have to accept the corona virus and believe that basketball Germany will survive. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber in an empty Telekom Dome as the BCL game with AEK Athens was played in front of no fans

On the weekend of March 7-8, I was in action calling two games in Frankfurt with Pro B action on Saturday with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors vs Orange Academy and on Sunday NBBL (U-19) play between Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners vs The Nurnberg Falcons. I remember after both games hearing when the next games would be with the Pro B Skyliners having to battle in the playdowns against FC Bayern Munich 2 last night and in NBBL play against Giessen next week. I love the post season and last Monday I already prepared for my Sunday game not knowing that it would never come. The week before I had asked for a press pass for the Basketball Champions League game in Bonn against Greek side AEK Athens. I wasn’t feeling too good on Monday night and I was seriously contemplating not going to the game on Tuesday. But I’m so glad now that I did go. If I hadn’t gone to that game, I would have regretted it. The big draw for me attending was the amazing AEK Athens smorgasbord of players like ex Miami Heat and 2 time NBA champion Mario Chalmers, or top European player Keith Langford or ex Real Madrid beast Marcus Slaugther or guys like Americans Jerai Grant and Kendall Ray. On Tuesday I decided to go. I mean you live only once and if there are great players like the ones I just mentioned all assembled on one court, then a slight cold won’t stop me from driving an hour to see them play the game they love. When I arrived at the Telekom Dome at 5.40 in the afternoon, I quickly learned that the game would be played, but without spectators. I wasn’t surprised since there had been talk since days of teams having to go that route. I wasn’t sure if the press would be allowed, but luckily they were. I had come so early for an 8.00pm game because I wanted to get photos with all these great players before the game so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress after the game. I’m glad I did this, because I got photos with all the players I wanted.

An empty Telekom Dome. It may be a long time until fans will see a game in here again

As I entered the Telekom Dome for the first time, it was empty, because it was two hours before the game. But as game time was slowly approaching and the arena was still as good as empty except for the players, press and team employees, it slowly dawned on me that I would actually experience a Geister spiel (ghost game) as they say in Germany. Two teams battling against each other, but in a relatively quiet arena without the usual great atmosphere that is transported by the effort of the fans. What was really bitter wasn’t only that the Telekom Baskets Bonn would be missing to give vital fan support, but also the Greeks had their fans that had made the trip, a group of about 30-40 that couldn’t watch the game. After AEK Athens won the game, about 30 minutes after, the faithful Greeks were celebrating at the team bus and no one would have noticed that they had never been in the arena. I had seen many team practices and scrimmages in my life and even exhibition games behind closed doors to the fans, but those games were all in a small practice facility gym. Now I was in the 5000 plus modern Telekom Dome and could have yelled across the court to the Bonn bench and asked when Alec Brown would come in again to display his lethal trey and head coach Will Voigt would of most definitely heard me and been able to answer back. With no fans and hardly any noise, you could pick up a lot better how the teams communicated on defense and the plays that were called. You also could hear the harsh interactions between player and referee. There was a situation where one could easily follow the conversation between player and referee. Jerai Grant was continuing to dominate in the paint, but had to contend with extra Bonn bodies and made a massive dunk, but was called for traveling. Grant exploded with ‘I didn’t move’, but the referee just blurted out ‘too many steps’. It was a game played at a high intensity, but it just didn’t seem the same without that amazing fan atmosphere. In the end it was the better experience of AEK with Kevin Langford and Marcus Slaughter who combined have 71 years of age, 29 seasons of professional experience and 292 Euroleague games as they showed their true colors and class on the court helping the Greek side to the 90-86 victory. Even if the contest lacked fans, basketball is basketball and I did see great basketball and many great plays. The only thing missing was that amazing fan atmosphere which would have been that extra frosting on the plays.

On Wednesday came the second game in Germany without fan participation as medi Bayreuth played a Fiba Europe cup home contest against Romanian side U- banca-transilvania-cluj-napoca. After an unsatisfactory first half, medi Bayreuth stepped it up in the second half to win to advance to the next round in the playoffs. The only bitter reality for the club is that they won’t play for a title with so much being cancelled. The best example of that not only won’t medi Bayreuth play for this title or in the easyCredit BBL again this season was the departure of ex Gonzaga stand out Reid Travis (203-F-95, college: Kentucky) With Americans players in Germany and other countries leaving right and left in fear of the Corona Virus and wanting to be home with their families, playing for that title becomes secondary. Everything becomes secondary even finishing a season as so many leagues have announced the end in the last days. On Wednesday I was slowly having to accept that I wouldn’t only not be seeing the Fraport Skyliners-Rasta Vechta on Saturday but possibly no more games. Telekom Baskets Bonn president Wolfgang Wiedlich stated in a Bonn paper on Wednesday that he couldn’t see the BBL season continuing with ghost games as it would ruin teams financially. Last weekend the Pro A games in Germany were cancelled and that had an effect on all teams. One team that shall remain unnamed lost 80,000 Euro on one home game. On Thursday the EasyCredit BBL announced that they would postpone the league for 2 weeks and then see how the status would be. I was always hoping that at least other leagues would remain. There was talk that contests with less than 1000 spectators could be played. But no league had the guts to try this. In Germany the NBBL and Regionalliga’s also followed the easyCredit BBL and cancelled their seasons while the Barmer Second Bundesliga will meet today to talk about trying to find a resolution. But in my mind just a waste of time and keeping the imports longer in Germany. Americans will have much more of a difficult time getting home the longer they wait, while Donald Trump closes up the United States. The Heidelberg imports Stephon Jelks, Davonte Lacy, Adam Eberhard and Grant Teichmann didn’t waste anytime and already took off last Friday to get home to their loved ones. The Barmer second Bundesliga will have to cancel their season as the lower the league gets the more difficult teams will have of surviving.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has more time now to play basketball with his son

As the weekend approached, I was still waiting for some miracle, but nothing happened. I spent my early Saturday night doing my running instead of being in the Fraport arena and on Sunday I was writing this article when in reality I would rather have been in the BCM in Frankfurt calling a playdown game between Frankfurt and FC Bayern Munich 2. Now a new week is here and there will continue to be no basketball. It is tough for the players and the fans and really just everyone who is involved with the game. It is extremely bitter for those teams that are having very good seasons. This may have been the year where possibly the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg could of made a run for the BBL title with the extreme unmotivated FC Bayern Munich team not playing their best basketball or possibly Alba Berlin winning their first league title since 2008. If the easyCredit BBL doesn’t return then Alba Berlin will have the only title with the cup something that they will be able to live with. Anytime you win more titles than a FC Bayern Munich in a season, it’s a massive victory. For me writing about basketball has been something I have done for 17-18 years now. Of course it helps when a season is running, but even when there is a break like there is in the summers, I have always continued doing interviews and doing player portraits. That won’t change now. I will continue to do that. All you have to do is be motivated and innovative and you can come up with interesting pieces. It won’t be any different with me. I will continue to be active and deliver frequently during the basketball free time like I always have. For some basketball fans accepting this long basketball free time will be easier than for others, but in the end no matter how much you love the game and miss it, you have to be aware of the importance of getting this world crisis resolved. The only way one can do that is to stop the spreading of the virus and that can only be done by avoiding places where many people are. Not only in sports, but the entertainment world also will be affected like so many other areas in life. The world has never seen anything like this before and nobody knows what the future holds. It is a time where we all have to stick together and especially with basketball in Germany try to help as much as possible so the sport will survive. There are corona developments each day and all we can do is be patient and smart in what we do. Working from home and just generally staying at home is the best. This is a good time to spend more time with your loved ones and just realize how serious the corona virus is. I loved nerf basketball as a kid and these are times where I can spend more time with my three year old playing mini basketball in his room. It might not be the easyCredit BBL or Euroleague, but I can get just as much joy playing with my son as I can watching a Donald Sloan hit a crazy three pointer with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Basketball is basketball and you can enjoy it in so many ways. Sometimes in tough times, you just have to make priorities. We will see basketball again. We just have to stick and fight together in keeping the sport alive in Germany.

