FIBA Champions League

Kelvin Martin (MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg) No Cup Miracle Against Bamberg But We Just Need To Play Our Game And Trust Ourselves

Kelvin Martin is a 27 year old 195cm swing man from Adel, Georgia playing his fifth professional season and second in Germany and first with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL). Last season he gained further experience with Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2) playing 37 games averaging 16.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, Steals-1(2.2spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 61.7%. He played his first two professional seasons with  Matrixx Magixx Wijchen (Holland-Eredivisie) and two seasons ago played with the : MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA, starting five): 33 games: 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-1(2.1spg), FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 70.2%. He started his basketball career at  Charleston So. (NCAA) in 2008 and played 115 NCAA games over 4 seasons and as a senior played  31 games averaging 15.4ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.7apg, 2.1spg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 60.2%. He spoke to German Hoops about the EasyCredit BBL cup weekend in Berlin and his professional basketball career.

Kelvin thanks for talking to German Hoops.2017 has come and we are well into the new year. Did you set any new year´s resolutions or are you more the kind of guy that doesn´t bother with that?

Thanks for the opportunity. Yeah, I don’t really bother with that.

You have come a long way from playing first division in Holland, second and third divisions in Italy and Pro A in Germany and now you have reached the EasyCredit BBL. How good is basketball life for you at the moment?

Basketball is good for me. I’m very thankful and blessed to be in the position I am in now.

You were part of the slam dunk contest and now your at the easyCredit BBL top 4 weekend in Berlin. When you look back at your professional career are you surprised it took you 5 seasosn to get here?

I wouldn’t say surprised because when I became a professional I had to prove to teams I could play the 3/2. But after having back to back meniscus tear surgeries my first year professional I knew I was going to be held back. I’m sure if I didn’t have that surgery my career would of went different but everything happens for a reason. God has always had a plan.


Mike Morrison Explodes For 35 Owning The Paint Leading The Fraport Skyliners To 90-80 Champions League Win Over Pinar Karsiyaka

Many Boston Celtic fans will remember the date May 22nd 1988 probably not as much as February 5th, 2017 like New England Patriots fans, but for AJ English senior who had finished his sophomore season at Virginia Union might have caught the legendary playoff game between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks where Boston won 118-116. Fans witnessed the fourth quarter sniper attack between legends Larry Bird and Dominque Wilkins who combined for 34 points. It was a display of scoring magic and abilities that would never be repeated again between two players in such an important setting, but amazing individual scoring masterpieces have been on the menu currently in the NBA as Isaiah Thomas can soon warrant a patent on fourth quarter magic while guys like Lebron James and Steph Curry do it on a regular basis. These feats do happen in European basketball, but not as frequently, but last weekend it happened in Munich as AJ English´s potent scoring was lost in the aftermath of an embarrassing 95-70 Fraport Skyliners loss. English eclipsed the 20 points of Bird form 1988 and scored all of his teams 22 points in the fourth quarter like a slithering snake waiting to bite every time he got the ball and the only thing missing was having an opponent who also shot out the lights on a regular basis like he did. This shooting performance probably won´t be remembered very long simply because it wasn´t a close game, but English surely won´t forget that he got his first loss in a Fraport Skyliners jersey as he had been perfect 8-0 going into the contest. However, English was able to go into the Champions League playoffs against Pinar Karsiyaka with confidence as he was still perfect in this competition at 4-0 and had scored in double figures in each game averaging 17,3ppg, 4,0rpg and 2,5apg. English was looking to have his slithering snake instincts again for the basket and stayed perfect in the competition and scored in double figures again with 10 points, but this night belonged to a player that isn´t known for his scoring power, but Mike Morrison exploded owning the paint and scored a career high 35 points eclipsing his two other best marks of 28 points in Finland and Cyprus leading the Fraport Skyliners to an important 90-80 win over Pinar Karsiyaka. The big man always plays with a lot of energy, but on this night, he was a man playing against boys in the paint as it was his own domain. After the big win, Morrison was surrounded by a swarm of journalists, but the big man from St Petersburg, Florida handled the hoopla with grace and as always had an eloquent tongue while describing his unexpected burst of scoring. “My teammates did a good job on the pick and roll finding me a lot. I am focused on being consistent and not getting caught up with the highs and the lows”, smiled ex George Mason center Mike Morrison. Morrison finished with 35 points, seven rebounds, three assists and shot at a very high rate at 88% going 15/17. For his teammates of many years like Quantez Robertson, having a big game like this wasn´t surprising. “Mike had a very good week of practice and he is always very motivated to play. Tonight we got him going early and it carried all the way until the end. He got some easy put back dunks and moved well on the blocks to get into good position to score”, added ex Auburn guard Quantez Robertson. For new Skyliner scoring sensation from Iona AJ English seeing the big man own the paint all night long also wasn´t surprising as he has seen in a short time what he can do on the floor. “Mike is more than capable to have nights like this. I think that they were focusing more on our guards, so coach told us to go inside to Mike more. I think that he belongs in the NBA”, smiled AJ English. Even his ex teammates were thinking about him and had to get their two cents worth of jokes in. “Mike was a beast tonight. Aaron Doornekamp called me two minutes after the game was over and asked me if Mike Morrison´s stats were correct”, added Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert.

