Ricky Easterling is a 32 year old 190cm guard from Baltimore playing his 10 professional season in Germany and over the years has been crowned Mr Regionaliga as he averaged over 30 points three times with TV Saarlouis and is now playing his second season in the German Pro B and belongs to the top 3 players there. Before moving to Saarlouis in 2007 he played at Bridgewater (NCAA3) and then as a rookie played with TSG Reutlingen (Germany-Oberliga and Bergheim Bandits (Germany-Regionalliga). Last season with TV Saarlouis he played 28 games: Score-1(22.9ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-4(5.3apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 55.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 86.1%. Currently he is averaging 22,7ppg, 3,9rpg and 4,1apg. He spoke to German Hoops before the start of the German Pro B playdown series.
Ricky thanks for talking to German Hoops. A tough 92-80 loss against Weissenhorn over the weekend. At the end of your second regular season in the German Pro B, how sick and tired are you of playing catch up basketball?
I’m sick and tired of playing catch up for a while now. It has been a tough 2 seasons. But regardless I am blessed to be here and remain thankful and humble for this opportunity.
Weissenhorn did everything better on the stat sheet except having one turnover more. What positive thing could you take out of this game?
For me it is hard to find setting positive to take out of this game. We didn’t play well and the stats and the results show that. But my young boy Edgar Schwarz got good minutes and played very well.
What does it say for the quality of Weissenhorn when there were only three guys in double figures and all were Germans and big talent Joschka Ferner who had 37 points last weekend wasn´t one of them?
They have a good group of young talent on their team. Many of those guys will be playing big minutes in the BBL in the near future!
You see the best young German talent every weekend in the German Pro B. Joschka Ferner only had 9 points against Saarlouis, but played Eurocup at age 16 with ratiopharm Ulm. How much potential does this kid have?
He is a big talent here in Germany and his stats show it. Has good size and a very good jump shot. I look forward to watching him in the future and I telling people I had the chance to play against him.
You had your best scoring game of the season with 33 points. With experience is there anyway you can still somewhat enjoy your good personal performances despite getting a loss?
Scoring 30+ is nothing new to me so I do not look at that as such a big deal. Wins are more important to me. So if we won this game and I had 0 points I would enjoy that more than scoring 30+ and losing
Saarlouis is back in the playdowns like last season. What is your regular season summary? What were the positives and negatives of the season?
Looking positively on the season I think we have made some improvements simply because we had the chance to win many more games this season than last. Even though our record does not show that you can look back at the box scores and find the evidence. To reflect negatively on the season we just did not have what it takes to win these close games and for me that is disappointing. We had many games where maybe one possession made the difference and we keep coming up on the losing side. Hopefully we can improve on that in the play downs.
How frustrating was it for the team to lose 3-4 games where you defended very good, but couldn´t put up points on the board?
That is very frustrating because we have the quality to win games and be good offensively but we just couldn’t put it together in these games.
Saarlouis averaged giving up 80 points in the regular season. Why couldn´t the team find any real consistency on the defensive end and what will have to improve to let up less points in the playdowns?
I don’t want to go into detail because that is something we as a team keep to ourselves. But the fact of the matter is we just have to be able to defend better night in and night out. There is a lot of talent in this league and it will not be easy. But I believe in my team and I think in the play downs we will be a team that will show what we are truly made of offensively and defensively.
Your stats are pretty much the same from last season, but you averaged more assists last season. What is your summary of the regular season of your own game?
I was playing more point guard last year so I had the responsibility to get my teammates more involved as well as being a scorer . Even though that aspect is something I have in my game regardless if I play the point or on the wing, this season being on the wing and playing more off the ball I feel I didn’t have the opportunity to create for others like the season before. I feel there is always room for improvement in my game regardless of how well I might play. So I am never satisfied and think some of my numbers could have been better then what they are.
After another season of experience in the German Pro B how do you feel your game matured this season?
I feel I understand the game better at this level. It is definitely stronger than the Regionalliga and I think I have matured as a leader being that leadership was something that was needed from me more than ever this season.
Saarlouis now plays against Speyer. How important is it that the team won the season series?
I think it gives us more confidence knowing that we can beat this team. But that does not mean that we will just go out there and win. We still need to come to the game ready to play and do what we need to do in order to walk away with the win.
In both games you combined for 48 points while Speyer American DJ Woodmore had 44 points, but 34 points in one game. How key will it be containing him?
He is their top scorer and they look to him to produce for them every game. I think it is important to keep him under control and force others to score if we want to win this game
What else will be key in this series to come out on top? I think the bench will play a big role.
Bench production will play a factor but I think our defense will tell the story in this one. If we can play good defense and make stops, it will lead to easy offense and give us the momentum we need to control the pace of the game.
As you get older, what do you appreciate most about being able to play the game so long and still belong to the top class at that level?
I appreciate just having the opportunity to play basketball overseas. It was always a dream of mine to continue basketball after college and I am living. Could ask for nothing better. To be here so long and to be considered as one of the tip players at this level is a honor. I work hard every day and appreciate the recognition of my contribution to my team
Some of the older NBA players that played at different times are having a hard time giving Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors credit for their success saying they might not have had that success 20-30 years ago. Are these former players just jealous or why can´t they just give credit where it´s due?
I find that the old school are the originators of the game and set the path for the players and teams of today. So without them there would be no us today. But I do believe GSW are making history with their great season deserve to be recognized for it.
Recently ESPN made a top 100 greatest NBA players of alltime poll putting Lebron at #3 before legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and BIll Russell. Do you see that as being justified?
I can’t really call it. I guess if the experts say so then he must deserve to be there. One can argue for it or against it, but I’m going to plead the 5th.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The hateful 8 by Quentin Tarantino.
Thanks Ricky for the chat.