Brennan Mcelroy is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Decatur, Illinois playing his first professional season with TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB. He played at Indianapolis (NCAA2) from 2010-2015 and as a senior played 19 games averaging 10.5ppg, 8.5rpg, 2.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 73.9%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 62.7%. He spoke to German Hoopsbefore the game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.
Brennan thanks for talking to German Hoops A tough 83-76 loss against the Uni Riesen Leipzig. The opponent closed out the game with a 8-0 run. How tough and why did Saarlouis fall in crunch time?
It was and is very tough. We played a good 35 minutes but that isn’t enough. We just weren’t able to hang on to the lead and that’s something we need to improve on.
Were you able to grab anything positive form the loss besides winning the rebound battle and dishing out a team 20 assists?
Hopefully we can keep winning the rebounding battle and sharing the ball, other than that we did some good things but the loss overlooks those things.
Saarlouis is now 1-5 and in their second season having come from a level down the Regionaliga. It will be hard to win games on a consistent level when the team gives up more points than what it makes. What do you believe are the biggest factors on the defensive end that need to be fixed?
There is always room for improvement. We need to take pride on defense and guard individually. Of course breakdowns will happen and that is when we need to trust our teammates to be there to help.
The three Americans of Ricky Easterling, Frank Snow and you average together more than half of the teams points. Is that German player that averages double figures missing on offense?
Its not that we need 1 top scorer, we as a team need to score more. Or if you look at it the other way, we need to not allow the other team to score as much and our offense will come.
Despite the 1-5 start, how positive are you that Saarlouis will be able to turn around their season and get on a winning streak?
I am still positive. We should be 4-2 right now. We let 2 slip at home and one on the road. We had the lead in all of these games. So we know we can play with the teams in this league but we just cant crack under pressure or hang our heads.
How has it been as a rookie playing with Ricky Easterling. How has his leadership and basketball knowledge helped you in the first two months?
Rick is not only a great teammate but a great friend. He has helped me on and off the court. He has been playing basketball for a long time and knows a lot about the game and how to adjust to what the opponent is doing. Off the court he has helped me get adjusted. As you know he has been here for 8 years and learned to speak German. I am very graateful for his help getting around town, meeting new friends, helping me at the store, and all that he has helped me with.
Does Saarlouis have to depend on Ricky Easterling for success? If he scores only 15 points then that is 10 less than what he usually makes. Does the team feel pressure to have to step it up on those occasions?
Rick is our go to guy. We know this and every team knows it as well. He is a great scorer but we can not only rely on him to win the games. We as a team need to be help accountable to score and defend. When teams are keyed in on him that gives the other 4 on the court more room to create for themselves.
Easterling lives off his unstoppable mid distance off balance game. Have you ever seen a player more dangerous than him in your career when he gets in the lane?
He is one of the best mid range shooters I have played with. I was fortunate enough in college to also play with some great shooters, but he is definitely up there at the top of the list.
What has been the most amazing shot he has made so far in a game or practice this season?
Its amazing when he misses. I am not used to seeing it. One shot I can remember is in a game he shot a running hook falling out of bounce and I remember thinking when he shot it “what was that” and sure enough it went in.
You are averaging 12,2ppg and 8,4rpg after five games. How happy have you been with your rookie performance so far?
I am happy I have stayed healthy and for the opportunity. I know I can do better and need to do so. I don´t worry about my offensive numbers and never have. I do take pride in stopping my man from scoring and being a selfish rebounder.
What exactly is your role on the team? What more does coach want from you besides scoring, rebounding and being a presence inside?
I do the “dirty work” I will dive for any ball, take a charge, guard any player on the court or do whatever we need me to do to be successful. I think coach knows that.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I think it’s the dirty work I talked about above. Everyone likes the scorers and so do I, without them basketball wouldn’t be basketball. But I take pride in my defense and would much rather stop my man from scoring than scoring myself.
How has the adjustment been for you coming from the NCAA2 from Indianapolis to the German Pro B? What has been the most difficult thing to get used to and where would you stack the Pro B in comparison with the NCAA2?
The rules are obviously different. Goaltending is one rule that is different but I like it. The 24 second clock is the hardest to get used to. I was on a very good college team and I know we could of kept up.
You were averaging 79,2% from the two point range and pretty much make all your shots. Easterling obviously takes many shots, but are you content with your shot selection or could you be taking more shots?
I hate missing, and shots around the basketball are the easiest. I have been working on my perimeter shot and will be taking more shots.
You played at Indianapolis and reached the NCAA 2 Sweet 16 in 2015. What will always be your most vivid memory of this run?
The friendships. I made some of my best friends on the team. I still talk to them 3-4 times a week. We had so much fun on that run. Practices were hard but winning made it all worth it.
You were known for growing your hair so you could take that hair and make it into a wig for a cancer patient. Other fans from schools didn´t catch on and made fun of you, but later apologized. What did you learn from this experience that made it long lasting?
I will donate it when I get back to America. I didn’t do it for the attention but I know I’m going to miss the hair when it is gone. I’ve gotten used to it.
How did Stan Gouard prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
I can not thank coach G enough for all he did for me in my career at UINDY. He was a great coach and still is. He was a professional basketball player himself and I think that experience has helped him become the great coach he is.
How important was teammate Joe Lawson last season for your game with the battles in practice? He plays in the German Pro A this season for Gotha.
Joe is a great player and I hope he has a great season. We had some battles in practice and it made us better players.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Joe Lawson?
We would go back and fourth. He would have his days and I would have mine. I am looking forward to playing him again.
Where will the journey of the Chicago Bulls go this season? Will they make noise in the playoffs?
I hope not! I am a huge LeBron James fan and I hope the Cavs will win it all. Bulls are always a tough match up for the Cavs and I hope they can get passed them in the playoffs.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
I hope so. I was to young to watch and understand basketball when MJ was playing. I know he was great, but so is LeBron James.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I am not a huge movie watcher. I am stuck watching a lot of Netflix. Just finished breaking bad and currently watching house of cards and the blacklist.
Thanks Brennan for the chat.