Alton Mason, ” It is a blessing and I am very grateful” – Feb 23, 2010

Nog even een oudje. Zes jaar geleden had ik met Alton Mason – de toenmalige guard van ABC Amsterdam – een interview in Amsterdam.

mason eurochallengeI had a chance to sit down with ABC Amsterdam guard Alton Mason this week. Just two seasons ago I had the idea of recording an interview with Alton but through circumstances it never happened. In this wide-ranging interview the veteran told about his time at ASU, his current young team and his belief that occupies a very large place in his life.

Where did basketball begin for you?
When I was 8 years old I joined a community center youth basketball league and it’s been with me ever since.

What will you remember about your time at Arizona State the most?
Playing in the Pac-10 and having the opportunity to showcase my talent among the best in the nation and getting a good education at a quality school.

What has been the highlight of your basketball career at Arizona State?
I was the 3rd all time leader of assists and steals at ASU and I had 30 points against Stanford who was the #2 team in the nation.

What are your expectations for this season and what has demanded the team from you?
I expect our team to make it to the playoffs and win the championship. As a Vet this season the demand is for me to be a coach on the floor and lead our young team.

Are you happy with the first half of your Dutch league season?
First of all I’m a competitor so I can’t honestly say that I like our record, but we are playing hard and everyone is contributing the best way we can.

masonDespite the up-and-down season, do you feel that Amsterdam could turn it up a notch come playoff time?
Absolutely! I believe in our players and I believe that we has the will to win….never underestimate the underdogs. I know that we can make alot of noise in the playoffs.

What has surprised you about the team this year?
Despite all the changes, ups and downs, we keep fighting. We’re making progress with each game we play.

How do you psyche yourself up before a game?
A nice family meal, nap and inspirational music to get me hyped and focused.

Your career has taken you all over Europe with stops in Belgium, Finland, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Bosnia and Holland . How have your travels influenced you as a person and as a basketball player?
As a person it gave me the opportunity to understand many different cultures and my family gets to see and live in places that most dream about. We consider it a blessing and I am very grateful. Basketball wise, I’ve learned that the style of play is different in every country. Therefore I consider myself a chameleon because I can always adapt.

What is the hardest thing about playing as a pro?
Honestly, I don’t consider it hard. I consider it a blessing that I get to make a living doing something I’m truly passionate about.

Have you had any inspirational coaches or teammates over the course of your basketball career?
Yes, my college coach was a big inspiration to me because he taught me the x’s and o’s about basketball and I admire how he handled his career as a coach once the ball stopped bouncing.

When and how did you become a Christian?
I had the desire to baptized at 9 years old and accepted Jesus Christ into my life. Since then I’ve always prayed to him to guide my life and direct my paths.

What connections do you make with other Christians on your team?
Being that our team is so diverse, there are alot of different beliefs and religious backgrounds so for our team there really isn’t a connection, it’s personal.

AltonPOSTHow prevalent is religion in the locker room?
In this locker room this season, again it’s more personal. I’ve been on teams where we prayed together before the games, but this is different and I respect that, but I continue to pray.

Have you been able to connect on a spiritual level with others in your profession?
Yes, on previous teams there were other believers and we would get together and have bible study.

Have you always been spiritual?
Yes, it was instilled in me from a young age and it will forever be with me as I pass it on to my children and try to teach them to have faith and believe because all things are possible in Christ.

How much does your faith impact your daily life?
My wife and I read a daily devotional together and right now we are in the process of reading the whole bible in 365 days. So besides our devotional we are reading 2-4 scriptures daily from beginning to end. Even though we’ve always studied our bible it’s amazing how much we are re-learning it and becoming stronger in our faith. This season we have found a church home in Holland. It’s a little different than the churches we grew up in, but I enjoy taking my family to church every Sunday.

Is coaching something you hope to pursue full-time when your playing career is over?
For sure, I was inspired by my college coach and he told me that I have the swagger to become a coach after my playing days are over. And with the young team that we have, I like to think that I am being a inspiration to them currently. With my boys I am teaching them the fundamentals because they have the desire to play, and one thing I tell them, the game is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Nederlandse speelsters in Europa en Amerika

In dit laatste overzicht, een lijst van onze Nederlandse speelsters die actief zijn in Europa en Amerika.

