Spencer Butterfield(190-G/F-92, college: Utah St., agency: Three Eye Sports) is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Loomis, California playing his third professional season and first with JSF Nanterre (France-ProA). Currently he is averaging 13,0ppg, 4,7rpg and 2,4apg in the France Pro A while shooting 41,7% from outside. In the FIBA Europe cup he is averaging 13,9ppg, 3,4rpg and 1,5apg while shooting a ridiculous 53,7% from the parking lot. He played at Utah St. (NCAA) and as a senior played... [read more]
Spencer Butterfield (190-G/F-92, college: Utah St., agency: Three Eye Sports) is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Loomis, California playing his third professional season and first with JSF Nanterre (France-ProA). Currently he is averaging 13,0ppg, 4,7rpg and 2,4apg in the France Pro A while shooting 41,7% from outside. In the FIBA Europe cup he is averaging 13,9ppg, 3,4rpg and 1,5apg while shooting a ridiculous 53,7% from the parking lot. He played at Utah St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.0ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 82.9%. He started his professional basketball career in 2014 with Melilla Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 25 games averaging 10.0ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 87.9%. Last season he played with Juventus-LKSK Utenos (Lithuania-LKL): 40 games: Score-3 (14.5ppg), 6.2rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 81.3%; FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games: 15.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to eurobasket before the Fiba Europe Cup game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Spencer thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Your fourth in the France Pro A standings and sitting in the Fiba Europe Cup quarterfinals. How good is your professional basketball life at the moment? I am pretty happy with it at the moment haha. Our team is in a great position and we have a lot of confidence moving forward.
Nanterre is having a great season in the France Pro A as well as in the Fiba Europe Cup. What has been the main reasons for the club being successful. The club kept only two players and the rest are new guys. How vital has it been having constructed the right team this season for the success?
I think we just have a great group of guys that really enjoys playing together and hanging out. It is very vital to construct a good team and this organization has done a great job of that.
Nanterre did win a few cups since their surprising league title in 2013. What prime example can you give that the expectations are super high to win? I think everyone expects to win titles this year.
In the first 8 Fiba Europe the team was up and down with a record of 3-5, but in the last eight games are 8-0. How do you explain this huge turn around in the international competition?
I think we just finally figured out what we needed to do to win and everyone has accepted their roles and is happy with them. We all know what to expect out of each other and everyone is confident that they have something great to bring to the table and to the team.
Nanterre has one more hurdle before reaching the Fiba Europe Cup Final 4 as they have a date with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. You have the fourth best ranked offense playing against the second best defense of Bonn. What kind of series can we await and what will be key to getting by them?
I think it will be a very intense series where you will see a lot of great basketball and two teams competing to get to the Finals.
Nanterre has many interesting players, but from a German stand point the most interesting is Heiko Schaffartzik who is a combo guard, but like you can shoot out the lights. How have you profited from his game and advice. Does he have any part in your immense success shooting this season especially in the Fiba Europe Cup?
Heiko is a great captain for our team and has great leadership skills. He is one that leads by example and so it easy to listen and respect what he says. I have a learned a lot from his approach to practices, games, and overall professionalism. He definitely helps take the pressure off me when he is on the floor because they can't help off of him or else he will punish them.
Schaffartzik has hit from just about everywhere except from the moon, but what has been the most amazing shot you have seen him take in a game or practice where you thought, 'hmmmm that's pretty good'?
It is hard to keep track of how many great shots Heiko has hit. It is almost not surprising anymore when he hits difficult shots anymore because it is so normal for him. He has hit a couple end of shot clock deep 3s that are like 'wow only Heiko'
You are an exceptional shooter. What NBA shooters did you always look up too and to what NBA player would you compare your game too?
There are a lot of great shooters in the league right now but I am a huge fan of Klay Thompson and Curry. They shoot the ball with the same confidence no matter how many makes or misses they have before. Their shot looks the same if they missed their previous 10 3s or made their last 5. I would like to be compared to a Klay Thompson. Not the ball handler or fanciness of Steph Curry but can still get hot from 3. Plus I love how hard Klay plays at both ends of the floor and I would like to do the same.
You are currently on a massive hot shooting streak from outside as you have continued to shoot over 40% since your junior year at Utah State. Was shooting always in your blood, or did your sniper qualities develop over time with hard work ethic and proper shot selection?
