Anthony Tolliver(Minnesota Timberwolves): In Germany I Was Successful Against Older And More Experienced Players Which Helped Me In Reaching The NBA.

Anthony Tolliver is a 25 year old 206cm center from Springfield, Missouri. He played at Creighton from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 33 games averaging 13.4ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.9apg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 21.1%, FT: 65.8%. In the 2007-2008 season which was his rookie year, he made opening day roster of the Cleveland Cavaliers  but was released in first week by Cavaliers to make room for Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao. He then played for  the Iowa Energy (D-League): 24 games: 11.5ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 66.2%, in Feb.’08 moved to Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 20 games: 14.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2bpg, 2FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 64.7%. The last two years have been long and seemingly unending as he played for 10 teams. In the 2008-2009 season, he played for San Antonio Spurs (NBA), in Dec.’08 assigned to Austin Toros (D-League): 6 games: 17.8ppg, 7.8rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, later that month recalled to San Antonio Spurs (NBA): 19 games: 2.7ppg, 2.2rpg, in Jan.’09 was sent to Iowa Energy (D-League): 10 games: 12.4ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 78.6%; later that month called by New Orleans Hornets (NBA) for a 10-day contract before sending back to Iowa Energy (D-League), in Feb.’09 moved to Galatasaray Cafecrown Istanbul (Turkey-TBL): Turkish League: 15 games: 12.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 79.6%; EuroChallenge: 2 games: 18.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, 1.0bpg. Last season, he played for the Miami Heat (NBA), only pre-season, in Nov.’09 joined Idaho Stampede (D-League, starting five): 14 games: 21.4ppg, 11.4rpg, 2.5apg, 1.3spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 58.9%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 78.5%, in Dec.’09 signed at Portland Trail Blazers (NBA): 2 games: 0pts; later that month signed at Golden State Warriors (NBA, starting five): 44 games: 12.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 76.9%. This season, he is playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and spoke with German Hoops.

Your first NBA game was almost two years ago with the San Antonio Spurs. Recently you played against Kobe Bryant. Are you still as excited to play an NBA as you were your first game?

Yes I am. The NBA is still new for me and I still have much fun playing against guys like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.

You played 20 games for The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in 2008. Since then you have played for 10 teams. Has the last two years felt like an eternity?

Yes it has. Ever since I came out of college it has felt like I have had to move every three months moving to a new team. It is a great feeling knowing I am in Minnesota for the next two years.

You made the 2007-2008 opening roster of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but then had to make room for Sascha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao. Looking back how much did that hurt having to go?

It hurt, but at the same time it was a big accomplishment for me making the team being undrafted. However I understood that I still had some things that I had to work on. I was able to develop my game further in Germany which helped me reach the NBA.

What did you learn on the court playing for The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven?

I learned a lot in Germany especially gaining self confidence to be able to play at the next level. In Germany I was successful against older and more experienced players which helped me in reaching the NBA.

What do you miss most about Germany?

I will never forget going to the Bremerhaven zoo and visiting the polar bears. Germany was my first time overseas and I learned a lot from that first time in Europe. I developed nice relationships and still have contact today.

In the last years, you played for many D-league teams and NBA teams like the Spurs, Hornets, Heat, Trailblazers and Golden State Warriors. How difficult were the last two years with the uncertainty of not knowing of what would come next?

It was a big challenge not knowing if I would play in the NBA again. However I just kept working hard and hoping for that chance. I had a few chances and took advantage of them and stayed in the NBA.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a slow start this season. What can we expect from the team this season?

We are the youngest team in the NBA. We came into the league with little expectations, but I feel that we exceeded them so far. Our goal is to grow and get better with time.

What is it like playing behind Kevin Love? Was his 31 points and 31 rebounds the best performance that you have seen on the court?

I would rate it at the top. When I was playing with the Spurs, I saw Tony Parker score 55 points in Minnesota. However what Love did was incredible. Each season, you will have  aguy scoring a lot of points, but not what Love did. The last time, a player had a 30-30 game was Moses Malone in 1982. Wilt Chamberlain had 30-30 games 40 times in his career.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have some very skilled big men with Nikola Pekovic who played at Panathinaikos Athens and also Darko Millicic who is an NBA veteran. How competitive is the competition?

The competition is very strong. Each player bring different skills to the table. Pekovic is more a scorer and Millicic more a shot blocker. Love is the better post player, while i am the better shooter. Love is the better rebounder, while I am the better defender.

Are you looking back to playing more like you did last season with Golden State?

Last season, I averaged 30 minutes and started 33 games. This season, I come in and play 18-20 minutes and am not asked to score 15 points. I come in and give energy and just be active and hit the open jumper and just do what does the coach wants.

The legendary ex Detroit Piston Bill Lambeer is the assistant coach. How has he helped your game?

He has the tricks of the trade, but not dirty, but just smart moves that helps me take advantage of my defenders. He is a good coach that has different tricks up his sleeve.

What is a strength in your game that is not always noticed right away?

I think that it is my passing. My scoring gets noticed first and then my defending, but my passing gets overlooked. I am good at catching the ball and surveying the court looking for that open man and usually have high success finding him.

Who was the most difficult opponent that you have played against in the NBA?

Last season it was Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durrant and this season it has been Blake Griffin. He is really tough to guard.

Will Kevin Durrant be the best player on earth one day?

I think that he will take over in a few years. He has unbelievable talent and I think that he will continue to develop. Now he just needs to develop other areas of his game. Everybody knows that he can score. I think that the Thunder will be a team to reckon with in the next years.

Who wins a one on one, you or Kevin Love?

I would win and beat him with his quickness.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?


Thanks Anthony for the chat.

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