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.
Michael Smith is a 28 year old 188cm guard from Canada that also has the Italian citizenship and just completed his rookie season in Germany with the Westfalen Mustangs (2.Regionalliga). He got valuable experience in Canada playing at Regina University, then moved to Brandon University (CIS) playing 36 games and then as a senior played at the University of Northern British Columbia (CIS) playing 15 games averaging 5.9ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 34.8%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 66.7%. He had a rollercoaster season in Germany and spoke to German Hoops about the season he will never forget.
Michael thanks for talking to German Hoops! Where are you at the moment and have you lost trust in the game you love basketball or will any struggle not hinder you from continuing to be a professional basketball player.
Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story. I haven’t lost trust in basketball but I have lost trust in the people that are allowed to run professional basketball teams. Right now this situation is hindering me from continuing to play, where my time with the Mustangs was so unstable throughout the year it is difficult to recover from. For example, there was no game film, which means I have no way of making any tape for other jobs next year. There was also no physiotherapy for athletes where I played on a torn hamstring with no treatment for the last 4 games. The biggest problem was the living conditions, no clean water in a refugee house; it was a mentally handicapping experience that has left me financially unstable and jobless.
When you joined German Regionaliga 2 team Westfalen Mustangs at the start of the season would you ever have thought in your wildest dreams that you rookie season would be such a bizarre and disappointing experience?
When I came to the Westfalen Mustangs at the beginning of the season I was aware that it was a small club and that they would probably have problems. However, what I did not account for was the evil that existed within the club. Where players were treated like slaves, given no money while being expected to win every game by 30 or more points. The president Florian Eichstädt even brought in players from the US who were willing to pay to play. Two of these individuals were mentally handicapped, therefore adding another layer of evil to who he was taking advantage of. The extent of everything that happened even on a daily basis was a recipe for disaster.