Triumph registered the second victory in EuroCup Group C. They overcame Artland Dragons in overtime. Tywain McKee (188-PG-86, college: Coppin St.) stepped up with 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the charge. The Dragons suffered the second loss in a row. Triumph enjoyed a 21:13 lead after ten minutes of action. Artland cut the deficit in the second frame. The German team got within 4 points at the interval 38:34. The Dragons took over in the third quarter. The visitors ignited a 20:9 rally to ensure a 7-point lead before the final term. But Triumph refused to surrender. The Russian team exploded with 25 points in the fourth term and forced the game into overtime. Triumph carried the momentum into the extra period and sealed the victory in overtime. Sergey Karasev (202-SG-93) netted 15 points, while Artem Kuzyakin (200-G-80) added 14 points for the hosts. Petar Popovic (211-C-79) and Demond Mallet (186-G-78, agency: Higher Vision Sports, college: McNeese St.) had 19 points each for the Dragons. Bryce Taylor (196-G-86) chipped in 18 points and collected 9 rebounds in the loss.
On the court Chris Ensminger won just about every battle in the paint as there was a reason why he was the BBL's best rebounder for five consecutive years as his knack of always having the right position as the ball was released and correct instinct to where the ball would fall off the rim seemed to be as easy for him to successfully achieve as it was for once the best control pitcher in the majors Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees to seemingly get the ball where he wanted to to get... [read more]
On the court Chris Ensminger won just about every battle in the paint as there was a reason why he was the BBL's best rebounder for five consecutive years as his knack of always having the right position as the ball was released and correct instinct to where the ball would fall off the rim seemed to be as easy for him to successfully achieve as it was for once the best control pitcher in the majors Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees to seemingly get the ball where he wanted to to get through the full count to his team's benefit. However one thing that Ensminger couldn't control after life on the basketball court was keeping his now coaching foe Denis Wucherer of the Giessen 46ers in check while they were battling on the sidelines during their rookie coaching season in 2013-2014 and second season. Both guys are basketball legends in Germany as Ensminger not only made a name as one of the BBL's finest centers for years, but also belonged to numerous Bamberg championship teams while Wucherer won two BBL titles with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen for Dirk Bauermann and won the silver at the 2005 European championships in Belgrade under Dirk Bauermann once again and alongside NBA legend in the making Dirk Nowitzki. Both Ensminger and Wucherer were head coaching rookies in the 2013-2014 season and in four games Wucherer led the head to head battle confrontation's 3-1. Three of the four games were decided by 6 points and both games in the 2014-2015 season were intense nail bitters with 61-59 and 67-65 in favor of the Giessen 46ers and Wucherer. In that same season, Wucherer got the last laugh once again as he led his team into the BBL and almost made the playoffs last season. Ensminger is still trying to bring the BBL to Gotha and the only time, these two charachters can meet now on the sidelines is in the preseason. 'Gotha is a team that should reach the BBL in the future. They have a good infrastructure now, new arena and Wolfgang Heyder on board. One sees that the club is getting more and more professional. They are very ambitious to get to the BBL and have a good coaching staff with Ensminger and Esterkamp. Ensminger's team now plays the way he played as a player. He played hard and so does his team. He should have a good season', stressed Giessen 46ers head coach Denis Wucherer. After the 86-70 loss, Ensminger was very calm on the bench replaying the lost game in his mind one more time as his players were stretching and he had time to reflect on this coaching duel with Wucherer. 'Wucherer has a good background and played for Dirk Bauermann. He played tough and so do his teams. I enjoy coaching against him. We always had good games against Giessen and one season lost two games by two points. I respect him and like how he helps players develop further as he got my ex player Marco Voeller', stressed Chris Ensminger.
