Having an unbelievable label thrusted upon you most usually is so tough to digest that it has had a difficult effect on players because having to live up to that assumption can be as difficult as it is for a Tim Tebow making the adjustment to baseball as there is simply so much media pressure on you. As for the labels, how many players have had that unfair comparison as being the next Dirk Nowitzki? It didn´t only fall upon a guy like Tim Ohlbrecht who still did make it to the NBA, but to other guys as well in Germany. The Dirk Nowitzki label also has swayed over to other countries like Serbia where a player like Nemanja Aleksandrow got that label, but too many others as well. Having these player labels aren´t always easy to get used to hearing over and over, but what does a player like Moses Ehambe of SC Rasta Vechta think when he hears a label like “considered by some as one of the best shooters in the world” and he turns around and expects Larry Bird or a Steph Curry to be standing there? Those two NBA legends would be worthy of that label, but would a Moses Ehambe? Well many might argue that label, but his consistent and accurate shooting from downtown over the years can´t be denied. Ehambe is a 30 year old 197cm swingman from Arlington Texas that is playing his ninth professional season and second in Germany after playing his first with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in 2014. Over the years, his accurate shooting from the parking lot has consistently been at the 40% mark or higher which is a rate that isn´t achieved by every player. Ehambe has played in many different leagues from the D-league to places like Spain, Venezuela and Japan. There was even a time from 2006-2012 where he shot 40% or better which for the most part was achieved with three different D-league teams that obviously garnered the interest of NBA GM´s. The label of being the best shooter in the world seemed to have developed during his D-league time between 2008-2012 and the sniper wasn´t unaware of this label. “I have heard that before, but it isn´t about what you hear, but what you believe. It means a lot to me when I hear something like that. It makes me feel good knowing people appreciate what I do after spending countless hours in the gym perfecting my craft”, stated Moses Ehambie. Many have wondered why a guy like Ehambie never made it to the NBA considering the NBA is the prime place where a player who does one thing very well can find a home. “My goal and passion is to get to the NBA. I´ll continue to dream and work of reaching the NBA. The D-league is one route of reaching the NBA and at times faster than going the European route. My family and I decided that going the European route would be good. I feel that I have grown as a player and became more complete and just elevated my game on offense and defense”, stressed Moses Ehambe. Back in 2011, he was with the New Orleans Hornets (NBA) during training camp and got that brief NBA air and got some words of wisdom that quickly broadened his basketball horizon which has not only helped him with dealing with his NBA dream, but also helping develop his game further. “When I was cut from the New Orleans Hornets training camp, head coach Monty Williams told me that I had a gift shooting and that many can´t do it. He told me that now I needed to show the world that I can play basketball. I felt that with Bremerhaven I showed that I can do more besides just shooting with rebounding, passing it in the post or penetrating and kicking. I am a complete player now instead of a stand still shooter. Who knows what will happen now. Maybe the NBA will take notice”, stressed Moses Ehambe. As for now SC Rasta Vechta has taken notice and signed him and he belongs to a very talented group of guys and is close to averaging double figures in scoring and as usual is shooting over 40% from outside. If The NBA ever does come calling, Ehambe will be more than ready, but for now the ex ORU (NCAA) standout is focused on performing his role to the best to his ability for SC Rasta Vechta and possibly help bring this team a lot farther than many would ever have thought this season.
Richard Williams is a 28 year old 178cm guard that completed his first season with the Kirchheim Knights averaging 15,5ppg, 4,2apg and 8,0rpg. He recently 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 at the end of the season.
Richie thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
My summer has been going well so far. I’m back home in San Diego enjoying the company of friends and family before I get back to work.
Your season ended in April. Has the time from then until now felt like an eternity or has the time away from games flown by?
The time away has flown by. I’ve been constantly moving since I’ve been home trying to catch up with people I haven’t seen in the past year.
Donald Lawson is a 27 year old 208cm center from Chicago that completed his sixth professional season in Germany and second with SC Rasta Vechta. He played with BV Chemnitz from 2010-2014 playing a total of 118 Pro A games and two seasons ago played 30 games: 9.7ppg, Reb-2(9.4rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5(1.3bpg), FGP: 47.0%, FT: 56.5%. Last season for SC Rasta Vechta he played 35 games averaging 2.6ppg, 4.4rpgHe started his basketball career at W.Michigan (NCAA) from 2006-2010 playing a total of 115 NCAA games. He spoke to German Hoops after the season ended.
