Ethan O `Day is a 206cm forward from Mansfield, Connecticut playing his rookie season in Germany with the Uni Baskets in Paderborn. Currently he is averaging 10,0ppg, 5,6rpg and 1,4apg. He was drafted by the drafted by Raptors 905 (D-League,4rd(71))
and already got professional experience this season with the Sandringham Sabres (Australia-SEABL-South) playing 24 games averaging 15.3ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-1(2.7bpg), FGP: 60.4%, FT: 42.4%. He started his basketball career at Northfield Mount Hermon and played at Vermont (NCAA) from 2012-2016 playing a total of 123 NCAA games. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 11.4ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.0bpg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 61.0%. He recently spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Ethan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. How excited are you to be playing your first season in Europe? What expectations do you have?
I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity to play in such a talented and well-respected league as the Pro A here in Germany. I want to adjust to our teams system and start creating chemistry with teammates as quickly as possible so I can help us win games right away. I expect to do whatever I can to help this team win games and ultimately make playoffs.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball. Do you know any guys playing here besides Armani Cotton?
I’ve only head good things about the basketball in Germany through friends that have played here at some point in their careers. Pro basketball in Germany has been described to me as very competitive and having a lot of talent. I have noticed some familiar names of players who played in my conference in college in this league.
You have come in as a player replacement with the Uni Baskets Paderborn. What was most key in joining this organization how did head coach Uli Naechster convince you best about coming here?
After speaking with Uli I knew I would be a good fit for their system as I am very familiar with the pick and roll offense, which we mainly run in Paderborn. Also they were looking for a big man who was mobile and could run the floor and bring some athleticism which are all attributes I use to describe my game.
You will be teammates with your ex teammate Armani Cotton at Northfield Mount Herman school. How many times have you seen him since 2011 and what does it mean being professional teammates?
I got to play one season with Armani at Northfield where we became very good friends and playing against him in college on three separate occasions. I was really excited to see Armani was on the roster when Paderborn had contacted my management. He has helped me make the adjustment to European basketball and lifestyle as he has already played a full season in Belgium.
You have joined a club with a talented front court with German Georg Voigtmann and Morgan Grim. What kind of role do you expect having?
I hope to learn as much as I can from both Morgan and Georg as they are both very talented players who have a lot of experience playing pro basketball in Germany. I hope to play whatever role I can to help us win games. I am comfortable playing the 4 or 5 position. Its good to have options to throw different front court line ups throughout a game at opponents and we have that luxury.
After not playing in your 2016-2017 season after graduating from Vermont(NCAA) how important was it playing in Australia this year with the Sandringham Sabres (Australia-SEABL). Do you feel like your stellar play there rose your confidence again?
Playing in Australia for Sandringham was a great experience for me. It was a great start to my professional career and I met a lot of people and learned a lot. I was in a position where I got to play a lot of minutes and contribute right away so that definitely helped with my confidence coming out of college.
The Pro A is more competitive then what you saw in Australia. How confdient are you that you can make an impact in this league?
I understand that the style of basketball in Europe is different than both college and pro basketball in Australia. I am confident I will be able to rise to the level of play and continue improving my game to adapt. There are still a lot of parts of my game that I can really improve which is exciting for me.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a power forward that can score and rebound. To what NBA player would you best compare your game to?
That’s a tough question. I would have to say my footwork and touch around the rim resembles Tim Duncan at times.
What other strengths do you possess in your game that will help make the Paderborn offense more versatile?
My ability be able to pop out of a ball screen for a jump shot, or roll hard to the rim for a pocket pass or seal helps give us more options in our ball screen oriented offense. Also I pride myself in running the floor for easy baskets in transition which is another component of the game I can bring to us.
How much pride do you put in your defensive work? You showed in the NCAA that you were a shot blocking monster. Has this been a gift God blessed you or did you develop your shot blocking through your four years in school?
I take a lot of pride in being in the right spot defensively and protecting the rim if I need to be engaged in help defense. At Vermont we were a very defense oriented team and I think that’s what helped shape me. I was able to be in the right spots on help defense to protect the rim and block shots. My arms aren’t overly long like most bigs at my position but I have developed good timing and a quick first jump to block shots throughout my career.
