Alec Brown is a 25 year old 216cm center from Winona, Minnesota playing his fourth professional season and second with Movistar Estudiantes(ACB). Last season he started the season with the Windy City Bulls (D-League) playing 50 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.9bpg, 2FGP: 53.4%, 3FGP: 36.4%, FT: 81.0%, in Apr.’17 moved to Movistar Estudiantes (ACB) playing 6 games averaging 14.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 68.0%, 3PT: 63.6%, FT: 68.8%. In the 2015-2016 season he came to Europe and played with Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro CAB (ACB) playing 29 game averaging 6.1ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 75.0%. In 2014-2015 he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns (NBA,2rd(50) and played his rookie season with the Bakersfield Jam (D-League) playing 20 games averaging 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2.0bpg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 79.3%. He started his basketball career at Green Bay (NCAA) form 2010-2015 playing a total of 30 games averaging 15.3ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.0apg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 42%, FT: 72.7%. He has played NBA Summer League the last four summers and last summer won the Gold at the FIBA AmeriCup. He spoke to German Hoops before the Basketball champions League game against medi Bayreuth in Bayreuth.
Alex thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball?
Not much. I have played with and against guys that have played in Germany. I played with Alfonso Mckinnie who is with the Toronto Raptors now and he played in Germany.
He actually played in Luxemburg(D2)
Your playing your first full season Movistar Estudiantes in the ACB league in Spain. You have played parts of three seasons in the best league in Europe. Do you feel that this league suits your game best in Europe?
I would say yes. I haven´t played in any other league in Europe besides the ACB, but so far it has worked out well. I was injured in my rookie season and then went to the D-League. I returned my second year back to Spain and it was a lot easier.
How is life in Madrid playing for Estudiantes and being in the shadow of Real Madrid? Do you notice that there is so much less pressure as everything is focused on Real Madrid?
Real Madrid is the big team in Madrid, but Estudiantes has a pretty big following as well. We will meet fans on the street and that´s kind of cool. People tend to like to cheer for the underdog. We aren´t as high profile as Real Madrid, but we believe that we can beat any team on any night.
Movistar Estudiantes last reached the playoffs in 2006. This season they are filled with a lot of talent, but so is the ACB league. What is your early season feeling about where the journey will end this season for the club in the ACB and BCL?
It´s still very early and it´s tough to tell. We already showed what we are capable of this season as we beat FC Barcelona when we come together as a team. If we can be consistent then we should be a good team. I think that we are a potential playoff team.
Omar Sharif-Cook is 30 centimeters smaller than you and is a point guard, but the St Johns legend and ex NBA player has had an amazing career? How has his play and character rubbed off on you in the short time that you have been teammates?
It has been great playing with Omar. I have played with many great point guards including good scoring point guards, but I have never played with a point guard that has seen the court as well as him. His IQ is amazing. Anyone would love to play with him.
You share the big man duties with Croatian Goran Sutton, but do you believe like despite the immense talent around you that this could be your break out season in the ACB where you could play a more significant offensive role than you did before in this league?
I think it could be. I showed in the last six games of last season for Estudiantes that I could be effective and help them win games. I haven´t been as consistent as last season, but I have shown in a few games this season that I can be at the level that I was at last season. I feel that my play works well within coach´s system.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a versatile big man that can shoot the three and are an amazing shot blocker. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you say has a game most like yours?
I don´t know. I´ll let other people decide that.
You shot over 40% in your last two years of school at Wisc.-Green Bay (NCAA) and in 2014 hit 18-25 three´s at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Was shooting something that came easy to you already at a young age or has it been a work in progress?
I feel that shooting has always been a work in progress for me. I always had a natural touch from the mid distance. I worked very hard in school in expanding my range little by little. I have to really credit my coaching staff who had a lot of confidence in my abilities and believed in me. I eventually got the green light. That has really helped open up my career and get new opportunities.
You left Wisc.-Green Bay (NCAA) as the all-time shot leader at 309. Obviously blocking shots is all about timing, but do you also study opponents a little extra more with video so you have an advantage when game time comes?
Yes it does. I think knowing especially what hand a player uses best or what moves they have is important for being successful as a shot blocker. Most important is the timing and knowing when to be in the right place and knowing when you need to help off the drive.
Last summer you were with the Los Angeles Lakers in the Summer League in Las Vegas. After seeing Lonzo Ball live, do you see him being able to make the Lakers into a contender in the next years?
