For several years the Bodfeld Baskets were developing with the highest possible speed, building a basketball team from scratch in the small town of Elbingerode and turning a community of basketball strangers into die-hard hoops fans. Year after year they would just win one game after another, claim championships with ease and climb the ranks after each season. And it seems like Everage Richardson (191-G-85, college: Co.Carolina) has always been there, acting as the big booster of this ambitious project. The 27-year-old guard from Brooklyn, New York, first came to Elbingerode in 2009 and has averaged more than 40 points a game ever since. In fact, he was named the "Best basketball scorer of the World" for the year 2012 by Eurobasket.com after finishing the 2011-12 season with an impressive 42.1 points per-40 minutes and another championship under his belt, which helped the Bodfeld Baskets moving up to the 1. Regionalliga North.
But with every step they took, with every new league they entered, the competition grew stronger, the opponents became more talented and more skilled. At first sight the lightning pace of the team's development somewhat seems to have slowed down in the RLN. Midway through the 2012-13 campaign, the Bodfeld Baskets hold a respectable, but less spectacular record of six wins and five defeats. "It is quite difficult at times after having so much success winning here. Losing is something I do not want to get used to. This league is competitive and most teams are equal from top to bottom, so anyone can beat anyone in each game. Since there is nothing we can do to make up for those losses now, I'm hoping we will get back to our winning ways that we have been having here", Richardson says.
While he is still Bodfeld's number one scoring threat without question (averaging a league-high 32.4ppg this season to go along with 6.3 boards, 4.6 assists and 3.5 steals a contest), the graduate of NCAA D1 school Coastal Carolina now has a strong supporting cast around him, spearheaded by 21-year-old post player Ljubisa Markovic (212-F/C-91) who puts up 15.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per outing. In fact, the core of last season's championship winning team is still the same, which has been helping tremendously, as Markovic explains: "It is much easier when you already know how your teammates think on the court. This season we have only added three new players to the system and it is much easier than at the start of last season, when five new players arrived." Markovic was one of them. After capturing the 2. Regionalliga North-West championship title, he decided to extend his tenure at the Oberharz squad and is now making his presence felt in the RLN. "Ljubisa is a young smart player with a lot of potential who I think will be a solid player in years to come. He is a big man with good size good mid-range game, solid inside moves and a tough rebounder, who can be playing Pro A or Pro B", Richardson says. Born and bred in Serbia Markovic ("Basketball country", he stresses) moved to Nova Gorica, Slovenia at the age of 16. In 2009 he received the Slovenian citizenship and ended up signing a deal with the Bodfeld Baskets in 2011.
His vita fits well into Bodfeld's multinational roster which is being coached by Lithuanian Dainius Pleta, who used to play in the 2. Bundesliga. Richardson: "Coach Pleta gets ALOT of credit from me. He does a good job with all of us coming from different countries pushing all of us to our limits to be better players. It can be quite funny in practices at times with all of the different languages spoken. On the court during heated moments we all speak English, so that helps too. Overall he does his best do get all of us ready to compete and play against whomever the next opponent is." Plenty of heated moments definitely occurred in the course of Bodfeld's away game at Stade in early December. The league leader was in serious trouble, forced into double overtime by the RLN newcomer. However, eventually the underdog fell short of victory and was handed a 104-109 defeat. "A tough loss for us, but overall it was a great game that went down to the wire in double overtime", Richardson remembers. "I still think we played a good game", Markovic adds, "the biggest difference is that Stade has a good and long bench, so they can keep a good pace, while we have eight or a maximum nine players available. It already happened several times that two players did not come into the game at all. Basically I think that's the biggest reason for our defeats this season, not just in the game against Stade", the 21-year-old says. Richardson: "The game showed the potential we have as a team. It was probably one of our better games of the season so far. Not much was missing, the game was in our hands. Just a few mental mistakes on our part, otherwise the game was ours."
As far as the remainder of the season is concerned, both teammates share the same opinion. Though their team is a couple of wins short of the top spot, currently sitting in seventh place, they are still aiming at the upper echelon of the standings. "I think we do have a chance to finish at the top. I always have faith in my team, we still have a lot of basketball to play, so you never know what is possible. We were in a similar situation before as well around this time last season. So I'm just hoping we will be playing to our potential that we all know we can play at and I think we will be in good shape", Richardson says. And Markovic concurs: "We have to go very strong in every game! At the end of the season we'll see the place where we are going to end. I think anything is possible."
And having the "Best basketball scorer of the World" around might certainly help quite a bit down the stretch. Richardson: "To be named the world's best scorer, that's huge. I didn't really think about it at first. I was just shocked to read it, because I did not know they kept track of it. But when I thought about it, the whole world and all the leagues that they have across it, I felt it was an accolade to really be proud of and I can probably look back on it as something to be very proud of. This couldn't have been accomplished without the support of my team, so I give them credit for this accolade too." What is it about Richardson that makes him so difficult to guard on the basketball court? "He simply enjoys what he does. He always gives 100% and pushes the whole team. I think it's best to ask the opponents why it is so difficult to stop him... Off the court he is a very good man and a great friend, who is trying to help with advice about basketball and it means a lot to me at least", Markovic explains. Given these facts and considering the extraordinary numbers that Richardson has been putting up year after year for the Oberharz, one question will pop up inevitably: Why is he still playing for the Bodfeld Baskets? "I would have to say my main reason is because of the success we have been having here moving up each year and because of that I have been staying here and haven't really gave myself the opportunity to play in the top leagues in Germany thus far", Richardson says.
