Kruize Pinkins is a 22 year old 201cm forward from Marianna, Florida playing his first professional season in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings currently averaging 13,2ppg, 9,3rpg and 1,2apg. He started his basketball career at Chipola (JUCO). He then played at USF (NCAA) form 2013-2015 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 65.0%. He spoke to German Hoops after the convincing 76-58 win against the Gladiators Trier.
Kruzie thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the big 76-58 win against the Gladiators Trier. How much more fun is it now to be playing basketball when your winning?
Everything always feels better when your winning. Our team is really coming together now.
After a pretty even first quarter, the game was won for Hanau in the second and third quarter where you led 60-40 after 30minutes. What adjustments did you make and what was key for getting the big lead then?
We played pretty good defense throughout the game and we just stuck to out game plan.
The Hebeisen White Wings didn´t shoot particulary well, but dominated the boards and held the opponent to 58 points. Was defense the biggest strength on the night in your eyes?
Defense was definitely a major part but we also played very unselfish guys were moving the ball and having fun and thats the key to winning.
In the last three games the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau have allowed 61 points. What has been the biggest adjustment that the club has made on defense that finally is starting to pay dividends?
We work on our defense every practice and we are finally realizing that we can really defend as a team. Coach always tells us that we can be great on defense, and its starting to show.
The club had many injury woes in the first two months as well as players coming in late and recently leaving. However the team has won three of the last five games where finding team chemistry is still a challenge. What has propelled this team to finally win games on a more standard basis?
Yeah, its good to have the full team together, but we didnt drop our head when we lost a few games. We kept coming to practice each day and working even harder. Its starting to pay off.
The team has a lot of talent and still guys that haven´t played to their full potential. How dangerous can this team be when the needed consistency is found?
We are a very deep team. When we play together and play great defense we can be a top team in our league
You are averaging 12,3ppg and 9,1rpg and have had some monster games against Rhondorf, Cologne and Trier, but also paid dues as a rookie. How pleased have you been with your rookie season so far on the floor?
Its going alright I guess, but I am never satisfied. There are some things that I am still learning, but I am just trying to get better each and every day and do what I can to help my teammates, and win games.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you coming from the NCAA to the European style that is still hard for you to figure out?
The traveling rule. It feels like I have had at least one travel call each game. But I am getting better at it, every day. It is also very physical and this is a pretty good league.
You have been up and down as a three point shooter shooting 16,7% as a junior and last season were at 39% and even hit four trey´s against Gonzaga and Portland while this season your shooting 1/10. Are you sometimes shaking your head at this weird stat?
Yeah my main thing now is being confident in my shooting. I know that if I keep working, that my shots will soon start to fall.
Is three point shooting something you feel you can add to more in the Simon Cote system or is your primary role scoring and getting rebounds?
My job is to help the team win. If that means knocking down my threes, thats what I have to do. If that means crashing the boards or playing in the paint, that is what I have to do
You went from ex NBA player Rex Walter as head coach at USF to experienced coach Simon Cote. Do have a special freedom under him now especially since you have carried the team in so many games that led to wins.
I learned a tremendous amount from Rex over my two years at USF. Great guy, proven player and coach. I am also learning a lot from Simon. I just try to take away the most knowledge I can from every coach. Learning from both Rex and Simon have been great.
How important has German Robin Christen been in the early going? He seems to have been a guy that often has kept the ship a float in key moments of games.
Robin is a great player. When he is playing well it takes our team to another level.
How did Rex Walter prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
He was always tough on me because he wanted the best for me and also the advice he gave me day after day prepared me for the professional level because he has been there.
Thanks Kruize for the chat.