Kyle Hines is a 33 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his seventh season with CSKA Moscow and last season won the Euroleague And VTB titles. He currently is averaging 8,9ppg, 4,1rpg and 1,2apg in the Euroleague and 5,7ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,8apg in the VTB league. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games averaging 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had pre draft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2) playing 40 games averaging 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2 (3.5spg), Blocks-4 (1.6bpg), FGP-3 (64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 10 Euroleague games averaging 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; and in the German League played 46 games averaging 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP-3 (61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. germanhoops.com conducted it’s 18th interview with him before a Euroleague game against FC Bayern Munich
Kyle thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. You are playing your seventh season for CSKA Moscow. What have you learned to appreciate the most about how Christmas is celebrated in Russia?
I appreciate how Moscow goes over the top with it´s decorations and lights. Everywhere you go there are Christmas trees and skating rinks.
When you have won 4 Euroleagues the most by any American ever could you have a secret and rather want a 5th Euroleague win then the newest gadget or other present you may be craving. Yes of course. For me the biggest thing is always winning. I am always looking forward to trying to win that next title. It would be great to win another Euroleague title.
This season things aren’t running as smoothly for CSKA Moscow at this point of the season than other seasons. The VTB hasn’t been a cake walk and in Euroleague play the team has lost 5 games. Did the departures and slower integration of the new players take a toll on the team? We have a brand new roster. Literally all on the team are brand new except for a few guys. The injury to Will Clyburn wasn’t planned. We had a lot of road games early and it was tough and a reason why our record is what it is. I feel like we were in all games and had an opportunity to win each game. We feel that as a unit we are right there. We hope to use the experience from the first round and use that to get more wins now in the second round of the season.
Did you have a feeling when the season started that losing top players Sergio Rodriguez, Nando de Colo, Corey Higgins and Othello Hunter could affect the team as much as it had? Anytime you lose so many guys that have big roles on the team, it definitely isn’t easy to take. It has been a transition period. It is what it is. The new guys have new roles, a new style and a new system. I think that we have done fairly well, but of course I would have liked us to have been better. I don’t think that there would be many teams in Euroleague that had our situation that would be one of the top 4 or 5 teams. I think that we have taken adversary as a positive thing to get closer as a team. Our situation has forced guys to step up a lot earlier than expected.
Despite many good additions do you feel like opponents got a little more confidence playing you this season on account of so many great players leaving? No. I think that we are just a bigger target on our back. Everybody wants to beat us badly every game. That is a part of being the defending champion.
You had a strong start to the Euroleague season winning the first 5 of 6 games, but then had a tough stretch in November losing 3 of four games. Did the 67-66 loss stay in the minds a bit longer? No it didn’t. The Euroleague is a long grind, a marathon. You can see the results from this season that there have been a lot of surprises and teams being up and down. We don’t linger on one loss, but are always trying to get better.
What did the club get away from their game in this stretch and how is it playing better basketball now as it has won 5 of it’s last 6 games? We had growing pains. We are still coming together and finding our roles. We are still trying to figure each other out and getting to know each other better as a unit. I feel in the last games we have gotten more comfortable in their roles and system. Guys are thinking less and things are coming more by nature.
In the Euroleague you’re the best rebounding team, 4th best defensive team and 7th best offensive team. What does the team have to continue to work on to be able to successfully defend their Euroleague title? Defense is a huge part. We have to continue to play at a high level each night. There is so much offensive talent in the Euroleague that you have to defend well. Rebounding is also big, because it gives us extra possessions and let’s us control the tempo. We have to continue to make clutch shots down the stretch and finish games well.
You won the first contest in Moscow against FC Bayern Munich. When you look at their roster does it surprise you that they are struggling so much? I think that that is how the Euroleague is. It is very balanced and not too much separates each team. Every team is somewhere between 2-3 games of each other. Munich is a great team. They are able to score in many areas. They usually play well together at home. Despite their record, they have a lot of potential to do a lot of things.
In the first game ex NBA player Greg Monroe had 17 points and 10 boards. How much of a challenge was it playing against him and what is the toughest thing when defending him in the post? He is obviously very talented. He came to Europe with a lot of NBA experience. He has an array of many different post moves and has the ability to finish in many ways. The biggest challenge for me is just trying to limit his touches and not allow him to feel too comfortable.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure has it been playing with Mike James. What does he bring to the team that the club didn’t have the last years at the point guard position?
Mike is an extremely talented player. He has the capability of making most tough shots look easy. He can carry a team with his scoring or creating. He is a dynamic scorer that can score in bunches or go on runs by himself.
He is having a strong VTB campaign, but is playing even better in the Euroleague. Is he the best point guard in Europe now? He is my teammate so I root for him. I see him as the best point guard in Europe. He has played very well and proved that he can play at a high level anywhere.
Another player that has been integrated well has been ex NBA player Darrun Hilliard. He is known as being able to be an explosive scorer and hit the three, but what other quality in his game do you really appreciate that is vital for the club having success?
He is a great shooter and offensive player. His maturity and improvement have been big. He has done a great job trying to get better into our system. His willingness and work ethic to want to improve has impressed me the most.
German Johannes Voigtmann is playing his fourth Euroleague season and first with CSKA Moscow. He is a modern versatile big man. How has the style of CSKA Moscow helped his game most this season?
Our system fits him well. He plays the pick and pop 4 or stretch 5. He has been featured a lot in our system and has stepped up in big games. His ability to spread the floor has been big and his creating has brought a different component to our game.
He is shooting the ball very well from outside at 65% in the VTB league. Do you feel like his outside shooting has taken another step being around so many good shooters? I think so. He has shown that he can take and make the big shots. He has taken big strides to improve as a player.
What kind of relationship do you have with Voigtmann? Is he a guy that will come to you and ask for tips on possibly how to be more physical in certain situations? We have a great relationship. We talk a lot. He is a great player and person. We talk a lot about the game. That is a big benefit of our team is having each other and always helping each other out.
How proud are you of having been a member of Brose Bamberg when you witness guys like Daniel Hackett and Janis Strelnieks make strides. Both have made big strides as players. Talk a little how they have developed further? Bamberg does a great job developing players further. Bamberg is a great place to go to when you want to make the next step in your career. Both players are intrical parts of our team. Janis has been that secondary creator and scorer. Daniel’s physicality, aggressiveness and leadership has been huge. He played his best basketball last season and was a big reason why we won the Euroleague. He is a big part of our team this season.
Let’s talk about your game? In our last interview you stated this ‘the most important thing for me is always to win. I don’t care how we get there and I never look at individual stats. For me it is always about the team. This was one of the best season’s I had. Having the experience to win the Euroleague again was great. Your averaging 8/4 in the Euroleague and 5/3 in the VTB and shooting 59% or better from the field. How do you summarize your play up until now this season? I’m always critical about my game. My job is to help the team win games. Whatever it takes to help my team win on any night is what I will do. My personal stats aren’t my #1 goal. My number one goal is to help my team win or put it in the best position to win.
In our last interview you stated ‘I feel that as a player you can always get better. In the off season, I look at every aspect of my game and try to figure out how to make my weakness a strength. As a player you can always improve whether your 21 or 31’. Do you feel like the area’s that you focused on last summer in the lab have benefited your game this season? I think so. I’m trying to become a better overall player. It is more the smaller area’s where I want to improve. I want to become more fit. I am a firm believer that I can still improve at my age.
It is no secret that when players get older, their game regressions. That hasn’t been the case for you. What do you feel is the most important thing that you have to continue to do each day so your game doesn’t regress? Important for me is to maintain my daily habits and follow what I have done my whole career that has helped me be successful. I always want to keep my body in great shape so I can play as long as possible.
How difficult is it in general as you get older knowing if your doing to little for your body or too much? Do you have your own additional program to stay fit at age 33 or does the normal conditioning that the club does enough? I have played a long time, so I know my body well. I know what works and what doesn’t. I think it is important doing the little things that will benefit your body for the rigors of both leagues.
You stated in our last interview that you would be working on touch and drives over the summer. Do you feel like that work has paid off for you this season? Yes I think so. I worked on finishing better at the rim in different ways.
A couple of years ago you produced the documentary series ‘Just a kid from Sicklerville’ and last season you had the podcast the Kyle Zone. On what projects are you working on at the moment off the court? Continuing working on the second part of the documentary series of first time players in the Euroleague. We are also continuing on working and expanding on the podcast. We also area adding an additional documentary on how player spend their off season.
You played for Brose Bamberg in 2010-2011. Do you still keep in contact with some of your teammates? It isn’t easy with the rigors of the season. I recently saw Predrag Suput at our game in Moscow. I play against Tibor Pleiss in the Euroleague and I try to communicate with guys over social media.
