In the early summer of 2017, basketball life was really really good for Canadian Taevaunn Prince who was coming off a spectacular rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen. The then 25 year old 191cm guard who split time at South Dakota(NCAA) and Missouri Southern(NCAA2) before going pro was as upbeat as an American teenager would be leaving the school grounds on the last day of summer as he was very confident and was excited about where his basketball journey would go. Now it´s the summer of 2019 and he is very happy about his basketball life, but in between, his basketball life and luck took a 180 degree turn in the other direction and now he is very blessed and thankful that he is still playing ball and has a bright future, but it could have been totally different. Let´s rewind back to the summer of 2017. In my season ending interview with the athletic beast who averaged 17.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 83.4% as a rookie with German Pro B team ScanPlus Baskets, he was so excited about his future, but at the same time knew that he still was far away from being the player that he wanted to be. “I had a very strong rookie season for me. I have improved as the season went on but I still have a lot of work to do in the off season and I am excited and obsessed with the process of getting better and adding to my game. I have not even scratched the surface, my goal is to maximize my potential and looking back I made plenty of mistakes and can be so much better as a player”, stressed Taevaunn Prince. The exciting guard who help pound FC Schalke with 29 points in a nail bitter 76-74 win had goals for his sophomore campaign wherever that would be and was just focused about making the next step. “The next step for me is getting back in the gym and perfecting my craft, I feel this year was decent and ok but I know I can do more and this was just the first step for bigger and better things. Pro B was a test to see if I can hang professional and I displayed that, I think I can play at the Pro A level and prove myself once again. My goal is always to play at the highest level so I will continue to push myself until I get there”, warned Taevaunn Prince. But instead of continuing to ride that high of continuing his basketball journey and signing with a new team for the 2017-2018 season, he would sit at home and be wondering if he would ever continue his professional career.
Abdul Gaddy is a 27 year old 193cm guard from Tacoma, Washington that completed his 6th professional season with the Oklahoma City Blue (NBA G League) playing 51 games averaging 9.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 6.6apg, FGP: 60.2%, 3PT: 46.3%, FT: 55.0%. Two seasons ago he played with s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games averaging 8.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.6apg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 65.7%. In 2016-2017 he played with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL) playing 26 VTB United League games averaging 5.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 52.4%; In the Latvian LBL, he played 25 game averaging 9.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 5.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 50.0%. He played two seasons in Italy with Granarolo Bologna (Italy-Serie A) and as a rookie played with the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA), then moved to Maine Red Claws (D-League) playing 46 games averaging 9.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 5.0apg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 57.6%. He played at Washington (NCAA) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 34 games averaging 10.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 65.9%. He is playing at the 2019 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with The Orlando Magic. He spoke to germanhoops.com about the NBA Summer League before playing his first game tonight.
Abdul thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. It has already been more than a year since you last played in Germany for s.Oliver Wurzburg. What memories do you have of that time and how do you feel did your game progress in that league?
I remember having great teammates and an amazing coaching staff. Playing for s.Oliver Wurzburg was one of the best times in my life. I feel that my game progressed greatly under coach Bauermann and from learning from the vets. I think that you always learn something new each season and with every new team you play with. Learning how to build a winning team was important as we got better as the season went on. Coach Bauermann was an energetic coach who was always on us on playing good defense. We had the best defender in the league with Cliff Hammonds and it was beneficial playing with him for everyone. I
After a few years in Europe in Italy, Latvia and Germany, you returned last season to the States and played in the G-league for the Oklahoma City Blue (NBA G League) It is isn’t to strange for guys to go to the NBA after many years in Europe. Guys Like Brad Wanamaker did it. Was one of your feelings of having returned last season with the hopes that your game had progressed well in Europe and was ready for a better shot for the NBA?
No I didn’t come home because of that, but moreover wanting to be around my family. I had some family issues and just wanted to be around them and let them have the chance to see me play more. The NBA is the NBA, but I respect all of basketball. There are so many great leagues and players all over the world. I just want to be part of a great team and be able to play the game that I love.
Last season with the Oklahoma City Blue (NBA G League) you played 51 games averaging 9.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 6.6apg, FGP: 60.2%, 3PT: 46.3%, FT: 55.0%. How content were you with your season?
I thought that I had a solid season, but as a team we could of done better. I really wanted to win a title. I was lucky playing with and against many high level athletes where I was able to learn a lot from. We had a great coaching staff that helped me get better.
You averaged 6,6apg in the G-league the highest assist mark in your career? What do you feel were the main reasons for having your best assist average in your career?
I was lucky to be able to find guys in great position to score. The way the team was run, there was a lot of trust in guys making shots. For me it has never been about playing for stats, but generating good shots for my teammates. My main job is generating the best shot for my teammates.
You were teammates last season with Bryce Alford who recently signed with medi Bayreuth. What was your impression of him and will he be an impact player this season in the easyCredit BBL?
Bryce is a monster and as tough as nails. He can really shoot the ball and isn’t afraid of the moment. He will be a great player and have a long career. I loved playing with him and I can’t wait to see how he will continue to grow as a player.
You will be playing NBA Summer League with the Orlando Magic. The last time that you played was in 2013 and 2014. What memories do you have of those two times? What players do you remember playing against then that might have made it big in the league?
The memories I had was that we had ok teams, but it was tough not winning. I was fortunate to be ABle to play against great players. Two guys that come to mind were Russ Smith and Patrick Young
With what kind of expectations are you going into your third NBA Summer League? Your 27 years old. Would you say that your in your prime now after a very good G-league season with Oklahoma?
In the NBA Summer League you see so many great players that will play in the NBA or Euroleague that it is tough to name just one. I’m not really going into it with any expectations except knowing it is a great opportunity where I can compete against great players and try to win a title. I think that I have been improving and keep learning being able to make adjustments in certain situations.
You have been practicing all week with the NBA Summer League team of the Orlando Magic. Has there been any guys that have impressed you most? Mo Bamba is huge and very athletic and a great shot blocker. The guys are all so young. They are all good people and come from good families and school programs. All are super humble and working very hard. I feel we have all been learning from each other.
The majority of the players are rookies and guys with 1-2 years of experience. Rarely do you see older guys like yourself. How thankful are you to Worldwide SM agency for getting you this gig?
