#1. This week's number one is an international center Chris Kaman (213-82, college: Cent.Michigan, currently plays in NBA), who plays in the NBA. He could not help the Dallas Mavericks (7-8) in their last game. Despite Kaman's very good performance the Dallas Mavericks were edged 100-98 on the road by the Philadelphia 76ers.
He was the top scorer with 20 points. Kaman also added 4 rebounds in 29 minutes on the court.
But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen.
It's Kaman's first year with the team.
He has individually a very good season with high stats. Kaman averages: 14.2ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 54.5% in the 13 games he played so far.
He is a naturalized American.
Kaman played for the German senior national team one years ago.
Strangely he has never played in Germany.
#2. Second place goes to an international center Tibor Pleiss (215-89, currently plays in Spain). He contributed to a Caja Laboral's victory against the closely-ranked Unicaja Malaga (5-4) 90-79 in the Spanish ACB on Sunday night.
Pleiss scored 7 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
Caja Laboral Vitoria (6-3) is placed sixth in the ACB.
But the season just started, so everything may happen.
Pleiss' overall stats this year are: 6.5ppg, 5.0rpg, 2FGP: 54.8% and FT: 83.3%.
He is in the roster of the German senior national team.
#3. The German player who performed third best last week abroad was an international forward Elias Harris (203-89, currently plays college basketball in the States). Harris led Gonzaga to a victory against the Davidson College 81-67 in the NCAA in Sunday night's game.
He had a double-double by scoring 24 points and getting 10 rebounds. Harris also added 2 blocks in 31 minutes.
The Gonzaga University has conference record this season.
Harris has been at the team for four years.
This year his overall stats are: 6.5ppg, 5.0rpg, 2FGP: 54.8% and FT: 83.3% in the six games.
Harris is also a member of the German senior national team.
#4. Forward Michael Kessens (206-91, currently studies in the States), who plays in the NCAA was not able to help the Longwood in their last game. Despite his very good performance the Longwood lost 78-84 at home to the Cornell University.
Kessens had a double-double by scoring 20 points and getting 14 rebounds in 33 minutes.
It's Kessens' first season with the team.
He has relatively good stats this year: 11.3ppg, 3.2rpg and 1.5apg in the six games.
Kessens used to play for the German U20 national team
#5. Former U20 international forward Christian Standhardinger (203-89, is currently at the American university) helped Hawaii win their game against the University of North Dakota 71-66 in the NCAA last Tuesday.
He scored 11 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
The University of Hawaii has conference record this season.
Standhardinger's total stats this year are: 9.1ppg, 6.3rpg and 2.3apg.
He has a dual citizenship: Filipino and German.
Standhardinger used to play for the German U20 national team
three years ago.
#6. Guard Sebastian Koch (203-91, currently plays college basketball in the States) helped Elon win their game against the University of South Carolina 65-53 in the NCAA on Wednesday night.
He recorded 9 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 25 minutes.
The Elon University has conference record this season.
This year Koch's total stats are: 9.1ppg, 6.3rpg and 2.3apg in the nine games.
He is a former U18 international player as he played for the German team three years ago.
#7. An experienced former U22 international power forward Tilo Klette (206-77, currently plays in Japan), who plays in the Japanese JBL was not able to secure a victory for Levanga Hokkaido (1-15) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Klette's good performance the bottom-ranked Levanga Hokkaido was badly defeated 83-63 in Kariya by the second-ranked Aishin Sea Horses.
He was the second best scorer with 14 points. Klette also added 4 rebounds.
This season Klette has relatively solid stats: 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg.
He used to play for the German U22 national team
thirteen years ago.
#8. Forward Dennis Ogbe (201-91, currently plays college basketball in the States), who plays in the NCAA couldn't help the Tenn Tech in their last game. Despite Ogbe's good performance the Tenn Tech (#28) lost 50-62 on their home court in Cookeville, TN to the University of Evansville.
He scored 10 points in 25 minutes.