We have discussed a lot of your ex Bamberg teammates, but one guy that I believe we never have spoken about is Predrag Suput. What memories do you have of him and how important was he for the success that season? He was one of our go to guys. He always was able to make the tough shots. I learned so much from him. He helped me become a better post player as well as a more intelligent player. He was fast or athletic, but he had a very high IQ. I picked up the small tricks of the trade from him
It was the dog days of summer in July 2006 as Germany was experiencing record heat where one didn´t even need to go south to Spain for a summer break. The month of July broke heat records in Germany at that time with the warmest day recorded was on July 16th with 38C in Kalkar. Not only were German´s having sauna like conditions that summer, but had also just witnessed the football World Cup in their country which brought the whole country a bit more together and gave mini flags placed on the mirrors of cars a new meaning and despite losing in the semi-finals to Italy, everybody was content with the outcome and life went on with the massive sweating. August slowly approached which would save those delicate German´s who hated the heat as that month would be a lot cooler. Football was on hiatus for a while, but basketball in Germany was heating up for the World Championships in Japan. As usual then German head coach Dirk Bauermann who had made a name for himself coaching Bamberg to their first BBL title in 2005 and would follow with a second a year later constructed an interesting pre-season schedule that saw Germany with Dirk Nowitzki play against other countries. At the end of July, Germany faced Canada in a friendly in Hamburg and a day later in Nurnberg, Germany. I remember traveling to Nurnberg from Frankfurt for the game at the cooler temperatures of August were no where in sight as the arena felt like somebody had transported some of that humidity from Saudi Arabia. The highlight for most there was seeing Dirk Nowitzki, but then again the German side also had other great players like all-time German national game leader Patrick Femmerling, ex North Carolina great Ademola Okulaja or the talented guards Demond Grenne and Stefan Hamann. I also remember young Germans Johannes Herber and Julian Sensley As for the game, it was a contest that Germany easily won as the team shot the lights out which Canada couldn´t get adjusted to. Unfortunately there aren´t any articles or stats available online, so finding additional information to the game online was difficult. I remember from fotos I took after the game that Team Canada had guys like Osvaldo Jeanty, Nate Doornekamp, Ransford Brempong, Carl English and a young man who hadn´t played a professional game yet named Jermane Anderson. I remember after the game interviewing German national player Mithat Demirel and also observing Dirk Nowitzki making the rounds patiently signing autographs for the rove of fans for at least 15-20 minutes until he disappeared onto the bus and the team was off. I don´t remember Jermaine Anderson one bit, but I would get to know his game a lot better over the next years as he would play for teams like Bamberg, Tuebingen, Trier and Braunschweig. Only a few months later Anderson would start his professional career in Germany with Bamberg. Head coach Dirk Bauermann must have seen something in Anderson´s game during the pre season games in Germany and then signed him. One might have thought that his good play on the court was his meal ticket to Bamberg, but he felt it wasn´t. “I don’t think it was my meal ticket. I think I played well throughout the course of the game and showed that I was willing to compete at a high level”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. Four years later he played at the World Championships in Turkey and will never forget it. “! I only had two goals throughout my national team playing career (to represent Canada at the Olympics and World Championships). Even though I didn’t make the Olympics, I was able to participate in the 2010 World Championships. Playing in Turkey was the pinnacle moment in my national team career”, warned Jermaine Anderson. At the 2010 World Championships he played 5 games averaging 8.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 28.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 75.0%. He played with the Canadian national team from 2004-2018 and served as a team captain. Anderson had a very stellar 11 year professional career that took him to countries like Germany, Croatia, Russia, Greece, Montenegro, Spain and France. He retired in 2018 and knew that it was time to go then. “To be honest the timing was perfect. Even though I wanted to play one more season, I placed a lot of restrictions on myself in regard to location, team etc. Once comfort took precedence over everything else, I knew that my mindset had shifted and that it was time to walk away from the game. I was fortunate enough to play for the national team one last time during the FIBA World qualifier in February 2018”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. He is doing very good things off the court and still very much busy with basketball related things. I look back on the career of Jermaine Anderson in the Miles Where Are They Now player feature.
Jermaine Anderson was born on February 8th, 1983 in Toronto, Ontario and went to Eastern Commerce High School. He then made the next step in his young basketball career attending Fordham(NCAA) in New York city from 2002-2006 playing a total of 122 NCAA games. There he underwent a sound development being able to improve his scoring each season and averaged double figures in scoring in his last two seasons averaging 12.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 39.8%, 3Pts: 38.4% as a junior and returned as a senior upping those stats with 15.6ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.4apg, FG: 42.9%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 85.2%. “I was able to improve each year because I lived in the gym. But everything changed when coach Jay Triano invited me to work out and practice with the national team. I was able to play against Steve Nash on a daily basis for a month and I was around pros throughout the summer. I learned so much from being around those guys and I was able to develop mentally”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. Even though his game developed nicely, the team didn´t achieve much in his 4 years, but he does remember one game and player that will always be in his memory bank especially his mouth which took a beating. “My most memorable game was an ESPN game against St. Joseph’s University during my Sophomore season. At the time St. Jospeh’s was undefeated and ranked #1 in the country. I remember preparing and thinking about this particular game for weeks, as a collegiate athlete playing on ESPN is everything, especially against the best team in the country. We were playing really well as a team and I had a great start, but midway through the first half Delonte West’s inadvertently hit me in the face with his forearm. Long story short, I was rushed to the hospital and my two front teeth were at the back of my throat. A specialist was called in to readjust my gum line and as a result I had a wire in my mouth for six weeks. I did not lose any teeth thank God but we ended up losing the game. With that being said I would have to say the toughest player I played I faced was Jameer Nelson from St. Joseph’s University”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. It wasn´t only hard work that helped the Canadian/Jamacian mature and become a better player, but his head coach for the last 3 years Dereck Whittenberg had an immense influence on him not only as a player, but as a person. “Coach Dereck Whittenberg saved my life. I almost flunked out of school after my freshman season and Coach Whittenberg held me accountable from day one. He called me into his office one day and told me that I needed to change my mindset immediately. For Coach Whittenberg study hall was a way of life and I was able to improve my grades within a year”, added Jermaine Anderson. But it wasn´t only experiencing so much on the court and getting the desired grades from his sophomore year up, but making those long lasting relationships that are still alive today especially with guys like Michael Haynes, Drew Williamson and Sebastian Greene who all would ball in Germany as professionals. “All those guys are family to me, and Michael Haynes was a big brother for all of us. When I arrived on campus my freshman year, I came with the bare minimum. The only thing of value that I possessed at the time was my meal card. Mike gave me access to his family in NY/NJ and he would literally give me the clothes off his back (thank God 3xl was in style back then lol)” said Jermaine Anderson.
In the summer of 2006, Anderson was very busy with the Canadian national team, but also found time to get a taste of what it´s like breathing a little NBA air playing NBA Summer League with the Toronto Raptors. He didn´t play much averaging only 1,8ppg, but just seeing a trace of how the NBA was then was an important experience as he was preparing for his professional career. “The NBA Summer League was a great experience and I had a chance to meet a few people that I still consider close friends to this day. It was a bit of a spectacle because we had the number one pick in the draft that year (Andrea Bargnani). I remember making a shot off Bargnani’s screen and I was subbed out of the game immediately. I was confused and I asked the lead assistant, “why did I get subbed out of the game, did I do something wrong?” His response was, “no, you were playing great, but Bargnani was open on the roll. You’re not here to score, your job is to get Bargnani the ball…” It wasn’t as funny at the time but now it’s absolutely hilarious. PJ Tucker was also on the Summer League team as well and his journey has been a joy to watch. He developed his game in Europe for five years and is now one of the best 3-point shooters (corner 3) in the NBA, not to mention a premier defender”, commented Jermaine Anderson. When your balling in Europe, it isn´t always easy to keep track of the NBA with the harsh time difference, but now that he is retried and back in North America, he has been able to follow the NBA closer and has seen how the NBA has changed since his NBA Summer League gig in 2006. “The NBA has completely changed without a doubt. In 2006, teams were still playing inside out and guys that did not have a position were considered “tweeners”. Now, everybody on the floor needs to be able to shoot the three and position-less basketball has become the norm”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He split his rookie season with the Brose Baskets Bamberg playing 8 BBL games averaging only 2.4ppg; and played 3 ULEB Cup games averaging 2.3ppg, and with Polpak Swiecie (Poland-DBL) playing 17 games averaging 7.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 27%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 90.3%. Despite his short first stay in Germany, he had no regrets and had no sour feelings toward the organization. “To be honest, my first year in Bamberg was memorable and a great learning experience. I was a rookie point guard and I didn’t have a clear understanding of the FIBA game. Coach Bauermann and my teammates were extremely helpful, and they taught me a lot during my time with the team. We had a veteran group and I was able to learn from each of them on and off the basketball court”, said Jermaine Anderson. He also was very fortunate to not only have very skilled teammates, but high character guys who showed him the ropes in the early going like Chris Ensminger, Robert Garrett, and Vincent Yarbrough. “I loved all of those guys and as I previously stated, I was able to learn something from each of them. Another person that was a great on-court mentor for me was Dejuan Collins. Dejuan had a wealth of FIBA experience and playing against him every day definitely prepared me”, warned Jermaine Anderson.
