There are many wonderful things that a DaShaun Wood (185-PG-85, college: Wright St.) would desire like battling a Derrick Rose in a one on one duel on a playground in Oak park, Chicago, having Monta Ellis 26, 8, 7 like stats in every Beko BBL game or finally experiencing a Detroit Lions Super Bowl some time in his lifetime. Wood has won a Beko BBL MVP title in 2011 and the only thing missing in his basketball career is a title. Whenever asked why he is on the court, his usual answer is is too win that championship and that is the main reason why he fled from Frankfurt two seasons ago with Gordon Herbert. However so far he still is winless in the hardware department in the Beko BBL in his third season. The last time Alba Berlin the 8 time Beko BBL champion won a title was the cup in 2009. With the high budget and unending talent that lands in the Spree each season, it can be at times a real mystery like it is how a Brazilen boy could juggle a soccer ball for 12 hours and 15 minutes nonstop and his name wasnt Pele as too why the team is unable to win titles in more of a consecutive rate. Alba Berlin is a top basketball address in Germany and was the FC Bayern Munich of the league before the Bavarian club moved up to the Beko BBL in 2011. With Marco Baldi, Alba Berlin has a top executive who made the team to what it is since making it a top team in the 90s and definitely has that Uli Hoennis passion 24 hours a day with the only difference that he can keep his emotions better in check. The team has always had top coaches on board and a supporting cast of players that makes a team like the LTi Giessen 46ers foam in their mouths. The Beko BBL gets more and more competitive each season and winning atitle isnt as much of a cake walk like in the past and one cant forget that the Brose Baskets Bamberg started their little dynasty in the 2009-2010 season right after the last title of Alba Berlin. Maybe this is the year as Alba Berlin is hosting the 2013 Beko BBL Top 4 as Alba Berlin only needs to win two games and could get revenge against FC Bayern Munich in the semi final with a win and as a good omen head coach Sasa Obradovic won two titles with Rhein Energy Cologne. Alba Berlin always has strong players, but I feel that ex coach Luka Pavicevic was unable to get equal strong players at each position when he was there. I really like the three new players they got with Je Kel Foster, Derrick Byers and Ali Traore. They have been up and down this season and should be playing better. They have interesting new players and now Obradovic has to make them fit in with the other players. I think that they have a chance to beat FC Bayern Munich in the cup game. They already beat them once before in Berlin this season and why shouldnt they be able to do it again, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss.
What does a traditional and respected Beko BBL team do that has won 8 titles to get back on track after last winning a title in 2009? It brings back a familiar face that is used to winning and has won with Alba Berlin before. No one better than sasa Obradovic who won the Korac cup in 1995 and the double in 1997 with Alba Berlin. As a player he won three world championships with the former Jugoslavia and as a coach won the title in 2006 with Cologne. His name stands for winning. He stands for unending passion. He burns for this team, stated Marco Baldi. Obradovic is a tough coach, but is also the type of coach that makes his players better. Obradovic brought something new to the spree with versatility that the new players have. He chose players that can play many different positions thus making it harder for opponents to read and defend. The team has only won one title in the last nine years and Sasa Obradovic did a house cleaning this past off season getting rid of seven players and hauling in eight new players. The team held DaShaun Wood, Heiko Schaffartzik, Yassin Idbihi and Sven Schultze to somewhat maintain a small collective in the team. Obrdovic did a good job bringing in a healthy mix of three Americans, a Bosnian, Serb and two young Germans. He brought in experienced Vule Avdalovic who he coached at BC Donetsk and has Euroleague experience and has played many years in the ACB and will make some competition for DaShaun Wood. Nihad Djedovic was brought in for giving that special versatility and all around good play. He brought in Nathan peavey who might be the most underrated power forward in the Beko BBL. A pity that he was injured and will miss most of the season. Zack Morley was brought in for toughness and can also score when needed. Further flexibility and power under the basket was brought in with Deon Thompson who played at the top NCAA school North Carolina. Obradovic brought in Spanish ACB veteran Albert Miralles recently to help bring muscle to the basket and help bang with the centers of the league. Young German David Herwig and Steven Monse also arrived to help round out the roster. The biggest strength of Alba Berlin likely is their guard rotation with Wood, Schaffartzik and Avdalovic who could be the best guard trio in the Beko BBL. Obradovic will be very flexible at this position often being able to play two at a time. Also at the forward position, he has players like Thompson, Miralles and Morley that can play different positions and will keep opponents guessing what the 8 time Beko BBL champion will do next in their offensive sets as they will be unpredictable. Alba Berlin has a very deep roster once again and if there are any problems that could arise then it is how well the team can respond to the coaching decisions of the coach as playing time will be reduced. DaShaun Wood that was the commander on the court in Frankfurt and Berlin doesnt have that big role this season with more offensive weapons, but has taken this reality in stride and showed his character of playing for the team and not for his stats. Obradovic will make Wood an even better player than what he already is. The team cant afford more injuries as they will need a full roster to make an impact in the Beko BBL playoffs as they also play Euroleague.
