Brendan Lane is a 25 year old 206cm center from Rocklin, California playing his second professional season and first in Germany in the Beko BBL with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. Last season as a rookie he played with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL): 52 games: 12.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. He started his basketball career in 2009 with UCLA(NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 79 NCAA games. He finished his college basketball career at Pepperdine (NCAA) playing 29 games averaging 13.2ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.2apg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 62.4%. He belongs to the top centers in the Beko BBL this season and currently is averaging 13,6ppg, 5,3rpg and 1,2apg. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Brendan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 81-70 win against the Crailsheim Merlins. How relieving was getting this win after having sustained a four game losing streak?
This win was very important for us not only for the playoffs, but just us as a team to get a win and get some momentum again
The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg overwhelmed Crailsheim in the statistical categories and played good defense again. Was this all in all the type of Wurzburg basketball that gives the club the best chance to win?
Yeah when we are being aggressive and playing good defense it carries over onto the offensive end for us and we are a much better team. Our success is very much dictated by our defense.
Currently the s.Oliver Baskets are in eighth place battling for the last playoff spot with the Giessen 56ers. How exciting is the whole notion that it is two teams that came up from the second division that are battling for that last spot?
It is very exciting. I think it goes to show how deep this league is that even teams who just moved up are talented enough to compete with the top teams and make the playoffs.
With the Giessen 46ers one can understand that team chemistry has a lot to do with the success since they have held on to numerous imports for the last 2-3 years. However with Wurzburg, the success comes on the heels of 8 new imports. How do you explain the team success this season?
A lot of credit is due to the management and coach Spradley. They put together a team full of great guys who want to win and we’ve had great chemistry from day one.
A lot of credit has to be given to head coach Doug Spradley. He has had success in Germany with teams like Paderborn and Bremerhaven and brought his winning magic to Wurzburg. He had that winning touch form the start of the season. What do you feel has garnered him reason to be in contention as coach of the year this season?
He’s done a good job of letting guys play their game and get confidence in this league. Especially with so many new players to this league, his system made it easy for us to adjust.
This season you have witnessed some very exciting games twice against Giessen including the Maurice Stuckey buzzer beater or big wins in tight fashion against Frankfurt, Braunschweig and Tuebingen. What has personally been your season highlight this season?
My highlight of the season was the win at Berlin. I struggled in that game with foul trouble, but that was such a big win for us. Especially after getting beat the way we did in the Pokal qualification it felt good to go back into their gym and get a win.
What has it been like playing with top point guard Lebron James buddy Dru Joyce htis season. How vital has his play and leadership been for the success and keeping the club together even during hard times?
He’s been the key to our success. He is so good at making everyone around him better, I love playing with him especially as a big man because he’s great in pick and rolls. His experience in this league has been key for us and his ability to be a leader for us.
The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners whom Wurzburg squeaked out a 77-75 win at the start of the season. Since then Frankfurt have capullated themselves to one of the 4 best teams in the league. Wurzburg also have improved. This time you meet on your home court. What kind of game can we await and what will be key in getting the win?
This is going to be a totally different game. When we first played them they were missing 3 key players so we know it´s going to be a challenge. They are so good defensively that we know we’re going to have to match that intensity and use our defense to create some easy points for us.
In the first game German national player Johannes Voigtmann was out with an injury. He belongs to the top centers in the league and has a mean versatile game. How much are you looking forward to battling him for the first time in your career?
It’s going to be a great matchup, he’s such a skilled big man that it will definitely be a challenge for me but I’m looking forward to it.
You are playing your first season in the Beko BBL after having had a very solid as a rookie with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL). You came to a stronger league and have been a strong factor from the start. What do you feel has been your secret for being able to adjust so well to this league?
The key for me has been my teammates. I’m playing with unselfish guys who are great passers and that helped me earlier in the year get easy baskets and gain that confidence that has helped me throughout the whole season.
