Ratiopharm Ulm opened the EuroCup quarterfinal series versus Bilbao with victory. The German team gained a 4-point advantage prior to the return leg in Spain next week. John Bryant (208-C-87, college: Santa Clara) was unstoppable for Ulm with 30 points and 7 rebounds. Bilbao silenced a sell-out crowd of 5500 fans in Ulm in the starting quarter. The Spaniards went on a 30:18 rally to tip off the game. But Ulm reacted with balanced and determined effort in the second quarter. The hosts picked up the defensive aggressiveness to narrow the gap at 3-point mark at halftime 42:45. Ratiopharm Ulm continued to dominate defensively in the third term. It paid off the home side pulled ahead for a 60:58 lead at the final intermission. The margin grew at 12-point mark midway through the fourth frame. However Lamont Hamilton (208-C/F-84, college: St.John's) and Axel Hervelle (205-F-83) pulled Bilbao within five and then Zisis hit a free throw to finalize the score. Allan Ray (188-G-84, college: Villanova) notched 13 points, while Per Guenther (185-PG-88) and Keaton Nankivil (203-F-89, college: Wisconsin) had 10 points each for the winners. Kostas Vasiliadis (200-G/F-84, agency: FCM) answered with 21 points for Bilbao. Lamont Hamilton, Axel Hervelle and Alex Mumbru (202-F-79) chipped in 13 points each in the loss.
Alex Foster (203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be 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%,... [read more]
Alex Foster (203-F-92, college: Emory) is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be 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 before the exhibition game August 25th against the Fraport Skyliners at Wiesbaden Airbase with all proceeds goingto the Basketball Aid foundation.
Alex thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are playing your second season now with the RheinStars. When you look back at your rookie season and progression of your German, what was your most used German sentence? I always say 'eben so,' after someone wishes me 'ein schoenen Tag' at the grocery or bakery. A lot of my German teammates tease me for using that phrase, because I guess it's more formal than what they're used to. Or maybe it's because it's a Southern-German thing. My mom's family is Schwabisch.
Last season you were a rookie and new to a new culture and new club. Now in your second season what have been the biggest advantages that you have in comparison to last season around this time? It's really nice coming back to the same surroundings in Cologne. I'm in the same apartment as last season and feel more like home than last season. The biggest advantage, however, are the relationships I'm coming back to. Especially with Coach Woltmann.
The club has been together for some weeks now. How has the preparation gone from your stand point? The club brought in four new players. How is the current team shaping up? Our preseason has been going really well. The club organized a new practice facility for us, in which we've been putting in the time and effort to take the club to the next level. The new guys have fit in seamlessly and we've spending lots of time together on and off the court.
In comparison to last season's team is this team as strong as last season's on paper?
You played your first pre season game recently against Schwelm. How pleased were you with the team and on what areas does the new team still need to work on?
We still have lots of room for improvement, but it felt good to suit up together for the first time. There were some segments where we played really well, but going forward, I'd like to see us assert ourselves for the entire 40 minutes.
Last season Lakeem Jackson was a key point of the offense and this season the club got Hugh Robertson. What does he bring to the table that will help the team most? Hugh is a talented player and a natural leader. He's got all the skills to take over a game, but he also knows how to elevate the level of the team as a whole.
Amric Fields has come in to replace Aaron Jones. Fields had 16/7 stats last season in Slovenia. What has been your early impression of him and can he be a dominating Pro A player with consistency?
Amric is one of the most talented players I've played with. He's got athleticism to go with a smooth stroke, which makes him a nightmare matchup in practice and for the rest of the league for sure.
The club also brought in 202cm forward Robin Christen who has established himself in the Pro A with Essen and Hanau. How challenging has it been battling him in practice on a daily basis? Robin can do it all. We definitely push each other in practice, but we have the most fun when we're put on the same team. We have a natural sense for finding scoring opportunities for each other.
216cm center German Dennis Heinzmann is a big German talent and project. How has his development been coming a long. Dennis is the guy on the team that everybody gravitates towards. He brings tremendous energy every day. You can't even compare where he's at now to the beginning of last season, when we matched up with him in Leverkusen. He's gotten so much better and I know will continue to develop into a dominant force in German basketball.
You and David Downs will lead the team this season. Do you feel any pressure that you have to step up your game a bit at the start to get the team and new players going?
