Marvin Heckel (190-PG-1997) is a 26 year old 190cm guard playing his second season with the EPG Baskets Koblenz. He began his career with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen winning the JBBL (U-16) title in 2013. He also found experience playing with the Bamburg and Wurzburg organizations and played with Baunach and Bremerhaven. He has 8 easyCredit BBL and 68 Pro A games on his resume. He spoke to germanhoops.com after helping lead his team to the Pro A.
Thanks Marvin for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on reaching the pro A. How can one really enjoy this now when you still have a final to play?
For me it was important to move up to the Pro A. It was very dramatic how our season ended last year. We are totally focused, because we want the title. It would leave a very bad taste if we didn’t win the championship.
You have 2 weeks to wait. Is there danger the club will be able to focus when it’s time to deliver again on the court?
There is danger for that to happen. But I don’t see it happening. There were enough times during the regular season where we had a weekend off. We didn’t lose the focus then. I know the guys are focused now also.
The team will have long to wait to play something they didn’t have in playoffs. What will be the biggest challenge mentally in staying ready as best possible?
We have to stay in rhythm. I don’t think like we will change much for the final. We have to be mentally ready until the final and not be on vacation already. Dominique Johnson will keep us accountable. He can be a real pain in the butt if we aren’t all on the same page.
The first 2 playoff series went the distance 3 games and now against the BSW Sixers came the sweep. Why did the club have so many problems in the first 2 series?
I have thought about this. I read a comment on social media of someone saying that we made the easy tough and then the tough easy. I feel like we put too much pressure on ourselves during the first 2 series. We came against the Sixers and played with less pressure. We were even more focused against the Sixers and really showed how strong we can be.
Were these 2 games against the Sixers the 2 best games back to back in the season simply in terms of everything coming together in so big games?
Yes I would say so. We had very good games during the regular season, but the Sixers games meant more. We showed in game 1 how strong and focused we can be without me and in game 2 had maybe the best first quarter of the season. Making 8 three’s was crazy.
How proud were you of your teammates winning game 1 so easily despite you sitting out with food poisoning?
I watched game 1 and was a bit scared at the break. I didn’t think we defended as tough as we could. They didn’t play great and it was more about our mistakes. We dominated in the second half and I was very happy we won.
In game 2 the EPG Baskets Koblenz simply took care of business. Did you feel like the sense of urgency was at it’s highest this season?
Yes it was huge and our highest this season. That sense of urgency was missing at times during the season, but it is difficult to keep it when you dominate as much as we did. We had that big sense of urgency in the games against the Sixers.
The club hit 18 three’s had 6 guys in double figures and won the rebound duel. Was this team basketball at it’s best?
I think for the most part yes. We played team basketball for 40 minutes. I was in awe at times how we made shots. We were simply having fun.
What do you believe did the team finally learn in the Sixers series?
The most important things that we learned was playing with a sense of urgency and defending at 100% all the time.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz will play against Vechta 2. They beat the talented and experienced team Wolmirstedt scoring 100 points with 7 youth players from the 12 man roster. How crazy is that?
I know some of the guys. I would never have thought before the season started that they would get so far. I have a lot of respect for the club. They can win 4 titles as the Pro A, NBBL and JBBL can also win. They play great for their age and have shocked many people. We have to play our game and not let them dictate the game. We have the experience advantage and Moses Poelking and Brian Butler have to use their strength advantage over the height of Johan Gruenloh.
This is your second season with the EPG Baskets. Is this the most special team that you have ever played with?
I would have to say this is the most special team that I have ever played with. I have never had this kind of team chemistry before. I had something similar in Baunach, but this in Koblenz is another step higher. We all get along and every guy plays for the other. The chemistry was already good last year, but with many guys staying, it grew some more this season. We are all like brothers. We go to practice to see friends and just play basketball.
How much fun has it been being teammates with Alani Moore. How have each other’s game’s gotten better this season?
We understand each other very well. He lives under me in the same apartment complex. We do a lot together and a special bond has formed. He is a special American. I have never got to know a guy like him before. We understand each other blind. I feel like we are a special 1-2 punch the same way as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were in Portland. We are on the same wave length. I’m happy that he came to Koblenz.
Leon Friederici has been the offensive glue guy so many times. Would the team have been where it is without his game?
Leon has been our X-factor in the playoffs. It was difficult integrating him at the start simply because we already had many strong players and a strong chemistry. I think that without him, it would have been difficult to get to the point where we are now. Whenever we needed points, he came through this season. I hope he remains here next season.
Moses Poelking has been the defensive anchor and Niclas Sperber’s has been big the last 3 games. Talk a little about their worth for the team this season?