The Fraport Skyliners will return back to Turkey in two weeks and try to wrap up the playoffs series not allowing Pinar Karsiyaka of scoring more than ten points. The Fraport Skyliners played a solid first half, but had their problems with keeping the Turkish team under wraps as they were able to get too many easy baskets and bitter turnovers also didn´t help their game. However in the second half, they picked up their defense and got more support on the offensive end keeping up their consistency despite Pinar Karsiyaka getting a potent effort from American guard J´ Covan Brown dropping 29 points.


Mateusz Ponitka (Pinar Karsiyaka) I Am At The Beginning Of My Career And Will Do My Best To Be Remembered

Mateusz Ponitka is a 23 year old 196cm guard that is playing his first season for Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BSL). He started his basketball career in 2008 with Kasprowiczanka Ostrow Wlk. He then played three seasons with Tempcold AZS Politechnika Warszawa (1Liga). In the 2012-2013 season he made the jump to Asseco Prokom Gdynia (PLK): 34 games: 8.7ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 70.7%; Euroleague: 10 games: 8.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 38.1%. He then played two seasons with Telenet BC Oostende (Belgium-Scooore League). Last season he played for Stelmet Zielona Gora (TBL): 41 games: 10.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.8%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 76.1%; Euroleague: 10 games: 12.0ppg, Reb-3(7.9rpg), 2.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 67.6%; Eurocup: 10 games: 13.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 47.6%, FT: 69.4%. Last simmer he took part at the NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Denver Nuggets): 4 games: 2.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.3spg. The Polish player spoke to German Hoops before the Champions league game against the Fraport Skyliners, but is injured and didn´t make the trip.

Mateusz thanks for talking to German HoopsThis is now the third interview that your giving for the site after giving one two years ago when you were playing in Belgium and last summer when you were playing for the Polish national team. How is basketball life for you currently?

Life in total is good. I came to Turkey straight after Eurobasket Qualification and now its already 6 months I am here. Its really nice in Izmir. It’s a beautiful city with a lot of great places to visit. Basketball wise we have good team which can compete with anybody in the Turkish League and in Champions League. I got my role in the team so I am also happy about it. Fans are amazing ! Making great atmosphere during the games and supporting us everywhere we go. Club is well organized which is also very important.

2017 is here and one month has already passed. Did you set any new years resolutions for yourself or are you the type of guy that doesn´t bother with that?

No, its not my thing I guess. I prefer sticking to my plans which have been made years ago and from time to time do something spontaneously. No new year resolutions.


AJ English Is A Slithering Snake That Isn´t The Saviour Of The Fraport Skyliners, But Just Another Piece To The Puzzle

From November 2014 until October 2016, the Fraport Skyliners were able to have a very stable time in that there was little roster movement as head coach Gordon Herbert had brought in the right mix of players which translated into a Eurochallenge Final 4 appearance, Fiba Europe Cup title and two BBL playoff appearances in a row. In this time, the club had grown massively with their team chemistry as the two point guards Justin Cobbs and Jordan Theodore as well as the big German 3 of Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein were the main components that held the team together and in a way guaranteed success. However this season was another story as suddenly head coach Gordon Herbert who has been known for reeling in the right point guards in the last years with guys like Dashaun Wood, Justin Cobbs and Jordan Theodore was dealt the wrong card in Markel Starks who had to depart early as another American Kwame Vaughn was brought in. Overall players coming and goings continued to be as prevalent the way new American President Trump has fired cabinet employees in his first two weeks of office as ex Maryland(NCAA) forward Ekene Ibekwe and buzzer beater champion Antonio Graves had to pack their bags. On December 11th, the Fraport Skyliners were sinking quickly in the standings after a  brutal 77-57 loss against FC Bayern Munich at home and head coach Gordon Herbert had 10 long days to figure something out until the next game in the Champions League against Slovenian team Helios. Herbert had some candidates to choose from and also heard the same normal bla bla from agents telling how great their clients were and in the end chose AJ English who like Justin Cobbs two years ago was also a rookie and known to having shot out the lights at Iona(NCAA).Ex Skyliner Sean Armand surely didn´t play a role in helping make Herbert´s appetite grow for his ex teammate and the 2004 BBL champion decided to haul in English and one could carefully say the rest is history for the time being. English very much like Cobbs two years ago has been Veni, Vidi Vici as he has come seen and conquered. Since the arrival of English, he has been nothing short of spectacular helping the team to an 8-0 record and helped move to the Champions League playoffs and has scored in double figures in each game, made a buzzer beater and in the lone game Frankfurt lost in Oldenburg, he was unable to play. During the Pro B game of Fraport Skyliners farm team Juniors against the Dragons Rhondorf where the BBL players often watch and support when they have time, English was able to deny in his soft voice that he is the savior for the team. “I don´t believe that I am the savior, but just another piece to the puzzle. You need to have the right pieces for success. The team just has been meshing together in the time that I have been here”, warned AJ English.


