In the last game of the regular season of the PRO B south, the Dresden Titans visited the Fraport Skyliners as it was a more or less a meaningless game for both as the Saxony team already had a birth in the play downs while the Frankfurt club had already secured a date in the playoffs and the Titans were able to be only the second team in the league together with Weissenhorn to sweep the season series with a solid 88-80 victory. After a very tight first half, the Dresden Titans gave the green light to Andrew Jones (191-SG-83, college: Miles) who accepted and after netting eight points in the first halft totally crushed the Fraport Skyliners like ripe Grape fruit pouring in 30 points in the second half to stifle the Fraport Skyliners as they had absolutely no cure of how to stop the 29 American that was scoring from everywhere as if he had been put in a microwave. We finally played some defense which hasnt always been the case this season. The game was back and fourth in the first half and we had way too many turnovers. In the second half it was the Andrew Jones show who carried us and we did a good job getting him shots, stressed Dresden Titans captain Jason Boucher. The Fraport Skyliners were without out their three German license players Konstantin Klein, Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann and Larry Wright who is with the Beko BBL team Skyliners until the end of the season, but despite being very undermanned, the club gave a very spirited effort never giving up. I thought that despite missing many players, we played very well for the guys we had. I saw some good things on offense, but we lost the game on defense. We had problems with our one on one and help defense. I think that if we could of made more stops on defesne at the end, then the game could of gone down to the wire, expressed American Taylor Brown.
Ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Alexander Heide who palyed four Beko BBL games in the 2007-2008 season hit a fade away jumper, but Nikolai Vukovic got going eraly testing his 48% three point shooting with a bomb and 3-2 frankfurt lead. Dresden Titans center Jared Bensen also got into groove fast making a turn around jumper and testing his 43% shooting form the parking lot as Frankfurt trailed 7-3. After a Falko Thelig free throw, Bensen took advantage of little help defense scoring inside as Dresden led 9-4. However the Fraport Skyliners juniors were on their game early as Vukovic hit his second three pointer of the game and Jan Novak iced two free throws dead locking the game at 9-9. However Dresden then jumped out on a lightening 8-0 run to lead 17-10 as young 19 year old German Daniel Pollrich and American Andrew Jones nailed three pointers and Patrick Ruelke scored inside. After a Tim Oldenburg and Falko Thelig free throws, Brown scored again inside cutting the Dresden lead to 17-15. Dresden closed out the first quarter with a mini 4-0 run as they continued to take advantage of the Frankfurt weak inside defense and Thomas Lienhard and Robert Zobel scored. Dresden led 21-15 after one quarter. Both teams were still getting a feel for each other and we did a better job adapting to them than they did to us, stressed Dresden guard Jason Boucher. Dresden was shooting very hot 75% from the two point range and 60% from outside while Frankfurt was shooting poorly at 13% from the two point range and 29% from outside. Dresden had the 11-5 rebound edge, but seven turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers only.
The game remained tight in the second quarter as no team led by more than six points. Taylor Brown got Frankfurt on the board first with a fade away jumper, but Jones responded with an easy lay in after he glided into the zone like a mal nourished golden bear from Miles (NCAA). German Benedikt Nikolay then dropped a much needed three pointer to cut the Dresden lead to 23-20. Boucher and Max Merz then traded three pointers and Brown scored again inside as Dresden led only 26-25. After a Ruelke jumper, it was Brown that hit a jumper after getting a fancy behind the back pass from Max Merz as Frankfurt trailed 28-27. After Boucher nailed a three pointer, the FRaport Skyliners stormed back as Max Merz found the hole and penetrated with his usual quickness finishing with a finger tip roll and Vukovic tied the game with another three point bomb 33-33. Boucher then made a steam and scored while Novak scored and Brown made a free throw and Frankfurt led 36-35. Dresden then escaped out on a 5-0 run as Ruelke and Jones scored, but Brown closed out the scoring in the second quarter as the Dresden Titans led 40-38. We had a hard time on the boards as they rebounded better. Brown was very aggressive and they were always crashing the boards, added Jason Boucher. Frankfurt was shooting 50% from the two point range and 31% from the three point line, while Dresden was shooting 63% from the two point range 63% and 38% from the three point line. Frankfurt rebounded a lot better as it was 16-16 on the boards and Dresden had eight turnovers and Frankfurt only four turnovers.
