Three months ago as the Beko BBL season was only two weeks old, 2004 Fiba cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC that was back in the top German league after playing in the PRO A one year after having played in the league from 2009-2011 and arrived in Frankfurt sporting a 0-2 record and in dire need of getting a win. It was an overall very exciting game, but it was MBC that kept the nerves in the fourth quarter winning 71-68 winning a big game on the road mainly due to American Kelly Beidler (199-F-88, college: Mt.St.Mary's) who had his first double double of the season registering 17 points and hauling down 10 rebounds. The 24 year old 199cm forward from Virginia Beach was a solid scorer at St Marys (NCAA), but never averaged more than 10,9ppg in his NCAA career, but then came to Europe and in his first two professional seasons averaged 21,7ppg in Iceland and 19,2ppg in Finland. Granted the leagues arent as tough as the Beko BBL, but the American got self confidence and experience in the scoring department there, but in the win against Frankfurt it wasnt only his killer instinct around the rim in crunchtime, but also his stellar defense that got MBC the win at the end. Frankfurt had the ball with 13 seconds and the chance to bring the game into OT or win it with a three pointer. Beidler who had been big on the glass proved to also be big as he blocked Peacock on the last shot giving MBC their first win of the year. The man of Peacocok got beat so I came over to help my teammates. I thought better to try and block and risk the foul and giving up free throws then letting him score. I always have liked to be aggressive. I have been blocking shots all through my career even though it doesnt get noticed as much. People look at points and rebounds. Blocking shots is a strong point in my game, warned Kelly Beidler. Beidler is the central force in our defense. His long arms make a difference on defense and rebounding. That block was huge for us, said Sharaud Curry. So far this season, Beidler is averaging 9,0ppg, 4,3rpg and is shooting a very respectable 56,1% from the field and 43,8% from downtown. He has scored in double figures in nine of 16 games. His defense keeps being a spark for MBC as was the case in a 76-70 win against the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig as he swatted away three balls showing his keenness around the rim. It is no secret about his dominating play on the boards, but just hard work. Just being active and never quitting on the play. I always want to make something happen on the glass. I always try to act on the bounce off the rim. I use my athletic ability to my advantage from the three position, warned Kelly Beidler. Zach Peacock is the go to guy for the Fraport Skyliners and might be on the defending menu for Beidler on Saturday as the team likes to get him going early. Beidler enjoys the role of keeping the others team top player in check. I have to be active and bring energy. I also focus on defense and try to make the big defensive plays get steals that lead to easy baskets. I also am there to defend the best players and make them work for their points. My offense will come from that, warned Kelly Beidler. Despite the Fraport Skyliners wanting revenge in Weissenfels, Kelly Beidler will also be motivated to repeat his strong game in Frankfurt and he keeps a very important quote in his mind when stepping onto the court before every game never getting intimidated by the name or game of a player. every player is equal when stepping onto the court but when the lights turn on and its time to play ball, the best separate themselves from the pack. Thats what I try to do every time i step on the court, warned Kelly Beidler.
This season, Silvano Poropat chose to say farewell to a core of last seasons players with Arizona Reid, Robert Faye-Holcomb, Louis Hinnat and ex North Carolina state forward Jordan Collins. He opted to keep many of the German players with the heart and soul of the team captain Sascha Leutloff, Steve Wachalski, Philipp Heyden, Malte Schwarz and Johannes Lange. He also decided to keep Iceland scorer Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson. This season, he has brought a core of talented less known Americans. Kelly Beidler tore up the league in Iceland and Finland and now is looking to make the next jump in the higher league Beko BBL. Sharaud Curry is a diminutive point guard that tore up the Austrian league last season and also is looking to make an impact in the higher league Beko BBL. Chad Timberlake brings experience to the guard position and is playing in his fifth country in Europe. Devin Uskoski is a sort of Cinderella story as it took him four years to move from the German Regionaliga to the Beko BBL. Poropat also brought in help for the boards with Serb Djordje Pantelic. With only 1,4 million Euro budget, the club has little chance of picking up high class players. Despite little money and less talented players, the team will not go scared into the season. We know that we have one of the smallest budgets in the league, but we will take up the challenge and will go with a lot of self confidence into the season. We dont want to make the mistake that small teams do and get into debt. For us it isnt so critical if we play BBL or PRO A, stressed MBC manager Martin Geisler. A strength that the team has is their unpredictability. They had many different top scorers in the pre season and the scoring was always well balanced. The team will have nothing lose and fight in every game as if its their last game. Weaknesses in the team is under the basket where the team is thinly stacked. The team also coughed up the ball much in the preseason. We are still making too many mistakes on offense and have problems finding our rhythm. We still have to work much on ending the play, warned MBC head coach Silvano Poropat.
