In life as well as in basketball it does not hurt to be patient. A large number of seniors will complete their college careers every year. Not all of them plan on pursuing a career overseas. A lot of them do though, but won't find the right fit or even never will get the chance to showcase their talent in Europe. As the number of players - specially hailing from the US, because many leagues have restrictions of how many 'imports' are allowed to play per team - surmount the number of job opportunities by far, it does not suffice to be a skilled basketball player. You need some luck too. And patience. Like Kenny Jones (198-F-84, college: Kentucky St.) has shown over these past years. The forward out of Long Island, New York, is leading the 1. Regionalliga South in scoring (28.0ppg) and rebounding (12.5rpg) this season. Though he had an All-America career at NCAA D2 program Kentucky State, Jones had to go a long way to finally arrive to Dachau last summer: 'Once I finished playing at Kentucky State University all I wanted to do was play ball overseas. I put 4 long years of hard work becoming player of the year and Honorable Mention All American. I felt and knew I was ready to make that move overseas. But I had a few agents that did a lot of promising, had a lot of deals and always at the last minute they fell through. So me getting overseas wasn't easy. So I decided to stay in the states and play and work on my game and get better and better each season, listening to the older players that were playing with me, learning from them as well. I was putting up big numbers, all I needed was an agent that would work for me and with me and I finally found that agent. He didn't promise, he delivered and now I'm living my dream and playing overseas ball', Jones says.
Over the years he honed his skills in minor leagues in the United States, spending two seasons with the Kentucky Bisons of the ABA, claiming the championship title with the Bisons in 2009, while receiving All-ABA Third Team honors. In 2011 he would excell as the second leading scorer of the PBL, averaging 19.6 points per contest for the Kentucky Bluegrass Stallions, making the USBasket.com All-PBL Second Team. 'Over the years I've played with some great players such as George Baker, Mike Wells, Brandon Stockton and I've learned from those guys, took things from them to improve my game. I've put the work in and I know I can play on any level. I also had a chance to play for some great coaches as well: Andre Edwards, Qunicy Simpson, Tom Patterson - they've all helped to develop the player and the mindset I have, when I'm on the court. For me as a player I really don't have a secret for having great numbers, I'm just gonna out work who ever is guarding me. Whether it's scoring or rebounding, I'm giving 110% everytime. I've worked hard on my footwork, strength, positioning to help me become the dominate player that I am. So to describe myself to someone that has never seen me play: I'm a hard worker and a monster inside the paint. I'm very humble and I understand that I'm truly blessed to be where I'm at. And on the other hand when I'm in between those lines, I feel and play as if no one is better than me. I'm a pure scorer that gets overlooked because of my height and the position I play. But once teams play against me, they understand I'm a work horse. Reguardless of height weight skills or experience I'm coming at you hard.' In a high scoring affair against the Rattelsdorf Independents in early October, Jones erupted with 50 points on 21-for-25 shooting, leaving an unmistakable note in one of his first games in Germany: 'The Rattelsdorf game was a great game for me as well as for our team, not only for me dropping 50 points, but it was our first win as a team. Rattelsdorf is a great and aggressive defense team that presses full court and trap everything, which can be a great thing and also the worst thing. Me being a pure scorer reguardless on height size or experience, I'm gonna score. By them pressing so much and trapping so hard, they were giving me a lot of one on one plays to the basket. I was able to score pretty easily, while also grabbing a lot of offensive rebounds as well. My teammates had a lot to do with me scoring 50 points that night, they were able to break their press and get me the ball, where I needed it to score. It was a good feeling and a great win. 50 points isn't the highest I scored, but it's close. I scored 59 points in a charity game a few years ago', he says.
Though he is currently in his first season overseas, Jones is certainly one of the more experienced players on the Dachau team. The Spurs are 6-13 on the season so far and were not quite able to continue last year's success, when the team finished the RLSO on the runner-up spot. Jones: 'The great thing about playing on the Dachau Spurs is that I'm playing with a great group of young talented guys that love and want to learn all they can in the game of basketball. Yes, I'm putting up great numbers in this league due to my experience. I've played with and against a lot of good talent and that's the only thing some of the guy lack is experience and that's gonna come with the hard work and dedication they put towards the game. And as we grow as a team the wins will come even more.' Jones seems to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Pettaway, who enjoyed two stellar seasons with the Spurs, before moving on to SC Rist Wedel of the 2. Bundesliga Pro B, where he is proving to be one of the best inside players of the league: 'I really don't know too much about Anthony Pettaway, but from what I heard he's a pretty good player. But moving up is definitely my goal. I feel I'm ready to play in some of the top leagues in Germany. I've put in the work and I'm ready to show what I can do. My ultimate goal is to get to the BBL or any of the top leagues in Europe to show everyone that's where I belong. But I'm gonna take one step at a time and keep working until I meet my goal. My time in Germany has been great. My teammates, coaches and fans have welcomed me with open arms and have made me feel comfortable. I've seen a lot of things and experienced awhole lot since being here in Germany. I've enjoyed my stay here in Dachau and I'm glad I finally got the opportunity to make the jump', Jones states.
