Montrael Scott Continues To Be That Consistent Explosive Scorer But Continues To Bring More And More Confidence With His Playmaking

Montrael Scott (191-PG-93, college: PVAMU) is a 28 year old 190cm guard that finished his fifth professional season and second with the EN Baskets Schwelm (Germany-ProB) playing 29 games averaging 16.8ppg, 6.6rpg, Assists-5 (6.5apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 85.2%. In his first season with the EN Baskets Schwelm he played 22 games averaging 17.5ppg, 6.0rpg, Assists-1 (7.1apg), 2.3spg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT: 29.1%, FT: 81.5%. In 2018-2019 he played with the VfL Sparkassenstars Bochum (Germany-ProB) avergaing 15.6ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.8apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.6%. In 2017-2018 he played with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games Score-3 (18.8ppg), 7.0rpg, Assists-5 (5.6apg), 2.1spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 72.2%. He played his first two professional seasons in Kosovo for Golden Eagle Ylli (Kosova-SuperLeague) playing 15 games: Score-2 (20.8ppg), 4.7rpg, Assists-2 (5.5apg), Steals-1 (3.6spg), FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 70.0% and for KB Trepca Mitrovice (Kosovo-SuperLeague) playing 27 games averaging 14.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 4.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.6%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 68.4%;and played 9 Balkan League games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 78.3%. He began his basketball career with Prairie View A&M (NCAA) in 2011 playing a total of 124 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 15.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.8apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 74.7%. This SUMmer he played with the Metroplex Lightning (PBA). He spoke to after the 2020-2021 season.

Montrael thanks for talking to Where are you and how is basketball life treating you?

I’m back in Dallas now just enjoying the family and friends. Basketball life is treating me well so far.

What was the first eatery that you visited after touching down in Dallas?

First thing I ate was Golden Chick. A chicken spot in Dallas

Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about COVID. What was the most challenging thing for you in your second season with COVID?

I think the most challenging thing would have to be not being able to move around how I wanted too. Being on lock down kind of sucked as well.

How can one honestly rate this season with all the drama that went on with COVID? Every team had their problems.

I can rate our season as a blessing in disguise. On a scale of 1-10, I’d rate it as a 8.5. Our team gained so much chemistry with being around each other everyday. Mentally, it was the most challenging for sure.

Congrats on an amazing season and getting to the Pro B semi-finals. How much did it hurt not to reach the final?

Thank you. It hurt me a lot simply because I wanted to make it to finals for my guys. Being one of the leaders of my team, it was my goal to get us to finals. Yet, It didn’t hurt as much as some thought because this season was by far one of the best for me personally but, also for SCHWELM!!!

What kind of emotions did you have when you began the season at 2-3? Was the huge potential then just not used yet?

I mean I had no real emotions because every team has its ups and it’s downs. Have to think, we were still figuring out our chemistry. We never lost hope on what could be and in fact did, turned out to be a HELL OF A SEASON.

How key was it for the end stretch winning against Duesseldorf and Bernau and then beating Itzehoe twice?

HUGE for us because that gave us the confidence we needed to know that we could beat any team we faced. Beating Itzehoe twice is not easy but we managed to stick together and did what we needed to do.

You played Itzehoe tough in the semi-finals but lost. What was missing to beating them?

Hats off to Itzehoe man. I wouldn’t have wanted to battle with any other team than them. If we are being honest, we were just gassed. It was a long season, bodies were banged up and they just had a little more juice left in them to capture the semi finals. My guys and I left everything we had on the court and that’s why we can be happy about the results even if it weren’t the ones we wanted.

How much respect do you have for Itzehoe head coach Pat Elzie who was always able to maneuver his team from adversary and get them on the winners street?

Coach Pat is one of my fav coaches to play against but also one of my favorite people to just know. The things he instills into his guys, is the reason they are always top 4 in Pro B. He just has a thing for winning and it shows every year I’ve played against him and his teams.

What was special about this seasons team that wasn’t there last season?

The team this year were a family. Like I can really talk about this year’s team and just everything that went into being as great as we were. We had a mixture of young/middle/older guys. Most days the young guys pushed us older guys and that’s very rare. So I’d say we actually became more of a FAMILY this season!

Let’s talk about your teammates. You played your second season with Anell Alexis. He continues to make big strides with his game. Last season you stated it was his creating for himself that improved. But how did he make another step in his game this season?

Anell is the type of player that most teams would like on their team. He has the body frame and he can play 3-5 position. This season he took another step in not settling and being more aggressive whether it was drawing fouls or just getting to the basket.

How key were guys Dario Fiorentino and Milen Zavhariev for keeping the team together and just being consistent?

My guys. Love these two man. Dario, with it being his final season, gave us everything he had left in him. Definitely enjoyed my two years with him and was honored to share the court with him for the last time. Milen was probably our best player this season. I say that because most of the nights, he had to guard the best player but also still being able to play on the offensive end like he did. His confidence grew over the summer and it showed this season. He should have been Most Improved Player Of Pro B this year. Whoever gets him next season, they are going to see why!

What steps did you see young German player Marco Hollersbach make? He is a huge German talent and has found his path in the Pro B.

Marco is one of those young guys who has a lot of upside to his game. Coming off a knee injury and playing the way he did was great for his confidence. Next season will be a great year for him I think.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 16.8ppg, 6.6rpg, Assists-5 (6.5apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 85.2%. Your stats were just a tad down from last season. You played the same amount of minutes per game as last season, but 7 games more. How content were you with your season?

I’m content with my season on how far we made it and the growth I have seen in my game. It was a mentally challenged season for me overall. My numbers were up and down all season but I can live with how I finished out especially leading my team to the semi finals.

I love this quote from you. ‘I’m 10 times better as a point guard. My IQ for the game and getting my teammates the ball is what makes me a natural point’. How do you feel did you make new steps as a point guard with the special brand of teammates’?

I made a huge step from last season when it comes to getting my guys the ball. Also, they’ll tell you Every time I passed them the ball, I told them to shoot it or score. I built the confidence with my teammates through the season and it showed. I knew exactly where each one of my teammates scoring area was on the floor.

On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer so you will be prepared to make the next step in the Pro A?

I’m focusing on my strength and my shooting as always. I’m looking to put on at least 10 pounds of muscle this summer. It won’t be easy but I’m up for the task definitely!

Your three pointer continues to be a work in progress. Does your playmaking at times interfere mentally with being able to connect from outside?

It does interfere a lot because I look to get my guys the ball. I’m not afraid to shoot the 3 but often, I never take the shot. Milen was one of the main guys who always was like shoot the ball Monty!

Last summer you focused on working on your three pointer. Will that be the same this summer?

It will be another focus this summer along with just building up my strength plus my finishing at the rim too.

You had super games in all against Itzehoe. What was your favorite?

I’d have to go with the first playoff game at home against them. Me and Falk had a y’all right before tip off. He told me lead the team and keep them composed. Me being a player who often steps up in big games, I had to lead them plus give that confidence.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro B this season?

As for opposing team, probably Chris Hooper If I’m speaking on my team, David Ewald!

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

Chris Paul is the best point guard in NBA this year. That’s my opinion. All-Time I’d say he’s top 10!

Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?

Jayson Tatum journey we be a great one to witness. He may be top 10 for some people but for me, he’s top 15 for sure!

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

I mean I don’t think there’s any guy overseas that could put up the numbers he does. I think he could lead a team in Europe but for a championship contender? Heck no! Just wouldn’t work in my eyes

Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?

Uhhh he’s Top 10 for sure but not the best one.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

For me, it was actually okay. I do think they could’ve made it way more exciting but hey it was something they thought of doing again.

Thanks Montrael for the chat.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright(Telekom Baskets Bonn) Never Leaves Home Without Brother Miles´s Advice And It Has Never Failed

Back in the 70’s actor Karl Malden was present in America’s living rooms together with a young Michael Douglas in the classy crime show The Streets Of San Francisco. But Malden wasn’t only handling a gun from time to time, but also flashing an American Express Card in an ad that would last into the late 90’s making it one of the most successful campaigns of all-time. When Malden retired other famous faces like the Who’s Roger Daltry, Steven King and actor Peter Ustinov took over. Malden would utter the famous line ‘Don’t leave home without it’ referring to the American express card as being something that nobody could ever go wrong with. In a way this phrase can be connected to new Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, but with the only difference that he isn’t boasting the American Express card on the court, but moreover using some very valuable advice that was handed down to him by his brother Miles. Not only does the Parker-Cartwright family have two gifted basketball players, but they also have an older brother J Davey who is an alternative rock singer. Miles is three years older and has three more years of professional experience. He made a name at the University of Pennsylvania (NCAA) giving consistency a new name as he averaged double figures in scoring each season. As a professional he has had success in Germany playing for Hanau and Wurzburg and dominated the Dutch first division in his rookie season. He has found a home in Luxemburg the last three years reaching the league final twice and averaged 21ppg and 6,0apg each season and winning the assist crown each season. Miles knew from an early age that he always had to be a good role model for his younger brother. ‘Even as the older brother to Park, I look up to him. He’s been through a lot but continues to succeed’, warned Miles Jackson-Cartwright in 2017. It is also no secret that Parker really looks up to older brother Miles. Before Parker embarked out on his rookie season in England, it was Miles that gave him the most fitting words where Parker has never left home with out since then. ‘The best advice he gave me was what he told me before my rookie year and it’s stuck with me ever since. He said something along the likes of, ‘From day 1 your team will test you to see if you soft or not.’ Obviously, this is the PG version but it sticks because this game is cutthroat and you have to go in with the right mindset’, warned Parker Jackson-Cartwright (176-PG-95, college: Arizona).