Kevin Yebo(Hamburg Towers) Is On A Good Path To Become That Modern Forward With The Hamburg Towers

Kevin Yebo is a 24 year old 203cm forward playing his first season with the Hamburg Towers averaging 3,7ppg and 2,8rpg. He scored in double figures in 2 games with 14 points against MBC and 10 points against Ludwigsburg.. He began his basketball career with SG Sechtem 1971 (Germany-Regionalliga). He had his break out season with the EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) in the second half of the 2015-2016 season playing 17 games averaging 14.1ppg, 8.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 65.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 69.4%. He made another step with EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) in 2016-2017 playing 26 games averaging 16.5ppg, Reb-3 (11.0rpg), 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 61.7%. In 2017-2018 he made the jump to the Pro A with Team Ehingen Urspring (ProA) playing 30 games averaging 10.9ppg, Reb-3 (7.4rpg), 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 64.5%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 77.5%. Last season he matured further with Team Ehingen Urspring (ProA) playing 33 games averaging 15.2ppg, Reb-1 (9.5rpg), 1.6apg, FGP: 61.6%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 65.3%. He spoke to about basketball in the summer of 2019

Kevin thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

You’re welcome. I’m in Ehingen right now and working out with Domenik Reinboth, the coach of Team Ehingen/Urspring. He was my coach the last two years and I think he knows best where I have to improve. I really like to work with him and I think his training methods fit perfectly to me. My summer has been very nice so far because I have been very productive. During the week I’m usually practicing three times per day and on the weekend I’m playing on tournaments all over Europe with a streetball team named Der Stamm.

Two years ago you were a Regionalliga player in Limburg and now you are a easyCredit BBL player. Is the whole process been a dream for you? How does it feel being able to compete in the BBL this season?
Yes, when I played in Limburg, where I had two beautiful years with my teammates and my coach Danny Stallbohm to which I owe much, it has always been a dream to play first league, but over the years I realized that through hard work you can achieve your goals. And now where the dream became true it really even more shows me that hard work and dedication is the key to fulfill your dreams and that it is only the beginning.

If someone had told you in the summer of 2016 that you will be playing in the easyCredit BBL in 2019 what would you have thought?
First I would have laughed, because I can’t handle compliments. Then I would have thought to play on the highest stage of German basketball actually is my goal and I knew I could make it when I make the right moves.

You haven’t been playing basketball that long only about six years. How do you explain your amazing rapid rise as a player? Has it been more hard work or having the fortune of having great talent that God gave you?
Of course God blessed me with a body which gives me a little advantage, but he also gave me the gift to learn quick and to implement everything my coaches are giving me very fast. And like I said hard work is the key.

Congrats on signing with the Hamburg Towers. They are a very ambitious hungry team that wants to show the BBL in their first season that they are for real. In a way it is the same with you. You will be hungry to show everyone that you can be a good BBL player. Is this a perfect match you and the Hamburg Towers?
Thank you. I’m very happy to play in Hamburg next season. Yes of course it is a perfect match. They want to show the BBL that they can play on that level and I want to show that too. I think Hamburg is a club with big potential and I think we will show everybody that we belong in this league.

What was the deciding factor where you knew that the Hamburg Towers would be the right fit? I can imagine being able to play for a head coach like Mike Taylor was important for your decision.
Yes, he was for sure a big factor. Everybody knows that he is a great coach, but I also got the feeling that he really can help me develop my game and take it to the next level. Hamburg is not just like that one of the best places for young players to develop and that is also one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to play for Hamburg. When I worked out there for two days last summer, I really had the feeling that I was getting better and it was so much fun to work out with their individual coaches. I was thinking like, imagine what can happen when you are not just working out there for two days, but for the next two years. 

How happy are you today that you had a massive growth spurt at 16 where you gave up soccer and started to play basketball. Do you ever wonder where you might be today in soccer had you not grown so much?

No, I’ve never thought about that. I’m really happy that I’ve had that growth spurt and that I’ve started playing Basketball. Also big thanks to my mentor Joe Asberry for showing me this great sport.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 202cm forward that has a very nice offensive arsenal. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
Actually I’m 2,05cm. I really don’t know to which player I would compare my game. I watched a lot of players like KD, Jamal Crawford, Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andrew Wiggins and others and tried to take something what I like out of their game into my game. It’s really nice when somebody says that I’m playing like this or that player, but really I just want to be the best player I can be. The best Kevin Yebo I can be on and off the court.

You seem to be that banger on the boards that can score and rebound, but you have slowly continued to develop a three pointer. How close are you to being a modern day forward?
I think if my shot gets more consistent, my ball handling gets more secure, my decision making gets faster and my body gets a little bit stronger and more powerful, I really can be a good modern forward and I think Hamburg is the perfect place to help me to get to this point.

You improved your three point shooting percentage last season shooting 34%. How much of a work in progress is your three pointer and do you see yourself continuing to develop this part of your game?
I really worked and still working with Domenik Reinboth on my shot. I think there is still much room to improve my three pointer and that it will make me even more dangerous and hard to guard on the court.

You’re a very athletic player that can play defense. On what things are you working on most this summer so you will eb 100% ready for your first BBL season?
I’m working a lot on my body, to get stronger and gaining muscles. I am also working on my shot and new moves. I am actually working on everything. You can always get better in every aspect of your game, there is no limit.

You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet with ease, but what do you feel is a hidden talent in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away on the court?
I think I’m running up the court pretty fast and rolling fast to the basket after a screen, so the opponent got to help and that creates open shots or cuts for other players. I also can find open spots or cuts in the right moment, too. I think I got that from soccer.

You played the last two seasons with Pro A team Ehingen. How vital was it choosing this organization and how do you feel did you develop as a player in the last two seasons?

I’m sure that the decision to play for Team Ehingen/Urspring was the best decision I could’ve made. I had great teammates, a great coach, great fans, and just overall a great organization which always supported me. We had ups and downs but we stuck together and that is what it is about in a family. 

Your ex teammate Rayshawn Simmons said this about you. ‘Kevin Yebo is one of the best players in the league. He has no real ceiling & I’m excited to see him continue to improve this year & in his career. He’s a special player with athleticism you just can’t coach or teach. He’s extremely coachable with a eagerness to learn & improve daily. I really appreciate his natural feel for the game. He knows when to cut, pop, screen & fill the lane with me on the break in transition. We work & play off of each other extremely well. He’s a special talent who works hard & is also a testament to Coach Dom’s track record of improving players. Kevin for sure is ready for the BBL, he’s a rare talent and only been playing basketball for about 6 years. HE’s only going to get better’. How key was it having him as a point guard? You let him many dimes, but he also found you in the best spots?

Ray is a great player and a even better person off the court. He really became like a big brother to me over the season. It was necessary to have him as a point guard. He knows when to push the tempo and when to slow it down. He knows how to play pick and roll and can create for himself when he got to do it. When we played together it just clicked. Sometimes he just had to give me that look and I knew exactly what he was planning. I really wish him just the best for next season and I hope he can achieve his goals and dreams.