One question remains: Where does his nickname come from? Jones: 'My nickname Ticket was giving to me by my college coach Tom Patterson and it's been with me ever since. Growing up Kevin Garnett has always been my favorite player. He's the reason I wear 21 and my coach realize how much I tried to patten my game around Kevin Garnett, so he gave me the nickname Ticket after KG. Some people say bigticket some say ticket, I answer to either one.'
FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) signed 27-year old German international center Maik Zirbes (208-115kg-90, agency: BeoBasket). He started the season at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in Israeli Winner League. In 9 games he had 8.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 1.0spg this season. Zirbes helped them to make it to the cup final. He also played 15 games in Euroleague where he recorded 8.1ppg and 3.0rpg. The last season Zirbes played at Crvena Zvezda in Serbian KLS. The team played in three different competitions (!!!) that... [read more]
FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) signed 27-year old German international center Maik Zirbes (208-115kg-90, agency: BeoBasket). He started the season at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in Israeli Winner League. In 9 games he had 8.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 1.0spg this season. Zirbes helped them to make it to the cup final. He also played 15 games in Euroleague where he recorded 8.1ppg and 3.0rpg. The last season Zirbes played at Crvena Zvezda in Serbian KLS. The team played in three different competitions (!!!) that year, and he was exposed to basketball on different levels. In 12 KLS games he averaged 10.3ppg and 4.8rpg. Zirbes contributed to his team winning the league title (twice) (also twice). A very impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Serbian League Bosman Player of the Year, Center of the Year and named to 1st Team. Zirbes also played 27 games in Euroleague where he got 12.4ppg and 6.1rpg. He contributed to his team making it to the quarterfinals. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Euroleague Honorable Mention. Zirbes also played 31 games in ABA League where he got 13.2ppg and 5.9rpg. He contributed to his team winning the ABA League championship (twice) despite they ended the regular season at the second place (twice). A very spectacular season in his career as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Adriatic League 2nd Team. Zirbes has been also a member of German international program for some years. He has regularly played for German senior team since 2009 and previously for U20 National Team between 2009 and 2010. Zirbes represented Germany at the Qualifications to European Championships 2015 three years ago. His stats at that event were 6 games: 7.2ppg, 4.8rpg, FGP: 65.6%, FT: 33.3%. Zirbes has played previously for five other Germany teams: Gladiators, Brose Baskets, Saar-Pfalz Braves, DJK MJC Trier and Trier Baskets.
Chase Adams (177-PG-88, college: Pittsburgh)s a 28 year old 188cm point guard from Baltimore, Maryland playing his second season for the Uni Baskets Paderborn in the (Germany-ProA). He started his basketball career at Centenary (NCAA) in 2006 where he played three seasons and a total of 89 NCAA games. As a senior he moved to Pittsburgh (NCAA). He turned professional in 2011 and played briefly in the ABA and in the UBL before making Germany his home as he played for teams like Dortmund, Bo... [read more]
Chase Adams (177-PG-88, college: Pittsburgh)s a 28 year old 188cm point guard from Baltimore, Maryland playing his second season for the Uni Baskets Paderborn in the (Germany-ProA). He started his basketball career at Centenary (NCAA) in 2006 where he played three seasons and a total of 89 NCAA games. As a senior he moved to Pittsburgh (NCAA). He turned professional in 2011 and played briefly in the ABA and in the UBL before making Germany his home as he played for teams like Dortmund, Bochum, and Science City Jena. He spoke to eurobasket after the tough loss to Trier.
Chase thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. 2017 is here and are you the type of guy that goes into a new year with new years resolutions or more a guy that doesn't bother with that? It's certainly important to reflect on the first half of the season at this point and evaluate what needs improvement. A new mentality is always a helpful way to regain focus and set new goals.
The Uni Baskets Paderborn suffered a tough 69-66 loss to Trier. They had the 37-26 lead at halftime. It took you a while as a team to get going scoring 24 points in the third quarter to get back into the game. What adjustments did you make? We were sluggish and emotionless, so coach wanted us to turn up the pressure and play more lively. Communication and strong rotations were the emphasis.
Paderborn had the 66-63 lead with 2.54 minutes to play and were controlling the last 4-5 minutes keeping the lead, but then lost control allowing Trier to close out the game with a 6-0 run. How bitter was this outcome losing like this? Is that worse then getting beat by a buzzer beater?
Losing period is hurtful, especially with a team that we will potentially be fighting against for a playoff spot. We must collectively play better in those defining moments.
What was key in the last few minutes that allowed Trier to get the momentum and win the game?
Besides handing them free throws, it was the bad offensive possessions where we didn't get a good shot up.