You had very strong games against Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich scoring in double figures in every game, but Alba Berlin had your number each time. How much of a challenge was it playing against this traditional team and their experienced big men?
Those games were definitely frustrating for me. Two of the games I got in quick foul trouble and wasn’t able to play much and get a rhythm. I wish I could’ve stayed on the court more in those games to see what I could’ve done.
You are a 206cm center that can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
That’s a good question I can’t really think of anything in particular.
Last season as a rookie you played with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL). Often you had to play games back to day without a rest day. What kind of experience was Japan and was there any part that helped you get your game ready for Germany?
Playing back to back days was tough last year especially as a rookie, but it has helped me learn how to be a professional and to prepare each and every day. The jump from a college season to a pro season is a long one and the sooner you can get your mind prepared for 8 months of games the better.
Last season with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL) what was your wake up call to be a rookie in the far-east where you knew that you were very far away from Rocklin, California?
The thing that caught me off guard the most actually happened on the first day. We had a scrimmage and our coach was Spanish so he was talking in Spanish and then we had a translator translating it to Japanese and then we had another translator who then translated the Japanese into English. It was pretty crazy especially for the first day. Thankfully the rest of the year the coach spoke English.
You played at UCLA from 2009-2012 playing a total of 79 NCAA games. You didn´t get much minutes there. What kind of overall experience were these three years and what did you benefit from there?
In terms of basketball UCLA was a frustrating time for me, but it also taught me a lot of lessons that has helped me throughout my life since then. I wasn’t able to get the playing time that I wanted but I was able to see firsthand the talent and hard work it takes to be a professional athlete at the highest level. All summer we would play against NBA players and throughout the season we would play against high NBA draft picks. I learned how to deal with adversity and to fight through situations that were difficult for me or that I didn’t enjoy.
In your last season at UCLA you were placed in the starting lineup in a 65-58 win against Arizona andd logged 24 minutes. Is this a game that has stuck with you over time?
I actually don’t remember much about that game specifically. However, playing against Arizona was always a special experience. The atmosphere around those games was electric and they always seemed to be close fought games.
It´s not common to graduate after three years, but even less common to continue to go to school and play basketball. On top of that you sat out a year, but practiced with the team. You got 5 years of basketball instead of four years. How do you feel did you benefit at Pepperdine on and off the court?
My experience at Pepperdine was great. The environment around that program is so supportive and everyone is always striving to be better. Pepperdine allowed me to get my confidence back playing basketball and most importantly I started having fun and loving the game again.
At Pepperdine you started all 30 games and earned WCC Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-WCC honorable mention honors and averaged 13.2ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.2apg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 62.4%. Did you make a huge jump on the defensive end in your senior season or was it just gradual development over the years?
It was definitely a gradual development. At UCLA I was facing future NBA draft picks and I was just not physically strong enough or didn’t have that experience yet to be a great defender. When I got to Pepperdine though I had worked on my body physically and mentally I knew that no one was going to be tougher to guard than what I had faced at UCLA.
How did head coach Marty Wilson groom and prepare you best for a professional career in your last college season?
Coach Wilson was great for me. He really challenged me to be a leader and by doing so that made me be focused every day to make our team better on and off the court. That focus and accountability makes it an easy transition to being a professional. Because once you are over here there is no one taking care of you like you had in college.
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 think they are just having a hard time adjusting to the style of play the NBA has turned to now. They try to compare how they were playing 20-30 years ago to how they play now and it’s not the talent or physical nature of players that have changed it’s just the rules that are in place now. And the Warriors have done a great job creating a team and a style that works the best in this era.
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?
That is a tough one I love Lebron and I think he’s one of the greatest players of all time but he hasn’t won championships the way those guys did.
Who will win the NCAA 2016 North Carolina or Villanova?
I thought North Carolina was going to win but I was wrong. That ending of the game was great though, that’s what makes the NCAA tournament so awesome is games like that.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Dead Pool. I thought it was pretty good and a lot funnier than I expected.
Thanks Brendan for the chat.