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Miles Jackson-Cartwright in Frankfurt in 2018

Parker Jackson-Cartwright who lists ex Oakland (NCAA) player Kay Felder as his toughest battle in the NCAA was born on July 12th, 1995 in Los Angeles, California. He played high school ball at Loyola and averaged 14,0ppg, 5,0rpg and 8,0apg as a junior. He couldn’t finish there because of an academic issue, but instead was allowed to finish school at Sierra Canyon school concentrating on his studies and not playing basketball. Despite not playing his senior year, he was still very much sought after from schools and was a four star recruit and chose Arizona over Los Angeles schools UCLA and USC and Washington. He was ranked as the No. 32 overall recruit and No. 5 point guard in his recruiting class by Scout -14. He played at Arizona (NCAA) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 132 games. ‘It’s an very enriching experience being a student-athlete at the Arizona. I improved as a player and man each year I was there’, stated Parker Jackson-Cartwright. He reached the NCAA Elite 8 and a Sweet 16 and won three PAC-12 tournaments. The school had so much talent that it was difficult to believe that they never won it all. ‘Not surprising maybe disappointing. Anything can happen in March that’s why the tournament is globally viewed and loved every year’, said Parker Jackson-Cartwright. He was able to improve his scoring and assists average each season. His first two seasons he played behind future NBA players TJ Mcconnell and Kadeem Allen who he had many battles in practice with, but wouldn’t comment who won more, but he made a significant rise in minutes from 9 to 21. In his freshman year he played 34 games averaging 2,9ppg, 1,4rpg and 1,8apg and scored in double figures in one game where he produced 11 points in a crushing 87-57 rout of USC. In his second year he played 34 games averaging 5.2ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 64.9%. He scored in double figures in four games including 16 points in a big 81-75 win over UCLA and 14 points in a 88-76 victory over Boise State.

In his junior year, the guard who last saw Spiral from The Book Of Saw made another jump in minutes averaging 24 minutes while playing 30 games averaging 6.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 70.4%. He scored in double figures in six games including a 20 point effort in the 78-59 win over Washington State. He also produced a solid 15 points and 11 dimes in a 71-55 victory over N Colorado. In the summer of 2017 before his senior year Arizona did a team trip to Barcelona, Spain and he was only feet away from the tragic Barcelona attacks as he fled into a store and escaped unharmed. This scary encounter is an experience that still affects him today. ‘Digesting it in the moment was fine it’s the trauma that comes with it’, warned Parker Jackson-Cartwright. In his senior year his minutes rose again to 32 and he played 34 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 75.9%. He scored in double figures in 13 games including scoring a career high 19 points in a 94-82 win over Utah and 14 points in victories over California and Colorado. He played with so much talent at Arizona (NCAA) and future NBA players like TJ Mcconnell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Stanley Johnson, Alonzo Trier, Kadeem Allen, Rawle Alkins, Kobi Simmons, Lauri Markkanen, and Deandre Ayton that he could probably write a very entertaining book. It wasn’t hard figuring out that each player affected him in a special way. ‘TJ McConnell, Alonzo Trier, Kadeem Allen, and Lauri Markkanen affected me the most, but I’d say, all impacted me in some way’, warned Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Not only did these wonderful talented players have a big impact on him in his four years, but so did head coach Sean Miller. ‘Sean Miller gave me tools and knowledge that I utilize until this day. He groomed me to have a certain toughness and grit, chip on my shoulder in being successful at the professional level’, stressed Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright and teammate and future NBA player Alonzo Trier

The California native who lists Jordan, Lebron, Kobe, and Magic in his personal NBA Mount Rushmore and gives Steve Nash honorable mention because he’s his favorite player ever was drafted by the Raptors 905 (G-League) in the second round at #25. He was cut due to a leg injury which cut his season short. He signed late in his rookie season with the Westchester Knicks (NBA G League) and played only two games. That rookie season was really eye opening, but he never ever lost faith in the basketball process and of course always had brother Miles’s advice in the back of his mind. ‘That year was tough. My faith was tested more so than any other year in my life. At first, I had doubts and thoughts of giving up but then something clicked within. From being cut twice that rookie season dealing with a significant injury, I dug deep and learned that I needed to believe within to win’, stressed Parker Jackson-Cartwright. In his second professional season he made the trek overseas and landed in the United Kingdom with the Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL). His wake up call to being overseas was driving that first time on the opposite side of the road. On the court, he needed no real adjustment period as he averaged 20.0ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-3 (7.5apg), Steals-1 (3.7spg), FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 75.8%. He demonstrated in the UK that he could be a scoring machine as he struck Bristol for 31 points, Glasgow for 28 points and Leicester for 26 points. In his third professional season he played for Saint-Quentin Basket-Ball (France-Pro B) and made another step in a higher league playing 33 games averaging 15.6ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-1 (7.1apg), Steals-1 (2.4spg), FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 77.1%. ‘I grew a lot from where I was at the start to who I was at the end. I put in many hours during the season to get the Pro B level and I’m proud to have seen that work pay off’, remembered Parker Jackson-Cartwright. But being able to grow with his game wasn’t easy as he didn’t witness normal conditions, but had to deal with COVID for a whole season. ‘I think my biggest challenge on the court was the adjustment of play styles, physicality. The English league was different from France, in that, I had to play at a higher level psychically whilst asserting my quickness. Off the court, I can say it was adjustment as well. I mean, this is the first situation in my life where I was predominantly around non-English speakers so that was challenging. Nonetheless, the experience of it all was great’, commented Parker Jackson-Cartwright. But off the court, he was also able to grow seeing how a different culture reacts to the pandemic. ‘COVID-19 was sort of like a blessing in a disguise for me. Dealing with the pandemic while living on my own, uncomfortably forced me to evolve and mature’, said Parker Jackson-Cartwright. He also remembered getting very many of his dimes to ex Fordham (NCAA) stand out Ryan Rhoomes. ‘I enjoyed getting him the ball. As our cohesion on the floor started to blossom, he knew he could count on me finding him and it just became second nature’, expressed Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

The American who didn’t even know that former Arizona (NCAA) great Jason Gardner played with his new team years ago now will start a new challenge in Germany with easyCredit BBL club Telekom Baskets Bonn. The younger Jackson-Cartwright will attempt to make his brother Miles proud as well as starting a new chapter in Germany with a new brother pair. Over the years German basketball fans have seen pairs like Philip and Thomas Scrubb Per und Philip Guenther Bennet and Jannis Hundt Jacob and Justus Hollatz David Stockton and Michael Stockton, Jacob and Johannes Patrick, Chris Babb, and Nick Weiler-Babb, TJ DiLeo and Max DiLeo David and Jonas Falkenstein, Fabian and Timo Thuelig and Jan and Gotz Rhodewald. Before signing on the dotted line for the Telekom Baskets Bonn, it was only fitting that he would ask his brother Miles again for the right advice. ‘All of his accounts from his time in Germany really helped me in making my decision. He knows the country and league well so hearing his experiences, trials and tribulations, during his German tenure was very beneficial for me’, added Parker Jackson-Cartwright. He will play for one of the most underrated as well as best up and coming coaches in Europe with Tuomas Iisalo who made the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim from an unknown club into a household name in Germany in a span of only two years. ‘ His overall genuineness in what he says impressed me the most. I’ve enjoyed our talks and I’m looking forward to building a relationship this season’, warned Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Tuomas Iisalo has had a keen nose for stealing off the radar point guards and making them better. In the last two years he had the right feeling with Dewayne Russell and Canadian Trae Bell- Haynes who recently made the Canadian Olympic team where 10 of 12 players are NBA players and this season will play in Europe’s best league ACB. ‘It’s significant that he’s been able to elevate PG’s to a high level. Continual growth, at all cost, is always a positive in my eyes. It’s comforting to be playing for a coach who can help me reach my max potential’, stressed Parker Jackson-Cartwright. It won’t be a cake walk on the court for him. He is coming from the French Pro B which is below the easyCredit BBL, plus he also knows the legacy that Jason Gardner has had as he led the team to a sixth place finish in 2006-2007. The last Arizona point guard to play in Bonn was Nick Wise who couldn’t fulfill the expectations to a 13th place finish in 2010-2011. ‘It will be challenging. I feel, in year 3, I’m ready to take this step and built for this setting. I don’t go into any year with any personal, concrete goals. I just want to get better each day’, stressed Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

So what kind of player will we see with Parker Jackson-Cartwright who believes that Lebron James is the greatest player that he has ever seen? Fans will have to make their own comparisons to what NBA player his game is similar to, because he doesn’t feel like he plays like anyone else, but only like himself. He has shown as a professional player that he can be a potent scorer, but he is even a more lethal assist maker. Setting up his teammates has become his trade mark as a point guard overseas. ‘I love dishing. I’ve always done a good job finding guys and it’s rewarding to see a teammate score from a pass I’ve made’, smiled Parker Jackson-Cartwright. But just as great of a dime maker he is, he is just as good of a defender if not better as he led the leagues in England and France in steals. On account of his size, he makes the extra effort to prove all doubters wrong. ‘I take much pride in being a good defender. We often get labeled as being average to mediocre defenders because of our stature so I like taking the challenge in stopping guys. The next step, for me, in being a better defender is being more aware of the ball’, warned Parker Jackson-Cartwright. In order to be an impact player in the easyCredit BBL, he knows exactly in what areas of his game he needs to improve so he can make a difference for the Telekom Baskets Bonn in the BBL. ‘The middle game, free throws, and extending my range is what I’m working on the most heading into this new season. All have to improve to be successful’, warned Jackson Parker-Cartwright. It will be an important season for the Telekom Baskets Bonn as they want to make their sponsors and fans happy again with success. A big key for that happening will be the play of point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. So far he has been successful where ever he played in Europe. As long as he has that stellar advice from brother Miles, everything will be ok.

Kai King Is A Role Model For Everyone As His Efforts In The Community Are Exceptional

Kai King (182-G-85) is a 35 year old 182cm guard who is still playing professional ball. He last played in Mexico. He also played in countries like Eqatorial Guinea, Kosovo and in Germany. In Germany he played Art Duesseldorf, Marler BC, and FC Schalke. He also sampled experience in the ABA early in his career. Before turning professional he played at Cal State Fullerton. But it isn’t only basketball that he is involved with, but also many other area’s. Especially during COVID, he was able to tackle other areas in life. He is still playing ball in local leagues at home, but most of his time is spent helping the community. spoke to him about life.

Kai what made you turn to activism? Was this a passion that you always had?

Seeing what happened to George Floyd, seeing what happened to Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Seeing people that look like me killed. I had to use my voice and use my energy to try and make a difference to try and make a change.