Is Seger Bonifant the best shooter that you have ever played with? Was their any shooting tips that you could pick up from him?

Yes, no cap. Don’t miss short Kev!!!

How important was it having head coach Domenik Reinboth as a teacher in the last two years? What was the most important aspect of the game that he taught you?

He was very important. I think I was pretty raw before I came to Ehingen, but he really worked with me on the basics and he taught me to be patient. He also taught me that timing is really important.

You had so many great performances, but where does your 27/11 game against FC Schalke where you hit 5/6 three’s rank in your all-time best games up to now in your career?

It is definitely in my top 3.

You played briefly with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen U-19 team and then played with SG Sechtem 1971 (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 2.0ppg, 1.5rpg and then moved to EVL Baskets Limburg (Regionalliga) averaging 14.1ppg, 8.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 65.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 69.4%. Did the real Kaazam in you break out in Limburg?

I think Kazaam always was in me even when I played Soccer. It’s just the lifestyle to give 100% no matter what you doing.

Limburg head coach Danny Stallbohm believed in you and gave you minutes right away. Could one say that he discovered you?
A man named Joe Asberry discovered me.But I would say Danny Stallbohm believed in me when nobody else did and he gave me the chance to show that I can play Basketball to everybody.

How important was Danny Stallbohm for your early development. How did he get you best prepared for the Pro A with Ehingen?

He worked out with me and the most important thing was that he was getting me mentally ready. He really talked a lot to me and gave me that mentality that I can achieve everything through hard work.

In 2018 you were teammates with Dennis Schroeder in the 3/3 German championships. What was it like being his teammate and was there anything that you could soak up from his game and competitiveness that has stuck with you?
It was a lot of fun. I recognized that he is definitely on that NBA level. It really showed me that I have to work really hard to get on that level.

Who has been the toughest opponent that you have played in Germany in the last years?
The toughest team was Chemnitz and Hamburg and the toughest player was Shy Ely. I really like his game.

Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
Rayshawn Simmons, Davonte Lacy, Tenner Leissner, Seger Bonifant, Justin Stallbohm

Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?

KD, Jamal Crawford, MJ, Lebron

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

They’re both great.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Machinist.

Thanks Kevin for the chat.

This Season Chase Adams(Romerstrom Gladiators) Has Experienced The Classic Line If At First You Don´t Succeed Try Try Again

It wasn´t always easy early in the professional career for Chase Adams to find the right opportunities that would help him make steps easier as he had to start very low on the basketball totem pole. After a strong junior year at Centenary Louisiana(NCAA) where he averaged 14.6ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.5apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 43.4%, 3Pts: 39.8%, FT: 70.3%, he took a more difficult challenge for his senior year moving to the better known basketball school University of Pittsburgh (NCAA) where he was teammates with future NBA players like Brad Wanamaker and Lamar Patterson and future BBL players like Gilbert Brown and Gary Mcghee, but couldn´t crack the lineup well averaging only 1,9ppg which surely didn´t help his immediate chances then of signing in a top professional league overseas. Usually guys from the NCAA even with stats like those from Adams can make the Pro A or Pro B in Germany, but instead the American from Baltimore saw his first professional experience in the ABA with the Dallas Impact and then in December moved to SVD 49 Dortmund of the German fourth division Regionalliga where he averaged 21,5ppg and played for peanuts, but at least got a proper introduction to good German soccer with Borussia Dortmund. His way up the basketball ladder continued in the next two seasons as he played with Science City Jena(Pro A) and the VfL AstroStars Bochum (Germany-ProB), but played only a total of 25 games and didn´t make a real impact. After many years of staying focused and hungry in the lab, his career finally took shape in 2015 when he joined the Finke Baskets Paderborn (Germany-Pro) and the rest is pretty much history as he played two seasons there averaging 11.4ppg, 4.6rpg, 4.1apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 67.2% and in his second season he averaged 11.9ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-5(5.6apg), Steals-1(2.4spg), FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 84.2%. In his third year of Pro A basketball he joined the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProA) averaging 11.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-4(2.0spg), FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 76.2%. In three years of Pro A basketball he played a total of 90 games and scored in double figures in 55 games hitting Hanau for 29 points and Baunach for 27 points along the way and established himself as a consistent top point guard in Germany´s second best basketball league Pro A. Last season he moved down to the Pro B to BBC Coburg, but had a stellar season averaging 16.4ppg, 5.8rpg, Assists-4(6.0apg), Steals-2(2.9spg), FGP: 37.9%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 87.7% and scored in double figures in 20 of 22 games and scorched the Lowen and Wurzburg for 24 points. At age 31, he is in his prime and ready for a new step and challenge.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Chase Adams for many years. This was a post game interview in Frankfurt in 2019

            Last summer he took an interesting, but smart new challenge with the very ambitious basketball project Rostock Seawolves. Only a few years ago, they were competing in the Regionalliga and moved up two leagues to the Pro A and have easyCredit BBL aspirations. It seemed like a fine fit for Adams, but his time there went a lot different than what he envisioned. Chase Adams wasn´t the chase Adams of old, but in reality wasn´t the real Chase Adams. After averaging 29 minutes the last 4 years in Paderborn, Hanau and Coburg, his minutes were suddenly shaved down to 13 and he averaged only 2,8, 1,6, 2,2. Those were just totally uncharachteristic stats for a great player and even left me dumbfounded every Sunday night when I checked the Rostock box score. A good example is Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart who has Adams like stats and if you traded Smart to a team like the Washington Wizards and suddenly his minutes got reduced from 32 to 13. Anything is possible in the NBA or even in the Pro A, but something like that just shouldn´t happen to these type of caliber players. It didn´t take long until Adams and Rostock parted ways. Hearing the news of his release was a tough pill to swallow. “I was heartbroken in so many ways, One of those gut wrenching feelings to say the least, I didn’t expect the club to make such a drastic change so soon. This isn’t the start anyone could have predicted”, stressed Chase Adams. It also didn´t help his cause that the club quickly lost 4 of it´s first 5 games. And as is so often the case, the point guard is the escape goat “Teams will definitely take quick action when things aren’t moving according to their plan. It’s crazy that a narrative can be painted without any explanation and Players don’t have a voice on the matter, regardless of the fact, clubs will do what they feel is best. If given more time I know this story would have turned out differently. 13 minutes is not the vision I had coming here, it made it much more difficult to fulfill my role. Huge wake up call given out to the players and now I think they could take off, the optics unfortunately don’t benefit me”, added Chase Adams. The whole Rostock experience was a tough one, but also a learning experience as he put up the lowest stats since his senior year at Pittsburgh(NCAA) and surely tough for the ego. “Our style of play involved us sharing the ball a lot and we have a lot of talented shooters and scorers. So during my minutes, the focus was always predicated toward facilitating and organization. I offer a lot to Teams On/Off the court; specifically on the court everything I do isn’t always represented on the stat sheet. So, ultimately it did affect me.  Its a challenge to go from 30 minutes average to 13 minutes. I had a more ball dominant role with Hanau and Paderborn, and the style of Play suited my game perfectly. With 30 minutes you can just feel the game out more; making plays to get my teammates involved first and then I turn up when the time calls”, expressed Chase Adams. But a huge victory for him during his short stay in Rostock was that he showed real character in being a true professional despite not playing much and conducted himself always well and was a role model. Because of this, the fans loved him and will always remember him in a special way. “ Without God by my side non of this is possible, so I’m humble and thankful for everything he’s allowed me to experience. All of the trials and triumphant moments I’ve endured in my career have given me the strength I needed to grow as a player, and even more so as a family man. I hope to inspire people through my journey, the passion, all the Hard work I put in, and the sacrifices I made to make my dreams come true. So appreciative to all the fans and family from all over rooting for me to win! They accept me for who I am and it allows me to return the Love. This is all I ever wanted to do and I want to do it right, until the wheels fall off”, warned Chase Adams. After he left Rostock hauled in legendary head coach Dirk Bauermann to help save the season and it would have been interesting if Adams would have gotten more of a fair chance under his guidance? “From observing the games it seems that It would but that’s something I will never know. The team was trying to find their identity for some time, and even with a slow start they still have a chance to make up for what they lost. Had I still been there with minute/role increase I know I could have pushed them over the hump”, stated Chase Adams.

