One thing that hardcore easyCredit BBL fans can forever be grateful about is that there have been certain league identity figures that have played longer than most and for some stayed faithful to the same organization for their whole career in Germany. If one was really bored on a rainy afternoon in Jena and wouldn´t have a nice view on top of the 160 meter Jentower to observe the beautiful hills around the city and one wasn´t in the mood to visit one of the many city museums, one could continue to wonder how much longer the three Jena amigo´s of Derrick Allen, Julius Jenkins and Immanuel Mcelroy will still continue to play as they are in their late thirties and combined have the magical age of 113 years. Some fans place a special mark on the calendar to especially see them and others will dread the day when the first of them hangs up his sneakers. Then again there are two other BBL identity figures and legends in the making with Mr Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson of Frankfurt and Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding who combined are in their 22nd season in Germany and combined have racked up three titles and also have been combined on the floor in Europe in 961 games prior to this season. One also can´t forget German Per Guenther who could have left ratiopharm Ulm years ago for more lucrative offers, but remained where the heart wanted to be. But who will be the future players in the easyCredit players that will have that amazing role model work ethic and discipline of a Derrick Allen and just keep playing seemingly forever and share that passion and loyalty to remain with just one team and not change teams as often as a Tom Brady has thrown to different targets which stands at 71 receivers. Ok so being with one team for so far only three seasons is nothing special as one could count more than a handful of guys who have been there that long and heck there was even Mike Morrison who played four years in Frankfurt and surely would have loved to have remained longer, but that B word always gets in the way called business. But for medi Bayreuth forward De´mon Brooks his first three years have been very special there and with the continued success of the club he might just stick around for a longer period of time. Could De´mon Brooks be Medi Bayreuth´s version of a Tez or Paulding?
Chase Fieler is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Parkersburg, West Virginia playing in his fifth professional season and second with Filou Oostende (Belgium-Euromillions League). As aprofessional he has racked up a very impressive 9 professional titkes in Spain and Holland. He played two seasons with Donar Groningen (Holland-Eredivisie) winning 4 titles. He also won a title in his rookie season with Ourense Termal (Spain-LEB Gold). He began his basketball career with Florida Gulf Coast (NCAA) in 2010 playing a total of 133 NCAA games as was able to improve his scoring and rebounding averages each season. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 13.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 59.4%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 70.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before the Basketball Champions League game in Bayreuth.
Chase thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome back to Germany. You have a 2-0 record against German teams against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. What memories do you have of the thrilling 86-84 win against Bonn last season in the BCL where you scored 13 points?
I remember we went into overtime. My current teammate Nemanja Djurisic was on the Bonn team. There are always competitive games in the Basketball Champions League. German teams always play physical and with a lot of energy so it was good coming out with a victory.
You are in your fifth professional season and have won 9 professional titles in three countries and also won two A-Sun titles in school. That is simply amazing. Do you feel like your game and leadership qualities infects your teammates?
I think that it is now slowly starting to infect my teammates. Important for me was that I was always on good teams that had experienced guys. The experience I have gotten the last years has helped me now to be able to lead a team and be helpful in stressful moments.
The return Eurocup game between the Fraport Skyliners and Fiat Turin had two major stories involved that separated 50 years. The one major news story before the game was the return of 78 year old head coach Larry Brown who had been back in the states for a month on account of health issues and had been cleared to return and the other story was a buzzing one of 28 year old ex NBA player Erik Murphy who may never ever be close to being on the shooting level of a Dirk Nowitzki, but knowing the genuine character of the big German, he would surely have praised the American for his almost spotless shooting in the last two games had he witnessed it. “It was good to see coach Brown again on the sidelines. You never want to see a coach or player be out because of health problems. He looked healthy and had high energy. It is always nice seeing someone doing what they love”, stressed ex Chicago Bull Erik Murphy. Murphy hasn´t just been hot in the last 48 hours, but has been severely red hot. He led the Fraport Skyliners to the 83-79 win at home against the Telekom Baskets Bonn where he produced 22 points and then stormed on to the court in Turin and gave an unforgettable Eurocup performance dropping 33 points in the comfortable 85-75 victory. ”We came out ready to play and had a good first half letting the defense set the tone. We were focused and were able to take things away from what they do well. Despite some runs of them and shots made, we were pretty much in control of the whole game”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Erik Murphy.
