Some Beko BBL teams are fortunate to get those special gems that would sweeten any womans Christmas with those special jewels snuggled under their Christmas tree. I am not talking about hard rocks, but those extra special players that will make the difference on and off the court between getting far in the playoffs or just losing 3-0 in the first round. Alba Berlin has Nihad Djedovic who is possibly the biggest European talent from the birth year 1990, FC Bayern Munich has Yotam Halperin who has that special Euroleague stamp engraved on his body, the Brose Baskets Bamberg has ex NBA player Bostjan Nachbar that has played 305 NBA games and might be the best player the Beko BBL has seen since Wendel Alexis and the s.Oliver Baskets have versatile Dwayne Anderson (198-F-86, college: Villanova) who has been carrying the team this season the best he can. Anderson is a 26 year old 198cm forward is playing his fourth professional season and third in Germany. He got his early basketball experience in the NCAA playing for Villanova where he had spectacular teammates like Reggie Redding and Corey Stokes, but seemed to be a bit in the shadow of future NBA player Dante Cunningham. There he was a member of teams reaching the NCAA final 8 and Sweet 16. He came as a rookie to BG Goettingen in 2009 as ex BG Goettingen head coach John Patrick understood his raw talent and gave him a chance. In his two years in Goettingen, he led the team to two Beko BBL playoff appearances and was an instrumental player in the 2010 Eurochallnge win. Last season, he played for Morpho Basket Piacenza (Italy-Lega2) playing 32 games and averaging 15.4ppg, Reb-2 (8.2rpg), 1.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 72.5%. There he kept up his dominating play and decided to return back to Germany this season to Wurzburg. Just how important John Patrick was for bringing the American isnt too clear, but if Anderson sought any advice where to play this season, one could assume that their paths crossed. If the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg will have success like last season, it will take a team effort, but a big factor where the team lands at the end of the season could be effected by the play of Dwayne Anderson. It doesnt really matter who you talk to, but the positive remarks about the American come as quickly as tennis balls are fired out of a tennis ball machine. It was also no surprise, that John Patrick still had sweet memories of the forward form his time in Goettingen. He came in as a rookie to Goettingen and developed quickly. Dwayne is a great teammate and loves to compete and likes the physical play. He worked on his shot during his time at Goettingen. Every coach wants a guy like him. He was a Eurocup first team player two seasons ago and he is on his way again showing that he is a top European player. I remember a game in Treviso where he had 21 points in the first half and destroyed 2011 Timberwolves draft pick Donatas Motiejunas. He is a guy that has the same routine each day, going to the barber, getting groceries and just saying hi to everybody. He is a very unique guy, stressed 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Patrick. When I was a freshman, Anderson was a junior and he took me under his wing. I looked up to him like a big brother. He was one of the hardest working players that I have ever seen. I remember our coach telling him that he would never play for Villanova, but Dwayne worked harder and proved them all wrong and became one of the best players in the NCAA. Redding was one of the best defensive players that I ever played with, stressed ex BBC Bayreuth player Corey Stokes. It was fun playing with Dwayne. He was so athletic and I remember how aggressive he was attacking the rim and getting rebounds. I talk to him a lot now. He is a good player and guy. I am looking forward to playing against him and my buddy Allan Ray of Ulm, added Walter Tiger Tuebingen American Reggie Redding.
Basketball in Wurzburg was more or less born in 1997 as the club came into the beko BBL mostly due to a 19 year old tall blond talent named Dirk Nowitzki. The team stayed in the top German league until 2005 as it developed future German national players with Robert Garrett, Demond Greene and Marvin Willoughby. The team then wasnt able to successfully stay in the league and also had a dark ominous cloud of bankruptcy hovering over the team. However the club was able to escape any financial problems and started new in the second Bundesliga as Mainfranken Basket. The club wanted to rely on German players, but this experiment failed as they won only one game and departed the second league. The team then rechanged their name to the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and started new again in the Regionaliga and the club steadily started their rise back to the Beko BBL first reaching the PRO B in the 2008-2009 season winning all 24 games in the Regionaliga. In 2009-2010, the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg reached third place in the PRO B and had some fortune as the Hertener were financially unable to play in the PRO A, so the Wurzburg team was able to move up to the PRO A after all. Their dramatic rise continued in the PRO A as they finished the season in second place with a record of 21-7 and reaching the Beko BBL again after 6 years of being away.