After getting some experience in Canada´s top basketball league with the Halifax Rainmen (ABA) averaging 15.1ppg, 5.5rpg, 6.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 86.4%, he then would play parts of two seasons with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 15 games averaging 13.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.6apg, 2FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 90.3% and in 2008-2009 played 34 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 30.1%, FT-2(89.6%). In his second season with Tuebingen he scored 28 and 23 points in wins over the Artland Dragons and Bremerhaven. Being able to perform well on a consistent level despite playing for a non playoff team was huge for his early development as the confidence and knowing the European style was important for him being able to continue getting jobs each season. “In professional basketball, besides good character, having good stats/percentages is everything. My years in Tübingen set the stage for my career and I was able to sign a really good deal in Cedevita Zagreb because of my stats in Tübingen”, said Jermaine Anderson. He was reunited again with his ex Fordham(NCAA) teammate Michael Haynes who retired a few years before Anderson. Haynes was one of many great players that was a borderline NBA type player. “ I think once he didn’t get signed or called up after playing in the D-League I knew it was going to be hard for him to get into the NBA. He averaged close to 20ppg and if I’m not mistaken his team won the championship as well that season. I was shocked that he didn’t get called up, but that’s the nature of the business”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. He played with so many great players over his career and one of those was AJ Moye who´s career was sadly cut short in 2010 by a stroke he suffered in the Fraport arena during a practice. Moye was as tough as nails and Anderson saw up close just how special a player he was. “AJ Moye is by far the fiercest competitor and probably the hardest working teammate that I played with. We would be in the gym for hours before and after practice shooting or playing one-on-one, we both were obsessed with the game. We were inseparable because we lived in the gym and when we were not playing, we were probably watching a game. I don’t think it was healthy but it was a way of life at the time”, stressed Jermaine Anderson.
One of the great things about being a professional baller overseas is that staying with one team for a while is very rare unless your Jermaine Bucknor who has made Trier his home for almost a decade, but for Anderson, he didn´t want to be a Germany lifer, but wanted to also explore what else Europe had to offer and in the 2009-2010 season played with Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia-A1) playing 17 Croatian League games averaging 9.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 76.3%; played 6 EuroChallenge games averaging 13.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 80.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 75.0%; and played 26 Adriatic League games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT-2(48.0%), FT: 89.4%. Usually a player will play in one league competition or at best in two, but rarely in three as he did which was a huge challenge. “The one thing I that I remember in Cedevita was having to adjust to the style of play. The Adriatic League had a specific style in comparison to the BBL and coach Pixie Subotic was absolutely amazing. Pixie was an offensive minded coach and he wanted us to play fast and shoot threes. We were unselfish and everybody scored, and we had great team success. I loved playing for Cedevita and Zagreb is a great city”, added Jermaine Anderson. In the 2010-2011 season he saw two new leagues playing withTriumph Lyubertsy (Russia-PBL) playing 8 Russian League games averaging 10.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 79.3%; and played 2 EuroChallenge Qualifying Round games averaging 4.5ppg, 2.0rpg, and also played with Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1) playing 12 games averaging 12.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 81.0%. He had played against future NBA stars in the NCAA, but when he played in Russia, he was able to play against top team CSKA Moscow who had two great players with JR Holden and Trajan Langdon. Anderson held his own scoring 18 points in a loss against CSKA Mosco. “JR Holden and Trajan Langdon were already well established legends in their own right during that time. I remember looking forward to the challenge of playing against one of the best teams in Europe and a really good friend of mine was on the team (Jamont Gordon). I would occasionally go to dinner with JR and Jamont in Moscow and even though JR had attained a level of success, he was extremely humble. In Triumph I was the only import on the team and at times I felt alone and isolated because the majority of my teammates did not speak English. Those guys, especially Jamont, allowed me to feel a sense of peace and I used them as a mental break when I had a few days off. I’m still in contact with both of them and I just recently saw JR Holden at the G-League showcase in Las Vegas”, said Jermaine Anderson. In the 2010-2011 season he won his only two professional titles with KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica (Montenegro-1A) playing 14 EuroCup games averaging 10.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 88.2%; played 26 Adriatic League games averaging 9.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 87.7%; and played 13 Montenegrin League games averaging 7.2ppg, 1.5rpg, Assists-2(3.7apg), FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 90.5%. “Buducnost was the most successful team that I played for throughout my career. We won the Montenegrin league championship, qualified for top 8 in EuroCup and advanced to the Adriatic League final 4. Once the NBA lockout was over, we lost our best player (Nikola Vucevic), and our supporters did not believe that we become a successful team. The best part of the journey was proving everybody wrong and overachieving as a team. Championships are hard to come by at any level and I cherish that season and we were more than a team, we were brothers”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He played twice against Maccabi Tel Aviv losing both games, but played against an assortment of great players including Keith Langford who is still playing today. He also played against guys like Baby Shaq, Devin Smith and Jordan Farmer who were on that Maccabi team, but being in awe was never a part of the equation for the Canadian. “I had already played against the USA Dream Team and other top ranked countries summer after summer. I was exposed to high-level players throughout my professional career and with the national team, I was never intimidated”, warned Jermaine Anderson.
After three seasons getting acquainted to new cultures and learning new styles of basketball, his basketball path found him back in Germany this time with a new team called the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) where he played 20 games averaging 9.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT-2(91.4%). He came at a great time as top young German point guard Dennis Schroeder was in his last stage of development as only 6 months later would be a NBA first round pick with the Atlanta Hawks. Anderson remembers the time with Schroeder who plays with the Thunder today as if it was yesterday. “Initially, I think Dennis saw me as a threat, but over time he realized that I had his best interest at heart. I believe it became evident when I started talking to him about Hoop Summit and how he should approach the event. My former high school coach is the head coach of the World Select Team (Roy Rana) and I would call him on a weekly basis raving about Dennis. Dennis attended Hoop Summit and the rest his history. Once he came back to Braunschweig, he became a better teammate and was more confident in himself. Sometimes players that have a chip on their shoulder are misunderstood and mistaken for being arrogant. I believe that chip is Dennis’ edge and he’s been able to become a solid contributor in the NBA because he doesn’t back down from anybody”, warned Jermaine Anderson. One of his more memorable games with Braunschweig was helping lead them to a 84-80 victory over Alba Berlin where he steered home 17 points. He would remain the next two seasons in Germany balling for TBB Trier playing a total of 67 BBL games. In his first season he averaged 10.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT-1(96.9%) and in his second season averaged 9.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 89.2%. He didn´t have those staggering scoring stats in his career, but he showed on many occasions that he could excel at the free throw line. “Not sure if it’s my proudest statistical achievement but I remember being perfect from the line for nearly the first half of the season. When people started talking about it, I did feel some pressure, but once I missed my first free throw I was relieved”, stated Jermaine Anderson. He had known Jermaine Bucknor from the Canadian national team and like in Tuebingen where he was reunited with Michael Haynes, he suddenly was teammates with Bucknor on a club team. They have been through a lot on and off the court and it´s no surprise that they are very very close. “I’ve known Jermaine since I was 16 years old and playing with him for two seasons was a blessing from God. We were able to grow as men together and I was there to witness the birth of his first child, which is more important than basketball. He allowed me to stand by his side as a groomsman at his wedding and we have a bond that will never be broken. Jermaine does a great job of taking care of his body, he started by changing his diet and he’s in the weight room almost every single day. He does all the little things to prepare his mind and body to work and I believe he will continue to play until God says his time is up”, expressed Jermaine Anderson.