His two game total stands at 55 points while shooting an amazing 20/26 from the floor.
Julyan Stone is a 29 year old 198cm point guard from Goleta, California playing in his eighth professional season and third season with Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A) where he helped the club win the Italian Serie A title in 2017. He played briefly with Royal Hali Gaziantep (Turkey-BSL), but other than that played most of his career in the NBA playing parts of four seasons there with teams Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats playing a total of 70 NBA games. He began his career with Dos Pueblos High School and then played at UTEP (NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 135 games and as a senior played 8.5ppg, 7.5rpg, 5.3apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 56.1%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career before the Basketball Champions League game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Julyan thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome back to Germany. You played in Germany once before in January 2016 in a Fiba Europe cup game. Do you have any memories of your first game in Germany?
I remember very little about the game actually, but remember a couple of the guys like Jordan Theodore, Aaron Doornekamp and Philip Scrubb. Scrubb had something like 30 points.
So now your in Germany for a second time playing a Basketball Champions League game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. What do you know in general about the country Germany and its basketball?
I know that there is a lot of talent playing in Germany and there some guys from the NBA there. It´s a pretty good league and I know some guys playing there.
As some kids were prowling the streets of Frankfurt in the late afternoon on October 31st looking to fling some candy into their Halloween bags while in the states little kids were still in school trying to dream away the last hours of school before getting wrapped into their lavish costumes and adults in Germany were at Halloween parties having smaller squabbles about which facemask of Trump or Merkel looked more scary, the Fraport Skyliners were 3,126 kilometers away in Kazan, Russia trying to secure their fourth win in the Eurocup, but instead their hopes were squashed by a last second game winning three pointer from ex Bamberg guard Jamar Smith in the corner as the outstretched hand of Quantez Robertson came a split second too late. The Fraport Skyliners could have used some extra energizing candy to get over hump, but at the moment the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner is struggling and need to find a way to get out of their slump. In Kazan they didn´t play bad, but just couldn´t play consistent and compensate the loss of big man German Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann as well as erasing little mistakes in crunch-time that hurt them. The Fraport Skyliners arrived in the duel against neighbor´s Telekom Baskets Bonn having lost three of their last four games, but what as even worse had lost back to back games at home against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen and on the road against 2015 BBL cup winner EWE Baskets Oldenburg where the phrase “stunk up the house” was putting it mildly. The Telekom Baskets Bonn came into the game not playing their best basketball either losing last weekend on the road in Jena going to 3-2 on the season and escaping Fribourg, Switzerland with a real grind out Basketball Champions League win where they went in as the huge favorite but had massive problems with them. The Fraport Skyliners desperately needed a win, but had to finally show a good performance for 40 minutes and find a way not to get run over in the paint by American Charles Jackson and their sharp shooters like Rashad James and did surviving a Bonn comeback in the fourth slamming the door shut 83-79 as Erik Murphy hit big shots. The Fraport Skyliners found back to their sharp shooting ways shooting over 50% for 40 minutes and American Jason Clark continued to erase any doubt that there is a point guard problem as he dropped 18 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. “My game is feeling good. I´m continuing to work on my defense and make it a big part of my game while remaining aggressive on offense”, stressed ex Georgetown(NCAA) guard Jason Clark. “We played well together, shared the ball well and didn´t give up many offensive rebounds. They are a tough team and we knew that it wouldn´t be easy. We did a good job fighting to the end. We are starting to learn how to win games at the end”, stressed ex Baylor(NCAA) guard Brady Heslip. The Telekom Baskets took off the second quarter and just were unable to get consistent stops in the last minutes of the game. “We couldn´t get anything going in the first half. In the second half, Mayo got hot early and James at the end. We couldn´t get stops and stop the Murphy pick and pop”, added ex Temple(NCAA) guard TJ DiLeo.
