Every weekend, the Fraport Skyliners meet teams with young hungry athletic players ready to make life uncomfortable for the 2004 Beko BBL champion. In the last weeks, the Fraport Skyliners have tangled with tough players like Mark mr fantastic Dorris who is like an elegant ballerina side stepping into the lane and knows how to drop shots, but just in a less hectic way than 2007 Beko BBL top scorer Derrick Allen, Reggie Redding of the Walter Tigers Tuebingen who is as versatile being able to play the positions one to four like New England Patriots receiver Juan Edelman who is like a swiss army knife being able to play so many positions on the field or FC Bayern Munich forward Robin Benzing who might be the best 208cm small forward in the Beko BBL. However it isnt only these young players that the Fraport Skyliners have to deal with week in and week out, but also a hand full of dinosaurs who continue to pop out their heads being just as aggressive as the young guns. Guys like Chris Ensminger who seems to have a special Ohio anti basketball aging gene inside him or ex Skyliner Bernd Kruel who at 36 keeps goin with his basketball Einstein mind even if his body isnt always on the same page continue to give Beko BBl teams problems. This weekend the Fraport Skyliners meet another grizzled hulk with Elvir Ovcina (212-F/C-76, agency: Interperformances, college: Syracuse) who is 36 and like Kruel just doesnt disappear , but just keeps coming back each season for more banging, scoring and rebounding. Ovcina is a big movable big man from Bosnia and Herzgevonia that is one of the better passers and is playing his seventh season in Germany. He played threes easons in Oldenburg, won a cup in 2005 with Cologne and after seasons in Greece with top team Olympiakos Pireus, the Ukraine and Belgium, he returned back to Germany in 2001 and is playing his third season in Giessen. The last years havent been easy for the LTi Giessen 46ers as they have always been near the bottom of the standings and had to fight financial problems, but that didnt deter Ovcina from always giving his best and coming to play on every night no matter what. The question is why would a player of his caliber and age want to play for a less than average club and risk unwanted grey hairs to appear? I like the management and people. They are all really nice. I like how the organization is trying to build a winner. The fans are also amazing. I remember when I played with Oldenburg and Cologne, it was always most difficult winning in Giessen, stressed Elvir Ovcina. Even though the LTi Giessen 46ers have had more hard times on the basketball court than anyone wants in Giessen, there always seems to be a breath of positive hope when Ovcina is on the court. Ovcina is that type of player that brings that special self confidence and calmness on to the court that can carry over to his teammates. It is also a plus when a guy of his age still gets much respect. Ovcina is the best example like with Chris Ensminger why big men can still play at age 36 and guards cant. Guards lose speed while old men get stronger. Being strong is more important than speed. It presents even more of a problem when a big man like Ovcina can hit the three as well. He is very smart, is a good passer and has a high basketball IQ. Ensminger is more the banger while Ovcina more the finesse player. He is so dangerous in the set play with his pick and pop and his high passing efficiency, warned basketball expert Steven Clauss.
In the 2010-2011 despite losing eight players including key guys like David Teague, Kevin Johnson, and Lorenzo Williams and only keeping two players with Elvir Ovcina and Jannik Freese, the Giessen 46ers jumped out to a 5-2record and was one of the biggest surprises in the BEKO BBL together with Phoenix Hagen in the first two months. The team might not have beat the most glamorous sounding and strong BEKO BBL teams besides the Telekom Baskets Bonn, but they played The EWE Baskets Oldenburg tough and lost a nail bitter to the Brose Baskets Bamberg 81-80, a game where they made a furious comeback and just came up short. "We started playing defense after 30 minutes against Bamberg", stressed Elvir Ovcina. Giessen may not have had the most talented team, but they had achieved one important ingredient early that many teams have problems finding which is that early team chemistry. "We had a complete squad and many people players complimented each other. We had very athletic wing players and big guys with great hands and that take up a lot of space. We knew how to work with each other and we know each time that when we stepped on the court, we were capable of surprising any team in the BEKO BBL", added Elvir Ovcina. In 2009-2010, the team started 0-6 and after six games in 2010-2011 had 4 wins already. "Management did a good job bringing in new players. Only me and Jannik Freese remained. We might not have good results in preseason, but we always knew that if we continued to work hard, we would have success", stressed Elvir Ovcina. "I wasnt surprised by the good Giessen start. They had some talent on their team that came together early", commented Quentin Pryor. "Their strength were their guards who were great and you had a great inside presence with Peacock. As far their weaknesses, I think just consistency", expressed John Bynum. The question remained how well the Giessen 46ers would play if the team sustained an injury or went into a slump. Misfortune hit the club in Frankfurt as Anthony Smith got hurt in the first half in the 82-64 loss. After this loss, it seemed like some nasty plague was stuck in them as the team went on a 13 game losing streak as the team went from the playoffs places to the back places of the standings as quickly as Marv Albert can yelp yessssssssssssss. The team then made changes and some results started to evolve. The team brought in the fire man Michael Jordan to try to save the season and brought in coach Steven Key. "Giessen had been up and down last season but they became a different team , with a new head coach and the addition of MJ, they can play with anyone on any night just like any other team in the BBL", warned John Bynum. Since the arrival of Jordan, the team started to win more games and slowly crawled away from the bottom. The team seemed very solid at the start of the season, but with the addition of new coach Steven key and Jordan and Jeffers, the team seemed to be so much stronger at the end. The LTI Giessen season was saved as they finished the season in 15th place with a record of 9-25. They finished the season losing six of their last seven games, but beat MBC on the second to last game day to save their miserable season.