Ogbe has reliable stats this year: 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg in the 15 games.
He used to play for the German U20 national team
#9. U20 international swingman Kevin Bright (196-92, currently plays college basketball in the States) helped Vanderbilt win their game against the The Univ.of Texas at El Paso crushing them 73-49 in the NCAA on Sunday night.
Bright scored 6 points.
The Vanderbilt University has conference record this season.
Bright averaged so far 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg.
He is also in the roster of the German U20 national team.
#10. Forward Dennis Kramer (211-92, currently plays college basketball in the States) couldn't help the San Diego in their game against the University of Montana (0-0) in the NCAA.
Kramer recorded 6 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 23 minutes.
The San Diego was edged 67-66 in Missoula, MT by the University of Montana.
Kramer averaged so far 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg in the 15 games.
He is a naturalized American.
Kramer is U20 international player as one years ago he still played for the German national team.
Apparently he has never played in Germany.
#11. U20 international guard Mario Blessing (188-92, currently plays college basketball in the States), who plays in the NCAA couldn't help the USC Upstate in their last game on Wednesday. Despite Blessing's good performance the USC Upstate was defeated 75-70 in Cheney, WA by the Eastern Washington University.
He recorded 10 points.
Blessing's stats this season are: 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg.
He plays currently for the German U20 national team.
#12. International shooting guard Patrick Heckmann (196-92, currently plays college basketball in the States) managed to help Boston College in a 1-point victoryagainst the Auburn University 50-49 in the NCAA last Wednesday.
Heckmann recorded 5 points and added 3 assists in 21 minutes.
Heckmann averaged so far 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg in the 15 games.
He is also in the roster of the German national team.
#13. Former U20 international guard T.J. DiLeo (190-90, currently plays college basketball in the States) helped Temple win their game against the University of Delaware 80-75 in the NCAA last Sunday.
DiLeo scored only 3 points, made 3 passes and 4 steals.
DiLeo averaged so far 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg.
He is a naturalized American.
DiLeo used to play for the German U20 national team
two years ago.
Interesting that he has never played in Germany.
#14. U20 international guard Maodo Lo (190-92, currently plays college basketball in the States) couldn't help the Columbia in their game against the University of San Francisco in the NCAA.
Lo recorded 7 points in only 14 minutes.
His team was badly defeated by 20 points 79-59.
Lo averaged so far 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg in the 15 games.
He used to play for the German U20 national team
#15. Former U18 international guard Thomas Reuter (198-92, currently plays college basketball in the States) faced previously mentioned Mario Blessing in the NCAA last game.
Reuter helped E.Washington win their game against the South Carolina Upstate 75-70.
He recorded 6 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Reuter averaged so far 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg.
He used to play for the German U18 national team
two years ago.
The list of other players, who all have German passport but never been selected to any of German national teams:
#1.Federico Kammerichs (202-F-80, currently plays in Liga SudAmericana) was the major contributor in a double overtime (!!!) Regatas Corrientes' victory against the closely-ranked Obras (1-2) 90-89 in the Liga Sudamericana last Wednesday.
Kammerichs recorded a double-double by scoring 15 points and getting 11 rebounds. He also added 4 assists.
Regatas Corrientes (2-1) is placed second in group F.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
It's Kammerichs' first season with the team.
Kammerichs has relatively good stats this year: 10.8ppg, 6.8rpg and 1.2apg.
He has a dual citizenship: German and Argentinian.
#2.Mario Stojic (198-G/F-80, agency: Interperformances, currently plays in Eurocup), who plays in Belgium could not help one of league's weakest teams Base Oostende (2-2) in their last game. Despite Stojic's very good performance Base Oostende was crushed 85-61 on the road by the second-ranked Stelmet ZG.
He was the top scorer with 16 points (made all of his six free throws) in 29 minutes.
There are only two games left until the end of the Eurocup Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
It's Stojic's first season with the team.
Stojic has relatively good stats this year: 12.0ppg, 2.8rpg and 1.3apg in the four games he played so far.
