Bryce Leavitt is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Kennewick, Washington that completed his third with TV Ibbenbueren Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 24 games averaging 15.1ppg, 7.7rpg, Assists-1 (7.3apg), 2.0spg, FGP: 63.3%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 81.0%. In the 2017-2018 season he played with the WWU Baskets Muenster (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 13 games averaging 15.7ppg, 9.2rpg, Assists-1 (9.5apg), 2.3spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 83.5%Last season as a rookie he played with TV 1864 Salzkotten (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 20.3ppg, 7.9rpg, 4.6apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 84.9%. He got college basketball experience with three schools with Washington St. (NCAA), N.Idaho JC (JUCO, starting five) and Seattle Pacific (NCAA2) where he played his last two seasons and as a senior played 31 games averaging 9.6ppg, 6.8rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 22.0%, FT: 78.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during COVID-19.
Hi Bryce 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?
Hey Miles, I’m currently back in the states in my hometown Kennewick, Washington. My mood is good, just patiently waiting to see what’s next like everyone else 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?
No, I don’t think anyone I know expected it to be this serious. Everything happened so fast on my end, I didn’t really have much time to think.
How have you experienced 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?
I didn’t get to experience much of the effect on Germany because I left so fast. We found out our season was canceled on a Thursday, and I was on a plane back to America that Saturday.
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 definitely came to realize how hard it is to avoid germs. I try to be more aware about the way I handle myself in public now.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
It was super disappointing to have the season cancelled right before playoffs. It was rough for all of us players to lose a couple months salary and a chance to play for the title. But at the same time, it made sense to me that this was one of those things that was much bigger than sports.
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?
That would be wild to play with no fans. But it would just be like an open gym. At the end of the day, hoop is hoop.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person? –
I think this quarantine has forced everyone into a state of reflection. So just spending a lot of time working on myself, and thinking about what’s really important to me.
Will 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’m guessing a majority of players are using this quarantine to give their body a little break. Rest and heal up. I’ve been shooting every day, but I just now started doing a full strength program. It was nice to give my legs some active recovery for a month. Now I’ll be able to have an extremely strong offseason leading up to my next opportunity.
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?
Yeah, I’m just waiting to see how everything unfolds. It will be interesting to see what happens with league rules, team’s budgets and how they approach free agency. I’m just going to stay patient and let my agent handle all that.
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.
Day to day life is pretty slow right now. When I’m home I usually work as a substitute teacher and coach kids on the side, two things that are impossible at the moment. So I just go to the park every day for shooting and ball handling. Then do some strength/core work in my garage.
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?
The two guys I’ve talked to most lately are Brock Motum, who’s playing in Spain. And Matt Vest who plays in Germany for Jena. They are two good friends that I stay in touch with year round. Ironically enough Matt’s first child was just born, and Brock’s is due real soon. Congrats to them both.
Let s talk about the Ibbenburen season. The club finished 15-9 and in 4 place. How would you summarize the team effort for this season?
It was a good season. We fought our way to the top of the league and would have had a chance for the 3rd seed during the last weekend of the regular season. We really took a strong step forward from their previous season. I wish we could have been more consistent, but I’m proud of the season we had.
It was a tale of 2 seasons for Ibbenburen. It started hot with a 10-2 record and then finished 5-7. Why did the team slow down in the second half of the season?
We just hit some adversity like every team deals with. During the 2nd half of the season we had some injuries and played all the top teams on the road. Our league was super deep this year, anybody could win on any given night. I liked the way we were coming together down the stretch, we were going be dangerous in the playoffs.
Despite losing 2 of your last 3 games how confident are you that the club could have turned it around in the playoffs
Like I said before, I don’t think anybody in the league wanted to see us in the postseason. We struggled with consistency at times, but we had some real firepower.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Regionalliga this season? –
The toughest battles were with my teammate Marco Porcher everyday in the gym. But the toughest opponent was probably Curtis Hollis on Rhondorf. I respect his game a lot, we had some battles during the year.
Let s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing with Juan Manuel Barga? He has a very versatile game like you. Could you soak something up from his game this season?
