Fortifying the Roster
The No Ceilings Train just picked up a couple of passengers. All Aboard...
"Great moments are born from great opportunity, and that's what you have here tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight…”
It only felt right to throw some Herb Brooks vibes into this piece to really set the tone for some special news at No Ceilings. For my NBA Draft fans out there, this is Tyler Rucker speaking…and I want to thank you all for the tremendous support you’ve given us during our “Rookie Season.”
There’s been laughter and joy, chaos and fear. At the end of the day, we’ve got a lot of exciting developments that we are thrilled about moving forward and we can’t wait to show you all what’s been brewing behind the scenes.
I’m proud to say that today, we are adding two new members to our No Ceilings crew. Stephen Gillaspie (@StephenGHoops) and Maxwell Baumbach (@BaumBoards) have been two individuals who continue to be absolute grinders in the Draft community and I know our entire crew here is pumped out of their minds to add them to our roster.
The NBA Draft grind is about to heat up and we couldn’t be more excited to add some more firepower to the mix. For now, I think it’s only fitting that we let Stephen and Maxwell tell you a little bit about themselves.
Welcome to No Ceilings Gentlemen.
What’s up everyone! My name is Stephen Gillaspie. I’m a married man of 11 years and a dad of four incredible kiddos—2 boys, 2 girls. I’m super big into riding motorcycles, kayaking, and anything that has to do with superheroes. I’m from Arkansas originally—born in Russellville, home of Corliss Williamson. I’ve been in the Navy since I was 19 years of age. I love most sports; I’m a LA Rams fan for professional football and a big Arkansas Razorback fan as well.
I grew up watching players like Williamson, Joe Johnson, Jannero Pargo, Ronnie Brewer, and Patrick Beverly play for my Hogs. I didn’t take much to the NBA until I got a copy of NBA Live 2003. Once I heard the iconic voice of Snoop Dogg say “It’s in the game”, I was hooked. I’ve played basketball since the 5th grade and ,through playing, I developed a love for learning play sets and understanding how players’ roles were beautifully different. Playing the video games gave me the desire to memorize rosters and understand trade restrictions, salary cap implications, etc.
Being in the Navy impacted my life dramatically in the year 2020, as I was moved from the state of Georgia to Washington state (yes, apparently that what it is referred to). As we all know, COVID changed things for all of us but I was stationed in a part of the country I had never been and I didn’t know anyone. Isolation didn’t help with that, so I turned to podcasting. I started in my garage, recording episodes for an audience of me. I spent hours in research, planning…all of the good stuff people that fellow podcasters know goes into the craft. It wasn’t until I was preparing for an episode that reflected on Kobe Bryant’s basketball legacy that I was moved to take my podcast public. For whatever reason, I thought “If Kobe knew me, and knew that I was working on a podcast only to be too afraid of criticism, he’d kick my butt”.
It was from that day that I created the now-deceased “Breaking the Game” NBA podcast. I was fortunate enough to link up with the Off The Ball Network (OTBN), and work with some great guys. I honed my talent and learned so much from being in a group of like-minded people. I was able to interview incredible guests, such as Ben Golliver of the Washington Post, Jared Weiss of The Athletic, renown NBA Photographer Kevin Couliau, Rashad Phillips of Sports Talk 2319, and former Razorback and NBA veteran, Ronnie Brewer. It was on “Breaking the Game” where I got to know my now-colleagues, Nathan Grubel and Corey Tulaba.
Trying to expand on my love for the NBA Draft and find a niche for myself I created “Draft Capital”, an NBA Draft centered podcast. The show debuted in August of 2021, and it gave me an opportunity to get to know the incredible NBA Draft Community. I’ve been fortunate enough to host some great folks, like Chad Ford on NBA Big Board, Matt Babcock of Basketball News, Matt Pennie from the Game Theory podcast, and Rafael Barlowe of NBA Draft Junkies, the Locked On Network, and NBA Big Board. It was on “Draft Capital” that I got to host Tyler Rucker, Albert Ghim, Maxwell Baumbach, Tyler Metcalf, Nick Agar-Johnson, and the previously mentioned Nathan & Corey.