He is another player who holds two passports: Croatian and German.
#3.Robert Tomaszek (204-F-81, agency: Limelight Hoops, college: Texas Tech, currently plays in Poland) led Energa Czarni to a victory against the league outsider Rosa Radom (2-8) 83-74 in the Polish TBL in Tuesday night's game.
Tomaszek scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
Energa Czarni Slupsk (7-3) is placed first in the TBL.
It was his team's seventh consecutive victory in a row.
Tomaszek's overall stats this season are: 9.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.7apg and 1.1spg.
He has both German and Polish nationalities.
#4. Experienced Robert Sarovic (205-F-78, currently plays in EuroChallenge), who plays in Romania was not able to help Timisoara (1-3) in their last game. Despite Sarovic's very good performance the fourth-placed Timisoara lost 86-97 on the opponent's court to the higher-ranked (#3) Kormend in the group F of EuroChallenge.
He was the top scorer with 19 points. Sarovic also added 7 rebounds in 26 minutes.
It was Timisoara's third consecutive loss in a row.
There are only two games left until the end of the EuroChallenge Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
It's Sarovic's first season with the team.
He has relatively good stats this year: 11.0ppg and 3.5rpg in the four games.
Sarovic also holds two passports: Serbian and German.
#5.Urule Igbavboa (203-C-87, college: Valparaiso, currently plays in Sweden) contributed to an easy victory against the league outsider Nassjo (2-11) crushing them 98-58 in the Swedish Basketligan last Friday.
He recorded 18 points (made all of his eight free throws).
LF Basket (6-6) is placed eighth in the Basketligan.
Igbavboa is currently sixth on the list of top scorers.
He has individually a very good season with high stats. Igbavboa averages: 17.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.1apg and 1.3spg.
He is a naturalized American.
Igbavboa used to play for MEG Goettingen in German league.
#6.Martin Seiferth (208-F-90, currently plays college basketball in the States), who plays in the NCAA was not able to secure a victory for the E.Washington in their last game. Despite his good performance the E.Washington was edged 86-83 at home by the Utah Valley University.
Seiferth scored 14 points, had 9 rebounds and made 6 blocks in 34 minutes.
He has very impressive stats this year: 17.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.1apg and 1.3spg in the 12 games.
#7.Ben Rice (195-F-90, agency: Z.A.G. - Law Offices, currently plays in Israel) couldn't help Bnei Hasharon in their game against Maccabi Rishon in the Israeli Winner League.
Rice recorded 8 points and added 4 assists.
His team was defeated 91-76.
He has relatively good stats this season: 11.3ppg, 3.2rpg and 1.5apg.
Rice has dual citizenship: Israeli and German.
#8.Kiril Wachsmann (203-C/F-83, agency: Edge Sports, college: Iona, currently plays in Spain) couldn't help Melilla Baloncesto in their game against Meridiano Alicante in the Spanish LEB Gold (second division). Despite his good performance on Sunday night He was the second best scorer with 12 points. Wachsmann also added 7 rebounds.
Wachsmann is ranked fourth on the list of the best rebounders in the league.
His total stats this season are: 8.9ppg, 7.5rpg and 1.3apg.
#9.Joachim Thoss (201-C-81, currently plays in Philippines) contributed to a 3-point Alaska Aces' victory against the fifth-ranked Meralco Bolts 88-85 in the Filipino PBA in Wednesday night's game.
Thoss scored 12 points, had 6 rebounds and made 2 blocks in 27 minutes.
Thoss is currently third on the league's list of best blockers with 1.1bpg.
He also averaged so far 9.1ppg, 6.3rpg and 2.3apg in the nine games.
Thoss has dual citizenship: German and Filipino.
#10.Jonathan Mesghna (198-F-89, currently studies in the States) contributed to Maine's victory against the Siena College 72-66 in the NCAA on Sunday night.
Mesghna scored 9 points in 33 minutes.
Mesghna averaged so far 12.1ppg and 6.7rpg in the 15 games.
