Injuries Have Taken Away So Much From Ronald Roberts That He Is Grateful Each Day That He Is Able To Play With Science City Jena

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ronald Roberts meet in Frankfurt

Ronald Roberts is a 27 year old 203cm forward from Bayonne, New Jersey that is playing his fifth professional season and first with Science City Jena. Last season he played with Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel-Winner League) playing 28 games averaging 10.8ppg, 7.3rpg, FGP-1 (75.3%), FT: 67.6%; and played 4 Eurocup games averaging 8.3ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0bpg. Two seasons ago he played with Tofas Bursa (Turkey-BSL): playing 10 games averaging 11.7ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 64.5%, FT: 64.0%. He played his first two professional seasons in the States and was with the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors, but played primarily in the G-League with Delaware, Santa Cruz and the Raptors 905. He played at St.Joseph’s (NCAA) from 2010-2014 playing a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 14.4ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 60.0%, FT: 59.5%. He spoke to before a game against the Fraport Skyliners.

Ronald thanks for talking to Congrats on signing with Science City Jena. You have so many legends as teammates that could tell you great stories, but what many might not know is that Shaq was born in Bayonne and grew up next door in Newark. Do you have any stories about Shaq or have you even bumped into him in your lifetime?

The only thing that I can say is that he went to Horace Mann elementary school. I also went there and can just remember all the kids just saying that Shaq went there. Everybody always talked about him. I think he goes back to Newark more than he does to Bayonne.

Last season you played against FC Bayern Munich losing. Is this now your second time in Germany or have you been here before?

My first or second Eurocup game was against FC Bayern Munich. I remember that at that time I was in between teams. I was coming off a long layoff and wasn’t really in game shape. Despite that, I played very good in Munich and it was my Eurocup break out game.

You have only played in Turkey and Israel previously before coming to Jena. What has been your impression of the German easyCredit BBL in comparison to the other countries that you have played in in Europe?

I think the German league is a pretty good league. I think that it is more similar to Turkey. There are more scorers in Germany whereas in Turkey you have less the top scorers like here. The league is more balanced in Germany whereas in Israel you have top heavy teams, but then there is a drop off.

You have come to a team that has been losing this season. How tough has it been coming in so late and having to produce as best you can?

To be honest the thing that I’m most happy about now that I can be playing for Science City Jena. I am so grateful that I can wake up every day and go to the gym and play basketball. I want to win as many games as possible with this club. It really hasn’t been difficult coming into this tough situation. I just want to win as much as possible and build off each win.

You have joined a team with many amazing legends like Derrick Allen, Dru Joyce, Immanuel Mcelroy and Julius Jenkins. Three are 38 years ago. You’re a young buck compared to them at age 27. Had you heard of anyone one of them or even knew one personally before coming in?

To be honest I didn’t know or had heard of anyone here. But I’m really glad to be able to ab around each guy and learn as much as possible. 

Obviously all four players give their special twist to the team, but if you had to chose one player that has impressed you the most who would it be? Possibly the relentless work ethic of D.A?

Yes D.A is crazy. I was just about to mention him before you did. He comes to work every day like a 25 year old ready to play. He has this special bounce to his step and is always very prepared physically and mentally. It is always good to see a special player like that and to learn as much as possible from and to be able to look up to him. 

You have needed no adjustment period coming to Science City Jena and you have accepted your role and played it very well. What has been your secret to being able to fit in so well?

With me it is just the desire to want to play hard. That is the kind of player I am. I have that relentless attitude to be able to fit in anywhere. I try to focus on defense and get as many rebounds as possible and let the game come to me.

Science City Jena is in a real battle to stay in the league. Do you feel like the team has less pressure simply because of that experience factor and how confident are you that the team will remain in the league?

I don’t feel any pressure. We will be fine. We will stay in the league and haven’t been thinking of anything else. I have never been in that situation where a team has been in the situation of being sent down. It doesn’t look good and I don’t want it to happen. We know what is at stake, but feel no pressure. There are still many games left and we will be prepared.

What kind of experience has it been playing for Bjoern Harmsen who is a big Pat Riley fan and already wrote books at a young age. What have you appreciated most about his coaching style?

Coach is very smart. He just knows how to do everything right. If it’s about getting on guys or talking to them. He also knows when he has to be more calm with a player. He also knows when to yell at a guy. He simply gets the best out of his players. I really like his coaching style. 

You have so many great experienced players that have played in Germany plus you have the experienced ex NBA player Reggie Williams. What has been the most interesting conversation that you have had with him concerning basketball?

We came in at the same time and we know that we need to win. Winning is all that we talk about. We were brought to Jena to help win games. We always give each other that look about having to win. We both know that that is most important.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 203cm forward that can score and rebound the ball at ease. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?

I’m not really sure. Maybe someone like a Kenneth Farried or a Tristan Thompson. I’m a undersized big man that always brings energy and works hard. I think that I probably have a better mid range jumper than they do at this level. My mid range jumper is something that I continue to work on 

On many other teams you would be one of the oldest, but with Science City Jena you’re the ninth oldest. What kind of role do you have? Do you have any duties that you can perform where you incorporate your experience despite having so many experienced players?

I don’t feel like that rests on my shoulders. I have always been a hard worker and am more of a listener than talker. I listen as much as I can and have always led by example and not been so vocal. 

You have been known as being an extreme good hustler. What other area’s in your game do you take a lot of pride in on the court?

Just that hustling. I play with a lot of energy and use that as my motor to my advantage. My hustling on the court is my biggest attribute. 

Now at age 27 what are things are you most working on to continue to improve your game? Is there a particular teammate that has helped you craft your game?

Just my shot really. They say that the older you get the more you have to extend your shot. I continue to work on that. Thank God that I still have my athleticism, but that will fade away one day. So that is why I continue to always work on my shot. 

Last season you played with Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel-Winner League) playing 28 games avergaing 10.8ppg, 7.3rpg, FGP-1 (75.3%), FT: 67.6%; and played 4 Eurocup games averaging 8.3ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0bpg. Americans are always raving about the incredible lifestyle in Israel. What was your coolist experience in Israel that you will never forget?

Just being able to live in the Holy Land in Jerusalem. Not many Americans can say that they had the opportunity to live there in their lifetime. I saw so many amazing things while playing for Hapoel. I remember going to the Holy Sea the lowest point on earth. I was blessed to have been able to learn something new each day. As an American you always read so much about Israel, but then to be living there is cool. Israel is a very beautiful country. 

What kind of experience was it being teammates with ex NBA player and experienced Euroleague player Tarence Kinsey. Was he one of those teammates that you will never forget having?