English is a 24 year old 192cm combo guard from Middletown, Delaware who is the son of ex NBA player AJ English who played for the Washington Bullets from 1990-1992 and is playing his rookie season and started his professional career in Italy with Enel Basket Brindisi (Italy-Serie A) playing 8 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.6apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 38.7%, 3FGP: 25.0%, FT: 75.0%. In his time there, the team went 4-4 and decided to make changes. The club had talented rookie Nicolas Moore who had a stellar career at SMU(NCAA) and was also on the radar of some NBA teams and also experienced 33 year old guard Phil Goss who has made a name for himself in Italy having played in Rome and Venice and English seemed to have gotten lost a bit in the mix and found himself unemployed in mid December. In his eight games with Enel Basket Brindisi, he was able to score in double figures in three games including 15 point games against Brescia and VF Pescaro. He started his professional career against Dolomiti with a 0/6 performance from the Parking lot, and was never able to fully gain a rhythm with his bread and butter as he shot only 32% from outside. Despite only being with Enei Basket Brindisi for a short time, the American didn´t see his departure as one that was due to poor play. “I didn´t necessarily have to go, but I had just come out of school and they wanted me to play a certain role. I can play the positions 1-3. They wanted me to play one position like you see in the NBA where guys are signed for one particular strength. I guess I wasn´t ready for that role, but I am happy that Frankfurt took me and saw me as a point guard, but also a guy that can also play the two position”, commented ex Iona(NCAA) guard AJ English.


Tyrone Nash (Ironi Nahariya) We Will Disrupt The Frankfurt Offense And Make Them Work On Defense

Tyrone Nash is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Queens, New York playing his sixth professional season and first with  Ironi Nahariya (Israel-Winner League). He started his basketball career with  Notre Dame (NCAA) in 2007 and played 118 NCAA games until 2011 and as a senior played  34 games averaging 9.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 68.9%. He started his professional career in 2011 with the  Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played for three seasons playing 99 BBL games and in his last season there played  33 games: 10.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for SPO Rouen Basket (France-ProA): 11 games: 8.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.1%, FT: 50.0%. Last season he returned back to Germany to play for the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games averaging 10.9ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 66.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners.

Thanks Tyrone for talking to German Hoops. 2017 has arrived. Are you a type of guy that makes new years resolutions or more a guy that doesn´t make to big a deal about that?

I’m a type of guy who doesn’t make a big deal out of stuff like that.

Ironi Nahariya have been playing some good basketball as of late having a four game winning streak in the Winner league and two game winning streak in the Champions league. How satisfied have you been with the play of the team?

I always like winning way more than losing. With that being said, even in our wins we can still improve on some keys elements of both our offense and defense. But after a rough losing stretch, it is definitely nice to rattle off some wins.


Vaughn Duggins (EWE Baskets Oldenburg) I Can Play A Lot Better And Will Try To Prove That When I Get Back On The Court

Vaughn Duggins is a 29 year old 190cm guard from Pendleton, Indiana that is playing his sixth professional season, fourth in Germany and second with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Last season with Oldenburg he played 36 games: 14.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.5%; Eurocup: 18 games: 11.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 83.7%. He started his basketball career in 2006 with  Wright St. (NCAA) where he played until 2011 paying a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played  33 games averaging 18.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 82.2%. In 2011, he started his professional basketball career in Germany with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played until 2013 and in his second season played 33 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 82.0%. He then played two seasons in France with  Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA): 31 games: 10.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 85.9%; Eurocup: 10 games: 10.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.2% and Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA, starting five): 32 games: 14.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 79.3%; Eurocup: 12 games: 11.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 78.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball recently during holiday time..

Vaughn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you and how have you enjoyed the Christmas time in Germany this season?

I’m currently at my apartment in Oldenburg. The Holiday season in Germany is always amazing. Now that I’m able to share it with my wife and son, it makes it even more special. My mom, Paula, came to visit as well so I have gotten to spend a lot of time with all of them.

You have experienced some Christmas markets over the years in Germany, but where did the Christmas market rank in my all-time favorite city of Hamburg?

The Hamburg Christmas market is high level, and it is always great to experience what each city does differently. It is definitely in my top 3, but Tübingen’s Christmas market has always had a special place in my heart and, together with Oldenburg’s, is my favorite.

