Eric Palm is a 27 year old 185cm guard form Illinois that is playing his second season in Germany and first with the Giessen 46ers. He started his basketball career at McKendree (NAIA) in 2005 where he played until 2009 and as a senior played 35 games: 20.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3Pts: 38.3%, FT: 85.2%. He started his professional basketball career in 2010 with Thor AK (Iceland-D1) where he played until 2012 and in the 2011-2012 season played 11 games: 26.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.7apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 84.5%. In 2012-2013 he played for IR Reykjavik (Iceland-Dominos League) playing 22 games: Score-3(26.5ppg), 4.3rpg, 3.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT-1(93.9%).Last season he played for BV Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games: 15.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 84.1%. He spoke to German Hoops after winning the 2015 German Pro A title against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg.
Eric thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on winning the 2015 German Pro A title. The Giessen 46ers couldn´t have won this series against Wurzburg in more exciting fashion. What does this victory mean to you in terms of titles that you have won in your career? You reached some Sweet 16 and Elite 8´s in your NAIA career, but I believe this is your first title.
Well winning the AMC Conference Championship my Junior year was pretty sweet because I hit a buzzer beater “and 1” jumper to win it all on the road. However, this title is by far the sweetest of them all. Just knowing we had to grind out the whole season and to sweep the playoffs, could not get much better than that!
The Giessen46ers won both games by only a combined point total of three. What was really the main factor for Giessen being able to pull out this series like that?
For us it was about sticking to the game plan of solid defense and getting out in transition. As for the defensive side of things, you cannot stop Wurzburg completely so our mindset was to limit their runs in short spurts, don´t let them get an 8-10 point run and we are good.
The 77-76 win in Wurzburg didn´t mean so much, because all Wurzburg had to do was win by two points in Giessen. Once again despite the comeback by Wurzburg in the fourth quarter, Giessen never panicked. How important was not panicking this season for the Giessen 46ers?
It was really key for us, early in the season we would panic and go 1v1 a lot which cost us some games and we butted heads some with one another. As we grew together our mindset settled down and we understood what we needed to do to grind out tough wins.
In the last two minutes, Wurzburg didn´t score after the winning bucket from Yorman Polas sealed the win. The biggest strength all season defense once again was key for getting a win. If you look back at the season what really was the turning point where the team 100% trusted in each other on defense?
Well I dont think there was ever a time where our defense was wasn´t trusted. I think a couple of the losses we had like at Baunach really showed us we cant screw around in this league. When playoffs came around, it was like our defense really turned up 110% though.
You will never forget this last win in the Osthalle in Giesen securing the Pro A title, but will the fact that you were team top scorer with 17 points always be in your memory? You really came up big in the Wurzburg series averaging 15,5ppg.
Top scorer is fun, but the ultimate memory is going to be the celebrating with my team on the court after the game, we all were so drained from a long season, and to share the sighs of relief that we won it all will stick in our minds forever!
It is already difficult enough to win a title, but then to go 8-0 and lose no games, what made the 2014-2015 Giessen 46ers so special?
Personally I think it is how Denis and the organization put our team together. Not one of us players were exactly alike on the court. We all brought different strengths that complimented our games as a whole. When we all were clicking in our own ways, we couldnt be stopped it seemed. Then with all of us buying into Denis’s defensive strategy, we were a solid group together.
Giessen was sort of an underdog all season long as people really only talked about the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg as being the best team. How much did this small underdog effect help the team during the season?
We never really considered ourselves an underdog throughout the year. I believe we thought the only team that could beat us is ourselves. When we were not on point with our defense I feel we let ourselves get beat.
Two seasons many questioned the club bringing in Denis Wucherer a guy with little experience as a head coach. The incredible job he did the last two years now got rewarded with getting back to the Beko BBL. What in your opinion was his biggest strength that really allowed him to take two teams and develop further until the end reaching the Beko BBL?
He brings a lot of experience from having played in the BBL in his past. He has been around the game a lot and stresses the fundamentals a lot with us from start to end of the season. He didnt take lightly on us either during the season, he demanded a lot from us and we accepted his challenges.
You may agree the team MVP was the team, but who in your mind was the team unsung hero of the season?
Haha its hard for me to pick solely one person on our team really. It’s a new hero every game for us it seems, I’ll leave that up to the media and fans to decide for us .
One could see the Giessen 46ers really understood each other on and off the court. It would be a shame not to try to hold as many players and keep this success going at the next level. Is the Giessen 46ers one of your top choices for next season?
This team was one of a kind and hard to leave one another after having so much fun on and off the court. I am coming back to Giessen next year with the option to return in my contract. I wouldnt have wanted it any other way, another year in front of these fans in the BBL is a dream.
How surprised were you that the San Antonio Spurs lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers. Is that the end of a dynasty?
I was a bit shocked but at the same time the Western Conference is stacked with talent and successful teams. I feel they will have one more run with Timmy D, but it sounds like they may get Aldridge to take his spot in Free Agency.
Chris Paul has had much criticism recently about being too safe a player and watching more his turnover rate then trying to be risky on the court. Did his leadership in the Spurs series give him new respect in the NBA?
Chris Paul has been under the radar all season with MVP numbers as usual. He has just been overshadowed by Steph Curry and James Harden. He is still a top 3 PG in the NBA and is a leader for that team of course. Playing through that hamstring injury and doing what he did after was incredible.
What will be the first local eatery in your home town that you will find to get that food you have been missing for many months?
I think I got to hit up my Japanese spot JMK Nippons but fast food wise, I got to get some Taco Bell asap!
Thanks Eric for the chat.