The Dachau Spurs knew what they would get, when they decided to sign Omari Knox (188-G-86, college: Bloomfield) for the 2012-13 season: A versatile, hardworking athlete with an open-minded character who will excel on both ends of the floor, a scoring threat and a player who shows terrific rebounding abilities for a guard.
They knew because it would be an encore. From 2009 to 2011 Knox and his compatriot Anthony Pettaway (203-C-87, college: Defiance) emerged as a highly productive duo in the 1. Regionalliga South-East and guided the Spurs to their greatest success in recent years, finishing the 2010-11 season in third place. While Pettaway would move on to Pro B team SC Rist Wedel that year and put up impressive numbers in the higher league the following season as well, Knox experienced the downside of professional basketball. The 26-year-old was still a free agent when the 2011-12 campaign kicked off and eventually would sit out a year, despite all the success that he had while playing in Dachau, despite earning Eurobasket.com All-RLSO Second Team honors and scoring almost 23 points a game. Thus, the Spurs knew what they would get bringing back Knox last summer, but would he be able to pick up where he had left off? "I have to admit, it was very difficult to get back into game shape after sitting out a year", Knox said. "Even though I had been practicing with the high school players I was coaching, it didn't really compare to the type of workout I would put myself through when training for my own upcoming season. I started working out last February, not sure of whether I would even have a contract for the following season. I'm happy to say that the hard work is definitely paying off." Instead of playing, he taught the game of basketball at the Dwight Englewood School in Englewood, NJ. Knox said: "I was the head coach for the Freshmen team and assistant forboth theJunior-Varsity and Varsity teams. I enjoyed the experience very much. Dwight Englewood is a very prestigious school academically, and does not get a large pool of athletic talent. However, the head coach there, Eli Goldberger does a great job getting the kids to play hard for him. Last season we were able to continue the school's winning ways and finished with a record of 22-5, losing to nationally #1 ranked St. Anthony's in the third round of the state tournament. Coaching last season was quite an experience for me and I think it also helped with my growth as a player. It is definitely one of the things that I want to pursue when I am finished with my playing career."
Averaging 24.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game this season the Brooklyn, New York, native is back in production mode and simply indispensable on a somewhat pressured Dachau team. "At 4-9we have definitely been struggling this season. Our team is pretty young and lacks experience. We don't have a hugefrontcourtand have had to try and find different ways to make up for it. We always play hard which is why we have been able to compete and be in close games, losing only by a few points. However, having a thin roster has also been a major problem for us", Knox told Eurobasket.com.
Being short of bigs and without notable presence in the paint Dachau coach Florian Kroepelin is happy to have the best rebounding guard of the Regionalliga on his team. Standing only 6'2'' tall does not affect Knox's proficiency in clearing the boards. "I've always tried to be a good rebounder from the guard position", Knox said. "Even in college I was pretty good [he averaged 7.1 and 6.7 rebounds per game respectively in his last two years at NCAA D2 school Bloomfield]. Many guards don't really make the effort to go after the rebound. On the offensive end it gives you the opportunity to score more points. On the defensive end, it takes some of the pressure off of the big guys when the team has a guard who can help rebound. Not to mention, I don't have to wait for an outlet pass, and can start the break right away."
Those fast breaks will often end with Knox slashing to the hole, while outside shooting is not that much of a factor in his game as it used to be at an earlier stage of his career. In 13 games played this season, Knox hit a solid 39.2% (20/51) from beyond the arc, but due to his role in Dachau he is scoring less from the perimeter compared to his college days at Bloomfield, when he ranked amongst the top shooter in all of NCAA D2, nailing 91 of his 227 three point attempts as a senior. "I was actually thinking about this while working out at my old college over the Christmas break", Knox said, who continued: "When I first got to college, I worked on my three point shooting regularly because it was a weakness in my game. I eventually became a good shooter. When I got to Europe I felt like I needed to become more of a threat. I felt like I needed to be much more than a three point shooter, so I've worked on other aspects of my game. One of the areas I've worked heavily on improving is my mid-range game, which has really been beneficial this season."
Taking on the Dachau Spurs, any opposing team in the RLSO will focus on giving Knox a hard time to be as efficient as he usually is. And his teammates will look for him, when the game is heating up. Is there a way of learning how to become a difference maker and a clutch player? Knox said: "I think that being a go-to-guy is something that you can learn over time, and not necessarily have to be born with. I think it depends on a number of things like talent and work ethic, but most importantly the player has to be tough mentally."
Currently in his third season with the Spurs, the Brooklyn native has "grown to love it in Bavaria" and relishes the "pretty quiet and relaxing" city of Dachau as well as being close to the Bavarian capital: "Whenever I want to get out and enjoy myself I am only 15 minutes from Munich", he said. But though Dachau feels like home away from home, making the transition to a league above the RLSO for next season after dominating this competition for three years, sounds like an appealing challenge without a doubt as Knox said: "I wish there were a few more Bundesliga teams in Bavaria because I would love to stay in the area, but of course I would like to play at a higher level as well. Hopefully, I attract the interest of some of them this year."