I’ve been a huge fan of the work that the entire crew of No Ceilings has put out so early in it’s development. The fact that they’ve been able to put out at least 5 articles and multiple podcasts a week is phenomenal. No other place—no other collection of talent is capable of doing such a thing. I’m looking forward to contributing to the written work, the outreach on social media, and becoming the NEW COHOST of the Draft Deeper podcast. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I’m ready to get to work!
Hi folks, I’m Maxwell Baumbach! My basketball journey started as a young boy growing up in the Chicagoland area during the midst of the Bulls dynasty. It was a utopian basketball childhood; Michael Jordan was the greatest player on earth, Scottie Pippen was the perfect sidekick, Dennis Rodman was the coolest guy imaginable, Steve Kerr was the best shooter in the world, and Bill Wennington was also employed by the team. Getting to watch players like that on a consistent basis made basketball not just my hobby, but my obsession. I was such a sicko that I once brought the NBA standings that I’d cut out of the newspaper to “Show-And-Tell.” But by the time I was eight, it had all fallen apart. Everyone good was eventually gone, and the Bulls were an organization in disarray.
Like a man stuck in a loveless marriage, my eyes began to wander. I had professed my vows to the hottest chick on the planet, but three years later, she looked like a starting five featuring Kornel David and Dickey Simpkins. I followed the one that got away, Steve Kerr, as he ventured down to San Antonio. My dad was rather encouraging of this, as I was tall for my age (I still am, at 6’5”), and he had no problems with me watching Tim Duncan, a player so technically masterful he was nicknamed “The Big Fundamental.” The player who truly made me who I am, though, was the polar opposite. He was everything I wasn’t, but I identified with him more than anyone else.
Allen Iverson was a hero figure to me. Iverson was rail thin, and when he would attack the basket, players would send him flying around like a pinball getting whacked by a paddle. But he always got up, and he always kept attacking. Allen Iverson was the underdog. As a fat kid who got picked on in school and didn’t take to the actual sport of basketball as well as my older sisters, I saw him as the guy who just like me, was being told he couldn’t do it. Our backgrounds could not have been any more different, but I saw him take it to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals the way I wish I could have taken it to the kids who bullied me in school. Iverson was fearless, persistent, and inspiring.
Because of Iverson, a piece of my heart was always with the Philadelphia 76ers. I grew frustrated with the team in the years after Iverson’s peak, as they were stuck on the perpetual treadmill of mediocrity…until Sam Hinkie came to town. Hinkie did what many fans, including myself, had long hoped for: he tore the entire team down. After a big swing on Andrew Bynum didn’t pan out, Hinkie began to trade any player he could for draft assets in hopes of fielding a more competitive team several years down the road, and I loved him for it.
“The Process” began. And as a result, the basketball product that the 76ers were putting on the court was dreadful. Still, it was fun! I got excited when undrafted players like T.J. McConnell and Robert Covington ended up being real NBA players. And because there weren’t the playoffs to look forward to, I looked forward to the NBA Draft. I began to spend the entire year monitoring the next group of prospects set to enter the NBA, learning about their skillsets and how they might fit within the 76ers roster construction. It was during this time that I truly became a fiend for draft content. I started following DraftExpress religiously, and I became a big fan of the War Room Hustle podcast during it’s existence. Later, shows like Game Theory, Draft Deeper, and NBA Deep Dives became regular listens in my rotation.
During the heights of the pandemic, no live sports were happening, so I did the only thing I could think to do to simultaneously fill that void while also giving myself something to look forward to during a dreary time: I started to learn as much as I could about the players entering the next NBA Draft. I ended up making a 60-player board in 2020 that I didn’t share publicly. The next year, I paid close attention again, and I started BaumBoards, where I released a detailed Top 100. BaumBoards took off to a degree that I didn’t anticipate, which was wildly exciting. I ended up writing about draft prospects every single week from the start of the college basketball season. Somehow, my work caught the eye of the folks here at No Ceilings. Tyler Rucker reached out to me, and I jumped at the opportunity.
When this site was started, it immediately caught my eye. Before I began to share any of my own opinions about the draft, I’d long admired people like Nathan Grubel, Nick Agar-Johnson, and Tyler Metcalf. The chance to work alongside them was too good to pass up. I am beyond grateful to be on board, and I feel like there is truly *looks directly into the camera* NO CEILING on what this crew can accomplish together.