The third quarter stayed tight until the end where the Dresden Titans could break away. Jones started the third quarter with scoring a pull up jumper, but Brown also was on his game as he scored being set up nicely by German Falko Thelig as Frankfurt trailed 43-41. After Heide made free throws, it was Brown again who this time scored shortly before the shot clock sounded as Dresden still led 45-43. The scoring makeup of the third quarter seemed more like a Jones-Brown show as both guys were keeping their respective teams close. After Jones made a steal and went coast to coast scoring where he really looked like a man weaving in and out of kids, it was Brown again keeping his part making a dunk as Dresden led 48-46, but then it was Jones again hitting a jumper as nobody could keep him in check. Next it wasnt Brown again, but ales likely player in German Lennant Okeke who is an NBBL player for Eintracht Frankfurt was left open in the corner and drooped a beautiful three pointer in best Jimmy Mckinney manner as Dresden led 50-49, but the next time down it was Jones again nailing a three pointer as Frankfurt trailed 53-49. After an Oldenburg lay in and Brown free throw where Frankfurt trailed 53-52, the game turned as Andrew Jones where there was once a baseball player under the same name that could turn games around with his hot hitting, the basketball player took Dresden on a back crushing 9-1 run scoring all points scoring a three pointer and three lay ins as Frankfurt trailed62-53. Jason Boucher closed out the third quarter with a bitter three pointer at the buzzer as the Dresden Titans led 67-55. We gave Andrew Jones the green light and he was hot. Sometimes its him and sometimes its me. If he is feeling it then I run the point and sometimes when I am feeling it he runs the point. We did a good job getting him the ball, added Jason Boucher. The Dresden Titans were shooting 63% from the two point range and 44% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the two point range and 36% from the parking lot. Frankfurt was leading the rebound duel 23-21 and both teams coughed up the ball 12 times.
The Fraport Skyliners open up the fourth quarter with a quick 5-0 run to cut the Dresden lead to 67-60 as Oldenburg made a lay in and Merz connected on a three pointer. Merz played very aggressive and played very hard. When he plays hard, he gives his team a chance. He has a bright future, warned Jason Boucher. The Fraport Skyliners continued to fight, but they just couldnt get over the hump to cut the Dresden lead under six points. After an Oldenburg layup, it was Jones again that dropped a three pointer for the 72-63 Dresden lead. Oldenburg then cut the Dresden lead to 71-66 with a massive dunk, but Boucher scored inside and Novak hit a jumper as Frankfurt trailed 74-68. Jared Bensen who had been quiet for some time scored inside and Brown answered again inside as Frankfurt trailed 76-70. Jones and Heide then hit free throws something Frankfurt had difficulty doing consistently as Dresden led 81-73. Frankfurt made one last gasp as Novak hit a three pointer cutting the Dresden lead to 83-76. However with time running out, Jones made the last six points for Dresden from the free throw line helping seal the win. I have to give Frankfurt credit, because they played hard for 40 minutes. It was a weird feeling tonight, because it seems like this season there were too many games where we forgot how to win. We played too much this season not too lose instead of playing to win. Tonight we did a better job playing to win, stressed Jason Boucher.
The Dresden Titans were led by Andrew Jones with 38 points. Jason Boucher produced 15 points and five assists. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Taylor Brown with 28 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. Tim Oldenburg added 11 points and Nikola Vukovic contributed 10 points. Max Merz hahd nine points and six assists, Jan Novak nine points and Falko Thelig eight points and nine assists. Dresden shot 53% from the field and 37% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 46% from the field and 35% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 31-30 and 18 turnovers while Dresden had 19 turnovers. It was Jones that decided the game in the second half for the Dresden Titans. I was in the zone in the second half. I had been frustrated with my turnovers early, so I got more aggressive attacking the basket, added Andrew Jones. Jones got going and we let him get a groove. It seemed like there was no shot that he couldnt make. He was very good at breaking down our one on one defense. He was simply deadly tonight, added Taylor Brown. Brown seemed in the shadow of Jones, but had a strong game and had to produce more. I have to protect the paint more when the Germans arent playing. I keep the fort down and get much needed points. All I have to do is get open, because I know that my teammates will find me, warned Taylor Brown.
