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Euroleague Interview: Malcolm Delaney Of Bayern Munich

Despite being only 24 years old, Malcolm Delaney of Bayern Munich quickly became one of the leading scorers in Euroleague in his debut season. Last summer, Delaney joined Bayern, which is best known for its soccer program, but the guard says that Bayern is serious about becoming an elite Euroleague team as they are in the UEFA Champions League.

Delaney is currently the sixth best scorer in the Euroleague, averaging 14.9 points (44 percent 3FG), 2.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game after Week 3 of Euroleague Top 16. The former Virginia Tech standout posted season-high 22 points twice against both last season’s Euroleague finalists, Real Madrid and Olympiakos Piraeus.

RealGM caught up with Delaney in Europe to talk about Bayern’s performance in the Euroleague, team’s affiliation with the soccer program, his future plans and much more.

RealGM: Bayern started the second round with a huge away win in Kaunas and are off to a good start in Top 16.

Delaney: That was a huge win for us. We went on a streak last round, we lost many games and we finished on a good win. At that time we didn’t play well in the German basketball league. We practiced really hard and coming out of win like that was huge for us. When we take teams out of what they are comfortable doing, it becomes tough for them.

RealGM: Talking about the regular season, Bayern had a strong 3-1 start and then lost five games in a row. How did that happen?

Delaney: It’s our first year in Euroleague. At first we won 13 out of 14 German basketball league games. The first round was tough. We lost to Olympiakos in a game that I thought we should have won. Also, we led Stelmet Zielona Gora at halftime and we just didn’t play well in the second half. We weren’t playing our best basketball at that time, but we showed that we can play with everybody. In the second game against Olympiakos, we had a lead, we played the toughest we could and then they won the game in the last nine seconds. But that was last year, now we’re on a fresh start. We have many good teams and couple great teams in this stage, therefore hopefully we could sneak in and get some wins. We’re pretty comfortable.

RealGM: Before moving to Germany, you’ve played in France and Ukraine in your first years in Europe. Could you compare the places that you’ve live?

Delaney: France and Germany are similar. The style of play is pretty similar as well. The economy and financial situation is the same. People don’t have to worry about the bad part of the business. It’s pretty equal, while Ukraine is pretty tough. Traveling, long bus rides. But I was on a good team, we played in Eurocup and I lived in Kyiv. I have no complaints.

RealGM: This year you’re a part of massive sports organization. Do you feel that Bayern Munich is much bigger than only a basketball team?

Delaney: For me, this is my first year really being a part of something like this. Before that, I heard the name, but I didn’t know how big the name was until I came here. Football (soccer) players showed us support and we have a family atmosphere here. Everybody in Bayern is so close. We play well because of that. In some organizations, people don’t talk to you and they are strictly about winning or losing games. Here is more than that; it’s not only about winning or losing. They make sure we take care and we are healthy and everything possibly to help us play the best that we can.

RealGM: Before moving to Germany, did you know anything about soccer?

Delaney: In the last couple years I was in the cities where soccer was not too big, while this year I watched about four games. I still don’t really understand it. But it’s fun, especially when you know how big it is. And even when we play on the road, fans hate us because our soccer team is really good. But we’re working to get our name up there. 

RealGM: Do you think that Bayern is serious about Euroleague and they could stay there for years?

Delaney: After they got invited to Euroleague, and we’ve been talking about it, they seem to be very dedicated to basketball. It’s their third year in the German top division. I think it’s going to take two or three years to develop and get those type of big players. Of course, if we can stick together and play well together because we like each other. I think in a couple of years we could be one of those high-level Euroleague teams.

RealGM: Do you see yourself staying in Germany in the future?

Delaney: It’s all about how comfortable I am and right now I feel very comfortable with the guys, coach, great general manager. Like I said, they take care of us. I haven’t been thinking about it, I was more focusing on the games, but I’m sure in a near future we will be talking about that kind of stuff. If everything is right and set in places, I would love to stay because it’s great here.

