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 bitter 98-96 loss to Frankfurt ending his season.
David thanks for talking to German Hoops A tough 98-96 loss to the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to end the season. Does the fact that the Dresden Titans came back from 19 points to almost win the game ease the hurt somewhat instead of having been blown out?
My pleasure as always, Miles. I wouldn’t say the comeback eases the hurt, but it was definitely a testament to our resiliency and shows how much fight we have as a team.
I came back from my training run in Chalon, France to check the score and was shocked to see that Frankfurt was up by 20 points in the second half. Did the Dresden Titans wake up on the wrong side of the bed?
It’s hard to say what went wrong in the first 20 minutes. We didn’t come out aggressive and let Frankfurt impose their will upon us.
Andrew Jones had told me in the pregame interview that you would take the Frankfurt side as if it was their A-team. Did Dresden underestimate Frankfurt or did the guests come up with even more intensity than you ever expected?
I don’t think we underestimated them, because we know how much talent them have from top to bottom. However, I think we were surprised with how well they shot the ball. They brought their usual intensity. They’re a young group so they’re always going to have a lot of energy.
Did the Fraport Skyliners Juniors remind you a bit of the Nordlingen Giants in that they had a very slim rotation and had 4 guys that had to do most of the scoring?
Not really, because whatever 5 they had on the floor, they all posed an offensive threat. Nordlingen does a lot more isolation and 1-1 play, but Frankfurt moves the ball so well and you can’t leave anyone open.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 54 to 36 at halftime. What was key for the guests having the very big lead at the break?
The key was out lack of intensity and pressure. We struggled to force them into bad shots and weren’t aggressive offensively like we usually are.
With the season on the line, what did head coach Steven Clauss tell the team to do for the possible last 20 minutes of the season?
He told us that it was our game, we still were in control of the outcome and that we had to play our game and stop letting Frankfurt play theirs. As you can see with the final score, he was right. We just were one shot away.
The Dresden Titans really stepped up their offense in the second half and were able to execute. What adjustments did the club make that started the big come back
The only adjustment really was to play the way we know how to. We were aggressive on both sides of the ball and kept attacking. I wouldn’t say we played exceptionally well in the second half, just normal for us. We just needed to start the game that way.
In the fourth quarter, Dresden made one last run, but came up short. How proud are you of the fighting mentality of the team in that last quarter?
I’m extremely proud of our team, not only for that second half and final run, but for the entire season. We faced a lot of adversity throughout the season and to make it to the Pro B semifinals and turn our season around is an amazing accomplishment. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to play with this team, it’s rare to have a team and staff like this.
With 20 seconds to go, I made the call that Steven Clauss would want to win the game with a three pointer as you were down by two points. However American Randall Holt´s last shot came up short. What were your thoughts about when he released the ball? Did it look good from your standpoint?
That’s a good call! We were looking for Daniel on the play but they double teamed him and the ball ended up back in Randall’s hands near half court. The shot was straight on, just about 3cm long. It’s of course not the shot we wanted, but it had a chance and we have to live with it. Hats off to Frankfurt for their defensive pressure in that last play.
Randall Holt gave his all hitting for 31 points. What will you never forget about his stay in Dresden and what you and him accomplished as teammates?
I’ve never had the chance to play with a PG like Randall. He is a score first guard, but with the passing ability and unselfishness to find the open man. I think he makes everyone around him better, and for me I was often the beneficiary of teams double teaming him and leaving me open. He has a great basketball IQ.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors now face Ehingen in the Pro B final. What kind of series can we await and who will win the Pro B final?
It’s going to be a great series. Ehingen has a lot of offensive power and a really tough player to matchup with in Danny Berger (my fellow Oregonian). Both teams deserve to be there and I’m looking forward to a good fight from both teams.
You had a real exciting and fulfilling season with the Dresden Titans. When you look back at the season, what will you always remember most from this year´s team?
Thank you. I think the most memorable part will be our two playoff series wins. Beating Rostock and then taking out the 1 seed, Karlsruhe was an amazing feeling and I think really brought a great basketball atmosphere to Dresden. Our fans have been so supportive and faithful and it’s extremely rewarding to be able to advance in the playoffs and show them how hard we’ve worked and how much their support helps.
If you look at the whole Dresden Titans roster, which player do you feel improved the most?
That’s a tough one. I think everyone improved as the season went on. I think there’s five guys I could throw into the most improved award, but I really think our entire bench would deserve it. By the end of the season, we could have any 5 players on the court and play our game. Coach Clauss had confidence in each player and the improvement from the start of the season to now was phenomenal.
How would you rate your season with the Dresden Titans. You had a very consistent season and were one of the big contributors to the success of the team?
It’s hard for me to give a rating on myself. I felt like I improved a lot in the second half of the season and was really able to get comfortable with the style of play and my role. There’s a lot of things I need to work on and improve on, but I am happy that I was able to contribute and be a part of our team making it as far as we did. We couldn’t have made it to the semis if any single player didn’t bring their contributions to the team.
You just finished your second professional season. With head coach Steven Clauss staying on board, do you think that you will return next season?
I would love to play for Coach Clauss and be a part of the Dresden Titans again next season. There are so many great things about Dresden and the basketball culture that is developing here, it’s a great place to be. We will see what happens over the next days/weeks and find out what’s next for both the Titans and myself.
If you look back at your first season in the German Pro B, what player do you feel was the toughest to play against?
There were so many great players this year in the Pro B. Some of the toughest match ups I had were with Marcus Smallwood, Jordan Talbert, and Julian Scott. Each of these guys brought a different challenge for me and I had to play differently.
If you had to build your NBA Rushmore with your ultimate 4 NBA players who would you take?
All-time: Jordan, Kareem, Russell, Bird Current: Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Dirk
The Atlanta Hawks now tangle with Lebron and the Cavs. What do you see happening in this series?
I want Atlanta to come out with the upset, but Cleveland in 5. Miami vs Cleveland eastern conference finals would be great!
Soon you will finally be able to eat American food again. What will be your first meal when you get off the plane at home?
I can’t wait!! It depends on what time I get home, but I believe I will get in around noon. I’ll either head straight to Chipotle and have my first burrito in the last 7 months or+ I will go to the Portland pancake house and get pancakes, fried chicken, and biscuits and gravy. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now!
What was the last movie that you saw?
I haven’t seen anything in a long time now. The next movie I will see will be Zootopia with my fiancé when I get home.
Thanks David for the chat