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Anthony Watkins (194-PG-00) is a 20 year old 194cm guard playing his first season with the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL). He has the German/American citizenship and lived in Chattanooga and attended McCallie High School before coming to Germany in 2019. Last season he split time with the Basketball Loewen Erfurt (ProB) playing10 games avergaing 3.6ppg. He also played with the OeTTINGER Rockets Gotha 2nd team (Germany-2.Regionalliga) and in in Jan.’20 moved to VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Regionalliga) playing 8 games averaging 10.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 66.7%, FT: 58.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the big 85-83 win on the road over FC Bayern Munich.
Anthony congrats on the massive 85-83 victory in Munich. How good does a win feel like this after being blown out by ratiopharm Ulm 91-57?
This win is exactly what we needed. We had switched it up this week. We reset as a team and found ourselves. We came to Munich played hard and pulled out a win.
What special magic did head coach Pete Strobl do this week to get you extra prepared for FC Bayern Munich. Or is one extra fired up to play a team like FC Bayern Munich anyway?
It was a bit of both. We switched it up a bit this week. We practiced one day and had a dance class the next day. We mixed it up and got all together laughing and joking around. We are a young hingry team and will get up for a big game like this always.
You had a front row seat. The only thing missing was the popcorn. How tough is it not playing in games and what was the one thing you picked up in this game from the bench?
I don’t really see it that way. I am always a competitor. I can learn so much from a game like this. Big in a game like this is seeing how teams react in late game situations. It was big seeing the adjustments we made and taking care of the lead even when the momentum ebbed. Important was also how we could go on runs against a great team like this. I try to soak in as much as possible from the Euroleague and ex NBA players.
FC Bayern Munich had the slim 38-37 advantage at the break. FC Bayern Munich haven’t been themselves in the last weeks having lost two of three games coming in. Has the Euroleague toll and success gotten the best of them at the moment?
They have a very tough schedule. We gave them our best shot. Great teams never get comfortable. They will do their best possible to have a great season
What words of wisdom did head coach Pete Strobl give the team in the break. That helped them come out on a 31 point explosion in the third quarter?
He remined us of the moment and how close we were. He told us to trust our game plan and leave it all out on the floor. He also reminded us to stay locked in defensively and not let runs get in the way. He also told us to shoot the ball when we were open and just to trust the process and grind it out.
The fourth quarter was really exciting. FC Bayern Munich powered back, but Braunschweig had nerves of steel at the end. Did Braunschweig want it more?
At this level both teams want it equally as much at the wire. We were able to stick to our game plan and get the lead at the end and protect it. We got a major stop at the end. We executed better than they did at the end. It comes down to executing more than desire.
Turudic and Peterka were the hero’s at the end. How vital was the all around smart rebounding by Braunschweig for the win?
They were huge. They were hunting down rebounds all night. They scored the ball very well and made big plays. They also kept the bench involved. The bench brought a lot of energy which helped their play as well. We were like extra guys on the court.
Braunschweig have 10 victories now and are tied with three other teams. I guess the goal now is to win as many games and finish as high as possible?
Not at all. We want to go day by day game by game. Our motto this season has been to get better every day. We aren’t worried about the next weeks. We want to attack each day and bring more intensity into each day than the last day. We will see where we will end at the end of the day.
James Robinson had an off night shooting, but when the shot isn’t falling then re gets his playmaking in gear. How valuable has his play been for your overall development?
He is my guy. We ride back together after games and talk a lot. He is so valuable to our team with his calmness an dis never fed up. He always does what is best for the team. He had an off night shooting, but made big plays and kept us together. He is soft spoken, but when he talks everybody listens. He focused on winning every quarter tonight. I have been blessed that he takes the time to talk to me and help me develop as a player and person. I have made a great friend in him.
German karim Jallow had another huge game netting 24 points. What have you learned to appreciate most about his game?
Karim is always in attack mode and brings so much energy. You would think that a guy with numbers like that would rest o his laurels, but he never does. He is always in the gym and putting up extra shots. Sometimes when coach Pete has the young players for extra practice sessions, he will join us. He is always wanting to get better. It is an incredible inspiration to play with a player like him who keeps you humble with his work ethic. He is a great example for other young players: he has helped me with physicality and speed. He is a high level dude that is going places
How valuable has it been for your development playing with many other hungry young German players?
I have been lucky to be able to play in an awesome environment. There is a big excitement level here in Braunschweig. With the great opportunity that the young players have gotten, it has given every one a huge confidence boost. All have found their game and have gotten the freedom to understand who they are as players. I have not taken this experience for granted. It is more dangerous to guard a experiment guy than a system guy. We have been allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
How has your game progressed with the daily practices with an easyCredit BBL team?
I feel like I have slowed down my game since I got here. I came into high level basketball at age 19. It was an adjustment, but after a while I understood nuances of the game and understand to do the work early at both ends of the court. I also have seen my comfort level rise in practices.
The games don’t get any easier as you play #1 team Ludwigsburg. You gave them a tough game in the first attempt. Braunschweig is a lot better team now. What will be key to getting the win?
Handling their pressure will be key. They have their hat on the defensive end, pick up full court and are physical. We did a pretty good job of that in the first game. We have to stay poised and be on the same page and stick to the game plan. If we can stay calm under pressure then I think we will be ok.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Focus with Will Smith for maybe the 100,000 time. That movie is a go to.
Thanks Anthony for the chat.