He has German and Eritrean nationalities.
Pro A team Gotha have added Darrel Mitchell to help bolster their guard rotation. Mitchell is a 32 year old 181 cm point guard from St. Martinville, Louisiana that is playing his tenth professional season and started the season with top French team AS Monaco Basket (France-ProA) where he played 25 games averaging 4.2ppg, 3.4apg. He has unending experience having played in countries like Turkey, Lithuania, Cyprus, Ukraine, and Belgium [read more]
Pro A team Gotha have added Darrel Mitchell to help bolster their guard rotation. Mitchell is a 32 year old 181 cm point guard from St. Martinville, Louisiana that is playing his tenth professional season and started the season with top French team AS Monaco Basket (France-ProA) where he played 25 games averaging 4.2ppg, 3.4apg. He has unending experience having played in countries like Turkey, Lithuania, Cyprus, Ukraine, and Belgium. "We got a player with leadership qualities and that is exactly what we need now", stressed Wolfgang Heyder.
When taking a closer look at the beautiful bustling coastal town of Monte Carlo, one of the last things that one would mention would be their basketball team AS Monaco. The first things that pop into mind about the chic town Monte Carlo is the glitz and money that it has to offer not to mention the sheer beauty of the French Riviera coupled with the picturesque mountains that lend the perfect back drop to a place that many people dream of just being able to visit one day. Other highlights... [read more]
When taking a closer look at the beautiful bustling coastal town of Monte Carlo, one of the last things that one would mention would be their basketball team AS Monaco. The first things that pop into mind about the chic town Monte Carlo is the glitz and money that it has to offer not to mention the sheer beauty of the French Riviera coupled with the picturesque mountains that lend the perfect back drop to a place that many people dream of just being able to visit one day. Other highlights about Monte Carlo is the Formula One race that takes place each year or the posh Monte Carlo casino or spending a free hours in front of the famous Hotel De Paris to see just how many celebrities one can spot. Many also come to Monte Carlo to get a taste of their royal family and to see if they can spot prince Albert. One also can try to come up with a list of how many famous people have lived there over the years to save on taxes as the list is massive as guys like Boris Becker brought it into fashion already in the 80's while over the years a handful of Formula One drivers have called this dream world home. However Monte Carlo also has a basketball team AS Monaco that after numerous years of having totally fallen in obscurity falling from the France Pro A and having played as far back as the fourth division only five years ago moved back to the elite division in 2015 and right away made a bang winning the regular season crown, but falling in the playoffs in the semi-finals. This season the club has found back to it's success from last season and is a top the France pro A with a record of 9-2 and in the Champions League is 6-1 . The club is also known as being a type of recluse for former BBL players as their present roster boasts four players where Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson has faced two. He could of faced three with Zack Wright, but was injured during the 2013-2014 season embarrassing 73-43 loss in Bamberg . Ex Maryland (NCAA) star Nik Caner-Medley's first team as a rookie in 2005 was the Artland Dragons. Robertson faced Jamal Shuler in the 2009-2010 season where Shuler played his last in the BBL for Trier before heading to France for good, and had most of his duels against California native John Bryant when he played with Ulm and Munich from 2010-2016. Shuler got the last laugh on Robertson at the 2010 BBL Allstar game slam dunk contest in Bonn winning the crown. Robertson and the Fraport Skyliners split the season series in each season from 2010-2016 with John Bryant but the big man that got the nickname big country during his years in Germany got the better of both in 2015 winning in the playoffs 3-1. AS Monaco came to Frankfurt reeling off a 98-83 loss against Paris, while the Fraport Skyliners entered the game with new focus and life after snapping their 6 game BBL losing streak with an exciting one point win in Braunschweig. AS Monaco was without Jamal Shuler who was nursing an injury and stayed in Monte Carlo and apparently they didn't need him as they gutted out a 70-64 win in Champions League action. Quantez Robertson wasn't only disappointed with the loss but also that he couldn't get revenge on Jamal Shuler as he also beat him two seasons ago in the Eurochallenge Top 4. The Fraport Skyliners coughed up the ball 22 times including nine times in the third quarter and Robertson had four in the first quarter. 'It is always nice to play against familiar faces that you have played against before. You may not know them personally, but it's always fun. Shuler is a good player. I remember the dunk contest in Bonn. I really thought that I got robbed.Derek Raivio gave him a soccer pass and the crowd went crazy and he caught it on the second bounce. I guess soccer is big in Europe and that helped him. We had too many turnovers. We also were unable to move the ball well in clutch situations. I think I might have had four turnovers in one quarter in college. Tonight I tried to make the big play too much instead of the right play', stressed Quantez Robertson. AS Monaco didn't play their best basketball, but played best at the crucial moments. 'We didn't defend well in the first half. We stepped up our defense in the second half and made shots', expressed AS Monaco Basket point guard Dee Bost (188-PG-89, college: Mississippi St., agency: Three Eye Sports).'We were in this game. We had some calls not go our way, but we had 22 turnovers which was a big difference and we got beat on rebounds', stressed ex Maryland (NCAA) forward Ekene Ibekwe.