On another warm summer evening, but a lot more comfortable then the sauna like temperatures 48 hours earlier in Hanau, the 2016 Basketball Aid International tour next stopped in Mainz. This is an old stomping ground of Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth as back in the day he coached a young 14 year old Patrick Heckman and like his second living room as the only thing missing was his own comfy couch to help him ease into the game best. As always Beth was glowing after the buzzer had sounded as it was another successful game for the basketball aid charity and the golden basketball which had autographes of the German national team as well as Dirk Nowizki and Dennis Schroeder also found it's new owner. 'Both teams showed another good game, we had 900 people in the stands and the golden ball went for 800 euro. We achieved our goal once again today', added Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth. The second highlight of the night after the golden ball being auctioned off, was the basketball game, but as always in these international tour games, the real focus of the evening was the sick children with cancer as that was on the minds of the players somewhere between all the plays that they had stuck in their heads. 'I feel it is very important to show support for the children suffering with cancer. I lost my mom five years ago to cancer and she had a big impact on my life. You never know who cancer will effect next so it's always positive to help in any way possible', stated Giessen 46ers forward Thomas Scrubb. 'It means a lot for me to help support the basketball aid cause. I lost my father to cancer two years ago and this past week, my aunt past away. Back home, we try to raise as much as possible for cancer. It is very unfortunate that a real cure hasn't been found yet. I always try to do whatever possible to help fight cancer', stated Elijah Allen.
The Giessen 46ers came into the game having beat Hanau and Heidelberg and destroyed their farm team Lich while the Oettinger Rockets Gotha had raised more than a few eyebrows as they had disposed of 8 time BBL champion Alba Berlin. The first half remained rather even, but Giessen already had the usual lead as Gotha already had to exert extra energy as they were always in comeback mode. In the second half, the Giessen 46ers relied on their deadly shooting and stepped up their defense. While his brother Philip Scrubb was on the way to France with the Fraport Skyliners to play a four day tournament, brother Thomas was in Mainz and like his brother very reserved in his presence after the game, but very knowledgeable about what he had witnessed in the last 40 minutes on the court. 'We knew that this would be our hardest test so far. They had beat Alba Berlin and we knew that if we weren't prepared that it would be a challenge. We didn't have our defense where we wanted it in the first half. In the second half, we stepped up and took control. We were smart on offense and didn't allow easy baskets on transition or from outside. They had to beat us one on one', stressed Thomas Scrubb. After the game Gotha forward Elijah Allen had a long conversation with Giessen guard Skyler Bowlin (190-G-89, college: Missouri So.) who had been opponents in college four years earlier and then described why Giessen was the better team. 'Giessen played us very physical. They have a very good coach with Wucherer who I am familiar with having been with Lich the last years. We didn't have enough intensity and they wanted to win more. We tried to be too cute. The key was taking care of the ball, but we didn't. We will have to do that better when we play against tough competition', warned Elijah Allen.
In the first quarter, the game was even until the midpoint and then there would be 7 lead changes as no team was able to break away. Ex Creighton (NCAA) guard Grant Gibbs got Gotha on the board first with a turnaround shot over ex Trier forward Dwayne Evans and the American than stripped the Giessen player the ball and set up Jacob Parker with an easy bucket on transition as Gotha had the early 4-0 advantage. Giessen quickly halted the Giessen run in the making by countering with their own 4-0 mini run as Thomas Scrubb showed his distinct knack of knowing where his rebound would go and finishing with a floater and ex Citadel (NCAA) standout Cameron Wells connected on a turnaround shot to knot the game at 4-4. Gotha continued to keep the slim lead with Sam Muldrow and Robert Ohle buckets, but Giessen got their first lead of the game at 9-8 as ex Crailsheim guard Joshiko Saibou drilled home a three pointer. The lead then went back and forth as rookies ex West Virginia (NCAA) guard Jaysean Paige and Yale (NCAA) forward Justin Sears scored as Giessen had the slim 13-10 lead. Gotha got some major production from two ex Pro B players Elijah Allen who nailed two trey's with one at the shot clock buzzer and ex Nordlingen guard Janek Schmidkunz connected from outside for the 19-18 lead. Giessen got the lead back as ex Sodertalje champion Skyler Bowlin (190-G-89, college: Missouri So.) nailed a three giving his team the 21-19 lead. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 37% from the field and 33% from outside while Gotha was shooting 53% from the field and 42% from outside. Gotha had the 8-7 rebound edge and three turnovers while Giessen had five turnovers.
