This season Dragons Rhondorf guard Kameron Taylor has flashed that winning smile on most occasions simply because the regular season was a smashing success and loses weren´t as prevalent as last season where the team was denied the playoffs. On account of his MVP like season where he in most cases than not must have felt like a man playing against boys as scoring at times felt as easy as it was for Russell Westbrook to register triple doubles last season and nailing two back to back triple doubles against BBC Coburg and Dresden kept his smile in constant rotation as basketball life at the moment is in perfect harmony for him and the Dragons Rhondorf. With the regular season history, the playoffs are approaching rapidly and suddenly the Dragons Rhondorf will have to be extra sharp in every game, if they want to continue their quest of reaching the Pro B final and going for another Pro B championship. The club had a two week break until the playoffs begin this Saturday and of course some more valuable time for Taylor to get his warm and childlike smile a workout. He might have been daydreaming here and there while sitting at the annoying red light at the intersection Menzenberger street and Linzer street or waiting for the annoying long German commercials on television to be over imagining just how competitive the head to head duel will be in the next weeks with American Demetrius Ward. His smile may have been extra supercharged recently when he observed the ridiculous James Harden ankle breaker on Los Angeles Clipper Wesley Johnson as he starred him down for a split second and then shot an in your face three to supply you tube world with unending clicks, but was there anything that may have actually postponed that smile or even turned that smile into a sceptical one? Well if the knowledge that the MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel were the Dragons Rhondorf first opponent in the playoffs didn´t then it most likely may have got head coach Thomas Adelt a bit uneasy and hardcore knowledgeable Dragons fans as this opponent is no cake walk. But then again this opponent may actually be a blessing in disguise for the Pro B title contender Dragons Rhondorf. Even if many opposing team´s management think the world of him as this Saturday the representatives of one of the top German pro A teams will be in the Dragon Dome to watch him wheel and deal, Taylor can´t always play hero and in this series the Dragons Rhondorf might have to produce new heroes.
Only a few days ago, it was carnival time in the Rhein area of Bonn/Bad Honnef and you had many many people dressed up in funny and in some cases memorable costumes acting crazy and just enjoying life while others in other parts of Germany were carnival free and going about their daily business. If the carnival craze had infected Americans Kameron Taylor and Brandon Watkins was unknown, but seeing a Taylor prancing around in a Trump costume or Watkins donning a OJ Simpson costume would have been enjoyable, but with only a few weeks left in the Pro B regular season, they most likely were already mentally locked in to the big game against the ScanPlus Baskets who are in first place while the Dragons Rhondorf had one victory less and were parked in second place. Watkins wasn´t with the team yet in October, but Taylor was and had bad memories of the 103-72 blow out loss in Elchlingen as they met an offensive powerhouse that averaged 28 points for the course of three quarters. The ScanPlus Baskets shot over 50%, dominated the boards and forced Rhondorf to cough up the ball an annoying 24 times. It was a game to forget for the ex Pro A team Dragons Rhondorf as they couldn´t find a defensive remedy on this day to combat the lethal offensive arsenal from the southern German team. Watkins most likely saw film from that horrible loss and also got some extra information from Taylor as both Americans and their German teammates were seeking revenge and wanted to extend their good home record to 10-1. As always it was a full packed house as the Dragon Dome was electric and burning with basketball passion as it was loud and the type of atmosphere that is rarely seen in the Pro B except if your in Rostock, but the home team Dragons were unable to keep their almost immaculate home record as they got overpowered by the ScanPlus Baskets 92-69. The Dragons Rhondorf did the best they could despite being without three key players, but just couldn´t withstand the potent consistent offense of the ScanPlus Baskets for 40 minutes. “Good defense was key for the win. In the last games we had been shooting too many three´s and we wanted to stabilize our inside game tonight and did. We had good communication and when we play good defense then our offense works. It was obvious that they had a hard time without Viktor Frankl-Maus, but we showed we could dominate in the first game where they were complete. Our ball movement was good as well as our pick and roll. It was fun to play”, stressed ex Ehingen guard Brian Butler. After the loss, a disappointed Brandon Watkins reflected on the 40 minutes, but was still proud how the team played despite the many injuries. “It was a tough game and we were missing key players. But guys that don´t usually play stepped up. These young guys know how to contribute now and it was a good learning experience. They are a good team and hurt us with their pick and roll. Our help side wasn´t good as they kept attacking it. We will have to work on it so other teams don´t do that”, stressed ex West Virginia(NCAA) forward Brandon Watkins.
