A fireman is someone who saves lives and can also be defined as a member of a fire department who tries to extinguish fires. A fireman not only is vital to fighting fires and saving people, but the term fireman is also seen in professional sports. In the sport of baseball, a fireman is a relief pitcher who can protect a lead in the last inning or two of the game and with guys like Mariano Riveria or Francisco Rodriguez who could put out fires best in late innings getting out of a jam or just retiring the side with no men on base. Firemen have also been as usual in the German Bundesliga soccer league in the last years as head coaches like Peter Neururer, Jorg Berger or Rolf Schafstall coming to poor teams and saving them from rotting away in the cellar. The most well known fireman in Germansoccer has to be Hans Meyer who is like a nomad just seemingly waiting for that next job somewhere where a fire of balls are falling from the sky with no help in sight. Even the Beko BBL, there have been firemen even as players as Michael Hakim Jordan did it twice saving the Phoenix Hagen season and LTi Giessen 46ers season as his play, leadership and spirit helped the teams remain in the Beko BBL. A special mid season fireman recently also came to FC Bayern Munich with Svetislav Pesic (agency: Interperformances ). It is understood that FC Bayern is nowhere near the end of the standings, but the club had a record of 5-5 at the start of December 2012 which was like as if they were sinking in the Isar river as the traditional and most famous sports team is only used to winning and being at the top and there average record was keeping everyone affiliated and close to the team more than depressed. Pesic has come in and has had a more than immaculate record of 8-1. Since the 82-70 loss in Berlin, the team had a 7 game winning streak including winning four games in a row with 100 plus points. Pesic has turned the team around 180 degrees since taking over for the Greek Yannis Christopolous. Pesic that prides an organized defense is still looking for that consistency on the defensive end, but he cant be disappointed with the potent offense of his team as they have averaged 93 points per game since the arrival of Pesic. Pesic also has in a short time, got the roles untangled as the players are playing with ease and have accepted their responsibilities and come together as a team as the next months will be interesting to see how much more potent this team will get and if they will be able to challenge the Brose Baskets Bamberg for the title in June 2013. The team has scored well and the defense will also be come, but it takes time to grow. I believe FC Bayern Munich is a candidate for at least the semi final or final, warned basketball expert Steven Clauss.
For all those that were born after the first man stepped on the moon, a memory of FC Bayern Munich playing in the first German basketball league will be absent. The last time FC Bayern Munich won a German first division basketball title, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl 2, Martin Luther King was assassinated, famous American TV show 60 minutes made its debut on CBS and is still on today, Led Zeppelin make their first Live performance in England and famous Croatian basketball player Toni Kukoc was born as was lovable American actor who you talking about Willis Gary Coleman. The year was 1968 as Bayern Munich won their last title which was a cup. They were also Bundesliga champion in 1954 and 1955. Since the Bundesliga cup win, basketball has been in the shadow of the soccer team moving down and back up in 1974 and then going back to the second Bundesliga in 1982. They were back in the top division in 1987, but returned back down in 1989. Then in 1993, the team was in the Regionaliga. In 1995, 1999 and 2004, the team found itself back in the second Bundesliga, but they never were able to get back into the first Bundesliga as money and quality players were missing. In 2009-2010, 23,000 members from the club Bayern Munich voted and agreed that the basketball department had to be financially supported so that they could return back to the BEKO BBL. In the 2010-2011 PRO A season Bayern Munich plowed through the competition with new head coach Dirk Bauermann, German national players Steffen Hamann and Demond Greene and locker room motivation magnate Darius Hall.