After continuing to show your scoring and rebounding in your first professional station in Australia, what do you feel is still a hidden strength in your game that still doesn´t get noticed?
My ability to handle the ball in transition and pass out of the post to cutters and open shooters are two things that sometimes get overlooked.
What kind of experience was it playing in Australia. How do you feel did your game grow a bit more in those few months that you didn´t have when you left Vermont?
Being a full time professional in Australia allowed me to continue to work on my game. Also playing against professional competition helped me grow as a player and boost my confidence.
What was your sweetest memory off the court in Australia? You lived on the beach and south from Melbourne. Was it difficult leaving when the season ended?
Melbourne has a great café culture with very good coffee. So probably going out to eat at different cafes with teammate and friends was my best memory off the court in Australia.
You were drafted by the Raptors 905 in 2016 in the fourth round at #71. But you didn´t play in the 2016-2017 season. Talk a little about the last year. Were you a bit undecided about where your life was going or didn´t you find the perfect basketball situation?
Going to the Raptors 905 training camp was a great experience for me. I got to compete with NBA level talent and although I did not make the final roster gained confidence from the camp and felt like I belonged. After I had been released I was sure that I wanted to play basketball still and luckily the opportunity in Australia presented itself.
You played four years at Vermont(NCAA) from 2012-2016 reaching the AEC tournament final in 2013-2016. What was your biggest highlight in your four year career?
Clinching the America East regular season championship on our home court my sophomore year was probably my best memory at Vermont.
As a senior you lost to well known schools Purdue and Florida holding your own scoring 15 and 12 points. How memorable were games like this where you played against top competition and did your play give you that last confirmation that you could play at a professional level or did you know that earlier?
It has always been a dream of mine to play basketball at the professional level and it was always a goal of mine to try to accomplish. I enjoy playing against the best competition and always feel like my level of play kind of rises when I get put against higher level teams and players.
How did head coach John Becker groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Vermont(NCAA)
Coach Becker helped for me into the player I am today because he always demanded the best of me from the moment I stepped on campus as a freshman. I was playing a lot of minutes at the start of my freshman year so there was no time to get adjusted. I had to pick things up fast and play at a high level right away.
Ok you have four inches on Armani Cotton now, but who won a one on one in practice in high school and who would win today?
I don’t think we have ever played a game of one on one before. I’m pretty confident both high school aged me and myself now would win in that matchup though. Not sure if Armani would agree with that however.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA or playgrounds that is in the NBA now?
I grew up playing against Andre Drummond who is also from Connecticut. I played against him at a younger age in AAU/ club basketball as well as the prep school level when I was at Northfield Mount Hermon. He had NBA level size, strength, and atheism at a young age and was always a tough matchup. I got to play aau with him one summer when we were both 17/18 and became good friends with him then as well. It was a fun experience playing alongside such a talented player in the frontcourt.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlin, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson
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 so hard to compare LeBron to Jordan as they are both completely different players. Not to mention they were two completely different times in basketball. I am a huge LeBron fan. When his career is over he will forever be in the discussion as the greatest player of all time with no doubt in my mind.
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 think Westbrook is the most competitive and aggressive player in the NBA. Of course he is aware of his stats and chances to get triple doubles like any player but ultimately I know he cares about winning more than all of that.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I think Caleb Swanigan could be a sleeper. I played him in college and was really impressed with his game and think its translates well to the NBA.
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?
Unfortunately I think the Warriors will be too much for the Rockets to handle yet again this year even with the addition of Chris Paul. The warriors have too many threats and have arguably the best coach in the NBA with Steve Kerr which puts them over the top.
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 way that Kyrie has been playing this season has made it pretty clear that the Celtics have benefitted the most from the trade. When Hayward gets healthy the Celtics will be very dangerous and could dominate the east in the next few years. However, When IT comes back for the Cavs I would not count them out for an NBA championship this year because, Lebron is going to be Lebron.
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?
The thunder are struggling right now and have to make a lot of changes it seems. I think it may take this year for them to adjust to playing with each other. They will not be able to compete with the Warriors if Golden State stays healthy.
Thanks Ethan for the chat.