Evan McGaughey (203-PF-94, college: Quincy, agency: Slash Sports) is a 27 year old 203cm forward from Carthage, Illinois that completed his fourth professional season and second in Germany with the MLP Academics Heidelberg averaging 9.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 73.8%. Last season he played with Benacquista Assicurazioni Latina Basket (Italy-Serie A2) playing 12 games averaging 9.9ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 59.3%. The year before he played with BK JIP Pardubice (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 38 games averaging 7.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 66.7%; and played 6 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 10.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 60.0% . He completed his rookie season in Germany with the MLP Academics Heielberg averaging 11.8ppg, 6,4rpg and 2,1apg while shooting 41% from outside. The American played an illustrious career at Quincy (NCAA’) where he averaged double figures in scoring average each season. As a senior he played 25 games averaging 16.6ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 50.6%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com following the 20-21 season.
Congrats Evan on the 2021 Pro A title. As a guy from Illinois, did you learn something new about celebrating Heidelberg style after a title win?
Celebrating the title this year was definitely a lot different than any other. With Covid rules still in affect we couldn’t really do anything special after we won.
It was an interesting final series. You won game one by 30 points and the second game was 93-93. Will you remember that game two was a tie in 30 years?
I’m not sure which game I will remember more from the championship series. We played very well the first game and took care of business. When you have a 30 point lead it’s easy to go through the motions the second game and I think that might have come into play.
How did it feel ending a game in a tie and have you ever had that before in your career?
I’ve never had a game end in a tie before. It was weird to be honest. You always picture yourself running out on the court and celebrating with your teammates but it wasn’t all of that this year.
The second quarter of game one decided the title as you won it 24-9. Was that the perfect quarter of balanced offense and defense?
That’s second quarter of the first game was just what we needed. We knew we were a great team and we played like it. Then we took that momentum into the second half and never looked back.
The MLP Academics shot better, rebounded better and took care of the ball better in game one. Did the MLP Academics want it more than the Bayer Giants Leverkusen?
I think to an extent we did want it more than they did. We were playing for the championship to cap off the season while I had the feeling they were happy to make it to the finals and didn’t worry about the result.
The team had six guys in double figures. How much fun did this season have taking care of the ball?
Scoring usually came pretty easy to us this year. There were always 3-4 guys on the floor who could score whenever we needed to, and that makes a team dangerous.
It was a crazy and unpredictable PRO A season with COVID. How highly can one rate this title win with all the drama happening around COVID?
Some may say that we should have an asterisk next to our name this year. I would argue that this year was harder than ever. The league was super competitive and you were never really sure if the next game was going to happen. It was mentally demanding all year.
The MLP Academics obviously had a great bunch of guys, but if you look back on the season what was the secret to the success?
I think you nailed it. Our team chemistry this year was the best I’ve ever seen on a team before. We all got together very well and we all knew our role and accepted it.
How much credit do you have to give coach Frenki and manager Matthias Lautenschlager? How strong was their vision and what was key for them be able to transport this belief of moving up to the team?
Of course you have to give them some credit. They put this team together and did a very good job of doing so. We knew from our first team meeting of the year that it was going to be something special for us.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it to be reunited with Shy Ely who is a Heidelberg lifer. How did his game keep progressing since your rookie season?
Shy is definitely one of the best players, and all around guys, that I have ever played with. His determination and will to win is unmatched, and that’s why he was the best player in the league this year.
How key was scorer Jordan Geist this season? What did you appreciate most about his game?
Jordan was also big for us. He gave us that sharpshooting element from the outside and was good at creating his own shot. As he keeps maturing he will just continue to grow and have a great career.
Saaed Nelson played a very good rookie season. How did you see him develop in the season and is he a guy that you see making the jump to internal ball competition in the future?
Sa’eed has a huge future ahead of him. Another guy that was always putting in extra work and focus on what needed to be done. If he continues to work on his jumper and once that comes then he has no ceiling.
The team ahs so many scorers, but how important was the consistency inside form the two German big men Armin Trtovac and Philipp Heyden? How much did they give support to the success?
Just to have players of that size on your team is very helpful. They were always grinding down low every game with the bigs and helping us out even if their stats didn’t show it sometimes.
With all the players you witnessed this season with the MLP Academics, who do you feel was the most improved?
I would say that Sa’eed Nelson gets the most improved award for the season. Which is wild to say because he was already super talented when he came to the team.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 10/4/1 stats and shot 37% form outside. How content were you with your play this season?
It was an up and down year for sure. You always want to be the best on your team, but with our talented guards this year they carried most of the load.
You stated in our last interview ‘Teams are certainly looking for talent and athleticism first, but they also want to know what type of person you are. If you have all three then they really have no reason to turn you down’. How key was your leadership and positive attitude in this title winning season?
I think it always helps. You have to be willing to buy in and be a positive leader throughout every situation. Lead by example and it makes it easier to be followed.
Your outside shot continues to be a work in progress. Was your 37% a percentage that is a positive motivation for next season in terms of continuing to improve it?
That’s something I’ll be working on. I always have a goal to be over 40% every year and I came up just short. A lot of different elements came into play this year that contributed to that.
You stated in our last interview that timing is everything when blocking shots. How do you feel did you make further steps as a defender in a winning culture this season?
Timing is still everything. You need to know when is the right time to take the chance on when to go for the block or stay down, and I’m working on that still as I continue to play.
On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer? You have stated that your always working on all area’s, but there must be one or two area’s where you will focus more on?
I’ll be focusing on my body a lot more this summer. Getting my legs stronger to be able to move quicker and play pain free.
What is the next step for you? Remaining in Heidelberg must be a no brainer so you can play easyCredit BBL.
I wish that was the case.
Who was the toughest player that you battled this season in the Pro A this season?
There were a few that come to mind from this year. Mahoney from Kirchheim and Ugrai from Bremerhaven to name a couple.
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 would say he’s a top 5 pg of all time. Winning a ring isn’t everything, but it certainly helps. He still has time left to chase that though.
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?
He’s definitely top 10 now. I’ve grown to like him more and more over the last few years. He will continue to be something special for the league.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
I’m not sure his style would work. Although I’m sure he would still do fine and could lead a team. The play style would be a big adjustment for him though
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
Draymond is definitely not the best defender of all time.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I haven’t seen that movie yet, although it’s still on the list.
Thanks Evan for the chat.