Miles Schmidt-Scheuber: TOP4 als Saison-Highlight

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber ist in Deutschlands Basketball-Hallen, speziell in denen des Rhein-Main-Gebiets, bekannt wie ein bunter Hund. Seit 2004 berichtet Schmidt-Scheuber über die Sportart Basketball, insbesondere vom Bundesligisten FRAPORT SKYLINERS, sowohl als Kommentator bei Spielübertragungen als auch als Verfasser von Spielberichten. Von 2005 bis 2013 war er Basketballberichterstatter für den Rundfunksender Radio Fortuna, unter anderem mit einer montäglichen Sendung über die Skyliners. 2008 wurde er für tätig und erhielt 2019 die Auszeichnung des Basketball-Fachportals für sein Lebenswerk. Beim NBBL JBBL TOP4 ist er seit einigen Jahren als Kommentator im Einsatz und wird auch bei der diesjährigen Endrunde dabei sein. Für die NBBL gGmbH hat er in seinen Erinnerungen an das TOP4 gekramt und diese (in seiner Muttersprache Englisch) aufgeschrieben…

I will never forget Stefan Schultz of the Fraport Skyliners approaching me in late winter 2017 with the words of “How would you like to do the play by play of the 2017 NBBL/JBBL Top 4 in Frankfurt”? That question was as easily answered for me as if someone asked me if I wanted a free trip to Australia. Of course I wanted to do it. Basketball is my passion. People that have followed my career know there has never been an interview I didn´t want to do and that I love to write articles especially about starving Americans who will do almost anything to make their basketball dream be reality overseas. But I also enjoy calling games and have been doing it for 20 years.

I´m very blessed to have been calling games for the Fraport Skyliners organization since the 2004-2005 season and over the years have added other clubs like Rhondorf, Koblenz and Limburg to my resume. But to be able to call a NBBL/JBBL top 4 is something I couldn´t pass up. And one can say the rest is history. I´m blessed to be calling my 5th German youth U-19/U-16 top 4. It may have been more, but unfortunately the 2020 and 2021 tournaments were cancelled because of Covid. And I have to be honest this incredible event has really found a special place in my heart and has become my favorite event of the basketball season. The basketball season is so long and really never ends for me, but my play by play season does take a short break for the summer, so being able to call this unique basketball show at the end of the season is nice. Of course if I can ever call a Euroleague Final 4 or NBA game, then those 2 could take over as my favorite season highlight, but for now the NBBL/JBBL is my top experience each season.

Schmidt-Scheuber im Interview mit Rostocks Roy Krupnikas (2022).

I remember my first NBBL live game that I did play by play for was in the 2012-2013 season where I did a Eintracht Frankfurt-Ludwigsburg NBBL game telecast via the live stream. Then with the exception of the 2 seasons, I called every season of the Fraport Skyliners U-19 team up to now. I got a liking to covering young players and it has continued to grow as I close out my 8th season of doing NBBL games live. Obviously seeing how young players develop within a season is fascinating, but what I also really enjoy doing is seeing how far young players will go after they finished their youth basketball careers in Germany. For example some guys that reached the NBA that I covered in the NBBL were Isaac Bonga, Isaiah Hartenstein and Franz Wagner. There also have been other high level guys that have reached the Euroleague like Oscar Da Silva. Other guys I remember covering over the years were players like Nelson Weidemann, Len Schoormann, Bruno Vrcic, Benjamin Schroeder, Sasa Grant, Christoph Tilly and Roy Krupnikas just to name a few. It is also interesting to find out some of the unique stories that these players have.

In my preparation for the tournament, I try to talk to every coach and get the inside scoop so I can bring the viewers with the best information possible. Calling a basketball game in general is tough, because for 40 minutes, you talk, talk and talk and I often feel drained after the game. But what is it like for me after 4 games? Calling the Saturday semi-final games is a real challenge. The first game is at 12:30 and the last ends around 10:00pm. In that time of calling games, doing interviews and the next game starting, I have something around 15 minutes to relax. I never ate a meal in the last years between games simply because I had no time. Power bars are my menu on that day. I often call the games during the regular season alone which is so much more difficult than having a side kick, but thankfully during the NBBL/JBBL weekend, I´m never alone. I always have a side kick that will give me some rest time between possessions. I have worked with many side kicks over the years like Patrick Femerling, Florian Hartenstein, Harald Stein and Steven Clauss just to name a few. I´m looking forward to working again with Manuel Schust for a second season. 

