Where are they now?

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Omari Westley Who Had The Skill Level Of A NBA Player But Took A Different Path

 

 

                When Omari Westley was literally doing serious basketball work at Cleveland State (NCAA) from 2003-2005 he was most likely dreaming more of an NBA career and playing mind games with himself what he can continue to do with his game in the lab to even be a spec of a player like Lebron who had just come out of high school to do his magic with the Cavs, than of a career in Europe. Besides Westley only had a 10 minute walk from the Wolsten center to the Quicken Loan arena and he wasn´t far away from where the real action of the NBA was happening. So why even waste any time of making any thoughts of what it could be like playing professional basketball anywhere else except in the NBA. It is only typical that American basketball players are cocky and have a very healthy self confidence when it comes to their abilities, but sooner than later the real reality sets in and guys after a while are more than thankful of balling somewhere on the planet. I don´t know if Westley had those thoughts of the NBA coming out of Cleveland State (NCAA), because he did have a great senior year, but eight months after he played his last game there, he was playing in Iceland, where he had a better chance of seeing a polar bear than Lebron James working on his game in a gym. Every player has some idea just how difficult and rare it is too make the NBA, but it´s every player´s dream. The American also would never have thought back in 2005 when his career was coming to a close at Cleveland State (NCAA) just how enriching a career overseas can be. He definitely would see many different cultures and even lived in a small city in Germany for two seasons called Nordlingen that had a city wall. This is something that isn´t as common anymore in Germany as in quite a few cities you can see some remains of the city wall, but in Nordlingen the whole wall is still there and a real tourist attraction. Back in ancient times, the city wall was there to protect the people from intruders and a place where you could feel safe. It isn´t like in the former east Berlin where being behind the wall was like being in jail, because in Nordlingen you could leave anytime. But just being behind a wall can give on that feeling of being captured. Having lived behind the wall and still having the freedom to do what he could was something he most likely never cherished, because in 2014 his life has totally changed. He would probably have loved to have behind the wall in Nordlingen again, because he would still have been free, but the guy that had that amazing basketball talent wasn´t free, but was incarcerated between 2014-2019. Nordlingen was the rise and fall of Omari Westley. It is the story of a tragic tale of a young man that could have been a top player in Europe, but fell and was out of basketball in 2011. Omari Westley had the skill level of an NBA player but he took a different path.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Omari Westley after a Frankfurt 79-55 win in Nordlingen where the American scored 4 points and had 5 rebounds.

                Westley was born on February third, 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio and already made big waves at the high school level at East Cleveland Shaw High. There he averaged 20.4 points, 14.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game; and ended his high school career with over 1,800 points and 1,100 rebounds. He was striving for a scholarship to the University of Arkansas, but his grades simply weren´t good enough. Before reaching the NCAA in 2003, he had to pay his dues and played at Wabash Valley Community College in Illinois helping them win a title and then played a season with Barton County CC averaging 13.0 points and 6.9 rebounds a game as a sophomore, shooting .59% from the field and .72% from the line. However after getting into an altercation with an opponent, the school suspended him. He then moved to Cleveland State(NCAA),  but had to sit out the 2002-2003 season failing to meet NCAA initial eligibility standards following his transfer from Barton County Community College. He had a lot of time to reflect that year, but at the same time got integrated to the team and then really took off in his junior season at Cleveland State (NCAA) playing 28 games averaging 14.8ppg, 8.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 70.9%. His second season was even better there as he played 23 games averaging 17.1ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 66.1%. However he never finished the season as on February 25 before the last regular season game head coach Mike Garland dropped him from the team after he missed two practices and a game for no reason. He had success as a player with his stats and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team in 2004, the All-Horizon League 2nd Team in 2005 and played at the Black College All-Star Game in 2005 (Ohio All-Stars team). The team had no success in the two seasons and the Westley trend of having disciplinary problems continued to plague him and it wouldn´t end there, but continue throughout his basketball life. In his first two professional seasons he landed with four teams. In his rookie season he played with KR Reykjavik tearing up the Iceland-Iceland Express League in the 8 games he played averaging 23.1ppg, 11.3rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, 1.5bpg, 2FGP: 56,8%, 3PT: 44,4%, FT: 72,1%, but left in January 2006 after having been an allstar and finished the season with Racing Luxembourg (Luxembourg-DBBL). In his second professional season he made the jump to the Eiffel Towers Den Bosch (Holland-Eredivisie) suffering a tough car accident and was released in November 2006, but wasn´t out of a job long joining ToPo Helsinki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 13 Finnish League games averaging 14.8ppg, 7.2rpg, FGP: 68.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 76.9%. After two professional seasons one could say that he rebounded twice from negative experiences and finished strong and he went into his third professional season with added self confidence and this was when his career would reach it´s peak.

The 2008-2009 Nordlingen season program

            The American came to Germany in his third professional season to a very ambitious second division team with the VPV Giants Noerdlingen (Germany-ProA), but again didn´t get  a job right away and started in December, but came to a winning team. Right away his game meshed perfectly with the club and he won Pro A player of the month in March 2008 and finished the season helping the team move up to the BBL(ist division) playing 17 games averaging 15.4ppg, 7.5rpg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 72.2%. He remained for a second season and the club which had four real strong players with him and Americans Monta Mcghee and Danny Gibson and Canadian Osvaldo Jeanty pretty much carried the team as their bench was almost nonexistent. “I will miss most knowing these guys went to war with me on the court”, expressed Omari Westley to me in June 2009 in an interview. Despite getting most of their points from these four players, the club was able to stay in the BBL with a good enough record of 11-23, but then declined to remain on account of financial reasons. Westley was a 201cm forward that had always been an accomplished scorer and could best be described as a playmaker who scores. He scored both inside and out, rebounded, defended and blocked shots giving you the five-tool player needed to build the team around. Westley was the team leader in his second season there and led the league in scoring playing 33 games averaging 15.9ppg, was fifth in rebounding at 7.4rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 63.3%. He may have had disciplinary problems all through his life and knew how good he was, but one thing was for sure, he did show a lot of respect for his peers. In an interview I did with him after his season in June 2009, he knew that defeating EWE Baskets legend Rickey Paulding in the scoring race was no easy task. “You know I always watched Rickey in college so its great company, but there was a difference he didn´t have to score much for his team to have success but me on the other hand I needed to score for us to be in the game so, I might respect his scoring a little more”, added Omari Westley. Even if the team didn´t win much, their big season highlight was sweeping Bamberg something that was unheard of only a season later as the Chris Fleming era commenced in Bamberg. “When we went in Bamberg and beat them it was to amazing for words to describe. Now on the other hand I made some individual achievements that surprised myself and others, but winning games is what matters and the win Bamberg was too sweet”, stressed Omari Westley.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Westley teammate Osvaldo Jeanty after the 89-85 Frankfurt in in Frankfurt. Jeanty contributed 17 points in the loss while Omari Westley had one of his best games in the BBL with 26 points and 10 boards

The American was a beast scoring in double figures in 26 of 33 games. had 7 double doubles and scored 20 points or more 11 times. His personal scoring highlights that season included a game winning step back trey winning shot over Braunschweig, 26 point games against Trier, Frankfurt, Bamberg and Oldenburg,  25 points against Artland, and 24 points against Tuebingen and Ulm. His ex teammate Canadian Osvaldo Jeanty who is a banker today in Ottawa had a solid 6 year professional career that had him wear the Nordlingen, Giessen and Bayreuth jersey´s remembers some of these games very fondly. “I remember that Braunschweig buzzer beater and his game in Bamberg. He didn´t miss and was in the zone. He stepped up to the challenge that game as Bamberg was one of the best teams then in the BBL. Nobody could stop him”, warned Osvaldo Jeanty.  Even as he was on the rise and seemingly ready to make the next step to a top BBL team or to another country where there was more money, he wasn´t satisfied, but knew exactly where his weaknesses were and knew his dream of being able to help out at the point like his idol Magic Johnson was nothing more than a dream and far away from reality. “I learned patience from being over in Nordlingen that´s one thing for sure, but the things I still need to work on is ball handling and defense. I would need to become a better ball handler and cut down on turnovers would only be a start. I would also need prayers from every one around the world for that to happen at the point guard position”, added Omari Westley. “Many don´t know but we played together already the year before in the second Bundesliga and then moved up. He could do it all. He could shoot, defend the positions 1-4, catch the alley-op using his athleticism and had a fast cross over. It never surprised me how well he did in the BBL. Teams had to double team him, because nobody could cover him one on one.  He took all the attention away with his game which made it easier for me to play my game. His career really should of blossomed after the BBL. Chris Copeland who later would play in the NBA was the same size as Westley, but Omari was better. He had more tools than Copeland”, warned Osvaldo Jeanty.

