Mike Smith (198-G-87, college: E.Tenn.St.) is a 25 year old 198cm forward from Vandalia, Missouri that was under contract with the Iowa Energy, but injured himself in training camp. Last season as a rookie he played the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven playing 34 games: 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 85.4%. He played at E. Tennessee from 2007-2011. In his senior year, he played 35 games: 17.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 78.9%. In the summer 2011, he took part at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 10.0ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, 1.0bpg. He was a A-Sun Tournament Winner -09, 10, and All-A-Sun Player of the Year -11. He spoke to eurobasket about basketball.
Mike thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. After a solid rookie season in Germany, you have had a lot of misfortune this season. How tough has this season been for you? It has been extremely tough, anytime you put so much effort and hard work into the game and end up with an injury really stinks. But I have had a good supporting cast through this whole process to make thinks a little easier.
You broke your hand in the second week of training camp with the Iowa Energy. How was that training camp going for you before you broke your hand?
Training camp was going really well for me, I was playing at a very high level. Shooting the ball probably the best I have ever while continuing to rebound and do all of the little things.
How was the rehab? Was that your first real serious injury in your young career?
Rehab went really well, I worked with a hand specialist for 7 weeks to get my hand back to 100%. This has been my first real serious injury in my career
How tough was this time for you the last months. How did you stay focused during rehab?
It has been extremely tough, but I know things happen for a reason and something good will come out of this situation. I have had a lot of support during this time and keeping my faith in God has been a huge help! It was easy to keep my focus during rehab because I knew this was something I had to take serious to get back to the game I love.
The Iowa Energy have really been struggling at 7-25. Would you have thought in training camp that they would be struggling so much?
I would have not thought they would be struggling, we had a good group of guys in there with the same mind set to win games. It was a surprise to me to see them struggle this much.
How would you have seen your chances of getting playing time for them had you been fit? They have many talented players there? I felt I would of been a great fit for this program and definitely helped them in all aspects of the game.
After a solid rookie season with Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 34 games: 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 85.4%, you didnt return? Was there any talks with Doug Spradley as to what the status was for you to return? Yes I spoke with Doug several time about my return to Bremerhaven. Things just didn't work out for me.
Would you like to have returned back to Germany? Was the job market so tough last summer that you decided to try the D-league?
Yea I would have loved to return to Germany, great basketball, amazing fans, and a beautiful country!
You scored in double figures 17 times for a team that had good scorers. How happy were you with your rookie season?
It was a solid rookie season for myself, I felt that I could have done a lot more. The beginning of the season started slow playing behind former All-Star Torrell Martin, but when that chance came for me to play I had to make the most out of it and I thought I did well.
What was your best game? I remember you scoring 19 points against the Brose Baskets Bamberg.
Yea I had a couple nice games, 20 points against Braunschweig, 19 against Oldenburg, then 19 on Bamburg.
Who was the best player that you played against last season in the Beko BBL?
Terrell Everett is back with Bremerhaven. He is a very versatile player. What was the most important thing that you could learn from him? The most important thing I learned from Terrell would be to play hard every second, no possessions off.
You are fit now and would like to be added to a team for the stretch run. Why could you help any team in the Beko BBL now? I see myself as a big guard at 6'6" that is very versatile, Can shoot very well, take you off the dribble, post up, rebound and defend. I would definitely be an asset to any team right now.
What have you missed from Germany and what would you like to see in Germany soon again? Thing I have missed most about Germany would be the fans, I love playing in those types of environments that the BBL has to offer every game!
Alex Foster(202-F-92, college: Emory) is a 24 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and is playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 3... [read more]
Alex Foster (202-F-92, college: Emory) is a 24 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and is playing his second professional season with the RheinStars (Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 79.8%. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to Eurobasket about basketball.
Thanks Alex for talking to eurobasket.com. How did you get into 2017 and did you have any new years resolutions or are you more a guy that doesn't believe in that hype? I brought in the New Year with friends here in Cologne, but didn't make any big new years resolutions. I still have some goals from 2016 that I'm working towards.
This season the RheinStars didn't have a long holiday break as you had a game on the 23rd of December against the ETB Wohnbau Baskets and on the seventh of January against Baunach. Do you feel this was more beneficial in keeping the team sharp or could a few more days rest helped the club?
Last season we only got two days off, so this year's holiday break felt much longer. Unfortunately, we went into the break after a bitter loss. It was tough having to wait so long to play again, but once I put that loss behind me, I enjoyed the holidays with my family. As for the team, I think everyone came back from the break with some extra motivation for the second half of the season.
How important was the win against Baunach to start 2017 after the bitter loss to Essen before Christmas in having the team have the right focus going into the Hanau game? It was important for us to get back to winning. There aren't that many games left in the regular season so very win comes at a premium.