It was definitely awesome to play with Juan (and live with him). He’s an explosive player that can help any team win. The thing I admire most about Juan is his defense. His consistency and effort on defense are elite, he made everyone on the team play harder on that end of the floor.
One player that really impressed me was Marco Porcher-Jimenz. What do you feel is still missing from his game to play at a higher level like the Pro A?
Marco belongs in the Pro A, I don’t think he’s missing anything. He has a really complete game for an off-ball scorer, and he’s physical enough to play at that level. I think he just needs a team to believe in him and put him in a role that fits his strengths.
How much easier did a guy like German Benjamin Fumey make your basketball life with his play? What did you appreciate most about his game?
Benny made my life as the point guard way easier. He’s super experienced and skilled. It’s easy to play with a big that has those qualities.
Let s talk about your game. You sat out last year. Talk a bit how you spent your time last season after actually being with WWU Baskets Muenster (Germany-ProB) in pre season
It was tough to miss an entire season. But it helped me refocus as a player and improve some weaknesses. I spent the first half of that year, healing my injury and strengthening my body. Then I spent the 2nd half of the missed season working on my skills on the court. I was able to make some big strides and come back better than before.
Talk a bit about what kind of adjustment period you needed after sitting out a year? What was most difficult to get used to again and what things came naturally again?
Everything was pretty natural besides game shots and game cardio. Those are two things that you can’t maintain from the sidelines, no matter how hard you work.
This season you averaged15.1ppg, 7.7rpg,Assists-1 (7.3apg),2.0spg,FGP:63.3%,3PT:35.0%,FT: 81.0%. How content were you with your season?
I thought I had a solid season. Of course there’s things I could have done better and know I need to improve. But I’m proud of my performance after missing almost 18 months of basketball.
Your stats were a bit down in rebounds and assists from 2 seasons ago, but you still filled the stat sheet the way we know you can. How do you feel did you make strides in your third professional season concerning your game?
I never really judge my performance off of stats. Every team is different, and I just try to adjust my game to doing whatever the team needs to win. I know I made some strides in several areas this season.
You told me in our interview in 2017 that your speed is a hidden strength and ‘I feel like I can really improve the pace/tempo of any team with the way I play on both ends’. How do you feel have you improved with pace this season?
I think I started the season playing slower than I’m used to. By the end I was really starting to hit my stride with speeding up our team’s pace.
What is the toughest aspect of being versatile and consistent and being able to achieve more triple doubles? Obviously you need talented teammates, but how vital is basketball IQ?
Like I said before, I don’t ever play with stats in mind. I just play to win and let the rest take care of itself. But I think my stats have definitely benefited from having a high basketball IQ and my strong vision on the court. It also helps to be surrounded by good shooters.
In the past you had a Rajon Rondo who got many triple doubles and now it s Lebron, Westbrook and Doncic. If you could continue to refine your game even more what qualities of a Doncic would you like to have to get even more triple doubles? –
You just named some of the best players in the world, so obviously doing anything like them is going to help my game. I just try to watch the best players and steal little techniques/skills from their game. But at the end of the day, I’m my own player, and I have to play my style.
What is the next step for you? Will you return for a fourth season and will you finally play at a higher level? Your way to good for the Regionalliga and deserve a chance at a higher level? I personally would love to see you grind in the Pro A. –
The next step is up, it’s time for me to advance to a higher level. I’m healthy and I’ve proven what I can do to help teams win. I would love a chance to help a team in the Pro A.
Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now? –
I don’t think he’s in the top 3 quite yet. But he’s for sure put himself in the top 10.
Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant.. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? –
Kobe was one of my favorite players ever, his death was devastating. He had a huge impact on my work-ethic and preparation. I used to read all the articles and stories about him spending crazy amounts of time in the gym. I’m pretty sure he motivated everyone who’s ever touched a basketball.
How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now? –
It’s a huge bummer that March Madness is canceled. I definitely feel sorry for the seniors who are losing the best part of their last season. I would just tell them to keep their heads up, because there’s better things ahead.
What was the last movie that you saw? –
Thanks Bryce for the chat.