Hayden Lescault is a 25 year old 196cm guard from Folsam, California playing his third professional season and first with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB). Last season he played with the Glasgow Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 35 games averaging 12.9ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 75.3%. As a rookie he played with BG Karlsruhe (Germany-ProB) playing 25 games averaging 13.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 71.8%. He played at Point Loma (NCAA2) from 2011-2015 and as a senior played 21 games averaging 11.5ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.7apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 78.7%. In his junior season he won the NCAA 2 title and played 30 games averaging 16.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 72.5%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Dragons Rhondorf.
Hayden thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 104-96 win against Iserlohn. It was the second most points the team has given up this season. Was the defensive effort the main thing one could criticize about the win?
It’s never good to give up 90+ points but it happens sometimes when the game is played at such a fast pace.
Donte Nicholas and Julian Scott were a one man wrecking crew as they combined for 55 points. Nicholas as been one of the top players in the Pro B south with Kameron Taylor. What made it so difficult to control him as a team?
Those two guys are great players and they were working hard. Nicholas plays very physical and it was hard to keep him out of the paint.
You reached the BBL final with the Glasgow Rocks. What was so enticing about returning to Germany? Possibly the competitive ambitions of the ScanPlus Baskets?
The season was pretty successful in Glasgow and I enjoyed playing for the Rocks, but I had to weigh my options in the off season and coming to play for ScanPlus made the most sense. Sitting in first place right now, we have our goal set on winning the title and gaining promotion.
You played in the UK BBL. What kind of style was it and where would you compare it to the style and level of the German Pro B? Are they even or is it somewhere between Pro A and Pro B Germany?
The UK gets a lot of good imports but I think the difference is that the teams are not very deep. Here in Germany when teams make a sub or go to the second unit there is not such a big fall off. I think that speaks to the talent of the German players.
Congrats on the very successful season with the ScanPlus Baskets as they are in first place in the Pro B south. What has been the secret of the success? How vital has the different nationalities been that the team has?
Thank you, I don’t think there’s any special secret or anything like that. We have a good group of guys that all play for each other and share a common goal of wanting to win the championship. Our team has Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, American, and German players. Every guy brings a little something different to the table and it has been a perfect fit.
The team is first in points scored with 88 and first in rebounds with 38 per game and seventh in points allowed with 74. What is the most dangerous aspect when one is so successful going into the playoffs? Does the team understand that there are things that can be corrected on the court?
We know what our weaknesses are and we go to work every week to correct them. No body is taking this success for granted. If anything, it’s driving us more to validate it come playoff time.
How vital has head coach Dario Jerkic been for the success? Is it his basketball teaching or his motivational skills that have helped this team be so successful?
A combination of both, we really feed off his energy on the court. He is a competitive guy and he lets it show every day. Over the course of the week he sets up a game plan that has led to much of our success.
Obviously the playoffs is a totally new experience and like a new season where anything can happen. However with the consistent success that the team has do you feel like the team has the confidence to win a Pro B title this season?
We definitely have the confidence to win the title. We’ve worked hard all season for that goal and I think we will make it happen.
How enjoyable has it been playing with Brian Butler? Does it sometimes surprise you that a guy of his basketball abilities isn´t at a higher level?
Butler is a beast. I’m just glad he’s on our side so we don’t have to play against him! He needs to work on his FIFA game though.
Let´s talk about your game. As a rookie with BG Karlsruhe you had talented teammates like Marcus Smallwood, Jeremy Black and Rouven Roessler. What kind of role do you have this season with the ScanPlus Baskets?
I’ve definitely taken on a larger roll this season in comparison to my year with BG. As a rookie I was just trying to fill the gaps and do whatever I could to affect the game. Now in my third year I know my strengths and I know exactly what I need to do each game to help us get the win.
You had pretty much similar stats in your first two seasons. How do you feel has your game progressed as a rookie to now? On what things are you working on now to help your game?
I always want my game to be well rounded. So I’m always trying to improve in every aspect. Currently I’ve just been spending time trying to come out of this 3point drought I’ve found myself in.
I remember you were struggling with your outside shot going into the playoffs with BG Karlsruhe, but still shot 36% for the season. Last season you were at 31% from outside and currently at 26%. You stated then that you have a lot of confidence in your shot. Is your shooting a continued work in progress?
I’ve spent way too many hours getting shots up in my life to ever lose confidence in my shot. I’m obviously not happy with the way I’ve shot the ball recently but I still think the next one is going in.
You scored in double figures in your first 11 games and only twice in the last seven games. Have you been focusing more on playmaking or just being strict with what the defense gives you?
We have a lot of good players on this team so I’m never going to force it. In the first half of the season I was a go to guy but now with defenses paying closer attention to me, it’s getting other guys open shots and open shots which win games.
How much does it help when you have a pass first type of guard like Stefan Fekete on the club? How have you been gaining from his day to day presence on the court?
It’s nice playing with a guy like that. He is always looking to set someone up and he does a great job of that. He’s a veteran who has played in multiple countries so he brings a lot of experience and insight to the team.
The next game is against second placed team Dragons Rhondorf on the road. With a win, the Dragons will have as many wins as you. You destroyed Rhondorf in the first game. What memories do you have of that game?
I remember our defensive pressure causing problems for them. We got out and scored on the break and broke the game open by the 3rd quarter.
You did everything right in that game dominating the boards, hitting 11 three´s and forcing Rhondorf to 24 turnovers, but they are very strong at home having lost only one game. What will be key to going home and keeping first place?
Their crowd really gets into the game and I think they play into that well. We know it’s going to be a battle, but as long as we stay focused and play our style of basketball we should be alright.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Jordan, LeBron, Shaq, Iverson
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?
I still have MJ at the top but LeBron is right on his heals. I think he could pass him when it’s all said and done.
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 a monster and one of the most exciting players in the league. But I do think he chases his personal stats on a nightly bais and that’s not the best way to win games.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I think my Sacramento Kings finally had a good draft. Maybe we’ll be good again someday. But my favorite rookie this year is Jayson Tatum, he’s just a hooper.
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?
With the way that team scores the basketball, I think they can beat anybody. I would love to see them knock off the Warriors.
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 Celtics. 100% it’s paying off for them big time and Brad Stevens is a genius so they will be dangerous in the playoffs as well.
What was your take on the all wheeling and dealing that the Cavs have done? In what direction are they going and is Lebron gone after this season?
I think the trades they just made help them out. And when you have LeBron there is a good chance you are going to the finals regardless. But I do think LeBron is leaving this summer.
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?
Those three guys are incredible scorers but I don’t see it working out for them.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Mollys Game, great movie.
Thanks Hayden for the chat.