Ilian Evtimov (201-F-83, agency: Interperformances, college: N.Carolina St.) is a 29 year old 201 cm forward playing his third season in France for Chalon. He has the French-Bulgarian citzenships and played at North Carolina State from 2001-2006. In his senior year, he played 31 games averaging 10.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FG: 45.3%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT. After a short stint with Estudiantes Madrid in 2006, he played at VidiVici Bologna in the 2006-2007 season. He played FIBA EuroCup playing 15 games averaging 6.3ppg, 2.4rpg, 2FGP: 65.4%, 3FGP: 47.1%, FT: 72.2%; and playing15 games in the Italian league averaging 3.1ppg, 2.1rpg. In 2007-2008, he moved to The Deutsche Bank Skyliners playing 10 ULEB Cup games averaging 14.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 85%; and in the German League playing 44 games averaging 13.1ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 86.2%. In 2008-2009, he continued playing in Frankfurt playing 10 EuroChallenge: games averaging 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 70.0%; and in the German League playing 34 games averaging 8.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 74.6%. In 2009-2010, he played for BC Levski Sophia (Bulgaria-NBL): 1 game: 6pts, 5reb, 2ast, 3steals; Balkan League: 1 game: 3pts, 1reb, 1ast, 2steals; in Oct.'09 moved to Proteas EKA AEL Limassol (Cyprus-Division EuroChallenge: 13 games: 10.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 45.6%, FT: 83.3%: FT-2 (90.9%). In 2010-2011, he played for Chalon playing 33 games: 11.6ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 84.2%. Last season for Chalon he played French League: 35 games: 9.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT-1 (94.7%); EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 9.0ppg, 1.5rpg; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 10.0ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 35.7%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT-1 (95.2% He spoke to Eurobasket about basketball.
You missed a month on account of an injury. How tough was this period for you? It was difficult because we all came back after Christmas with a lot of energy for a fresh start in 2013, but then I got injured after a few days in practice. It was very frustrating for me, but these things happen.
When you look back at your career, you have had luck not having injury problems.
Yes that is correct. I missed a season at North Carolina State, but other than that I have been fortunate. In my 2.5 years at Chalon before this injury, I missed only one game.
What is always the most difficult thing for a player during an injury?
Watching your team on the court and seeing things happen on the court and physically not being able to help them.
Was Chalon able to compensate your loss during your injury? I think that they did a good job. We lost to Gravelines by 30 points and lost in the cup to a PRO B team, but since then have won three games in a row.
After winning the double last season, Chalon is strong again and are near the top of the standings. What makes them so strong this season?
I think that we have experience and have many returning players and that we have a good chemistry. We like playing on the court together. It is still a building process.
Talk a little about the players that Chalon have added and made you stronger.
We have Sheldon Williams who played at Duke and was in the NBA. I have known him for many years. He is a great guy on and off the court. We also added marcus DEnmon who is very athletic and Kevin Houston who is a point guard with PRO A experience. I played against him two seasons ago. All three guys are great and there is no negativity at all.
How important and difficult was it to keep Blake Schilb? It was difficult keeping him. He was the PRO A MVP last season and was in demand before and during the season. His contract ends after this season and I am sure there will be even more demand for him.
How much fun is it playing with Sheldon Williams?
It is always fun with him. Recently his old school Duke beat mine North Carolina State and he came into the locker room with a Duke shirt and teased me. I then reminded him that we beat them a month ago. We like teasing each other about basketball and the good old days.
How did you play against Duke and Sheldon Williams with North Carolina State back in the day?
I remember beating them at home when they were ranked number one in the nation. All our fans ran on the court. It was a very special moment in my career. We lost too them in a ACC semi final where we were leading for most of the game. He and JJ Redick had great games. I believe we won only once in six games.
What has been the most amazing thing that you have seen Sheldon Williams do on the court? He is an incredible player. His moves are most amazing. He just likes to go through the defense and somehow gets off a shot in traffic and it goes in. Along the way everyone else falls down, because he is so strong.
How much potential does a Marcus Denmon have?
He was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs. He is a two guard and we are trying to help him become a one. He is an unbelievable shooter and is still young and very gifted. He was injured for three months which has hurt.
