Bryan Smithson is a 30 year old 185cm point guard from Kennesaw,Georgia that just completed his thrid season in Germany and first with the MPL Academics Heidelberg. He started his basketball career at Middle Tennessee St. (NCAA) in 2003 where he played two seasons. He then moved to NC-Asheville (NCAA) where he finished his college career and as a senior played 29 games: 16.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.1apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3Pts: 41.1%, FT: 83.5%. He played two seasons for the Kirchheim Knights in the German Pro A where he was top 5 in assists in the league the last two seasons. Last season for Kichheim he played 28 games: 12.0ppg, 3.4rpg, Assists-5(5.0apg), FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 88.2%. He spoke to German Hoops after the season ended.
Bryan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Hi Miles, great to hear from you again. I am currently at home in Atlanta, Georgia enjoying the sunny weather. My summer is going very well.
Your season ended at the end of March. Has the time from then until now felt like an eternity or has the time away from games flown by?
The early end to the season has been difficult for me. I enjoy being home with family and friends, but I would much rather be competing for a championship somewhere in the world. I feel like it has been an eternity since our last game.
The MLP Academics Heidelberg finished the season in 10th place with a record of 13-17 good enough to reach the playoffs, but missing out at the end. After completing your third season in a row in the Pro A, did the league prove again that it went up a notch in team competitiveness?
German ProA has been very competitive in each of my 3 years. The league is collecting more and more talent from season to season which makes for great competition every week. The table was a little more top-heavy this time around, so the middle ranked teams were duking it out toward the end.
If you look back at the last weeks of the season was the 82-78 OT loss to Kichheim perhaps the game that cost the team the playoffs?
Well, that is a difficult question to answer. When you play a 30 game season with 17 losses, it may be foolish to point the finger at one game as the one that cost you the playoffs. We put ourselves in a “must win” situation vs. Kirchheim and after two hard fought OTs we were on the losing end.
It was a season of highs and lows for the MLP Academics Heidelberg. How would you summarize the season best? What positives could the team get out of the season which had to deal with many players coming and going?
As a whole, the season was an underachievement. The players coming and going forced the team to explore new roles while performing in a dynamic environment. Everyone involved became more versatile which will be valued when considering future jobs.
You led the team in scoring playing 28 games averaging 12,1ppg, 3,1rpg and 4,7apg. How would you summarize your own season?
This season was an interesting one for me because my role changed a few times. The original plan did not involve me being the leading scorer on the team. As the season progressed, it was evident that I needed to take on a lot of the scoring duty. The problem was that our personnel changed, but our system was not designed for me to be in favorable scoring positions. As a result, I was able to be a little more creative in my approach to scoring which will ultimately make me a better player.
How do you feel that you were able to develop your game further in your third professional season in Germany?
I understand the league much better now which helps me be a better leader. As I said before, I have added a few things that will make me a more explosive offensive player in the next seasons.
What was your season highlight on the floor with your team last season? I would imagine your winning buckets on the same weekend in Hamburg and Essen?
The Hamburg/Essen road trip was a great highlight for me. I was fortunate enough to hit the game winner in both games and on the same weekend. I had a few other game winning shots throughout the season, but that weekend takes the cake.
What is the next step for Bryan Smithson? Will you continue your career in Germany or possibly go to another country?
I love Germany and it has become a second home for me and my girlfriend Aleksandra. I am open to competing in another country if it elevates my career. The next step will be negotiating the right deal to put myself in a winning situation.
On what things will you stress most in your summertime workout sessions concerning your game that you want to improve most on?
First and foremost is my strength training where I will focus on gaining a few functional pounds to improve my durability and aggressiveness. On the court, I will focus on biomechanics. Moving more efficiently and releasing the ball quicker on my shot.
Which young German improved the most this season for the MLP Academics Heidelberg?
Niki, Christoph, Lasse, and Moritz all improved this season. Niki Wurzner probably took the biggest step because he got the most court time. Lookout for these guys in the coming years.
If you had to choose one player that was toughest to battle on the floor in Germany who would you chose?
I do not think I can pick one player as the toughest to battle. I can say that our league has all types of different guards that can compete on most levels if given the opportunity.
If you were to construct a NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA heads would you make?
If I could create my own Rushmore it would include: Michael Jordan, Bill Russel, Pete Maravich, Larry Bird, and Wilt Chamberlain. I would add a fifth head right below for Stephen Curry.
What was the first American eatery that you sought out when you arrived back to the States?
I ate an American breakfast at J. Christopher’s and it was everything I thought it would be.
What is going to be a place that you will try to visit this summer where you necessarily haven´t ever been to in your life?
I am planning a trip to Las Vegas and Phoenix. I cannot say I will go anywhere where I have not been in the past.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Daddy’s Home. Go see it if you want a laugh.
Thanks Bryan for the chat.