Porter Troupe is a 32 year old 196cm guard from San Diego, California that is playing his fifth season with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu (Romania-Liga Nationala). He started his basketball career with Portland (NCAA) in 2001 and finished at Warner Pacific College (NCCAA) in 2005. It took him three years until he came to Europe in 2008 and in the meantime he played for the Vancouver Volcanoes (IBL). In Europe he also played for Al Moutahed Tripoli (Lebanon-Div.A) and Cytavision Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A). He spoke to German Hoops before the game for third place in the Eurochallenge against the Fraport Skyliners.
Porter a tough loss to Trabzonspor in the 2015 Eurochallenge semi-final 83-63. You wanted to achieve so much in this tournament. Despite the 20 point loss what positives could you take out of the game?
Hi Miles, thanks for the opportunity! Definitely a tough loss, in the semi-final. To be honest with you, it’s tough for me to find the positives so quickly after losing a game like that. I wanted the victory so much, maybe too much. But what I will say is that I’m aware of what my team has achieved in the competition by just reaching this point. To make it here was a dream in the beginning and we had the opportunity to go to the final, so looking back on the whole season I can say it was a success.
Energia was lead 22-17 after one quarter, but then were outscored 22-9 in the second quarter. What was key for Tranzonspor to go into halftime with the nine point advantage?
In the first quarter we played as a unit, and I feel that we lost a sense of unity in the second quarter. I can’t explain why, but that’s what I feel. We definitely didn’t pay attention to the small details, and in a game of this magnitude details make all the difference.
What did head coach Antonis Constantinides tell the team do better in the third quarter. What adjustments did the team make and did it succeed?
I think we just focused a little more on the details, and we believed we had a chance. The goal was to keep the game close, and take it at the end. So we were where we wanted to be at the end of the third. What was working was making them shift sides of the floor defensively, and in the third we made them do just that. Also defensively we paid more attention to the details, and made them take tough shots. Doing that helped us get back into the game.
Dwight Hardy led all scorers, but in the fourth quarter it seemed like Sean Marshall and Andrija Stipanovic sparked the team. Was Trabzonspor just deeper off the bench with more energy?
I feel they were deeper than us for sure. I think the last 5 min of the game showed that, and also I think we just couldn’t get over the hump. I think the frustration of not getting over the hump took over and we just gave in. Also playing on their home floor inspired them, you can tell they rode the momentum of their home crowd.
The rebound line of 42-19 in favor of the Turkish squad was one of big keys in the game. Did the banging down low have a big effect in conserving energy in the second half?
Losing the rebound battle was the biggest key for them winning the game. They kept throwing big bodies at us, and it wore us down.
You played against many top guards in the Eurochallenge, but where did ex Boston College star Sean Marshall rank up with the best guy that you played against in this competition?
I respect everyone I have matched up with in this competition. Individually I was more impressed with Terry Smith from Lukoil. He was a tough matchup because he could score at will 1 on 1. Yesterday’s game, Tranzonspor played a great TEAM game. Dwight Hardy and Sean Marshall were the beneficiaries of that. Great ball movement and great reading of the game from all their players helped create easy opportunities for them.
I was hoping for a Frankfurt-Rovinari in the final, but instead you will meet in the game for third place. How difficult will it be getting ready for this game after the disappointing loss?
It will be hard, no one wants to play for 3rd. You come to the final four dreaming big. So it will be tough, but I’m a competitor and if you told me at the beginning of the Eurochallenge season that my team would finish 3rd I would take it.
The Fraport Skyliners had a tough loss against Nanterre losing in crunch time. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to winning the game?
Hats off to Nanterre for making it to the finals it’s a great achievement for the French club. I think that Frankfurt have a good team and could have very easily be in the final. Good guards, good inside game. Keys for us will be defense and playing as a unit. When we focus on these two things we can beat any team in the competition. Also, we have to do a much better job finishing defensive possessions with rebounds so we can get into our transition game.
After a seven point game and four fouls, you surely will be very motivated to play Frankfurt. Besides getting the win, what will you be focusing most on in your game to help your team win?
For me, I excel when we move the ball and create opportunities for each other. So for me to have a better game offensively, we as a unit have to play much better. But certainly from my side I will hunt my shot more aggressively. I think I waited for the game to come to me too much in the semi-final and it got me out of rhythm. Defensively I just need to be myself and stick to the principles and everything will be okay.
You have a very interesting story as a player. After playing at Warner Pacific, it took you 3 years to get to Europe. In the meantime you played semi pro basketball with the Vancouver Volcanoes (IBL). Did you ever doubt that you could make it as a professional in those times? How were you able to survive these hard times?
My story is interesting because there are a lot of things that happened in between going to Europe. I was actually offered a contract to Italy Lega due after excelling at Hart Sports Management camp in 2007. Things fell through and it was disappointing. I have always believed in myself, and just stayed true to my dream. Belief in God, staying close to the game, and working hard kept my dream alive.
You have played almost your whole career with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu. What makes this organization so special that you have decided to return almost every season?
Well first, until now the Romanian league wasn’t respected as I believe it will be going forward. There have been many good import players playing in this league, but it has been looked down upon by western European countries. I am a very loyal person, so staying here was never a problem for me. They have always treated me right, and I have a strong bond with the community and fans.
Is CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu a team where you could imagine finishing your professional career with?
Playing in this Eurochallenge has given me the exposure I have always wanted. I also played in Cyprus for Apoel Nicosia, and had a very successful season there. Played against some very good players and learned that I can play anywhere if given the opportunity. So in saying that, I always want to play at the highest level I can. I love the fans and people of Targu Jiu, but new challenges are always enticing
Trabzonspor face off against Nanterre in the final. What kind of game can we expect and who do you think will win?
Finals are always very physical with high intensity. I think Tranzonspor have a lot of quality, and size. Nanterre play a high paced game, and are great offensively. I think in the end the team that controls the pace of the game, and the boards will win. Should be an interesting game
You and Louis Darby have played four seasons together with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu. You must know each other inside out. Who wins a one on one in practice?
Haha, Louis is a great 1 on 1 player. Honestly we have never just rolled the ball out and played 1 on 1. I would never pick someone to beat me in a 1 on 1 game, but beating Louis would be a great challenge. It would definitely be fun!
Steph Curry recently nailed 77 three pointers in a practice in a row. What was the most you ever made in a row?
Steph Curry is an amazing shooter, probably the best in the world. Honestly last year in practice I made 34 in a row during a shooting game with teammates. I have made over 40 in a row during a workout with my trainer in Portland. But an exact number escapes me.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
DVD hmm…. I recently watched the Judge with Robert Downey Jr. Good movie, I also saw Fast 7 in theaters. Thanks Miles, for the opportunity.
Thanks for the chat Porter.