Last season FC Bayern Munich not only brought in experienced basketball players, but with head coach Dirk Bauermann as the Beko BBL version of Phil Jackson who has won 9 Beko BBL titles, seven with Bayer Leverkusen and two with the Brose Baskets Bamberg. And one should not forget his experience that he brought with his coaching duty as German national coach from 2003-2011 leading Germany to a Silver medal at the 2005 European championships. With a budget of seven million Euro, Bauermann had that kid feeling of being able to go into Fao Schwartz in New York city and shop until he drops for the right players. Bauermann knew that he would have a new kind of pressure that he never felt before. There is nothing less accepted than success with FC Bayern Munich. We want to be in the top four teams. We want to play our best basketball when it counts. Titles arent won in October, warned Dirk Bauermann in his rookie season in Munich. The club did a good job not doing a total house cleaning, but keeping a core of guys from the 2011 PRO A championship team. German national players Steffen Hamann and Demond Greene were kept. They may not be the youngest, but still possess special Beko BBL quality. Aleksandar Nadjfeji is 35, but with four Beko BBL titles wanted to add some more with Munich, Darius Hall can still give that big smile and sneer to dazzle you and can give valuable minutes from the bench and young German Bastian Doreth who is being groomed to take over for Steffen Hamann down the road. The club added six top players with three German national players. Jan Jagla returns back to the Beko BBL after playing shortly for the Artland Dragons in 2005, Phillip Schwethelm continues to develop and shines with his defense and shooting and German wunder kind Robin Benzing who is looking to make a further step in the Beko BBL in his third season after not being drafted by the NBA. The team also added Je Kel Foster who is their best one on one player and can be explosive and is a very consistent and reliable player. Ben Hansborough is a Beko BBL rookie and should have some stories about his NBA brother Tyler Hansborough. Fc Bayern Munich already suffered some growing pains as ex NBA player Ruben Boumtje Boumtje declared his retirement on account of heart disease and Sharod Ford left the team because of personal reasons. However the team hauled in Chevon Mr chevy Troutman who didnt need much time to adjust as he belongs to the top centers in the league after only 8 games. We had a roster that could beat any team in Germany. Key was to form a team out of good individual players, warned FC Bayern Munich sport director Marko Pesic.
Last season, The club started off with a tough 80-76 loss in Bonn, but then found their rhythm winning four games in a row against some lesser teams, but were able to beat Braunschweig. The team lost two of the last three games against playoff aspiring teams Oldenburg and Artland Dragons before playing against the Fraport Skyliners in November. Bayern Munich averaged 81 points in the first eight games and held their opponents to 80 points. The offense seemed to be rocking, but not their defense yet. Their strength was shooting the ball. They have so many guys that can fill it up with Greene, Wallace, Schwethelm and Foster. Their defense is ok, but the best bet for a team is too run on them, because they have bigs that dont come back quick enough. They had problems with their pick and roll defense, but we played them before Chevon Troutman came, warned Josh Young. Even though Foster was out done in Overtime by David Holston in the loss at Artland, Foster belongs to the top players in the Beko BBL and lead FC Bayern Munich in tough times. Foster impressed me the most on that team. He is a smart and great shooter and solid on defense. He is just as tough as nails. You have to put Foster in the same trio of Brown, Wood and Holston, warned Josh Young. After the big 58-57 win against the Fraport Skyliners, that Frankfurt should have won, but let Foster get hot in the last minute, the team continued to be up and down into February having a 6-7 record. and their next meeting against the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt which they lost 68-49 and Jimmy Mckinney dropped 18 points in the win. The loss in Frankfurt was a huge wake up call as they came out storming in the last 11 games winning ten of the games. There only loss was in Berlin and they had huge wins against Artland, Wurzburg and Bamberg. The strong stretch run helped them reach a position of five with a record of 22-12. They lost a hard fought five games series against the Artland Dragons.
