Phoenix Hagen

Richard Williams (Phoenix Hagen) I Don’t Compare Myself To Previous Phoenix Hagen Point Guards But Am Just Myself

Richard Williams is a 28 year old 178cm guard that is back in the BBL having signed with Phoenix Hagen. He recently completed his first season with the Kirchheim Knights averaging 15,5ppg, 4,2apg and 8,0rpg. In the 2014-2015 season, he played for the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL): EuroChallenge: 2 games: 9.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 6.5apg, 2.0spg; German BBL: 9 games: 8.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 40.6%, 3FGP: 48.0%, FT: 70.6%, in Jan.’15 moved to SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA): 12 games: 4.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg. He is a very fast guard that can play either one or two. Great at pushing the break. Can score by shooting the three or using his explosiveness to beat his man. Gets to the basket and scores in traffic. A specialist in steals that uses his quickness to intimidate on defense. Great ball control. Gets the whole team involved when playing the point but can takeover a game at any time. He started his basketball career at San Diego St. (NCAA) in 2005 where he played until 2009. In his senior year he played  36 games: 7.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3Pts: 37.5%, FT: 64.2%. In 2009-2010, he started his professional basketball career for The San Diego Surf (ABA), in Jan.’10 moved to FSU Selfoss (Iceland-Express League, starting five): 8 games: 27.5ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.4apg, 2.8spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 72.7%. In 2011-2012, he played for  UBC Hannover Tigers (Germany-ProB) 33 games: 18.3ppg, 5.1rpg, Assists-4(5.7apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 75.8%. In the 2012-2013 season he played  for SC Rasta Vechta playing  38 games: 15.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-1(6.7apg), Steals-1(2.5spg), FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 79.9%. In the 2013-2014 season for Vechta he played 34 games: 14.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 4.4apg, Steals-3(1.9spg), FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 82.7%. He spoke to German Hoops after signing with Phoenix Hagen earlier this summer.

Thanks Richie for talking to German HoopsIn our last interview at the end of the season you had talked about going to Miami and some pics popped up of you in Austria. So where are you at the moment and how has your summer progressed since the last time we talked?

Everything has been going well. I’m in Austria right now preparing for this upcoming season.

After a very strong Pro A season last season with Kirchheim where you led the league for the second time in assists, how was the off season transfer period? Did you get more BBL offers than you might have expected or was it more minimal?

I didn’t have any expectations this summer is terms of offers. I went into this summer just wanting to weigh my options and capitalize on the best opportunity.


Yannick Anzuluni (Phoenix Hagen) I Have Never Been So Excited To Start A Season In My Life

Yannick Anzuluni is a 28 year old 205cm forward from Ottawa, Canada that also has the Congo citizenship. He signed back in Germany with BBL team Phoenix Hagen and recently finished his sixth professional season with Umea BSKT (Sweden-Basketligan) playing 32 games: Score-5(17.5ppg), Reb-4(8.6rpg), 2.3apg, Steals-1(2.4spg), 1.0bpg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 84.5%. He played at Houghton(NAIA) from 2006-2010. He played his first two seasons as a professional with Quebec Kebs (Canada-PBL). In the 2012-2013 season he played for the Solarto Eagles Magdeburg (Germany-Regionalliga)21 games: 17.5ppg, 11.0rpg, 4.2apg, 3.0spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 50.2%, 3Pts: 27.4%, FT: 80.2%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Pyrinto Tampere (Finland-Korisliiga): 1 game: 15pts, 5reb, 1ast, 5steals; Baltic League: 20 games: 8.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 63.2%, played mostly at Pyrinto Tampere II (Finland-1st Division): 28 games: Score-1(24.4ppg), Reb-3(13.9rpg), Assists-5(3.4apg), Steals-1(2.6spg), FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 80.9%. Two seasons ago he played with the Rostock Seawolves playing 32 games: Score-3(21.0ppg), 8.1rpg, 4.2apg, Steals-1(3.2spg), FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 31.2%, FT: 80.0%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.


Yannick thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

Hey Miles I´m doing well thank you, I am currently in Toronto,Canada and my summer has been great catching up with family and just training every day and enjoying the Euros.


