Nick Hornsby is a 23 year old 201cm forward that was born in Irvine, California that is playing his second professional season in Germany and first with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He has been an instrumental part in the big 10-0 start averaging 12,7ppg, 8,7rpg and 3,1apg. Lastseason as a rookie he played with Giessen 46ers II (Germany-ProB) playing 23games averaging 13.9ppg, 7.6rpg, 2.9apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 70.3% He also played 2BBL games for Giessen. He won two high school titles with Tustin and then played at Sacramento State from 2013-2017 playing a total of 123 NCAA games and was able to improve his scoring and rebounding each season. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 11.3ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 71.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen.
Nick thanks for talking to germanhoops.com! Where are you at the moment and how isbasketball life treating you at the moment?
Right now I’m just at home with my fiancé enjoying some downtime on our off day.
Congrats on the amazing quick start as your 10-0 with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. If somebody had told you in pre season that the team would have begun at 10-0 what would you have said?
Basketball life wise I’m great. Our team is 10-0 and I have no complaints. We have been playing great basketball. If someone would have told me we would be 10-0 I’m not sure if I would have believed it. I think we all knew when we first came together as a team we were very capable of having a good season.
Have you ever registered a start like this in your career? How does it feel reeling off so many wins in a row?
I’ve had a year like that when I was in high school I was lucky enough to have a great team then. It feels great I think the most exciting time we have in the week is after the game. During the week, we are just fully focused on the next game.
Congrats on the big 97-75 win against new team Schwenningen. It was a tight game in the first half, but you pulled away in the second half. What was key for getting the win?
I think key for that big win was just playing our game. As a team, we thought they scored to much in the first half so we just had to play better defense and ran our sets through till the end.
How is basketball life different for you when you start each new week having won one game more? How is this success effecting you mentality? How do you think and go about your business now when you have constant success?
I think every week is the same. We put the last game behind us. We work hard on ourselves for the week and the upcoming opponents. We still feel like we have things to prove
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen have won 8 of the 10 games by at least 10 points or more. Has playing basketball just become more easy playing with this team?
I mean our jobsare to play and be successful. It always helps a lot when everyone on the teamhas the same goals.
You won a thrilling game against your ex team Giessen. How thrilling was this win and where do you rank it up with your biggest wins in your career?
I have a lot of respect for my last team there is nothing but good guys over there. It was great getting that win though. It was for sure a very competitive game both of us played well and Giessen shot great from three. That game will for sure be up there with one of the best I’ve ever had the opportunity to play.
The team is doing everything right as it is the best offensive and rebounding team and third best defensive team. What has been the secret to the success?
The chemistry this team has together is great. We are all comfortable with each other and have a great time during every practice.
The team chemistry also seems to be spot on. How easy has it been for you playing in Hansi Gnad´s system this season?
Playing for Hansi is awesome. He knows a lot about basketball and I feel like he pushes me to get better
I think a big reason for the success of the team has been the acquisition of Serb Nino Celebic. He just gives the team so much energy at both ends of the court. Where would the team be without him?
I think Nino is a great addition to the team. He’s a very vocal guy and has been a big help like everyone else to the team’s success.
Also having Celebic and Alexander Blessig on the court for 40 minutes always bringing energy and pressure is key. Are they the leagues best guard duo?
It´s very different to have two point guards on the court at the same time but I´d say they are the best duo in the guard spot. I have a lot of confidence in those two guys and trust them completely.
Please talk a little about the coaching philosophy of Hansi Gnad and how he has been the mastermind of the success. He has been an assistant coach for the longest time and this season has his first head coaching job. It seems like he should have had a chance like this a long time ago, because obviously he knows what he is doing
Hansi is a great coach. A player’s coach as most people would say. He always gives me confidence in the things that I do which is great. The plays he has created for our team are great with the players that we have. He is a very good coach especially because of how successful he was in the past as player.
How much of a pleasure has it been reuniting with Marian Schick this season. What do you appreciate about his game most and do you get his German humor?
Being with Marian this year has been awesome. We wereclose last year. I’m happy to be able to play with him again. I think a lot ofthe time we have a good feel for how one another plays. I appreciate theknowledge he brings to the game. Every day we talk about how things can be donein many ways on the basketball court. I always enjoyed his humor he’s one ofthe funniest guys on the team.
The next game is against the Scan Plus Baskets who won the pro B last season. They have been struggling a bit this season. What will be key to getting the win on the road?
I think Elchingen is a great team. To win that game I would say we just must do a good job of playing our style of basketball. We must also make sure that we don’t let the crowd’s energy affect us.
Let´s talk about your game. You had a slow start, but have recently picked up your game. What adjustments did you make or was it more a matter of learning a new system and teammates?
I feel like I haven’t made many adjustments to my game. I think the team has just been helping me be more confident in different situations. I’ve been playing with these guys since the middle of august so I’ve got a good feel about how everyone plays.
How is your role different this season compared to last season in Giessen? Do you feel like you don´t have to do as much with Leverkusen because it is a deeper team and has more scoring options than last season?
I think this year there isn’t a huge difference. There were good players on Giessen just like there are this year. It is great to have so many scoring options though.
You also told me that you feel that you can be a 40% shooter at the professional level. Your shooting only 27% at the moment down from 38% from last season. Do you feel like the Leverkusen system will help you raise your shooting as the season progresses?
I think that I have the ability to shoot well from 3. I’m confident as the season goes on that it will improve.
You played two BBL games last season. Is your hunger to continue to climb the basketball ladder growing this season?
I think my hunger grows every day to be at that level. I know it takes time and I have things to improve on but it would be great to get there some day.
The Los Angeles Lakers are over 500 at the moment. Where do you see the journey of them going this season with Lebron James?
I think the Lakers arejust going to keep getting better as the season progresses. Anyone surroundedby Lebron will be successful in my opinion.
Luka Doncic is the real deal and the top rookie in the NBA at the moment. Do you feel that with time he could become one of the greatest European players to ever play in the NBA?
Luka Donic is a great player and I think that he will be one of the greatest European players to play in the NBA. At his age to be doing what he is doing is amazing.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched was queen.
Thanks Nick for the chat.