Have you experienced racism overseas while playing and if so where and was it like the issues you’ve faced in America?

I haven’t faced racism overseas, I feel quite safe overseas as opposed to being stateside. Overseas the police don’t have guns, people are a bit nicer and more polite. In America I have faced issues at protests and also being racially profiled. You just do the best you can and hope that eventually things will get better.

Through your activism, is there something you would also like to do overseas? Is there a message you want to share with your friends that you’ve played basketball with abroad?

It would be a privilege and a honor. I would love to take the work we’ve done with Stronger Together now abroad. I would love to talk about gender equality. About how you can better the lives of others simply by listening. Basketball is a safe haven, overseas is as well. It would be nice to share with people overseas how were treated. And maybe find ways that we can educate others and create real change.

How has life been without basketball due to covid? Will you play again if an opportunity presents itself and will you take that same message of Black Lives Matter overseas?

Life without basketball has just put things in perspective. Though I love the game, it isn’t forever. I’ve created a non profit organizationwith my co founder Janelle Guerrero. And we’re trying our very best to be a part of the change that we hope to see. I’m spending more time with my family and just trying to find other avenues outside of sports. An if I am allowed to play ball overseas I would love to. And I would definitely share the message of Black Lives Matter with my teammates and the league. It’s important to create solidarity, and important to make sure people understand the inequality in our society.

What types of services does your organization offer?

We have a kids sports bubble. I got the idea from the NBA and other pro sports. We use covid tests weekly and we administer them to kids. And with a negative test we’re able to create a safe and covid free playing environment for the kids. We do this because we think it’s very important. Especially in the developmental years of children to play and interact with other kids. We do things to empower women in the community. To help feed and clothe the homeless. We do backpack give aways, we donate money to other partners that we work with. We try to have our hands in lots of things we find passion in.

How do you see your experience in basketball helping your non profit?

I have been to many different countries Germany being one of them. Spain, England, Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway. Among others, and during my time there, I’ve seen the differences that exist and it’s very unique. No these places aren’t perfect, but just seeing how the lives of others are different in other countries. Mostly through social programs has helped me want to bring these amenities to the states. In other countries people are treated differently. They are looked at differently, the police aren’t armed. And through that a calm and peace is in the hearts and minds of people. My experience abroad will help me better serve my non profit and my community because I know that it’s possible to treat others better. To lend a helping hand, and operate without violence. I’ve seen that first hand abroad.

How do you want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered as a good player but a better person. I know my efforts on the court are important. But I want to be recognized for my efforts off the court even more so. I am a team player, a point guard. And without my teammates on the court I can’t do anything. I learned that by making those around you look good through assists. You can go a very long way, putting those around you first will be instrumental in going forward. I want to be known as a great player but a even better person. That’s my goal and what I want as my legacy.

Thanks Kai for the chat.

Omari Knox Sacrificed A Bit Of His Own Personal Scoring To Allow The Younger Guys To Develop Which Made Hanau More Dangerous

Omari Knox (187-SG-86, college: Bloomfield) is a 34 year old 188cm guard from Brooklyn, New York that recently completed his 10th professional season and first with the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProB) playing 23 games averaging 9.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 89.7%. In the 2019-2020 season he played with TSV Oberhaching Tropics Deisenhofen (Germany-ProB) averaging 15.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 87.5%. He has played his whole professional career in Germany including 2 years with OSB Hellenen Muenchen , one season with the RhenStars Cologne and 4 years with the TSV Dachau Spurs. He played 8 seasons in the Regionalliga and has belonged to the top guards in the league averaging over 20 points 5 times and twice averaged 27,0pp in a season. He began his basketball career at Bloomfield College (NCAA2) and as a senior averaged 18.8ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 40.1%, 3Pts: 40.1%, FT: 71.8%. He spoke to after the 20-21 season.

Thanks Omari for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

Thanks Miles!! I’m currently back home in Munich, enjoying the off-season and watching the NBA Playoffs. I took a few weeks off after the season ended. Slowly starting to get back in shape again now.

If you were to travel back home to the States now which eatery would you seek first?

I’m actually flying back home to the states in a few weeks so I have a bunch of places on the list. I think the first stop will be ‘Soul Food’ (Fried Chicken, Mac n Cheese, etc.)

Before we get to basketball, I have to ask you how you experienced a full season of COVID. What were the biggest challenges for you personally on and off the court?

I was very thankful to still be able to play during a Pandemic. However, this was a long season, mentally. I take my hat off to the league, and all of the teams and players who were able to get through it. Constantly hoping each week that everyone on both teams would test negative, so that you could play the game as scheduled and/or also didn’t have to go into quarantine. I think the toughest part was trying to get yourself back in top shape after having to break for 2 weeks mid-season. This happened multiple times throughout the season.

Obviously the fans were missing, but if you look deeper into the COVID issue how would describe this crazy and unpredictable season? Did it feel like a real basketball season?

It took a while to adjust to playing without fans. You literally could hear all the play calls and instructions for both teams. I think it helped our team to support each other more and make sure we always had energy on the bench. There were definitely times throughout the year when it didn’t feel like we were in season.

The Ebbecke White Wings had a solid season reaching the playoffs. How high can you rank the achievement of the team getting to the post season despite COVID?

This was a special season, that I won’t ever forget. There were many ups and downs. We had a bad start to the season, losing the first 5 games. We had several injuries, and 2 also quarantines. Through it all we not only managed to make the playoffs, but also advanced to the second round. I’m proud of everyone who was a part of this season.

You had a new head coach and didn’t begin the season well. Why was 2020 so tough for the club trying to find an identity on the court? Things got better in 2021 as you went 7-3 going into the playoffs. What improved from your stand point in how the team was performing on the court?

Coach did a good job of establishing our identity early on but the problem was that we were small under the basket missing Joe Eichler for the first few games and didn’t have Mike Acosta yet. We were able to compete with every team early on but would lose in the end because we got killed on the boards. In the second part of the season we had both Mike Acosta and Jo Eichler so we usually won the rebound battle and were able to put together a nice win streak.

What was missing in the playoffs to going farther? You couldn’t get by Bochum.

In the playoffs it was the same problem. We lost both Jo Eichler and Mike Acosta for the season so we were again very thin under the basket. Bochum was loaded with size as well as talent so we played them as tough as we could but didn’t manage to beat them.

What is your season summary for the 20-21 Hanau season? What was your fondest moment from the season?

We had a nice mix of veteran and young talented players who all sacrificed their personal goals for the team. Paired up with the motivated Coach Kamil Piechucki, we as a team took over the persona of the coach. Hungry and outworked most of our opponents even when they may have had more talent. There are so many huge wins that come to mind from this season. My fondest moment from this season has to be the playoff road win in Karlsruhe with the game-winner from Til Joenke.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing together with German Till Joscha-Joenke? He is also one of those guys way to good for the Pro B.

It was definitely a pleasure playing with Til. He’s a guy I know I can always go to war with. True competitor and leader.

Please describe how German sniper Felix Hecker is more than a three and D player?

Felix definitely made a huge step forward this season. With all of our injuries throughout the year, he was often forced to play more on the ball and make plays for others. I think he did a great job adjusting to the role.

One guy I really enjoyed watching was young German Justus Peuser. How did you see him grow during the season and how far could his journey go?

Justus is a really tough kid. I enjoyed his growth throughout the season. He embraced the starting point guard role. Like every other young player, he has his ups and downs but whenever he was challenged by coach or an opponent he played up to the challenge. He also works super hard and puts in extra work regularly. I think that will take him a long way. I’m excited for him to get the chance to play Division 1 college basketball in the USA this upcoming season.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro B with Hanau?

Montrael Scott or Lars Kamp

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 9.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 89.7%. Your stats were down from last season with the Tropics, but you played 13 games more. How was your role different this season?

This season with Hanau, I sacrificed a bit of my own personal scoring to allow the younger guys to develop. In the long run it helped the team to perform much better and made us more dangerous. Opposing teams now had more players that they had to focus on stopping, rather than focusing on just one or two guys.

How content were you with your season. Was it difficult not having that Regionalliga type of role anymore?

It took some getting used to, to adjust to not having the same role of carrying a team all alone. It was truly a learning experience. Things also change the higher the level is, in most cases. As I grow older, I expect that my role going forward on any other team will be not only to help with my scoring/play-making abilities, but also with my experience.

Your turning 35 this year. After your 10th season, how strong do you feel? You stated last season with all the Regionalliga season you saved more energy. What direction is your career going now?

This season with the White Wings was more of the same. I improved at realizing when the team needed me to focus more on other things, rather than my scoring. It also felt good to know that I can still take over a game with my scoring whenever it’s needed. After 10 seasons, I feel pretty good, even after having such a major injury over a year ago. I feel like I still have a few years left in me to play at a high level (whether Pro A or Pro B and I can help any team with what I bring to the table. I would say that I’m now in my Jamal Crawford/ Lou Williams years.

Many guys have debated Lebron vs Steph in the MVP debate this year. Who should be MVP?

Stephen Curry is my MVP

How good is Devin Booker. Where does he rank right now in today’s NBA? Is he only top 10 or top 7? Or is he even better?

Devin Booker is a huge talent. I think he’s just getting scratching the surface with what he can do as a player but still has a ways to go. I would say he’s Top 10.

How did you react when you heard Kwame Brown’s words referring to his career and how he was treated by Michael Jordan?

I actually wasn’t surprised. We all saw how competitive Michael Jordan was as a player, and also as a person, I wouldn’t expect him to be any different as a general manager.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

Chris Paul in my opinion will go down as one of the best point guards of all time. Super-talented competitor who makes every team better wherever he’s played. I would have to rank Chris Paul lower than some of those who do already have rings (Isaiah Thomas for example) because he has played on championship caliber teams and never won one.

Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?

Jayson Tatum is one of my favorite players to watch at the moment. He’s a guy who has it all. I just hope that he somehow develops that Alpha mentality that Kobe and MJ had. Much easier said than done but attitude, work ethic, determination and pure will, separate many players. I wouldn’t say he’s a top 10 player yet. He still has plenty to prove. No disrespect to a guy like Paul George but those mental aspects of the game separate a Paul George from Lebron James and/or Kevin Durant. Tatum can go either way being a Paul George (who is really good) or, Lebron/KD level which is a once in a generation type of player.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

If we are talking Euroleague, then yes I completely agree! In Europe it’s different type of game and Westbrook’s game wouldn’t translate well in the long run.

Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?

Hahahaha no, I don’t agree with that. Really good defender though.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I enjoyed the sequel but definitely not better than the original. I guess it’s good for the new generation but they would have to watch both of course.

Thanks Omari for the chat.

Niklas Wuerzner Makes Game Winning Steal And Bucket Pacing The MLP Academics to 63-60 Pre Season Road Win Against The Fraport Skyliners

                With the basketball dog days of summer over, now the basketball dog days of pre season have arrived as easyCredit BBL teams are getting ready for the upcoming season as best as possible. It isn´t any different for clubs Fraport Skyliners and new league team MLP Academics Heidelberg. Frankfurt was coming off an easy blow out win over Pro A team Astrostras Bochum while Heidelberg had clobbered the Pro A team wiha Panthers. Both teams faced each other for a pre season duel in Frankfurt with many new faces at both ends of the court. But one guy who never goes away and will be able to see his #23 jersey high above in the Fraport arena even in 20 years is Quantez Robertson. He is playing his 13th season while being one of the identity figures of the league with EWE Baskets legend Rickey Paulding. The identity figure of the MLP Academics is clearly their head coach Serbian Frenki Ignatovic who was still paying his dues in 2007 with TV Langen, but since then was six years with the Kirchheim Knights and now is in his eighth season with the MLP Academics and is clearly the biggest reason together with manager Matthias Lautenschlager why this organization has made such a massive rise in German basketball in the last years. The Fraport Skyliners seemed like they had a 30 man bench as head coach Diego Ocampo had enough players to chose from while the MLP Academics had only a nine man rotation as players Courtney Stockard and their new center were out while Frankfurt was without new American ex NBA player Reggie Heard. The Fraport Skyliners had a great start and held the lead in the first half, but let up severely in the third quarter allowing the guests to get a 10 point lead and then eke out the 63-60 victory. “The effort was very good. We started very well. As soon as we missed shots, our defensive level went down. We began to think too much which hurt our defense. We need to improve our mental strength”, stressed Fraport Skyliner head coach Diego Ocampo. The guests fought until the end and got spirited play from their scoring guards Jordan Geist and Shy Ely who carried the team in tough times. “We played 30 minutes of solid basketball. Frankfurt is always tough and play very physical. We had problems with the physicality at the start. As soon as we settled in, we made it a defensive struggle. We need to cut down on turnovers, but I thought that we did a good job sticking to our defensive principles”, stressed Heidelberg guard Shy Ely.

                The Fraport Skyliners Jumped out all over the MLP Academics taking a rapid 13-2 lead. Frankfurt got on a groove and the offense just continued clicking. Second year forward Rasheed Moore was instrumental netting 7 points showing he can score in bunches and has a fine inside out game. Frankfurt also got a basket from young German Len Schoorman who is continuing to want to make a new step this season. Ex Alba Berlin forward Lorenz Brenneke made a dunk and new Skyliner Donovan Donaldson made a lay in on transition. This was probably Donaldson´s strongest part of the game as he was a true floor general organizing the offense well and always pushing the ball in transition. Frankfurt was able to keep controlling the game and closed out the first quarter strong getting a bucket from 221cm Dutch man Matt Haarms and a trey from Frankfurt identity figure Quantez Robertson who is in his 13th season with the club. Heidelberg got a basket from German forward Maxi Ugrai and free throws form ex Missouri guard Jordan Geist who couldn´t buy a basket in the first quarter. The MLP Academics had their problems sustaining consistent playmaking and had problems on the boards as they were missing length and physicality down low. The Fraport Skyliners had the comfortable 20-9 advantage after 10 minutes.

MLP Academics Heidelberg guard Rob Lowery attempting the three pointer

                The Fraport Skyliners held the good lead, but it slowly waned away as the guests were able to cut it down to 36-34 at the break. Heidelberg began with a swift 4-0 run as Pro A veteran Albert Kuppe scored on a lay in and flashy Rob Lowery who played with Alba Berlin in 2015-2016 made a lay in on transition cutting Frankfurt´s advantage to 20-14. But Frankfurt then got a burst of offensive production from ex Auburn(NCAA) great Quantez Robertson who scored 5 points to up Frankfurt´s lead to 25-14. Heidelberg picked up their offense in the second quarter and began to execute  a lot better. They surprised Frankfurt going on a 8-0 run to trail only 25-22. In the run the club got vital force from rugged physical 32 year old German Philip Heyden who played his first BBL game in the 2007-2008 season with Alba Berlin. He scored twice in the paint showing he can score with his back to the basket and Shy Ely showed his shooting abilities netting two 20 footers. Frankfurt kept the lead, but just couldn´t shake the MLP Academics as they always had an answer. Frankfurt got good production from new American Brooks DeBisshop who made a runner and Brenneke who scored. But Heidelberg countered with the then usual suspects Heyden connected on a pretty hook shot and Ely dropped a three pointer. Ex Wurzburg forward Brekkot Chapman sunk a three to dead lock the game at 31-31. Frankfurt wasn´t as aggressive anymore and gave the guests more open looks. Heidelberg made wiser decisions and finally hit crucial shots something they couldn´t in the first quarter. Frankfurt tried to close out the second quarter with a swift kick and 5-0 run as Haarms made a dunk and Moore hit a trey, but Quantez Robertson made a bad foul allowing Jordan Geist to sink three free throws with three seconds to go. Frankfurt had the slim 36-34 lead after 20 minutes. “This was a typical pre season game. Both coaches were trying things and both teams had good and bad phases. Frankfurt played well, but couldn´t always use their advantage on the boards”, stated ex Science City Jena assistant coach Steven Claus.

                In the third quarter, it looked like the Fraport Skyliners had just got out of bed. They couldn´t muster any kind of productive offense allowing the MLP Academics to shoot out on a 12-0 run to grab the lead back and have the 46-36 advantage. In the run the guests got important contribution form Jordan Geist who finally got his offense going scoring seven points. The club also got a trey from Shy Ely and Chapman. Frankfurt had massive problems stopping the quick Heidelberg guards on the penetration and were unable to get baskets in the paint. Frankfurt were unsuccessful in their first 9 possessions which allowed Heidelberg to run away with the lead and hold the home team to no points in the first 6 minutes and 45 seconds of the third quarter. Often last season it was Rasheed Moore that would come off the bench and be that spark plug and this time it was the same deal. He came on the court was aggressive and executed on offense with 7 points leading a 12-3 run to tie the game at 49-49. Donaldson also scored as did young German Jordan Samare who gave 4 points and 2 rebounds in 4 minutes. It was apparent to observe that the MLP Academics were getting tired as boasting a 9 man rotation wasn´t easy. Frankfurt couldn´t get the lead back as Shy Ely scored inside giving the guests the 51-49 lead after three quarters. “We played great defense and finished each possession with a rebound. We forced them to turnovers and got out running”, added Shy Ely. “We had too many turnovers and didn´t finish the plays the way we wanted to “, stressed Fraport Skyliner Lukas Wank.

Donovan Donaldson from the baseline

                The Fraport Skyliners  got off to another slow start in the fourth quarter, but rallied again to come back and make the game exciting again. The MLP Academics got out on a quick 8-2 run to extend their lead to 59-51. They got buckets from Heyden who made an easy tap in with no resistance form the Frankfurt bigs, a acrobatic Geist lay in, free throws from Chapman and a 25 footer from Ely while Quantez Robertson used the mismatch and scored inside. The Fraport Skyliners then made a furious come back going on a 9-2 run to cut Heidelberg´s lead to only 61-60. In the run, Frankfurt got back to back crushing two handed dunks from Matt Haarms who was fed each time from German Matthew Meredith who was sporting a new hair dew that had me fooled, because I had to ask a quite surprised Marco Voeller who #77 was . Donaldson who had a slow shooting day going 3/11 took a no look pass from Tez and sunk a three in the corner. Lorenz Brenneke then made a lay in. Frankfurt took advantage of the Heidelberg playing to much hero ball on three consecutive possessions to creep back. German Niklas Wuerzner then made the play of the game tipping a ball away from Donaldson at mid court and getting the lay in and 63-60 lead with 44 seconds to go. Frankfurt then didn´t get the right shot that they wanted as Matt Haarms missed a three. Ely then missed and Frankfurt took advantage of Heidelberg not fouling and had one more chance to take the game into OT, but Moore´s three point attempt went in and out and that was the ball game. “Frankfurt came back and took advantage of mis matches. But we were able to weather the storm and got needed stops and baskets. We should of fouled at the end. They had a good look. We take that as a learning experience”, stated Shy Ely. “We didn´t get the shot we wanted at the end. Moore had a great look. It was so close between going in and out”, stressed Lukas Wank. The MLP Academics were led by Jordan Giest, Shy Ely and Philipp Heyden who had 14 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Rasheed Moore with 17 points while Quantez Robertson added 10 points. The MLP Academics shot 41% from the field and 29% form outside and had 34 rebounds and 18 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 40% form the field and 24% from outside and had 32 rebounds and 19 turnovers.

Current Basketball Affairs With Pete Strobl Episode 10

Pete Strobl (agency: Octagon Europe ) has been around the European basketball scene for over 20 years having had a stellar professional basketball career and was an assistant coach for German easyCredit BBL team ratiopharm Ulm in 2018-2019. He then was head coach of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig from 2019-2021. Currently he is the head coach of the Jobstairs Giessen 46ers. He played at Niagara (NCAA) from 1997-2000 and then had a 9 year professional playing career that took him to countries like Germany, Austria, France, Ireland, Iceland and Switzerland. He founded The Scoring Factory in Pittsburgh and wrote a must read book called Backspin. He is a very interesting basketball mind that doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind especially on Twitter. and Pete Strobl (agency: Octagon Europe ) team up so often talking basketball with the title ‘Current basketball affairs with Pete Strobl (agency: Octagon Europe ). You can follow Pete Strobl (agency: Octagon Europe ) (agency: Octagon Europe ) (agency: Octagon Europe ) on twitter @petestrobl

What are your first impressions of Giessen?