4,520 fans came out on a late autumn day and witnessed the Telekom Baskets Bopnn break out on a quick 8-0 run to lead 8-3 as they demonstrated fine inside out basketball as Ra’shad James and Josh Mayo nailed huge tree´s and center Charles Jackson who one hauled down 20 plus rebounds in Turkey made a massive dunk as the injury to Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann was hurting them in the paint. However the Fraport Skyliners had their own offensive ideas as they thought what they can do we can do as they responded with a 7-0 run to dead lock the contest at 10-10. Frankfurt found daylight in the paint getting lay ups from Clark and Finish national player Shawn Huff and ex Chicago Bull Erik Murphy hit his bread and butter the trey. The Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to go inside and Jackson continued to get easy baskets and got to the free throw line. Clark remained very aggressive getting baskets in the paint as he was leading the charge on offense. Both teams were at eye level as nobody could make a real run and get away as the game was dead locked t 19-19. “We came out and matched their intensity. Bonn came out physical and we did a good job staying together on defense and sharing the ball on offense. We did an ok job on Jackson”, stressed Jason Clark. The Fraport Skyliners shot 57% from the field and 50% from outside and hauled down 6 rebounds and had 2 turnovers while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 46% from the field and 33% from outside and hauled down 7 rebounds and had 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners stepped up their game at both ends of the court scoring 26 points and allowing only 11 points having the commanding 45-30 advantage at the break. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t waste anytime getting going as it was the aggressive Jason Clark who made the Bonn paint area his own personal playground as he owned the basket scoring two baskets giving Frankfurt the 23-19 lead. Basketball is a game of runs and Bonn roared back taking the 25-24 lead as the Bonn bench contributed as ex Sacred Heart(NCAA) standout Shane Gibson hit a jumper and then found Dileo open for the trey. Frankfurt´s offense then took off led by point guard Jason Clark as they went on a 17-2 run to get their biggest lead of the game of 42-26. In the run Jason Clark gave the perfect point guard knowing when to finish and when to dish as he scored in the paint twice and found ex Alba Berlin guard Akeem Vargas for a trey while secret extra point guard Quantez Robertson found Heslip for two trey´s. The Telekom Baskets Bonn made a little ground in the last minute heading into the break with a 4-0 run as they continued to be aggressive on the offensive glass and got buckets from Jackson and German Yorman Polas. “We were rolling on offense hitting shots. And we also were getting stops and got on transition. When we can do that then we play well”, stressed Jason Clark.