Openjobmetis Varese (Serie A) signed 29-year old American shooting guard Dominique Johnson (192-88kg-87, college: Azusa Pacific, agency: Higher Vision Sports). He already started the season at ALBA Berlin in German BBL league. In 11 games he had 8.6ppg, 2.8rpg and 1.9apg this season. Johnson also played 6 games in Eurocup where he recorded very impressive stats: 15.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg and 1.7spg. The last season he played at Banvit in Turkish BSL. In 32 games he averaged 13.5ppg, 1.9rpg,... [read more]
Openjobmetis Varese (Serie A) signed 29-year old American shooting guard Dominique Johnson (192-88kg-87, college: Azusa Pacific, agency: Higher Vision Sports). He already started the season at ALBA Berlin in German BBL league. In 11 games he had 8.6ppg, 2.8rpg and 1.9apg this season. Johnson also played 6 games in Eurocup where he recorded very impressive stats: 15.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg and 1.7spg. The last season he played at Banvit in Turkish BSL. In 32 games he averaged 13.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg. Johnson helped them to make it to the Turkish Cup Semifinals. He also played 18 games in Eurocup where he got 14.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.0apg and 1.2spg. In 2010 Johnson was drafted by Idaho Stampede (D-League) in third round (16th overall). The former Azusa Pacific University (NCAA Div.II) standoutis in his seventh season in pro basketball. Johnson has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2012. He was voted All-NAIA D1 1st Team back in 2010 at his college time. Johnson is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in Israel (Maccabi Rishon), Poland (Slask and Stabill), D-League (Sioux Falls Skyforce, Salt Lake City Stars, Texas Legends and Canton Charge) and NBA (Minnesota Timberwolves). Johnson could be described:
Dominique is an athletic 6'5" combo guard with a strong body and great ability to score and defend. He is an outstanding teammate and personality, a smart player who is better suited in Europe as a scorer and a top defender. Dominique could easily become one of the top players in Europe even at the Euroleague level.
Vance Hall(193-PG-91, college: Bellarmine) is a 25 year old 193cm point guard from Frankfort, Kentucky that is playing his second professional season and first with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie he played for Thor Thorl (Iceland-Dominos League) playing 26 games: 23.6ppg, 6.8rpg, 4.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 86.8%. He started his basketball career in 2010 with Wright St. (NCAA) where he played until 2010 playing a total of 55 NCAA games. [read more]
Vance Hall (193-PG-91, college: Bellarmine) is a 25 year old 193cm point guard from Frankfort, Kentucky that is playing his second professional season and first with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie he played for Thor Thorl (Iceland-Dominos League) playing 26 games: 23.6ppg, 6.8rpg, 4.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 86.8%. He started his basketball career in 2010 with Wright St. (NCAA) where he played until 2010 playing a total of 55 NCAA games. In 2012 he moved to Bellarmine (NCAA2) playing 32 games: 14.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 45.9%, FT: 91.4%. As a senior for Bellarmine (NCAA2) he played 31 games: 14.7ppg, 4.6rpg, 4.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 41.4%. He spoke to eurobasket after the 64-49 win against Nurnberg.
Vance thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Congrats on the big 64-49 win against Nurnberg. Coming into the game Heidelberg had lost three of four games. How important was getting the win and is this the start of a longer winning streak? Losing 3 out of 4 games is very tough but I hope we learned from each of those games. It was very crucial that we went to Nurnberg to handle business and get back on the winning side of things. Hopefully this is a start to a longer streak of wins
Last week Diante Watkins went off for 34 points. This time you held him to 14 points and six turnovers. How vital was it really making basketball life difficult for him for 40 minutes?
it was very important for us to limit him in that game and we did so by team defense. That was one of our goals for the game
You held Nurnberg to the lowest point total of the season with 49 points. Was this the best defensive team effort of the season or was games against Chemnitz, Hamburg or Essen better?
I would say this was definitely one of the top three defensive performances from us this year. Not sure which is the first
Heidelberg is the best defensive team in the German Pro A giving up 69 points per game. How have you seen the progression of the defense from game one?
