Ricky Easterling is a 36 year 189cm guard form Baltimore, Maryland playing his 15th professional season and 13th season with the Sunkings Saarlouis (Germany-Regionalliga). He has made a name for himself in the Regionalliga over the years as he averaged over 30,0ppg twice and led the Pro B in scoring from 2014-2016. Last season he averaged 24.9ppg), 6.3rpg, 5.0apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 83.2%. He began his basketball career with Bridgewater College (NCAA3) and as a professional also has had experience with the the Baltimore Pearls (ABA), TSG Reutlingen (Germany-Oberliga) and the Bergheim Bandits (Germany-Regionalliga). He spoke to germanhoops.com shortly before a Regionalliga game in Limburg, but shortly after the game was called due to COVID-19. The interview has been edited and left the way it is as a pre game interview.
Welcome back to Limburg. Today is Halloween. What is the perfect Halloween costume for Ricky Easterling in 2020 if he were a kid?
It’s a pleasure to hear from you again Miles! Thanks for the warm welcome! If I was a kids I would probably be a ninja for Halloween. That was my go to costume back in the day!
What were your favorite Halloween moments as a kid? Can you list some costumes that you wore when you were a kid?
Some of my favorite moments as a kids on Halloween was definitely going to the Haunted dungeons or the Haunted houses back in my home town. Even thought they are staged with actors and I knew it all was fake it still scared the mess out of my friends and I. I remember my football team and I took a trip to Pennsylvania and went to this place called the Haunted Hayride. You had to first navigate through the mansion with your small group, alone without a tour guide. Once you made it through there you ended up outside. There was a tracker with a big trailer filled with Hay would pick your group up and send you on a ride through the woods. After that it would drop you off in the middle of the woods and you had to find your way back. That was probably the best Halloween event I ever took part in. Normally on Halloween I was a ninja. I was in karate as a kid so that was the reason I liked to be a ninja most of the time on Halloween.
Back in the 2017-2018 season you swept Limburg. Can you remember the 77-75 win here where you scored 21 points?
Yes, I remember this season. I also remember this particular game you mentioned. It was a overtime game and it was tied up with only seconds left in the game. We had The ball The last possession and the play was originally drawn up for me to have a Isolation situation at the top of the key. I started to do my thing and the defense pinched the gaps to help out my defender. So I noticed it and kicked it out to one of my teammates Alan Bedirhan and he knocked down a clutch 3 pointer to win the game.
Here is some trivia that was the 12th time since October 2017 where you played the whole 40 minutes. Included in those 12 times was a 45 minute and 42 minute game. What is the biggest challenge for you personally of playing the whole game?
The challenge about playing 40 plus minutes is having enough energy at the end of close games. So I always had to make sure I was in top shape. In my situation teams use multiple defenders to guards me throughout the game. None of them are playing 40 minutes. So that means all these dudes get a chance to rest during the game. Understanding the situation, I dedicated myself to being as fit as possible so at the end of games I could help my team close out games without being fatigued.
Do you see yourself sometimes as an extra coach on the floor? What piece of advice do you like giving your teammates most?
I been around for a while so it is my duty to be a leader and an extension of the coach on the floor. There is not a favorite thing I like to do or say when I am leading my team during the game. I just believe it is important to huddle as much as possible during the game to make sure we are all on the same page and to talk quickly about previous and upcoming possessions. In my opinion this makes a big difference as your playing the game. I like to think of these moments as mini timeouts. Good teams do this a lot during the game and I always try to make sure my team is taking advantage of these opportunities.
I couldn’t find any box scores from you before 2015. What memories do you have of playing Limburg in your early career? Do you feel like you came out the winner most?
I remember playing them a couple times before we moved up to Pro B some years ago. There was one game where I had a hard collision with a Limburg player on the floor resulting in stitches and a concussion. Somehow I played through it and ended up with 39pts. All I can remember is that I totally blacked out and had to rewatch the film to remember what happened in the game. After this game I had to stay 2 nights in the hospital because of the concussion. If I remember correctly we are winning the head to head match up vs Limburg. I actually don’t remember ever losing to Limburg. At least in my time in Saarlouis. Maybe I could be forgetting a game but I don’t think so.
Saarlouis continue to play with a 6 man rotation and after that very young Germans on the bench with little minutes. Is this not risky should 1 or possibly even 2 of the starting 5 players get injured?
Yeah it can be risky but at the moment it is not too much we can do about that. This is our team and we will go out and play as hard as we can with what we have.
What is it like battling American KJ Sherrill on the floor? Is he another one of those guys like you that is way to good for the Regionalliga?
He is a beast! He has size, he is strong and he is very skilled. It is going to be a issue trying to slow him down out there but we are going to try our best. It is always a pleasure to come across him during the season and I am looking forward to playing against him again.
How much of a challenge is it getting in the paint and using your mid range game with a guy like Sherril always lurking in the shadows?
It’s a great challenge. But it is something I have grown used to! Over the years I have had the pleasure to compete against many good post players in the Pro B, Pro A (in cup and charity games) and also summer leagues back at home in the states. So I am always prepared for a situation like this but at the same time I respect his abilities as a rim protector.
In the first game loss against Kronberg it was the least amount of points 10 in a game that you scored since March 25, 2017 your last season in the Pro B. How strange is it having a low scoring game like that?
For me, to be honest it is something I do not enjoy seeing but every now and then it happens. Teams know about me and always concentrate on me. Most of the time I am able to overcome these special type of defenses designed to slow me down. Then there are some games where the team plays good defense against me and are able to slow me down. This was one of those games. But best believe I will be ready to come back strong after a game like that.
Will you study film of that game longer than games where you score 30 points? What do you look for most on film when you have a low scoring game?
I will watch this game like I do all games. I know what they were doing against me. Wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before. They face guarded me and eventually went box and 1. I have seen these defenses before. My team and I we just not able to counter it effectively this time. Like I mentioned in the previous question we will be ready the next time we come across a situation like this.
You have played many many years with 39 year old German Jimmy Peter Lauter? What have you appreciated most about his play and character?
Jimmy is my guy! He is one of my day one teammates here in Saarlouis. He is a great person and a good friend of mine. We don’t have to talk often But when we meet or talk we know we are brothers. We all know he has a deadly jump shot but what I also appreciate about his game is that he is a fighter. He doesn’t take plays off and he plays every possession as hard as he possibly can. I can allows step out on the court with confidence when I have a teammate like that on the court with me.
Does his long career and staying power motivate you to keep going and have that drive to keep playing for many more years and until your legs fall off?
Yes at times I forget that he is a little bit older than me. The last year’s without him I was always the oldest so I got used to that. And now I can finally say I’m not the oldest anymore haha! I’m motivated to play until my legs fall off but to have a live example with me on the team of course motivates me a little bit more.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I seen was ‘The Old Guard’.
Thanks Ricky for the chat.