The Fraport Skyliners held on to the lead in the third quarter, but could never really shake the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Both teams came out executing as Erik Murphy nailed a trey while Bonn got key buckets from Polas and a Mayo runner as Frankfurt led 49-34. On the Murphy trey, fans saw a nifty over the shoulder pass from Heslip as he showed that he can definitely do a lot more than just test the nettings of baskets. “That was a beautiful pass. I actually thought he would go the basket and lay it in. Passing the ball is one of his unlooked skills. He is a smart player that sees the floor well. I don´t know many guys that can make that pass”, stressed Jason Clark. Heslip almost seemed a bit embarrassed when asked about his pass and remained diplomatic on how he achieved it. “I just try to make the right play. He was hot and I like to find the open guy. I take a lot of pride on making the right play and not forcing it”, added Brady Heslip. Bonn started to heat up as they went on a 6-0 run getting back to back trey´s from James and Mayo cutting the Frankfurt lead down to 51-40. Frankfurt then started a trend which they would carry to the end for the most part consistently almost always finding a scoring answer when Bonn was threatening. After a Clark trey, Bonn got a runner from DiLeo who had just come into the game off the bench and a lay in from ex Ludwigsburg big Man Martin Breunig as Frankfurt led 56-49. But a Huff turn around shot gave Frankfurt a little momentum until James got the ball and drilled the ball home cutting the Frankfurt lead to 58-52. Bonn was threatening, but here came Frankfurt again getting a clutch three form Robertson as Frankfurt extended their lead to 61-52. DiLeo closed out the third quarter with a beautiful coast to coast run as Bonn was on Frankfurt´s heels trailing only 61-54. “We did a good job defending well and stayed poised while executing with our small ball”, stressed Jason Clark. “We brought the lead down from 15-7 points. We just continued to chip away”, stressed TJ DiLeo. The Fraport Skyliners shot 56% from the field and 46% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 48% from the field and 46% from the three point line and had 21 rebounds and 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Telekom Baskets Bonn made a big comeback to cut the Frankfurt lead down to one point, but couldn´t get over the hump. Brady Heslip got the Fraport Skyliners going quickly draining a catch and pop trey for the 64-54 lead. But the Telekom Baskets Bonn then broke out of their shell hitting Frankfurt with a 12-3 run as suddenly they were down only 67-66. In the run Bonn was aided by Frankfurt getting their fifth team foul at the 7.11 minute mark. They got 9 points on free throws from Polas, Jackson and Bojan Subotic. James Webb nailed a trey to add salt to the fire. But the Fraport Skyliners then played efficient basketball executing at a high rate and not allowing Bonn to get over the hump. Murphy would nail two vital three´s and hit three free throws staying in the way of the Telekom Baskets Bonn in their comeback attempt. The Telekom Baskets Bonn got a huge three of Subotic and two from James in their come back. After Clark hit only one of three free throws, it was James again nailing a deep trey tying the contest at 79-79. It seemed like all three were pretty much from the same spot. “He hit tough shots and I felt we played pretty good defense on him. We did a pretty good job on him in the first half, but he started to get hot in the second half. You can´t keep a shooter of his ability quiet for a whole game”, warned Jason Clark. Frankfurt then had some fortune as after Murphy hit only one of three free throws, Bonn couldn´t secure the rebound on the last free throw giving Frankfurt possession. It was only fitting that Murphy would fire home another three and did giving Frankfurt the 83-79 lead with 20 seconds to go. “Murphy was huge, but not only on offense, but also on defense making big plays with blocks and rebounds. When his shot is falling, he is hard to stop”, warned Jason Clark. James would have two more looks at the end, but on this day Frankfurt and Murphy clearly won the shooting duel over James. “We moved the ball well, played together and exploited their defense. We attacked them with our quickness and stretched the floor. It worked well as Murphy had many open shots”, added Erik Murphy. “We fought well until the end, but we were unable to make better decisions and be a little tighter of defense”, stressed TJ DiLeo. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Erik Murphy with 22 points. Jason Clark added 18 points, Brady Heslip 14 points and six assists and Akeem Vargas contributed 11 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Ra’shad James and Charles Jackson with 15 points a piece while Josh Mayo added 14 points and 5 dimes. The Fraport Skyliners shot 57% from the field and 50% from outside and grabbed 26 rebounds and had 16 turnovers while the Telekom baskets Bonn shot 45% from the field and 50% from outside and grabbed 29 rebounds and had 18 turnovers.
