After parting ways with Kamil Piechucki (186-G-83, agency: ProSportsCareers) recently, the BG Aschersleben Tigers (1. Regionalliga North) have added a new point guard to their roster: Julius Zurna (188-PG-86) will make the move from Lithuania to Germany. The 26-year-old Klaipeda native scored 9.7 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists through 16 games of the Baltic League for Panenezys Lietkabelis last season and also appeared in 21 games of the LKL for the club (6.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.7apg). Zurna started this current campaign with NKL side KK Radviliskis-Juodeliai. In 12 games of the second Lithuanian division he had 8.8 points, a team-high 5.6 assists and 3.8 boards per outing.
Brendan Lane(206-C-90, college: Pepperdine) is a 25 year old 206cm center from Rocklin, California playing his third professional season and second in Germany in the Beko BBL with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. As a rookie he played with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL): 52 games: 12.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. He started his basketball career in 2009 with UCLA (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 79 NCAA games. He finished his college b... [read more]
Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine) is a 25 year old 206cm center from Rocklin, California playing his third professional season and second in Germany in the Beko BBL with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. As a rookie he played with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL): 52 games: 12.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. He started his basketball career in 2009 with UCLA (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 79 NCAA games. He finished his college basketball career at : Pepperdine (NCAA, starting five) playing 29 games averaging 13.2ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.2apg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 62.4%. Last season with Wurzburg he played 37 games averaging 13.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 14.8%, FT: 73.6%. He belongs to the top centers in the Beko BBL He spoke to eurobasket after the big 73-64 win against the Fraport Skyliners.
Brendan thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Congrats on the two game winning streak. Is this years team finally figuring out how to win games? Yeah I think we finally got that confidence back after that tough start. Getting that first win was big for us and hopefully we can keep it going now.
s.Wurzburg assistant coach Stephan Voelkl had a busy weekend last week scouting both Frankfurt games against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and ratiopharm Ulm. Nevertheless, the Fraport Skyliners crushed you and was leading 40-22 at halftime. Did Frankfurt do anything out of the ordinary that Wurzburg didn't know going into the game which made it so difficult to keep them in check? No they weren't doing anything that we didn't prepare for, we just didn't show up to play that first half and we really struggled.
The 0/12 three point woes of the s.oliver Wurzburg didn't help either. How frustrating were the first 20 minutes and was it at that point just one of those days where nothing was falling? Yeah that was tough, but I think it was more of just settling for threes and not attacking. We were being passive and just shooting rather than attacking and setting up good shots.
I can imagine that the atmosphere was tense at halftime in the locker room. What magic words of wisdom did head coach Doug Spradley find to help get the team back on track?
At halftime he basically just said we were playing soft and not fighting at all. He just challenged us to come out in the second half and fight and do anything we could to get back into the game.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg finally got on track in the third quarter going on a 16-2 run. What adjustments did the club make to get back into the game?
I think we just started being more aggressive on defense and we were able to get some steals or rebounds and speed up the tempo of the game.
You really got going in the third quarter getting your share of buckets. Did you feel the need to have to step up? Yeah we weren't creating much offensively, especially inside, so it was important that we started rolling harder to the basket and being more aggressive and my teammates did a great job finding me when I was open.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg continued to play masterful basketball going on a 22-5 run to decide the game. What was key for keeping up the defensive consistency in the last frame? We just kept up the pressure. We knew they had played a lot of games in the past week so they probably had tired legs at the end so we had to keep being the aggressor and not let up.
So far no BBL teams have had any clue how to slow down rookie Shavon Shields who scored 18 points. Why is this guy so dominant at the moment?
He is a very versatile 4 man who can create his own shots which can be very difficult for teams to guard and he's playing with a lot of confidence.
Do you believe as time goes on that teams will figure out Shavon Shields or will he continue to hurt opponents with his quickness and pretty moves?
I think he's going to be dangerous all season. Teams will definitely focus on him more as he continues to produce, but he's still a very good player that will cause a lot of problems for teams.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg have had a slow start losing it's first four games, but have a two game winning streak now. What assets does the tam have this season they didn't have last season that will enable the club to have a another good season?
I think we are much deeper this season, but right now we are just learning how to play with each other. Last year we had great chemistry from the start and that showed with our start last year. But this year it's taken us a little longer and we had to face some adversity with the 0-4 start. Hopefully this will help us in the long term and we can get back to where we think we can finish in this league.
Jake Odum might be one of the most underrated point guards in the BBL. How is his game different from Dru Joyce and how fierce is his killer instinct?
