Andrew Rautins is a 29 year old 193cm guard from Jamestown, New York that is playing his sixth professional season and first with Royal Hali Gaziantep (Turkey-BSL). He started his basketball career at Syracuse in 2005 playing there until 2010 reaching tow NIT Elite 8 tournaments and the NCAA Sweet 16. In 2010-2011 he started his professional career being drafted by New York Knicks (NBA,2rd(38). He played 5 games for the New York Knicks averaging 1.6ppg.In the 2011-2012 season he went to Europe and played for Lucentum Alicante (Spain-ACB): 17 games: 7.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 35.3%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 80.0%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA), released in Oct.”12, in Nov.”12 signed at Tulsa 66ers (D-League): 51 games: 13.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 76.6%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL): 15 games: Score-3(17.6ppg), 4.3rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 91.2%. Last season he played for Openjobmetis Varese (Italy-Serie A) playing 28 games averaging 12.0ppg, 4.6rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 32.9%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 81.4%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Europe Cup game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Andrew welcome back to Germany. It has been 2.5 years since you played your last game in a Fraport Skyliners jersey. Since then you played in Italy and now playing in Turkey with Royal Hali Gaziantep (Turkey-BSL). Has time flown by for you?
Time has really flown by since I played for the Fraport Skyliners. One is always starting some new kind of chapter in Europe and it just goes by faster with the short summers.
How much are you looking forward to playing in the Fraport arena where you had some big games. You had your biggest games on the road in Bremerhaven, Trier and Ulm, but is there a game you remember most fondly from the Fraport arena?
I don´t have one specific game that I can say I remember most in the Fraport arena. I remember that I always had a good feeling in the Fraport arena. It was always fun to play in that gym. The fans were amazing and Frankfurt is a great city. Everyone treated me very well there and the Fraport Skyliners is a great organization.
What memories do you have from the wild triple OT win in Ulm where you had 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists? Does this game rank second in most crazy games after the 6 OT game against Uconn?
Ulm ranks up there with my most crazy games. I remember the game was shortly before Christmas break. I remember that being a big win for us. At the time we were a very young team playing against a very good Ulm team. We showed a lot character pulling out the win and it showed just how good of a coach Gordon Herbert was. I was proud of the team then and it is good see how the guys have grown up and are playing a great season.
You played with German national player Johannes Voigtmann and played against him recently where he scored 15 points and had nine rebounds. He played at the 2015 European championships and was backup to Utah Jazz Tibor Pleiss and has NBA interest now. How have you seen his development. From what you saw on the court, can he play in the NBA?
Absolutely he could. Joe is a seven footer that can shoot the three ball, pass the ball well and has great foot work. We all saw the talent that Joe had then. It was just a matter of getting stronger and getting more experience. He was very impressive in the Europe cup game in Turkey. Joe definitely deserves a shot at the NBA.
You have played with many amazing players in your career, but where does Quantez Robertson rank with his athleticism and defense with all players that you have played with?
Tez is up there. He is a specimen. He is one of the most physical players in Europe that can always finish strong at the rim and is just a game changer. He was a great teammate for me.
You had a close bond during your tenure with the Fraport Skyliners with Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi. What was your fondest memory with the character guy?
There were too many great memories with Jacob. He is one of the better teammates that anyone could ever have. He is all about winning and always wants to make the right plays to help his team win. He is an exceptional piece to have on the team. I really enjoyed playing with him. He is a great player and even greater dude. We have talked once in a while, but I wish we would have talked more though.
You were teammates with Aaron Doornekamp with the 2010 Canadian national team that played at the World Championships in Turkey. Frankfurt head coach Gordon Herbert has said that he has enjoyed working most with him. Did his energy rub off on you over the years playing national team?
Aaron and I go way back and have been playing together for 10-12 years. We have been teammates since we have been 18-19 years old. He is one of my better friends. He has an outstanding work ethic and will only be outworked by few. He is a work horse. He is like Jacob Burtschi a guy that does all for the team. He is one of the most underrated guys that I have ever played with. He deserves recognition for everything that he has done on the court.
You are playing your first season in Turkey with Royal Hali. Currently the team is in 11th place with a record of 7-8. How would you summarize the season so far?
The Turkish league is tough and probably the best league in the world. Talent wise from top to bottom, it is a battle each week. You have to be prepared every night and can´t take off a night. We are playing well and I am happy with our effort. We need to play our best ball and if not we lose, but we are always fighting.
