In his first season playing in Europe, 25-year old point guard Willie Kemp (188-G-87, college: Memphis) is off to a tremendous start both in the Czech NBL and Slovak Extraliga. He is tied for the NBL league lead at 20.0 points per game after two rounds and has helped Astrum Levice to a 2-0 record in the Extraliga. Kemp played collegiality at the University of Memphis where in between being a part-time starter his freshman and senior seasons, was part of a historic 2007-08 season which saw his Tigers reach the NCAA Championship Game. After playing professionally in the NBA D-League in the USA and then last season in Tunisia, Kemp took some time to share his thoughts on playing for Levice, his journey here and what his expectations are for the season.
Q.What have been your first impressions about Levice, Slovakia so far?
A.It has been great here in Levice so far. The fans are awesome and everybody loves basketball here.
Q.Most fans do not know much about basketball in Tunisia, where you played last season. How did you end up there and what was the experience like?
A.I ended up in Tunisia because I was going to go back to the NBA-D League for a second season but I changed my mind at the last minute. Most jobs in Europe were taken by the time I had made my decision. But the experience was amazing, we traveled to Europe and Morocco to play some good teams. Also, it was a great experience for me to be a leader on another championship team.
Q.Going back to your time at Memphis, you were part of a historic and also controversial 2007-08 Tigers team which reached the NCAA Finals. As a player going through the high of reaching the Finals, but then having to deal with the scrutiny of the NCAA investigations, how did it affect you and your teammates?
A.Playing on the 2007-2008 team at Memphis was something special to be apart of. That team was very talented and amazing as a group. We won a lot of games and making it to the National Championship game is something nobody can ever take away from me and my teammates. When the NCAA started to investigate our team it was very difficult because that's all people wanted to talk about when they see you out somewhere. But, me and my teammates stuck together like we did all season and we knew as a team we didn't break any rules.
Q.What was the most memorable moment of that 2007-08 season for you personally?
A.I had a lot of great memories from the 2007-2008 team. One memory that sticks out is when we played Mississippi State in the NCAA tournament and I stepped up and hit four big three's to help us win and move on in the tournament. Another one, is playing in the National Championship game playing in front of 80,000 people was something special. Another memory was playing with Derrick Rose, he was a great player and I learned a lot from him.
Q.What were some of the positive aspects of playing in the NBA D-League your rookie season?
A.Playing in the NBA D-League my first season was a great experience for me. I played against some good players there. Not only did the D League teach me some things about basketball, it also helped me learn how to be a professional basketball player personally.
Q.So far this season you have gotten off to a terrific start for Levice, what has been the key to your and the teams success?
A.We have just been playing as a team and trying to get better every game and every practice. Our coaching staff does a great job on making us work hard in practice. I know I am 100% dedicated to winning a championship and my teammates are as well. You practice how you play!
Q.You also are in a situation unlike any other team, playing both in the Czech NBL and the Slovakian Extraliga. What is that like? Do you have to change your approach to preparation?
A.Playing in two different leagues is something I haven't done before. The most important thing I have to do is take care of my body and eat right. Playing 60 games is a lot, but if I can do those two things I will be okay.
A.Fans should know that I love to win and I'm a winner. I love playing the game of Basketball. I am blessed with the chance to play basketball professionally and I do not take that for granted. I hope that my hard work on and off the court shows that. Levice has been great thus far; and I'm willing to do anything to help our basketball team win games this season.
Blake Schilb selected the top Czech playing abroad in last week's games - 2 days ago
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Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Czechs who are currently playing abroad. This week's number one is an experienced international swingman Blake Schilb (201-83). He could not help Galatasaray (13-5) to beat Banvit (13-5).
Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of Czechs who are currently playing abroad.
#1. This week's number one is an experienced international swingman Blake Schilb (201-83, college: Loyola, IL, currently plays in Turkey). He could not help Galatasaray (13-5) to beat Banvit (13-5).
Schilb scored 5 points and added 7 passes in 33 minutes on the court.
Galatasaray lost 64-79 on the road to the lower-ranked (#4) Banvit.
Schilb has relatively good stats this year: 10.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.5apg, 3FGP: 51.1%(23-45) in 15 games he played so far.
He is a naturalized American.
Schilb is currently a member of the Czech Republic senior national team. He used to play for CEZ Basketball Nymburk in Czech Republic league.
#2. Second place goes to former international center Ales Chan (215-80, college: Seton Hill, currently plays in Austria). Chan was the major contributor in a Raiffeisen Wels' victory against the league outsider Dukes (4-17) 74-56 in the Austrian A Bundesliga last Sunday.
He scored 13 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
WBC Raiffeisen Wels (11-9) are placed fourth in the A Bundesliga.
They ended the series of three consecutive loses.