Jake and Dru are both great point guards. Jake brings a little more size to the point guard position which will help against teams with bigger guards. But both guys are fierce competitors who want to win. Jake is still early in his career and his really hungry to prove himself in Europe and to win at every level and that is great to have in a teammate.
You battled against German national player Johannes Voigtmann last season and now you have his little brother Georg as a teammate. How have you been helping him in practice most and does he have the game to become a solid BBL player. For his size he is one of the most skilled big men I've seen. The one big key for him is just the physicality at the BBL level. It's great for him to battle every day in practice especially against a veteran like Kreso who challenges him physically. I think he will definitely be a solid BBL player at some point.
This was with the game against FC Bayern Munich your best game of the season as you gave the word efficient a new meaning once again. Do you feel any pressure at all when you know the three isn't6 falling for the team that you have to produce well quickly at a consistent rate?
I don't really feel any extra pressure when that happens, but I do look to be more aggressive and put some pressure on the other team inside.
After having a very good first season in the BBL, you are looking to take the next step as a player this season. What do you believe helped your game last season that will enable you to take it to the next level this season?
Last season I was very successful in getting good position inside and creating easy shots for myself. I think having the experience in this league now will only make me better at finding those openings in the defense.
Besides having a successful season, what is your main goal to achieve on the court this season in your game that will help you make the next step in your grooming as a player?
My main goal is to be consistent the whole season. Last year we tapered off at the end of the season and this year I want to continue playing well all the way through the end of the season.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you believe does his legacy stand when comparing him to the greatest power forwards of all-time?
He is definitely one of the greatest power forwards. He was dominant for so long and was always a winner. One of the fiercest competitors ever.
What was the last movie that you saw? The last movie I saw was Secret in their eyes.
Eugene Harris (185-PG-86, college: High Point) is a 29 year old 193cm point guard from Pittsburgh and is playing his sixth professional season and first in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. Last season he played for Siarka Tarnobrzeg (Poland-TBL): 13 games: 6.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 32.6%, 3FGP: 25.4%, left in Jan.'16, later that month moved to KTE-Duna Aszfalt (Hungary-A Division): 11 games: 6.4ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 75.0%. He started his basketba... [read more]
Eugene Harris (185-PG-86, college: High Point) is a 29 year old 193cm point guard from Pittsburgh and is playing his sixth professional season and first in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. Last season he played for Siarka Tarnobrzeg (Poland-TBL): 13 games: 6.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 32.6%, 3FGP: 25.4%, left in Jan.'16, later that month moved to KTE-Duna Aszfalt (Hungary-A Division): 11 games: 6.4ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 75.0%. He started his basketball career in 2006 with High Point (NCAA) where he played until 2010 playing a total of 121 NCAA games. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 38.7%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 87.5%.In his first five professional seasons, he has gained vast experience having played in countries like Lithuania, Georgia, Cyprus, Macedonia, and Ukraine. He spoke to eurobasket shortly after signing with Hanau last summer.
Eugene thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome to Germany. Congrats on signing with Pro A team Hebeisen White Wings. You have played in many countries in Europe, but this will be your first season in Germany. What ties do you to Germany in general and what do you know about the country and it's basketball? I actually know a couple of guys that played in this country so I'm pretty familiar with what to expect here
You are going to play your fifth professional country and Germany is your eighth country. Do you at times feel like a basketball globetrotter? Yes sometimes I do feel that way but it has its advantages I've had great experiences and met great people along the way on and off the court!
How did the contact come about to the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau? You stated that I am glad to be around dynamic people that are working for a goal and seeking success. How vital was the professionalism of the club for you signing on the dotted line?
My agent and Head coach of Hanau being in contact with each other in which interest was shown in me It was extremely vital one of the most important components in having a successful season, this team has a very motivated head coach and coaching staff that emphasizes the importance of improving my overall skills to the smallest details which was important to me.
You have played for seven professional teams in seven different countries, but what do the Hebeisen White Wings have as an organization that you haven't experienced yet as a professional? I think a coaching staff that loves the game of basketball along with a player development coach that really is committed to getting the individual better
What do you respect most about head coach Simon Cote in the short time that you have been with the club? His willingness to maximize the potential of the group of guys he signed this year. That is the biggest aspect I've notice so far along with the communication that he requires with every player on and off the court "small details matter"
You have belonged to the top import players in many countries where you have played, but that first professional title has still eluded you. Does that desire to win that chip grow with every passing year? Yes it does because of the opportunity it creates for my teammates and organization so winning that 'chip' this year is vital
In the past with other professional teams you often were the main offensive force, but with Hanau there will be more scoring weapons. Do you see yourself being more of a playmaker this season than in the past and do you see yourself becoming more of an assist man this season? Yes I see myself playing a bigger role doing both and finding that balance between finding my guys and scoring.