Nordlingen winning the 2008 Pro A title. Westley at bottom center

                However there was also a dark side to Omari Westley that did come to play during the season. The American might have been an incredible player, but his decision making and making the wrong choices off the court most likely was his downfall for the rest of his career. It was no secret that the club was having financial difficulties, but stealing money from the club office surely wasn´t the right route to go. According to sources the American just did that and after that when he was searching for a new team, he didn´t necessarily get the best recommendation from the club which made his BBL career pretty much end before it could possibly have reached the ultimate high. An ex teammate of Westley who wanted to stay off the record remembered Westley this way. “ He was a monster player, really athletic and had a great shot. He had NBA potential, but in his head he was a kid. He was totally crazy and never listened to the coach. The rumor that he stole money from the team is 99% true. They found traces of his foot print. It could be that the organization spoke bad of him but he also didn´t conduct himself well. When coach said time for sprints he jogged and said screw you. He had no respect for coach Wagner. The club let a lot go with his attitude because they knew they couldn’t stay in the league without him. He was a nice guy but just had a terrible attitude”.  After Nordlingen, the American played in countries where there is a lot of money, but the level of play suspect and way lower than where he should have been. He played with Kazma (Kuwait-D1), Al Arabi Club Doha (Qatar-D1) and Al Gharafa (Qatar-D1) and then his basketball career abruptly ended

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Westley teammate Monta Mcghee in Nordlingen in 2009

                I saw Omari Westley play three times Live and watched the Fraport Skyliners sweep the regular season in 2008-2009 and also win a cup game in Frankfurt. Even though I was extensively covering the Deutsche Bank Skyliners in the 2008-2009 season, I had just got on board writing for eurobasket.com and was really getting even more involved with not only various German leagues, but starting to interview more and more guys including Omari Westley on a regular basis. I remember calling him in Nordlingen that season and having him as a guest on my weekly radio show. I remember a guy that was very confident in his abilities, but also a guy that had a great passion for the game. Our relationship would grow in that season and we would keep that contact until 2012 when was the last time I spoke to him. I remember fondly tracking the Nordlingen Giants season that year, because it was fascinating to see what that team could do with really only four players carrying the team. I remember him being an extremely versatile player that could take over a game and really drive opponent´s defense nuts with his ability to score in many ways. He had an NBA body and his athleticism was amazing. I remember doing an in depth interview with him a few days after Christmas in 2008 which I unfortunately don´t have anymore, but I really appreciated his willingness to be ready to talk basketball even during the holiday season when the BBL was in a hectic phase as the games never stopped, but kept going. When the season ended, I was looking forward to the summer and following his summer transfer period, but as the summer went on and on, I kept waiting for a top BBL team to announce his arrival. But it never happened and I was rather perplexed. I had been in contact with him the whole season, but when the season ended, our contact got a bit better as we would talk online and he told me of his basketball woes. It didn´t take long for him to tell me the fiasco with the alleged stolen money from the Nordlingen Giants organization. I had a welcoming ear and tried to find the best soothing words whenever we talked. He also didn´t waste much time  describing the tough feeling that he had still sitting by the phone waiting for a team to call while many of his ex teammates were already signed and back in Europe getting ready for the new season. I remember trying to give advice about possible good fits and telling him for his agent to contact these teams. When I asked if anybody had tried to contact him, the answer was always no.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Osvaldo Jeanty in Nordlingen in 2009

                Even if the thought of not playing at a very high level in the future was very difficult for the Ohio native, not only did basketball life go on, but so did real life and the reality of it was that he had a family that he needed to feed. He was unable to find any employment in Germany so he went to the middle east, a place that is enticing because the money is good, but then again one has to ask one´s self if these places really were the best fits for the American who was entering his prime and still had many good years left. He was out of basketball in 2011 after having played in Kuwait and Qatar. For any one that knew the talent that the kid had, it is mindboggling how a guy of his talent literally was out of basketball before the age of 30. Not long ago, I searched You Tube for any kind of videos on Omari Westley and there was a total amount of two. In the one video, he was somewhere in Dubai on top of a building by a nice pool. One could have believed that he was living life to the fullest, but then again anyone who probably was would have posted totally different kind of videos with the money, cars and babes. In the short video, he is talking a lot of slang and really presenting himself like a kid who was able to live the dream of being a professional basketball player in Europe for a little while, but unfortunately despite living in some very nice cultures never grew up. I spoke the last time to him on June 12th 2012 and just out of curiosity probably hit him up wanting to know how he was doing. Often I love checking up on players who I might have lost a little contact to for 1-2 years and check their eurobasket.com profile. It was summer 2012 and he hadn´t played the last season. I remember that he was really upbeat talking how he was in the gym all the time and how confident he was about continuing his basketball career. But then came the bomb from him. “I´m heading out to Afghanastan to play basketball. My eyes got bigger and my mouth almost fell to the ground in disbelief. Ok there are quite many places on earth where a professional player shouldn´t play like in a place where a war is going on or in a country where teams have a reputation of not paying you your money. I responded with. “Why would you want to play in Afghanastan? I would be afraid to go there” Then it dawned on me that he was totally desperate. I never heard from him again.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Omari Westley after a Nordlingen cup loss in Frankfurt in Feb 2009

                Sometime in early 2014 I was again in the mood of checking on a player and how he was doing and the name Omari Westley popped up. I tried to contact him on social media and then noticed that he hadn´t been active for many months. At that point, I didn´t figure anything bad had happened. Often a person will get away from social media and return to reality and real life for a bit before returning back. But I was a bit miffed why his activeness suddenly stopped . So I googled him and quickly I found a big mug shot of him and was shocked. But then again it didn´t shock me too much considering his past. He and two other guys attacked a restaurant owner where they believed had had money on him. Three guns were found at the home believing to have belonged to them. All three were hit with first-degree felony charges of aggravated robbery at their initial appearance. It may not seem like much, but crime never pays in the states and jail time can become very extensive as he found out. He started his sentence on July 2, 2014 and would have been out on January 16th, 2020, but came free in autumn 2019. His ex teammate Osvaldo Jeanty has fond memories of his ex teammate, but cites his youthfulness as something that hindered his path to stardom. “Omari was dealt a bad hand. He was a great player, but a lack of maturity off the court took him to where he is today. He was a great guy and teammate. He always had my back and I always had his back. He made some bad decisions and people never forgot and he never recovered. For me it was just tough seeing first hand of how he probably would have gone to Spain and dominated, played Euroleague and NBA, but all of a sudden he never made it. He was the best player that I ever saw that didn´t make it”, warned Osvaldo Jeanty. Exactly if his Afghanastan gig ever panned out, I don’t know, but some time soon after he must of given up on basketball and tried to start a new life at home in Ohio. He obviously hung out with the wrong crowd and with bad decision making landed in jail. Omari Westley is a tragic case, but not uncommon in the world of basketball. One can only hope that he will come out of jail a changed man and get back on track right way and stay away from the wrong crowd. He really was a good guy, but a kid that probably wanted to become a man, but just couldn´t. I can remember his last words to me concerning Afghanistan. His response to me saying “Why would you want to play in Afghanistan? “I would be afraid to go there “ was simple and direct. “Me scared”? I´m Omari Westley nothing scares me”. One can only hope that after spending more than 5 years in jail that he isn´t scared from starting over and being a good person in society something I know that he can be. I´m sure that he will do good now. Perhaps getting into some kind of capacity with basketball the game he loves will help him get back into society and help him do good things and give back to the community. At the moment he is working, but obviously would love to get back to playing professional basketball, but after being away from the game for almost 10 years, who would give him a realistic chance? I would love to see Omari ball again at any level. The guy definitely deserves another chance in the real world. He made some wrong decisions in his life, but deep down he is a good guy. I wrote him after he got out of jail asking how he was and that I missed him. “He wrote back I´m ok and same here”. It was a long time without you. Good to have you back Omari.

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Louis Hinnant

Louis Hinnant in action in Germany

Even when I´m on a short vacation visiting mom and brother in Boston in mid January 2020, I can never get enough of basketball. After meeting the legendary Ann Meyers Drysdale, one of only two women to ever be signed by an NBA team back in 1980 with the Indiana Pacers who has been a team broadcaster since 2012 and getting a nice selfie with Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric and watching the self absorbed superstars Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton ignore the autograph hounds and me, I walked towards the train on my way home somewhat pleased about getting 5 Suns players autographs as the snow was rapidly getting stronger. On my way home, I was already focused on Sunday as I was going to have an early morning meeting with Louis HInnant at his old school Boston College to gather precious information on his career for my article. That night I watched the Boston Celtics suffer their sixth loss in the last 8 games and Devin Booker destroy my team, but was fascinated by Marcus Smart´s career night breaking the Celtics all-time three point record for a game with 11 which was previously held by Isaiah Thomas and Antoine Walker with 9 a piece. As I woke up on Sunday morning at 7:00AM, I checked my phone and saw a message from Hinnant. My town Needham had gotten about 4 inches and I remember hearing the snow plower do our driveway at 2.Am, so I was free to go to see the ex player, but Hinnant hadn´t faired better. The snow had been heavier up in Lowell where he calls home now and wouldn´t be able to make the meeting. His neighborhood hadn´t been plowed and a 150$ Uber was a bit too steep, plus he had a mid day practice. But thanks to technology and the phone. I reached Hinnant at 10:00AM in his office at the University of Lowell and despite not seeing him in person, this had to do. Before we got to his career, we did some small talk about the snow  “I like the snow. There is less in Maryland, but I got used to it at Boston College. When you live here you have to be prepared for it. In Boston they clean the streets a lot faster than out here. I woke up at 4AM and didn´t see any of the plows out. My wife is from Maryland and the snow has been a big adjustment”, stressed Louis Hinnant. The American had a stellar basketball career at Boston College and overseas and currently is an assistant coach with the University Of Lowell. Hinnant is featured in the Miles where are they now category.

Louis Hinnant behind the bench with Umass-Lowell

                Hinnant was born on May 5th, 1984 in Oxon Hill and grew up in Gwynn Park. He had a stellar career at Boston College from 2002-2006 playing a total of 126 NCAA games. As a freshman he played 31games averaging 4.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.2apg. He had the pleasure from learning from Troy Bell who was drafted by the Boston Celtics and played briefly with the Memphis Grizzlies before having a very long career overseas.  “He was one of the best guards in the country. He did a good job helping me with how to play the position and giving pointers about how to take care of your body. I remember going to the cold tub with him even though I didn´t want to”, stressed Louis Hinnant. He developed nicely as a player at Boston College and as a senior averaged  7.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.6apg, FG: 48.4%, 3PT: 43%, FT: 69.1%. He never averaged double figures in scoring in a season, but that never bothered him, because he had so much scoring magic around him. “For me the most important thing was always to win. I always tried to see what I could do to help my team win. When I scored, we usually lost. I had great teammates who could score. I always felt that as a point guard that I could score, but I always wanted to enhance my teammates and focus on getting them the ball”, stressed Louis Hinnant. When he was a senior, he very well remembered the relationship that he had as a freshman with Troy Bell and now his role was reversed as the mentor with a young kid named Tyrese Rice and the immense talent that he possessed “I taught him to play the point guard position and he quickly learned. I thought then and still do now that he is one of the best 400 players in the world. I am super proud of what he has accomplished in his career. We train together in the summers and are close”, stated Louis Hinnant.