The first order of business in Wurzburg last season was finding a head coach and the team did that reeling in American John Patrick early in the summer. Patrick started to quickly build his new team, but as the new season approached his roster looked very much different than two months earlier as some players that had been signed had to go. Americans Patrick Flomo (Gloria Giants), Tim Burnette (Furstenfeld, Austria), Achmadschah Zazai (Giessen 46ers) and American Mike Tisdale had to pack their bags early and in the meantime, the American hauled in new players with Chris Kramer and Robert Tomaszek. The way Patrick functions may not always be favorable to a player, but in the long run, he has had success with his style of players and should know best. Coach has his way and his ways seem to be successful and if a player doesnt fit into what he is trying to accomplish why should he keep him. It is his team and his system and he knows what is best for his team, warned John Bynum. Patrick did a smooth and intelligent act bringing in three ex Goettingen players with Jason Boone, Ben Jacobson and John Little who won the Eurochallenge in 2010 and have much experience that will help the younger players in Wurzburg. Anytime you have a familiar face in your corner it is always a good thing because you know things about the guys already instead of bringing in guys that you may not know about besides their stats. Character takes you a long way and if you already know what your getting then it is an advantage, warned John Bynum. The best part about being reunited with these guys is the fact that we've become accustomed to a certain level of success. And any time one of us, or our teammates is not 100% focused on pursuing that level, we are there to put each other in check. We missed a little of that last season in Gottingen but I'm confident Ben Jacobson will bring that back with him. He brings the best out of John and I, added Jason Boone. Patrick also brought in talented Americans Gilbert Brown (was waived after 8 games, 4,3ppg and 1,8rpg) and Rickey Harris and also wants to show his love for German youth development by bringing in Oliver Clay and Alex King who isnt 18 anymore, but is a player who fills out his role well. Ivan Elliot might be one of the big winners in the roster, because last season he was in the Beko BBL with Bremerhaven got cut and went to the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg helping the team reach the PRO A. Patrick decided to keep the American and already has become an important force this season. The team recently also added Chester Frazier who is no unknown player to the Beko BBL.
The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg got off to a superb start last season of 2-0 beating an always tough defensive minded TBB Trier and crushing the LTi Giessen 46ers 85-60 in the Osthalle. In the 73-67 win against TBB Trier, they showed their defensive qualities forcing TBB Trier to 16 turnovers and In Giessen held a new formed 46er team to 60 points holding them to 38% from the field and 29% from the parking lot while forcing 21 turnovers. American Rickey Harris has quietly been the go to guy amassing 43 points total in the first two games. John Patrick had been known in his years in Goettingen to play a special brand of basketball called 40 minutes of hell where his team plays pressure pressure and pressure bringing the opponent often to the brink of despair. Last season, the 40 minutes of hell seemed to have dipped to 20-25 minutes of hell. If Patrick will have this pressure play in Wurzburg like he had in Goettingen is hard to say, but his pressure style will somehow always be in his blood. I think the pressure was more in Gottingen but dont let that comment think that you dont see a lot of pressure. They disrupt your flow of the game and often you have to rush your sets because you get the ball back to the point guard with around 17-18 seconds and thats what you have to work with your offense, warned John Bynum. Can John Patrick make the s.Oliver Baskets a steady playoff team the way he did with BG Goettingen? Wurzburg can be a playoff team if they protect their home court and get some away teams. Their type of play differs from most teams in the league and teams struggle playing against them, added John Bynum last season. After the loss to the Fraport Skyliners, Wurzburg had a very strong stretch having a 5-2 record. They had big home wins against ratiopharm Ulm and the Telekom Baskets Bonn and showed that they were nothing like a team that might have problems staying in the Beko BBL for a second season. Then came a dry spell as they lost three games in a row including only one of their two home losses of the season against Bamberg, a tough 73-70 road loss in Hagen. Since then the team won three of their last four games including huge home wins against FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin. Wurzburg continued to a very strong home team having a 8-1 record in their living room and it seems like Patrick had brought some of that magic invincible aura from the Lokhalle to the s.Oliver arena. Wurzburg also lets up a league best lowest 67 points per game. Wurzburg then lost possibly one of the best games of the season for the Fraport Skyliners 56-51 as the word aggressive physical defense got a new name of SkyWur!. In the second half of the season, the team had a 10-6 season, but had a strong phase having a five game winning streak where they beat teams like Oldenburg and Bonn. They seemed a bit tired at the end of the season registering a 3-5 record, but it wasnt embarrassing as they lost to top teams Berlin, Bamberg and Munich. They finished the season in sixth place with a record of 20-14. They entered the Beko BBL playoffs against eight time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin and made a huge upset sending the team home with a 3-1 win and once again denying the German capital team a title dating back to 2009. In the semi-finals against ratiopharm Ulm, they seemed to have little gas left in the tank getting swept 3-0. Only the fewest ever expected such a strong season which can be credited to John Patrick once again understanding how to form a competitive team and making the best out of his players and having success.
