Brian Butler is a 25 year old 196cm German forward that completed his second season with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (ProB) averaging 10,9ppg, 6,9rpg and 1,9apg. He started his basketball career with the FC Bayern Muenchen junior team (NBBL) and then moved to BG Illertal/Weissenhorn (ProB) where he played from 2010-2013 playing a total of 74 Pro B games. He then played two seasons with Erdgas Ehingen/Urspringschule (ProA) playing 65 Pro A games. He spoke to German Hoops after the conclusion of the 2016-2017 Pro B season.
Brian thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on a big season where you fell short in a do or die game in the semi-finals. How hard has it been digesting this season end since you were one win away from the Pro A?
Yeah it’s tough because like you already said we were only 40 minutes away from the Pro a A, but we have to see the positive things that we accomplished and our goal was to stay in the league and to make the playoff. And we even made it to the semifinals which we didn’t make last year .
You played a hard fought series against Wurzburg and FC Schalke going the distance and then went the distance against PS Karlsruhe as well. Do you feel like the Wurzburg and Schalke series took a toll on the team going into the PS Karlsruhe series?
I don’t know it could be but I don’t want to look for excuses. I think PSK had a good team and we had a good team and it could’ve gone out either way. And what also was a factor in my opinion was the home court advantage. I think at home we were a different team than on the road !
The 92-75 score in game three was a little deceiving as there wasn´t much that separated the two teams in many statistical categories. What do you feel decided this series?
Like I already said I think in this series the homecourt advantage was a big factor!
PS Karlsruhe from my view had possibily the most athletic undersized front court in the Pro B south with Jordan Talbert, Orlando Parker and Bill Borekambi, but the last was injured and returned in game three and was little of a factor. Was their team chemistry and understanding of their roles one of the teams biggest strengths that got them to the Pro A?
Yeah I think that was there biggest strength that everybody on the team knew his role and stuck with it.
How proud are you of the success of the ScanPlus Baskets. The season goal was huge and the team came very far. How would you summarize the season and did the team exceed expectations?
I am very proud and we made it to the semifinals so we were one off the last 4 teams standing in the playoffs! So we definitely should be proud of ourselves for what we accomplished this season !
You stated in our interview in January about Taevaunn Prince that “its a lot of fun because he is a very competitive guy and works hard every day ! His strength and ability to score the ball is so efficient! How do you feel did both players gain from each other on and off the court?
Off the court I think I found a great new friend and on the court he helped me a lot with my mental strength and ability to finish through contact even stronger! I helped him to understand the European style of basketball so I think we both helped each other a lot !
Which German player do you feel improved the most from the first day of training camp to the game 3 loss against PS Karlsruhe?
I can’t name one player because in what I saw this year, we all made a big step and we all improved our game a lot I mean if I compare the team from running in the woods and playing our first game to the team which was fighting in every playoff series till the bitter end, then it would be like comparing a little kid playing against a grown up. At first we were immature doing too many mistakes and at the end we were one team one family! And was fighting for one and another, was mature and playing as a team !
So yeah we all improved !
What was your personal season highlight? You had quite a few great games, but you also won the easyCredit BBL slam dunk contest. Was that your season highlight?
Yeah of course the dunk contest but also reaching the final 4 with the team !
You had a solid second season with the scanPlus Baskets averaging 10,9ppg, 6,7rpg and 1,9apg. Your stats were down from last season, but you played three less minutes per game. What was your summary of your season?
It was another great season for me. Yeah my numbers might be down a bit but you know we had a different team this year and roles were different so I’m satisfied with everything!
You stated in our interview in January that you still have to improve your rebounding and free throw percentage. Your free throw percentage continues to be a work in progress, but were you content with your work on the boards in the last months?
Free throws are still a work in progress and I will work hard on that this summer. And with the boards I have been content because this year we had a lot of good rebounding guards also and just because that stat says I “only” had 6,7 rebounds that don’t mean that I didn’t box out and my opponent didn’t get the rebound hehe ! But I think I did a good job on rebounding the ball !
What is the next step for Brian Butler? You are much more than a good Pro B player. You have a lot of self confidence and your goal remains the BBL. Is the Pro A a realistic goal for next season elsewhere?
To be honest I don’t know yet I was just Focusing on the playoffs the last weeks ! So I have to see what will happen in the next couple of weeks
After a very successful season with the ScanPlus Baskets, what summer plans do you have? Will you just hang out with the family and work on your game or take a trip somewhere?
I definitely will be working on my game a lot this summer like I already mentioned my freethrows and I have to see maybe I will visit some tournaments and dunk contests but there are no 100% plans yet !
On what things will you be specifically working on this summer on your game that will help continue you to progress as a professional player?
I will be working on my shoot and ball handling !
Now that the 2017 NCAA tournament is long over what do sports do you focus on now in the summer months?
Basketball NBA Playoffs and then probably soccer but since Bayern Munich just got kicked out from the champions league I don’t really care who will win it now haha and I will support my little brother who plays for Bayern Munich since during the season I can’t see his games and now I have time !
Will we see any surprises in this years NBA playoffs and who do you have reaching the finals and winning it all?
I think we will see Golden State and Cleveland in the finals and if that’s the case its going to be an open end ! But I hope that Cleveland will take it all again !
Devin Booker recently hit the Boston Celtics with 70 points. Did it surprise you that he reached this feat before other big time NBA players?
Of course I was surprised like I would be if any player drops 70 but for him it’s even more special because he is still young and I think his scoring ability will still grow a lot !
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?
Yes I think so.
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?
To be honest I just saw highlights from him and never seen a game ! But I hope that he will be a good player in the league and I hope that he don’t let all this hype around him and his family get to him and make him arrogant because that is one thing I don’t like at all.
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?
I don’t know. All I know is to average a triple double through 82 games is just crazy I don’t care what people say. And there were some sick one with plus 50+ ,15+ reb or 15+ast !
What was the last movie that you saw?
Power Ranger. Great movie.
Thanks Brian for the chat.