The American also remembered how different the NCAA is today than it was when he was playing at Boston College. “Back then you had a Florida with a Al Horford or a North Carolina with JJ Reddick and Shelden Williams and today everyone is coming out early and teams just have less experience”, stressed louis Hinnant. He also remembered his three NCAA runs with the first and last being the most sweetest. “Many things hadn´t gone right for us my freshman year. In my second year Bell had left and we had lost Ryan Sydney as well. Nobody believed in us, but we rallied and reached the tournament. In my senior year, we had the talent to win it all, but lost to Villanova. We had the opportunity to win that game. I actually never watched that game again until I became a coach. I see things a lot different now as a coach then I did back then. When I look back at that game now, we should have done things a lot differently, but the basketball God didn´t see it our way”, added Louis Hinnant. The American who lists Randy Foye as his toughest opponent at his position in the NCAA also remembered his head coach Al Skinner who helped groom and prepare him for a professional basketball career. “He had that professional approach and wasn´t as demanding and didn´t babysit you. He knew that if you wanted to be good, you would commit to the work. He went with those that were self motivating and understood their weakness and worked on them”, said Louis Hinnant. Before he turned professional, the American had a work out with the Boston Celtics and battled a young Rajon Rondo who came out after two years at Kentucky(NCAA). “I thought then that I had a legit chance of making the NBA. Not being drafted, but maybe making it through the NBA Summer League. I just wanted to show that I could help my team win. I did some good things in that workout. I knew that they were more interested in evaluating Rondo, but in hindsight the work out got me workouts with a few other teams. I appreciate the Boston Celtics front office, because they helped me get a lucrative deal in Europe. I knew about Rondo´s measurability. He had something like 1% or 2% body fat. I remember the trainer saying we have to put his body fat up. I had never heard of something like that. You knew right away htat he was something different. His measurability was way off the charts”, remembered Louis Hinnant.

The American began his professional basketball career in 2006 with the Sundsvall Dragons (Sweden-Basketligan) playing 22 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.9apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 74.1%. He remembers his rookie season as if it was yesterday. “I remember the cold the most and snowing being a daily thing. It also got dark quickly. It was definitely different. Being away from home wasn´t hard, because being at Boston College had prepared me for that”, added Louis Hinnant. After a strong rookie season, he followed it up in Finland with Joensuun Kataja (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 41 games averaging 18.0ppg, 5.3rpg, Assists-2(4.4apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 87.5%. He had no problems adjusting to the European game as his stats showed He also learned important lessons about the business side from teammate Clifton Jones how basketball life can be if you don´t read the contract between the lines, but at that early juncture, all Hinnant cared about was playing no matter what. “Jones had a different approach to the game then I did in terms of being a professional. I was ready to play every day no matter what. If his money was late one day, he wouldn´t play. I didn´t care about that and just wanted to play. I was young and not as professional yet. I remember him always telling me to read my contract”, added Louis Hinnant. His most memorable time in his professional career came from 2008-2010 when he played with Zalakeramia-ZTE KK (Hungary-A Division) where he won 2 titles. In his first season he played 34 games averaging 15.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.4apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 61.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 82.6% and in his sophomore campaign with the club played 34 games averaging 13.6ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-3(6.0apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 67.0%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 79.0%. “The team hadn´t reached the playoffs in 7 years The most satisfying thing was that we won and being part of something where all thought would be impossible. I remember the fans being ecstatic. It was great coming back and winning the title”, stressed Louis Hinnant. Hinnant couldn´t have won 2 titles in Hungry without the scoring expertise from teammate Calvin Watson, but also remembers that his presence and feeding him the ball was vital as well. “Watson was great. We needed him. I knew right away that I had to bring the best out of my teammates. He wanted to be the top scorer and I was ok with that. We never butted heads and had no competition among us. Us feeding off each other allowed him to win the MVP and I got player of the year, I didn´t have to score to be successful. I enjoyed playing with him”, added Louis Hinnant.

In the 2010-2011 season he played with Kryvbasbasket-Lux Kryvyi Rih (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 13 games averaging 10.2ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 71.7%. He was the lone American on the team. “The Ukraine was different. We had a lot of Serbians and Croatians on the team. They all understood each other as their languages were similar. I had a good relationship with my teammates, but I did spend a lot of time alone. This season was good for my game as I was around high level bigs something I didn´t have in Hungry. I´m a guy that likes to throw the ball up to the rim. I was able to do that in this league. I also remember seeing a lot of guys that had played in the NBA”, added Louis Hinnant. His toughest season was in 2011-2012 where he bounched around 3 teams with: Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-PLK); playing 3 games, then moved to Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague) playing a game and then finished strong with the Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-ProA) playing 21 games averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 84.6%. “This was the first time that the business side got involved. My team in the Ukraine was bankrupt. After 3 months where I didn´t get my money, I knew something was wrong. The people in town were talking about it. The club kept saying that all would be fine. They then said that they had no money, but that I would get it. I left for Poland and rebroke my foot. In the higher leagues, you often have to play hurt. After being hurt, you always have to prove yourself all over again”, stated Louis Hinnant. In Poland he worked briefly with well known coach Emir Mutapic who won many titles with Alba Berlin. “I thought that he was a good teacher. He got let go seeing the business side. The team had injuries and he needed some time to implement how he would teach the game. He didn´t get the time. He fell victim to politics something we all do at one time or another”, warned Louis Hinnant.

The American finished strong in Germany with the Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-ProA) playing 21 games averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 84.6%. He lived in a beautiful town called Weissenfels that has 33,0000 plus inhabitants and never had a problem getting that much needed energy for his stellar play on the court. “My apartment bulding was at the end of the road and it was easy to hop in the car and swing over to the Mcdonalds. I also lived near the Doner place. After a while whenever I went there, they knew exactly what I wanted. I loved Doner”, laughed Louis Hinnant. On the basket side, he who lists his friend guard Ahmad Smith as his toughest foe in the Pro A had very fond memories of the German club with a talented coach in Silvano Poropat and teammate Whit-Holcomb-Faye. “This was the first time where I was on a team that had 4-5 Americans. Before it had been 2. We had a very deep team and we had a good mixture of Americans and other imports. We had good friendships and still talk to guys today. Poropat was a very good coach, but demanding. I learned a lot from him. Holcomb-Faye was super competitive like I was. The only difference was that he talked a lot of trash while I didn´t. We both only cared about winning. We both made our team better. We had no down days in practice. We would go back and forth in practice. Sometimes it would get chippy, but at the end of the day, we were all laughing. During the game we were always thinking and talking and trying to figure out ways which was the easiest to win”, warned Louis Hinnant. In 2012 he retired, mainly because he had been away from home for so long and was somewhat burned out. “I needed a break. I started to think about other things at this point in my career. I had a younger brother that I had never seen play before. This kind of thing got to me. I hadn´t been home for Thanksgiving since 2002 and had always missed my mom´s birthdays. I just wanted to do nothing for a year and do family stuff and be normal”, expressed Louis Hinnant. He returned for one last season in 2013-2014 playing for Kaposvari KK (Hungary-A Division) playing 35 games averaging 11.1ppg, 3.3rpg, Assists-1(6.0apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 78.2%. “It was good to come back and finish the way I wanted to. I didn´t win a title though. But I was happy that the team exceeded expectations We got to the final, but couldn´t win, because we didn´t have the budget or roster. I was happy that we competed well”, added Louis Hinnant. In 2014 he finally hung up his jersey and knew it was the right time even if he could of played longer as he could have returned back to Hungry for an eighth season. “You see a lot of guys that will play something like 10-12 years and didn´t make enough money and then return home and don´t know what to do. I didn´t want to do that. The year before my last, I could have had a coaching job, but didn´t take it. After my seventh season, the coaching job was still there and I decided to take it. I knew that I wanted to get into coaching so I ended career early instead of too late”, warned Louis Hinnant.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex Umass-Lowell standout Jahad Thomas

Hinnant is in his sixth season as an assistant with the University of Lowell and loves his job with being able to work with young talented players. “The most rewarding thing about working with young players is seeing them pursue what I was trying to do in school. I like being able to witness their journey and be a guy that they can reach out to. I stress having fun. The business side will come soon enough. Now the kids can still play for fun”, warned Louis Hinnant. You often will see this gigantic coaching staff at the NCAA level where one guy has a specific duty, but that isn´t the case at the University of Lowell. “I do a bit of everything. At other schools you have like 8-9 coaches who try to break up things. We have 5 coaches. I do a lot of individual training with players. I´m also hands on with the day to day with tactics and the x´s and o´s. I also am on the road with recruiting. I was recently in New Mexico, Texas, Phoenix and St Louis looking for new talent. I also assist with scheduling and marketing. I really enjoy it”, stated Louis Hinnant. Over the years he has seen numerous players in the program develop and go into the pro ranks and keeps tabs on the guys. “I remember a lot of guys like Jahad Thomas or a Akeem Williams who plays in France or a Ryan Jones who is in Portugal. All these guys came to Lowell with a goal. They all were coachable, listened and had no problems asking questions. They have all shown that guys can come from a small school and make it as a professional. We will have more guys coming out in the future”, warned Louis Hinnant. At age 35 the American still has a long coaching career ahead of him and has goals. “I want to compete for the national title, but at the same time enjoy the process of building something great. That is a reason why I came to Lowell. I really would like to get to the NCAA tournament. An individual goal is to be able to be considered to be good enough to be at a high level program and someday be a head coach. I have had the chance to move on, but I value stability. I really love coaching with the Lowell staff. I don´t care about jumping around”, warned Louis Hinnant. He also wouldn´t remind returning back to Boston College down the road if an opportunity presented itself. “It´s like a catch 22. I root for Boston College and have good ties to the staff. I would never want to get a job there because someone was let go. I would love to help them get back to where they were when I was there”, stressed Louis Hinnant. He still texts his ex teammates Jared Dudley and Craig Smith. Dudley was his roommate at Boston College and will never forget the laughs that he had then. He also knows exactly how a Craig Smith would be on the court today, if he returned to Conte Forum today and put on his sneakers. “He would shoot a lot more three´s. As the game has changed over time, so has his. He recently played in the Big 3 tournament and was hitting three´s”, laughed Louis Hinnant. With currently 7 Germans in the NBA, he knows just how much basketball has developed further in Germany and has one message. “For all Germans who want to play basketball in the States, please contact me”, stressed Louis Hinnant. Louis Hinnant is just focused and interested in the University of Lowell having success, but most importantly being that smart mentor who will bring out the best in his players, the same way he did in his teammates when he was a player.