I am very thankful to them. They are a great group and I consider them like family. I am really grateful that they have helped me come this far and let me play at this stage. Not every player gets a chance like this. I will just continue to enjoy the moment as best I can.
As one of the older fellows on the squad, do you feel like it’s a given for you to be like a mentor to younger players or are you going in 100% aggressive just concentrating on your game?
I’m going into the NBA Summer League games to lead and help win a title. I’m not focusing on me. Basketball was invented for 5 players and not for 1-1 play. Regardless of what my stats are, my focus is on winning. I am helping the young guys, but they also have the chance to help me. If they have any insight about how we could have a better chance of winning, I’m all for it.
The NBA Summer League is seen as a playground for players playing for stats. How difficult is this type of scenario for a guy like yourself that likes to find his teammates and is used to being a playmaker?
Yes it can be tough at times, but that is part of the gig. Having guys play for their stats is all over the place. The trick is of figuring out a way to win games regardless of how players are thinking. That happens in any job. There will always be guys with different ego’s. I personally want every guy to be successful and help them accomplish their dream. I just want to win. That should be the goal in any organization.
Your season ended on March 29TH. You have had some months to get ready for another chance of wooing NBA coaches and bosses. On what areas of your game have you been working on most to be best prepared for this years NBA Summer League?
I have been working on my body and to be in the best shape possible. I have been working on parts of my game as well at both ends of the court. I also have been working on my footwork and knowing how to perform at my best from game to game at the highest level.
On what are you looking forward to most in this years NBA Summer League? Any battles your excited about or any coaches you want to talk basketball with or is there that specific teammate that your looking forward to be playing with?
I am really looking forward to playing with every teammate. All are great guys and I have been picking everyone’s brains so far. I also can learn from my coaches who have experienced a lot and have shown how they have contributed to winning organizations.
Last season you had dealings with Russell Westbrook on the court. He is often seen as a tough person, but on the court a very aggressive player who hates to lose. How did you experience him last season and what did you find out about him that little people know? Russ is an amazing teammate and one of the best you can be around. He is team first. Many criticize him for wanting to always get triple doubles, but he really is team first. His teammates absolutely love him. He is a freak athlete and one of the best athletes at the point guard position. He is something special. You see him on TV and I see him on the court. I picked his brain a lot. He is always super focused and avoids the noise. He is the ultimate competitor. The way he acts isn’t in disrespect, but it’s his focus of getting the task done.
Orlando Parker is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Orlando, Florida that completed his fifth professional season and fourth in Germany and third with PS Karlsruhe averaging 13,7ppg and 6,3rpg while shooting 41,7% from outside. In the 2017-2018 season he averaged 13,2ppg and 5,7rpg. He started his basketball career with Wagner (NCAA) in 2010 playing a total of 118 NCAA games. As a senior he played 26 games averaging 6.7ppg, 6.7rpg, FGP: 44.7%, FT: 62.0%. In 2014 he turned professional with UL Eagles Limerick (Ireland-Premier League) playing 17 games averaging 19.9ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.1spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 78.5%. In 2015-2016 he played with Baskets Vilsbiburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games averaging 22.6ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 79.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 2018-2019 season.
Thanks Orlando for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment? I’m currently still in Germany taking advantage of my time in Europe before I depart for the states soon.
It’s been a year since our last interview. Has basketball time flown by in this time for you as you are approaching your fifth professional season? ‘ Yes time is moving quickly it feels just like yesterday when I was just playing in 1st regio
It was another special season for PS Karlsruhe. How do you believe did the special basketball culture grow in the last season after it’s amazing Pro A debut in 2017?
I believe last seasons debut to the Pro A was huge for the club and recognition in the league. I knew coming into this season teams would challenge us and prepare for us like a top team in the league in which they did despite our slow start to the season.
Last season the club reached the Pro A semi-finals playing a hard fought 4 game series against eventual Pro A champion Rasta Vechta, but this season the club reached only the quarterfinals. Considering the expectations that the club had did the team underachieve?
I’m sure the club and the team were proud of making the playoffs. We faced probably the toughest amount of adversity in the league with key players being out all season long, starting off the season in last place in the standings on top of a coaching change. Despite those things we were still able to reach the playoffs so if anything I believe we overachieved
This season PS Karlsruhe was swept by top Pro A team Chemnitz. What is your summary to the PS Karlsruhe series? Do you feel like you could have done more as a team to have had more of a chance?
As I mentioned before we played the entire year under man but we still gave them a good run. Chemnitz is a great team that plays the game the right way which they proved all season long.
It came to down to defense. In the regular season the club allowed 79 points per game, but in the playoffs against Chemnitz 87 points. What made it so tough playing them in this series?
Chemnitz biggest strength in my opinion is their depth. They have a really deep bench that contributes in every way throughout the game, which allows them to constantly attack teams offensively and defensively
How tough was it the game to game scouting? You never really could key in on 1-3 players, because they were a club that really had 7-8 guys that could light up the score board in any given game?
Our job wasn’t to key in on just one guy because they don’t have a player that’s going to carry the team like most teams in the league. We focused more on our defensive principles
There was a great stretch in November, December and January where the team won 10 of 11 games. This was the best time of the season where the club was playing it’s best basketball. Did the team instill that ‘We are invincible feeling’?
Well we started off slow in the beginning due to the injuries and new players, so it just took us some time to get accustomed to each other and our tendencies. We just felt at that moment we were playing our best basketball and things started to click for us.
Please sum up the team season for the club. What were the team highlights of the season and what made it special playing for this team? Was the win against Heidelberg at the end of the season one of the biggest wins of the season?
This team was special because we battled adversity and overcame so much together. Although we didn’t reach our goal we accomplished something that most teams couldn’t. The win against Heidelberg was huge for us because that game clinched our spot in the playoffs.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How special was it playing with Davonte Lacy? You have played with many pure scorers in your career, but where did his scoring ability rank with all the guys that you have played with in your career?
Lacy is a special player with a unique ability to get his shot off at any given moment. With a knack for scoring he was vital for us in big moments late in the game. I’ve played with a lot of great scorers but he’s definitely up there with the best.
How did you see the development of Kahron Ross? He had an up and down rookie season. How did his game improve form the first day of training camp to game three against Chemnitz?
Kahron took on a very big challenge this year at the PG position. He’s improved so much with his decision making and ability to blow by his defenders with his speed and quickness. He’s always had that gift but it’s improved since the preseason.’