Thanks Donald for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on moving up to the Beko BBL. Does the fact that the team move up lessen the hurt a bit of not winning the title?
Our goal was to win the title. We had a great season, but we want to finish on top. I’m sure it will be a dog fight between us and Jena.
SC Rasta Vechta and Science City Jena split the regular season series 1-1 and no game was decided by more than five points. However in game one SC Rasta Vechta was creamed 80-54. How could a devastating loss like that happen in a playoff final game?
Jena executed their game plan perfectly. They moved the ball well and buried us early. It was hard to slow them down once they got going.
Devin Gibson is a 26 year old 180cm point guard from Austin, Texas that currently is playing for SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA) and last season played for the Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 26 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.2apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 79.0%. The American started his basketball career in 2007 at UTSA (NCAA) playing a total of 119 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 17.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 5.4apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 78.1%. He started his professional basketball career in 2011 with the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), only pre-season, in Dec.’11 moved to Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 18 games averaging 8.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.7apg, Steals-5(1.4spg), FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 72.8%. In the 2012-2013 season he remained with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 29 games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 62.0%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Estonia-KML): Eurocup: 10 games: 7.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.1apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 51.5%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%; VTB United League: 16 games: 5.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.4apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 34.6%, 3FGP: 42.1%, FT: 78.6%; Estonian League: 23 games: 7.7ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.3apg, Steals-1(2.4spg), FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 62.7%. He spoke to German Hoops after the big SC Rasta Vechta win against the Hamburg Towers.
Devin congrats on the big 70-52 win against the Hamburg Towers. How good does it feel to have won 10 games in a row?
Feels really good but can’t get too high or too low.
Can you remember what your highest winning streak was in college and as a professional?
No I can’t remember but I definitely would like to keep this one going to the end of the season.
It was a little more than six months ago where SC Rasta Vechta had suffered another one of their typical crunch time loses at home to the Fraport Skyliners where one was wondering who had infected whom that season as the 2004 Beko BBL champion Frankfurt also had lost their fair share of close games where one could of thought hmmmmmmmm does the basketball God have his fingers in this rude and cruel ritual for both teams? SC Rasta Vechta had lost a handful of buzzer beaters last season which ultimately paved their ticket back to the German Pro A. After the 76-75 buzzer beater loss to the Fraport Skyliners, California native Richard Williams was sitting in their V.I.P room munching on some dinner and it was apparent that he was only eating for a sake of being there and fulfilling the obligatory post game dinner with the team. Despite a solid 18 point game where he hit four three pointers and some timely ones at the end, one could of read his mind and sad face that he hadn´t been content on only setting up his teammates twice. He looked as sad as an eight year old kid who had walked out of Jack Murphy stadium back in the 80´s and been denied an autograph from his hero Tony Gwynn. You can go down the list in the Beko BBL with guys that would leave their jersey on the floor, but not many that would also add their shorts for a win. Williams is one of those players that wants to win as badly as Bamberg legend Casey Jacobsen did as these two guys belong to the top list of most professional players in the league. As the point guard, it wasn´t hard to understood that he took most of the blame last season for the woes of SC Rasta Vechta. He had promised me in an earlier interview that he would make sure that SC Rasta Vechta wouldn´t move down, a bold prediction that just shows how much responsibility was actually on his shoulders and what he was willing to sacrifice for. However Williams is the last to admit that it wasn´t his fault as it had to do more on a lack of execution and experience during crunch time that had to do with the whole team and not Wiilliams. In an age where the social media is the number one spot for self promotion and for many professional basketball players an outlet to escape the boredom of long hours in a lonely apartment, Williams took a break from the social media in the second half of the season to concentrate even more on basketball something the majority players wouldn´t have done.
Donald Lawson is a 26 year old 208cm center from Chicago that will play his fifth professional season in Germany and first with SC Rasta Vechta. He played with BV Chemnitz from 2010-2014 playing a total of 118 Pro A games and last season played 30 games: 9.7ppg, Reb-2(9.4rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5(1.3bpg), FGP: 47.0%, FT: 56.5%. He started his basketball career at W.Michigan (NCAA) from 2006-2010 playing a total of 115 NCAA games. He recently spoke to German Hoops about basketball before he came to Germany to start the 2014-2015 season.
BV Chemnitz finished last season in 11th place with a record of 15-15. What were the main reasons for the club not being a playoff team?
Consistency and slow starts. As a team we played well at times, but we also had stretches where we didn’t play well on the offensive or defensive end as a unit. We also struggled to get a rhythm at the start of the second half.