This season, the already high expectations got even greater as now a title is something that the big bosses want to see. The club has one of the biggest budgets in the league and anything but winning titles would be a major disappointment as one is seeing more and more that Uli Hoennes is slowly getting a basketball mentality to match his already huge soccer mentality that will never be surpassed by basketball. The team wanted to keep some of the team chemistry by keeping eight players. Five Germans were kept with captain Steffen Hamann who isnt getting younger, but is a back up player that any team would die for, Demond Greene who can still give a mean defensive presence, Robin Benzing who will strive under new coach Svetislav Pesic (agency: Interperformances ), Jan Jagla who also will strive more under father in law Sveitislav Pesic and young big man Bogdan Radosavljevic who will prosper from daily practices with the experienced players. The club also kept the inside duo of Jared Homan who might be the fiercest player in the league and Chevon Troutman who continues to dazzle with his athletic ability. The team also held Aleksandar Nadjfeji that will end his carrer in Munich. The team added 4 high class players starting with top Israel player Yotam Halperin who has such a versatile game and brings 140 Euroleague games to the table. Lawrence Roberts is an all around solid big man that played 88 games in the NBA. The team also hauled in top point guard Tyrese Rice who can decide a game at anytime and role player Brandon Thomas that could be a top scorer for almost any other team. Before any of these players had even played a minute in the new season, FC Bayern Munich showed their FC Hollywood face releasing a press release that might of even had an eskimo reading it in Alaska as they dismissed Dirk Bauermann. What exactly happened will never be known, but the timing couldnt have been more unusual or untimely. The team stuck with assistant coach Yannis Christopolous who didnt fare well shaping a team of stars. The team then got their wish candidate with Svetislav Pesic (agency: Interperformances ) that won 7 titles with Alba Berlin including the Korac Cup in 1995, the 1993 European championships with Germany and 2001 European championships with Yugoslavia and 2003 Euroleague with FC Barcelona. Pesic is a winner that preaches defense like Bauermann and likes a structured offense. He will bring chemistry to this team. The strength of the team is the deep rotation and that many players stayed form last season. They might also have the best three man inside trio with Homan, Roberts and Troutman and not too forget Jagla who also helps down low. There biggest enemy will be themselves. The pressure will continue to rise as soon as a losing streak rises, but there is no better coach than Pesic to douse the fire when Bayern Munich gets dark red.
Last season the two teams split the season series. FC Bayern Munich won in Munich 58-57 a game that the Fraport Skyliners had as good as won, but let Je Kel Foster get hot in crunch time securing the win. In the return date in Frankfurt, The Fraport Skyliners humiliated FC Bayern Munich 68-49 as they limited them to nine points in the first quarter and 22 points in the second half. Frankfurt showed a strong defensive performance for 40 minutes and was led by Jimmy Mckinney with 18 points and Jermareo Davidson chipped in with 12 points. Since Svetislav Pesic (agency: Interperformances ) took over the team it has a 7-2 record and early on averaged an amazing 109 points in four games. Pesic has quickly made FC Bayern Munich from an average team into an NBA type scoring team. He has given certain players the needed self confidence and needed freedom. The Fraport Skyliners will have to live off their bread and butter defense to have any chance, but steal add a few gears to their win against BBC Bayreuth. Their defense still needs improvement since they have given up 84 points in the five games under Pesic, but their scoring power is so potent, that they can afford to give up points at the moment. In the first game, FC Bayern Munich beta the Fraport Skyliners shortly before the new year 73-59. Frankfurt was down by five points at halftime, but FC Bayern kept pouring it on on offense never losing their rhythm while Frankfurt as so often in this season had big difficulty finding a groove on offense. FC Bayern Munich was led by Robin Benzing with 21 points and Tyrese Rice added 14 points. Peacock, Tez and Scott all hit in double figures and know that this time that they will have to find a rhythm on offense and rebound better. Munich is a big team. We have to outwork them and box out better an dhope for fast break points, warned Dawan Robinson. Frankfurt has brought in two LTi Giessen player with Ryan Brooks and Quantez Robertson friend Laquan Prowell to help with scoring punch. One Skyliner is looking forward to the game. I am looking forward to playing against my ex teammate Jared Homan. Key to winning will be defense, rotations and executing on offense. I have already been doing some trash talking with Homan, smiled Dwan Robinson. Munich knows that their strength isnt on individual defense at some positions, but their offense is so much stronger because they have the freedom and when a player finds an option right away then he is allowed to shoot. They play with the motto that offense is their best defense. If you want to stop Munich then you have to begin under the basket which is tough to do with their many talented individuals. You have to begin at the defensive end and control the boards. One can see that Svetislav Pesic (agency: Interperformances ) is playing the same style as in the German national team, stressed Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Andrej Mangold. Artland Dragon Bryce Taylor has sweet memories of the Audi dome winning a game on a buzzer beater an dhas the perfect three step plan of success for Frankfurt. Frankfurt has to focus on rebounding, play aggressive defense and knock down shots, warned Bryce Taylor.
