Chris Longoria is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Peachtree, Georgia playing his second professional season and first with TV 1860 Lich 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga). Last season as a rookie he played with Buova Virtus Lamezia Terme (Italy-Serie C Silver) playing 16 games averaging 22.7ppg. He got experience playing at three schools with Binghamton (NCAA) where he played 31 game avergaimg 6.5ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 37.6%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 84.8%. He played a season at Samford (NCAA) playing 13 games averaging 3.8ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.0apg. He played his last season at Valdosta St. (NCAA2) playing 20 games averaging 13.1ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 39.7%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 69.4%. He spoke to German Hoops recently about basketball.
Chris thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment an dhow have you enjoyed the Christmas time?
I am here in Lich, Germany and have really enjoyed my time here so far. Christmas time in Germany is something special.
Congrats on signing with Lich 2 recently. After having a strong rookie season with Buova Virtus Lamezia Terme (Italy-Serie C) playing 16 games averaging 22.7ppg, it took you some time finding a team. How was the transfer period in your second go compared to your rookie season? Did clubs have reservations or did the right fit just not surface?
It was definitely a process because I had to switch agents. The rules changed in Italy regarding their Americans. Luckily, I had a former college teammate Nils Dejworek who told me about his agent Lothar from Regiospot, and I got hooked up with him. However, the leagues in Germany had most of their Americans at the time, so he told me that we could find something at the Christmas break. With so many Americans trying to play pro basketball overseas, I am just grateful and blessed that I got this opportunity for a second year, no matter what time of the year it came.
You started off very well with Lich averaging 37ppg, 7,5rpg, 4,0apg and shooting 46% from outside after 2 games. You found a good rhythm quickly, but now have a break again. How confident are you that you will come back and find that groove again?
I’m very confident I can come back and find my groove because I’ve been in the gym every day, and I am growing with the team on and off the court during this break.
Lich has been struggling the whole season and is 2-4 with you. What do you feel is the teams biggest weakness and are you confident that the team will start winning?
Since I’ve been here, our biggest weakness is our consistent defense and rebounding. It doesn’t matter if we score 100 points, if we give up 101. If we want to win, we will have to change our whole mindset on the defensive end, and that starts with me. And that’s what I’m here to do.
Defense seems to be a big problem as it allowed over 100 points in your first two games and since then not allowed any more 100 point games. Besides giving your scoring stamp, do you feel that over time you will be able help bring some heightened defensive intensity as you are known as a strong defender?
Yes, I will definitely turn up my defensive intensity and that will be the key to us winning. We can’t win if we can’t stop anybody.
In the loss against Saarlouis you battled perhaps the greatest Regionaliga player Germany has ever had with Ricky Eastering. Did you have some words with him after the game and how annoying was his mid distance jumper?
Yeah, Ricky and I talked a little bit wishing each other good luck and to keep grinding. As far as mid range, he’s a player who is lights out. Especially in today’s game where all you see is 3 pointers and dunks, he’s one who has kept that lost art of the mid range.
The club has a good mix of Germans and some other European players. How much potential does the club have and do you see it being able to crawl out of the hole?
We have a great group of guys here, and I’m actually still learning how each of them play. We also have a couple guys hurt, so once they come back it will be interesting to see how far we can go. I’m confident we will get back on the right track when we get our defense together.
Let´s talk a little about your game. You are a scoring machine, but what other strengths does your game possess?
I’m a very versatile player and will do whatever the team needs me to do. For this team, I’ve learned not only do I need to score, but more importantly I need to be a defensive stopper first.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I know my hidden strengths are my passing and IQ of the game. I’ve always been known to shoot, but those are two areas I pride my game on.
Last season you played in the Italian Serie c. How would you describe the level and talent there compared to the German Regionalliga?
The Italian Serie C was comparable to the Regionalliga. There is more height, and the game is a little more physical here in Germany though.
What was your wake up call in Italy as a rookie where you knew that you were very far away from home in Peachtree?
