Maarten Leunen is a 29 year old 206cm forward from Washington that is playing his first season in Germany for ratiopharm Ulm. He played at Oregon(NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year he played 32 games averaging 15.2ppg, 9.2rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 55.9%, 3Pts: 49.2%, FT: 78.9%. Promptly he was drafted by Houston Rockets (NBA,2rd(54). As a rookie in 2008-2009 he played for Darussafaka C.Tires Istanbul (Turkey-TBL) playing 32 games: 12.1ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 83.3%. He then played five seasons for Pallacanestro Cantu (Italy-SerieA) reaching 3 finals and winning one Super Cup. He played a total 193 Serie A games, 26 Euroleague games and 21 Eurocup games. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Congrats on the 77-70 win against the Fraport Skyliners. Frankfurt led after each quarter except for the fourth. What was key in getting the win?
We played better defense and that translated into better offense in the fourth quarter. We got some big stops at the end.
Your teammate Tim Ohlbrecht made a nice return to Frankfurt where he played in 2011-2012. How important was he for ratiopharm Ulm?
He was huge tonight. He helps the team a lot with his experience as he is one of the older guys on the team.
He wasn´t allowed to shoot the three in Bonn or Frankfurt, but I guess he is in Ulm?
Yes he is allowed to take the three as long as he makes it.
You played the last five years in Italy for Cantu. Is there a big difference from the Serie A to the Beko BBL?
I think the environment is a lot different. There is more NBA entertainment in Germany. The defensive philosophies are different, but other than that its pretty similar.
I see ratiopharm Ulm as a top 4 team. Where will the journey of your team end?
We want to go deep in the playoffs. We are still coming together though and haven´t played our best basketball yet. But we will improve.
I see you, Tim Ohlbrecht and Boris Savovic as possibly the top front court in the Beko BBL. How do you guys compliment each other best on the court?
We spread the floor well and we can shoot the ball. I also think our IQ is on the court is very high. We understand each other very well on the court in situations.
What exactly is your role on the team?
I am sort of the glue guy and gets the team going and also makes the right decisions.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
My IQ is off the radar. I also do things that don´t always come up on the stat sheet. I didn´t have my best game against Frankfurt, but made some big plays down the stretch that helped my team in the win.
What has been your early impression of Jaka Klobucar? He had 8 points six rebounds and five assists in 22 minutes.
He has a lot of international experience and really likes getting to the rim. He is a very tough competitor and is always fighting on the court.
What have you learned from Thorsten Leibenath that you haven´t learned from any other coach in your career?
I really like his zeal. He is a players coach. He has a different type of defensive philosophie with his push down defense, but I am still learning. I really have enjoyed playing for him.
How special was winning the 23013 Italian Supercup`?
It was very special since it stopped the dominance of Siena.
Your teammate in Italy at Cantu early in your career there was Jerry Green. He never saw the resemblance with singer Lionel Ritchie that I saw. Did you see that resemblance?
Yes your right there is a resemblance. He was my first point guard in Italy. He was a great guy. He made the transition easier for me since it was my first year in Italy.
Your head coach at Cantu for four seasons was Andrea Trinchieri. Do you see him building a title winner in Bamberg with this new team?
He is a very technical coach that brings intensity. He has a great understanding of the game of basketball. I think he will give Bamberg a winning mentality. He has won everywhere where he has been.
When you played with Michael Jenkins at Cantu, did you ever think that he had NBA caliber since he made the Oklahoma Thunders training camp squad?
I knew that he was a very good shooter. So many guys can make the NBA, it is often luck. If you park him in the corner, he will hit open shots, but it will be hard making the Thunders roster.
You played four years with Bryce Taylor at Oregon. Is he one of the best characters that you have been around?
Well I named my son after him. He was one of my favorite teammates ever.
Where will the journey of the Portland Trailblazers end this season?
I think that they will be good. They aren´t off the radar anymore. They have one of the best point guards with Damien Lillard and have Lamarcus Aldridge and many other pieces.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Maarten for the chat.