Maybe because he is eager to make it to this level of competition with his current team, which appears to be a realistic goal following the success the organization has had over these past years. Richardson: "Absolutely, the potential is here to move up, just because everyone is pretty determined and focused to keep climbing up that ladder again. It's been that way every year since I have arrived is to try and move up... The players and the organization know what the goal is here and we are all trying to reach it."
FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) signed 27-year old German international center Maik Zirbes (208-115kg-90, agency: BeoBasket). He started the season at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in Israeli Winner League. In 9 games he had 8.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 1.0spg this season. Zirbes helped them to make it to the cup final. He also played 15 games in Euroleague where he recorded 8.1ppg and 3.0rpg. The last season Zirbes played at Crvena Zvezda in Serbian KLS. The team played in three different competitions (!!!) that... [read more]
FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) signed 27-year old German international center Maik Zirbes (208-115kg-90, agency: BeoBasket). He started the season at Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv in Israeli Winner League. In 9 games he had 8.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 1.0spg this season. Zirbes helped them to make it to the cup final. He also played 15 games in Euroleague where he recorded 8.1ppg and 3.0rpg. The last season Zirbes played at Crvena Zvezda in Serbian KLS. The team played in three different competitions (!!!) that year, and he was exposed to basketball on different levels. In 12 KLS games he averaged 10.3ppg and 4.8rpg. Zirbes contributed to his team winning the league title (twice) (also twice). A very impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Serbian League Bosman Player of the Year, Center of the Year and named to 1st Team. Zirbes also played 27 games in Euroleague where he got 12.4ppg and 6.1rpg. He contributed to his team making it to the quarterfinals. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Euroleague Honorable Mention. Zirbes also played 31 games in ABA League where he got 13.2ppg and 5.9rpg. He contributed to his team winning the ABA League championship (twice) despite they ended the regular season at the second place (twice). A very spectacular season in his career as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Adriatic League 2nd Team. Zirbes has been also a member of German international program for some years. He has regularly played for German senior team since 2009 and previously for U20 National Team between 2009 and 2010. Zirbes represented Germany at the Qualifications to European Championships 2015 three years ago. His stats at that event were 6 games: 7.2ppg, 4.8rpg, FGP: 65.6%, FT: 33.3%. Zirbes has played previously for five other Germany teams: Gladiators, Brose Baskets, Saar-Pfalz Braves, DJK MJC Trier and Trier Baskets.
Chase Adams (177-PG-88, college: Pittsburgh)s a 28 year old 188cm point guard from Baltimore, Maryland playing his second season for the Uni Baskets Paderborn in the (Germany-ProA). He started his basketball career at Centenary (NCAA) in 2006 where he played three seasons and a total of 89 NCAA games. As a senior he moved to Pittsburgh (NCAA). He turned professional in 2011 and played briefly in the ABA and in the UBL before making Germany his home as he played for teams like Dortmund, Bo... [read more]
Chase Adams (177-PG-88, college: Pittsburgh)s a 28 year old 188cm point guard from Baltimore, Maryland playing his second season for the Uni Baskets Paderborn in the (Germany-ProA). He started his basketball career at Centenary (NCAA) in 2006 where he played three seasons and a total of 89 NCAA games. As a senior he moved to Pittsburgh (NCAA). He turned professional in 2011 and played briefly in the ABA and in the UBL before making Germany his home as he played for teams like Dortmund, Bochum, and Science City Jena. He spoke to eurobasket after the tough loss to Trier.
Chase thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. 2017 is here and are you the type of guy that goes into a new year with new years resolutions or more a guy that doesn't bother with that? It's certainly important to reflect on the first half of the season at this point and evaluate what needs improvement. A new mentality is always a helpful way to regain focus and set new goals.
The Uni Baskets Paderborn suffered a tough 69-66 loss to Trier. They had the 37-26 lead at halftime. It took you a while as a team to get going scoring 24 points in the third quarter to get back into the game. What adjustments did you make? We were sluggish and emotionless, so coach wanted us to turn up the pressure and play more lively. Communication and strong rotations were the emphasis.
Paderborn had the 66-63 lead with 2.54 minutes to play and were controlling the last 4-5 minutes keeping the lead, but then lost control allowing Trier to close out the game with a 6-0 run. How bitter was this outcome losing like this? Is that worse then getting beat by a buzzer beater?
Losing period is hurtful, especially with a team that we will potentially be fighting against for a playoff spot. We must collectively play better in those defining moments.
