Tyrell Sturdivant s a 25 year old 201cm forward from Chester, Pennsylvania that recently completed his second professional season with the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 22 games averaging 20.5ppg, Reb-1 (13.7rpg), 1.6apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 71.8%. He will play the 2020-2021 season with BBC Arantia Larochette (Luxembourg-Total League). The season before as a rookie he played with AS Soleuvre (Luxembourg-N2) avergaing: 22.3ppg, 14.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 67.6%. he began his basketball career at Chester high school and then played at Stony Brook form 2014-2018 playing 129 NCAA games. His best statistical season was his junior season where he played 32 games averaging 10.6ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 44.5%, FT: 64.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis.
Hi Tyrell where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the outbreak of the Corona Virus?
Hey man, really appreciate you reaching out. I’m currently back in the states and I’m being positive despite everything that’s going on in the world.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
I was actually very nervous when I first heard about the virus. I remember when the first case reached Giessen I started to do a lot of research on ways to prevent the virus
How did you experience the day to day life in Germany during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?
Its the same as my day to day life now, just trying to take as much precaution as I can while also enjoying the time home with family.
Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing
Yea of course, It’ll be interesting to see how the world adapts after all of this is over. It’s really been eye opening for me.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
So disappointed, I think our team was in a good place to win our last 3 games so it’s frustrating but at the same time we want to practice safety so I understand the decision.
Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?
Seeing the world without basketball makes me realize I would do anything to have it back so if it meant we could play I would 100 percent play without fans.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
I’ve really learned to try to stay positive and keep my faith in God during these times, it s been rough but being around family makes things go way easier.
Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
I think it will only help, more time to perfect my craft and work on things that needs it. I also have much more time to watch film now so there are plenty of advantages. The disadvantage for me is obviously playing meaningful games will be missed but it just means I will be even more prepared for next season.
The whole world economy is going to be affected including Polish basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?
It’s going to be tough but I always remember to control what I can control, so I’m just going to keep working and whatever happens next season no matter what I’ll be ready. ‘You never have to get ready if you stay ready’
How have you experienced the day to day life back home in the States? How has the Coronavirus affected your daily life? How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls.
Yeah its tough not having a gym but I’ve been getting some great work in. I’ve been working out with my former teammate Junior Saintel who played in Spain last season. We do zoom calls with trainer Rob Fishbein. He puts us through a 45 min HIIT workout with many exercise and strength training. Along with that I keep my cardio on my workout bike and also have been doing a lot of yoga.
If you had to name another player besides guys from your team that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?
I would say either Junior Sainter or Jameel Warney.
Let’s talk about the season of the Giessen Pointers. The club finished in 13th place with a record of 10-13. How would you summarize the team season?
I think we were just missing a little bit of consistency, we were great some weeks and average others. I feel like we were hitting our stride at the end of the season its rough that we didn’t get to finish it out. But personally I think I grew as a player during the season and made a huge jump from my rookie season and that’s all I can ask of myself is steady improvement.
Just how competitive was the Regionalliga south west? There were 6 teams with a 10-13 record and from 3-11 in the standings there was only a difference of 2 wins? Do you feel like the team could have achieved more had they had a few more bounces here and there?
It was very competitive, every game was winnable which made it a fun league to play in. We had trouble with our 3rd quarter performances, we would always be winning at the break and then come out flat in the 3rd quarter. With better 3rd performances I think our record would be 13-10 easily.
The Giessen Pointers had an ok start, stumbled a bit in the middle and finished ok. What do you feel could the team have done better to be more successful?
I’ve mentioned it a little in the last question but our 3rd quarters really hurt us this year. We were in a position to win nearly every game this season but our 3rd quarters would mess us up and we would have to fight from behind in the 4th,
Let’s talk about your teammates. Anthony Watkins came in January and you were only teammates with him for a short period. He recently declared for the 2020 NBA draft. What did you appreciate most about his game and just how much potential does he have?
What I appreciate the most about his game has nothing to do with in-between the lines. Anthony has a great basketball mind, we would talk basketball for hours after practices and after games. We would dissect film and break it down and that’s what I appreciate the most about his game, its his love for it.
You and young German Lucas Mayer were aa 2 man wrecking crew. He is another one of those very talented players. What do you feel stood out most in his game that will bring him to high level in the future?
Lucas is such a fun player to play with and either his aggressiveness or his ability to move without the ball. He will for sure play at a high level because he’s a player that can go get his or play in a team system. He’s the best cutter I’ve played with.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 20.5ppg, Reb-1 (13.7rpg), 1.6apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 71.8%. How content were you with your second season?
I think I improved from my rookie season so I was happy to see improvement. Something I really am proud of is my free throw percentage, I shot about 65% in my rookie season so to see that jump is something that I’m proud of. I wish I could have led us to a few more wins but it’s a season I will continue to watch film and learn from this summer and be ready for next season and continue my improvement.