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Jermaine Anderson

                It was the dog days of summer in July 2006 as Germany was experiencing record heat where one didn´t even need to go south to Spain for a summer break. The month of July broke heat records in Germany at that time with the warmest day recorded was on July 16th with 38C in Kalkar. Not only were German´s having sauna like conditions that summer, but had also just witnessed the football World Cup in their country which brought the whole country a bit more together and gave mini flags placed on the mirrors of cars a new meaning and despite losing in the semi-finals to Italy, everybody was content with the outcome and life went on with the massive sweating. August slowly approached which would save those delicate German´s who hated the heat as that month would be a lot cooler. Football was on hiatus for a while, but basketball in Germany was heating up for the World Championships in Japan. As usual then German head coach Dirk Bauermann who had made a name for himself coaching Bamberg to their first BBL title in 2005 and would follow with a second a year later constructed an interesting pre-season schedule that saw Germany with Dirk Nowitzki play against other countries. At the end of July, Germany faced Canada in a friendly in Hamburg and a day later in Nurnberg, Germany. I remember traveling to Nurnberg from Frankfurt for the game at the cooler temperatures of August were no where in sight as the arena felt like somebody had transported some of that humidity from Saudi Arabia. The highlight for most there was seeing Dirk Nowitzki, but then again the German side also had other great players like all-time German national game leader Patrick Femmerling, ex North Carolina great Ademola Okulaja or the talented guards Demond Grenne and Stefan Hamann. I also remember young Germans Johannes Herber and Julian Sensley  As for the game, it was a contest that Germany easily won as the team shot the lights out which Canada couldn´t get adjusted to. Unfortunately there aren´t any articles or stats available online, so finding additional information to the game online was difficult. I remember from fotos I took after the game that Team Canada had guys like Osvaldo Jeanty, Nate Doornekamp, Ransford Brempong, Carl English and a young man who hadn´t played a professional game yet named Jermane Anderson. I remember after the game interviewing German national player Mithat Demirel and also observing Dirk Nowitzki making the rounds patiently signing autographs for the rove of fans for at least 15-20 minutes until he disappeared onto the bus and the team was off. I don´t remember Jermaine Anderson one bit, but I would get to know his game a lot better over the next years as he would play for teams like Bamberg, Tuebingen, Trier and Braunschweig. Only a few months later Anderson would start his professional career in Germany with Bamberg. Head coach Dirk Bauermann must have seen something in Anderson´s game during the pre season games in Germany and then signed him. One might have thought that his good play on the court was his meal ticket to Bamberg, but he felt it wasn´t. “I don’t think it was my meal ticket. I think I played well throughout the course of the game and showed that I was willing to compete at a high level”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. Four years later he played at the World Championships in Turkey and will never forget it. “! I only had two goals throughout my national team playing career (to represent Canada at the Olympics and World Championships). Even though I didn’t make the Olympics, I was able to participate in the 2010 World Championships. Playing in Turkey was the pinnacle moment in my national team career”, warned Jermaine Anderson. At the 2010 World Championships he played 5 games averaging 8.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 28.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 75.0%. He played with the Canadian national team from 2004-2018 and served as a team captain. Anderson had a very stellar 11 year professional career that took him to countries like Germany, Croatia, Russia, Greece, Montenegro, Spain and France. He retired in 2018 and knew that it was time to go then. “To be honest the timing was perfect. Even though I wanted to play one more season, I placed a lot of restrictions on myself in regard to location, team etc. Once comfort took precedence over everything else, I knew that my mindset had shifted and that it was time to walk away from the game. I was fortunate enough to play for the national team one last time during the FIBA World qualifier in February 2018”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. He is doing very good things off the court and still very much busy with basketball related things. I look back on the career of Jermaine Anderson in the Miles Where Are They Now player feature.

Dirk Nowitzki signing autographes after the Germany-Canada game in Nurnberg in July 2006


Jermaine Anderson was born on February 8th, 1983 in Toronto, Ontario and went to Eastern Commerce High School. He then made the next step in his young basketball career attending Fordham(NCAA) in New York city from 2002-2006 playing a total of 122 NCAA games. There he underwent a sound development being able to improve his scoring each season and averaged double figures in scoring in his last two seasons averaging 12.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 39.8%, 3Pts: 38.4% as a junior and returned as a senior upping those stats with 15.6ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.4apg, FG: 42.9%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 85.2%. “I was able to improve each year because I lived in the gym. But everything changed when coach Jay Triano invited me to work out and practice with the national team. I was able to play against Steve Nash on a daily basis for a month and I was around pros throughout the summer. I learned so much from being around those guys and I was able to develop mentally”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. Even though his game developed nicely, the team didn´t achieve much in his 4 years, but he does remember one game and player that will always be in his memory bank especially his mouth which took a beating. “My most memorable game was an ESPN game against St. Joseph’s University during my Sophomore season. At the time St. Jospeh’s was undefeated and ranked #1 in the country. I remember preparing and thinking about this particular game for weeks, as a collegiate athlete playing on ESPN is everything, especially against the best team in the country. We were playing really well as a team and I had a great start, but midway through the first half Delonte West’s inadvertently hit me in the face with his forearm. Long story short, I was rushed to the hospital and my two front teeth were at the back of my throat. A specialist was called in to readjust my gum line and as a result I had a wire in my mouth for six weeks. I did not lose any teeth thank God but we ended up losing the game. With that being said I would have to say the toughest player I played I faced was Jameer Nelson from St. Joseph’s University”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. It wasn´t only hard work that helped the Canadian/Jamacian mature and become a better player, but his head coach for the last 3 years Dereck Whittenberg had an immense influence on him  not only as a player, but as a person. “Coach Dereck Whittenberg saved my life. I almost flunked out of school after my freshman season and Coach Whittenberg held me accountable from day one. He called me into his office one day and told me that I needed to change my mindset immediately. For Coach Whittenberg study hall was a way of life and I was able to improve my grades within a year”, added Jermaine Anderson. But it wasn´t only experiencing so much on the court and getting the desired grades from his sophomore year up, but making those long lasting relationships that are still alive today especially with guys like Michael Haynes, Drew Williamson and Sebastian Greene who all would ball in Germany as professionals. “All those guys are family to me, and Michael Haynes was a big brother for all of us. When I arrived on campus my freshman year, I came with the bare minimum. The only thing of value that I possessed at the time was my meal card. Mike gave me access to his family in NY/NJ and he would literally give me the clothes off his back (thank God 3xl was in style back then lol)” said Jermaine Anderson.

                In the summer of 2006, Anderson was very busy with the Canadian national team, but also found time to get a taste of what it´s like breathing a little NBA air playing NBA Summer League with the Toronto Raptors. He didn´t play much averaging only 1,8ppg, but just seeing a trace of how the NBA was then was an important experience as he was preparing for his professional career. “The NBA Summer League was a great experience and I had a chance to meet a few people that I still consider close friends to this day. It was a bit of a spectacle because we had the number one pick in the draft that year (Andrea Bargnani). I remember making a shot off Bargnani’s screen and I was subbed out of the game immediately. I was confused and I asked the lead assistant, “why did I get subbed out of the game, did I do something wrong?” His response was, “no, you were playing great, but Bargnani was open on the roll. You’re not here to score, your job is to get Bargnani the ball…” It wasn’t as funny at the time but now it’s absolutely hilarious. PJ Tucker was also on the Summer League team as well and his journey has been a joy to watch. He developed his game in Europe for five years and is now one of the best 3-point shooters (corner 3) in the NBA, not to mention a premier defender”, commented Jermaine Anderson. When your balling in Europe, it isn´t always easy to keep track of the NBA with the harsh time difference, but now that he is retried and back in North America, he has been able to follow the NBA closer and has seen how the NBA has changed since his NBA Summer League gig in 2006. “The NBA has completely changed without a doubt. In 2006, teams were still playing inside out and guys that did not have a position were considered “tweeners”. Now, everybody on the floor needs to be able to shoot the three and position-less basketball has become the norm”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He split his rookie season with the Brose Baskets Bamberg playing 8 BBL games averaging only  2.4ppg; and played 3 ULEB Cup games averaging 2.3ppg, and with Polpak Swiecie (Poland-DBL) playing 17 games averaging  7.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 27%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 90.3%. Despite his short first stay in Germany, he had no regrets and had no sour feelings toward the organization. To be honest, my first year in Bamberg was memorable and a great learning experience. I was a rookie point guard and I didn’t have a clear understanding of the FIBA game. Coach Bauermann and my teammates were extremely helpful, and they taught me a lot during my time with the team. We had a veteran group and I was able to learn from each of them on and off the basketball court”, said Jermaine Anderson. He also was very fortunate to not only have very skilled teammates, but high character guys who showed him the ropes in the early going like Chris Ensminger, Robert Garrett, and Vincent Yarbrough. “I loved all of those guys and as I previously stated, I was able to learn something from each of them. Another person that was a great on-court mentor for me was Dejuan Collins. Dejuan had a wealth of FIBA experience and playing against him every day definitely prepared me”, warned Jermaine Anderson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jermaine Anderson in Frankfurt in 2007 after a game against the Frankfurt Skyliners

                After getting some experience in Canada´s top basketball league with the Halifax Rainmen (ABA) averaging 15.1ppg, 5.5rpg, 6.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 86.4%, he then would play parts of two seasons with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 15 games averaging 13.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.6apg, 2FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 90.3% and in 2008-2009 played 34 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 30.1%, FT-2(89.6%). In his second season with Tuebingen he scored 28 and 23 points in wins over the Artland Dragons and Bremerhaven. Being able to perform well on a consistent level despite playing for a non playoff team was huge for his early development as the confidence and knowing the European style was important for him being able to continue getting jobs each season. “In professional basketball, besides good character, having good stats/percentages is everything. My years in Tübingen set the stage for my career and I was able to sign a really good deal in Cedevita Zagreb because of my stats in Tübingen”, said Jermaine Anderson. He was reunited again with his ex Fordham(NCAA) teammate Michael Haynes who retired a few years before Anderson. Haynes was one of many great players that was a borderline NBA type player. “ I think once he didn’t get signed or called up after playing in the D-League I knew it was going to be hard for him to get into the NBA. He averaged close to 20ppg and if I’m not mistaken his team won the championship as well that season. I was shocked that he didn’t get called up, but that’s the nature of the business”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. He played with so many great players over his career and one of those was AJ Moye who´s career was sadly cut short in 2010 by a stroke he suffered in the Fraport arena during a practice.  Moye was as tough as nails and Anderson saw up close just how special a player he was. “AJ Moye is by far the fiercest competitor and probably the hardest working teammate that I played with. We would be in the gym for hours before and after practice shooting or playing one-on-one, we both were obsessed with the game. We were inseparable because we lived in the gym and when we were not playing, we were probably watching a game. I don’t think it was healthy but it was a way of life at the time”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. 

