Max Merz (183-PG-94) is a 19 year old 183cm guard that was born in Regensburg. He started his basketball career at MTV Kronberg. He has been playing for the Fraport Skyliners juniors since 2011. Last season in the PRO B, he played 10 games: 6.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 31.0%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 53.8%, also had a license for Eintracht Frankfurt (2.Regionalliga) and plays NBBL where he led the team into the playoffs and leads the team in scoring. He has been a member of the U-16 and U-17 German national teams. He took part at the European Championships U16 in Bar (Montenegro) -10: 8 games: 2.9ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.1apg, 1.4spg. He spoke to Eurobasket about basketball.
The Fraport Skyliners are on a good way to reach the playoffs. How realistic do you see the chances? I see it as very realistic. If we keep playing the way we have in last weeks, then we could.
How difficult is it to play sometimes with Konstantin Klein, Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann and sometimes not?
There arent really any problems. When they are with us, they help us very much. With them on the court, we are one of the best teams in the PRO B. When we dont have them, then we really see the differences. When we dont have them, we just try to make the best of it. We are happy when they are playing and just make the best of the situation when they arent with us.
How does your role change when they arent there?
When they are there, I am the 6-7 man off the bench and when they arent there, I am with Falko on the guard position. I have more responsibility and can score more.
How happy are you with your development in the PRO B? I am happy with it and it is moving along good.
On what things do you still need to work on on your game? I can work on many things like being more calm on the court on offense, reading the game better, shooting off the dribble and on defense.
Konstantin Klein once said he thinks that someday you could be a solid Beko BBL player. Is that your dream?
I think it is the dream of any player. But I am not thinking about that now, just trying to establish myself in the PRO B. If I make it one day then I would be very happy.
What is a strength in your game that doesnt always get noticed?
My defense gets overlooked. One doesnt read about it in the stats.
I like your eye for your teammates. Who is your favorite passer in NBA? Rajon Rondo is the best passer.
What is the most important thing that you have learned from Eric Detlev?
I worked a lot with him last summer. He helped me a lot on defense especially how to defend well against bigger players as well as reading the play on the pick and role.
What is the most important thing that Konstantin Klein has given you?
Just to practice, practice practice and believe in your goal.
Who was the best player that you played against in the NBBL 2013 Allstar game?
The MVP Kenneth Ogbe. He was very versatile that bring the ball or score. David Taylor also was tough.
Who were your basketball idols as a kid?
I liked Ben Walace because of his good defense and Kobe Bryant.
You played a season in the states at Rabun Gap high school. That sounds like a mix of temple and designer store. Did you ever ask where the name came from? It is the name of the small town in Georgia in the hills named after by Indians.
What did you learn in the states that amazed you? I found that the people are very friendly there different than in Germany. They are always trying to help you.
What were the most free throws that you made in a row without missing?
What was your most crazy shot you ever made in a game? I made a hook shot over two players from the three point line.
Who wins a one on one you or Konstantin Klein. He still wins, but I would win maybe twice in 10 tries.
What do you like most about your teammate NikolaJ Vukovic?
I know him since many years. He is a very good friend of mine. I cant even list all the good things about him.
Julian Scott (203-F/C-90, college: Adams St.) is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Sacramento, California that completed his second professional season and first with the Uni Riesen Leipzig playing 23 games: Score-5 (20.4ppg), Reb-2 (10.5rpg), 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 17.9%, FT: 66.7%. He picked up Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Forward of the Year -16, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -16, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports... [read more]
Julian Scott (203-F/C-90, college: Adams St.) is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Sacramento, California that completed his second professional season and first with the Uni Riesen Leipzig playing 23 games: Score-5 (20.4ppg), Reb-2 (10.5rpg), 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 17.9%, FT: 66.7%. He picked up Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Forward of the Year -16, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -16, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -16. As a rookie, he played for TSV Quakenbrueck (Germany-2.Regionalliga) playing 16 games averaging 29.7ppg. He started his basketball career at Yuba junior college and then played two years at S.Utah (NCAA). He finished at Adams St. (NCAA2) playing 27 games: 10.8ppg, 4.0rpg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 70.2%. He spoke to eurobasket about the departure From Pro A team Ehingen.
Julian thanks for talking to eurobasket. Com. Where are you at the moment and what are momentarily most in your thoughts now? Hey Miles I'm currently in Ehingen looking for a new situation to come up. My thoughts are more reflecting on everything that's happened up to now.
Recently this summer we talked about your future season Ehingen and you were very motivated about the new opportunity. You must of never thought in your wildest dreams that your stay would be so short? Not at all but it was a mutual understanding with the manager as well as the coach.
You had been in pre-season with Pro A team Ehingen. How would you summarize your stay there?