I felt the pressure to get better all summer, which I did. Now back in Cologne, I feel confident enough to where I can worry less about my own game and focus on bringing the team together.
What has been your main focus in the preseason. What parts of your game are you working especially hard on? Defense. I always try to keep my matchup from scoring, along with helping my teammates within our defensive concept.
How confident are you that you will be able to raise your game even higher from last season? I improved my game this summer and have better players around me, so I'm very confident that I'll be able to play at a higher level. I feel that way about all my teammates too.
How excited are you about playing an exhibition game against the Fraport Skyliners on the Wiesbaden Army Airbase which is the headquarters of the United States Army Europe. Will this be one of the more unusual places that you have played a game before? I look forward to any chance to match up with a BBL opponent. Ultimately, that's the level our team wants to play at, so I'm excited to show that we can hang with those guys. I've also been hearing a lot of good thigs about the Army base and I hope we can show the service members our best. It's going to be a special game for sure.
The proceeds of this special game will go to the Basketball Aid which supports kids effected by cancer. The RheinStars jumped in for Northeastern who dropped out. How important is it for you to be a part of this important cause?
It's a personally important cause for me. My grandfather is currently battling cancer. I also lost a teammate to cancer in the 6th grade. I think what Basketball Aid is doing is great and I'm excited to be a part of it.
Your good friend from Emory Will Trawick will play for Rhondorf this season. Recently you showed him Cologne city. What has made this friendship so special? We've been through a lot together, so it's fitting that he's starting his professional playing career only 50 km away. I plan on watching him play as much as I can and I know we'll find time to hang out away from basketball too. He's a super smart dude so we can talk about anything and the conversation is always interesting.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?
That's a tough question that I don't think can really be answered, but I will say that Lebron has won me over again. After 'The Decision' I was pretty critical of his self-indulgence, but I respect him as a player and leader again.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose? I'd make it my favorite players from my childhood: T-Mac, Nash, Dirk, and B-Roy.
What was the last movie that you saw? Captain Fantastic. You gotta see it!
Lamar Mallory (198-F/C-90, college: Glenville St.) is a 198cm forward from Dayton, Ohio that will play his second season in Germany with the Licher Basket Baeren (Germany-ProB). Before coming to Germany, he started his professional career with the Albury Wodonga Bandits (Australia-SEABL) playing 5 games: 17.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 56.5%, FT: 57.9%. He played at Glenville St. (NCAA2) and as a senior played 25 games: 18.6ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: NCAA2-2 (68.1%). Last se... [read more]
Lamar Mallory (198-F/C-90, college: Glenville St.) is a 198cm forward from Dayton, Ohio that will play his second season in Germany with the Licher Basket Baeren (Germany-ProB). Before coming to Germany, he started his professional career with the Albury Wodonga Bandits (Australia-SEABL) playing 5 games: 17.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 56.5%, FT: 57.9%. He played at Glenville St. (NCAA2) and as a senior played 25 games: 18.6ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: NCAA2-2 (68.1%). Last season with the Licher Basket Baeren (Germany-ProB) he played 21 games averaging 17.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 67.5%. He scored in double figures in 19 of 21 games and had monster games against Speyer with 29 and 28 points and had a 28 point explosion against Wurzburg. He spoke to eurobasket before the start of the 2016-2017 season.
Lamar thanks for talking to eurobasket. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
No problem guys, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. I am in Germany, I stayed here over the summer. My summer has been great, a lot of off season workouts, individually and with groups. Its good.
What was your summer highlight this year? Were you mostly in Dayton this summer or were you able to venture to other parts of the States that you hadn't been too before? Actually I wasn't in Dayton at all this summer, unfortunately. I say that because I do miss my family and friends. I stayed in Germany over the summer which was good because staying here also allowed me to stay seriously focused. So its good.
Have you been moonlighting this summer working on expanding your model portfolio or were those pics that you did in Germany a one time thing? For now, I would say it was a one time thing. Lol Im no model man, I just wanted to take some nice pictures.
The Licher Basket Baeren survived and stayed in the league. What was your general impression of the Pro B structure in that you either make the playoffs or you have to qualify to stay in the league?
I guess I would say, its interesting because with that being the situation, you have to play hard until the very last game. The Pro B is good competition, I think its a good start for players to build and possibly move up.