German Filmore Beck is a bonafide veteran that can when he wants to shoot out the lights. Is there anything that you could soak up from his game that was able to help you in parts of your game?
I believe Fil doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s capable of doing. This guy can not only shot but he can create his shot better than anyone I’ve seen in the league. He has a smooth finesse touch to his game when he’s finishing around the rim that I always enjoy to watch and implement to my own.
You had many German players on the team like Pluskota, Nyama and Johnson. Of these three which player do you feel made the biggest stride?
Mo has been injured this year but DJ and Roland made huge impacts for the team. DJ is a guy that every team needs to have on their roster. With his tenacity and attention to detail he’s a vocal leader that impacts the game. He has the ability to play and defend multiple positions which is important for a teams success. Roland has so much upside and I believe he’s now starting to realize what he can do with it. With his athleticism and ability to score when needed, really helped our team a lot as well.
Let’s talk about your game. You had a very productive sophomore campaign with PS Karlsruhe averaging 13,7ppg, 6,3rpg and shot over 40% from outside for the second consecutive season in the Pro A. You seem to be getting better with age. What is the secret to your success?
I wish there was a secret but every player already knows that it comes down to hard work. The off-seasons are huge for me and my development. Each year I try to add something new to my game and overall appearance and this year I added a post game and slashing ability to become more of a threat aside from the 3pt line.
How content were you with your game this season? What made the Pro A level easier for you in your second season?
It’s like taking a test you already know the answers to with added bonus questions. Entering this year I already knew the league, the players, the matchups, the team styles of play, the gym atmospheres, the refs etc. So with that knowledge it made it easier for me this second time around.
You improved your stats tremendously, but also gained 5 minutes more. What were your personal goals before the season and did you fulfill them?
Every players dream is to probably play the entire game but it’s just physical not realistic at this level. So playing those 5 extra minutes gave me more time do more on the court. My main personal goal before the season was mainly to prove I belong and I believe this year I did that.
In our last interview you stated ‘I’m never content with anything in life. I believe there is so much room for improvement on my game and I can get better. My minutes don’t bother me as much, I love showing people what I can do in the amount of minutes I receive’. How content were you with your efficiency this season with the minutes that you got?
I felt pretty good on how well I played with the minutes I received this year
You shot 40% from outside for the second season in a row. You have stated that you put in a lot of work in the summers. What does a player like you do now to become an even better shooter?
Well as a shooter I believe in repetition, repeating the same shot in different rhythms and positions on the court. So there are still many ways I can work on becoming a better shooter.
You are a hard nosed player that takes a lot of pride in defending. In your last interview you stated ‘I consider myself a versatile defender who can guard 1-5. There is room for improvement and I can get better but for the most part I think I’m doing fine defensively at this level’. Your also a guy that doesn’t believe in defensive stats. How do you feel did you grow as a defender in your second season in the Pro A?
Defense comes down to effort. There are many nights when shots aren’t going to fall but defense will always be there. So there is still much room for improvement on the defensive end. I enjoy being the help side defender the most because I find it very exciting challenging shots at the rim
You had two massive games scoring 37 points and 33 points in wins over Rostock and Baunach. Was the 37 point game your most memorable?
Those are two very memorable games offensively but I really enjoyed the game against Tubingen when I shoot 7/8 from 3pt and finished with 9 offensive rebounds.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro A this season?
One of the guys that I love to compete against is Dan Oppland. He’s a tenacious player that I still can’t seem to figure out. I also like matching up against Jermaine Bucknor and Domink Sphor’
What is the next step for you? You have played most of your career in Germany. Are you content with being a very good Pro A player or is the BBL a realistic goal for you?
I’m never content with anything in life, but one of my favorite phrases to live by is ‘You can’t rush greatness’ so my time will come for the BBL.’
If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?
This tough but I love all my guys haha
What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?
What is your early opinion where Luka Doncic will end one day in the NBA? Could he be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA when all is said and done?
He will definitely be in the top
What was the last movie that you saw? Avengers-Endgame
Eric Kibi is a 28 year old 198cm forward from Ontario, Canada that completed his seventh professional season which took him to three countries starting with Golbey Epinal Thaon Vosges (France-NM1) where he played 5 games averaging 6.8ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 29.2%, 3FGP: 27.3%, FT: 73.3%, in Dec.’18 moved to MBK Handlova (Slovakia-SBL) playing 3 games and then in January 2019 signed at Al Mina (Iraq-IBL) where he averaged 22,0ppg, 15rpg and 2,0apg. Last season he played with C.B. Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet (Spain-LEB Silver) where he played 33 games averaging 4.5ppg, 3.2rpg In 2016-2017 he played with Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 31 games averaging 10.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 70.2%. In 2015-2016 he played in Germany with the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-ProB) playing 3 games averaging 4.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, left in Oct.’15, in Jan.’16 moved to KK Strsljen Gusinje (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 4 games averaging 3.8ppg, 5.5rpg, in Mar.’16 signed at London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 23 games averaging 1.7ppg, 2.5rpg. He also played with Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga), Ottawa SkyHawks (NBL Canada) and BG Halstenbek/Pinneberg (Germany-Regionalliga). He started his basketball career in 2008 with Jacksonville College (NJCAA) where he played until 2010. He then played a season with UALR (NCAA) playing 29 games: 4.4ppg, 4.2rpg. He finished his college career in 2012 with Abil.Christian (NCAA2) playing 20 games: 8.2ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 60.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his 2018-2019 season.
Eric thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Hey Miles, for the moment I’m taking a vacation in Dubai after a long season. The basketball life is always good, it’s always a blessing, you take the good with the bad.
After playing the last two seasons in Denmark and Spain, this season you have had another busy season moving around from France to Slovakia and to Iraq. Has this season been more stressful with everything involved or was your 2015-2016 season where you played in Germany, Montenegro and Canada more stressful? I won’t say stressful because like I said this is a blessing, I’ll say more like eventful. I wasn’t able to find the correct fit until I got to Iraq, as strange as that sounds.
What did you miss the most from the last two seasons where you balled in Denmark and Spain? Were you used to that normal routine of being in one place? Of course it’s nice to spend a whole season in one place. I really enjoyed my time in Denmark and Barcelona, had successful seasons in both places but things happen in this business just like in the NBA, there’s always player movement.Through it all though you have to remain professional and keep faith.