Just like last season, winning is Hanau didn't happen, but the club came out with a lot better effort at home against them. What in your opinion is always most difficult when playing Hanau? They always come in with energy and confidence, which makes them a tough team to beat, but we kept their offence in check and made enough plays ourselves to get the win. The game was no easy matter as it was tight going into the fourth quarter.
What do you feel was key in the fourth quarter for pulling out the win and getting your second win in a row in 2017?
We tightened up our defense in the second half and played together offensively. We're starting to develop a win-at-all-costs identity and I think that showed against both Baunach and Hanau.
Kruize Pinkins had another typical strong game with 23 points and 10 rebounds. You have faced him 4 times now. Why in your opinion is he such a tough guy to stop? He's great around the rim and his teammates do a good job of finding him in scoring areas. Defending him, you have to stay engaged on defense at all times.
The RheinStars are in eighth place with a record of 9-9. What was your first half summary of the season?
We dug ourselves a deep hole, but are climbing out.
How much potential is in this season's team? The team is eighth best in points scored and points let up? In what area does the team have the most potential to do harm? I think we have the potential to go all the way. Ultimately, we want to hold down our home court for the rest of the season and start knocking off teams on the road.
How valuable was the pick up of former BBL player Anthony King? What does he give the team most besides experience at that low post presence? AK brings a calm sense of confidence to our team. He's a player you want with the ball when the game is on the line. Plus, he helps bring out the best in his teammates.
It seems like Richard Williams has been playing a bit under his expectations, but he hasn't been totally fit. How soothing is it knowing that when he breaks out, the club will be even more dangerous? I think Richie's done a great job learning and running the offense in such a short time. I was amazed by how fast he picked up all of our sets. He's made winning plays since he first got here, which I'm sure will continue throughout the season.
How content have you been with your game? You pretty much have the same stats as last season, but your playing 10 minutes less. Do you feel like you have become more of an efficient player this season?
Our roster is stacked with talent, so I didn't expect as many minutes as last season, but I know that for our team to be great, I need to play my role well. I've also gotten a better feel for European game since I got here, which helps my game.
Your right near the 40% mark from outside. How content are you that you can make that plateau in the second half of the season?
I expect that of myself.
What are your personal continued goals for this season as a player? On what things are you working on on the defensive end to become a better player? Right now, my focus is on helping my team get to the playoffs. On defense, I want to be able to stop my man one-on-one and help my teammates within the concept.
In December you watched a game of your friend Will Trawick in Rhondorf. How much do you miss playing with him? At Emory (NCAA3) you played three years together. He's carved out a good spot for himself in Rhondorf and it was fun to watch help play live. I'm sure we'll have a chance to play together this summer back at Emory.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you? It as good as any player has every ran the floor and shot the ball.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now? Lebron and Curry are NBA Champions, so Russ still has some work to do.
EasyCredit BBL team S.Oliver Wurzburg have reeled in ex NBA player Mustafa Shakur (192-PG-84, college: Arizona) Mustafa Shakur is a 32 year old 192cm guard from Arizona that brings 8 seasons of European experience, 25 NBA games and knows the BBL as last season he played for the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL): 15 games: 14.1ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 26.4%, FT: 77.1%; Eurocup: 11 games: 14.6ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 82.8%. He started this sea... [read more]
EasyCredit BBL team S.Oliver Wurzburg have reeled in ex NBA player Mustafa Shakur (192-PG-84, college: Arizona) Mustafa Shakur is a 32 year old 192cm guard from Arizona that brings 8 seasons of European experience, 25 NBA games and knows the BBL as last season he played for the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL): 15 games: 14.1ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 26.4%, FT: 77.1%; Eurocup: 11 games: 14.6ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 82.8%. He started this season with Afyonkarahisar Belediye (Turkey-TBL) where he played 10 games averaging 10,8ppg, 2,8rpg and 5,3apg. "He is a very experienced guard that will give us stability at both ends of the court. We will have a strong trio at both guard positions with Jake Odum, Maurice Stuckey and him", stated head coach Dirk Bauerman. The American got a one year deal.