Every new season, a new saying can be, it can only get better as fans can only hope that something will change and some kind of success will come back to the small university town. The club decided to bring in 29 year old Bjoern Harmsen who was younger than the star players Elvir Ovcina and Maurice Jeffers. Harmsen brought success to MBC, so why couldnt he do the same in Giessen? Back in the 70s, Giessen had nothing to do with cellar duels as they won many German titles, but any dreaming of that is as distant as Kevin Durnant ever was playing for BBC Bayreuth. Our goal was to stay in the league. If we can limit injuries then maybe we can achieve a bit more, added Bjoern Harmsen at the start of the season. Harmsen came to Giessen and did a house cleaning axing eight players, but kept team captain Elvir Ovcina who is getting better with age, but continues to be one of the top centers in the league, fan favorite and x-factor Maurice Jeffers who can always change a game with his play, young German big man Robert Ohle and young developing German point guard Mathias Perl. He brought in MBC players Wayne Bernard who is a Beko BBL veteran and point guard Radenko Pilcevic. Some players didnt work out like Angel Garcia and Bozo Djurasovic, but Harmsen had an ace in his back pocket bringing in more quality with second year man Barry Stewart, athletic rebounder and Euroleague veteran Koko Archibong and flashy Achmadschau Zazai. Harmsen also got a lot of credit for bringing in basketball project Misan Nikabatse who is always remembered for his dunk over Yao Ming in 2002 and seemed to be on his way to the NBA in 2002. His career didnt quite reach the heights that he expected to and he was saved by Harmsen as the German hadnt played professional basketball in the last two years.
Last season the LTi Giessen 46ers needed to win in Hagen on the last game day, but lost and had a record of 9-25 and luckily were able to remain in the Beko BBL with a wild card. Giessen started the season slow with a three game losing streak, but then won a wild 110-109 scoring festival in the Osthalle against the Artland Dragons. They won back to back games in Trier and was the first team that season to beat the Brose Baskets Bamberg at home 68-65. Giessen has been some what unpredictable as they beat Phoenix Hagen at home, but also lost on back to back weekends on the road in Munich and Tuebingen by a combined score of 59 points, but then again should have beat Braunschweig at home losing 63-62 not being able to win game on a last possession. In the Beko BBL, any team can beat any team and Giessen has the potential to always be capable of making surprises. Giessen is a great team that plays tough. They play very well at home and play scrappy. They can move the ball well and have good perimeter shooters with Stewart and Bernard. They also know how to defend and press very well, stressed ex LTi Giessen 46er Michael Umeh last season. One thing that Giessen excels at is their guard play. You need to take away their guard play. They seem to make about 60% of their points from their guards. You also always have to be aware of Elvir Ovcina. I have played against him a lot and he is such a great passer and has great court vision, warned ex Wake Forest player Kyle Visser. Defense also seems to have gelled in the early going as they allowed 75 points or fewer in eight of the first 14 games. Our strength is our defense. If we can keep teams at 75 points, then we always have a good chance to win, added Achmadschau Zazai. Despite the well rounded guard play, point guard Zazai knows where the team could still improve. We have to have better ball movement. We have the least assists in the league, warned Zazai last January. However in the last four months, the team had a record of 4-15 as they couldnt get around the corner to having more success. They suffered two five game losing streaks and lost their last three games. Their biggest win was a 78-65 win in Frankfurt which in a way always makes their season as they are their biggest rival.
