Crailsheim Merlins

Tired Legs And Short Shots Doom The Fraport Skyliners Giving The Hakro Merlins Crailsheim The 91-77 Win

The holiday season is always a memorable one off the court for the players, but in the last week, it was anything but noteworthy as the Fraport Skyliners had to face ratiopharm Ulm twice in the easyCredit BBL and Eurocup and lost both games. The first game cost the club rookie Trae Bell_Haynes and Akeem Vargas who will be out for a long period of time. The 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner had had enough of the ratiopharm Ulm team and now had no other choice but to come home and have to take care of business with cellar team Hakro Merlins Crailsheim who came into a game with a 1-12 record while the Fraport Skyliners were doing their own type of balancing act in 12th place with a 5-7 record and three wins away from the last playoff place. The game also remarked the return of an old Skyliner friend Konrad Wysocki. The last time the German who played at Ivy League school Princeton wore a Skyliner jersey, Barack Obama was just beginning his first term as president, Derrick Allen was his teammate and still in his twenties and Dennis Schroeder was a huge basketball talent on the Braunschweig playgrounds. The 36 year old Wysocki played for the then Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 36 BBL games averaging 6.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 43.8%. He returned back to the Fraport arena having a BBL record of 3-2 against his old time since his departure in 2009. He was perfect with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg posting a 3-0 record and winning two nail bitters by two points, but had lost both contests with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. It was pretty much a game that both sides had to win badly with Crailsheim a tad more and did as the Fraport Skyliners despite having injury problems and fatigue gave an unsatisfactory performance losing to the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim 91-77. After the big win a relaxed Konrad Wysocki exited the locker room with a big smile and was right away greeted by his ex team attendant Wulle Buhr and after rapping about the good old days, he greeted me and commented on his return back once again after a few years in the Pro A. “Obviously the faces change over the years, but then you see some of the familiar faces from then and the memories return. This was a big win for us. It has been a tough season losing some close games. We really needed this win very much. Maybe this is the start of seeing more wins”, stated ex Fraport Skyliner Konrad Wysocki.

                The Fraport Skyliners continue to struggle through the season and it showed most against the lowly Hakro Merlins Crailsheim as they had good moments on offense, but their defense continues to be their achilles heel as they can´t rely on this part of their game. Of course the many injuries as well as the many games they have had in recent weeks have had their toll on the club, but still showing effort is something that doesn´t take the most talent and is something any team can always display, but that is something the club has had problems sticking to. After the loss ex Georgetown guard Jason Clark had a long face as he tried to digest another loss after losing back to back games in Ulm and explained what went wrong this time. “We can´t give fatigue as a reason why we lost this game. Every team goes through stretches like this where they have injuries, but this is what we play for. We have to find a way to win these games. Yes were tired, but we can´t have a performance like this. We have to do the little things right and show effort. I have a lot of respect for Crailsheim and they played a hell of a game, but at the end of the day we are a way better team than what we showed. We have to win these kind of games. This game was winnable”, warned Jason Clark. After the huge victory, the diminutive 180cm point guard Dewayne Russell who seems like a few centimeters smaller felt a lot larger than he was after the game even if he didn´t show it as his hot shooting third quarter where he scored 15 points carried the team to the win. The ex Grand Canyon(NCAA) stand out was as humble as could be about the performance of his team. “We played well. This was one of the few complete games we have played this season. Coach did a great job preparing us and our veterans Wysocki and Turner kept our heads up. We did a good job staying together when they had runs. We executed very well what we wanted to against their different coverages”, stressed Dwayne Russell.

Post game interview with Crailsheim guard Dewayne Russell who led his team to the win with a game high 22 points including 15 in the third quarter



Joe Lawson (Crailsheim Merlins)I Definitely Have Been Waiting For This BBL Opportunity And I´m Not Afraid Of The Challenge

Joe Lawson is a 25 year old  201cm forward from Indianapolis, Indiana that will begin his fourth professional season and first with the Crailsheim Merlins. He played his first three seasons in the German Pro A. In his rookie season he played with the BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-ProA) playing 38 games averaging 11.6ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 69.4%. IN his second season he moved to the Ninners Chemnitz(Germany-ProA) playing 40 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 81.4%. Last season he remained with the Ninners Chemnitz(Germany-ProA) playing 27 games averaging  12.9ppg, Reb-2(7.7rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 80.7%. He played at Indiana SE (NAIA) from 2010-2012 playing a total of 56 games and then moved to Indianapolis (NCAA2) where he played from 2013-2015 playing a total of 60 games and as a senior played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 78.0%. He talked to during the summer about his basketball career.