Let’s begin with your first team Golbey Epinal Thaon Vosges (France-NM1). You last only five games and averaged 8.2 ppg , 6.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg. The stats remined me a bit on Herten. What kind of experience was it playing in France? It was overall a learning experience, I had a great pre-season, but unfortunately that didn’t translate to the first five games. We had a lot of injuries to start the season. I accepted the role of playing out of position at point guard for the better of the team and never complained. Some clubs aren’t patient and rather play Russian roulette which is fine, but at the end of the day the teams who won in that league weren’t the most talented teams but the teams who had the most cohesion and continuity.
How would you compare the NM 1 league to what you have seen elsewhere like the German Pro B and Leb Silver and other leagues in terms of style and talent? Loved the competition there, every game was a dog fight. Every practice was intense, very different than Germany and Spain as far as intensity. It’s more comparable to German Pro A and Leb Gold. The Spanish style is based more on IQ and less on athleticism, France is a track meet for 40 minutes.
You lived in a small town called Golbey about 100 kilometers from Germany. What were you able to take from the French culture and from the court in the short time that you were there?
I was actually able drive to Cologne once even to visit some old friends. As far as the French culture I loved it, it’s very similar to where I was born in Quebec City and of course being as French is my first language it was nice to understand the language for once.Last season in Spain it was difficult because my coach didn’t speak English, but it was still amazing to see how his passion still translated to the 5 foreigners.
You were a starter and averaged 28 minutes per game. Why was your stay so short? Were they expecting more scoring from you? – Honestly, I’m 28 years old now, the coach saw my tape before I came, he saw me for 3 months in practice and pre-season. I can score 16, 9 rebounds and 6 assists against a Pro B team and the next game give you 8 points and 15 rebounds but chase around the point guard for 38 minutes and hold him to 3 points. Of course I could of scored a bit more but that’s never been my full impact, scoring is not what’s kept me in Europe for 7 seasons. I’m a two way guy who impacts the game with more than just scoring. But all that gets lost in the equation when you lose 5 games to start the season and the organization is in full turmoil, the foreigner will always take the blame. I take full responsibility and know I could of played better, but everyone has to be held accountable eventually from top to bottom.
You landed in Slovakia (SBL) after France and played with American KC Ross-Miller who also came from another team, but was integrated well and playing well. You have seen so many talented guards in your career, but is he a good example of a guy having talent, but just having problems of moving up the basketball ladder because of the huge influx of guards that are around the world? Oh for sure KC is my guy. He’s definitely an NBA talent and you have to be to play at schools like Kentucky and Auburn. I think with KC his year off from basketball kind of hurt him but he’s been making up for it his last 3 seasons. I have no doubt you’ll see him in a top league in Europe very soon.
You made another move in January to Al Mina (Iraq-IBL). This seems to have been a better fit as you are still there now. How long does one have to think about going to play and live in a country like Iraq? How did you make this decision?
After I did my research and spoke to a lot of Americans who played there in the past I was confident and comfortable enough to go play there. A guy there who previously played in Germany, Isaiah Sykes, really helped me a lot in my time there. He’s a veteran of that league and really helped my decision.
Obviously the money must have been good. What other reasons did you see benefit for moving to Al Mina (Iraq-IBL) Of course to go to a country like that the money has to be good but it was also a chance to get out of my comfort zone and try a new experience. I had never played in the Middle East before. You only grow as a person and player when your put in difficult situations and I think I accomplished that there.
Talk a little about the IBL league in Iraq. It is a very small league with few teams. How is the style and talent level in this league compared to other leagues that you have seen?
Actually not as small as you would think, there’s 12 teams there. Each team is allowed to have only two foreigners but only one can be on the court. Each American is a very high level American and is expected to score a lot. Every game it’s a lot of pressure, they expect you to score 20-25 points every game. The local players were also better than I expected, many of them have played for their national team.
How much different is the culture and life style in Iraq compared to other countries? How does a normal day look like for you?
That’s one thing I can say about Iraq is that for the first time I really felt a culture shock. I’m usually very good at adapting to different cultures with now having played in 10 different countries. Iraq is very restricted, they really respect their religion. No women at the games, no alcohol, no pork, no coffee shops to grab a coffee so you really can’t do as much as you would like, but it gives you time to focus on yourself. A regular day is pretty simple, I would wake up eat breakfast then go get a workout in the weight room at about 10 come back to the apartment. They always deliver lunch and dinner do the apartment, so I would eat lunch then get ready for practice at 5, come home eat, watch a show, sleep and repeat the next day.
I saw you finished the season averaging 30 ppg, 15.3 rpg and 4 apg in 8 games. Please talk a little about how you have been playing and how beneficial is the whole basketball experience for the continued development of your game?
Like I said when you go there they give you a lot of responsibilities which is exactly what I wanted. I was expected to score every game and rebound while also guarding the other American for 40 minutes. For me it was great, I went there and we went 6-2 in my time there, we were able to finish in the top 5 in the league which was their goal. It helped me regain the aggressiveness I had in pre-season in France.
What was your coolest experience in Iraq? One thinks of all the palaces and the luxuries that are present. Have you seen anything there that you will be able to tell over and over when you are back home? Honestly in the time there I didn’t see too much, but I will say that seeing Baghdad was pretty cool. It’s nothing like what they show you on TV. I was in a city called Basrah, about 5 hours away from Baghdad which is the capital. For me I’m all about experiencing things for myself. I’ve never been ignorant and pre judged a place and that’s the correct thing to do when you go to a place like Iraq you got to go there with an open mind. The fans and the people there were amazing, my teammates as well. One of my teammates really marked me, we called him Jimmy ( Mohamed Diab). He’s a veteran, played national team for Iraq, he’s probably 38,39 years old and still giving you 15-17 per game but the thing about him he’s so professional and so positive through everything. He was always in my ear during the game talking and pushing me, so shoutout Jimmy.
Talk a little about the Congolese national team. You last played with them at Afro Basket 2017. What is your future with the national team?
I’m still involved with the National team, if everything goes as planned I should be going to Congo this summer and playing in the AfroCAN this summer which is similar to the Afrobasket.
