Watching Elijah Clarance think out his flight to the basket and then observe how he flies and finishes with a crushing dunk that can remind one of a Vince Carter or Michael Jordan back in the day or seeing a Brady Heslip offer a beautiful shooting clinic from the parking lot as he makes pinpoint accuracy at times remind one of how easy ex NBA player Andrew Rautins made it look when he was firing away for the Fraport Skyliners 6 years ago are two things that fans have enjoyed watching this season in Frankfurt, but in Braunschweig fans have been following a different type of breathtaking experience and that has been the rise of Deandre Lansdowne who only three years ago was a known Pro B player in Germany for Herten, but was an unknown player to BBL experts as he was at the bottom of the basketball ladder starting a slow climb up, while today via the Pro A and taking the path step by step and never ever giving up on the rugged, tiring and difficult European basketball process has become more than a solid easyCredit BBL player, but a player that not only is top 10 in scoring, but a guy that has shone with his versatile game in one of Europe´s top leagues. I have had the pleasure of covering this exceptional and out of the ordinary player since he began in Herten in the late summer of 2015 and featured him on eurobasket and German Hoops interviews and have enjoyed his rise and his never die attitude of always believing in his abilities, continuing to work hard and never feel satisfied of removing that chip from his shoulder, but letting it stay heavy motivating him to never stop working, but always being hungry of wanting to become better and continuing to work his way up the basketball ladder. Last season in his first season with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig, he proved again that he is a special player and can play at any level as he needed no adjustment time and became a solid easyCredit BBL player. Some guys may have finally become content of earning a nice pay check and skipped more extra shifts in the gym for that lazy sofa TV night or skipped the diet one too many times for that extra Big Mac at Mikey D´s, but not Deandre Lansdowne. He remained focused and delivered a quote that should be an eyeopener not only for every player that has been doubted their whole career, but any player out there who wants to be the best that they can be. “I have an obsession of being great. I’m never satisfied with where I am, I always want to keep climbing. I want to continue learning more, getting better, and playing basketball at a high level. But I also never lose sight of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve enjoyed the ride”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. Over the years, there have been American guys in Germany like a Josh Young or Josh Parker that began in the Pro B and made the jump to the BBL and a few more, but Lansdowne could very well be the player that makes it the farthest as a player when all is said and done, because he has the biggest work ethic and greatest motivation of anyone that has ever made the jump from the Pro B to the BBL.
Lansdowne is a 29 year old 188cm guard that was born on June 6, 1989 and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was raised by foster parents. This is his fourth professional season, but at times it could surely feel like he has been a professional since 8 years, because he finished at Fort Lewis(NCAA2) in 2011 and didn´t actually turn professional until he was 26 in 2015.The American began his basketball career at Sandia high school and moved to Fort Lewis(NCAA2) in 2007. There he had a stellar four year NCAA 2 career where he played 123 games and in his four year career averaged 15,1ppg, 4,7rpg and 2,1apg and scored 1,861 points in career and left the school as the all-time scoring leader. His best season was his junior year where he played 28 games averaging 21.7ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.7apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 73.9%. He averaged 16,0ppg as a sophomore and as a senior played 32 games averaging 15.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 50.7%. He many great games for Fort Lewis, but even when he looked back on his stellar NCAA 2 career as a rookie In Germany, he was already four years removed from his points clinics that he was so focused already on his climb up the basketball ladder. “You know I really don’t look back to my college games much anymore. I think my game is much more rounded, and I’m playing a different position as well. Also as my competition is a bit better and bigger now”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. Once thing that the American does remember is which RMAC title of the two he won was sweeter and just hot vital his ex college coach Bob Hoffman was for his early development as a player. “I had so many good memories there. Great teammates, coaches, friends, town of Durango. I will always cherish those memories. I would say 2011 was sweeter. I was more important for that one. I’m also still close to everyone from that team. Those guys are my brothers, and that season was just incredible, with my individual accolades and the team accolades that we achieved. .He is one of my all time favorite coaches. Old school style of play, team play, move the ball, play fast, play physical and play hard. He taught me mostly just to be confident in my skills and to not over think. With him it would be different than people would think. He really helped me in so many ways, more ways than needed to explain. Each summer I go back to Durango and Daniel Steffensen will invite him to our workouts just so he can see how much I continue to grow as a player, and to let him give his input and knowledge in what he sees in my game now”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne.https://youtu.be/hK2UJcbbpDA