In the short two year tenure that the Mitteldeutscher BC had from 2009-2011, the Frankfurt Skyliners were able to leave the floor each time as the winner and have a positive 4-0 record in that time. In the 2009-2010 season who could forget the exciting 76-74 win in MBC as Frankfurt was down 10 points and made a big comeback in the last minutes as American guard Aubrey Reese won the game with a shot. Frankfurt won the game at home 77-65 as American Jimmy Mckinney led Frankfurt with 17 points, Derrick Allen added 12 points and Skyliner legend Pascal Roller 11 points. In the 2010-2011 season, the Deutsche Bank Skyliners had an easier time winning as they routed the Wolves 83-52 at home as Dashaun Wood had a type of Derrick Rose performance with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Dominik Bahiense De Mello added 13 points and KImmo Muurinen 11 points. Frankfurt won in Weissenfels 70-58 as Dashaun Wood poured in 26 points and Quantez Robertson steered 11 points.
Currently the Mitteldeutscher BC is resting in 13th place with a record of 7-10. They started the season slow losing six of their first seven games as their only bright spot was the big 71-68 win in Frankfurt where they showed a lot of grit winning in crunch time and keeping their nerves in control. They showed a very spirited game losing a heartbreaker to FC Bayern Munich 73-71 at home as the game could of gone either way at the end. They then won their second game of the season 76-70 in Braunschweig. Then followed two loses to Alba Berlin and against BBC Bayreuth. Since then they have been playing better basketball winning five of their last seven games including busting out a three game winning streak. In this winning streak, they defeated the Eisaberen Bremerhaven on the road and showed their forceful play at home beating Ludwigsburg and the always tough Artland Dragons. They also beat the LTi Giessen 46ers at home, but lost in Oldenburg and Trier. They only have a 4-4 record at home, but have won their last four in a row in the comfortable wolf den in Weissenfels including a big win against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg last weekend. The team still gives us more points then what head coach Silvano Poropat would desire, but the team is always good for a surprise. A very important quality of MBC this season is their attitude when going into games which has been transported from Silvano Poropat to the team. coach has told us that players from strong teams are just like us. They do the same thing that we do. What he means by this is that we have to go into each game believing that we can win. I think that we can upset good teams, because we can play as a team for 40 minutes, warned Kelly Beidler. For the Fraport Skyliners, it will be another do or die game to get themselves away from the lower standings. They have won two of their last three games and their defense is back to where it is supposed to be having averaged giving up only 63 points in the last three games. Defense is always the key. If we can control the boards and tempo then we always have a good chance to win, warned Ted Scott. MBC recently picked up sharp shooter Osvaldo Jeanty who has had Beko BBL expereicne with Nordlingen, Giessen and Bayreuth and will spark the team on offense.
The Mitteldeutscher BC is led by Steve Wachalski who is leading the team in scoring after two games. It took the German seven years to reach the Beko BBL in 2010 with BBC Bayreuth. He played his first five seasons starting in 2003 in the Regionaliga with Osnabrueck before reaching the PRO B in 2008. In 2010-2011, he got Beko BBL experience with BBC Bayreuth playing 27 games: 3.3ppg, 1.8rpg. Last season for MBC, he played 37 games: 9.9ppg, 5.1rpg, FGP: 63.2%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 77.1%. Kelly Beidler is a 24 year old 199cm forward from Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is starting his third professional basketball season and third in Europe. He is a very athletic forward that can do it all with rebounding, posting up, shooting from outside as firstmost is a team playerHe played at Mt St Marys from 2006-2010. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 10.7ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.7spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 74.1%. In 2001 as a rookie he played for : IR Reykjavik (Iceland-Express League, starting five): 24 games: Score-4 (21.7ppg), Reb-2 (12.4rpg), 3.8apg, Steals-5 (2.5spg), Blocks-3 (2.0bpg), FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 72.9%. Last season he played for : Karhu Kauhajoki (Finland-Korisliiga, starting five): 44 games: Score-4 (19.2ppg), Reb-5 (9.8rpg), 1.4apg, Steals-1 (2.3spg), Blocks-1 (1.9bpg), FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 70.8%. Milan Brown his coach at Mt St Marys has helped shape him to be the player that he is today. Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Iceland. He started his basketball career in 2003 for Fjolnir (Intersport League) and played most of his career in Iceland except for a stint with CB Dunas Hotels Gran Canaria Las Palmas (Spain-EBA) in 2007. He played for Top Iceland team and ex Skyliner Derrick Allen team Keflavik (Iceland-Express) from 2008-2011. In his three seasons there, he never averaged less than 16,5ppg. Last season he played for Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-ProA): 37 games: 9.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 77.6%. Chad Timberlake is a 28 year old 193cm guard that was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He is a very talented point guard with good physical size (64,208 lbs.) and toughness, he can play the shooting guard position, if that is what is needed for the team. Chad is the floor general with excellent court vision and he is a natural team leader. He can play fast break style or he can run an offense with set plays, whatever is essential to win. He is an extremely athletic guard and gets to the basket, always finishing ha rd. He has the skills to take over games with his scoring and jumping ability. He played at Fairleigh Dickinson (NCAA) from 2002-2006. In 2006-2007 as a rookie he played for Mlekarna Kunin Novi Jicin (Czech Republic-NBL, starting five): EuroCup Challenge: 8 games: 16.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.0apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 61.3%, 3FGP: 21.1%, FT: 61.1%; Czechs League: 46 games: 15.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.7apg, 2FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 60.6%. In 2007-2008, he played in the States for the Albany Patroons (CBA, starting Five): 36 games: 15.1ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 73.1.0%. In 2008-2009, he played for Sokol Znicz Jaroslaw (Poland-PLK, starting five): 11 games: 14.1ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 52.0%. In 2009-2010, he played for Zalakeramia-ZTE KK (Hungary-A Division): 18 games: 5.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 56.5%. In 2010-2011, he played for Elitzur Yavne (Israel-National League, starting five): 31 games: 20.2ppg, 5.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 21.1%, FT: 73.2%. Last season he played for Falco-Szova KC-Szombathely (Hungary-A Division, starting five): 36 games: Score-3 (21.3ppg), 5.0rpg, 3.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP-3 (67.4%), 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 71.1%. He won the cup and league title in Hungry in 2010.