basketball and girl 2(1) WE-MAKE-MEMORIES-logo






Marlou de Kleijn – Wasserburg: 14.7pts,2.6rb,2.7ast,1.5st in 26min

Jamailah Adams – Saarlouis: 6.5pts,2.8rb,1.5ast in 20min

Chatilla van Grinsven – Arras: 14.5pts,10.1rb,2ast,0.9st in 31min

Naomi Halman – Lattes Montpellier: 7.9pts,2.5rb,1.4ast0.9st in 17min

Kourtney Treffers – Battaglia: 15.1pts,10.7rb,1.6st in 35min

Indya Duivenbode – Ulriken: 6pts,3.3rb,2.3ast in 24min

Natalie van den Adel – Zamarat: 9.2pts,2.9rb,2.7ast,0.8st in 28min

Wit Rusland:
Francis Donders – Horizont Minsk: 7.6pts,2.9rb,3.3ast,1.9st in 23min

Noortje Joosten – Norrköping: 2.2pts,1.9rb,0.5ast in 10min


Richelle van der Keijl – Wright State: 8.8pts,8.7rb,2.3blks in 27min

Emese Hof – Miami: 8pts,5.6rb,1.1blks in 18min

Laura Cornelius – Miami: 5.9pts,2.2rb,2.7ast in 22min

Marlou Peters – Trinity International: 8.8pts,4.3rb,0.7ast in 21min

Mirte Scheper – Buffalo: 2.2pts,2.3rb,0.9blks in 14min

Isabella Slim – Syracuse: 1.4pts,2.3rb in 12min

Britt Zappeij – Fordham: 0.5pts,0.2rb in 3min

Noelle van Zadelhoff – Southern Wesleyan: 8.6pts,8.2rb,1.5blks in 20min

Nederlandse spelers in de USA

Op deze lijst ontbreken de ‘redshirted’ spelers en de circa 20 Highschool spelers, waarvan ik pas na het seizoen de stats van ontvang.

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Kevin Bleeker – Canisius College: 6.8pts,4.8rb.0.8blks in 20min

Jito Kok – USD: 7.6pts,4.6rb,0.9ast,2.2blks in 23min

Olaf Schaftenaar – Oregon State: 6.2pts,3.1rb,1.6ast in 23min

Joey van Zegeren – Northwestern: 3.7pts,3.1rb,0.8blks in 12min

Bryan Alberts – Gonzaga: 3.3pts,1.4rb in 12min

Shane Hammink – Valparaiso: 8.3pts,2.8rb.1.5ast in 19min

Tyson Kanseyo – Montana State: 1pt,2.1rb in 8min

Niels Bunschoten – Indiana State: 4.2pts,1.5rb in 14min

Luuk van Bree – Bradley: 8.6pts,4.4rb,0.9ast in 27min

Tom Koopman – The Citadel: 1.9pts,1.5rb in 7min

Menno Dijkstra _ UC Riverside: 4.3pts,3.2rb,0.5blks in 13min

Robert Boezeman – UC Riverside: 3.5pts,2.1rb in 12min

Jordy Kuiper – UNCG: 2.8pts,2.5rb in 12min

Julius van Sauers – LUI: 2.4pts,1.6rb in 11min

Mike Hogervorst – Norwich: 12.2pts,5.3rb,1ast in 26min

Hide Vos – Simon Fraser: 6.3pts,2.3rb,2.2ast in 22min

Jeroen de Baat – Rochester: 5.3pts,3.9rb,1.5blks in 12min

Boy van Vliet – N.Iowa Area CC: 18.6pts,5rb,3.8ast in 27min

Christal Malalu – Marshalltown CC: 8.3pts,6.1rb in 14min

Mark Laros – Mineral Area CC: 3.3pts,2.4rb in 3min

David Hahn – Chipola JC: 2.4pts,3.7rb in ..min

Mathijs van der Mars – Cuesta JC: 2pts,1.5rb in 12min

Nick Hamming – Cuesta JC: 2pts in 5min

Ryan Hammink – Cuesta JC: 1pt in 3min

Steve Bleeker – Harcum: 1.5pts,2rb,0.9st in 9min

Joey Liem – Cape Breton Univ.: 1.5pts,0.8rb in 8min

Arild Geugjes – Cape Breton Univ.: 4.1pts,2.8rb,0.8ast in 14min

Daniel Pieper _ McGill: 1.2pts,0.4st in 4min

Nederlandse spelers in Europa

imagesIn dit overzicht komen de spelers aan bod die actief zijn in Europa. Er volgen nog overzichten van de spelers in Amerika en onze Nederlandse speelsters in Europa en Amerika.

