In a span of a little more than eight and a half months, I came upon Dennis Mavin three times in three separate cities from Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt and after a little bit of concentrated pondering, I was reminded of the annoying, but famous and classic song Rio from German pop group Trio that has the catchy line New York-Rio-Tokyo that was a late summer hit in Germany in 1986 reaching #3 in the charts leaving them as a one hit wonder. But the Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt when hummed like the classic Rio song just didn´t fit the melody. Some people even mistook the German lead singer Peter Fessler as being the well known American singer Al Jarreau, because the song is in English and his voice sounds like the American. Of course the three German cities could never compete in name recognition as the world class cities in this song even if Frankfurt is a world class city, but not as big as those three, but for Dennis Mavin being mentioned with these lesser known German cities is sort of similar to how his basketball career has gone since he began at Florida Atlantic (NCAA) in 2011. He is one of hundreds, no probably thousands on earth who is playing professionally and where his overall ability outweighs his current status on the basketball ladder. I remember seeing Mavin for the first time a day before Easter on April 8, 2018 in Giessen when he played his last game for Pro B team Giessen Rackelos witnessing a heartbreaking 93-89 game three loss to Rostock propelling them into the semi-finals as his 19 points couldn´t withstand the combined 66 points of the lethal trio of Jordan Talbert, Bill Borekambi and Brandon Lockhart. In Giessen I remember seeing a lightening quick guard who was a lot better than the talent on the court. I saw the Florida native a little more than 6 months later in Rhondorf conducting a post game interview with him after he helped lead his new team ScanPlus Baskets to a 95-74 win over the Dragons Rhondorf where he produced a solid 11 points, five boards and seven dimes. Then a little more than a month later our paths crossed again in Frankfurt. After a convincing 77-55 victory by the farm team of easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners Fraport Skyliners Juniors over the RheinStars Cologne, a young man was standing in front of me wearing Skyliners apparel. He gave me one of those confident looks that someone gives one when one knows each other. The only problem was, I had one of those embarrassing moments again that I get from time to time. I had no idea who he was even though I had interviewed him face to face a little more than a month ago. When you interview players almost daily, you at times loose track of who your dealing with. After a few seconds, I had to tell him “sorry Man I have no idea at the moment who you are, could you give me a little help”. Inside I felt as embarrassed as a Steve Harvey must of felt when he announced the wrong winner at a beauty pagent. After I quickly got over my very embarrassing moment, all was cool with Mavin and me and he told me he was going to be playing for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. The city hopping between Mavin and I coupled with not having him on my radar is nothing new for the American. He has been overlooked his whole basketball career despite having very good basketball abilities that could have him in a higher league than where he currently is now in the German third league Pro B. It is no secret that his overall abilities outweigh where he currently is on the basketball ladder, but he isn´t going crazy about his current basketball status, because he knows it is part of the basketball process no matter how ugly or unfair it can be for certain players. “I love basketball and I have 100 percent faith and what I can do. For me is just staying patient waiting on my opportunity! Yeah it gets tough but I think I’m tougher”, warned Dennis Mavin.
It was still late summer, the weather was great and the Pro B season was just underway in it´s second weekend on September 29th, but the season of the Dragons Rhondorf had began slowly and their disgusting 102-56 drubbing in Giessen should have been a bad omen for the season. In this game the 2015-2016 Pro A team Dragons Rhondorf couldn´t muster anything on offense and shot only 3/21 from the parking lot while Giessen was very sharp from downtown nailing 12 trey´s and totally dominated the boards 42-25. Another interesting stat that would haunt the Dragons Rhondorf the whole season was how well their German players were able to score. Giessen got an incredible 74 points from their German players while the Dragons had to settle for only 37 points. This season has been a major struggle for the Dragons Rhondorf and with the stretch run of the season having arrived, they are in severe danger of moving down to the Regionalliga if they can´t start winning some games now in the last month to be in better position in the playdowns where each of the last four teams play each other twice and the best two remain in the league. The Dragons Rhondorf came into the game in the Pro B cellar with a 4-14 record while Giessen has been the big surprise team of the season as they sit comfortably in the playoff area in fourth place with a 10-8 record. They have had a tale of two seasons as they lost seven of their first nine games, but since then have won eight of nine games including three games in crunch-time. The Dragons Rhondorf were desperate for a victory and wanted to seek major revenge for their pathetic loss by 45 points in Giessen and played a lot better than the first game, but couldn´t full end their amazing fourth quarter comeback as the guests escaped the Dragon Dome with a 74-70 victory. After the win a disappointed Lotola Otshumbe tried to explain why the club was unable to pull out the win. “Our energy on defense wasn´t consistent. If you want to be successful in the Pro B, you need to bring this for 40 minutes. We had big problems on transition defense in the first half. We rebounded very well, got steals and fought back in the second half. If we can stay positive and bring energy than we can play with anyone. The question is why we can´t do it from start to end”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf forward Lotola Otshumbe. After the big win Giessen guard Jesten Lewis was relieved that the team could pull out the win despite the big comeback. “Defensive rebounding got us the win. We were outrebounded in the first half, but rebounded better in the second half. We played together on offense and stayed composed at the end”, added ex Mercer(NCAA) guard Jesten Lewis.