                The American had tough times in Rostock and surely wouldn´t have gotten through the struggles without his loved ones. “1st and foremost my Newborn who gives me so much life everyday and of course my wife who has been with me through all the ups & downs keeping me grounded. I’ve also been fortunate to have an outpouring of Love & support from Family, Ex-teammates, and Fans who have helped me to keep my head held high. All I know is how to Grind and there isn’t any quit in me. I’m still very confident in my abilities and what I can offer a club,” said Chase Adams. But better times were looming on the horizon and less than two months later he had found another opportunity. Not only did he get another chance, but also a second chance in the pro A to show that he really belongs. In December 2019 he was signed by the Romerstrom Gladiators, a consistent playoff team the last years and also in contention this season. He didn´t hang his head in the sand after the Rostock calamity, but with the help of Gerrit Kersten-Thiele from Scorer´s First, he got that next opportunity and gave the classic line “if at first you don´t succeed try try again”.  His season with Trier has been a major turnaround and he couldn´t be more happy about how things have gone. “Major blessing to be here with such a respected organization, they have welcomed me with open arms and they have plugged me into the team and the community as well. It´s been a relief to fall on my feet after what happened and be able to get right back in the mix; I haven’t taken any moment for granted”, said Chase Adams. He has been there only about three months, but has already locked the city into his heart. “Trier is in the Top 3, the location is a super plus. Good food is one of the keys to my heart. I appreciate Trier having nice restaurants and cafes that I can regularly go to for a chill dining experience”, added Chase Adams. When he came to Trier, he joined a winning culture and it continued with his services as the team won 6 of the first 7 games when Adams was in uniform. “You know the saying “play with a chip on your shoulder”? Well I had a Boulder on mine! I had to prove to myself first that the situation prior was a fluke. I came here to bring the spark and I think a lot of success came from our competitive nature in practice”, warned Chase Adams. Sometimes a team goes through a lull where consistency is lost and that is what the team is going through at the moment. “Our bread and butter is defensive pressure, we got away from that a majority of the second half of the season. We just lost sight of what was working, and we slowed down to the other teams speed, which hurt us. In the last game we got back on the horse and got reconnected with our identity. This is a true testament to our team chemistry that we’ve built since the time I’ve been here”, commented Chase Adams.

            Over the years Chase Adams has had many great teammates, but I´m sure that if I gave him a list to make right now listing his 5 best teammates of all-time, Canadian forward Jermaine Bucknor would be on it after only a few months.  “You mean my Brother Buck. This guy is a walking Legend and big time inspiration. He is such a great role model for players, his devotion to the game is unmatched and picking his brain daily has helped me dissect things with a new perspective. It’s been a huge honor to share the court with him, that’s another reason why the season can’t end like this. What he’s been able to do assures me that I can play this game till the wheels fall off and the longevity of your career is based upon how dedicated you are to all the aspects of being a professional. Joining forces with an equally competitive monster is a recipe for success. We definitely share vocal responsibilities. My area of expertise is keeping guys locked in throughout the week and on the game days bringing out the Dog mentality. I want my teammates to know that I’ll go to war for them. Starting with practice and preparation I take it seriously but it’s also about having fun and bonding”, warned Chase Adams. As for the game of Adams, his minutes are 7 more than with Rostock and he is playing very effective averaging 8,6ppg, 3,0rpg, 2,8apg and 2,1spg. “We have a team where everyone is playing around 20 minutes a game with 2 exceptions. 10 mins less than what I’m used to, so with that given I’m not feeling any type of pressure. Still For my own personal goals I want to improve in all those areas. Coach Christian puts a lot of trust in my hands especially in key moments; respecting my leadership and encouraging me to take control. When you see a players capabilities/strengths you have to put them in situations to thrive. He does a great job in creating a construct where we maintain a high level of play for 40mins and within that time he gives us the space to operate the way we know best”, stressed Chase Adams.

            But his happy end to the 2019-2020 season with the playoffs and a possible run to the Pro A title could all be washed up if the league decides to close down operations for this season on account of the world wide corona virus. It has affected world sport. In Germany the DEL(German ice hockey league) have already ended the current season while the easyCredit BBL also closed down shop, the Euroleague also suspended the season and the NBA has suspended play. There have been some games played in the Basketball champions League and Fiba Europe cup without spectators. It has been a crazy and new experience for professional players and this is a time where it is important to have that contact with your loved ones. “Every second of the day there are updates coming in through all media outlets about the virus. At first I didn’t think much of it but as of now I can foresee it affecting us on a larger scale. Family is reaching out constantly asking if we are ok, especially with the spike in confirmed cases in Italy”, stressed Chase Adams. With so much new developments happening by the hour like hearing that French national player Rudy Gobert has been the first player in the NBA to have been infected with the Corona virus and teams Jazz and Thunder are in quarantine, it isn´t always easy to stay focused with basketball, but one has to deal with the reality of the corona virus and be more aware of your surroundings. “It’s been business as usual, just preparing for our next game. Nothing has changed. Important to get educated on what we’re dealing with and how to properly prevent infection. These facts help ease the worry while being cautious when being out in the city. There is a much greater sense of awareness and taking the necessary precautions is a must, I’m not at the point of wearing masks yet, but washing my hands and not touching my face is something I’m extra conscious of”, warned Chase Adams.

            The Pro A league where Chase Adams plays with the Romerstrom Gladiators announced late Wednesday night that the 30th game day this weekend would not be played. With so many leagues closing down in Europe, the signs are going more and more that Chase Adams may have already played his last game for Trier in this season. But in the end, health comes first and he knows that. “At first I was upset about the possibility of not finishing out such a rollercoaster season for me. I’ve quickly changed gears on the matter, rather putting more focus into my family and other things I have going on. All we can do is wait this out for now until we get more information. I would be hurt to the core because there is so much unfinished business that needed to be handled. I guess that makes it easier to stay motivated on sharpening the tools. The corona virus isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, I presume even in places where there are minor cases of infection the leagues will cease further competitions as well”, stated Chase Adams. He also has followed two German easyCRedit BBL teams the Telekom Baskets Bonn and medi Bayreuth play international games before empty arena´s as fans weren´t allowed entrance on account of the risk of infection with the corona virus. Playing a game without fans also gave him some time to reflect about how much of a difference their presence really makes. “Not having spectators present at games can make a difference. The energy a crowd brings to the atmosphere creates all types of pressure, on players, coaches and referees. Eliminating that element is substantially noticeable. I certainly love having fans on both sides but I wouldn’t be opposed to playing without them”, stated Chase Adams. The famous and so enjoyable NCAA March Madness will be played without fans and who knows it might even happen in the NBA. “March Madness is all about school support. There wouldn’t be any madness in March. This goes back to my point about spectators having an impact. The game wouldn’t be the same without all of the school spirit floating around the arena, it’s gives the extra appeal to the entire event. Having no fans at NBA games is something unimaginable. If it comes down to it what can we do but try to enjoy from the comfort of our coaches. That’s what I do anyway all the way in Germany”, stated Chase Adams.