                One of the great things about being a professional baller overseas is that staying with one team for a while is very rare unless your Jermaine Bucknor who has made Trier his home for almost a decade, but for Anderson, he didn´t want to be a Germany lifer, but wanted to also explore what else Europe had to offer and in the 2009-2010 season played with Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia-A1) playing 17 Croatian League games averaging 9.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 76.3%; played 6 EuroChallenge games averaging 13.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 80.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 75.0%; and played 26 Adriatic League games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT-2(48.0%), FT: 89.4%. Usually a player will play in one league competition or at best in two, but rarely in three as he did which was a huge challenge. “The one thing I that I remember in Cedevita was having to adjust to the style of play. The Adriatic League had a specific style in comparison to the BBL and coach Pixie Subotic was absolutely amazing. Pixie was an offensive minded coach and he wanted us to play fast and shoot threes. We were unselfish and everybody scored, and we had great team success. I loved playing for Cedevita and Zagreb is a great city”, added Jermaine Anderson. In the 2010-2011 season he saw two new leagues playing withTriumph Lyubertsy (Russia-PBL) playing 8 Russian League games averaging 10.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 79.3%; and played 2 EuroChallenge Qualifying Round games averaging 4.5ppg, 2.0rpg, and also played with Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1) playing 12 games averaging 12.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 81.0%. He had played against future NBA stars in the NCAA, but when he played in Russia, he was able to play against top team CSKA Moscow who had two great players with JR Holden and Trajan Langdon. Anderson held his own scoring 18 points in a loss against CSKA Mosco. “JR Holden and Trajan Langdon were already well established legends in their own right during that time. I remember looking forward to the challenge of playing against one of the best teams in Europe and a really good friend of mine was on the team (Jamont Gordon). I would occasionally go to dinner with JR and Jamont in Moscow and even though JR had attained a level of success, he was extremely humble. In Triumph I was the only import on the team and at times I felt alone and isolated because the majority of my teammates did not speak English. Those guys, especially Jamont, allowed me to feel a sense of peace and I used them as a mental break when I had a few days off. I’m still in contact with both of them and I just recently saw JR Holden at the G-League showcase in Las Vegas”, said Jermaine Anderson. In the 2010-2011 season he won his only two professional titles with KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica (Montenegro-1A) playing 14 EuroCup games averaging 10.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 88.2%; played 26 Adriatic League games averaging  9.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 87.7%; and played 13 Montenegrin League games averaging  7.2ppg, 1.5rpg, Assists-2(3.7apg), FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 90.5%. “Buducnost was the most successful team that I played for throughout my career. We won the Montenegrin league championship, qualified for top 8 in EuroCup and advanced to the Adriatic League final 4. Once the NBA lockout was over, we lost our best player (Nikola Vucevic), and our supporters did not believe that we become a successful team. The best part of the journey was proving everybody wrong and overachieving as a team. Championships are hard to come by at any level and I cherish that season and we were more than a team, we were brothers”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He played twice against Maccabi Tel Aviv losing both games, but played against an assortment of great players including Keith Langford who is still playing today. He also played against guys like Baby Shaq, Devin Smith and Jordan Farmer who were on that Maccabi team, but being in awe was never a part of the equation for the Canadian. “I had already played against the USA Dream Team and other top ranked countries summer after summer. I was exposed to high-level players throughout my professional career and with the national team, I was never intimidated”, warned Jermaine Anderson.

            After three seasons getting acquainted to new cultures and learning new styles of basketball, his basketball path found him back in Germany this time with a new team called the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) where he played 20 games averaging  9.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT-2(91.4%). He came at a great time as top young German point guard Dennis Schroeder was in his last stage of development as only 6 months later would be a NBA first round pick with the Atlanta Hawks. Anderson remembers the time with Schroeder who plays with the Thunder today as if it was yesterday. “Initially, I think Dennis saw me as a threat, but over time he realized that I had his best interest at heart. I believe it became evident when I started talking to him about Hoop Summit and how he should approach the event. My former high school coach is the head coach of the World Select Team (Roy Rana) and I would call him on a weekly basis raving about Dennis. Dennis attended Hoop Summit and the rest his history. Once he came back to Braunschweig, he became a better teammate and was more confident in himself. Sometimes players that have a chip on their shoulder are misunderstood and mistaken for being arrogant. I believe that chip is Dennis’ edge and he’s been able to become a solid contributor in the NBA because he doesn’t back down from anybody”, warned Jermaine Anderson. One of his more memorable games with Braunschweig was helping lead them to a 84-80 victory over Alba Berlin where he steered home 17 points. He would remain the next two seasons in Germany balling for TBB Trier playing a total of 67 BBL games. In his first season he averaged 10.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT-1(96.9%) and in his second season averaged 9.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 89.2%. He didn´t have those staggering scoring stats in his career, but he showed on many occasions that he could excel at the free throw line. “Not sure if it’s my proudest statistical achievement but I remember being perfect from the line for nearly the first half of the season. When people started talking about it, I did feel some pressure, but once I missed my first free throw I was relieved”, stated Jermaine Anderson. He had known Jermaine Bucknor from the Canadian national team and like in Tuebingen where he was reunited with Michael Haynes, he suddenly was teammates with Bucknor on a club team. They have been through a lot on and off the court and it´s no surprise that they are very very close. “I’ve known Jermaine since I was 16 years old and playing with him for two seasons was a blessing from God.  We were able to grow as men together and I was there to witness the birth of his first child, which is more important than basketball. He allowed me to stand by his side as a groomsman at his wedding and we have a bond that will never be broken. Jermaine does a great job of taking care of his body, he started by changing his diet and he’s in the weight room almost every single day. He does all the little things to prepare his mind and body to work and I believe he will continue to play until God says his time is up”, expressed Jermaine Anderson.

Michael Haynes, Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jermaine Anderson in Frankfurt after a game in 2008 against the Frankfurt Skyliners when they were playing for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen

            In the 2015-2016 season he made another gigantic step in his playing career making the big show in Europe reaching the top league ACB in Spain together with the Euroleague playing for Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 15 games averaging 3.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.1apg. One can see from the stats that he didn´t get the amount of minutes that he was used to. “Unfortunately, I was very frustrated during my time in Sevilla, but I do not blame anybody but myself. I did not play well consistently, and I had a hard time adjusting to the practice schedule and style of play. Sevilla is a beautiful city with a lot of history, and I wish I had a better experience”, added Jermaine Anderson. In Spain he was teammates with ex NBA player Bostjan Nachbar who had played in the BBL when he was playing there. Having the opportunity to be teammates with him was just another one of numerous joys he had being able to play with very talented guys. “Even though he was much older when we played together, he was still able to carry the team offensively on his own.Nachbar was a special player and probably one of the most talented players that I’ve seen throughout my career”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He will have memories for a lifetime playing against top teams like Real Madrid or FC Barcelona with Juan Navarro, Carlos Arroyo and Tomas Satoransky and even was fortunate to catch a Luka Doncic at a very early stage of his career. “At that point I already played against so many great players. I always had a chip on my shoulder against big teams and I just wanted to prove myself and win the game. I actually played against Luka Doncic for the first time in an exhibition game before the season. He played the majority of the game and I quickly realized that he was well beyond his years. At the time he was deceptively athletic and mobile with great size. I knew that he was going to be an NBA point guard, but I did not expect that he would have an immediate impact. I think that Luka can become an all-time great because of his size, IQ and ability to make tough shots down the stretch”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He finished the season in Germany again with the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig averaging 7.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 80.0%. There he witnessed a big step in the coaching development of Raoul Korner who would make the next step the season after leading medi Bayreuth back to the playoffs after years and years of missing it. “Coach Raoul Korner is a “players coach” and he is open and honest with each player. He holds everybody accountable for their actions on and off the court. I am not surprised that he’s been successful with Bayreuth and I believe that he will only get better over time”, added Jermaine Anderson. That would be his last season in Germany. He played most of his career in Germany totaling 7 years and it´s only natural that the country that gave us Becks beer and Boris Becker will forever remain in his heart. “Germany definitely became a second home for me and it’s the place that I felt the most comfortable throughout my professional career. My first contract was with Brose Baskets Bamberg, I learned how to drive a manual car in Tübingen and I was able to play with a dear friend in Trier for two seasons (Jermaine Bucknor). Even though I have a love and appreciation for every country and club that gave me an opportunity to play the game, I have so many life experiences from my time in Germany that I will never forget”, explained Jermaine Anderson. His last full professional season was 2016-2017 where he split time with Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (France-ProA) playing 12 games averaging 3.4ppg;, and then moved to KK Mornar Basket Bar (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 6 Adriatic League games averaging 1.7ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg. Not playing so much at that stage of his career didn´t bother him, because he knew that the next stage in his life was approaching. “At that point I was already preparing for the transition. Even if I played 40 mins per game, I knew that I was on my way out. I was able to play with some old teammates from Buducnost, so I had a great time even though I did not get much playing time. I was at the tail end of my career and I didn’t really care if I played five or thirty minutes per game”, warned Jermaine Anderson. Four of his five best teamamtes of all-time were his teammates in Germany with AJ Moye, Jermaine Bucknor, Aaron Dorenekamp and Michael Haynes and he will never forget his toughest opponent on the court and how fans should remember him most. “ Carlos Arroyo was the toughest player I faced. I played against Arroyo every summer for nearly ten years at various qualifying tournament (FIBA Americas). He had the green like to shoot every possession and his playmaking ability was incredible. I just want people to know that I did everything to prepare myself and help each respective team succeed”, stressed Jermaine Anderson.