Since the climatic semi final win over Alba Berlin in 2005, where guys like Chris Williams and Tyrone Ellis led the then Opel Skyliners into the BBL final, Frankfurt has only a 9-16record against the Albatros, but have built installed a special albatross cage in the Ballsporthalle which has rewarded them with a 5-3 record. One of the biggest and most emotional wins in the last years was the 81-67 trouncing in January 2006 as it was the debut of ex Skyliner coach Charles Barton. It was only a shame that the team was unable to take this big win and grow off it as they won little more that season and had to win on the last day at home against The EWE Baskets Oldenburg to stay in the BBL. Some nice wins in the last years was the 74-58 win in 2008 as American Derrick Allen added 19 points and six rebounds and in 2009, they won 73-66 as ex Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds. Last season, the two teams split the season series 1-1 as Alba Berlin held Frankfurt to 53 points in the Ballsporthalle and winning. Frankfurt returned to Berlin to win 76-70 as Derrick Allen led the team with 18 points. Frankfurt then surprisingly kicked out Alba Berlin in the playoffs 3-1 winning game four at home 69-58 as Derrick Allen had 26 points. In the first meeting last season, Alba Berlin escaped the O-2 World arena with a 81-77 win. Frankfurt led for 36 minutes before Alba Berlin put on the turbo and went on a 8-2 run which sparked the win. DaShaun Wood led all players with 32 points and Derrick Allen chipped in with 17 points for Alba Berlin. Alba Berlin shot 57% from the field and 44% from the parking lot, but Frankfurt had control of the boards 31-21. In the second meeting last season, Alba Berlin prevailed 79-70 as DaShaun Wood led Frankfurt with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and ex Skyliner Derrick Allen had 18 points. Frankfurt lost in the 2011 Beko BBL semi finals 3-2 . Last season the Fraport Skyliners stunk out their Fraport arena with a 83-57 loss where DaShaun Wood led all scorers with 21 points and also lost a close game 70-66 in Berlin. This season, The Fraport Skyliners were walloped in Berlin losing 91-65 as they had little chance. Frankfurt didnt shoot so bad hitting over 40% from the field and outside, but were clobbered under the boards 36-22 and relinquished 19 turnovers. After starting the season at 500 , the team went on a 8 agme winning streak, but then around Christmas lost three games in a row, but then rebounded having won five of its last seven games. Their biggest win of the season was a 90-75 bruising of the Brose Baskets Bamberg. The Fraport Sklyiners have won their last two games in a row with solid wins against Tuebingen and Hagen, games they had to win, but now with Alba Berlin face a stiff opponent. Frankfurt is riding a lot of self confidence at the moment. We can beat anyone. We have a lot of talent and feel very good at the moment. We just have to continue to play our game, stressed Fraport Skyliner Dawan Robinson. Phoenix Hagen assistant coach Steven Wriedt has movie experience with Phoenix in der asche and added some humor concerning the chances of Frankfurt to win. Frankfurt has to hope that Alba Berlin has a bad shooting day or have a hangover form their Euroleague game in Moscow Friday, stressed Steven Wriedt. Alba Berlin is the favorite in every game and I think that they are the best team in the league. We cant make them feel comfortable and take them out of what they do well. We have to protect the ball and get little turnovers. We have to rebound well and get back quick as they are one of the best fast break teams in the league.Our only advantage may be that they play in Moscow Friday. If we can make our game hard for them then we have a chance, warned Fraport Skyliners head coach Muli Katzurin.