How do you believe has your game grown this season having been able to see new leagues and gaining added experience? Every year I like to look back and see what I added to my game. This year I can say that starting the season in France and playing point guard there is something that helped me see the game in a different way. I’ve always been versatile able to guard 1-5 but going up against P ro B and NM1 teams and having high level athletic guards like Marquis Addison and Javier Forcada pressure you full court the whole game and having to learn on the fly can only benefit my game for the future.
Please name your five all-time best teammates in college and pro’s
– Damn that’s tough, I’ll go with:
PG: Akeem Scott, 12 year Pro (Europe, Asia, Latin America) played with him in Canada with the London Lightning, that’s my big brother. Plays 100% at all times. Will never forget being down 3-1 in the NBL Canada finals, he was dealing with the death of his mother and he willed us to a game 7.
SG: DeAndre Lansdowne, good friend of mine since I was 16, my high school teammate and teammate in Germany at Herten. Having a great season in Germany again.
SF: Darryl Ashford, My college teammate in JUCO my freshman year at Jacksonville College in Texas. This guy man, was a killer, baby T-Mac. Had some pro years in Belgium.
PF: Akeem Wright, another guy I played with in Canada in London. Was my roommate, played the same position. We played one on one every day after practice, after talking smack for a whole 2 hour practice, almost came to blows many times lol. But that my big bro, a lot of respect for his game and his career, 10 + year vet. Baby Melo.
C: Herve Kabasele, played with him in the Congolese national team. Now playing in the Spanish ACB. This guy is a like a monkey with NBA athleticism. Still young so you could possibly see him in the NBA.
It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?
Yes it’s definitely still early, but I saw him play live last season in Spain and he’s definitely special. I warned people back home about underestimating him and they still did. This season he proved a lot of doubters wrong so he’s definitely on the right trajectory to become one of the best Europeans ever. People don’t understand how difficult it is to win Euroleague and ACB MVP as an 18 year old is, might be harder than winning rookie of the year.
What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time? Lebron is my favourite player and that’s the mindset you have to have, I believe him but I think Jordan is untouchable because of everything he accomplished. I think you can say Lebron is the most complete and greatest physical specimen we’ve ever seen in the NBA though.
Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion? Hmm it’s close, but it’s difficult to compare different sports but Jordan I’d say is more of an icon he’s had a huge impact off court as well.
Tom Brady won sixth Super Bowl. Where will he be if he wins a seventh next season?
I think he’s already the greatest of all time in the sport. A seventh would just be icing on the cake.
Pete Strobl has been around the European basketball scene for 20 years having had a stellar professional basketball career and was an assistant coach for German easyCredit BBL team ratiopharm Ulm last season. He recently was named head coach of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. 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 so often talking basketball with the title “Current basketball affairs with Pete Strobl. You can follow Pete Strobl on twitter @petestrobl
us about some of the changes in your basketball life since last time we talked?
There have been some huge changes since we
spoke last. I’m excited about the opportunity to be the Head Coach of
Basketball Löwen Braunschweig. I’m a big believer in goal-setting and then
systematically working toward ensuring that goals actually come true. Being a
part of Ulm was wonderful and we made a lot of great memories there. But as the
playoffs wound down for us, I knew I was ready to take the next step in my
coaching career. I had grown to have a desire to lead a group with my own style
and philosophy. Sometimes you have to literally speak your dreams into
existence and I’m very honored to be in a position now to put my stamp on a
have signed several German prospects recently, is that a part of your
Developing players and in particular German
prospects is a very big part of my overall philosophy. I’m not sure people even
realize how much talent is coming up through the ranks right now in Germany.
There’s been some great work done on the youth levels the past few years by a
number of clubs, and there are some talented guys just waiting for a chance to
show what they can do. I simply want to help them, and our club, take the next
step. I plan to push these guys closer toward their personal potential while
providing a solid platform for them to shine on the brightest possible stage.
We’ve already signed some players I’m really excited about and expect for them
to become household names in our league!
can the league expect from Braunschweig this season?
A team that plays together and competes
with fire, energy and heart. We’re going to put players in a position to
demonstrate their individual abilities in a “team first” environment built on a
culture of trust and support. Players who work hard and demonstrate a willingness
to learn and grow will earn the freedom to play beautiful basketball in
arguably the best league in Europe. I love what we’re doing and have enjoyed
every step of the process thus far. We’re building for the future and we have
big plans for how we want to develop over the next several years to truly
establish Braunschweig first as a consistent playoff contender, and next as a
representative of the BBL on the international stage.
Erik Durham is a 24 year old 193cm guard from Springfield Missouri that completed his second professional season and first in Germany with the EN Baskets Schwelm averaging 15,3ppg, 4,6rpg and 2,9apg while shooting 45% from outside. Last season as a rookie he played with Levitec Huesca (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 12 games averaging 3.8ppg, 1.3rpg. He began his basketball career at Parkview high school and then played at Lamar St.CC (JUCO) from 2013-2015 playing a total of 62 games. He then played at Jacksonville St. (NCAA) from 2015-2017 playing a total of 56 games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 10.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 47.0%, FT: 66.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com at the end of his season in Germany.
Erik thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Despite getting swept by the Bayer Giants Leverkusen, how proud are you of the extreme hard effort the team gave in the series?
My team really came out to play in the post season and it was fun giving the effort we did to go try to win games.
You guys came really close at the end and could of forced a third game had German Niklas Geske hit the last three. Do you feel like winning that second game could have made the big turnaround in the season?
It would have been nice to force another game but we fought hard and did all we could do as a team and I’m proud of how we played as a team.
The EN Baskets Schwelm really played the Bayer Giants Leverkusen tight in the series. When looking back at the series what do you think was key for them being able to advance?
They have played well all season and I tip my hat off to those guys on how the team has all bought in. Showing from the stats that everyone has a similar average the team is very selfless.
You played your first season with the EN Baskets Schwlem. How would you personally summarize the team season. Would it be fair to say that the team played it’s most successful and best basketball at the start of the season?
We had our ups and downs throughout the year. I think we showed that we were better than our ending rank for the postseason with our efforts in the playoffs against the 1 seed.
The team ended 2018 well with a three game winning streak, but then began 2019 slow with a four game losing streak. Why do you feel couldn’t the team keep it’s winning ways going into 2019?
As a team we struggled being consistent throughout the year so it wasn’t anything we hadn’t faced before. I like how we came together and got the job done on finishing strong to make it to postseason play.
What do you feel was the season highlight for you? Possibly winning the derby game against Iserlohn or against top farm team Bernau?
