Tim Abromaitis is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Farmington, Connecticut playing his sixth professional season and third with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canaria(SPAIN ACB). Last season he played 29 ACB games averaging 6.6ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 87.5%. In the BCL he played 20 games helping the club win the title averaging 9.1ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 63.3%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT: 88.6%. He also gathered experience playing in France with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket and Strasbourg IG and in Germany with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. He played college ball at Notre Dame (NCAA) from 2007-2012. He spoke toGerman Hoops before the Basketball Champions League game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.
Tim thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. It´s been three years since you played in Germany with Braunschweig. Has time flown by since you last played in Germany professionally?
It definitely doesn’t feel like three years have passed since I was playing in Germany so I would say that time has flown by. Maybe it seems that way to me because I’ve only been on one team since that season.
Your playing your third season for Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga ACB) and preparing for the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. You split with Braunschweig and lost In Ludwigsburg, but played a good game scoring 16 points, getting seven rebounds and dishing out six assists. What memories do you have of that game?
I remember that was a really big game for us at the end of the year. If we had won then we would have had a really good chance at the playoffs, but unfortunately we couldn’t get it done and they took the last playoff spot over us.
Kyle Hines is a 31 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his fifth season with CSKA Moscow and currently is averaging 9,5ppg, 4,7rpg and 1,1apg in the Euroleague and in the VTB is averaging in the VTB and 10,3ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,3apg. He is a powerful player who loves to attack the basket. Has a good 1-vs-1 game and likes to go inside. He is undersized to play the power forward, but his great wingspan (7-1) allows him to guard taller players and to intimidate. He’s also a great leaper and reads the opponent’s game well. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had predraft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). He then went to Europe to Italy and played with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 34 games: 16.9ppg, Reb-4(8.6rpg), 3.0spg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP-2(66.0%), FT: 58.5%. In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 40 games: 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2(3.5spg), Blocks-4(1.6bpg), FGP-3(64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): Euroleague: 10 games: 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; German League: 46 games: 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP-3(61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. German Hoops did its 14th interview with the 6 time Euroleague Final 4 player and three time Euroleague winner before the Euroleague game in Bamberg.
Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops. This is our 14th interview since you played in Moscow. In our first interview you were a non Euroleague winner. Now you have three Euroleague titles. Has time flown by since Bamberg?
When I first became a professional, I was aiming to play at least 10 years, and now when I look up it has been 10 years. It feels like yesterday when I was playing with Bamberg. I am a 8 year Euroleague veteran and the game is still so fun for me. I don´t feel like 31 and hope I can still play the game for a long time.
Since our last interview in June, almost six months have passed. You’re 31 years old. What was your main focus last summer on the court so that you would be best prepared for this upcoming season?
It mainly was small things. Just making sure my conditioning and stamina is correct. I only took one to two weeks off last summer, before getting back into the gym. I also looked for ways to work on being more dynamic around the basket and working on my free throws. Last season I had a hand injury and didn´t feel like I was in peak shape. I made sure that I came into this season being in peak shape.
Your playing now your fifth season with CSKA Moscow after playing two seasons in Greece, one in Germany and two in Italy. Some call Quantez Robertson a Skyliner lifer. Do you feel like your going in the direction of a CSKA Moscow lifer?
I hope so. I love the city, organization and fans. I have spent half my career in Moscow. It feels crazy. I hope that I will be here as long as possible and finish my career here.
Aaron Doornekamp is a 31 year old 201cm forward from Odessa, Canada playing his eighth professional season and first with Valencia Basket (Spain-ACB). Last season he helped lead Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain ACB) to the Basketball Champions League title playing 35 games averaging 12.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 85.9%; In the BCL, he played 20 games averaging 10.1ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 42.1%, 3PT: 46.1%, FT: 90.9%. He started his basketball career at Carleton (CIS) in 2004 playing there until 2009 winning 4 CIS titles. He started his professional career in 2009 with Pepsi JuveCaserta (Italy-SerieA) where he played until 2012. He then played three seasons in Germany with Braunschweig and two seasons with the Fraport Skyliners whom he helped win the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup title playing 39 games averaging 11.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 44.3%, FT: 85.7%; In the FIBA Europe Cup, he played 17 games averaging 9.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Euroleague game against Brose Bamberg in Bamberg.
Aaron thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. How does it feel to be back in the country where you won your first professional title?
It feels good to be back. I played in Germany for three years with one in Braunschweig and two in Frankfurt. My first child was born in Frankfurt. I have good memories of Germany.