Alba Berlin is led by Deon Thompson who is playing his first season in the Beko BBL. Thompson is a 24 year old 203cm forward from Torrnace, California. He played at North Carolina from 2006-2010, reaching a NCAA Final 4 and Elite 8. At North Carolina, he had the pleasure of playing with NBA players like Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansborough, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. As a rookie in 2010-2011, he played for Ikaros Kallitheas (Greece-A1, starting five): 25 games: 14.1ppg, Reb-2 (8.8rpg), Blocks-3 (1.3bpg), FGP: 50.0%, FT: 70.7%. Last season, he played for Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Telemach League, starting five): Adriatic League: 24 games: 12.2ppg, 5.3rpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 67.9%; Euroleague: 10 games: 8.8ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 48.1%, FT: 47.6%; Slovenian League: 16 games: 11.9ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5 (1.0bpg), FGP: 51.2%, FT: 72.5%. There he won the cup and was MVP as well as mVP of the Slovenian Allstar game. DaShaun Wood is a 27 year old 185cm point guard from Detroit, Michigan that is playing his second season for Alba Berlin. He has natural leadership abilities, who directs teammates on the floor and takes the ball in clutch moments. Loves to go inside to score, challenging the big guys, but has also shooting range from behind the 3pts arch. Despite lack of size, he can be effective even at the defensive side. He played at Wright State from 2003-2007. He then had a superb rookie season for Tisettanta Cantu (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 38 games: Score-5 (16.9ppg), 3.0rpg, Assists-4 (3.3apg), 2.7spg, 2FGP:52.1%, 3PT-2 (42.8%), FT:77.4%. In his second season he played for : Benetton Treviso (Italy-SerieA), injured in Oct.'08 and was off for 2 months: Eurocup: 12 games: 5.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 87.5%; Italian League: 17 games: 7.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.2apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 70.4%. He sat out the next season due to injuries and The Deutsche Bank Skyliners took a gamble signing him in 2010, but it paid off. Wood who was the leagues MVP in 2011 playing 42 games: Score-1 (19.0ppg), 4.6rpg, Assists-2 (5.9apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 33.2%, FT: 80.3%. Last season for Alba Berlin he played German League: 37 games: Score-5 (15.0ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-4 (4.8apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 79.2%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 9.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0spg; EuroCup: 12 games: 14.2ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-1 (5.4apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 82.2%.
Nihad Djedovic is a 22 year old 198cm forward that can play the position one to three. He hails form Bosnia and started his basketball career at Bosna TH Telecom Sarajevo in 2006. He then played for WTC Cornella (Spain-LEB Silver) from 2007-2009. In 2009-2010, he played for Xacobeo BluSens Obradoiro (Spain-ACB, starting five): 27 games: 6.3ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 69.0%. Last season, he played for Acea Virtus Roma (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 25 games: 11.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 71.2%; in Jan.'12 loaned to UCAM Murcia (Spain-ACB, starting five), in Mar.'12 signed at Galatasaray Medical Park Istanbul (Turkey-TBL): 12 games: 11.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 63.6%. He recently played the Qualifications to European Championships 2013 -12: 8 games: 16.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 62.2%. The team brings back 29 year old 208cm forward/center Yassin Idbihi from Cologne for a tird season. He can score, but is not so fast, but has potent moves. He played at The University of Buffalo from 2003-2007 and finished as the schools fourth all time leading scorer with 1,514 points and the third all time leading rebounder with 844. He became the first player in school history to score 1,500 points and 800 rebounds. He played with the Cologne 99ers and had some experience playing in France for Limoges. In 2009-2010, he helped lead The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig into the BEKO BBL semi finals losing against The Brose Baskets Bamberg where he played games 39 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.2rpg, FGP: 56.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 80.0%. In 2010-2011, he got better in the second half of the season playing German League: 43 games: 7.4ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 58.3%, FT: 73.4%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 4 games: 3.3ppg, 3.3rpg; EuroCup: 11 games: 7.0ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP-1 (71.4%), FT: 73.9%. Last season, he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 3.