A big problem with the organization LTi Giessen 46ers is simply that they have big problems trying to build a good team identity. It is not secret that players come and go everywhere in the Beko BBL except for maybe Bamberg, but in Giessen a annual house cleaning is about as normal as Kevin Love getting a double double. The team said farewell to 11 players during the season and off season and added eight new players. Before any new players were added, they got a new coach with Mathias Fischer who comes from Germany and won titles in Austria with Gmunden and was coach of the year. He had already got his feet wet in the coaching ranks in the Beko BBL being an assistant with Rhein Energie Cologne. Fischer is a coach that likes to develop young players and has given young Germans the chance to get minutes like with Oskar Fassler. As is sometimes the case players come a lot quicker than they stay as was the case with Americans Jimmy Baxter and John Fields. Baxter who is a basketball world traveler and had played in more than 10 countries left early as he was unable to get integrated and John Fields left for the Czech Republic as the big man position was crowded, but currently he is producing 17,6ppg and 9,8rpg. The team also has to say good bye ot Austrian Benjamin Ortner that went to Italy early in the season to play for Montepaschi Siena . The team kept only two players with experienced Elvir Ovcina who still plays like a 28 year old and Achmadschau Zazai who is a quick flashy guard that has been a spark plug in recent weeks. The team added many knows players including a known face in Giessen with Ryan Brooks who had been a rookie in 2010-2011. Last season he was a dominant scorer in Finland. The team took a risk bringing in Dijuan Harris after he had played in lower leagues like Finland and second division Turkey, but he has matured well in the Beko BBL and been solid. The team also brought in some talented Germans with Oskar Fassler who played in Trier, Dominik Spohr who came from Hagen and Andreas Buchert who has Beko BBL experience and played in Ehingen last season in the PRO A. It is never easy filling vacant spots during the season with new players, but Giessen did a good job finding solid players. With three players going the team hauled in inside player Jasmin Perkovic that won the 2009 Beko BBL title with Oldenburg, Laquan Prowell that adds scoring and experience having played in France for the last three years and American Jeffery Bonds like Prowell is another versatile forward that had played in Spain since 2007. The biggest strength of the team is maintaining that fighting mentality that it is known to have. The team is carried by the hardcore fans. The team has talent and can beat any team on any given nigt as was the case with ratiopharm Ulm. They need to find some kind of team chemistry fast if they want to get free from the Beko BBL cellar. Their weakness is simply many no name players, plus the fact that three players left early and three new players came to the team not really helping build the team chemistry faster. So far this season the club has suffered a eight game losing streak. Besides beating Ulm at home, they also were able to beat Bonn at home. A big problem is playing consistent defense as they have allowed 80 plus points eight times. However in a seven game stretch, they allowed only 80 points once. If being near the end of the standings hasnt been enough of a torture, the fans got a rude Christmas gift as shortly after the big win at home against Ulm, the club announced that it has filled for bankruptcy. The team will be able to finish out the season, but the future of this traditional team seems to be up in the air.