Every winning streak has to come to an end sometime as the wiha Panthers experienced last weekend losing a bitter nail bitter to Coburg 85-82 which ended their amazing 23 game winning streak at home which had started in April of 2017 and carried over all through last season where they won the Regionalliga title. They didn´t need any adjustment time this season as they have taken the Pro B South by storm. They won their first four games, but since then have had ups and downs, but produced a positive 7-6 record to have a strong hold on second place. A big problem for their offense has been the injury to captain and robust point guard Kostas Karamatskos as the team playmaking and leadership has been dearly missed, but the club still has done a good job compensating his void by getting solid production through out the roster. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continue to play a super season despite having changing rosters all through out the season with the availability of the BBL double license players and injuries effecting their results. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors arrived into the battle with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen with a lot of self confidence as they had beaten talented and 2018 Pro B champion ScanPlus Baskets 81-75 as they were extremely deflated without their leading BBL double license players, but the younger guys stepped up and came up big in their absences leading the club to a huge victory. Against the wiha Panthers Schwenningen, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without young kids Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue, Calvin Schaum and Jordan Samare who were balling at the Addidas Next Generation Tour in Munich, but in good company again as some of the BBL double license players were on board again like Elijath Clarance and Armin Trtovac, but not Richard Freudenberg and Garai Zeeb as a high scoring third quarter of the guests broke the back of the home team as they could never recover losing 75-65. After the tough loss, many of the players snuck out through the rear of the gym next to the dressing room, but young German big man Aaron Kayser left through the main entrance and gave his two cents about the loss. “We didn´t play together as a team in the third quarter. We had no solution for their zone. We also gave up too many transition baskets. We have to learn to play better as a team and share the ball better. Obviously Garai Zeeb was dearly missed, but that can´t be an excuse as we won last weekend without him”, stated ex Chemnitz Niners center Aaron Kayser. After the big win Philadelphia native Rasheed Moore was proud of how his team stuck together for 40 minutes. “We gave all we had today. We didn´t have a great start. The first half was ugly. In the second half, we began to hit shots and turned up the defense”, stressed wiha Panthers Schwenningen forward Rasheed Moore.
Bill Borekambi is a 26 year old 198cm forward that has played for 9 professional teams and is playing his first season with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (ProB). He has a lot of professional experience having played 36 Pro A games for Cuxhaven and Nurnberg and played 75 Pro B games with Lich, PS Karlsruhe and Rostock. He also played two seasons with Coll.Sequoias CC (JUCO) and played a season in the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven organization playing second Regionalliga and NBBL. Last season he was a key contributor for the Rostock Seawolves (ProB) playing 30 games averaging 14.3ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before the Pro B game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.
Bill thanks for talking to germanhoops.com! You’re 26 years old and have played for 12 teams in the last 12 years. Are you a guy that has to by nature always be on the run and can’t be in one place for a longer moment of time.
Hey miles, I hear that question a lot. but yea honestly I like to collect different experiences and see different places. For me it’s fun to see so many places for me it’s a part of that pro basketball lifestyle. It really helped me to grow as a person and player.
You helped lead PS Karlsruhe and Rostock to the Pro A. I never understood why a guy like you didn’t get rewarded with remaining with one of the teams and playing Pro A again. Has this bothered you and created a chip on your shoulder?
I figured out for myself that the Pro B is the perfect league right now for myself because I’m also working off the court on my future after basketball. I know the league very well by now and know that I can have a big impact on any team. I had a couple Pro A offers but instead of being a role player in the Pro A, I rather be a league lower and be one of the team leaders. I probably don’t have too many years left of pro basketball and I want to use them playing as much as I can and don’t sit somewhere on the bench.
Your playing your first season with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (ProB). If somebody had told you in training camp that the team would be in second place with a record of 11-5 in January 2019 and had won all 8 games at home what would you have thought?
I knew we had a very solid team and that the ambitions of the club and coaching staff were the same like before in Rostock and Karlsruhe. I think a lot of teams underestimated us but for me it wasn’t too much of surprise because I know that we put that work in and everybody is on the same page.
