Louis Campbell is a 36 year old 190cm point guard from Rahway, New Jersey that is playing his 14th professional season and fourth with Strasbourg IG. He played at Buffalo(NCAA) from 1998-2002. IN 2002 he started his professional basketball career with Paderborn where he played until 2004. He then played two seasons with Giessen. He then played for Toyota Alvark (Japan-Superleague) from 2006-2009. IN 2009-2010 he came back to Germany and played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 43 games: 13.0ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2(5.7apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 81.6%. In 2010-2011 he played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): EuroCup: 6 games: 9.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 78.6%; German League: 40 games: 9.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 82.1%. IN 2011-2012 he played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 34 games: 9.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 81.0%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurocup game 2 against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
Thanks Lou for talking to German Hoops Welcome back to Oldenburg. You played one season in Oldenburg before moving to Tuebingen. When you look back at that one season, would you not have liked to have stayed longer?
I was unhappy with the situation there. That is how it goes sometimes and is part of the job.
What was one thing that you always adored about the city of Oldenburg and something that you can understand kept a guy like Ricky Paulding there since 2007?
To be honest when I played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, I didn´t see much of the area. I was totally focused on basketball. It was a rough situation for me that season. Paulding found a good situation for himself and his family. It isn´t always easy to find the perfect place for the player and his family. It was like a perfect storm for him. He is a good player and person. What was most important was that it was a good fit for him, his family and the team.
In the first meeting in Strasbourg, Oldenburg squeezed out a 78-76 win. You met your ex teammate Vaughn Duggins who was a rookie with Tuebingen when you played there. How has he matured through the years?
Vaughn Duggins has always been a high level player. He was already aggressive as a rookie with Tuebingen and is still now. The difference now is that he can read the game even better and has gotten accustomed to the European style of play. He has really done a good job at this level.
You also played against Chris Kramer who you swept you with Wurzburg your last season with Tuebingen. Is he one of those annoying players when you read the next opponents roster and see his name just utter the words “not him again”?
No not really. He is a good defensive aggressive player now. When he played with Wurzburg, he was able to excel in that system which was always playing crazy defense and getting the ball up and down the floor as often as possible. As you get older, you have to keep up the tempo. Now he is is very good at being able to control the game and read the tempo of a game.
When you look back at the game in Strasbourg, what could your team have done better not to have had to be in the situation of having to take that last three pointer by Rodrigue Beaubois to win the game?
Oldenburg have some very skilled shooters. We didn´t do a good job attacking and being aggressive on defense. Oldenburg did a good job moving the ball in the first game. We got beat off the dribble and swing way too many times.
Ricky Paulding is a guy that leads by example on the floor, but if you remember back to your season with Oldenburg was there a moment that you recall where his words had a special meaning to you?
Not really. Paulding was more the quiet leader. That was a special season when I played there. It was a weird season with all the players coming and going. He did a good job blocking out distractions and was very locked in.
How fortunate and confident is the team that they can beat Oldenburg and move on? What will be key in getting the win?
Defense will get you to the next round. These games can be a total shock where a team wins by 15 points or it could go down to the wire. We need to move the ball well and play team basketball.
Recently Strasbourg was unable to defend their cup title from last season losing to Monaco in the semi-finals. Is this a loss that will give the team a chip on their shoulder to win the league title?
I don´t know if we have a chip on our shoulder as a whole. All I know is that I want to win. Everyone has their own agenda, but for me personally I always want to win. The loss to Monaco in the cup left a bitter taste in our mouths. It woke us up and we realize that time is running out. I hope that we learned a lesson from this loss.
Strasbourg has been France Pro A finalist the last three years. What does the team have to do this season not to become a second Buffalo Bills?
We have to grow up and learn to win. When I was a freshman in college, my coach told me you have to learn how to win. We have done well with Strasbourg, but just not won that title that we want. We still have to find a way to get over the hump.
By keeping a good core from last season and adding Mardy Collins, Kyle Weems and Rodrigue Beaubois, what does this team have this season that it never had the last three seasons?
We have better talent this season. Last season we were successful through hard work, but that added talent was missing. We have to finally learn to win this season.
How much of a pleasure has it been playing with ex Dallas Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois? You are a veteran and so is he. How do you guys compliment each other best?