We are starting to communicate a lot better with each other out there on the court. You need good communication to have a good defense and we have improved I think every game with that
What is the secret to the success of the stellar defensive play? Is it effort coupled with trust? Definitely trusting your teammates. Trusting your teammates is one of the most important things on both sides of the ball. Offense and defense
Your playing your first season in the Pro A and as a rookie played with Thor Thorl (Iceland-Dominos League)26 games: 23.6ppg, 6.8rpg, 4.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 86.8%. What has been the biggest adjustment coming to the Pro A from Iceland? The biggest adjustment would really just be learning new teammates and what style of basketball they play. This league is a step up too so competition is better
The team has many scoring options, but you are one of the most consistent scorers on the team. What is your role on the team? My role on the team is to do whatever it is possible to help us get to our next win. Some nights that may consist of scoring the ball and some nights that may mean I need to play more defense in certain areas or make hustle plays to get us going
You have meshed very well with experienced Hrvoje Kovacevic. How have you benefited most from his basketball mind? Kova has been a great teammate. He is always there to lend a helping hand of knowledge when it is needed. He has been a very big asset to our team in the season so far
You are a guy that can fill the stat sheet, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game that doesn't always get noticed right away on the court? I take pride in making toughness plays. There might be that one loose ball that gets us that extra possession and I want that for my team
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Iceland last season where you knew that you were very far away from Kentucky?
The first night I laid my head down on the pillow I thought where am I, but once I got to the basketball gym that was no foreign language to me. I knew I was there to work and get better with my team
After you finished at Bellarmine (NCAA2) in 2014, you didn't turn professional right away and then played in the Kentuckiana Pro Am (Team KPA #1) before going to Iceland. Were you not sure that you wanted to go the professional route after school? I really wanted to go play professional basketball for sure but there was no reason for not going right away, I just put it in Gods hands and it wound up turning out for the best for me
After not playing much at Wright State (NCAA) you transferred to Bellarmine (NCAA2) and had two strong seasons there shooting over 40% from downtown. How do you feel did you grow as a player in your last two seasons? I feel I did great in my last two seasons. I loved the location I was in and to be a part of the Bellarmine basketball program was something special to me
You came to Bellarmine after Braydon Hobbs had left and he has had a stellar career moving up the basketball ladder step by step. Is he like a role model for you in that you want to follow in his footsteps as a professional and be successful? Of course Braydon is a role model to me. We keep in touch often and see each other at times in the summer. He's a great guy and I hope he keeps his trail of success continuing
As a freshman at Wright State (NCAA) you were teammates with Vaughn Duggins for one season before he went overseas and has had a great career in Germany and France. What memories do you have of him? What were you able to learn from him that has helped you throughout your career?
I learned a lot from Vaughn being a freshman at Wright State. Going up against him and other elite guards every day definitely helped shape me into the guard I am today.
How did head coach Scott Davenport groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Wright State?
Coach Davenport taught us many things at Bellarmine. How to present ourselves on and off the court. He was a very big part in helping me take my game to the next level at Bellarmine and I have nothing but thanks for him
Who won a one on one you or Vaughn Duggins? I'm not sure haha I think I could give him a run for his money
What have you learned to appreciate most about Germany? You live in a very nice area and you can visit many nice places quickly? I love Germany and the location I am in. So many places to go and see right here in Heidelberg
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time? I think he is definitely one of the best of all time. I'm not sure who is number one but he is definitely in the conversation for number one
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
ALBA Berlin (BBL) is close to sign experienced 35-year old Canadian international guard Carl English (195-81, college: Hawaii) who currently plays forIberostar Tenerife CB Canarias in Spain. In 6 Liga Endesa games he recorded 6.3ppg, 1.8rpg and 1.5apg this season. He also played 5 games in Basketball Champions League where he averaged impressive 15.2ppg, 1.8rpg and 1.2apg. English also spent pre-season at RETAbet Bilbao Basket (also in Liga Endesa) in Spanish earlier that year. In 2003 he... [read more]
ALBA Berlin (BBL) is close to sign experienced 35-year old Canadian international guard Carl English (195-81, college: Hawaii) who currently plays for Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias in Spain. In 6 Liga Endesa games he recorded 6.3ppg, 1.8rpg and 1.5apg this season. He also played 5 games in Basketball Champions League where he averaged impressive 15.2ppg, 1.8rpg and 1.2apg. English also spent pre-season at RETAbet Bilbao Basket (also in Liga Endesa) in Spanish earlier that year. In 2003 he was drafted by Idaho Stampede (CBA) in fourth round (25th overall). English attended University of Hawaii and it is his 14th (!!!) season in pro basketball. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others his team made it to the Cup (Copa del Rey) Semifinals in 2012. English was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Greek A1 League Co-Newcomer of the Year in 2015. He has been also a member of Canadian international program for some years. English has regularly played for Canadian senior team since 2005 and previously for U21 National Team back in 2000. He represented Canada at the Panamerican Games in Toronto (Canada) last year. English's team won Silver and his stats at that event were 5 games: 4.4ppg, 1.6rpg. English is quite experienced player. Thanks to his pro career he managed to play on three different continents (Europe, Latin America and of course North America) in six different countries. English has played previously professionally in Croatia (KK Zadar), Italy (Virtus Bologna), Puerto Rico (Caciques), Spain (Joventut, Baskonia, Movil Estudiantes, Sevilla and Gran Canaria), Greece (AEK Athens) and D-League (Florida F.). He is close to retirement age as a player. It's very possible he may end his playing career at ALBA Berlin.
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