I will never forget him. He is a great guy and a guy I looked up to. I really respect his career and also having played with the Cavs and with Lebron James. When I was there, he had been slowed down by injuries, but the guy can still play at a high level. 

Two seasons ago you played with Tofas Bursa (Turkey-BSL) playing 10 games averaging 11.7ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 64.5%, FT: 64.0%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?

That season was tough. I was away from my girlfriend and family. In college I was only 1.45 minutes away from home so I could see my parents every now and then. In Turkey it was basketball that kept me going. I just stayed in the gym. Basketball is what we live for. Bursa was a good experience for me. 

You had the fortune of having very experienced teammates where ever you have been in Europe. In Turkey you were teammates with ex Depaul (NCAA) stand out Sammy Mejia. What was your special story with him that you will never forget?

The funny thing is that Sammy and I have similar back rounds. We are both form the Dominican Republic. He was a nice guy and good leader. I also learned a lot from him. He is a few years older than Kinsey, but like him can still play at a high level. 

You played your first two seasons in the states being with the 76ers and Raptors, but spent the majority of your time in the G-League. What was the best example in those two years where you saw that the NBA is a business no matter what?

I never talked about this, but I was very close to making the Toronto Raptors. It was shortly before training camp and Anthony Bennett was released by the Timberwolves. He had a guaranteed contract while I didn’t. So he took my roster spot. I had no chance. That is when I knew that the NBA is strictly a business.

You had the kind of mind-boggling G-League stats that should have warranted a NBA call up. Do you feel like you were close at one time or did injuries curtail it?

In my second year in the G-League, I was the number one player in the league. But then I got hurt. Teams didn’t know I was hurt. I actually had two call ups on the table. So my agent had to inform the teams that I was hurt. I have had so many unfortunate injuries in my career, but I am so grateful I am playing now. When I think back at all the times when I was at home and was rehabbing, is when I am really grateful that I am playing somewhere like now.

Was your 39 point game and 19 rebound game against Reno your best professional game? What memories do you have of this game?

I don’t know if that was my best professional game. The Reno defense was a little weak. Their press was horrible. I just did what I had to do. I got a lot of easy baskets that game. It looked good on paper, but I got a lot of easy baskets because of their strange playing style.

After two seasons in Europe, are you concentrating on winning titles and making money in Europe or is there still a back door open to the NBA?

I’m not sure. I’m taking it day by day. I’m not even thinking of the future. The most important thing in my career now is my health. So much has been taken away from me concerning my health.

You played at St.Joseph’s (NCAA) from 2010-2014. Was winning the Atlantic 10 tournament in 2014 closing out your career your biggest highlight there scoring 15 points and posting 11 boards in the win against VCU?

Winning the title was my biggest achievement there. We had had the same core of guys and the first few years were tough. To be together four years and then get rewarded at the end was great. Winning that championship was everything for us.

You played four seasons with Langston Galloway. What were your fondest memories with him and would you welcome being teammates as professionals down the road?

He is a great guy and one of the best persons that I have ever met. He is a really good person and comes from a good family. I loved playing with him and he is one of my good friends. I talk to him all the time and see him in the off season. I would love to be teammates with him again. 

In your senior year, you saw a young freshman by the name of Deandre Bembry come in. If someone had told you then that he would land in the NBA later would you have believed it? 

Yes I would have believed it. I remember how he played in the first workout. He was killing in that first workout. I remember thinking he is really good. Mentally he was ready as a freshman and picked up on the plays and college basketball a lot quicker than I did. That really impressed me then.

Do you see him becoming a consistent NBA lifer after having two tough seasons with Atlanta?

I think that he will be in time. He is a good player. I feel that the more he gets out there and people see him play and take more notice, then he will stick. He has had tough injuries.

You took part at the NCAA Final 4 slam dunk contest. What kind of experience was that and what memories do you have of that?

I feel I got robbed. There were around six guys that took part. The most notable guys that you might know are Adrien Payne and Corey Jefferson. I felt that they didn’t have the best judges. There were hockey and football people that did the judging. Plus Avery Johnson was also a judge who wasn’t really known as a dunker in the NBA. No disrespect to him, but it was what it was. 

How did head coach Phil Martelli groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at St.Joseph’s (NCAA)?

He was just a genuine guy. He was straight forward and just told me how it was. He always told me how to do things better. I see him every summer. I’m glad that I went there and wouldn’t have changed the experience for anything.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Halil Kanacevic?

We used to go at it all the time. We had good 1-1 games. But what I liked most about him was his passing. He was a great passer and I loved it when he threw up alley-ops to me.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

Andrew Nicholson. He was a tough player. He was two years older than I was. I couldn’t do anything with him. He was a very efficient player that could shoot, had a nice jump hook and could use bot hands well. 

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

I would take my college teammates because we were together so long. 

If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?

Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaq and Wilt Chamberlain.

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

Lebron James is the best player ever. Jordan has the wins. But in order to get those wins, you need to have the teammates. You can’t have just one player to win the title, but need to have teammates as well.

You saw first hand how much talent Luka Doncic has last season. When all is said and done, could be on of the greatest European players that ever played in the NBA?

I think that he is off to a good start. He needs to go up a notch each season and stay healthy. It will be interesting to see what happens.

What was the last movie that you saw?


Thanks Ronald for the chat.

Current Basketball Affairs With Pete Strobl Episode 1

Pete Strobl has been around the European basketball scene for 20 years having had a stellar professional basketball career and now is an assistant coach for German easyCredit BBL team ratiopharm Ulm. He played at Niagara (NCAA) from 1997-2000 and then had a 9 year professional playing career that took him to countries like Germany, Austria, France, Ireland, Iceland and Switzerland. He founded The Scoring Factory in Pittsburgh and wrote a must read book called Backspin. He is a very interesting basketball mind that doesn´t shy away from speaking his mind especially on Twitter. German Hoops and Pete Strobl will team up every few weeks talking basketball with the title “Current basketball affairs with Pete Strobl. You can follow Pete Strobl on twitter @petestrobl

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Pete Strobl in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt

1. You’ve really stood out lately with some of your twitter posts on social media and have made some pretty cool observations about all kinds of interesting topics regarding the European basketball landscape. What inspires you to tackle these controversial areas?