This season alone was a highlight for me. After the rookie year I had last year this year was a complete turn around. I appreciate Coach Falk on giving me the chance to show my talents.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing with German Niklas Geske? After five years in the BBL, he took a radical step backwards and destroyed in the Pro B. What did you enjoy most about his play?
Nick showed me his toughness on the court by the end of the season. When the playoffs came we both had the same mind frame on wanting to go try our hardest to win some games in the post season. I enjoyed Nick not only as a player on the court but off the court he was a pretty cool guy.
Let’s talk about your game this season? After a tough rookie season in Canada and Spain you made amends in Germany. How happy were you with your personal season?
I am just blessed to be able to still play the game I love. This season I really got the chance to prove that I was a professional. I look forward to bettering my game and improve each year I get the chance to play.
You stated in our last interview that your shooting would make an impact on the team and it did. How content were you with your ability to shoot the ball this season?
I am really happy with my shooting averages this season though it would have been nice to hit that 50% from 3 milestone at the end of the season. That just gives me something to strive for next year.
You also stated once that ‘A lot of shots have been put up and many nights of shooting even when I’m not hitting has helped me become a better shooter. The efficiency has come from shooting until I literally can’t put up another shot. So much shooting makes putting up a three feel like second nature’. How do you feel did your shot progress in your second professional season?
I saw an improvement with my consistency this season. I plan on becoming more efficient each year I play as a professional. So it’s back to the gym and even more shots getting put up.
You stated in our last interview that you felt that defense is a hidden strength in your game. How do you feel did your play on the defensive end grow with the EN Baskets Schwelm?
I believe my defensive abilities were tested some throughout the season and it made me an even stronger defender. Getting better at the things I can on the court is my main goal in everything I do.
What was your favorite personal game this season? Possibly the 28 point game in the win over Wolfenbuettel or your 24 points and 10 rebound game in the win against Oldenburg?
Both of those games for me were big. I want to thank my teammates for those games as well. Can’t do that without them getting me the ball.
What is the next step for you? Could you imagine remaining in Germany playing Pro B or Pro A?
Right now the next step is to just get my mind right and enjoy some time with my family. Remain in the gym and just pray and stay focused.
It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?
I could see that happening because even Dirk holds him very high and believes in him. Never know though I do hope for the best in his career.
Do you think that the New England Patriots and Tom Brady Can Win A Seventh Super Bowl and where would Tom Brady then stand with the greatest athletes of all-time?
I’m actually a TB fan so most definitely I believe that. As far as the GOAT I don’t like to get in those talks because they always vary and we will never know the true greatest. It’s all on opinions.
The basketball offseason is already in full swing and sometimes a simple dream can lead to some healthy, but speculative thinking about what could happen down the road of basketball. Or as Eddie Murphy loved saying in his popular 90´s talk show “Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm”. In the NBA the speculation buzz in the off season at times seems like a circus with no ending as this summer people will be talking about the possibility of Kemba Walker being in Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving being in Brooklyn and if the Los Angeles Lakers deal for Anthony Davis will pan out. In European basketball, the off season basketball transaction speculation is already buzzing just as much as the tabloids have been in the states about ex Baseball muscle man Jose Canseco looking for publicity and tattling on other ex MLB muscle man Alex Rodriguez and Jennefer Lopez. Many will wonder will CSKA Moscow continue to keep their amazing roster intact for added titles next season, where will basketball legend Rick Pitino land next and who will be the next wave of NBA players to press their luck in Europe. In the German basketball scene there is speculation as well, but maybe not as wide spread as in other European countries like Greece or Turkey, but it is alive. One will be wondering if Alba Berlin can rebound from their disappointing 2019 final sweep loss to FC Bayern Munich and will Franz Wagner remain or go to the NCAA. Some will wonder how the roster of Brose Bamberg will develop and if Paris Lee can replace Tyrese Rice and in Munich there will always be names thrown into the speculation talk the way as there will always be talk about if Tom Brady will be capable of winning another Super Bowl. I will refrain from making any more Munich predictions after going 0/2 the last two summers with Kyle Kuric in 2017 and Philip Scrubb in 2018. Back in March 2019 for some reason I dreamt that Pedro Calles was head coach of the Fraport Skyliners, but then I woke up. I wrote this article back in March and couldn´t bring it since the Skyliners coaching spot was unresolved, but finally some light came into the picture. The club named Skyliners Pro B coach Sebastian Gleim head coach who has made a name as an excellent coach in the youth area who has helped develop guys like Isaac Bonga, Niklas Kiel and teenagers Len Schoormann and Maxi Begue. It is official now that Gordon Herbert will coach this season and next season in Canada but also be with the Fraport Skyliners in 2020-2021. Herbert is associate head coach for the World Cup this summer assisting 2019 NBA champion Nick Nurse and in his second year will be head coach for the 2021 Fiba Americas Cup qualifiers while also coaching Frankfurt again. “I´m real excited about combining the associate head coach and head coach job with Canada. Canada has a lot of potential. It is a great opportunity for me to learn from Nick Nurse and grow as a coach”, stressed Gordon Herbert. With the head coaching job resolved in Frankfurt, it still is interesting to wonder what would happen if Pedro Calles coached in Frankfurt one day. Calles will coach in Vechta again, but surely would have looked good as well coaching in Frankfurt.
Before talking about what kind of head coach could
bring success to the Fraport Skyliners, one can´t forget the accomplishments
that Canadian Gordon Herbert has given the organization. The club has three
titles in their 20 year existence and two of them with the 2004 BBL title and
2016 Fiba Europe Cup were produced by the guidance of Herbert. He could of won
a third title in 2010 had the club had a few more bounces and breaks go their
way in the deciding fifth game in Bamberg. Herbert has coached 11 seasons in
Frankfurt starting in 2001 to 2004. He returned in 2010 in April to take over
for Turk Murat Didin and led the team to the BBL final and returned back in
2013 after a short stay with Alba Berlin. His record has been almost immaculate
as he led the team to eight playoff appearances and a lot of joy over the years
with titles and bringing in unforgettable players and helping develop Johannes
Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel into Euroleague players and Isaac Bonga into an
NBA player. Who knows, but his protogee Elijath Clarance from last season is a
player where the sky is the limit and could be that next Euroleague or NBA
player. One of the biggest strengths of the 1984 Olympian has been making very
good teams with limited resources in the money department. He has shown time in
and time out to have that fascinating ability of being able to get the most out
of his players and knowing how to develop and motivating them to make the next
step. Of course one can´t forget his faithful side kick Klaus Perwas who has
been a huge help with his unrelentless work with the young German talents and
making them better each season. Another big strength of Herbert has been having
the ability of finding the right impact players to help the team be successful.