Early in the 2017-2018 Pro B season in late October, Dragons Rhondorf fans were witnessing an entertaining and exciting duel against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors who had been massive under dogs coming into the game as they only dressed 7 players as some of their key BBL double license players like Garai Zeeb were playing at the same time in Munich and weren´t available. Instead of running out the clock and being ready to celebrate an easy 20 plus point win, the Dragons Rhondorf were clinging to life as the game was dead locked at 80-80 with 11,2 seconds to play, but the Dragons team had possession. It was that moment in the game that Kameron Taylor had seen before and that time where he especially comes to life as having the ball in his hands when it counts most is when he flourishes and is in his special element. Back at Seton Hill(NCAA2), the Maryland native had celebrated some huge moments with game winning shots against Gannon and Edinboro, but was still waiting for that first professional game winning buzzer beater and against Frankfurt he would help propel himself another step into Dragons Rhondorf heaven and history. As the ball was inbounded, Taylor got the ball and had control of the court and everyone in the gym knew he would make that last play. Taylor was focused on the basket and this was the moment where he blocked everything out and saw only himself the basket and his man Englishman Jules Akodo. With the seconds winding down quickly he met Akodo at the three point line at the top of the key with six seconds and after a few dribbles lost a bit of the handle and almost lost the ball with three seconds, but gathered himself went briefly to his right and had his man off balance and fired away unleashing a lethal step back jumper that saw nothing but net and brought the whole Dragon Dome into an electric frenzy. It had been the club´s sixth game of the season and third home win in a row which had upped their record to 5-1. The season had been a total turnaround from the disappointing last season where the club had to fight in the playdowns to stay in the league and did, but the whole experience had been nothing for weak nerves. This season has been a total 180 degree turn as the club currently has a 15-5 record in second place in the Pro B south standings. A big reason for the success has been the incredible dominance of American Kameron Taylor who is on course of winning the Pro B 2018 MVP and the team have legitimate chances of winning the title as well. So often the success of the team is based a lot on the how well the player performs and meshes with his teammates and that has been the case with Taylor. But in a way Taylor shouldn´t even have been in the Pro B simply because he is way to good. It was his choice coming to the Pro B after having a solid Pro A season with Ehingen as a rookie. “Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward”, warned Kameron Taylor. He is on his best way of getting back to a higher league next season. However not only the Pro A will be calling, but perhaps even the easyCredit BBL.
Before Taylor became a living legend in the small city Bad Honnef by the Rhein in Germany, he had to learn the fundamentals at Seton Hill(NCAA).
Seeing eye popping magnificent basketball clinics in the Dragan Dome has been nothing out of the ordinary or unusual in the last two seasons as fans have been spoiled like a kid can be when their long lost uncle comes to visit with a sack full of toys as they have witnessed special American talents Aaron Nelson and Kameron Taylor. The only difference has been that the Dragons have been winning this season more and are on course to not only reach the playoffs again, but are playing for the Pro B title. A big reason is the great team chemistry and German role players understanding their duties, but a even bigger reason has been American Kameron Taylor who took a step back in his second professional season coming from the Pro A in hopes of making two steps forward. He has been a candidate for Pro B MVP of the season since the start with his overwhelming all-around play. Fans saw another side of him in January as he put up amazing back to back triple doubles of 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the big 89-86 victory against Coburg and two weeks later did the basketball trick again under the watchful eyes of the home crowd posting a 22 point, 14 rebound and 12 assists outburst against the Dresden Titans as he helped the team keep their almost immaculate home record potent at 10-1 with a 91-74 win against the former Eastern Germany city. With January history and February having arrived, the American from Maryland who also produced a triple double with Seton Hill(NCAA) against Shippensburg was looking for the win first while fans were looking for that third triple double in a row at home, but it wouldn´t be easy as opponent Iserlohn had an identical 13-5 record and were seeking revenge for their 80-75 loss at home against Taylor and co. The game was a battle for three quarters as no team could get away from the other, but in the fourth quarter despite massive foul trouble, the Dragons Rhondorf buckled down getting the needed support form their German role players slipping by Iserlohn 82-71.
Kameron Taylor is a 23 year old 198cm guard from Hyattsville, Maryland that is playing his second professional season and first with Pro B team Dragons Rhondorf and tearing up the Pro B averaging 23,9ppg, 7,6rpg and 5,3apg. Last season as a rookie he played with Team Ehingen Urspring (Germany-ProA) playing 29 games averaging 10.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 43.9%, FT: 80.2%. He started his basketball career at DeMatha Catholic and in 2012-2013 started his career at Seton Hill (NCAA2) and as a freshman played 28 games averaging 7.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 70.0%. In his second season at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 27 games averaging 12.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.6apg, 2.0spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 77.9%. In his junior season at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 16 games averaging 13.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 70.6%. In his senior year at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 27 games averaging 20.8ppg, 8.7rpg, 4.1apg, 2.2spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 76.8%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 91-74 win against the Dresden Titans.
