Courtney Belger is a 26 year old 187cm guard from St Louis that is playing his first season with with the Itzehoe Eagles (Germany-ProB). Last season he played his second professional season with TV Ibbenbuehren (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 21 games and averaging 23.7ppg, 7.5rpg, Assists-4(6.7apg), Steals-2(3.5spg), FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 75.2%. He started his basketball career at Quincy (NCAA2) in 2008 where he played until 2012 playing a total of 113 NCAA 2 games. As a senior he played 27 games averaging 11.3ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 10.5%, FT: 72.0%. He improved his scoring and rebounding average each season. He will play in the German Pro B next season for Itzehoe. He spoke to German Hoops after the 80-74 victory against the EN Baskets Schwelm.
Courtney thanks for talking to German Hoops Congrats on the 80-74 win against the EN Baskets Schwelm. In the fourth quarter Schwelm cut the Itzhoe lead down to three points, but you kept your composure and won. What was key for getting the victory in crunch time?
The key was continuing to focus on us and not the back and forth stress of the game. If we control what we can control and keep up our intensity, we are normally where we want to be at the end of the game.
Izehoe didn´t shoot great, but better than Schwelm were outrebounded and had six turnovers less than the opponent. What do you believe was the biggest team strength on the night?
I think it was our defense and the way that everyone was all about the team yesterday. Everyone was fighting for one another and sacrificing whatever they had. The entire team was engaged. The starters, the bench players, the injured guys, even our fans. It was great to see that on the road.
After starting the season 2-3, Izehoe is riding a three game winning streak. Is the team chemistry slowing getting to where Pat Elzie wants it?
I believe it is. We still are not at the level we would like to be at but game by game things are starting to change for the better. I think it’s due to the focus in practice that we have gotten back to. No matter what we try to hold everyone accountable.
The Pro B north is stacked nicely and the competition is very high. How strong is the belief that this team will make the playoffs this season?
Very strong. We have a great opportunity here. Just focus one game at a time and we should be where we want to be. I came here to win so it’s only right that I believe we will definitely make the playoffs.
What is the biggest team building block that the team has that needs the most improvement on?
I think we could improve on putting a complete game together. We have to stay focused and work hard for 40 minutes or more sometimes.
You had 15 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. It was the second time this season that you were very close to notching a triple double as you almost did it against Recklingshausen. Do you feel like you will achieve this sometime this season?
If we continue to win, I’m okay with get close lol. I think it will probably happen but it’s not something I’m focused on. I just try to be active and my teammates make shots so those type of stats just come to me sometimes.
After a strong season with TV Ibbenburen you are holding your own in the Pro B averaging 15,0ppg, 5,7rpg and 5,1apg. What has the been the most difficult adjustment coming from the Regionaliga?
I would say the most difficult thing to me has been staying aggressive. We have good shooters and finishers and sometimes it causes me to over pass.
With Izehoe you have numerous players that can have big nights at anytime. Is it a relief at times that you don’t have to score in bunches the way you sometimes did with TV Ibbenburen?
Yes, because I really have always been a pass first point guard. I just score because we need that push sometimes and with my speed and can get in the lane and create shots for myself or others.
What is more difficult this season as a playmaker where you notice that you could get away with in the Regionaliga?
The players jump higher this year and are a little stronger than last year. The big men mainly. As a result when I drive I have to position myself correctly, but I had a good summer and with the amount of space I have I don’t see a big difference. If I make a couple free throws and lay ups that normally go for me it would look about the same up until this point.
A big surprise this season has been German Adrian Breitlauch who is leading the team in scoring. How has his game developed since the start of training camp?
Adrian is great. My last year teammate Jasper told me that he would do everything he is doing now and I knew since the first day. He always wanted to play one on one after practice. Which was odd because he practices at 100 the whole time. With our offense and the freedom he has I think you will see Adrian continue on this way. I never played with a guard with so much energy.
Would you agree that he has the whole package? How important has his play been on the defensive end? He seems to give the game a totally different dimension with his game?
There are things that I know but won’t share lol, but on game day he is everywhere it seems and can do no wrong. I know that he will give us two quarters or certain times where it’s all him and I love that about him.
The team made a huge pick up with ex Beko BBL player Flavio Stickemann. How has he made your life easier on the court already in the first game?
Flav gives us some of everything as well as leadership. The game pace is faster and he is smart. I can get out on the break more now. We can wear down guards and give each other a break from pressure. I noticed a big difference having him there against Schwelm.
Is everyone still too young on the roster to make Charles Bronson jokes or are there actually players who know about the legendary actor who has the same name as your teammate?
Nobody knows that name except the towns people and coach pat, but Charles gets his fair share of grandpa jokes from me. Don’t worry lol.
Has it been tough celebrating Thanksgiving here the last years so far from home and what was your nicest childhood Thanksgiving moment?
No not really, because my German family the Ossowski’s always made me feel at home on any holiday. I miss my family of course, but they understand what I’m trying to accomplish here. I can’t remember just one thanksgiving. On thanksgiving and Christmas everyone gets together in my family and we watch sports and have a great time laughing and talking.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Straight Outta Compton.
Thanks Courtney for the chat.