            Anderson has been retired for a few years now and he has been involved in many projects and like being a good basketball player with a positive character has continued to make strides as an individual in his life off the court. After retiring he went back to school and graduated with an MBA from Ryerson University (Ted Rogers School of Management) in Toronto. He first was a player development coach for Canadian basketball and then was a player development coach for the well known Chinese club Shanghai Sharks that introduced the world to Yao Ming before becoming a top center in the NBA. Also he recently was named GM of a team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (Hamilton Honey Badgers). The league is entering its second season in May, and  he will attempt to build a competitive roster. He also has been shadowing the coaching staff and front office personnel within the G-League organization Raptors 905 which will help him with his new job with the Hamilton Honey Badgers. The CEBL league has been constructed to help players, coaches, referees and sports administrators develop further.. “I´m extremely thankful for the opportunity because I´m getting a holistic perspective of the NBA”, stressed Jermaine Anderson.  But that isn´t all that he has done as he has been busy around the clock. He also brought thenot for profit organization called Fifty for Free Youth community initiative to life. “Fifty for Free Youth Community Initiative is comprised of all three of my passions; basketball, finance and community. Fifty for Free is a program that offers financial literacy programming to marginalized youth through sport free of charge”, added Jermaine Anderson. It is obviously very rewarding to be able to give back to the community. “I never knew my father and God blessed me with countless people that helped to fill that void (family, teachers, coaches, friends etc.). Various people helped me grow as a man and athlete throughout my career. My way of repaying the people that guided me is by giving back to youth within my community. The best way to give back is to repay it forward”, warned Jermaine Anderson. Over the years I have been able to manage good relationsships not only with players and organizations, but also with agents. People often think that agents only care about the money. That isn´t true for all. I have known Aaron Reilly of AMR agency for a while and when he approached me asking if I could do one of those career ending pieces on his client Jermaine Anderson, I didn´t hesitate. For one, Anderson had had a very prosperous, long and interesting career and second, Reilly had got me the number of Tony Wroten recently so I could do an interview, so it was only obvious that I would grant him his favor. I have had more intense relationships with some players than with others and Jermaine Anderson is one of those guys that I didn´t have much contact to when he was playing. When I did meet him after a game, I remember him as always being very friendly and patient with my many questions. Obviously if he had worn a Fraport Skyliner jersey, it would have been a different story as I have been covering that organization for 17 plus years. I pretty much only saw what he did on the court. I had seen him play maybe 8 or 9 times live at most, but that was it. Despite not having that closer and special relationship with him off the court, I did recognize how good of a player he was. He was known as the rock, a nickname given to him by his childhood friend Junior Reid, because he always had a basketball in his hand and was muscular as a kid and was a true floor general, with tons of experience of international competition either with his national team as a starting point guard in World Cups and FIBA Americas or in top level European leagues. He made everyone around him better. But what is even greater than having been able to know Jermaine Anderson as a player is the opportunity to know him now as Jermaine Anderson the person. He is a great example of a person that didn´t decide to take it easy after a professional career, but continues to want to be successful off the court and try to help others and just be a good person. It really isn´t any different to when he was a point guard. He was always in attack mode then and is still in attack mode now with his new endeavors trying to be the best that he can and trying to do good in the community.

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Retin Obasohan

In the last months German basketball has seen a few players move to German TV prime time as they have traded in the basketball and uniform for hot babes and steamy kisses as it was first ex Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Andrej Mangold who was the 2019 German Batchelor  and had the luxury of being in the company of many adoring and attractive women while being able to chose one at the end. While currently another German basketball player has found a new role away from the basketball court as David Taylor, the son of Derrick who had a stellar career in Germany and won the BBL title with Bamberg has been battling other guys for the heart of one lady on the RTL show the Bachelorette. One player who missed all the hoopla in the last months has been Retin Obasohan. He played in Germany for Gotha two years ago and last season tried his luck in the G-League with the Northern Arizona Suns trying to reach the NBA just like every one else in the G-League. Even if Obasohan didn´t play in Germany last season and was unable to really catch any of the hoopla of his German basketball colleagues, he does have a connection to one of the guys from the Bachelor shows. Obasohan was teammates with David Taylor in Gotha and saw first hand just how talented he was on the court and the kind of character he had off the court. When confronted with the news that his ex teammate Taylor is competing on the German TV version of the Bachelorette show, he didn´t have to wait long to give his two cents to Taylor and his new adventure on German TV. “I think David is going to win it haha. Good luck taytay”, stressed Retin Obasohan. The show the Bachelor and the Bachelorette shows aren´t on the menu of Obasohan as he is a basketball junkie and is continuing his quest to move up the basketball ladder. It has been more than a year since the Belgium/Nigerian played in Germany and a lot has happened as he is looking for the next opportunity somewhere to present his game. It was time for another installment of the Miles where are they now player feature with Retin Obasohan and to take a look at his illustrious and interesting career he has had until now.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Retin Obasohan in Frankfurt in 2018

            He was born on July 6, 1993 in Antwerpen, Belgium. He began his basketball career with K.A. Redingenhof and in 2010 played with the BBC Kangoeroes-Boom (D2). He then made the decision to go over the pond and challenge himself to the competitive NCAA. At that time, it seemed like a very smart decision, because he had already gathered ample basketball experience winning the Belgium D-2 league title in 2011 and had played with the Belgium U-16 and U-18 national teams and demonstrated at the European Championships U16 Division B in Portugal in 2009 that he was on his way of developing well as a player averaging 12.1ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-2(3.4spg), FGP: 44.3%, FT: 69.2%. He began his NCAA career at Alabama (NCAA) in 2012 and was there for four years playing a total of 124 NCAA games. He had a solid sophomore campaign averaging 9.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6apg, 1.8spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 42.0%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 66.4%, but it was his senior year where he really broke out averaging 17.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 69.9%. But he was already able to show early signs of greatness as in his freshman year where he only averaged 3,9ppg and 13 minutes per contest, he hit the elite Stanford school for 14 points in a 66-54 grin out win where he held his own against future NBA players like Chasson Randle, Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell. Even if that game was at the end of the season, he didn´t necessarily see it as his break out game. “I remember that game actually it was at home for the NIT. I think it was more the culmination of consistent work. More so than a single game”, stressed Retin Obasohan. In his senior year he scored in double figures in 27 games and scored 20 points or more 14 times. Some of his best games were against Kentucky with 29 points and 27 points against Auburn. He finished with 1,176 career points at Alabama. The Belgium native has his own favorite moments at Alabama. “Trevor Releford hit a game winning shot from half court to beat Georgia at home. That was crazy. I scored the game winner in a tournament against Notre Dame. Beating LSU in LSU my senior year, that game I also scored my 1000th career point. My senior night game against Arkansas, my entire family came to watch me play, and my family is my backbone my everything so that meant a lot to me to have them there”, remembered Retin Obasohan. He played the first three years for head coach Anthony Grant and for ex NBA player Avery Johnson as a senior and remembers how vital both were for him on and off the court. “I was a very young boy when I got to the university of Alabama, and both of these coaches taught me core values and character principles that I need to become the man, father, athlete, and human that God created me to be. Coach Johnson believed in me and gave me the confidence to play my game and that really opened up the court for me together with having guys that could spread the floor and make incredible reads off the ball and much more. The impact he had on me was incredible and that´s why I have such a good relationship with him till this day. I truly believe that coaches have an incredible ability to bring out the best in players and coaches need to be aware of this and harness that ability in the right way. Because when coaches and players can relate on a level that brings the best out of everybody – everybody wins”, warned Retin Obasohan

            Before turning professional in 2016, he played at the well known Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) playing 3 games averaging 16.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.7apg, 1.7spg. Obasohan who lists NBA player Bradley Beal as his toughest player he ever faced in the NCAA then got his first real live NBA experience playing at the Summer League in Las Vegas. He played four games for the Sacramento Kings averaging 9,0ppg, 3,0rpg and 2,0apg and was very happy he was able to get this experience so early in his career. “It was an eye opening because you get to play against current NBA players and higher level players. It gives you a taste and glimpse of the next level which in turn makes it easier to properly access and see “am I close, is there a big difference, can I reach this level and higher?” These are the questions you ask yourself after summer league. You fine tune your training because you have a clearer view of the target you need to reach. I remember being so excited and just grateful to have the opportunity to be there. Even till this day being fortunate to have played in it twice is something I´m very grateful for”, warned Retin Obasohan. After coming off a stellar NCAA career at Alabama and getting added self confidence at the NBA Summer League, he actually didn´t have a great rookie season, but suffered growing pains right away. He played with Scandone Avellino (Italy-Serie A) playing 27 games averaging 5.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 65.6%; and played 14 BCL games averaging 4.9ppg, 1.1rpg, 1.1apg. He remembers the season as an important learning experience. “That season was a tough one because we got very close to all the targets we set for ourselves but fell short every time. Losing in the semis of the playoffs Venice getting knocked out of the champions league again by Venice, losing in the Italian cup to Sassari. But also that team was stacked with tremendous leadership and talent, many players from whom I learned so much. Starting with the Pg’s Green and Ragland down to our centers Cusin and Fesenko and everyone in between”, remembered Retin Obasohan. Even if he was lost in the shuffle of many experienced and great players like David Logan, Marques Green and Joe Ragland who had combined 26 years of age on him, being with this type of company was also beneficial for his early professional growth. “It´s hard to say who had the biggest impact because they all showed me so much in different areas off the game of basketball and also stuff off the court. But I am grateful I was able to learn from those guys”, warned Retin Obasohan.