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg; EuroCup: 8 games: 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, FGP: 63.0%, FT: 73.1%; German League: 30 games: 8.8ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 59.2%, FT: 83.3%. The team brought back Heiko Schaffartzik who is a 28 year old 182cm point guard who is a German National player who has been a BBL traveler who has played for many different BEKO BBL teams like Giessen, Oldenburg, Nurnberg, EnBW Ludwigsburg and Braunschweig. He had his big international breakthrough at the Euro Championships in 2009 averaging 12,7ppg, 2,0rpg, 3,8apg and shot 54% from the three point line. He shoots first and penetrates second. He is a great one on one player. His biggest weapon is his shooting as he loves the catch and pop and off the dribble shooting. He started the season with Turk telekom in Turkey, but never found his rhythm as he played 10 games averaging 3,8ppg, 1,6rpg and 2,3apg in 15 minutes per game. He had a strong playoff series against Frankfurt and in 2010-2011 played German League: 32 games: 4.1ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.8apg; EuroCup: 5 games: 6.2ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 66.7%. Last season, he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 8.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg; EuroCup: 11 games: 8.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 80.0%; German League: 37 games: 9.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 85.7%. Last summer he played Qualifications to European Championships 2013 -12: 8 games: 12.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 45.9%, FT: 82.6%.
The team also brought in 30 year old 208cm Spaniard Alberto Miralles who has much ACB experience. He is a good board fighter and an score from mid-range. He started his basketball career in 1999 with Juventut Badalona. He already played Euroleague as a 19 year old with Virtus Kinder Bologna . He was drafted in 2004 by the NBA team Toronto Raptors. In 2004-2005, he played for Vertical Vision Cantu (Italy-SerieA): ULEB Cup: 9 games: 7,3ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 51.9%, 3Pts: 00.0%; Italian League: 37 games: 11.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3spg, 2FGP-1 ( 62.3%), 3FGP: 33.3%. He then had a long time playing for Pamesa Valencia (ACB) from 2005-2009. He then played for Lagun Aro Gipuzkoa BC (ACB) from 2009-2010. Last season, he played for Angelico Biella (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 32 games: 10.8ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 64.4%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 55.8%. Zach Morley is a 29 year old 203cm forward that is playing his first season in the Beko BBL with Alba Berlin. He started his basketball career at Indian Hills Community College before finishing his college career at Wisconsin in 2005. He came to Europe in 2005 and played his first five seasons in Spain in the Leb Gold division. He played for Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague,) the last two seasons and last season played Ukrainian League: 50 games: 11.8ppg, 6.1rpg, 3.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 84.2%; VTB League: 15 games: 9.0ppg, Reb-4 (6.9rpg), 2.2apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 23.8%, FT: 76.7%. He won the Ukrainian cup last season. Vule Avdalovic is a 31 year old 189cm point guard from Serbia. He is a true point guard, good passer and organizer, who is able to run a team at any pace. Has leadership and court vision, and, like any ex-Yugo player, knows how to score if left open. He started his basketball career in 1999 for Partizan Beograd where he played until 2005. He then played with Albert Miralles at Pamesa Valencia until 2009. In 2009-2010, he played for : Lucentum Alicante Costablanca (Spain-ACB): 34 games: 7.2ppg, 1.1rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 82.6%. In 2010-2011, he played for Cholet Basket (France-ProA): Euroleague: 10 games: 8.5ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 80.6%; French League: 34 games: 10.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 42.1%, FT: 80.6%. Last season, he played for BC Donetsk (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 5pts, 2reb, 1ast; EuroCup: 14 games: 11.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 81.3%; Ukrainian League: 49 games: 11.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 80.4%. Last season, he was Ukrainian Superleague Champion . He played the World Championships in Japan -06: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.7apg, 2FGP: 44.8%, 3FGP: 36.4%, FT: 76.9%.