In the 2015-2016 season he made another gigantic step in his playing career making the big show in Europe reaching the top league ACB in Spain together with the Euroleague playing for Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 15 games averaging 3.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.1apg. One can see from the stats that he didn´t get the amount of minutes that he was used to. “Unfortunately, I was very frustrated during my time in Sevilla, but I do not blame anybody but myself. I did not play well consistently, and I had a hard time adjusting to the practice schedule and style of play. Sevilla is a beautiful city with a lot of history, and I wish I had a better experience”, added Jermaine Anderson. In Spain he was teammates with ex NBA player Bostjan Nachbar who had played in the BBL when he was playing there. Having the opportunity to be teammates with him was just another one of numerous joys he had being able to play with very talented guys. “Even though he was much older when we played together, he was still able to carry the team offensively on his own.Nachbar was a special player and probably one of the most talented players that I’ve seen throughout my career”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He will have memories for a lifetime playing against top teams like Real Madrid or FC Barcelona with Juan Navarro, Carlos Arroyo and Tomas Satoransky and even was fortunate to catch a Luka Doncic at a very early stage of his career. “At that point I already played against so many great players. I always had a chip on my shoulder against big teams and I just wanted to prove myself and win the game. I actually played against Luka Doncic for the first time in an exhibition game before the season. He played the majority of the game and I quickly realized that he was well beyond his years. At the time he was deceptively athletic and mobile with great size. I knew that he was going to be an NBA point guard, but I did not expect that he would have an immediate impact. I think that Luka can become an all-time great because of his size, IQ and ability to make tough shots down the stretch”, warned Jermaine Anderson. He finished the season in Germany again with the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig averaging 7.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 80.0%. There he witnessed a big step in the coaching development of Raoul Korner who would make the next step the season after leading medi Bayreuth back to the playoffs after years and years of missing it. “Coach Raoul Korner is a “players coach” and he is open and honest with each player. He holds everybody accountable for their actions on and off the court. I am not surprised that he’s been successful with Bayreuth and I believe that he will only get better over time”, added Jermaine Anderson. That would be his last season in Germany. He played most of his career in Germany totaling 7 years and it´s only natural that the country that gave us Becks beer and Boris Becker will forever remain in his heart. “Germany definitely became a second home for me and it’s the place that I felt the most comfortable throughout my professional career. My first contract was with Brose Baskets Bamberg, I learned how to drive a manual car in Tübingen and I was able to play with a dear friend in Trier for two seasons (Jermaine Bucknor). Even though I have a love and appreciation for every country and club that gave me an opportunity to play the game, I have so many life experiences from my time in Germany that I will never forget”, explained Jermaine Anderson. His last full professional season was 2016-2017 where he split time with Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (France-ProA) playing 12 games averaging 3.4ppg;, and then moved to KK Mornar Basket Bar (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 6 Adriatic League games averaging 1.7ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg. Not playing so much at that stage of his career didn´t bother him, because he knew that the next stage in his life was approaching. “At that point I was already preparing for the transition. Even if I played 40 mins per game, I knew that I was on my way out. I was able to play with some old teammates from Buducnost, so I had a great time even though I did not get much playing time. I was at the tail end of my career and I didn’t really care if I played five or thirty minutes per game”, warned Jermaine Anderson. Four of his five best teamamtes of all-time were his teammates in Germany with AJ Moye, Jermaine Bucknor, Aaron Dorenekamp and Michael Haynes and he will never forget his toughest opponent on the court and how fans should remember him most. “ Carlos Arroyo was the toughest player I faced. I played against Arroyo every summer for nearly ten years at various qualifying tournament (FIBA Americas). He had the green like to shoot every possession and his playmaking ability was incredible. I just want people to know that I did everything to prepare myself and help each respective team succeed”, stressed Jermaine Anderson.
Anderson has been retired for a few years now and he has been involved in many projects and like being a good basketball player with a positive character has continued to make strides as an individual in his life off the court. After retiring he went back to school and graduated with an MBA from Ryerson University (Ted Rogers School of Management) in Toronto. He first was a player development coach for Canadian basketball and then was a player development coach for the well known Chinese club Shanghai Sharks that introduced the world to Yao Ming before becoming a top center in the NBA. Also he recently was named GM of a team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (Hamilton Honey Badgers). The league is entering its second season in May, and he will attempt to build a competitive roster. He also has been shadowing the coaching staff and front office personnel within the G-League organization Raptors 905 which will help him with his new job with the Hamilton Honey Badgers. The CEBL league has been constructed to help players, coaches, referees and sports administrators develop further.. “I´m extremely thankful for the opportunity because I´m getting a holistic perspective of the NBA”, stressed Jermaine Anderson. But that isn´t all that he has done as he has been busy around the clock. He also brought thenot for profit organization called Fifty for Free Youth community initiative to life. “Fifty for Free Youth Community Initiative is comprised of all three of my passions; basketball, finance and community. Fifty for Free is a program that offers financial literacy programming to marginalized youth through sport free of charge”, added Jermaine Anderson. It is obviously very rewarding to be able to give back to the community. “I never knew my father and God blessed me with countless people that helped to fill that void (family, teachers, coaches, friends etc.). Various people helped me grow as a man and athlete throughout my career. My way of repaying the people that guided me is by giving back to youth within my community. The best way to give back is to repay it forward”, warned Jermaine Anderson. Over the years I have been able to manage good relationsships not only with players and organizations, but also with agents. People often think that agents only care about the money. That isn´t true for all. I have known Aaron Reilly of AMR agency for a while and when he approached me asking if I could do one of those career ending pieces on his client Jermaine Anderson, I didn´t hesitate. For one, Anderson had had a very prosperous, long and interesting career and second, Reilly had got me the number of Tony Wroten recently so I could do an interview, so it was only obvious that I would grant him his favor. I have had more intense relationships with some players than with others and Jermaine Anderson is one of those guys that I didn´t have much contact to when he was playing. When I did meet him after a game, I remember him as always being very friendly and patient with my many questions. Obviously if he had worn a Fraport Skyliner jersey, it would have been a different story as I have been covering that organization for 17 plus years. I pretty much only saw what he did on the court. I had seen him play maybe 8 or 9 times live at most, but that was it. Despite not having that closer and special relationship with him off the court, I did recognize how good of a player he was. He was known as the rock, a nickname given to him by his childhood friend Junior Reid, because he always had a basketball in his hand and was muscular as a kid and was a true floor general, with tons of experience of international competition either with his national team as a starting point guard in World Cups and FIBA Americas or in top level European leagues. He made everyone around him better. But what is even greater than having been able to know Jermaine Anderson as a player is the opportunity to know him now as Jermaine Anderson the person. He is a great example of a person that didn´t decide to take it easy after a professional career, but continues to want to be successful off the court and try to help others and just be a good person. It really isn´t any different to when he was a point guard. He was always in attack mode then and is still in attack mode now with his new endeavors trying to be the best that he can and trying to do good in the community.
Curtis Hollis a 21 year old 198cm forward from Arlington, Texas that is playing his first season overseas and first in Germany with the Dragons Rhondorf currently averaging 22,0ppg,8,4rpg,3,8apg and 3,2spg. He began his career at Mansfield Summit High School. In 2017-2018 he played with Hutchinson CC (JUCO) playing 34 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3%. In 2018 he played in Lavar Ball’s new league with the Houston Ballers (JBL) playing 7 games: Score-5 (29.3ppg), 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%. He and I team up every week to talk basketball in the Miles basketball minute.
Curtis you recently were home in Texas for Christmas. How was that time for you? Was there one present that really stood out for you? It was good for me. I got to get away a little bit and see my family so it was great. All the presents I got were nice!
What was your best NBA moment when you were at home? Could you follow the NBA a bit more and did you go to a Mavericks game? Man there’s so many. I can’t really remember. Probably the Lakers – Clippers game! I couldn’t catch one but I will soon. Hopefully.
You returned back to Germany before 2020. How did you experience the New Year in Germany? Where is the Firework experience better in USA or in Germany? I just was at home watching basketball! The fireworks here are crazy something I didn’t expect at all.
Congrats on the 86-76 win in Leverkusen. The team started off slowly sustaining a 11-2 run and getting out rebounded 21-12. Why wasn’t the team intensity there from the get go in the first game back in the second part of the season?
I’m not sure. We kind of just tried to figure it out as the game went on and we did.
The Dragons Rhondorf played better in the second half securing the win. How key was the second technical foul? Was that the final turning point of the game? No it wasn’t a turning point to me. It was cool though we got shots and the ball so that’s always good for us!
The Dragons defended a lot better in the fourth quarter. What did the team do better then and will the team find a way to defend better consistently in the second half of the season? Yes we will. We just guarded man to man better and helped each other out!
The next game is against Ibbenburen who you lost to on the road. What will be key in getting the win at home? Playing key defense and playing together offensively. When we played them the first time we struggled but were a completely different team now so I think we will be ready to go.
Kilian Binapfl had another strong game again with a double double after having some tough weeks in December. Do you feel like the time off from the Regionalliga did him good? He was still here in Bonn with the BBL team so I’m sure getting to be with them and practicing and playing with them helped him get more comfortable when we started back.
Gabriel de Olveria was back again after missing a few months. He scored 16 points. How much did the team miss his inside presence? We missed his presence a lot. Marek & Jure do a great job of holding it down while he’s gone but his energy and presence is big for us.
You had a very strong game with 25 points and 6 assists. How happy were you with your performance? You carried the team once again in the second half?
I was happy I played well and we won so that’s always good for me. I wouldn’t say I carried the team. I made some plays like I’m supposed too and my teammates did as well so it was a group effort for sure.
Did you do any conditioning work at home in the 10 day break and pick up a basketball? Of course. I can never stay away I got in the gym as soon as I got back.
The Patriots lost in the Wild Card to Tennessee. Is their dynasty over? I’m not sure. You can never count out Tom Brady but they need to get him some help very fast.
