Bryan Smithson is a 30 year old 185cm point guard from Kennesaw,Georgia playing his thried season in Germany. He started his basketball career at Middle Tennessee St. (NCAA) in 2003 where he played two seasons. He then moved to NC-Asheville (NCAA) where he finished his college career and as a senior played 29 games: 16.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.1apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3Pts: 41.1%, FT: 83.5%. He played two seasons for the Kirchheim Knights in the German Pro A where he was top 5 in assists in the league the last two seasons. Last season for Kichheim he played 28 games: 12.0ppg, 3.4rpg, Assists-5(5.0apg), FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 88.2%. This season he is playing for the MLP Academics Heidelberg and spoke to German Hoops after the big 81-58 win against the Dragons Rhondorf.
Bryan thanks for talking to German Hoops. You have been playing in Germany for some years now, but what do you tend to appreciate most about the holiday time in this country?
Hi Miles, Happy New Year to you. Firstly, I am crazy about Christmas so Germany is the perfect place for me around the holidays. I have really grown to appreciate the Christmas markets, lights, and spirit during the holiday season.
What new years resolutions have you made for Bryan Smithson the professional player and the person?
I did not make any New Year’s resolutions for 2016. However, I am always striving to become a better man and improve as a basketball player. Fundamentals in my life are just as important, if not more, than the fundamental skills I try to hone everyday as a professional athlete.
Congrats on the huge 81-58 victory against the Dragons Rhondorf. How proud are you of the team who once again showed that despite having another set back with losing American Marcos Knight, the team was able to win their second straight game without the talented American?
I am very proud of our team and the resilience we have shown up to this point in the season. Our roster has been shaken up several times but it is important to note that the guys on this team never stopped working and that is why we were able to leave Rhondorf with the two points.
The MLP Academics Heidelberg were in control of the game until the end. What do you feel was the biggest key to being able to keep a strong hold on the living room sofa never allowing the opponent a chance to get on?
Our approach to the game was the biggest key to holding the scoring gap throughout. Rhondorf plays with high energy but they struggle to hold that energy for long periods of time. We had to take advantage of that by staying focused on each defensive possession.
Heidelberg played hard-nosed defense holding Rhondorf to 58 points. How vital was it containing American Sterling Carter who gets that team going, but the team shot only 29% from the field and 14% from outside?
We knew that if we could shrink the court on the defensive end and force them to make difficult shots, we would give ourselves a great chance to win the game.
Besides playing strong defense, would you agree that team unselfishness which led to 21 assists was the biggest strength on the offensive end?
Anytime our team can finish a game with 20+ assists it is a great sign that we are playing the right way. Obviously, making shots helps but I think it goes hand in hand with making the extra pass and playing unselfishly.
Germans Kristian Kuhn, Albert Kuppe and Maximillian Rockmann combined for 31 points. How vital is their consistent production for the continued success of the club?
Kris, Albert, and Max are the guys I like to talk about because they show up every day and work hard regardless of the circumstances. Their production is extremely important to the success of the team. When they are producing, our team is clicking on all cylinders.
The club is on a playoff spot at the moment, but please explain how difficult this season has been with all the set backs with players coming and going and injuries and what the secret has been to staying positive and still winning games?
Every time I speak to eurobasket.com there is a new change/addition to our team, so the challenges go without saying. Staying positive is easy because the core of our leadership has never changed. We have and will go through times of difficulty because of the roster changes, but as long as the core stays strong and persistent we will find a way to win games.
First you lose Aaron Thomas and now Marcos Knight. Who will be next? You won´t be making any surprise escapes to another team?
I am wearing the MLP Academics jersey loyally this season.
With so many top players leaving, does that increase your need to be a leader and step up even more as the season progresses?
As I said before, the core of our teams’ leadership has not changed. I will lead in the same manner that I have up to this point in the season. The challenge is that roles change a little for everyone and as one of the leaders on this team, it is my job to help facilitate that transition.
How vital has the pick up of Hrvoje Kovacevic been who brings 29 international club game experience to the squad? What does he bring to the team that it didn´t have before?
Kova’s experience is invaluable to us here in Heidelberg. He brings extra energy on both sides of the floor along with positivity in practice every day. Anytime a club adds a player like Kova with a high basketball IQ to the roster, the team will benefit in a variety of ways.
You had 4 turnovers against Rhondorf and only four turnovers in the previous six games. If you go 0/10, you can go in the gym the next day and shoot until you bleed, but how do you react after a 4 turnover game best?
I am actually happy to hear this question. Unfortunately, the statistics from Rhondorf are inaccurate. I did not have 4 turnovers and my streak of low turnover games continued. I hope that in the future ProA basketball will set standards which provide clear guidelines for stat keepers and hold each club accountable for abiding by those standards. With that said, I have had many games in my career with 4 turnovers. As a point guard turnovers are inevitable but I think after a game with a few too many, you have to reemphasize the importance of every possession without it affecting the speed of your decisions. Just like everything else – practice, practice, practice.
You are 8/10 from outside in the last two games. Are you shooting the ball at your best this season?
My confidence shooting the ball is really flowing. I have had some really great shooting seasons in my life, so it is difficult to say that it is my best. At this point, I just want to take good shots and the rest will take care of itself.
With the second half of the season in full swing and the team having a two game winning streak, what do is the most important thing in your game that you want to do well each game?
On this team it is important for me to provide structure and leadership each game. With the personnel on our roster we must play team basketball and be unselfish in order to find success.
Do you see Steph Curry hitting for 70 this season or is his point guard tendencies something that won´t allow him and his many scoring options?
I do not know if he will hit 70 points this season but I can tell you that if he did, it would not surprise me in the least. If he does, I hope I am watching.
Have you seen the new Star Wars movie? How did you like it in comparison to the other ones?
I am not a Star Wars fan but I hope the true fans enjoy it to the fullest.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Bryan for the chat.