The team recently added Je Kel Foster. Foster is a 191cm guard that is back in the Beko BBL. He played with ex Skyliner Derrick Allen this season at Belgacom Spirou (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): Belgian Ethias League: 8 games: 11.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.8apg, 2FGP: 50.0%, 3FGP: 32.6%, FT: 64.5%; Eurocup: 6 games: 7.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 44.4%, 3FGP: 17.4%, FT: 80.0%. He played at Ohio State and played in Ludwigsburg and Oldenburg where he won the 2009 league title. He also has played in France and Italy. Last season he played for FC Bayern Munich. The team recently also brought in 28 year old 201cm forward Derrick Byars who is back in Berlin again after playing there in the 2009-2010 season. He played at Vanderbilt and was drafted in 2007 by the Portland Trailblazers. He was a rookie in 2007-2008 for the Koln 99ers and also played in the D-league, France and Greece. Last season he played for Cholet Basket (France-ProA): Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 2pts, 1reb, 1steal; French League: 1 game: 9pts, 3reb, 1ast, 1steal, in Dec.'11 signed for $457,588 at Miami Heat (NBA), only pre-season, in Feb.'12 moved to Bakersfield Jam (D-League, starting five): 29 games: 15.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 81.6%; then agreed terms with San Antonio Spurs (NBA, starting five): 2 games: 5.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0spg. The team recently also added French national player Ali Traore who is a 27 year old 207cm power forward. He is a very athletic player, who can play in each of the front court positions. Has great inside game skills, he's tough and has good timing for the offensive rebounds. Also, he can hit a shot from outside. He played most of his basketball career in France, but also played in Italy and last season for Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia-PBL): VTB League: 21 games: 11.8ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 57.5%, FT: 70.1%; EuroCup: 13 games: Score-3 (15.3ppg), Reb-3 (7.1rpg), FGP: 60.4%, FT: 68.5%; Russian League: 20 games: 11.8ppg, 5.2rpg, FGP: 59.1%, FT: 60.9%. He took part at the 2012 summer Olympics. The team also brought back a familiar face with very experienced Sven Schultze who played many years for The German national team. He is a 34 year old 206cm power forward that was born in Bamberg. He is a very strong player with a deadly shot. With his size, he will post up the opponents small forwards and outrun the opponents power forwards. He is able to defend bigger players, but also agile enough to defend smaller ones. He can drop the three pointer in a variety of ways which gave Luka Pavicevic so many more ways of using him. He also is very dangerous on the fast break as he can with the speed of a point guard and then dunk. He started his career with Bamberg and then played for Alba Berlin from 1998-2002 winning four BEKO BBL titles. He then played for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen until 2005 before going south to Play in Italy in Milian, Udine and Biella. he also played shortly in Greece for Larissa. He finished the 2009-2010 season playing for Ferrara (Italy-SerieA): 13 games: 8.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 60.6%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 75.0%. He won a silver in Belgrad in 2005 at the European Championships and played at the Olympic games 2008 in Bejing. In 2010-2011 for Alba Berlin he played EuroCup: 12 games: 4.7ppg, 2.3rpg; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 3.5ppg, 1.5rpg; German League: 43 games: 3.1ppg, 1.3rpg. Last season, he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 0pts, 1reb; EuroCup: 12 games: 2.6ppg, 1.2rpg; German League: 32 games: 4.0ppg, 1.2rpg. The team also has young Germans David Herwig, Steven Monse and Sebastian Fulle.
Freddie Jackson(193-G-91, college: NC-Wilmington) is a 24 year old 193cm guard from Wilmington, North Carolina with one season of professional basketball under his belt as he played with AS Soleuvre (Luxembourg-Total League) and BZD Ikh-Aravtuud Bulls (Mongolia-Superliga) last season. He started his basketball career in 2011 with NC-Wilmington (NCAA) where he played until 2015 playing a total of 121 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.3ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP:... [read more]
Freddie Jackson (193-G-91, college: NC-Wilmington) is a 24 year old 193cm guard from Wilmington, North Carolina with one season of professional basketball under his belt as he played with AS Soleuvre (Luxembourg-Total League) and BZD Ikh-Aravtuud Bulls (Mongolia-Superliga) last season. He started his basketball career in 2011 with NC-Wilmington (NCAA) where he played until 2015 playing a total of 121 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.3ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 63.6%. He spoke to eurobasket about basketball.