After a two week break, it was finally time to play Pro B basketball again, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had a huge obstacle as they met second place club TG s.Oliver Wurzburg. They had had a unsatisfying 10th place finish last season, but this season ex Juniors head coach Eric Detlev who coached the Pro B program in Frankfurt from 2012-2017 has done a fantastic job building a new winning culture in Bavaria as the team scores the most points in the entire league with 90, is second best in rebounds at 34 and first in assists with 21. A big reason for the success is the inspiring play of their two imports American Cameron Hunt and Lithuanian small forward Rytis Pipiras who average almost half the team´s points. But they also have been inspired by their fast developing German big man Jonas Weitzel. The Fraport Skyliners arrived in the contest with a bitter 5 game losing streak as their defense continued to be a massive work in progress allowing 82 points per game and 90 points during their losing skid. Frankfurt had surprisingly won the first game in Wurzburg in a 101-94 shoot out where Bruno Vrcic and Cosmo Gruehn exploded for 58 points combined on 13/19 shooting from the parking lot but in the return contest in Frankfurt, TG s.Oliver Wurzburg got revenge crushing the Fraport Skyliners Juniors 99-67. The guests did a great job controlling the boards, taking care of the ball and defending like a team something Frankfurt couldn´t do right all night long. After the big win, the Wurzburg players went into the stands to celebrate with the many fans that made the trip to Frankfurt. After the celebrating died down a bit, Texas native Cameron Hunt was able to reflect on the team´s 11th win of the season. “We didn´t start so well, because we hadn´t practiced together in a while. We have many good shooters and we made shots. Even when we aren´t making shots, we always rely on our defense. We rebounded very well and were able to get out on transition a lot”, explained Cameron Hunt. The losing woes of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued as the club continued to be up and down and any signs of defensive improvement continued to be absent. After the loss a disappointed Nigel Pruitt tried to explain why the team lost again. “Our first half was good. We were only down by 8 points. If you can play consistently for 40 minutes, then you will have good chances of winning. It was another roller coaster ride for us. We came out flat in the second half and we showed that we can´t rebound. They played like a team and we didn´t”, stressed Tennessee native Nigel Pruitt.
The BCM the home gym of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors is usually so quiet that you could hear a conversation in the top row, but on this day, the gym atmosphere was incredible. It must have felt like a home game for TG s.Oliver Wurzburg because their fans made noise noise noise like it had never been heard before in that gym. But the loudness didn´t effect the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the first minutes as the home team cruised out on a quick 10-1 lead as Pruitt was all over the court hitting two three´s and swatting away 2 balls while 17 year old guard Len Schoormann made a finger tip roll lay in and ex Chemnitz center Aaron Kayser made a pretty left handed hook shot. It was a pleasure watching Frankfurt ball with a high intensity while the guests still seemed like they were on the bus snoozing. “Frankfurt hit some tough shots, but we knew that if we kept contesting that we would find our rhythm which we did”, stressed Cameron Hunt. But Frankfurt couldn´t keep the intensity going consistently as TG s.Oliver Wurzburg raced back on a 8-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 10-9. Ex BG Goettingen guard Philipp Hadenfield got the guests their first field goal at the 7,45 minute mark and then it was the Cameron Hunt show as he scored 3 consecutive buckets with a pull up jumper, left handed lay in and step back jumper showing exactly how much he had in his offensive arsenal. Frankfurt held on to the lead as Nigel Pruitt continued to be the Frankfurt energizer scoring another lay in and three pointer for the 15-11 lead. One of TG s.Oliver Wurzburg´s best players is Lithuanian forward Rytis Piparas, but he would have a cold day and German Fynn Fischer who reached the 2017 NBBL final 4 took responsibility and led the guests on a 13-3 run scoring 5 buckets as Wurzburg led 24-18. Fischer is playing his second season with the club and not only showed his knack of securing offensive rebounds and mastering put backs, but also displayed a fine mid range game. “We started well, but then they threw the first punch and we didn´t respond. We couldn´t rebound the ball”, stressed Nigel Pruitt. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg shot 55% from the field and 0% from outside and had 17 rebounds and 6 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 44% from the field and 33% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter TG s.Oliver Wurzburg continued to have the lead and control the game leading mostly by double digits, but Frankfurt had some good phases where they were able to execute on offense and even cut the guests lead to 4 points, but at halftime Frankfurt was down 46-38. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg sped out on a quick 4-0 run to extend their lead to 28-18 as Fynn Fischer continued to be active in the paint making free throws and a tap in. Frankfurt lacked the physicality of Wurzburg and couldn´t find a remedy for it. Even if Frankfurt didn´t have all guys on the same page there were phases where a few played with that special intensity. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors played their best basketball in the second quarter going on a lethal 14-8 run to cut Wurzburg´s lead to 36-32. Pruitt continued to take responsibility on the offensive end nailing two three´s while Schoormann contributed 6 points. Wurzburg lost a little concentration on the defensive end. Down the stretch, both teams were able to execute well on offense. Hunt was able to display a great balance between scoring and finding his teammates as he hit a three and lay in while Frankfurt was able to stay at bay getting two clutch three´s from captain and ex USC Freiburg forward Cosmo Gruehn, but Frankfurt still trailed 46-38. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg shot 50% from the field and 13% from the three point line and had 24 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 45% from the field and 41% from the three point line and had 18 rebounds and 12 turnovers.
The turning point of the game occurred in the third quarter as TG s.Oliver Wurzburg exploded on offense scoring 33 points to have the 79-57 advantage. Fischer continued to be a beast as he scored the first 4 points of the third quarter with a lay in and a 20 foot jump shot for the 50-38 lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to execute well on offense continuing to get production from guys like Schoormann, Kayser and Pruitt, but they just couldn´t get over the hump and were always trailing by double digits. Plus Frankfurt also had absolutely no clue how to slow down Cameron Hunt. He had his second stretch of the game where he gave scoring in bunches a new meaning as he scored 3 consecutive buckets to give the Bavarian club the 61-46 lead. In the stretch run of the third quarter, TG s.Oliver Wurzbrug heightened their offense a bit more going on a 18-8 run to lead 79-57 after 30 minutes. Wurzburg let the three fly getting two trey´s from ex BBL player Julian Albus who has 85 BBL games on his resume and Hadenfeldt also scored from the parking lot. When young Fynn Fischer took a breather, it was time for the other young Wurzburg big man Jonas Weitzel to get to work and did scoring twice in the paint and registering free throws. “We got more stops and were able to run as well. We sped up the game and were more physical then them”, added Cameron Hunt. “We experienced the snowball effect. First we didn´t rebound and then we didn´t defend. Hunt got hot. We couldn´t guard him”, expressed Nigel Pruitt. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg shot 52% form the field and 31% from the parking lot and had 34 rebounds and 9 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 37% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 18 turnovers.
The contest was already decided in the fourth quarter, but TG s.Oliver Wurzburg continued to play their game and also defended better holding Frankfurt to 10 points. Young German Noah Camden made his Frankfurt debut after beginning the season with the wiha Panthers and recently had a very short stay with BBC Coburg. In his Frankfurt debut he scored 6 points and grabbed 5 rebounds including 4 offensive rebounds in 15 minutes. He gave Frankfurt some physicality that they have been missing this season. Kamdem should give the club vital energy from the bench with that added touch of physicality. Mr triple double Tim Eisenberger who registered 7 triple doubles in the Regionalliga scored twice as he ended the night with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals while Rytis Pipiras who started slowly finished with 11 points 5 rebounds and 2 assists. He also showed his shooting range hitting a 20 footer and trey. Hunt entered the fourth quarter with 21 points, but wasn´t finished yet as he contributed 7 points in the last frame to finish with 28 points. Wurzburg had the 30 point lead after Eisenberger threw up an alley op inbounds pass to Hunt who tapped it in. Jazz Bains closed out the game with a penetration lay in for the 99-67 end result. “We stuck with our game plan and focused on the pick and roll defense and did a good job with it”, expressed Cameron Hunt. “When you looked at the scoreboard and saw the big lead, it was emotionally draining. We stuck to our concept on offense and defense even if we were losing. I felt we played a little selfish at the end”, stressed Nigel Pruitt. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg were led by Cameron Hunt with 28 points and 7 assists. Fynn Fischer added 20 points and 7 rebounds and Rytis Pipiras and Juilian Albus scored 11 points a piece while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Nigel Pruitt with 20 points and Cosmo Gruehn added 13 points. TG s.Oliver Wurzburg shot 52% from the field and 32% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 9 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 39% from the field and 30% from outside and had 39 rebounds and 21 turnovers.
After the Fraport Skyliners convincing 76-68 victory over the Cailsheim Merlins on the road on December 7th, it seemed like the club may have caught themselves just in a nick of time before disappearing in quick sand, but instead fell in and their chances of recovering wasn´t an easy one as it was 10 before midnight. Since the win in Crailsheim, the club had suffered a very disappointing three game losing streak. They should of won the game at home against Braunschweig shortly before Christmas, but instead lost having had the win in their hands missing two makeable shots in the last seconds. Then came a miserable loss in Ludwigsburg and then a loss in their first game in 2020 on the road against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen. It definitely wasn´t easy times for the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner. In Goettingen the team played OK until halftime, but then as usual collapsed in the third quarter and at the end had 20 turnovers and had given up 14 offensive rebounds. One can only wonder what Gordon Herbert is thinking at the moment. The Fraport Skyliners could use some serious basketball consultation from the Canadian. The club was still looking for their first win in 2020 and faced Hessen rival Giessen 46ers who are only a short ride up the high way from Frankfurt. Whenever these teams meet, it always promises to be a brutal battle not only on the court, but also in the stands as a few hundred Giessen fans had loud and often nasty chants, but in the end it didn´t help, because the Fraport Skyliners survived a Giessen comeback winning 81-65. The Fraport Skyliners gave a good team effort and played consistent defense and hit the big shots whenever they needed them, while the Giessen 46ers were missing that team spirit and couldn´t defend consistently all night long. After the huge win, ex BG Goettingen American Adam Waleskowski reflected on the game. ”This was a huge win for the fans. Before the game we got these motivational letters and we wanted to do it for the fans and were able to get on track again. The way we defended and played with physicality is the way I remember the Skyliners of old. ´This is how we should always play. We frustrated them with our physicality. We played together on the defensive end and had good communication something that was lacking the last weeks. We really focused on using the crowd energy and derby feeling. Our energy and hustle plays won us the game tonight”, stressed Adam Waleskowski. After the loss ex West Virginia(NCAA) guard Teyvon Myers exited the dressing disappointed that they didn´t give the needed energy. “We didn´t do our automatics and didn´t take the game like a derby game the way Frankfurt did. We had to play down from the start. We pressured the ball a lot, so we took off plays on defense to conserve energy, because we didn´t want to be dog tired”, stressed Teyvon Myers.