David Taylor is a 24 year old 190cm guard that is playing his first season with Pro B team Basketball Lowen Erfurt. Last season he played with the BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (BBL) playing 21 games avergaing 2.6ppg. He was born in Bayreuth and grew up in Eckersdorf, Germany. He started his basketball career with the BBC Bayreuth 2 (2.Regionalliga) team in 2009. He then played two seasons with the Nuernberger Basketball Club from 2010-2012 getting his first taste of pro B ball at age 15 and pro A ball at age 16. He then moved to TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB) in 2013 where he played 16 games averaging 6.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 73.7%, played also at Troester Cybex Breitenguessbach U19 team (NBBL). He moved to the United States in 2013 to Pacific(NCAA) where he played until 2017 playing a total of 104 NCAA games. His most productive season was his second where he played 31 games averaging 7.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 80.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball before the Pro B game against the Dragons Rhondorf
Thanks David for talking to germanhoops.com It has been a year and a half since our last interview. A lot has happened for you basketball wise. Has time flown for you in that time?
Sadly time always seems to fly but I think I have enjoyed this season so far.
You went from the easyCredit BBL to the Pro B. How tough was the last year and a half with all the basketball stress you went through?
Last year was really tough. We had a lot of blow backs and downs with a very few ups. But I think you can learn and grow from that experience
Gotha had a tough season in the easyCredit BBL last season. Despite all the turbulence what do you feel did you get out of this experience that helped your game and you personally as you continue to go your basketball route?
I think I learned that I hate losing and that I’ll do anything not to be in that position again.
It isn´t slowly ten to midnight yet for the Dragons Rhondorf, but rapidly getting very close to the gong as the club is looking to be saved somehow of their poor season as they are caved into the Pro B south cellar with a record of 3-11. Shortly before Christmas the Dragons Rhondorf hauled in 36 year old basketball dinosaur Anish Sharda who came from ASC Theresianum Mainz (Germany-Regionalliga) after never averaging less than 18,9ppg in the last four years in the Regionalliga. The American who recently got the German citizenship brought 137 career Regionalliga and 116 Pro B games to the Dragons Rhondorf and scored 11 points in his first game in a loss to the RheinStars right before Christmas. Over the years he has had some nice battles against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and had a 4-3 record against them scoring in double figures in four of the seven games coming into the game in Frankfurt. Sharda could be that key new component that will help get the Dragons Rhondorf out of the cellar as his consistent scoring and strong playmaking will be a huge advantage. Sharda led the Dragons Rhondorf to Frankfurt and met a 9-5 team that have been playing good basketball as of late having won three of their last four games. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had won the first contest in Rhondorf 75-68 thanks to 11 three´s and a strong Pro B debut by Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance who scored 21 points while the Dragons owned the boards. In the first contest of 2019, both teams had their ups and downs during the course of the 40 minutes, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors controlled the game and allowed a massive fourth quarter come back by the Dragons Rhondorf, but were able to salvage an overtime period getting a last second sprint and bucket by Elijah Clarance for the 83-81 win. After the tough loss Dragons Rhondorf head coach Thomas Adelt had that look as if he had seen a basketball ghost as for the third time in a row his team was close to winning, but were denied again. “We had too many turnovers in the first half and got in a hole because we were too sloppy. In the second quarter we fought and pressed well and were in a good position to win the game. It´s tough to lose the game on a last shot. We have worked so hard to win these games, but then we lose. I think that in the deciding moments we aren´t there mentally”, warned Thomas Adelt. Frankfurt was lucky that they escaped with a win. “This wasn´t our best game. Our ball movement wasn´t consistent today. We started off well in the first few minutes, but then their press made us play hectic. We had more ups and downs in the second half. We were a little sloppy at the end, but came out with the win”, added guard Len Schoormann. It was only Anish Sharda´s second game and he still getting used to things, but he had his moments hitting for 8 points and making some nice plays at both ends of the court. “I thought that our press was great and it kept us in the game. But we could of overall executed better on offense”, added ex TV Langen guard Anish Sharda.
Jonas Sauer is a 19 year old 187cm guard that is playing with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (ProB). He began his career with the ratiopharm Ulm U19 team (NBBL). Last season he was German NBBL Group 4 Regular Season Champion and reached the German NBBL Semifinals. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Jonas thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and ho is basketball life treating you at the moment?
I’m with ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen, playing for their 1st and 2nd team. The 1st team plays ProB Germany. Besides that I’m in my senior year in German Highschool. Basketball life is treating me pretty good right now.
Talk a little about how you found a love to basketball and your early years? Was basketball always your first love or did you enjoy other sports?
Since I was a little kid I always had a basketball with me, no matter where I went. Since my dad played at a high professional level I kind of had the love for basketball in my genes already. I started playing for Ulm since I was 6 years old. Besides basketball I did gymnastics when I was like 7 and then started with track & fields and did that for quite some time.