            Even if the season of Chase Adams ends in the next week with no more games, it definitely will have been a very interesting season and time in his life. So much has happened in the last few months and not to forget there was also the very sad passing of Kobe Bryant. I have been giving random professional players interviews concerning their memories of the Black Mamba and of course I couldn´t allow Chase Adams not to give his memories of one of the greatest players of all-time. “During unfathomable moments we try to find reason or explantation, just to draw a blank, with even more disbelief and confusion then we had before. The emptiness that hit me after hearing the news crushed my spirits completely. Kobe was far more than a hooper we wanted to model our game after, he was like family. I think a lot of people viewed him in that light. He would want us to continue his legacy through his mantra, Mamba Mentality. It’s something as athletes we tried to adopt over the years and now we’ve realized its applicable to all people in any field, it’s a way of life. Long before mamba mentality was a thing, I remember in 96 all of the buzz around the HS standout heading to the league, the next Michael Jordan. Watching him take on those pressures and being in a city like LA with the stars, he showed us what grinding for something really looks like. I’m glad to have been able to witness his greatness and instill his values and methods into my life”, warned Chase Adams. Adams took on new challenges in the last months and had good and bad times and also made new learning experiences. He has shown often in his career that when he faltered, he would get up and try try again. If he ever has a situation again where he needs to try try again to succeed, he can take his memories of Kobe Bryant as an extra motivation to keep working hard in the lab to help realize his next goals better.

The Real Professional Shooter Qualities Of Keith Langford Paralyze The Telekom Baskets As AEK Athens Win 90-86 In BCL Play

The final score in front of no fans on account of the Corona virus

The do or die effect and feeling is something very special in the basketball world for the players and fans and something the Telekom Baskets Bonn may continue to experience this season if they don´t start to play more consistent in the easyCredit BBL. They are in a real battle with the Hamburg Towers and MBC for not getting demoted to the Pro A which would be a catastrophe for the traditional Bonn organization. But the fight to remain in the BBL took a break as the Telekom Baskets Bonn had another do or die game in the Basketball Champions League against AEK Athens. In the best of three series, the Telekom Baskets Bonn had suffered a tough 95-82 loss in Athens as they just couldn´t get the clutch stops in crunch-time as well as slowing dwon their three point snipers and getting a better grip on the boards. Not only could this do or die game have been a big treat for the fans, but also being able to witness the noteworthy roster which had some real gems like ex Euroleague player Marcus Slaughter, ex NBA champion Mario Chalmers as well as top Euroleague player Keith Langford on the menu. This was possibly the last chance for some to see some of these guys play live. The Telekom Baskets Bonn also had brought in some NBA experience with Donald Sloan who has come in to help the offense. On a mild late winter night in Bonn this would be a game that many in the Telekom Baskets Bonn family will never forget, because the game was held without fans because of the Corona virus that has taken the world by storm. Not having their loyal and energetic fans was very bitter, but the Telekom Baskets Bonn gave their all and had very good chances to force another do or die game in Athens as they led for long parts of the game, but when it mattered most in crunch-time, AEK Athens shifted up a few gears and were led by their veterans Keith Langford who is a real professional shooter and Marcus Slaughter who combined have 71 years of age, 29 seasons of professional experience and 292 Euroleague games as they showed their true colors and class on the court helping the Greek side to the 90-86 victory. After the win, ex San Antonio Spur Keith Langford explained what it took to reach the next round. “How this game went has been like a microcosom of how our season has gone this year with different guys stepping up as well as taking on different roles. This was a collective effort and I give a lot of credit to my teammates. We continue to find ways to win. I am very happy for AEK”, stressed Keith Langford. The Telekom Baskets Bonn played a spirited game and showed that they wanted to force a deciding game on the road, but when it counted most in crunch-time, they were unable to execute at both ends of the court the way they had done earlier in the game. “The stat sheet showed how the game went. They are a big physical team while we are small and play more the fast style. We had too many turnovers and giving up offensive rebounds hurt us. We did a good job with fast break baskets and I feel we played well overall, but just let it slip away in the end”, stressed ex Drake(NCAA) forward Ben Simons.

The jump ball to start the game without fans

A big topic in the world at the moment is the Corona virus which continues to effect world sports every day. Having games in all sports without fans was something that was being discussed and already happening, but when I arrived at the Telekom Dome at 5:45,  2.15 hours before the game, I never ever expected to witness a game with no spectators. It had been announced about an hour earlier when I was driving to the event. So when I got to the press entrance, I was told that the game would be played without fans, but that press would be allowed in. That was a relief for me, because not only had I made a long trip to get there, but I also wanted to see some incredible players like Chalmers, Slaughter, Langford and Sloan, guys that you don´t see every day. As game time got closer and closer, for some reason, I was waiting and waiting for the first fans to finally arrive, but they never did. I just didn´t want to believe it. I had never been at a game where there were no fans. I wondered what the atmosphere would be like and knew quickly that it would be a lot different. After 40 minutes, I have to be honest and say that it felt like I was at a practice scrimmage of a team. The only difference was that both teams had different color jerseys which isn´t always the case with a team that goes 5-5 where the jerseys sometimes aren´t so much different in color. Another difference was the intensity of both teams was a lot higher than in a practice despite it having that practice type quiet atmosphere. With no fans and no noise, you could follow the game in a different way since you could hear both teams better with their communication. Coaches outbursts were understood a lot better as well as the always interesting interaction between player and referee. I have to be honest, I was hoping for witnessing some real genuine trash talking, but for some reason I didn´t. Maybe that is still something that players want to keep as that special experience that everyone else can only speculate about. For the players it was also something totally new, playing in a taciturn arena, but then again Keith Langford did remember his D-League time as something that at times wasn´t any different. “When you get to be my age, you need to have that juice from the fans. This game was hard for the players. Not having fans there takes away from the game. I don´t like it. This game reminded me of those mid day D-League games where there were no fans. I hope that this Corona virus gets resolved soon so we can play in front of fans again”, warned Keith Langford.

Marcus Slaughter and Jerai Grant checking out the empty stands before tipoff

Even if there were no fans, the contest quickly went in a direction that would have been every fan´s delight as the game was tight in the first quarter with 9 lead changes as no one could get away from each other. The Telekom Baskets Bonn got an early spark from former University of Wisconsin – Green Bay(NCAA) center Alec Brown who nailed two three´s while AEK Athens got some big baskets from ex  Kennesaw State University (NCAA) scoring ace Kendrick Ray who hit an in your face clutch three pointer and Greek legend Nikolaos Zisis who has won 22 professional titles including the 2008 Euroleague made a beautiful runner and still is very mobile for his 36 years to get free for the shot as the game was dead locked at 6-6. The game would go back and forth now as both teams were playing as if it was a do or die game. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were making some bad turnovers while the Greek side got some hot shooting from the real professional shooter Keith Langford who dropped 2 three´s for the 17-15 AEK Athens lead. But Ben Simons wasn´t impressed as he showed that two can play the shooting game as he nailed two trey´s for the 21-19 Bonn lead. AEK Athens would get a hard two handed dunk from Marcus Slaughter and free throws from 30 year old 202cm forward Serbian-Greek Vladimir Jankovic who is the son of legendary player Boban hit free throws, but the Telekom Baskets Bonn still had the 24-23 advantage after 10 minutes. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 60% from the field and 57% from outside and had 8 rebounds and 5 turnovers while AEK Athens shot 42% from the field and 57% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 3 turnovers.

