In his first season playing in Europe, 25-year old point guard Willie Kemp (188-G-87, college: Memphis) is off to a tremendous start both in the Czech NBL and Slovak Extraliga. He is tied for the NBL league lead at 20.0 points per game after two rounds and has helped Astrum Levice to a 2-0 record in the Extraliga. Kemp played collegiality at the University of Memphis where in between being a part-time starter his freshman and senior seasons, was part of a historic 2007-08 season which saw his Tigers reach the NCAA Championship Game. After playing professionally in the NBA D-League in the USA and then last season in Tunisia, Kemp took some time to share his thoughts on playing for Levice, his journey here and what his expectations are for the season.
Q.What have been your first impressions about Levice, Slovakia so far?
A.It has been great here in Levice so far. The fans are awesome and everybody loves basketball here.
Q.Most fans do not know much about basketball in Tunisia, where you played last season. How did you end up there and what was the experience like?
A.I ended up in Tunisia because I was going to go back to the NBA-D League for a second season but I changed my mind at the last minute. Most jobs in Europe were taken by the time I had made my decision. But the experience was amazing, we traveled to Europe and Morocco to play some good teams. Also, it was a great experience for me to be a leader on another championship team.
Q.Going back to your time at Memphis, you were part of a historic and also controversial 2007-08 Tigers team which reached the NCAA Finals. As a player going through the high of reaching the Finals, but then having to deal with the scrutiny of the NCAA investigations, how did it affect you and your teammates?
A.Playing on the 2007-2008 team at Memphis was something special to be apart of. That team was very talented and amazing as a group. We won a lot of games and making it to the National Championship game is something nobody can ever take away from me and my teammates. When the NCAA started to investigate our team it was very difficult because that's all people wanted to talk about when they see you out somewhere. But, me and my teammates stuck together like we did all season and we knew as a team we didn't break any rules.
Q.What was the most memorable moment of that 2007-08 season for you personally?
A.I had a lot of great memories from the 2007-2008 team. One memory that sticks out is when we played Mississippi State in the NCAA tournament and I stepped up and hit four big three's to help us win and move on in the tournament. Another one, is playing in the National Championship game playing in front of 80,000 people was something special. Another memory was playing with Derrick Rose, he was a great player and I learned a lot from him.
Q.What were some of the positive aspects of playing in the NBA D-League your rookie season?
A.Playing in the NBA D-League my first season was a great experience for me. I played against some good players there. Not only did the D League teach me some things about basketball, it also helped me learn how to be a professional basketball player personally.
Q.So far this season you have gotten off to a terrific start for Levice, what has been the key to your and the teams success?
A.We have just been playing as a team and trying to get better every game and every practice. Our coaching staff does a great job on making us work hard in practice. I know I am 100% dedicated to winning a championship and my teammates are as well. You practice how you play!
Q.You also are in a situation unlike any other team, playing both in the Czech NBL and the Slovakian Extraliga. What is that like? Do you have to change your approach to preparation?
A.Playing in two different leagues is something I haven't done before. The most important thing I have to do is take care of my body and eat right. Playing 60 games is a lot, but if I can do those two things I will be okay.
A.Fans should know that I love to win and I'm a winner. I love playing the game of Basketball. I am blessed with the chance to play basketball professionally and I do not take that for granted. I hope that my hard work on and off the court shows that. Levice has been great thus far; and I'm willing to do anything to help our basketball team win games this season.
Dynamic BG Beograd adds Sedmak to their roster, ex Handlova - 2 days ago
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Dynamic BG Beograd (KLS) added to their roster 32-year old Slovakian ex-international power forward Peter Sedmak (207-111kg-85, agency: 011 Sports). He started the season at Handlova in Slovakian SBL league. In 45 games he had very impressive stats: 17.2ppg, 6.4rpg and 1.3apg this season. The last season Sedmak played at Banijas (D1) in UAE league. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he won Slovakian League championship title in 2013. Sedmak was also voted Euro... [read more]
Dynamic BG Beograd (KLS) added to their roster 32-year old Slovakian ex-international power forward Peter Sedmak (207-111kg-85, agency: 011 Sports). He started the season at Handlova in Slovakian SBL league. In 45 games he had very impressive stats: 17.2ppg, 6.4rpg and 1.3apg this season. The last season Sedmak played at Banijas (D1) in UAE league. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he won Slovakian League championship title in 2013. Sedmak was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Czech Republic League Domestic Player of the Year back in 2012. He represented Slovakia at the Qualifications to European Championships 2015 three years ago. His stats at that event were 6 games: Score-5 (17.5ppg), 5.2rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 17.2%, FT: 73.3%. Sedmak's career allowed him to visit three different continents. He tasted the life as pro basketball player in Europe, Asia. Sedmak has played previously professionally in Bulgaria (Balkan) and Czech Republic (USK Praha, Novy Jicin, BK Decin and MMCITE Brno).