FC Bayern Munich is led by Chevon Troutman is a 29 year old 202cm forward from Williamsport, Pennsylvania that is playing his second season in Munich. He is a tough, talented rebounder, athletic defender, tough offensive player and fierce competitor who plays with much passion. He has contributed primarily in the low-post but also can play on the perimeter. His high school coach also coached NBA star Allen Iverson. Troutman played at Pittsburgh (NCAA) from 2001-2005 where he reached the NCAA Sweet 16 three years in a row from 2002-2004. As a professional basketball player he has played three years in Italy and three years in France for Adecco ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (France-ProA). He was a French All Star twice and won the cup in 2008 and was French PRO A champion in 2009. In 2010-2011, he played for Air Avellino (Italy-SerieA, starting five), injured in Jan.'11 and was off for 4 months: 16 games: 14.6ppg, Reb-3 (8.3rpg), Steals-3 (2.7spg), FGP: 61.1%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 69.0. Last season he played German League: 35 games: 13.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP-3 (64.8%), 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 73.1%; EuroCup: 6 games: 13.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 70.8%. Tyrese Rice is a 25 year old 185cm point guard that is playing his second season in Germany and first with FC Bayern Munich. He played at Boston College form 2005-2009 playing a total of 132 NCAA games. In 2009-2010, he was a rookie playing for Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece) averaging 11.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 81.4%. In 2010-2011 he played for the Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): EuroChallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 5.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.0apg; German League: 43 Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL, starting five): Lithuanian League: 25 games: 9.7ppg, 1.4rpg, Assists-3 (4.4apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 75.9%; VTB League: 21 games: 13.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 44.1%, FT: 79.8%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 3 games: 14.3ppg, 1.0rpg, Assists-4 (5.3apg), FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 75.0%; EuroCup: 15 games: 11.1ppg, 1.5rpg, Assists-4 (4.7apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 24.4%, FT: 87.9%; Baltic League: 4 games: 12.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.5apggames: Score-2 (17.2ppg), 2.8rpg, Assists-4 (5.1apg), FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 81.0%.
Jared Homan is a 29 year old 206cm center from Iowa that is a fierce competitor and battles inside and blocks shots and is playing his seventh professional season. He played at Iowa State from 2001-2005. The American has had a solid professional career having played in countries like Greece, Korea, Turkey, Croatia, Poland and Italy. He played at Canadian Solar Bologna (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 4 games: 15.3ppg, 10.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.8spg; left in Nov.'11, later that month moved to FC Bayern Muenchen (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): German League: 30 games: 14.5ppg, Reb-3 (7.8rpg), 1.9apg, Blocks-5 (1.5bpg), FGP: 46.4%, FT: 49.7%; EuroCup: 4 games: 12.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.0spg. . Jan Jagla also returned back to the Beko BBL last season after playing in other countries for six years and is playing his second season for FC Bayern Munich. Jagla is a 31 year old 213cm forward from Berlin Germany. A seven-foot power forward with the skill set of a guard. Can post up and score inside and is a great three point shooter as well. Was compared too much times to Dirk Nowitzki at his teenage days, and this limited his maturation. He started his basketball career at Lichterfelde and then went to the States to play NCAA ball at Penn St. He then played for Panellinios Athens (Greece-A1): 3 games: 2.3ppg, 1.0rpg: released in Nov.'04 and joined Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (1.Bundesliga): 26 games: 6.