David Sturner is a 206cm power forward/center playing his first season in Germany for pro B team Dresden Titans and currently is averaging 11,4ppg and 6,4rpg. He started his basketball career with Orgeon State playing 13 NCAA games and then moved to S.Oregon (NAIA) and as a senior played 31 games: 14.6ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 56.2%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 56.2%. He started his professional basketball career recently with the West Adelaide Bearcats (Australia-Central ABL) before coming to Germany. He spoke to German Hoops after the big do or die win against Rostock.
Congrats David on the big 95-84 win against the Rostock Sea Wolves to force a deciding game three. In how many do or die games had you been in before game 2 in Dresden?
Thank you Miles! I’ve probably played in do or die games every season since high school. As one of my college coaches once said, “If you make the playoffs, there’s only one team at the end of the season that doesn’t finish with a loss.” It was exciting to play the game in front of our home crowd and to have such a great turnout.
It was a team effort again by the Dresden Titans, but how happy were you that Randall Holt was on board again?
We knew with Randall our team plays so well. He brings so many offensive weapons to the floor and tonight he showed them off.
Seriously would the Dresden Titans had won without his 22 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds?
That’s hard to say, but I believe in our team whether we have every player healthy or not. Randall is an excellent player, and our leader on the court, but I think he would be the first to say that we could win without him.
How was the week of practice? In what special way did head coach Steven Clauss motivate and gear the team in the right direction?
We took all of the things we had struggled with in our last game vs Rostock, and really just focused on them all week. Rebounding, transition offense, and protecting the paint. It obviously was a great way to prepare for tonight.
Both games have been high scoring affairs. Why have both team´s defenses not been able to keep the score down more?
Well we pride ourselves in being a transition offense heavy team. We like to keep the possessions per game very high so our opponents are going to have more chances to score as well.
The game was a very tight battle from the get go. The Dresden Titans led only by two points at halftime. How confident was the team after 20 minutes that the season wouldn´t end 20 minutes later?
We were confident throughout the game. We knew we just had to play our game and the rest would take care of itself. Rostock is a relentless team so they hung in with us through to the end. We just stuck to our game plan and stayed aggressive.
The game was decided in the third quarter as the Dresden Titans went on a 19-2 run fueled by back to back three pointers by Randall Holt. How key was the Dresden team for totally dominating the first five minutes of the third quarter?
This was a huge momentum shift for us. Coach told us to continue to be aggressive and attack offensively. The run we made ended up being the difference at the end.
How proud were you of the team for keeping a powerful team like Rostock at bay in the fourth and never letting Rostock be down by less than double digits points?
I’m very proud of the team, Rostock came back on us in the first game after we had a 12 point lead, so for us to keep them out of striking distance tonight was a great way to finish the game.
I don´t need to stress the importance of the Germans Daniel Krause, Walter Simon and Philipp Lieser who combined for 47 points, but has their confidence risen in the last weeks?
They really played great, and Max Von der Wippel and Marc Nagora also stepped up and played great. I don’t think their confidence has changed in the last few weeks. They always are confident, and have the experience to perform in the playoffs.
How happy were you with your game? You shot well from the field and had 10 points, but also stepped it up on the defensive end with two blocks and a steal?
I wasn’t particularly happy with my performance tonight, but when we come out on top I would rather celebrate the win and success of the team, then focus on myself and the negatives I can take away. I really tried to focus on stopping their bigs from having big nights and I think we limited them for the most part.
Next weekend is a new do or die game. Do you think that your excitement will rise this week as the day gets nearer?
Of course, we know this next game is the difference between going home, and the second round. I’m sure we will have high energy practices and everyone is excited to get the chance to play another game.
Head coach Steven Clauss doesn´t have good memories of last season as he was in the same situation as he is now in Dresden as he had come in as a fireman in Hanau saved the season, led the team into the playoffs and lost a game three in Rostock. How will this game be different this time in that he will go home as the winner?
I think it will come down to our determination. I’m sure Hanau was a great team, and coach Clauss obviously did a great job with them. Any team can win or lose a series, but the team who wants it more is going to come out on top. We know what we’re capable of and have the focus and drive to make sure it happens. Coach has given us all the tools to succeed and now we need to put it all together.
Matt Hunter was hot as usual with 29 points, but Dresden kept other guys in check. Will there be more focus on Hunter or is just focusing on a superb defensive team performance most key in a demanding game like this?
I think Hunter is going to get his points. He is a great player and finds different ways to score. We will continue to focus on team defense as usual, and do our best to keep Hunter in check throughout the game.
Who will reach the 2016 NCAA final Oklahoma or Villanova and what other team will march to the final?
I actually have Oklahoma winning the championship in my bracket so that’s my first team. I think North Carolina will be the other.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was with my fiancé in Dresden, and we watched the new Star Wars. In English too! Great movie. As always, thanks Miles! It’s a pleasure.
Thanks David for the chat.