The Fraport Skyliners started off the game with back to back turnovers, but got the early lead as German Niklas Kiel scored in transition. AS Monaco didn't execute on their first three possessions, but then got a Bost free throw and took their first lead when ex ratiopharm ulm center John Bryant made a tip in off his own miss. Robertson then made a spectacular block on ex Bamberg guard Zack Wright and later had difficultly making a dunk in the second half. 'I should have dunked on Zack', smiled Quantez Robertson. Monaco kept the lead despite Frankfurt getting a dunk from Robertson and Kiel 20 footer, but didn't retake the lead until ex Nebraska (NCAA) forward Shavon Shields dropped a three pointer and Frankfurt led 9-7. However that lead didn't last long as Amara Sy dunked and ex Artland Dragon Nik Caner-Medley made a trey for the 13-9 advantage. Frankfurt tied the game as another ex Artland Dragon Antonio Graves scored in bunches. Zach Wright who had had a tough first quarter missing his first four shots and registering three turnovers finally connected on a three pointer and AS Monaco had the slim 18-15 lead. 'We didn't take good care of the ball, but then started to move the ball better which led to baskets', added Fraport Skyliner Junior Travis Thompson. AS Monaco was shooting 31% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 33% from outside. AS Monaco had the 13-8 rebound edge and each team had four turnovers.
In the second quarter, basketball once proved again why it is a game of runs as AS Monaco had the first run of the second quarter and Frankfurt the second to recapture the lead at the break. AS Monaco got their offense to function going on a 11-3 run to start the second quarter to lead 29-18. In the run, the French team got massive production from ex Mississippi State guard Dee Bost who supplied eight points including two three pointers. He had been close getting to the NBA in 2014 and 2015 as he was in preseason camp with Portland and Utah, but as of now has become content on focusing on his European career. It didn't rattle him any that an NBA scout was in attendance as he has put his NBA career on the back burner. Also in the run, AS Monaco got a clutch trey from 2009 Atlanta Hawk draft pick Sergii Gladyr. In the last two seasons, Frankfurt had guys like Justin Cobbs and Jordan Theodore that could score in bunches when needed and this season that player is Shavon Shields. Shields may only be a rookie, but has no fear and plays like a veteran. He drove Frankfurt back on a huge 16-2 run to lead 34-33 at halftime. In the run, he pushed his own points button as he contributed nine points. He got to the free throw line twice, nailed a trey and a step back jumper. Frankfurt regained the momentum in the run and got further production from American point guard Kwame Vaughn who nailed a three and served up a dime to Florida native Mike Morrison who made the hard two hand stuff. On defense, Frankfurt was defending with more heart and more consistently and erasing any easy shots for AS Monaco. 'Shields played very hard and got the offense in flow. Frankfurt got more comfortable on offense again which made it harder for AS Monaco to defend', stated Alaska native Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 41% from the field and 60% from the three point line while AS Monaco was shooting 32% from the field and 41% from the three point line. Both teams had 18 rebounds apiece, while Frankfurt had eight turnovers and AS Monaco had seven turnovers.
