Christopher Hooper (198-PF-91, college: SFC) is a 29 year old 198cm forward from the Bronx, New York who completed his fifth professional season and second in Germany with the Itzehoe Eagles (Germany-ProB) playing 30 games averaging 19.1ppg, Reb-1 (10.5rpg), 3.7apg, FGP: 59.5%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 67.4%. In his first season with the Eagles he averaved 19,5ppg, 10,0rpg, 3,7apg, 1,3spg and 1,0bpg. He played the 2017-2019 seasons with Obera Tennis Club (Argentina-La Liga Argentina) and averaged 16.9ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.8apg, Blocks-4 (1.5bpg), FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 70.5% and in his first season averaged 16.2ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-3 (1.4bpg), FGP: 60.1%, FT: 58.9%. He played his rookie season with the Reading Rockets (United Kingdom-NBL D1) playing 21 games: Score-5 (22.4ppg), Reb-1 (12.3rpg), 2.3apg, 1.4spg, Blocks-4 (1.3bpg), FGP-1 (68.1%), FT: 63.9%. He began his basketball career at Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy and then played at St. Francis College (NY) (NCAA) and in his last year played 32 games averaging 11.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 58.3%, FT: 57.1%. He spoke to germanhoops after helping lead the Itzehoe Eagles to the Pro A.
Chris thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Hello thank you for taking the time to interview me I’m currently in New York back home, and basketball life is good and progressive I would say.
What goals do you remember head coach Pat Elzie telling you when you arrived in Itzehoe in August 2021? Did they come true?
Well you know this is my second season playing so I pretty much knew the goal coming into this season but the goal was always to win, for me to shoot better , and move up and to answer the question yes those goals came true.
Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about COVID. What was the most challenging thing for you in your second season with COVID?
The most challenging thing was no fans, my game feeds off energy so that loud cheering and trash talking is always missed ,also no vacation and playing straight through was a challenge as well.
How can one honestly rate this season with all the drama that went on with COVID? Every team had their problems.
I mean at the end of the day it’s just something we can’t control covid came and hurt a lot of people financially so of course problems were going to occur. there were no gyms for a certain amount of time as well so that can also cause problems.
Congrats on an amazing season and winning the pro B title. What was special about this seasons team that wasn’t there last season?
Thank you ! And to be honest I wouldn’t say anything both teams both years had nothing but the will to win and was willing to make sacrifices to do so .
The Itzehoe Eagles didn’t start the season well beginning with a 0-3record. What were your personal thoughts after 5 games? Possbly that our team was way better than this?
After the first 5 games I was kind of frustrated because I know we were better then that , I know I was better than that so it was just all frustrating at a point, but we found ourselves turned it around and things really started to fall into place afterwards.
You then had a solid 14-4 season in the regular season. What do you believe was so special with this years club?
I think just the goals that was set from coach as well as the club with wanting to move up to Pro A, and everybody’s mindset.
Then you lost two tough games against Schwelm. The team obviously took this as a wake up call and then beat a tough Giessen team 75-74. What important lesson do you feel did the Eagles learn in the Schwelm loses?
Again we just knew that we were better than the way we showed them the first two times against them, that’s a great team we know that but we knew we needed to be down to win those games and we just didn’t do it those nights.
had a strong playoff series and then got revenge on Schwelm. What do you believe was key for getting the finals games won and winning the title?
They key was the hunger, the enthusiasm to beat this team that beat us 3 games in a row.
How proud are you of Pat Elzie? The Eagles are his baby and he has helped them reach the Pro A. What do you believe was his strongest quality this season as head coach that helped you overcome all odds?
I’m not proud of him , he’s a guy that wouldn’t want to take the credit for that. He is just happy to come coach a great group of guys but I would say I’m thankful for him for trusting us and giving me the opportunity to showcase everything I have and lead a whole team to the next level. His strongest quality to me is challenging me to always do more or better.