This season Chan has relatively solid stats: 10.3ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 55.1%(75-136), 3FGP: 36.4% and FT: 75.9%.
Former USK Praha starter played for the Czech Republic national team in 2014.
#3. The Czech Republic player who performed third best last week abroad was former U20 international forward Filip Halada (198-92, currently plays in Slovakia). He led Rieker KN to a 2-point victory against the closely-ranked Prievidza (20-9) 101-99 in the Slovakian SBL on Tuesday night.
Halada scored 12 points in a mere 19 minutes.
MBK Rieker Com Therm Komarno (17-13) is placed fifth in the SBL.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
Halada has reliable stats this year: 11.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.6apg, 2FGP: 50.5%, 3FGP: 38.1% and FT: 85.7% in 26 games.
He played for the Czech Republic U20 national team five years ago.
#4. Forward Petr Herman (208-94, currently plays college basketball in the States) contributed to an easy victory against the Pepperdine University (5-9) crushing them 82-61 in the NCAA in Saturday night's game.
Herman scored 9 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and made 3 blocks.
The Loyola Marymount University has rather weak 4-9 conference record this season.
There are only two games left until the end of the NCAA Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
Herman's overall stats this season are: 3.5ppg and 2.7rpg.
He used to play for the Czech Republic U18 national team
back in 2012.
#5. Former U18 international forward David Jelinek (203-97, agency: Octagon Europe, currently plays in NCAA2) was not able to help the Northwood University (3-16) in their last game on Thursday. Despite his good performance the Northwood University was defeated 77-68 in Detroit by the Wayne State University, MI.
Jelinek scored 12 points.
His team will play only one more game in the NCAA2 Regular Season. And now that game is very crucial.
Jelinek's overall stats this season are: 4.5ppg and 2.3rpg.
He used to play for the Czech Republic U18 national team
two years ago.
#6. Forward Jan Svandrlik (201-94, currently studies in the States) was not able to secure a victory for the Iona (10-6) in their game against the Rider University (13-3) in the NCAA.
Svandrlik scored 9 points in only 9 minutes.
But the Iona was badly defeated 103-85 in Lawrenceville by the Rider University.
There are only two games left until the end of the NCAA Regular Season. So now every game will be important.
This year Svandrlik averages: 2.6ppg and 2.2rpg in 22 games.
He is a former U20 international player as he played for the Czech Republic team three years ago.
#7. Former international center Tomas Hampl (215-88, currently plays in Spain) led Estela to a victory against the sixth-ranked Santurtzi (10-7) 72-58 in the Spanish EBA (fourth division) on Saturday night.
Hampl had a double-double by scoring 11 points and getting 10 rebounds in 24 minutes.
Igualatorio Cantabria Estela Santander (16-1) is placed first in Group A-A.
It's Hampl's first season with the team.
His stats this year are: 14.1ppg and 6.1rpg in 17 games.
Hampl used to play for the Czech Republic national team
five years ago.
#8. Point guard Vit Krejci (193-0, currently plays in Spain) managed to help Simply Olivar Zaragoza in a victory against the ninth-ranked JAC Sants (7-10) crushing them 91-65 in the Spanish EBA (fourth division) last Saturday.
Krejci scored only 3 points, grabbed 4 boards, dished 3 assists and stole 3 balls in 29 minutes.
Simply Olivar Zaragoza (5-12) is placed 14th in Group C-A.
This year Krejci's overall stats are: 4.4ppg, 1.6rpg and 1.4apg in 16 games.
He plays currently for the Czech Republic U16 national team.
The list of other players, who all have Czech Republic passport but never been selected to any of Czech Republic national teams:
#1.Jaroslav Tyrna (207-C-86, agency: Octagon Europe, college: New Orleans, currently plays in Germany) contributed to Sixers' victory against the eighth-ranked Rendsburg (5-9) 79-73 in the German Regionalliga (fourth division) last Saturday.
Tyrna scored 7 points, had 7 rebounds and dished 4 assists in 30 minutes.
BSW Sixers Sandersdorf (11-4) is placed third in North group.
Tyrna's stats this year are: 10.5ppg, 7.3rpg and 2.5apg in 15 games he played so far.
#2.Lubos Novy (204-C-91, currently plays in Germany) led Vilsbiburg to a 2-point victory over the second-ranked Treuchtlingen (14-5) 80-78 in the German Regionalliga (fourth division) last Sunday.
Novy was MVP of the game. He recorded a double-double by scoring 23 points and getting 11 rebounds.
Baskets Vilsbiburg (13-7) is placed fourth in South-East group.
It's Novy's sixth season with the team.
Novy has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 16.8ppg, 6.5rpg and 1.4apg.
#3.John Boyer (185-PG-88, agency: Dynamics Global Management, college: Buffalo, currently plays in Germany) is a teammate of previously mentioned Lubos Novy and both played together in the last German Regionalliga game.