Soon after the playoff loss to Ulm, a very interesting and surprising development occurred as the team let successful head coach John Patrick go. It was hard to believe that the team and head coach would go separate ways, but for the insider it was clear that there seemed to be clear differences between management and the head coach. Both sides rather stayed silent to what happened and both sides didnt destroy each other in the media either as no one dragged the other side into quick sand. The club decided to name assistant coach Marcel Schroder as head coach. Schroeder was no unknown coach as he had already experienced success with the Bavarian team leading them to the Beko BBL in 2011 from the PRO A. Schroeder is a coach that breathes basketball 24 hours a day and surely gained experience learning from John Patrick. The club was able to increase their player budget from last season, have built a more potent team than last season, kept a healthy core of players and the goal remains reaching the Beko BBL playoffs. The club kept the three BG Goettingen amigos Americans beast under the basket Jason Boone, versatile Ben Jacobson and pitbull John Little who belongs to the top defenders in the league and was one of the most important players in the Alba Berlin series last year as he took a page out of 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood scoring as if he had been transformed in the Detroit natives body. The team also kept German Alex King who continues to develop well. Alex really has made his way in the Beko BBL after being only a role player averaging 5-10 minutes, stated John Patrick. Germans Oliver Clay, big talent Maximilian Kleber and experienced Chistoph Henneberger were also retained. The team lost important players like Americans Chris Kramer, Ivan Elliot and Ricky Harris. Losing team top scorer Chris Kramer hurt very much as he played with so much intensity on offense and defense and could change impact of a game. However the team did a super job filling these spots. The team added American Jimmy Mckinney who left the main in Frankfurt after six years. Mckinney is known as a deadly shooter and is looking to make the next step in Wurzburg being more of a go to guy than he was in Frankfurt. The team got Dwayne Anderson who belongs to the top five forward in the Beko BBL, German national player Chris Mcnaughton who is injured, but will form a nice center duo with Boone, experienced Lamont Mcintosh who celebrated much success with Artland Dragon teams including the 2008 Beko BBL cup and talented German Maurice Stuckey who is on loan from Bamberg where he will get more minutes than in Freak city. The biggest strength of the team will be that the team was formed early and many players were kept from last season. Why should the team change their style when it works. John Patrick practiced the quick aggressive style that he had had in Goettingen called 40 minutes of basketball hell. It was quite that extreme last season, but it was still used maybe 25 minutes of hell. Schroeder still likes to play like this, but so far this season, the team is still looking to come together as the team is parked in the middle field of the standings. Their offense is more versatile and unpredictable compared to last season. Weaknesses this season could be being able to play up to expectations. Also Schroeder is a young coach that is coaching his first season in the Beko BBL. The Eurocup season could leave marks in the second half of the season and injuries could also play a role as the team already found out early with the injury to Chris Mcnaughton.
The Fraport Skyliners have fond memories from the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg winning both games. The FRaport Skyliners squeaked out a 80-78 win at home as American Justin Gray won the game with a buzzer beater. Justin Gray led the Skyliners with 18 points while NBA player Jon Leuer chipped in with 17 points. Chris Kramer had 16 points while Ivan Elliot and ricky Harris contributed 13 points each. In the return game in Wurzburg in early January, the fans witnessed a gruesome hard fought battle in the trenches as no team wanted to give the other teams any gifts as Frankfurt prevailed 56-51. Frankfurt was led by Quantez Robertson with 12 points, Devin Gibson added 11 points and Jermario Davidson produced 10 points. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were led by Ben Jacobson with 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners want to win their second game in a row and extend their winning streak against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg who have lost five of their lasts even games and are coming off a 69-62 loss against TBB Trier at home. Fraport Sklyiner Devin Gibson remembers the defensive battle win in Wurzburg last season and knows what the team will need to do to win their second game in a row. We will have to play defense, defense, defense and pressure, pressure pressure to win, smiled Devin Gibson.