Let’s talk about your teammates. You played your second season with the versatile Marko Boksic. How much fun was it being his teammate and in what part of the success was he most instrumental in?
It was real fun. The guy is just all work and he loves the grind. We both wanted the same thing and that was to win. Our games compliment each other with him being able to play inside and out. His success came from stepping up and adding more points to the stat sheet being with the departure of Chaed and he definitely filled that.
How enjoyable was it having German big man Yasin Kolo besides you. How did he make your game so much easier?
It’s good to see somebody else being double triple teamed besides me haha. On a serious tip he was a big addition this year for us especially in the playoffs he took a lot of weight off my shoulders and just did his part when the games were made difficult for me.
How valuable were the two German guards Niclas Sperber and Erik Nyberg? They didn’t put up massive stats, but played their roles perfectly.
Both them are great teammates, and are our top two defenders. They were important just like anyone else, the way Nic exploded in that championship game was amazing, and the improvement from Erik from this season and last season also was big help for our team success.
How valuable was experienced German Flavio Stuckemann for helping everyone stay together in tough times? He didn’t have a big scoring role, but his presence was huge.
That guy right there is somebody I’ll always look up to and take advice from, it’s not hard to listen to what he has to say when things are going bad because he has done this many of times and everybody on the team respected him as captain/brother/teammate so when he speaks you know, excuse my language but shut and listen.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 19,1ppg, 10,5rpg and 3,7apg. How content were you with your own game?
I’m very satisfied about it especially with the results of the team this season, and to the people that felt I couldn’t do it at first or again.
Your numbers were identical with last seasons line. How do you feel did you become a better player this season with the title win?
Yes they were it shows that I can maintain consistency even throughout tough times such as corona. I feel I became a better passer , better feel for the game and a better shooter.
Your rebounding continues to be a very big strength in your game. How do you feel has it developed further in Itzehoe the last two years?
I think the rebounding has been pretty much the same, this year I finished at #1 last year at #2 so maybe it improved a little but I feel it’s the same.
In your first four professional seasons you shot only 20 three’s, but this season incorporated your three into you shooting 36% with 44 attempts. Did the success come from you really putting in the work last summer?
Yea I mean I always could shoot I just never had the confidence to do but yes a lot of days on the gun and getting up shots everyday , I’m trying to expand my game more and that has to be one thing that expanded even more.
You must be extra motivated to play in the Pro A. This is a league I feel like you could of played in last year. Because you will be moving up with Itzehoe and no other team can sign, do you feel like hunger will be sky high to show everyone you belong?
I’m very motivated to play in any higher league no matter where it will be, I agree with you I also feel like I could’ve played in that league after my first season but corona and all happened so I decided to come back and showcase myself again, but yes I’m very eager to show I belong and what else I can do. Can’t say exactly if I’m moving up with Itzehoe but I’m open to all possibilities and options. I did my part which was to perform and win, now it’s just a waiting game.
On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer so you will be prepared to make the next step in the Pro A?
I will be working mainly on my quickness, my athleticism, my strength, my handle , most importantly my shooting because I feel I will have to play the 3 sometimes as well in higher leagues.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro B this season?
To be honest I don’t have a player that was the toughest to battle but I would say that it’s a headache playing against Niklas Geske & Monty Scott them guys can go and for thir size and quickness it makes it so much harder keep up with them guys.
Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?
He’s definitely a top 5 point guard for sure in my eyes to have all them assists and hardly turning the ball over and a lot of teams he made into playoff teams it’s just insane , he needs his flowers because he definitely deserved it.
Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?
I would put him in top 10 yes not one of my favorites but I like to watch him, because he knows how to get a bucket and win games .
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
No I don’t agree I feel Russ would come over here and absolutely destroy and we got to give credit when it’s due and that’s a man that proven himself multiple times.
Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?
No I don’t but he’s definitely a great defender
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
No I haven’t just got that exact reason I feel like the movie is just too much of a classic to be made again so yes they should’ve left it alone.
Thanks Chris for the chat.