Boyer led Vilsbiburg to a 2-point victory against the second-ranked Treuchtlingen (14-5) 80-78.
He recorded a double-double by scoring 13 points and getting 11 rebounds. Boyer also added 5 assists and 4 steals.
This season Boyer has very high stats. He averages: 16.1ppg, 6.8rpg, 7.1apg and 5.0spg.
Boyer is a naturalized American.
Worth to mention he played also at Eurobasket Summer League, which helped him get the job in pro basketball. He used to play for BK Decin in Czech Republic league.
#4.Adrian Melski (192-G/F-92, currently plays in Germany). Melski could not help Zwickau (7-13) to beat Coburg (18-1).
He scored 7 points.
The 11th-placed Zwickau (7-13) was crushed 113-83 on the road by the leading Coburg in the South-East group.
Melski's total stats this season are: 7.8ppg, 4.2rpg and 1.2spg.
#5.Dan Milota (201-F, currently plays in NCAA2) managed to help Texas A&M International University in a victory against the Saint Mary's (TX) University 66-53 in the NCAA2 in Saturday night's game.
He recorded only 4 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 29 minutes.
The Texas A&M International University has a solid 8-3 record this season.
There are only two games left until the end of the NCAA2 Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This year Milota's total stats are: 6.8ppg and 2.2rpg in 11 games.
#6.Filippo Meccoli Matejca (194-G-92, currently plays in Italy) was not able to help Valdiceppo (4-16) in their last game on Sunday. Despite his good performance the 15th-placed Valdiceppo was defeated 69-61 at home by the much higher-ranked Senigallia (#8) in the Group D.
Meccoli Matejca was the second best scorer with 14 points.
Meccoli Matejca's total stats this season are: 8.4ppg, 2.3rpg and 1.9apg.
He has a dual citizenship: Czech Republic and Italian.
CEZ Basketball Nymburk (NBL) agreed terms with 27-year old American power forward Kenny Hall (206-104kg-90, college: Tennessee). He started the season at ASA Koroivos Amaliadas in Greek A1 league. In 18 games he averaged 13.4ppg and 6.7rpg, while shooting 60.1% from the field and 54.5% from the line.
Three years ago (a year after he left the college) Hall was drafted by the Delaware 87ers (D-League) in fourth round (55th overall).
He attended University of Tennessee until 2013 and it is... [read more]
CEZ Basketball Nymburk (NBL) agreed terms with 27-year old American power forward Kenny Hall (206-104kg-90, college: Tennessee). He started the season at ASA Koroivos Amaliadas in Greek A1 league. In 18 games he averaged 13.4ppg and 6.7rpg, while shooting 60.1% from the field and 54.5% from the line. Three years ago (a year after he left the college) Hall was drafted by the Delaware 87ers (D-League) in fourth round (55th overall). He attended University of Tennessee until 2013 and it is his fourth season in pro basketball. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Hall won D-League championship title in 2015. He was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Slovakian League Honorable Mention back in 2014. Hall has played previously professionally in Slovakia (MBK Rieker Com Therm Komarno) and D-League (Santa Cruz Warriors).
The move corresponds with the planned departure of Diamon Simpson (204-F-87, college: St.Mary's, CA), who's last game under contract was tonight in the Basketball Champions League (BCL) versus Sassari (win 84-63, but lose on aggregate 156-157). Nymburk had known that the former St. Mary's big man had a contract valid only until February 22, so Hall had been someone they looked at to fill in as a younger and taller option. The 29-year old Simpson was very solid during his time with Nymburk, averaging 8.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in domestic league play (15 games), while upping his averages in 14 BCL games to 9.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
After the injury of Jestin Lewis(he will miss at least 3-4 weeks), Oroszlanyi Sportegylet E Lions (NB I. B) landed 25-year old American guard Darion Rackley (190-77kg-92, college: Jacksonville State). He played recently at Orli Prostejov in NBL league in Czech Republic. In only one game he had 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 4 steals this season. Rackley also played earlier that season for ES Sahel (Division I) in Tunisian league. He also spent pre-season at Minas (NBB) in Brazilian lea... [read more]
After the injury of Jestin Lewis (he will miss at least 3-4 weeks), Oroszlanyi Sportegylet E Lions (NB I. B) landed 25-year old American guard Darion Rackley (190-77kg-92, college: Jacksonville State). He played recently at Orli Prostejov in NBL league in Czech Republic. In only one game he had 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 4 steals this season. Rackley also played earlier that season for ES Sahel (Division I) in Tunisian league. He also spent pre-season at Minas (NBB) in Brazilian league earlier that year. He has played also professionally in Sweden (Malbas). Rackley attended Jacksonville State until 2015 and it is his second season in pro basketball.
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