My family and I really like Giessen. A lot of people told us beforehand that perhaps it wasn’t the prettiest city, but I’m not sure those people have ever actually been here. The downtown area is great and the people are friendly. Giessen is a city with a huge basketball tradition and the fans here are amazing. People stop me in the streets to talk about the team, tell me stories about their past glory and to generally welcome me to the club. I honestly feel that we have some very good people in place, but to take the next step as a club there needs to be a push to improve the physical infrastructure. We need our own practice facility for us as well as our youth teams in order to really take the next step. We have a lot of work to do in every area, but I’m excited to be here and to help write our own chapter in this special basketball legacy.

Will Player Development be a focus with your new team?

The main focus for us is to develop a ‘defense-first’ mentality here. Our GM and I have made this our priority since Day 1 and we specifically recruited high character players that have the right mindset to work hard and to work together. Developing the right defensive mindset along with the right approach is the first step for us here in Giessen. Player Development is also a very big part of my coaching philosophy and this is also an area in which our coaching staff (Steve Wriedt, Patti Unger, Rauly Leino as well as Athletic Coach Guillermo Martin) take a lot of pride. It’s a two-way street though and we need players who care about improving just as much as we care about teaching. Last season I coached a number of talented young players who were able to take huge steps and I fully expect that many players in Giessen will be ready to do the same.

What are the team goals for this season?

We need to firmly establish an identity as a team with a defense first mentality. We’re on the right track, but we still have a lot of work to do in order to firmly cement this into our collective basketball DNA. Giessen is a special city and has arguably the loudest fans in the BBL. I want them to see and feel that our passion on the court is equal to their enthusiasm in the stands. I know you’re asking more for some type of prediction of wins, but we literally are in the midst of developing a culture. Once this identity is firmly established and we can measure ourselves against other BBL teams, we’ll have a better idea of where we fit and how we compare to the rest of the league. In the meantime we’re going step by step and making sure that we improve every practice.

Three Years Ago Jaleen Smith(Alba Berlin) Stuck To His Words And That Is Why He Was In The NBA And In The Euroleague Today

It was only three years ago where Jaleen Smith (6’4”-PG-94, college: UNH) had come off an ok rookie season in Germany with the MLP Academics where he averaged an all right 7.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 80.3% in the second league. At that moment he was as far away from the first German division easyCredit BBL as it also was for a certain Ishmail Wainwright who had finished at Baylor (NCAA) averaging 5,0ppg as a senior and looked more like a football player then incredible versatile basketball player, but in 2021 is a member of the Toronto Raptors. Sometimes a player’s career can take such a positive turn and it wasn’t any different for Jaleen Smith. I remember giving him my typical post season interview that I give so many Americans in Germany in 2018 after his rookie season and two answers of him really stuck out. Sometimes there is a distinct difference between saying something and actually doing it. In the case of the likeable Texas native, he stuck to his words. His rookie season in Germany wasn’t anything near thrilling and he understood that 100%. He knew then that if he wanted to continue to get better and make waves as a professional basketball player that he couldn’t ever be content. Who knows where he would be today had he averaged 17/5/6 as a rookie in the Pro A in 2018. He surely would be at a high level, but having that less than average season as a rookie made him mentally tough instantly. ‘I can never be satisfied with anything I do. Just not in my nature to be content. So, I’m not content with my season I had. I just want more you know. I JUST WANT IT ALL’, warned Jaleen Smith in June 2018. After an unmemorable rookie season, he knew that he couldn’t be a part of long summer night cook outs in the dog days of summer in Freeport, Texas, but had to set his priorities straight and be in a place where sweating is the norm. ‘I’m going to work out 2-3 times a day. I’m going to the weight room in the morning and doing basketball stuff in the afternoon. I’m not having a job this summer. All grind this summer’, warned Jaleen Smith in June, 2018. Three years later the grind of that summer in 2018 and all the years after have paid off for the ex New Hampshire (NCAA) guard as he reached the easyCredit BBL in his third year as top BBL coach John Patrick believed in his abilities. In his second season, he led Ludwigsburg to the best record in the league and was reward as 2021 BBL MVP. Soon after he had a work out with the Utah Jazz. Then followed a successful stint in the NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns and now he is a Euroleague player with Alba Berlin. He has shown so much is possible if you have the right mind set and have the constant work ethic.

Recently Jaleen Smith who will battle his ex teammate Shy Ely of the MLP Academics this season in the easyCredit BBL with Alba Berlin played in the NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns. Three years ago he was very impressed by Shy Ely’s game and couldn’t even name a tougher player in the Pro A that season then him. ‘Does practice count ? Haha I would have to say Shy Ely in practice. Nobody in the league compares to him to be honest. He can score from all 3 levels on offense so it’s tough to guard that’, said Jaleen Smith in 2018. Not only will the American see the top players in Europe in the Euroleague, but already got a dose of top young guys recently in the NBA Summer League. It was a dream come true for him to be a part of the Phoenix Suns organization. ‘They treated you like you were on the main team it was really good. The coaches and front office was so helpful plus they wanted everyone on the team to be successful. I just enjoyed being a part of a NBA organization it really felt like a NBA 2k game being there’, joked Jaleen Smith. His experience in Las Vegas at the NBA Summer League was everything he thought it would be and more. He was very happy that people could see him play and see how his game has grown in the last years. He definitely didn’t disappoint anyone in Las Vegas as he held his own against the top new talent averaging 10,0ppg, 3,0rpg and 4,0apg. ‘I played pretty good I thought but it was great playing against high level competition for the summer’, stressed Jaleen Smith. But anyone that knows him, knows that he is never really satisfied as his three pointer is still a work in progress as he shot only 28% from the parking lot. Back in his rookie season he shot 33% and already back then he knew it’s all about being confident and continuing to shoot even if it isn’t falling. Stabilizing his distance shot this season will separate him from being a good Euroleague player to being a great Euroleague player. ‘I think that is the difference maker in my game. I have games where I am a sniper shooter then sometimes I don’t make any shots. So I just have to work on the balance and be consistent’, warned Jaleen Smith.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Jaleen Smith since his rookie season in Germany

Not only concentrating on always having his A game ready and making the right play on the floor was on his menu in Las Vegas, but also establishing special new connections to his teammates. He actually had one unique bond to Michael Frazier who had briefly been with the MHP Riesen in 2017-2018 and would reach the big show with the Houston Rockets two years later playing 16 NBA games. ‘Michael told me he was going to go to Ludwigsburg but something happened. We had the MHP conversation just telling him how it was and stuff like that. First off he’s a gym rat. He’s always in the gym working on his game. He’s also a great person to talk to he’s dedicated to the game for sure’, expressed Jaleen Smith. He also remembered battling against certain players and one of those was 218cm center Bol Bol the son of the late Manute Bol who was an NBA icon in the 80’s at 229cm. The big man from Sudan who has a 234 wingspan hasn’t made an NBA impact yet, but after a very potent 2021 NBA Summer League stint might make his break through in his third season. ‘ Bol is really talented. I have never played someone that tall that can do that many things with the basketball. He’s a tough matchup for sure. I expect him to be getting a lot more minutes in the NBA compared to the last 2 years’, said Jaleen Smith. Matching up against other top guards and seeing how his game matched up was also thrilling as he saw close up why Joshua Gray has had NBA stints before. ‘He’s aggressive every time he touches the ball. He’s either scoring for his self or dishing it off to his teammates. He’s more aggressive scoring but I do little bit of everything in my game you can’t really compare it’, commented Jaleen Smith.

The NBA Summer League is a few weeks old, but it was an amazing experience that he will never forget. He also took the vital advice to heart that the Phoenix Suns coaching staff gave him and will apply it as best as possible so he can make new steps in his game with Alba Berlin. ‘They just told me to be more aggressive with my touches. Sometimes I can be bit passive and make the right play but sometimes I just need to go and get a bucket. Thats how the greats make a living in the NBA’, warned Jaleen Smith. A massive part of the whole NBA Summer League is seeing all the important basketball heads and legends walking around. He had little time to be in awe as he was concentrating on his own issues on the court, but it wasn’t rare to bump into guys that he had grown up watching on TV. ‘I saw so many NBA stars just walking around in our hotel. The funny thing is nobody was running up to get an autograph from them so they were walking around the hotel like they were just a regular person’, stated Jaleen Smith. He won’t only have long lasting memories from off the court, but also from his game on the court. Remembering a certain play is only obvious as it isn’t every day that your playing against a team like Cleveland where Lebron James played so many years. ‘Our last game against the Cavs, we ran an inbounds play for me to fake a handoff and the fake worked and then I dished it off to our big man for a finish to be up 1 with a couple of seconds left’, smiled Jaleen Smith.

One has to wonder just how much of an impression he made on the Suns organization as well as other NBA teams. Talented guards are as usual in the world today as it is for a Draymond Green being called the best defender in the NBA now, but still why not keep the NBA dream alive and go to a NBA team training camp? Jaleen Smith chose against that and picked Alba Berlin which is very understandable. ‘I could’ve waited little bit longer for something less than a guarantee contract but I wanted something more secure for me and my family and Europe was the best option. I’m still young and have a chance for it but I want to play EuroLeague and get that experience’, stressed Jaleen Smith. He has joined Alba Berlin which have become Germany’s number one team again surpassing FC Bayern Munich after winning back to back league titles. Already last season Smith was packed with very good talent in Ludwigsburg, but this season has even greater basketball aptitude with teammates. Being able to play with guys like Luke Sikma and Tamar Blatt excite him a lot. ‘I’m excited to play with a player like Sikma he makes everyone better around him just like me so it’s going to be fun playing with him this season. Tamar will defiantly will be the floor general of our team. He can really pass the ball but he can really score the ball also. Well definitely feed off each other this coming year’, added Jaleen Smith. One has to wonder if he can take another step in the BBL with his stats. Probably not as he has so much more scoring talent around him then in Ludwigsburg, plus team play is a vital recipe for success in the organization, plus his minutes should decline which is normal. But he will have an added and new challenge with playing his first Euroleague season. The American who has Jordan, Magic, Shaq and Lebron on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore has that same fire and confidence and is ready to go into his fifth professional season. ‘I’m really excited to be playing Euroleague this coming season. I would watch it on my laptop last year so its crazy I’m going to be playing in it. You’ll see same guy that has been playing in Germany the last 4 years no different player. If you know how I play you will see it’, warned Jaleen Smith. He has achieved so much in the last months and now it’s time to do something he has never done as a professional and that is win a title. He couldn’t have landed in a better place then Alba Berlin to be able to achieve that.