The s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg are led by Jason Boone who is a 27 year old 198cm power forward/center from Sugar Loaf, New York who played four seasons with Goettingen and is playing his second season in Wurzburg. Four years ago, he made the jump from the Regionalliga to the BBL, which is similar as if a professional baseball player jumped from A ball to MLB. In 2010-2011 for BG Goettingen, he played 37 games: 8.5ppg, 5.9rpg, FGP: 59.8%, FT: 34.9%; EuroCup: 14 games: 9.1ppg, 6.2rpg, Blocks-4 (1.1bpg), FGP: 59.8%, FT: 36.0% . Jason Boone is a strong athlete who likes to finish around the rim and is not a shooter at all. One should give him the jump shot and dont let him penetrate. He is a strong offensive rebounder and goes to the boards each time. He isnt a good free throw shooter and dont give him any easy layups. One should attack him on defense and despite his athletic body, doesnt move his feet so well and he is foul prone, Frankfurt still will have to keep an eye on him in the paint, added 2009 Beko BBL top scorer Omari Westley. Boone is probably one of the strongest low post players in the BBL. He can move anybody with his strength down low, added Ricky Hickman who is playing for Macabbi Tel Aviv. I always want to improve my game, and I feel like coming into this season fully healthy will help me establish myself as a top center in this league. In retrospect I think, on a personal level, 2010-2011 was a "down" year for me, but it taught me a, commented Jason Boone. Last season for Wurzburg, Boone played 40 games: 8.7ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 53.6%, FT: 52.4. Ben Jacobson is a 28 year old 188cm guard that is a big Time Point Guard, very good defender and a great scorer who can create his own shot that is playing his second season in Wurzburg. Before coming to BG Goettingen in 2007, he played at Northern Iowa with teammate John Little and in other German places like Erdgas Ehingen and the Mitteldeutscher BC. His most successful season was 2009-2010 where he helped BG Goettingen win the Eurochallenge. In 2010-2011 he played for Ikaros Kallitheas (Greece-A1, starting five), only pre-season, in Dec.'10 moved to Boulazac Basket Dordogne (France-ProB, starting five): 19 games: 12.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 34.9%. Last season for Wurzburg, he played 40 games: 8.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 65.7%.
The third member to arrive from BG Goettingen in 2011 is John Little who is a 28 year old 180cm guard from Peoria, Illinois. He played four seasons with BG Goettingen. He played at Northern Iowa from 2002-2006. In 2007-2008, he wanted to play for the Peoria Kings of the ABA league, but the team folded, so he returned to Northern Iowa and finished the season as assistant coach. Last season, he played EuroCup: 9 games: 6.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT: 80.0%; German League: 33 games: 6.3ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 21.0%, FT: 75.0% Little is their energy guy. He brings a lot of energy and athletic ability from the bench. He doesnt have much of a shot and likes to drive to the hoop and finish at the rim. He is a good rebounder for his size. He is possibly the best defender on the team. He has long arms and plays the passing lanes well and is their best on ball defender, stressed Omari Westley. He is probably one of the scrappiest players in the league and always plays hard and gives 100% every minute on the court, added Ricky Hickman. Last season for Wurzburg, he played 41 games: 9.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 64.1%. The team brought in American Jimmy Mckinney who is a 29 year old 192cm shooting guard from St Louis who is cousins with ex Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon. Mckinney is a s a solid knock-down shooter, but also can score from penetration and with rim-rattling dunks. He played at Missouri from 2002-2006 where he was a teammate of NBA player Linas Kleiza. He played a total of 133 NCAA Games. He played for the Frankfurt Skyliners from 2006-2012 playing a total of 218 games reaching the 2008 Beko BBL semi final and 2010 Beko BBL final where hew a son the floor in a tough game 5 loss in Bamberg. Last season for Frankfurt he played EuroCup: 6 games: 14.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 92.3%; German League: 34 games: 13.2ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 84.0%.
The team also hauled in Lamont Mcintosh who is a 30 year old 190cm guard from Georgia that is playing his ninth professional season and first in Wurzburg. He played at Georgia Tech from 2000-2004. In his first two seasons he played for the Southern Crescent Lightning (WBA) and then went to Europe to play for the Scottish Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL). In 2005, he showed that he could play in a more higher league playing for Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-D1): 28 games: 15.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 51.0%. He then played for the Artland Dragons from 2006-2009 reaching the playoffs each season. In 2009-2010, he played for Politekhnika-Halychyna Lviv (Ukraine-Superleague) 20 games: 16.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 73.8%. In 2001-2011, he played for Enosi Kalathosfairisis Kavalas (Greece-A1, starting five): 25 games: 7.1ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 80.8%. Last season, he played for AZS Koszalin (Poland-PLK): 14 games: 11.2ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 85.2%. Christopher Mcnaughton is a 29 year old 211cm center. He is a true back-to-the-basket big man, but does possess good mobility for his size. He started his basketball career in the Bamberg system in 2000 playing 35 games for TSV Troester Breitengrussbach in the second Bundesliga. He then played at Bucknell from 2003-2007. After getting valuable experience in the NCAA, he played two years in Spain before moving to BG Goettingen in 2009-2010. He helped the club win the Eurochallenge and scoring 22 points in the final. He played EuroChallenge: 15 games: 8.9ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 61.4%, FT: 71.1%; German League: 37 games: 7.4ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 62.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 71.4%. In 2010-2011, he played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg playing EuroCup: 6 games: 5.8ppg, 2.8rpg, FGP: 55.6%, FT; German League: 39 games: 5.0ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 80.7%. At the World Championships in Turkey in 2010, he played 5 games: 5.4ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 58.8%, FT: 77.8%. Currently, he is averaging 10,3ppg and 5,6rpg. Last season, for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven he played 34 games: 12.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 61.9%, FT: 79.0%.
