Kruize Pinkins is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Marianna, Florida that completed his second professional season with the Hebeisen White Wings. In his second season he averaged 17,9ppg, 9,5rpg and 2,5apg. He started his basketball career at Chipola (JUCO). He then played at USF (NCAA) from 2013-2015 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 65.0%. As a rookie last season with the Hebeisen White Wings he played 29 games averaging 13.1ppg, Reb-3(9.1rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 20.8%, FT: 68.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.
Kruize thanks for talking to German Hoops! Where are you at the moment and have you slowly got into your professional post season rhythm?
I am always working on my game during the offseason as soon as our season finished I took a few days off and then started back working on things I need to improve.
It was a tale of two seasons for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. The second half was one too forget. How disappointed were you with how the second half went and how long did it take you to digest the season?
It was disappointing in that we had a few games that we let slip away but that is a part of basketball you have your ups and downs but I am thankful to have played with and be coached by a great group of guys. Guys never hung their heads and gave in when we could have.
In the last two months, I was checking the box score every Sunday night and just continued to see loss after loss. After January 28, Hanau only won one more game. If someone had told you on January 28th that the team would go 1-10 what would you have thought?
I wouldn’t have believed it. But like I said basketball is full of ups and downs and lessons to be learned. I am sure everyone has learned from this and it will make them a better player and person in the future.
If you look back at the last 11 games, what do you feel was the main cause that the Hebeisen White Wings suffered this long losing streak?
Our guys played hard every night. I dont know the reason. Sometimes things just don´t go your way. Maybe if we won two of those games we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
The team went through many injuries as well as hardships as Jordan Wild had to depart the team mid way through of the season on account of returning back to the States to tend for his sick dad. One never wants to make excuses, but how much did the mental side of the game play a factor in the last months?
I mean basketball is 50% mental and 50% physical so of course people were mentally frustrated its a part of basketball. Its just had to do with a couple games we should’ve won we let slip aways and we got down on ourselves at times.
When you look back at the season how would you summarize it? What were the positives from the season?
Being able to play with a great group of guys and a great organization like Hanau. Being coached by a great coach in Simon Cote and our Assistant Joey Cantens really took my game to another level and I’m thankful for all of that.
Do you feel like the last few months despite all the losses will help head coach Simon Cote mature further as a head coach?
Of course like I said you learn from situations like that I feel that we all will learn from it.
German Til Joscha Joenke played his second season in the Pro A for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau and improved his stats. After playing in the BBL with Ulm and Tuebingen and not making his breakthrough, he took a step back to go to the Pro A. After two solid Pro A seasons, is the German ready for the BBL now?
Yeah Till is a BBL player no doubt man he brings it every day in practice and every game. He is also a great teammate and im thankful to have built a relationship with him while in Hanau.
What Hanau player do you feel improved most this season from the first day of training camp to the last game against Crailsheim?
Our Rookie Brian really improved throughout the season. Maybe the numbers weren’t there but he really improved with the little things he learned a lot his first year and whoever he plays for next year will be lucky to have him for sure.
You stated in our first interview this season that “I’m not really concerned about being a top pro A player I know what I’m capable of. I’m more concerned on winning games to make the playoffs and compete for a championship the rest will take care of itself. You had a top season as a player, but didn´t reach the playoffs. With these two facts combined, how would you summarize your season?
Man I wouldn’t trade this season even though we didn´t make the playoffs. Like I said its a lesson learned. I am going to learn from this and never let it happen again but I am just blessed to finish another season healthy.
You improved your stats in scoring, rebounds and assists as well as your shooting from outside. After two seasons in the Pro A is Kruize Pinkins ready for a higher league like the BBL?
Yeah I think I could play in the BBL but I am just working hard this summer and whatever opportunity I get I am going to make the most out of it.
You also stated in an earlier interview this season that Im not going to force any threes, but Im just going to take what the defense gives me and read and play and if the threes are there then I will take them. You shot 32% from downtown improving from 12,5% as a rookie. Are you content with your three point shooting development and shot selection?
Yeah I worked on my shot during the summer and learned that it was more mental I had to have confidence with my shot and that really helped.
Real defense isn´t what is on the stats, but you had identical stats in steals and blocks as from your rookie season. Do you feel like you made strides on the defensive end this season?
Yeah I feel like I got better defensively but I know I still have things I need to work on and I will focus on that during the summer.
How special was the run of South Carolina at the 2017 NCAA tournament? Do you feel like this was the story of March Madness 2017?
Yeah it was definitely surprising. But it really doesn’t matter about what seed you are in the tournament because its win or go home and thats what makes it exciting to watch.
Now that the NCAA tournament is history, what professional sports do you focus on in the next months?
The NBA playoffs
Is Lonzo Ball the real thing? Do you feel like he will be able to develop further despite the antics of his father on social media?
Yes he is going to be special in the NBA
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
Russel Westbrook is just on another level so people try to find things to bring him down but he is just playing basketball I don´t pay attention to all that other stuff they are saying.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Remember the Titans.
Thanks Kruize for the chat.