Your stats were similar to your rookie season in Luxemburg. How would you rate the second division of Luxemburg to the German Regionlliga and in terms of how you could develop further?
I think both leagues are really competitive and I’ve learned a lot in these two years. The professional game is really physical and both leagues prove that. The main difference between the leagues are that in Luxembourg two Americans are allowed as opposed to just one in the Regionalliga but both leagues are very competitive and I’m thankful for my experience in both leagues.
Your 201cm beast that can score and rebound with the best of them, but really can do it ll. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would you pick?
I would say Lamarcus Aldridge, he’s someone who I’ve always tried to model my game after. I love his versatility on offense and his ability to play team defense. I think he’s the perfect mix of back the the basket and face-up forward.
You began to shoot more three’s in your senior year at Stony Brook (NCAA) and have continued to do so in your first two professional seasons. How much of a work in progress is your three and what do you need to work on most with it to make the next step with it?
I think the most important thing for me is knowing when to step out and shoot and when to try to dominate in the paint. I think that will help me take it to the next step, as a rebounder I usually always want to be close to the paint for offensive rebounds but obviously shooting 3’s limits your ability to rebound offensively.
You have produced 3 20/20 games in your professional career so far. How much do games like that motivate you to get even more rebounds in every new game?
It’s a great feeling getting a 20/20, its mostly just a mindset that you want to grab every rebound. It’s like when a shooter is in a hot streak, it’s the same with rebounding. Sometimes you get in a zone and feel like you can grab every rebound and it’s a great feeling. I for sure want to add more 20/20 games to my resume.
Your such a versatile player, but what are you working on most now to continue to be an even better all-round player?
I’m really working on my foot speed and my flexibility, I want to consistently be able to guard multiple positions so this is what I’m going to focus on. I’m doing a lot of foot ladder and a lot of yoga.
Who was the toughest guy that you faced in the Regionalliga this season?
The toughest guy I’ve faced this year was Chris Edwards from Langen. He’s a tough player to play against because of how efficient he is. If he gets 10 shots he’ll make 7 so with him you can’t take any plays off.
Last season you played with AS Soleuvre (Luxembourg-N2) playing 11 games averaging 22.3ppg, 14.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 67.6%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie overseas where you knew that you were very far away from home?
It’s really when you have to make dinner for yourself after a practice at 8pm when it hits you. Those are the times you miss moms cooking the most.
You had two 20/20 games last season against Contern but lost both games. How tough was it being a dominating beast and losing both games?
Those games are tough because you always replay the mistakes you made and wondering if you could have did more to change the outcome.
You played at Stony Brook (NCAA) from 2014-2018. You reached 3 NCAA tournaments in a row which was an amazing feat for the school. Which one was the most memorable? Possibly playing against top powerhouse Kentucky?
Playing Kentucky was a crazy experience, they had maybe 5 or 6 NBA guys on that team. Playing in front of 20 thousand people felt unreal, but when the game started it was just like any other game but it’s an experience I’ll remember forever.
What kind of a challenge was it battling Jameel Warney in your first two seasons at Stony Brook?
He’s such a tough player to guard because of how physical and athletic he is. Match those two things with his skillset he’s almost unstoppable to guard which is why he dominated everywhere he’s been.
He dominated the G-League for 2 seasons and was rewarded with 3 NBA games with the Dallas Mavericks. He played last season in Seoul making big bucks. What do you feel is missing for him to be a consistent NB player?
I think he’s NBA ready, he does a little bit of everything. I think he would be the perfect NBA glue guy if given that chance.
Have you been keeping tabs on your ex teammate Roland Nyama who you were teammates with for 3 years. Were you bale to visit him or did he see one of your games this season?
Yes, we actually saw each other in tubingen and we also talk pretty often on Instagram.
In the 85-59 loss against top basketball school Kentucky you had 2 points and 3 boards in 11 minutes. What kind of an experience was it playing against guys like Murray, Briscoe and Ulis. When you look at how you have developed from then to now, do you feel like there is so much missing in your game compared to theirs?
It was a great experience just seeing how I match up to legit NBA talent. I consider myself a late bloomer and I still feel like my best basketball is ahead of me. When we played Kentucky I was still a role player but getting that experience is something i’ll never forget.
How did head coach Jeff Boals groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He really encouraged me to start shooting 3s and gave me the confidence to take them in games. Without that development I’m not sure if I would be shooting 3s today.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jameel Warney?
I can’t lie I don’t think I’ve beaten him 1 on 1 before but we haven’t played in a few summers so stay tuned for the matchup this summer
Who was the toughest player that you ever faced in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
I think Jamal Murray, he plays the game so smoothly.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Please produce your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore with 4 heads past or present?
MJ, Kobe, Lebron, Kareem (No order)
What is your general opinion with the debate between who is greater Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I go back and forth all the time on this one, I think Lebron is a better player but I think MJ is the GOAT if that makes sense.
What was the last movie that you saw?
StepBrothers, my favorite movie I watch it once a week.
Thanks Tyrell for the chat.