The s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg also has its share of German players including Alex King who moved to his third Beko BBL team Wurzburg in 2011. King is a 27 year old 200cm forward from Munich, Germany. King started his basketball career in Frankfurt playing for The Deutsche Bank Skyliners from 2002-2008. In that span he won the German league title in 2004 and was a finalist in 2005 and played a total of 129 BBL games for Frankfurt. He played for the Telekom Baskets Bonn from 2008-20011 playing a total of 101 Beko BBl games. In 2010-2011 for Bonn he played EuroChallenge: 6 games: 2.5ppg, 4.0rpg; German League: 31 games: 4.9ppg, 2.3rpg. Last season for Wurzburg, he played 41 games: 4.8ppg, 3.0rpg. The team also brought in young German Oliver Clay in 2011 who is a 25 year old 205cm power forward/center from Berlin. He started his basketball career in 2006 for TUS Lichterfelde Berlin (2.Bundesliga): 25 games: 3.2ppg, 2.7rpg. He then played for Alba Berlin playing mostly for the Regionaliga team where he was German Regionalliga (North Group) Champion in 2010. In 2010-2011, he played for TBB Trier (1.Bundesliga): 33 games: 2.5ppg, 1.9rpg. Last season for Wurzburg he played 22 games: 1.9ppg, 1.1rpg. Christoph Henneberger also stayed with the team. Henneberger is a 28 year old 188cm guard who has seen the ups and downs of Wurzburg basketball since 2003. Last season, he played 11 games: 0.8ppg. The team also has young talented Maximilian Klebber on the roster who is a 20 year old 196cm forward. He started his basketball career in 2008 with SCH Wuerzburg Baskets (Regionalliga). Last season he played 26 games: 3.1ppg, 1.2rpg. The team also brought in Maurice Stuckey who is a 22 year old 187cm guard that was born in Augsburg and is on loan from Bamberg. He started his basketball career in 2005 for BG Leitershofen. He then moved to Ehingen/Urspringschule (ProB), where he played from 2007-2009. In2009-2010, he played for Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB): 20 games: 17.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 62.4%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 85.3%, played also at Brose Baskets Bamberg (1.Bundesliga): 4 games: 1.3ppg. At the 2010 European Championships U20 in Croatia he played 9 games: 8.0ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.7apg, Steals-5 (2.2spg), FGP: 34.6%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 75.0%. In 2010-2011, he played German League: 35 games: 2.2ppg; Euroleague: 3 games: 2.3ppg; also played at TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB): 18 games: 14.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 77.5%. Last season he played 5 games for Bamberg averaging 1.6ppg; played also at TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB, starting five): 8 games: 8.8ppg, 2.8rpg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 85.7%. The team also has 20 year old 201cm forward Malte Herwig. Last season he played for BG Goettingen (1.Bundesliga): 7 games: 0.6ppg; EuroChallenge: 1 game: 0pts; played also for ASC 46 Goettingen (Regionalliga, starting five): 17 games: 7.6ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 56.3%, FT: 60.9%.
Karl Moore(203-PF-87, college: Culver Stockton) is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best... [read more]
Karl Moore (203-PF-87, college: Culver Stockton) is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best scoring games was 28 points against Hanau and 27 points against BG Karlsruhe. He played college ball at Schoolcraft Community College (JUCO), Rio Grande (NAIA), and Culver Stockton (NAIA). He spoke to eurobasket about basketball and his next experience with the Crailsheim Merlins.
Karl thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome back to Germany. You have been only a short time in Crailsheim, but what has been the biggest difference there to when you were a rookie in Saarlouis? Hello Miles! Thanks for the opportunity. The biggest difference are the times that we practice. While in Saarlouis, I practiced once a day with the Pro B team during the night. Here In Crailsheim, I practice three times a day. Twice with the Pro A team and once with the Regionaliga team. Physically it is tough but mentally I cant say that it's something that I can't survive, because right now there is a person in Africa growing up in conditions that I can't survive.