In the last years, The Skyliners have dominated the Hessen derby posting a 11-3 record. Frankfurt has demonstrated a special confidence and calmness that makes the Osthalle in Giessen look more like their own personal lounge area than a hostile Giessen playground with naughty kids throwing sticks and stones. Who could forget the onslaught before Christmas 2005 as Frankfurt routed Giessen 96 to 63 with seven three pointers from Desmond Ferguson. I had a good rhythm going on in that game and my teammates made a good job getting me the ball. I wasnt able to find my rhythm much while I played in Frankfurt for various reasons, but that game was probably my highlight playing there, added ex Skyliner Desmond Ferguson. Three years ago under the guidance of Charles Barton, Frankfurt won a nail bitter 73 to 67 as Frankfurt showed nerves of steal in the dwindling minutes of the fourth quarter. Two years ago, Frankfurt won a tight game, even though it seemed like they were never in any real danger of losing as Derrick Allen led the team with 19 points and an energized Alex King flew into the arena with a specially made superman cape and steered the team off the bench scoring in double figures. Who could forget the buzzer beater by Karlsruhe German Rouven Roessler in 2007? Well that game winning shot that beat Frankfurt was 34 months ago, and Roessler still has the shot dancing in his dreams. I remember that buzzer beater as if it was yesterday. I got the video clip to the game three weeks ago, said ex Giessen 46er Rouven Roessler. . In the 2008-2009 season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners won in Giessen 75-57 getting 19 points form Lorenzo Gordon. In Frankfurt, they pounded Giessen 93-72 as Pascal Roller and in 2009-2010, Frankfurt won at home 80-69 getting 22 points from Derrick Allen. The last game against Giessen was a nail bitter win by Frankfurt in Giessen which was won 69-68 as Pascal Roller won the game with 13 seconds to play with two free throws. In the first meeting last season Frankfurt won 82-64 as Giessen was outscored 48-21 in the second half. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Dashaun Wood with 21 points and Roger Powell added 18 points. In the second meeting in Frankfurt, Giessen lost 81-62 as Dashaun Wood scored 26 points. The last time that Frankfurt lost was in December 2002 and they have won the last nine games in a row against Giessen on the road. Last season, the two teams split the season series as the Fraport Skyliners won in Giessen 64-56 as Jermareo Davidson had 16 points and Michael Thompson 13 points. In the return date, the LTi Giessen 46ers got revenge winning in Frankfurt 78-65. This Saturday will showcase a real cellar duel with the 18th LTi Giessen 46ers playing 16th ranked Fraport Skyliners. The LTi Giessen 46ers have been playing better as of late having won two of their last three games including a huge win at home against ratiopharm Ulm. The Fraport Skyliners are coming off a loss against FC Bayern Munich and this is another must win for them. The key to success remains their bread and butter. This is a must win for us. We cut down the scoring average of Munich 36 points. If we can do the same to Giessen then we should have a good chance of winning, smiled Fraport Skyliner guard Devin Gibson.
The Lti Giessen 46ers are led by Ryan Brooks. Brooks is back in Giessen after playing his rookie season there in 2010-2011 as he played 34 games: 9.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 75.5%. Brooks is a 24 year old 193cm guard that played at Temple (NCAA) from 2006-2010. In his senior year, he played 35 games: 14.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 81.0%. He played a total of 127 NCAA games. Last season he played for Namika Lahti (Finland-Korisliiga, starting five): 40 games: 18.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 81.6%. Laquan Prowell is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Montgomery, Alabama that is playing his first season in the Beko BBL. Prowell is a superb athlete and leaper, versatile player who can score off the post up, dribble, and also from 3-point range. He played at Furman from 2003-2005 and continued his NCAA career at Auburn from 2005-2008 where he played with Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. He came to Europe and gained experience in Turkey, Greece and played in France the last three seasons. Last season he played for Saint Vallier Basket Drome (France-ProB, starting five): 27 games: 15.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 60.2%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 83.7%; in May'12 moved to ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA): 6 games: 4.3ppg, 1.2rpg. He played with ex Skyliner Ilian Evtimov helping Chalon win the French PRO A title. 36 year old 211cm power forward/center Elvir Ovcina who came late to the Giessen 46ers in the 2009-2010 season is playing his fourth season in Giessen. He is a movable center, who passes and scores well. He played at Syracuse (NCAA) from 1995-1999 and played a year together with ex NBA player John Wallace reaching the NCAA final in 1996 losing to Kentucky. He played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg from 2001-2004 and won the BEKO BBL cup with Rhein Energy Cologne in 2005. He had his most success as a player with one team with Ostende winning the league title in 2006 and 2007 and cup in 2008. In 2009-2010 for Giessen, he played 14 games averaging 14.1ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 69.4%. In 2010-2011, he played 34 games: 11.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 17.6%, FT: 76.4%. Last season for Giessen he played 33 games: 11.4ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 80.0%.