His ability to find those players is similar to a magician never failing to
present the right surprise from his pockets. Already early in his career, he
knew that an unknown Tyrone Ellis who played in the NAIA would be the right fit
or the athletic beast Chris Williams could do more than just dunk in Australia
where he found the American trying to be noticed by European teams. In his
second go around he brought in risk player Dashaun Wood who had been out a
whole season due to injury, but returned to an MVP season. He also brought in a
Justin Cobbs that turned the season from worse to good in 2014-2015 and in 2015
found an unproven Jordan Theodore who had never had winning success as a
professional, but came to Frankfurt and led the team to a title in 2016. But
Herbert told me a secret last week that he can´t take the credit alone for
having the right feeling and elite scouting ability for getting these players.
But the talent runs in the family as current assistant coach Daniel Herbert has
been vital for these players coming to Frankfurt. “In 2010, I was offered Kyle
Hines, but I thought he was too small and chose Joe Dabbert. Three weeks later
Hines was signed by Chris Fleming in Bamberg In Berlin I was offered Marcus
Slaughter, but thought he was too skinny and took Torin Francis. My son watched
Wood and Theodore on film and watched Shavon Shields and Taj Webster at
Portsmouth. He has a good eye for talent”, stressed Gordon Herbert. Only the
number 11 hangs high in the Fraport arena as fans will never forget the
accomplishments of 2005 European silver medalist Pascal Roller, but if Gordon
Herbert had a number, then his would be hanging next to his ex player someday.
Herbert is without a doubt the greatest coach the Fraport Skyliners have had in
their 20 year existence Thank you Gordon Herbert for many great memories and everyone
is thrilled that he will return back to Frankfurt in 2020.
So why could Pedro Calles be the perfect candidate to coach in Frankfurt had their been an opening for him? Before we began to observe the interesting parallel´s between him and Gordon Herbert rise early in their career´s after their first success one has to look at what Pedro Calles has achieved in Vechta. What makes this story so amazing is that Calles not only came from Spain, a country that doesn´t send Germany much in terms of basketball talent, but rather yummy fruit in winter so there will be added vitamins in the cold and a few less germs and sick kids going to school. Over the years seeing Spanish faces in the German easyCredit BBL has been rare. Last season Pro B team VFL Sparkassen Bochum introduced two interesting players who had played in the Spanish fourth divisions EBA and Alba Berlin pulled a Gordon Herbert in terms of pulling out the right ace from their sleeve by bringing in head coach Aito who has totally turned around the organization into a massive winning culture that believes in developing it´s young German´s and displaying breathtaking team basketball and helped make Joschiko Saibu into probably the most improved BBL player ever. Pedro Calles has been in Germany since 2012, but if someone was in a closet before this season would never have noticed. I follow German basketball closely and remember seeing Pedro Calles for the first time in the 2012-2013 season when he was an athletic coach for the Artland Dragons. I remember being fascinated seeing a Spanish face at a German basketball game. I was also amazed how young he looked. He seemed like he could still have been a university student, but back in 2013 he had already turned 30 and had somewhere been blessed by being touched by the fountain of youth. Six years later, he hasn´t aged much and possibly is a cousin or relative of actor Mario Lopez who actually is 10 years older than Calles and at age 45 and found the same fountain of youth. Calles remained in Germany and after moving up to assistant coach with Artland and getting two years of experience in the German basketball shark tank then quietly found a new home in Vechta in 2015 and worked diligently and successfully as an assistant coach for Andreas Wagner and Doug Spradley. He took over late in the 2017-2018 season for Spradley leading Vechta to the Pro A title and last season was the master mind behind the Vechta Cinderella story. With the club´s success and his rise, one could already say now and the rest is history. He led the club to a semi-final appearance beating Brose Bamberg and then being swept by FC Bayern Munich. Rasta Vechta has given the name over performance a new name and the biggest reason for the success isn´t the players, but head coach Pedro Calles. It would be interesting how other coaches would have faired with this roster, but not everyone would have been able to lead the club to this success. Calles is a very special coach just the way Gordon Herbert is. Herbert has been very aware of the success of Calles and observed his work last season closely. “He was the man behind the Cinderella season. I think there were three things key to their success. He got the players to play hard and together. He also got them to understand their roles. They played aggressive on the defensive end and always played with great tempo. It is tough to say how he would do in Frankfurt if he ever got the chance. Let us see how he does in his second season with Rasta Vechta”, stressed Gordon Herbert.
It seems the Spaniard is living a charmed life, because everyone is enchanted by his basketball mind, character and success. It didn´t take new Vechta player Tyrone Nash long before being infected by the unbelievable success of his coach. “For being a ‘young’ coach and with this being his first head coaching position, his intensity, passion and knowledge of the game is remarkable to me as a player. He pushes each of us to get the best out of each individual player. As long as we play hard, he gives us the freedom to play our game. As players, we really appreciate that”, stressed ex Notre Dame(NCAA) forward Tyrone Nash. Rasta Vechta started off slow losing it´s first three games and the early season warning signs that the club didn´t have the abilities to play with competitive BBL teams came about, but then as suddenly as the New England Patriots rebounded from being back 28-3 in Super Bowl LI to win 34-28 in one of sports greatest comebacks of all-time, it went bang bang bang for Vechta as they reeled off 15 wins in 17 games as a new German basketball Cinderella story was born. The club scored 87 points per game and belong to the top five defenses in the BBL. They like to play a press, but also annoy the ball handler with a sudden double team surprise and then have the rest of the players sneak into the passing lanes. That was a massive recipe for defensive success this season. There are teams in the easyCredit BBL that will never beat a FC Bayern Munich or Alba Berlin, but what new team in the BBL can say they beat Alba Berlin, FC Bayern Munich and Brose Bamberg in one season?. Vechta did this and surely had some people giving that Mccauley Culkin expression. The success in Vechta was a huge surprise for many and the fact that they beat these three top teams in one season is an unbelievable feat. Not too mention winning in Freak City was an unheard thing to do only a few years ago under Chris Fleming and even now not an easy task. Rasta Vechta were the feel good story of the BBL season and as always when you ask his players about the biggest reason for the success, the name Pedro Calles is always mentioned. “Pedro has been the biggest reason for the success of this club. From his ability to capture his players, to his coaching philosophy, to the way he approaches the game, he is the ultimate professional. Our guys love playing for him and as you can see, we play extremely hard under his leadership. It’s been cool to watch him grow as a head coach this season. I’m glad we are able to be apart it with him”, warned ex Tiger Tuebingen guard Josh Young. But then again those that are very close to the organization don´t see the success as a big surprise.” I don’t think anyone who knows Pedro is surprised that he has been successful thus far. He has been the reason for all of it. His coaching philosophy and principles are what make this team go. Pedro is passionate about basketball and wants the best for each one of us. He makes the game fun and challenges us to improve every day. It’s easy to play for a coach like that“, stressed Rasta Vechta guard Seth Hinrichs.
