Nick Hornsby is a 201cm forward that was born in Irvine, California and is going into his rookie season in Germany with the Giessen 46ers II (Germany-ProB). He won two high school titles with Tustin and then played at Sacramento State form 2013-2017 playing a total of 123 NCAA games and was able to improve hiss coring and rebounding each season. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 11.3ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 71.2%. This season with Giessen he is averaging 13,6ppg, 7,6rpg and 2,6apg. He spoke to German Hoops shortly after he signed with Giessen about his basketball career.
Nick thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on signing your first professional basketball career with the Giessen 46ers 2 team that play in the Pro B. After coming off a stellar 4 year career at Sacramento State how did you experience your first summer transfer period as you were looking for your first professional team? Did you have sufficient offers?
My first summer out I have just been focused on getting better as an all around player. Whether its one day working on my shot or the other my ball handling. It was a great summer and I got to play with/against a lot of great players.
You chose the Giessen 46ers 2 team. Head coach Rolf Scholtz was high on your versatility and team game. What were the main reasons for deciding to play for head coach Rolf Scholtz? I can imagine being able to soak up the BBL experience with their first team and be able to practice with them was an important reason?
Coach Scholtz just seemed like a great guy and I thought that this would be a great place to start my career. Like you said being able to practice with the BBL team and scrimmage against them was a big part of it so I could not pass up that opportunity.
As a guy from beautiful California what has been the most difficult adjustment for you in Germany on and off the court? How have you been adjusting to the rules as well as the culture?
The most difficult adjustment on the court I would have to say is just the different style of play. In California and the US things are a lot faster and more up and down. Off the court I would have to say just getting used to the time change has been difficult. California is 9 hours behind so when I am waking up they are going to sleep.
You are on a team with one other American rookie with Jeril Taylor as well as many young talented Germans and some talented veterans with Johanes Lischka and Marian Schick. Often is the Americans that have to take most of the offensive load, but this season the club has more scoring options. How do you see your role as a rookie?
My role this year is where ever the coach wants me to be whether its scoring, rebounding, defending, passing, whatever needs to be done.
What has been your impression of young German Alen Pjanic who has shown his high energy play on the defensive end? In a way he is a rookie like you, but your 2 years older and have NCAA experience. How do you see profiting from his game and vice versa?
My first impression of Alen is that he is a great athlete player which makes him a huge factor to have on the defensive and offensive end. I would say him profiting would just be being more aggressive on both ends of the court. Personally I would like to learn how to play the European style of play from him.
You will most likely learn more and more about the life of Johannes Lischka over the course of the season as he has experienced so much on and off the court with a tumor, retirement and playing with Dirk Nowitski on the German national team. He should be the deciding factor why Giessen2 have a good chance to make the playoffs. What has impressed you most about his game?
I would say that what impressed me most about him was how solid he is all around. He also knows what he is good at and doesn´t go away from that. On and off the court I’d say he is a great leader even though I’ve only known him for a couple days.
Let´s talk a little about your game Nick. You were able to improve your points and rebounding each season in the NCAA. You consistently upped your rebounding stats and averaged 8,0 a game as a senior. Is rebounding one of your biggest strengths as a player?
I would say it is a strength of mine. I would like to say I am an all around player but rebounding while I was at Sacramento State was a big thing for me especially because I had to play as a big
If you had to choose an NBA player that most resembles how you play which player would you pick?
I would pick Draymond Green because of his intensity and his all around playing style.
You’re a guy that can really fill the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?
I would say a hidden strength in my game would be passing. Especially now a days its not as big of a deal. Passing is something that I have been pretty good at since I was younger.
You won two league titles at Tustin high school and the basketball team has won three of the last six. Surprisingly though it has been only baseball and football players that have made names at the professional ranks. Do you feel that kids from your teams as well as you will change that standing at the professional ranks now?
Tustin high schools athletics are all around phenomenal but hopefully one day some of the basketball players will make big names for ourselves.
You played at Sacramento State from 2013-2017 for head coach Brian Katz. How did he groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career best?
Coach Katz did what he could to prepare me for my future both on and off the court. I am glad I got the opportunity to learn things from him and the staff there.
In the summer of 2016 you played the Taiwan Cup with Sacramento State. What kind of experience was that for you and what everlasting experience was that for you?
The Taiwan Cup was a great experience because I feel like it prepared me for the pro level and what it would be like. There was great competition there.
You had quite a few memorable games in the NCAA like beating Arizona State, beating Montana where you had 25 points and beating S Utah where you had a monster game with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Was one of these contests your most memorable game or was there another game?
I wouldn´t say one was more memorable than the other I feel like they were all great games that I got to play with my teammates
How valuable was a guy like Justin Strings for your game in the last few years at Sacramento State? He most likely will turn pro next season. How much did you benefit from the constant battling in practice each day?
Justin was very valuable and a great player. Some of me and Justin’s best practices were when we got to go head to head against each other and we are both pretty competitive guys.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Justin Strings?
I would say me and Justin’s one on one games were pretty even.
Who was the toughest player that you battled ever that is in the NBA now?
The toughest player I have played against would have to be either James Harden or Demarcus Cousin
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
My NBA mount Rushmore would be Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and I honestly don´t know who my fourth would be
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?
Lebron to me is second best behind Michael Jordan. I believe he is the best all around player the league has seen.
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 feel this is an unfair assessment. I believe that Westbrook must do a lot of things for his team to be successful and he gives it his all every single night
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I think a sleeper would be Dennis Smith Jr. I like him a lot and think he is a great player. Also Kuzma of the Lakers he is a great shooter from what I saw in the summer league.
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?
I think the Rockets will be very successful this year especially having two amazing guards in Chris Paul and James Harden. I think they will make a good run it just all depends on how they work together
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?
I am not a fan of the trade but they are both two amazing players. In my eyes I think they both would have been better off not making the trade at all. I think the Celtics will be a problem for the Cavs now
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie that I watched was Girls Trip.
Thanks Nick for the chat.