The team recently acquired Jeffery Bonds who is a 30 year old 199cm forward that is playing his first season in Germany. He is a small forward who can adapt to any style of play. Can shoot the long 3 ball, also can attack inside... all-around player, very good in rebounds. Has the ability to score in a variety of ways. Take pride in defense. He played at Cal-Poly Pomona (NCAA2) from 2001-2005. In his first two seasons as a professional he played in England for the Birmingham Bullets (United Kingdom-BBL) and Sheffield Sharks. He played from 2007-2012 in Spain in the Leb Gold league four years and one season in the Leb silver league. Last season he played for Knet Rioja Clavijo (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 33 games: 10.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 70.0%. The team also brought in Dijuan Harris who is a 26 year old 175cm gurad from Charlotte, North Carolina that is playing his third professional season and first in Germany. He played for Hillsborough CC (NJCAA) in 2006-2007. He finished his NCAA career for Charlotte from 2007-2010. In his senior year he played 31 games: 8.3ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 73.3%. In 2010-2011, he was a rookie playing for Salon Vilpas Vikings (Finland-Korisliiga, starting five), left in Nov.'10: 11 games: 19.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.4apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 75.0%. Last season he played for Usak Universitesi Belediye %. spor (Turkey-TB2L, starting five): 36 games: 14.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 23.4%, FT: 72.9%. Quick 26 year old 177cm Achmadschah Zazai is playing hiss econd season for the LTi Giessen 46ers who has already played for 11 teams in his still young career. He started his basketball career at TUS Lichterfelde in 2003. From 2005-2011, he played for teams like SG FT/MTV Braunschweig, : BSG Ludwigsburg, Bremen Roosters, Horsens IC (Denmark), Telemotive Muenchen, Artland Dragons, TV Langen, USC Freiburg and BV Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA). Last season for Giessen he played 27 games: 3.1ppg, 1.1rpg, 2.0apg. Oskar Fassler is a 24 year old 198cm guard is playing his first season with Giessen and also comes from the Alba Berlin fraction. He played for TUS Lichterfelde Berlin (Regionalliga) from 2004-2006. He joined Alba Berlin in 2006 and played there until 2009. He also was a young player that didnt get a real chance as he was sitting on the bench. He only played 22 BEKO BBL games. In 2009-2010, he started with Alba Berlin and then moved to Science City Jena (ProA, starting five): 12 games: 9.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 77.8%, also played at Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (1.Bundesliga): 4 games: 4.3ppg, 2.0rpg. In 2010-2011 for TBB Trier he played 25 games: 5.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 59.1%He was a part of the German U-18 and U-20 teams and played at the European Championships U20 Division B in Targu Mures (Romania) -08: (Champion): 7 games: 3.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.4apg. Lasts eason for TBB Trier he played 31 games: 2.6ppg, 1.8rpg. The team also added Dominik Spohr who is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Hagen. He started his basketball career in 2004 for BBV Hagen (Regionalliga) where he played until 2007. He then played for Phoenix Hagen from 2007-2012. Last season for Phoenix Hagen he played 30 games: 1.9ppg, 1.4rpg; played also for BG Hagen (Regionalliga): 6 games: 13.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.2apg. He played a total of 64 Beko BBL games for Phoenix Hagen. The team also added 25 year old 208cm forward Andy Buchert who comes from Trier. He got experience playing in the States first for : Tallahasse CC from 2005-2007. He then played fro Winthrop from 2007-2010. In 2010-2011 he turned professional and played for Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (1.Bundesliga): 1 game: 0pts, 1reb, 1ast, 1block, in Dec.'10 moved to Phoenix Hagen (1.Bundesliga): 9 games: 3.3ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6bpg; left in Feb. '11. Last season he played for Erdgas Ehingen/Urspringschule (ProA): 27 games: 11.3ppg, 7.0rpg, FGP: 53.1%, FT: 55.2%.
Seth Hinrichs (202-SF-93, college: Lafayette, agency: Duran International) is a 23 year old 203cm guard from Clara City, Minnesota that is playing his second professional season in the German Pro A with the Kirchheim Knights. Last season as a rookie he played for FC Porto (Portugal-LPB): 20 games: 8.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 79.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 64.7%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 83.3%. He played at Lafayette (NCAA) from 2011-2015 graduating fr... [read more]
Seth Hinrichs (202-SF-93, college: Lafayette, agency: Duran International) is a 23 year old 203cm guard from Clara City, Minnesota that is playing his second professional season in the German Pro A with the Kirchheim Knights. Last season as a rookie he played for FC Porto (Portugal-LPB): 20 games: 8.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 79.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 64.7%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 83.3%. He played at Lafayette (NCAA) from 2011-2015 graduating from Lafayette as the all-time leader in 3PG % in Patriot League history. As a senior he played 32 games averaging 12.9ppg, 5.8rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 83.1%. He spoke to eurobasket after the 92-90 road victory in Dresden.
Seth thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome to Germany. You had a try-out with BBL team MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, but landed with Kirchheim. What has been most appealing to you about the club since you joined? I really like the coaches and my teammates. We have a good, talented group of guys and have the potential to do really well this year.