Did it surprise you that a guy of Denmons skill played at Jimmy Mckinneys school Missouri? No it doesnt. I asked Him about Jimmy, but he never played with him, but had heard of him as he came the year Jimmy went pro.
You are playing another solid season. Has anything changed with your role?
Nothing has really changed. My role is still to shoot three pointers, be smart and make room for Williams and Schilb.
You are shooting over 40% from downtown for the second consecutive season. What is your secret to the Evti swish being so consistent?
Just much practice and having confidence. I am more confident than ever with my shot.
What has improved most with your game since you have come to Chalon?
I think that I have become a better shooter. I read the defense better which lets me get my shot off better. I alos am a better defender.
You played nine games in the Euroleague. What was your fondest memory of the Euroleague?
My nicest memory was beating Siena at home in overtime. We lost many close games and were so close to qualifying. The margin of error is very small in the Euroleague.
Who was the toughest guy you played against in the Euroleague?
Deon Thompson from Alba Berlin. It was hard adjusting our defense to his game. I know him since many years since we have played against each other each summer for the last 5-7 years. It was really hard to stop him.
How surprised are you that your friend Greg Jenkins is playing in the third league in France?
Wow I was not aware of that. I have not spoken to him since last season. Players sometimes go through hard times. Sometimes it is hard to get a job as there are many players and less jobs. Some players have less luck and before they know it end up in lower leagues.
Are you still making drawings?
Not as much as before, but every now and then I draw with my son.
With what ex Skyliners do you have the most contact to?
Derrick Allen and Koko Archibong.
Videos of little boys making incredible shots have been popping up. When will your son be in a basketball video? I saw that video of that two year old boy making incredible shots. My son saw that video and was jumping up and down and grabbed the ball. My son not as talented yet, but he is younger and practicing.
Who will win Oscar as best film? I have no idea. I have been watching a great show Revenge.
When will you return to Frankfurt?
I dont know, but maybe in the summer. I want to show my wife where I lived for two years.
Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL) inked 25-year old American guard Devon Baulkman (193-91kg-91). He just graduated from Tennessee (NCAA). In 34 games he averaged 9.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.8apg and 1.0spg last season. As mentioned above Baulkman is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. He received All-Panhandle Conference 1st Team award in 2014 at his college time. Ratiopharm Ulm roster for 2016-2017: Guards: Per Guenther Karsten Tadda Chris Babb Braydon Hobbs Taylor Brau... [read more]
Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL) inked 25-year old American guard Devon Baulkman (193-91kg-91). He just graduated from Tennessee (NCAA). In 34 games he averaged 9.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.8apg and 1.0spg last season. As mentioned above Baulkman is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. He received All-Panhandle Conference 1st Team award in 2014 at his college time.
Except for a short four month stay in Turekey, Kenny Frease (212-C-89, college: Xavier) has called Germany home for most of his four year professional career and will remain in Germany joining Science City Jena. Frease is a 26 year old 212cm 129 kilo center from Massilion,Ohio that has a big body in the paint who can score, grab rebounds and block the opponents' shots. A true center who can make his teammates better thanks to his great impact inside at both sides of the court. He has play... [read more]
Except for a short four month stay in Turekey, Kenny Frease (212-C-89, college: Xavier) has called Germany home for most of his four year professional career and will remain in Germany joining Science City Jena. Frease is a 26 year old 212cm 129 kilo center from Massilion,Ohio that has a big body in the paint who can score, grab rebounds and block the opponents' shots. A true center who can make his teammates better thanks to his great impact inside at both sides of the court. He has played in Germany for teams like the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, Artland Dragons and last season played for the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games: 9.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, Blocks-2 (1.4bpg), FGP: 51.8%, FT: 42.6%. "Kenny replaces Behanan, but is a totally different player than him. We need to be stronger and more dominant at this position. He has mass and quality and experience in Germany. He will be able to be integrtaed quickly into our game thanks to his passimng qualities", stressed head coach Bjoern Harmsen. Last season he scored in double figures 16 times including three double doubles. His best game was a 22 point 15 rebound effort against Phoenix Hagen.
