In a span of a little more than eight and a half months, I came upon Dennis Mavin three times in three separate cities from Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt and after a little bit of concentrated pondering, I was reminded of the annoying, but famous and classic song Rio from German pop group Trio that has the catchy line New York-Rio-Tokyo that was a late summer hit in Germany in 1986 reaching #3 in the charts leaving them as a one hit wonder. But the Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt when hummed like the classic Rio song just didn´t fit the melody. Some people even mistook the German lead singer Peter Fessler as being the well known American singer Al Jarreau, because the song is in English and his voice sounds like the American. Of course the three German cities could never compete in name recognition as the world class cities in this song even if Frankfurt is a world class city, but not as big as those three, but for Dennis Mavin being mentioned with these lesser known German cities is sort of similar to how his basketball career has gone since he began at Florida Atlantic (NCAA) in 2011. He is one of hundreds, no probably thousands on earth who is playing professionally and where his overall ability outweighs his current status on the basketball ladder. I remember seeing Mavin for the first time a day before Easter on April 8, 2018 in Giessen when he played his last game for Pro B team Giessen Rackelos witnessing a heartbreaking 93-89 game three loss to Rostock propelling them into the semi-finals as his 19 points couldn´t withstand the combined 66 points of the lethal trio of Jordan Talbert, Bill Borekambi and Brandon Lockhart. In Giessen I remember seeing a lightening quick guard who was a lot better than the talent on the court. I saw the Florida native a little more than 6 months later in Rhondorf conducting a post game interview with him after he helped lead his new team ScanPlus Baskets to a 95-74 win over the Dragons Rhondorf where he produced a solid 11 points, five boards and seven dimes. Then a little more than a month later our paths crossed again in Frankfurt. After a convincing 77-55 victory by the farm team of easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners Fraport Skyliners Juniors over the RheinStars Cologne, a young man was standing in front of me wearing Skyliners apparel. He gave me one of those confident looks that someone gives one when one knows each other. The only problem was, I had one of those embarrassing moments again that I get from time to time. I had no idea who he was even though I had interviewed him face to face a little more than a month ago. When you interview players almost daily, you at times loose track of who your dealing with. After a few seconds, I had to tell him “sorry Man I have no idea at the moment who you are, could you give me a little help”. Inside I felt as embarrassed as a Steve Harvey must of felt when he announced the wrong winner at a beauty pagent. After I quickly got over my very embarrassing moment, all was cool with Mavin and me and he told me he was going to be playing for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. The city hopping between Mavin and I coupled with not having him on my radar is nothing new for the American. He has been overlooked his whole basketball career despite having very good basketball abilities that could have him in a higher league than where he currently is now in the German third league Pro B. It is no secret that his overall abilities outweigh where he currently is on the basketball ladder, but he isn´t going crazy about his current basketball status, because he knows it is part of the basketball process no matter how ugly or unfair it can be for certain players. “I love basketball and I have 100 percent faith and what I can do. For me is just staying patient waiting on my opportunity! Yeah it gets tough but I think I’m tougher”, warned Dennis Mavin.
Jonas Sauer is a 19 year old 187cm guard that is playing with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (ProB). He began his career with the ratiopharm Ulm U19 team (NBBL). Last season he was German NBBL Group 4 Regular Season Champion and reached the German NBBL Semifinals. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Jonas thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and ho is basketball life treating you at the moment?
I’m with ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen, playing for their 1st and 2nd team. The 1st team plays ProB Germany. Besides that I’m in my senior year in German Highschool. Basketball life is treating me pretty good right now.
Talk a little about how you found a love to basketball and your early years? Was basketball always your first love or did you enjoy other sports?
Since I was a little kid I always had a basketball with me, no matter where I went. Since my dad played at a high professional level I kind of had the love for basketball in my genes already. I started playing for Ulm since I was 6 years old. Besides basketball I did gymnastics when I was like 7 and then started with track & fields and did that for quite some time.
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.
Hayden Lescault is a 25 year old 196cm guard from Folsam, California playing his third professional season and first with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB). Last season he played with the Glasgow Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 35 games averaging 12.9ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 75.3%. As a rookie he played with BG Karlsruhe (Germany-ProB) playing 25 games averaging 13.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 71.8%. He played at Point Loma (NCAA2) from 2011-2015 and as a senior played 21 games averaging 11.5ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.7apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 78.7%. In his junior season he won the NCAA 2 title and played 30 games averaging 16.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 72.5%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Dragons Rhondorf.
Hayden thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 104-96 win against Iserlohn. It was the second most points the team has given up this season. Was the defensive effort the main thing one could criticize about the win?
It’s never good to give up 90+ points but it happens sometimes when the game is played at such a fast pace.
Donte Nicholas and Julian Scott were a one man wrecking crew as they combined for 55 points. Nicholas as been one of the top players in the Pro B south with Kameron Taylor. What made it so difficult to control him as a team?
Those two guys are great players and they were working hard. Nicholas plays very physical and it was hard to keep him out of the paint.
You reached the BBL final with the Glasgow Rocks. What was so enticing about returning to Germany? Possibly the competitive ambitions of the ScanPlus Baskets?
The season was pretty successful in Glasgow and I enjoyed playing for the Rocks, but I had to weigh my options in the off season and coming to play for ScanPlus made the most sense. Sitting in first place right now, we have our goal set on winning the title and gaining promotion.