Was it difficult for you to accept the fact that the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg didn't need you? Your now in a league lower. How do you as a professional player handle this kind of rejection? I was definitely disappointed but I realize it is a part of playing basketball professionally. I am very appreciative for the opportunity that Coach Patrick gave me and for the people I was able to meet at Ludwigsburg. I think playing in the Pro A is a great opportunity and now my focus is to improve as a player so that one day I can reach the BBL level or higher.
You really have had little integration problems as you came very late to the team. What do you believe has helped you most in getting the transition stage going in the right direction? I think Coach Mai has helped in terms of going through things slowly and being patient. It's hard to join a team that has already played together and has chemistry but the guys have been great in this transition period as well.
You are on a team that has substantial talent and you are programmed to have a big role on the team. What is your goal this season and how is it different than last season with FC Porto? My goal is to win the Pro A and contribute to a championship in whatever ways possible. I think with the talent we have here we would be selling ourselves short with anything less.
Last season for FC Porto you played 20 games: 8.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 79.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 64.7%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 83.3%,. Do you feel like you can be a consistent scorer in the Pro A and more than you were with FC Porto? Like you said I'll have an expanded role compared to last year so I'll be playing more minutes and be called on to score, rebound, and assist more offensively. I have high expectations for myself this year and I am looking forward to playing for Coach Mai and Kirchheim.
Congrats on the big 92-90 road victory in Dresden. How did it feel playing your first professional game for a German team and did you remember having such an intense atmosphere last season in games in Portugal? Thank you! It felt great having not played in an actual game since February. The atmosphere and energy was great up in Dresden. It was comparable to some games in Portugal. I was just happy to be back on the court.
It was a wild game and scoring really took center stage in the first quarter. Did defense take a back step at first or was this just two explosive offensive teams in the making? I think both teams have potent offensive attacks but I don't think there was a lot of defense being played in the first quarter. It was the first game of the season, players have jitters, the crowd was into it, so I think both teams we're just getting acclimated to playing.
The game really remained close in the first three quarters and Dresden kept the lead until the midway point of the fourth until Kirchheim got the lead back. What was the most difficult thing about having to keep up with this offensive minded team on defense? I think they jumped ahead early and we had to keep battling. They are a great transition team and kept pushing the ball up the court early and often. As the game progressed we were able to keep chipping away and eventually close their lead in the fourth.
Randall Holt was a real thorn in the Kirchheim side as he nailed huge three pointers in crunch time, but Justin Hedley won the game at the end with a shot. Take me through that last play and was it the perfect script? Hedley surely wasn't the first option
Holt is a good player and hit some tough shots but Justin came up huge for us. We had run a pick and roll with Carrington Love and myself and he tried to create. Justin was open in the corner and dribbled past the close out and sank the 10 footer. I was excited that we won and excited for Justin! He's one of the young guys on the team and puts in a lot of work so it was great to see that shot go in.
You had a very solid game with 18 points, three assists, six rebounds and two steals. Do you have a good feeling that the German Pro A style fits your game well? I think the Pro A style fits my game and I think Coach Mai's overall scheme fits my game. I'm excited to play in the Pro A this year against some good competition.
You harmonized very well with German veteran Tim Koch. How much fun is it playing with him and learning from his game on the floor? Tim is a phenomenal shooter and basketball player. He makes shots at such a high rate that teams have to stay attached at all times or he'll hurt them with threes. Its great playing with him because when teams stay glued to him there are more open lanes.
You take a lot of pride on defense. Do you see the Kirchheim Knights being a team that can make an impact on a consistent basis on the defensive end this season? I definitely see potential for us to be a great defensive team. We have the tools to be great, but consistency is our problem. We'll put together five great minutes of defense and follow that up with five terrible minutes. But I think as the season goes on we'll improve and become a more cohesive unit.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA heads would you choose? This is tough.. It's hard to pick just four but I'll go with MJ, Bill Russell, Kareem, and Kobe
Now that Lebron finally won a NBA title with the Cavs where does this title put him in the debate as the all-time best player in the world? He's in the top 10 of all-time and probably the best active player but it's close.
What was the last movie that you saw? Jason Bourne.
