David Sturner is a 206cm power forward/center playing his first season in Germany for pro B team Dresden Titans and currently is averaging 10,8ppg and 6,8rpg. He started his basketball career with Orgeon State playing 13 NCAA games and then moved to S.Oregon (NAIA) and as a senior played 31 games: 14.6ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 56.2%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 56.2%. He started his professional basketball career recently with the West Adelaide Bearcats (Australia-Central ABL) before coming to Germany. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.
David thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are playing your first season with German pro B team Dresden Titans. How exciting have the first few months been not only playing basketball but living in such an old and historic city like Dresden?
My pleasure, Miles. It has been a very exciting time for me being here in Dresden. Honestly before my agent spoke with me about the opportunity I had never heard of Dresden. But I quickly found out how historic and beautiful of a city it is. It is a blessing to be able to play basketball, and experience such a different and great culture.
When you return back to Philomath, Oregon for the first time, what Story about the historic city Dresden will be on your mind first about sharing?
I’m sure I will have a lot of stories to tell when I finish the season here. I think that my parents will want to know all about the food and the different historic buildings. I’ll have to tell them about the beautiful buildings on the Elbe river and show them pictures. Also my roommate introduced me to the Doner. I’ll have to try and recreate it for them to try!
Your first professional team was the West Adelaide Bearcats (Australia-Central ABL). How have you experienced the adjustment coming form that style of basketball to that of the German pro B?
The style of play here in ProB has been much different than Australia. The defensive rotations and offensive schemes have been something I’ve been adjusting to, but I honestly prefer the way basketball is played here. It definitely has been a learning process but I am getting much more comfortable with the way our coach wants me to play.
Congrats on the 106-71 win against Lich last weekend. After averaging only 73 points a game on offense in the first four games, Dresden finally exploded. Is the team feeling each other better on offense?
Thank you, it was a really important win for us. I think everyone is getting comfortable with our plays and not worrying so much about making mistakes, but taking what the defense gives us. We have so many players that can score on our team and Sunday everyone was feeling confident.
The club started off the season slow losing the first two games, but since then have a three game winning streak. What have been the main reasons for the team playing good ball in the last three weeks?
I believe a lot of our success can be attributed to team chemistry. Everyone is learning how to play off of each other and trust one another on defense. We work on so many game situations during practice that everyone is getting comfortable playing with each other.
The team also has been defending very consistently early on. What do you credit this early defensive chemistry to?
I think that is from coach Thomas drilling us with defensive individual and team drills every day in practice. We aren’t going to score every game like we did last Sunday, but we can always play strong defense. That is what we want to define us.
What has it been playing with American veteran Andrew Jones? He has been a scoring machine for Dresden the last years. His scoring is down, but do you see him picking up his scoring even more in the next games?
It’s been great playing with Andrew. He has really helped me adjust to the different style of play, and helped a lot with me mentally on and off the court. The great thing about Drew’s scoring being down is that we won the last three games without him having to take the scoring load. This means when he finds his rhythm it will make us even more dangerous as a team. Andrew is a true scorer, he will have no problem getting back to his top form offensively.
Your averaging 10,8ppg and 6,8rpg so far. How happy have you been with your play so far?
So far I’ve been okay with my play. I know I can do a lot more and will continually be working to increase my production, but when we are winning I don’t focus as much on my stats. One great thing about our team is that we have so many guys who can lead our team in scoring on any given night. My goal is to be consistent and aggressive, and do whatever I can to help our team win.
What is exactly your role with the Dresden Titans? Do you see yourself being even more of an offensive threat as you play more games and get more experience?
I think my role needs to be having a huge presence inside both offensively and defensively. I do see myself as more of an offensive threat as our season continues. It took me a few games to get comfortable in the system but I am figuring out how to be an efficient scorer within our offense.