I was pretty excited when we advanced to the top 16 of the EuroCup, and equally frustrated when we didn’t make it to the next round of playoffs. I remember thinking that I wanted a better way to interact with our fans and just kind of let my personality and joy for the game come across. I also want to share knowledge with all of our coaches, players and their families at The Scoring Factory in Pittsburgh. I watch numerous games every week from a variety of leagues and it’s enjoyable to highlight some of the things that stand out to me for the benefit of people who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to see what I get to see. I love dissecting basketball strategy as well as diving into the little details that allow players to create an advantage. When I tweet certain plays or actions, it’s for the benefit of a multitude of players and coaches so that this knowledge that I’m accumulating here in Europe has a chance to trickle down on that side of the Atlantic too. As you know, The Scoring Factory is very near and dear to my heart and Player Development is something that I’ve always been passionate about. As far as being controversial, I’m not the type of guy to purposely start an argument or say anything negative, but I don’t have a problem speaking the truth and stimulating healthy debate in order to ignite positive change even if it momentarily makes people feel uncomfortable.

2. In one tweet in particular, you mentioned that you would be interested in joining Magenta Sport to do a bilingual broadcast of a BBL game. Do you see a demand for this in Germany?

Let me be crystal clear here and make it known that I absolutely love the work that Telekom and Magenta Sport are doing. Our league has benefited tremendously from the overall production value, and the quality of the telecasts is phenomenal. In the tweet you’re referring to, I was replying to a friend, Benni Zander, who I think does great work and brings a ton of energy and excitement to the games. Germany is currently going through a critical growth phase and it’s vital that the momentum continues in the right direction. My suggestion of joining to do a special broadcast in which I speak English and the main commentator speaks German, providing a little something for everybody, was not just a joke or an empty offer. I would honestly love to do something like that and I think it could play a small role in continuing to help raise awareness the game. Germany is a special place with the strength of the current economic climate and the history of American GI’s staying here after their time in the service. In that regard it’s unlike many other European countries and is very open to foreign language and culture. Combine that with the fact that each team in the Bundesliga has roughly 6 foreigners with families, friends and fans that want to watch and follow their games. There’s an untapped market of English speakers around the world that definitely would enjoy watching games from our league with at least a little bit in their own language. I know that you’ve done some work broadcasting games in English in the past for some international games, so I’m sure you agree that there’s a demand for this as well. Who knows, maybe someday you and I broadcast some games together!

3. This is your third season now as the top assistant coach for ratiopharm ulm and you’ve been a part of some beautiful basketball. How do you see the team finishing this season and what are your plans for the future?

The entire experience here has been wonderful and I’ve learned from the good times as well as the bad. I think it’s important to take everything in and really master your environment in order to better prepare for the future. Obviously winning 27 games in a row and setting the league record is a fond memory that I’ll never forget. But being a part of an organization like ratiopharm ulm that is so consistently dedicated toward success has been a blessing. I’m honored that Thorsten Leibenath brought me and my family here and I’ve learned so much on this journey. I hope we continue to grow and finish the season with a strong push to make a deep run in the playoffs. There’s more parity in our league than ever before and there’s a traffic jam of teams vying for the playoffs. I’m confident in our players and look forward to doing something special this season. Although it’s not yet the right time to think about what comes after this season, I’ll answer your question by saying that my goal is to be a head coach. I’ve had a chance to experience the highs and lows on one of the biggest stages of European basketball here, and I’m in love with each aspect of building and leading a team. I embrace the daily grind and enjoy the work involved with cultivating a culture with a comprehensive environment of success. My goal is to find a team that wants somebody like me and then to reward their trust. Whenever I get that chance, people will see a team overachieve through hard work, discipline, positive communication and consistent leadership. I want to do things the right way with respect for the game and work toward winning championships!

Thanks Pete for your insight about current topics.

The Dragons Rhondorf Need Drastic Support From The Germans ASAP

What do the Dragons Rhondorf have to do to get a complete team effort when it counts most now in the basketball life changing 2019 playdowns? They could use a huge 25 point game from one of the German role players to get them to life or even a tirade from a Zygimantas Riauka to get his teammates going which is something that would be interesting to watch. Something has to start to shake now for the Dragons Rhondorf or next season could be a totally new experience. How about making a new starting line up something they delved into recently bringing the double double beast Riauka from the bench or heck how about sneaking a TJ Dileo onto the court sporting some kind of a carnival mask as his added leadership skills could do wonders for a team that is falling fast. Next season the Dragons Rhondorf will be driving towards Frankfurt on the A-66 and have the city skyline always getting bigger and bigger as they roll closer and closer, but the adrenaline and tension of the up coming game might just not be as nerve wracking as this season, but shortly before the so called destination of the BCM gym, the team van might take a turn onto the A-5 highway and instead of heading to battle Pro B club Fraport Skyliners Juniors and their refreshing talents of Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue and aaron Kayser could be chugging towards the small towns Kronberg or Langen as instead of battling for standings points in the German Pro B, could be battling for a new identity a step down in the Regionaliga. Last weekend, the Dragons Rhondorf played their first of six playdown games and gave up valuable ground in the playdown standings losing a bitter affair in Cologne 77-68.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and double double beast Zygimantas Riauka

                The season of the Dragons Rhondorf was on the line going into the playdowns and with every new loss, their Pro B future continues to get a bit more clouded like an Oklahoma citizen trying to find their way in a wind storm and more complicated as the only thing that counts now are wins and not excuses. One could have thought that going into the game against the RheinStars, they had more than learned from their annoying and embarrassing loss at home shortly before Christmas 89-85, a game they should of won, but when it came down most to getting a win they couldn´t produce. Bitter also was that they had won their only meeting in Cologne early in the season 77-67 and they must of gone into the game with some kind of self confidence. Back on November 10th, 2018 they played an all-around sound game and the way they should play in these so critical playdowns. They had balanced scoring something that has been a huge sore point this season as four guys scored in double figures, had a huge grip on the rebounding winning that with ease and hitting seven three´s and playing good defense. In their second go around in Cologne there was nothing of that. The only bright spot in Cologne yesterday were their two stars Zygimantas Riauka and Kwan Waller who did serious damage, but that was it. Ok so a James Harden is able to single-handendly win a game, but then again who risks and has the balls to take 35-40 shots a game. Not too many. Even the fine oiled ship of the Golden State Warriors can´t only rely on a Steph Curry for the heroics and need other heads to step up. Even NBA super stars like a Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will have off nights in the scoring department, but then players like Kevon Looney or a Jonas Jerebko have the talent and wit to come forward with the needed input. Those kind of role players that can consistently score this season have been missing for Rhondorf.