You had surgery on your ankle recently. How did that go and how has it been the last weeks not being able to play?

Surgery went amazingly well. I was in great hands with foot/ankle specialist Dr. Preis in Wiesbaden. I am feeling better every day and God-willing, I will be on the court faster than anticipated. The last few weeks not playing has not been fun. I am very competitive and not being able to be on the court with my teammates hurts.


Will Cummings (Aris Thessaloniki) Europe Is A Stepping Stone To Still Try And Make The NBA

Will Cummings is a 24 year old 188cm point guard from Jacksonville, Florida playing his second professional season and first with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) averaging 15,2ppg, 3,6rpg and 3,7apg in Champions League play. He played at Temple(NCAA) from 2011-2015 amassing a total of 111 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 80.8%. As a rookie last season he played for the  Houston Rockets (NBA), released in Oct.’15, then moved to Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 52 games: 20.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.7apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 53.7%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 78.5%, in Apr.’16 signed at Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg. he spoke to eurobasket recently after Aris had beat the Fraport Skyliners in Germany in Champions League action.

Welcome to Germany Will. Is this your first time in Germany? What do you know about the country and it´s basketball?

Yes that was my first time in Germany. I don’t really know too much about their basketball since this is really my first year playing basketball overseas. I just know Germany has great cities to live in and visit.

Do you have any other friends currently playing in Germany besides TJ DiLeo?

I think another former temple player Ryan Brooks might currently be playing in Germany. I know he has in the past.


Eric Palm (Bakken Bears) Giessen Was A Great Home For Me For Two Seasons

Eric Palm is a 29 year old 185cm guard from Illinois that recently signed with Danish club Bakken Bears after having started the season with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL) playing 6 games: 22.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3FGP: 35.0%, FT: 95.1%, left in Nov.’16, later that month moved to KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-SuperLeague, starting five): Balkan League: 5 games: 22.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.0apg, 2FGP: 62.1%, 3FGP: 46.2%, FT: 88.5%; Kosovan SuperLeague: 5 games: 12.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.2apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 52.6%, 3FGP: 50.0%,He started his basketball career at McKendree (NAIA) in 2005 where he played until 2009 and as a senior played 35 games: 20.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3Pts: 38.3%, FT: 85.2%. He started his professional basketball career in 2010 with Thor AK (Iceland-D1) where he played until 2012 and in the 2011-2012 season played  11 games: 26.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.7apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 84.5%. In 2012-2013 he played for IR Reykjavik (Iceland-Dominos League) playing 22 games: Score-3(26.5ppg), 4.3rpg, 3.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT-1(93.9%). In the 2013-2014 season he played for BV Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games: 15.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 84.1%. He played the last two seasons with the Giessen 46ers helping the team move back up to the BBL in 2015 and last season played  22 games: 7.9ppg, 1.4apg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 83.3%. German Hoops interviewed him over the years when he played in Giessen and sat down with him again before playing the  Fraport Skyliners in the Champions League.

Eric Welcome back to Germany. After two seasons of just moving around in Germany with the Giessen 46ers, this season you have been on the rapid move playing in Slovakia and Kosovo and now have moved to Denmark to Bakken. Do you feel like a basketball globetrotter this year?

 It’s definitely been a very long year for me this year moving around so much and getting to know new teammates and staffs around Europe. However I’m happy to have settled in Denmark with the Bakken Bears.

What has been the best example this season that you have seen basketball being purely a basketball business?

I would have to say when I arrived in Denmark. They have been a class act since day 1, taking care of my needs and preparing me for the team stuff over the holidays. Each staff member reached out to me to welcome me and some had meetings gave to face to talk with me about the season. Felt like home as soon as I arrived.


Devaughn Akoon-Purcell (Bakken Bears) We Have To Show The Fraport Skyliners That We Didn´t Beat Them By Mistake The Last Time

Devaughn Akoon Purcell is a 23 year old 196cm forward from Orlando, Florida playing his rookie season with the Bakken Bears (Denmark-Ligaen). He started his basketball career at Eastern Oklahoma State College before moving to Illinois St. (NCAA) in 2014 where he played 28 games: 12.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 77.1%. In his senior year he played 31 games: 14.2ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 26.0%, FT: 71.2%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game.

Devaughn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Christmas and the new year have passed and we are in 2017. How did you come to experience your first holiday season overseas in Denmark?

Christmas in Denmark was a little different than what I’m use to because I wasn’t with my actual family. But my girlfriend from home came to visit me so it was good not being all alone for Christmas.

On what childhood memories do you even think about today that you had when you were a kid in Orlando?

Honestly too many memories to just pick out one specific one. To pick something I will never forget will have to be winning a national championship as well as our state championship my senior year at West Oaks Academy with the record of 39-1.