Mr Canada Philip Scrubb Heats Up In The Third Quarter Powering The Fraport Skyliners Past Phoenix Hagen 86-70

In the last weeks, the Fraport Skyliners have had  very exciting times first reaching the Fiba Europe Cup Final 4 to be played in Chalon at the end of the month and were in London, England for a 4 day team building while for Phoenix Hagen the last weeks have been rather more stressful as they suffered the loss to team player and inside presence DJ Covington who went down against the Brose Baskets Bamberg with a brutal season ending injury, had six points withdrawn from their season from the Beko BBL, but last week finally had a bright spot again in their less than satisfactory season as they celebrated a massive 102-82 win against MBC at home. Both teams came into the contest on a rare Thursday night with wins, but one thing that the Fraport Skyliners had to do without was a big tall 201cm 221 pound fellow who always stands out in a crowd wearing his benny cap. The big man setting his own fashion statement is South Carolina native Martinis Woody who would come to Frankfurt on many occasions during the season and make the return and back 288 kilometer trek from Karlsruhe. Last season freak athlete Quantez Robertson would often make the short 23 kilometer trip to Langen to watch Woody play. Five days ago, Woody was key in the win of PS Karlsruhe in Limburg where he helped the team move up to the Pro B league. However this season, the low key American who moonlighted as a kind of babysitter for Quantez Robertson´s girl during the game was more than in a hurry to get back stateside as he wasn´t in the Fraport arena to witness the newest victim of the Fraport Skyliners. The Fraport Skyliners came into the game in fifth place with a record of 20-8 and Phoenix Hagen in 11th place with a record of 12-17 and didn´t need the support of Martinis Woody as they had everything in control after a small lull in the first quarter whipping Phoenix Hagen 86-70. As usual, the Fraport Skyliners got a good lead and then were able to wear down their opponent in the second half. “We had a tough start and we came out slow and engaged. They were able to play their brand of basketball which is a few passes and then quick shots. Then we were able to settle down and you have to give our second unit a lot of credit. They came to play. We showed extreme toughness when we were down continuing to battle back and get the lead. We were able to carry the momentum into the second half and win the game”, stressed Fraport Skyliners guard Jordan Theodore. Phoenix Hagen had a potent start, but were unable to keep up the intensity for 40 minutes. “We jumped out on them well at the start, but Frankfurt then subbed and that lite a fire with them. We were never able to find a rhythm in the half-court offense. Frankfurt have very physical guards and bigs and we just couldn´t adjust to that”, added Phoenix Hagen guard Brandon Jefferson. Despite not playing in the second half and possibly playing the least minutes ever in a Fraport Skyliners jersey with 12 minutes and 53 seconds, ex Auburn guard Quantez Robertson had a lightening response ready for why there was no need for his friend Martinis Woody to be at the game. “The kids weren´t here tonight, so there was no need for the babysitter Woody”, smiled Quantez Robertson.


Basketball Dinosaur Bernd Kruel Retires Mahlzeit

Four years ago, the Beko BBL had two basketball legends in the making seemingly sprouting the fountain of youth with American Chris Ensminger and Bernd Kruel (210-C-76) as they were going towards their late 30’s and still going very strong in the best German basketball class and kidding them about their age wasn’t hidden, but not neccessarily bringing the non original fake denture’s to their attention, but moreover predicting that they would ball until they were at least 50. In 2013, Ensminger finally said farewell to professional basketball at the age of 39 even though he was still in great shape and could of played many more years and today the other basketball dinosaur Bernd Kruel (210-C-76) has decided to hang up his sneakers at also age 39. Kruel who will turn 40 on June however won the duel against Ensminger as he did play longer than the American who was born in December. Kruel played a total of 23 seasons and that is something that deserves the highest repect. “There is hardly a player that deserved to wear the RheinStars jersey more than him. He was a fan favorite, father figure for the young players and a link between the fans and team. We can thank him very much for the last two seasons. He helped us a lot with the development of the team with his experience, charachter and positive energy”, stressed RheinStars CEO Stephan Baeck.