Justin Gray is a 33 year old 188cm guard from Charlotte, North Carolina that is playing his 12th professional season and first with U-Banca Transilvania Cluj Napoca (Romania-Liga Nationala). He is versatile enough to excel at point guard as well as big guard. An enthusiastic, high-energy guard who brings a swagger to the team. Gray is one of the team’s vocal leaders, possesses great quickness, and is an exceptional perimeter shooter. He started his basketball career at Wake Forest where he played with NBA superstar Chris Paul. Gray played at Wake Forest from 2002-2006 and in his senior year played 33 games: ScoreACC-4(18.2ppg), 3.6rpg, AssistsACC-5(4.3apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 36.7%, 3PTACC-4(36.1%), FTACC-5(83.4%): Finished career ranked 8th in Wake Forest history in scoring (1,946 points), 1st in three-point attempts (860), 2nd in three-point field goals (319) and 8th in assists (382). His 319 career three-point field goals are 7th best in ACC history. In 2006-2007, he started his professional basketball career and in 11 seasons has been the ultimate basketball globetrotter as he played in 13 countries like Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, China, Germany, France, Turkey, Lebanon, Bulgaria and Belarus. He won two titles with CEZ Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL) and three titles with Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus-Premier League). Six years after last having played in Germany with the Fraport Skyliners, he sat down with German Hoops before a Champions League qualifying game in Ludwigsburg.
Justin thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You are in Ludwigsburg preparing for a Champions League qualifying game. You never played against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. How excited are you to be back in Germany?
I am excited to be back in Germany. I had a good start with the Fraport Skyliners in 2011, but then got injured. I remember Germany as being a place where I was always treated well and fans were always in the arena´s. I am happy to play against Ludwigsburg tonight. It´s another new adventure.
It has been six years since you last played for a German club the Fraport Skyliners. Since then you have played in eight countries for eight teams. Before you landed in Frankfurt you had already played for seven teams in four countries. Do you feel like a basketball globetrotter at times?
Yeh you could say that. But nowadays it isn´t so typical for a player to be in one place for a long time. I am blessed that I have received so many opportunities from so many clubs in different countries. Teams wanting me is a testament to my skill and staying healthy. I will just continue to do what I do and hope teams continue to call my number.
Evan McGaughey is a 23 year old 203cm forward from Carthage, Illinois that will be starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the MLP Academics Heielberg. The American played an illustrious career at Quincy(NCAA”) where he averaged double figures in scoring average each season. As a senior he played 25 games averaging 16.6ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 50.6%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Thanks Evan for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how is your summer coming along?
Currently at the golf course right now. I usually go golfing with my dad on Sunday mornings. Getting in a few more rounds before I leave.
I have to commend you about your name Evan. It´s a great name and I should know since I just named my first son like that a few months ago. When you think of the name Evan what comes to mind first?
I usually think of taller people when Evan comes to mind. It’s weird, but the few Evan’s I know seem to be taller.
Congrats on signing with German pro A team MLP Academics Heidelberg. If someone had told you coming from West High School 5 years ago that you would be a professional basketball player in 2017 what would you have thought?
I honestly wouldn’t have believed them. Coming from Illini West High School with less than 400 kids in the school, not many of them become a professional athlete. I’m excited that it actually happened though!
Kyle Hines is a 30 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that recently completed his fourth season with CSKA Moscow averaging 7,7ppg, 3,4rpg and 1,3apg in the VTB and 8,5ppg and 4,3rpg in the Euroleague.. He is a powerful player who loves to attack the basket. Has a good 1-vs-1 game and likes to go inside. He is undersized to play the power forward, but his great wingspan (7-1) allows him to guard taller players and to intimidate. He’s also a great leaper and reads the opponent’s game well. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had predraft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). He then went to Europe to Italy and played with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 34 games: 16.9ppg, Reb-4(8.6rpg), 3.0spg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP-2(66.0%), FT: 58.5%. In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 40 games: 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2(3.5spg), Blocks-4(1.6bpg), FGP-3(64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): Euroleague: 10 games: 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; German League: 46 games: 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP-3(61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. The 6 time Euroleague Final 4 player and three time Euroleague winner spoke to German Hoops back home in New Jersey.
Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been going?
I am home in New Jersey now. I just got home 2-3 days ago. We won the VTB league about a week ago and after I spent a few more days in Moscow enjoying the city before coming back home
Have you bumped into your ex coach Chris Fleming? The NBA Draft is tomorrow. Did he reveal any talk about the Nets signing the German boy Isaiah Hartenstein?
I have not had the chance to talk to him yet. I saw Hartenstein play before and he was on the roster of the team we played against twice last season. I have been aware of him and know Chris also since he and the Nets do a good job scouting teams in Europe. I think that with his kill set, he has the potential to be an NBA player. I think he is a big man that can do a lot on the floor which other big men his size can´t. He is more of a face the basket skilled big man. I think for him making it, it will depend a lot on how well he can make the transition from Europe to the NBA.