                 In the so crucial Playdown game one for the Dragons Rhondorf, they played a sound first half in Cologne having the 39-35 lead at the half or was it so sound? When you have two Pro B superstars with a Riauka and Waller, they can definitely dominate a half, but a whole game? In the Pro B you simply need more than two guys that can score. The turning point of the game came in the third quarter as the RheinStars Cologne took off on a 24-10 run and would never look back. At the end of the day one won´t remember the stellar play of the Riauka and Waller who combined for an overwhelming 59 points on 47% shooting from the field. What more do these two guys have to do to get their team the win? Riauka was in massive beast mode giving those Shaq like stats from his hey day with 27 points and 23 boards, 2 assists and 3 steals and 6 offensive rebounds while Waller stroked home 32 points and had that Harden like shot selection with 34 “let me fire away ok, if no one else will” and also added 3 assists and 4 steals. But that was it. Back in the first meting in Cologne in November, there was so much more balance in the attack as Riauka and Waller combined only for 23 points while their steady teammates combined for 54 points. Just getting half of that contribution from the team per game now in the playdowns would be like a miracle. In the loss in Cologne on Saturday, the team got a pathetic measly 9 points from the rest of the team. With team production like that, any team except for maybe the Golden State Warriors will always have problems winning the game. The Dragons Rhondorf didn´t leave Cologne totally without bright signs, but then again all the negative stats that they produced must have been enough for head coach Thomas Adelt to decline from having anything yummy on Sunday as he must of lost his appetite. Rhondorf had lost just about every stat to the RheinStars. Cologne shot better from the field and from outside as Rhondorf countered at 38% and 14% while they were also crippled under the boards losing the effort fight 57-45. The only positive stats was taking care of the ball as they only suffered 5 turnovers and were aggressive on defense with 12 steals and forcing the opponent to 16.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Kwan Waller

 But the big difference and biggest handicap for the Dragons Rhondorf has simply been the needed production from their German role players that have lacked the consistency that the Boston Celtics haven´t been able to handle this season. Cologne best player is American Tucker Haymond who has had Rhondorf´s number all season long averaging 25 points per game in all three games, but at least they get sound production from many players. The club got 10 points from German Benedikt Van Laack and 9 points from Jan Zimmermann. Jan who? He is a 28 year old Regionalliga journey man with teams like Baskets Ludenscheid or SG Sechtem 1971 who has found a second life with the RheinStars in the Pro B giving needed support from the bench. It also didn´t hep Rhondorf´s fortune that ex player Thomas Michel added 13 points. That is the big difference. Rhondorf need more production from the guys that can do it like Julian Jasinki, Yannick Knneesch and Alex Moeller, but for some reason can´t now when it counts most. A big disappointment has been 36 year old Regionalliga star Anish Sharda who never averaged less than 18,9ppg in the Regionalliga in the last four years. He proved on many occasions in the Pro B in Mainz, Langen and Hanau that he can be that double figures scorer, but with Rhondorf is averaging 6,5ppg, 2,5rpg and 2,5apg which is simply too little when a club is treading water to stay in the Pro B. The guy can play, but hasn´t broken out the way everyone had wanted. Double bitter also was that the Dragons Rhondorf could have made valuable ground on their biggest Playdown opponent Wurzburg, because they lost against BBC Coburg. Instead of continuing to have that head to head battle with Wurzburg, they now are staring into the rear view mirror of the RheinStars that have given up the cellar position and have one win more than Rhondorf. There are 5 games left and the Dragons Rhondorf desperately  need a win next weekend at home against ex top coach Eric Detlev and Wurzburg. Rhondorf had a 1-1 record this season, but the good news is that they won the last meeting at home 73-61 a few weeks ago giving one of their best performances of the season. The Dragons Rhondorf need a win this weekend period. They are treading water now and with a loss and a Cologne win most likely will sink into the Regionalliga.

Playing With Belfius Mons-Hainaut Has Helped Joel Ekamba Ey´Oombe Handle Pressure On And Off The Court

Joel Ekamba-Ey’Oombe is a 18 year old 190cm guard playing for Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Euromillions League). He is a huge talent from Belgium that played at the European Championships U16 Division B in Sofia (Bulgaria) in 2017 playing 7 games averaging 10.1ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 69.2%. He recently was a Belgian Supercup Finalist. He talked to about basketball.

Joel thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life for you?

thanks Miles right now am at my apartment in Mons playing Nba 2k and taking care of my body

Your parents are form Congo, Africa and you grew up in Belgium. Talk a little about your early childhood? 

Yes my parents are from Congo but I was born and raised in Brussels Belgium . I had a normal childhood with my brother and sister 

What was the deciding moment where you knew that basketball would be your passion and when did you start playing?

I started at a very young age I was 6 or 7 years in my local team back then my big brother used to play a swell so I picked it up from him

You played at the European Championships U16 Division B in Sofia (Bulgaria) in 2017 playing 7 games averaging 10.1ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 69.2%. What kind of experience was this for you?

It was a nice experience for me playing against the best players from other countries I can’t wait for this season I will proudly represent my country well again.

You had a very solid showing at the European Championships U16 Division B in Sofia (Bulgaria). How do you feel has your game matured in the last two seasons?

The last 2 season I worked on my body and being more stronger and athletic. I also have been working on my 3pts shot and being able to run a team as a PG . Finishing around the basket and being able to find my teammates everywhere on the court 

What top players do you remember from the European Championships U16 Division B in Sofia (Bulgaria) that you played against then? What players impressed you the most? 

Nikos Rogkavopoulos 

You are playing with Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Euromillions League) having played a few professional games and also for the junior team. What kind of experience has it been being part of this organization? 

It’s a huge experience being able to play already at my age with pro players Mons gave me the opportunity to be around pro players and learn a lot from them. 

How important is it for you having the opportunity to get good minutes with the Belfius Mons-Hainaut junior team? How is the season going and how is your game developing there? 

I am averaging 20pts a game and the junior team is very important because I still learn a lot playing with my junior team , my teammates make me better and I make them better . I am getting more confident and I have the freedom to play my game there.

How important has it been being able to practice with Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Euromillions League) and play games. What part of your game has benefited most from it? 

I can say it helped me learn and keep learning how to handle the pressure on and off the court . It helps me learn how to be more mature in my game and make smart decisions on and off the court 

How has your teammate Idris Lasisi helped you the most on and off the court? He is a 30 year old veteran and has seen a lot in his basketball career? 

I think more on the leadership side. He gives me good advice to become the best player I can be.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 191cm guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description? 

I am actually not 191cm anymore , I grew up a lot from the last summer am now 194cm . If I had to compare my game to someone in the NBA I will say Victor Oladipo.

James Harden is a role model for you. What do you like most about his game and what things from his game do you try to incorporate into your game? 