Sometimes one does realize how time flies when a player returns back to a place he once played in almost two seasons ago as players have come and gone and even the floor was redone in the BCM gym in Frankfurt, but with all the traveling to different arena´s in the last years, it wouldn´t be a surprise if Hayden Lescault didn´t notice this. In the 2015-2016 season, the 25 year old 192cm shooting guard from Folsom, California who had a stellar career at Point Loima(NCAA2) embarked on his professional basketball career to Germany where he suited up for BG Karlsruhe and had a solid rookie campaign averaging 13.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 71.8%. After a season away from Germany, he got a taste of a new style of basketball with the Glasgow Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL), but also witnessed a whole new kind of life in Scotland that was very much different than the carefree life in California that he had been used to. Lescault came back to Frankfurt for his second time as in his rookie season he helped beat Frankfurt at home scoring 27 points in a big 76-59 win, but couldn´t find a groove on the road losing 77-70 as he produced only 12 points in 20 minutes. Two seasons ago he was surrounded by veterans like Rouven Roessler, Jeremy Black and Marcus Smallwood and it´s no different this season as he has four guys on his team 30 or older and a fine mentor in 37 year old Marin Petric who has been a professional since 1997 and has played for 13 teams. The faces on the Frankfurt side had changed as only one player was still on the court with Garai Zeeb who had been instrumental in the win in Frankfurt in 2015 with 14 points and nine dimes. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came into the game playing up and down basket and were confronted with the best team in the Pro B south ScanPlus Baskets who entered the game with a 7-1 record sporting an offensive powerhouse averaging 85 points, averaging 37 rebounds per game and holding their own on the defensive end allowing 73 points per game. The guests had the huge advantage on paper, but with 17 seconds to go there was not big difference as the game was tied and the ScanPlus Baskets with the ball gave it to Mr moneyball Hayden Lescualt who like Kameron Taylor two weeks ago put another dagger in the hearts of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors winning with a buzzer beater 87-84. However there was one little difference. In Rhondorf, Frankfurt saw nothing but net, but in their own gym had to watch the ball dance on the rim for a few seconds feeling like an eternity before it trickled in wondering on who´s side the basketball God really was. “I wanted to be aggressive today. We had never won here and really wanted to win to get the monkey off our back. I have had one or two buzzer beaters in college, but this was my first professional one. We had a high ball screen and I was supposed to read what the defense gave me. My guy kept sagging off me thinking I might drive, but he gave me enough space to shoot it. When I let it go, it felt good, but then it trickled around the rim and went in finally. We had some luck from the basketball God. I love this gym today”, smiled California native Hayden Lescault.
Brian Butler is a 25 year old 196cm German forward that completed his second season with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (ProB) averaging 10,9ppg, 6,9rpg and 1,9apg and will return for a third season. He started his basketball career with the FC Bayern Muenchen junior team (NBBL) and then moved to BG Illertal/Weissenhorn (ProB) where he played from 2010-2013 playing a total of 74 Pro B games. He then played two seasons with Erdgas Ehingen/Urspringschule (ProA) playing 65 Pro A games. He spoke to German Hoops about his summer and upcoming dunk contest in Cologne Germany July 22nd.
Brian thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Hi thanks for having another interview with me ! I am in Elchingen right now and my summer was pretty successful till now.
You have been busy this summer with basketball. You recently won the street ball tournament Shut Up and Play in Berlin. That was the biggest trophy I ever saw. How did it feel holding that in your Hand?
It was great ! We already won the tournament 2 years ago so it was a familiar feeling but it’s always a great feeling to get a check of 4K.
How much fun is it in general is it playing 3 on 3. How is this format different than the usual 5 on 5? What do you enjoy most about this Format?
It’s a big difference because you just play on one basket and most of the time it’s just one on one so that’s the most part I like because you have to guard your opponent as good as possible on your own if you ain’t able to do that it is hard to helbecause if you do so it’s an easy kickout to the shooter so basically you got be a good one on one player
Taevaunn Prince is a 25 year old 191cm guard from Toronto, Canada that completed his rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) averaging 17,1ppg, 5,4rpg and 1,9apg. He started his basketball career in 2011 with S.Dakota St. (NCAA) where he played two seasons playing 59 NCAA games. He then moved to Missouri So. (NCAA2) in 2014 and as a junior played 16 games averaging 16.1ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 83.8%. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 26.4ppg, 10.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of the season.
Taevaunn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on a big season where you fell short in a do or die game in the semi-finals. How hard has it been digesting this season end since you were one win away from the Pro A?
It’s been hard to digest but overall you have to give thanks to God on how far we came and how well we did this season. But now its time to look back and see what I can improve on and look at the mistakes I made and become a better player and the offseason will be huge, I will be attacking it hard.
You played a hard fought series against Wurzburg and FC Schalke going the distance and then went the distance against PS Karlsruhe as well. Do you feel like the Wurzburg and Schalke series took a toll on the team going into the PS Karlsruhe series?
We are professional basketball players and are built for the season plus playoffs so as a team we should be ready to go all the way so that will never be an excuse. I think PSK is a well coached team and have good players with a great coach.
The 92-75 score in game three was a little deceiving as there wasn´t much that separated the two teams in many statistical categories. What do you feel decided this series?
As we know basketball is a game of runs and PSK went on a run in the second quarter that really decided the game, we were playing catch up from that point on and it was difficult to claw back.