5002 fans found their way into the Fraport arena for the first home game of 2020 and weren´t disappointed as the Fraport Skyliners came out with the type of intensity that they should always have while Giessen couldn´t match it The Fraport Skyliners came out blazing going on a quick 6-0 lead. Ex Auburn(NCAA) standout Quantez Robertson gave Frankfurt it´s first two points after 5 seconds as he was the aggressor got the lose ball off the jump ball and scored. Ex St Johns(NCAA) forward Richard Freudenberg grabbed an offensive rebound and made a put back while ex Braunschweig guard Joe Rathon also scored Frankfurt defended with passion from the get go something one hasn´t seen so often this season. They defended aggressively and forced Giessen to tough shots which made them hurry their offense. Ex ratiopharm Ulm center John Bryant finally got Giessen on the board with free throws, but Frankfurt continued to play strong at both ends of the court extending their lead to 10-2 with a Freudenberg trey on transition. The whole play started with a Freudenberg block on a Bryant hook shot. Giessen finally received their first field goal at the 5.54 minute mark with a Meyers transition bucket cutting the Frankfurt lead to 10-4. The Fraport Skyliners continued to execute on offense at a high rate going on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 16-4. Jones began the run with his bread and butter pull up jumper, German Leon Kratzer made a left handed hook shot over Bryant and then came the awakening of Richard Freudenberg. He made the play of the game scoring a ferocious two handed dunk barreling to the rim from the wing. His aggressiveness was refreshing. Why can´t he play like that all the time? “His dunk was an exciting moment. I thought holy cow when he dunked. He is so athletic. He needs to keep the level at which he is playing now. We all know that he has it. He has to keep bring this type of play and not let missed shots affect him”, stressed Adam Waleskowski. Frankfurt continued to execute with nice team play getting baskets from ex Braunschwieg forward Shaquille with a tap in, an Akeem Vargas pull up jumper, and Robertson lay in. Frankfurt couldn´t totally shake Giessen as they stayed in the game with difficult shots in the one on one as team play was absolutely absent. Ex Bucknell(NCAA) guard Stephon Brown hit two difficult baskets and ex Texas(NCAA) forward Jordan Barnett hit a runner as the Fraport Skyliners led 26-16. “We came out focused at both ends of the court. We moved the ball well on offense and were zones in on defense”, stressed Adam Waleskowski. The Fraport Skyliners shot 50% from the field and 20% from outside and had 14 rebounds and 2 turnovers while the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers shot 29% from the field and 0% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to be in charge, but a loss in concentration allowed Giessen to squirm back into the game. Frankfurt gave up some easy baskets and couldn´t get the easy ones on offense. Ex Alba Berlin guard Akeem Vargas got Frankfurt on the board first with a lay in as he got a loose ball and made a transition bucket. Giessen then found some daylight on offense going on a 6-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 30-22. Ex University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (NCAA) forward Matt Tibby started the run with a 20 footer, Bryant followed with a lay getting the shovel pass from young German Bjarne Kraushaar. Brown used his expert one on one qualities scoring on a runner. But as was so often the case on this evening, whenever Giessen attempted to come back, Frankfurt had an answer. Little used Michigan State guard Matt Mcquaid gave the team some massive punch with a lightening 5-0 run with a catch and pop three and lay in while Jones made a lay in and Barnett a jumper as Frankfurt led 37-24. Frankfurt´s offense was fluid and even when they did make mistakes, they were able to make up for it on the defensive end with big plays. Frankfurt was in control, but lost control in the last minutes as the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers went into the break on a 7-2 run to trail Frankfurt only 39-31. Giessen profited from Frankfurt´s fifth team foul at the 3,45 minute mark and got free throws from ex Bayreuth center Kendall Gray and ex Braunschweig guard Brandon Thomas and got a clutch trey from Matt Tibby. Kratzer closed out the second quarter with a two handed stuff. “We relaxed a bit when we got the lead. Their two guards hit tough shots and overall the team got easy baskets”, stressed Adam Waleskowski. The Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 25% from the three point line and had 22 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Jobstairs Giessen shot 31% from the field and 10% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 9 turnovers.
The third quarter has been the sore point of the Fraport Skyliners this season, but against the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers, the home team came out with a strong 10 minutes and led by as much as 19 points to lead 62-47 after 30 minutes. Both teams got on the board quickly to begin the third quarter as Lamont Jones and Meyers scored as Frankfurt led 41-33. The Fraport Skyliners then really broke open the game with a 11-0 run powered by Richard Freudenberg who made a monster block and hit two three´s while Jones made a lay in and Robertson a deep trey for the overwhelming 52-33 lead. Frankfurt continued to play with a lot of physicality forcing Giessen to try to execute on one on one plays. Giessen stopped the Frankfurt run with three´s from Brown and Brandon Thomas to cut the Frankfurt lead to 54-39. Frankfurt continued to execute well keeping their lead as their best scorer Lamont Jones was scoring from all over while Giessen got key baskets from Tibby. Giessen closed out the third quarter 5-0 run as Meyers hit a trey and made a lay in trailing Frankfurt 62-49 after three quarters. Meyers showed time in and time out that he can play the game, but the team aspect was missing a bit something he isn´t used to playing. “I never learned to play basketball the right way. I was used more as a defender at West Virginia(NCAA). When teams switch it forces us to go 1-1. I´m in my third year in Europe and don´t run the pick and role, but just fill it out”, stressed Teyvon Meyers. “We were playing Skyliner basketball. That is how we always want to come out setting the tone and intensity. Giessen did do a good job getting to the free throw line to stay in the game”, added Adam Waleskowski. “I felt that we came back from halftime fired up, but they started hitting three´s which changed the game. They punched us in the mouth and did a good job weathering the storm”, added Teyvon Myers.
In the fourth quarter the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers made a furious come back to cut the Frankfurt lead to 4 points, but the Fraport Skyliners closed out the game with big shots and stops. The Jobstairs Giessen 46ers came out on fire as they played their best defense in the first 3- minutes and went on a 9-0 run to suddenly trail only 62-58 as Frankfurt were in danger of giving up the lead for the first time. Giessen continued to rely on their strong one on one abilities as ex University of Texas forward Jordan Barnett made a lay in and trey on transition, Meyers made a pretty bucket with a left handed lay in high off the glass and free throws from Kendall Gray. Frankfurt couldn´t hit the ocean, but also had misfortune missing a few easy lay ins while Leon Kratzer missed two free throws. “We got stagnant on offense and had some bad turnovers while they hit shots”, stated Adam Waleskowski. “We upped our intensity on defense. It helps when Kendall Gray in on the court”, added Teyvon Myers. The Fraport Skyliners finally made their first field goal of the fourth quarter as Adam Waleskowski hit a huge three pointer for the 65-58 advantage. “They had us bleeding. They thought we were going with the lob pass, but my guy dropped off me so I let it fly and was lucky I hit it after missing so much in the first half”, added Adam Waleskowski. After Barnett made a step back jumper, the Fraport Skyliners continued to execute on offense getting a trey from Jones and a lay in from Vargas for the 69-60 Frankfurt lead. Giessen didn´t let up getting a three pointer from Brown, but Frankfurt just continued weathering the storm and getting big shots as Shaquille Hines made a three from the corner for the 72-63 lead. “Hines made a big shot. There were so many games this season where we gave up the lead, but this time we were able to close the door on them”, expressed Adam Waleskowski. “They hit the big shots at the end when they needed them most”, stressed Teyvon Myers. Frankfurt then cruised to the victory with a 11-2 run closing out the game. Jones and Joe Rahon made lay ins and Quantez Robertson hit an acrobatic three after getting Thomas in the air and then moving to his left and letting it fly. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Lamont Joes with 16 points. Quantez Robertson added 15 points, 8 rebounds and 7 dimes. Richard Freudenberg produced 13 points and Shaquille Hines 10 points while the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers were led by Stephen Brown with 17 points while Teyvon Myers added 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 49% from the field and 36% from outside and had 42 rebounds and 14 turnovers while the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers shot 34% from the field and 24% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 16 turnovers.
