Nico Santana Mojica (196-SF-2002) is a 20 year old 196cm guard that began his basketball career with ESV Rot Weiss Stuttgart. He joined the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg organization in 2018 and since ha splayed games for the EasyCredit BBL team, Regionalliga team called BSG Basket Ludwigsburg (Regionalliga), Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg and it’s U-19 team. Last season for the Regionalliga team he played 23 games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.0apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 59.4%. He ha splayed 7 easyCredit BBL games and 2 Basketball Champions League Games. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Pro B game against the EPG Baskets Koblenz.
Thanks Nico for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I’m in Ludwigsburg right now and basketball life is treating me well.
As an ambitious 20 year old player, how was your schedule during the Fiba window break? Did you do anything special in the gym or was it business as usual?
We had a few days off. It helped guys that play many minutes. It was good for recovery and be able to put up our feet for a while. I did put up shots. It was nothing out of the ordinary.
Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg have gotten off to a very slow start at 1-5 and this weekend play on the road against unbeaten Koblenz. Is this the perfect place to turn the season around?
It will be a tough game in Koblenz. We know that they are a tough team and have very good 1-1 players, but if we can play our game for 40 minutes, I feel that we will have a chance. We are a young team and the underdog but maybe we can surprise them with our quickness and physicality
The team is very young. How much of a factor is that in the results. The team has talent to score, but aren’t and are giving up too many points on defense?
It is known that Ludwigsburg defends hard in the BBL, but we haven’t had good results yet. But we have had new guys come in as well as injured players come back. Plus we have anew coach. We still have to find each other and come together. We have to focus on getting better step by step.
Young head coach Kee Rhee has a real challenge at the moment getting every one on the same page. Despite the start, what have you appreciated most about his coaching?
I feel like he has been direct and truthful since the start. I respect that a lot. If you have a coach like that then players will play hard for him. He is a young coach and if he continues to develop then I feel like he has a lot of potential. It isn’t always easy for him to coach many young guys and a full chaotic guys, but he is doing a good job so far.
The team has no player older than 20. What do you believe is the biggest advantage of having so many young players. Is the competitive level at a special level?
We know that when all 12 players are on the court, no matter if you get 1 minute or 30 minutes, we will work hard. It is a very positive thing in the Ludwigsburg program that they allow young players to get minutes and have the chance to develop. It is a shame though that we don’t have some older guys on the team.
You’re a 196cm guard/forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
I would say Royce O’Neal who once played in Ludwigsburg. He has a consistent shot like me and can guard many positions.
Talk a little about your game. Your a tweener that has an all around game. What is your biggest strength?
I feel that my defense is my biggest strength. I can guard the positions 1-3 and sometimes the 4 as well. I think that if I can get better as a defender will help me reach a higher level in the future. I’m working on getting better day by day.
You’re a player that hasn’t found your speciality yet. What do you believe could become your speciality?
I can be that point guard type of player that plays the position 3. I like to make plays for others and for myself. I want to be a good all around player that is a 3 and D player that likes to defend. I also like to play the position 1.
On what areas of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?
At the moment, I’m trying to change the form of my shot. But overall I’m working on everything. I’m also working on all the different types of shots like a floater or pull up jumper.
How much of a challenge is it finding a suitable role in a young and hungry team where every player can be an impact player?
Every day is a battle in practice. You are competing against 15 talented guys. On the one hand you love your teammates, but on the other hand you need to go your own way. Everybody is young and hungry and wants a successful career. Everyone is competing daily for their career, but doing it in a respectful way.
You played NBBL ball with the Patrick brothers already 4 years ago. Have you been surprised how quickly their basketball development has come in the last 3 years?
It has surprised me. They put a lot of effort and time in becoming the players they are today and they were rewarded. I know how much hard work they put in. It wasn’t always easy for them, but they fought very hard to get to where they are now. They have deserved it. I have a good relationship with both of them.
The year 20-21 is a year that will always be in the mind of many young players. The NBBL and Regionalliga seasons was cancelled. Despite you being with the BBL squad, how much do you feel did your development suffer that season?
I don’t feel it did. I was with the easyCredit BBL team for 10 months before my injury. I had to guard really good and physical players that were fast on a daily basis. It would have been nice to have played Regionalliga games and compete against men, but being able to train with BBL guys was no comparison. This wasn’t a step back, but my best year in my development so far.
How thankful are you for John Patrick giving you a chance during 20-22? He is known as being a very demanding coach. How did he help you most?
He was always open and truthful with me. If you worked hard and used your chance, he would reward you. Sometimes he would surprise you and put you in early. I remember coming into my first game against Braunschweig in the first seconds of the third quarter and had to guard Tookie Brown. I came into the game in the second quarter against Alba Berlin. He was a very demanding coach, but so are all coaches. Otherwise it would be boring. I’m so thankful that John Patrick saw potential in me.
You have played 7 BBL games and a few basketball Champions League games. What do you feel is still missing for a BBL career?
I need to work on my body and gain some kilos and become more physical. I also want to continue to work hard each day. Having the right attitude to work hard will be key. I think in 2-3 years, I will know where I will stand.
You played your first BBL game against Braunschweig scoring 5 points in 7 minutes. What do you remember from your debut most?
It was a great feeling coming in and seeing how connected our team was. I played with a 37 year old Tremmel Darden who had played with Real Madrid and won the Euroleague other guys that had 300 plus BBL games. These guys who have seen it all were so happy for me. I really could see how tight the team was. I would never have thought 5 years earlier that I would play in the BBL.
You also lost a nail bitter to Alba Berlin and beat FC Bayern Munich. Any memories that stuck most from those games?
I was on the court with top players like Vladimir Lucic who has been a Euroleague player for so long as well as Luke Sikma. I can’t describe the feeling being able to share the court at age 19 with guys like that.
What is your biggest wish for this season in the development of your game?
I want to have a good standing in the Pro B and maybe get into some BBL games. That could be good for my mental state. I want to continue to go step by step in my development.
Who wins a 1-1 in practice you or Mikey De Sousa?
Who was the toughest player that you have battled so far in your career?
I had to defend Nils Giffey 1-1. That wasn’t easy.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Jonah Radebaugh, Nick Weiler-Babb, Tremmel Darden, Yorman Polas, Isaiah Whitehead
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Lebron James, Luka Doncic, Joel Embild
Jordan, Lebron or Kobe? Who is the goat?
What was last movie that you saw?
Thanks Nico for the chat.