The buzzer sounds with AEK Athens winning 90-86 over the Telekom Baskets Bonn without fans

In the second quarter the game remained tight as there were 6 lead changes, but at the break it was the Telekom Baskets Bonn that once again had their nose in front with the 4 point advantage. AEK Athens got the lead back quickly as Jankovic continued to be aggressive in the paint with two buckets, but a costly Greek foul allowed German national player Joshiko Saibou to net three free throws to give Bonn the 30-29 lead back. Then came another one of your moments why fans pay money to come to these type of games as Keith Langford displayed another shooting clinic and showed that at age 36, he isn´t afraid of anyone and still has deadly 1-1 abilities. He nailed a step back jumper in the face of Saibou and then hit a turn around shot for the 33-30 Greek lead. But Langford wasn´t the only guy that has those 1-1 qualities, but Bonn guard Trey Mckinney-Jones that breathed NBA air playing one game for the Indiana Pacers also got active in the scoring department with a transition basket and free throws to tie the game at 34-34. AEK Athens then got some added energy going on a 5-2 run as ex Clemson(NCAA) forward Jerai Grant used his physicality on the offensive glass getting an offensive rebound and ruthless put back dunk, and ex NBA champion with the Miami Heat Mario Chalmers who has been hit with a limited role on the club showcased an NBA like spin move getting by his man and scoring for the 39-36 AEK Athens lead. Then came a situation where one could easily follow the conversation between player and referee. Jerai Grant was continuing to dominate in the paint, but had to contend with extra Bonn bodies and made a massive dunk, but was called for traveling. Grant exploded with ”I didn´t move”, but the referee just blurted out “too many steps”. AEK Athens had been hit early with 5 team fouls and the Telekom Baskets took advantage getting to the free throw line and got the lead back and kept it to the break. Brandon Frazier and Yormam Polas Bartolo free throws helped lead the way for the 43-39 lead. Then it was Mario Chalmers again who showed why he had been in the NBA for 9 years hitting an amazing pull up jumper under severe defensive pressure as if it was nothing cutting the Bonn lead down to 43-41. Down the stretch it was ex Eisbaeren Bremerhaven power forward Marcus Slaughter that kept the Greek side close with his physical play on the glass getting a lay in and dunk while Bonn kept the lead with a dunk from ex Ludwigsburg big man Martin Breunig and a transition basket from Simons for the 49-45 half-time lead. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 58% from the field and 40% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 10 turnovers while AEK Athens shot 44% from the field and 25% from the three point line and had 13 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

Post game interview with Keith Langford

In the third quarter it looked like the Telekom Baskets Bonn were going to run away with the game as they attained their biggest lead of the game with 10 points, but AEK Athens stuck with their game plan, fought back and trailed only by 4 points after 30 minutes. The Telekom Baskets Bonn went on a rapid 6-0 run to extend their lead to 55-45 as their own scoring machine newly acquired Donald Sloan who played parts of 5 seasons in the NBA and averaged 7,0ppg with the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets made three free throws and then dropped a huge trey. But when you need a quick spark and instant points, you can always rely on Keith Langford who nailed a clutch three and Jankovic made a spin move and lay in to cut Bonn´s lead to 55-50. There would be more consistent defensive break downs by AEK Athens as Saibou made an easy finger tip roll in and Breunig made a dunk as Bonn suddenly led 59-50. The Telekom Baskets Bonn had stepped up their defense and transition, but at the same time, the guests also had situations where they missed easy shots. AEK Athens continued to battle and creep slowly back going on a 6-3 run to cut Bonn´s advantage to 62-56 as Zisis nailed a 20 footer, Langford snuck inside for a lay in and Jankovic hit a runner. Mckinney-Jones was Bonn´s version of Langford in this phase hitting clutch shots keeping the Telekom Baskets Bonn ahead 64-56. But a crucial AEK Athens 6-2 run at the end cut Bonn´s lead down to 66-62. In the run as usual it was Lanford who carried the team with free throws and a beautiful spin move to get away from his defender and finish with a pull up jumper while Slaughter got another easy basket with a tap in. “ We stuck to our game plan and coach said we had to play for 40 minutes and not pay attention to Bonn but to our game. We did respect Bonn, but knew we had to just keep playing and fighting. Our experience came into play. We have guys that know how to finish games at the end”, stressed Keith Langford. “The game went back and forth. We were fighting and their size got to us at times. Our focus was just to keep playing and stay in the game and finish strong”, stressed Ben Simons. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 50% from the field and 29% from the parking lot and had 29 rebounds and 14 turnovers while AEK Athens shot 43% from the field and 22% from the parking lot and had 22 rebounds and 6 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has the Telekom arena all to himself as the game was played without spectators

In the fourth quarter both teams continued to fight as if it had been a title game and it remained really close until the last few minutes, but the Telekom Baskets Bonn just couldn´t get the lead back while the real professional shooting qualities of Keith Langford carried AEK Athens to the victory. AEK Athens jumped all over the Telekom Baskets Bonn in the first few minutes going on a brutal 11-4 run, but what was most surprising was that Keith Langford had 0 points in the run. It also wasn´t a Chalmers, Ray or Grant that supplied severe scoring punch, but a Greek 29 year old point guard named Nikos Gkikas who spent the last 3 seasons with  ASP Promitheas Patras and was a Greek allstar in 2018. The 186cm guard nailed back to back three´s and a jumper as if he had received a special shooting lesson from his teammate Keith Langford. Slaughter also contributed 3 points as AEK Athens led 73-70. The Telekom Baskets Bonn had lost a little intensity on the defensive end allowing the Greek side to come back. Bonn continued to fight back, get to the free throw line and got a basket from Brown and a clutch three pointer from Sloan to dead lock the game at 77-77 with 3,33 minutes left in the game. Now the massive experience of AEK Athens started to take form as Langford took over and got suitable assistance from Marcus Slaughter. Slaughter was extremely helpful in this phase getting a lay in and to the free throw line twice for the 81-77 Greek side lead. Bonn stayed with the AEK Athens thanks to Trey Mckinney-Jones who was their current go to guy scoring twice to cut AEK Athens lead to 82-81. But then came the severe turning point of the game as with under 2 minutes to go, AEK Athens broke out on a lethal 7-0 run to extend their lead to 89-81. In the run it was Langford who scored twice and Slaughter hit a free throw. Bonn was also thrown some bad luck as a loose ball came right to Jankovic who was hanging out under the basket for an easy lay up. Sloan would give Bonn 5 more instant points in the last seconds, but it wasn´t enough as AEK Athens held on to the tight 90-86 win. “Our experience was key at the end. It helps when you have guys like myself, Zisis, Chalmers and a Slaughter. We have been around for a long time. We have a good mix of old and young guys that compliment each other well”, warned Keith Langford. “Langford and Slaughter were key for them. Both know how to play on offense and defense. With Langford you have a professional scorer that can score whenever he wants to. Both are good players that stepped up in key situations”, added Ben Simons. AEK Athens was led by Keith Langford with 25 points. Marcus Slaughter added 17 points and 9 boards while Vlado Jankovic contributed 13 points while the Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Trey Mckinney-Jones with 18 points while Donald Sloan added 14 points and Martin Breunig 12 points. AEK Athens shot 45% form the field and 25% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 7 turnovers while The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 49% from the field and 33% from outside and had 39 rebounds and 19 turnovers.