Devin Uskoski is a 26 year old 201 cm forward from Brush Praire who can rebound with the best of them and reacts very smart under the boards. He played at Rocky Mountain (NAIA) and turned professional in 2009. In 2009-2010, he was a rookie for BG Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga)): 26 games: 25.9ppg, 11.0rpg, FGP: 70.3%, 3Pts: 48.6%, FT: 73.5%. In 2010-2011, he moved up a league with BG Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany): 31 games: Score-4 (20.7ppg), Reb-1 (10.8rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 62.4%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 73.4%. Last season, he was one of the top forwards in the PRO A for VfL Kirchheim Knights (Germany-ProA): 36 games: 16.1ppg, Reb-3 (8.1rpg), 1.3apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 83.4%. This past summer, he played for the Vancouver Volcanoes (IBL, starting five): 12 games: 17.2ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 57.6%, FT: 74.6%. Djordje Pantelic is a 28 year old 204cm forward form Serbia that gives MBC added experience as Germany will be his sixth country in Europe. He got early experience playing in Cyprus. In 2009-2010, he played for BC Steaua Turabo Bucuresti (Romania-Div.A, starting five): Romanian League: 14 games: 6.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 71.4%; Balkan League: 5 games: 7.4ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.0apg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 71.4%, released in Dec.09, in Feb.10 moved to Stjarnan (Iceland-Express League, starting five): 11 games: 14.1ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.7apg, 2.9bpg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 81.3%. In 2010-2011, he played for Apollon Patras (Greece-A2): 30 games: 11.0ppg, Reb-2 (8.9rpg), 1.4apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-1 (1.9bpg), FGP: 64.8%, 3PT: 26.5%, FT: 72.4%. Last season, he played for Falco-Szova KC-Szombathely (Hungary-A Division, starting five): 38 games: 13.0ppg, Reb-4 (9.0rpg), 1.9apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-2 (1.6bpg), FGP: 61.9%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 69.9%. Sascha Leutloff is a 30 year old 202cm forward from Berlin. He continues to have his heart with MBC as the captain is returning for a sixth season. He started to play organized basketball at age 16 and developed rapidly into a promising player. He has very good speed and athletic potential, is a very good and aggressive defender, can play inside out, is an exceptional offensive rebounder, has a very good character and is a smart person on and off the court. He started his basketball career with TUS Lichterfelde in 2001 and also played with Alba Berlin from 2004-2006. Last season for MBC, he played 37 games: 9.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 74.1%. He won the Beko BBL cup in 2006 with Alba Berlin. Malte Schwarz is a 23 year old 188cm guard that is palying hiss econd season in Weissenfels. He started his basketball career in 2006 with Bramfelder SV Hamburg (2.Regionalliga). He then played a season with SC Rist Wedel (Regionalliga) before getting his feet wet in the Beko BBL playing for Phoenix Hagen from 2008-2011. He played a total of 58 Beko BBL games. Last season for MBC, he played 25 games: 6.8ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 88.0%. Johannes Lange is a 27 year old 208cm center that took nine years of playing in the German minor leagues before finally getting his chance this season in the Beko BBL with MBC. He started his basketball career with Rhondorf 1912 Dragons (2.Bundesliga) in 2003 where he played until 2010. In 2010-2011, he played for GiroLive-Ballers Osnabrueck (ProA): 22 games: 3.9ppg, 2.1rpg. Last season, he played for BG Karlsruhe (ProA): 6 games: 3.2ppg, 1.0rpg; left in Nov.11, then moved to Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (ProA): 21 games: 4.3ppg, 2.0rpg
Last Saturday Bayreuth won the 5th straight game, establishing its best start since the return to the top of German basketball (2010). The victory against Giessen has been the natural proof of the great job done by Bayreuth's Austrian head coach, Raoul Korner (agency: Court Side ), arrived -from Braunschweig- in the Bavarian town this summer. Since the first time I saw his guys, I've been impressed by their desire to play together and help each other in both halves of the court. Beyond th... [read more]
Last Saturday Bayreuth won the 5th straight game, establishing its best start since the return to the top of German basketball (2010). The victory against Giessen has been the natural proof of the great job done by Bayreuth's Austrian head coach, Raoul Korner (agency: Court Side ), arrived -from Braunschweig- in the Bavarian town this summer. Since the first time I saw his guys, I've been impressed by their desire to play together and help each other in both halves of the court. Beyond the technical features of the single players, doubtless the main key of the successes has been their ability to take quick decisions on offense and a defensive attitude improved game by game. The ball remains stationary for one or two seconds at most, so the offensive set plays are always characterized by good pace and an efficient flow that involves every player on the floor. Flow, pace, ball movement: when we watch a basketball match, we always hear these three magic words, needful to build a good offense and to create the right spacing between the players; each of them is present in Bayreuth's offense and these simple but fundamental things make all the difference.