In the second quarter, Giessen would keep the lead, but couldn't shake Gotha as they always remained in striking range. Giessen started the second quarter going on a 8-3 run to extend their lead to 29-22. Giessen got solid support from Saibou who scored from the corner, Scrubb got inside making a finger tip roll in, Sears and Lischka also got productive in the paint. Giessen also had their difficulty of preventing Gotha from getting easy baskets inside as ex Stephen F. Austin (NCAA) forward Parker and ex CB Prat Juventud (LEB Gold) guard Gerald Gomilla got buckets cutting the Giessen advantage to 31-28. Even if the game was tight, it seemed like Giessen always had the more options and better execution rate as they extended their lead once again to 37-28 as Lischka completed the pick and roll perfectly and Wells nailed a 20 footer. Gotha closed out the second quarter with a perfectly timed 6-2 run to cut the Giessen lead to 41-38. Parker scored inside again, Allen hit his second buzzer beater at the shot clock in the game and GIbbs caught Giessen napping on transition defense as he got behind the defense making an easy lay in. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 53% from the field and 25% from the three point line while Gotha was shooting 56% from the field and 30% from the three point line. Giessen had the 14-13 rebound edge, but seven turnovers while Gotha had four turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Giessen 46ers were able to pull away from Gotha and extend their lead into the double digits and hold it until the end of 30 minutes. Giessen quickly showed who was in control going on a 12-5 run to extend their lead to 53-42. In the run, GIessen got their guns back out of their holsters nailing three three pointers as Evans, Saibou and Bowlin connected. After a Paige lay in, it was Bowlin again who found the hot hand making fade away jumper keeping Gotha at bay as Giessen led 55-45. Even after Ohle trimmed down the Giessen lead down under 10 points, the BBL team always found a way to get their lead back into double digits as Scrubb buried a three pointer for the 58-48 Giessen advantage. Gotha guard Max DiLeo who's brother moved from Giessen to the Telekom Baskets Bonn this season connected on a true rainbow and Grant made a free throw as Giessen kept the 63-52 lead after 30 minutes. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 50% from the field and 34% from the parking lot while Gotha was shooting 51% from the field and 28% from the parking lot. Gotha had the 24-21 rebound edge and eight turnovers while Giessen had nine turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Gotha made one last comeback attempt, but then couldn't take care of the ball as the slick aggressive defense of Skyler Bowlin (190-G-89, college: Missouri So.) got the best of them. Gotha came out storming in the fourth quarter going on a 7-0 run to cut the Giessen lead to 65-59. In the run, Gotha received solid production from their two ex Pro B players once again as Schmidkunz who has brought that shooting touch from Nordlingen to Gotha dropped a trey and Allen made a step back jumper and Muldrow made free throws. However then came the turning point of the game as Bowlin got two steals which ignited the Giessen offense going on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 72-61. The two Bowlin steals led to a Wells 20 footer and lay in by the defender himself. Saibou added on another trey as well. 'I finally hit some shots today. I wasn't hitting so well in the first games. This was my breakthrough game with Giessen', added Skyler Bowlin (190-G-89, college: Missouri So.). Despite Page and Ohle buckets, Gotha was unable to make some stops on defense as Giessen got a three pointer from Wells and Evans lay in to extend their lead to 78-65 which sealed the win for Giessen. Muldrow was able to cut the Giessen lead to 80-70 with a trey, but time was running out and Giessen ultimately slammed the door on Gotha with a Saibou pull up jumper, and Evans and Obst free throws closing out the game with a 6-0 run. 'We knew that Gotha could make a run. Bowlin made two huge steals and we made big shots which killed their momentum. We switched a lot and had more big men in the paint area which made the difference', stated Thomas Scrubb. 'In the run at the start we talked more on defense, but they continued to make big shots and rolled their big men in the paint which hurt us', stated Elijah Allen. The Giessen 46ers were led by Skyler Bowlin (190-G-89, college: Missouri So.) with 16 points. Cameron Wells and Joshiku Saibou added 14 points a piece. Dwayne Evans chipped in with 11 points and Andreas Obst added 10 points. The Oettinger Rockets Gotha were led by Jaysean Paige with 13 points. Sam Muldrow had 12 points while Robert Ohle chipped in with 11 points and Elijah Allen had 10 points. Giessen shot 48% from the field and 38% from outside while Gotha shot 53% from the field and 43% from outside. Gotha outrebounded Giessen 32-25, but had 16 turnovers while Giessen had 10 turnovers.