In the third quarter, both teams came out scoring nicely, but then hallway through, the Fraport Skyliners started to play basketball as if they were being scolded by the basketball God as nothing seemed to work anymore and the 10 minute fiasco resulted in nine turnovers. Frankfurt was fortunate that AS Monaco were unable to execute either and only led 50-47 after 30 minutes. Morrison and Bost traded buckets to dead lock the game at 36-36, but Frankfurt then found some daylight going on a 9-2 run to take the 45-38 lead. In the run, Frankfurt was fortified by Shields who made a reverse lay up, tap in off an own miss and free throws. German Max Merz also hit a trey. Last season, Frankfurt would have held the momentum and most likely decided the game, but this season that magnificent team harmony and confidence through all circumstances of a game are missing. Instead Frankfurt gave AS Monaco three gifts in the form of turnovers and the French team responded with consecutive three pointers from Amara Sy to cut the Frankfurt lead to 45-44. Robertson hit free throws, but the club continued to get no offensive rhythm and couldn't hit anything and once again AS Monaco punished them with back to back three's from Zack Wright to lead 50-47 after three quarters. 'We played Sunday against Paris being up 9 and lost. We didn't want this to happen again tonight. We wanted to come out strong and withstand them and we felt we would be ok. We didn't underestimate Frankfurt. We defended very well and had the lead back', stressed Dee Bost. 'We didn't execute in the middle of the third. We got out of our plays, didn't move the ball well and didn't know when to shoot. We were too aggressive on defense', stressed Quantez Robertson. AS Monaco was shooting 31% from the field and 43% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 41% from the field and 57% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 28-24 rebound edge, but had 17 turnovers while AS Monaco had 11 turnovers. The fourth quarter was tight with three lead changes, but in the last four minutes, AS Monaco were the calmer and more clever team and just hit shots when they had to. The Fraport Skyliners fought back retaining the lead 52-51 through a Kiel dunk on transition and a Shields trey, but that was short lived as Dee Bost nailed a trey as AS Monaco led 54-52 again. Robertson had a good phase as he scored twice getting the second back door pass of the game from Morrison and making a turn around shot giving Frankfurt the 56-55 advantage. However ex Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv (Israel-Premier League) forward Nik Caner-Medley hit a huge three for the fourth lead change of the fourth quarter as AS Monaco would never look back again. AS Monaco did a good job getting to the free throw line preserving their lead. It also didn't help the fortunes of the Fraport Skyliners either that starting point guard Kwame Vaughn fouled out at the 4,58 minute mark. Sy and Galdyr hit free throws extending the AS Monaco lead to 65-60. Now one could see the first fans get up and exit the Fraport arena, but with less than two minutes to go, Max Merz kept the Frankfurt hopes alive with a massive trey to cut the AS Monaco lead to 65-63. After one Shields free throw, Morrison fouled out and Wright extended the AS Monaco lead to 68-64. Merz then missed on the drive which led to a Wright free throw. AS Monaco then secured the offensive rebound which led to a Bost free throw. Robertson closed out the game missing on what would have been the dunk of the century. 'It wasn't easy, but we gutted it out. And it went to the wire. The score doesn't show it, but it felt more like a one point difference', stated Dee Bost. 'Despite the loss, I felt that Merz did a good job coming in an executing and hitting that deep three at the end. After that we gave them too many free throws and gave them a few offensive rebounds which broke us down', stressed Quantez Robertson. AS Monaco was led by Dee Bost with 19 points. Zach Wright added 16 points and Amara Sy had 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Shavon Shields with 24 points while Quantez Robertson added 13 points. AS Monaco shot 30% from the field and 44% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 40% from the field and 46% from outside. AS Monaco won the rebound battle 38-34 and had 14 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 22 times.