I would like to analyze Bayreuth starting to talk about the centers. Why the centers? Because they own two unusual traits for a big-man: good passers and an high basketball IQ. Andreas Seiferth (209-C-89) is in the crucial part of his career and he must prove to be an overall player. I like his attitude on the court because he always tries to do the better thing for the team; on offense he can be dangerous in pick and roll's situations due to his ability to cut quickly after the screen and he has a very good coordination to finish: rarely he commits a traveling violation or a charge foul against the defender that comes to help from the weak side. He can also score with moves in the low post where he possesses good skills and can also use the weak hand, despite being left-handed. He likes receiving the ball statically taking advantage of his size and then he often finishes with a drop-step or a baby-hook shot. This being said, he also has a capable court vision and he's a good passer, so, when the defenders come to a double-team, he's able to overturn the ball and the shooters on weak side profit by this situation. On defense, he does not have slow feet considering his size, so when he must defend on a pick and roll he can do aggressive "shows" on the perimeter, although he's more helpful to contain the opposing penetrations. Problems can start when he finds a powerful opponent with an important weight and a tough body or when he's attacked dynamically - as happened with Ulm's Raymar Morgan - because he does not have a great lateral mobility. He's a good rim protector despite not being an extraordinary athlete and he has a good IQ that allows him to help at the right moment. Finally, he's also a good rebounder, able to guarantee to his team important extra-possessions and careful to box-out his opponent when he must take a defensive rebound.
After Siauliai, Bayreuth is the second European experience for Assem Marei (206-F-92, college: Minn.St.-Mankato). One thing comes to my mind if I had to choose a word to describe him: concreteness. He's a solid player on both sides of the floor and he has a great work ethic because he wants to improve himself in the aspects in which he's lacking. Low post constitutes 70-80 % of his offensive game: he can finish with both hands - with a baby-hook shot usually -, good technique and an important feet speed that makes him unpredictable. Almost as soon as entered on the court, he immediately has an huge impact on the game because of his aggressiveness and he's able to be productive also in few minutes. As well as Seiferth, in my humble opinion he must improve his shot range to give a bigger completeness to his game and to widen his technical luggage. He must brush up his lateral quickness, too: if he's attacked in dynamic situations, he often uses his hands to contain the opponent, so it happens he's in fouls trouble. He certainly prefer to contain when he must defend on a pick and roll, but he's improving in the "show and recover". He runs the court very well, so he can grab a defensive rebound and then takes up the central line of the court to receive a pass from the teammates for a fastbreak. I would close mentioning his great ability to hold his body in hard situations and his capacity to read what happens on the floor: he has an high basketball IQ, so he's a capable passer and also a good rebounder, although he does not have too much athleticism because he has great timing to take the right position under the basket to anticipate his opponent, on defense and on offense, too.
De'Mon Brooks (202-F-92, college: Davidson) and Steve Wachalski (202-F-83) add quality and strenght to Bayreuth's frontcourt, making it truly solid. De'Mon's energy and aggressiveness are one of the main reasons of Bayreuth's good defenses on the pick and roll: he has very quick feet, so he's exceptional to switch and to "stay" with the opposing guards, denying the possibility to attack the rim, he has long arms that allow him to make a lot of deflections and steals and he also carries out right defensive rotations. Good rebounder due to his athleticism. Excellent to do a fast defensive transition, Brooks has a remarkable ability to make close-outs keeping the right balance. On offense he prefers to attack dynamically taking advantage of his acceptable ball handling; till now he's pulling up with an important 45.5 % behind the arc, showing a good ability to knock down threes, but I think he must get more confidence and continuity with his shot and he also must achieve a better shot mechanics. Good moves on low post, but he does not like static situations, so he often drives with the ball to find the right position near the basket. As well his teammates, he's demonstrating the proper concentration, staying focused all the game. Wachalski is a fundamental role player in the economy of Raoul Korner (agency: Court Side )'s team. I simply report two features: he always does the right choose on offense, shooting or attack opposing close-outs, and he is a substantial defender. He does not have athleticism, but he offsets with a great defensive intelligence. He's a spot-up player, so the major part of his points are produced by three-points shots, but he has the rare ability to do the right thing at the right moment: a screen, a rebound, a shot. In Giessen he performed 11 straight points in a crucial part of the match.
