Chris McNealy is a 24 year old 194cm guard from Danville, California playing his second professional season and second with the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga). Last season as a rookie for the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga), he played 31 games averaging 13.7ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.0%. He started his basketball career in 2010 with Cal-Irvine (NCAA) playing a 135 games and a senior played 35 games averaging 11.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 43.8% (138-315), 3PT: 35.9% (37-103), FT: 68.9% (73-106). He spoke to German Hoops before the Fiba Europe Cup Game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Chris welcome to Germany. Your playing your second professional season and secondt with the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga) and playing Fiba Europe Cup as well. This competition has taken you all over Europe. How blessed do you feel as a guy from California to be traveling the world at age 23?
It’s amazing to be traveling. I’ve been to many places throughout the world and have created a lot of memories that I would like to tell my kids one day.
You play and live in Austria and are experiencing a totally new kind of lifestyle in Austria this and last season. What has been your most memorable experience so far in Europe off the court that none of your friends in California had ever seen before?
Being in the snow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen snow in California and I see it out here on a daily basis.
Your playing against the Telekom Baskets Bonn in Bonn in Fiba Europe Cup play. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball?
I know basketball is really big in Germany and that Bonn is a great team. This will be my first time there so I’m excited to see more.
In the first game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga) lost badly at home 83-64. It was kind of a strange game stat wise as Bonn dominated the boards and shot very well from outside, but had 22 turnovers. What will the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga) have to do better this time around to get the win?
We can’t have a long lapse like we did last time we played. Game was close until the 3rd quarter when they went on a run and we didn’t respond. We want to create havoc on the court and cause them to make turnovers like last time and not to get rattled when they go on a run.
The Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga) give up 82 points in the Fiba Europe Cup which is 28th. Is it the overall better skill level of the competition that has made it harder to defend than in the Austrian Bundesliga?
Yea the teams we play in the Euro Cup have been better than what we usually face, but we enjoy that because it makes us a better team. We work hard every day to compete at this high level.
The Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga) are leading the Austrian Bundesliga at the moment with a 13-2 record. The team is ranked first in points and third in points allowed. Does the club feel much pressure having to defend their Bundesliga title?
We try not to put pressure on ourselves and just focus on the next game ahead of us. Each game holds different situations and we learn from every game to make us ready for when the playoffs come around.
How much fun and challenging has it been playing with the 4 other Americans Traylor, Cumberbatch, Jackson and Kuakumensah who are all young and each guy at the start of their professional career wanting to prove something? Do you feel like each player is growing this season with the drive that each other guy has and gives on the court on a daily basis?
It’s been fun playing with those guys we have good chemistry on and off the court and by pushing each other every day will help us become better individual players.
You are a guy that can really fill up the stat sheet, but on what part of your game are you still trying to incorporate new things too?
Something that I’m working on is making more plays on the defensive end. Being able to play the passing lanes will not only get me more steals but opportunities to score in open floor.
Your stats are much improved from last season especially your three point shooting. What been the main reasons for your improvement? Is knowing the league better come into play?
I really made an effort to improve my shot in the offseason. Worked on it on it all the time and also having the belief that every shot is going in.
You had your best scoring Fiba Europe Cup games against Apoel and Yytautas recently with 24 and 25 points. Do you feel like you have landed in European competition now?
I’m just in a very good flow right now and playing with a lot of confidence. Going to continue to being aggressive on the floor.
How important has American Derek Jackson become this season for the team and you? This is the second season that you guys are teammates. Do you guys understand each other blindly on the court?
He has played very well this season. He is playing with a ton of confidence and is a reason on why we have been a successful team. We play well together.
You are a very active defender. To what NBA player did you always look up too growing up and now when it comes to taking care of defensive assignments on the court?
One player I liked to watch was Rip Hamilton. I think he was a very underrated defender but was pesky and able to defend stars well on his time with the Pistons.
How vital was American Quincy Diggs last season in Oberwart winning the title? What did you appreciate most about his game?
Quincy did a lot for us last season and had a knack for scoring. I appreciated his dirve and working every day in the gym to try to get better.
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe last season where you knew that you were very far away from home?
Was tough being away from family especially on the time difference and being able to talk. Definitley struggled with that.
You didn´t play in the 2016-2015 season after being waived by the Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League). How difficult was this season and after being drafted by them what was the best example that basketball is always a business first?
That was the first real time being cut from a team like that but heading into I had a feeling it would happen. I learned mostly that its all about who you know and how big your brand is (name, school attended, agent, ect)
You played at Cal-Irvine (NCAA) from 2011-2015 reaching the Big West final in 2013. What was your overall best experience on the court?
Winning the regular season title my senior year
You played against countless talented players for example in your second season you played against California that had future NBA player Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs and against Cal Fullerton that had DJ Seeley whos playing with top Euroleague team Macabbi Tel Aviv and Kwame Vaughn who is with the Fraport Skyliners. When you look back over the years how much difference is there really between guys like that and you? When you see where these guys are how much does that make you want to work harder each day to continue to move up the basketball ladder?
Honestly I dont think there is much difference in our games and I know I can compete with those guys so yea every day I work hard and inspire to be at the level they are at now.
How did head coach Russell Turner groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He gave me a competitive edge. He was known as a guy who would yell and get on you because he knew the skill you possessed and by doing that he made me more mentally tough.
Who was the toughest player that you had to battle in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Damian Lillard by far. Played against him my second year and he killed us.
If the world ended tomorrow would you pick a last meal at Mcdonalds or get Austria´s best Wiener Schnietzel?
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
MJ, Magic, Russel, and Kareem
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
That hurt me because I’m a big time warrior fan but he is definitely top 10 possibly top 5 players of all time.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
I don’t know to be honest but was very exciting. That and the 37 in a quarter was crazy .
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 he has to do a lot more for his team now that KD is gone. The numbers he is putting up are video game stats.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Girl on the Train
Thanks Chris for the chat.