I have quite a few highlights from my first 4 tournaments. The first one in 2017, I called the games in English. The NBBL offered the viewer the choice between English and German. I remember interviewing a dejected Oscar Da Silva after the game. Only a few months later, he would play for Stanford (NCAA) and now plays for FC Barcelona. My second tournament in 2018, I was able to call in German in Quackenbruck. This may be my most memorable. I remember calling a spirited final between Alba Berlin and the Young Rasta Dragons. The Vechta youth program had been undergoing a smooth development over the years which would continue all the way until today where the team has the chance for the double. Alba Berlin was simply too much for Rasta Vechta wining 77-68 led by Franz Wagner´s 24 points and MVP honors and Jonas Mattissek and Hendrik Drescher also scored in double figures. I was fortunate to give Wagner the game winning interview knowing that one day I could say I had interviewed a future NBA player. I also will never forget Wagner´s beautiful dunk that is on YouTube (oben).

Der heutige NBA-Star Franz Wagner beim TOP4 2018 mit Miles-Scheuber.

I also remember interviewing Isaiah Hartenstein who was back at home after his first season in the G-League. The following season he would make his NBA debut and remain in the big show until now. I also remember interviewing him at age 14 in 2013 at halftime during a Fraport Skyliners-Artland Dragons game and then 5 years later in the same place at the NBBL top 4. Now 5 years later in 2023, it would be time to interview him again. But unfortunately I don´t see the ambitious NBA player being in Frankfurt, but moreover in some paradise resort on vacation after his playoff run with the New York Knicks. The 2019 top 4 was in Jena and this time FC Bayern Munich was able to call themselves the best in youth basketball team at the U-19 level. They beat the surprise finalist Breitengussbach who gave a spirited fight losing 84-80. That Munich team was stacked with unbelievable talent with tournament MVP Bruno Vrcic, Jason George, Sasa Grant and Killian Binapfl. Breitengussbach also had huge talent with boarderline NBA player Henri Drell, the Tischler brothers and Ellias Baggette. I remember Sasa Grant ripping off the arena roof with a massive dunk from the bassline.

My last tournament was last year. It was nice to see youth basketball after 2 years of Covid. I fell in love with the Rasta Young Dragons who upset FC Bayern Munich and then lost power against Alba Berlin losing in the final. It is incredible what head coach Hendrik Gruen has done there. Last season he helped the Regionalliga team move up to the Pro B and helped the NBBL team reach the final and this season another NBBL top 4 gig and is on the verge of helping the Pro B team move to the Pro A. Last season he had many 16 year old players like top prospect Johan Grunloh show what incredible skills they have in young years. I also enjoyed watching top prospect Roy Krupnikas of Rostock who Is at the beginning of a great career. My fondest moment was interviewing Elias Rapieque after the title and watching him get doused with water from his happy teammates after the title win. In the 2023 tournament the motto could be Alba Berlin is the team to beat. This years top 4 could also see 2 finals with the same opponents with Alba Berlin-Young Rasta Dragons. The Young Rasta Dragons have the edge over Eintracht Frankfurt and Alba Berlin is the heavy favorite over the Koln Rheinstars in JBBL action. Urspring could give the Young Rasta Dragons a good game in NBBL action, but I see Vechta reaching the final again. The other semi-final is like a final with Alba Berlin-FC Bayern Munich. Alba Berlin has more depth while FC Bayern Munich lives from their individual class. Even 40 points from Ivan Khartchenkov may not be enough to win. This could be the year for the Young Rasta Dragons to get revenge against Alba Berlin. Hendrik Gruen´s kids are really focused and hungry to dethrone Alba Berlin. 

Text: Miles Schmidt-Scheuber