Most players will begin their professional career following their NCAA career, but every now and then there are players that won´t be able to start right away as often they are undecided about their career plan or there are family issues. Every added year of not playing severely effects the chances of a player getting a professional opportunity. Many guys don´t get the chance overseas often for reasons like having played in a low college league or simply being too small so guys then resort to the absolute last resort playing in semi pro leagues in the states hoping to get discovered. For Deandre Lansdowne, it wasn´t one or two years of being professionally inactive after his stellar career at Fort Lewis, but a shocking four years but he still managed to get that professional shot in Mexico, in a weak league, but one that pays very well and at least puts a dent in your basketball resume. In Mexico he played for Pioneros de Delicias (Mexico-Chihuahua Vive). A few months into his first season with Herten, he remembered his first professional stop in Mexico and is thankful he got the chance to get on the basketball map that helped pave his route to Germany. “Mexico was a great opportunity, I was given an opportunity to do what I love, and things worked out great after to get me to Europe. But the game in Mexico was completely different to Germany. I’m just happy I’m playing in Europe, where I’ve always wanted to play”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. Those four years between Fort Lewis and Mexico was a long period, but all part of the basketball process. “I actually tried to play professionally after my college career. I was supposed to sign with an agent the summer of 2011 and the day he said he was going to send me the player-agent contract, I never heard from him. I wrote him for a couple of weeks and I never heard from him again. Back then it was much harder to make highlight films and to connect with agents. Especially coming from Division 2. So I sent what I had to anyone I knew that could help, waited until Christmas, but received nothing. So I decided to retire and focus on finishing school, and finding another career. But after a year of enjoying my early 20s, and not even touching a basketball, something hit me, and I decided that everything I was doing, was not who I wanted to be, nor what I wanted to do in my life. So I changed everything about myself, and that´s the beginning of who’ve I built to be today. Sacrifices, changes and support from friends and family was what helped me start this amazing journey”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne. Being away from the game for so long and not knowing if the professional gig wasn´t easy for him mentally, but he learned a lot about himself in this time. “It was tough. But as I tell people, it was the best thing that happened to me. When I retired, I was just a normal kid, doing kid things at 21-24 years old. I enjoyed it but I got a lot of things out of my system and it gave me time to see what I really wanted to do with my life. It showed me a lot about myself, and where I really needed to mature. It also gave me a restart at basketball to really define the player I wanted to become, and the goals I wanted to achieve playing this game”, added Deandre Lansdowne.
After showing his potential in Mexico, the American had some fortune that his best friend Eric Kibi was playing for Herten in the German Pro B and he handed coach Cedric Huesken´s his game video and one can truly say that the rest is history. Lansdowne got that one real chance in Herten and he didn´t disappoint as he got rolling right away and hasn´t stopped making an impact in the German basketball scene. With Herten he played 27 games and was merely unstoppable as he was the second leading scorer in the Pro B averaging 22.9ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5(2.6spg), FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 66.5%. He scored in double figures in 26 of 27 games and exploded against Schwelm netting an amazing 46 points on 15/21 shooting and scorched the Artland Dragons for 40 points despite losing 89-63, he almost scored two thirds of the team´s points and one quickly saw just how valuable he was for his team. He scored 20 points or more 18 times and had 30 points or more five times and owned the paint against Schwelm hauling down 20 rebounds. It wasn´t like he needed a few games to get adjusted, but lit up the scoreboard right from the start. “I feel I have always been a player who can play in any type of system or style of play and be fine! I can play in a more slow, controlled, smart league as we have here in Germany. Or I can play in a very fast, high scoring league like in Mexico! I have always liked to challenge my game and knowledge of the game to better myself as a player.warned Deandre Lansdowne. His wake up call in that first Germany season was when he netted 40 points against Artland coughing up the ball five times and in his second game had only 3 points which would be his worst personal performance that season. “ The 5 TOs really bugged me, being a PG that is way too many in a game. That is just how some games go, shot didn’t fall. My coach, team and myself know my outside shooting is fine, and teams will believe they can should go under screens, but I think I proved them wrong in Bochum. I believe that is just basketball, some games go your way and some don’t go your way. Maybe because of foul trouble, or shots don’t go in, whatever it maybe, you move on to the next game and week to get better as a team and player”, remembered Deandre Lansdowne.