In Saarlouis you had the best German regionaliga player of all time Ricky Easterling on your side. Will his explosive scoring mentality and ability always for some reason be in your thoughts because he made you a better player as a rookie? Yes, Ricky is one of the best players that I played with throughout my professional career. He has taught me so much on and off the court. From the first day that we met, he saw how much potential that I have as a player and only wanted to see the best for me. A scoring machine like him will never be forgotten about.
He was also a vital part in pushing you the last months as you were looking for a new team. A week ago he gave you advice to go back to Germany and go for the Crailsheim offer. Is he a friend for life? Yes, Ricky is a friend for life. When first hearing about the Crailsheim opportunity through Hans Beth (basketball-aid), Ricky was one of the few people that I contacted for advice upon taking the opportunity. I knew that the Crailsheim offer was going to be another sacrifice for me and my family. But when I looked at the opportunity within this opportunity to move up, I noticed that God was up to something. Sometimes in life when we are trying to figure things out, God has already worked it out.
You have signed with Crailsheim (Regionaliga) team which in a way is a step back, but there is a twist in that you can practice with the pro A team and this will promote your game as well as get the chance to possibly make their roster. If I recall correctly, didn't you always feel like that you could play in the Pro A?
Yes, during my rookie year, I averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds from off the bench while shooting 60% from the field in less then 20 minutes of game playing at the Pro B level. During that time, I strongly felt as if I can easily compete on the Pro A level.
You dominated at Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2) last season, but how hungry are you to demonstrate your basketball abilities in your third professional season?
Last season, I averaged 34 points a game out in Luxembourg at the N2 level. Before going separate ways with the club. I had an opportunity to play against an N1 club during a cup game. I finished that game with 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 steals. Throughout my last two seasons, it felt as if I played with a chip on my shoulder which caused me to go hard for my team. Here I am in my third professional season and it feel as if I am in the underdog seat once again. The hunger is still there and it's go be interesting to see how far that it will take my God given abilities on the court once again as I help reach the club goals for this upcoming season.
How have the first few days been like in Crailsheim? Did you know any of the guys and how have the Pro A players taken you in?
The first few days for me in Crailsheim has been tough. My sleeping pattern is all messed and my body is trying to adjust to the three a day practices that I have to attend. Other than that, my time out here is going good so far. This club is very professional and family orientated, I feel as if we are one big family. I love the fact of that because back at home family is all I got. Last week was my first time meeting all the players. They have taken me in quickly. They seem to have a grasp of what I bring to the team and constantly give me advice throughout practice so that I can be up to speed with the team system.
You are playing with some very well known players that have performed at the BBL and Pro A level. Now that you are practicing with these very talented players how much is your self confidence rising in that you know that you can compete with them? I am a workaholic and within that territory comes confidence to compete on any level. Here in Crailsheim, while competing with these experienced guys in practice. I am still trying to figure out the team identity and players personal. In which causes me to think extremely a lot on the court which takes away from my ability. By next week, I am confident that I will have everything figured out in my head, which will then cause me to think less and the flow of things will become more smoothly.
You recently showed your abilities in an exhibition game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (BBL) in a 77-67 loss, but you held your own scoring 8 points in nine minutes. How happy were you with your own performance?
I wasn't happy with my own performance because we lost in a game that I felt was winnable. As a team we had made some mistakes in which we are correcting during practice. But I understand that it is still early and this is only preseason. With the great coaching staff that we have, the potential of this team will definitely be where it needs to be before regular season begin.
What have been the biggest differences in style that you have witnessed now at the BBL/Pro A level that you had never seen before as a professional? I don't see much of a different style but the players are much taller and stronger. Its like the higher the league the better the Germans are.
You played against many top players in Europe with guys like Chad Toppert or Alex Ruoff. Is at times difficult to calm your own emotions and not get too motivated about performing very well? To be honest with you I don't get excited when I am playing against top players. I know how to find motivation within myself regardless of how high or low the competition is. When out there playing against top players, my goal is grind harder than them. I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
What has it been like going against ex German national player Konrad Wysocki? He guarded Lebron James at the 2008 Olympics and at age 34 can still compete with the best of them? It was just another day in the office for me. He is getting up there with age but I believe that he still has the juice.
Patrick Flomo is a true professional and still lives above the rim at age 36. Is he a guy that you feel will be able to give you the right pointers as the season progresses? Patrick is a vet. He has been playing the game for quite some time. He even played Regionaliga as well before playing in top leagues. From the first day of practice, he gave me advice right away. Every right pointer that he has given me, I am quick to listen. He is one of the players that constantly stays on me during practice. I couldn't ask for a better teammate.