Will Cummings (188-G-92, college: Temple) is a 24 year old 188cm point guard from Jacksonville, Florida playing his second professional season and first with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) averaging 15,2ppg, 3,6rpg and 3,7apg in Champions League play. He played at Temple (NCAA) from 2011-2015 amassing a total of 111 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 80.8%. As a rookie last season he played for the Houston Rocke... [read more]
Will Cummings (188-G-92, college: Temple) is a 24 year old 188cm point guard from Jacksonville, Florida playing his second professional season and first with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) averaging 15,2ppg, 3,6rpg and 3,7apg in Champions League play. He played at Temple (NCAA) from 2011-2015 amassing a total of 111 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 80.8%. As a rookie last season he played for the Houston Rockets (NBA), released in Oct.'15, then moved to Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 52 games: 20.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.7apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 53.7%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 78.5%, in Apr.'16 signed at Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg. he spoke to eurobasket recently after Aris had beat the Fraport Skyliners in Germany in Champions League action.
Welcome to Germany Will. Is this your first time in Germany? What do you know about the country and it's basketball?
Yes that was my first time in Germany. I don't really know too much about their basketball since this is really my first year playing basketball overseas. I just know Germany has great cities to live in and visit.
Do you have any other friends currently playing in Germany besides TJ DiLeo? I think another former temple player Ryan Brooks might currently be playing in Germany. I know he has in the past.
Your playing your first complete season in Europe after being a rookie in the D-league last season and then played briefly with Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg. What was your wake up call to being in Europe for the first time and playing professional ball?
I would say my wake up call was playing against Milan in the first round of the Italian playoffs. Jumping right into an important and high level situation for your first experience forces you to learn quickly.
This season you are playing for Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1). You are playing in a very strong league with many talented imports from around the world. As a point guard what do you believe has been the biggest adjustment for you getting accustomed to the European game? As a point guard I believe the biggest adjustment is learning the defenses that are being played in Europe. I played in the D league for a full season so you get accustomed to the amount of space on the court. In Europe everything is more compact so you have to find ways to still be affective with less space.
Currently the team is in sixth place in Greece and have a 8-4 record in the Champions League. What is the biggest difference for you in style and talent between the two leagues? I would say the biggest difference is the refs from European games and Greece games.
Your rocking in both competitions in the Greek league as well as in the Champions League. Just from the stats would it be fair to say that you a scoring point guard first and playmaker second?
I don't like to label myself. I leave that for other people evaluating my game. I just try to be affective and make plays in each game to help my team win.
When you were growing up who were your NBA role models and to what NBA player would you say does your game now resemble most?
Growing up my NBA role models were Allen Iverson and Chris Paul. I feel like I have a mixture of different players I resemble at different times. I feel like I have my own identity.
How valuable has your teammate Michael Jenkins been for in the first few months in terms of you getting accustomed to the league and life? Has he taken you a bit under your wing?
Mike has helped me a lot getting adjusted to life in Europe. Showing me the in and outs of just living on your own for a long period of time out of America.
How tough has it been with pronouncing the names of your teammates? Do you invent short nicknames for a guy like Vasilis Xanthopolous? But this name isn't even that difficult because many of the Greek names have that Thopolous on the end?
The names haven't been that difficult to pronounce but I have developed nicknames for all of them to eliminate me having to pronounce them.
How do you feel is your game improving on a daily basis when you go head to head each day with Xanthopolous in practice? Do you feel like your basketball IQ is at a different level than what it was before you came to Europe?
Going against Xanthopolous in practice has helped me because he has such a great feel for the game. He makes you figure out ways to try and out smart him. I do feel that I'm learning more.
As a rookie in 2015 you played NBA Summer League with the Houston Rockets and then was signed and played six pre season games before getting waived. Every player I talk with that has been in a NBA training camp has had their story, but how was it with you. How did you learn in this month experience that at the end of the day basketball will always be a business no matter how talented you are? NBA training camp was definitely and eye opener and showed me this basketball is business so it made me a lot stronger and mentally tougher to deal with my new lifestyle.
You were playing against a guy like Patrick Beverly who had played 5 years in Europe before making the jump to the NBA. When you compare your game to a guy like that what do you believe is still missing in your game to reach the NBA?
I don't believe anything is really missing from my game to be in the NBA. I would like to be a more consistent pull up shooter but opportunity just has to be given.
Last season as a rookie you had a very strong season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 52 games: 20.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.7apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 53.7%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 78.5%. For a talented guy like you not scoring in double figures in 35 minutes per game is hard, but you still showed immense consistency doing it in all 52 games. Did you feel like you had deserved an NBA call up?
I definitely believe I deserved an NBA call up.