Americans Winning Titles Abroad, 2013 Edition

As all European basketball leagues have ended their 2012-13 season, RealGM has traditionally checked on how many American players were involved in the celebrations this year.

RealGM has counted for the third consecutive year, 107 players from the U.S. became champions in 45 European national leagues.

Maccabi Haifa, champions of Israel, was ‘the most American’ champion team with six players from the U.S. on their roster.

In contrast, Kamza Basket (Albania), KB Peja (Kosovo), Donbasket Donduseni (Moldova), Partizan Belgrade (Serbia) and Edinburgh Kings (Scotland) won titles without American players on their rosters.

Partizan was the only Euroleague team to win national competition without receiving help from the U.S. 

RealGM presents the European national leagues champions list, where you can find all 107 players names (top-five European national competitions are bolded).

Country

Champion team

American players

Albania

Kamza Basket

No American players

Austria

Vienna

Ian Boylan (CS Northridge)

Shawn Ray (North Carolina Central)

Maurice Pearson (Georgetown College)

Jean Francois (Georgia South)

Belarus

Tsmoki Minsk

Tierre Brown (McNeese State)

Belgium

Oostende

Sean Singletary (Virginia)

Thomas De Thaey (North Carolina State)

Matt Lojeski (Hawaii)

Brent Wright (Florida)

Wesley Wilkinson (Nebraska)

Bosnia

Igokea Aleksandrovac

Clifford Hammonds (Clemson)

Corsley Edwards (C. Connecticut State)

Bulgaria

Lukoil Academik Sofia

Darryl Watkins (Syracuse)

Brandon Heath (San Diego State)

Croatia

Cibona Zagreb

D.J. Strawberry (Maryland)

Jerel Blassingame (UNLV)

Cyprus

AEK Larnaca

Dion Dixon (Cincinnati)

Charron Fisher (Niagara)

Ken Tutt (ORU)

Michael Harrison (Colorado State)

Czech Republic

CEZ Nymburk

Andrew Naymick (Michigan State)

Tweety Carter (Baylor)

Denmark

Bakken Bears

Charles Parker (Millersville)

Estonia

Kalev-Cramo Tallinn

Ty Abbott (Arizona State)

Gary Wilkinson (Utah State)

Keith McLeod (Bowling Green)

Finland

Nilan Bisons

Ryan McDade (Northern Arizona)

Martin Zeno (Texas Tech)

Jeb Ivey (Portland State)

France

JSF Nanterre

David Lighty (Ohio State)

Trenton Meacham (Illinois)

Charles Jackson (Hawaii Pacific)

Chris Warren (Mississippi)

Georgia

MIA Academy Tbilisi

Benjamin Raymond (Xavier)

Deonta Vaughn (Cincinnati)

Kirk Archibeque (Fort Lewis)

Chad Prewitt (Arizona State)

Germany

Brose Baskets Bamberg

Casey Jacobsen (Stanford)

Alex Renfroe (Belmont)

Matt Walsh (Florida)

Sharrod Ford (Clemson)

John Goldsberry (NC-Wilmington)

Greece

Panathinaikos Athens

James Gist (Maryland)

Ramel Curry (CSU Bakersfield)

R.T. Guinn (Baylor)

Holland

ZZ Leiden

Sean Cunningham (UC Riverside)

Michael Schachtner (Green Bay)

Antoine Young (Creighton)

Hungary

Alba Fehervar

Brandon Wood (Michigan State)

Damian Hollis (George Washington)

Ronald Moore (Siena)

Jarrod Jones (Ball State)

Iceland

Grindavik

Ryan Pettinella (Virginia)

Sammy Zeglinski (Virginia)

Aaron Broussard (Seattle)

Ireland

UCC Demons Cork

Kenton Walker (Creighton)

Israel

Maccabi Haifa

Paul Stoll (Texas-Pan American)

