Nürnberg Falcons BC

Van Girard Knows How To Turn Setbacks Into Huge Comebacks

GirardIIVan Girard is a 28 year old 193cm guard from Los Angeles, California that completed his first season in Europe with the  Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA) averaging 3,0ppg and 1,7rpg.. He has bounced around North America in the last 4-5 years getting exposure in the Drew League as well as with the S.California Summer Pro League (And1 Select team)and  Newport Beach Sunblockers (WCBL). He also got further experience with the Elite Talent Exchange Glo Japan playing 10 games averaging 12ppg, 8rpg, 2apg, 3spg and with Vaqueros de Saucillo (Mexico-Chihuahua Vive): Score-1 (27.5ppg), Reb-2 (12.9rpg). He spoke to German Hoops at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

Van, thanks for talking to German Hoops. You just completed your first season overseas and first with the  Nuernberg Falcons BC. Your back in the states now. How good is it to be back home in Los Angeles. What was the first thing you did when you touched foot on home soil? Possibly search out your favorite eatery?

Loving being back home! Great weather and was great to see my family. First thing we did was go to in&out burger and eat! Love that place.

After reaching Europe for the first time in your professional career, you didn´t seem to travel anywhere, but returned home to Los Angeles right away. What did you learn to appreciate the most about Germany?

My family and I traveled a bit. Saw a few great sites in Germany, but also had the chance during a layover in Iceland to visit the blue lagoon. Both were amazing experiences.

Before we talk specifically about your personal season on the court, talk a little about your first experience overseas in Germany. It took you 6 years to get overseas. You averaged only 3,0ppg in 8 minutes in a very limited role. How do summarize your experiences in the German Pro A on and off the court?

Overall, this season only fueled the fire under me to continue to work hard and get better. Would love to come back to Pro A next season with an increased role to show what I really can do.

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Dan Opland (Nurnberg Falcons) I Hope Fans Remember How Hard I Worked And That I Did Whatever It Took To Win

OpplandDan Oppland is a 34 year old 203cm forward that completed his forth season for the Nurnberg Falcons and 12 professional season. With Nurnberg he played 20 games averaging 13,3ppg, 7,1rpg and 2,6apg He started his basketball career with  Valparaiso (NCAA) in 2002 where he played until 2006. He started his professional basketball career in 2006 for  Hanzevast Capitals Groningen (Holland). He then played in countries like Poland and Sweden before coming to Bayreuth in 2008. He then played for seasons four Allianz Swans Gmunden (Austria-A Bundesliga) where he won three titles. He also played for  Namika Lahti (Finland-Korisliiga) in the 2013-2014 season playing 47 games averaging 15.7ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%. He played 119 games with Nurnberg the last 4 seasons and was able to improve his scoring average each season. German Hoops learned the American was to retire and prepared a farewell interview, but he may still continue playing.

Dan thanks for talking to German Hoops. This is our 5th interview since you arrived in Germany in 2014. How has time flown by in your 4 years in Nurnberg with the Falcons?

Time has definitely flown by since I arrived in Nürnberg. It has been a tremendous four years and I have met some great people along the way. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to play here.

You just completed your 12th professional season and last as you have decided to hang up your sneakers. How does it feel now in April shortly after the end of the season that your break now won´t be a few weeks from the court from getting ready for next season, but forever?

It is not certain that I am retiring, so I still have some things to think about. You still might see me on the court next season.

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Van Girard (Nuernberg Falcons) I looked Internally And Spent Time Developing My Game Trying To Take It To The Next Level Rather Than Blaming The World

Van Girard is a 28 year old 193cm guard from Los Angeles, California playing his first season in Europe with the  Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA). He has bounced around North America in the last 4-5 years getting exposure in the Drew League as well as with the S.California Summer Pro League (And1 Select team)and  Newport Beach Sunblockers (WCBL). He also got further experience with the Elite Talent Exchange Glo Japan playing 10 games averaging 12ppg, 8rpg, 2apg, 3spg and with Vaqueros de Saucillo (Mexico-Chihuahua Vive): Score-1 (27.5ppg), Reb-2 (12.9rpg). He spoke to German Hoops recently about basketball.

Hi Van thanks for talking to German Hoops. Before we start I have to ask you about your name Van. It is one of those uncommon names and I actually only have heard it once before with ex NBA player Van Wafer. How much do you like having this rare unique name and with what kind of experiences did you have growing up with the name as well as today?