Besides Herten having a terrible season where they were averaging only 64 points in the first few weeks while allowing 84 points per game, the American had to come to terms with another hardship early in his time with Herten. His good friend Eric Kibi who had been instrumental in him landing his first overseas gig was let go after only three games. Kibi who has been a basketball globetrotter since Herten playing in six countries couldn´t hit the ocean, but his friend Lansdowne did all he could to be there for him and help him out mentally as best he could. “The #1 thing always is to tell him he is a great player and never sell him short of that! I just always keep him moving forward, next shot/play. He works so hard outside of team practice that it is only a short time till we see the player he can be. He’s a great teammate and is always a positive person, so seeing him in a slump has been slightly hard on me”, added Deandre Lansdowne. The club was up and down in the first six games with a 6-6 record. Then on December 12, 2015, Lansdowne did something unforgettable nailing Schwelm for 46 points in a 99-87 win and remembered the game fondly in 2015. “I got off to a good start, just like last week, but I look at what the defense gives me. Some games you have to score, some games you have to play a defensive roll, it changes week to week. But my team is always looking for me to be aggressive and they never doubt my decision making, and that is what makes it great to play with these guys. What I enjoyed most is that I stayed aggressive, and I looked for my teammates late in the game. I think we pulled away when we really attacked the rim and found our big men. Like I said before, none of my baskets were performed without a teammate doing something that made my score easy. Also it’s always great to play in front of a great crowd.”, said Deandre Lansdowne.
The American couldn´t save his teammate or Herten from moving down to the Regionalliga as it was a tough first season for the German. In the summer of 2016, I sat down with him and he reflected on that first season in Herten. “It was a big disappointment. Nobody wants to move down a league, especially when we were in the playoff race around the Christmas break. I think we just didn’t have a deep enough bench. In the play downs we played 6-7 guys, while other teams played 9-12 guys”, added Deandre Lansdowne. The American belonged to the best scorers in the Pro B and racked upEurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -16, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -16 and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -16. He remembered his season as one that was important for his development in his first season overseas. “Overall it was a good season. Nothing less of what I expect, nothing more of what I believe I can do. The most important was that my team didn’t do well, and that’s the most important factor to having a good or bad season in my mind. It was mentally challenging, but also a great learning experience for me. I have always been part of a successful team throughout my whole career, so I had to stay mentally focused and strong. Every game was a challenge and had to find new way to get my teammates going and involved as well as trying to score and rebound at a high percentage. But in the end I think it made me a better player, especially mentally, also a better teammate and leader”, warned Deandre Lansdowne.