Being Able To Help Bochum Move Up For A Second Time In His Career Was Very Special For Niklas Geske

Niklas Geske (188-PG-94) is a 27 year old 188cm point guard that is playing his third season with the Astrostars Bochum (Pro B) and last season helped them into the Pro A playing 27 games averaging 19.8ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-2 (8.7apg), Steals-4 (2.5spg), FGP-3 (67.7%), 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 83.5%. He began his basketball career with SVD Dortmund II (2.Regionalliga). he played in the easyCredit BBL from 2013-2017 for teams Phoenix Hagen, rasta Vechta and the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg amassing a total of 150 games and also played 23 Basketball Champions League games. Before coming to Bochum, he played for the EN Baskets Schwelm and for phoenix Hagen again. He spoke to earlier in the summer about his basketball career.

Niklas thanks for talking to Where are you and how is basketball life treating you?

Thanks for having me! I’m in Dortmund right know. Taking some time off after a physically and mentally hard season. But I’m surely watching the BBl and NBA Playoffs and it’s some great Basketball!

Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about COVID. What was the most challenging thing for you in your second season with COVID?

Keeping the focus at all times was really difficult during this last season. Being mentally flexible for all upcoming situations and building chemistry without fans.

How can one honestly rate this season with all the drama that went on with COVID?

I believe it has to be rated really high. All the uncertainty and all the adversity make the success we had even more special.

Every team had their problems. Congrats on an amazing season and reaching the Pro B final and reaching the Pro A. Where does this rank with all your basketball achievements?

It’s up there with winning the silver medal at the University games. Finishing third in the BBL and making it to the Champions League Top4. Especially because I played such an important role achieving this goal.

How special was reaching the Pro B final and helping your team reach the Pro A considering you played with Bochum in 2012-2013 in the Regionalliga?

It’s my second time moving up with Bochum in two years I played here. So it really is something that doesn’t happen often. Seeing all the improvements the club made over those 8 years are tremendous.

How much credit does one have to give head coach Felix Banobre? Is Spain the new sexy in terms of coaching in Germany?

The Coach always plays a huge role and so Felix deserves a lot of credit for our success! The Spanish way definitely has a growing impact in the Basketball culture in Germany. It’s a flowing style and we had a lot of fun executing Felix ideas.

A big strength of the team was their consistency. Whenever you lost a game you struck back and began another winning streak. Was this team like a family?

Chemistry has been great all year! This is always important to be successful at any level. In this team you could always know that your teammates have your back no matter what. Definitely a special group of guys!

How key was bringing that 8 game winning streak into the playoffs? The team must of felt invincible?

Also the way we played the first playoff game against Hanau. We were ready for that time of the year. Unfortunately we went to quarantine right after the game and we lost that rhythm but we got it done.

The Muenster series was exciting which Bochum won in three games. What do you feel was the difference in the series?

I believe experience always plays a role in those series and moments. Another thing was probably our mindset. We started the season with the goal to move up to Pro A and you could tell that everybody on our time was so focused on achieving this goal. The mindest within this team was incredible.

Let’s talk about your teammates. Seldom do you see two so dominant Germans in the Pro B like you and Johannes Joos. What did it mean playing with him?

First of all I don’t believe in the sections of Germans, Bosman, Imports or however you want to do it It’s just 12 players with the same goal. JJ was unbelievable all season! His shooting and length make it nearly impossible to stop him. He really made life as a point guard easy.

Lars Kamp seemed to be in the shadow of Geske and Joos. What did you appreciate most about his game?
At least everybody on our team knows how super important Lars was for the Team’s success. Simply a perfect fit. His shooting, defense and physicality were a problem for every team playing against us!

Although he played only 11 games, Marco Buljevic’s leadership is so valuable. Is he still a player that can beat you from downtown at any time of a game?

Unfortunately Marco was held back by some injuries and so he only played those 11 games. He can always get into the game and make shots for your team. But in my eyes he was even more important as a leader and person you can talk to!

There were many young Germans on the team. Which young German do you feel improved the most over the season?

Probably Gabriel Jung. He always was ready to compete in practice and in the games. I believe he will have a bright future.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 19.8ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-2 (8.7apg), Steals-4 (2.5spg), FGP-3 (67.7%), 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 83.5%. How content were you with your own personal season?

Besides every stat what I am mostly proud of is leading the team to the best record in the regular season and moving up to the Pro A in the Playoffs! I couldn’t be happier with that!

You averaged almost 9 assists a game. What added step did you make in your playmaking skills this season that you didn’t have before?

Honestly I think that the playmaking was always one of my biggest skills! But on different teams you play the way the team needs you to play to win games. This year it was a lot about finding the hot hand and making the right reads!

You have taken steps back twice. With a season like this the pro A or BBL have to be a main focus?

Stepping back from the BBL was a decision to be able to start university and play basketball at a high level! But also being able to combine both studies and basketball and I’m really happy with the decision I took. As I already signed my extension I’m looking forward for a fun Pro A season!

You scored 30 points or more three times this season. I can imagine your 30 points in the game three win over muenster was your favorite?

Yes and No. It was such an important game and so the moment was just really big to show up for that game, but it wasn’t to efficient and I didn’t like that too much.That’s why I really liked the game against Wedel. I believe that was over 30 points on 11 or 12 shots.

On what area’s of your game will you continue to work on this summer to keep improving your game?

Shooting is always a big part of it. If I’m able to make my shots I know a lot of things will open up for me and my team. Another thing is to be physically ready for the season!

Who was the toughest guard that you faced this season in the pro B?

I’m going with Jasper Guenther. Playing with him 2 seasons ago in Hagen and see how he organized Muenster’s offense and torched our defense multiple times was really tough. His floaters, mid-range jumpers and also his 3 point shooting made it super hard to guard him!

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

I think Chris Paul is definitely up there with the best of the best. Maybe he has a chance this year. I really like the Suns team.

Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points?Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?

Without a question he’s getting there but I don’t have him in my top10 yet.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

I see where he is coming from, but I believe no team in Europe would be able to stop that athleticism!

Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?

Yup! His ability to guard 1-5 is superior.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

Unfortunately I haven’t seen it so can’t answer that one.

Thanks Niklas for the chat.

Getting A Bonzie Colson Autograph On A Boston Street To Interviewing Him From My Hospital Room In Germany Two Years Later Shows How Small The Basketball World Is

The basketball world can be so small sometimes. It was May 2019 when I was home in Boston for a routine visit to see my family and as usual I couldn’t refrain from still following my childhood autograph desire. I may be a grown man now, but for me I still can get a chill getting a selfie with a Jason Kidd or seeing a Lebron James walk by me onto the bus. The Milwaukee Bucks were in town for a playoff series against the Boston Celtics. I saw the Bucks twice and was lucky to see many great players like the Greek freak Giannis Antetokounpo, Kris Middleton or a Eric Bledsoe. Even if those guys refrained from signing, I really didn’t care at the end of the day, because the highlight was meeting Spanish legend Pau Gasol who was hurt, but luckily was traveling with the team. I also as usual couldn’t take a day off and even interviewed Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee who I had covered in Germany 10 years ago. There were some bucks who stopped to sign like Brook Lopez, Pat Connaughton or Donte Divincenzo and there was another guy that exited the posh five star hotel who looked young and had to be a rookie. I asked an experienced autograph collector next to me who that was and he quickly blurted Bonzie Colson Jr. (198-PF-96, college: Notre Dame). Bonzie who? The name stuck out with me. Since I cover the game in Europe, I don’t follow the NBA or NCAA as much. Colson came out and signed a few autographs. He wasn’t as in demand as the stars, but was very polite and signed my index card and then was off to the bus. Fast forward ahead to April 2021. When I was checking the Strasburg roster at the start of the season, I was very happy to see three ex BBL players play in France and then I saw the name Bonzie Colson Jr. and right away remembered I had seen him in Boston two years earlier. I right away wanted to interview him. There I was speaking to Bonzie Colson Jr. over the phone in Germany. I was in the hospital recovering from Cancer in Mainz, Germany and he was in Strasburg, France about a two hour drive from me. The first thing that stood out again was his politeness on the phone. My vast basketball network helped me once again with being able to get this interview. Colson’s has three Strasburg teammates with Deandre Lansdowne, Brandon Jefferson and Ishmail Wainwright who I had interviewed on many occasions the last years in Germany. He definitely agreed with me that sometimes the basketball world can be so tiny. ‘The basketball world doesn’t seem so big when I signed an autograph for you in Boston and now were here doing an interview. I talked to my teammates Brandon, Ishmail and Deandre and they said you were a nice guy so why not. I like to talk basketball’, said Bonzie Colson Jr..