When looking at the current position that Pedro Calles has one has to mention a Gordon Herbert. There are a lot of parallel´s that the two basketball coaches share. After getting his first real coaching experience withTapiolan Honka (Finland) in the 90´s, Herbert then made the next step with Oberwart (Austria) achieving coach of the year in 2000. He made the next jump with DJK S. Oliver Wurzburg (Germany) in 2000 and had his first taste of success in the BBL. There he was able to help develop young Germans like Demond Greene, Robert Garrett and Marvin Willoughby In 2001 he made his next step to the Fraport Skyliners and in a matter of three years won the organizations second title in only five years. Even if Herbert had more coaching experience and was older than a Calles is now, the way the Canadian jumped to a bigger club Frankfurt is similar to Calles´s situation. No matter what happens next for the Spaniard, he will be ready for that next step. Calles has a two year contract with Rasta Vechta and will coach one more year there, but what will happen then? Another parallel in Herbert´s and Calles coaching ways is that character stands above everything else. The best example is Chris Carter. He belonged for years as a top guard in the Pro A, but didn´t get the amount of minutes he could have in the BBL. Despite this, he was always in attack mode for more minutes, but at the same time was the utmost professional about his relationship to his coach. “It has been a tough adjustment for me when I look at last year to this year in terms of playing time but to me this first BBL season is a marathon, not a sprint. I am a person who works hard every day and I will not stop working. Things have been going in the right direction for me over the last 6 weeks so I am just trying to keep building on that day by day. Well I haven’t accepted my role. I am working every day to improve my minutes and show everyone that I belong here. I try to work on having a strong mentality and let my work ethic build my confidence. He is a great coach and I have a lot of respect for the way he handles himself and the team. He wants to bring the best out of you day in and day out. You can tell that he takes his job seriously because he is the first one in and last one out which is what you want to see from your head coach. I hope we keep winning and he gets COY because it will be well deserved”, stressed Rasta Vechta guard Chris Carter during last season. Another parallel is that both coaches have had a big desire to develop young German players. Herbert has proven that with players like Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel, Isaac Bonga and Niklas Kiel. In Vechta Calles has loved to give minutes to Philipp Herkenhof and Luc Van Slooten. Especially Herkenhof is on a fine way to becoming a very good BBL player and his future surely is in the German national team. Herkenhof could be the next Danilo Barthel.
Another parallel is that both coaches believe in
producing a strong defense and then getting out on the fast break leading to
easy points. Rasta Vechta have had to display an aggressive defense day in and
day out, because they don´t have the needed length and size to bang down low.
Character has already been mentioned and a very important aspect in the
philosophies of both coaches. Herbert has demonstrated time in and time out by
bringing in good character players and Calles showed this season that he has the
same ability. He showed his strong confidence in his players. So often one can
witness after a team wins a title and moves up not having the classy side and
keeping and rewarding the players, but releasing them and finding new possibly
stronger and more experienced players. That wasn´t the case with Calles. He
kept Josh Young, Chris Carter, Seth Hinrichs and German Robin Christen. For
many other coaches a huge risk as only one of the four had BBL experience and
that was many years ago with Josh Young. He believed in them and they came through
big time no matter how many minutes they got or not as the most important thing
wasn´t their ego, but team. The two biggest Calles pick ups were TJ Bray and
Austin Hollins. Hollins had a solid first BBL season with Giessen, but who
would have guessed that he would take off so much in his second season? Calles
had the right feeling and it paid off. I wonder what Giessen was thinking about
not keeping Hollins? Possibly the biggest signing in the BBL and biggest
surprise was TJ Bray. Nobody except for Calles and John Patrick would have
believed that he would take off and have such an amazing season. He was a
candidate for MVP. This also shows another parallel in both Herbert and Calles
as both understand not only how to scout properly with a limited budget, but
also how to build a potent team despite limited resources.
Pedro Calles will continue to have numerous offers in the
future not only in Germany, but also from other countries. You can be sure that
many Spanish teams will already have asked Aito where this Calles guy came
from. Calles is on the radar of many teams. Calles will continue to go up the
basketball ladder in the next years the same way Gordon Herbert did. For years
there was that special Canadian/Finish flair in the Fraport arena and in the
BCM, but having that youthful Spanish flair could also be a refreshing new
thing in the Fraport arena. But then again I only dreamt that Pedro Calles was
the head coach of the Fraport Skyliners which in reality was just a harmless
dream and nothing more. Calles won´t be in Frankfurt this season, but now
Sebastian Gleim will have one of many special challenges next season against
Vechta and Calles. In Frankfurt eyes won´t be on Calles this season, but on
Gleim in his first BBL season. Gordon Herbert will also have him under his wing
and is confident that he will adjust well in his new job. “Sebastian is in a
real good situation in Frankfurt. There is a real good infrastructure and
basketball culture there. The Frankfurt organization is fantastic and with
Klaus Perwas he has one of the best assistants in the league. He has a great
group of young Germans and he is highly organized and motivated. I feel very
confident in him moving forward”, warned Gordon Herbert. Pedro Calles is still
head coach of Rasta Vechta. I´m sure Rasta Vechta fans won´t mind if I have
another dream of Pedro Calles next summer dreaming he will remain head coach
there. My dream most likely will be outlasted by reality, but at least Calles
will give fans in Vechta fond memories for a long time.