Andrew Barham is a 28 year old 198cm forward from Memphis, Tennessee that completed his fifth professional season and first in Germany with the Hamburg Towers (Germany-ProA) averaging 14,3ppg, 3,9rpg and 1,6apg. He was an instrumental player in the club winning the 2019 Pro A title. Last season he played with the Maine Red Claws (NBA G-League) playing 37 games averaging 4.9ppg, 2.8rpg. In his previous four professional seasons he gathered experience in Japan, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. He began his basketball career with Christian Brothers High School and then played two seasons at Memphis (NCAA) playing 49 NCAA games. He finished his NCAA career at Gonzaga playing two seasons from 2012-2014 amassing a total of 65 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 6.3ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 48%, FT: 64.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com at the end of the season.
Andrew thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
I am currently in the Hamburg airport, waiting on my flight to board to Tel Aviv for a quick vacation before I head home to the USA. Basketball is treated me well this year. My father always said, ‘Use the game of basketball, but don’t let it use you.’ I think I have used it well this year and met great people in the process.
Congrats on winning the Pro A title with the Hamburg Towers. How blessed do you feel now having made the right step and going to the Hamburg Towers organization?
I am extremely blessed to not only have been in a great environment but to have a great coach that believed in me all year. I’m just trying to live in this great moment and be thankful for all these experiences!
How quickly did you know that you had arrived in a special place in Hamburg? From the top with Marvin Willoughby and head coach Mie Taylor going all the way down the ladder with your teammates, fans and city how special was the basketball culture with the Hamburg Towers?
I knew instantly. You can feel the passion the organization has for their city and their team. Coach and Marvin did a fabulous job in signing great players and high character guys that will do whatever it takes for the team to win. It was a special season.
The Hamburg Towers played an unforgettable and exciting final series with Nurnberg. After losing the first game by three points, you won the deciding game by five points and title. How intense was the whole atmosphere leading up between games?
It was so much fun! Not many players ever get the chance to play for a Championship. The fans brought the energy and passion and the buzz was unparalleled. It was one for the history books in Hamburg Basketball.
What kind of self confidence and mentality did the team have going into the last game? How sure were you that you would win the title as a club?
We had confidence in ourselves and belief that we were the best team in the league all year long. We had some ups and downs, but I believe that gave us valuable experience down the stretch. Coach told us every practice that he believed in us and we were the best team, just have to go out and prove it!
The Hamburg Towers were very tough in the final game and never allowed Nurnberg over the hump in the fourth quarter. What was key for winning the game?
Yes, we were resilient all year long and even more so in that final game. We had players step up and make huge plays for us down the stretch that sealed the deal.
The Nurnberg Falcons played an amazing and unforgettable season. Nobody had them on the list to move up to the easyCredit BBL. What did you appreciate most about their play?
They played as a team! Great post play and good guards that knew the game. Regardless of how the game was going they never quit playing hard.
Let’s talk about the Hamburg Towers season. At the start of 2019, the club lost three of five games. If someone had told you then that the club would win the Pro A title four months later what would you have thought?
I would have believed them. We did hit a rough patch, things weren’t clicking, we had some big injuries, but we went back into practice and just started to work harder!
From then on the club had two three game winning streaks and two two game losing streaks. Why was the club a bit up and down in the last months?
We were figuring it out, plus injuries and many different factors. But great teams peak at the right time.
The Hamburg Towers lost the last two regular season games to Chemnitz and Tuebingen. With what kind of mind set did the club go into the playoffs. Did Mike Taylor do anything special or different that got the team mentally ready for tough series against Rostock and Chemnitz?
Yeah, we were really bummed after the Tuebingen and Chemnitz losses. We believed we gave both of those games away by just making easy mistakes. Instead of going crazy, coach came up with an unreal game plan for the playoffs. We had a whole book to prepare us for what was to come. He refocused us. And had us believing that to be the best, you have to beat the best (which was Chemnitz at the time).
How big was the spectacular game four 98-96 win over Chemnitz? Was that the turning point of the playoffs which helped the team make the last push to the title?
I think it was. It was a do or die game for us and we came out to play. It gave us a chance to play game 5! After that win, I think the momentum shifted to us in the series. They had come ready to celebrate, and we ruined the Chemnitz party.
What did you appreciate most about having the opportunity to strap on the Hamburg Towers jersey?
I appreciated the opportunity to play the game in front of people that truly cared about our team and me. I enjoyed the positive atmosphere and it made the game enjoyable!
Was there one experience in your time that you will for always hold on tight to?