Anton Gavel selected the top Slovakian playing abroad in last week's games - 2 days ago
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We bring you last week's top performances from Slovakians who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level. This week's number one is an experienced former international point guard Anton Gavel (189-84). He contributed to a Bayern Muenchen's victory against the seventh-ranked EWE Baskets in the German BBL in Saturday night's game.
We bring you last week's top performances from Slovakians who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level.
#1. This week's number one is an experienced former international point guard Anton Gavel (189-84, currently plays in Germany). He contributed to a Bayern Muenchen's victory against the seventh-ranked EWE Baskets (16-14) 90-83 in the German BBL in Saturday night's game.
Gavel scored 7 points, made 7 passes and 3 steals in 22 minutes on the court.
FC Bayern Muenchen (27-3) is placed third in the BBL.
It was his team's 17th consecutive victory in a row.
There are only two games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This year Gavel averages: 5.0ppg, 1.7rpg, 3.3apg, 2FGP: 44.7%, 3FGP: 31.7% and FT: 81.3% in 30 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: Slovakian and German.
Gavel played for the Slovakian senior national team five years ago.
#2. Second place goes to an international center Michael Fusek (221-95, agency: Octagon Europe, currently plays in Belgium). He could not help one of league's weakest teams Spirou Charleroi (14-16) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Fusek's good performance Spirou Charleroi was badly defeated 82-66 on the road by the higher-ranked Limburg United (#6).
He scored 13 points, had 8 rebounds and made 3 blocks.
It's Fusek's first season with the team.
Fusek's overall stats this year are: 3.9ppg, 3.1rpg, 2FGP: 73.0%(27-37) and FT: 66.7%.
He is in the roster of the Slovakian senior national team.
#3. The Slovakian player who performed third best last week abroad was former international small forward Dusan Pandula (196-84, currently plays in Czech Republic). Pandula led BK Pardubice to a victory over the leader Basketbal Svitavy (16-16) crushing them 90-62 in the Czech Republic NBL on Saturday night.
He was MVP of the game. Pandula scored 16 points and added 4 assists in a mere 18 minutes.
It was the game of the round between two top 3 ranked teams in group Places 1-6. BK JIP Pardubice (23-8) is placed second.
Pandula has relatively good stats this year: 10.1ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6apg, 3FGP: 39.3% and FT: 73.1% in 18 games.
He played for the Slovakian national team five years ago.
#4. Point guard Roman Marko (194-86, currently plays in Czech Republic) was not able to help Basketbal Svitavy (16-16) in their last game on Wednesday. Despite Marko's very good performance the first-placed Basketbal Svitavy (16-16) was defeated 70-62 in Pardubice by the second-ranked BK Pardubice in the Places 7-12 group.
He was the second best scorer with 15 points.
Marko's overall stats this season are: 9.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 6.1apg and 1.3spg.
He used to play for the Slovakian national team
back in 2013.
#5. U18 international power forward Milan Szabo (204-98, currently plays in Czech Republic) was not able to secure a victory for BK Prostejov B (11-14) in their game against USK Praha B (14-11) in the Czech Republic 1Liga (second division).
Szabo recorded 6 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 26 minutes.
BK Prostejov B (#3) lost 54-60 in Praha to the leading USK B in the Places 13-20 group.
It was BK Prostejov B's third consecutive loss in a row.
His team will play only one more game in the Second Stage. And now that game is very crucial.
This year Szabo has relatively solid stats: 11.4ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.1bpg and 1.5spg in 17 games.
He plays currently for the Slovakian U18 national team.
The list of other players, who all have Slovakian passport but never been selected to any of Slovakian national teams:
#1. Experienced Stefan Svitek (203-C/F-77, currently plays in Luxembourg). Svitek could not help Basket Esch (17-12) to beat Racing (26-3).
