Thomas Scrubb is a 24 year old 198cm forward from Vancouver, Canada that will play his second professional season in Germany with the Giessen 46ers and recently completed his rookie season with Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 40 games and averaging 14.1ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP-1(62.8%), 3PT-1(44.4%), FT: 79.0%; FIBA Europe Cup: 12 games: 12.3ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 65.4%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 86.4%. He played at Carleton University (CIS) from 2010-2015 with his brother and combined they won 16 titles with 10 CIS titles and 6 OUA titles. As a senior at Carleton he played 24 games averaging 17.5ppg, 8.5rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 49.0%, FT: 76.4%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball shortly after signing with the Giessen 46ers.
Thomas thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thanks for talking to me. I am currently in Ottawa just training and staying in shape for the next season.
You had a long but successful rookie season with Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) reaching the playoffs and quickly got signed for your second season with the Giessen 46ers. What was most vital in making the next step to the high level Beko BBL?
I think the most important thing that allowed me to make the step to the BBL was my work ethic during the year. It was a long year but I felt that I showed the ability to be consistent and make an impact in all areas of the game.
Denis Wucherer is a very respected coach in the Beko BBL that paid his dues in Giessen and has made the club respectable again after playing in the second league. Did you have talks with him? What kind of impression did you have of him and what did you like most about his character?
I have not yet talked to Coach Wucherer but I have only heard good things about him.
How important was the advice of your brother Philipp who is playing in the Beko BBL with the Fraport Skyliners? Did you search advice from him and was he able to describe to you how your game could work in the higher level Beko BBL?
I asked my brother about what he thought about Giessen as a team and as a city. I know that he is confident that I am able to play in this league so he was happy with whatever decision I was thinking of making,
You watched a game of your brother Philipp in Frankfurt a few months ago. How convinced are you that you will not only be able to play in the Beko BBL, but also make an impact?
The BBL is definitely a step up from the Finnish Korisliiga so it may take some time to adjust to. I know that Phil has had a lot of success in his time at Frankfurt so I have a lot of confidence that I should be able to make an impact too.
You had a very productive rookie season in Finland with Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga, starting five): 40 games: 14.1ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP-1(62.8%), 3PT-1(44.4%), FT: 79.0%; FIBA Europe Cup: 12 games: 12.3ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 65.4%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 86.4%. You seemed to have no real adjustment period needed. Coming from the CIS in Canada what was the most difficult thing that you had to get used to as a rookie with the European style?
The most difficult thing I had to get used to was being able to play confidently within the teams offensive and defensive systems. On defense it was hard to get the system that we played at Carleton for 5 years out of my head so it was tough at the start. I think the style of play in the CIS is not too different than in Europe so I had no issues with that.
Many players use the Finish league as a type of stepping stone to move to higher leagues. How important was it for your game to have gotten the experience of the Finish league as well as early international club play in the Fiba Europe Cup as a rookie?
I had a great time playing in the Finnish league. It helped a lot that I got to play major minutes every game in my first year being pro. It allowed me to grow and improve without having to worry about playing time. Playing in the FIBA Europe Cup gave me experience against teams such as ASVEL and Maccabi Rishon which play in top leagues. Getting to play against those teams has given me confidence that I can play in a great league like the BBL.
You had a very strong playoff series against BC Nokia, but lost 3-1. The three loses were by a combined point total of only 15 points. What was missing to winning these close games? Was the club missing added experience despite having two experienced guys with Lamayn Wilson and Teemu Rannikko?
I think the problem we ran into during the playoffs that we weren’t strong enough on defense. We were not great all year but were scoring over 90 points per game so it never was an issue. The shots we made all year just didn’t fall during the playoff series and our defense wasn’t good enough to win games for us.
You finished the season in the Korsliga scoring in double figures in your last 16 games. How do you feel did your game grow as a rookie in Finland?
I think the biggest thing that I improved over the year was my 3 point shooting. I was very bad to start the year so teams started to leave me open. Eventually I started to make all of my open shots and my confidence everywhere on offense started to grow from there.
You are a very versatile player and good shooter like your brother, but besides your height what would you say separates your game from that of your brother?
I feel that my ability to post up smaller guards and rebound well is what separates me from Phil. I also feel that Phil is more of a ball handler while I like to move and find ways to score without the ball.
You can really fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?
I would say I can pass make good decisions better than people think.
You played at Carleton(CIS) with your brother Philipp and combined won 16 titles. How enriching was it for you to be able to play college basketball with your brother and win so many titles?
It was great playing with my brother during my university career. We never won together in high school so it was great to win so much together at Carleton.
You are 14 months older as your brother, but it seems like he has gotten more press during your college years even though there wasn´t so much difference in your stats. Did you feel at times like you were in the shadow of your younger brother?
I never really felt that way around people that were close to us even when Phil was much better than me. I know he also got more attention from media and some fans but I wouldn’t want that attention anyway. Within our team, family, and friends I didn’t feel like they put him on a pedestal over me.
You won so much with your brother and had countless unforgettable memories on the court, but if you had to pick one memory that you would always tell first with your brother on the court what would it be?
Playing on our Fisher Price basketball hoop in the garage.
How did Dave Smart groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Carleton?
He taught me so much about work ethic, competitiveness, and how to train properly that I feel prepared for every situation that I run into. I went into Carleton as someone who never trained and now I feel like I will always be one of the hardest workers on my team.
Last summer you and your brother took part at a 2 day mini camp with the Toronto Raptors. What kind of experience was this for you and what did you realize when you played with the real big boys?
It was definitely tough at first but I thought I got better as the camp went on. I realized that I either needed to get a lot stronger or a lot more skilled because I didnt feel like I had much of an advantage in any area over the guys there.
Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert has said that Philipp Scrubb needs to get even more aggressive if he wants a shot at the NBA. The NBA often looks for a player that can do one thing well and he can shoot out the lights. Could shooting be his ticket to the NBA in the long run?
I think it could be. I also think he is a better passer and smarter than 90% of the players in that league.
When your brother was young, your dad annoyed him by blocking his shots on a mini home made basketball basket which fueled his basketball drive early. How did your dad get on your back early to keep that basketball drive in you growing in your youth?
My Dad did similar things to me as a young kid. It was good to have someone to play against that was a lot bigger and better than me.
How does a normal summer workout day look like for you on and off the court?
I usually to some shooting and skill work in the morning followed by weights. At night I either practice or scrimmage with the Carleton University team. In between I don’t have much to do. I usually just watch Netflix.
Who wins a one on one on the court you or your brother?
Do the Golden State Warriors have the momentum now to win a second straight NBA title?
Cleveland in 6.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Captain America Civil War.
Thanks Thomas for the chat.