My shooting ability has definitely been developed over time. When I was younger I was more of a driver and midrange jump shooter. But as I got older my competition got taller and I didn't so I had to learn how to shoot if I wanted to continue my career. I put a lot of work into it and a lot of rebounding from my brother Taylor and working out with my good friends at Utah State.
Especially this season you are shooting an amazing 53% from the parking lot in the Fiba Europe Cup. It seems like everything has come together. Do you sense like you have a special self confidence when your shooting in this competition that you never had had before?
I try to have the same confidence every time I step on the court. And I think this offense and my teammates have made me even more confident so I owe a lot of credit to them.
Recently you dropped 39 points on 11/13 shooting from outside against Usak which was the most points you have ever had since you started at Utah State. Did you know early on that you were going to have a great shooting day?
I knew after my 4th three that I was feeling extra good but I was just trying to live in the moment so I wasn't really paying attention to career highs or anything.
You are a guy that can fill up the stat sheet and one shouldn't call you a one dimensional player. What do you feel is your second best quality as a player and what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn't always get noticed right away on the court?
I love rebounding and take pride in that so I think that would be my hidden strength.
Last season you played NBA Summer League with the Utah Jazz putting up respectable numbers of 8,6ppg in 8 games. When you observed all the other talent there and see who made the NBA, how far is a player of your qualities really from the NBA?
I hope I am close but I still have a lot to prove.
You played together with German Tibor Pleiss and got to know him with the Utah Jazz last summer. He made the NBA, but his stay was short. What do you believe was missing in his game to stick in the NBA?
I loved playing with Tibor and I think he is a great player. I am not really sure why he didn't last longer but it is all about opportunity over there.
Last season you played for Juventus-LKSK Utenos (Lithuania-LKL): 40 games: Score-3 (14.5ppg), 6.2rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 81.3%; FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games: 15.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 78.4%. After having a solid rookie season in Spain, do you feel like your second season was your break out season? Yes
Was your 34 point, 18 rebound game in the win against Siaulial your best game as a professional or did your 39 point game against Usak top that? Um I think USAK was more monumental because of shooting from 3. But for overall performance I think the 34 18 game was better because of the all around performance.
As a rookie you played for Melilla Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 25 games: 10.0ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 87.9%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Spain where you knew that you were very far away from Loomis, California? I think I just learned that I needed to work harder in the offseason and come back more hungry.
You started your career at Yuba community college before going to Utah State. Were you always confident then that you had the game to play at the NCAA level.
You played two seasons at Utah State. How did head coach Stew Morrill groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He was one of my favorite coaches. Taught me how to be coachable and not be so stubborn. He also taught me how to think more about the game rather than just playing super hard. I have a lot of respect for Stew Morril and the assistant Chris Jones.
You had many memorable games at Utah State, but how big was your 20 rebound game in the win against Texas State? Was that a top 5 college game for you?
Yes that was a lot of fun.
What were your memories of forward Danny Berger? You played two seasons before he moved to BYU-Hawaii and finished strong there and has had a solid career in Germany.
Danny Berger is one of my best friends to this day. He will be a life long friend. We train a lot in the summers together. I went to a few of his preseason games in Germany this year. As well as Preston Medlin who also plays in Germany Pro A and Sean Harris who plays in Finland.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Preston Medlin. In an interview last year when asked about this, he was very neutral. 'Well if you ever ask me who won more I am always going to say that I won no matter if it is true or not. I am sure Spencer will say the same thing so I don't think we will ever be able to prove who one more'. HAHA Preston is a great player and friend. I am going to reiterate what he said.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Top 3 because of his efficiency with and without the ball.
Pro B team Dragons Rhondorf have appointed experienced Thomas Roijakkers as head coach to save the season. Roijakkers is a 38 year old head coach from Holland that brings basketball experience from Holland, Belgium and Germany. He took over for departed head coach Matthias Sonnenschein. He is known for his knowledge, work ethic and versatility. He is a specialist regarding digital video team and player scouting / analyzing. Also has a lot of experience in individual skill development and... [read more]
Pro B team Dragons Rhondorf have appointed experienced Thomas Roijakkers as head coach to save the season. Roijakkers is a 38 year old head coach from Holland that brings basketball experience from Holland, Belgium and Germany. He took over for departed head coach Matthias Sonnenschein. He is known for his knowledge, work ethic and versatility. He is a specialist regarding digital video team and player scouting / analyzing. Also has a lot of experience in individual skill development and guidance of players. "We had to react after the loss to Lich. We were able to get a Pro B experienced coach with Thomas Roijakkers who we feel can keep the team in the league", stressed Dragons Rhondorf CEO Boris Kaminski. The club added that Sonnenschein will remain with the organization and fulfill his other tasks.
