Taevaunn Prince is a 25 year old 191cm guard from Toronto, Canada that completed his rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) averaging 17,1ppg, 5,4rpg and 1,9apg. He started his basketball career in 2011 with S.Dakota St. (NCAA) where he played two seasons playing 59 NCAA games. He then moved to Missouri So. (NCAA2) in 2014 and as a junior played 16 games averaging 16.1ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 83.8%. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 26.4ppg, 10.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of the season.
Taevaunn 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?
It’s been hard to digest but overall you have to give thanks to God on how far we came and how well we did this season. But now its time to look back and see what I can improve on and look at the mistakes I made and become a better player and the offseason will be huge, I will be attacking it hard.
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?
We are professional basketball players and are built for the season plus playoffs so as a team we should be ready to go all the way so that will never be an excuse. I think PSK is a well coached team and have good players with a great coach.
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?
As we know basketball is a game of runs and PSK went on a run in the second quarter that really decided the game, we were playing catch up from that point on and it was difficult to claw back.
PS Karlsruhe from my view had possibily the most athletic undersized front court in the Pro B south with your ex teammate 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?
Yes I think their team chemistry was their biggest strength and you can tell that they trust each other and each player knows their role and excels at them. They all bought into the team system and it paid off in the end for sure.
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 of ScanPlus Baskets. This season was a huge accomplishment for this organization and great stepping stone for the future. I would summarize this season as a successful one because we were an underdog team and proved our selves in league play and the playoffs. We definitely exceeded expectations and attacked our goals one at a time.
You had overall a 1-4 record against PS Karlsruhe this season. You played 5 times against Jordan Talbert who played at the same school that you played at with Missouri SO. In our last interview you Jordan was just that smooth individual and always a hard worker who took the game of basketball serious”. What did you notice about his game this season that showed you that he has come a long way from school?
Jordan plays the game of basketball the right way, he makes the extra pass, plays defense at a high level, hits the open shot, rebounds and does whatever the team needs and he is the ultimate glue guy and the heart and soul of that team and he is a winner. He has come along way from school and has shown more of his ability to score now that he is a professional.
You had stated very positive words for your teammate Brandon Lockhart in our last interview saying “Brandon is a great point guard and I am happy to be playing with him on the court, he’s always looking for others and making the best play possible for our team. I appreciate his vision the most , he see’s everything on the court which is huge for our team. How did he help you become a better player in your rookie season?
Brandon has helped me become a better player due to his high IQ on the floor it forces you to also elevate your play because he is always thinking ahead. He has made my rookie season easier by providing pointers and suggestions in times when I needed them the most. He is a clutch player who can fill the stat sheet when needed and also a proven winner from his college days until now. He’s a great guy off the floor as well and has a bright future ahead of him
Which German player do you feel improved the most from the first day of training camp to the game 3 loss against PS Karlsruhe?
We all know Filmore Beck is a great German Talent from Frankfurt, from August he has proved that he is a great player, As the season progressed he came into form showing that he is a big time German Talent. He can shoot with the best of them with deep range and can penetrate also, he is a sound defender on the other end. He is like the German J.R Smith from my perspective.
What was your personal season highlight? You had quite a few great games. Perhaps your big scoring games against FC Schalke in game one and two?
I think my season highlight was just proving myself once again that I can be a big time efficient scorer at the professional level. Game 1 and 2 vs FC Schalke was definitely an example of how I can score big time at an efficient clip.
You had a very strong rookie season in Germany averaging 17,1ppg, 5,4rpg and 1,9apg. After two months you said this about your game in Germany. “I feel I have played ok , still have plenty more in the tank I think I’m just showing flashes of what I can do but haven’t displayed it all, I will be working on every aspect of my game because I am not perfect and I can always improve. How do you feel were you able to improve your game?
Yes it was a very strong rookie season for me. I stuck by my same comments as I made earlier in season. Yes I have improved as the season went on but I still have a lot of work to do in the off season and I am excited and obsessed with the process of getting better and adding to my game. I have not even scratched the surface, my goal is to maximize my potential and looking back I made plenty of mistakes and can be so much better as a player.
You are a guy that likes to play above the rim like your teammate Brian Butler. How did it help your game playing with an athletic guy like him? Do you feel your game around the rim improved?
Playing with Brian was great as it helped my game. It was great playing with a guy like him because he’s such a gifted athletic player that forces you to play above the rim as well. I believe my game above the rim has improved from college, more dunks etc.
What is the next step for Taevaunn Prince? You are much more than a good Pro B player. Do you feel like you can make the next step already next season possibly in the Pro A?
The next for me is getting back in the gym and perfecting my craft, I feel this year was decent and ok but I know I can do more and this was just the first step for bigger and better things. Pro B was a test to see if I can hang professional and I displayed that, I think I can play at the Pro A level and prove myself once again. My goal is always to play at the highest level so I will continue to push myself until I get there.
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?
When I get back to Toronto I will hang out and chill with family and friends for the first couple weeks, then after that it’s back in the gym and being obsessed with my skill development and pushing myself to the next level. I will make a trip to Jamaica and spend a little time there, that’s my background and is where my parents were born and raised before moving to Canada.
Now that the 2017 NCAA tournament is long over what do sports do you focus on now in the summer months?
I will be focusing on the NBA playoffs basketball and getting better myself for the most part , The NBA playoffs should be good , so I will be tuning in.
Will we see any surprises in this years NBA playoffs and who do you have reaching the finals and winning it all?
NBA Playoffs is always full of surprises but I think the Rockets will surprise a lot of teams when it comes to the later rounds and I have Cleveland going in the east and the Rockets going in the west.
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?
That was amazing performance for Devin Booker and surprised me but he is a in a great situation where the team and coaching staff believes in him so he is able to take and make those shots with extreme confidence.
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?
That was a great run for SC and it shows how the underdog team thrive in the big moments of college basketball, I feel like that was the story of the NCAA tournament this year.
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?
As long as Lonzo Ball puts in the work and continues not to pay to much attention to the media he should be fine. Yes his father is adding some excitement and “pressure” but once you put in the work and is confident because of the work you are putting in the illusion of pressure diminishes.
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?
No far from a fair assessment, Russell does everything to help his team win , who would of thought a guard trying to help out the big men and grab 10 plus rebounds was a bad thing haha, Russell Westbrook is an amazing player and it takes effort to chase down those rebounds on the offensive end and defensive end ,effort that nobody wants to give every night in the NBA.
Thanks Taevaunn for the chat.