Let's talk a little about your game. You're an All around guard, who can do everything on the court- handle the ball, assist to his teammates, run the fast break, penetrate inside, shoot from the perimeter or off the dribble and are a good defender. What do you consider your biggest asset on the court? I think it varies based of situation being able to shoot the ball and read the game pick n roll etc.
If you had to compare your style of game to a NBA player which player would you pick? I like to study the game and different players from NBA to Europe I will let you guys make the comparisons
You can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn't get noticed right away on the court? Interesting question I think being a vocal leader getting players in the right spot
Last season you played in Poland and Hungary and it was kind of a season to forget. Your stats were down and you had to change clubs. What did you learn from last season that will help you with future decisions?
No I will always remember it. I want to remember it. I learned a lot from last year the main thing is learning how to adapt to any situation regardless of circumstances is the main thing!
As a rookie you played with Naglis-Adakris Palangos (Lithuania-LKL) and Sokhumi Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague). What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home Pittsburgh?
Being a professional in all aspects eating the right things, watching film, stretching just a few things you have to do all by yourself unlike in college where you had coaches making you do it.
You had possibly your best offensive season two years ago with SK Dnipro Azot Dniprodzerzhynsk (Ukraine-Superleague) playing 29 games: Score-3 (16.8ppg), 3.0rpg, 5.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 77.0%. Did this season give you the satisfaction that you could be a top player in probably the strongest league that you had played in as a professional? I played well but my focus was winning games and continuing to prove myself in the years ahead was my main focus honestly
You had a great college career at High Point finishing career ranked 13th in all-time scoring at HPU, with 1,411 points in 121 career games, an average of 11.7 ... HPU's all-time leader in three-pointers made (283) and attempted (777), ranked second all-time in career games (121) and starts (93), fifth in career assists (263) and steals (129). What is your most cherished moment that you had in your four year career there? Hitting Game winners on the road in hostile environments and also winning! at the time we were the all time winningest team and that was big for the university!
How did head coach Bart Lundy groom and prepare you best for a professional career at High Point? Very tough nose coach who gave me a lot of responsibility as soon as I stepped on campus as a freshmen and that motivated me every day to not let only him down but my teammates also, which helped me grow into a leader on the floor.
Your ex teammate Arizona Reid is still going strong and is more of a globetrotter than you as he has played in 10 countries throughout his professional career. When you look at his career do you ever wonder how strange the basketball business can be. He was one of the top players in the Big South with 23/11 stats as a senior, but never played for top level teams in Europe. Knowing Arizona Personally I have a better understanding of the direction he wants to take and how he views Europe etc He is one of the best players I've ever played with and He's been extremely successful everywhere he's played producing relatively close to the same stats you mentioned above. It will happen in due time for him! In the mean time he's having a lot of financial success in other markets as well!
Who was the toughest player that you battled against in the NCAA that went to the NBA?
Ty Lawson played well against us
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick? Mike Jordan, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlin , Hakeem Olajuwon
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game? Right now maybe top 10
What was the last movie that you saw? Purge "Election Year.
After Herten swiped up two players from Grevenbroich, they have done the same taking Jan Petrovcic (202-C-90, college: SE Louisiana) who comes from Herten. Petrovcic is a 26 yera old 202cm center from Slovenia with much expereince in Germany as he will be going into his thrid season here. With the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) he played 5 games: 2.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.2spg. He played two seasons with Nordlingen for head coach Mario Matic from 2014-2016 and in his first seas... [read more]
After Herten swiped up two players from Grevenbroich, they have done the same taking Jan Petrovcic (202-C-90, college: SE Louisiana) who comes from Herten. Petrovcic is a 26 yera old 202cm center from Slovenia with much expereince in Germany as he will be going into his thrid season here. With the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) he played 5 games: 2.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.2spg. He played two seasons with Nordlingen for head coach Mario Matic from 2014-2016 and in his first season played 26 Regionaliga games games: 9.5ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.9%, FT: 55.1%. Last season he played Pro B with Nordlingen playing 24 games: 3.4ppg, 3.8rpg. Before coming to Germany he played four years in the States with SE Louisiana (NCAA) amassing 43 NCAA games and two years with Vincennes Univ. (JUCO) playing 60 games. He also had had experience in Slovenia. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been Slovenian 1B Runner-Up -07, Eurobasket.com Slovenian 1B All-Newcomers Team -08, Slovenian U18 National Team -08, Eurobasket.com Slovenian League All-Newcomers Team -09, Southland Conf. Tournament Semifinals -13, German Regionalliga (South-East Group) Champion -15, and German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Semifinals -16.
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