Mason Biddle is a 185cm guard born in 1993 that recently completed his rookie season in Germany with VfL Stade (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 20 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 5.2apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 39.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 81.9%. His best games were a 31 point affair against RW Cuxhaven and 22 points against Rendsburg. Before turning professional he played at Western St. (NCAA2) and as a senior played 16 games averaging 19.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 77.7%. He spoke to German Hoops about his rookie season in Germany.
Mason thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer going?
Miles, Thank you for the interview. I am currently back in Riverside, California finishing up the high school year substitute teaching and training for next season. My summer has been great. It has been nice to be back home with family and friends and in great California weather.
You just finished your firs professional season in Germany with Stade. How was that first professional experience for you?
My first year in Stade I had a great experience. The city and club treated me very well and we had a successful season. I met a lot great people and formed a lot of good relationships. My coach, Nemo Weber was great we had a real solid relationship on and off the court. It was my first time out of the country and I really enjoyed being in Germany.
The regionalliga isn’t the glamour league in Germany as it is the fourth division, but what things did you enjoy about the process and less?
Although the Regionalliga 1 isn’t that glamourous I think it was a good start to my career. I was fortunate enough to be in a position a lot of players would have taken in a heartbeat. Playing Itzehoe and Wedel in the preseason also showed me that the top teams in the Regionalliga are similar to a lot of the teams in the Pro-B. I was lucky to have access to a gym outside of practice hours in Stade and tried to keep myself busy on off days. The top 4 teams in the North were pretty good and with no playoffs in this league every game was important.
Stade finished with a solid 13-5 record, but couldn´t get by RW Cuxhaven who moved up to the Pro B. What do you feel was missing from the team getting over the hump and getting by RW Cuxhaven?
It was a crazy year in the sense of how the schedule worked out. There are no playoffs in this league but how the records worked out we ended up playing Cuxhaven in the last game of the year to determine who would move up to the Pro-B. The atmosphere at the game was amazing and our fan support was incredible for an away game. Unfortunately, we came up short and didn’t have our best game when it counted but we fought until the end. Defensively we missed a few rotations that we changed mid-game and offensively we didn’t hit our shots down the stretch. Cuxhaven played real well followed a good game plan and deserved to win that day.
How do you see the overall future of basketball in Stade? Is this a location that you see being able to move up a level down the road?
I think overall, the future in Stade is heading in the right direction. They were very interested in moving up to the Pro-B this year and hopefully that same intensity and desire continues with a new coach and team next season!
You played together with two Spaniards the young Damian Cortes Rey and the experienced Oscar Andres. What kind of experience was it getting to know another kind of basketball from those guys?
I loved playing with both Damian and Oscar this season. Damian is a young and very athletic shooting guard that started the year off great. Even though his shooting percentage went down during the year he improved in a lot of different ways and was a vital part to our success as a whole. He is going to be a great player. Oscar Andres was one of my best friends on the team and I loved playing with him. I have been playing basketball for a long time and he is one of the smartest players I have ever been around. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time and helps keep our team level headed through any adversity we face. It was a pleasure playing with both of them.
How important was a guy like German Tom Lipke who has extensive German second Bundesliga experience as well as having played in Finland for you getting adjusted to basketball and life in Germany?
Tom Lipke was another close friend of mine. Tom suffered through some injuries throughout the season and it was tough for him to get into his usual rhythm but he was another key ingredient to our success. Tom is pretty much unstoppable going to the basket and in post-up situations in this league and he had a few games and moments where he showed it. If you watch Tom play you can tell that he was a second Bundesliga talent when he was younger and still has some left in the tank. Tom gave me a lot of great advice on all his experiences and was always open to answering any questions I had. I was fortunate to be able to play with him this season.
You had a very solid rookie season playing 20 games averaging 13,0ppg, 5,7rpg, 5,2apg and 2,pspg. How content were you with your season?
I was very content with the season I had. I stayed healthy, took care of my body throughout the season, and felt in control of each game as the PG and leader.
The Regionalliga is a league where especially the Americans like to play for scoring stats. You obviously could of averaged more points in 31 minutes, but instead also was a fine distributor. Do you feel like you proved that you were more a team player than having those selfish tendencies that players often have at this level?
A lot of Americans get that bad image of being selfish and only caring about scoring in this league because it is how a lot of them play. When I first got to Stade and started practicing I could tell my teammates were real surprised that I was willing to pass the ball and make the right play. But I think I proved this season that I am a team player and put the team’s success before mine every day. I know I can score and get a shot off whenever I want but as a point guard it is my job to get our team the best shot and I think that is what I did this season.