Frease started his absketball career in 2008 with Xavier (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing atotal of 137 NCAA games. As a freshman he played 34 games: 5.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 46.0%, 3Pts: 28.6%, FT: 48.4%. In his second season he played 35 games: 5.1ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 0.0%, FT: 52.0%. As a junior h eplayed 32 games: 11.7ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.9%, FT: 70.2%. As a senior he played 36 games: 10.2ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.4%, FT: 56.9%. He started his professional basketball career in 2012 with Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-BBL): 34 games: 11.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.8%, FT: 56.3%. In the 2013-2014 season he moved to the Artland Dragons (Germany-BBL): Eurocup: 8 games: 9.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 54.0%, FT: 66.7%; German League: 40 games: 7.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 55.7%, FT: 49.4%. In the 2014-2015 season he started with Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-TB2L): 16 games: 13.8ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.1apg, 2.2bpg, 2FGP: 59.7%, 3FGP: 66.7%, FT: 44.4%, in Jan.'15 moved to Artland Dragons (Germany-BBL) playing 16 games: 8.6ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 63.5%, FT: 61.5%. "It feels great to return back to Germany. I am happy to write the next chapter in my career with Science City Jena. I was only once in Jena, but could feel the passion of the fans. I will do my best to find my rhythm and get integrated as quickly as possible. I can't wait until the season starts", expressed Kenny Frease. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champion -09, 11, Atlantic 10 Tournament Semifinals -09, 10, Atlantic 10 Regular Season Co-Champion -10, NCAA Sweet 16 -10, 12, All-Atlantic 10 Honorable Mention -11, Atlantic 10 Tournament Finalist -12, German Bundesliga Semifinals -14, and Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Defensive Team -16.
Around this time of year most BBL coaches are in their offices already scoping together new plays and contemplating which roles each player will perform except for Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert who is still looking for a few players to complete the new roster. Even tougher this season is that the Canadian isn't even at the practices as he has taken a leave of absence recovering from back surgery and given the coaching reigns to assistant coach Klaus Perwass. In the last year... [read more]
Around this time of year most BBL coaches are in their offices already scoping together new plays and contemplating which roles each player will perform except for Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert who is still looking for a few players to complete the new roster. Even tougher this season is that the Canadian isn't even at the practices as he has taken a leave of absence recovering from back surgery and given the coaching reigns to assistant coach Klaus Perwass. In the last years the Fraport Skyliners haven't been complete as their preseason schedule has started and it was no different this season as like last season the club faced German pro A team RheinStars Cologne in a neutral area Koblenz and this season in another unusual spot in Wiesbaden, Germany. Eight year BBL veteran and identity figure of the Fraport Skyliners Quantez Robertson has had his share of photo shoots and checking out runways with a basketball at Frankfurt international airport, but for a change he would also be stepping foot on another airbase in Wiesbaden only 26 kilometers away from Frankfurt international airport as the Fraport Skyliners met the RheinStars in an out of the ordinary place. As part of the Basketball Aid international tour, both teams were taking part in a very good cause to help kids stricken with the horrible disease cancer as all proceeds were going to this charity. The Basketball Aid international Tour had received a blow recently as previously invited touring team Northeastern (NCAA) cancelled their 10 day trip on account of the terrorism in Germany, but Basketball Aid organizer Hans Beth and his crew had done a fine job in a very short period of time finding replacement teams for the Huskies from Boston. It is typical that in the past American players tend to visit American airbases to get that extra special US feeling as well as cleaning out the food markets where they can buy and munch on Pop tarts, Oreo's or Twizzlers candy and much more, things they would never get in a normal German supermarket. In the past ex Skyliners and two thirds of the then Bermuda triangle Tyrone Ellis and Chris Williams minus Pascal Roller would venture out to Wiesbaden to take in the flair of American culture or a Jimmy Mckinney would make the trip to Heidelberg to visit the army heliport. On a very hot day that had temperatures in the 90's everyone was relieved to be in the gym at Clay Kaserne as it was air conditioned nicely and after 40 minutes of hard fought pre season basketball, it was no surprise that BBL club Fraport Skyliners had been victorious gliding by the Pro A RheinStars Cologne 77-59. Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth was pleased with how the first event of the tour went. 'It was a good atmosphere and a good game. It was a good start for the tour. The fans saw many young players competing and both general managers of the teams were present. It was obvious that the fans enjoyed the game. I hope to see them at Fraport Skyliner games', stressed Hans Beth.