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.0bpg, 2FGP: 55.6%, 3FGP: 30.2%. In 2005-2006, he had a taste of the NBA playing with the Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), waived in Oct.'05, then signed at Drac Inca Mallorca (Spain-LEB, starting five): 28 games: 11.3ppg, Reb-5 (7.8rpg), 1.4bpg, 2FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 77.1%. From 2006-2011, he played for top tams in Europe including Turk Telekom Ankara, DKV Joventut Badalona (Spain-ACB,) from 2007-2009 where he played with Demond Mallet and Ricky Rubio and helped win the ULEB Cup in 2008. The last two years, he played for Polish Euroleague team Asseco Prokom Gdynia . He has played 40 Euroleague games and has been part of the German national team since 2006. In 2010-2011 he played for Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland-PLK, starting five): Polish League: 2 games: 4.0ppg, 5.0rpg; Polish League: Euroleague: 10 games: 5.6ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 66.7%; VTB League: 4 games: 11.0ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 66.7%, in Dec.'10 moved to Turk Telekom Ankara (Turkey-TBL): 16 games: 4.5ppg, 2.4rpg. Currently, he is averaging 8,4ppg and 4,5rpg. Last season he played EuroCup: 6 games: 8.8ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 70.0%; German League: 36 games: 5.0ppg, 2.8rpg. Brandon Thomas is a 27 year old 198 cm shooting guard/small that is playing his first season for FC Bayern. Even though, he only played sparingly at UMASS in his senior year averaging 4,0ppg and 1,1rpg in the 2006-2007 season, he came to Europe in 2007 and exploded in the leagues in Norway and Austria. In Norway, he led the league in scoring with Fog Naestved averaging 24,5ppg, 4,6rpg, 3,2apf, 2,0spg and 1,0bpg. He was the Danish player of the year in 2008 and was MVP of the 2008 Allstar game. In 2008-2009, in Austria, he played for Kraftwerk Wels averaging 20,2ppg, 3,2rpg, 2,5apg. He has a great basketball IQ, can defend anyone and likes to finish around the rim. In 2009-2010 for Braunschweig, he played 40 games: 10.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 74.6%. In 2010-2011 for the Phantoms he played : 37 games: 14.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 60.5%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 78.7%. Last season he played for Vanoli-Braga Cremona (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 7 games: 4.1ppg, 2.7rpg; in Dec.'11 moved to Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (Germany-BBL, starting five): German League: 31 games: 11.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 71.1%; EuroChallenge: 9 games: 14.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 88.0%
Robin Benzing is playing his second season in Bavaria and is a 2 year old 208cm forward from Seeheim-Jugenheim south of Frankfurt, Germany. He is a big forward who can play in both positions (if he works on the physical department) as he has the size and the shooting skills too. His game looks like his country-mate Jan Jagla, he is a bit lighter than the German international, and is playing mostly within the wing. He is amazingly good ball handler for his size and he can attack the basket going both ways. He started his basketball career for TV Langen in 2004 and played there until 2009. He played for ratiopharm Ulm the last two seasons playing a total of 66 Beko BBL games. In 2010-2011 season, he was the top scoring German in the Beko BBL averaging 15.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 77.2%. he also has been a member of the German national team since 2009 and played at the European Championships in Lithuania -11: 8 games: 9.1ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 52.6%, FT: 78.6%. Last season he played EuroCup: 6 games: 8.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 84.6%; German League: 35 games: 8.0ppg, 3.3rpg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 71.4%. Yotam Halperin is a 28 year old 193cm shooting guard that is a player with phenomenal personal abilities, although he bases much of his game on movement without the ball and team play. A great shot beyond the rim, fast, clever, good passer. Gifted drawer of fouls. H has great passing skills, knows how to move in traffic and how to draw fouls. He played his first league games for Macabbi Tel Aviv with 17 and Euroleague with 18. He was drafted by the NBA Seattle Supersonics in 2006 in the second round. He never played in the NBA, but continued to paly for Macabbi Tel Aviv and three seasons for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1). He won five Israel league titles with Macabbi Tel Aviv and two Euroleague titles in 2004 and 2005. He also won two cups with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1)and has been a member of the Israel national team for many years. Lawrence Roberts is a 30 year old 206cm power forward from Houston, Texas. He is fundamentally sound at every aspect of the game