Stanley Burrell (We Never Established A True Identity)

Stanley Burrell is a 28 year old 190cm point guard from Indianapolis that just completed his first season in the Beko BBL for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. He played at Xavier from 2004-2008 and in hiss enior year played  37 games: 9.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 39.1%, 3Pts: 39.3%, FT: 82.3%. He played a total of 132 NCAA games. In 2008-2009, he turned professional and played for  Bosna ASA BH Telecom Sarajevo (Bosnia-D1): Adriatic League: 17 games: 9.7ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 10.5%, FT: 72.2%, left team in Jan.’09, in Feb.’09 moved to Austin Toros (D-League): 23 games: 6.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 76.9%. In 2009-2010, he played for VOO Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-D1, starting five): 31 games: 10.8ppg, 2.1rpg, Assists-1(4.6apg), FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 67.4%. In 2010-2011, he played for  Generali Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-D1): EuroChallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 15.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 2.0spg; Belgian League: 36 games: 8.6ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 66.0%. In 2011-2012, he played for Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK, starting five): 39 games: 15.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.8apg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 81.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after the end of the 2012-2013 Beko BBL season.

Where are you currently and what was the first thing you did when you arrived in the States?

Im currently back in my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. The first thing I did when I arrived home was surprise my mother at her job. She was in tears and had no idea I was back in the country already. It was a great moment!

You played your first season in the Beko BBL with the Eisaberen Bremerhaven after playing in countries like Bosnia, Belgium and Poland. How challenging was it for you playing in the Beko BBL?

Surprisingly, it wasnt as challenging as I thought it was going to be. The summer/offseason before coming to Germany, I trained harder than I had ever trained in my career…. (As you can see in the highlight video I had posted on Eurobasket.com and my facebook fan page) I knew the BBL was one of the top leagues in all of Europe, so I wanted to be prepared. I didnt know what to expect, so I just prepared myself for EVERYTHING. That hard work in the offseason put my confidence in my game at a high level. I was ready to show what I was capable of in Germany. To come in my first season in the league, be an All Star, and almost lead the league in scoring, I proved what I was capable of.

What was the main distinct difference that set the Beko BBL apart from the the other leagues that you played in?

Driving Lanes and Passing Lanes closed up much faster in the BBL than they did in any other league I was in before…

In previous years I was able to get all the way to the rim anytime I wanted, but this past season in Germany it was much more difficult. The lanes were more clogged up. I knew I had one of the best “Mid-Range Games” in the league and so I quickly adjusted and depended on that, instead of over-penetrating and getting myself into tough situations on the floor. If I didnt have a good mid range shot I probably wouldve struggled a bit this past season in Germany.

If someone had told you in pre season that the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven would finish the season out of the playoffs at position 11 with a record of 15-19 what would you have said?

I honestly wouldve believed them. You see, I have a clear understanding of just how vital and crucial the preparation/practice is for the games. Our “preparation” was not good all season in my opinion. We didnt practice like a playoff team, so we didnt perform like a playoff team!!! The mindset in the team from the moment I arrived in August was more on the side of being friendly and “buddy-buddy” than on the serious & focused side. Most of that rolled over into the games and the result of the season was exactly what we worked hard enough for–> 11th Place & No Playoffs!

It was a total roller coaster season where Bremerhaven started the season losing its first three games, then won six of seven and then never had more than a two game winning streaks? What went wrong after the stretch where the team won six of seven games?

Well, every team and every season will have those moments where you dont play as well or you go through a “bad stretch”. Thats normal. Our stretch unfortunately lasted longer because when times got tough we had no “identity” to fall back on. Usually when a team hits a rough patch you try to go “back to the basics” (or back to your rules defensively & offsensively), and with us NEVER ESTABLISHING A TRUE IDENTITY for our team all season, we were basically like a lost and confused team on the court at times. That leads to consistent bad play. 

The team had so much talent. Were the right player pieces missing from the 2012-2013 Eisbaeren Bremerhaven?

I agree we did have some talent on this team. Definitely more than enough to be a playoff team in Germany. Sure, in my opinion we were really undersized in the frontcourt, which other BBL teams took advantage of against us. Its something that I noticed early and asked for more help on the interior but the response from coach was the addition of two more guards, Kevin Kruger and then Terrell Everett. Both good players in my opinion, but it didnt address our need of frontcourt help at all. Teams killed us on the boards and in the paint, but even with all of that being said, we still had good enough players to have a better season than what we had. No doubt!

I saw two Bremerhaven games in October and November where you beat Giessen and Frankfurt and then two horrible loses in March in Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Both teams looked like day and night. It seemed like after a seemingly well balanced team chemistry in November, there was nothing in March. How can you explain a period of four months where a curve backwards is so obvious?

Inconsistent Preparation Leads To Inconsistent Performance. Period.

You were the leading scorer on the team and saved the team in many games with your scoring effort, but also pulled out your passing ability and playmaking in other games. However in the Frankfurt game at times it seemed like you were being ignored by players. Was there more of a rift within the team that wasn´t as present from the outside onlooker?

From my view and my position, its all about respect and trust. As the year goes along and you notice certain things on and off the court and on a consistent basis in practice/preparation, you either gain or lose trust in people. I could say so much more, but Ill just leave it at that.

What was more of a season highlight the win in OT against FC Bayern Munich or the win against the Brose Baskets Bamberg?