Congrats on another great season with CSKA Moscow. Despite winning your fourth VTB title, do you have a little sour taste because you didn´t win another Euroleague title?
Even if an exciting basketball game can be interrupted and made less nice by the constant blowing of whistles slowing down the game, so can a timeout where some patrons will scoot to the food stand to buy a Coke and nacho´s while other´s may even delay a bathroom run just to watch the entertaining sideline show of ex Alba Berlin head coach Sasa Obradovic who has his own Serbian theatre like skits with his hand and body gestures trying to motivate his squad back into the game, but the 2 time European basketball champion with the then Yugoslavia also has a knack of saying bold things. In the 2015-2016 season Obradovic who won the Korac Cup in 1995 with Alba Berlin as a player and has basketball legendary status from the Spree river to Potsdam is a guy who can talk and fill a press conference room and where journalists for once won´t interrupt, but just shut up and listen stated that ex Brose Bamberg guard Brad Wanamaker belongs to the top three best players to ever have played in the BBL. It would be interesting to how quickly he could come to a conclusion to which center is better the more experienced Elmeden Kikanovic or constantly developing and rising star Johannes Voigtmann of the then Fraport Skyliners. It would also be interesting to see how Obradovic would react to the question “Was Johannes Voigtmann the best player in the BBL in 2015-2016? In terms of play, the way Johannes Voigtmann was playing that season, he was becoming more and more of a showcase player in the BBL and a player that fans came specifically to see play. You may have seen Jason Boone as an extra in a Lebron James movie as he could easily moonlight as an actor or go into the field once his playing days are over and could even make a mean Jason or funny Jason on screen. However where he doesn´t joke is when it comes to basketball as he is all business on and off the court and on December 15th, 2015, he had the audacity to tell me at half time of a Fiba Europe Cup game in Frankfurt against Sodertalje that Johannes Voigtmann was the best player in the German BBL. Even the ex floor general of the Fraport Skyliners Jordan Theodore was very impressed about his ex teammate: “To me Jo has been playing at a high level all season. Definitely the best center in the league. Big Jo is definitely one of the best players in this league. He does it all”, warned Jordan Theodore. In 2015-2016, it is so much fun watching the blue eyed basketball monster as at times it seemed like he was a younger version of Larry Bird wooing fans with his special knack of passing the ball, but in reality it is just Johannes Voigtmann being the most complete center in the BBL. “Joe is very skilled. He has a high IQ and can do things with the basketball that I haven’t seen from guys his size. He can put the ball on the floor and create for others. He can shoot the long ball and his mid range game is unstoppable”, stressed ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore. But before we talk about the current play of the German national player, let´s look back to 2012 when he first arrived in Frankfurt.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber doing play by play with Johannes Voigtmann during a Pro B playoff game between TV Langen and Basket Akademy Weser-Ems in Langen in 2014
Voigtmann is a 24 year old 211cm center born on September 20th and hails from Eisenach, Germany and played four seasons with the Fraport Skyliners. Before coming to Frankfurt, the German big man started his basketball trade in the former East Germany and didn´t start until he was 15 years old.
Mario Kasun is a 34 year old 213cm Croatian that is a retired ex NBA player. He started his career in Croatia with Gorica (D2) and was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers (NBA,2rd(41) in 2002. He then played for the Frankfurt Opel Skyliners from 2002-2004 winning the BBL title in2004. He played in the NBA from 2004-2006 playing for the Orlando Magic playing a total of 72 games. He then played two seasons for FC Barcelona and two years for Efes Pilsen before going home to Croatia to play for KK Zagreb where he played 9 games averaging 8.4ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 64.4%, FT: 78.3%; Croatian League: EuroChallenge: 2 games: 17.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.0bpg; injured in Nov.’10 and was off for 1 month: EuroCup Qualifying Round: 2 games: 11.5ppg, 5.5rpg; Adriatic League: 21 games: 13.3ppg, Reb-5(6.4rpg), FGP: 63.3%, FT: 67.5%. He has played for the Croatian national team playing at the 2005, 2007 and 2009 European championships. He also has won the Spanish and Turkish cups. He played for Montepaschi Siena (Italy-SerieA) in the 2012-2013 season playing 9 games averaging 6.2ppg, 3.4rpg, FGP: 58.1%, FT: 50.0%; Euroleague: 8 games: 5.0ppg, 4.0rpg, He then played for Al Wasl Dubai (United Arab Emirates-D1) and briefly for BC Levski Sofia (Bulgaria-NBL) in 2014 before retiring. He spoke to German Hoops concerning his career and death of former teammate Chris Williams.
