Clevin Hannah is a 27 year old 179cm guard from Holly Springs playing his sixth professional season and second in Spain and first season with Bilbao Basket (Spain-Liga Endesa). He started his basketball career at Paris JC (NJCAA) and Chipola JC (NJCAA). He then played his last two college years at Wichita St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 32 games: 12.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 42.5%, FT: 90.4%. He started his professional basketball career in 2010 with BC Perla Harghitei Miercurea Ciuc (Romania-Div.A) playing 23 games: Score-2(21.2ppg), 3.1rpg, Assists-3(6.2apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT-3(47.6%), FT: 86.3%. In the 2011-2012 season he played with Karhu Kauhajoki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 44 games: 18.3ppg, 3.4rpg, Assists-4(4.5apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT-1(46.8%), FT: 89.0%. KIN the 2012-2013 season he played for ALM Evreux Basket (France-ProB) playing 39 games: 16.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 5.3apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 47.2%, FT: 88.5%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA): 38 games: 10.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 82.5%. Last season he played for FIATC Joventut Badalona (Spain-Liga Endesa): 35 games: 10.2ppg, 1.3rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 85.7%. He spoke to German Hoops after a team practice in Bilbao last weekend
Clevin thanks for talking to German HoopsWelcome to Germany. Is this your first time in Germany? What do you know about the basketball in Germany? Some of your friends have played here like Josh Young, Kelly Beidler or Anthony Hillard.
This was the first time I was in Germany playing a game that counted. I had been in German ybefore in pre-season. I really like Germany because it is very Americanized. I liked the atmosphere in the Bonn gym and the level of play is great in Germany.
How excited are you to be playing your first season of international club basketball. This is your sixth professional season so I guess it is better late than never that you are getting the chance now?
It feels great because this is a new opportunity to expand my game. I will continue to work hard and make the best of this opportunity of playing against the best teams in Europe.
Congrats on the 90-81 win against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. They stayed feisty and cut it down to four points in the fourth, but what was key for preserving the win?
I think the fact that we started out so well and we had many guys that played well helped us get the win. We also stayed aggressive throughout the game.
How challenging was it competing against Bonn guard Eugene Lawrence?
He is one of the best guards that I have played against in Europe. He is so shifty and explosive. I saw what he can do and I know what I have to do to reach his level.
You have had a very interesting professional basketball career. After a stellar career and strong senior year at Wichita State, it took you a while to get taken by teams in higher leagues as you played in Romania, Finland and France pro B before playing in France Pro A with Nancy, FIATC Joventut Badalona (Spain-Liga Endesa) and this season Bilbao Basket (Spain-Liga Endesa) Why do you feel that it took you some years before being fully noticed and accepted in Europe as a player?
There were many factors like just having to learn the style in Europe as well as just improving. But I think it mostly had to do with my size that was overlooked because I am so small. I am a player that continuously has to prove himself each night and season.
Do you feel your ability to shoot the three and averaging over 40% in your first three seasons in three different leagues opened up some eyes?
I think my ability to shoot the ball well has brought me to where I am today.
You are still searching or your first professional title. How much hungrier do you get each season of just touching that trophy?
I think I have often had good opportunities to win titles, but it remains very difficult each season. I think that this season we have a very good chance to win something with this team and its experience. I think that if we can learn each other out then we will have a good chance.
What chances do you believe does Bilbao Basket (Spain-Liga Endesa) have in the always tough and competitive Spanish league and Eurocup?
You need to have a good team and also have luck to be successful. I think that we match up well with the other big teams and we just have to know to play very well in the right moments and also at the end of the season.
Is having only three Americans enough for success? What do the elite Spanish players bring to the table?
We have a great core of Spanish players as well as from Latvia and Belgium. I think it is up for grabs.
How challenging is it having Raul Lopez each day in practice. How do your games compliment each other?
He is a great player and even greater person. He really has helped me understand the game better at a high level. I feel that playing with him will make me go further. He also tells me the important little things that will make me successful.
Alex Ruoff has made the next step from Germany to the best league in Europe. He has an amazing game and is just an allrounder. What do you appreciate most about his game?
I appreciate his hard work the most. He gives his all to wanting to win each day. He is always ready to work and is a great teammate.
You’re a 179cm guard that can do much with your height, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed and gotten credit for?
I think a hidden strength in my game is that I make my teammates more comfortable on the court. I also feel that I make them better on the court and give them confidence.
As a smaller player what NBA guard did you enjoy growing up and was it the smaller guards that stood out for you?
When I was a kid I really like Allen Iverson and Sam Cassell a player that not many would expect. Now I really like Steph Curry.
Last season you played with 37 year old Demond Mallet. Even if it was your fifth professional season how could you still learn from the cousin of Shaq?
I learned how to compete from Demond. He played so hard at 37 and just made me want to work each day.
Two seasons ago you played your first season with a top team with Nancy. You were the youngest American. How important were guys like Nicholas Pope, Austin Nichols and Marcus Banks who were the older guys on the block?
All three game me confidence to keep playing and shooting. They also helped me play better when I had a bad game keeping me focused for the next game.
In the 2011-2012 season you played with Karhu Kauhajoki (Finland-Korisliiga) and Kelly Beidler. He had a great season as he averaged 19,2ppg and was fourth best scorer in Finland and paved his way to Germany. How much fun was it playing with him that season?
Beidler is a great all around player that can score, rebound and pass the ball. He just made my job a lot easier.
As a rookie you played with BC Perla Harghitei Miercurea Ciuc (Romania-Div.A,) playing 23 games: Score-2(21.2ppg), 3.1rpg, Assists-3(6.2apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT-3(47.6%), FT: 86.3%. What was your wake up call to be a rookie where you knew that you were very far away from home Holly Springs.
My wake up call was when I got out of the car in Romania, I felt extremely cold. A type of cold that I had never felt before. It was freezing.
You played two seasons at Paris and Chipola junior colleges before making the jump to Wichita State in 2008. How sure were you that you could always make the jump to the NCAA?
As soon as I started to really play there and score and coaches told me NCAA teams were looking at me, then I knew I could play at the next level.
When you were playing your last two seasons at Wichita State Toure Murry was playing his first two seasons there and would later play in the NBA. Did you ever think that he could make that next step?
I always thought he could. He was my roommate and was always a hard worker. I saw an 18 year old turn into a man. He wanted to always get to the NBA and now is living out his dream.
How did Gregg Murray prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career those last two years?
He told me that I had to come to practice each day willing to work. He stressed having no days off and always be focused.
Garret Stutz was your teammate at Wichita State as well and has had a nice professional career and developed well in college and had a great Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) averaging 14 and 11 stats. What story do you still have with him in your college days?
He is an unbelievable person. I remember when Obama was elected president he was against it and we were giving him a hard time about it. WE messed with him and it was funny.
Who was the toughest player that you battled on the court in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Landry Fields and Luke Babbit.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned seriously in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
I saw Michael Jordan play. Lebron is on the right path to pass him and he can do it all on the court, but for me Michael will always be the best.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Straight Out of Compton.
Thanks Clevin for the chat.