Bonzie Colson signing for the Boston autograph posse during the 2019 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics
Bonzie Colson autograph in 2019
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee during the 2019 playoffs in Boston

Before we delve into the fascinating basketball career of Bonzie Colson Jr., it has to be known that the versatile player isn’t only a talented hoopster and well mannered young man, but a gifted actor something he began to cherish in high school and later continued to pursue at Notre Dame (NCAA). He is still at the beginning of a long and fruitful basketball career, but getting back to acting is something he could imagine doing later in life. ‘If I got a call to do something why not. I was lucky that my high school coach Mike Heart allowed us to do something out of our comfort zone. I really have fond memories. When I was a freshman I did Aladdin with NBA player Michael Carter-Williams playing Aladdin. I and my teammates had small roles as his guards. I had a bigger role as a junior as I was in Guys and Dolls and in my senior year I had the main role as Sunny in Grease. I wouldn’t mind doing TV one day. I like A Game of Thrones and am a fanatic of the Office. I’m an outgoing guy and have the type of character to be an actor’, stated Bonzie Colson Jr.. He also remembered doing a skit in high school where his teammate Matt Farrell who currently is playing professionally in Turkey with Buyukcekmece Basketbol was playing his misbehaving son. When I put him on the spot and asked him which current teammate could play that role now, he didn’t hesitate for a moment before firing the name Ishmail Wainwright at me. ‘Ish is an outgoing and funny guy. He is always smiling. He is expressional like me. He is the type of guy that may of done things in life the way I did’, expressed Bonzie Colson Jr.. TV might be his calling, but he also follows movies and like many has seen the new Coming to America sequel. Like many he wasn’t as impressed with this one as much as the classic original. ‘The first one was way better. It isn’t easy to make a better one. Many of the actors from the original came back, but were older. But everyone one wanted another one’, said Bonzie Colson Jr.. I’m definitely hope Colson goes into acting, because if he learned the acting trade at St Andrew’s in Rhode Island the same school where Andrew Robinson went to, then he must of learned something. I still think, Andrew Robinson should have been nominated for an Oscar in Dirty Harry. He was the perfect crazy killer.

Colson was born on January 12th, 1996 in Washington DC. He grew up in New Bedford Massachusetts. He comes from a basketball family. His dad played at the University of Rhode Island and was one of the school’s top shot blocking leaders. Later he would be an assistant at George Washington and Boston College. Despite being only 193cm, Bonzie went on to shine in the front court. He had a wing span of 2,12cm and was ignored by major programs. Notre Dame assistant coach Martin Inglelsby who then would become head coach at Delaware saw something special in Colson and felt like he would fit perfectly into the Notre Dame system., Colson would attend Notre Dame for four years. Ingelsby was very important for Colson being able to develop as a player with the strength that he had of being undersized and playing in the front court. ‘Notre Dame was a great fix for me with basketball and academics. Ingelsby had played there and for head coach Mike Brey and knew what it was like to play for him. Brey gave me the needed trust and comfort. I have a great relationship with Ingelsby. I learned a lot from him”, commented Bonzie Colson Jr..

He remembered always beating current NBA player Jerami Grant in one on one duels in practice played at Notre Dame from 2014-2018 playing a total of 126 NCAA games being able to improve his scoring stats each season. He achieved a lot with the school wining the ACC tournament and reaching the NCAA Elite 8 twice. Right in his freshman season where he played 32 games averaging 5.6ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 62.5%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 75.4%, he already witnessed his personal favorite moment. ‘Winning the ACC tournament was by far my biggest achievement in the NCAA. Coming from high school to the NCAA and playing in the top conference ACC and winning was amazing. The ACC has top coaches, great teams and players. We are still a brotherhood today. That is what made that team so special’, remembered Bonzie Colson Jr.. He came off the bench in 31 of 32 games and scored in double figures in 5 games. His top game was netting 17 points against Duke in a 74-64 win. He was so fired up for the game and seized the moment. ‘I was working hard in practice for an opportunity to play. I was playing well in practice and got the opportunity. Our captain Pat Connaughton was a big help. He told me to be that junk yard dog and come of the screen and roll and just shoot. That is what I did. We trusted each other. This game allowed my career to skyrocket’, remembered Bonzie Colson Jr.. His season ended with a brutal 68-66 loss to Kentucky in the Elite 8. That powerhouse team would send 8 of 9 players to the NBA including guard Devin Booker who later would net 70 points in an NBA game. That was the best team that he ever faced in the NCAA. ‘Booker was coming off the bench. That is how talented they were. They were really stacked, but we also had a great team. We took them to the wire. That just showed how good the talent level was then’, said Bonzie Colson Jr.. In his sophomore season he played 37 games averaging 11.3ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 78.3%. His game took off as he scored in double figures in 23 games. He also contributed 5 double doubles. He best game was a huge 31 point 11 rebound explosion in a 95-91 win against top school Duke. He was ousted in the Elite 8 for a second straight year this time by North Carolina 88-74 as he contributed 8 points and 5 boards. It was another game where he faced off against many future NBA players. ‘They were so talented. I remember the Harrison twins, Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige who was hard to defend and shot well over the screens. I remember Isaac Hicks and Justin Johnson. They were so quick and athletic’, stated Bonzie Colson Jr.. His game went to another level in his last two years as he played a total of 57 games averaging 17.8ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 78.3% as a junior and as a senior averaged 19.7ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.7spg, 2.2bpg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 76.1%. He scored in double figures in 55 of 57 games and scored 20 points or more 22 times and had 30 double doubles. He exploded for 37 points in a win over Dartmouth and scorched Florida State for 33 points. One could see that his game progressed in his 4 years. ‘It was the four best years of my life. I got better and better in shape each year. I learned more and more how the game worked and my teammates depended on me. My teammates and I had a great relationship and I was able to be that dominant player. We had a lot of talented players and a great group of guys and coaching staff’, remembered Bonzie Colson Jr.. His hard work paid off allowing him to become a professional player, but also head coach Mike Brey was instrumental for Colson becoming the player that he is today. ‘He allowed us to play. We didn’t have that pressure. He taught us to have fun but to always give a lot of energy. He also helped me become a leader’, warned Bonzie Colson Jr..

He lists NBA players Jahlil Okafor, Montrezl Harrell and Marvin Bagley as his toughest opponents in the NCAA wasn’t drafted, but signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He then was sent to the Canton Charge (G-League) and was able to demonstrate that he could play averaging 15.4ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 65.8%. He had some monster games against OKC with 27/16 stats and a 25/11 game against Long Island, but it still wasn’t enough for the NBA. His hard work and results in his first pro job was so vital for him reaching the NBA not too long afterward. ‘I was upset getting cut by the Cavs, but I knew that it was a business. Coach Posey taught me what it meant to be a pro. I worked hard each day and was very motivated. It was a great learning experience’, stated Bonzie Colson Jr.. In January 2019 came his big break as he was signed by the Milwaukee Bucks. He continued to play very well in the G-League this time with the Wisconsin Herd (NBA G League averaging 14.5ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 29.5%, FT: 76.7%. He produced 28 points against Maine and the Raptors and made his NBA debut on March 25th in a 117-106 win over the Chicago Bulls playing 3 minutes. ‘I remember coach Bud calling my game. It was great checking into the game. I was able to play loose and have fun. I remember having to guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. I was trying to do everything I could to show that I belong’, remembered Bonzie Colson Jr.. In 6 of his 8 games, he only logged 4 minutes or less, but in two games he received ample minutes and showed that he belonged 100% in the NBA putting up 15/16 stats against Atlanta and 21%10 stats against Oklahoma. ‘I started both games. I remember guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tony Snell, Kris Middleton and Pat Connaughton being excited for me and giving me the confidence. It was a great experience’, stressed Bonzie Colson Jr.. In a roster that was stacked with so much talent and experience, it wasn’t easy for him to find good minutes. He never had a face to face conversation with head coach Mike Budenholzer concerning playing time. ‘I was thankful for the opportunity and being able to play in a system where I could play my game and enjoy it. I just tried to do the best I could and stay ready. You never knew when your number would be called’, said Bonzie Colson Jr..

The American was very fortunate to have so many great players around where he could soak up as much as possible. One of those guys was Spanish legend Pau Gasol. Gasol was injured and played only 3 games for the Bucks but traveled with the squad. They both had a special relationship and an extraordinary duty while on the bench. ‘Pau is my guy. He is such a great guy. I picked his brain a lot and I learned a lot. We were always talking about the game on the bench. We also helped the coaching staff. He couldn’t move so well so when he saw something on the court we had a system on how that would be delivered to him. It was a long chain but it reached coach Bud. Pau told me information and I gave that to Tim Frazier who gave it an assistant who then told coach Bud’, remembered Bonzie Colson Jr.. It was also cool and beneficial having his ex Notre Dame teammate Pat Connaughton by his side during his Bucks stay. ‘Pat is my guy. He is a real leader. Everybody loved him on campus. He always believed in me and kept me motivated and ready when I wasn’t playing at the start of my NCAA career. In the NBA, I picked his brain. He gave me the ball for my first NBA field goal. We are brothers and always check up on each other’, stated Bonzie Colson Jr.. He is obviously very grateful for getting the opportunity from the Milwaukee Bucks to showcase his skills in the NBA, but also knows that there are a lot of factors that determine if a guy can get that NBA chance or not. ‘At the end of the day the NBA is a business. There is so much beyond your control. You never know what is on the mind of a GM. You can only control what you can control. Never complain, but just get better. You can only control your own actions and do the most you can to get into that situation to get a NBA job like having work ethic, being dedicated, always asking questions and being motivated’, warned Bonzie Colson Jr.. In the summer of 2019, he played NBA Summer League with the Milwaukee Bucks averaging 13.0ppg, 5.8rpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 69.6%. Despite having a good summer, he didn’t return to the NBA. A two way deal was up in the air, but overall teams were unsure about him. So he decided to come overseas, play well and hopefully get back to the NBA in the future.

He lists NBA legends Jordan, Kareem, Lebron, Shaq and Kobe on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore first club overseas was the well known Turkish club with Darussafaka Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). He demonstrated in two competitions that he didn’t have many adjustment problems on the court playing 16 Eurocup games averaging 10.8ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP: 38.4%, 3PT: 45.9%, FT: 84.9%; and played 23 Turkish BSL games averaging 12.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.4spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 90.0%. Even if he was able to shine on the court, his mentality had to get used to being somewhere else other than the NBA. That the NBA is the only thing mentality is something that many Americans bring to Europe. Some falter while other like Colson are able to cope and adjust. ‘It was tough being away from home, but great to be in a new culture and meet new people. But as a kid I always wanted to be in the NBA. When I got overseas, it was a big reality check. I found out guys were really good here. I had sort of an NBA ego. But I’m a humble guy by nature and understood right away that I still need to work on my game more. It was a great experience and I’m still learning today’, warned Bonzie Colson Jr.. He also was extremely fortunate to have American Jarrod Jones as a teammate. So often the veterans can serve as being a vital mentor for those young Americans being overseas for the first time. ‘Jarrod was like a big brother for me. He taught me the ropes of playing overseas. I always picked his brain. He taught me that you need to grind each day and just taught me to be a pro in Europe’, remembered Bonzie Colson Jr..

