Andy Buechert is a 208cm German center from Trier that just graduated from Winthrop in South Carolina. He played at tallahasse CC in the JUCO league form 2005-2007. he then transferred to Winthrop. In his senior year, he played at Winthrop playing 33 games and averaging 5.7ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 44.6%, FT: 44.6%. He won the Big South Conference in 2008 and 2010. Now he is testing the market in Europe and has garnered interest from various BEKO BBL teams. German Hoops spoke with the young German about basketball and his future.
Andy, thanks for taking some time to talk to German Hoops. You just finished your college career at Winthrop. How excited are you about turning professional?
I’m very excited about taking the next step in my life and go play professionally in Europe. Since my early childhood I dreamed about being a professional athlete.
Winthrop finished third in the South east conference this season. Why wasn´t it enough to win the conference?
I believe we played well enough to win the conference; unfortunately we lost a few really close games. Especially I remember the game in Radford where we played really well and were up 14 points with 7 minutes to play in the game. We ended up losing the game by 2 points without scoring a basket in the last 7 minutes. That was a really tough loss for our team, but I also believe that this loss made our team hungrier to come back and win the conference tournament.
Winthrop was able to win the Big South Tournament conference. What made the 2009-2010 Winthrop team so special?
What made this team special was that nobody cared who gets the credit.
How would you describe Andy Buechert as a player?
I would describe myself as a strong, athletic, and skilled big man, who does anything it takes to help his team win.
What is a strength in your game that nobody knows about?
My versatility…I think that I can play position 3-5 in Europe!
What do you still need to work on in your game?
This summer my main focus is going to be on my perimeter skills. I will work a lot on my jump shot.
You played 33 games in your senior year averaging 5.7ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 44.6%, FT: 44.6%. How happy were you with your stats?
Individually I’m not very happy about my stats, especially with my PPG, but if you take a look at the team stats you can see that really nobody is averaging more than 10 points a game. That’s actually what made this team so hard to guard because the scoring could come from anybody. We did not really have a go-to-guy. At times I was really frustrated with this team because I didn’t get a lot of touches inside. I attempted about 4 shots a game and thought that was not enough for a senior. But my coach explained to me that our guards are still very young and that they lack the ability to pass the ball inside, and I shouldn’t be too frustrated about that and just play hard. From that point on I just did everything I had to do to help this team win a championship.
How was your relationship to your coach Peele? What could you learn from him?
My relationship with Coach Peele was great. He is probably the hardest working coach I have ever met in my life. On the court he pushed us to the limit and off the court he treats us like family. Overall the Winthrop experience is nothing I have ever seen before. The fans/community is like a big family. The one thing that Coach Peele preaches very hard on the court is playing defence. Under his coaching I became a very good defender.
Do you see yourself being a center that can score in double figures and get a higher amount of rebounds?
I’m very familiar with European basketball and “Yes” I believe I’m very capable of doing that.
You played two years in Florida for Tallahasse(Juco) What did you learn in this time on the court that helped you reach the NCAA?
In my first two years I learned how hard you actually have to work to be able to compete in college basketball. I played with and against a lot of players in Tallahassee that are playing very successful in Europe or even the NBA right now. Juco’s have a lot of great and very athletic players that don’t make it to division I because of their grades in high school. Competing against those guys helped me a lot for the next step, division I basketball.
What was your nicest memory on the court at Winthrop?
My nicest memory was winning the first big south championship. One of our players (De’Andre Adams) died in a car crash a few months before the start of the season, and I remember his mother telling me before the tournament to win it for her son. We ended up keeping our promise and after we won the championship game the whole gym was screaming his name. That was an unforgettable moment.
Who was the best player that you ever played against on the court that might be in the NBA now or going to the NBA?
That’s a hard question I played against quite a few NBA guys. The best player I think was Al Thornton. In Tallahassee we were playing every summer against the guys from FSU. I remember playing Al 1on1 and dunking on him! 😉
Where do you come from in Germany and what was your childhood like?
I’m from Trier which is in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. My childhood was all about sports. I mean I played everything soccer, handball, basketball, tennis, etc… But my main sport as a child was team handball. I played team handball until the age of 16. At that age I stopped sports for about one year, because of a major growth spurt. I grew more than twenty centimetres that year and was going through a lot of back and knee pain. A year later one of my friends Tim Kaurisch who plays now for “TUS TREIS-KARDEN“ in the 2nd Regionalliga asked me to join their basketball team. Since than I’ve just been in love with that game.
Who were your basketball idols growing up?
My favourite basketball player of all time is Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.
To what professional basketball player would you compare your game to?
Right now I’d compare my game with Chris Andersen from the Denver Nuggets. He is a very emotional player who brings a lot of energy.
How did you decide to go to Winthrop?
Well I wanted to go to a team that goes to the NCAA tournament. Most of the teams that recruited me like UMass, George Washington, UCF, or University of Miami, didn’t go to the tournament. When Coach Peele came to see me in Florida he showed me that Winthrop went to the tournament four times in the last four years, and he promised me that he’ll take me there when I sign. Well he ended up keeping his promise.
What are your wishes when you are a professional player. Do you have an agent that is helping you?
My wish has always been to play for the German National Team. Yes my agent is Michael Naiditch and Goran Kuzmanovic from Frankfurt.
You have many offers from Germany. Are you surprised that there is so much interest in you despite your stats from Winthrop?
No I’m not surprised at all. In my four years in the USA I won three championships and went to the NCAA tournament and also to the NJCAA national championship game. For me it’s important to do the little things that no one likes to do. If my coach would’ve asked me to take fifteen shots a game to score twenty points, well I’m capable of doing that but that’s not what my role was on this team.
What tips would you give German kids who are thinking about attending college in the States to play basketball?
I would tell them to start lifting weights before they get here. That will make it much easier to adjust to this level. College basketball has become very physical these days.
Who wins a one on one duel on the court? You or Matt Morgan?
I would win.
What was the most crazy shot that you have ever taken in practice or in a game that went in?
The craziest shot I’ve made was during a friendly game in Luxemburg. I made a full court shot right before half time.
What did you miss the most from Germany when you were in the States playing?
My mom’s cooking ;-). I missed my family and friends the most.
What was the last DVD that you saw?
Sherlock Holmes was the last movie I saw on DVD. Great movie!!!
Thanks Andy for the chat