He scored only 4 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
Basket Esch was edged 79-76 at home by the leading Racing in the Playdowns 1 group.
It was Basket Esch's first loss after eight consecutive victories.
There are only three games left until the end of the Second Stage. So now every game will be critical.
Svitek is one of the most experienced players in a team as it's his seventh year in Basket Esch's roster.
Svitek's overall stats this season are: 7.4ppg and 6.1rpg.
#2.Peter Majerik (207-C-85, currently plays in Czech Republic) contributed to an easy victory against the sixth-ranked Sokol Slapanice (2-8) 102-87 in the Czech Republic 1Liga (second division) in Friday night's game.
He recorded 6 points in only 9 minutes.
Sokol Hradec Kralove (9-1) is placed first in Places 1-6 group.
It was his team's sixth consecutive victory in a row.
Majerik is one of the most experienced players in a team as it's his fifth year in Sokol Hradec Kralove's roster.
Majerik has reliable stats this season: 10.2ppg and 4.8rpg in 12 games he played so far.
SBL Round 3 of Semi-Finals. Wins for Inter Bratislava and Kosice - 3 days ago
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Inter Bratislava - Prievidza 99-94 Inter Bratislava posted the second straight victory over Prievidza. The hosts took control from the first minutes by winning first half. But Prievidza won fourth quarter 27-22. However it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. Inter Bratislava made 22-of-22 free shots (100 percent !!!) during the game. 26 personal fouls committed by Prievidza helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. It was a great evening for the f... [read more]
Inter Bratislava posted the second straight victory over Prievidza. The hosts took control from the first minutes by winning first half. But Prievidza won fourth quarter 27-22. However it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. Inter Bratislava made 22-of-22 free shots (100 percent !!!) during the game. 26 personal fouls committed by Prievidza helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. It was a great evening for the former international power forward Radoslav Rancik (205-79, college: St.Cloud St., agency: BeoBasket) who led his team to a victory scoring 19 points and 5 rebounds (went 10 for 10 at the free throw line !!!). The former international Tomas Mrvis (200-91, agency: 011 Sports) helped adding 15 points and 4 assists. Five Inter Bratislava players scored in double figures. Inter Bratislava's coach Oliver Vidin used a ten-player rotation in such tough game. The best for the losing side was American-Swedish point guard Omar Krayem (186-88, college: Cal.Baptist) with 27 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists and Serbian center Rastko Dramicanin (208-86, agency: AproK Sports Group) scored 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists (on 6-of-7 shooting from the field). Top scorers: Inter Bratislava: R.Rancik 19+5reb+2ast, T.Mrvis 15+2reb+4ast, N.Barac 15+3reb+2ast, M.Bilik 14+2reb+1ast, A.Vlahovic 13+1reb+6ast, J.Kinney 6+1reb+2ast Prievidza: O.Krayem 27+5reb+8ast, R.Dramicanin 22+6reb+4ast, R.Korner 16+6reb+5ast, A.Jones 7+4reb+4ast, M.Batina 7+1reb, M.Jass 5+2reb+1ast
Kosice held off Rieker Komarno to regain the lead in the series. Rieker KN was ahead by 3 points at the halftime before a 24-10 third quarter run of Kosice. They made 18-of-20 charity shots (90.0 percent) during the game. It was a quality performance for the former international guard Milan Ziak (190-88) who led the winners and scored 22 points and 6 rebounds (went 8 for 8 at the free throw line). Serbian guard Stefan Matovic (203-91, agency: BeoExcell) accounted for 17 points and 7 rebounds for the winning side. American forward Wayne Langston (201-93, college: Murray St.) came up with 11 points and 9 rebounds and Slovenian guard Boban Tomic (190-88) added 12 points and 7 assists respectively for Rieker KN in the defeat. Four Rieker KN players scored in double figures. Top scorers: Kosice: M.Ziak 22+6reb+3ast, S.Matovic 17+7reb+3ast, M.Batka 14+9reb+3ast, L.White 9+3reb+1ast, R.Pilcevic 6+3reb+5ast, V.Ivelja 6+2reb Rieker KN: A.Kuffa 12+4reb, B.Tomic 12+2reb+7ast, W.Langston 11+9reb+2ast, F.Cobb 10+3reb+2ast, V.Djordjevic 9+1reb+2ast, S.Bilic 6+3reb
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