Freddie, please introduce yourself and your style of play to the Eurobasket Germany readers. What makes your game special in your opinion? You can fill up the stat sheet, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game that gets overlooked time after time? I'm Freddie Jackson (193-G-91, college: NC-Wilmington) from Wilmington NC. I'm a typical big guard who is supposed to do everything on the court. My playing style is very versatile, I can score on all 3 levels effectively. I'm a two way player with good size at 6'4 and also well conditioned. I really can fill up the stat sheet, but it is also important for me to get my teammates involved. I think most coaches that I have played for or against in the past will say that I'm a great leader who leads by example and is vocal. What some teams don't have on their scouting sheet is that I can guard positions 1 through 3. I take pride in being a great defender.
You were born in Wilmington North Carolina, went to high school in Wilmington then proceeded to play in the NCAA D1 for the UNC Wilmington. Having spent your entire life in one town, why did you decide to pursue a professional career in overseas basketball? How did head coach Buzz Peterson groom and shape your game to the professional ranks? Describe your first impressions coming to Europe. I spent the majority of my life in Wilmington playing basketball. I travelled all over the US playing also. I always wanted to play professionally. Basketball is my passion. I'm looking forward to playing in Europe again, this will be a fun challenge to play in another country. Coach Buzz did a great job preparing me for overseas. He was a great mentor and really helped me get ready for pro basketball. Many other players from my school are playing abroad so our coach truly knows what he is doing. My first impression in Europe was different but good. Basketball was still the same. The game is what connects us all. My first experience was great and I'll never forget it.
You started the season at AS Soleuvre (Luxembourg-Total League) and didn't last through preseason. How disappointing was your first European adventure and why couldn't you stay there? My first team in Luxembourg did not work out for two different reasons. One being I had an ankle injury towards the end of training camp and the other being that the team decided to bring in a small forward instead who was a couple inches taller at 6'6. Sure I was disappointed. But it didn't discourage me from further pursuing my dream.
You finished the 2016 season in Mongolia, a country we don't know much about in terms of basketball. Please give as a first hand report about the league, the players and the overall situation. In a retrospective, do you think it would have been possible finding another team in Europe instead, given how well your game is suited especially for teams in a country like Germany?
Mongolia was a small country in terms of basketball, unrecognized by most because of their choice of how to run their own league. They make their own game rules. Games sometimes would simply get cancelled for no apparent reason 30 minutes before the tip-off. This was the only downfall of the league, the competition most places was good, many guys from power 6 conferences played there along with me. There was even some former pros who loved their league and are still active there. For me personally, I really think I could have found a better option than Mongolia, but my agent at the time was trying to place me anywhere, which turned out to be a mistake.
After a very strong senior season at NC-Wilmington (NCAA) where you played 32 games averaging 13.3ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 63.6%, you went into your professional season with high expectations. Did you ever think in your wildest dreams that your rookie season would be such a roller coaster ride?
After such a strong senior season I was hoping to possibly workout for some NBA teams but later decided to pursue overseas basketball. Never thought my career would get off to such a shaky start. But I understand that how you start is not how you finish. I just want to play and show everyone what I'm capable of doing. I have abilities that I want to put to good use on a team in Europe.
Graduating college in 2015 as a highly decorated senior, you more or less fell under the radar after returning home from Mongolia. You are now looking to come back to Europe and prove that you can play here on a high level. Please let a possible soon-to-be coach know what it is that you think you can contribute to the team that picks you up. The two main things a coach needs to know are that I'm the kind of player that will do anything to help a team win. I spend most of my free time in the gym. Off the court, I am an easy going person who mostly just stays home. I've never really been a party guy or somebody who would get in trouble. I'm very team orientated people friendly.
How has the transfer market been for you this summer? Do you feel that your unfortunate rookie season has had an effect in interest from teams? What did you learn from your experience in Mongolia that will help you make the right decisions in the future?
The transfer market has been hard so far because of my playing history. I think most teams look at Mongolia and it affects my chances. There are no stats available online, all I have is screenshots of the scouting sheets that were handed to me. I am hoping teams will look at my senior year college and realize that this is the player they'd be getting, except for the fact that now I have further matured and learned more about overseas basketball.