Joe thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

No problem Miles I´m currently in Indianapolis working out preparing for next season. The Summer has been very busy between visiting family and playing ball in Las Vegas.

Our last and first interview happened in your rookie season with Gotha in November 2015. How has time flown by since then and is Germany your second home now?

Yes time is flying and I´m headed into m 4th season as pro. yes you can call Germany a second home. All my years as a pro I have been there and I’ve met people in Germany that I will stay in touch with for years to come.

Congrats on signing with new easyCredit BBL team Crailsheim. It isn´t often that Pro A players make the jump to the BBL, but many dream about it. Is this like a basketball dream come true for you as you will measure yourself against the best big men in one of Europe´s best leagues?

I believe if you keep working hard no matter what level your at you will end up where you need to be. I definitely been waiting for this opportunity and I´m not afraid of the challenge that’s before me.


Michael Smith (Crailsheim Merlins) I Believe That We Can Do Something Special This Season

Michael Smith is a 22 year old 193cm guard from California that is starting his professional career in Germany with the Crailsheim Merlins. He played at Cal.Baptist (NCAA2) from 2013-2017 and set the NCAA 2 on fire in his last two seasons as a junior he averaged 21.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 83.6%. In his senior year at Cal.Baptist (NCAA2) he played 25 games averaging 24.6ppg, 6.2rpg, 3.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 83.5%. He spoke to German Hoops  about basketball.

Michael thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your from San Francisco, went to school in Riverside and now your in Crailsheim. Has it been kind of a culture shock concerning the geography? What kind of early beauty have you been able to take from Germany?

It has definitely been some what of a culture shock dealing with the time change and the language barrier of living in Germany but over the past few weeks I have come accustomed to the living.

Your starting your professional basketball career in Germany in the pro A with the Crailsheim Merlins. You were a lethal scorer in the NCAA2 and had a work out with the Los Angeles Lakers. How did you land with the Crailsheim Merlins? Did you get any advice from German teammate Kalidou Diouf?

I was able to land the job through the help of my agent Scott Nichols.

How did you experience your first summer transfer period coming from school. I can imagine that many professional teams were enticed by your scoring like from a team in Mexico where you had an offer. What was the deciding factor that made you chose the Crailsheim Merlins?
The deciding factor for me picking the Crailsheim Merlins was the type of culture that the organization presented. They are hard working and family based team. I also wanted to make sure that I started my career on a team that is fighting for a championship and with the Merlins I believe that we can do something special this season.



Karl Moore (Aguilas de Tunja) I Treat My Opponent As If They Are Taking Food From My Family Plate

Karl Moore is a 29 year old 203cm forward born in 1987 that is playing his third professional season with  Aguilas de Tunja (Colombia-Liga DirecTV) after completing the season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team where he averaged 25,9pp. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best scoring games was 28 points against Hanau and 27 points against BG Karlsruhe. He played college ball at Schoolcraft Community College (JUCO), Rio Grande(NAIA), and Culver Stockton (NAIA). He spoke to German Hoops about his season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team and new basketball adventure in Columbia.

Karl thanks for talking to German Hoops. You could be home in Detroit enjoying late spring, but instead earning additional money in Columbia. How good is life at the moment?

You’re welcome Miles. It’s always a pleasure doing interviews with you. I remember one night back in the year of 2014, I spent over eight hours on eurobasket searching for agents and coaches to contact for an opportunity. Here we are three years later doing our fourth interview together. Getting back to the question that you asked, life for me at this moment is going well. I serve an awesome God, He may not have been there when I wanted him, but He was always there on time.

Before we get to your next basketball adventure in South America, let us look back to your season in Germany. You played with TSV Crailsheim Merlins 2nd team (Germany-2.Regionalliga). Were you satisfied with your season? You averaged 25,9ppg?

Yes, I was satisfied with my season in Crailsheim. I came there and did what they paid me to do, which was to lead their team to a championship. It was no surprise to me being the league leading scorer. All season long during our days off from practice, I was either in the weight room or outside running 18 miles per week. It felt good seeing the sacrifices such as those pay off.


Karl Moore (Crailsheim Merlins) Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard


Karl Moore is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best scoring games was 28 points against Hanau and 27 points against BG Karlsruhe. He played college ball at Schoolcraft Community College (JUCO), Rio Grande(NAIA), and Culver Stockton (NAIA). He spoke to German Hoops about basketball and his next experience with the Crailsheim Merlins.



Karl thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You have been only a short time in Crailsheim, but what has been the biggest difference there to when you were a rookie in Saarlouis?