The last months have been like a long and never ending sweet dream for 2018 Los Angeles Lakers second round draft pick Isaac Bonga as he has been experiencing what life is like being part of one of the worlds most known basketball organizations. The new G-league season started a few days ago and until it did Bonga was able to catch NBA games at the end of the Lakers bench and experience the amazing atmosphere of the Staples center. For most it must be unimaginable what it must be like having conversations on a daily basis with the current greatest player on earth Lebron James, the best point guard of all-time Magic Johnson and Mr triple double Rajon Rondo at the Lakers training facility not to mention learning added vital basketball skills from South Bay player development coach once known as Ron Artest and now known as World Metta World Peace and head coach Coby Karl. Only four years ago Karl played his last professional season in Ludwigsburg as Bonga was a raw talent In Koblenz, Germany and a year away from starting his flight to the NBA via Frankfurt. Sometimes it is very interesting how basketball paths once so far away come together in only a few years. In the NBA and G-League world there isn´t much time to dream and get caught up and be distracted by all the legends walking around, but just focus on the game. That is something that Bonga has surprisingly done well despite the tender age of only 18 years. He had a non spectacular Summer league playing 7 games averaging 2.1ppg, 1.0rpg. His lack of minutes didn´t discourage him as he continued to work hard in the summer keeping the work ethic that he had in Frankfurt. He had his moments in the pre-season dropping 12 points, hauling down 9 boards and dishing out 5 assists against the Golden State Warriors. It was no surprise when he was sent to the Lakers G-League affiliate South Bay Lakers for grooming.
If there is a man on earth who has always listened to his wife then I want to meet that man, because I doubt he exists. Men have always been known as having difficulty listening when she is saying something worthwhile. So often men have gotten problems for being somewhere else with their thoughts when she was speaking to him, but then when she mentions that there was some breaking news about his favorite professional team just happened or if she says with fear that there is no beer left in the refrigerator suddenly a man´s listening skills improve 180 degree´s. It was 10.40 PM when I reached Telekom Baskets Bonn sniper Ra’shad James in his hotel after a tough 102-91 loss to FC Bayern Munich where he contributed 14 points and I had learned that he could give me some insight on to listening. Before I asked him about his new basketball home in Bonn and listening, I was a bit miffed why the club remained the night in Munich instead of traveling the 6 hours home on an early evening Sunday night game. Why they didn´t go home directly after the game didn´t interest me in the least, but moreover the interesting basketball career of James and his not usual character. He is one of those rare players that would rather spend an afternoon in Bonn visiting the Beethoven house or seeing the history of the Cologne cathedral instead of being locked away in his apartment and enjoying Play Station 5. The American traces his cultural curiosity back to growing up in tough White Plains, New York where he was raised by his mom and brother. “My life experience´s have made me the man that I am today. You have to be a special type of guy to survive in New York. You have that all for themselves mentality in New York. I saw the good, bad and ugly all at once. You come overseas and are put in a shell and you don´t trust anyone. But I´m glad that I have an outgoing personality and can adapt to new situations. I just love to see and learn about the world”, stressed Ra’shad James. I could of asked him right from the start about how he could help me cure my listening problem, but I waited until the end after learning more about his fascinating basketball career. James stated that one has to know that there is a difference between hearing and listening and did his best to assist with my problem. “I think that if you have a problem listening than you should just wait until the person is done talking. That is what I do. It is important to keep eye contact. A lot of people speak to react instead of responding”, stressed Rashad James. I took his advice and hope that it will help me in my future conversations with people. One thing is for sure the American most likely will never have any problems with head coach Predrag Krunic, because nothing that the Serb says will go in one ear and out the other.