Willie Deane(188-PG-80, college: Purdue, agency: Higher Vision Sports) is a 36 year old 188cm point guard that is playing his 14th professional season and second with BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL). He has played in 11 countries in Greece, Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, France and Latvia. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Boston College (NCAA) and then moved to Purdue where he played from 2000-2003 playing a total of 91 NCAA games and as a senior... [read more]
Willie Deane (188-PG-80, college: Purdue, agency: Higher Vision Sports) is a 36 year old 188cm point guard that is playing his 14th professional season and second with BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL). He has played in 11 countries in Greece, Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, France and Latvia. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Boston College (NCAA) and then moved to Purdue where he played from 2000-2003 playing a total of 91 NCAA games and as a senior played 30 games averaging 17.8ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 78.2%. Last season he played for STB Le Havre (France-ProA) playing FIBA Europe Cup: 9 games: 13.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 58.7%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 84.6%; French ProA: 15 games: 9.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.4apg, 2FGP: 50.6%, 3FGP: 12.5%, FT: 87.0%, in Mar.'16 moved to BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL) playing 18 games: Score-2 (15.9ppg), 3.6rpg, Assists-2 (5.1apg), Steals-3 (1.8spg), FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 81.3%. He spoke to eurobasket before the Champions League game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Oldenburg.
Willie thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome back to Oldenburg. You don't have the fondest memories losing a Eurochallenge quarterfinal best of 3 to the EWE baskets in March 2013 with Khimik-OPZ Yuzny (Ukraine-Superleague). What memories do you have of this series? I remember that we were in the game, but Rickey Paulding had a big game that got them through it.
Who was more annoying on the court Julius Jenkins or Ricky Paulding? Jenkins had big games in game one and three and Paulding steered 24 points in game three.
The most important game was game three where Paulding showed up. We had done a good job keeping him quiet for the first two games, but his contribution in game three allowed them to advance.
What memory do you have of ex teammate big man Miro Todic from that team? Miro was a real good dude. I remember him as being very versatile and he could play the positions three and four and stretch the floor. He was a very good physical player.
You started your professional career in 2003. Have you seen any other places in Germany or has Oldenburg been the only place you have spent time with? I played against the Artland Dragons when I was with Bulgarian team Lukoil.
You are 36 years old and still putting up stats as if you were 28. What motivates you to keep going and going?
I love to play the game of basketball. There is this misconception in Europe that once a player turns 30 that he can't play anymore. I am living proof that that isn't the case.
Besides keeping your body in shape why do you believe that you have been able to have such a long career?
I think that part of it is luck. Nobody can predict injuries and basketball is just an unknown thing. You go to play each day hoping for the best and too always come out after each game without a serious injury.
Often a player's game goes down with age. What has been your secret to having the fountain of consistency in you? I noticed that the older I got, the more that I had to do in the summers in terms of fitness. When I was younger, I could take off longer periods of time. When your older you have less time to be able to come back. You are more susceptible to injury as your body isn't used to getting back to that high intensity.
You won four titles in Bulgaria and one in France and Italy. What drives you on to keep playing? Does winning titles increase a bit more with age? Basketball is a team game. The teams success is measured by how much you can accomplish. I believe that individual awards don't belong in basketball. Basketball isn't an individual sport, but a team sport. I never understood why they give individual awards to players in a game that is a team sport.
You have played in 11 countries for 14 teams. Do you at times feel like a basketball globetrotter? What do you say to critics who might suggest that you change too much during seasons from one team to another that might be on account of your character? I guess you could say it hasn't hindered teams from various countries to offer me jobs.
Every team that I ever played for wanted me to stay. The reasons for me not staying with teams over my career had nothing to do with my character. In many cases, they weren't able to afford me further at that moment. It was nothing against me, but just part of the business.
You are playing for a team with a rich basketball tradition. What kind of experience has it been for you playing for this team and does one feel the tradition in and around the city?