Roijakkers got his coaching license at age 21 and can look back at a long coaching career having coached Bensberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) woman's team and SV Halle Lions (Germany-2.DBBL) woman's team. He also coached Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (DBL) and Stella Artois Leuven Bears (Belgium-Scooore League) as an assistant. In Germany he coached Recklingshausen from 2013-2015 and recently coached Stahnsdorf. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been German 2.DBBL North League Champion -07, German DBBL Cup Semifinals -08, Dutch Eredivisie Quarterfinals -09, Dutch Eredivisie Semifinals -12, and Dutch Eredivisie Cup Semifinals -12.
Terence Billups (199-F-88, college: IU Southeast) is a 198cm forward from Jeffersonville, Indiana that is playing his fourth professional season and third in Germany. After tearing up the Regionaliga with Cottbus and Rendsburg, he now is playing in the Pro B with the UNI-Riesen Leipzig. He started his basketball career with Western Dakota Tech (JUCO) and then moved to Indiana SE (NAIA) in 2012 playing 20 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 85.7%. In 2013 he... [read more]
Terence Billups (199-F-88, college: IU Southeast) is a 198cm forward from Jeffersonville, Indiana that is playing his fourth professional season and third in Germany. After tearing up the Regionaliga with Cottbus and Rendsburg, he now is playing in the Pro B with the UNI-Riesen Leipzig. He started his basketball career with Western Dakota Tech (JUCO) and then moved to Indiana SE (NAIA) in 2012 playing 20 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 85.7%. In 2013 he started his professional basketball career with West Michigan Lake Hawks (ABA). In the 2014-2015 season he came to Germany to BBC White Devils Cottbus (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 22 games Score-3 (24.8ppg), 8.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, Blocks-2 (2.0bpg), FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 76.3%.In the 2015-2016 season he played for Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games averaging 18.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 67.3%. He spoke to eurobasket about the playdowns and the Uni-Riesen Leipzig season.
Terence thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. 2017 has come and we are already into 2017. Did you set any new years resolutions and if you did have to stayed faithful to them in the first two months? Its always a pleasure! I didn't set any new years resolution. I always want to continuously better myself and I don't think I need a new years resolution to do this. However, I normally stay faithful to the plans I set for myself throughout the year.
You lost the last regular season game against the Licher Basket Baeren in a wild game that went back and forth. You were down by 9 in the fourth and took it into OT with a Cardell McFarland three pointer. Their Germans Kraushaar and Horstmann got the best of you scoring the last 6 points. Is the revenge factor going to be extra big against them in the playdowns?
I wouldn't say its revenge. They didn't give up as a team shouldn't do. We allowed them nearly 100pts going into overtime. We just need to do better like I know we can. Now we are fighting to stay in the league and I think that when we play Licher, we need to be consistent in our game plan and execute on both ends of the floor. If we do this like I've seen us in the past, then we will come on top every time.
In the Pro B it's either playoffs or playdowns and the Uni-Riesen Leipzig was close at making the playoffs, but lost their last two games not to get there. How disappointing were getting these last two loses after beating the two best teams PS Karlsruhe and Weissenhorn before that?
You would think that we would have gained a lot of confidence after beating the top two teams back to back. But in order to keep the win streak going, you have to be consistent play by play on both ends of the floor for 40 minutes. It was disappointing to see my team mess up on assignments throughout the game in which resulted in the loses in the last two games.
How do you explain beating the best two teams in the Pro B and then finishing the season losing to one potential playdown team and another playdown team?
Against PS Karlsruhe, we played team basketball for 40 minutes like I've never seen from us before. Against Weissenhorn, we kept the game close all the way to the end. And we were able to come out on top by 1pt. But then when we play Fraport, we missed countless assignments throughout the entire game which resulted in a big lose. And lastly, we lost to Licher because we didn't play good basketball for 40 minutes. We had a good first half. In fact, I think we were up by double digits by the end of the half. In the second half, we made too many mistakes that let them back into the game. And from there, it was a dog fight to the end. They made some tough shots. We responded with some tough shots, especially pushing it into OT. But in the end, they came out on top. So basically, when we can be consistent in executing the game plan on both ends of the floor, we will find good results.