DJ Covington (Phoenix Hagen) Chasing The Money Isn’t Going To Be The Best For Your Game And Development As A Pro

DJ Covington is a 24 year old 203cm forward from Virginia Beach playing his second professional season and first with Phoenox Hagen where he is currently averaging 11,9ppg and 6,3rpg. He has scored in double figures 11 times and registered four double doubles. Some of his best games include a 19/16 showing in the win against Bayreuth and 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Last season as a rookie he played for Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League): 8 games: 4.8ppg, 3.9rpg and then signed at AE Nea Kifisia Dimoulas Athens (Greece-A1): 5 games: 1.2ppg, 1.6rpg. Last summer he got experience playing with Alaska Aces (Philippines-PBA): 4 games: 22.0ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3bpg. He started his basketball career in 2010 with VMI (NCAA) playing a total of 30 games averaging 19.3ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.0spg, 3.2bpg, FGP: 58.7%, FT: 69.3%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the season after a huge win against Ludwigsburg.



DJ Congrats on the big win over Ludwigsburg. How good did it feel beating one of the best teams in the league and then so convincingly?

It felt great we had a tough start and just tried to stick to our game plan and make sure that we were focused on what we were trying to accomplish and it worked out for us.

How key was it keeping them reduced to making only one three pointer all night long while Phoenix Hagen had their usual solid three point shooting night?

Very key. We understood that if we allowed for them to get into a rhythm while hitting their threes and having Brockman inside collecting boards it would have been a really long night for us by not limiting their 3’s.


Tommy Lee Smith (Phoenix Hagen) 90% Of Life Happens And The Other 10% Is How You Handle It

Tommy Lee Smith is a 34 year old 207cm forward from Phoenix, Arizona that has been a professional basketball player since 2003 and currently playing with Phoenix Hagen. He played at Arizona State from 1999-2003 playing a total of 122 NCAA games and as a senior played : 32 games: 11.2ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.7apg, BlockPac-10-1(2.2bpg), FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 57.4%: Finished his career with 1,123 points, 20th on the Sun Devil career scoring list and second leading shot blocker with 167. In 2003 he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls (NBA,2rd(53). He started his professional basketball career in 2003 with KK Split (Croatia-A1): ULEB Cup: 10 games: 12,4ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.9spg, 1.7bpg; Adriatic League: 24 games: 9.9ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.1apg, 1.5spg. In the 2004-2005 season he played for the Yakima Sun Kings (CBA) playing 14 games: 13.4ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg, 2.1bpg, FGP: 55.5%, 3Pts: 25%. IN 2005 he came to Germany and played for the Artland Dragons until 2007. He then played for Al Jalaa Aleppo (Syria-D1) and Liaoning Panpan Hunters (China-CBA). After a two year break from basketball he returned in 2011 and played for the Dakota Wizards (D-League): 40 games: 7.6ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.1spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 55.0%, FT: 53.2%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for the Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League), in Jan.’13 signed at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League) playing 31 games: 6.7ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 56.5%, FT: 47.2%. Two seasons ago he played for Al Shamal (Qatar-D1): 16 games 10.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.8%, FT: 28.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

Tommy thanks for talking to German Hoops. Before we talk about basketball I have to get something off my chest. I always think of Motley Crew drummer Tommy Lee when I read your name. Does that thought ever cross your mind when you read your name somewhere?

It does cross my mind at times and people do bring it up on occasion. But to be honest I don´t think of Tommy Lee, but more of his ex wife Pamela Lee. I wasn´t big on Motley Crue.

Your back in Germany playing for Phoenix Hagen. It has been 8 years since you left the Artland Dragons. How has the country and its basketball changed the most in this time?

So much has changed since I played for the Artland Dragons. Back in 2006 all teams were stacked with good players, but like everywhere else basketball has become better. In Germany it is more athletic and physical. I also think that the pace is faster like in the States. As a country it reminds me a lot of home. In Artland it was a small village and all Germans, but in Hagen I hear many different languages like in Phoenix.


Zamal Nixon (Phoenix Hagen) I Don´t Want To Feel Complacent But Just Keep Working And Getting Better At This Level

Zamal Nixon is a 185cm guard 25 year old point guard from Brooklyn, New York that is playing his fourth professional season and first with Phoenix Hagen. He played at Houston (NCAA) from 2007-2011. In his senior year, he played 30 games: 10.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 92.2%. In 2011 he turned professional and played for the Hertener Loewen (Germany-ProB, starting five): 17 games: Score-1(24.9ppg), 3.0rpg, Assists-3(5.9apg), 1.9spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 83.8%. In 2012-2013 he played for the Nuernberger Basketball Club (Germany-ProA, starting five): 25 games: Score-5(16.8ppg), 2.6rpg, 3.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 82.5%. Last season he played for WBC Raiffeisen Wels (Austria-A Bundesliga, starting five): 33 games: 4.7ppg, 3.3rpg, Assists-4(4.8apg), Steals-2(1.9spg), FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 78.8%. The American is one of the rare players to make the jump from German Pro B to the Beko BBL and made an impressive debut scoring 22 points and dishing out seven assists. He talked to German Hoops after the 105-104 win against the Fraport Skyliners.