For both teams, this exhibition game was just another test for the rigorous upcoming season that both clubs will experience in their respective leagues, but the game also had a deeper meaning as it was in support of the organization Basketball Aid that support children with cancer and the game also gave the American players time to reflect on this cause as well as playing a game on an American army base. 'Playing in Wiesbaden was like having a piece of home. I have a German mother and American father and to be able to see the Americana and German flags side by side reminds me of the partnership of both countries coming together as one. This was a very nice gym. Any enjoyment that I can provide while playing for military families is great. I can imagine that their life is stressful at times, but it is nice if they could enjoy a Thursday afternoon relaxing and watching basketball. Win or lose, we did a good thing today and we could leave with a good taste', stressed RheinStars forward Alex Foster. Fraport Skyliners center Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances) was as usual his laid back self after the win, but when asked about his thoughts about the game and deeper meaning behind the cause of Basketball aid, the Florida native became sentimental. 'This was almost like being on American soli. It was cool seeing so many American families in the stands. Being able to help the basketball aid cause is very important. Everybody was a winner today and it was a great day', stressed Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances).
Both teams were missing key ingredients to their teams as the Fraport Skyliners were without Mr Canada Philip Scrubb and new player Shavon Shields who had arrived that morning and was battling jet lag while the RheinStars were without the services of big men Amric Fields and 217cm monster Dennis Heinzmann as their inside game suffered without them. The Fraport Skyliners started with their heart and soul with Americans Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances) and Germans Max Merz, Stefan Ilzhoefer and Niklas Kiel. The RheinsTars started with David Downs, Robin Christen, Andreas Wenzl, Alex Foster and Hugh Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners dominated from the get go getting their offensive sets going while getting their staple defense established early as their aggressiveness was a few gears too much for the RheinStars as they trailed 15-3 after six minutes. Frankfurt got their inside out game going quickly as their big men Morrison and Kiel got easy buckets inside while their shooting didn't lack any fine tuning early on either as Max Merz and Stefan Ilzhoefer connected from downtown. The Frankfurt aggressive defense also led to easy transition baskets as well. At the 4.15 minute mark, huge German talent Isaac Bonga made his professional debut, but before he could make any waves on the court, Cologne got a quick mini 4-0 run with baskets from Lennart Steffen and Tim Van De Velde to cut the Frankfurt lead to 15-7. Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with a Robertson dunk and Garai Zeeb three pointer as the Fraport Skyliners led 22-9 after one quarter. Isaac Bonga was controlling the boards in the first few minutes when he was on the floor. 'Frankfurt hit us hard in the first quarter. We weren't prepared well and need to be mentally focused better. We were unable to meet their aggressiveness on defense with offensive intensity', stressed Alex Foster.