It seems as if the competition level has risen in the German pro A in the last years. Is the talent level of Americans/Germans been increasing?
The talent level had always been good and it continues to get better. The German talents are developing quite well and teams are doing a good job of recruiting players to fit their system/style of play.
Vincent Bailey is a 22 year old 201cm forward that will begin his professional basketball career in Germany with Pro A club SC Rasta Vechta. H eplayed at Lincoln Memorial (NCAA2) from 2001-2014 and as a senior averaged 21,6ppg and 9,8rpg. He won the SAC Tournament in 2011 and 2014. He talked to German Hoops about basketball.
Vincent thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been enjoying your summer?
Right now I’m in Atlanta,Ga. Getting prepared for the upcoming season with Rasta. My summer has been great just been working out to stay on top of my game.
Any player coming from college especially from Div2 can be more than thrilled getting a professional basketball job so quickly. How blessed are you that you have landed a job with German Pro A team SC Rasta Vechta?
Being Div 2 I’m sure people have there doubt’s about me. But I’ve been doubted all my life and I am very blessed to have this opportunity to show what I am capable of. I am very motivated to be on top of my game and can’t wait to start with Rasta Vachta this upcoming season.
After a hard, long and at times stressful season in Europe, it seems like the most common statement that a player gives about what he will do first when getting back on American soil is to see family and friends. That may be true, but another thing that players are thinking about is how to satisfy their growling stomach that is giving them hunger pains, but after rotating mostly eight months between Mcdonalds, Burger King and the best native restaurant in that country, a player does have that special craving for that yummy dish that he hadn´t been able to sink his teeth into for the longest time seemingly feeling like an eternity. For San Diego native Richard Williams, playing in the tiny village of Vechta where one can drive from one end of town to the other faster than teammate Isaac Butts can take a lap around the Rasta dome blindfolded, the American didn´t have more than a hand full of places to eat so after a while finding a more variety of selection became as old as always having to hear the same bla bla of people not expecting much from SC Rasta Vechta in the Beko BBL. It was a season to forget for Williams, but when he did return home to California, he was able to momentarily forget about the hardship of finishing last and get his taste buds back on American food time. “This was the toughest season I’ve ever had. A learning and humbling experience at that. Through it all, it has made me even more hungry. I’m back in my hometown San Diego, California and if you know anything about Southern California you’ll know that we love our Mexican food. I had my brother pick me up from the airport with a Carne Asada Burrito”, smiled Richard Williams.
The last time Max Weber had a Skyliner jersey draped over his sweat filled body while lunging for a loose ball over Darius Hall who was also on the floor battling, ex Fraport Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin was winning titles in the Czech Republic with Nymburk in 2009. Weber was always the quintessential role player no matter where he played, but had to fight for his minutes like any other player. In his last season in Frankfurt, Weber reached the playoffs losing to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the quarterfinals 3-1 as his teammates included Derrick Mr ballerina Allen, Konrad the professor Wysocki, Pascal Mr reliable Roller or Illian swishhhhhhhhhh Evitomov. However his time in Frankfurt was up and he moved on to Giessen where he helped the team reach their best position of 14th and best since the 2005-2006 season playing 28 games and often sparkling through his defensive prowess. The next season he took a step back going to the Saar-Pfalz Braves (ProA, starting five): 27 games: 11.5ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 60.0%. His solid season got him a ticket back to the big game to the Beko BBL with BG Goettingen. However in the last three seasons, his luck has changed as the teams that he has played for BG Goettingen, Ludwigsburg all landed in the cellar. Ludwigsburg only remained in the Beko BBL, because it paid for a wildcard. So often in life and in the basketball world, three is a charm, but not for the German Weber who once gained experience in Peru, who has had a season to forget in Vechta as this team is also in the cellar and will move back to the Pro A. Weber has played only 20 games averaging 9,5 minutes per game and 1.4ppg and 1,5rpg. He just hasn´t been able to break the rotation of head coach Pat Elzie the way he has wanted to. In the first loss in Frankfurt, Weber played nine minutes. In the return game in Vechta, there was no teammate on Frankfurt that had played with him back in Frankfurt in 2008-2009 and Weber was only younger than Quantez Robertson and Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. Weber was focused to play his old team again, but his mood was severely dampened after the buzzer beater loss to Frankfurt 76-75 which officially sent them back to the second Bundesliga.and reflected on his bad luck of being on Beko BBL teams that have moved down the last years. ”This was a bitter loss and we knew that the season would be tough. I came to Vechta, because I wanted to study at the same time. I didn´t even go to morning practices, but just evening practices. I had injuries and pain and never found my role in the team. I thought I wouldn´t break even with Wayne Bernard with three times having to depart the Beko BBL, but I did against my ex team Frankfurt. But it was still the right decision for me to come to Vechta”, stressed ex Fraport Skyliner Max Weber. His teammate Richard Williams had an expression of sorrow on his face after the loss while eating a dish of fish in the second floor in the Rasta Dome arena and was content that no player can really be responsible for a team moving down. “Max Weber had bad luck. You never want to be attached with moving down, but that is a part of the sport. It can happen to anyone. Max played quality minutes for us. There is so much to love about his game. He helped us so much on the court”, stressed California native Richard Williams.