After his bitter season in Herten ended, he was on his way up to Hamburg for a work out and impressed head coach Hamed Attarbashi and sport director Marvin Willougby with his unending work ethic and consistency that he demonstrated in the Pro B. His left a lasting impression and was rewarded with a Pro A contract as his rise up the basketball ladder in Germany continued. He was also convinced that his time with Herten helped him in his development as a player that helped pave the way to Hamburg. “I am a better leader, and I got to see the game how a lot of German coaches see it. I am going into the same situation. Don’t know exactly how or where I’ll fit in, or my role to make this team successful”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne in 2016. Just like with Herten, Hamburg was a new situation and totally different from what he saw in the Pro B as he was balling in a higher and more skilled league, but he needed no real adjustment period from a stats stand point even if so much was different.” Everything has been an adjustment. Different teammates, coaches, coaching philosophy, but it’s all been positive growth for me and my game. I still think I can do much better, and that’s the great thing, the season is long. But I have 0 pressure on myself. I’m surrounded by a great group, whatever I have to do to win, I will accept that role”, added Deandre Lansdowne. He scored in double figures in his first three games and in 11 of his first 13 games as a Hamburg Tower and despite not being the central focus in scoring as he was with Herten, he still finished the season as the clubs third top scorer. He still carried that scoring mentality that he had in Herten. “At times, yes it can be a tough adjustment, but I’ve been pushed by coach a lot to just play my game and to be aggressive. Coming here I was never asked to change. I am surrounded by a lot of good players, also the defense in this league is also much stronger. I never came here expecting to have the same numbers, only to produce well enough wherever I need to, to help this team be successful”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne.
Even if his offense has overshadowed his defense where ever he has played, he has always stayed true to being an aggressive defender that let´s that part of his game that helps his offense get on track. “My defense does help my offense get going. If I feel aggressive on defense and I’m really active it translates to me playing the same offensively. I also think the more deflections and steals I get that possibly lead to fast breaks, where I believe I’m very strong”, warned Deandre Lannsdowne. After only eight games into his first season with the Hamburg Towers, the American was already carefully continuing to look forward how he could get the best out of his current situation and continue to grow as a player. “I am currently playing at the highest level I have ever played, so continuing to learn as much as I can. So many small details that I can learn, to add to my athletic ability and skill set that I already have. Each year you look to continue to grow and to say that you were a better basketball player this year than you were last, and hope it continues to take you higher places”, remembered Deandre Lansdowne in October 2016. It was a very good Pro A season for the American, but a couple wins here and there could of capitulated them into the playoffs, but didn´t. They lost some close games early in the season to Baunach and Hanau, and later to Trier, but the loss that hurt the most was the 82-81 loss to Crialsheim on the second last game day that prevented them from reaching the playoffs. “ It hurt a lot, because that could’ve heightened our great late season playoff push. But as I say, that’s basketball. We had a lot of close games this season, some went out way, and some went the other. I think we had some close losses throughout the beginning of the season that we needed to win. 1 or 2 possessions make a difference late in the season.”, said Deandre Lansdowne. The American finished the season averaging 12,3ppg, 5,0rpg,2,3apg and 1,3spg and scored in double figures in 20 games. He picked up a Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Honorable Mention -17. His best scoring game was a 26 point explosion in the 81-72 victory against the MLP Academics. “I think that game was my best. I think I had 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Those two are the most important stats to me. Against a good team, and we had a few guys sitting, I played a majority of the Power Forward. And it was important to rebound, and take advantage of a miss match, and I think I did that well that game”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. The American showed that he could play with the best of them in the Pro A and little did he know that he was a lot further than having to come back for a second Pro A campaign. “I definitely feel that I got better as the season went on. I saw the game easier, and in a bit of a different style. Only helping expand my basketball IQ, and how to be a better player. I think I proved I can play in Pro A. Now my next step is to be one of the more dominant players in Pro A”, warned Deandre Lansdowne.
