Brandon Lockhart is a 27 year old 185cm guard from St Louis, Missouri that is playing his third season in Germany and first with the Rostock Seawolves currently averaging 14,6ppg, 4,2rpg, 4,8apg and 2,2spg while shooting 43% from outside. He completed his third professional season and first with German team ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) averaging 12,0ppg, 3,8rpg and 6,2apg. As a rookie he played for BK Levicki Patrioti (Slovakia-Extraliga) playing 34 games: Score-5(16.7ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-5(4.3apg), Steals-1(3.0spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 78.9%. He played at Drury (NCAA2) from 2009-2013 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 12.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 6.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 77.1%. Two seasons ago he played for the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-ProB) playing 29 game averaging 16.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 5.7apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 81.1%. He spoke to German Hoops before the playoff do or die game in Giessen.
Brandon, thanks for talking to German Hoops. You’re nearing the end of your third professional season in Germany and this is our 15th interview. Has time flown by for you in Germany in the last years?
Hey Miles, always a pleasure talking with you. My time in Germany definitely has flown by. I can remember arriving into Nördlingen like it happened yesterday.
Rostock finished in third place in the regular season. With the huge ambitions of the team did the club underperform a bit not finishing first?
The most important goal going into this season was to make the playoffs. We accomplished that. So I can’t say that we underperformed.
The team started off very slowly losing three of it´s first four games and then had a 6-6 record up until December 2017. The club didn´t play bad, but lost every game by 6 or less points. Why couldn´t the team learn to win those tight games?
It was early in the season and we were still figuring each other out. When you bring in a complete new roster, you cannot expect everything to be perfect.
From December 9th until the end the Rostock Seawolves had a solid 11-3 record. What was the main reason for the turnaround and what did the team begin to do better at both ends of the court?
We started to find our identity as a team. We also had more games together to learn the different strengths and weaknesses we had.
You told me in our last interview last summer that “we have skilled offensive weapons, but if we want to play for a championship, it will start with our defense”. The club was first with fewest points allowed with 72. Can the club continue to heighten their defense in the playoffs?
Defense is one of the best things we did this season. Hopefully it remains that way during the remainder of the playoffs.
Rostock swept Schwelm, but now have a do or die game in Giessen. How excited are you for your fourth do or die game 3 in the German Pro B?
Do or die games are always fun because it usually brings out the best from everyone.
In your career with Nordlingen you overcame Oldenburg and last season with the ScanPlus Baskets got by Wurzburg, but lost to PS Karlsruhe. What do you remember most from these 3 series?
The team that is able to execute their game plan under pressure the best usually wins.
There´s a lot on the line since it can be the end to your season. How high is the confidence level of the team knowing it beat Giessen on the road in game one? Has the team been able to block out the bitter game two loss at home?
We have no choice but to block out game two because there is nothing we can do about it. Winning there already helps because it shows it’s possible
Rostock had the last possession in game 2 and could of won the game and put the arena into a new kind of frenzy had the ball dropped. Instead you lost. Did the last seconds feel like there were about 10 offensive rebounds that you couldn´t capitalize on?
Moments like that always feel like forever. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t have one of those shots go in. But the focus is on game 3 now
The club lives from the two Americans and the two Germans Borekambi and Frazier. Do you sometimes worry as if the depth just isn´t there?
During the season we had many games where we had 3-5 players scoring in double figures. So I don’t think depth is a problem we have
Rostock did a great jobin game 2 taking care of the ball giving up 8 turnovers and had 7 more possessions, but couldn´t get the win. What will be key to advancing in Giessen on Sunday?
Being able to remain calm when things get chaotic this weekend. We have to stick to our game plan during those times the most.
What has been your impression of young 18 year old Bjarne Kraushaar. He plays in the EasyCRedit BBL as well for Giessen. Has he been the best German 18 year old point guard that you have seen in the Pro B this season?