What is a hidden strength in your game that you feel doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I think the strength that doesn’t get noticed often is my offensive rebounding. Although I haven’t had huge success with it this season so far, I have always focused on grabbing 3-4 offensive rebounds a game since I was in high school. Second chance opportunities can break down the other team, so if we are able to grab 8-10 offensive rebounds a game as a team we can really do a lot of damage.
What experience has it been playing for head coach Thomas Krzywinski? How has he helped you the most in the first month getting your game in place in Germany?
Playing for coach Thomas has really been great so far. I think he has really pushed me in practice to work on things that are somewhat new to me. He won’t let me get away with missing a defensive assignment, or not being loud on defense. He demands me to be aggressive around the rim and to do the little things. Because of this, I’m much more comfortable on both ends of the court, and I’m really learning how to be a better big man.
What was your wake up call to being a rookie this year with the West Adelaide Bearcats (Australia-Central ABL) where you knew that you were very far away from Oregon?
Honestly I felt very at home in Adelaide. Australia isn’t a hard adjustment for an American because our cultures are so similar. I was fortunate enough to play with a teammate from Southern Oregon while I was there and his family made me feel at home as well. I think being away from my fiancé was what made it difficult for me, but FaceTime and Skype helped me stay connected with her, my family, and my friends.
You played 13 NCAA games from 2008-2010 with Oregon State. Despite not playing much what do you believe were you bale to gain on and off the court with this two year stay?
I grew more in those two years than any other time in my life. As a team and individuals we all faced a lot of adversity. This made us as players a lot closer. Some of my best friends to this day were on that team. That’s something invaluable to me. As far as basketball goes, I really learned how to play at a faster, stronger level. In the PAC-10 everyone can jump and run and shoot. So you have to step your game up to an entirely different level.
You only played 13 NCAA games, but one game will always remain in your thoughts?
Probably the most memorable game while I was playing for Oregon State came in a loss. We were playing Arizona State, and James Harden was a freshman there. I remember he air balled his first shot and I was thinking, “this guy isn’t that good”. He finished the game 10-11 shooting and 29 points. He didn’t miss a shot the rest of the game! I stood corrected. That was also the game I hit my first 3 pointer.
There was a two year gap between Oregon State and S.Oregon(NAIA) Did you find yourself as a person in these two years?
Yeah after my second season at Oregon State I found myself really not enjoying basketball. I was so concerned with others approval and letting basketball be my identity that I really got burnt out on it. In those next two years I really grew as an individual and was able to come back to basketball with a different approach, playing for the right reasons.
How did Brian Mcdermott prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career at S.Oregon?
Brian really helped in a lot of ways to get me to this point. He played some professional basketball overseas as well so he shared a lot of advice with me on how to handle the lifestyle. He also really helped me develop a post game. I had always been a small forward but he helped me transition into a power forward and center. That’s really helped me with my professional career so far.
What was your sweetest memory of your 2013 NCAA2 Sweet 16 run?
There are so many great memories from that season. Honestly my favorite memory was in the sweet 16 game. Even though we lost, we played in front of thousands of fans and finished one of the most successful seasons in southern Oregon history.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jordan West?
Haha, I don’t think Jordan and I ever played 1-1. I know he won’t be happy with me saying this, but he wouldn’t have had a chance.
Where do you see the Portland Trailblazers see this season in the west?
I think the Trailblazers could surprise a lot of people this year. They will have to depend heavily on Damian Lillard but I think that they’re coaching staff can keep them in the chase for the 8th seed in the playoffs. I wouldn’t bet on them, but anything can happen in the NBA!
What is your favorite place to relax in Dresden in the city?
I actually haven’t spent enough time in the city yet to have a favorite place. I love coffee so I need to find a great cafe to relax at! As the season continues I plan on spending more time in the city and seeing more of the historic sites. I’ll have an answer in a month or two!
What was the last movie that you saw?
That’s a tough question! It’s been so long since I have really watched any movies. I think I watched taken 2 while I was in Australia. Great movie, but makes traveling a little scary!
Thanks David for the chat.