I’ll always hold on to the belief and confidence that Coach Mike had in me. Regardless if I shot it well and had 30 or bad and had 4 points, he always believed I could explode offensively. I want to keep that confidence and positivity the rest of my career and into whatever I do in life.
How special was it playing for Mike Taylor. Was he a coach that gave even when it looked most bleak could get some positively to any difficult situation? How key was his unbelievable emotion that he gives during tough times?
He is one of my favorite coaches I have ever played for. He just gets it. I am blessed to have been able to cross paths and learn from him. His passion and positivity rubs off on everyone. To me, he was the MVP of these playoffs.
Let’s talk about your teammates. You had some physical big men with Germans Freese and Raffington, but describe a bit how important the versatility of Beau Beech was and how his presence on the floor made a huge difference?
Beau was great for us all season. He was always a matchup problem the way he could space the floor and really shoot it. His sneaky athleticism helped us all year. He really played well for us all playoffs!
How much of a pleasure was it playing with American guards Tevonn Walker and Carlton Guyton. Obviously their shooting was a big part of their games, but what other traits made them stand out from the opponents that they had to battle against?
Tevonn is an elite defender! I’m not sure anyone could score on him. He brought that toughness and scrappy mentality we needed every game. Carlton aka Scootie is a walking bucket getter! He can score anyway you like. Threes, pull-ups, floaters, post ups. When are backs were against the wall and the lights were the brightest, he shined the most!! Both were great teammates to play along side.
How did you see the development of young German Justus Hollatz? What kind of interactions did you have with him and how did you help him best with his game?
Justus is going to be one of the top Germans in BBL before you know it. He understands the game, and can fit in seamlessly despite his young age. He has all of the tools, I just encouraged him to go out and not be scared to use them! Watch out for him in the future.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 14,3ppg, 3,9rpg, 1,6apg and 1,1spg while shooting 32% from outside. How content were you with your season?
I thought I had a great overall season. I hit a little slump towards the playoffs but anytime you can be leading scorer of a Championship team, you have to be happy! I’m very critical of my game, so there are many things I want to improve on and sharpen up over the summer, but in retrospect it’s been a good season!
The last two seasons you have been around 32% from outside down from pervious seasons. You stated in our last interview that ‘I shoot when I’m hot, and shoot to get hot. A lot of the %’s has to do with the quality of the shots and the difficulty of them. But shooters shoot, so I don’t concentrate too much on the % but trying to get the best shot up and in to help my team’. How do you rate the season with Hamburg in terms of your shooting season?
I followed my motto, let it fly!! Shoot to get hot and shoot when I’m hot! Obviously before the playoffs I was way up around 38% and would have liked to have kept it there to finish the year but things happen and I learn from them, move on, and most importantly keep shooting! The next shot is going in.
You helped lead the Hamburg Towers to their first title and your first title. How do you feel did you develop further this season in a growing winning culture as the season went on?
Winning is very difficult, regardless of the level or stage you are on. And creating a winning culture is even more difficult. But we all achieved what we set out to do when we originally signed with Hamburg. The goal was win a Championship and move the team to BBL – mission accomplished!
You had many great personal games on the court. What was your best game this season? Possibly your 28 point effort in the win over Kirchheim?
For me, the greatest games I had were the ones where I hit dagger threes or buckets to help seal or give my team a win. This are the moments I’ll remember and keep with me.
What is the next step for you? Could you imagine remaining in Hamburg or would you consider going to a new country and culture?
At the moment, I’m not sure what the next step for me is. I am just living in the moment, enjoying this championship and looking forward to seeing my family and girlfriend this summer. I will see what offers I have come though and weigh my options when that time comes.
On what things will you continue to work on in the lab this summer as you continue to improve as a player?
I will focus on finishing around the rim through contact. Leg strength to have that lift on my shot late in the game and season. And just refine what I already do well, shooting off the move.
Please list your all-time best starting five of teammates.
Kevin Pangos Will Barton Me Tarik Black Kelly Olynyk
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro A this season?
What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?
Anyone who has to name themselves as greatest of all time, isn’t greatest of all time. I feel that is a title that is given not self proclaimed. Plus I’m a big MJ guy.
Charles Barkley proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?
I don’t, Michael Jordan changed the sport he played completely. His shoes and style are still selling out worldwide. He changed the way basketball is played now. Brady might had better numbers statistics, but I’m siding with MJ in this argument.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Greatest Showman – the soundtrack to this movie is fire by the way lol.
Thanks Drew for the chat.