 

            In his second professional season he had the next big challenge as he played with the BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-BBL). He joined a young club that had moved up to the BBL and suddenly he had to be a big time leader in only his second professional season. His athleticism was also on display every weekend and making hard flashy dunks was something that German fans got accustomed to. “I consider my athleticism is unique because I can’t think of many Combo Guards that combine strength, speed, agility and jumping ability like I do. However other people have compared me to the likes of Westbrook and overall game to Donovan Mitchell. I’m a fan of both, they are great players”, stressed Retin Obasohan. He played 34 games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-1(2.0spg), FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 73.4%. The team lost many games and was unable to stay in the BBL and was out again after only one season. Telling him that it was a season to forget for him would have been false. “I wouldn’t be so fast to say it was a season to forget. And this is something I shared with all my teammates from last year. That even though the results we achieved wasn’t what we wanted to achieve. I was proud of the way that we continued to fight and battle every single game and the growth that the we obtained as a team. Losing is terrible, there aren’t many things on this planet that I hate more than losing but it can be your biggest teacher and source of inspiration and that’s what it did for me”, warned Retin Obasohan. In the BBL, he showed that he could play with the best talent in Germany as he scored in double figures in 28 games and had two double doubles. His two best games occurred near the end of the season where he poured in 25 points in a 98-90 victory over Bremerhaven and in the next contest exploded for 25 points in a 88-75 win over 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen. Despite the losing with Gotha, he felt that the whole situation helped him grow as a player. “It was a tremendous learning experience like I said earlier, because the dynamics of the team was completely different from the year before with Avellino. And with that I have to adapt too, and learn how to still be effective in a different environment. So as a communicator, teammate and leader I feel like I grew and learned a lot”, added Retin Obasohan.

            After his season in Germany, he decided to gain some new experience in the G-League and played with the Northern Arizona Suns. Only a few years ago, the salaries were very meager, but they have risen in the last years and the G-League has become a place now where more and more guys want to play in. Even guys who have been in Europe for a few years try it and for some like Jordan Sibert, it paid off as he reached the NBA last season. Obasohan only has good memories from his experience last season and also states another reason why the G-League has become more popular recently. “The G league has been growing and improving consistently ever since it started, and that is something that is very obvious by playing in the league. There were countless instances where the league would ask us players how they can improve the league and improve its practices. Along with the educational and professional development aspects that they provide. Plus the competition there is good too, so in all it was a good experience”, said Retin Obasohan. With the Suns he played 32 games averaging 12.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.2apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 21.7%, FT: 68.2%. He was content with his season and saw how his hard work combined with his skills helped him make another step in his development. “I’m a better player now than when I started the season in the G League and that’s one of the focal points of the G League. Every league and situation brings a different set of play styles and experience, so to be able to combine competing in the G League with my European experience has only made me a better and a more all-round player”, warned Retin Obasohan. He didn´t have the overpowering stats, but demonstrated how he could grow within a season with the Suns. In his first 17 games, he scored in double figures in only 4 games, but really poured it on scoring wise scoring in double figures in his last 15 games and had three double doubles. He hit Agua Caliente C for 30 points and also contributed 24 points a piece against Stockton and South Bay while he was flirting with a triple double against Delaware with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. He definitely showed that having the right attitude paired with strong stats could get you that NBA call up, but at times it also can´t, but nothing to get upset about, but just continue to grind. “The goal is to stay present and focused on the task at hand, so during games and practices the focus is to win the game and work on the things coach has in his/her practice plan. When you do that, the right people will notice and find you. I have to control what I can control, and focus on that. And what I can control is my effort and attitude no matter what happens”, stressed Retin Obasohan. He held his own against his guard teammates like Juwan Evans, French player Elle-Franck Okobo or Deanthony Melton who all got a NBA call up last season while he didn´t. Just having that day to day competition was worth the experience for him. “You got to be at your best every single night, because the opposition will bring that out of you. and because someone is always watching. as a competitor I loved every single game. Because I knew that we would have to be at our best to have a chance at winning and your opponents are coming in with that same mindset”, said Retin Obasohan.

 

            Only a month ago he participated in his second NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns (MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas) playing 2 games averaging 3.5ppg, 1.0apg. Even if he didn´t play as much and didn´t have the statistical result that he may have wanted, just being there again for a second time was an amazing thrill. “The NBA is such a great event, and to be a part of it is and will always be such a great experience. The history the event holds, knowing the players that have come through it and the careers they have carved out for themselves it all adds to the experience that the NBA summer league is”, warned Retin Obasohan. He did have one other interesting, but also scary experience as he was involved with the Las Vegas earthquake that cancelled a few games. “We were in the locker room getting briefed before our game against Denver, when we felt the earthquake. It was pretty surreal, that was my first time experiencing one. So definitely something an occurrence I’ll remember for sure. I´m just glad nobody got hurt during it”, expressed Retin Obasohan.  The Belgium native had many teammates that had played in the BBL before like Landry Nnoko, Xavier Cooks, David Kramer and Derek Willis, but also others that were very young prospects. One of those was with French player Elie Okobo who´s five years younger and the competitive juices were flowing between the two. “We had a great relationship, he’s a very talented & skilled, I´m excited to watch him continue to grow and improve in the years to come”, said Retin Obasohan. Another one of those young talents was 19 year old high school player Jalen Lecque who was one of those rare cases in the NBA Summer League. “He has amazing physical gifts and great instincts, he has the chance to be a really good player”, warned Retin Obasohan. Even if he didn´t see so much action, he was able to observe one very interesting basketball detail at the NBA Summer league as the game is continuing to evolve and adding new spices that will continue to help balance out the often observed Hero ball in the NBA and team play. “The game of basketball is just evolving and becoming more global by the second to where players from all the world have the chance to be discovered and showcase their talents at the highest stage. Which I think is awesome for the game and the league”, warned Retin Obasohan. He had some goals this summer at the NBA Summer League and was content that he was able to fulfill them in being healthy, a better player and that he could lead a team. It is August 11th and teams in Europe are slowly getting filled while the NBA teams are still building their training camp rosters. What will be the next step for Retin Obasohan? He surely had a respectable G-League season with the Northern Arizona Suns and could get signed by an NBA team for training camp to give the NBA another shot or return back to Europe. The basketball future of Retin Obasohan should be settled very soon and it will be interesting what decision he makes. Playing a second season in Germany could be an option. “I had a great time in Germany and open to a return for sure”, stated Retin Obasohan. David Taylor continues to move forward in the German show the Bachelorette show while Retin Obasohan will make that huge decision to also make that next step in his career. If Obasohan and Taylor would meet again, they surely would both have very interesting stories to tell from the last weeks from being in an earthquake to battling other men for the dream girl. But for now Obasohan is waiting for that next basketball challenge so he will have new stories to tell in the future. Obasohan doesn´t need that blonde dream girl now, but that ball in his hands to keep moving up the basketball ladder.  

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Jordan Sibert Who Is Hoping 3 Is A Charm For The NBA

It is around midnight on a Saturday night/Sunday in the dog days of summer 2019 when an up beat and good mooded Jordan Sibert (193-G-92, college: Dayton) finally calls me back for our long awaited interview something that had first been planned in Mid February when he was grinding in the G-League and on the brink of reaching the NBA. I had written an article late in the 2018-2019 season when he was with the Fraport Skyliners predicting he would get to the NBA someday and here we were again talking about the real reality of the NBA in 2019. ‘Sorry Miles for the late call. Were you already sleeping? I’m just back from lifting and then had to take care of some personal matters’, stressed Jordan Sibert. In the case of the ex Dayton (NCAA) standout, better late than never. So much has happened in the last five months that he could of written a special journal for his ex school to help fill the summer hole with exciting and interesting basketball stories. Sibert reaches me from Atlanta, Georgia where he has been staying after a successful NBA Summer League with the ex Dennis Schroeder team Atlanta Hawks and is just waiting for news hoping three could be a charm and that possible third ticket back to the NBA with the hopes of this one being not only a longer stay, but a more permanent one. The NBA has always been on his mind since his rookie season when he was with the Orlando Magic continuing with his two seasons in Europe where he balled in Greece and in Germany for two teams and now he reflected on the last season in the G-League, his short tenure with the Atlanta Hawks and his one NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the positive NBA Summer League appearance in Las Vegas. The big question is will he remain with the Atlanta Hawks and get a training camp deal or go to another NBA team or return back to Europe? ‘Right now that is the big question. I’m waiting to get a call. If it looks good with Atlanta then I will stay here. I have to do what is best for me’, warned Jordan Sibert. Even if he has played only four professional seasons, if he ever has a dull moment while waiting, he will never suffer from having a lack of great basketball stories. In the last year, he has had the opportunity to play with probably one of the best defenders to ever play in the German easyCredit BBL with Quantez Robertson who simply goes by Tez and one of the best dunkers to ever battle in the NBA with Vince Carter and remembers them fondly. ‘Many don’t know this but Tez and I are both from Cincinnati, Ohio. When I got to Frankfurt, I remember Tez asking me if I was from there. When he found out I had gone to Princeton high school, he asked me if I knew his brother Brian Shelby. It turned out that he was my best friend there. I remember Brian always telling me that he had a brother in Germany who was the man in German basketball. The basketball world is definitely small. Vince Carter is a great dude. I don’t remember what the first thing was what I asked him, but I do remember getting into the gym and seeing him under the basket. At that moment my childhood memories came back to me remembering me and my brother having all these pictures of him on our bedroom walls. I quickly started to bombard him with questions about the game about knowing plays, being in the right position and how to read the offense better and defense quicker. He was always there to help me. He even came to me at times to point out things. We had a good relationship and it was just a crazy feeling being his teammate. He did beat me in a few shooting games’, joked Jordan Sibert. Even if every basketball junkie knows where Jordan Sibert is today, it was time for a new installment in the Miles where are they now player feature as his rise and development to the NBA in the last year has been remarkable.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Sibert in the Fraport arena in the 2018-2019 season

 

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The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Jordan Faison Who Combines Big City With Basketball Success

When Jordan Faison woke up in the mornings in the last two years and looked out the window, he would have seen a nonending sea of lavish tall skyscrapers that would have made Los Angeles look like a tiny village tucked in between the beautiful mountains and special lights at night that will always give it the glamour it deserves. Even if Faison is from Lake Forest, California, he is only 46 miles away from the city of lights and knows too well what it is like living in a bigger place. The last two years, he has called Tokyo home which ranks fifth in the world with 152 skyscrapers, but still way behind number one city Hong Kong that can boast 355 skyscrapers. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and their meager 24 skyscrapers make his current home Tokyo look like an ocean compared to a pond. For Faison having lived in bigger areas and being successful have come hand in hand for his whole life. He played his college ball at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) that has a population of 152,000 people plus won the CCAA tournament twice racking up MVP honors in 2015. As a professional he played his rookie season in Germany in Leipzig that has 560,000 inhabitants and even if the team wasn’t successful, he belonged to the top players in the Pro B earning Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year. And in the last two years, he never let up with earning team success and continuing to destroy opponents with his lethal play in Japan. He helped the club win the D-3 league and cleaned up with the individual achievements winning Asia-Basket.com All-Japanese B League D3 Player of the Year , Asia-Basket.com All-Japanese B League D3 Forward of the Year and Asia-Basket.com All-Japanese B League D3 Import Player of the Year in 2019. After being away from Germany for two years, it was time to see how he was doing in the far east and how his game had developed further with the special category ‘The Miles where are they now player feature with Jordan Faison.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Jordan Faison in his rookie season after USC Leipzig won 73-67 in Frankfurt and he dropped 26 points and got 10 boards

