Drew Brandon is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Corona, California that is a rookie playing in Germany for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He started his basketball career at Sierra College Calif.
and then moved to E.Washington (NCAA) in 2013 finishing his career in 2015 and as a senior played 34 games averaging 9.7ppg, 6.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 24.7%, FT: 81.0%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 88-76 win against the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau.
Drew thanks for talking to German Hoops A big 88-76 win at home against the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. What a crazy win for Leverkusen. Leverkusen were hot early scoring 28 points, but Hanau made adjustments in the second and third and got back into the game. The game then was quite tight and you had the 70-67 lead in the last seconds. Was it only somewhat fitting for Hanau that their work horse Kruize Pinkins would put the game into OT?
Coming down to final seconds both teams wanted and needed a win and he made the hustle play to give his team an extra chance
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen dominated in the OT period outscoring Hanau 18-6 and winning the game. What were the magic words of head coach Achim Kuczmann before the OT started?
He just pretty much said its a new game, play together and get to the losoe ball and the team responded well early in the 5 minute OT
You took over in the OT getting 8 points. On a team that has no real main big scorer, do you see yourself maturing into a role like this or are you happy with what you have?
I’m the kind of point guard that does whatever it takes to put my team in best position to win whether that’s scoring, rebounding, or finding the hot hand on the team on offense.
Guard Michael Kuczmann had his best game this season with 22 points. Do you see him as being a guy that can score more consistently in double figures?
Kuczmann is a good shooter and when he got his first couple to go early he played with more confidence and he kept it up, He could score double figures consistently along with others on our team
The team is 3-8 and just snapped a four game losing streak. The team is averaging only 68 points per game while giving up 78 points. Has this ratio been one of the biggest statistical problems this season?
We have had troubles defensively early this season which we have been addressing more and more in practices, and to turn this bad start to the season around we will need to keep improving the defensive side of the ball.
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen have four talented Americans in You, James Hulbin, Ricky Kreklow and Timmy Knipp and three solid Germans in Michael Kuczmann, Dennis Heinzmann and Goetz Twiehow. Is this lineup too little for the Pro A as the bench points seem to be missing?
Coach is working on developing some of his younger players and which makes us a young team gain experience every time we step out on the court and we got off to a slow start but I don’t think the lineup is too little to play in this league. We are better than our record and we just need to go out every game and prove that
What has been your impression of the German PRO A? It is so competitive and with a little winning streak, you could be near the playoff hunt again.
There are some really talented players in this league, and if we can get some momentum it is still early enough in the season where a win streak could get us in a realistic chance for the playoffs
You are a rookie and coming into the Hanau game was averaging 10,7ppg, 7,5rpg and 5,2apg. Take away the assists and you look like a big man. How much pride do you take in getting up and getting the ball off the rim?
Being a 6’4″ point guard I have always been a great rebounder for my size and position all the way through college and continuing as a pro. I just have a good nose for the ball and go after it to start the break. It’s just in my DNA
You seem to have had no adjustment period needed to come from the NCAA to the German Pro A. How happy have you been with your game and do you see heightening your game even more as the season progresses?
The NCAA prepares you to play at a high level, but there are things in my game I would like to improve as the season goes on and I think every player would like to see their game get better as the season progresses
Your biggest area of improvement seems to be your three pointer. Does this become a mental thing when shots aren´t falling for you? Do you see yourself being able to make strides in your shooting percentage?
Yeah it is a mental thing most people that get in a funk from 3 need to see it go in a few times to get their confidence back but percentage wise it needs to improve its something I’m not satisfied with and I work at every day, so I believe the percentage will go up as the season goes. The mental side of the game I take very seriously and I make a lot of in game adjustments. I just trying every game to go out and get a triple double and I haven’t got one but if I have something to shoot for it makes me go fight for rebounds or create. I look at it this was if you set goals for yourself your going to push yourself out on the court more than if your just out there playing the game
How thrilling has it been sharing the backcourt with Michael Kuczmann. Do you think he might follow his dad as a coach one day?
Michael is a smart player and I’m not sure if he plans on becoming a coach after he plays its not something he has talked about.
You played two seasons at E Washington. Before going there you played at Sierra College Calif. Were you always sure that you could be a productive NCAA player?
Yes I have a family that supported me through all of that and they laid a great basketball foundation and so I always had the confidence that any floor I step on no matter who we are playing against I can make an impact and not only in scoring but in every part of the game defensively and offensively
As a senior at E.Washington (NCAA) you played 34 games averaging 9.7ppg, 6.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 24.7%, FT: 81.0%. Was your 27 points in the 88-86 win against Indiana your most memorable game last season?
The game against Indiana was one of them it’s tough to beat playing in such a historic stadium like assembly hall. There were a few others like wining our conference tournament on a comeback victory in the last 2 minutes and also the experience of playing in the NCAA tournament is an experience that is tough to beat
How important was it having a Tyler Harvey as a teammate? What was more beneficial the pushing each other in practice or the words of wisdom that you both gave each other?
Tyler is a great person to play with probably one of the most unselfish guy to lead the nation in scoring, but Me and Tyler understood each other´s games and that came from pushing each other in practice. We spent a lot of time together with our position coach Shanty Legans going over film of us and worked out together
How did head coach Jim Hayford prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Jim Hayford is a players coach so he really believes in letting the player play their game, which allowed me to grow an overall game and grow into a leader
Wh o won a one on one in practice you or Tyler Harvey?
Tyler was a great one on one player due to the fact he can create enough space to get off his shot, and we had some great battles one on one in practice which is something we would do almost every day in practice
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you ever see him being mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
I think Lebron is a completely different player than Jordan so I think people want to put them in the same breath but they can’t for a few reasons. It’s a different game now and days then when Jordan was playing , Lebron is a type of player that the NBA hasn’t had before so I believe the younger generation will say Lebron is there with Jordan because they never really saw Jordan play, even though I was alive or old enough when he was actually playing. I get on YouTube and watch full games of him all the time and Kobe is the only one you could compare because of how similar their play still has progressed
You will be spending your first Thanksgiving in Germany. The team may do something or I can imagine the Americans celebrating in a sports bar in Cologne. What is your fondest childhood memory of this?
Growing up we would always go to to my grandmas house and now to my aunts house, in my younger day I really just liked it because of all the food and as I got older I still like the food but I appreciate the time spent with family and realize how important that is
What was the last movie that you saw?
We actually went as a team to the movie theater earlier this week to go watch the new James Bond 007 movie but they had to play the English version for the Americans
Thanks Drew for the chat.