He started his basketball career in 2003 at Arizona)NCAA) where he played a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging11.9ppg, 4.0rpg, 6.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3Pts: 32.5%, FT: 78.8%. He started his professional basketball career in 2007 with the Sacramento Kings (NBA), only pre-season, in Nov.'07 moved to Prokom Trefl Sopot (Poland-DBE): Polish League: 26 games: 7.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.3apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 36.8%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 66.7%; Euroleague: 7 games: 7.6ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 66.7%. In the 2008-2009 season he moved to Tau Ceramica Vitoria (Spain-ACB): 14 games: 3.4ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.2apg; Euroleague: 10 games: 5.5ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 76.0%; in Jan.'09 moved to Panellinios Athens (Greece-A1): Eurocup: 6 games: 6.3ppg, 1.2apg, 1.0spg. He started the 2009-2010 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), in Apr.'10 assigned to Tulsa 66ers (D-League): 51 games: 19.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 6.7apg, Steals-3 (2.2spg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 74.9%. In the 2010-2011 season he went to the New Orleans Hornets (NBA), only pre-season, then moved to Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League) playing 23 games: 16.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 5.0apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 71.1%, in Jan.'11 signed with Washington Wizards (NBA): 22 games: 2.3ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.1apg. In the 2011-2012 season he played for the Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA) playing French League: 6 games: 9.7ppg, 4.5rpg, 4.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 7.1%, FT: 88.2%; EuroChallenge: 1 game: 0pts, 2reb, left in Nov.'11, later that month moved to Novipiu Casale Monferrato (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 21 games: 16.0ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-5 (4.3apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 26.6%, FT: 79.6%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Sidigas Avellino (Italy-SerieA): 17 games: 11.5ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.4apg, Steals-5 (1.9spg), FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 23.3%, FT: 72.0%, in Mar.'13 moved to Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 7 games: 17.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 5.6apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 80.0%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 23 games: 18.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 6.8apg, 2.3spg, 2FGP: 53.3%, 3FGP: 30.0%, FT: 84.0%, in Mar.'14 signed at Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA): 3 games: 0.3ppg, 1.3apg, later that month signed at Tulsa 66ers (D-League, starting five): 23 games: 18.9ppg, 5.0rpg, 6.8apg, Steals-3 (2.3spg), FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 84.0%, in Apr.'14 moved to Tadamon Zouk (Lebanon-Division A): 2 games: 20.5ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.5apg, 2.5spg. IN the 2014-2015 season he played for Neptunas Klaipeda (Lithuania-LKL) playing 45 games: 9.4ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 82.2%; Eurocup: 6 games: 8.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.2%; Euroleague: 10 games: 9.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 87.5%.
Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been US U18 National Team -03, International Tournament U18 in Dallas -03, World Championships U18 in Greece -03, USA Today High School Boys all-USA first team -03, HS EA Sports All-America, an ABCD Camp All-Star and first-team all-state -03
Pac-10 Conf. Tournament Semifinals -04, 06, Pac-10 All-Freshman Team -04, USA U21 National Team -04, Tournament of the Americas U21 in Halifax -04 Pac-10 Regular Season Champion -05, Pac-10 Tournament Finalist -05, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight -05, Eurobasket.com All-Lithuanian LKL Honorable Mention -15, Eurobasket.com Lithuanian LKL All-Imports Team -15, and Lithuanian League Semifinals -15.
Roderick Trice (185-SG-84, college: S.Carolina) or simply Rocky as he is known to the basketball world has left a medium stomping ground Poland and returned to an even bigger stomping ground Germany coming back to the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. Trice is a 32 year old 185cm shooting guard from Swainsboro, Georgia playing his 10th professional season having played three in Poland and now playing his seventh in Germany. Trice who can still get up over the rim with the best of them started this... [read more]
Roderick Trice (185-SG-84, college: S.Carolina) or simply Rocky as he is known to the basketball world has left a medium stomping ground Poland and returned to an even bigger stomping ground Germany coming back to the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. Trice is a 32 year old 185cm shooting guard from Swainsboro, Georgia playing his 10th professional season having played three in Poland and now playing his seventh in Germany. Trice who can still get up over the rim with the best of them started this season with MKS Dabrowa Gornicza (Poland-TBL) where he saw action in only three games averaging 7,7ppg, 1,0rpg and 2,7apg. Last season he played with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL) playing 29 games: 11.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5 (1.6spg), FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 79.3%; Eurocup: 15 games: 8.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.7apg, Steals-2 (2.2spg), FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 84.0%
Trice started his basketball career with S.Carolina (NCAA) and as a senior played 37 games: 6.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 73.3%. He started He started his professional basketball career in 2007 with the Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA) playing 26 games: 14.9ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-1 (2.9spg), 1.0bpg, 2FGP: 61.3%, 3FGP: 34.4%, FT: 84.7%. In the 2008-2011 season he moved to the MEG Goettingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 34 games: 11.7ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, Steals-1 (2.6spg), FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 69.6%. He then played with ratiopharm Ulm from 2009-2012 playing a total of 85 games. His most productive season stat wise was his first where he played 33 games averaging 12.8ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.2apg, Steals-1 (2.4spg), FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 75.0%. He then got furtehr experience in Poland where he played two years for Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-TBL) where his most productive was his second season where he played 34 games: 12.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 70.0%. Two seasons ago he played for WKS Slask Wroclaw (Poland-TBL) playing 32 games: 13.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.4apg, Steals-5 (1.9spg), FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 80.4%.
Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been NIT Winner -05, 06, SEC Tournament Finalist -06,