for his position. Not too many holes or weaknesses to speak of. A born leader and an excellent team player that is always looking to do what's best for the team. Great contributor on the boards. Averaged a double-double in his sophomore year at Baylor and his junior year at MSU. Possesses a good jump shot and solid post up moves. Hard worker that is constantly looking to improve his game. He played at Baylor from 2001-2003 and at Mississippi State from 2003-2005. He was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 2005. He played for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2005-2007. He came to Europe in 2007 and played in only three countries with Sebia, Turkey and Lithuania. Last season he played for Efes Pilsen Istanbul (Turkey-TBL), loaned to Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL, starting five): Lithuanian League: 25 games: 6.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 55.9%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 58.6%; VTB League: 21 games: 8.4ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 52.7%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 3 games: 5.0ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.0apg; EuroCup: 16 games: 7.0ppg, Reb-4 (6.4rpg), 1.1spg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 44.8%, FT: 59.1%; Baltic League: 3 games: 7.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0bpg.
Demond Greene is playing his third season for FC Bayern Munich and is a 33 year old 185cm guard that was born in Fort Hood Texas. He is spectacular point guard or shooting guard, great athlete, not very tall but he can jump and dunk, good shooter and is a former long-jumper. He started his career at TuS Aschaffenburg in 1996. He then played together with Dirk Nowirzki,Robert Garrett and Marvin Willoughby at DJK S.Oliver Wurzburg. Greene played for DJK S.Oliver Wurzburg from 1997 to 2002. He then played for Bayer 04 Giants Leverkusen from 2002-2005. He then played for ALBA Berlin from 2005-2007. He then played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg from 2007-2009. In 2009-2010, he played for Gymnastikos Olympia Larissas (Greece-A2). In 2010-2011, for FC Bayern Munich, he played 5 games: 6.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 80.0%. Greene is a four time Beko BBL All Star, won the Beko BBL cup in 2006 with Alba Berlin and has been a member of the German national team in 2000-2001 and from 2004 until present winning the Silver at the 2005 European championships. Last season he played : EuroCup: 6 games: 2.0ppg, 1.0rpg; German League: 39 games: 4.9ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.0apg. German national player Steffen Hamann returns for a third season to Munich. Hamann is a 31 year old 194cm guard from Bamberg. He started his career at Bamberg in 1997 and played there until 2008. He was Beko BBL champion twice with Bamberg. He played for Alba Berlin from 2008-2010 winning the Beko BBL cup in 2009. In 2010-2011for FC Bayern Munich, he played 20 games: 10.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 4.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 85.9%. Before coming to Munich, he has played 88 FIBA international club games. He has been a member of the German national team since 2003 winning the silver at the 2005 European championships. Last season, he played : EuroCup: 6 games: 6.5ppg, 1.0rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 90.0%; German League: 39 games: 7.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 69.0%. Aleksandar Nadjfeji is playing his 11th season in the Beko BBL and third with FC Bayern Munich and is a 36 year old 203cm forward from Serbia that is has excellent athletic skills. Can run and jump. Very impressive dunker. Can shot. Also good defender. He played for The Telekom Baskets Bonn from 2001-2005 where he never averaged less than 13,8ppg a season in the German league. He then played for RheinEnergie Koln from 2005-2008 where he helped win the Beko BBL title in 2006 and helped win a cup. As Cologne was having problems financially, he went to Alba Berlin in the middle of the 2007-2008 season helping them win the championship in 2008 and cup in 2009. He then played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and in 2010-2011 season with FC Bayern Munich played 30 games: 12.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.0apg, FGP-3 (66.4%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 58.0%. Last season he played EuroCup: 6 games: 3.5ppg; German League: 35 games: 5.7ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 54.6%, FT: 59.0%.