Coming to the backcourt, maybe he's a bit undersized, but Joseph Lewis (188-G-92, college: Louisville) is showing all his potential: it is easy to talk about his predisposition to score in different ways, but I've been impressed by his concentration on defense. Off the ball he is always "sticked" on his opponent, while on the ball he always puts a great pressure and he's often able to force the screen with his energy. Even when he fails to perform a lot of points, he finds the way to help his team, defending very hard, as happened in Giessen. His desire to fight and to compete is very remarkable and I love his cleverness to work for his teammates and to wait without forcing shots. Naturally, he has an innate instinct for the offense; sometimes it happens he produces a lot of points without you perceiving it. He's a silent-killer and he has the ability to score quick points, also in topic moments of the game. Extraordinary shooter in catch-and-shoot's situations, great release and tip, Joseph has also good fundamentals: that's why he also like to make a jump-stop followed by a mid-range shot, in particulary after a pick and roll. He does not have an instantaneous first step, so he is more capable to attack close-outs. When I saw him for the first time in this season, I thought Kyan Anderson (180-PG-92, college: TCU, agency: Pensack Sports) would have had a lot of troubles on defense: not too much focused off the ball and not too much strong and active on the ball. But now things have changed: despite not being a monster physically, in the last games Kyan has demonstrated an important defensive attitude off the ball, crossing the screens very well and guarding his opponent. As said about Lewis, also Anderson does not excel in beating his defender from the dribble: he is not known for his explosiveness and he does not like to shoot from the dribble but he's very quick to beat close.outs. He's an efficient shooter in catch-and-shoot's situations and he possesses the quality to knock down important shots; against Jena, for example, he performed the three-point shot to win the game and also in preseason against Trento he decided the match in this way. He has a capable killer-instinct and he has good skills to involve his teammates, despite not being an exceptional passer. But in my own opinion the heart of Bayreuth's offense is Nate Linhart (200-SF-86, college: Akron); he is the most experienced in the ranks of the Bavarian team so he can bring a bit of craftiness to his teammates. He's not a great defender and he does not have an important athleticism to force screens and to beat his defender in 1-on-1 but he's wonderful in how he plays the pick and roll due to his cleverness to find the right angle to pass the ball and to trigger his teammates (either spot-up players or centers); although is left-handed, he uses his weak hand very well and this is essential to find pass lines in every case. When Bayreuth must play an important offense - during an excited phase of the game, for example -, ball comes to Linhart: he's the true director of the offense and he adds quality and phosphorus. This being said, he's an excellent three points shooter - especially from the corner - when he receives the ball with the feet toward the basket and he's a great cutter from the weak side because of his ability to read what is happening on the floor. He's a creator and a weak side's player, too. Finally, I would conclude my analysis with few words about Bastian Doreth (182-PG-89) and Robin Amaize (188-SG-94, agency: Octagon Europe). As said about Wachalski, Doreth is another role player that brings an energic defensive effort to his team; when Korner wants to increase his aggressiveness on the perimeter, Bastian is always prepared to help. Very capable to remain setted front of his opponent, Doreth is also good off the ball due to his concentration; he's not an athlete and he does not have great technique, but he knows how to take responsibilities. Instead, it is not easy to decipher Robin Amaize; when he realizes talented plays, you could have a great impression on him, but then he makes a mistake on the other side taking a bad position on defense. Doubtless he must find the right continuity because he's too much fitful at the moment, but I think he has the possibility to become an important player because he has obvious features: he has explosive legs to beat his defender and when he wants he also has the right defensive attitude, but he must work on his shot.
In short: flow and pace on offense, great organization and right rotations and ability to close the paint on defense. These are the keys to explain Bayreuth's successes; two simple things, simple but difficult to transmit to your team if you have selfish players without defensive abnegation.
Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall) is a 26 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his fifth professional season and first with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL). Last season he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.... [read more]
Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall) is a 26 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his fifth professional season and first with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL). Last season he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 127 NCAA games and as a playing a total of senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five): 17 games: 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to eurobasket before his comeback back to Frankfurt in Champions League action.
Jordan thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Your 3-0 with Banvit in the Turkish BSL league and 1-0 in the Champions League. How good is basketball life for you at the moment?
My basketball life at the moment is very good. We had a very long pre-season with coach working us very hard. Everyone is buying into his system and we are all getting along. Basketball is very fun at the moment.
This is your third season in the Turkish league and currently after two games in the Turkish league are averaging 23,5ppg and 9,0apg. These are your best stats ever. Did you even get better over the summer? What was your secret to last summer's training regimen? As a player you always try to build off the last season. It all has to do with understanding the game, getting stronger and continuing to work on your weaknesses. Last summer I played no tournaments, but just stayed in the gym and worked on my body and jump shot.
With your great stats and stellar play at the moment could one say that the Turkish league is appealing to your style of game?
I feel that I could play well in any league. This season I have to give a lot of credit to the system of Banvit. It is perfect for my game with the pick and roll, getting out on transition and I am surrounded with good shooters. Finding my teammates and creating is my game. Though the Turkish league is tough. Understanding the game has helped me here and with having good teammates has just made everything easy so far letting me pick my spots with first finding my teammates and then scoring.
Do you feel like that this season you could end with your best scoring and assist season ever?
I feel I could. I have to give my teammates a lot of credit. No one is easy to guard. They have a lot of confidence in me and I in them to find each other.