Last summer you played NBA Summer League with the San Antonio Spurs. Is Europe a stepping stone for you to develop your game and continue to try for the NBA in the future? Yes Europe is a stepping stone to still try and make the NBA.
You played at Temple (NCAA) from 2011-2015. How did head coach Fran Dunphy groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career? Fran Dunphy was the best thing that happened to my basketball career. He groomed me into a man and the tough player that I am today. I thank him for that.
You played two seasons with TJ DiLeo who is playing his 4th season in Germany. How annoying was his aggressive defense in practice every day and how do you believe did you profit from his presence on the floor?
I honestly can't really remember practices back. So much time has passed.
You surely had many memorable games at temple8NCAA), but where do the back to back wins against Uconn and Memphis rank towards the end of your senior season?
Those back to back wins get thought about a lot. They are high on my list because I thought those two wins secured us into the NCAA tournament but we were robbed. Also, beating UCONN was on senior night. Having my whole family there was memorable.
You played against many great players in the NCAA, but what player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?
I didn't have any.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Devin Coleman?
Great question. I can't remember but I'm sure I did haha.
Jacksonville seems to be a city that grooms future NFL players with very few basketball people as the most notable are Otis Smith and Dee Brown. If you could have a dinner with Dee Brown what would you want to most about his basketball experience he had?
I would want to know most about his workout habits and what he did to take himself to another leve
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose? Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Kobe, Kareem
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
MJ is the GOAT.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
National All-Star Team Schwethelm Kleber Lo Seiferth Heckmann 7 Philipp Schwethelm (201-SF-89) of Oldenburg MVP 42 Maximilian Kleber (207-PF-92) of Bayern 5 Niels Giffey (200-G/F-91) of ALBA 12 Maodo Lo (191-G-92) of Bamberg 11 Andreas Seiferth (209-C-89) of Bayreuth 22 Danilo Barthel (208-PF-91) of Bayern 32 Johannes Thiemann (204-PF-94) of Ludwigsburg 34 Christian Standhardinger (206-F-89) of Vechta 9 Maurice Stuckey (187-PG-90) of Wuerzburg 25 Anton Gavel (189-PG-84)... [read more]
According to eurobasket sources Chris Hill will start his profesisonal career in Europe in style joining the up and coming Pro A team Hamburg Towers. He had his first practice today and will help bolster their front court. "I am humble and hungry to help provide a lift and with my role on the team and make playoffs and contend for a title", stressed Chris Hill.Hill is a 26 year old 23cm forward from Los Angeles, California that will be playing his fourth profesional season after toiling a... [read more]
According to eurobasket sources Chris Hill will start his profesisonal career in Europe in style joining the up and coming Pro A team Hamburg Towers. He had his first practice today and will help bolster their front court. "I am humble and hungry to help provide a lift and with my role on the team and make playoffs and contend for a title", stressed Chris Hill. Hill is a 26 year old 23cm forward from Los Angeles, California that will be playing his fourth profesional season after toiling around mostly in the minor leagues in the United States and playing in South America. He recently played for the GIE Maile Matrix (UBA). Last season he had looks and workouts with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs. This past September he was with the Utah Jazz (NBA) in training camp. Last season Hill played for the La Salle-UPB Cochabamba (Bolivia-Libobasquet): 15 games: Score-4 (23.7ppg), 8.2rpg, 2.1apg, 2.3spg, 2.1bpg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 81.0% and in 2016 played for the Jose Horacio Rodriguez (Dominican Republic-Moca Reg.League): 10 games: 20.0ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 50.0%.
The American played college basketball at SW Missis.CC (JUCO) and as a senior played 20 games averaging 19.1ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 75.0%. He started his professional basketball career in 2012 with the South Carolina Warriors (ABA): 29 games: 24.4ppg, 9.3rpg, 5.0apg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 78.0%. He also played for the Johnston County Nighthawks (TRBL) playing 7 games: 29.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 64.2%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 80.4%. IN the 2013-2014 he moved to the Cary Invasion (TRBL) playing 18 games: 20.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.0apg, Blocks-1 (3.0bpg), FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 50.0%. In 2014 he played for the Savage Inc. Basketball Team (A-League): 6 games: 20.2ppg, 5.5apg, 6.5rpg, 1.7spg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 85%. Achievements in his basketball career have been TRBL Eastern Conference Regular Season Champion -14, TRBL Finalist -14, and Bolivian Libobasquet All-Star Game -14