Nguyen_VincentVincent Nguyen – Gembo BBC: 5pts,1.7rb,1.3ast in 14min



Hilliman_Patrik_1Patrick Hilliman – Melsele: 16pts,9rb,2st in 33min



Grigoriev_RomanRoman Grigorev – Omonia Nicosia: 10pts,4.7rb,0.9ast in 24min



Smeulders_Robin_1Robin Smeulders – EWE Oldenburg: 6.5pts,4.5rb,0.8ast in 17min



Wellian_ChaedChaed Wellian – Umea (Zwe): 7.4pts,3.4rb in 19min
Crailsheim II (Dui): 16.2pts,8.2rb,1.8ast,0.9blks in 26min



Doekhi_DyonDyon Doekhi – Koblenz: 12.9pts,5.3rb,2.7ast,2st in 21min



hersisia2Papito Hersisia – Magdeburg: 12.3pts,6.8rb in 26min




Robinson_Gerald_1Gerald Robinson – RW Cuxhaven: 17.2pts,10.2rb,1.5st in 30min



semedoAleks Semedo – Aschersleben: 0.5pts,0.8rb in 9min




postMaikel Post – Ibbenbüren: 12pts,6.6rb,0.9st in 25min





vandenMars_ThomasThomas van der Mars – Kavala (Gri): 3.4pts,3.9rb in14min
Rapla (Est): 21.5pts,10.3rb,1.3ast,1.5blks in 28min



deJong_Nicolas_1Nicolas de Jong – Cholet: 11.3pts,3.4rb in 17min



Schaftenaar_Roeland_1Roeland Schaftenaar – Rethymno: 8.9pts,5.7rb,1.9ast in 23min



Duinker_Josh_1Josh Duinker – Kormend: 10.9pts,5.7rb,0.8st in 25min



Kloof_CharlonCharlon Kloof – Rethymno (Gri): 10.6pts,2.8rb,2.2ast,1.2st in 27min
Torino (Ita): 6.4pts,2.4rb,1ast in 19min


Dick Burger – Nidaros Jets: 2pts,0.7rb in 6min

Vidar Hemmingsen – Nidaros Jets: 0.3pts,0.5ast in 9min

Norel_HenkHenk Norel – CAI Zaragoza: 10.2pts,4.9rb,1.1ast in 18min



vanWijk_Kevin_1Kevin van Wijk – Oviedo: 9.2pts,5.5rb,0.9st in 26min



Bieshaar_TerrenceTerrence Bieshaar – Arenys Basquits: 12.4pts,8rb1.3ast in 29min
CB Prat: 5pts,3.2rb,1blk in 16min


Kaspers_JordanJordan Kaspers – BC Jovens Almassera: 8.5pts,4.5rb,0.7ast in 20min



bobBob van Zijverden – COB Ourense: 9.7pts,6.5rb in 22min





Cvjetkovic_NenadNenad Cvjetkovic – Spartak: 2pts,2rb in 13min

Jim Meil, “Small things can make a big difference in a game”

Vier jaar geleden had ik een meer dan onderhoudend gesprek met Jim Meil, de Amerikaanse coach van BS Weert. Het onderstaande interview is een gedeeltelijke afspiegeling van het gesprek die ik met hem heb gevoerd.
jim meil With one half of the regular season over, it’s a good time to get to know some of the new faces on the Dutch Basketball league benches: Head coach Jim Meil of Stepco BSW.
Meil, a 1982 graduate of Lehigh, began his coaching carreer on college level at Towson University. He also coached at the University of Miami in Florida, Wagner College in New York, and again at Towson University.
This summer he signed a one-year deal with Stepco BSW and after more than half a season, it looks as if he is the right man to lead Stepco BSW out of their long funk.
After some struggles this season, the team reached the FinalFour of the Dutch Cup Tuesday night, beating the high favourite GasTerra Flames.
In this interview, Meil said his team now has the confidence it needs to continue.

Jim, what were some of the reasons you felt that Stepco BSW was a good fit for your coaching skills?
I had been to Weert to see a former player of mine Mark Porter who was on the team during the 2009-2010 season. I got a chance to see the city, meet some of the people in the organization, and watch 2 of their league games. As I went through the interview process last summer it felt like the qualities they were looking for in a Head Coach were some of the characteristics that I possessed. Also I thought they were looking for someone who would implement a system of play that would help the team develop.

You guys started practice end of August. Whats the biggest difference you see from then to now?
I think our players are getting better adjusting to the style of play that I would like them to play. Their attention to detail is much better along with their level of intensity. As you know we had some recent injuries to Demario Anderson and Kenneth van Kempen that impacted our team. Also the arrival of Rahmon Fletcher has changed our style a bit. So you could say in some respects we are still making some adjustments.