K.K. Simmons(191-G-93, college: Pikeville) is a 23 year old 190cm combo guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his first professional season with German Pro B team Licher Basket Baeren. He played at three schools with NC-Wilmington (NCAA), Kent St. (NCAA) and Pikeville (NAIA). Last season he finished his college basketball career with Pikeville (NAIA) playing 31 games and averaging 16.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 78.5%. Simmons is an amazing shooter and shot 48%... [read more]
K.K. Simmons (191-G-93, college: Pikeville) is a 23 year old 190cm combo guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his first professional season with German Pro B team Licher Basket Baeren. He played at three schools with NC-Wilmington (NCAA), Kent St. (NCAA) and Pikeville (NAIA). Last season he finished his college basketball career with Pikeville (NAIA) playing 31 games and averaging 16.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 78.5%. Simmons is an amazing shooter and shot 48% from outside in his junior season at Pikeville, but can also mix it up getting to the hole. In his first season with Pikeville, he played 25 games averaging 20.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 48.9%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to eurobasket after giving his debut as a professional fort he Licher Basket Baeren beating the Bayer Giants Leverkusen 99-93.
Karriem congrats on the big 99-93 victory over the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. Top scorer of the game and a win to go along with it. Was this the perfect start to your professional season? Getting a good tough win, against a great team, on the road is definitely a great way to start off my professional career! I'm so proud of what my teammates and I have accomplished.
What kind of a feeling was it playing in the legendary Smid arena that housed Germany's best team in the 90's with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen?
It was an amazing feeling. The gym was very nice. Also, the feeling of the atmosphere and energy in the gym was top notch. I really respect what they have going on over there. I had a lot of fun.
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen had the 46-40 advantage at halftime. What was key for being behind after 20 minutes?
Going in at half time we felt we were right where we needed to be. As a team we all agreed that we didn't play our best half of basketball, but we were only down 6 points, so that was the big picture. We needed to remain in striking distance at all times.
The Licher Baskets Baeren went on a furious run in the fourth to cut down the 10 point lead. You and American Lamar Mallory went to work. Did you guys know it was time to step up or did head coach Rolf Scholz advise you guys to go to work? Lamar and I know when it's time to lead our team in the right direction. Also, coach will let us know when it's our time to step up and make plays for the team when need be. Big time players make big time plays when needed. It's on us to make it happen.
You and Mallory hooked up for the go ahead bucket, but Leverkusen sent the game into OT with Carter free throws. Lich could have sent the game into OT with a game winner from Simon Kutzschmar. Was this the desired shot that the team wanted at the end? We wanted to search for whatever good clean look we could have at the end of the 4th. Simon had a good look, it was a good shot, it just didn't fall. We have good shooters and scorers throughout our entire team. So we live with whoever takes the shot. Make or miss.
You got Lich going with back to back three pointers in OT which got you the momentum. Was this the moment that why you love and play the game as a professional? Yes!!! It's what I live for. To hit big shots at a time and need to fire my teammates up and get the momentum and energy shifted towards our way a bit.
What was key in OT for the Licher Baskets Baeren winning? Did you simply want it more than Leverkusen? I wouldn't say we wanted it more!!!! Because they competed very hard and played an amazing game throughout the 5 quarters. I just know my teammates and I really locked in, and focused and made those plays we needed to make in the crunch to become successful in the end. We have so much room for growth that it's scary. We will continue to work.
As a team what were you happy with and what not? Lich shot well and had 61 rebounds, but only 14 assists and 20 turnovers. We were happy with the way we played. When I say that, I'm talking about our effort and our attitude to never give up no matter what the score looks like or the flow of the game. Play good defense and let the offense come. We do need to cut down on the turnovers. It will come better with time.
You had a strong 34 points, but shot an overwhelming 29 times and shot 38%. Do the many shots and shooting percentage somewhat outweigh the meaning of your 34 points?
Not at all. I watched the game again on film. I didn't feel like any of my shots were really bad shots. Some of them I feel like I could have not took and found us a better look as a team. I will work on that. My teammates trust me and my decision making and as a leader on the floor. They lead me as well. They believe in every move I make and shots that I shoot. They seen what I can do and they accept me for it. So I just go out there and try to remain aggressive knowing they got my back no matter what. I'm not into the 34 points or how many shots I took. I'm more concerned with what we did to become victorious.
Do you remember shooting so much in a game?
I have shot this many shots in a game before, but it definitely has been a while haha. I just have so much confidence in my ability to score and to make plays for my team. It was a lot of good looks and shots missed in that gym last night from both teams. I will continue to work on becoming more efficient.