When you google the most popular first and last name combinations in the United States you get James Smith which had 38,313 combinations found in a study from Lee Hartman an associate professor emeritus of Spanish at Southern Illinois University. Michael Smith, and Robert Smith were two and three in the list while number five was David Smith. I actually knew a David Smith in junior high school, a basketball player Michael Smith played in Germany for BC Soest (2.Regionalliga) in the 2017-2018 season and overall 38 Michael/Mike Smith´s are listed at eurobasket.com and one of the many Robert Smith´s in this world is the lead singer of the Cure. I even interviewed another Mike Smith who had a long career that recently ended in retirement. Another name that is one of those common names that could pop up in any town tiny or big in their telephone book is Alex Brown. In 1850 Brown was the second most common surname and in 2019 it is the fourth most common surname in the states and has 1,380,145 matches. And one of those is Alec Brown. Granted the Alex is surely more common than the spelled Alec, but he will never get away from having that common name Brown. At eurobasket.com that have over 500,000 player profiles worldwide, there 2,526 players listed with the name Brown. There are 15 players named Alex, while Alec Brown who signed recently with German team Telekom Baskets Bonn isn´t the lone guy listed on the website, but another Alec played at Lake Michigan CC six years ago, but never turned professional. The American laughed when asked about his common name and even has kept tabs on the amount Brown´s he has met in his life. “I think that it has been close to 10-20 Browns that I have met, but I think that it´s closer to 20. I have met a lot of guys with that name that play basketball”, stressed Alec Brown. Alec Brown has that common name, but special unique game set. Having an ordinary name is the least of his worries at the moment, but moreover being able to bring some positive punch on the court to a struggling Telekom Baskets Bonn who are treading on very thin ice at the moment at position 16 with a very disappointing record of 2-10 in the German BBL.
Brown is a 27 year old 216cm center from Winona, Minnesota and began his basketball career at Winona High School leading them to a 29-2 season and third place finish in the Minnesota Class AAA tournament. In his senior year he averaged 22,4ppg, 9.8rpg and 4,9bpg. He set 7 school records during his prep career and registered a triple double against Mankato West with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks. . He then proceeded to play at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (NCAA) from 2010-2014 playing a total of 125 NCAA games. He was able to improve his scoring each season and as a senior played 30 games averaging 15.3ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.0apg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 42%, FT: 72.7%. He had many long lasting memories like hitting Fairfield for 40 points, producing a triple double against Minnesota-Duluth amassing 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks, swatting away 11 balls against Wright State in a 57-56 victory or being named to the Horizon all defensive team twice, but it wasn´t so much the accomplishments on the court that he remembered most fondly. “I think off the court just building long lasting relationships with the coaches and players. The best thing has been building life long friendships with the people there. I can always get in contact with the coaches which is nice. On the court there were a lot of achievements. It would have been nice if we would have reached a NCAA tournament, but we won the conference my senior year so that was a big achievement”, stressed Alec Brown. The American is definitely a player that won´t be forgotten at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as he left with many records like scoring 1,678 career points to rank fifth all-time, had a total of 309 blocks which broke the school record, and was third in career rebounds with 800. He couldn´t have achieved all the success without the guidance of head coach Brian Wardle. “When I got to school I was so unprepared for everything for being able to do the level of work there. He helped me become responsible. He also helped my shot giving me the green light. He had the confidence in me and helped me develop as a player”, added Alec Brown.
In the summer of 2014, he took part at the NBA Draft Combine and made waves hitting 18-25 three´s in standing shooting drills and was rewarded with his stellar college career by being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round at #50. That summer he played in his first of four NBA Summer Leagues playing with the Phoenix Suns playing 5 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg. He hurt his left shoulder in his last Summer League game and initially was going to play his rookie season in Spain, but then joined the Bakersfield Jam (D-League) playing 20 games averaging 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2.0bpg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 79.3% It was a shortened season for him, but he didn´t allow the injury to effect his rookie season in a negative way. “The D-League as a rookie was tough. I was drafted and then was injured right away and missed a long time until I returned in February. Important in that down time was doing the rehab right. I knew at the end of the season that my shoulder was good again. I put in the time to get healthy again and put in the time and didn´t risk coming back to early”, stressed Alec Brown. He scored in double figures in 5 games and had two games with 5 blocks including his professional debut against the Los Angeles Defenders. In the summer of 2015, he attempted to reach the NBA again playing NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns averaging 2,8ppg and 2,4rpg, but missed out so his path took him to Europe for the first time as he played with Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro CAB (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 29 games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 75.0%. Playing in one of the best leagues in the world, adapting to a new culture and habits, it wasn´t an easy first season for him overseas. “It is always tough to be far away from home living on your own and then being in a foreign country. I lived in a small city where few knew English. The late dinner´s actually fit into our schedule so I liked that. My Spanish still isn´t fluid. I know basic Spanish”, added Alec Brown. He scored in double figures in 6 games and his stats were solid for averaging 15 minutes per game. In the summer of 2016, he had another go in the NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns averaging 2,8ppg and 2,3rpg. He split the 2016-2017 season with the Windy City Bulls (D-League) playing 50 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.9bpg, 2FGP: 53.4%, 3FGP: 36.4%, FT: 81.0%, in Apr.’17 moved to Movistar Estudiantes (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 6 games averaging 14.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 68.0%, 3PT: 63.6%, FT: 68.8%. In Chicago he was teammates with Paul Zipser who would play 2 years with the Bulls. Back in 2017, Brown was very impressed with the young German´s game. “ He could have a long NBA career. I only played a couple of games with him, but from what I saw, he really knows how to read the game well. He is a very smart player and really knows how to play”, said Alec Brown. Now he will be reunited with Zipser as he will clash twice against his ex teammate in the next months in Germany when Bonn meets Munich. With the Windy City Bulls, he scored in double figures in 29 games including a 31 point explosion against Reno and 27 points against the Raptors 905.He finished the season strong in Spain again scoring in double figures in all 6 games including a 20 point game against top Euroleague team Real Madrid shooting 8/12.
In the summer of 2017 he would play his last NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this time with the Los Angeles Lakers, but played only one game. Even if his last NBA Summer League was in 2017, the NBA always still remains a big goal. “I didn´t have much opportunities last summer to showcase my abilities. I don´t plan on giving up on reaching the NBA. As long as there are opportunities to play NBA Summer league or others I will accept. There is no harm in trying for the opportunity. I don´t plan on stopping”, added Alec Brown. Brown who lists current Laker Anthony Davis as the toughest player he ever battled against in the paint at a Nike Camp took part at the 2017 Fiba America´s cup winning the Gold medal while sharing the ball with NBA players like Reggie Williams, Xavier Munford and CJ Williams and won´t forget the experience. “I would play again if I was asked. It was an amazing experience. I will never forget all the confetti coming down and everyone going crazy. I kept the jersey and medal and framed it”, warned Alec Brown. In the 2017-2018 season he returned to Movistar Estudiantes (Spain-Liga ACB) and had his best season to that point in his career playing 33 ACB games averaging 10.8ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-4(1.0bpg), FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 84.1%; and played 16 BCL games averaging 11.4ppg, 4.8rpg, Blocks-4(1.2bpg), FGP: 64.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 77.8%.After parts of two seasons in the ACB league in Spain, he demonstrated in his third season in Spain that he could heighten his game. A big help was being able to play in a system that fit his game whereas in his rookie season, he couldn´t play his game to his potential because the system didn´t fit his game. In the ACB league he scored in double figures in 22 games including a 22 point game against Zaragoza and 18 point games against Real Madrid, Andorra and Gran Canaria. In the Basketball Champions Legaue he scored in double figures in 11 games including a 24 point game against Greek team AEK and a 21 point game against Umana VE. He also credits his success to playing with a highly skilled point guard ex NBA player Omar Sharif-Cook. “It was great playing with Omar. I have played with many great point guards including good scoring point guards, but I have never played with a point guard that has seen the court as well as him. His IQ is amazing. Anyone would love to play with him”, added Alec Brown in 2017. Despite living in Madrid and not playing for the famous Real Madrid, he did cherish the whole experience playing for the smaller club Estudiantes. “Real Madrid is the big team in Madrid, but Estudiantes has a pretty big following as well. We will meet fans on the street and that´s kind of cool. People tend to like to cheer for the underdog. We aren´t as high profile as Real Madrid, but we believe that we can beat any team on any night”, stressed Alec Brown in 2017. Last season he had another good season in Spain playing with Cafes Candelas Breogan Lugo (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 30 games averaging 10.9ppg, 5.9rpg, Blocks-2(1.5bpg), FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 42.5%, FT: 80.5%. He scored in double figures in 20 games including 4 double doubles. After playing parts of 4 seasons in Spain, he feels like his game really developed nicely there. “I want to say that I have become more consistent. I think that I also became more basketball smart and read the flow of the game better. This all came with time”, warned Alec Brown.