You can really fill up the stat sheet, but do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed often?
I was fortunate this year to do a little bit of everything depending on what was needed that day. A hidden strength in my game that never really got noticed until this year was my defense. I have always had a good basketball mind and I am very tuned in when it comes to scouting reports and defensive rotations. I also take pride in guarding the opposing team’s best player and doing everything I can to get them out of their comfort zone.
You shot 38% from outside. Do you feel like with added practice this summer that you will be able to be at the 40% range next season?
Yes, I do feel with extra reps this summer and more hours in the gym I will be able to shoot in the 40% range next season.
Your best game of the season was against top team RW Cuxhaven where you netted 31 points hitting seven three´s. Do you feel as if possibly the team took note of you and might have your name in their notebook for possible new players?
Yea I had a really good game against Cuxhaven the first time we played them. I don’t know if they have my name in their notebook for possible new players, but if they did I would be ready to talk. They had a good team this year and both games we played them were competitive and fun.
Often players will pack it up after a few years in the Regionalliga and head back to the States to get a real job. Would you give this league a chance for a few more years with the chance of moving up, or is having a long career in the minor leagues not an option for you?
Depending on the offer I get I would give this league another chance with a team that has the desire and budget to move up a level. But as for an extensive career I am not too sure. I am looking to play higher as soon as possible.
What is the next step for Mason Biddle? I am sure you witnessed some Pro B games in Itzehoe or Wedel last season. Do you feel as though you could make an impact at the next level?
I am going to be working out this summer and staying ready. Hopefully in the next month or so I will get some good offers to play somewhere next season. We actually beat Itzehoe and Wedel in the preseason this year and I have no doubt that I can make an impact at the next level.
Explain in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team now with your play?
I am a very smart and skilled PG that gets overlooked by players that are more athletic than me. It has been like that my whole life and it is something that pushes me every day. I am a player that can score, pass, and rebound well for my size and am willing to do anything the team needs to be successful. I am all about playing basketball the right way and getting great shots verse good shots. I am a natural leader that can run a team and system very well.
You played two seasons at Western State. How did head coach Bradd Schaefer help groom and develop your game as a senior?
Coach Schafer was great my senior year. It was his first year as the head coach and even though we weren’t very successful as a team I learned a lot from his enthusiasm, time, and dedication he put into the game. We both kind of got stuck with the same team as the year before because of the coaching change and even though it wasn’t what we both wanted we made the most of the situation.
Who one a one on one in practice you or Danny Hopkins?
I have been playing with Danny Hopkins since I was in the 3rd grade and we have been in countless amount of practices together. But I can honestly say I don’t ever remember playing him in an actual game of one on one, and now that I think about it that’s crazy. I will say in my last two years at Western I was the KING of the court in 85% of the group one on one sessions we had though.
Your from Riverside, California where there are many many great baseball players from, but very few basketball players with the exception of ex Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller. Did you never get infected with the baseball bug when growing up?
Yea the only other two I can think from Riverside California besides Reggie Miller would be Kawhi Leonard and a good friend of mine Malcolm Lee. Obviously, everyone knows Kawhi and Malcolm played 3 years in the NBA and was in the top league in Turkey this past season. I played baseball growing up and I wish I would have stuck with it but it was too slow paced for me so I stopped playing at a young age.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
I would have to go with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Magic Johnson.
Where will Lebron stand in the never ending debate as the best of all-time if he wins his 4th NBA title?
If he wins the title this year I am not going to say he passes everyone in the argument but I will say it would be extremely tough to argue against Lebron.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
I would rank KG top 5 in the best power forwards ever. Alongside Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Dirk Nowitzki, and Charles Barkley.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
This was an incredible performance and really showed how efficient someone can be moving without the ball. But a performance like this doesn’t come around often, it would have been interesting to see how many he would have put up in the 4th. I would say it’s top 5.
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?
Russel Westbrook is an animal and one of my favorite players. The intensity he plays with every night cannot be matched. He is stat wise the best player in the World!
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
Rebounds and assists are a normal statistic involved in a triple-double but getting 10 steals on top of that is amazing and very hard to do. That is why I believe it has taken so long for someone to do this.
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`?
South Carolinas run this season was very impressive. I was hoping they would find a way to pull it out but I definitely think this was the story this year’s March Madness.
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?
Lonzo Ball in my opinion is the real deal! I think he is the smartest player in the draft and his exceptional decision making will take him a long way in the league despite the antics and big mouth of his father.
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 think this is a fair assessment of Russel Westbrook. He is on a team where he needs to do these things and even though at times it may look like he does this I don’t think he does it intentionally.
What was the last movie that you saw?