Michael Brown is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Heber City, Utah playing his rookie season in Germany with the Iserlohn Kangaroos in the Pro B league. He started his basketball career in 2011 with Weber St. (NCAA) where he played 16 NCAA games. He then moved to Colorado Christian (NCAA2) playing his last three years of school and as a senior played 18 games: averaging 16.3ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 77.9%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Mike thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are a rookie this season playing in the German Pro B for Iserlohn. When you came to the club in pre season did you get a feeling quickly that this could be a special season?
When I arrived for our first practice, I had no idea what to expect. What I do remember is that everyone was so welcoming and kind. I felt like I fit in right away, which doesn’t always happen on basketball teams. I also remember that our first practice was very intense, and we were competing at a high level. I knew right away that this team was very hard working. I had heard that sometimes it can be a tough experience as a rookie, so I definitely felt like this team was special by how well we fit together from an early stage.
In your final season at Colorado Christian (NCAA2) you won the D-2 national title. Do you feel some of those vibes were transported to your rookie season with Iserlohn?
It was certainly nice to end my college career with a win. I knew that Iserlohn had a very successful year in the 2014-2015 season. I consider myself very fortunate that I was able to join an already fantastic club and organization.
: Last weekend Iserlohn suffered a tough 77-74 loss to the hands of Bochum. Bochum won the game at the end with free throws. Where in your opinion was this game lost?
When you lose a game by 3 points, you spend the night thinking about the things we could have done differently in order to win the game. Truth is, Bochum played an outstanding game, and they deserve credit there. But we feel that the game was lost because of our inability to play good defense in the second half.
How bitter was it losing a close game stopping the powerful Iserlohn 8 game winning streak?
It was extremely disappointing. But it was also an opportunity for us to learn a lesson before playoffs start.
Iserlohn has only lost twice since the start of October to Artland and Bochum and just dominated the German pro B north. What has been the secret to the success of the team?
I would say that we have good team chemistry, and put in a lot of hard work. Everyone contributes, from the fans, to the management and coaching, on to the players.
How important is the fact that team doesn´t have one or two guys scoring 17-18 points, but a team that rely on each other for success?
We think that it is extremely important. We have each other’s back, and rely on each other a lot. We also have a lot of confidence in one another.
Does the success start on the defensive end? The team is allowing 72 points a game and average a potent 35 rebounds per game?
Defense is a huge part of it. Coach Matthias puts emphasis on the defensive end. It is an important factor in winning any game.
Does the fact that the club isn´t the best three pointing team unease you at times?
Yes, we as a team recognize our weakness in that area. We want to continue to practice and improve, but also focus on our strengths in order to win games.
Iserlohn have solid Americans with Jerry Brown, Deion Giddens and yourself and very solid Germans. How important is the fact that the club has 7 guys with Beko BBL experience?
It is very important. The German players are extremely talented, and bring a ton of professional experience to the team. I myself have learned a tremendous amount from them this year.
Iserlohn doesn´t always have every player available due to their duties to Beko BBL team Phoenix Hagen. Is the shifting of line ups and the success this season been a big credit to head coach Matthias Grothe?
Absolutely. Coach has a reason for everything he does. He knows matchups, players, statistics, better than anyone I have ever met. A huge credit to coach Matthias.
How focused is the team at the moment for securing a title this season?
Extremely focused, everyone wants to win the title very badly.
Iserlohn next play playoff team Rostock which you beat 77-73 earlier in the season. What do you remember from that game and what will be key to sweeping the regular seasons series?
I remember that it was a close game, and that they are a talented team. I have heard that Rostock is very good playing at home. The key will be to play good defense, and stay calm and collected on offense.
You are a 190cm guard. What exactly is your role on the club?
My role is to be aggressive offensively, and be a defensive presence on the court.
Currently you are averaging 10,2ppg, 2,4rpg and 2,1apg. How would you summarize your season? What has been the most difficult thing to get adjusted to the style in the Pro B?
It has been an interesting season, personally. I have never been injured before, and breaking my hand early in the season was a unique experience for me. Being integrated back into the team after that was a good learning experience. I still have a lot to learn from that, I am still trying to work through some details with shooting the ball because of it. All in all, my rookie season has been great for learning and improving. The most difficult thing that I have had to adjust to in Pro B is the 24 second shot clock. Moving the ball quickly and getting the best shot possible takes precision and quickness.
How important has veteran Kristof Schwarz been for your rookie season? Is it his experience and game intelligence that has helped you most?
Absolutely. He has helped me more than I can explain, on and off the court. From day one he has been giving me advice and coaching me on the court. I will never forget some of the things he has taught me, and I am super thankful that he is the leader of our team.
You had the number of Schwelm this season scoring 20 points this season in both games. Were those your two best games as a professional so far?
Those were my best shooting games as a professional for sure. I have had other games where I played better defense and got more assists. I am still working and hoping for a game where I play the best game in all areas.
How would you describe your relationship to head coach Matthias Grothe? How has he helped shape your game and make the transition from school to pro easier?
I would describe my relationship with Coach Matthias as very good. It is also difficult to explain how much he has helped me and taught me already, this season. He is extremely smart, and is able to approach the game from so many different angles. He has helped me to see things about my game that I never saw before, and never stops challenging me to be better.
You had an illustrious three year career at Colorado Christian winning the Division 2 title. The season had it´s ups and downs. When you look back at the season what was the defining moment where you knew that this team could be special?
It was actually before we even started playing basketball. We went to a place called Camp Barnabas in Missouri before the season. And we developed a bond that was unbreakable. My teammates from college will be my friends for life, and I love them dearly.
Colorado Christina beat Dallas Baptist University 77-71 for the Division 2 title and you added 11 points. What memory during the game still stands out for you today that you just can´t forget?
I will never forget how hard my teammates fought. I actually played a very bad game, but my team played outstanding. They had my back.
How special was it having teammates like Zach McLemore and Wayne McCullough? What were you able to take with you to Germany from their play on the court and how they were off the court?
Both Wayne and Zach are very talented players. They helped me develop into the player I am now, and taught me how to be a competitor. Off the court, we are like brothers.
How did head coach Kevin Lubbers groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Lubbers prepared me as a human being. He taught me so much about toughness, and mentality. He instilled a confidence in me with my three point shot that I had never had before. He provided faith and confidence while at the same time a constructive criticism that demanded humbleness.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Andrew Squiers?
I believe we only played one on one once. He was the best defender on our team, but I snuck away with a win.
You live in a very beautiful area of Germany where you have many classic cities around you as well as 2 hour drives to Holland and Belgium. What place in your vicinity of Iserlohn has given you the most joy this season?
Probably Düsseldorf or Dortmund. My wife and I have visited both numerous times. My family traveled out here during Christmas, and we particularly enjoyed the Dortmund Christmas market.
Recently ESPN ranked the top 100 NBA players of all time putting Lebron at #3 before legends like Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Magic Johnson. Do you feel this is justified?
These questions are always so difficult. There is no question that Lebron is a better athlete than all three of the players you mentioned. He has already had an extremely successful career, and yet he still has a long time left to play. When factoring in the future that he still has, I believe ranking him above those legends is justified.
Has Matthias Grothe ever taken inspiration from this locker room talk from 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH8IskMmDwM? He and your teammate Kristof Schwarz were in this locker room and took it all in. lol
Lol, I don’t know if he has taken inspiration from it, but he has gotten pretty fired up at times. There have been times when we needed him to yell at us, and of course, he has no problem doing that when it is necessary lol.
Thanks Mike for the chat.