In the second quarter, both teams continued to sub their players in and out giving everyone their opportunity to work on their game as well as further team chemistry and harmony being developed. The Fraport Skyliners continued to have many more options on offense, worked on their inside out game and didn't allow the RheinStars much opportunity to get anything going inside. Frankfurt Got a three pointer form Max Merz and a hook shot from Mahir Agva while the RheinStars got trey's from Downs and Bendict Van Laack. Cologne then got their first solid bucket inside from Steffen who snuck inside finishing with his left hand as Frankfurt led only 27-17. Bonga was back in the game and the 16 year old who measures in at 205cm continued to help on the boards, but his athleticism and quickness was impressive as he showed it on both ends of the court making a quick block from behind on Hugh Robertson and then strolled into traffic and in midair made a no look pass to a streaking Morrison in the lane who finished with a routine lay in as Frankfurt led 31-17. Every once in a while Frankfurt would get careless and the RheinStars capitalized with buckets from a Downs who snuck inside, but overall Frankfurt always came back and had an answer on offense. After the Downs basket, Frankfurt went on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 41-22. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners got production from Ilzhoefer who had a totally new stroke of confidence and really had the green light in this game as he had that go to guy mentality brewing and connected on another trey, Merz scored inside, Tez Robertson made a steal and dunk on transition and Morrison finished inside for an easy two. In the last two minutes, Cologne got some needed offensive aid form Downs who dropped two trey's and Robertson scored inside, but the Fraport Skyliners led at the break 44-30. 'We were missing Fields and Heinzmann in the low post. It was the first game for Wenzl in 3 years. We have 100% belief that he can become the best center in the Pro A. He was a bit rusty today, but he will be a great player', added Alex Foster. After 20 minutes the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 41% from outside while the RheinStars were shooting 39% from the field and 36% from outside. Frankfurt had the 17-12 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Cologne had 10 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners started the third quarter with a few turnovers and the RheinStars capitalized on it getting a Robertson bucket and Wenzl lay up playing pick and roll with Downs to cut the Frankfurt lead to 45-34, but the RheinStars would never be able to cut the lead under 10 points. However it didn't take the Fraport Skyliners long to get out of their offensive mini rut as they went on a 9-3 run as the German kids executed nicely with Agva and Bonga to extend the Frankfurt lead to 54-36. Agva was working on becoming that Skyliner beast inside as he scored twice and Bonga connected on a three displaying a smooth stroke in progress. After 30 minutes the Fraport Skyliners led comfortably 54-38. 'We stepped up our defense in the third quarter, because we didn't want to fold. I think that the game was pretty even for three quarters. It was just that first quarter that hurt us. We had more open looks and came together better as a team. Hugh Robertson also hit some big shots', explained Alex Foster. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 32% from the three point line while the RheinStars were shooting 38% from the field and 24% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 29-20 rebound edge and both teams had 14 turnovers a piece.
Both teams found their scoring touch again better in the fourth quarter, but Cologne couldn't make any ground as they were still outscored by Frankfurt 23-21. The fans also got to see some Tez/Morrison show time as they connected on the alley-oop twice with Robertson being the perfect flicker while Morrison was as tame as a Florida kitten tapping home the ball twice and saving the hard throw downs for the regular season. Hugh Robertson who played last season with Helios Suns Domzale (Slovenia-Telemach League) and can decide a game by himself did his best hitting big shot after big shot cutting the lead down to 60-47, but the Frankfurt bench was too much for Cologne as they stepped up and executed as well. The difference was that in this phase, the RheinStars only had a Robertson who was hitting shots while Frankfurt went on a 7-0 run as Pro B player German Konstantin Schubert hit a 20 footer and a lay it and Quantez Robertson made a three pointer as Frankfurt led 67-50. The game was decided and in the last few minutes Alex Foster did some work for his stat line hitting a three and then making a beautiful off balance shot high off the glass. Frankfurt got last baskets from Agva and Ilzhoefer to secure the win. 'We were a bit tired in the fourth, but not physically. It was more mental. The two alley-opp's were mental break downs. Frankfurt played very physical. We have to emphasis to play harder defense in practice so we can be ready for teams like Frankfurt. Frankfurt played their defensive concept the whole game and we shied away from it. We couldn't stretch and challenge their defense. This game was part of the process to get ready for the season. I feel we made a good step in the right direction', stressed Alex Foster. '. 'The game went ok. We still need to correct many mistakes on defense. We found our rhythm on offense today. I feel that we have picked up on many things in two weeks. Coach Perwas has done a good job making things clear to each player what he has to do', added Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances). The Fraport Skyliners were led by Stefan Illzhoefer with 15 points. Mike Morrison (205-F-89, college: George Mason, agency: Interperformances) added 14 points while Max Merz had 10 points and eight assists and Quantez Robertson supplied 10 points, four rebounds and four steals. 16 year old Isaac Bonga played 23 minutes scoring six points, hauling down six rebounds, dishing out three assists and getting one steal The RheinStars were led by Hugh Robertson with 19 points while David Downs had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 52% from the field and 31% from outside while the RheinStars shot 43% from the field and 37% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 33-24 and had 18 turnovers while Cologne had 21 turnovers.
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