Tough to say because there are a bunch of young talented players in this league. He’s a good player and I think he has a bright future
You have had a great series scoring 47 points in both games. Is your self confidence at a level where it has never been before or is it where it usually is at a high level?
My confidence going into a game is always there. Type of game or opponent does not really have an effect on that.
Your playing your second season with Jordan Talbert after playing with him two seasons ago in Nordligen. What has it been like being teammates for a second time? How has your relationship grown and how has his game continued to develop since Nordlingen?
He is a great player, but an even better person. His ability to hit the 3 ball helps a ton because it spaces the floor for our team. He’s a high IQ player which is always great to have on your team.
You and Talbert are the meat of the offense, but also the Germans Bill Borekambi and Chris Frazier have been big contributors. What have you appreciated most about their game?
Chris has the ability to pull up from anywhere, no matter if a defender is there or not. Bill, I’ve never seen a player hit tough shots at the consistent level he does. What many people would consider a bad shot is just a typical shot for him.
Let´s talk about your game. In our last interview you stated your personal goals this season was to improve your shooting percentages and have less turnovers. You were able to do that. Did you put up more reps or has it been better shot selection and what was key in almost cutting your turnovers to almost one from last season?
I think shooting percentages are reflective of shot selection. Better shots increase the chances of them going in. Taking less chances with passes is what I contribute to having fewer turnovers this season.
Still despite this good improvement in some areas of your game, your never satisfied with your game and want to improve each day. What are other area´s where you are looking to improve?
Being a consistent threat to score from anywhere on the court.
In our last interview you stressed the possibility of averaging 7 assists a game simply because of the many scoring options. You had 6,2apg last season with the ScanPlus Baskets while you have 4,8apg this season. How have you been content with your playmaking this season. How else have you helped as a point guard where you feel the 4.8apg rate doesn´t justify your playmaking abilities. 4,8apg is solid, but have you been seeing the hockey assist more this season?
The stats might not show it since hockey assist aren’t in basketball. But assist are only one part of being a PG. I think this year I’ve been better at controlling the game when things might get chaotic.
You played for Mario Matic in Nordlingen and last season for Dario Jerkic. What has it been like playing for Ralf Rehberger who has vast BBL experience? How has he helped you make another step in your career as a professional basketball player?
I’ve been lucky to learn from some pretty good coaches during my time in Germany. Coach Ralf has helped me when it comes to organizing the team during rough patches of a game.
There are so many good point guards in the Pro B, but so little guys make the next jump. Two good examples this season have been Miles Jackson Cartwright and Kameron Taylor that made the jump to the EasyCredit BBL. Does their journey not give you added confidence for the future, but hope that you could do that?
Congrats to them for being able to make that jump. All I can do is continue to work daily and give it my all every time I step on the court.
What is your opinion of the Pro B having only one import next season. That will be a lot less jobs for imports. Does that scare you a bit and might force you to move to another country to play the game that you love?
Not a fan of the change but it is what it is. I would like to remain in Germany, but I’m not against going to another country.
How did you experience the 2018 NCAA tournament? What was your biggest upset?
Since the games were during the day, if we did not have practice I would watch a game. Virginia losing in the first round definitely was the biggest upset for me.
How refreshing was it not seeing a North Carolina, Duke or Kentucky in the Final 4? Does that speak for the overall top competition that the NCAA has?
I am a Duke fan so it was not refreshing to see them not make the final four. I think the tourney just shows the gap between high-mid-low D1 is shrinking.
What did you appreciate most about Villanova´s and Loyola Chicago´s runs in this year March Madness?
The dominance Nova had was most impressive. They won every game by double digits. The way Loyola played as a team was nice to watch.
Lebron James recently made some pretty passes against the Los Angeles Lakers. In a way he already plays like a point guard, but what if he was only a point guard and had no other duties. How many assists would he average?
He’s such a gifted passer that if he set his mind to only getting assist. I wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged 12+
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
Thanks Brandon for the chat.