You had a game high 34 points. Was this the best K.K. Simmons people will see, or do you feel like there is even more to come this season from you? Way more to come. It was just the first game. My first game as a professional athlete. Only way from here is up for us.
You combined for 55 points with Lamar Mallory. How did feel playing your first professional game with him? Is this a deadly duo in the making? My boy Lamar is the bus driver for this team. He does so much for us and covers up so much of our trash we do commit on the court. He's a magnet for that ball. He gets big rebounds! Impossible rebounds! And he plays hard for us every single play! Never does he take a play off. He attacks hard and is coming at you every possession. On both ends of the court. We really feed off his energy and effort. We all believe he has our backs no matter what the situation. We can count on him when it's time to battle. Front line.
How much fun was it dueling Kerry Carter? Is he a guy that you could see battling for the scoring crown? Carter is a great player. He has the total package. Competes hard. Leads his team by example along with being verbal. I appreciate his competitive spirit and respect him and their organization. Good team. I'm not really caught up in the whole scoring crown thing, but we shall see.
Where will the journey of the Atlanta Hawks end this season?
I have no clue about the Hawks. I love my city and hometown, but the past couple of years have been a lot of ups and downs. Some adjustments were made in the origination as you can see. I think they will do just fine this year.
Kevin Garnett retired from the NBA. Where does his legacy rank in the NBA now that his career has ended? His legacy lives on forever!!!! KG is a legend!!! A veterinarian, an animal on the court. A perfect example of putting your heart out there each and every night. I had the opportunity to meet him in person for a couple of days and received a lot of words wisdom from him. Things bigger than basketball. He's so real and his story can be nothing but honored and respected. He is branded in one of the NBA's best. The game will miss him.
What was the last movie that you saw? Rush hour. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. One of my favorites of all time.
German BBL round 1 best performance: Quincy Diggs - 10 hours ago
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American Swingman Quincy Diggs (198-G/F-90, agency: Mansfield and Associates) had an amazing evening in the last round for Bremerhaven, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 1. The 26-year old player was the main contributor (24 points, four rebounds and eight assists) to his team's victory, helping them to beat Walter Tigers (#17, 0-1) 92-84. Bremerhaven is placed at 4th position in German BBL. But it's just the very beginning of the season and Bremerhaven won jus... [read more]
American Swingman Quincy Diggs (198-G/F-90, agency: Mansfield and Associates) had an amazing evening in the last round for Bremerhaven, receiving a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 1. The 26-year old player was the main contributor (24 points, four rebounds and eight assists) to his team's victory, helping them to beat Walter Tigers (#17, 0-1) 92-84. Bremerhaven is placed at 4th position in German BBL. But it's just the very beginning of the season and Bremerhaven won just one (their first) game. It's too early to say anything as the standings can be changed completely after next round. In the team's last game Diggs had a remarkable 70.0% from 2-point range. He turned to be Bremerhaven's top player in his first season with the team.
The second best player in last round's games was 26-year old American Chris Babb (196-G-90) of Ratiopharm. Babb had a very good evening with 27 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Of course Ratiopharm cruised to a 95-87 relatively comfortable win over Bayreuth (0-1). His team has extremely good start of the season. They won their first game. However the season is at the beginning, so everything can happen. They still may lose their high position in the standings. Babb is well-known at Ratiopharm and is a proven leader in his second season with the team.
Third on the list of top players last round was American guard Marcos Knight (188-G-89) of Jena (#13). Knight scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Despite Knight's great performance Jena lost 76-86 to Giessen 46ers (#6, 1-0). But his team cannot count on just a single shooter as he also needs help of the other teammates. Jena can only dream about fighting for top spots in the league.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Cameron Wells (186-PG-88) of Giessen 46ers - 23 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists 5. Alex Ruoff (198-G/F-86) of Ludwigsburg - 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists 6. Elmedin Kikanovic (210-C-88) of ALBA - 23 points and 6 rebounds 7. Dyshawn Pierre (198-F-93) of Braunschweig - 16 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists 8. Joseph Lewis (188-G-92) of Bayreuth - 30 points and 4 assists 9. Fabien Causeur (194-SG-87) of Brose Bask. - 18 points, 3 rebounds and 6 assists 10. Adam Waleskowski (203-F-82) of Goettingen - 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
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