I like how he shuts down his defenders and his ability to create for himself and his teammates. Those are skills am working on to improve in my game.

What are your biggest strengths on the court and on what part of your game are you working the most on?

I am a strong one on one player. I like to play fast breaks and finish in transition with or no pressure I can run a team and call plays. My court vision is something that’s getting better and my outside shot as well.

Your goal is the NBA. How big is your passion and drive for this to happen in the future? 

Very big. I even quite school earlier so I can focus to work on my game and become a pro to reach my goals Which are to play in the NBA 

Who is the toughest guy that you battled in your life that is playing in the NBA or at a high level in Europe? 

Garlon Green

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

Noe Botuli , Vrenz , Harris , servaas and me

If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick? 

Victor Oladipo, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo

What is your personal opinion about the neverending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

Michael Jordan for me was the Goat at his prime time but I think today LeBron James is the greatest player in the world 

What was the last movie that you saw?

High flying bird

Thanks Joel for the chat.

Montrael Scott Can Be One Of The Best Defenders In The Pro B

Montrael Scott is a 25 year old 190cm guard playing in his fourth professional season and first with the VfL Sparkassenstars Bochum (Germany-ProB). Last season he played with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games Score-3 (18.8ppg), 7.0rpg, Assists-5 (5.6apg), 2.1spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 72.2%. He played his first two professional seasons in Kosovo for Golden Eagle Ylli (Kosova-SuperLeague) playing 15 games: Score-2 (20.8ppg), 4.7rpg, Assists-2 (5.5apg), Steals-1 (3.6spg), FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 70.0% and for KB Trepca Mitrovice (Kosovo-SuperLeague) playing 27 games averaging 14.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 4.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.6%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 68.4%;and played 9 Balkan League games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 78.3%. He began his basketball career with Prairie View A&M (NCAA) in 2011 playing a total of 124 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 15.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.8apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 74.7%. He spoke to about his basketball career.

Montrael thanks for talking to Your playing your second season in Germany after playing your first two seasons in Kosovo. Has Germany become like a second home for you or could Kosovo give Germany a good run for the money?

Man that’s a tough decision but I’m going to have to say Germany has become like a second home for me. Mostly because of the country itself. From living in Essen last year to now Bochum, I have been shown nothing but love.

Congrats on reaching the playoffs with the VfL AstroStars Bochum (Germany-ProB). How thrilled are you have made this achievement after having the tough season last year with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets where you had great stats, but the team didn’t perform well? 

Man words can’t even describe how excited I am to achieve one of my goals for this season. Yet, it’s still work to be done and a lot of basketball left. Last season we were great before Christmas break and after we lost a key player. Those guys that I played with in Essen were by far great guys and even better teammates. We just fell short. Now this year, I’m looking to help Bochum make a deep run in playoffs. 

It was an exciting last game day in the Pro B North. Bochum snuck in with a 81-79 win against the Sixers. How did you survive the last minute and what was key for getting the win? 

Game was a great one and hard fought by our ball club. Survived the last minute by locking in on defense and getting stops. The key to winning was our IDENTITY!! Last game, we got back to that and we came out on top. We still have work to be done as well.

The VfL AstroStars Bochum (Germany-ProB) had a solid 9-5 record at the Christmas break, but went 2-6 after that. What did the team get away from in this phase? The team gave up 80 points or more in each game. 

We basically just got away from who we were and what we were known best to do. Our identity and our aggression is what we got away from. Also, having fun and being confident in ourselves. Just the minor things are what we got away from but we are back now. 

Do you feel the last regular season win and new coaches with Felix Engel and Petar Topalski will give the team continued added energy as it plays the playoffs? 

First Lets not discredit the work and job Gary Johnson did from day one with this team and putting us in the position to be great. Now with Felix and Petar being the new coaches, nothing’s changed but us being the team we were when we had the great start to the season. With their coaching and enthusiasm, we are going to have hell of energy because our goal was to make playoffs and fight to move up to Pro A. 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Montrael Scott after he dropped 19 points in Frankfurt

You start in the playoffs against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. How excited are you to playing against a team that has many young German talents and what will be key to getting the win? 

I don’t have much knowledge on them but Bochum did play them first round last year so I’m eager to play against them. I have watched film on them and they play very fast plus have high intensity. Key to winning is just us playing together and playing full 40 minutes of Bochum basketball. Our identity will be the key for us during our playoff run. 

It is rare to see Spaniards in the German leagues and even rarer to see two Spaniards on one team. How important have your teammates Alberto Del Hoyo and Eduard Arques been for the success and what have you appreciated most about their play? 

Al and Edu are very important to the success we’ve had thus far. Al is the spark plug when we need a quick 3 or slash to the goal. Edu is in my eyes one of the best foreign bigs in the league. He can score around the basket whenever. Love those guys like their my own brothers. It’s always amazing to see them play because Spanish guys play with a different style of play and it is fun to watch.

How much did you appreciate the game of Felix Engel? How much of a void has his season ending been for the team on the court and how has he mastered his new job coaching as of now? 

Felix was one of the main reasons I chose to sign with Bochum this year. I watched him all last season and love his game plus his intensity a lot. There is a void there most certainly because you need that primary playmaker on the court at times. So at times, it shows in our games when we need that but I do my best to fill that void when I can. He has the coaching mastered from his coaching career with the young kids but he brings a different vibe and he can relate to us as well. So I think he had and will master it plus help us during this playoff push. 

How important has Mark Gebhardt been this season and how will his creating continue to be vital with guys like Felx Engel departed and Marco Buljevic injured? 

Mark is one of our captains and best defender. He plays smart and he does the little things that most people don’t even notice. He’s not afraid of the challenge and he can also make himself plus his teammates better. He’s sort of like a Draymond Green caliber player that we love having. 

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 190cm guard that can fill the stat sheet at ease. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description? 

I’ve always been asked this and could never really pin point a particular player. If I had to take a guess, I would say Jrue Holiday. I like his game and how calm he plays the game. He also can score at ease but what compares me to him is his ability to get his teammates the ball to score as well. Love his game for sure.

You never averaged more than 1,9apg in the NCAA, but as a pro was second best in the Kosovo league in assists and had extremely high assist averages. How do you explain that rise in your passing stats? 

Great you asked that but I’m a natural point guard. Coming into PV, I was recruited to be a point guard and that’s what I did. First two years I didn’t play as much as I liked but when I did, I played well. My rise basically just comes from me having that point guard IQ and getting my teammates in positions to score. When you can score at will, a lot of teams focus their defense on stopping you and that’s when I get to show my passing ability. I’m a natural point guard but since junior year of college, I became an effortless scorer!! 