It's a very small town so everybody knows about the team. There is a lot of pressure on the team to hold down the tradition, but we are up to the challenge and we work very hard together each day to keep the tradition up.
BK Ventspils have a 10-1 record in the LBL league. What has been the secret to being at the top? Does the competition level suffer a bit to really give the team tough opponents on a regular basis? You would think so, but that isn't the case. When you have the best record, everyone is out to get you and prove you wrong. Many teams find that extra energy to compete against us which is something you wouldn't have thought possible when looking at their roster.
BK Ventspils is 3-4 in the Champions League and playing better than their record shows. What has been the biggest difference in this competition in comparison to the LBL league?
The biggest difference is the budget of the teams. In Germany teams might be able to afford 6 Americans while in the LBL league maybe 2-3 Americans. The teams are also deeper in the Champions league.
In the 2013-2014 season you played the majority of the season with Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB, starting five): 20 games: Score-5 (18.4ppg), 4.8rpg, Assists-4 (7.0apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 83.9%, in May'14 moved to EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-SerieA): 1 game: 2pts, 1ast. You came and won. In the short time you were there what did you feel was so special about that constellation of players?
The special thing about the Milan team was their depth. We had very good Italian players like Melli who is with Bamberg now and we had American keith Langford. He was pretty dominant then and still playing well today. We also had a very good coach.
In the 2010-2011 season you won the France Pro A with Sluc Nancy. How much fun was it playing with diminutive point guard John Linehan? Where do you rank him in all-time best guard teammates as a professional? He is probably the best full court defender I have ever seen. He made guys not want to dribble the ball at him. Guys would be resistant to bringing the ball up the court.
You were with the Washington Wizards (NBA) in preseason in 2007. What kind of experience was that for you and did you feel you realistically had a chance of making the team? I know that basketball wise I should have made it. It was just the wrong time for me. It was a time when Gilbert Arenas was about to enter free agency and the club wanted to open up as much cap space as possible. They didn't keep anyone. Not even guys from the previous season. For me it was a great experience learning from guys like Antwan Jamison, Caron Butler, Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Hayward.
You won the Bulgarian title from 2008-2010 with Lukoil Academik Sofia. Which title was most difficult to win?
The first one was the most special. We had accomplished two things that season that had never been done before in Bulgaria. We had an undefeated season and reached the last 16 in ULEB Cup.
You put up huge stats in this time. Was this your strongest phase as a professional in terms of your game?
I think my strongest season was with Volgograd where I led the VTB in efficiency was first in assists and second in scoring.
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in 2003 in Europe with Ilysiakos Athens (Greece-A) where you knew that you were very far away from home?
My wake up call was not getting paid all the time. That was one of the reasons that I never went back to play. But loved Athens and it was the most fun I had in Europe. The Greek league don't have their finances in order.
You played three and a half years in Russia. What was the craziest experience that you ever had there with weather? We went to play in Siberia and it was -40C
You started your college basketball career in 1998 at Boston College and then transferred to Purdue where you played from 2000-2003. How did head coach Gene Keady groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Keady preached discipline and details. He enforced it and made you aware of it. He helped me develop further as a player at Purdue.
What memories do you have of then freshman David Teague? He won the scoring title in Germany in 2010 and once lit up Alba Berlin for 35 points. Did you already notice then that he had a scoring gene growing in him? Yes he always had that' scoring instinct from the first day that he came. I saw him as a recruit. He was a great scorer and was pretty tall for a two guard which allowed him to shoot over smaller defenders.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that made the NBA? The best guy I ever saw, I didn't play against. I was red shirted and saw Jamal Crawford put on a show at Michigan. I knew form that game that he would be going to the NBA.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
I like big men. My top three would be Kareem, Hakeem Olajuwon and Jordan.
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
He and Magic are the top two most versatile of all-time for me.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
I see him at the top with Tim Duncan, Karl Malone and Kevin Mchale.
What was the last movie that you saw? I saw two documentaries Vaxxed and 13th.
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