Definitely took dedication and focus to come in and work so hard every single day and wake up sore as hell and get right back to work. I definitely can say my body benefited from the process.
Would you agree that it was more a problem with getting used to the system of head coach Domenik Reiboth then it was a matter of adjusting to the level of the Pro A? Yes definitely and that's what it came down to and in the end a decision had to be made so you live and you learn
What did 't fit with the system of Reinboth and combining the strength's of your game? I can't really sit here and complain about his structure they won the Pro B championship with that structure. I just wasn't able to adapt in the time frame he needed me to.
Was their possibly less room at the big positions with Danny Berger and Tobias Jahn and you became the odd man out? Not at all I was their starting 4/5 man Danny and Tobias just knew his system and were very comfortable with it. I was still learning but it wasn't quick enough for the coach to trust in me to be his leader in that system and position.
How comfortable did you feel playing in the Pro A? How confident are you still that you can be a productive player in this league? I was completely comfortable. I have no doubt in my mind I can do well in Pro A it just depends on the next club who is willing to give me the opportunity.
I guess you have left with no hard feelings? What kind of farewell did you get from coach? Yeah no hard feelings it's nothing personal and sometimes you got to remember this is a business I'm doing what I love but it is also my job and I didn't do it well enough for them to have confidence in me. Nothing special just good luck on a new situation for me and that's was it.
What have you learned from this experience that will help you in the future in this kind of situation. I would say just remember this is your job as well so meaning I need to be professional as well as being 100% every practice.
What is the next step for Julian Scott (203-F/C-90, college: Adams St.)? Will you stay in Germany and wait for a new opportunity? The next step for me will be to find a new club quickly to put this all behind me. I will stay in Europe yes in order to stay prepared for the next possible opportunity.
If a Pro B team opened their door tomorrow and the situation was good, would you go that route? I would speak with my agent and we would make a decision together if that's a route were interested in taking.
Your ex teammate Brandon Shingles is also without a team. How weird is it for both of you to be without a team despite your success from last season?
Not weird to me at all its a business and there are millions of athletes competing for jobs everyday so we're just trying to get in where we fit in and try to move up from there.
What is one thing that you would like to see happen in the NBA this season? See the Sacramento Kings be playoff contenders.
What was the last movie that you saw? Above the rim is the last movie I saw.
Seth Hinrichs (202-SF-93, college: Lafayette, agency: Duran International) is a 23 year old 203cm guard from Clara City, Minnesota that is playing his second professional season in the German Pro A with the Kirchheim Knights. Last season as a rookie he played for FC Porto (Portugal-LPB): 20 games: 8.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 79.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 64.7%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 83.3%. He played at Lafayette (NCAA) from 2011-2015 graduating fr... [read more]
Seth Hinrichs (202-SF-93, college: Lafayette, agency: Duran International) is a 23 year old 203cm guard from Clara City, Minnesota that is playing his second professional season in the German Pro A with the Kirchheim Knights. Last season as a rookie he played for FC Porto (Portugal-LPB): 20 games: 8.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 79.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 64.7%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 83.3%. He played at Lafayette (NCAA) from 2011-2015 graduating from Lafayette as the all-time leader in 3PG % in Patriot League history. As a senior he played 32 games averaging 12.9ppg, 5.8rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 83.1%. He spoke to eurobasket after the 92-90 road victory in Dresden.
Seth thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome to Germany. You had a try-out with BBL team MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, but landed with Kirchheim. What has been most appealing to you about the club since you joined? I really like the coaches and my teammates. We have a good, talented group of guys and have the potential to do really well this year.
Was it difficult for you to accept the fact that the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg didn't need you? Your now in a league lower. How do you as a professional player handle this kind of rejection? I was definitely disappointed but I realize it is a part of playing basketball professionally. I am very appreciative for the opportunity that Coach Patrick gave me and for the people I was able to meet at Ludwigsburg. I think playing in the Pro A is a great opportunity and now my focus is to improve as a player so that one day I can reach the BBL level or higher.
You really have had little integration problems as you came very late to the team. What do you believe has helped you most in getting the transition stage going in the right direction? I think Coach Mai has helped in terms of going through things slowly and being patient. It's hard to join a team that has already played together and has chemistry but the guys have been great in this transition period as well.
You are on a team that has substantial talent and you are programmed to have a big role on the team. What is your goal this season and how is it different than last season with FC Porto? My goal is to win the Pro A and contribute to a championship in whatever ways possible. I think with the talent we have here we would be selling ourselves short with anything less.