What was key in the last few minutes that allowed Trier to get the momentum and win the game?
Besides handing them free throws, it was the bad offensive possessions where we didn't get a good shot up.
Do you feel like there would have been a different outcome at the end had you not fouled out at 1.10 minutes to play?
Absolutely. These are the moments that I've been working hard to be prepared for and I was more than ready to perform. Unfortunately it didn't go as planned and it really hurt to have to watch.
Do you feel also had the team contained American Brandon Spearman better and limited his trips to the free throw line that you would have been able to preserve the win? We expected him to attack and lucky for him he got the calls. It was a smart effort on his behalf, but we should have executed better on offense.
A big problem of the Uni Baskets Paderborn in their current 5 game losing streak has been the inability to close out games. Has this trend turned into an unwanted type of disease?
I wouldn't call it a disease, if anything it's showing that we have heart and even though we are down at the moment, we aren't a door mat you can walk over. We can go toe to toe with any team and any game versus Paderborn will be a battle.
After the wild 130-125 double OT win against the Drsden Titans in October, you said that this will be a season to remember. Do you still feel this now at 7-11 and out of the playoff spots?
I stand by my statement whole heartedly. I won't give up until the season is completely over. At the end if we don't make it then we don't make it, but as long as we lace up and we throw on that jersey We are planning to win them all.
The Uni Baskets Paderborn played Kirchheim and Crailsheim very tight. What do you believe is missing for you to be able to beat these caliber type teams?
Defensive discipline in the last seconds of the shot clock and simply offensive execution when the game is on the line. Completing those possessions with a stop and not giving them second chances or easy looks. Offensively getting highly efficient shot attempts. These two factors have decided these close losses.
Before the loss to Trier, Paderborn was allowing 80 points per game. The team defended a lot better against Trier. Do you feel that Paderborn could hold more Pro A teams to around 70 points which would put you in a lot better position to win?
If we put our mind to it we can do anything. Everything else is in order, so the next step is take more pride in defense and to stick to our principles. The effort needs to stay at a high level for 40minutes.
Currently your third in tea s coring, first in assists and steals and second in rebounding. How happy have you been with your first half performance?
Not Satisfied one bit. It's just not enough in my book. To get over the hump I must turn it up a couple notches.
You continue to be a great defender leading the team with 2,6spg. How does a top notch defender like you continue to excel at this trade? What do you do in practices that has you always ready in games?
Defense is built on toughness, determination to stop your assignment and to give your all for the team. You just show up with that mentality everyday in practice so it's natural in game. Another key factor is paying attention to scouting. Taking time to study players habits and teams plays
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
This year. That's a top 5 performance.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Without a doubt. Nobody has a motor like him.
Russell Westbrook obviously has gotten a lot of attention with his constant triple doubles, but James Harden is doing the same thing with the Houston Rockets. Where do you see him head to head against Westbrook as best point guard at the moment in the NBA?
All though Westbrooks stat lines are out of this world, Hardens team has the better record so maybe Harden gets the nod for best PG.
Which 2 clubs will make the Superbowl and who will win it all?
The Giessen 46ers have reacted to the injury of Thomas Scrubb and snatched up Bazoumana Kone (190-G-93, college: Bremerhaven) Kone is a 23 year old combo guard that has BBL experience with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and got a contract until the end of the season. Kone played with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg this season, but got a little lost in the guard rotation averaging only 11,8 minutes per game. In 13 games the German averaged 3,3ppg, 2,1rpg and 1,6apg in the... [read more]
The Giessen 46ers have reacted to the injury of Thomas Scrubb and snatched up Bazoumana Kone (190-G-93, college: Bremerhaven) Kone is a 23 year old combo guard that has BBL experience with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and got a contract until the end of the season. Kone played with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg this season, but got a little lost in the guard rotation averaging only 11,8 minutes per game. In 13 games the German averaged 3,3ppg, 2,1rpg and 1,6apg in the EasyCredit BBL. In Champions League play he got into 8 games averaging 2,3ppg and 1,4rpg. "I am happy that we got him in our second try. He is an interesting player with enormous potential. He wants to prove himself and has fun playing and we need that in Giessen. I am convinced that he will be integrated quickly and help us with his abilities. His quick and aggressive play suits us", stresed Giessen 46ers head coach Denis Wucherer.
Kone started his basketball career with the Bramfelder SV Hamburg junior team and also played with the SG Braunschweig junior team. In 2011 he moved to BSG Bremerhaven (2.Regionalliga): 11 games 13.6ppg. He then got his first BBL experience with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven from 2012-2014 playing a total of 22 games. In 2014 he took a step back moving to the Pro A and playing two seasons with the Hamburg Towers where he got adequate playing time and could devlop his game better. In his first season with the Hamburg Towers he played 18 games averaging 8.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 29.6%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 72.5%. He made his Pro A break out last season playing 30 games: 14.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 25.7%, FT: 79.0%. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been German NBBL Championships Finalist -12, German U20 National Team -13, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro A All-Domestic Players Team -16.