As a junior at Prarie View (NCAA) you shot 40% from outside, but haven’t done it yet as a professional. Is crafting your three pointer one of the big areas that you continue to work on? 

Yea my three point percentage hasn’t been where I would like I to be the season thus far. It’s all about being confident and shooting it with ease. If I get hot, It can be deadly for opposing teams. I do continue to work on it during the season but mostly off season. That will be one of my main focuses this coming up off season too. 

You work hard and play efficient at both ends of the court. Is defense a big part of your game that will always get your offense going on those night where your offense hasn’t taken off yet? 

Defense is a big part of my game and I don’t take it lightly. It is a key part of my game especially when I’m having a difficult game. If and when I want too, I can be one of the best defenders in Germany Pro B. Defense wins championships and if I can help my team with my intensity of defense, IM ALL FOR IT!!! 

Last season you played with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen (Germany-ProB) averaging 18.8ppg, 7.0rpg, Assists-5 (5.6apg), 2.1spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 72.2%. Despite the season not being good in the wins column, how do you feel did your game grow another step? 

I feel my game just kept getting better and better. I knew going into the games, I would have to score and do whatever it took just for us to even have a chance to win. My teammates trusted in me to carry them and that’s what I did. I just turned into a scoring machine that knew regardless what happened, I was going leave everything I had on the court for my team. 

Was your 38 game explosion in the 107-103 win over Cuxhaven last season one of your best games as a professional player? And do you rub that win in Florian Wendeler’s face at times this season to give him a hard time?

I would say it was probably the second best while in Germany as seeing I had a 30 point triple double in playdowns as well. Also I had a 30 point triple double while in Kosovo too. So I think it ranks Top 5. Hahaha we’ve spoken about it maybe once or twice that’s about it. Flo is my guy. 

You played two seasons in Kosovo. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home? 

I think I didn’t realize I was so far away from home until maybe like the second month. I wouldn’t say it was tough but it was mind blowing in a sense.

How important was it having American Landon Atterberry as a teammate as a rookie. He was also a rookie with Golden Eagle Ylli (Kosova-SuperLeague). How comforting was it having him and not being alone your rookie season? 

Me and Landon were roommates until he left after Christmas. It was comforting much because our flights were together as well. We still talk to this day and see how one is doing in their season.

You played at Prairie View A&M (NCAA) from 2011-2015 playing 124 NCAA games. What was your biggest achievements there? Possibly reaching the SWAC final twice in 2013 and 2014? 

My biggest accomplishments were scoring over 1000 points in my career. Another one would be helping my team reach the Swac Final twice. Oh yeah, Me and my team went on a 7 game win streak which was one of the best in history. It’s many more accomplishments but those are just a few. Let’s not forget I graduated while being a student athlete!!!

You were able to improve your scoring average each season. How do you feel did you mature as a player in the four years there? 

My first two years were rough because I knew I was good but college being good can only get you so much. The summer before going into my junior year, I just went home and was in the gym literally playing every day. I would go shoot in the morning and in the evening play pick up. It also was more of me being confident and knowing I was going to be one of the main leaders/scorers on my team. 

Even though you lost the game to UCLA as a junior 95-71, you led all scorers with 27 points and held your own against the Wear brothers, Bryce Alford, Zach Levine and Norman Powell. What memories do you have of that game and do you feel like people took notice of you after that game?

Memories I have from the game was just being able to compete against those caliber players and just see where my game was compared to them. Also getting recognition from the Pac 12 commentators who actually felt and knew I could play amongst those guys. Also got to talk to a few NBA greats that game too. 

How did head coach Byron Rimm the second groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Prairie View (NCAA) 

What many don’t know is my relationship with Coach Rimm was bigger than basketball. He was that father figure I needed away from home. He always believed in me and my teammates every game we played. He gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to become a pro. To this day, we still talk and remember when I was at PV.

Who won a one on one in practice back in the day you or Tre Hagood?

If you ever wanted to see two high intense guys go at it day in day out in practice, we were those guys. Tre pushed me to be a better scorer I am. We had our battles but I think he may be up in the win column on me as of now. Talk to him almost every day now

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now? 

Pierre Jackson or Zach Levine.

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose? 

Tre Hagood, Reggis Onwukamuche, Nick Tufegdzich, Louis Munks, and John Brisco

If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?

-Lebron James -Larry Bird -Kobe -Shaq 

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James? 

My personal opinion is Lebron is the GOAT!! Why I say that is because I’ve watched Lebron literarily since he started in the league. Never discredit MJ game nor his accomplishments but in my era, The GOAT is Lebron!!!

What was the last movie that you saw? –

Equalizer 2

Thanks Montrael for the chat.

6 Games Decide Whether The Dragons Rhondorf Play In Frankfurt Or Fellbach Next Season

At the beginning of 2019, the Dragons Rhondorf were preparing for the stretch run of the season and with the misfortune of the way the season was going many have been secretly dreaming of ex player Kameron Taylor to magically swoop in from Hungary to save the season. They were at the bottom of the standings with the RheinStars Cologne only three seasons ago both in the Pro A and now both seriously very close to moving down to no man´s land of the Regionalliga. Back in January, it was 10 to midnight for the Dragons Rhondorf and already then hope of a massive turn around to occur was dimmer than the light at the end of the tunnel for the Phoenix Suns this season. Dragons Rhondorf supporters had hoped for some kind of a miracle to happen, but instead of witnessing that huge turnaround where all of a sudden every German player had possessed special new abilities that would help the team´s two stars Zygimantas Riauka and Kwan Waller turn their season around was about as far away as it is seeing any other rookie stealing the rookie of the year award from Luka Doncic. The team went 2-6 the rest of the way and could of even only got one win out of it had they not received some big time help from the basketball God in the last 10 seconds of the 88-87 home victory against the Basketball Lowen Erfurt where they missed 4-5 shots and Rhondorf escaped with a mega hard fought win and their biggest of the season. Now with the regular season history, the fate of the Dragons Rhondorf lies in their own abilities and willingness to achieve something that won´t be easy to accomplish. It isn´t 10 to midnight now, but 10 seconds before midnight as 6 games decide whether the Dragons Rhondorf play in Frankfurt or Fellbach next season. The only thing that can save them now are numerous wins and out dueling Wurzburg in the last weeks to produce some kind of Dragon Dome miracle.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Zygimantas Riauka this season. The double double beast will have to be at his A game for the Dragons Rhondorf to stay in the Pro B

                The 2018-2019 Pro B South playdowns commence on March ninth where the last four clubs of the standings face off against each other twice in hopes of being one of the two best teams at the end of the six games. Just a few weeks ago, fans in the Bavarian city Coburg were already in playoff mode, but a nasty four game losing streak at the end of the regular season denied them entrance. BBC Coburg arrive in the Playdowns with a record of 9-13 and 18 points. Wurzburg begin with a 8-13 record and 15 points while the two dark horses with minimal chances are the Dragons Rhondorf and RheinStars Cologne with both sharing a 5-17 record and 10 points. Two years ago, the Dragons Rhondorf were in the playdowns and perhaps not in as bad shape as they are now with their record, but they were able to stick together then and save their season. History is on their side, but will they be able to play their most consistent basketball of the season now when the pressure is greatest? Perhaps having that new feeling of starting over at 0 like the playoff teams have will motivate them for special doings.

