Alex Herrera is a 26 year old 206cm forward from Ignacio, Colorado that finished his third professional season with Phoenix Hagen (Germany-ProA) playing 33 games averaging 15.7ppg, Reb-1(8.3rpg), 2.4apg, Blocks-1(1.5bpg), FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 65.1%. He started his basketball career with Fort Lewis (NCAA2) in 2010 and as a senior in 2014-2015 played 18 games averaging 23.2ppg, Reb-5(11.4rpg), 1.7apg, Blocks-4(3.2bpg), FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 12.5%, FT: 66.3%. He started his professional basketball career with South West Metro Pirates (Australia-QBL) playing 16 games averaging 21.8ppg, Reb-5(13.7rpg), 2.1bpg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 73.7%. In the 2015-2016 season he played with KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 28 games averaging 10.1ppg, Reb-3(8.9rpg), Blocks-3(1.5bpg), FGP: 52.6%, FT: 68.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 8.7ppg, 6.7rpg, FGP: 50.0%, FT: 76.9%. In the 2016-2017 season he played with Tau Castello (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 34 games averaging 6.1ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 47.6%, FT: 58.8%. He resigned with Phoenix Hagen and spoke to germanhoops.comabout basketball shortly after the season ended.
Alex thanks for talking to germanhoops.com You have completed your first season in Germany with Phoenix Hagen. You got swept by Vechta in the playoffs and also didn´t have luck in the regular season losing both games. How tough was it going into the series mentally knowing you were the huge underdog?
It wasn’t tough mentally, we went into all the games thinking that we could win. however in the end we lost to a great team but we never as a team didn’t think we had a chance.
What was the toughest element that Vechta brought to the court? Possibly their overwhelming depth?
They were so versatile and had so many good players and ran a great system that it was hard to get them out of their zone.
Phoenix Hagen was blown out in game one and three and lost 86-79 in game two. How would you summarize this series best? What was key for Vechta sweeping Phoenix Hagen?
Well we fought in all of the games proud of the way we battled and we gained great experience for the future.They were an experienced team and put together a solid 40 minutes each game.
Phoenix Hagen gave up 82 points as a team during the regular season, but Vechta had their number as you allowed 95 points on average in the regular season and 94 points in the playoffs. What kind of adjustments did the team try to make to have a good defensive presence?
Well Vetcha was a great team and they did a great job executing not only in the playoffs but throughout the whole regular season.
Let´s talk about Phoenix Hagen´s season. The club started off at 7-3, but then suffered a 2-7 record which put you at 9-9. What was key for making a top team record wise into an average team? Was it just the normal up and downs that a team has?
I wouldn’t say it was normal ups and downs because we had so much going on within, with the passing away of coach right around this time, so it was very emotional for us but I’m proud of the way that we didn’t fold and ended up making it into the playoffs.
Phoenix Hagen was the fifth best scoring team and best rebounding team. What did you appreciate most about playing for Phoenix Hagen last season?
Playing for Phoenix Hagen was a lot of fun, but the thing I appreciated the most was the team chemistry it felt like a family.
How proud were you of being the best rebounding team. How do you feel did the team develop as a rebounding team?
The guards really stepped up and understood what the meaning of support was. It was definitely a great accomplishment as a team to be the best rebounding team, because when that happens it helps with sealing games at the end.
What do you feel was the team´s highlight game of the season? Possibly the 72-68 win against Trier?
No I think our highlight game was clinching a playoff spot at home against Kircheim.
Let´s talk about your teammates. How tough was it for the team having to compensate the sudden retirement of James Reid? What did you appreciate most about his game?
It was really tough, because like I said this team was like a family, and James brought more than just basketball to it. I appreciated his basketball IQ the most. He was a really smart player.
You were the only true big man. Did you at times feel lonely? Was It tough for you at times not having that added big man or two that you could go hard in practice?
I didn’t feel lonely because we had Javon as well who is a great player as well. I owe a lot to him for all the battles that we had throughout the season
How did you see the development of rookie of Javon Bauman? He didn´t play much at St.Joseph’s (NCAA) and averaged 12 minutes with Phoenix Hagen. What part of his game do you really seeing becoming his bread and butter as he gets more used to the professional level?
Javon was a great teammate and player, he definitely has a great career ahead of him.
Did you suddenly feel young again when experienced guard David Godbold was added in January? Could the team´s route gone a different route had he been there from training camp?
When we added Dave we added valuable experience to a relatively young team. Hard to say what it would have been like if he was there from the beginning but we appreciated everything that he did.
How exciting was it watching Jonas Grof who brought 49 BBL games experience this season. He had one triple double and was flirting with some others in other games. He did this all at age 21. How raw is his talent. Where do you see him taking his game?
Was a great pleasure playing along side Jonas. He has great vision and is a huge point guard that is very versatile. He is going to have a great career ahead of him as well.
The club had the very talented Marco Hollersbacher. He is only 17 years ago. What did you see in his game already at this age that will continue to develop as he becomes the player he wants to become?
Marco was young but has a great work ethic and his potential is through the roof so it will be exciting to see him continue to develop.
Let´s talk about your game. You averaged 15,7ppg, 8,3rpg and 2,4apg. How content were you with your season? Statistically it was your best as a professional.
Statistically it looked good, but I’m nowhere near satisfied. I know I can improve on so much, and do so much better.
Was the German Pro A suited better to your game and in terms of skill level was this league the strongest you have seen in Europe as a professional?
Yeah I think the basketball with Hagen and my role here is what was able to allow me to have the season that I had.
Do you feel like it was the Phoenix Hagen offensive system that allowed you to become more of a versatile player?
Definitely, was a great system to play in as well as great teammates, who put me in great positions to score.
You averaged 2,4apg the most in your college and professional career. Do you feel like you always had that playmaking ability in you or was this something that was drastically developed this season?
I think that my vision on the court has gotten better as I think everyone would say, as you become older the game kind of slows down.
You stated in our first interview that you take a lot of pride in your defensive game. Did you at times suffer mentally with how the team was defending?
I wouldn’t say suffer mentally, but when we weren’t defending well it would add fuel to the fire and make us want to get in and improve on somethings for the future.
How do you feel did you develop as a player? Are you that impact professional player that has more confidence than the last two years in Finland and Spain?
It´s all about the right fit and I found the right fit with a great organization in Hagen.
On what things will you diligently be working on this summer to continue to fine tune your game?
I’m just going to keep working at improving all around. None of my skills are perfect, but will continue to expand and develop an outside game.
What did you learn to appreciate most about the country Germany that you didn´t see in Finland or Spain?
I think just the basketball culture in Germany was amazing and the fans around the country were awesome.
How did you experience the 2018 NCAA March Madness? What was the most spectacular upset in the tournament?
We were busy in season but some teammates and myself would get together after practices and catch some games. The biggest upset though was UMBC being the first 16 seed to win.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. But having been in Europe this season you must of seen some highlights of Real Madrid´s 19 year old stand out Luka Doncic who belonged to the best players in the Euroleague. Should a guy like that be the automatic #1 pick just from sheer experience and talent?
Luka is a great player and I watched plenty of Real’s games this past season and I think that he has great potential and a great career ahead of him in the NBA.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
I mean Lebron is the greatest overall player in the game right now. His vision is unbelievable, if he just solely focused on assists who knows he could have 20+ in a game? Hard to say, because what makes him so special is how complete of an all around player he is.
Thanks Alex for the chat.