Do you feel like there would have been a different outcome at the end had you not fouled out at 1.10 minutes to play?
Absolutely. These are the moments that I've been working hard to be prepared for and I was more than ready to perform. Unfortunately it didn't go as planned and it really hurt to have to watch.
Do you feel also had the team contained American Brandon Spearman better and limited his trips to the free throw line that you would have been able to preserve the win? We expected him to attack and lucky for him he got the calls. It was a smart effort on his behalf, but we should have executed better on offense.
A big problem of the Uni Baskets Paderborn in their current 5 game losing streak has been the inability to close out games. Has this trend turned into an unwanted type of disease?
I wouldn't call it a disease, if anything it's showing that we have heart and even though we are down at the moment, we aren't a door mat you can walk over. We can go toe to toe with any team and any game versus Paderborn will be a battle.
After the wild 130-125 double OT win against the Drsden Titans in October, you said that this will be a season to remember. Do you still feel this now at 7-11 and out of the playoff spots?
I stand by my statement whole heartedly. I won't give up until the season is completely over. At the end if we don't make it then we don't make it, but as long as we lace up and we throw on that jersey We are planning to win them all.
The Uni Baskets Paderborn played Kirchheim and Crailsheim very tight. What do you believe is missing for you to be able to beat these caliber type teams?
Defensive discipline in the last seconds of the shot clock and simply offensive execution when the game is on the line. Completing those possessions with a stop and not giving them second chances or easy looks. Offensively getting highly efficient shot attempts. These two factors have decided these close losses.
Before the loss to Trier, Paderborn was allowing 80 points per game. The team defended a lot better against Trier. Do you feel that Paderborn could hold more Pro A teams to around 70 points which would put you in a lot better position to win?
If we put our mind to it we can do anything. Everything else is in order, so the next step is take more pride in defense and to stick to our principles. The effort needs to stay at a high level for 40minutes.
Currently your third in tea s coring, first in assists and steals and second in rebounding. How happy have you been with your first half performance?
Not Satisfied one bit. It's just not enough in my book. To get over the hump I must turn it up a couple notches.
You continue to be a great defender leading the team with 2,6spg. How does a top notch defender like you continue to excel at this trade? What do you do in practices that has you always ready in games?
Defense is built on toughness, determination to stop your assignment and to give your all for the team. You just show up with that mentality everyday in practice so it's natural in game. Another key factor is paying attention to scouting. Taking time to study players habits and teams plays
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
This year. That's a top 5 performance.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Without a doubt. Nobody has a motor like him.
Russell Westbrook obviously has gotten a lot of attention with his constant triple doubles, but James Harden is doing the same thing with the Houston Rockets. Where do you see him head to head against Westbrook as best point guard at the moment in the NBA?
All though Westbrooks stat lines are out of this world, Hardens team has the better record so maybe Harden gets the nod for best PG.
Which 2 clubs will make the Superbowl and who will win it all?
The Giessen 46ers have reacted to the injury of Thomas Scrubb and snatched up Bazoumana Kone (190-G-93, college: Bremerhaven) Kone is a 23 year old combo guard that has BBL experience with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and got a contract until the end of the season. Kone played with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg this season, but got a little lost in the guard rotation averaging only 11,8 minutes per game. In 13 games the German averaged 3,3ppg, 2,1rpg and 1,6apg in the... [read more]
The Giessen 46ers have reacted to the injury of Thomas Scrubb and snatched up Bazoumana Kone (190-G-93, college: Bremerhaven) Kone is a 23 year old combo guard that has BBL experience with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and got a contract until the end of the season. Kone played with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg this season, but got a little lost in the guard rotation averaging only 11,8 minutes per game. In 13 games the German averaged 3,3ppg, 2,1rpg and 1,6apg in the EasyCredit BBL. In Champions League play he got into 8 games averaging 2,3ppg and 1,4rpg. "I am happy that we got him in our second try. He is an interesting player with enormous potential. He wants to prove himself and has fun playing and we need that in Giessen. I am convinced that he will be integrated quickly and help us with his abilities. His quick and aggressive play suits us", stresed Giessen 46ers head coach Denis Wucherer.
Kone started his basketball career with the Bramfelder SV Hamburg junior team and also played with the SG Braunschweig junior team. In 2011 he moved to BSG Bremerhaven (2.Regionalliga): 11 games 13.6ppg. He then got his first BBL experience with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven from 2012-2014 playing a total of 22 games. In 2014 he took a step back moving to the Pro A and playing two seasons with the Hamburg Towers where he got adequate playing time and could devlop his game better. In his first season with the Hamburg Towers he played 18 games averaging 8.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 29.6%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 72.5%. He made his Pro A break out last season playing 30 games: 14.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 25.7%, FT: 79.0%. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been German NBBL Championships Finalist -12, German U20 National Team -13, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro A All-Domestic Players Team -16.