Brian Sullivan is a 23 year old 180cm guard from Upper Arlington, Ohio that is playing his rookie season in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. He started his college basketball career in 2011 with Miami, OH (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 10.3ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 35.7%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 70.0%. He then played at Davidson (NCAA) from 2013-2016 and as a senior played 30 games averaging 14.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 32.7%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 83.1%. He spoke to German Hoops about his rookie season.
Brian, thank for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 68-63 win against top Pro A team Kirchheim Knights. What makes a grind out win like this more difficult to accomplish than a shoot out win?
It seems in low scoring games, your margin of error defensively is that much smaller. So the biggest challenge was just making sure we stayed locked in defensively for all 40 minutes.
The fourth quarter started with a huge run by the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau as Kruize Pinkins scored in bunches, but Kirchheim fought back. The game was technically over at the two minute mark as German Josef Eichler hit a three and there was no more scoring after that. How strange of a fourth quarter ending was this for you?
Yeah, it was a bit odd but that is how the flow of the game was going. It was very defensive minded and there seemed to be a couple different stretches without much scoring.
What do you believe was key on the defensive end in the last two minutes that allowed the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau prevail and go into the short winter break with a win?
Guys knew what the coaches wanted us to do and helped each other accomplish that.
Currently Hanau is in sixth place with a record of 9-6. How proud have you been of the team that team is in has battled through adversity on so many occasions this season and come through?
Yea it has been a crazy first half to the season, on more than a few occasions we only dressed 7 guys for a game but to this teams credit we battled and have been able to win some games shorthanded.
The club had had a strong span winning six of seven games, but then lost twice to Chemnitz and Paderborn before the win against Kirchheim. Without making a short rotation as an excuse what do you believe did the team get away from in these two loses?
I think the biggest thing was just inconsistency, we had stretches where we competed the way we wanted to but not for all 40 minutes.
Obviously the success of the Hebeisen White Wings has to do with a full team effort, but seriously where would the team be now if work horse Kruize Pinkins weren´t on board?
Kruize is a great player. He is so consistent and draws so much attention from opposing defensives, he really makes the team go.
The team is fourth in defense in the Pro A allowing only 70 points per game which is forth best in the league. Defense is all about desire and wanting to excel on the defensive end. Do you feel like that desire could even be higher by every guy and can that be reached in the second half of the season?
Yea absolutely. We have seen how good we can be when we compete for all 40 minutes and I think every guy wants to do that more.
The club is in the playoff race now. On what things do you believe does the team need to work on to be even better in the second half of the season?
Continuing to have energy for 40 minutes despite the score.
It has been a tough rookie season with limited minutes at the start and then your injury where you worked very hard in your rehab process. How have you experienced your rookie season?
Yea its been tough. It took a couple games to get in a good rhythm to start the season and then I got injured and then re-injured the same shoulder missing 8 games so I am still trying to get comfortable now that I am getting healthy.
I have been surprised with your limited minutes as you had a pretty good pre-season. How have you been dealing with your more limited role? What has been the toughest aspect of being a rookie and not getting more minutes?
Yea it hasn’t been easy. I have never played limited minutes before but after missing that many games from injury, its taking a little time to get back to full form so I am expecting the second half of the season to be very different.
You’re the best three point shooter on the team, but in what areas in your game do you feel have been lacking that you will continue to work on as the season progresses?
The biggest thing has been transitioning to the officiating, understanding that the game is more physical but reaching will still draw fouls. Aside from that I want to continue to show that my decision making with the ball is a big strength of mine.
How vital has American Eugene Harris been for your further development as a player? How valuable was it having around a veteran during your injury to keep you positive?
Geno has been great to me, he’s really looked out for me. He had some similar experiences as a rookie so he’s been really helpful about how to stay on track and continue to progress.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards of all-time to have played the power forward position?
He’s right up at the top. Tim Duncan is the best I have been able to watch but KG is great.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
That is amazing to me. I had never seen anything like that. It speaks volumes about what an efficient shooter he is but also how effective the Warriors offense is.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Yea no one is putting up the same numbers that he is right now, Its crazy. But being the best player stats wise is different the being the best player.
How have you experienced your first Christmas in Germany. What have you enjoyed most about the holiday season in a new culture?
I have really enjoyed it. Both Hanau and Frankfurt have great Christmas markets and I have enjoyed spending time there.
What was your most memorable Christmas experience in Ohio when you were a kid?
Both of my older brothers played college basketball and now coach so its the only time we can get together during the seasons so just being able to see them.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Brian for the chat.