Ra’shad James is a 28 year old 185cm guard who is in his sixth professional season and first in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He has gained valuable experience in countries like Korea, Poland, Croatia and Turkey and once scored 51 points in a G-League game. He began his basketball career at White Plans high school in New York and began his college career in 2008 with St.Thomas Aquinas (NCAA2) where he remained two years. His college career was interesting and unusual as he started in the NCAA 2, then played in the NCAA and finished back in the NCAA 2. That he would go places as a professional player later on was something he knew early on. “Since I had a ball in my hands, I always had a chip on my shoulder. I always thought that I was destined for greatness. My drive for greatness was already brewing”, said Ra’shad James. After two stellar years at St Thomas Aquinas he made the next step up to Iona in the NCAA, but his stay was short and unfulfilled. One can sense that he had some issues with the former club and had no time to play behind guards Lamont Jones and Sean Armand. “There was room for me there, but I had to wait my turn. I was in no position to wait. I thought I was ready then”, added Rashad James. Sometimes one has to make a step backwards to make two steps forward as Kameron Taylor learned last season going from Ehingen to Rhondorf and then to Wurzburg in the BBL. For James going back to the NCAA 2 and Northwood was the best decision he made in his life. He was fortunate to play for legendary ex Villanova head coach Rollie Massimino who won the 1985 NCAA title and had a 816-462 record in the NCAA. He played 32 games as a senior averaging 23.0ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 77.4% and will never forget Massimino who died in 2017 at the age of 82. “That year at Northwood was very rewarding. Coach Massimino taught me a lot about how to be an overall professional and how to approach the game. He also taught me to read the game better. I remember one thing that was mandatory with him was that you had to see him once a day. This really built the relationship. He taught me that there is a fine line between goodness and greatness. He always said no matter where you are in life, that you should always keep pushing and not to settle for only what is good”, warned Ra’shad James.
The American who lists guys like Isaiah Cannon, Isaiah Thomas and CJ Mccollum as the toughest guards he battled in the states began his professional career with the Reno Bighorns (D-League) playing 49 games averaging 7.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 24.7%, FT: 74.8%. That first season he scored in double figures in 17 games and showed signs of his scoring ability netting 21 points against Santa Cruz and 20 points against Ft Wayne. In the summer of 2014 he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas with the Sacramento Kings winning the title averaging 7.2ppg, 1.2rpg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 50%, FT: 80%. He played another season with Reno and this time took off as he played 46 games averaging 20.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 68.9%. He scored in double figures in 40 of 46 games and scored 20 points or more 22 times. He had big explosions against Texas with 51 points, 43 points against Santa Cruz and 42 points against Sioux Falls. “I thought that I was near to an NBA call up. I thought that I did a good job displaying my offensive abilities and I credit that to hard work. I did a great job that season, but it just didn´t work out getting to the NBA then. But I still have a lot more in the tank. I feel my future is bright as I continue to rise”, warned Ra’shad James. The American also remembers the 51 point scoring onslaught, but probably would only have been a side note had they lost. “It was one of those nights where I was in the zone. It really doesn´t matter how much I score and it is only important if we win. It was a great individual night, but it would have meant nothing to me had we lost”, added Ra’shad James.
In the summer of 2015 he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas again this time with the Portland Trail Blazers) playing 5 games averaging 6.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 46.4%. Instead of playing a third season in the G-league with the hopes of reaching the NBA, he decided to go overseas and would later return back to the G-League. It was a whirlwind season as he began with Dongbu Promy (Korea-KBL) playing 15 games averaging 9.9ppg, 2.2rpg, 2FGP: 45.9%, 3FGP: 41.9%, FT: 63.4% and in Nov.’15 moved to AZS Koszalin (Poland-TBL) playing 14 games averaging 16.1ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 46.7%, 3FGP: 34.6%, FT: 67.2%, left in Feb.’16, later that month signed at Westchester Knicks (D-League) playing 17 games averaging 15.8ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 73.2%. It was all in all a long season, but he remembers it as an important learning experience that he handled well. “The experiences I had in those places helped me understand the game better. I had ups and downs, but I stuck with it and came out on top”, added Ra’shad James. In the summer of 2016 he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas once again this time with the Milwaukee Bucks) and shone in 5 games averaging 14.2ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0spg. However he decided to go back overseas and played with top Croatian team KK Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia-A1) where he played in three leagues with the Croatian league playing 11 games averaging 11.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 89.5%; played 31 Adriatic League games averaging 9.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 84.1%; and played 11 Eurocup games averaging 11.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 75.0%. He made his European break through and played very well in the Eurocup. He was teammates with ex Uconn stand out Ryan Boatright another guy who should have been in the NBA and wasn´t. “Ryan is my guy. We had a good relationship on and off the court. I had a great time there with a first class organization. Ryan and I want to be in the NBA, but it´s all about timing. It is our job as a professional to keep working and see the light one day and get that opportunity”, stated Ra’shad James. Last season he played in Turkey with Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-BSL, starting five) playing 30 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 75.0%. It was probably stat wise his best season in Europe, but one has to wonder why a guy like James after his strong season in Croatia hasn´t got the opportunity to display his abilities for another Eurocup team or possibily even a Euroleague club. James knows it isn´t any different getting that opportunity in the Euroleague than it is in the NBA or any other desired job in life. “Getting the chance with a Euroleague team is all about timing. I think that Euroleague opportunity will come sooner than later, but I´m not wavering on it”, warned Rashad James. It was a memorable time in Turkey not only because he found a cat in his car engine saved it and called it engine and has brought it to Bonn. “The season didn´t work out the way I wanted it as my team moved down. But we had a great group of guys, my game was solid and it did get me to Bonn which I´m thankful for”, said Rashad James.