Lansdowne didn´t return back to the Hamburg Towers or to any other Pro A team, but instead reached the top of the German basketball ladder in only two seasons as the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig secured his services. The American came to a team that had finished in 16th place the season before and people weren´t expecting much, but the club improved from the season before finishing in 12th place. Lansdowne wasn´t reeled in to get groomed, but in the way the club was hoping that he would play a significant role sooner than later and he did. He was an instrumental performer in the big wins against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg pouring in 22 points and contributed 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory against ratiopharm Ulm. Last season he had no problems defining his role as it encompassed a few things. “Being great on the defensive end, being a great leader, and just be aggressive offensively. Confidence in my shooting and attacking the basket”, added Deandre Lansdowne. Halfway through last season, the American was putting up great stats, but one of the secrets why he could adjust so quickly was because the new style fit his game perfectly anyway. “The game flow is faster, the decision making is faster, guys are faster! It’s what I like best“, stressed Deandre Lansdowne. Last season he played 34 games averaging 14.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.3apg, Steals-3(1.7spg), FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 72.8%. He was the team´s second leadings scorer behind BBL top center Scott Eatherton and was top three in other important team stats in many other categories. His excellent season was rewarded with Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Newcomer of the Year -18 and Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Newcomers Team -18. He also understood that having gotten to the BBL had happened, because each season there was at least one person in Herten, Hamburg and now in Braunschweig that believed in his abilities and that is all that counts. “I wouldn’t say I started at the bottom. I wouldn’t even say I’ve been overlooked. I´ve been given a chance by 1 person, every single year to prove my abilities and my worth. It so happens to have worked out for the better. But I believe how much I’ve sacrificed, how much hard work I’ve invested into getting here. It’s just paying me back”, smiled Deandre Lansdowne.
Lansdowne remained for a second season and this season the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig currently have a 6-6 record and are in 8th place. After a horrible start losing their first five games, they currently have won six of their last seven games and had huge wins against Bamberg and Ludwigsburg. They are simply playing very good basketball. They digested their Christmas turkey well disposing of ratiopharm Ulm where the American filled the stat sheet like a Russell Westbrook dropping 15 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and handing out 6 dimes. Currently after 10 games he is averaging 18,1ppg which is third best in the BBL and best on his team and getting 3,9rpg and dishing out 30apg while shooting a strong 38% from the parking lot .He has come a long way since Fort Lewis and if someone had told him in 2011 where he would be in 2018, he wouldn´t have been that surprised. “Back then, I would’ve been one very happy kid. Coming from a small Division 2 college, to playing at this high of a level, against a lot of guys who played high Division 1, it’s just a huge honor, and a big testament to the saying : “Anything Is Possible”., warned Deandre Lansdowne. A big reason for his success and rise in the last three years is his mental approach. The guy just doesn´t get satisfied and his chip never leaves his shoulder. Shaq may be done after 7 Big Macs and looking for the couch to listen to his buddy Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA, but Lansdowne will still be questioning himself if putting up 300 jumpers was enough after a practice. “The chip stays the same. I do a lot of mental work these days, to not make it feel like I have to prove something, and to also not get comfortable. After wins, losses, good days and bad days, I stay consistent with the effort and work that I put in to continue getting better individually and better to help my team be successful. You have improved your game again this season from last season”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. The American doesn´t take all the credit for his rise as he acknowledges the people in the back round who are always there for him. “, I try and take a small step in many areas every summer, on and off the court. My basketball trainers ( Lucas Archuleta & Daniel Steffensen) and my strength coach (Julian Pedroncelli) stay connected with me throughout the whole season so that in the summer they can focus on continuing to strengthen my strengths and work on some “weaknesses” that I had over the season. So I would have to say that the improvement of my game, most of the praise should go to them for all the time, and effort I force them to spend just on me”, said Deandre Lansdowne. He hasn´t just reached a top league in Europe with the BBL, but has grown to be a top player and he isn´t satisfied now, but wants to keep climbing the basketball ladder. “My goal is Eurocup/Euroleague. I’m almost 30, I’m not chasing a NBA dream. If a call comes that is extremely promising, great, if not, I´ll sleep just fine every night. I think that I have the ability to play at that level. And the scary thing is, I feel I’m still growing. I´ve finally played at this level now for a couple seasons, and it’s really helping me as a player tremendously”, stressed Deandre Lansdowne. His Obsession of being great and never being satisfied continues to be plastered into his mindset and as long as nothing distracts him, he continues to have that very firm grip on the basketball ladder as his climb up continues.