Monday, January 10, 2011

Q&A with Miles "the Voice" Schmidt-Scheuber: "The future of the German hoops looks bright. Nowitzki and Kaman will play at the 2012 Olympics in London and Tibor Pleiss will make the team in the NBA soon"

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber is the voice and play by play broadcaster of the Deutsche Bank Skyliners on radio since the 2004-2005 season. He has broadcast 270 professional basketball games in this time including 5 BEKO BBL All star games, the 2008 BEKO BBL cup final Artland Dragons-EnBW Ludwigsburg from Hamburg, an ULEB Cup game  from in Rome against Frankfurt and a  international games Germany-Canada with Dirk Nowizki and Germany Poland. He has interviewed well known players like Anthony Tolliver, Shamond Williams, Tyus Edney, Robin Benzing, Daniel Ewing, Carlos Arroyo, Marcus Brown , Marcus Fizer, JR Bremer, Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola, Mario Kasun and Maciej Lampe just to name a few. He has his own weekly 2 hour basketball radio show since 2006. He also writes for Eurobasket.com and German Hoops.Wordpress.com.

Miles, you are the Voice of the Deutsche Bank Skyliners in the German Basketball League (BBL) but you are a journalist and you host a nationally renowed radio magazine. No one better than you can tell Basketball Telegraph readers how basketball going in Germany.

The BEKO BBL season is as exciting as never before. It seems that in the past 2-3 seasons, the league has gotten more and more tight. The first placed team cant take the 18th placed team lightly as Bamberg recently experienced losing to the last placed team Gloria Giants Duesseldorf. Every team can beat every other team. Every weekend there are very exciting games and rarely games where a team has already decided the game at halftime. The league is very competitive and the league has gotten much more athletic in the last 5 years.

I've been in Germany and attended the gyms: it's impressive the atmosphere over there during the games. I do believe the League board was successful with marketing campaigns. Do you still see any room to the next step?

Basketball is still a growing commodity in Germany. A positive development has been the attendance rate which I believe reached 1 millionen patrons last season in the BEKO BBL. The German basketball league finally got a name sponsor in 2009 with BEKO with the help of Gloria Giants Duesseldorf coach Murat Didin and after 5 years got a national TV deal again with Sport 1. The BEKO BBL seem to be making strides in marketing, but it is never easy when a country is led by soccer and has other sports like ice hockey and handball which still garner more interest. A big problem still seems to be the limited media coverage of basketball.

Dirk Nowitzki has been a true factor in the german basketball growth. Will the National Team be ready to keep being competitive when his career will end?

Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman most likely will play at the 2012 Olympics in London and this will be a big chance for the German national team to win a medal. The future of German basketball looks bright and is developing well. Despite not having success at the European championships in 2009 in Poland and at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey, the club has a promising roster of young players. The team has experience with 2005/2007 BEKO BBL champion with Bamberg Steffen Hamann, ACB veteran Jan Jagla,  Dirk Nowitzki friend Demond Greene who grew up playing with the Dallas Maverick in Wurzburg and sharp shooter Heiko Schaffartzik who can decide games on his own, can shoot of the dribble with ease and score in bunches. After that, the team has unending young talent from the birth years 1988/1989. 3 players from the birth year 1988 are Per Guenther who is playing a great season for Ratiopharm Ulm and playing with so much confidence that he could have his breakout season at the 2011 European championships, Tim Ohlbrecht still has unending potential who was already seen as the next big German talent after Dirk Nowitzi four years ago. Ohlbrecht is playing for a very good coach with Michael Koch in Bonn and will be a very important player in the next years for Dirk Bauermann. Lucca Staiger who once scored 106 points when he was 16 is a sharp shooter that got experience at Iowa State and is now playing for Alba Berlin and getting a role in the rotation of Luka Pavicevic. The birth year 1989 has the biggest prospects and highest potential. The four players are Tibor Pleiss, Robin Benzing, Elias Harris and Phillip Schwethelm. The two biggest prospects are Tibor Pleiss and Robin Benzing. Pleiss was drafted by the New Jersey Nets last summer and has been developing nicely in Bamberg. He should be an NBA player in 1-2 years. Robin Benzing had a poor WM in Turkey, but has matured into a big scoring option in Ulm. Last season, he averaged 12.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.2apg, and currently is averaging 15,2ppg, 4,4rpg and 1,0apg. He didn’t enter the NBA draft in 2010, but most likely will in 2011. He will be one of the big stars in the German national team in the future. Elias Harris is an interesting prospect that is playing his second season in the NCAA for Gonzaga. Last season, he averaged 14.9ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 45.1%. He is very versatile as he is a natural power forward, but has the athleticism of a small forward which he also can play and dazzle you with his shooting. I will be very surprised if he doesn’t have a healthy NBA career. Phillip Schwethelm is a talented forward that is known for his shooting, but has the all around game and is a strong defender. He will be the typical role player in the future that will do his job and make the big plays. In some ways, the German national team is a few steps back to other countries like Spain that develop their players so much earlier. Players like Rickey Rubio, Victor Claver and Sergio llull were already playing ACB in their teens. The key to developing young German players better is recognizing a talented player with 8-12 years instead of 15-17 years.

Do you think it's early to see a German team on the top of the Euroleague?

There are really only two BEKO BBL teams that have Euroleague niveau and they are The Brose Baskets Bamberg and Alba Berlin. Alba Berlin showed last season that they could keep up with the top European teams in the Eurocup reaching the final against Valencia, but losing. The Brose Baskets Bamberg played a very strong euroleague. They beat Olympiakos, Real Madrid and Malaga and lost two tight games to Rome and Madrid by not more than 4 points combined. Bamberg had a lot of misfortune and could of easily reached the next round. Bamberg has the best chemistry and ball movement in the BEKO BBL and are on a healthy route to becoming a final 4 team. One cant forget that a Bamberg might have 6-7 million budget and a Real Madrid between 20-30 million. That makes the differences at the end where a Bamberg and Madrid finish.

Can you tell us more of the best BBL domestic and import players?

The best domestic players I already mentioned in the third question, but have to be Tibor Pleiss and Robin Benzing at the moment. I also don’t want to forget Phillip Zwiener of TBB Trier who has showed the whole German basketball world that when he gets minutes, that he belongs to the best current German players. Zwiener is leading his club in scoring and probably will get invited by Dirk Bauermann next summer for the German national team. The two best import players at the moment are Dashaun Wood of the Deutsche Bank Skyliners who is the main reason the team is in second place despite injuries to AJ Moye and Roger Powell. He is the early MVP candidate as is John Brant who is near unstoppable for Ratiopharm Ulm who is averaging 15ppg and 10rpg and everyone is waiting for his first 20ppg and 20rpg game this season. Other top import players are Torrell Martin, Folarin Campbell, Craig Callahan, Tyrese Rice, Derrick Allen, and Casey Jacobsen.

We know that Soccer is a major sport in Germany. However, have sponsors and businessmen started investing more and more in basketball? How are the clubs going financially wise in this troubled economy?

You might have to ask the teams. Without doing any research, I believe that there might be a gradual increase in this area. It is always a struggle in this area as clubs are fighting for sponsors. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have been looking for a name sponsor for a long time as times are tough. In the last years there have teams like Rhein Energie Cologne that went bankrupt and teams like Giessen and Trier that made it public that they were having financial problems. The whole problem with getting more sponsors has to do simply with getting more awareness of the sport basketball in the media. You know you're in trouble, if a person comes into a basketball city in Germany and is surprised that there is a basketball team there.

1 comment:

  1. Hey thanks a lot for sharing the information...

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