Donta Smith (Southeastern Illinois)

Pat Calathes (Saint Joseph’s)

James Thomas (Texas)

Corry Carr (Texas Tech)

Bryan Cohen (Bucknell)

Italy

Montepaschi Siena

Bobby Brown (CS Fullertone)

David Moss (Indiana State)

Matt Janning (Northeastern)

Dionte Christmas (Temple) 

Kosovo

KB Peja

No American players

Latvia

VEF Riga

Earl Rowland (Saint Mary's)

Will Daniels (Rhode Island)

Lithuania

Zalgiris Kaunas

Donnie McGrath (Providence)

Oliver Lafayette (Houston)

Jeff Foote (Cornell)

Luxembourg

T71 Dudelange

Ryan Sharry (Middlebury)

Denell Stephens (Slippery Rock)

Macedonia

MZT Scopje

Cade Davis (Oklahoma)

Malta

Floriana

Matt Glass (Massachusetts)

Moldova

Donbasket Donduseni

No American players

Montenegro

Buducnost Podgorica

Dee Bost (Mississippi State)

Norway

Baerum Basket

Ryan Ferranti (Rollins)

Lionel Green (SUNO)

Torgrim Sommerfeldt (Manhattan)

Poland

Stelmet Zielona Gora

Quinton Hosley (Fresno State)

Portugal

Benfica Lisboa

Ricky Franklin (Wisconsim - Milwaukee)

Frederick Gentry (McNeese State)

LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor)

Heshimu Evans (Kentucky)

Romania

CSU Asesoft Ploiesti

Alhaji Mohammed (Louisville)

Robert Nyakundi (SMU)

Russia

CSKA Moscow

Sonny Weems (Arkansas)

Aaron Jackson (Duquense)

Scotland

Edinburgh Kings

No American players

Serbia

Partizan Belgrade

No American players

Slovakia

Inter Bratislava

Alando Tucket (Wisconsin)

Justin Graham (San Jose State)

Marlon Garnett (Santa Clara)

Slovenia

Krka Novo Mesto

Jerime Anderson (UCLA)

Spain

Real Madrid

Marcus Slaughter (San Diego State)

Tremmell Darden (Niagara)

Jaycee Carroll (Utah State)

Dontaye Draper (Charleston) 

Sweden

Sodertalje BBK

Kenneth Simms (Cumberland)

John Roberson (Texas Tech)

Switzerland

Geneve Lions

Kelvin Parker (NW Missouri State)

Juwann James (JMU)

Tony Brown (Arkansas State)

Turkey

Galatasaray Istanbul

Jamont Gordon (Mississippi State)

Ersin Dagli (Alabama)

Ukraine

Budivelnyk Kyiv

Malcom Delaney (Virginia Tech)

Leo Lyons (Missouri)

United Kingdom

Leicester Riders

Zaire Taylor (Missouri)

Jay Couisnard (UMKC)

Europe Interview: Deon Thompson Of Alba Berlin

Still only 24 years old, Deon Thompson already has had a chance to see all aspects of European basketball by living and playing hoops in three different countries – Greece, Slovenia and Germany.

The former North Carolina standout already knows what it means to play in front of sometimes violent Greek basketball fans, compete in the second best league in the world, Euroleague, or practice twice a day on regular basis. Thompson also knows what is like to be a leader of a Euroleague Top 16 team.

After joining the most famous German team, Alba Berlin, Thompson immediately became the main figure of the club by leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks. The forward was able to improve his numbers in every statistical categories from last season while he was playing for Union Olimpija, averaging 12 points and 5.4 rebounds during the 2012-13 Euroleague season.

Now Thompson feels ready to step up and join a winning Euroleague team.

RealGM recently caught up with Thompson to discuss his success in Europe, his game improvement and plans to make it to the NBA.

RealGM: First of all, how would you evaluate your performance in the 2012-13 Euroleague season? 