Mario thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is retired basketball life treating you these days?
My life after basketball is pretty interesting and I am doing things I enjoy. I am working with motor cyles and doing Real Estate. I am really enjoying my life after basketball.
Before we talk about your long professional career, I have to ask you about your ex teammate Chris Williams who recently passed away. When did you exactly hear about his passing and what were your first thoughts about it?
Regarding Christopher, it was a huge shock. We lost a great friend. He was an amazing basketball player, but even more an amazing friend. It is pretty sad that he left so early, but I am convinced that he went to a better place.
Tyrone Ellis is a former professional player from Dallas, Texas that currently is head coach of D-League team Northern Arizona Suns. As a player he had a stellar career in Europe showing that a player can make a career coming from a NAIA school from Southern Nazarene playing in countries like Germany, Italy, Turkey and Spain. In 2004 he helped the Opel Skyliners win the BBL league title. He played for three Spanish teams Girona, Cajasol Sevilla and Asefa Estudiantes Madrid playing six seasons in the best league in Europe. He also played for teams like Eldo Basket Napoli and Besiktas ColaTurka Istanbul . He retired in 2012 and went into coaching being an assistant for D-League teams Tulsa, Reno, Grand Rapids and Bakersfield. He spoke to German Hoops about the death of former teammate Chris Williams and coaching the Northern Arizona Suns.
Ty thanks for talking to German Hoops! Where are you at the moment and how is your basketball life treating you at the moment?
No problem Miles, my pleasure. I’m currently on the road trying to finish up the season strong.
Before we talk about your coaching career, we have to talk about your ex teammate and friend Chris Williams who passed away recently. How did you hear about it and what was your first thought?
Our friend, Marlon Garnett, sent me a text after my game around midnight. Marlon played with Chris in Iran. I was confused, hurt, and in disbelief. I am still mourning my friend’s death. I don’t want to believe he is gone.
Postgame interview back in 2005: TYRONE ELLIS and MILES SCHMIDT-SCHEUBER after the Opel Skyliners eliminated Alba Berlin from the 2005 BBL Play-Offs
Chris Williams was 36 years old and just suddenly past away due to blood clotting. Did you have any more contact to him the last years? When you remember having your last conversation with him?
Yes, Chris and I kept in touch. He was the best man in my wedding. The last conversation I had with Chris was when I got this job. He called to congratulate me and tell me how proud of me he is.
Chris Oliver is a 31 year old 198cm forward is playing his tenth professional season and first in Taiwan with the Kaohsiung Truth. He played at Radford from 2003-2007 and in his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 18.8ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.1apg, 1.9spg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 48.7%, 3Pts: 25.8%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2007-2008 and played for the Kaiserslautern Braves of the PRO A and then reached the BBL playing two seasons with BG Goetingen winning the Eurochallenge title in 2010 and then played a season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He then gained further valuable basketball experience playing 4 seasons in France, briefly in Hungry and last season with Niigata Albirex (Japan-BJ League, starting five): 14 games: 15.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 45.1%, 3FGP: 34.1%, FT: 77.3%, left during the season, in Mar.’16 moved to Jean D’Arc Vichy Clermont Metropole (France-ProB): 6 games: 9.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 72.7%. He spoke to German Hoops about his experiences in Taiwan
Chris thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your day been?
I’m currently at my teammates house for his daughters 1st birthday party. His wife made tacos for the team as well.
After eight professional years in Europe, you decided to make the long trek far east to Japan last season and this season to Taiwan and join the Kaohsiung Truth (Taiwan-ASEAN League). Did you feel like this was the right time in your career or could you have thought playing in the far east 5 years ago?
It was a very good opportunity for me coming here to Taiwan and an amazing opportunity to see a lot of Asia that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have experienced. If I knew back then what I know now I think I would have come to Asia many years ago lol.
Taiwan has the SBL league and the new league ASEAN where you are playing in. It has 6 teams and are from 6 south east Asian countries (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam). In a way it reminds me of the VTB league as there you also play in many different countries. You have been playing in this league now three months. It´s a new league, but skill wise how would you compare it to the leagues in Germany and France where you have played?
I would agree with you it’s similar to VTB or Adriatic league or European competition with the travel but the competition level isn’t as high as Europe. It’s a totally different game here. There are only 2 world imports allowed per team so we all play 36+ mins. The Asian players are talented but mainly shooters but they can SHOOT and run 100 mph lol. Compared to Germany and France this league isn’t near as athletic or fast or physical.