Thomas Spagnolo is a 24 year old 201cm forward from West Jefferson, North Carolina that is playing his rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB). He started his basketball career in 2009 with Radford (NCAA) where he played until 2011. He then moved to : Appalachian St. (NCAA) playing 70 NCAA games in three years and as a senior played 29 games: 9.7ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 73.0%. In his first three games with the the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen he is averaging 17,3ppg and 9,7rpg. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.
Thomas thanks for talking to German Hoops. A tough 99-93 loss last weekend against Weissenhorn. The Scanplus Baskets gave up 13 points in the first quarter, but 86 points in the last three quarters. Why did the defense breakdown in the last 30 minutes?
As a team, I think we might’ve given into fatigue, and we allowed Weissenhorn to get open shots and offensive rebounds. It is unfortunate that we lost, but it was a great environment to play in.
How much does it annoy you that The Scanplus Baskets shot 55% combined from the field and outside, but you still lose the ball game?
Anytime you shoot that well, and score 93 points you should win the game; so it just reiterates our need to focus better defensively and sustain our energy levels.
You play with a handful of talented German guys and play against talented Germans every weekend, but where would you rate the game and skill of Joschka Ferner who put up 37 points and already played Eurocup with ratiopharm Ulm when he was 16 years old. How much potential does he have?
Ferner showed that he can really shoot the ball. I thought he played with good energy and effort as well. I’m sure that if he keeps working hard, he will achieve great success.
The Scanplus Baskets have made the playoffs, but how do you rate the regular season in general after a very good 5-1 start?
Making the playoffs was one of our goals, so now that we have achieved that we will focus on what is in front of us.
Do you feel like the two bitter close loses to Lich and Dresden after the good start put a damper into the team self confidence at that point of the season?
There are always ups and downs to every season, but I think we have certainly learned from our losses and grown as a team.
Did the Scanplus Baskets underachieve a bit as it had a very talented roster with agood mix of young and old?
I would not say that. We have struggled at times, but nothing worthwhile comes easy.
The team has averaged giving up 74 points a game. Do you feel as if the team potential on the defensive side still hasn´t been realized?
Good defensive team are usually winning teams. We will continue to work hard to improve.
With Germans Brian Butler and Filmore Beck, you have two very talented German veterans. How important have they been to the team success and what do you appreciate most about their games?
Brian and Filmore are both very talented players. Brian has great athleticism and versatility. Filmore can really shoot the ball well and has the ability to create his own shot.
The last regular season game is against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors on the road. What memories do you have of the 85-75 win earlier in the regular season?
I remember it being a fast paced game. They did not bring their full team to Elchingen.
The Scanplus Baskets had 30 rebounds more than Frankfurt. Was that the best rebounding game of the season?
I would guess so.
In this game both teams will be motivated to get a win and go with confidence into the playoffs. Frankfurt was without big men Johannes Richter and Tim Oldenburg who should play this time around. Will controlling the boards and shooting better than 11% be they keys to winning?
Usually the team that wins the rebound battle has a good chance to win the game. If we focus on rebounding the ball and playing as a team offensively, we should have a good chance to win.
You had a very strong game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors scoring 20 points and hauling down 11 rebounds. What memories do you have of German talent Niklas Kiel who you had to battle and how much are you looking forward to playing him again?
I remember Kiel being highly regarded for his upside and versatility. I am excited for the opportunity to play against the Skyliners again. A win would give us a nice boost of momentum going into the playoffs.
How important has experienced American big man Edward Williams been for you as a rookie in your early development as a professional basketball player?
Ed plays very hard and is always very physical. Battling with him daily has certainly improved my physical and mental toughness. Ed also has a lot of experience and is always passing along his knowledge.
Your averaging 13,1ppg, 8,2rpg and 1,3apg as a rookie. How pleased have you been with your game this season?
I think I have steadily improved over the course of the season, but I still have a lot of room to grow.
What do you believe is your main building block at this juncture of the season? Possibly working on reducing your 1,9 turnovers per game?
That would be a good start.
You are now living your eighth month in a foreign country. What have you learned to appreciate most about the country of Germany?
I think that logistically speaking, Germany has some things figured out. I really enjoy driving on the autobahn.
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?
I would not rate LeBron as the third greatest NBA player of all time.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Full Metal Jacket.
Thanks Thomas for the chat.