Cedric Brooks is a 35 year old 185cm guard from Aillen, Texas that has played 11 professional seasons and is currently in Germany practicing with Pro A team Kirchheim. Last season he played with the West Texas Whirlwinds (ABA) averaging 30,0ppg. He started his basketball career with Pittsburg St. (NCAA2) and as a senior played 28 games: 20.8ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.9apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 43.4%, 3Pts: 30.0%, FT: 82.4%. He started his professional basketball career in 2003 playing in the WBA and Mexico before coming to Europe in 2005. He played briefly in France and Hungry, but mainly in Germany with two seasons with Nordlingen, one with FC Bayern Munich and 4 seasons with the Kirchheim Knights. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Cedric, welcome back to Germany. You last played in Germany in the 2012-2013 season for Kirchheim and then disappeared for a few years. Why did your career end then?
My last season in Kircheim I was a little injured. I had jumpers knee(tendinitis), not very many people knew this. I was the leader of the team so I tried to fight through my pain but I saw that only made things worse for me. So I just decided to go back home to rehab my knee to get healthy. I trained with some NBA D league trainers and coaches, and I also played in the ABA to stay in shape. I thought about coming back to Europe but I just had a newborn daughter in May so I wanted to be with my family for a little while. Now I am healthy and ready to play.
Now your in Germany again and practicing with Kirchheim. What is it like being back in Germany and experiencing the whole culture and basketball?
It is great to be back in Germany, it has not changed much at all. It’s more business than pleasure now though because I have a lot to prove now that I am back considering that my last season in Kircheim was a joke. That wasn’t the real Cedric Brooks
What did you miss most about the country/culture and it´s basketball?
I missed my friends and fans, they showed me a lot of love here. I also missed the competitiveness on the basketball court. I just missed everything about Germany, except the cold weather.
You last played for the West Texas Whirlwinds (ABA) averaging 30ppg. How would you describe the shape that your in now at age 35?
To be honest, I am probably in the best shape of my career right now. Mentally and physically stronger. I am smarter than I was 3 years ago with the same athleticism. The ABA is a run and gun league, I was able to get my feet back under me and gain my confidence back. You have to be in shape to play in the ABA. Averaging 30 points is hard no matter which league you play in. This time away from Europe has helped me rest my legs and that’s all I needed.
I guess having to run over the court chasing Richard Williams who is one of the fastest players in the German pro A will keep you truthful about your shape. Have you demonstrated in practice that you can still keep up with guys 10 years younger than you?
Haha. Yes, practicing with Richie keeps me in shape but it’s not anything that I am not used to. Richie is a great point guard but we play different positions. I am a combo guard that plays the shooting guard as well as the point guard. I trained with guards just as quick back home so the real challenge is going to be the man looking at me when I look in the mirror. I hope that I am not sounding arrogant but I have demonstrated that I am more than capable of holding my own
What do you have to do different now at the age of 35 that you didn´t have to do at age 27 in regards to your habits on and off the court?
At this age the only difference for me is that I am more disciplined and more professional. My diet hasn’t changed much. I have learned that I must go to the weight room and stretch more.
What besides your experience do you feel is your biggest asset on the court now at age 35?
Other than my experience, my basketball IQ is a big asset as well as my quickness and athleticism. My leadership skills play a huge role. My drive to win is also a factor. I just want to win, I am a sore loser so I will do anything to help my team get that W.
What really stands out in your game is your scoring consistency and mentality, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
What doesn’t get noticed right away is probably my passing ability. I have always been a scorer but I feel just as good putting my teammates in a position to score as well. My unselfishness I would say. I love being a team player because I’m the end I need my team just as much as they need me.
You never won a professional title. Is this your biggest goal as a player now to be able to be in a position to taste champagne?
Well, I actually won a title when I played in Hungary and won the MVP award also. I have never won a title in Germany but we did have the opportunity to move up to the BBL in Kirchheim but decided to stay in Pro A. In all, I want to be in a position to get back to the German championship game and bring home the title.
Please describe in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team now?
I could help any team with my ALL AROUND game, my leadership, and my will to win. I am a professional and I know what it takes to get the job done.
When you played your first season with Kirchheim a young German named Tim Koch was on the team. How impressed have you been with the improvement of his three pointer since then?
Tim has always been able to shoot, now that he has gotten older he has taken his game to the next level. I am very impressed with his shooting ability at this point.
What memories do you have of Ahmad Smith? Did you ever play with a guard that could fill up the stats sheet as well as him?
No, I have never played with a player like Ahmad. A 6’5 point guard is a teams dream and an opponents nightmare. The best memory I have with Ahmad is the year that we went to the championship against MBC. They won by 1 point but we both had the opportunity to move our teams up to the BBL.
You played 4 years with the Kirchheim Knights. Would you say that these were the most joyful years in your professional career?
Playing in Kircheim was my most joyful time in my career. They treat you like family there and make sure that you are comfortable, which makes it easier for the players to just worry about playing to the best of their ability.
You were 29 when you came to Kirchheim. How did head coach Branislav Ignjatovic help you make that next step into your 30´s as you continued to have strong seasons?
Frenkie helped me in many ways on and off of the court. He was more than just a coach to me. He gave me all of the tools I needed to be a successful player. If I had the chance to play for him again I would take it for sure.
You had many strong seasons in the German Pro A and led the league in scoring in 2006-2007 with Nordlingen averaging 24ppg. Were you surprised that you didn´t make the jump to the BBL the year after? You had the stats to at least get a shot.
After leading the league in scoring two years in a row I figured that I could easily make the jump to the BBL. I had some offers to come try out during the summer time but I thought I proved myself enough to get a contract offer. I got an offer from France that no BBL team would have offered me because I was coming up from the 2nd league so I took the France offer.
How thankful are you for Germany and the Nordlingen organization for giving you a chance in 2005 considering you had been playing the minor leagues in the States and Mexico before getting your big break?
I am very thankful for Germany and Noerdlingen for giving me the opportunity. I will never forget them. I also have to thank Coach Mike Taylor because he played a big part of me coming to Germany.
When you look back to your season with FC Bayern Munich who won a one on one in practice you or Andrej Mangold?
Haha. Me and Dre did not play one on one but I have never lost a one on one game in my career.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you believe that he will ever be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan when all is said and done?
Lebron is an absolute phenom. There will never be a player like Michael Jordan, he will be mentioned in the same breath with Jordan but nobody will be close. Lebron will make his own history.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Creed.
Thanks Cedric for the chat.