 I’ve liked it a lot. I’d get the occasional joke about “driving a van” or wearing “Vans” brand tennis shoes, but for the most part it was all about my dad. I’m named after him (Van Girard Sr.) He’s actually a well known and respected basketball coach especially around LA and in the NCAA world so everywhere I go people ask if that’s my dad, or if I’m related to him! It’s actually kind of cool because we look a lot alike too.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and the Christmas holiday season is also around the corner. How have you experienced living in Germany as a kid coming from Los Angeles. What have you learned to appreciate the most about Germany and it´s culture?

Germany is definitely different than LA, in a good way though. I really appreciate the history, the culture, and the hospitality. People are welcoming, and Nürnberg specifically is absolutely beautiful. Definitely lucky to be living here.

What did you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball before you came? Your ex teammate in high school Caspar Ware had played here. Did you have any other friends playing in Germany over the years?

I’ve actually always had my sights set on playing in Europe, so I had definitely done a little bit of research. I always compare the type of basketball to how the Spurs play. Very balanced, very strategic, and team oriented. I like that a lot. And yes my buddy Kaiymen Pruitt has been playing in Germany for a while so I’ve heard nothing but good things from him.

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Mardracus Wade (Nurnberg Falcons) Playing With Four NBA Players Who Were The Core Of The Team I Knew Who To Get The Ball Too

Mardracus Wade is a 26 year old 188cm guard from Chatham, Virginia that is playing his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA). He played his rookie season with the Central Texas Swarm (ABA) and played in the D-league the last two seasons with the Iowa Energy (D-League) playing 35 games averaging 5.9ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT-1(50.0%), FT: 68.1% and last season split time with the Iowa Energy (D-League) playing 8 games averaging 4.9ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.8apg and the Greensboro Swarm (D-League) playing 6 games averaging 5.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 38.5%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 62.5%. He started his basketball career at  Arkansas (NCAA) in 2010 and played 125 NCAA games in a four year career with his best season being his sophomore one where he played 31 games averaging 4.0ppg, 1.2rpg. Currently in the Pro A with Nurnberg he is averaging 10,0ppg, 2,5rpg and 3,4apg. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

Mardracus thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on signing with German team Nurnberg Falcons. Did the fact that you were a try-out player motivate you even more to play at a high level?

Yes sir, I knew what I brought to the table and I felt really confident in my skill and abilities coming into it. I just had to play hard and do my part.

After playing in the States for your first three professional seasons you now have made the jump to Europe. How blessed are you to be in a place where everybody knows German and not in the back woods of Bosnia where you might not see a Mcdonalds for months?

I’m very blessed to be in the position I’m in today. I feel like this a great start to my career overseas and that the sky’s limit for me if I continue to put in the time and effort. Nuremberg is a really cool place and have great people and food here. So I’m happy about that.

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Matt Gibson (Nurnberg Falcons BC) I Am Still Chasing The Dream Of A Championship

Matt Gibson is a 32 year old 195cm forward from Oklahoma that will be starting his ninth professional season and first in Germany with the Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA). Last season he played with Vendee Challans Basket (France-NM1) playing 22 games averaging 9.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 63.5%. He has played in countries like Romania, Venezuela, Belgum. Mexico, Finland and Hungry. He played college ball at  Hawaii (NCAA) and as a senior played 25 games averaging 17.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.8apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.6%, 3Pts: 30.9%, FT: 80.0%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball earlier this summer.

Matt thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer going?

I am in Oklahoma for the moment. I haven’t been home very much the past few years so I am just enjoying the time I get with friends and Family.

One could really call you a basketball world traveler. You recently completed your 8th professional season and in this time you have played for 10 teams in six countries. Your 32 years old that just seems to love to move around. Has this lifestyle gotten harder with Age?

Yes it does get a bit older with age. But I love to travel and I love to be involved in the game of basketball. And now I am looking forward to experiencing both in Germany.

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Diante Watkins (Nurnberg Falcons BC) I Definitely Think I Can Play At The BBL Level And Make An Impact On A Team

Diante Watkins is a 26 year old 174cm point guard that finished his fourth professional season and first with the Nurnberg Falcons BC averaging 17,1ppg, 2,7rpg and 4,7apg. Last season an injury in pre season derailed his path playing for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He started his basketball career in 2009 with Daley CC (JUCO): 28 games: 26.5ppg, 5.8apg, 2.7rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 44%, 3Pts: 38%, FT: 86%. He then played two seasons with Robert Morris (NAIA) and as a senior played 27 games: 24.4ppg, 7.4apg, 3.0rpg, 2.1spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3Pts: 38.9%, FT: 82.7%. In 2013-2014 he started his professional basketball career with SC Rist Wedel where he played 30 games averaging  16.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 86.9%. He improved his play in 2014-2015 with SC Rist Wedel playing 32 games: Score-2(21.3ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-1(6.8apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 87.4%. He cleaned up the Eurobasket awards winning Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Honorable Mention -14, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -15, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -15. He gave German Hoops a season ending interview.