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.
Walter Hodge (183-PG-86, college: Florida) is a 30 year old 183cm point guard from the US Virgin Islands playing his seventh professional season and first season with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He is one of those rare players that won two NCAA titles with Florida in 2006 and 2007. He started his professional career in 2010 with Zastal Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) where he played three seasons winning the league title in 2013. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Laboral K... [read more]
Walter Hodge (183-PG-86, college: Florida) is a 30 year old 183cm point guard from the US Virgin Islands playing his seventh professional season and first season with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He is one of those rare players that won two NCAA titles with Florida in 2006 and 2007. He started his professional career in 2010 with Zastal Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) where he played three seasons winning the league title in 2013. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing Euroleague: 15 games: 7.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 3.1apg, 2FGP: 50.0%, 3FGP: 30.0%, FT: 91.3%; Liga Endesa: 15 games: 6.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 44.9%, 3FGP: 21.4%, FT: 85.0%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia-VTB) playing 33 games: Score-4 (16.4ppg), 2.3rpg, Assists-5 (6.3apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 84.9%; Eurocup: 18 games: 14.8ppg, 1.8rpg, Assists-4 (6.3apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 92.9%. Last season he played for Acqua Vitasnella Cantu (Italy-Serie A): 23 games: 11.9ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-3 (5.5apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 84.5%; FIBA Europe Cup: 8 games: 12.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 8.3apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 47.5%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 84.0%; Italian Serie A: 22 games: 11.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 5.5apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 53.1%, 3FGP: 29.7%, FT: 83.6%. He also stayed active during the summer playing five times in his home country league. He spoke to eurobasket before the Champions League clast against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Oldenburg.
Walter thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome to Germany. You have played in various international competitions in the last years, but never played against a German team. How excited are you to be in a new country playing the game that you love?
It is very exciting for me to be in Germany playing against Oldenburg. They are a very good team. I really like Germany and am enjoying my time as best as I can here.
Your playing your seventh professional season and have played in 8 countries. You have had the tendency to switch teams every season. Do you at times feel like a basketball globetrotter?
Well I played in Poland my first three years and then I played in Spain, Russia and Italy. Now I am in France. It is nice to travel a bit as a professional. Learn a new language and just enjoy your time there as best as possible.
Your playing your first season in France for ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). Your playing for the team of NBA superstar Tony Parker. How much dealings did you actually have with him during the contract negotiations? Tony Parker was a big reason why I came to Asvel. He called me last summer and told me his plans for the team and me for the future. I liked what he said and decided that this was a great opportunity. He is a very serious guy and a great human being. I have a lot of respect for him.
Recently the Fraport Skyliners got your ex teammate Kwame Vaughn. What do you feel is his best asset on the court?
Kwame is a very crafty guy, can score and is very good at changing speeds. He also is a very good defender. I think that overall he is a very good player.
Despite the team having much experience, do you still feel like one of the main leaders on the team? It seems like your play is guiding the team at the moment? One of the main reasons why Asvel wanted me was for my leadership skills. They also need me to be able to create for others. We continue to get better as a team as we have added Demarcus Nelson.
You have played so many games in your career, but when you come to a new team and meet a guy like Darryl Watkins, can you remember playing him at Florida and beating him and Syracuse 75-70 or is remembering so many guys over time difficult?
I remembered Darryl from that game. The first time we met this season, I reminded him that we had beat him. I told him first that it was by 20, but then I remembered that Syracuse made a push at the end to come back. The game was my freshman year. We talk about that game every so often.
You just turned 30 and are having a very strong statistical season. Do you feel like that now you are in your prime and this could be one of your best seasons ever? I try to be my best every season. My main focus is too always keep working, stay healthy and not get hurt. I feel that we can have a huge season and win it all.
