Toddrick Gotcher is a 26 year old 190cm shooting guard from Garland, Texas in his third professional season and first with Ifestos Limnou (Greece-A1). Last season he gained experience with Cholet Basket (France-ProA) playing 34 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 68.5%. As a rookie he played with ASA Koroivos Amaliadas (Greece-A1) plying 26 games: Score-5 (12.9ppg), 5.8rpg, 2.2apg, Steals-4 (1.6spg), FGP: 41.5%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 61.3%. He began his basketball career at Lakeview Centennial High School and played 126 NCAA games at Texas Tech from 2011-2016 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 10.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to German Hopps about basketball.
Toddrick thanks for talking to germanhoops.com You played a season in France and currently your second in Greece. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Perhaps your teammates Tyrone Brazelton, Sean Evans or Jerry Smith have told you about the BBL?
I have heard a lot of good things about Germany. Great country to live in and the basketball is a good league with great competition and very professional. I’ve talked to many of my teammates about the BBL and explained how much they liked the league during their time there. Some say my game fits in the league as well.
Have you had any offers or interest from German teams in the last years? Is this a league that you would like to play in?
I have had some interest and offers from German teams. I really like the league from when I watch games and that is a league that may be a destination to play in for me if the opportunity fits. We will have to see what the future holds for me.
Your playing your second season in Greece and this season with Ifestos Limnou (Greece-A). Talk a little about how cool it is playing for a team that moved up 4 leagues in six years. What do you appreciate most about playing for this club?
This year with Ifestos Limnou has been wonderful. This team is actually in its first year in the Greek league and the people around the organization have a big vision that we have bought into. I have to give credit to the coaches and management for making it happen and excelling in providing everything that we need as players. What I appreciate most about this club is the great fanbase and the people in the city of Limnos. We have a sellout every game and that has helped us win big games at home.
The club is holding it’s own and battling for the playoff places. The club has some experienced and talented Americans as well as solid players from Greece. What has been the secret to the success so far?
We set a goal at the beginning of the season and the secret is that every player has bought in to what the club wants and we have come together as a team with our different abilities. It is great to see a team full of different backgrounds come together as one for a common goal.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure and how easy have the experienced point guards Jerry Smith and Tyrone Brazelton who have a combined age of 63 made your life on the court?
They are great teammates that really come to work hard every day in practice. Playing alongside these guys on the court is great and makes life easier for all of my teammates because of how good they are. Being in my third year, I have learned so much from these two guys about basketball and how to come to take care of business on and off the court. I really appreciate soaking in as much knowledge as I can from these guys.
At the forward position there are two more very experienced guys at age 30 with Sean Evans and Antwaine Wiggins. How important have these guys been for the club and what do you appreciate most about their games?
I really appreciate these two guys also. They are great teammates and really do anything the team needs to be successful. They are a vital part to our success and bring exactly what we need from them every game. I appreciate their leadership qualities and hard work every day that sets the tone for us.
Let’s talk about your game? You’re a 190cm guard and if you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?
My game would be considered as a good 3 pt shooter that has good size at the guard position that can defend any position. I would like to tailor my game after three players that I love watching film on to see how they pick their spots. Those players are Eric Gordon, Bradley Beal, and CJ McCollum. High level scorers that score at all three levels on the court.
In your last four seasons you have been near the 40% area from outside. Do you feel like you can be a 40% shooter from outside down the road and is it for you more mental or just getting up enough reps?
I definitely feel like I can be a consistent 40% 3pt shooter every year in my career. I think it is mostly mental. Of course you have to get up your reps too. But I know I have the ability to shoot because I have been doing it all of my life. But it starts with shot selection. Your shot selection usually determines the outcome of what your percentages will look like.
What other strengths does your game encompass where nobody would ever dare that you are a one dimensional player?
I think a couple of my hidden strengths are taking care of the ball. Not having many turnovers and reading the game understanding defenses and trying to get to my spots. Trying to be the smartest guy on the court, both offensively and defensively. Also, being a physical defender is something that I am known for too.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away on the court?
My hidden strength that doesn’t get noticed would be my athleticism. I am not a guy that likes to dunk all the time. But I think that I am athletic in most parts of my game that goes unnoticed sometimes. and being a good rebounder as a guard.
On what specific things are you working on this season to help improve your game as you continue to go up the basketball ladder?
This season I am working on many things to continue to move up on the basketball ladder. My first would be to work on my pick n roll game a lot more and understanding the different ball screen defenses and what to look for. Next, would be my ability to get more consistent at making shots off the dribble in one on one situations.
How big is the motivation to play against the two top teams in Europe Panathinaikos and Olympiakos? You have had some very good games against them. Is there any specific memory of one of the games?
It is always good playing Euroleague teams such as Panathinaikos and Olympiakos. They have great players, with great history. My greatest memory was my rookie season and we played Olympiakos my first game ever as a pro. I had a pretty good game against them, but that just gave me the confidence that I can play at a good level.
Last season you played for Cholet Basket (France-ProA) playing 34 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 68.5%. What kind of experience was it playing in the Pro A. How did your game progress in your second professional season?