Patrick Richard(U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca) Always Wants To Do More As A Motivation For Being Consistent

Patrick Richard is a 30 year old 196cm swingman from Lafayette, Louisiana playing his eighth professional season and first with U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca (Romania-Liga National). He has garnered a lot of experience playing in countries like Australia, Italy, Spain (ACB), Israel, France, Germany and Holland. He played one season in Germany in 2014-2015 with the Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) playing 32 games averaging 13.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 76.1%. Prior to being a professional he played at Mc Neese St. (NCAA) form 2008-2012 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 18.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 76.9%. He spoke to before a Fiba Europe Cup game against medi Bayreuth in Bayreuth.

Pat welcome back to Germany. Our last interview was three years ago when you were balling with Maccabi Rishon. Since then you have played in Italy, New Zealand and Spain. Hs time flown by since then?

Wasup miles! Time had flown by. Very fast but I’m still maintaining and pushing right along in my career!

The last time you played against a German team was in the 2016-2017 season where you lost in the playoffs against Ludwigsburg. You played only one season in Germany with MBC. What do you remember most from competing in the German BBL and what did you learn to appreciate the most from your time there?

I remember well playing for MBC and competing in the BBL. It was and still is a great league! Very professional and competitive from top to bottom. I believe when I was there it was maybe a little more too heavy BUT it still seems to be easily a top 5 league in Europe at the moment.

Your playing a Basketball Champions League playoff series the best of three against medi Bayreuth. Do you remember that you had your highest scoring game in the BBL with MBC back in the 2014-2015 season. What do you remember from your 32 point game?

Yes I do recall that game. The most I remember is that we lost. So I actually tried to forget about that game more than remembering 32 points lol

Before we get to the medi Bayreuth match up, lets talk about your current team You played in top leagues in Germany, France, Spain and Italy and now in probably your prime your playing with U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca (Romania-Liga Nationala). The normal observer would say a step back. How would you describe the decision of going to Romania?

From the outside looking in people can think what they would like. I base a lot of decisions on my family. My kids and my wife are who I think about first. This team WANTED me and to feel wanted with no other strings attached is the best feeling as a player. I am going to make the most out of it!

What kind of an experience has it been for you playing with U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca (Romania-Liga Nationala)? They have won 12 club titles. You already won a title with them and can win two more. Winning must be the best experience you can have?

Being here the expectation is to WIN! Championships! We have a legendary coach who they brought here as well and a lot of players that have had experience on high levels before. Just taking things one day at a time, one practice, and one game at a time is what’s most important though!

A big strength of U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca (Romania-Liga Nationala) in the Basketball Champions League is the defense. Do you feel like there is a special passion with everyone when defending 

I believe since day one that’s been a main focus in the team. Defend and everything else can open up. Our coach gives us freedom on the offensive end to create and make plays. So it’s been a fun style of basketball so far.

A lot of the Basketball Champions League teams have 5-6 Americans just like medi Bayreuth. U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca (Romania-Liga Nationala) only have 3 Americans. No disrespect to your other teammates, but will 3 Americans be enough to get over the hump and win a title?

As I said in a few questions back we have players that have played on good levels before. Our center Darko played euro league, our 4 man Donatis played champions league, our other 4 man Karlo has played euro league before as well even though he is still fairly young, and another guard Artis from Latvia has played VTB league. So we have a pretty good mixture with the Europeans and Americans we have!

How thrilling has it been playing with Kerron Johnson? He has BBL experience like you. What has been his biggest attribute that he has brought to the table that has helped the team the most?

With Kerron me and him sort of gained a friendship from afar since we played against each other in Germany and also France in the past. Our first point guard we had suffered a horrific (almost season ending) injury and K came straight in a has been running the show! Just being who he is has helped us tremendously!

The club recently brought in young American LJ Peak. What does he bring to the table that the team didn’t have before?

Bringing LJ in gives us another player who can create for himself, attack the rim and shoot, and almost is a versatile defender! He’s been successful individually in Italy and now he can come and help us reach out goals here

Your playing a very good season in the Romanian and BCL competitions. What kind of role do you have this season?

My role here has just been a leader. Vocal and by action. Just being myself if it’s making big shots, or big plays defensively!

You have always been a guy that has put up consistent stats where ever you played. How more important does consistency become for you as you continue to get older and how do you keep working at maintaining it best?

For me consistency is very key. Teams do look for this and I always try to be that way. I always want to do more so that motivates me!

You recently turned 30 years old. At this stage of your career what part of your game are you working the hardest at improving?

Turning 30 I just know health is the most important. It’s been that way but as you get older those aches last a bit longer lol

Medi Bayreuth is a very talented and deep team and are one of the favorites to win the 2020 Fiba Europe Cup. This will be a very interesting series. What kind of series can we await and what will be key for your team to get by the German side?

Bayreuth have always been a tough team since I’ve known. It will be tough and a battle. I am familiar with the coach and he will have them ready. We shall be ready as well.

Medi Bayreuth is one of those teams that has a deep 10 man rotation where any player can be a top scorer on any night. This could be the biggest defensive challenge for you in this season’s Basketball Champions League. Will the element of surprise on defense be an important element for success?

We do a pretty good job of the scouting and our coaches will do so again. It’s more principles for us and what we do according to the personnel of the other team.

You played only one season in the German BBL, but if you had to pick one player who was the toughest to guard at that time who would you pick?

When I played in Germany they had a bunch of really good players. I recall Reggie Redding being pretty tough because he used the ball screens pretty good. Always had to fight through those against Berlin

Two seasons ago you played with Divina Seguros Juventut Badalona (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 32 games averaging 11.3ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.7apg, Steals-4 (1.3spg), FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 83.8%. You scored in double figures in 3 of the 4 games against top teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.Was the consistency and personal success a good token that you could play against the best in the world?

I always have believed in myself. But I’m all about winning to be honest. We finished the season great there and I have a bunch of great memories playing there.

You played twice against Luka Doncic and in one of the games was close to a triple double. When he came into the NBA did you ever imagine that he would be a top 3 player in the NBA in his second season?

I’m not sure he is a top 3 player lol BUT I knew he would be great from the first moment we played against him! He is dominating at the moment and I wish him the best!

Where were you when you hear about the death of Kobe Bryant? What kind of an impact did he have on your game growing up?

I was actually in my living room and my phone was going crazy! I was and am still heartbroken by the tragedy that took his life along with his daughter and the other people in the helicopter too! He was my IDOL since I was 5-6 years old. I wanted to do any and everything like him when it came to basketball. I just look at my daughters and could NOT imagine that feeling of not being able to protect them in any situation. It was devastating!

When all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest players of all-time?

YES he can! He has to WIN though. Numbers are great but when the winning starts that’s when he will he really be recognized with the greats!

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie was Just Mercy.

Thanks Pat for the chat.

Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners Warm Up For The Playoffs Clobbering The Nurnberg Falcons 119-61

With the NBBL playoffs just around the corner Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had a great opportunity to get warmed up with a scoring party against the Nurnberg Falcons BC. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners entered the contest in third place with a 8-4 record and met the last placed Bavarian team that were still seeking their first win of the season having a poor 0-12 record. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners have been able to support their fine season with strong defense allowing only 70 points per game while the Nurnberg Falcons BC couldn´t muster much on offense this season averaging 47 points per game and allowing an incredible 105 points per game having lost some bitter games to Ludwigsburg with 142-42, 112-44 against FC Bayern Munich or 106-40 against Bamberg. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners easily won the first meeting in Nurnberg 97-51 as they easily won the rebound battle 48-30 and forced the Bavarian side to 29 turnovers. In the last regular season game of the season it was another one sided affair as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners dominated the game for 35 minutes after a good start from the guests using their aggressive press defense and transition baskets to clobbering the Nurnberg Falcons BC 119-61. After the big win game top scorer Julian Steinfeld reflected on the easy win. “We used our length advantage and our aggressive press to our advantage to get easy baskets. Our defense wasn´t as good. Our goal was to allow 50 points. We let up a bit and also allowed too many offensive rebounds”, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners center Julian Steinfeld. It was a tough season for the Nurnberg Falcons BC as they didn´t win a single game, but there were also reasons for that. “Our team is very young and don´t have the experience against the best teams. The older guys tried to give as much leadership as possible. A big problem was our consistency. We were able to start well into the game, but not hold it. We only had 2 practices per week. When you play against experienced teams, they know exactly how to use our weaknesses to their advantage”, stressed Emmanuel Ngan who played his last NBBL game.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Julian Steinfeld after dropping 31 points and 10 rebounds in the victory

                The Nurnberg Falcons BC came strong into the game trading baskets with as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners as Emmanuel Ngan was aggressive and had an array of offensive weapons to score 6 unanswered points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners began to share the ball early on and got buckets from Maxi Begue as well as from big men Jordan Samare and Erik Brummert who established themselves right away in the paint. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had the 12-6 advantage, but Nurnberg would continue to execute as their heart and soul Leon Lutz connected on a pull up jumper and Ngan scored his eighth point of the quarter cutting the Frankfurt lead to 14-10. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners didn´t have that high defensive intensity and no press yet despite executing well on offense. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners took a time out and then came the turning point of the game. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners inserted 211cm big man Julian Steinfeld that carried them on a 19-5 run and they would never look back. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners began to really get aggressive inside, crashing the boards ad amassing 8 offensive rebounds in the quarter and getting easy baskets. Steinfeld contributed 13 points taking advantage of his height and body. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also got buckets from athletic wing player Isaac Obanor and defensive specialist Maxi Begue. After 10 minutes Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led very comfortably 33-15. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 59% from the field and 0% from outside and had 18 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the Nurnberg Falcons BC shot 41% from the field and 0% from outside and had 5 rebounds and 6 turnovers.

                In the second quarter Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to play their game and extend their lead to 68-32 executing on offense and putting in their tough press defense. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners began with a quick 10-2 run to extend their lead to 43-17. In the run Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got sufficient production from 2017 JBBL finalist Calvin Schaum who dropped 5 points as well as free throws from Jordan Samare and a basket from 2019 JBBL top 4 player Pierre Bathoum. Every once in a while the Nurnberg Falcons BC would get points in the paint from their youth like 16 year olds  Luca Darr who scored twice as did Leon Lutz cut the Frankfurt advantage to 52-23. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to control the paint area and always pushed the ball ahead after controlling the defensive rebound. Nurnberg had little resistance against the aggressive Frankfurt full court press that was stifling their offense. In the stretch run of the second quarter Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to get full support from their bigs Jordan Samare and Julian Steinfeld as they combined for 12 points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued banging the ball inside and both big men also ran the floor like guards getting easy dunks. German Bennet Schubert who is the little brother of Konstantin Schubert who has 7 BBL games on his resume also contributed a trey as at half-time Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 68-32. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 65% from the field and 32% from the three point line and had 26 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the Nurnberg Falcons BC shot 37% from the field and 9% from the three point line and had 16 rebounds and 17 turnovers. Nurnberg did a better job on the offensive glass attaining 8 offensive rebounds in the second half.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Emmanuel Ngan who dropped 16 points and got 12 rebounds in his last NBBL game

                In the third quarter Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to dominate as they scored a little less than in the first two quarters with 30 points and allowed 18 points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners began with a quick 11-2 run to extend their lead to 79-35. In the run Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got early energy and intensity as Jordan Samare made two hard dunks and also got baskets from Begue, Schubert and a hook shot from Brummert. The Nurnberg Falcons couldn´t muster much offense as the only real bright spot was Emmanuel Ngan who finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists. He made a tough lay in over the bigger Steinfeld to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 82-40. “I started well into the game, but later lost rhythm. I need to give more energy. I will work hard this summer. I have been with the Pro A team this season and now have to show that I can make the next step at the next level”, warned Emmanuel Ngan. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to score at ease and went on a 12-4 run to extend their lead to 94-44. In the run Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners received strong support from their bench as the next generation of Germans Barthom and Dorn scored as did the athletic Obanor. Obanor tested his 36% accuracy outside nailing a trey as he has improved his shooting this season. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to play their game and execute consistently on offense while also having good defense which led to easy transition baskets. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also showed their versatility getting good support from every player as the bench came through. The Nurnberg Falcons BC found just a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel in the last minutes getting some baskets from Luca Darr, 16 year old Ozan Celebi and a transition basket from Deshan Vranc who played with the U-15 Slovenian national team cutting the Frankfurt lead to 98-50. “We came out in the third quarter continuing to use our press and didn´t drop back. We remained aggressive on the press and forced turnovers. We remained unselfish on offense, but most of our points came on transition”, added Julian Steinfeld. “I have to compliment Frankfurt´s press. They were aggressive and they took advantage of our inexperience. We couldn´t find a solution”, added Emmanuel Ngan. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 65% from the field and 33% from the parking lot and had 35 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Nurnberg Falcons BC shot 39% from the field and 18% from the parking lot and had 24 rebounds and 22 Turnovers.

                Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners let up a bit in the fourth quarter on offense scoring only 21 points when they had averaged 32 points in the first three quarters, but they stepped up their defense a bit more allowing their fewest points of the game with 11. Nurnberg got on the board first getting a trey form Julian Darr cutting the Frankfurt lead to 98-53who had a solid game despite never finding his rhythm this season after being injuresd. But after that lightening spark on offense by Nurnberg, Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners stormed back stifling the guests with a 14-0 run to extend their lead to 112-53. In the run Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got first class support from their big men Steinfeld, Samare and Brummert. Steinfeld got the first 3 buckets in a row on the run with a lay in, hard one hand dunk and then rammed home a reverse dunk. Brummert also scored as did Samare who got the perfect alley-oop feed from Frederik Fischbach for the next hard dunk. The most damage had been done as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 112-53. The Nurnberg Falcons got some last quarter energy going on a 8-0 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 112-61. In the run Nurnberg got good support from Ngan who scored twice while Lukas Niederlich made an offensive rebound and put back and Vranc made a lay in. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners closed out the blow out win with a 5-0 run as Brummert was fed by Amir Dorn with a shovel pass and easy lay in and Dorn then made a steal and lay in for the last points in the win. “We lost a little concentration in the last quarter. They had a little run at the end. Some guys had played Regionalliga last night and were tired. This win was important for our self-confidence as the playoffs approach. I feel that we have a realistic chance of making the NBBL top 4”, warned Julian Steinfeld. “We have to learn that even when your down by so much, you need to give gas for 4 quarters”, added Emmanuel Ngan. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was led by Julian Steinfeld with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Samare added 22 points and Erik Brummert had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Bennet Schubert had 11 points and Maxi Begue had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists and Pierre Bathom had 10 points while the Nurnberg Falcons BC were led by Emmanuel Ngan with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 59% from the field and 29% from outside and had 48 rebounds and 14 turnovers while the Nurnberg Falcons shot 37% from the field and 17% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 32 turnovers.