Now the American who has been described to NBA players like Russell Westbrook, Eric Bledsoe and Monta Ellis calls Bonn home. He also had no problems taking the job as he was more than impressed by the organization. “It was welcoming for me. It was eye opening for me and really helped me with my decision when coach Krunic personally called me at home. The teams are very competitive in the BBL and it is a great plateau for me to showcase my abilities there and in the BCL”, stressed Ra’shad James. Despite the addition of many new faces, the Telekom Baskets Bonn have held their own and are a force to be reckoned with this season. “Our success is due to being able to push the ball out on transition as well as having quick guards that can get up and down the court and we have good bigs. We have a solid roster where everyone is giving their all. Everything is clicking”, warned Rashad James. The American is content that head coach Krunic has believed in his abilities and given him an important role. “My role is just to lead. I have been around the block and just want to sue my abilities on offense and defense and help my team win. I like the up and down style that we play. The tempo we play suits my game. Coach has helped me find good positions to score in the right ways”, added Rashad James. Even if he is known as being a lethal scorer, he doesn´t want to have that label plastered on his forehead. “Every guard has to score. I don´t want to be seen as one dimensional. I offer so many other things on the court”, stressed Ra’shad James. Even if he is in his sixth season and has seen it all, he won´t shy away from his fellow teammate Josh Mayo and soak in as much as he can. He knows that having greatness can only be achieved by still being able to learn something new. “I can always learn from Josh. That is the great thing about basketball, because you can learn something new each day. I will take anything from a guy that will make the game easier for me. I´m a student of the game”, warned Rashad James. He is off to another big start as he was the last two seasons in Croatia and Turkey as in Germany he is averaging 14,5ppg in the Basketball Champions League and 17,4ppg in the BBL and shooting 36,7% from downtown. His recipe for consistent success is very simple. “My success comes from being consistent and working hard in the off season. I´m always trying to add new things to my game while sharpening the things that your great at. Every season there are guys trying to take your spot so I´m always in the gym”, said Rashad James. The BBL season is still young and Rashad James will surely land in the top 10 in scoring at the end of the season and be instrumental for the success of the Telekom Baskets Bonn. But in March 2019 is the BBL allstar day and there have been rumors that the league already has James inked as a slam dunk competitor as he can fly and dunk like no other, but becoming a dunk legend in Germany after one season would be nice, but being able to achieve greatness in his mind really only depends if you get that chip. “It would be humbling and honor to be seen as a dunk legend in Germany, but it really doesn´t mean anything to me. I am a competitor at heart and at the end of the day it´s about winning games and titles. That is my most important goal”, warned Ra’shad James. Winning titles in Bonn is a sore spot, because they are still waiting for that first championship and in a way are like the NFL´s Buffalo Bills as they have reached five league finals and three cup finals and still haven´t won. Even if the club stay winless again, fans will be content and have been enriched not only by the play of Rashad James, but by his worldly character and unbelievable will wanting to win as he will have proven that not settling for goodness but greatness has made Ra’shad James the player he is today