                Even if the shabby 2-6 record in 2019 won´t impress anyone, if they would have had a few more bounces, stops and hustle plays go their way, they could have saved themselves some stress and started in the Playdowns with at least 7 wins and made their battle against Wurzburg look a lot more bearable. There were some winnable games in that time and games they let slip away like the loss in Frankfurt and the tough 74-70 loss at home against the rising Giessen Rackelos who could be one of those big surprises in these playoffs should they have their complete roster to disposable. Inconsistency was one of the big problems that plagued the Dragons Rhonndorf all season long. There was no better example then the last two regular season games. In their second to last regular season home game, they welcomed ratiopharm Ulm´s talented farm team Orange Academy and got hammered 89-73 and it wasn´t so much as if they were back in pre season and couldn´t run a proper set which can happen early in a season, but instead their performance resembled more like a refusal to want to get the victory. After the loss captain Joe Koschade remained as professional as possible  and tried to explain as best as he could why the club could play the way they did. ““We all fought hard and are trying all we can to stay in the league. Our problem is when the opponent goes on a run, we tend to lose our nerves and play hectic.  Every guy tries to do too much and play one on one instead of staying calm and playing team basketball. We had some good phases on defense, but it needs to be more consistent”, stated Dragons Rhondorf guard Joe Koschade. A week later in the last regular season game against Wurzburg, it was like night and day. One could have thought, the team would totally collapse under pressure in their first do or die game of three, but instead they gave their best defensive performance of the season. How can one figure that? After the victory Dragons head coach Thomas Adelt explained that the team had made the needed hustle plays. It also helped that the Dragons Rhondorf played defense with passion combined with solid execution helping spark and carry the offense that after a big second quarter would never look back again. This is the type of basketball that the Dragons Rhondorf have to play. Having the lead and not having to always exert energy in come backs something that has dominated their season.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Kwan Waller this season. The American also will have to be at his A game for the club to remain in the Pro B

                Perhaps having been able to play one of their best games of the season against their biggest foe Wurzburg was the perfect timing for the Dragons Rhondorf as they begin the playdowns. The Dragons Rhondorf have a 1-1 record against all three teams. They beat the Rheinstars on the road and lost a tough 89-85 game at home before Christmas a game they let slip away. They beat Coburg and Wurzburg at home. They will need to have the heroics of their two best players Zygimantas Riauka and Kwan Waller in every game if they seriously want to have a chance in every game. Waller has been the team´s best scorer since December 15th while Zygimantas Riauka has continued to be the work horse, but some teams figured him out better the second time around and were able to slow him down a bit more. But the double double beast will be ready for the playdowns and deliver as if it was his last games. The club obviously will need to rely more on their German role players. Consistent scoring and contribution has also been a sore spot this season for the team. Julian Jasinski has had most of the bright moments from the German players, but guys like Bo Meister, Yannick Kneesch and Alex Moeller are able to produce offensively, but will need to do more than they have. The question is will they be able to heighten their game now with added adrenaline when it counts most? Last but not least they have to play defense. After winning his first of six NBA titles in 1991, Michael Jordan had a simple explanation why the Chicago Bulls had won. Jordan let the world know that defense wins championships. Well if that is so, then why shouldn´t defense win the playdowns. You don´t need to be the most talented to play defense, but just play with extreme effort and passion and good things will happen. The Dragons Rhondorf begin in Cologne and then come home against Wurzburg in their second big test in only a few weeks time and then play Coburg at home. If they can have a positive record after three games, then they will be able to go into the last three games of the playdowns with games in Wurzburg and Coburg with self confidence. There is so much history with this organization, have always played in the German second Bundesliga and have faithful fans that most likely wouldn´t be able to cope with a Regionalliga demotion that it would be a huge shame if they got demoted. The next weeks will reveal just how much character the Dragons Rhondorf have and if a second Bundesliga era ends or if next season one will be able to see the big Fraport Skyliner German talents like Len Schoormann and Maxi Begue return back to the Dragon Dome to display their growing athleticism.

Martin Zeno(Alba Fehervar) Bobby Knight Told Me More About Life Than Basketball And Just Prepared Me For The Unexpected

Martin Zeno is a 33 year old 193cm forward from Sulphur, Louisiana playing his 11th professional season and first with Alba Fehervar (Hungary-A Division). He has found a lot of experience having played in countries like Cyprus, Venezuela, Finland, France, and Romania. He played for legendary coach Bobby Knight at Texas Tech. He spoke to before a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bonn.

Martin thanks for talking to Welcome to Germany. Is this your first time in Germany and what do you know in general about the country and it´s basketball?

 I haven’t played in Germany but I have friends and heard good things about the league. Plus I visited a few times too.

Your in your 11th professional season and not until the last two seasons had your first experience with international club play. Do you appreciate being able to play Fiba Europe Cup games a bit more as you get older?

Well I’ve played in the VTB league few years also Champions league then finally Fiba Europe Cup so I have some years with international play. I can say it has been a grind and challenge playing in those leagues because of the talent and travel.

You have spent most of your professional career and had your most success in Finland and Romania. What kind of experience has it been this season playing with Alba Fehervar (Hungary-A Division)?

 It’s been a different path this season because I was bought in to help the younger players and help to turn around the season so that’s been my focus since I have  been here.

Alba Fehervar (Hungary-A Division) won the double in 2017 in Hungary, but have struggled this season in Hungary and in the Fiba Europe Cup. How tough has this season been for you being a player that has 5 titles on his resume?

 In league play we have struggled but I think we have a good team here. We had some coaches changes so we are working to head in the right path now. In Fiba we in the final 16 teams so we been doing alright in there.