Rodrigue is a prolific scorer. In a sense he is one dimensional in that when he is on the floor he is always in attack mode. It is good for me that with him on the floor, my role gets more defined. I don´t have to always have to depend on my own shot. We compliment each other very well on the court
Your stats are a bit down from last season, but how do you at 36 years of age weigh your game in terms of what you can and can´t do at this juncture of your career?
I just read the situation. If I had to get my stats up to what they were last season then it would be easy. It isn´t like I was averaging 25 points last season. If I wanted to, I could get more points on transition, but what is most important, is what is best for the team. I feel like I can still do a lot to help my team on the court. For me this season, it is simply about reading the situation and doing things now that I might not have been willing to do in previous seasons.
Where do you rate your 23 point game in the Euroleague win against Real Madrid this season?
This wasn´t one of my best games even if it was against one of the top teams in Europe. This game was a good moment for me. We all played well and it was the luck of the draw. I shot the ball very well in that game.
With Strasbourg, you had a 3-1 record against the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the last few years. This season the club continues to make strides in the Euroleague and almost beat Real Madrid. Is it just the quality of players or the coaching that has helped this organization grow in international play?
I believe that it is a combination of the coaching staff and having very good players. I think the long success in Bamberg started off with the Bauermann era. They started to win titles there with guys like Chris Ensminger, Demond Mallet and Steffen Hamann and that carried over for years. Chris Fleming continued to carry the success adding good players from the NBA. That organization has really done a tremendous job keeping long term success. I hope that in the future, the club can grow into a Euroleague powerhouse.
German Kostja Mushidi went a bold route signing with Strasbourg, but plays only with the youth. Have you practiced with him and how much potential does he have?
I haven´t really had the opportunity to practice much with him except for a few times. He is very talented. Like any young player, he needs time to mature. The worst thing that can happen to him if he keeps hearing the young player with potential. What does the word talented mean? Everyone is talented to a degree. He needs to grow in mind and humility. Having or not having that will either make or break him. Now it is about the type of people he is around to help him get over the hump and become a good player.
When you played with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, one of your teammates was Aron Baynes. After that season, he played one more year in Europe and then went to the NBA where he has remained. Were their signs that he had NBA game then or did he look more like a big man that could progress in Europe?
When he was in Oldenburg, he had the size and strength to play in the NBA. His overall skills developed in his last few years in Europe. He couldn´t have gone to a better organization than the San Antonio Spurs. He went to a perfect situation where he could play for a great coach, play team basketball and be mentored by Tim Duncan
After your last season in Germany with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, you left for Strassbourg and are playing your fourth season there. How blessed are you that you could make a major career move as a 33 year old?
I don´t know. It just happened and I made the best out of it. I can´t really explain it. After my year in Tuebingen, I wanted to go to Strasbourg. I felt it was the right fit to play with some veterans. I had no idea that it would work out so well. I was very excited to play there and was ready to play from the first day. Playing for Strasbourg IG has been the resurrection of my career. I felt that after my injury in Oldenburg, I didn´t get a fair shake going to Tuebingen. Strasbourg was a great opportunity and I made the best out of it.
How much hard work has it been for you having to be able to play at a top level despite not getting any younger?
I love it. You always hear about older players complaining about their body aching and hurting. I have it too, but it really isn´t any different than when I was 25,26 or 27 years old. Now I just jump less and hit the ground less. The whole experience at this age has been great. I really have no complaints. Coach Vincent Collet has been great. He forces me to rest even if I don´t want to.
How much longer do you still want to play? Could you see yourself playing into your 40´s?
Playing into my 40´s will be pushing it. Every year I say, I will play one or two more years and then it turns out being two or three more years. I will continue to play it year by year and see how my body feels, how my family situation is and how my life after basketball looks like. I will know when it is time to stop playing.
You live on the German boarder. How often do you get to spend time in Germany?
I am in Germany all the time. We like to shop in Germany and like getting caramel syrup.
Recently ESPN made a top 100 greatest NBA players of alltime poll putting Lebron at #3 before legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and BIll Russell. Do you see that as being justified?
No not at all. I had this conversation with someone else recently. I feel this whole issue is a matter of opinion. Some see this whole debate as fun and games. When you look at this discussion, these guys played in a different time and the game was different. I will always go with the older guys, because they paved the way for the younger guys. I definitely think differently. That ranking is crazy for me
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie that I saw was Bridge of Spies. I really liked it. It was a subliminal message to every working man. It was a smart movie and Tom Hanks was great.
Thanks Lou for the chat.