Diante thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been spending your post season time?

Hey Miles, im still in Nürnberg just relaxing I’ll stay in Europe until the end of the month and than go back to Chicago.

Nurnberg finished the season in 12th place with a 11-19 record. After reaching the Pro A playoffs last season, is it fair to say that this season was overall a disappointment?

I mean I don’t think it was a disappointment, but of course we wanted to make playoffs and have a better record, but we faced injuries which caused a lot of rotational problems so we were able to keep the team in ProA and that’s a positive.

Did losing six of seven games in October/November kind of set the tone for how the season would go in that it would be a struggle to reach the playoffs?

Yes those 2 months were tough for us and we lost a lot of really close games that we could’ve won.

The Nurnberg Falcons had one two game winning streak at the start of the season and one near the end. The club was simply to inconsistent. Why wasn´t the club a playoff team this season?

We just had ups and downs. It’s hard to say the exact thing.

 

I always felt that the team had the talent to score 80 points this season, but averaged only 73 points. Do you feel like the offensive potential was never really realized?

We just had games when we weren’t as consistent. From me to others.

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The Isaac Bonga Do Or Die Show Leads Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners Past Nurnberg 70-60 Into NBBL Quarterfinals

In the last weeks do or die games as well as fascinating and breathtaking finishes like the unbelievable 75-73 win by North Carolina over Kentucky where Malik Monk´s last second shot was overturned by Luke Maye´s last triple with 0,3 seconds remaining to propel the Tar Heels into the 2017 NCAA Final 4 were as usual as it has been for ratiopharm Ulm winning and winning in the BBL this season, but also in the NBBL playoffs do or die games have been growing as last weekend the Igeko Falcons BC Nurnberg had to win at home against Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners to keep their season alive and did with a super performance as they won 63-51 stepping up their defense allowing 29 less points than in game one and carved the total points by German wonder boy Isaac Bonga and Cosmo Gruehn in half from 57 points to only 29 points and forced them to coughing up the ball 20 times with their aggressive defense. It hadn´t helped the cause of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners that they were without their other strong performer Konstantin Schubert as he had been nursing an ankle injury. Both teams arrived into the game with their two star players Isaac Bonga who registered his first triple double in the Pro B  a few weeks ago and is a projected 2018 NBA Draft Pick and Moritz Sanders who currently is averaging 7,2ppg in the Pro A and quietly developing further as a basketball player and were hoping to move on and face the International Basketball Academy Munich with their star player Oscar De La Silva. Despite being without second  top scorer German Konstantin Schubert again for the third time in the series, Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had enough other weapons and depth and took advantage of their home court despite some loud Nurnberg fans who had made the trip to cheer on the kids and escaped a last furious comeback by their opponent to slip into the quarterfinals with a satisfying 70-60 victory.

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Isaac Bonga and Miles Schmidt-Scheuber: Postgame interview in Rhöndorf, December 2016 

It was a game that Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners led from early on, but allowed Igeko Nurnberg Falcons BC very close in crunch time, but it was the overall sound team play and superb leadership by 17 year old Isaac Bonga that allowed the home team to preserve the win. After the quick win, Bonga had exactly one hour and five minutes before his next game in the BBL against the Telekom Baskets Bonn and was dripping with sweat outside the locker room and showed absolutely no panic about having to get to the Fraport arena in time and reflected about the victory and keeping a cool head at the end. “I knew from the start that I had to take responsibility today. That is my job as point guard. We were always awake in the game and stayed calm even in tough times”, stressed Isaac Bonga.

When Bonga was long gone and on his way to the Fraport arena for the 10 minute drive from the BCM gym, Cosmo Gruehn was still on the court stretching and found the right words for the win. “Rebounds was key today as we were the better rebounding team in the first half and also defense as we held them to 60 points. We also did a good job keeping Sanders and Hassfuerter in check. We didn´t have to rely as much on our outside shooting like in game two, but were able to penetrate more with success”, added ex USC Freiburg big man Cosmo Gruehn.

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