How tough is it to swallow the fact that Alba Fehervar (Hungary-A Division) belong to the best defensive teams in the Hungary A-Division, but are struggling in the standings?

 Its very hard to swallow that because we all want to win so bad but we as players just have to get out there and get it done. We are right there but just have to compete and finish.

In the Fiba Europe Cup Alba Fehervar (Hungary-A Division) now meet the Telekom Baskets Bonn. The German team are the slight favorite on paper. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to getting the win?

We know it’s going to be hard fought game but we just have focus and stick with our game plan. We know they have a lot of talent and are well coached.

Let´s talk about your teammates. How key was the pick up of Spanish player Carlos Cabezas who has won just about everything with team Spain. Will his added leadership give the team an extra spark in the stretch run?

The experience and knowledge of the game has helped with our team. It’s been a pleasure to have a player like that.

How much of a pleasure has it been playing with American Allerik Freeman? The ex North Carolina State guard has needed no adjustment period as a rookie and come into his own. What have you really appreciated most about his game?

 The way he is always on attack mode and his ability to get to the rim and finish with contact. Plus he can shoot it a high percent from the three.

Let´s talk about your game. You have been a scorer your whole life. Could one say that scoring has always been in your blood?

 Well I can say I could score it but I cherish having been able to do other things too in order to help my teams I have played on.

You will be turning 34 this year. How would you describe Martin Zeno today in comparison to when you played in Finland from 2011-2013?

 I’m not as athletic as I once was. I can still get to my spots that I like. I can see my knowledge for the game I use it more now than when I was athletic.

Every player that is in his thirties has their own routine when it comes to how they keep staying motivated and keep improving their game. What have you been doing the most in the last few years to keep your game growing as you grow older?

I can say more improvement on the little things in my game which has helped it grow. Plus working to get to certain spots that I know I’m going to get too.

You had a three year break between winning your last two titles in Finland and winning your last two in Romania. What kind of feeling was it for you winning two titles in your 30´s?

 I cherish every title because they are hard to get and I have been be blessed to have 5.

How unique were winning the 2016 and 2018 Romanian titles for you? For both runs you came in mid season. Could one say that you made a special difference in the club getting the titles each time?

 In 2016 I did come in the middle of the season after I left Finland but it was great feeling to be the missing piece for a team that won the title. In 2018 I was there the whole season but I had an injury and came back right when the team needed me so that also was a great feeling.

Did you build a special bond with guys like Sean Denison and William Franklin in Romania who both made their mark early in their professional career in Germany and then went on to have success in other parts of the world.

 Yes, I have a great bond with them still. I talk and communicate still today with them. Some great teammates.

In Finland you were teammates with Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi. What did you appreciate most about him when separating character and his playing abilities?

 Jacob was very cool. He was very smart and knowledgeable that could shoot it.

You played a season with Denain ASC Voltaire (France-ProB) playing 40 games averaging 12.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 24.2%, FT: 77.4%. What kind of experience was it playing in France and seeing a different culture and basketball?

 That’s the one season I wish I could repeat because we had a great team that just never came together. It was a season that I have learned from a lot. It was great to play in France.

You played with Nilan Bisons Loimaa (Finland-Korisliiga) from 2011-2013 winning two titles and being second and first in league scoring. How much fun was this time early in your career?

 It was great years because we were winning a lot plus I had some great teammates. They pushed me to go out there and play the way I did.

How vital were character guys Jeb Ivey and Kimmo Muurinen for securing that second title? Both guys are players any coach would die to have on their side.

I have great bond with Jeb still. We talk often and are checking on each other. But having both was key to our success that year because of their knowledge.

After being a rookie in Cyprus and playing in the D-League in your second season, you fell off the radar a bit in your third professional season playing in the ABA. How tough was this season for you and did you ever lose faith in the process?

I had to switch agents so we know how that goes so I had to get things back together but I never played in the ABA. I never lost faith but I know what I can do but it was just getting the right opportunity to show it.

You had a short stint with the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League). What memories do you have of the D-League then and how do you feel would you have developed had you arrived in the G-League in 2019 for the first time?

 Well it was a learned lesson there too. I learned the business of the basketball playing in the D-League. You can see that G-League is different now because the way the game is played.

As a rookie you played with Seastar Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-Division).  What kind of experience was that for you and what was your wake up call to being in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?

 The wake up call there was seeing things that I had never seen and still haven’t until this day.

You played at Texas Tech(NCAA) from 2004-2008 playing a total of 130 NCAA games. You had a great career there. Was reaching the 2005 NCAA Sweet 16 your biggest accomplishment there?

 Well I had a lot of accomplishment that I achieved at Tech but that was one of my biggest ones. Just being in the history of school makes me feel very proud today.

Not many players have the luxury to say that they were able to learn under the guidance of legendary Bobby Knight. How did you learn to appreciate him as a mentor, coach, friend? Do you have a favorite Knight story?

I learned after I graduated was things he was telling us was more about life than basketball and helping you in the world today. Just being prepared for the unexpected. I have a lot of stories but it would take long time to tell it.

What memories do you have of Ron Ross? He had a long professional career and recently retired. How do you remember being influenced best from him as a freshman?

 Ron had a heart of gold and was a very tough player. Freshmen year just watching him work and work and then being a captain so having to deal with that was something I can say I appreciate.

You had a great junior season where you shot 43% from outside, but also a stellar senior year at Texas tech(NCAA). When you look back at your career are you a bit disappointed that a guy like you or Ron Ross weren´t noticed more by the NBA coming out as well as teams from higher leagues

 Well I can say that but you learn it´s a part of life so you just got to take it and learn from things like that. Everything in life happens for a reason.

How do you remember freshman John Roberson at Texas Tech(NCAA) when you were a senior? He also has had a great professional career. Do you remember being able to help him as he was learning the ropes?

 I knew he would be great shooter from day one but just tried to help him with being prepared for each game and just having a focus because he had the talent already.

How did head coach Bobby Knight groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Just had me prepared for any situation I got put in and being able to understand each situation that I would be put in.

Who won a one on one back in the day you or Ron Ross and you against John Roberson?

I think Ron and me played just a few times but can’t remember who won them. I never played John.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA

That is an easy question. It was Kevin Durant.

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

 You came with an easy question and now a hard one. I have been blessed to play with a lot of great great teammates so that would hard to just pick 5.

If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?

 Hmmm….Kareem, Jordan, Russell, Wilt

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

 They never played against each other or in the same era so to me they are both the greatest in the era they played in.

What was the last movie that you saw?


Thanks Martin for the chat.