Brandon Mclean is a 25 year old 201cm center from Cartersville, Georgia that last played for TSV Neustadt temps Shooters (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 20 games averaging 14.0ppg, 10.0rpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.9%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 76.8%. He played his rookie season with Krypteia Capital Huelva (Spain-EBA) playing 4 games averaging 7.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0bpg, in Dec.’18 moved to BC Athletic Constanta (Romania-Liga Nationala) playing 19 games averaging 4.8ppg, 4.7rpg. He began his basketball career at Woodland High School and then played at Huntingdon College (NCAA3) from 2015-2018 playing 74 NCAA3) games. He was able to improve his scoring average each season and as a senior played 25 games averaging 14.2ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.0spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 57.0%, FT: 61.7%. germanhoops.com spoke to Brandon in late Spring 2020 about basketball.
Hi Brandon where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?
Right now I am currently in Atlanta Ga. My mood is currently hopefully during this pandemic. I am staying positive hoping for better times and the world picks back up soon.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
When the Corona Virus first surfaced, I thought it would go away as fast as it can in China. I had no clue it was such a big problem that would affect the world as it is doing now.
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?
While in Germany, my day to day life definitely changed when Corona became more of a risk. I didn’t go out as much as before because I knew I would be less vulnerable to be in contact. Corona definitely affected the culture by closing businesses, less people out and about enjoying their lives.
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
I most definitely instantly started distancing myself from people. On the trains I made sure I sat in my own section, I didn’t go with large groups of people because like the news said you never knew who had it. They could have the Corona Virus or a regular cold but the symptoms are so close to distinguish .
Basketball leagues shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
The leagues shutting down hit hard because players know they have to value every game of the season. You are fighting to show other teams and fans the fight that the players and coaches have put in.
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?
Of course fans play a huge part of a basketball game but I think sports can always still perform with the knowledge and support from spectators at home. Viewing ratings for these games would increase and teams would still receive revenue from the games.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
I think these tough times made me more stronger by teaching me discipline, self motivation, and taking care of yourself by not putting yourself in unnecessary risk.
Was 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 starting back earlier is not a big adjustment, as a player you always want to be in shape to go whenever you are called upon. There are many advantages of this such as more court work, working on your body and mental, learning the game a step more. Disadvantages would only be not being able to get back to the season at a normal period.
The whole world economy is going to be affected. 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?
I am not as worried about my future for my career, I am staying ready at all times to be able to go back and produce. Mentally, I am staying hopeful that it will all fix itself in the mix of the world opening back up.
How did you experience 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.
Day to Day experience for me as has been on half since I touched down from Germany. Coronavirus definitely affected my life majorly but has not halted my training. I have been keeping up with training but on a different level. I been really running around my neighborhood or I would switch it up and go biking. Then I would come back and get some shooting up on my basketball hoop in my backyard. Later in the day, I would get some weights in with the little bit of weights I have in my house.
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 I have been in most contact with Deondre Ray, we played together in Romania and we kept in contact. True brother and friend that helped me stay positive in Romania.
Let’s talk about your second season in Europe in Germany with TSV Neustadt. The club finished with a 11-9 record and were in 6th place. What is your summary of the team effort for the season?
I feel as the team effort was there at a high level, as always basketball has it times when you can be on and you can be off.
It was a tale of 2 season as you started off well 6-2 and finished 5-7. What were the main reasons for the club not finishing strong?
Tale of 2 season for sure, I think the main reason we were so stagnant at the end was due to the long Christmas break without basketball. We came back weak before our first game back and wasn’t at our top performance level. This definitely had an effect on our success level. Also we still knew for sure we will stay in the league and didn’t have that sense of urgency to get after it every game.
The club averaged 83 points per game, but allowed 81 points. Why do you feel couldn’t the club play more consistent on the defensive end?
The club was a good defensive team overall but we excelled on the offensive end by having 6 players avg over double digits. We started to figure that if we play harder defense and team defense that would lead to more offensive possessions for us.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How challenging was it battling Mamadou Diop in practice each day? How do you feel did you both profit from each other on a daily basis?
Practice against Mamadou was a battle everyday, a guy coming from Euroleague level with that kind of experience definitely helped me with this season. It was a battle where we would be fighting in our 1v1 games and trying to come out on top. We both profited from playing with and against each other majorly.
What did you appreciate most from starting point guard Abdulai Abaker? He showed that he could fill the stat sheet and make an impact at both ends of the game.
I really appreciated Abu, for a guy to pick up on defense full court, play the passing lanes and get steals, push the ball on fast break, get so many assist sand steal score the ball on a high level. All you can say is he is a player you need on every time even though he is a short fellow.
How much potential does young German Marc Klesper have? How did you see his game develop from day 1 until the end?
