Taevaunn Prince (191-G/F-91, college: Missouri So.) is a 25 year old 191cm guard from Toronto, Canada playing his rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB). He started his basketball career in 2011 with S.Dakota St. (NCAA) where he played two seasons playing 59 NCAA games. He then moved to Missouri So. (NCAA2) in 2014 and as a junior played 16 games averaging 16.1ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 83.8%. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 26.4ppg, 10.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to eurobasket about basketball recently.
Taevaunn thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are taking in your first Christmas season in Germany. What have you learned about the German Christmas tradition this season?
Yes this is my First Christmas in Germany and everything is pretty much the same I have not been exposed to any differences from North America, I'm sure there are some difference though.
You are playing your rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) and have a record at 10-3 at the moment. How happy have you been with the team's play in the first three months?
I think overall we have played well for the first 3 months, but we are not content or satisfied with 10-3, our goal is to improve and fix all the little mistakes and have a better second half to the season.
The ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB are first in points in the pro B with 89, but 22nd in points given up with 86. That is a pretty risky way to play. Why is the defense such a big work in progress?
We need to play better defensively, and that is a goal of ours for the second half of the season. if we can improve our defense and remain effective on offense the sky will be the limit for us.
The ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) have been a very good crunch time team this season except against PS Karlsruhe. What was key in the last minutes for losing this game?
Just execution for the most part, PS Karlsruhe is a good team and so are we so in the crunch it could of went either way.
Is it the overall experience that has made the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB) such a good crunch time team this season or does it rely also on other factors?
I think we have some big time players in Filmore Beck as he is one of the best shooters in Germany that people don't know about, we have Brian Bulter a monster in the paint, Brandon Lockhart a great lead guard and Experience with Marin Petric, so we have all the tools to play well in the crunch time.
What does the club have to do most on the defensive end to carve down some of those opponents points most?
We need to play better team defense and help each other as all the great championship teams play great team defense. Communication will also be important for us to grow as a better defensive team.
You averaged 25,7ppg as a senior at Missouri Southern and this year your on a club stacked with a lot of scoring power, but your still averaging 17,2ppg. Are you a bit surprised that you are averaging so much?
No I am not surprised to be averaging so much because of all the hard work I put into my game throughout the summer, I am confident that I can score efficiently at the highest level on anybody because of my work ethic and consistent work on my craft
You have had some big games, but then some games where the opponent closed you out better limiting your shots and you lost two of those games. How well have you been learning to deal with patience as a rookie?
I wouldn't say my opponents closed me out I more closed myself out mentally, As a first year player in those games I was still figuring myself out as a pro. As a rookie I'm absorbing everything I can learn and adding into my game, patience is apart of the process so I ask God to help me at all times.
How strange is it having Brian Butler as a teammate who is 4 months younger than you but already playing his 7th season in the German second division. How has he helped you get adjusted to the professional life in Germany on and off the court?
It's great because he can help me with it being my first and he has been there when I have questions about anything about German basketball or Germany in general, I am thankful to have him as my teammate.
How easy is basketball life for you when you have a guy like point guard Brandon Lockhart finding you all night long? What do you appreciate most about his game?
Brandon is a great point guard and I am happy to be playing with him on the court, he's always looking for others and making the best play possible for our team. I appreciate his vision the most , he see's everything on the court which is huge for our team.
How happy have you been on your game so far in the German Pro B? On what things will you be working on in the second part of the season to help your game get to the next level in your maturity?
I feel I have played ok , still have plenty more in the tank I think I'm just showing flashes of what I can do but haven't displayed it all, I will be working on every aspect of my game because I am not perfect and I can always improve.
You can really fill up the stats sheet, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn't get noticed right away?
I think I'm a good passer, my natural position is point guard so I think my court vision and passing is my hidden strength.
If you had to to what NBA player would you compare your game to?
I would say my game compares to James Harden, Deron Williams and for todays NBA and Baron Davis who is a former NBA player, we are big guards who don't mind contact and physical play
You played your first two college years at S.Dakota St. (NCAA) playing 59 NCAA games. In your second game as a freshman you scored 13 points and hauled down 10 rebounds against powerhouse Minnesota in a 71-55 loss. You held your own against a guy like Trevor Mbakwe who played at top Euroleague team Maccabi Tel Aviv. Do you sometimes ask yourself why your playing in the German Pro B?
Yes I have had some big games against some great completion in my college career, it is God's plan for me to be where I'm playing at currently so I can never question it , I'm confident that I will be playing at the highest level because of the hard work I am willing to put in and Prayers .It's not how you start it's how you finish.
At S.Dakota St. (NCAA) you played with top point guard Nate Wolters. What do you remember him doing on the court in a game that will always remain in your memory bank?
Everything, he was the best guard I have seen in the college ranks and watching him work in the gym and seeing all his success carved out the blueprint in my memory bank that hard work really pays off.
After having a decline in your stats in your second season at S.Dakota St. (NCAA) you moved to Missouri Southern State. Do you believe that taking a step back will help you as a player as you continue to climb the professional basketball ladder?
Making the move From SDSU was the best decision for my playing career, SDSU just wasn't the right fit for me, I went on to do great things at MSSU. To me basketball is basketball put me up against anybody and I'm going to fight and be the last one standing so I wouldn't say I step back more of a change of scenery and a better situation where I could display my talent and show what I can really do/
You recently played against Jordan Talbert of PS Karlsruhe who had an illustrious career at Missouri Southern State. What stories do you remember hearing about him when you were there?
Yes me and Jordan come from the same school, remember those times Jordan was just that smooth individual and always a had worker who took the game of basketball serious.
How did head coach Jeff Boschee groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Boschee is the best coach in the world, he's a players coach and I respect him for his work on and off the court, He helped prepare my game for the next level because he pushed me to my limits and held me accountable all the time.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Austin Wright?
One on one is my thing and I am scorer so I had to beat Austin in that category but he is the best shooter I have ever played with
Who was the best player that you played in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Micheal Jordan , Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
He's definitely up there when it comes down to it he will be top5 or even top 3 of all time
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
For sure KG is Top 5 of all time out of all power forwards
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Klay Thompson's performance ranks very high because of how efficient he did it and with the amount time he had the ball that hard to do.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Stat wise yes Russell is a monster and he is in the race for MVP, stat wise yes he is the best player in the NBA right now
What was your most memorable Christmas experience in Canada when you were a kid?
Best memories are always being with my family and cousins, just hanging out and being together is always a good time
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last Movie I saw was Belly and the last show I been watching is Power.
Thanks Taevaunn for the chat.