David Sturner is a 206cm power forward/center playing his second season in Germany for Pro A team Dresden Titans He started his basketball career with Oregon 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 with the West Adelaide Bearcats (Australia-Central ABL) before coming to Germany. Last season for Dresden he played 27 games averaging 13.1ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 65.4%. This season he is averaging 17,3ppg, 8,3rpg and 3,0apg. He spoke to German Hoops after the big 75-61 win against the Hamburg Towers.
David thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the big 75-61 win at home against the Hamburg Towers. How much of a release was it getting that 10 game losing streak monkey off your back?
My pleasure Miles, always great to talk with you! Thank you, I think it was very important for us to get that win going into the break. Not so much to end the losing streak, but to put us in the right direction heading into the second half of the season.
This was the best defensive performance of the season. Why do you feel did it take so long to defend consistently for 40 minutes?
I think we had focused a lot on pushing the tempo against teams and getting quick shots that often times put us in bad spots on defense. Since coach Flynn has been with us, our focus is defense, and we are now starting to trust each other and do the little things it takes to be a great defensive team.
The Dresden Titans were up by 12 points after three quarters. Despite all that has happened this season in games, was their some trepidation going into the fourth quarter or did you sense that the club was confident to finish the game strong?
Earlier in the season we wouldn’t know how to keep a 12 point lead. But with guys stepping up in their roles and everybody having faith in each other, we knew that we were in control in that fourth quarter.
The Dresden Titans are a talented team, but do you feel that the wrong goals were set before the season in terms of what the club was capable of doing?
No, I think we are an extremely talented team and have had the potential to beat the top teams in this league all season. Sometimes things don’t go how you planned and adjustments are made. That’s where we are at now, but we as a club still know that we can play with anyone when we are at our best.
The biggest sore spot has been the defense. The worst phase was in November where it averaged giving up 99 points in five games. Why has it been getting defensive schemes working so difficult this season?
I think teams scouting us knew that we were trying to push the ball on offense all game. If we were averaging 95pts a game, then other teams were going to get a lot of shots as well. We weren’t putting enough effort into our defense, and defensive rebounding, and teams really took advantage of that.
It was a shame that head coach Steven Clauss had to go, but usually it´s the coach that has to go when things aren´t working. You were here last season where he turned a sinking ship into a playoff team. Why didn´t his basketball philosophy mesh with the players he had this season?
It was really tough to see coach Clauss go, but that’s how things work out sometimes. There’s a lot of great things he did for our club and obviously he helped us to have this opportunity in the ProA. I can’t give exact answers as to why we didn’t have success this season under coach Clauss, but unfortunately things didn’t work out.
Even when new head coach Liam Flynn came on board, wins didn´t pop up. Are you confident that fans will see a new Dresden Titans attitude that will translate in more success?
It’s no easy task to turn around a team in just a few games. Coach Flynn has done a great job rebuilding our schemes and demanding hard work and professionalism out of us. I know the Titans fans can already see our hard work paying off as it did in the Hamburg game, and as we keep this mentality up, we will continue to succeed on the court.
One of the big winners in this tough time has been German Helge Baus who really has stepped up his game. Can one say that he has now arrived in the Pro A with his game?
This is the first year I’ve played with Helge so I can’t speak on his previous seasons, but just throughout this year he has developed so much and shown that he is a great player. The best part about him is that he hasn’t come close to his potential yet. He’s a guy I expect to see playing at the next level in a few years.
The team brought in some experience with Tafari Toney. What has been your first impression of him and how will he help the team most besides his wisdom?
Tafari was only with us for 3 weeks while Jervon Pressley was healing from an injury. Taf was a true veteran and a fun guy to be around. In the short time he was here he provided leadership and wisdom for us, and helped us to our win against Hamburg.
Your having a very solid season, but in the last two games didn´t produce in the scoring department getting only three shots in 39 minutes. Is this something you had to swallow at first? Even on a talented team like Dresden, a scoring player of your caliber is used to getting 10-16 shots a game.
I think the last two games I wasn’t very smart choosing when to be aggressive on offense and when not to be. That being said, whether I get 15 shots or 1, I’ll do whatever it takes to help our team win games.
Would you say a baseball player has a harder time breaking a hitless streak than a basketball player finding his groove again in the next game?
As a former baseball player, I’d say it’s harder for a baseball player to break a hitless streak. I say this just because baseball you have a lot less opportunities. In basketball there’s a lot of different things you can do to score or get your confidence up. That being said, the best basketball scorers make over 50% of their shots, while the best baseball hitters get hits on less than 33% of their at bats.
Will you work on specific things before the next game or is more about just getting right back into the game and just letting the game come to you?
There’s definitely some things that I want to work on before the next game, but just letting the game come to me will also be important. I’m not going to try and do anything new or play outside of my game.
What have you learned to appreciate the most about the holiday season in Germany this season?
My wife and I love everything about Dresden during Christmas. The Christmas markets are amazing, and the city lights up for the whole month of December. It helps to live in such a beautiful city for the holidays because it makes it a little easier being away from home and our families.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Klay is one of the most gifted scorers in the NBA in my opinion. I think his performance was amazing, but I wouldn’t know where to rank it among other great games. All I’ll say is he would have got 75 if he had played the 4th!
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?
Well if the best player in the world was based off of stats, I think it would have to be James Harden. Russell is averaging a triple double, but he is also shooting low percentages from the field and the 3. Harden is 2 rebounds away from the same stats as Westbrook, and is shooting at a high clip.
What was your most memorable Christmas experience when you were a kid?
I think every Christmas with my family growing up was memorable. My sister and brother and I would stay up late too excited to sleep, and then get up early to see the presents under the tree. My parents always made it such a loving and fun experience, something we would never forget.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I watched Maze Runner with my wife the other day. Great movie!
Thanks David for the chat.