Last season you played in Italy with Cantu. Was the 4-5 combo of ex NBA players Jajuan Johnson and Kyrylo Fesenko the best front man that you have played with in your career?
Jajohn Johnson is one hell of a player and so athletic and Kyrylo Fesenko surely also one of the best that I ever played with, but I also played with two great players at Laboral with Tibor Pleiss and Andreas Nocioni.
After three strong seasons in Poland you made the jump in 2013 to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa). What was your most fondest Euroleague memory? My sweetest Euroleague memory that season was beating Euroleague powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv twice with guys like Ricky Hickman and Tyrese Rice.
You played at Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa) with French national player Thomas Huertel and German national player Tibor Pleiss. What memories did you have of the competition level with the Huertel and are you surprised Pleiss didn't last in the NBA?
I really liked Thomas Huertel. He was a very tough guy on the court. We made each other work so hard every day in practice. We became great friends. He is such a competitor and I respect that very much. Tibor is a great kid, but still needs to learn a lot. I think that he could play many years in the NBA. He can be his own enemy. He just needs to be mentally strong and then he could play many years there.
You played three seasons with Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) and won the Polish title in your third. A team with few Americans and a dominant Turow, what made your team so special?
The bonding that we had as a team made it so special. We all clicked at the right time and as the playoffs came, we were rolling as a team and everyone knew their roles. We had so much confidence in each other. Now they are a Polish powerhouse. My evolution with them was crazy
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Poland when you knew that you were far away from home? The food and language a bit. I am a very picky eater and the first 4-5 months was difficult. It felt like I ate Mcdonalds every day. After then I found some restaurants and then all was perfect.
Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) retired your number in 2013. What exactly does this achievement mean to you in your career as a professional player? It was crazy for me. When I arrived I said in an interview that I want to win the title. When I came there they had just advanced up to the first league and three years later we won the title. After my third year and title win, I decided to leave the team for Spain to have the opportunity to play Euroleague. They said they wanted to retire my jersey. At first I thought it was a joke, but it was true. This is a huge achievement for me.
You have played in Puerto Rico often the last summers like Kevin Hamilton always did. Are you more a game player in the summers getting good competition then having to do the tedious work outs without game practice? Having a league like this at home is always great. I think playing in a league like this not only keeps me in shape, but also in rhythm. I did this for five years and it was perfect. Whenever I came back to Europe after playing in the Puerto Rico league, I had no adjustment time. If I only work out during the summers, I would have no rhythm when I came back. I remember many battles against Kevin Hamilton. We beat his team last summer in the semi-finals.
Any professional player would be happy to have one NCAA ring, but like German player Niels Giffey, you possess two rings. Is this a feat that you think about every day
Of course I do. The last time a team won back to back NCAA titles before we did with Florida was Duke in 1991 and 1992. Then we did it. It was just crazy.
When you look back at the two wins which one would you say was the more difficult to accomplish?
The most difficult was the first, because we were still learning how to win. The second one was so much more easy, because we knew how to do it. Our confidence the second time around was crazy.
Florida had so many amazing players that also later went to the NBA like Corey Brewer. Al Horford, Taurean Green, Joakim Noah or Marreese Speights. Which player in the two year NCAA run really had the most impact on you? Al Horford. Just how he pursued and played the game really impressed me. He was a beast.
How did head coach Billy Donovan groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He is one of the best coaches that I ever had. His best assets was how he was always able to prepare us best for each opponent and his motivation.
Who was the toughest player that you played against in the NCAA that went to the NBA? The toughest player I fought against was Jodie Meeks. He was always strong against us and always gave us trouble.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose?
Jordan, Shaq, Bird and Magic
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the alltime best debate against Michael Jordan? He is number three for me. He isn't before Jordan or Kobe. He might pass Kobe, but to get past Jordan, he needs that killer instinct.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy with the best power forwards to have ever played the game?
I never liked his game, but I liked his passion and I respect him as a player. He is one of the best. He comes after Tim Duncan.
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