Last season for FC Porto you played 20 games: 8.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 79.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 64.7%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 83.3%,. Do you feel like you can be a consistent scorer in the Pro A and more than you were with FC Porto? Like you said I'll have an expanded role compared to last year so I'll be playing more minutes and be called on to score, rebound, and assist more offensively. I have high expectations for myself this year and I am looking forward to playing for Coach Mai and Kirchheim.
Congrats on the big 92-90 road victory in Dresden. How did it feel playing your first professional game for a German team and did you remember having such an intense atmosphere last season in games in Portugal? Thank you! It felt great having not played in an actual game since February. The atmosphere and energy was great up in Dresden. It was comparable to some games in Portugal. I was just happy to be back on the court.
It was a wild game and scoring really took center stage in the first quarter. Did defense take a back step at first or was this just two explosive offensive teams in the making? I think both teams have potent offensive attacks but I don't think there was a lot of defense being played in the first quarter. It was the first game of the season, players have jitters, the crowd was into it, so I think both teams we're just getting acclimated to playing.
The game really remained close in the first three quarters and Dresden kept the lead until the midway point of the fourth until Kirchheim got the lead back. What was the most difficult thing about having to keep up with this offensive minded team on defense? I think they jumped ahead early and we had to keep battling. They are a great transition team and kept pushing the ball up the court early and often. As the game progressed we were able to keep chipping away and eventually close their lead in the fourth.
Randall Holt was a real thorn in the Kirchheim side as he nailed huge three pointers in crunch time, but Justin Hedley won the game at the end with a shot. Take me through that last play and was it the perfect script? Hedley surely wasn't the first option
Holt is a good player and hit some tough shots but Justin came up huge for us. We had run a pick and roll with Carrington Love and myself and he tried to create. Justin was open in the corner and dribbled past the close out and sank the 10 footer. I was excited that we won and excited for Justin! He's one of the young guys on the team and puts in a lot of work so it was great to see that shot go in.
You had a very solid game with 18 points, three assists, six rebounds and two steals. Do you have a good feeling that the German Pro A style fits your game well? I think the Pro A style fits my game and I think Coach Mai's overall scheme fits my game. I'm excited to play in the Pro A this year against some good competition.
You harmonized very well with German veteran Tim Koch. How much fun is it playing with him and learning from his game on the floor? Tim is a phenomenal shooter and basketball player. He makes shots at such a high rate that teams have to stay attached at all times or he'll hurt them with threes. Its great playing with him because when teams stay glued to him there are more open lanes.
You take a lot of pride on defense. Do you see the Kirchheim Knights being a team that can make an impact on a consistent basis on the defensive end this season? I definitely see potential for us to be a great defensive team. We have the tools to be great, but consistency is our problem. We'll put together five great minutes of defense and follow that up with five terrible minutes. But I think as the season goes on we'll improve and become a more cohesive unit.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA heads would you choose? This is tough.. It's hard to pick just four but I'll go with MJ, Bill Russell, Kareem, and Kobe
Now that Lebron finally won a NBA title with the Cavs where does this title put him in the debate as the all-time best player in the world? He's in the top 10 of all-time and probably the best active player but it's close.
What was the last movie that you saw? Jason Bourne.
K.K. Simmons(191-G-93, college: Pikeville) is a 23 year old 190cm combo guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his first professional season with German Pro B team Licher Basket Baeren. He played at three schools with NC-Wilmington (NCAA), Kent St. (NCAA) and Pikeville (NAIA). Last season he finished his college basketball career with Pikeville (NAIA) playing 31 games and averaging 16.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 78.5%. Simmons is an amazing shooter and shot 48%... [read more]
K.K. Simmons (191-G-93, college: Pikeville) is a 23 year old 190cm combo guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his first professional season with German Pro B team Licher Basket Baeren. He played at three schools with NC-Wilmington (NCAA), Kent St. (NCAA) and Pikeville (NAIA). Last season he finished his college basketball career with Pikeville (NAIA) playing 31 games and averaging 16.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 78.5%. Simmons is an amazing shooter and shot 48% from outside in his junior season at Pikeville, but can also mix it up getting to the hole. In his first season with Pikeville, he played 25 games averaging 20.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 48.9%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to eurobasket after giving his debut as a professional fort he Licher Basket Baeren beating the Bayer Giants Leverkusen 99-93.
Karriem congrats on the big 99-93 victory over the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. Top scorer of the game and a win to go along with it. Was this the perfect start to your professional season? Getting a good tough win, against a great team, on the road is definitely a great way to start off my professional career! I'm so proud of what my teammates and I have accomplished.
What kind of a feeling was it playing in the legendary Smid arena that housed Germany's best team in the 90's with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen?
It was an amazing feeling. The gym was very nice. Also, the feeling of the atmosphere and energy in the gym was top notch. I really respect what they have going on over there. I had a lot of fun.