Do you feel like this season your job as point guard is more of a challenge than last season simply because with six new imports in, you don't have that solid team chemistry that the Fraport Skyliners had. This season is more of a challenge. Not only with the chemistry, but I wanted to come back this season consistent and come back better. In Frankfurt we had great coaches in Gordie Herbert and Klaus Perwass and they had established a good chemistry that all I had to last season was come in and just bring my game to the table since the team already was playing together. This season it hasn't been easy learning to find my spots, but my teammates have a lot of confidence in me so that like in Frankfurt I am allowed to play my game here as well getting guys involved and taking over when needed.
What really is amazing is how you are winning as a team with only two Americans and a nine man rotation. What is the secret to the success of the team? Our secret this season has been that every player has bought into what coach wants us to do on the court. We all work together and it's all team. No one is upset when one guy is getting more minutes or more shots. We all want to win. Many said before the season that Banvit have no big name players and not many were expecting much from us. But we have players that have played at a high level and a coach who also has coached at the highest level. Our team is perfect and we all compliment each other well.
It seems like the success wouldn't be there without the help of imports Edo Muric, Damian Kulig, Gaspar Vidmar and Gediminas Orelik. These guys aren't household names, but getting the job done big time. Is Banvit a team this season that is all about team and less about self?
Yes it's all about team with us. The club did a great job this off season putting together guys with high characters that don't care about individual stats. Everyone wants to win first before caring about individual stats.
How strange is it having only one other American on the squad with Jeremy Chappell? Do you feel like when there is only one American that you have a more intense relationship on and off the court than if you had 4-5 Americans? For me it isn't strange really. We had many more Americans last season with Frankfurt, but there I hung out with everyone as I do this season as well. Jeremy is a married man that has two little boys and a new born baby girl. We do spend time together, but many of my teammates have families. When we are in the gym it's all about business, but off the court we have good team bonding and go to dinner together. It was the same with the Fraport Skyliners. Team bonding and having team chemistry helps you win.
Within 48 hours, you beat top Turkish teams Darussafaka with BBL MVP Brad Wanamaker and then potent Israeli team Ironi Nahariya with ex NBA player Marquis Teague. Do these kind of wins and battling these top point guards and winning the head to head play give your self-confidence another boost up or or you at a stage now where your game is strengthed further in other ways?
I always get a kick out of playing against the elite point guards. To be honest I always feel like I am the best and I go into every game giving my best. My opponents better bring their best each game, because that is what I will be doing. I am here to stay and play. You better bring your game, because I will bring my game.
I honestly believe one of the main reasons of your success in the last year is your continued approach to each game in that you go into it having the need to prove something. It seems like you are never satisfied with your game and keep working hard and go into every game needing to prove something. Is this an approach that you will always be able to hold?
Yes I think so. Every practice is a reward for me. I also approach each practice like this. I always work hard in practice. If I don't take a sub in practice, I won't need one in a game, because I am not tired. I give my all each game and yes I do have a chip on my shoulder. I know that I have been overlooked a lot, but I understand that this now is my opportunity and I want to make the most of it. This approach helps me and my team most.
Banvit is a very unselfish club that stresses team before anything else, but despite these circumstances, you are the playmaker that loves to score, but also loves to find his teammates. Despite having some big scoring games, could you imagine averaging 6-8 assists a game? Yes I think I could and that is my goal. I always want to average double double stats. Some nights won't go your way, but I am always confident in myself. As long as I give my all and am in attack mode my stats will come. But I don't think about stats, but want to win the most. I do whatever it takes to help my team win.
Every player wants to win titles, but has your hunger for winning the next one grown to ridiculous proportions after tasting victory with the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup chip? Yes It is, but last season I also tasted defeat in the way we went out of the playoffs. That wasn't an easy pill for me to swallow. I know I did some things wrong in the Ulm series and it has made me hungrier to win more titles. I want to win all titles possible. But I know that I have to take the season one day at a time. Take each practice as if it was my last. The hunger is there and I need to put in the work now and see the results later.
You are returning back to Frankfurt for the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners. With what kind of feelings are you returning to the place where you helped win their third club title?
I am extremely excited, overwhelmed and happy to be returning back to Frankfurt. The Fraport Skyliners helped me get to where I am today. Coming back to Frankfurt will be very emotional for me. I will be very happy to see my former coaches, teammates and fans. It will be an unbelievable feeling coming back, but I am coming to win. It will be tough to suit up in the visiting dressing room, but I know I will have a job to do. I will have to stay professional. I have really missed the Skyliner fans. We had many great moments last season.
Will it personally feel very strange for you dressing up in different colors and going onto the court and battling against Quantez Robertson and Max Merz for loose balls? It will be strange, but a lot of fun. I still talk to Tez today and they are like my brothers, family for life. We accomplished a lot together and things that many haven't been able to do.
Do you already have any idea what color shoes you will wear or is that a spur of the moment decision that you will make on game day? I have some ideas, but I have made up my mind yet. Last season I wore many different styles and we will see what I chose.
The Fraport Skyliners have changed from last season, but there are still some familiar faces around with Quantez Robertson, Mike Morrison and the German kids with Max Merz, Stefab Ilzhoefer, Niklas Kiel and Garai Zeeb. They got some good pieces with Antonio Graves, Kwame Vaughn and Shavon Shields. What is your impression of the team?