The club has much talent with the Americans coupled with Ruzic and Balazic and routine Turkish players. Is the playoffs not a realistic goal for the team?
The playoffs is our goal and we have the team to do it. It is a matter of bearing down and being focused in every game. We are preparing as best as we can for the latter half of the season.
You are surrounded by much scoring talent, but your still second in scoring and first in three point shooting. How would you classify your role this season in Turkey?
My role is to help the team win any way I can. I try my best by opening up the floor, make plays and get everyone involved. Always being my best on defense and getting wins is the goal
There is a real ex NBA trio with Jawan Williams, Julyan Stone and yourself. Do you guys ever ask yourself if the NBA can ever be an option again?
I don´t rule out the NBA ever. It is always in the back of my mind. The NBA is the ultimate goal for any player. Important is too take one day at a time, reach your goals and the rest will take care of it´s self.
Last season you played in Italy with Openjobmetis Varese (Italy-Serie A). How difficult was it coming back from your tough injury in Frankfurt and having a solid season?
Last season was a real challenge in Italy. I am thankful too many good people who helped me with my rehabbing to get me back healthy again. I felt good last season and had no problems. I am still feeling good now.
You played your second time with Dawan Robinson. How tough was it playing so shortly with the American in Germany and Italy as he left Frankfurt for Israel and Italy for Bamberg. What did you cherish most about his game and character?
Dawan is a great guy. He has a very magnetic personality. He is a phenomenal point guard that does a great job creating for himself and others. He is one toughest point guards to stop.
In your third season as a professional you started with the Oklahoma Thunder and then played with the Tulsa 66ers (D-League): 51 games: 13.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 76.6%. What did you like about the D-league and what not?
The D-league was an overall good experience. There were more positives than negatives. What I like about the D-league is that you get the chance to work on the necessary things that you need for the NBA. You get to work in an NBA like system, get minutes and always have that opportunity to get called up.
In your second professional season you played for Lucentum Alicante (Spain-ACB): 17 games: 7.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 35.3%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 80.0%. What was your wake up call to being a professional in Europe?
My wake up call was basketball being a lot different in Europe than in the States. Spacing, defending ball screens and how to share the ball was very much different. It also took some time to get used to what the coach was looking for. It is a small learning curve, but as soon as you get into the swing of things, it is fun to play here.
In Spain you were teammates with Ty Ellis who was an instrumental figure in Frankfurt winning the 2004 BBL title. There are few players as professional as him. He still had a very strong last season and now is coaching in the D-league. What do you remember most about him and how did he help your game?
Ty Ellis was an outstanding player as well as person. He was very important for me, because he gave me little tips and tricks how to get by in Europe. He really was instrumental in my development in Europe and D-league as he later would be my coach at Tulsa. I have much respect and am deeply thankful that he was around for me. He will have a successful coaching career.
As a rookie you played 5 NBA games for the New York Knicks. You have seen so many players in your career. When looking at the talent around the world, would you say that every good team in top leagues in Europe have at least one player that could play in the NBA?
I am not sure. That is tough to say. It is hit or miss and it depends on timing.
How often do you get asked about the historic 6 OT win against Uconn and do you ever flick in the tape to watch it?
I am asked a fair amount about this historic game especially when tournament time comes around. ESPN usually reruns it at that time. It is fun to relive it with my teammates. It is definitely fun to make history.
You played with ex NBA player Jonny Flynn at Syracuse. Has it surprised you that his career took a turn the way it has? What was the most amazing pass that you remember him making at Syracuse?
There were too many amazing passes to count that he made. After his great career at Syracuse, I thought that he would have an unbelievable NBA career. It is tough to say what went wrong. We all want the best for him. He was so talented and could do anything. He was such an electrifying player. He had a phenomenal rookie season in the NBA and then he was hampered with injuries. He was one of the most talented players that I played with.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2016? When all is said and done do you see him being mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
I feel you have to mention Lebron in the same breath of Michael Jordan once all is said and done. The numbers of Lebron speak for him. It has been a while since a player like Lebron has come along. What he can do with his size is incredible. He carries the load and just does everything. There was only one Michael, but there will also only be one Lebron.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Martian with Matt Damon. It was a good movie.
Thanks Andy for the chat.