Kruize Pinkins is a 23 year old 201cm forward from Marianna, Florida playing his first professional season in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings currently averaging 13,0ppg, 9,0rpg and 1,0apg. He started his basketball career at Chipola (JUCO). He then played at USF (NCAA) from 2013-2015 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 65.0% He spoke to German Hoops after the 74-69 win against the RheinStars.
Kruize thanks for talking to German Hoops. A big 74-69 win against the RheinStars in Cologne. After an offensive second and third quarter, where did both teams find the energy to buckle down and give that extra on the defensive end in the fourth quarter?
We just knew that whoever played harder and more together in the fourth quarter would be the team with the best chance to win at the end if the game.
The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau had a big 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Was that the ultimate dagger that cut into the heart of the RhieinStars?
I wouldnt say that it was a dagger because it was a grind throughout the whole fourth quarter but it definitely played key in our win. We played great defense in the fourth quarter and that also helped us bigtime.
The RheinStars got crushed on the boards 53-28. Was this the best rebound game of the season for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau?
I am not sure. Coming into this game coach told us that winning the rebound battle would be a big key in the outcome of this game. We all went out with a mindset that we were going to go for every rebound and try to dominate the glass and we ended up doing so and it helped us get a tough road win.
Hanau had 22 offensive rebounds. Did everything seem to come easier to you and Dane Johnson as you combined for 34 rebounds tonight or was it a hard fought battle getting each rebound?
It was definitely a battle none of those rebounds came easy we had to work for them.
Dane Johnson had his breakout game with 13 points and 18 rebounds. How valuable was his play for his self confidence and the team for the stretch run?
Dane Johnson is a key guy for us. With him we are a much better rebounding team. He has been playing very well by dominating the rebounds and being a physical presence in the paint. Not many can stop him when he has two feet in the paint.
You had three monster games against Heidelberg, Leverkusen and Paderborn with double doubles and then two poor games against Kirchheim and Chemnitz and then three solid games against Essen Rhondorf and Hamburg until the beast came out against Cologne. Was this a tough time for you mentally and how did you stay focused best?
Its basketball your not going to have a good game every night so I just make sure even if I am not playing well that I am playing as hard as I can for my teammates and trying to get a win.
The Hebeisen White Wings are playing very good basketball hovering around 500 since November 22nd with a 7-7 record. What was the turning point of the season where the team became a better team?
We just had some tough luck at the beginning of the season with injuries. We knew that we could be a good team in this league from the start but we had a lot of injuries but now we have the full team playing and our team chemistry has gotten better because of it
Three months ago if anyone said that the Hebeisen White Wings would reach the playoffs, nobody would have believed it. You have very realistic chances of reaching the playoffs with four games remaining. What does the team have to do now to reach this goal?
We just have to take it one game at a time. Every game is a playoff game for us now and we know that we have to prepare and come into every game with that mindset
German Robin Christen has been the unsung hero of the team carrying the team in many games. How inspiring has his play been for you?
Robin Christen has been playing very well all season. When he is playing well it makes us that much better because and not many guards can match his size and he takes advantage of that.
The team had many injuries and head coach Simon Cote was under a lot of pressure and may of even had some sleepless nights. How proud have you been of him of totally turning this team around?
I am very proud of coach. He never doubted us, he knew what we were capable of and he preached that to us every day and we just stuck with it. Him and coach Ryan are two great coaches. Injuries just hurt us in the beginning.
How did you see the NBA trades recently at the deadline? What teams did the best?
I think that the Pistons and Clippers got some very good pickups by getting Tobias Harris and the Clippers getting Jeff green. The spurs also got Kevin Martin which is a huge pick up for them.
Some of the older NBA players that played at different times are having a hard time giving Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors credit for their success saying they might not have had that success 20-30 years ago. Are these former players just jealous or why can´t they just give credit where it´s due?
Yeah I think they should just give them guys credit man its a different era of basketball and its always going to change. They are dominating this era of basketball. So I don´t see the point in saying what they couldn´t do against a team from 20 years ago. You just will never know.
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?
The only thing that separates Lebron from those guys is championship rings. I honestly think he deserves to be number 3. Numbers dont lie and his stats are unreal and he still has 7 or 8 years left to play.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie i saw was Project X.
Thanks Kruize for the chat.