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen had the 46-40 advantage at halftime. What was key for being behind after 20 minutes?
Going in at half time we felt we were right where we needed to be. As a team we all agreed that we didn't play our best half of basketball, but we were only down 6 points, so that was the big picture. We needed to remain in striking distance at all times.
The Licher Baskets Baeren went on a furious run in the fourth to cut down the 10 point lead. You and American Lamar Mallory went to work. Did you guys know it was time to step up or did head coach Rolf Scholz advise you guys to go to work? Lamar and I know when it's time to lead our team in the right direction. Also, coach will let us know when it's our time to step up and make plays for the team when need be. Big time players make big time plays when needed. It's on us to make it happen.
You and Mallory hooked up for the go ahead bucket, but Leverkusen sent the game into OT with Carter free throws. Lich could have sent the game into OT with a game winner from Simon Kutzschmar. Was this the desired shot that the team wanted at the end? We wanted to search for whatever good clean look we could have at the end of the 4th. Simon had a good look, it was a good shot, it just didn't fall. We have good shooters and scorers throughout our entire team. So we live with whoever takes the shot. Make or miss.
You got Lich going with back to back three pointers in OT which got you the momentum. Was this the moment that why you love and play the game as a professional? Yes!!! It's what I live for. To hit big shots at a time and need to fire my teammates up and get the momentum and energy shifted towards our way a bit.
What was key in OT for the Licher Baskets Baeren winning? Did you simply want it more than Leverkusen? I wouldn't say we wanted it more!!!! Because they competed very hard and played an amazing game throughout the 5 quarters. I just know my teammates and I really locked in, and focused and made those plays we needed to make in the crunch to become successful in the end. We have so much room for growth that it's scary. We will continue to work.
As a team what were you happy with and what not? Lich shot well and had 61 rebounds, but only 14 assists and 20 turnovers. We were happy with the way we played. When I say that, I'm talking about our effort and our attitude to never give up no matter what the score looks like or the flow of the game. Play good defense and let the offense come. We do need to cut down on the turnovers. It will come better with time.
You had a strong 34 points, but shot an overwhelming 29 times and shot 38%. Do the many shots and shooting percentage somewhat outweigh the meaning of your 34 points?
Not at all. I watched the game again on film. I didn't feel like any of my shots were really bad shots. Some of them I feel like I could have not took and found us a better look as a team. I will work on that. My teammates trust me and my decision making and as a leader on the floor. They lead me as well. They believe in every move I make and shots that I shoot. They seen what I can do and they accept me for it. So I just go out there and try to remain aggressive knowing they got my back no matter what. I'm not into the 34 points or how many shots I took. I'm more concerned with what we did to become victorious.
Do you remember shooting so much in a game?
I have shot this many shots in a game before, but it definitely has been a while haha. I just have so much confidence in my ability to score and to make plays for my team. It was a lot of good looks and shots missed in that gym last night from both teams. I will continue to work on becoming more efficient.
You had a game high 34 points. Was this the best K.K. Simmons people will see, or do you feel like there is even more to come this season from you? Way more to come. It was just the first game. My first game as a professional athlete. Only way from here is up for us.
You combined for 55 points with Lamar Mallory. How did feel playing your first professional game with him? Is this a deadly duo in the making? My boy Lamar is the bus driver for this team. He does so much for us and covers up so much of our trash we do commit on the court. He's a magnet for that ball. He gets big rebounds! Impossible rebounds! And he plays hard for us every single play! Never does he take a play off. He attacks hard and is coming at you every possession. On both ends of the court. We really feed off his energy and effort. We all believe he has our backs no matter what the situation. We can count on him when it's time to battle. Front line.
How much fun was it dueling Kerry Carter? Is he a guy that you could see battling for the scoring crown? Carter is a great player. He has the total package. Competes hard. Leads his team by example along with being verbal. I appreciate his competitive spirit and respect him and their organization. Good team. I'm not really caught up in the whole scoring crown thing, but we shall see.
Where will the journey of the Atlanta Hawks end this season?
I have no clue about the Hawks. I love my city and hometown, but the past couple of years have been a lot of ups and downs. Some adjustments were made in the origination as you can see. I think they will do just fine this year.
Kevin Garnett retired from the NBA. Where does his legacy rank in the NBA now that his career has ended? His legacy lives on forever!!!! KG is a legend!!! A veterinarian, an animal on the court. A perfect example of putting your heart out there each and every night. I had the opportunity to meet him in person for a couple of days and received a lot of words wisdom from him. Things bigger than basketball. He's so real and his story can be nothing but honored and respected. He is branded in one of the NBA's best. The game will miss him.
What was the last movie that you saw? Rush hour. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. One of my favorites of all time.
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