Please describe your typical day during off-season and the things you do to stay in shape and ready for your next overseas assignment. North Carolina has a lot to offer when it comes to Pro Ams and high level tournaments. Did you participate in anything so far this summer? My day normally starts around 7:30 when I wake for breakfast. After breakfast I head to the gym for my first of two basketball workouts which last for about 1 hour each. They usually are filled with many high level quick passing drills. After the first workout is finished, I follow up with a 30 minutes weight sesson which includes stretching and lifting weights. Normally I eat a big lunch followed by some rest. I'm finish my day with shooting toward the late afternoon at around 6.
People say there is a special breed of the North Carolina Guard' and would usually describe these guards as tough, hard-nosed and pesky on defense. Having made the CAA All-Defensive team, would you say this overall description fits you? Who won a one on one in practice, you or Addison Spruill? I think this overall description fits me perfectly. I love defense just as much as I love offense. Both are very important to becoming a complete player, which I like to think I am . Playing basketball in North Carolina growing up is very hard. It's plenty competition and plenty people to measure up to in every age group, from AAU all the way into the pros. I was very successful in high school making the ESPN top 100 shooting guards of my class in 2011 with an overall rating of 85 and 3 stars out of 5. Me and Addison Spruill are good friends. I've been playing against him since high school. When we play one on one games it would be a split between us two, a mutual respect back and forth kind of match up. I feel like we are similar when it comes to our offensive skills, but I will go ahead and say I consider myself a slightly better defender.
B.Muenchen to sign Aleksandar Djordjevic - 6 hours ago
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FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) agreed on terms of contract with experienced 49-year old Serbian-Italian coach Aleksandar Djordjevic. He coached most recently at Panathinaikos in Greek A1 league. He helped them to win the cup. Djordjevic has been coaching Serbian Senior National Team since 2014. He has coached previously professionally in Spain and Italy (Armani Milano and Benetton Treviso). By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Germany [read more]
FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) agreed on terms of contract with experienced 49-year old Serbian-Italian coach Aleksandar Djordjevic. He coached most recently at Panathinaikos in Greek A1 league. He helped them to win the cup. Djordjevic has been coaching Serbian Senior National Team since 2014. He has coached previously professionally in Spain and Italy (Armani Milano and Benetton Treviso).
Ricky Easterling (188-G-83, college: Bridgewater) is a 32 year old 190cm guard from Baltimore that will play his 11th professional season in Germany and first with BG Karlsruhe (Pro B). Over the years, he has been crowned Mr Regionaliga as he averaged over 30 points three times with TV Saarlouis and belonged to the the top 3 players in the Pro B the last two seasons. Before moving to Saarlouis in 2007 he played at Bridgewater (NCAA3) and then as a rookie played with TSG Reutlingen (German... [read more]
Ricky Easterling (188-G-83, college: Bridgewater) is a 32 year old 190cm guard from Baltimore that will play his 11th professional season in Germany and first with BG Karlsruhe (Pro B). Over the years, he has been crowned Mr Regionaliga as he averaged over 30 points three times with TV Saarlouis and belonged to the the top 3 players in the Pro B the last two seasons. Before moving to Saarlouis in 2007 he played at Bridgewater (NCAA3) and then as a rookie played with TSG Reutlingen (Germany-Oberliga and Bergheim Bandits (Germany-Regionalliga). Last season with TV Saarlouis, he played 28 games: Score-1 (23.1ppg), 4.0rpg, 4.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 18.2%, FT: 81.2%. He spoke to eurobasket about basketball.
Ricky thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been? At the moment I am in Great Barrington Massachusetts working coaching basketball at Kutcher Sports Academy. My summer is good so far. I enjoy working with the kids here and I also have the opportunity to work out and prepare for this coming season.
Your last game was on April 30th. The summer seems to be moving along very quickly. What have you missed the most about the grind in the Pro B? Yes the summer does seem to be flying by. I am happy about that because I am looking forward to the 2016-17 season. Training and playing in open runs or in summer leagues are fun, but it is nothing compared to playing in a real game.