Let’s fast forward to 2021. Bonzie Colson Jr. continued to grow as a player in Europe and had a fabulous season in France for SIG Strasburg. The organization played for the French Pro A title and lost in the semi-finals against Asvell and reached the Basketball Champions League semi-finals losing to Spanish club Burgos. With COVID still wrecking havoc around the world, he wasn’t able to do as much exploring off the court, but was able to focus more on his game. He was well aware that SIG Strasburg are like the Buffalo Bills of the early 90’s. The team then led by head coach Marv Levy reached 4 Super bowls losing each one. SIG Strasburg have reached 5 finals since 2013 and lost each one. ‘For this club each day is about what we can do to win the title. Everyone has been great and I have nothing negative to say. We work day by day as hard as we can to be as successful as possible. We want to keep building on from the past and build a new legacy’, stated Bonzie Colson Jr. in April 2021. When you look at the SIG Strasburg roster, you won’t find those well known American players, but that isn’t always a guarantee for success. Having the heart of gold and a chip as big as Shaq on your shoulder sprayed with sound abilities can at times be more valuable then being that ex NBA player. With Deandre Lansdowne, Ishmail Wainwright and Brandon Jefferson, the team has three guys that have had to pay their dues for years and still are very hungry and not satisfied yet and have that unremovable chip on their shoulder. ‘I really look up to guys like Deandre and Brandon. They came from D-2 programs and now are in a top league in Europe. You really have to take your hat off to them. With their work ethic and dedication that they bring and to see where they are now is something that not many can say they have done. It is motivation for all. Ish is my guy. He is a great player and person. We room and often talk about our college days. He is always pushing everyone in practice. Every team should have a guy like him. They always come to work with a smile on their faces. They are an inspiration for all’, warned Bonzie Colson Jr..

The American last watched The Return of The Jedi is a player that is undersized and compares his game as a mix between Draymond Greene, PJ Tucker and Jared Dudley. Scoring and rebounding is as easy for him as it is for Clint Cappela to haul down a rebound, but his biggest strength on the court is simple. His ability to use his size, wing span, speed and awareness to his advantage at both ends of the court. This is something that teams have continued to witness this season, but at a lot higher rate and consistency than last season. That coupled with being able to shine playing with grit which is in his identity until the last whistle is something that will continue to carry him far in his career. He continues to work on his game. He wants to have the opportunity to also to defend the 1-2 positions and continue to improve his awareness on defense, get over screens and improve his shooting. His game continues to grow especially with the aid from guys like Jarrod Jones and Deandre Lansdowne. His defense has grown overseas and he has the game to continue to climb the ladder as there are 2 leagues that definitely will be on his mind this summer when it’s time to think options for next season. ‘It will be an interesting summer. My two goals are the NBA and the Euroleague. We will see what happens. I can’t be worried about the future, but now I need to stay focused and hungry’, warned Bonzie Colson Jr.. His overpowering season in France and the Basketball Champions League where he averaged 18/5/2/1 in both competitions should open up many doors for him. He didn’t reach two of his goals as he signed with up and coming club Pinar Karsiyaka in Turkey, but will play Basketball Champions League and have another opportunity to show the basketball world that he has the game to play at the highest level. While for me it will be compelling to see when we have our third meeting? I definitely would like to see him in person again before possibly seeing him spray his outgoing personality somewhere on the big or little screen playing that special role as an actor.

Vincent Bailey(Team FOG Naestved) Has Had To Prove Himself His Whole Career But The Valley Is Just As Important As The Mountain Top

Vincent Bailey (198-F-91, college: LMU) is a 29 year old 198cm forward from Port St Lucie, Florida playing his eighth professional season and first with Team FOG Naestved (Denmark-BasketLigaen). He has played in many countries including Germany, France, Belgium, Morocco, Luxemburg, Peru, Switzerland and Iceland. He spoke to prior to playing in the Karls Cup in Rostock.

Vincent thanks for talking to Congrats on signing with Danish team Team FOG Naestved (Denmark-BasketLigaen). How blessed do you feel to have been able to keep playing the game you love despite COVID?

Thank you I really appreciate it. I’m grateful for each opportunity I receive to play the game I love for a living, despite COVID.

You were in Switzerland during COVID. How did you experience everything around the Pandemic? What was the most challenging thing that you had to encounter in these rough times?

It was bit overwhelming at times. Not being able to have access to physical training centers, having to quarantine for 10 days if a player contracted COVID and also the isolation of not being able to be as social as are use to were all challengers.

With all that you experienced off the court, how do you feel did COVID make you stronger as a man?

I could say it made me stronger, but mostly more aware that nothing is promised in this life and that we should cherish every day we have here on this earth and be thankful for those around us at all times.

For some reason I never interviewed you again since you played your second season in France. It has been a long time and you have been in countries like Belgium, Morocco, Luxemburg and Iceland. Has time flown and what have you enjoyed most about your basketball journey in the last 6 years?

What I’ve enjoyed most is the journey itself, I’ve learned a lot about myself and also the development of my game . I’ve experienced several countries and three continents, I went through ups and downs and came out a better person through all the trials and obstacles of this overseas lifestyle.

With team FOG Naestved you have joined an ambitious organization that is always in the playoffs but haven’t won a league title since 2005 and last won the cup in 2017. What were the main reasons for coming here?

The main reason was the opportunity to play near my Danish fiance while I play the game I love and help Team FOG work toward their goals as a club. This opportunity was not planned and it came out of nowhere as I was waiting on other opportunities to fall in place. It worked out for the best.

I can imagine you will have a big role and be a type of first or second scoring option. How excited are you to be able to show your abilities in a new country and team?

I’m very excited to play for Team FOG and coach Andy for whatever role he has for me. I like the type of basketball style he has put in front of us and the principals and standards he’s implementing on this team. Hopefully I can bring value to my teammates and the club, not only as a player but as person.

What kind of player is Vincent Bailey today in comparison to your rookie season in Vechta? How has your game grown over the last 7 years?

I’m more mobile and versatile than I was my rookie season. I’ve increased my ball handling , shooting and play making abilities at the 4position. Defensively I can switch out on any position 1-5 and guard at a good level. If you watch the film you can see the difference from year one up until now.

You are turning 30 in September. Are you in your prime now and what kind of player will Danish fans see in 2021-2022?

The Danish fans will see a more polished well balanced Vincent Bailey in this upcoming season. I want to put my teammates in great positions to score as I will continue to draw the defense in the midrange area and also making plays in transition and defensively causing matchup issues. We will take it a day at a time and trust our progression during the pre season.

Welcome back to Germany. You will be playing against ambitious pro A team Rostock and Eurocup team Hamburg Towers. How motivated are you to compete against the quality of these teams?

It’ll be a great opportunity to play against high quality competition in Germany. We are looking forward to the challenges ahead to help build our team for the up coming season.

I know you have a big chip on your shoulder. How do you handle the whole situation? You had great seasons in Germany and Belgium and after that I was always amazed that you didn’t get jobs at higher levels. How has that affected you mentally over the years?

You know, it’s been quite an up hill battle and I feel the same as you do. Mentally sometimes it has been draining but I am a resilient soul, I won’t fold. The valley is just as important as the mountain top.

You played with veteran shooting guard Chad Timberlake last season who has German BBL experience. What was it like playing with such a big time vet like him who probably also has a chip on his shoulder?

It was great playing with a Vet like Chad. I learned a lot from my brother and I appreciate him in all aspects of life.

You played a season in Iceland with Thor Thorl. What kind of an experience was the game and seeing the beauty of the land there?

I enjoyed playing at Thor with great teammates. For me it was a bit difficult with the darkness of Iceland and that’s why my time there was cut short and I took a deal back in Switzerland with BBC Monthey during December break.

With Boncourt in Switzerland you played with young German Robert Zinn. What memories do you have of his game? He took a very unusual route for a German player going to Switzerland.

Robby aka ‘Zin Master’ lol. He is a high IQ player with good shooting ability. I enjoyed playing with him at Boncourt.

You also played a season with Residence Walferdange (Luxembourg-Total League) playing 29 games averaging 21.2ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 69.6%. What kind of an experience was it dominating the league. Luxemburg is usually a stepping stone for unproven Americans to make the next step.

I feel like my entire career so far all I have been doing was proving myself. I just want to enjoy the game I love and bring value to any team I’m a part of. It’s a draining cycle to be doubted over and over again and prove people wrong. I enjoyed Luxembourg on and off the court, it’s where I met my fiance the first time and also met some great people who I’m still in contact with today.

You also got experience for top team Faith US De Rabat in Morocco. How do you remember your time there?
Morocco was a eye opener for me, and honestly one of the best experiences I had outside of basketball living. The country is warm with nice people who treat you like family. It was totally different than I expected. I also met one of my closest friends out there Dennis Mavin for the first time. He also played in Germany
You had a very good season with VOO Wolves Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-Scooore League) averaging 13.2ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 52.6%, FT: 71.7%. I thought after that season you should have gotten a chance in the BBL in Germany. Did you ever have interest from German BBL teams?


Your ex teammate from Vechta Chase Griffin is still playing. Did you appreciate his personality or sniper qualities most?

Most definitely, chase is a great guy. I respect him and his leadership. His shooting ability is elite.

Dorian Pinson played at Lincoln Memorial the season after you left. Do you remember him coming in your senior season for a visit. He tragically passed away this year in a drowning accident.

Rest In Peace Dorian. I met Dorian while he was attending LMU. After he started his pro career we would train at LMU during the off season, pushing each other to be better. Dorian was a strong smart dedicated person who could inspire anyone to go after what they wanted in life. He definitely will be missed amongst his blood family and LMU family in Harrogate, TN.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Dennis Mavin, Stephan Bradford, Ahmad Smith, Jalen Nesbitt, Zach Lewis

Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore with current or past heads?

MJ, Lebron , Kobe , Magic

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

My opinion is just to respect greatness. We all have a goat of each era.

Did you see the sequel to Coming To America? Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

Hahah they should have definitely left it alone, but I respect the effort.

Thanks Vincent for the chat