My experience in France Jeep Elite (Pro-A) was amazing. My time in France is one that I will never forget. I learned a lot about European basketball playing in that league and understanding how playing your role for good teams is more important than getting your stats. I would encourage all young players that if you want to play for high level teams, that playing your role and always playing hard on defense is so vital to success in European basketball.
How did you witness the further basketball development of point guard David Michenau? He was drafted in 2016 by the New Orleans Pelicans (NBA,2rd (39). Is his drive still there to reach the NBA or has he accepted a career in Europe?
I witnessed David’s ambition and passion first hand. He definitely still has NBA on his mind by his work ethic. We battled in practice every day and we made each other better. He has NBA talent and showed it on the floor every day.
Last season you played with one of my all-time favorite players Illian Evtimov who I have covered his whole career. What did you appreciate most about his presence on and off the court?
Illian was a great guy. Always lit up the locker room with his great jokes. Seriously one of the best shooters, I have ever seen. He could shoot the ball from anywhere. I appreciated the knowledge that he passed on to me and his positive attitude every day, no matter the circumstance.
Evtimov is a real movie buff. Did you get infected by his passion for movies or have movies also been something you never lost track of in your life?
Actually my teammates and I would go watch movies all the time with Ilian. I wasn’t much of a movie guy, more of a tv series guy but Ilian talked me into watching some of the movies that he recommended.
As a rookie you played with ASA Koroivos Amaliadas (Greece-A1) playing 26 games: Score-5 (12.9ppg), 5.8rpg, 2.2apg, Steals-4 (1.6spg), FGP: 41.5%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 61.3%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Greece where you knew that you were very far away from home?
Playing in Greece as a rookie taught me a lot. It taught me to be mentally tough every day, especially being away from my family for the first time. Greece is a tough league to play in and I gained some good experience to help myself in the future. My wake up call from going from college to pro was the business aspect of it. Every day you have to bring your best and have a positive attitude.
You had a great rookie season and was fifth in scoring. What did you learn from your game as a rookie that you didn’t know before that?
I learned that I can play with the best of players and I learned that I belonged. At Texas Tech, I played at a high level. But, now I understand how to get to my spots on the floor and how to play my role of whatever the team needs from me.
Was your 29 point and 10 rebound effort against Trikallas your best game as a professional so far?
I would say that is my best game as a professional. That game I was feeling really good and thought every shot that I shot was going in. It was a good feeling and a big confidence booster.
You played 5 years at Texas Tech. How vital was hanging on that extra season for your game to develop further?
Getting that 5th year really helped me develop into the player I am today. I can honestly say that if I did not get that 5th year, I would not be in the position I am in today. I became better at all aspects of my game. It also finished with going to the NCAA tournament that year which was huge for our university.
What stories do you remember hearing about Ronald Ross who graduated in 2004 and went on to have a stellar professional career which ended recently when he retired?
Ronald Ross is a true legend at Texas Tech. He had a great career both in college and professional. I watch some film of him sometimes and he still tells me stories of whatever countries he has been in. I workout at Texas Tech every summer and still get a chance to talk to him all the time. I remember many stories of him being one of the best Texas Tech players ever. His name is still talked about today.
You had some very memorable games at Texas Tech (NCAA). What was your most memorable game? Perhaps your 17 points in the 63-62 win against Oklahoma State, or your 18 points I the 63-61 win against Oklahoma State, or the 24 points in the 71-61 victory against Oklahoma State. You had their number.
Those were some great games that I had and I loved each and every one of them. My most memorable game was actually a game I did not play too well to my standards, but we beat #2 ranked Oklahoma at home and stormed the court. They went to the Final Four that year. It was a game that every player on the team played extremely hard and we came out with the win by one point.
How did ex Kentucky (NCAA) head coach Tubby Smith groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Tubby Smith not only groomed me as the best basketball player I could be but also as a man. He taught me things that I will use for the rest of my life. That is what makes him special. He has really prepared me for moments like the ones I live out today. He is a role model for me.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Devaugntah Williams?
D- WIll and I always had one on one battles. We battled each other in practice every day making each other better. I would say we are even if we were to count the one on one games total. But he is a great player and continues to show now playing overseas.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
The two toughest players that I battled were Buddy Hield and Andrew Wiggins. Those two were my assignments when we played them. But the best player that I played was Joel Embiid. He was not as polished as he is today but had nearly a triple double against us and was unstoppable.
If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?
-Markel Starks or Ty Brazelton (PG)
-Jerry Smith (SG)
-Ryan Evans or Haukar Palsson (SF)
-Roland Freimanis (PF)
-Sean Evans or Yancy Gates (C)
If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?
I am going with Lebron James with the slightest advantage. Lebron is the best basketball player I have ever seen. He can do literally everything. Jordan was unbelievable as well and I know the things he has done. But I am witnessing Lebron greatness as we speak. Plus he is not done yet.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was Through the Fire: Sebastian Telfair. One of the best basketball movies ever.
Thanks Toddrick for the chat.