Congrats on signing with Pro B team BG Karlsruhe. This week has been the Pro B reunion landing in the Pro A as Elijah Allen of Lich landed with Gotha, Julian Scott moves from Leipzig to Ehingen. How proud are you of these guys? Thanks! I am looking forward to the new challenge in Karlsruhe! Yeah I am very happy for Elijah and Julian. They are good players and they deserve the chance to play Pro A. I wish them luck in their new situations and I hope they are successful!
Do all these Pro B signings in the Pro A just show how many talented players are in the German Pro B?
I think it does show how strong the Pro B is. I am happy to be a part of this league and I am sure in the future more players in Pro B will be given the chance to show what they can do in the pro A.
*I always figured that you would play for the Saarlouis Royals until you were around 45 while becoming a playing coach. How difficult was it making this decision leaving this club and city after 9 years?
It was probably one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life. Saarlouis has become a second home for me. I am a person that likes the comfort of security and I had that there for sure. I loved the people there and they loved me. I am very appreciative of the opportunity they gave me to play for their city. I will miss my family, friends, and fans of Saarlouis and they will always be in my heart. But unfortunately in life everything must come to an end and I am now looking forward to what is coming next. Maybe later on down the line I will come back to Saarlouis. I can see that happening!
Sarrlouis isn't that far away from Karlsruhe. You could commute from Karlsruhe and still live in your second home Saarlouis. Is that something you are considering? That would be nice but I don't think that is the idea. That would be too much traveling every day. So I think it will be much easier to live in Karlsruhe. But I will make a lot of trips back to Saarlouis during the season to see my family and friends.
BG Karlsruhe is rich in tradition as it has played in the Beko BBL as well as in the Pro A. What sold you most on moving to this team? Just like you said they have a rich tradition and I would like to be a part of that. I like Coach Josipovic and the management also impressed me when I talked with them so that helped me make my decision to go to Karlsruhe.
Last season Saarlouis was 0-2 against BG Karlsruhe getting crushed once 107-66 and then losing a heart breaker 82-81 where you steered 18 points and 10 assists. What impressed you most by their team? Last season Karlsruhe was a very strong team in our league. Their roster was filled with talent and Coach Josipovic had them playing well together. From the outside they seemed to have good team chemistry and were always well prepared for their games. I was very impressed with that and look forward to being a part of that.
Did you get any feedback about if they will keep veterans like Jeremy Black, Marcus Smallwood and Rouven Roessler? I have no information regarding player personnel. That is something you might have to discuss with the coach and management.
How content are you with the fact that with a bigger budget, BG Karlsruhe most likely will have more skilled players on board than what you ever had as teammates with Saarlouis. Would you be content of having a smaller role? I'm content with playing any role to help my team be successful. If I am put into a smaller role I am ok with that. I am used to always playing bigger roles and having more pressure to produce. But in a smaller role I think I will have no problems adjusting to that.
You have been an instant scoring machine your whole professional life with Saarlouis and for many been the greatest German Regionaliga player ever as you averaged over 30ppg three times, how difficult will it be for you to do less in the scoring department? I just do whatever I need to do to help my team in the best way possible. If I need to score less and do more in other areas, that is what I will do and I will be happy doing it.
Could you see yourself being a classical pass first point guard and take a lot less shots?
Like I said I will play any role needed from me. If that is my assignment then that is what I will do. I just want to win and be a positive impact on my team.
You will be turning 33 this season. How do you feel physically and on what things will you be working on most this summer to have you best prepared for another year of Pro B? I feel great. My body is healthy and I can't wait to get started. If the season started today I would be ready to go. I will continue to do what I do every summer which is work hard. But I think I will keep trying to improve on my 3pts shooting. I also will mentally prepare myself to do more on the defensive end of the floor.
You played 9 seasons with Saarlouis. What was your biggest highlight in your time there?
The whole experience was a highlight for me. I love Saarlouis and enjoyed everything about my time there. I built many lifetime friendships and will always consider Saarlouis my home away from home.
Lebron James finally won his NBA title with his Cavs. Where does this title put him now in the all time best ever? Charles Barkley doesn't have Lebron in his top 5 ever. I am a LeBron Fan so to me he is definitely an all time great. I don't know if I can say he is a top 5 because there have been a lot of great players through the history of the game.
What was the last movie that you saw? The Revenant.
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