Marc has a lot of potential and will put that on showcase on the next opportunity, he has been committed to the grind from day 1, always in the gym working and getting extra shots in. He became more confident and started getting the killer mentality towards the middle of the season and he was showing it.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged double double stats with 14,0ppg and 10,0rpg. How happy were to get minutes again after playing little as a rookie in 2 countries?
Wow, it was a big spin and a step into the role of a key player on a team. The minutes I was receiving was a blessing, and from day 1 Neustadt put trust into me. That is all a player could ask for and I couldn’t let the club, fans or myself down.
How would you summarize your season with TSV Neustadt? How content were you with your game?
My season with Neustadt will go down as my breakout year, I saw what it felt like to be a leader of a professional team. Of course I always feel as I could of done more during my games but I always try to channel that into the name game.
You also were a force on the defensive end averaging 1,7spg and 1,0bpg. Stats don’t always tell the whole story, but how would you describe how your defensive game was able to grow in Germany?
My defensive force helped the team a lot. As being an undersized big, I was more versatile and able to help on the defensive side. Being able to switch on guards and play defense, then to rebounding with my athleticism helped the club a lot. I think I was able to do numerous off the chart such as alter shots or talking in the heart of the zone or press.
You had many memorable games with TSV Neustadt but where does the 94-92 win over Weser Baskets rate where you scored 12 points, 13 rebounds and 6 steals?
That game ranks up there with top 3 games of the season, to have stats in that manner, almost a triple double and help get that close game win can’t beat that.
How much of a joy was it playing for German coach Lars Buss? How did he help you best with your game considering he had a very long career as a big man?
I can t tell you how great of a coach Lars Buss is, It was nothing but fun and handwork. His coaching style helped the team achieve what we did. He helped in many ways, from talking on a personal level to a business level, he kept it real. His game as a big man helped during this season with me by giving me some tips and moves that he found were efficient and that he helped me add to my game.
Who was the toughest guy that you faced in the Regionalliga this season?
The toughest guy I had to face in the center position in the Regionalliga was Malte Giljan from SC Rasta Vechta
Last season you split time with Krypteia Capital Huelva (Spain-EBA) averaging 7.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0bpg, in Dec.’18 moved to BC Athletic Constanta (Romania-Liga Nationala) averaging 4.8ppg, 4.7rpg. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
When I saw how they had games set up and the atmosphere is different made me wake up to the European world. My wake up call when I was in Europe was when the major holidays swung around and I was only with my American teammates and saw my foreign teammates with family.
In Romania you played together with my guy Brandon Lockhart. How much easier did he make your game on a daily basis?
Lockhart is a great guy, He was a great leader and was an unselfish guy. He can get to any spot on the floor and create out of it for himself or others. He set me up whenever I was open and in the right position.
You played at Huntingdon College (NCAA3) from 2015-2018 being able to improve your points and rebounds each season. What was key for your development? How much did your chip on your shoulder help you keep grinding more each season to continue to get better?
Wow, 2015-2018 was a crazy time period, from sitting out a year of basketball to picking it back up was a rough start. I was always working, everyday had workouts in the morning, then had to go to class and the workouts before lunch, then back to class to team practice at night. The way my team was grinding I knew I had to make sure this paid off. The key development was sticking to it and staying in the gym. The thing that was holding me back the most was my weight. Once I started shedding the weight I started being able to move more comfortably and shape my game. When senior year came I was in the best shape of my college career. Working in the offseason, into the preseason in great shape made me ready for all battles senior year.
How important has your older brother Jamel been in your career? How has he helped you most in being the player that you are today?
Older brother Jamel played a huge role in my career. He opened my eyes to playing in college and then into professional leagues. I didn’t have a clue that this was even possible to do. He has helped me greatly by being able to workout with him and learn the things he has learned on top tier teams and battle against him.
How important was head coach Mike Pugh in your first two seasons with your early development?
Mike Pugh was a tough coach but a great coach at the same time. He kept it real with me. As I stated before, I was little fat and he pushed me for sure. He was always making sure I was getting extra work in and losing that weight. He also taught me more coordination and trained me on the agility ladder.
How did head coach Caleb Kimborough help groom and prepare you best for a professional career in your senior season?
Coach K right here, was a fearless leader and branded this trait into me, My senior year he showed me how to lead, be a driving force and bring all my teammates with me. He was one of the most inspirational coach I have ever had along with Ben Strong who now works with the Phoenix Suns. They both fine tuned my game and showed me the keys to winning with what you have, it all starts in the heart.
Who won a one on one in practice back in the day you or Charlie Johnson?
Back in the day I would win a 1v1 against Charlie but he had height on him so it was difficult but I would come out victorious.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Deondre Ray, Bj Gladden, Abduali Abaker, Jerrod Pettus, Rishi Kakad
Please produce your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore with 4 heads past or present?
Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant
What is your general opinion with the debate between who is greater Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I think Lebron James is a phenomenal player but Michael Jordan paved the way
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I watched was the Extraction
Thanks Brandon for the chat.