Ricky Easterling is a 32 year old 190cm guard from Baltimore that will play his 11th professional season in Germany and first with BG Karlsruhe(Pro B). Over the years, he has been crowned Mr Regionaliga as he averaged over 30 points three times with TV Saarlouis and belonged to the the top 3 players in the Pro B the last two seasons. Before moving to Saarlouis in 2007 he played at Bridgewater (NCAA3) and then as a rookie played with TSG Reutlingen (Germany-Oberliga and Bergheim Bandits (Germany-Regionalliga). Last season with TV Saarlouis, he played 28 games: Score-1(23.1ppg), 4.0rpg, 4.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 18.2%, FT: 81.2%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Ricky thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
At the moment I am in Great Barrington Massachusetts working coaching basketball at Kutcher Sports Academy. My summer is good so far. I enjoy working with the kids here and I also have the opportunity to work out and prepare for this coming season.
Your last game was on April 30th. The summer seems to be moving along very quickly. What have you missed the most about the grind in the Pro B?
Yes the summer does seem to be flying by. I am happy about that because I am looking forward to the 2016-17 season. Training and playing in open runs or in summer leagues are fun, but it is nothing compared to playing in a real game.
Congrats on signing with Pro B team BG Karlsruhe. This week has been the Pro B reunion landing in the Pro A as Elijah Allen of Lich landed with Gotha, Julian Scott moves from Leipzig to Ehingen. How proud are you of these guys?
Thanks! I am looking forward to the new challenge in Karlsruhe! Yeah I am very happy for Elijah and Julian. They are good players and they deserve the chance to play Pro A. I wish them luck in their new situations and I hope they are successful!
Do all these Pro B signings in the Pro A just show how many talented players are in the German Pro B?
I think it does show how strong the Pro B is. I am happy to be a part of this league and I am sure in the future more players in Pro B will be given the chance to show what they can do in the pro A.
*I always figured that you would play for the Saarlouis Royals until you were around 45 while becoming a playing coach. How difficult was it making this decision leaving this club and city after 9 years?
It was probably one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life. Saarlouis has become a second home for me. I am a person that likes the comfort of security and I had that there for sure. I loved the people there and they loved me. I am very appreciative of the opportunity they gave me to play for their city. I will miss my family, friends, and fans of Saarlouis and they will always be in my heart. But unfortunately in life everything must come to an end and I am now looking forward to what is coming next. Maybe later on down the line I will come back to Saarlouis. I can see that happening!
Sarrlouis isn´t that far away from Karlsruhe. You could commute from Karlsruhe and still live in your second home Saarlouis. Is that something you are considering?
That would be nice but I don’t think that is the idea. That would be too much traveling every day. So I think it will be much easier to live in Karlsruhe. But I will make a lot of trips back to Saarlouis during the season to see my family and friends.
BG Karlsruhe is rich in tradition as it has played in the Beko BBL as well as in the Pro A. What sold you most on moving to this team?
Just like you said they have a rich tradition and I would like to be a part of that. I like Coach Josipovic and the management also impressed me when I talked with them so that helped me make my decision to go to Karlsruhe.
Last season Saarlouis was 0-2 against BG Karlsruhe getting crushed once 107-66 and then losing a heart breaker 82-81 where you steered 18 points and 10 assists. What impressed you most by their team?
Last season Karlsruhe was a very strong team in our league. Their roster was filled with talent and Coach Josipovic had them playing well together. From the outside they seemed to have good team chemistry and were always well prepared for their games. I was very impressed with that and look forward to being a part of that.
Did you get any feedback about if they will keep veterans like Jeremy Black, Marcus Smallwood and Rouven Roessler?
I have no information regarding player personnel. That is something you might have to discuss with the coach and management.
How content are you with the fact that with a bigger budget, BG Karlsruhe most likely will have more skilled players on board than what you ever had as teammates with Saarlouis. Would you be content of having a smaller role?
I’m content with playing any role to help my team be successful. If I am put into a smaller role I am ok with that. I am used to always playing bigger roles and having more pressure to produce. But in a smaller role I think I will have no problems adjusting to that.
You have been an instant scoring machine your whole professional life with Saarlouis and for many been the greatest German Regionaliga player ever as you averaged over 30ppg three times, how difficult will it be for you to do less in the scoring department?
I just do whatever I need to do to help my team in the best way possible. If I need to score less and do more in other areas, that is what I will do and I will be happy doing it.
Could you see yourself being a classical pass first point guard and take a lot less shots?
Like I said I will play any role needed from me. If that is my assignment then that is what I will do. I just want to win and be a positive impact on my team.
You will be turning 33 this season. How do you feel physically and on what things will you be working on most this summer to have you best prepared for another year of Pro B?
I feel great. My body is healthy and I can’t wait to get started. If the season started today I would be ready to go. I will continue to do what I do every summer which is work hard. But I think I will keep trying to improve on my 3pts shooting. I also will mentally prepare myself to do more on the defensive end of the floor.
You played 9 seasons with Saarlouis. What was your biggest highlight in your time there?
The whole experience was a highlight for me. I love Saarlouis and enjoyed everything about my time there. I built many lifetime friendships and will always consider Saarlouis my home away from home.
Lebron James finally won his NBA title with his Cavs. Where does this title put him now in the all time best ever? Charles Barkley doesn´t have Lebron in his top 5 ever.
I am a LeBron Fan so to me he is definitely an all time great. I don’t know if I can say he is a top 5 because there have been a lot of great players through the history of the game.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Ricky for the chat.