Congrats on the big 105-104 OT win against the Fraport Skyliners. It was your first Beko BBL game. How did you feel?

 I felt great and even better after the win. I was happy with my performance, but I could of cut down on the turnovers. I don´t want to feel complacent, but just keep working and getting better at this level.

It was back and forth until the end. What was key for grinding out this win at the end?

It just came down to who got that last stop. We got the last bucket and just stepped it up on the defensive end never losing that aggressiveness.


What Can Magician Ingo Freyer Pull Out Of His Sleeve This Season with Phoenix Hagen?

One of the many interesting things to observe about basketball players playing in Germany are the few cases of the big heartfelt cinderella stories of guys with big hearts that some how claw themselves from the lowest leagues to the top. In the past one has seen this with guys like Jason Boone which took him only a few months to escape German Regionaliga team LOK Bernau for BG Goettingen or a guy like Richard Williams who went from Pro B team UBC Hannover and made the jump from Pro A team Rasta Vechta to the Beko BBL and now is playing his second season in the highest German league with the Fraport Skyliners. Another great example is Steven Wachalski who played five years in the Regionaliga and two in the Pro B with Osnabrueck before making the Beko BBL with Bayreuth in 2010. He then played two more years in the Pro A with the Mitteldeutscher BC before reurning to the Beko BBL with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Another guy that belongs to this category of rags to riches is American Zamal Nixon who will be the playmaker for Phoenix Hagen this season. As a rookie in 2011 coming out of Houston(NCAA), he had to slowly make a name of himself in Germany with Hertener Loewen (Germany-PrO B) playing 17 games: Score-1(24.9ppg), 3.0rpg, Assists-3(5.9apg), 1.9spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 83.8%. There he was able to recommend himself to NBC where he had a very solid season two years ago playing 25 games: Score-5(16.8ppg), 2.6rpg, 3.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 82.5%. He got added experience last season in a type of Pro A league with WBC Raiffeisen Wels (Austria-A Bundesliga) playing 33 games: 14.7ppg, 3.3rpg, Assists-4(4.8apg), Steals-2(1.9spg), FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 78.8%. His whole development has been very positive the last three seasons and Ingo Fryer now has given the Brooklyn, New York native the opportunity to lead his team now through the upcoming season. Nixon is excited about getting his chance in the Beko BBL with Phoenix Hagen. „When I was a rookie in Herten I definitely thought I’d reach the BBL. I honestly thought I’d get here a little bit faster then I did. But I’m here now and that’s all that matter.I personally thought the competition in Austria was a little bit better then the Pro A. But this past season I think my shooting got a lot better and my decision making improved as well. I don’t feel any pressure at all. Leading a team is the natural responsibility of a guard & I’ve been playing this game for a while now so this is nothing new to me“, stressed Zamal Nixon. The American has been a scoring point guard all his professional career, but his playmaking will be just as important. „I think it will be 50/50. I’m definitely going to be responsible for running the team and making plays for guys, but some nights we are going to need my scoring abilities as well“, warned Zamal Nixon.


The Larry Gordon(Phoenix Hagen) Versatility Has Made Him Into A Top Beko BBL Player This Season

