pic credit MLP Academics Heidelberg
Eric Washington (183-PG-1993, college: Miami, OH) is a 29 year old 182cm guard from Columbia, South Carolina playing his seventh professional season and second in Germany with the MLP Academics Heidelberg. Last season he played with the Niners Chemnitz averaging 7.8ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 21.7%, FT: 78.0%. He began his basketball career with W.J. Keenan High School. He then played in the NCAA playing 115 games for two schools with Presbyterian College (NCAA) and then finished at Miami University (NCAA). Before coming to Germany he played in countries like Cyprus and Bosnia and three seasons in Hungary. He spoke to germanhoops.com after leading his team to the wild 107-101 double OT win over Medi Bayreuth
Thanks Eric for talking to germanhoops.com Congrats on the crazy 107-101 2 OT win over medi Bayreuth. You have been involved in some crazy finishes like your buzzer beater against Frankfurt early in the season and others but where does this game rank in your career?
It is at the top but isn’t my craziest game. I believe that this win was pretty big from a team standpoint. The win was huge because we had lost 5 games in a row. It was bigger for a team win than a career game for me. I think this win could be the turning point. If we had lost it, it could have been real bad for us. We have lost some close ones this season, but this gives us a lot of hope. It gives us self confidence.
Usually a win after a long losing streak will help shift the momentum and help a team. How much do you see this win helping the team especially the way it was produced?
We led in the game for the most part but let them back in in the fourth and they made it a game again. A good team has to be able to keep the lead at home and stretch it out. We should never have let it get to OT. But the way we were able to win the game in OT says a lot about our team.
How key was the second quarter for the MLP Academics realizing that they can be a very potent scoring machine even without much input from you as you scored only 2 points?
I think it’s great when we have other guys step up when I’m not scoring. It forces opponents to adjust. At the moment teams are really loading up on me. They are forcing us to beat them without me. It will be interesting to see if we can win like that on a consistent rate. This forces teams to get a different look and force them to prepare in a different way. This makes it harder for opponents to scout. It is all still a process at this point of the season. We are still learning and trying to figure things out. Bayreuth have been in the league for years and have played BCL. For us to beat a great organization like that is huge.
Bennet Hundt was recently acquired and has come in and adjusted well. He made a nice alley-op pass in the second quarter to Bryan Griffin. How will his unique size and game be beneficial for the team now at this stage of the season?
He gives us another guy that can create and change the pace. The pick up was huge. He can make plays and his play makes it a lot easier for the rest. I can rest more and other guys can play their natural positions. He is a quick and solid guard that plays good defense and has positive energy and is a good guy in the locker room.
Heidelberg led by 11 points going into the fourth quarter, but allowed Bayreuth to creep back into the game. Did you relax too much as a team?
I wouldn’t say we relaxed too much but we weren’t able to take away their strengths. We didn’t lock in or stop their penetration or cover the three point line. We allowed Brandon Childress to get hot. They kept finding him and getting him shots. We weren’t able to finish deal earlier. We need to focus on getting better at that.
The fourth quarter was crazy as Bayreuth really let it rain three’s. Did it feel like they were the mini Golden State Warriors?
That is a big compliment. I think that they just got hot. They showed just how important the three pointer can be. If you make them it can close the gap or increase the lead quickly. We played ok defense. They made tough shots.
What was it like battling Bayreuth guard Brandon Childress? He nailed 4 three’s in the fourth quarter. What was most difficult in trying to contain him?
He is a good player. He is a good inside out player that can hit the outside shot at anytime while also putting it on the floor and being a creator. When a guy like that gets into a rhythm or any guy at any level, then it’s tough to stop. He was in attack mode and kept getting the ball and knocking down shots.
Does his 37 point explosion prove just how many talented guards are filled in the easyCredit BBL?
The BBL is heavy on good guards. You have to give a lot of respect. I think that he is one of the top guards in the league. I think that the team record overshadows how good he really is. You have to be ready every game in this league.
You took the game into OT with a three pointer. Take me through that last play? Was it designed for you?