Hello Miles! Thanks for the opportunity. The biggest difference are the times that we practice. While in Saarlouis, I practiced once a day with the Pro B team during the night. Here In Crailsheim, I practice three times a day. Twice with the Pro A team and once with the Regionaliga team. Physically it is tough but mentally I cant say that it’s something that I can’t survive, because right now there is a person in Africa growing up in conditions that I can’t survive.


Jordan Callahan All Grown Up In His Third Professional Season Running The Crailsheim Merlins Offense

Despite breaking the all-time three point shooting record at Tulane, winning and having to prove himself hasn´t always been the easiest in his basketball career, but this season Jordan Callahan is all grown up and making the best of the challenge of running the offensive show for the Crailsheim Merlins in one of the top leagues in Europe Beko BBL. Callahan is a 25 year old 184cm guard from Marietta, Georgia that is still young enough to make a very lasting impression as a professional basketball player coming from the 59,000 city as it only has Cedric Henderson to boast of who played 8 NBA games for Milwaukee and Atlanta in 1986 and played 10 years as a professional. Callahan played at Tulane and had three consecutive losing seasons until his senior season where the team went 20-15, but overall only 56-70 in his four years there. His senior year wasn´t his statistical best as his second and third were better as he came close to beating the assist mark against Houston with 21 points and 12 assists, but he knows why his senior was most special. “Statistically it probably was my best game at Tulane. I still remember that game to this day! Tulane’s single game assist record was 13 at the time. I had two opportunities to break the record but unfortunately the ball just didn’t bounce right way. I’ll always remember. Personally I think my best game was my senior year when I broke the all time 3pt record. That’s just a moment I’ll never forget”, stressed Jordan Callahan. As a rookie in Poland in 2013-2014, he had to split time with two teams, but his stats were impressive for Kotwica Kolobrzeg (Poland-TBL, starting five): 16 games: Score-4(15.8ppg), 3.3rpg, 3.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 82.0%, in Feb.’14 moved to Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-TBL, starting five): 19 games: 14.9ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-5(4.2apg), Steals-5(1.7spg), FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 83.6%. Having the chance to play for two Polish teams helped him immensely. “I think I grew a lot. Getting adjusted to the European style of play was big. My first game I think I got called for five traveling violations. Something I think every American can attest to in their first year overseas. With that being said I had two good coaches who really allowed me to work on my game. I actually would tell people back home that I got better after that year. Two practices a day. One being intense skill development and the other being team drills and scrimmaging. How could I not get better”, added Jordan Callahan. Just when he wanted to build from that impressive rookie season, his second in Belgium with Port of Antwerp Giants (Belgium-Scooore League) was a season to forget as he had to depart in December having played only 8 games: 9.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 95.5%; EuroChallenge: 3 games: 10.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.3apg. He had three very good scoring games where he combined for 59 points with current Bremerhaven guard Kyle Fogg, but then five not so good scoring games where he combined for 17 points. “I’m not sure what they wanted from me. Let’s just say it wasn’t a great fit for me and my game. Nothing against Antwerp. They run a very professional organization and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me”, said Jordan Callahan.


Brandon Johnson (Crailsheim Merlins) We Want To Cut Down Our Points But Sometimes It’s The Gift And Curse Playing Fast Like We Do

Brandon Johnson is a 29 year old 183cm guard from Houston, Texas that is playing his first season with the team Crailsheim Merlins and is averaging 4,8ppg and 3,8apg . He started his basketball career at San Diego(NCAA) in 2005 and played there until 2010 playing a total of 134 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.4apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 35.4%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 77.9%. He turned professional in 2010 and played for the Dakota Wizards (D-League) playing 24 games: 6.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 20.8%, FT: 82.2%. Two seasons ago he played for Hoops Club (Lebanon-Division A) playing 5 games: 17.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 6.6apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 32.6%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 64.5%. Last season he finally made his big breakthrough in Europe with the t Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA) coming in the second half of the season and saving their year and played 12 games averaging 21.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 5.6apg, 2.8spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 70.3%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 99-90 victory against ratiopharm Ulm.

Congrats Brandon on the big 99-90 win against ratiopharm Ulm. The second win of the season against a playoff team. What was key at the end for getting the win?

I think our guys do a great job of sticking together at the end, believing in the system and stepping up making free throws at the end of the game.

The starting five played very well in this game. Does the consistency of the starting five have to continue to be there for this team to be successful?

I think on any team you need the starting five to be consistent but to win games the bench has to also. Early in the game the starting 5 did a really good job of getting a lead and the substitutions came in and didn’t bring the same energy so overall for our team to be successful we need everyone to be consistent on what they bring to the Team.