Phil Steffens is a 24 year 206cm forward that was born in Gladbeck Germany and will play for BSV Wulfen (Germany-Regionalliga) this season. He began his basketball career with Metropol Baskets Ruhr (NBBL) and then stayed in the States from 2014-2020 playing at Evelyn Mack Academy, Charlotte, NC nad Combine Prep Academy. He then played at Southeastern University (NAIA) from 2016-2020 playing a total of 40 games. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Phil thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been despite the whole COVID-19 effecting the world? Have you been in the States or returned back to Germany?
I’m back in Germany now after completing my senior year in Florida. My summer still was very productive, I got a lot of workouts done and had some time to relax. Luckily everybody around me stayed healthy.
How have you experienced the whole COVID-19 crisis in the States? How much did the last 6 months change your life and how much of a challenge was it finding the time and places to be able to stay in shape and be able to work on your game?
Luckily I left in the beginning of April, during that time Corona was not spread as much as it is now in the US. But the first month in Germany was tough, too. No gyms were open so I ran a lot in the mornings to stay in shape, but that gets boring quick so I worked out on outside courts.
How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?
Maybe it taught me to take some things more serious but I don’t think Covid affected me as a man.
After 6 years in the United States you have returned back to Germany to begin your professional basketball career with BSV Wulfen (Germany-Regionalliga). You lived there under Barack Obama and Donald Trump. How did you experience life there and how americanized have you become? I know Florida is a place that can be very addicting?
My experience in the States was great to be honest. It made me grow as a man. And yes Florida can be very addicting, always good weather, nice beaches, beautiful women. But I’m happy to have closed that chapter and returned home.
Congrats on signing with BSV Wulfen (Germany-Regionalliga). How excited are you to be back in Germany and beginning your professional basketball career?
I’m very excited especially to play in front of family and friends for the first time in many years.
Choosing BSV Wulfen wasn’t difficult as you played there in your youth and know the coach. What makes BSV Wulfen such a special team?
It’s a special team because we are very young and everybody is still hungry to make the jump to the next level as a team and individually. Also coach G is a great coach, who puts in a 100% effort every day.
After being in the States for 6 years, what are your expectations of yourself in the Regionalliga? What kind of player in Phil Steffens will we see?
My expectations are pretty high for myself, because I know what I can do. Also I am trying to be a leader for the younger guys, because I know how hard it is to sit on the bench a lot.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 206cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
I think Porzingis is a pretty good comparison to my game, he can shoot the ball but also has a good drive to the basket.
Describe your game a bit and what your biggest assets are. Is it fair to say you try to be like a modern day forward because you like to step out and take the three?
Yes definitely, I love to work from the perimeter and shoot the open 3 and drive to the basket to score or look for open team mates. I think my biggest asset is that I’m a player who can play multiple positions.
How would you describe your play on the defensive end? Are you a type of rim protector or how would you describe your game best?
I’m a great communicator on the defensive end and I’m trying to be a smart defender, who doesn’t get into foul trouble a lot.
Before playing at Southeastern (NCAA) you played 2 years at 2 different schools Evelyn Mack Academy, and Combine Prep Academy. What kind of experience was this and how did it get you prepared for college in the States?
Combine Academy was the best option for me, despite my 3 month injury Combines staff never gave up on me and continued to work with me to get me ready again when the call from universities came.
You played at Southeastern (NAIA) from 2016-2020, but played only 40 games and never averaged more than 0,8ppg and 4,0 minutes per game. How tough was it sitting a lot more than playing?
It was tough especially in my last year and a coaching change happened, which did not do me any good. But I can say that it stressed me a lot and I had to prove myself over and over again and at the end it only made me stronger mentally.
Despite not playing much, you were a part of 2 championship teams winning the TSC tournament in 2018 and 2020. Which title was the sweetest?
The title in 2018 was very special, our team consisted of a lot of 2nd chance guys, and our team spirit was of the charts. That was definitely one of the funniest years.
Despite not playing much how is Phil Steffens a different player in 2020 than he was in 2016 when you first stepped on campus at Southeastern?
A lot has changed. My mentally, my mindset has grown by all the struggles a lot. Also my game got way more physical, my shot more consistent and my athletic ability continued growing from year to year.
How did head coaches R-Jay Barsh/ Kevin Lubbers help groom and prepare you for a professional basketball career?
R-Jay was probably my biggest impact in my 4 years. He coached me for 3 years and that man does not only teach basketball , he also teaches life and I’m very appreciative. When I came there I only wanted to play the wing position, but he made me learn how to play the center, which made me the player I am today.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Dylan Causwell?
Great question, DC and me guarded each other almost every practice, but never actually never played a real one on one. Guess that would’ve been a tie game
What did you learn to enjoy the most about the American culture that you will never see in Germany?
Probably the crazy amount of unhealthy food haha
You were named to the NABC honors court on account of your very good grades. What did you enjoy most about the academics in the United States?
The best part of my academics were the professors who were able to bond with me and support me during the years.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NAIA or anywhere that went to the NBA?
I think the toughest player I played against was Dwayne Bacon, he’s a beast.
Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?
What is your personal opinion between the never ending debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James concerning who is the greatest of all-time?
I usually never take part on this discussion because I think you can’t compare today’s NBA with the NBA where MJ competed, but if I had to decide I’d definitively say LeBron is the goat, he’s the most complete basketball player ever and is still dominating in year 17
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was Project Power
Thanks Phil for the chat.