My wake up call was definitely the language barrier. In southern Italy, there was nobody who spoke fluent English. When I started hearing my English Netflix shows in Italian, I knew I was a long way away from home.
You played at three schools, Binghamton (NCAA), Samford (NCAA) and Valdosta State. Do you ever think about where your development might have gone had you only stayed at one school?
I do think about it, but there were reasons why I changed schools and I don’t like to live in the past. So I just kept moving forward.
How beneficial do you feel was it playing at three schools instead of only one. What styles did you encounter and how did you develop further with this experience at three different schools?
I feel like it was very beneficial because of all of the things I experienced with different coaches and styles of play. One school wanted to play half court offense, while one school wanted to score 100 points a game. I found out I like to play at the more fast paced game, and also found out how I would treat my players and ran my program if I ever became a coach.
As a freshman you played at Binghamton and averaged 6.5ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 37.6%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 84.8% You had Stony Brook´s number scoring in double figures. You had a solid freshman season and could have built on it. Was there not an option to keep playing there?
My freshman year was very productive for me. However, I was 15 hours away from home, the coaches were let go who recruited me, four of my other roommates transferred, so I decided to come play closer to home. However, my freshman year was definitely one of my best experiences in college at Binghamton.
You held your own scoring 12 points in a 88-59 loss to Missouri encountering future NBA players like Kim English and Phil Pressy and top Euroleague players Michael Dixon and Marcus Denmon. When you look back at that game and compare your game with these guys, do you feel like there was so much difference?
That was my favorite game to play in during my college career. They were ranked #2 in the country at that time, and it was a good confidence booster for me because I knew I belonged out there on the court with them.
You then moved to Samford (NCAA) playing 13 games averaging 3.8ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.0apg . was this a lost year for you and what did you learn from that experience?
I learned a lot from my experience at Samford. Although I didn’t get the minutes I wanted to, they really pushed me as a player to play hard every time you touch the court.
You finished at Valdosta St. (NCAA2) having to sit out a year. How much did you improve in that season that allowed you to play 20 games averaging 13.1ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 39.7%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 69.4%
It hurt not being able to play, but it gave me a year to learn the system and to be able to have a successful season for my senior year. Like I said before, I am versatile so I do what the team needs. We had some big guys get hurt, so I even played the 4 position some games.
How much did head coach Mike Helfer groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Helfer really helped me prepare for a professional career. He helped me become a leader and had a lot of confidence in me and my game. It’s very reassuring as a player when your coach has the same confidence in your shot as you do. And after a down season at Samford, that is what propelled me to get my groove back and pursue a professional career. I owe him a lot of credit.
You were teammates with Blake Justice who played briefly with Lich last season. Are you surprised that he seems to have given up on a professional career and is pursuing other things?
I’m not too surprised. The chance to be an assistant coach at your Alma Mater and have the opportunity to coach your brother doesn’t happen often. I’m happy for him.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Blake Justice?
One on one, me. He can have the shooting competitions.
Who was the best player that you battled at the NCAA level that gave you most fits on the court and is in the NBA now?
On the NCAA level, Kim English hit like 10 3’s against us. Summer leagues in Atlanta, the best I’ve played against is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He’s tough.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Jordan, Lebron, Kobe, Shaq
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?
He stands at number 2 right now, but when it’s all said and done, I think he will be number 1.
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, he just plays hard every possession of every game. When you play like that, the ball just seems to come to you.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
As it’s playing out, it’s looking like a great draft. I didn’t think Kuzma or Donovan Mitchell would break out this early. Kuzma is the best sleeper in the draft.
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?
Maybe not this first year, just because they’re in the West. They can see how this year plays out, then look to add after playoffs.
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?
Boston for sure in the long-run. They seem to have added the right pieces to be good for a long time in the East. As for the Cavs, they better win it this year or who knows will Lebron will go.
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?
Hope they do. They have more than enough pieces, and I want somebody to challenge the Warriors.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Bright with Will Smith.
Thanks Chris for the chat.