When you see Larry Gordon depart a locker room after a hard fought basketball battle win or loose in any German arena, you see similarities to other players in that he is wearing normal leisure basketball attire, has headphones as huge as 70´s afros and has a gentle smile to fans who are inquiring for an autograph, however there is one big difference to the regular Beko BBL player in that when he is on the court, his game separates himself from most as he belongs to the top five players at his position. Gordon is a 26 year old 196cm guard/forward that is playing his fifth professional season and second in Germany with Phoenix Hagen after having played as a rookie in Holland and two seasons in Austria. He never won anything in his first three seasons in Europe, but was a major force in those leagues. Usually when you see a player coming from a lower league to the Beko BBL, one may have some skepticism as to wheather the player can make the jump to a higher league. We have seen it ever so often in the Beko BBL for example a Derrick Allen coming from Iceland to BG Karlsruhe, a high scoring Davin White coming form Mexico to Germany last season or a James Florence coming from Hungry to Braunschweig this season. All these guys were able to make the transition as was Larry Gordon. Gordon already had a stellar rookie season in the Beko BBL, but in a way was in the shadow of Davin White who led the Beko BBL in scoring and steals and won 4 All-German Bundesliga awards. White was a big reason why Phoenix Hagen was able to reach the playoffs. Last season Gordon in a way was the unsung hero award, but he put up amazing stats in 37 games averaging 12.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 83.2%. One could say that without a Gordon, White would not have been as lethal and reaching the playoffs would have been more difficult. Gordon knew before the season that there would be more expected of him on the court. “Yea I worked hard on my game this off season, I really wanted to get better at certain things so I can be a major threat when I’m on the court and so my teammates as well as the coaches can trust that I can make the right plays no matter what the situation is. I set a goal for myself to be more of a threat this year in the BBL and I will continue to work to achieve that goal”, stressed California native Larry Gordon. This season Gordon has improved his stats in scoring, rebounding and assists. There was a time where he was leading the Beko BBL in rebounds by himself, but at the moment is still leading it, but is in a dog fight with Bonn center Jamel Mclean of Bonn. “Rebounding is one of my strongest attributes but I’m an All Around player so I don’t just focus on one thing, I do a lot of other different things on the court that sometimes stats do not show. So I’m just going to keeping doing what I’m doing and let everything else take care of itself. It actually feels good, because I pride myself on rebounding because it’s one of the strengths in my game. Also because I’m a 6’4 guard leading a league with a lot of really good big man in rebounding, so it feels real good”, commented Larry Gordon. Gordon can fill up the stats sheet and his versatility and passing game are big suits of his overall game. “My versatility is one of my strong suits in my game, so when something is not working I just do what is and let everything else take care if itself. Creating has always been in my game but people only notice when it shows up on the stat sheet, I create a lot good looks for my teammates and that’s what makes me an effective combo guard in this league”, warned Larry Gordon. With only a few weeks to go in the regular season and Phoenix Hagen two wins from the last playoff spot, it will require a minor miracle to make the playoffs as individual success is always in the shadow of Gordon. “It’s been tough as of late to enjoy individual success when your not winning games. I’m the type of player that really doesn’t care unless we Win games. Not saying I don’t observe the way I play but you take more pride as a player when you can back your stats up with Wins”, added Larry Gordon. If that playoff miracle does arise, then one will be sure that Larry Gordon had his magical hands and basketball IQ involved in reaching the promised land.


Larry Gordon (Phoenix Hagen) I Just Feel Like Some Teams Have The Ability To Throw Them Off Their Game And Are Not Caught Up With The Fact That They Are FC Bayern Munich

Larry Gordon is a 26 year old 196cm forward that is playing his second season in the German Beko BBL for Phoenix Hagen. Last season for Phoenix Hagen he helped the team reach the playoffs playing 37 games: 12.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 83.2%He played at  Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) from 2005 to 2009 playing a total of  116 NcAA2 games. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 15.7ppg, 10.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 75.7%. He was a CCAA Player of the Year and NCAA D2 Finalist in 2009. In 2009-2010, he came to Europe as a rookie and played for Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 36 games: 14.0ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 75.8%. He played for ECE Bulls Kapfenberg (Austria-A Bundesliga) the last two seasons and in his last season played  38 games: 14.7ppg, Reb-3(8.4rpg), 1.8apg, FGP-3(65.2%), 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 77.1%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against medi bayreuth.

Phoenix Hagen suffered a tough 82-76 loss at home against FC Bayern Munich last weekend. How much pain was it being able to stay with them for 30 minutes, but then not being able to close out the game?

It was a bad feeling, we had them beat. But with good teams like them you have to do something extra to Win

Phoenix Hagen was up by two points going into the fourth quarter, but allowed FC Bayern Munich to go on a run. What was key for FC Bayern Munich pulling out the road win?

They started to hit shots and calls starting going their way towards the end.