Thompson: It was my second year in the Euroleague and I feel I made great strides from my first year to my second year. In the first round of the Euroleague, I played some of the best basketball in my three-year career so far in Europe, I was able to lead my team, Alba Berlin, into the Top 16 and was able to help the club get it's first ever win in the Top 16. While in the Top 16 for the first time my numbers dropped a little from the first round, as teams started to guard me differently and show me different defenses while I had the ball on the low post. In the 65 games I showed that I could play, compete and being 24 years old, I still have some things I can improve on.

RealGM: Could you compare the situation while you were playing for Union Olimpija and this season with Alba?

Thompson: My time with Union Olimpija was a good experience on how things in Europe can be in regards to money and sponsorship situations. Our team started off very strong in the ABA League competition and was fighting in the Euroleague in one of the toughest groups that year. But early in the year, our team started to have financial problems up to where we were three months behind on payments, which makes it difficult to motivate players to practice twice a day for two hours each. So as all of us players went on strike and we saw our teams performance drop and then we lost seven of our top players who left to other teams. Situations like that makes winning very difficult. The main reason I didn't leave was because I felt I was developing my skills and while playing for coach Saso Filipovski, money wasn't as important at the time compared to the things he was teaching me. 

While with Alba, it was the total opposite when it came to financial things as the German economy is one of the strongest in all of Europe. When I came to Alba I was given a bigger role on the team and the opportunity to lead the where most of the offense was ran through me, I have to give thanks to coach Sasa Obradovic for given me that chance. The city of Berlin, there isn't enough words for me to describe how incredible the city was, I loved it. The city of Ljubljana was nice as well, but just a smaller city, but it is very nice at the same time.

RealGM: How did it feel to be playing for the same team once again with Danny Green, your former teammate at North Carolina?

Thompson: It was great to have Danny over in Europe with me during the NBA lockout. We were college roommates during my sophomore year at UNC, so over the three years we were able to build a great relationship. To be able to share an experience doing something you love like basketball all the way across the world with one of your brothers is always a great experience. 

RealGM: In your opinion what were the reasons that Alba didn't go any further than quarterfinals in German league this season?

Thompson: It was very difficult for our team in the first round of the playoffs in the Beko-BBL (German League). As we played versus Bayern Munich and one of the best European coaches, Pesic. First, I want to give credit to him and his team, he had them ready to play right from game one. There are a lot of reasons why I think our team didn't go any further than the quarterfinals. One could be that our team competed in two competitions this season and with the new structure of how Top 16 was this year, we played close to 70 games! As where Bayren Munich only competed in one competition this year and only played 37 games. Our team wasn't very deep and we accumulated a lot of injuries during the season. With all the practice we did this season on top of playing 65 games, I think our team just ran out of gas and was tired. Also, Munich did a great job with their defensive pressure on our guards and in taking us out of what we wanted to run on offence. Also, I didn't play my best basketball in those three games, getting swept is more motivation for me to use while working on my game this summer.

RealGM: In your first three seasons in overseas, you played for three teams in three different countries. What have you learned so far as a person by living in Greece, Slovenia and Germany?

Thompson: Living outside the States hasn't been so difficult. Don't get me wrong, there always are hard moments during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etcetera where I am so far and distant from the ones I love. But I am use to being distant from family; I left Torrance, CA at 17 to go all the way across the country to North Carolina. Luckily, in my three years in Europe, I have been able to play in great cities, which makes it easier to live adjust, especially Americans. It has been a great experience, I really didn't see myself over in Europe, but I have been making the most of it, there is so much culture and history to learn from each country. I am using basketball as a tool to experience it all. Also, to be able to have my family visit and experience them with me is such a blessing in its self.

RealGM: Most of American basketball fans haven't seen you playing since 2010. In your opinion, how has your game changed since the last time you wore Tar Heel's jersey? 