How vital was the pick up of Cardell McFarland and how confident are you that the club will remain in the league with his playmaking and leadership?
Cardell was important for us as he replaced the injured German point guard, Guy Aud. I think he had a few rough games, but I see more of his game in practice. So I know what he's capable of doing on the court. He's even shown it in a couple of games. He's well educated on the court and has a good skillset at his position. But it's a team game. And each individual must do their part well and in sync. At this point, I think we as a team will determine the clubs fate whether the club moves down or stays in the league. And that's how well each player does their part starting in practice and carrying over into the games to come.
How have you followed the season of Jordan Faison and where do you rate it with all power forwards in the league? Is he overall over Aaron Nelson or is the Rhondorf big dawg the clear number one this season in the league?
It's a tough call. I would say that Nelson is huge in the paint. He can give you buckets in the paint with ease. Jordan can do so also, but I think Aaron Nelson has more of an edge with his frame. But I would take Jordan's defense over Nelson's. Both are good players in my eyes. I would pick Jordan to play with over Nelson because Jordan has a better defensive presence in my eyes. But from a statistical point of view, Nelson would be number 1.
You had a great 2016 being very consistent, but as the second half of the season rolled around in 2017, you suddenly got less minutes. Did your role change? It definitely changed. We needed a point guard on the floor more than we needed a shooting guard or small forward. So I needed to accept the changes and help the team in different ways.
You have been a guy that has been used to playing very much in your first two Regionalliga seasons in Cottbus and Rendsburg and first half in Leipzig, but how difficult was it getting your minutes shaved in half and how did you learn to cope with it?
In the beginning, I was content with the change if it meant the team would win more games over loses. But this didn't happen. It began to get difficult when the team is losing more games then it's winning and my minutes are cut drastically. And I couldn't do much about it because of the circumstances. So coach and I talked about it and decided that I should focus more on the defensive end and bring energy in that sense because I wont have an huge imprint in the game to make a significant difference offensively with the amount of minutes I play now. So I focus on defense more and play the game I know how to play.
Despite having less minutes you have been quite efficient. How important has patience become on the court for you and just making the right plays at all times now then before when you were playing 30 plus minutes?
It's more crucial now. You have less room for error. When you play much more, you will more likely make a couple of mistakes. But your positive plays on the court will usually outweigh the negatives. When you play for a much shorter period, those mistakes you make becomes your highlights of the game. All I can do is be prepared, focused, and ready to go in the game when my name is called. And when I do these things, I will have success.
Do you learn to appreciate the game more now with having less minutes and needing to be as efficient as possible?
I actually do now. It may be easy to take things like this for granted until its striped away from you. So it keeps me more humbled and motivated to work hard and be the best player and person I can be.
The Uni-Riesen Leipzig go into the Playdowns with an even 3-3 record against the three teams. How confident are you that you will stay in the league?
As long as we do our individual tasks on the court for 40 minutes, we will have a good chance at staying in the league. And for us, it starts defensively.
Defense will be the key as you have proved as a team that can defend when you want to keeping Ps Karlsruhe and FC Bayern Munich recently back to back to 66 points, but ended the season against Frankfurt and Lich averaging giving up 97 points. What aspect on defense will be most vital to consistently being successful?
When it comes to our defense, we need to play as a team. But it first starts by playing good one-on-one defense. When this happens, we can have more success in keeping teams to lower points.
Which Pro B player was the toughest to guard this season?
I think Jacob Mampuya was probably the toughest. He has good speed and quickness along with a quick first step. And if you don't respect his shot, he will pull up from range. Play too tight, he's quick enough to blow past you. So I have to play in between a try to keep my defensive unpredictable so that he either passes the ball or makes the wrong decision
. Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
This ranks pretty high with me. His teammates did a great job in finding him and he rewarded them and himself by making the shots. I think the confidence he had within himself to shoot like that made it more remarkable. It was definitely entertaining to watch.
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?
I haven't seen the stats of the players. I only watch the highlights of a few NBA teams. But when Westbrook is averaging a triple double and his team is plus .500, then its hard to say that statistically, he's the best player in the world. But I wouldn't say he is the best player. I still lean toward LeBron and Curry with Curry being my favorite player to watch.
Draymond Green recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
Draymond is a special kind of player. He brings a unique kind of energy on the court. And with this uniqueness, he is able to do things like he's doing now.
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