David Sturner is a 206cm power forward/center playing his first season in Germany for pro B team Dresden Titans and currently is averaging 11,4ppg and 6,4rpg. He started his basketball career with Orgeon State playing 13 NCAA games and then moved to S.Oregon (NAIA) and as a senior played 31 games: 14.6ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 56.2%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 56.2%. He started his professional basketball career recently with the West Adelaide Bearcats (Australia-Central ABL) before coming to Germany. He spoke to German Hoops after the dramatic do or die playoff win in Rostock.
David congrats on the big 92-90 do or die win in Rostock. How proud are you of your team that you survived and escaped the nasty Seawolves den?
Thank you Miles. I’m extremely proud of my team. The heart that we showed all series, and especially in this 3rd game shows what we are capable of. Credit to Rostock, they had a great team and played hard until the final buzzer.
What were head coach Steven Clauss´s first words directly after the game in the locker room?
Coach told us great job to come back and win two games in a row, and to celebrate the win.
Head coach Steven Clauss got revenge after losing a do or die game last season with Hanau. Could you sense some relief for him finally beating Rostock in a three game series?
I don’t know if he was relieved. Coach Clauss expected us to win the series, and he wasn’t treating the series as trying to get revenge from last year. All week there wasn’t any stress within the team or management, so I think he was just excited after the game and looking forward to our next series.
You won your second do or die game in a row. Do you feel like winning these tight do or die games are coming a positive habit for you?
Yeah I definitely think it says a lot about your team when you can win with your back against the wall. We know we can play with every team in ProB so our confidence played a big role in pulling through these two games.
The Dresden Titans had the solid 46-39 lead at halftime and seemed in command on hostile ground. What words of wisdom did Steve Clauss give the team going into the second half?
He just told us to keep pushing the ball and play our game. We knew they would make runs in the second half, so it was important for us not to relax and get comfortable with our lead.
The Dresden Titans led by as much as 15 points in the second half, but Rostock made a furious comeback. Did Dresden feel too comfortable and lose focus and an oversight of it´s basketball principles?
I think their comeback came down to simple mistakes on our part. Turnovers, offensive rebounds, and some soft fouls allowed them to score quickly, a lot like the first game of the series. We didn’t stop playing our game and keeping our nose to the grind, and that’s why we came out on top.
Rostock made a big run in the fourth to tie the game at 85-85. What was key for Rostock making the game very interesting again?
Rostock is very good at finding extra opportunities and taking advantage of them. I think they knew they couldn’t stop us from scoring so they had to get offensive rebounds and force turnovers. In that run they were able to do this and score a couple of and-one’s and threes.
The game continued to swing back and forth, but Randall Holt made a big three and Dresden went on a 7-0 run to lead 92-85. How difficult was it being focused on all game situation principles in a loud arena that was going wild?
Personally, the last few minutes I don’t even remember the crowd. I think as a player you just get into a zone where all outside distractions don’t effect you. In Dresden, we always have such a loud arena, so we are all used to playing in such an exciting atmosphere.
Dresden pulled out the win at the end, but it was very close? Was team rebounding what was key in the last minute for securing the win?
Exactly, rebounding and not letting Rostock’s momentum effect our heads.
How difficult is it to understand that the team shot the lights out from downtown with 16 three´s, but won only by two points?
I had no idea we had shot the ball so well from 3 until the bus ride home. I was very surprised, and to shoot that well and only win by 2 is an a anomaly I’m sure but that goes back to Rostock’s offensive rebounding and forced turnovers. I haven’t checked the possessions yet, but I’d imagine Rostock had at least 10 more possessions that we did.
You had a very strong game with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Was this the kind of game that was vital for the further progression of your game going into the next difficult series against BG Karlsruhe?
Whether I have a good or bad game I don’t like to let it affect my mindset going into the next game. I think you should have confidence regardless of how you’ve been playing. It was a good way to finish the series, and now we have a clean slate going into Karlsruhe.
Dresden now meets BG Karlsruhe. How excited are you to be battling the best team in the Pro B south?
I’m very excited. We had a close battle with them at their place earlier this year and struggled at home with them. Now we have the addition of coach Clauss and Randall Holt so it will be an entirely different game in terms of strategy and tempo.
You lost one game by 16 points, but lost the first encounter by three points. In both games you didn´t have Randall Holt yet and BG Karlsruhe didn´t have Paul Brotherson yet. In the 16 point loss, three of their starters scored 80 of the team 96 points. What kind of series can we await this time?
I think the series is going to be a physical one, much like this series with Rostock. Karlsruhe has great bigs and can put points on the board so we will have to slow them down, and of course play our high tempo game.
BG Karlsruhe have a very strong starting five and beasts in Marcus Smallwood and Jeremy Black. What will be key in getting the upset?
I think it will come down to boxing out and keeping their bigs off the offensive glass. They are workhorses when it comes to rebounding and we will have to counter that.
How confident are you that you will be able to step up your game even more in the series against BG Karlsruhe?
I’m very confident in our team. We have been playing at such a high level, and with so much confidence, we know that we can beat anyone. We just have to execute and be ourselves on the court.
Were you surprised that Oklahoma lost by 44 points to Villanova?
Very surprised, I told you last week I thought they were going to win the championship! But it will be a fun game to watch UNC and Nova.
Who will win the NCAA 2016 title North Carolina or Villanova and what will the score be?
What was the last movie that you saw?
Haven’t watched another movie since Star Wars! But there’s a few movies out right now that I would like to see.
Thanks David for the chat.