There are always those enchanting stories of players coming from smaller schools that have to start at the bottom of the basketball league food chain and through strong performances and keeping stats consistent make the jump to higher leagues. This scenario has been displayed in the German basketball leagues with guys like Jason Boone, Devin Uskoski or Jacob Doerkson moving up from the Regionaliga and Pro B leagues to find their niche in the Beko BBL. Another guy who has done this is California native Richard Williams who excelled at San Diego State8NCAA) an dthen worked his way up the German leagues starting with UBC Hannover in 2011 in the Pro B where he averaged 18.3ppg, 5.1rpg, Assists-4(5.7apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 75.8%. Last season he was an instrumental part for SC Rasta Vechta moving up to the Beko BBL where he averaged 15.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-1(6.7apg), Steals-1(2.5spg), FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 79.9%. Williams came into the Beko BBL knowing that his hard work really had paid off. “I am not surprised at all. Its been a long time coming for me to get to this point. This is my opportunity to show what I am made of. Hard work, faith and patience have been good to me. I believe so. I am not the first to start from the bottom and I wont be the last. There have been guys before me that made this opportunity possible. Without those guys no one would look for talent in the lower leagues”, stressed Richard Williams. It has been a rocky season for SC Rasta Vechta as they were 3-12 in 2013 and in 2014 are also 3-12, but suffered an untimely 12 game losing streak which undoubtedly sealed their fate for the next season in the Pro A. They lost some close games to MBC and the Telekom Baskets Bonn in this 12 game losing streak, but the club and league knows that SC Rasta Vechta are a different team than their record translates. “We’re definitely better than our record shows. Our games prove it. We need to translate these close losses into wins. Knowing that we’re in every game is a positive thing but its frustrating to keep losing these close battles”, warned Richard Williams. This season Williams has proved that he belongs in the Beko BBL as he has been among the leagues top in scoring, assists and steals, but didn´t get an invitation to the 2014 Beko BBL All Star game. He battles the leagues top point guards each week and has held his own all season long. “I prepared for Per the same way I prepare for anyone else. Extra film and looking for tendencies. Per is a very good and crafty player so I couldn’t just take away any one thing and think I could stop him. I just wanted to keep him under pressure and make him work for everything. I definitely feel I belong in the All-Star game but I’m not. It is what it is and I have to move on. I’ll speak with the way I play. This is just extra motivation to show everyone I belong to be mentioned with the best in this league. Nothing I’m not used to. Two seasons ago I was told I wasn’t good enough and had to start from the Pro B. Look at me now”, warned Richard Williams. In the long losing streak, Williams did his best trying to help his club win each agme and was a leader scored in double figures in 11 of 12 games. Basketball is a team game an dthe blame is never on only one player. Williams has the heart of a Lion who is cornered by their enemy the buffalo and somehow has the will to escape, but can´t really and must go through hardships just like on the court. Shortly before the new year 2014, Williams made a promise, but reality just didn´t want to fulfill it. “We have a team full of confident players that will grind out every game to make sure it happens that we will remain in the league. We will survive because I will make sure we survive“, warned Richie Williams. Williams may have very confident words, but if there is one guys who lets his play talk then its Williams. He is the first SC Rasta Vechta player that will leave his jersey on the floor before he leaves in a loss. The club probably would have had even less wins had Williams not been on the team. His teammates support the effort of Williams. “Richie has played an important role this season, as he has the past three years we have played together. He is an extremely quick player, and brings a great intensity to the game. I don’t think that you can attribute our teams losing streak to any specific player. Basketball is a team game, and being so we should take the praise for the wins together, and the negativity of losses together”, stressed Jacob Doerkson.