It is still early in the season. They added many new pieces. The team is still getting to know each other and how to play together. Coach Perwas is a great coach and we all know that Frankfurt play great defense. Frankfurt always play hard and with a lot of intensity no matter what even if the offense isn't working. Their chemistry isn't there yet, but their defensive intensity is. This will be a very fun game. Frankfurt will be hyped.
Your one of those guys that has the rare ability of just knowing every American that is playing ball overseas. When Antonio Graves was asked if he knew the new guy Kwame Vaughn, he said no. Do you know seasoned veteran Antonio Graves or Kwame Vaughn? Hahaha that is true, but believe it or not I don't know Graves and Vaughn. At least I don't believe that I have met them.
It hasn't been easy this season for head coach Klaus Perwas who had to take over for Gordon Herbert who has a sick leave. Perwas is known for being a great individual trainer. How did he help you best last season? Klaus and I had a lot of talks last season and video sessions. He got on me a lot, but it did me good. He helped me work on my jump shot and helped to develop it further. He is underrated because he wasn't the head coach last season. He is an unbelievable scouter and incredible film guy really knowing how to break down games. Klaus didn't talk much, but when he did talk, his words were felt. Klaus always got his point across and made sure we understood exactly what he was saying.
When you see Quantez Robertson for the first time again on the court, what will be the first thing you will ask him after the usual hello's and what do you believe he will ask you? That is a tricky question. Tez and I talk all the time. Tez is family. I actually spoke to him three hours ago after their loss in Wurzburg. I still talk to Konstantin Klein, Philipp Scrubb, Mike Morrison and Aaron Doornekamp. I think that when I see Tez for the first time on the court we will all be smiles. Tez and I hung out a lot last season and played a lot of UNO and Tez liked to cheat. He liked being the old head at Uno. Tez made his own rules at Uno. If you don't believe me ask Mike Mo and Aaron.
You told me recently that Banvit will sparkle on the defensive end this season. The Fraport Skyliners are also a very defensive minded team as always. Can we await more of a defensive affair?
Yes I could see the game being a very defensive game with a lot of intensity. We play defensive, but have a fun offensive style. You will see a lot of both. We have a tough minded defense and a fun minded offense
Your ex teammates the German twin towers Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann have started off very well with their respective teams of FC Bayern Munich and Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (Spain-Liga Endesa). These two guys always seemed so reserved any place I saw them. What are your two fondest memories with them off the court? I have a fun memory of big Joe from last season when we were in London at the Tony Robbins convention. Joe was the hit with his Dab dancing. I call it Joe dabbing in London. I had so many great memories with Nilo. He is a great character and just very funny. He is a jokester and just a great guy to be around.
Kevin Garnet has retired. Where do you see his legacy as belonging to the best power forwards of all-time?
I didn't really have the chance to see Kevin Mchale play live, but I saw him on video. Garnett the big ticket was like a point guard in a four man body. It was amazing to see how he could push the break and dribble as a seven footer. I think he was the first seven footer that could guard a guard. He will go down as a top 2-3 best power forward of all-time. He didn't have the range of a Tim Duncan, but the effect that he had on people especially from urban areas was big. His work ethic was great and he didn't even have to talk as just watching him was enough.
What was the last movie that you saw? Ninja Turtles.
Darryl Watkins (211-C-84, college: Syracuse, agency: Inception Sports) is a 31 year old 211cm center from Patterson, New Jersey that is playing his 10th professional season and second with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He started his basketball career with Syracuse (NCAA) in 2003 playing a total of 106NCAA games and as a senior in 2007 played 33 games averaging 8.1ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.2spg, 3.4bpg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 61.2%. As a rookie in 2007 he played 9 NBA games for the Sacramen... [read more]
Darryl Watkins (211-C-84, college: Syracuse, agency: Inception Sports) is a 31 year old 211cm center from Patterson, New Jersey that is playing his 10th professional season and second with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He started his basketball career with Syracuse (NCAA) in 2003 playing a total of 106NCAA games and as a senior in 2007 played 33 games averaging 8.1ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.2spg, 3.4bpg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 61.2%. As a rookie in 2007 he played 9 NBA games for the Sacramento Kings and also spent time in the D-league with Los Angeles and Iowa. In the 2008-2009 season he played for TianJin Rongcheng (China-CBA) playing 43 games averaging 20.7ppg, 14.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.7spg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 67.2%. In the 2009-2010 season he spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA). In the 2010-2011 he played with Sagesse - Al Hekmeh Beirut (Lebanon-Div.A) playing 27 games: 15.5ppg, 10.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.9spg, Blocks-5 (1.4bpg), FGP: 57.8%, FT: 61.7%. Ion the 2011-2012 season he played with InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-Division A) playing Cyprus League: 14 games: 12.9ppg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 11.8ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 40.3%, FT: 70.8%, in Apr.'12 signed a 10-day contract with New Orleans Hornets (NBA) playing 5 games: 4.6ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2spg. In the 2012-2013 season he played with Lukoil Academik (Bulgaria-NBL): 37 games: 13.2ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-2 (1.3bpg), FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 68.0%; EuroCup: 6 games: 12.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.5%, FT: 50.0%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 18pts, 15reb, 2blk, 1stl. In the 2013-2014 season he played with Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League): Eurocup: 10 games: 11.2ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, 1.4spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 51.2%, FT: 66.7%; Ethias League: 39 games: 10.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 53.4%, FT: 64.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (France-ProA) playing 34 games: 11.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-4 (1.2bpg), FGP: 54.5%, FT: 70.6%. Last season he played with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA): 45 games: 8.4ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 49.5%, FT: 72.6%; FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games: 6.5ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.5%, FT: 71.1%. He spoke to eurobasket after the exciting 81-79 win against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Champions league play.