Brown who has Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird,and Lebron James on his personal NBA Rushmore began this season with BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB) playing 7 Basketball Champions League games averaging 8.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 48.4%, 3FGP: 50.0%; and played 6 VTB United League games averaging 7.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 2FGP: 45.5%, 3FGP: 25.0%, FT: 84.6%. “The Russia experience wasn´t a bad one. The VTB is a good league and I had good teammates. Coach and I didn´t mend well. It just wasn´t the right situation for me”, expressed Alec Brown. Now a few days after Christmas, he sought a new challenge in a new league in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. With ex NBA big man Stephan Zimmermann out, the club had to react and know exactly what they are getting with Brown. “With his size and mobility he can defend the 4-5 positions and on offense spread the floor with his good outside shooting”, stressed Telekom Baskets head coach Thomas Pach. The American is excited about playing for the first time for a German club and despite it´s sad record, he is confident for a turnaround. “I could tell after my first practice that this team has a lot of talent and is very hard working. I think that this can be a really good team. They lost a lot of close games That tells me that you have to make a few adjustments here and there at this time of the year and then it could be possible to make a run. I hope I can help”, warned Alec Brown. His role will be to score, rebound and block shots. That is what he does. His outside shooting continues to be something that he keeps working hard at to improve. He improved his outside shooting in his last two seasons in the ACB, but this season shot only 25% in the VTB league, but then again 50% in the Basketball Champions League at 50%(10/20). “I feel that shooting has always been a work in progress for me. I always had a natural touch from the mid distance. I worked very hard in school in expanding my range little by little. I have to really credit my coaching staff who had a lot of confidence in my abilities and believed in me. I eventually got the green light. That has really helped open up my career and get new opportunities”, expressed Alec Brown. Not only on the offensive end do the Telekom Baskets Bonn need steady consistency, but also on the defensive end where the club is allowing 92 points per game, he can give them a boost in the paint being a menace for opponents with his body and long arms. He was the 4th and 2nd best shot blocker in the ACB the last two seasons and he should make an impact right away in the BBL especially when he continues to study film of opposing players. “ I think knowing especially what hand a player uses best or what moves they have is important for being successful as a shot blocker. Most important is the timing and knowing when to be in the right place and knowing when you need to help off the drive”, commented Alec Brown. After playing most of his career in Spain, he has already played in Russia this season and embarks on a new adventure in Germany as he will wear the #15 and give his debut this Sunday in Ulm. After a few games under his belt in the BBL, his special unique game set should be on display so his common name will quickly become a known name in German basketball.
Some guys will do almost anything in order to get that next job even if it means sleeping on the floor. The life of a basketball player isn´t always easy. The 9-5 workers usually have security, but for professional basketball players every summer is like testing the job market all over again. There are seldom guarantees as a player needs good health, connections and luck in most cases to land that next job. Basketball life isn´t easy at the moment for Tucker Haymond the Seattle, Washington native as he is jobless, but maybe not for long as hope is on the horizon. Last season one could of called Tucker Haymond a walking bucket as he dominated the German Pro B with the Rhein Stars Koeln (Germany-ProB) leading the league in scoring-averaging 22.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 80.7%. He scored in double figures in 24 of 25 games and scored 20 points or more 19 times, but he couldn´t successfully keep the team in the Pro B as their terrible record put them down to the fourth league Regionalliga. The walking bucket currently can´t put on shows in arena´s. The American who won the G-League title in 2018 with the Austin Spurs agrees that not having success with the RheinStars has affected him getting that next opportunity. “ I think it did a little bit, I think that being the only American on a team there’s a big load to carry and responsibility. Which is a good thing, as a competitor that’s what you want. It has inspired me to just want to continue to do everything I can do in my power in my next job to win as many games as I can”, stressed Tucker Haymond.
Despite being in limbo now, the American who has been working out with NBA veteran Jamaal Crawford since middle school over the summers actually was signed by AEL Limassol (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) and played 3 games before leaving because he didn´t get paid. In those 3 games he averaged 13,7ppg, 4,0rpg, 3,0apg and 2,0spg and looked to be on his way to having a very solid third campaign as a professional. “It was a good experience. But a very different experience. For me, it just wasn’t the best fit for me, but I enjoyed my time there and still talk to some of my old teammates. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned or fit like you want them, but that’s just a part of the business I’m in”, stressed Tucker Haymond. Playing in Cyprus was definitely another step up from the Pro B. “I would compare the Cyprus league to somewhere in between Pro B and Pro A. There are some teams that are very good, which could compete in the Pro a. And other teams that I think a few Pro B teams could hang around with. It’s a competitive league. But it is also a very different style of play as well”, expressed Tucker Haymond. For the American who played at Western Michigan(NCAA) and won the MAC tournament in 2014 got big eyes before he signed as he heard that he would be coached by a German legend. “I actually was never able to be coached by Coach Michael Koch unfortunately. I found out the day I arrived that he was leaving back to Germany. However, I was able to meet up with him and sit down over the holidays since I’ve been back here and meet him in person. He is a very nice guy, I really wished I could have been coached by him, that was one of the only reasons that I went there was so I could be coached by him”, stressed Tucker Haymond. Now he is back in cold Germany, but for a few weeks, he was in paradise. “I will definitely remember the scenery in Cyprus on the beaches. During my birthday weekend I was able to visit Ayia Napa, it was great weather and a fun time for my wife and I”, added Tucker Haymond.
Since his departure from Cyprus, the American who lists ex NBA player Tony Wroten as one of his best 5 best teammates of all-time has been living in Cologne and waiting for that next offer and also keeping in shape so he will be 100% ready. He relived the great German holiday season that he saw last season by visiting Christmas markets again and taking in the scrumptious food and got into 2020 watching the fireworks on the Rhein river in downtown Cologne. To sleep on the floor is no easy task so in order to be able to sleep in that comfortable bed again when he has a new team, he has been grinding super hard in Cologne. “I was able to do some individual position training with the guards. I was also able to go there and train with Paul Gudde and do some individual trainings as well. I have been working out 2x a day most days of the week for the past month in Cologne”, stressed Tucker Haymond. His desire to get back on the court is really great, but he also knows that his skills will have to be spot on when he is back playing competitively again. “I’ve really just been working on getting my shots in, keeping my body in shape, and continuing to handle the ball. I think my biggest strength right now is just my hunger. I will be hungrier than any person I play against when I get an opportunity”, said Tucker Haymond.
The American who is known as a lethal shooter and scorer keeps working on his playmaking which he showed on many occasions last season that he could run a team has not been invisible as there has been interest from teams. He just had a tryout with Pro A team MLP Academics Heidelberg and today he will show his skills in Gelsenkirchen for FC Schalke. “,The workout with the MLP Academics went great. I loved Heidelberg ! It was an amazing city. The team had a group of great guys. I felt like I bonded well with them. They have a very talented group there and have great coaching staff to guide them. I’m 100% ready to play anywhere at any time right now”, warned Tucker Haymond. He also quickly realized why so many people rave about the coaching talent of Branislav Ignatovic who is due and on the verge of bringing a title to Heidelberg. “I really liked him, he was very nice and I liked his style of coaching. I have heard nothing but great things about him, and when I was at practice I was able to witness why he is so highly talked about. It was easy to see that he has a great amount of experience”, explained Tucker Haymond. With these 2 tryouts, the hope is for the American that he will finally have some fortune and land a job, because life hasn´t been easy in the last months. It´s always beneficial when you have a partner that is very understanding. “It has definitely been challenging over the past little bit. Since leaving Cyprus I’ve been through 5 countries. One of my college teammates played for Real Betis and he let me live with him for 2 weeks while I figured out what I would do next. I was very blessed that he was able to help me like that. I then came to Cologne. Where my wife and I have been sleeping on the floor in a living room for the past month. It has been one of the most humbling experiences in my life, taking the bus and train and walking to workouts, this lifestyle is so different than I’ve ever had back home in America. Sometimes traveling an hour to a gym. Or just having to do some things outside. It’s made me just work that much harder. Sleeping on the floor for the past month has almost been something out of a movie. Going from winning a G league championship to bouncing from country to country, house to house, has shown me what I’m really made of. How dedicated I am. And because of all of these things, when an opportunity arises, I will be ready for it. Because of the work I put in and sacrifice I’ve made. I’m just lucky to have a wife that will go through this with me and support me even when it may look like there’s no way out. She believes in me”, stressed Tucker Haymond. The American will give his best on the court in the tryouts, but also has the right words for any coach that is currently looking for a scoring guard like him. “I could help a team in Germany in many ways right now, but number one in helping them win. I’m prepared mentally and physically to do what is needed to fill any gaps someone may have. I can also help big with giving back to the youth, over the summer I trained many youths back home and I want to help give back to the youth of my next club”, warned Tucker Haymond.
One thing is for sure for now Tucker Haymond will sweat it out in Germany until he gets that next job. “. I feel positive I can get something. I’m very confident in my abilities to be able to help a team here, no matter what level it is”, warned Tucker Haymond. Who knows he may already be on his way to Heidelberg or Gelsenkirchen on Friday in order to be able to suit up on the weekend for a Pro A game. He is confident just like all those Patriots haters in the world that the dynasty will end on Saturday against the Tennessee Titans. “It would be nice to see my former college friend Cory Davis put the Patriots down”, smiled Tucker Haymond. His self confidence is very high at the moment that he not only predicted that his home town Seattle Seahawks will win the 2020 Super Bowl, but when he watches the Wild Card game between the Patriots and Titans on Sunday morning at 2 Am that he won´t be doing that on the floor, but ending the night sleeping in a nice comfy warm bed for his new team.