The win versus the champs, Bamberg was great!! The night before that game I had told the fans how much I respected their team but that I really wanted to beat them and have the final home game be one to remember. For it to actually go the way I had planned (and actually even better) was special. But honestly the win vs Bayern Munich was the highlight of the season!!! It was a “redemption game” in so many ways. The first time I played vs Munich I was horrible. It was the worse game of the season for me and I really felt like I let my team down. I had the rematch marked on my calendar. It felt good to bounce back and play the way Im capable of playing and lead my team to the win. 

It was also a “redemption game” for our team because we had just played the Artland Dragons at OVB Arena in front of 10,000 fans and lost by 22pts!!! Embarrassing performance for us and so to get a second chance, have the fans come out in full force again, and perform GREAT as a team, it made that night and that moment really special.

How much fun was it watching young German players like Anthony Canty and Jusuf El Domiaty develop. Canty has been known for some years now, but it seems like El Domiaty made a huge jump this season. What do you like most about his game?

Im really proud of both of those guys!!! Both are great people first and foremost and they both work hard at their individual game. In my opinion they both couldve helped so much more had they were just given the opportunity. Anthony Canty helped me so much throughout the course of the year. Much more than people realized. Many nights he was in the gym with me getting extra shots up after practice. He also knew the league very well, he knew how things worked, and he was constantly in my ear and preparing me for what was coming my way. Jusuf was one of our best defenders and could shoot the ball really well from deep. He stayed professional, stayed ready, and so when his opportunity finally came, he was prepared to step on the court and produce for us. I really respect him for that.

The Beko BBL is a league of great point guards. Which point guard was the most challenging that you played against this season?

Honestly, I felt like I had the advantage at my position everytime I stepped on the court this season. Due to my size and strength at the point guard position I was pretty much able to do whatever I wanted each night with not too much resistance from the opposition. Other BBL teams recognized that and focused more attention on me with their other players.

But just from a “respect standpoint” based on what theyve done over the years in this league, the guards I respected the most in the BBL were Julius Jenkins, Trese Rice, Dashaun Wood, Anton Gavel, And Jared Jordan.

(I did my homework and each of those players were on my “list” last offseason as I prepared for Germany)

For a guy coming from Indianapolis where there is no real water, how did you like living in Bremerhaven at the sea? What was your favorite place there to relax and forget about basketball for 10 minutes?

Hahahaha!! Very true about Indy. No water at all. Yes, I really enjoyed living in Bremerhaven. As I think back to all the locations Ive been in my career, Bremerhaven has definitely been the best location off the court for me. Im naturally a “homebody” and like to stay in as much as possible but every now and then I would get out and enjoy a walk near the centrum & coast with my girlfriend, Dina. It was a blessing to live there last season.

Who would win a one on one game in practice you or Seffton Jackson?

Stefon was one of the best on ball defenders in our league last season. A lot of the times if the fans got to the game early, they’d see me and Stefon playing one of one before each game. After playing against him all season in practice, it felt easy when I faced smaller & slower guards in the game. But one on one, I’d take him down. Hahahaha!!

There have been rumors that you will be staying in Germany. How good are the chances and would you like to remain in Germany?

Chances are very high that I will stay in Germany next season. I really loved played in this league. The support from the fans is incredible. Off the court, things were handled so professionally and I was able to just focus on my job of playing basketball. When it comes down to me making a decision for next season, being in this league again is absolutely #1 to me, BUT this is a business and anything can happen.

I have support and interest from other teams & countries that I will take into consideration as well. We’ll see how it goes. 

You played against New Yorker Phantom Dennis Schroeder this season where you both had 18 points. He had five assists and you three assists and both played 30 plus minutes and you got the win. He is projected as a possible first round NBA draft pick. Do you see the kid having a NBA career?

Absolutely! Dennis has come a long way. He is best friends with one of the players I was closest with on our team, Bazou Kone. Bazou told me a lot about him and how far he’s come and I have nothing but respect for the kid. He’s worked hard to improve his game and I respect players like that.I played against him in a preseason game when I played for Energa Czarni. Only thing he could do was play good on the ball defense but now you see him penetrating, facilitating, and shooting the three point shot at a consistent rate. Thats all because he invested the time on his game during the summer. He reminds me a lot of Rajon Rondo and so I definitely think he can play in the NBA. Im wishing him the best during the draft process.

How does an off season work out day look like for Stanley Burrell?

Early morning workout is all basketball. I put 2hrs on the clock and I go through an exhausting on the court workout ….

Leave the gym, get lunch, spend some time with my family  …

Then come back in the afternoon for my weight lifting session, pilates, or yoga. Some days Im adding in the pool workout as well.

Next month Im setting a goal to make well over ten thousand three pointers!!! Evaluating myself from last season, I shot over 52% from 2pt range and 86% from the free throw line. I have to shoot the three ball at a better clip than I did last season. That will make me even more dangerous on the court next season. Considering everything that was going on around me, I was the best guard in the german league last season, and I want to maintain that level for those that agree and prove wrong those that dont. I took a lot of time off this offseason because next season will be the longest season of my career. Whichever team I play for will be competing deep into the playoffs next season. Thats the goal and thats what I have to prepare myself for RIGHT NOW!!! 

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

Alex Cross.

Thanks Stan for the chat.

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