Brandon Lockhart is a 25 year old 185cm guard from St Louis, Missouri that is playing hiss econd professional season and first with German team Giants Nordlingen. AS a rookie he played for BK Levicki Patrioti (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 34 games: Score-5(16.7ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-5(4.3apg), Steals-1(3.0spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 78.9%. He played at Drury (NCAA2) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 12.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 6.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 77.1%. He spoke to German Hoops after the big 84-59 win in game one against Oldenburg.
Brandon congrats on the huge 84-59 win against Oldenburg for the 1-0 series win. How was the two week preparation different for this Pro B north team then it was for the Pro B south teams this season?
Danke Miles! I wouldn’t say that we prepared any differently for this team than we have for any other team all year. We did not close the season the way we wanted to, so that really helped our focus during the 2 weeks of practice before post season play began.
How exciting was this game for you? It was your first playoff game in Germany. What memories did you have from your series against Inter Bratislavia two years ago?
This game was really exciting for myself and my teammates! Our team played really well to open the playoffs which made it even more exciting. Since we got swept by Bratislava, no real positive memories haha. But I gained experience from it and did not want to have that happen again.
Did you have some nerves at the start of the game or was it a normal game for you despite it being your first post season game in Germany?
I wouldn’t say that I was nervous for this game. The preparation and focus we had in practice the past 2 weeks did not allow for nerves to get to me.
At halftime Nordlingen had the overwhelming 49-23 lead. How much % of the game plan had the Giants successfully completed after the first 20 minutes?
I think we did a really good job of sticking to our game plan in the first half, especially in the second quarter. Since it was only the first half, guess I would say only 50% since we still had 20 more minutes to complete the job. We struggled at times this year to put games away when we had the chance, so I think not allowing them to get back in the game in the 3rd was a better accomplishment for us.
Nordlingen was defending great in the first half and had a good offensive rhythm going early. Was this Nordlingen basketball that the team was playing where everything was working?
We definitely played Nordlingen basketball last night! We have a good group of guys that really enjoy playing together. We had 28 assists last night which means everyone is involved and that makes it more fun to be out there.
You led by as much as 34 points in the third quarter. Was it tough to focus at times in a big lead or was the big lead a benefit more by how they were playing?
It was not really tough to focus because its the playoffs and we wanted to keep our momentum going. We did not want them to get on a roll and make the 4th quarter interesting.
Winning the rebound duel 35-34 may not seem like much, but Oldenburg has a huge size advantage over Nordlingen. How proud are you of the team that they were able to match up well down low?
Extremely proud of our guys! It’s something that we talk about every day in practice since we are a smaller team. If we get killed on the boards by an opponent, it will be difficult for us to win games.
How confident are you that when the big three score in double figures plus two more players with Leo Vrkas and Kwame Duku that you will go very far in the playoffs?
At this time of the year, you need positive contributions from everyone. So that was really big for us last night. If we can continue to get positive contributions from everyone that plays, I like our chances against any opponent. But its always one game at a time.
You almost played 31 minutes How did you feel after 40 minutes? Did the two week break benefit your conditioning a bit?
The two week break was extremely beneficial in getting healthier. Small nagging injuries happen throughout the season unfortunately. So having time to rest up and get healthier was the biggest benefit of the break.
You scored 14 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out seven assists while getting seven steals. Did your energetic defense spark your offense?
We play our best when we play good defense because it allows us to get out in transition. So playing good team defense definitely ignited my offense, as well as the teams.
Nordlingen can wrap the series next weekend in Oldenburg. Nordlingen had 17 steals in game one. Will another defensive effort like in game one get you the win even if the offense isn´t as sharp getting 28 assists and more points in game 2?
Defense will be key for us again because that gets our offense going. We will go up there and play our game and see what happens.
Were you surprised by so many upsets in the NCAA March Madness? Is there more parity with NCAA schools than possibly in the past?
I know I should not be surprised by the upsets that happen every year, but I always am! The gap between the major and mid major schools is getting smaller every year. There are a bunch of good players and teams out there and the tournament shows that.
What sleepers that are alive now do you see possibly making a run in the 2016 NCAA March Madness?
Not many people are talking about Xavier, but I can see them making a deep run. I also could see Gonzaga making a run at it since Michigan St. got knocked out early in their region. But I am a Duke fan! So I’m hoping they repeat this year as champions haha
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Brandon for the chat.