Eric Washington(MLP Academics Heidelberg) Knows That The Fans Never Gave Up On Them And They Won´t Give Up On Them Either

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 after leading the MLP Academics to the 93-82 win over the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim.

Congrats on the big 93-82 win over the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim.How extra motivated was the team to get back on the winning track after the tough loss to Braunschweig?

It was a much needed win for us. It was a good opportunity to bounce back. We felt like we had let the game against Braunschweig slip away. We didn’t want to lose the same way twice. We took advantage of using our energy and communication which led us to success.

The first quarter was a tight battle until the Merlins broke free and let it rain three’s to score 30 points. Did you feel like Crailsheim was playing with a sense of urgency?

I felt like it was a pretty even game at the start. I think like there were a few defensive lapses where we didn’t make the right communication. They took advantage of those moments and that was the difference that created the separation.

Giving up 30 points was way too much. In the second quarter you let up only 16 points. What adjustments did the MLP Academics make on the defensive end?

I think we did a better job getting to the three point line and taking them out of their comfort zone. Our defense wasn’t tight in the first quarter. We regrouped in the second quarter and made the needed adjustments.

You and Elias Lasisi really carried the club in the second quarter. How important is he for your game knowing he can take pressure off your game at times?

Anytime you have a scorer like Elias, it helps. He really had it going. He had a good flow and looks. He wasn’t just making shots, but his shots weren’t touching the rim. When he is hot like that, you just have to keep giving him the ball. He opened up the floor for all.

The third quarter continued to be a tight battle as the MLP Academics Heidelberg led 69-67. New player Jack McVeigh gave valuable support on offense. What have you appreciated most about his game this season?

Jack isn’t afraid of the moment. He has been around for a while and has maturity in his game. He plays with a sense of urgency and is always positive. He is also a big help in the locker room. It also helps that he is a shooter. I wish we had had him earlier, but at the same time I’m super happy he is here now.

In the fourth quarter, the MLP Academics broke free and took control of the game. What words of wisdom did Coach Iisalo give you guys going into the last 10 minutes?

Coach just told us to continue to attack and apply pressure on them. I think that there was a stretch in the fourth were we got a few stops in a row and that decided the game. We also made a few more shots helping us keep lead. It was the second group that was key in that phase. They gave us a huge momentum boost.

Heidelberg was up by 9 points and the game seemed wrapped up, but in the BBL you never know because teams can come back as Bonn showed in Chemnitz. You scored 3 baskets in a row to slam the door shut on Crailsheim. Does your confidence grow with every new crunch-time basket you make?

Yes it does. You need to know that in that situation you have to be aggressive. You have to understand the time and flow of game and when to be aggressive and when to be passive. In that moment all we were thinking about was finishing the mission.

What was it like battling point guard James Batemon who steered 28 points in the loss? Is he another good example of how the easyCredit BBL has so many good guards like TJ Shorts, Dwayne Russell or Prentiss Hubb?

There are a lot of good players around not just in the BBL. There are really good players also in lower leagues. It is all about getting the opportunity and getting in the right situation where you can show that you can play. Last season in Chemnitz I wasn’t considered one of the good ones, because of my role. It is fun to see guys play well and be situations where they can have fun. Those guys you listed are on winning teams and can push their career. I’m not in the situation that they are in, but the y give me hope that I can be on a team like that one day. I don’t want to be on the bottom. Every player has their journey. I appreciate my journey.

After the big win in Frankfurt your 3 game winning streak ended and the team then suffered a 5 game losing streak. What did the team get away from in that phase?

We learned in that losing streak that nothing can be given. We have to be consistent and remain on top of things. The losing streak was a good wake up call for us. We have to go out and win and can’t be too high or too low. We have a fighting team that is very competitive. A lot of teams in our situation would have given up, but we never did that.

The team looks like it is in good shape with staying in the easyCredit BBL, but the club isn’t saved yet. What is the mind set of the team now in saving the season 100?

Our mind set now is to continue to have fun. We just appreciate what we have. It isn’t about the wins or loses. The game provides a living for us and our families have the chance to see us play. We want to continue to have fun and give our fans something to be proud of. Our game yesterday was sold out against Crailsheim. That say a lot about our fans. Our fans never gave up on us and we won’t Give up on Them either.

The NCAA final 4 is set with San Diego State vs Florida Atlantic and Miami vs UConn. How cool is it having some lesser-known schools there at the end?

I think it is great. It is all about the opponent. Those schools have proven that they can play at a high level. It isn’t about the name of the school.

Who will reach the final and who will win it all?

Miami will play Florida Atlantic and Florida Atlantic will win it all.

Thanks Eric for the chat.


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