Thanks Darryl for talking to eurobasket.com. Congrats on a wild 81-79 win in Oldenburg. How motivated was the team not to lose again by a slim margin like last week against Varese?
Yes we came out very focused in Oldenburg, because we didn't want to lose at the end again the way we did in Italy. We ended up getting a big win.
Did Asvel just want it more at the end showcasing effort and securing the Dragovic rebound and making the put back?
The loss last week in Italy was devastating so we tried to do anything possible to come out with a win against Oldenburg. I was very proud of our win in Oldenburg.
You are playing your second season with Asvel. Do you feel a lot of pressure having to defend your title from last season?
Anytime a team wins a title, they always have a harder time following it up the next season. We have a new team this season, but talented new players. We have to start to find a rhythm in the French Pro A and start winning more.
What made last season's team so special? It seemed like the club had a lot of special players that filled their role correctly from the bench? I think that last season's team messed together well. We also liked to play together.
What an exciting 5 game series final against Strassburg. Strassburg was up 2-0, but Asvel came back and won the next three games. Was this the most exciting week that you ever had in your professional career? Yes it was for me. It was my second season in France and to win the title was amazing. I also made the allstar team. We plan to repeat this season.
You won titles in Cyprus and Bulgaria as well, but did the France pro A title top all the others?
The title in France topped those simply because the France Pro A gets more recognition. People respect the France Pro A and it's players more.
This season you are playing more minutes than last season. How is your role different this season from last season?
I have more of a focal point this season. I will try to fill my role as best as possible again.
You are known as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, but what do you feel has been something in your career that has not always been noticed much on the court?
I think my ability to come into a game and bring energy and to be able to change the momentum of the game gets overlooked.
Three seasons ago you played for Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League) with American Demond Mallet who finally retired at almost 40 years of age. Was he one of the biggest energy sparks that you ever played with?
Demond was a great guy and had great knowledge of the game which he helped me with. He also was able to let me comprehend what was expected me on the court at all times.
Were you and American Theron Smith the most dominant 4-5 duo during the season at TianJin Rongcheng (China-CBA) that you were ever involved with?
Yes he was. That was my first time overseas and I was still feeling my way around in a new environment. I came from being a big man on campus at Syracuse and now had a smaller role. Theorn motivated me to play and just to play what felt natural.
You had your time in the NBA with stints with the Kings and Hornets. What did you appreciate most about your short time in the NBA? Just having the opportunity to be in the NBA and learn from the head coaches and assistants. They helped me develop my game to another level.
In your last game with the Hornets you scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds in 42 minutes in a loss to the Houston Rockets. Was this the proof in your own mind that you had what it took to be an NBA player? I still think about this game. This game proved that I could do some things at the NBA level.
As a rookie you was with the Sacramento Kings. What was your wake up call to being in the NBA? It was tough coming into a situation where I didn't know how to fit into the system and to a team that was trying to get wins. They are still in this type of state today.
Did you have to do any jobs or deeds for the players as a rookie?
I had to bring donuts or fruit for guys like Mike Bibby and Ron Artest.
What kind of character was Ron Artest?
He was a totally different dude off the court, but on the court he just played. The way he played back in 2008 shows that he still has it today as he got a roster spot with the Lakers.
You played two seasons at Syracuse with sniper Andy Rautins. What was the most amazing thing you remember him doing in a game or practice concerning his shot? Rautins made many ridiculous shots in my time there. I can't really pinpoint one, because there were so many. When we needed a sniper, he came through for us.
How did head coach Jim Boeheim prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
He was successful teaching me how to play in a zone system. He was a big reason why I got a shot in the NBA.
What was your most memorable block in college that you can recollect?
I remember in my freshman year blocking a few guys from Pittsburgh who tried to dunk on me. I didn't play much that game, but I came in toward the end of the game and played well.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that made it to the NBA?
The toughest guy I battled was Emeka Okafor of UCONN. He was a beast and won an NCAA title.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose?
Jordan, Magic, Shaq, Duncan.
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the all-time best debate against Michael Jordan?
Lebron is incomparable to Jordan. Jordan did so much. He won titles then walked away and came back and still won titles and dominated. That is hard to duplicate or go above and beyond.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy with the best power forwards to have ever played the game? Garnett will go down as one of the greatest. He is a future hall of famer.
Many players comment that Tim Duncan was better.
It really depends what type of game you like. Garnett was all about energy and heart. Duncan didn't show any emotion.
What was the last movie that you saw? Now you see me 2.
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