Yes I think he can, but maybe not right away. He is a player with a lot of potential. He is among a lot of other talented players and if they can stay together and grow then they should be good in the years to come.
Last season you played mostly for the Windy City Bulls (D-League) playing 50 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.9bpg, 2FGP: 53.4%, 3FGP: 36.4%, FT: 81.0%, in Apr.’17 moved to Movistar Estudiantes (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 6 games averaging 14.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 68.0%, 3PT: 63.6%, FT: 68.8%. You were teammates with German national player Paul Zipser. Does he have the game to have a long NBA career?
Yes he could have a long NBA career. I only played a couple of games with him, but from what I saw, he really knows how to read the game well. He is a very smart player and really knows how to play.
In the 2015-2016 season you played your first full season with Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro CAB (Spain ACB) playing 29 games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 75.0%. What was your wake up call to playing your first season in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home in Minnesota?
It is always tough to be far away from home living on your own and then being in a foreign country. I lived in a small city where few knew English. The late dinner´s actually fit into our schedule so I liked that. My Spanish still isn´t fluid. I know basic Spanish.
In that season you lost by 30 and 15 points to top team Real Madrid scoring 10 points combined. When you look back to two years ago and look at your game now, how do you feel have you developed further that you can be an impact player this season against a team like that and in general in the ACB?
I have grown in the years. I wasn´t able to play to my full potential in my first season in Spain. It had nothing to do with the coach or players, but just their system that didn´t fit my style. With Estudiantes I am playing in a system that fits my game.
After being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2014 you played your rookie season with the Bakersfield Jam (D-League) playing 20 games averaging 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2.0bpg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 79.3%. A tough injury curtailed your rookie season as you missed many months. How tough was this rookie season going through all the lows. Were there any highs for you?
The D-League as a rookie was tough. I was drafted and then was injured right away and missed a long time until I returned in February. Important in that down time was doing the rehab right. I knew at the end of the season that my shoulder was good again. I put in the time to get healthy again and put in the time and didn´t risk coming back to early.
You have played the last 4 NBA Summer Leagues, but still haven´t played an NBA game. What is your current approach towards the NBA? Obviously your number one focus is Estudiantes Madrid, but how far do you feel are you from getting an NBA job. How was the feedback this past summer?
I didn´t have much opportunities last summer to showcase my abilities. I don´t plan on giving up on reaching the NBA. As long as there are opportunities to play NBA Summer league or others I will accept. There is no harm in trying for the opportunity. I don´t plan on stopping.
You played at Wisc.-Green Bay (NCAA) from 2010-2014. You were signified a lot with your defensive play. When you look back at your career there what were you most proud about your accomplishments on and off the court?
I think off the court just building long lasting relationships with the coaches and players. The best thing has been building life long friendships with the people there. I can always get in contact with the coaches which is nice. On the court there were a lot of achievements. It would have been nice if we would have reached a NCAA tournament, but we won the conference my senior year so that was a big achievement.
Was your 57-56 win against Wright State where you had 11 blocks one of your most memorable games in the NCAA?
Anytime you get 11 blocks that will be memorable. That game was fun. Scoring 40 points against Fairfield was also memorable.
How did head coach Brian Wardle groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Wisc.-Green Bay (NCAA)?
When I got to school I was so unprepared for everything for being able to do the level of work there. He helped me become responsible. He also helped my shot giving me the green light. He had the confidence in me and helped me develop as a player.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Greg Mays?
Definitely me. I don´t know what he will say, but it was for sure me.
How much of an honor was it playing for the USA national team last summer and winning the gold at the FIBA AmeriCup? You played with some NBA players. Did the feeling of playing for your own country wet your appetite for possibly doing that again down the road?
I would play again if I was asked. It was an amazing experience. I will never forget all the confetti coming down and everyone going crazy. I kept the jersey and medal and framed it.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
I have played against many very tough players. Too many to name off the top of my head. I played against Anthony Davis at a Nike camp.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Lebron James.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
It is still Michael Jordan. We will see where Lebron is after he ends his career, but he is close behind and ready to take over his role.
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 I don´t. Anytime a player averages a triple double, it is simply amazing.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I didn´t follow it closely. But from what I saw and heard and with guys I played with, I would say that Kyle Kuzma has a good chance of having a good career.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
Their conference is tough. Good luck to them.
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
The Cavs got the better deal short term and the Celtics long term.
Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?
They will always be good, but I doubt that they can make a serious run.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I recently saw the movie Thor. It was a great movie.
Thanks Alec for the chat.