BG Goettingen (BBL) agreed terms with 33-year old Lithuanian guard Benas Veikalas (192-90kg-83, college: Metropolitan State of Denver). He played last season at Scandone Avellino in Italian Serie A. In 39 games he had 6.6ppg, 2.2rpg and 1.0apg. Veikalas helped them to make it to the cup final and to the league semifinals. The previous (14-15) season he played at Telekom Baskets where in 38 BBL games he recorded 10.9ppg, 2.7rpg and 1.2apg. Veikalas contributed to his team making it to the... [read more]
BG Goettingen (BBL) agreed terms with 33-year old Lithuanian guard Benas Veikalas (192-90kg-83, college: Metropolitan State of Denver). He played last season at Scandone Avellino in Italian Serie A. In 39 games he had 6.6ppg, 2.2rpg and 1.0apg. Veikalas helped them to make it to the cup final and to the league semifinals. The previous (14-15) season he played at Telekom Baskets where in 38 BBL games he recorded 10.9ppg, 2.7rpg and 1.2apg. Veikalas contributed to his team making it to the German Bundesliga Cup Semifinals. Veikalas also played 10 games in Eurocup where he averaged 14.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.3apg and 1.0spg. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he was voted Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Bosman Player of the Year in 2014. Veikalas has played previously professionally in Lithuania (Delikatesas and Nevezis) and Czech Republic (Prostejov). He attended Metropolitan State of Denver until 2007 and it will be his tenth season as a professional player. Veikalas could be described:
Benas is a versatile shooting guard with great shooting accuracy and ability to penetrate. Very smart and selective in taking shots, unselfish and knows how to create opportunities for his teammates.
Moves the ball quickly. Gives his best efforts in defense.
Adama Darboe(190-G-86) is a 30 year old 190cm guard that is a Danish national player and will play for the Bakken Bears (Ligaen) this season. He is a versatile guard with strong build, can play some time at the small forward too, and is a good rebounder for his size. He started his basketball career for Horsholm Basket (Basketliga) in 2002 and played there until 2006. He then played for U.M.F. Grindavik (Iceland-Express League) from 2006-2008. He then played for Huelva Baloncesto (Spain-L... [read more]
Adama Darboe (190-G-86) is a 30 year old 190cm guard that is a Danish national player and will play for the Bakken Bears (Ligaen) this season. He is a versatile guard with strong build, can play some time at the small forward too, and is a good rebounder for his size. He started his basketball career for Horsholm Basket (Basketliga) in 2002 and played there until 2006. He then played for U.M.F. Grindavik (Iceland-Express League) from 2006-2008. He then played for Huelva Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Bronze) in the 2008-2009 season. He then returned to Horsholm 79ers (Basketligaen) for a season before playing three seasons for Svendborg Rabbits (Ligaen). He then played for KFUM Jamtland Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) and the last two seasons with Boras Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) and last season played FIBA Europe Cup: 12 games: 10.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 90.0%; Swedish Basketligan: 36 games: 11.5ppg, 4.7rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT-2 (89.0%). He spoke to eurobasket before the Euro qualifying game against Germany in Kiel.
Adama thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been? Right now, I am with the national team preparing for the upcoming games in a little city called Vejen. We got great facilities here, so things are going in the right direction.
You just completed two successful seasons with Boras Basket in Sweden, but unfortunately the club couldn't get over the hump losing in both semi-finals to Uppsala and Sodertalje. I would imagine the two point loss to Sodertalje hurt more than the 97-72 loss the season in game 5?
Yes it was very tough for the club and for me personally, not making the finals. I really thought that we had great teams both years, but it was tough, and both teams that we lost to in the semis, deserved their spot in the finals.
Do you believe a James Miller would have made the difference this season in that game 5 against Sodertalje?