What things on your game are you working on in hopes that you can continue to be a consistent performer with the pro A guys and continue to compete for a role on the team of Thomas IIsalo? Let me start off by saying that coach Thomas is one hell of a coach. Very down to earth man. He understands the game of basketball inside out. I love his passion for the game in which makes me go harder when he feels as if we as a team is not playing to the best of our ability. Some of the things that I am working on is becoming a leader and being more under control with my quickness. I am an extremely athletic player in which causes me to be a little wild at times.
You obviously can't forget your duties with Regionaliga team Crailsheim 2. Could you feel some pressure down the road having to put up high consistent stats or can you erase those thoughts? Just because it's a regionaliga league, I don't think that it will just be a walk in the park but at the same time I don't feel under pressure at all. Coach Kai Buchmann is also a great coach and experienced being that he used to coach Pro A. He already gave me the blue print and I'm ready to go get it. Both clubs have one goal in mind which is to win nothing less than a championship. Throughout my last two professional seasons, I set all type of personal records to scoring 54 points in a game to grabbing over 20 rebounds. One thing that I haven't done yet was win a championship. I worked hard all summer before an opportunity was even given. Now it's time to go win that gold and hang a banner.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick? #1 LeBron James, #2 Michael Jordan, #3 Magic Johnson, #4 Wilt Chamberlain
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game? It puts him at #1 in my eyes.
When Shavon Shields (201-G-94) was born in 1994, his dad Will had just started his professional football career which would span 13 years and an amazing 12 pro Bowl appearances, but now 22 years later, his dad will be able to sit back and watch his son Shavon embark on a professional basketball career in Germany with the Fraport Skyliners. The club gave him a one year deal. His dad Will did the dirty work in the Kansas City Cheifs offense blocking and producing holes for the running backs... [read more]
When Shavon Shields (201-G-94) was born in 1994, his dad Will had just started his professional football career which would span 13 years and an amazing 12 pro Bowl appearances, but now 22 years later, his dad will be able to sit back and watch his son Shavon embark on a professional basketball career in Germany with the Fraport Skyliners. The club gave him a one year deal. His dad Will did the dirty work in the Kansas City Cheifs offense blocking and producing holes for the running backs like Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson to weave and gain yardage successfully while son Shavon will be responsible for scoring production as a rookie in Frankfurt. Shavon Shields (201-G-94) is a 22 year old 201cm forward from Olathe, Kansas that also has the Danish citzenship as his mother is Danish and had an illustrious college basketball career at Nebraska (NCAA) from 2012-2016 playing a total of 118 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 16.9ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 79.0%."Shavon was a 4 year starter at Nebraska in one of best divisions. He was captain there and comes from a big sports family. His play and academics are witness to a good charachter. He is an allrounder and tough. He does many small things not seen on the floor", expressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert. Shields was very consistent as a senior scoring in double figures in 26 of 29 games. He had some monster games against Purdue with 32 points, 28 points against powerhouse Michigan State and 28 points against ex Fraport Skyliner Anthony King's school Miami.
Shields started his basketball career at Nebraska in 2012 and as a freshman played 28 games averaging 8.6ppg, 5.1rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 67.6%. In his second season he played 30 games averaging 12.4ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%. In his junior season he played 31 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 19.5%, FT: 82.7%. After finishing at Nebraska, he played at the well known Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) in April playing 3 games averaging13.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.7apg, 2.3spg. Recently he played at the NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Orlando Blue): 2 games: 2.5ppg, 1.5rpg. "I spoke to coach Herbert about the program in Frankfurt. He said it was their goal to make players better and develop them further. He was overjoyed with everything happening in Frankfurt and I am looking forward to it. My task in college was to score and get to the basket. With Frankfurt I will do all that coach demands from me and what the team needs. I will give my best", stressed Shavon Shields.
Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been Danish U20 National Team -13, All-Big Ten Honorable Mention -14, Big Ten All-Sportsmanship Team -14, Capital One NCAA Division I Academic All-District 7 1st Team -15, Capital One NCAA Division I Academic All-America 1st Team -15, Danish National Team -15, CoSIDA NCAA Division I Academic All-District 7 1st Team -16, CoSIDA NCAA Division I Academic All-America 1st Team -16, All-Big Ten 2nd Team -16, and Big Ten All-Tournament Team -16.
Alex Foster(203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3... [read more]
Alex Foster (203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 79.8%. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to eurobasket before the exhibition game August 25th against the Fraport Skyliners at Wiesbaden Airbase with all proceeds goingto the Basketball Aid foundation.