We got a stop and then it was just me making a read in transition. I hadn’t hit a three in like the last 4 games. I just trusted the work that I put in each day. I initially wanted to attack, but then saw that my opponent faded back, so I decided to attempt the three. I rose up and took the shot and made it. I didn’t even realize how far away I really was.
In the OT period you were the hero again making a lay in with 1 second to go. With the success you had had in the game, were you totally feeling it on the last play?
I made a read again and had enough time. I had a chance to look at the clock when I caught the ball and had 3 seconds left. I knew that I had time. I was aggressive and took what the defense gave me and made the play.
In the second OT Heidelberg got big three’s from Vargas and Lasisi? What do you believe was key in the last minutes for grinding this out?
We trusted each other in OT. We made good passes for the 2 three’s. They were hockey passes. We found each other and made the defense move. We trusted them to make the shots. We played good basketball and the basketball God rewarded us.
You made the last free throws of the game. What kind of a feeling was it standing there with 10 seconds and giving your team the 6 point lead? Does one feel like your on top of the world knowing nothing can go wrong now?
I’m glad we could get the home win. The fans really deserved it. We lost the last 2 games, but the fans still showed up to support us. That is very impressive. For them to show up at the lowest point of the season where we lost 5 in a row says a lot. Seeing that kind of support makes us want to keep fighting. We will keep working if the fans keep showing.
You told me in October that you take it one game at a time. What is key at this point of the season for the team to improve most? Why does the team still give up so many points?
We have to figure it out in house. It’s about matchup and learning and trusting each other. The key is to understand what it takes to win.
You kept FC Bayern Munich to 4 points losing 87-83. Does a result like that give hope for future good results?
Of course. They are one of the best teams in the league. Playing them close shows you what is possible. The good teams are those that figure it out on a nightly basis.
Your having a great season averaging 19,7ppg, 4,3rpg, 7,0apg and 1,7spg. Right now you would be my choice for most improved. What has been your secret to total consistency despite your daily hard work?
I think key in my success has been continuing to love the game, understand the game and continue to grow as a person. One has to understand that in life there will always be ups and downs. Important for me is that as long as I don’t quit and keep working and appreciate my life, then I will produce. You need to trust the process and believe in yourself. When times do get tough just remember to take confidence with God and know that anything is possible. And be ready when your name is called.
Is it fair to say that your having your break out season this season after playing in lower leagues the last years?
I guess so. If that is what you think. The BBL is the biggest platform and best league that I have played in so far in my career. If this is the season where I get recognized then be it. I’m just doing what I have always done. I want to push myself to be the best each day. I’m really thankful for the opportunity by the MLP Academics.
You belong to the top guards but are lost a bit with other guards because of Heidelberg’s record. I can imagine that makes you more hungry each day to prove everyone over and over that your one of the best in the BBL?
I feel like every player is dealt a set of cards. I’m really thankful for the challenge. Taking on obstacles has allowed me to become the guy I am. It’s all about playing hard,
You obviously have the ball in your hands a lot but are turnovers and three point shooting 2 areas your focusing a lot on at the moment to improve?
Yes I guess you could say that.
In the game against FC Bayern Munich you were one of the best on the court with Isaac Bonga and had better games then ex NBA players Cassius Winston, Freddie Gillepse and Othello Hunter. Is that one of those games that you will always cherish?
I look at those guys as anyone else. I don’t treat those ex NBA players any different then the players from Bayreuth. I’m just very thankful that I got the chance to try to help my team win. I never pay any mind to the other players.
The Boston Celtics continue to be the best team. Do they have the right pieces finally to win this season?
Of course I think that they could. I think that they have a lot of motivation with the season they had last year and them being young. They are one of my favorites to win it all.
Where do you see Luka right now in the NBA? Is he the best or is Giannis still above him?
I think that Luka is really relevant now because he has done something nobody else has done. I don’t want to take away anything from Steph and Giannis because they have done it so consistently for so long. I have a lot of respect for Luka. He is definitely a MVP candidate.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just finished the Watcher. I recommend to those who like suspense.
Thanks Eric for the chat.
Tags : ERIC WASHINGTON, MLP ACADEMICS HEIDELBERG, GERMAN BASKETBALL