Thompson: Yeah, it has been awhile since I wore that Carolina Blue, where I spent four years in Chapel Hill. At UNC my game was mostly around the basket being able to make quick moves with my turn-around jumper or come to the middle with a jump hook. I still have those elements in my game in the post, but in Europe playing in the post is different. It's not so much about getting the best position, catching and making the fastest move possible to finish. In Europe getting the ball in the post is about patience, backing your defending down as close as possible to the basket and finish. Also with doing this there haven’t been very many people who can stop me one-on-one in the post so I draw a lot of double teams, that create a lot of open shots for my teammates. In the post there is just a different approach in how I play. Also, I have added a solid mid range jumper, which makes hard to guard when I'm involved in pick and pop/roll situations. I want to continue on extending my range to the three point line and all the way to the NBA three-point line. I really see myself as a stretch four man.

RealGM: Do you still stay in touch with your former teammates Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough and others?

Thompson: I always train in Chapel Hill during the summers, so I see a lot of the guys when they come into town.

RealGM: Why did you decide to go to Europe instead of playing in the D-League?

Thompson: For me, Europe was the smarter move. In three years, I have been able to earn and create a solid name for myself in Europe. Also financially, I have been able to make good money for myself as to where if I sat in the D-League and didn't receive a call up it would almost feel like a year wasted where I could of made great money overseas. I understand I won't be able to play basketball forever and at the end of the day it is about making the most money you can and be smart with it, so life after basketball after putting in all this hard work is well worth it. Being able to live comfortably and support my family.

RealGM: What are your plans for this summer? Are you planning to participate in the NBA summer league?

Thompson: The NBA is obviously a goal of mine someday. This summer I plan to train in Chapel Hill with the strength and condition coach, Jonas Sahratian and continue to get my body in the best shape possible, while working on the things in my game I need to improve. I do plan to play in the NBA summer league and I'm not sure as to whom I will be playing with at this point. 

RealGM: What are your preferences for the next season?

Thompson: For next season, I want to do everything possible to try and get into the NBA. If I am close with a team, try and go to veterans camp and see where that takes me. If that doesn't workout, I want to play on the highest level in Europe and play in the Euroleague. But, I want to play with a team who will have the chance of winning Euroleague or at least can compete on a high level with all the teams.  

RealGM: Have you already received any interest from specific leagues or countries?

Thompson: There are still a lot of teams still competing in there domestic leagues and I'm sure they are focusing on trying to win a championship. 

Europe Interview: Kyle Hines Of Olympiacos

Former UNC Greensboro standout Kyle Hines had an incredible two-year journey from the second Italian league to Euroleague champion throne.

Preseason Euroleague Power Rankings

The 2012-13 Euroleague regular season will begin on October 19th and here are RealGM's preseason power rankings with CSKA, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Fenerbahce Ulker and Olympiacos comprising the top-five.

Americans Winning Titles In Europe

There were 107 American-born players who were on teams that won their league in Europe during the 11-12 season, most notably Montepasch Siena.

Alba Berlin Surging In Eurocup

Alba Berlin is the only German team that will advance to the Last 16 of the Eurocup and led by an electrifying guard and a number of solid role players, their chances appear to be good.

Eurocup: Hansbrough's Breakthrough For Munich

Ben Hansbrough is beginning to like the point guard of the future for Bayern Munich, becoming the story of the game in their loss to Spartak.

Catching Up With The German BBL, Brose Pulling Away From Pack

The talent accumulated by Brose and the selfless European style of play means that individual players statistics havenít been so awe-inspiring, but it hasnít stopped them being any less dominant.

Europe Interview: Je'Kel Foster Of Bayern Munich

JeíKel Foster, who was a double-digit scorer during his senior season at Ohio State, is part of Bayern Munichís collection of new talent during their return to the BBL.

The Return Of Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich returned to Germany's top basketball division for the first time since 1989 and have a talented roster in Je'Kel Foster, Chevon Troutman, Jan Jagla and others.
 

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