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The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Taevaunn Prince Who has Adopted the Mamba Mentality

In the early summer of 2017, basketball life was really really good for Canadian Taevaunn Prince who was coming off a spectacular rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen. The then 25 year old 191cm guard who split time at South Dakota(NCAA) and Missouri Southern(NCAA2) before going pro was as upbeat as an American teenager would be leaving the school grounds on the last day of summer as he was very confident and was excited about where his basketball journey would go. Now it´s the summer of 2019 and he is very happy about his basketball life, but in between, his basketball life and luck took a 180 degree turn in the other direction and now he is very blessed and thankful that he is still playing ball and has a bright future, but it could have been totally different. Let´s rewind back to the summer of 2017. In my season ending interview with the athletic beast who averaged 17.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 83.4% as a rookie with German Pro B team ScanPlus Baskets, he was so excited about his future, but at the same time knew that he still was far away from being the player that he wanted to be. “I had a very strong rookie season for me. I have improved as the season went on but I still have a lot of work to do in the off season and I am excited and obsessed with the process of getting better and adding to my game. I have not even scratched the surface, my goal is to maximize my potential and looking back I made plenty of mistakes and can be so much better as a player”, stressed Taevaunn Prince. The exciting guard who help pound FC Schalke with 29 points in a nail bitter 76-74 win had goals for his sophomore campaign wherever that would be and was just focused about making the next step. “The next step for me is getting back in the gym and perfecting my craft, I feel this year was decent and ok but I know I can do more and this was just the first step for bigger and better things. Pro B was a test to see if I can hang professional and I displayed that, I think I can play at the Pro A level and prove myself once again. My goal is always to play at the highest level so I will continue to push myself until I get there”, warned Taevaunn Prince. But instead of continuing to ride that high of continuing his basketball journey and signing with a new team for the 2017-2018 season, he would sit at home and be wondering if he would ever continue his professional career.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Taevaunn Prince in Frankfurt in 2017

 

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The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Charles Lee(Milwaukee Bucks)

It was a rainy and unseasonably cool afternoon at the start of May as there was a horde of anxious autograph collectors milling around outside a luxury Boston hotel and a number of young kids hanging on to basketball balls while the older autograph hounds had countless pictures of a certain very athletic big man player. The Milwaukee Bucks were in town facing the Boston Celtics in the playoffs and the cute little 8 year old girl and her 10 year old brother were waiting for the Greek freak Giannis Antetokounmpo  while the older gents where some have been around since the 80´s  and still hanging around hotels all day long were there for Spanish legend Pau Gasol and also for Antetokounmpo while I was waiting for somebody totally different by the name of Charles Lee. I had only known a few weeks earlier that Lee was an assistant coach as I had checked the Bucks roster to see what ex NBA players were coaches as I was in town for a family visit  and wanted to relive my joys of autograph hunting as a kid and experience it now with a new generation of players. Covering basketball in Germany since 15 years has brought me in contact with many many players and I have had the pleasure of interviewing 1200 plus players in Germany, but for a strange reason never had had a chat with Charles Lee in the two years when he played in Germany from 2008-2010 with BG Goettingen and the Artland Dragons. Now I was in Boston and in town was Charles Lee. Now was my chance to be able to finally interview him. So there I was squashed among little kids and grey haired gents who had books filled with basketball cards and photos and I was anxiously waiting to see if I would recognize him. With some players Like Eric Bledsoe and Kris Middleton coming out of the lobby and ignoring the autograph collectors and getting on the bus, I saw a well built gentleman that looked like him and I yelled Charles, Charles. An experienced autograph collector next to me muttered  “That’s nobody but a coach or trainer”. I countered with “That´s Charles Lee”. The autograph collector ignored my comeback, but Lee didn´t. He stopped on the second step of the bus and looked back and gave me a signal that he would come back. Shortly later he came to me with the autograph collectors staring at me wondering what the hell was happening. I said hi Charles and his first response was. “Your face looks familiar”. I then introduced myself and gave him my business cards and then his whole Germany experience came back to him. The American smiled and seemed interested and an interview was scheduled for the next day at 3.00pm after their practice. As we sat in the hotel restaurant Pau Gasol stepped into the room bringing a special aura and was accompanied by two other Spanish men. Gasol said hello to Lee and then glanced at me probably wondering how an autograph collecter would be at the same table with an assistant coach. He looked at me and gave a friendly hello and was on his way to munch on some scrumptious food a few tables away. As we were chatting away, Lee reflected on this chance encounter and trying to place my face with the seemingly 1000 others he has seen in his basketball life. “Whenever I hear my name, I never think that they are really talking to me. I usually get mistaken for someone else. I have gotten George Hill, Kris Middleton and Sterling Brown. Your face looked familiar and when you said your name it came back to me. I remember seeing your face on the eurobasket website and at games when I was playing in Germany. Your face caught my eye. I don´t forget faces”, smiled Charles Lee. Charles Lee is only 34 years old age, but has already experienced so much in the NCAA and overseas as a player and in the NCAA and NBA as a coach that it was time for a Miles where are they now player feature.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing current Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee on an off day in Boston between game 3 and game 4 of the 2019 NBA playoffs

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The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature with Jimmie Hunt

Over the years one thing that the Frankfurt Skyliners have never had a shortage of was talented and strong guards. It really didn´t matter how successful the club was in whatever season, there were mostly always good guards on boards, but as is the case always it depends how well the club chemistry is built and how well they can mesh together. After the unforgettable 2006-2007 season where Frankfurt missed the playoffs and had one of their worst seasons ever, there was a lot of assurance going into the next season that the club would find back to old glory since Turk Murat Didin was brought back to save the ship. The club had two strong guards with Skyliner legend Pascal Roller and American Jimmy McKinney who had had a stellar rookie season. The club also had young German Dominik Bahiense De Mello and young Swede Rudy Mbemba, but another scoring combo guard was still missing and over the summer the club signed American Jimmie Hunt who had had two years of professional experience in Slovenia and the season before had caught fire leading the league in scoring and assists and seemed to be a huge steal. Nine months later that scoring genius that had set the Slovenian league on fire was never lit in Frankfurt as the season was a struggle for the jovial American. He not only didn´t get the ample amount of minutes that he would have liked and was used to having in school and Slovenia, but he just couldn´t compete with the minutes race with the other guards on the squad. There might also have been another huge factor why his play was affected, but due to courtesy to the player won´t be mentioned. Through the whole one year experience in Frankfurt Jimmie Hunt always remained 100% professional and was always a guy you could talk to as a journalist and was positive and upbeat. Jimmie Hunt is presented this time in the Miles where are they now player feature.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Jimmie Hunt in Frankfurt in the 2008-2009 season after a game.

Jimmie Hunt was born on September 14, 1982 in Utica, New York and most guys that were born in that time and were professional players are mostly retired, well almost everyone except for his ex teammate from Frankfurt Derrick Allen who is a living basketball dinosaur who might still be playing in his 40´s if he continues to stay healthy and have that drive to go to extremes to stay in shape. Hunt is only two years younger than Allen and turned 37 today and he is still active as he is suiting up with Luxuris Celje (Slovenia-2SKL) this season. He has been a basketball globetrotter all his life and as a professional has played in Slovenia, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy and the Czech Republic.

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The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Ronald Ross

Even though I have hardly any free time with my seemingly endless basketball work, one day I decided to organize my player photos a bit better considering that with my new book concerning my basketball life in Germany will be released soon, I will want to add some of my memories with players to spice it up. I may not be totally accurate, but I believe my first picture that I ever took with a player in Europe dates back to the summer of 2004 and the BBL final series between the Opel Skyliners and Bamberg where I had to fight my way past security to shyly ask Tyrone Ellis if he could pose with me as nobody knew me then whereas today when I´m in the Fraport arena, I perform small talk with a majority of the security personal as that place has become like a second home to me. Over the years I have continued to take photos with players simply because I´m one of those guys that enjoys to have those memories for a lifetime. My fascination and craving of photos actually dates back to my childhood when I began to collect autographes and take photos with players as back then I just loved sports, played it after school with my friends and like so many other young kids was dreaming to be like a Larry Bird, Jim Rice, Peter Mcnab or Stanley Morgan all great Boston sports figures when I was growing up. My most cherished basketball photo from my childhood is with the great Bernard king who didn´t hesitate to pose for with a kid right after suffering a brutal seven game series loss to the Boston Celtics in 1984 where he almost single-handely disposed the green machine averaging 34,6ppg in the exciting series. Since basketball became a big part of my life in 2003 in Germany and I have been reporting about German basketball since then, I continued to take photos all through the years and just as I have recorded over 1000 player interviews in my 15 year career, I also have taken probably just as many photos or even more and have a very nice collection. The quality also has very much improved over the years as I have always been old school and probably was one of the last guys on earth that moved from a normal camera that only produced print photos to a digital camera not too long ago, so there are numerous photos that have very bad quality, while others are of better quality as they were made after I made the switch. With this vast collection of fine basketball player photos that I have, I decided it would be a neat idea to share those prints and add a little story about the career of the player with the heading “The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature”. This is a feature that I will bring regularly and not necessarily every week, but moreover when I have some time to be able to invest some good spent time to looking back on a players career. It will most likely always appear on a Thursday in conjunction with the famous throw back Thursday term. Some guys that will be portrayed here, I had no personal relationship with except taking a photo, while other guys I had a personal relationship

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber posing with New York Knick Bernard King outside the legendary Boston Garden after he and the New York Knicks lost a tough 7 game series to the Boston Celtics in 1984 averaging 34,6ppg in the seven game series

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