You have talked about wanting to take the team to a level of competitiveness when you first got here.
Now that you have established a certain level, how do you take it to a playoff level?
I think as the season gets to this point there is quite a high level of familiarity teams have with each other and players have with each other. So I think it comes down to keeping the right mental approach along with paying attention to details. Small things can make a big difference in a game.

jim meil2Stepco BSW has struggled in recent years in DBL play. What does your team need to do to improve on its showing in the league?
We must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of having ‘average expectations’ during the season. Everyone must strive to compete at the highest level each day. Certainly we must also continue to improve technically on the floor. That goes without saying. Staying relatively injury free also makes a big difference. Lastly we must continue to improve the infra-structure of the organization.

Wins and losses are always used to measure success in sports, but what do you look for, besides wins, to gauge your teams growth?
I think you look at the individual development of each player. Are they playing to their maximum potential given their talent level. Additionally, what type of mistakes are you making in games and are you eliminating them more and more each game. Good teams put together extended minutes of quality play in each game. This should then carry over from game to game.

As a coach what goes through your head after a loss?
First I always look at the game and analyze what I did as a coach. Such things as game preparation, substitutions, offense and defense play calls are just a few examples. I also try and analyze the mid set of our team and players. How was it before, during, and after the game. Lastly I take a look at what the opponent did and see how that impacted us.

I described you as ‘compassionate and passionate’ which I think is an amazing combination. Very powerful. Could you possibly describe your style of leadership?
I would say my leadership style is direct and to the point. I don’t think players have a hard time figuring out what I mean or where I am coming from. I tend to be more positive than negative. Additionally I try and remain on an even emotional level regardless of the outcome. Over the course of a season there are many highs and lows so I think its important to provide stability to the players.

Rotterdam - WeertWho are your role models in coaching and why?
I have been fortunate to have many role models in my coaching career. Many I have worked with and some I have just gotten to know from being in the business since 1982. All of these people have MANY great characteristics besides what I mention below. To name a few:
A) Pat Kennedy – Former coach of Towson University and Florida State – I worked with him at Towson – for his ability to see how a total program should run
B) Mike Deane – I worked with him at Wagner College – for his technical knowledge
C) Dereck Whittenburg – I worked with him at Wagner College; he was part of the NC State National Championship Team – for his passion and his attention to how to build a team out of a group of individuals.
D) Leonard Hamiliton – Current Head Coach at Florida State – I worked with him at the University of Miami – for his ability to develop players both on and off the court to the maximum. Also for his unbelievable work ethic.
E) Brian Hill – Current Assistant Coach with the Detroit Pistons – He was my college coach at Lehigh University – He game me a chance to begin my coaching career while I was in college. He was always in control no matter how stressful things became. That made a great impression on me.
F) Terry Truax – Former Head Coach of Towson University – He was the first college coach I worked for. He taught me to keep pushing as a coach no matter what takes place.

And who outside of sports do you draw inspiration from?
Without question my Mom and Dad. Both have always been there for me no matter what they were dealing with on a personal level. They are both very caring people who also have great determination in their own lives. Additionally I have great respect for people in general who are able to stay in their chosen profession for a long period of time and have success.

How has coaching affected your life?
In a large part I would say coaching has been my life. As most coaches will tell you it is a 24 hour a day job all the time. You don’t ‘leave it at the office.’ Also I have had a chance to work with a tremendous number of young people who have impacted me greatly.

Why is basketball different than other sport?
Basketball combines a certain degree of individuality along with a great sense of team play. I think it is very interesting to allow some of the individuality to come through without taking away from the team concept.

Do you think players spend less time learning the fundamentals than they should these days because they are all trying to do the flashy stuff they see the superstars doing?
I think that is the case. But perhaps that is due in some part because there seems to be a higher level of reward or recognition by the general public for the flashy things.

What are the main characterises you see in all good players?
Obviously they all have a certain level of talent. But with that comes the work ethic and attention to detail that makes them great. Additionally most great players have a high level of mental concentration and focus that helps raise their game. Also I see more and more great players having the ability to take constructive criticism to improve their game. This helps them when they self-analyze.

Speaking of the next few years, what do you have for goals for the coming year and for the five years after that?
I would obviously like to continue my career as a Head Coach and develop players and win games. This season coaching in Holland and specifically Weert has been very enjoyable. The coaching profession is very unpredictable and who knows what the future will hold. So I plan to take things season by season.

Jim, Thanks for your time doing this interview and wish you and the team a lot of success at the FinalFour.