Kam, thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 91-74 win against the Dresden Titans. It´s Sunday and after Julian Gamble supported you watching play did you do the same in his game against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen?
Yes I usually always try to catch a Bonn game and not only support Julian Gamble and the Bonn team but to learn from the game.
When you watch a BBL game like that do you watch a Josh Mayo closely what he is doing or even put yourself in his shoes and draw a picture how you would have handled certain situations?
I know that I’m not the same player as Josh is, what I try to do is see myself contributing my strengths to the team while looking for the weaknesses of not only the Bonn team but the opposing teams as well. To see what both teams are lacking.
After the huge 89-86 win in Coburg where Kameron Taylor made himself immortal to Dragons Rhondorf fans with his amazing 35 point, 10 rebound and 12 assist masterpiece against Coburg in their own posh living room and made everybody there happy until the next game, their whole hard work of practice and hopes of continuing their winning streak to two games were crushed in Leverkusen as a seemingly comfortable 62-54 lead heading into the fourth quarter on the road was squashed. They relinquished an unacceptable 34-13 last quarter making the last weeks seem like an eternity as the club with the massive ambitious to move up to the Pro A have lost three of their last four games. The players escaped off the court in Leverkusen full with embarrassment and shame and were wishing that they could of somehow got back that fourth quarter and done it better. A week later, the Dragons Rhondorf returned back to their home court with a lot of question marks and did some real soul searching the last week, but knew that coming home is always positive since they are a very tough team to beat inside their own four walls. The club also knew that they had beat the Dresden Titans on the road holding their nerves 73-71 as their ex player Canadian Kevin Thomas had sealed the win with free throws. However this time both teams were a bit different as Dresden had hauled in three new players with Magnum, Debache and Hall and the Dragons had gotten Brandon Watkins. Kameron Taylor wanted to continue his stellar play at home and help lead his team to a new winning streak while the Dresden Titans wanted to continue their impressive defense after giving up only 52 points against FC Bayern Munich last weekend. Taylor came through again as he registered his second triple double in a row at home and second in three games lifting the Dragons Rhondorf to a convincing 91-74. Win. Despite his stellar game of 22 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, the club showed in the fourth quarter that they are a real team as they stepped up in a big way getting much scoring punch from various players while Taylor scored only one point. “We didn´t have that fire against Leverkusen, but did a good job maintaining it for the whole game against Dresden. We let down a bit in the second half, but played team basketball, rebounded well and made them take tough shots. We did get called for some fouls behind the three point line, but we rather play aggressive defense than play passive defense”, warned ex Ehingen guard Kameron Taylor. The Dresden Titans had a bad start and played catch up basketball for the whole game, staged a huge comeback in the third quarter, but couldn´t stay consistent on defense in the fourth quarter as their decreasing energy bit them in their own butt. “We were overrun at the start. We wanted to stop their transition, play good help defense and good set defense, but we didn´t do any of that tonight. We did a pretty good job against their zone press and came back, but ran out of energy in the fourth quarter. We had a bad break with the Sebastian Heck disqualification foul, but Rhondorf is a very good team, but we could of played a lot better”, warned ex American(NCAA) guard Janek Schmidtkunz. “We gave up too many transition baskets and rebounded badly, but we never gave up and fought until the end”, added ex Easter Michigan(NCAA) guard Willie Mangum.
Sometimes one has to wonder how much added fun there would be in Germany in the Christmas time if there was the same amount of opportunities for kids to meet Santa Claus at the local mall as in the States, because that amazing experience is always a high light for any kid before the real game starts with opening presents. One also has to wonder if a Viktor Frankl-Maus could be as exciting playing a Santa Claus for kids as he is making breathtaking passes that makes him a kind of passing magician in the German Pro B. Either way with the great passing ability, positive character and sense of humor, he could easily attempt to a play a Santa Claus if asked. Not only is it fun for any kid to sit on Santa´s lap and wish for that special present, but it has been extra fun again this season coming into the always boisterous Dragon Dome and watching the Dragons Rhondorf play basketball again with you trying to predict for how many points a Kameron Taylor will go for and watching the grand leadership of Viktor Frankl-Maus and his Rajon Rondo type passes that he always good for. But most important the Dragons Rhondorf are winning again something they hadn´t been doing on a regular basis since their spectacular Pro B run in the 2014-2015 season that led them into the Pro A. Are the Dragons Rhondorf back on course good and ripe enough for a title again or will the playoffs be a certain reality, but nothing more?
Last season was a season to forget as the club had seemingly a competitive roster, but with the talent that they had underachieved.