Honestly I don't think so. We had a very good team, so it is what it is. You can always say what if, but I like to stick to what we had, and I was confident that our team this past season could have done the job and advanced.
James Miller recently retired after an illustrious 15 year career. You played only one season with the high scoring guard, but will always be your fondest memory with him on the court as well off the court?
JJ was a tremendous good player. Very professional and skilled player. I learned some moves from him watching him play, but mostly I have learned a lot from his professionalism off the court, and how he approached practices and games.
Last season you improved your stats in both the Europe Cup and Swedish Basketligan. Do you feel like you are in your best basketball age now at age 30?
For sure. I'm in my prime. My body feels great and I'm at the point where my routine is about to peak. Hopefully if I can stay healthy, keep working hard and most important keep my love for the game, I can achieve great things the next couple of years.
Especially in international play, you had a huge lift in your outside shooting as you improved your shooting drought from the season before from 9,1% 2/22 to 41% this season. Did you practice your shooting more in the summer of 2015 or did you just pick your spots better last season which helped you shoot at a lot higher percentage? There was no doubt that I wasn't happy about my shooting percentage from the arc that year. But I been in this game for a long time and I know that if you push extra and work harder, both mentally and psychically, then good things will happen to you. As a person and as a player. Luckily for me, it turned around pretty quickly.
Your heading back home to Denmark to the Baaken Bears . What was your biggest push to go back home and join this top Danish club?
I have always been seeking the best level I could play on. I'm luckily to be able to do what I love to do every single day. I'm making money of my hobby. Not a lot of people can say that in this world. Bakken Bears is a very professional club who wants to win every single year, and I like winners who do their very very best, to put themselves in a position to win. So it was a simple choice of mine.
At the moment you are with the Danish national team. This is now your seventh summer with the Danish team. What is always the most exciting part of being with the Danish national team in the summer time? This summer is very fun. We have the chance to make history for our country, concerning qualifying for the European Championship. I'm all in. It's very different playing for your club team and playing for the national team. You know the guys very well. Grew up with them, playing with the guys in the summer, so it's just a very special feeling all around. After all the guys on the team is representing a whole country.
What has been your summary of the early Danish preparation for the upcoming euro qualifying round? You had some friendly games beating Switzerland, but losing to countries like Slovakia and the Ukraine? It was a very good tournament in Slovakia. We grew as a team, and that was the most important thing.
You are one of the elder statesmen with Alan Voskuli. What besides being a leader are your main functions on the team? We are all men on the team. People respect each another not thinking about age. After all, it is what you bring to practice and games that determines what kind of respect you should have. I try to lead but at the same time, people should lead through effort.
There are many young guns on the team like David Knudsen who will be going into his second season at Marist (NCAA) or big man Lasse Elbaek. Who are the biggest young prospects on the Danish team and the faces of tomorrow. We are a very young team, that's for sure. We have a lot of great young players who will try and put DK on the map in the future. Gabriel Iffe lundberg, Lasse Elbk, Nicolai Hvidberg are definitely some of them. Zarko Jukic is also a very talented player whom will do great now and in the future.
Denmark is an interesting group with Germany, Portugal and Holland. Germany is the favorite. Is Denmark the main dark horse of the group? The group is very interesting. Germany is for sure the favorites, but I really believe in this team and that we can take us to the European Championship in 2017. We are equal until something else is proved. Good luck to everybody in the group.
What will be key for Denmark being able to compete with Germany for 40 minutes?
They are bigger than us. We have to play very intense and without any form of fear. I'm sure that we will do that. We are well prepared for the big challenge ahead of us.
Your buzzer beater against Frankfurt in the Eurochallenge two seasons ago is unforgettable. Does this shot still remain one of your biggest shots in your career and have you dreamt about in the last two years? Haha it was a very nice shot to make. Every player is happy about making gamewinners of course!;) But that is in the past. I will enjoy that shot when I retire and have it as a great memory. All my focus is on getting some great results with the nationalteam this summer.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever? Tough question. But Lebron is definately getting up there. Jordan is Jordan, Lebron is Lebron.
What was the last movie that you saw? I'm not a big movie guy. I'm a series guy, so last thing I watched was Narcos and I can't wait for the next season.
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