You got a contract extension for the Licher Basket Baeren being rewarded for your exceptional rookie season in Europe by averaging 21 games: 17.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 67.5%. What were the main reasons for coming back to Lich this season? My reason for coming back was for the challenge. From what I understand Lich didnt have a very successful 2014-2015 season, and last season (2015-2016) wasn't very successful, in my opinion. So basically I just want to help try to overcome that burden.
What do you feel did you learn from your first season in Germany that will make your second season even more productive? I have learned a lot, but the most important thing I have learned was the European style of basketball, which is very charismatic, very focused, there is not a lot of reckless play.
This season you will have to do without teammate Elijah Allen. How much will you miss his play and character on the team? I will say this, it will be tough playing without Elijah, for the simple fact that he brings a lot to the table. I will definitely miss my bro, his character period would make you want to play hard and enjoy the game. He's a natural born leader.
How proud are of Elijah Allen making the jump to the Pro A to team Gotha? Do you see him making an impact in the Pro A? I am super proud of Elijah, I think he definitely deserves this opportunity. I think he will definitely make an impact because He's an all-around player, He can do it inside and out, and that is what is going to make him hard to guard.
You had a longer summer then many other players around the world simply because the Pro B season ends a lot sooner than other leagues. How hungry and excited are you about starting your second professional season in Germany?
Very excited, with all the changes, new talent coming in, and the guys that we have returning. I am excited, I am definitely looking forward to this season.
What things have you been working on this summer to help improve certain areas's of your game? Did you put up more three pointers than usual? I worked on my 3pointer as much as I could, considering that I had limited access to a gymnasium. But I've really I have been working on my footwork, ball handling, quickness, upper body strength. Basically some things that I might not get a chance to really focus on while in the season.
Do you feel some pressure this season in that you want to expand on your very strong first season in the Pro B with Lich? I would say slightly not, I don't feel the pressure necessarily , but I do feel that there is a bar that I've set for myself, so I think there is an expectation of me from the fans and Licher. But I don't look at the expectations as pressure, because that was me, just playing basketball, and enjoying the game.
This season's roster looks like one of the better one's in recent years. You have two very talented guards coming in Jeffery Martin who has BBL and Pro A experience as well as rookie K.K Simmons who can shoot out the lights and experienced German Patrick Horstmann who played in the UK. How much does this team have on paper? I think that is great. Plain and simple, we need talented and experienced players to add to the puzzle.
Last season you were a kind of go to guy which could change this season as there is more talent. Would you be ok with a change in your role? What kind of role could you imagine having this season? Honestly, I don't feel like I was the "go-to guy", You understand. So when you talk about my role, I think it's the other way around. If I became the go-to guy based off my performance from last season then I would definitely take on the challenge and try to lead the team to as many victories as possible. But other than that I think my role would be the same, which is to be aggressive offensively and defensively and produce as much as I can.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick? My best 4, I would have to say Lebron James, Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, and Dewayne Wade or Paul George. Or take both of the last two selections and just have a substitute.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game? I think that championship solidified his greatness and Kyrie Irving's greatness as well. Lebron is significantly one of the best players in basketball history. He led both teams in every statistical category during the finals except for turnovers, thats incredible. Give him credit. He's a legend, and still playing in the league.
What was the last movie that you saw? The last movie I seen was Law Abiding Citizen. Great movie.
AS Apollon Patras (A1) inked 25-year old American guard Nick Russell (193-95kg-91, college: SMU). He played most recently at Walter Tigers in German BBL league. In 26 games he averaged 6.7ppg, 1.7rpg and 2.2apg last season. The previous (14-15) season Russell played at Etha in Division A where in 23 games he had 12.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.5apg and 1.7spg (in top 4). He helped them to win the cup and make to league semifinals. A very good season in his career as he was awarded Eurobasket.com All-C... [read more]
AS Apollon Patras (A1) inked 25-year old American guard Nick Russell (193-95kg-91, college: SMU). He played most recently at Walter Tigers in German BBL league. In 26 games he averaged 6.7ppg, 1.7rpg and 2.2apg last season. The previous (14-15) season Russell played at Etha in Division A where in 23 games he had 12.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.5apg and 1.7spg (in top 4). He helped them to win the cup and make to league semifinals. A very good season in his career as he was awarded Eurobasket.com All-Cyprus League Small Forward of the Year, selected to 1st Team and selected to All-Imports Team. Russell graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2014 and it will be his third season in pro basketball.
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