I think Moses is our team MVP. He made big steps this season and came out of his shell. He had something like 100 kick balls this season. He was our anchor on defense and worked hard every day. Niclas stepped up big in the playoffs for us. He wasn’t always consistent, but we always pushed him and never gave up on him. It is also great how he came out of his shell. He had huge games in the playoffs against Erfurt and Sixers.
Dominique Johnson is a work horse. Please say something special about his character that little people know about?
I remember playing against him with Baunach when he was with PS Karlsruhe. I didn’t like him then. If you don’t know him, he can come over as not being a guy you may like. I’m so happy now that I know him. He has that flip switch. One moment he can be laughing and then right away become serious. He is a great vocal leader. Sometimes he is talking too much. He always finds the right words and speaks what he thinks. I lead more by example. We have a good balance. He doesn’t work out, but just looks very buff.
Your playing 2 minutes less this season, but your stats are almost identical. How has your game continued to grow under Pat Elzie?
Pat gives me the maximum freedom. He told me from the start that I have the green light. Even when I had a bad game, he always said to keep going and that he trusts me. Having the maximum confidence from someone is special. 2 things I really worked hard on this season was becoming more of a vocal leader and reading the game better. Pat let me create more and my job is just easier when you have so much talent around you.
What I love about your game is that you can always change a game with your play at any times or better pick the team up again with offense when it’s struggling. Do you feel like you have a special killer instinct that other guys don’t have?
Yes I have that special killer instinct. I play with passion and I just love being in a situation where I have total responsibility. When the team is behind, I get that extra motivation to do all I can for the win. Getting that extra step of getting the job done comes natural to me.
How vital were your early years in Leverkusen where you won the JBBL title? What person do you remember being vital there in your early development?
There wasn’t one specific coach in Leverkusen that helped me. Everyone helped me. I began at position 2 in Uerdingen. After wining the JBBL, I began to play point guard and find a passion for the position. I found that love to share the ball. In Baunach Mario Dugandzic was instrumental in me reading the game better as a point guard.
What memories do you have of winning the 2013 JBBL title? Was there a player you remember as being really difficult to stop then?
I remember Leon Kratzer being a beast. He was really tough to handle.
You played a season in Wurzburg and played 2 BBL games. I remember you not playing much of a role in the Pro B. Did you get a fair chance there?
I feel like I got a fair chance in Wurzburg. I began with a small role and they had some established guys there like Felix Hoffman and Lukas Wank. It was also my first time away from home and it was tough getting integrated at first. I began to train with the BBL team as well. All I needed was time and my role got bigger than. I remember losing a tough playoff series to Wurzburg. Gaining experience there was very important.
What do you remember from your first BBL game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg? You played against Rickey Paulding.
It was great playing against my ex coach Mladen Drijencic. He had been my coach in the U-12 in Uerdingen. I remember having butterflies on the court. I mean I was young then.
You then played 2 seasons in the Bamberg organization. Your first pro A season with Baunach was solid where you averaged 7,1ppg. But the second season they played Pro B. Do you feel like a second Pro A season would have better for your development?
I think that when I look back that first season in the Pro A, it was too much for me. It was too soon for me. I was put into a big role in the Pro A that I wasn’t ready for. I think if my first season had been Pro B and second season Pro A, it would have been better. But the role as a leader in the Pro B was very important in my development. I was young and got a lot of trust.
You played 6 BBL games with Bamberg. How tough was getting into that Bamberg guard rotation? There were guys like Jordan Crawford, Kam Taylor Retin Obasohan, Paris Lee and a young Nelson Weideman. That is real good competition. Which guy impressed you the most?
Crawford impressed me the most. I have never seen a scorer like him before. It looked like he couldn’t walk, but he could score whenever he wanted to. Another guy that impressed me was Tyrese Rice. He was the quickest and most shifty guard that I ever saw. He could do what he wanted to. Nobody could stop him. I would always ask myself how he did that.
You then played a solid Pro A season with Bremerhaven. What memories do you have of that season. You got a introduction to Moses Poelking and Leon Friederici.
Bremerhaven isn’t the most beautiful city and then there was lock down. I began to form special friendships with Leon and Kevin Yebo. It was a tough adjustment. There was Trey Davis who always had the ball in his hand. Plus we didn’t use our full potential. It was a shame.
Who is the toughest player you ever faced in your career?
Peyton Siva and Tyrese Rice.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Joel Aminu, Leon Friederici, Trey Davis, Alani Moore, Lukas Wank
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
Jordan, Lebron, Kobe, Hakeem, Allen Iverson
Who is your GOAT?
I was always a Kobe fan and Jordan was my GOAT back in the day. But now it’s Lebron.
Thanks Marvin for the chat.
Tags : MARVIN HECKEL, EPG BASKETS KOBLENZ, GERMAN BASKETBALL