Niklas Geske (188-PG-94) is a 27 year old 188cm point guard that is playing his third season with the Astrostars Bochum (Pro B) and last season helped them into the Pro A playing 27 games averaging 19.8ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-2 (8.7apg), Steals-4 (2.5spg), FGP-3 (67.7%), 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 83.5%. He began his basketball career with SVD Dortmund II (2.Regionalliga). he played in the easyCredit BBL from 2013-2017 for teams Phoenix Hagen, rasta Vechta and the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg amassing a total of 150 games and also played 23 Basketball Champions League games. Before coming to Bochum, he played for the EN Baskets Schwelm and for phoenix Hagen again. He spoke to germanhoops.com earlier in the summer about his basketball career.
Niklas thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you and how is basketball life treating you?
Thanks for having me! I’m in Dortmund right know. Taking some time off after a physically and mentally hard season. But I’m surely watching the BBl and NBA Playoffs and it’s some great Basketball!
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?
Keeping the focus at all times was really difficult during this last season. Being mentally flexible for all upcoming situations and building chemistry without fans.
How can one honestly rate this season with all the drama that went on with COVID?
I believe it has to be rated really high. All the uncertainty and all the adversity make the success we had even more special.
Every team had their problems. Congrats on an amazing season and reaching the Pro B final and reaching the Pro A. Where does this rank with all your basketball achievements?
It’s up there with winning the silver medal at the University games. Finishing third in the BBL and making it to the Champions League Top4. Especially because I played such an important role achieving this goal.
How special was reaching the Pro B final and helping your team reach the Pro A considering you played with Bochum in 2012-2013 in the Regionalliga?
It’s my second time moving up with Bochum in two years I played here. So it really is something that doesn’t happen often. Seeing all the improvements the club made over those 8 years are tremendous.
How much credit does one have to give head coach Felix Banobre? Is Spain the new sexy in terms of coaching in Germany?
The Coach always plays a huge role and so Felix deserves a lot of credit for our success! The Spanish way definitely has a growing impact in the Basketball culture in Germany. It’s a flowing style and we had a lot of fun executing Felix ideas.
A big strength of the team was their consistency. Whenever you lost a game you struck back and began another winning streak. Was this team like a family?
Chemistry has been great all year! This is always important to be successful at any level. In this team you could always know that your teammates have your back no matter what. Definitely a special group of guys!
How key was bringing that 8 game winning streak into the playoffs? The team must of felt invincible?
Also the way we played the first playoff game against Hanau. We were ready for that time of the year. Unfortunately we went to quarantine right after the game and we lost that rhythm but we got it done.
The Muenster series was exciting which Bochum won in three games. What do you feel was the difference in the series?
I believe experience always plays a role in those series and moments. Another thing was probably our mindset. We started the season with the goal to move up to Pro A and you could tell that everybody on our time was so focused on achieving this goal. The mindest within this team was incredible.
Let’s talk about your teammates. Seldom do you see two so dominant Germans in the Pro B like you and Johannes Joos. What did it mean playing with him?
First of all I don’t believe in the sections of Germans, Bosman, Imports or however you want to do it It’s just 12 players with the same goal. JJ was unbelievable all season! His shooting and length make it nearly impossible to stop him. He really made life as a point guard easy.
Lars Kamp seemed to be in the shadow of Geske and Joos. What did you appreciate most about his game?
At least everybody on our team knows how super important Lars was for the Team’s success. Simply a perfect fit. His shooting, defense and physicality were a problem for every team playing against us!
Although he played only 11 games, Marco Buljevic’s leadership is so valuable. Is he still a player that can beat you from downtown at any time of a game?
Unfortunately Marco was held back by some injuries and so he only played those 11 games. He can always get into the game and make shots for your team. But in my eyes he was even more important as a leader and person you can talk to!
There were many young Germans on the team. Which young German do you feel improved the most over the season?
Probably Gabriel Jung. He always was ready to compete in practice and in the games. I believe he will have a bright future.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 19.8ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-2 (8.7apg), Steals-4 (2.5spg), FGP-3 (67.7%), 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 83.5%. How content were you with your own personal season?
Besides every stat what I am mostly proud of is leading the team to the best record in the regular season and moving up to the Pro A in the Playoffs! I couldn’t be happier with that!
You averaged almost 9 assists a game. What added step did you make in your playmaking skills this season that you didn’t have before?
Honestly I think that the playmaking was always one of my biggest skills! But on different teams you play the way the team needs you to play to win games. This year it was a lot about finding the hot hand and making the right reads!
You have taken steps back twice. With a season like this the pro A or BBL have to be a main focus?
Stepping back from the BBL was a decision to be able to start university and play basketball at a high level! But also being able to combine both studies and basketball and I’m really happy with the decision I took. As I already signed my extension I’m looking forward for a fun Pro A season!
You scored 30 points or more three times this season. I can imagine your 30 points in the game three win over muenster was your favorite?
Yes and No. It was such an important game and so the moment was just really big to show up for that game, but it wasn’t to efficient and I didn’t like that too much.That’s why I really liked the game against Wedel. I believe that was over 30 points on 11 or 12 shots.
On what area’s of your game will you continue to work on this summer to keep improving your game?
Shooting is always a big part of it. If I’m able to make my shots I know a lot of things will open up for me and my team. Another thing is to be physically ready for the season!
Who was the toughest guard that you faced this season in the pro B?
I’m going with Jasper Guenther. Playing with him 2 seasons ago in Hagen and see how he organized Muenster’s offense and torched our defense multiple times was really tough. His floaters, mid-range jumpers and also his 3 point shooting made it super hard to guard him!
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?
I think Chris Paul is definitely up there with the best of the best. Maybe he has a chance this year. I really like the Suns team.
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?
Without a question he’s getting there but I don’t have him in my top10 yet.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
I see where he is coming from, but I believe no team in Europe would be able to stop that athleticism!
Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?
Yup! His ability to guard 1-5 is superior.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
Unfortunately I haven’t seen it so can’t answer that one.
Thanks Niklas for the chat.