Alex thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are playing your second season now with the RheinStars. When you look back at your rookie season and progression of your German, what was your most used German sentence? I always say 'eben so,' after someone wishes me 'ein schoenen Tag' at the grocery or bakery. A lot of my German teammates tease me for using that phrase, because I guess it's more formal than what they're used to. Or maybe it's because it's a Southern-German thing. My mom's family is Schwabisch.
Last season you were a rookie and new to a new culture and new club. Now in your second season what have been the biggest advantages that you have in comparison to last season around this time?
It's really nice coming back to the same surroundings in Cologne. I'm in the same apartment as last season and feel more like home than last season. The biggest advantage, however, are the relationships I'm coming back to. Especially with Coach Woltmann.
The club has been together for some weeks now. How has the preparation gone from your stand point? The club brought in four new players. How is the current team shaping up? Our preseason has been going really well. The club organized a new practice facility for us, in which we've been putting in the time and effort to take the club to the next level. The new guys have fit in seamlessly and we've spending lots of time together on and off the court.
In comparison to last season's team is this team as strong as last season's on paper? Stronger.
You played your first pre season game recently against Schwelm. How pleased were you with the team and on what areas does the new team still need to work on?
We still have lots of room for improvement, but it felt good to suit up together for the first time. There were some segments where we played really well, but going forward, I'd like to see us assert ourselves for the entire 40 minutes.
Last season Lakeem Jackson was a key point of the offense and this season the club got Hugh Robertson. What does he bring to the table that will help the team most? Hugh is a talented player and a natural leader. He's got all the skills to take over a game, but he also knows how to elevate the level of the team as a whole.
Amric Fields has come in to replace Aaron Jones. Fields had 16/7 stats last season in Slovenia. What has been your early impression of him and can he be a dominating Pro A player with consistency?
Amric is one of the most talented players I've played with. He's got athleticism to go with a smooth stroke, which makes him a nightmare matchup in practice and for the rest of the league for sure.
The club also brought in 202cm forward Robin Christen who has established himself in the Pro A with Essen and Hanau. How challenging has it been battling him in practice on a daily basis?
Robin can do it all. We definitely push each other in practice, but we have the most fun when we're put on the same team. We have a natural sense for finding scoring opportunities for each other.
216cm center German Dennis Heinzmann is a big German talent and project. How has his development been coming a long. Dennis is the guy on the team that everybody gravitates towards. He brings tremendous energy every day. You can't even compare where he's at now to the beginning of last season, when we matched up with him in Leverkusen. He's gotten so much better and I know will continue to develop into a dominant force in German basketball.
You and David Downs will lead the team this season. Do you feel any pressure that you have to step up your game a bit at the start to get the team and new players going?
I felt the pressure to get better all summer, which I did. Now back in Cologne, I feel confident enough to where I can worry less about my own game and focus on bringing the team together.
What has been your main focus in the preseason. What parts of your game are you working especially hard on? Defense. I always try to keep my matchup from scoring, along with helping my teammates within our defensive concept.
How confident are you that you will be able to raise your game even higher from last season? I improved my game this summer and have better players around me, so I'm very confident that I'll be able to play at a higher level. I feel that way about all my teammates too.
How excited are you about playing an exhibition game against the Fraport Skyliners on the Wiesbaden Army Airbase which is the headquarters of the United States Army Europe. Will this be one of the more unusual places that you have played a game before? I look forward to any chance to match up with a BBL opponent. Ultimately, that's the level our team wants to play at, so I'm excited to show that we can hang with those guys. I've also been hearing a lot of good thigs about the Army base and I hope we can show the service members our best. It's going to be a special game for sure.
The proceeds of this special game will go to the Basketball Aid which supports kids effected by cancer. The RheinStars jumped in for Northeastern who dropped out. How important is it for you to be a part of this important cause?
It's a personally important cause for me. My grandfather is currently battling cancer. I also lost a teammate to cancer in the 6th grade. I think what Basketball Aid is doing is great and I'm excited to be a part of it.
Your good friend from Emory Will Trawick will play for Rhondorf this season. Recently you showed him Cologne city. What has made this friendship so special? We've been through a lot together, so it's fitting that he's starting his professional playing career only 50 km away. I plan on watching him play as much as I can and I know we'll find time to hang out away from basketball too. He's a super smart dude so we can talk about anything and the conversation is always interesting.
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?
That's a tough question that I don't think can really be answered, but I will say that Lebron has won me over again. After 'The Decision' I was pretty critical of his self-indulgence, but I respect him as a player and leader again.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose? I'd make it my favorite players from my childhood: T-Mac, Nash, Dirk, and B-Roy.
What was the last movie that you saw? Captain Fantastic. You gotta see it!
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