Andell Cumberbatch is a 23 year old 196cm forward from East Ornage, New Jersey playing his second professional season and first with the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga). As a rookie he played for JBC MMCITE Brno (Czech Republic-NBL): 10 games: 16.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 54.1%, 3FGP: 31.4%, FT: 58.8%, in Dec.’15 moved to Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A): 17 games: Score-5(16.4ppg), 7.1rpg, 1.9apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP-3(58.4%), 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 76.9%. He started his basketball career with Barton County CC (JUCO) and then moved to St.Bonaventure (NCAA) for his last two years and as a senior played 31 games averaging 10.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 70.1%. He spoke to German Hoops before a Fiba Europe Cup game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Andell welcome to Germany. Your playing your second professional season and first 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 east Orange to be traveling the world at age 23?
I am very blessed to be able to play basketball at a professional level, this allowed me to experience different parts of the world I would have never seen coming. I never take anything for granted.
You play and live in Austria and are experiencing a totally new kind of lifestyle in Austria and last season lived in the Czech Republic and Cyprus. What has been your most memorable experience so far in Europe off the court that none of your friends in New Jersey had ever seen before?
Something that I enjoy that my friends dont get to experience would have to be some of the popular landmarks that many people travel to see. it humbling to be able to witness these things while playing basketball.
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?
Well I know it very cold just like most places in Europe, and that they have a very good basketball league with some great teams.
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?
I feel that we have to defend the 3pt line better and control the rebounds or at least have it even for us to give ourselves an opportunity to win.
Will you be even extra motivated playing against New Jersey native Ryan Thompson who is the brother of NBA player Jason Thompson and who had been well contained in the first game with six points?
I am always motivated to go out there and play my best, but that´s pretty cool someone thats from around my area I get to play against who is at a bigger team.
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?
The level of the competition definitely plays a role we have a young team so we lack the experience that some of these other teams have, but I think we can improve on points we allow.
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?
There is definitely some pressure and we want that pressure, we have to protect what is ours because many teams wants to take our spot.
How would compare the Austrian Bundesliga with the leagues in the Czech republic and Cyprus where you played last season in talent and skill level?
I often get asked this question a lot its difficult to answer because we are number one in the Austrian league, which makes it kind of hard to determine for me.
How much fun and challenging has it been playing with the 4 other Americans Traylor, Mcnealey, 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 fun having Americans on the team, I adapt to it well since I played with the same amount during my time in Cyprus. We all know what we have to do to get to the next level and that is to win.
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?
I want to be more of an consistent shooter and to be able to assist more because a lot of teams give up the shot and protects the paint and I am more of a slasher.
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?
Growing up I watched Allen Iverson and Lebron James, but far as defensively I would say Kawhi Lenaord.
Last season as a rookie you played for JBC MMCITE Brno (Czech Republic-NBL): 10 games: 16.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 54.1%, 3FGP: 31.4%, FT: 58.8%, in Dec.’15 moved to Michelin Etha Engomis Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A): 17 games: Score-5(16.4ppg), 7.1rpg, 1.9apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP-3(58.4%), 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 76.9. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
My wake up call was just being so far away from my family and adjusting to the time difference. When my day is almost over some people back home are now waking up and times I got lonely. But I realized I have a goal i have to achieve.
In Cyprus everything turned out better as your were fifth in league scoring and reached the cup semi-finals. Did the weather and sun make playing a bit easier than the wintery atmosphere in the Czech Republic or why were you able to blossom so well?
I felt more comfortable in Cyprus overall, my conscious was clear and once you have that you can do anything you put your mind to. The weather was definitely great, I loved it.
How much fun was it having a teammate like Richaud Pack who was fourth in the league in scoring? He had some misfortune in his senior year at Maryland(NCAA), but had a stellar rookie season. What did you appreciate most about his game?
It was great playing with him, he was a great shooter that was a guy that used to open up the floor against teams. that made it possible for me to get to the basket more. Shout out to Rick haha
You started your college career at Barton County CC (JUCO) before moving to St.Bonaventure (NCAA). You made vast improvements in your two years there before moving to the NCAA. How important were these two years for you in your development as a player?
I improved a lot not having any division 1 or 2 offers in high school, but once I went to junior college it helped me learn how to work for what I want, which led me to St Bonaventure.
You then played two seasons at St.Bonaventure (NCAA) and as a senior played 31 games: 10.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 70.1%. How did head coach Mark Schmidt give you that extra in grooming and preparing you best for a professional basketball career?
He always taught his players that in order to improve your game you have to live in the gym, and thats something I try to do.
In your two years there do you remember hearing stories from alum Ahmad Smith who had a stellar career leaving in 2005 and having a long career in Germany?
I never heard of him before but I am pretty sure he was a great player, I will do my research on him.
You had some memorable games in your two years there, but what was your most memorable NCAA game?
I would have to say our game against St Louis in the 2014 Atlantic 10 tournament the feeling was amazing and my senior year beating VCU when they were a top 25 team.
Your ex teammate Marcus Posley is having a solid D-League season with Sioux Falls. Do expect a guy like that to come to Europe in the future or is he the type of guy that will continue to chase that NBA dream?
I feel like he will know when the time is right for him to come to Europe, but right now he is focused on one goal and that´s making the NBA and I support him all the way that´s my guy.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
My NBA Rushmore would be MJ, Kobe, Magic Johnson , Lebron James when is career is over.
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?
Right now I think he is top 5, a lot of people will not say it just because he is still playing and some are what we call Lebron haters haha.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
Kevin Garnett top 3 power forward in my opinion.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Rate that performance top 3 and that was also that 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?
Stats wise its Russell Westbrook hands down.
What was the last movie that you saw?
My last movie was don´t breathe.
Thanks Andell for the chat.