Luke Loucks is a 25 year old 196cm guard from Clearwater, Florida that completed his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProA). He started his basketball career with Florida St. (NCAA) in 2008 where he played until 2012 playing a total of 136 NCAA games. He reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2011 and as a senior played 35 games averaging 7.1ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 70.8%. In 2012 he started his professional season with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL): VTB League: 6 games: 1.5ppg; VTB United League: 6 games: 1.5ppg; Latvian LBL: 4 games: 1.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 5.3apg, in Jan.’13 moved to Forex Time Apollon (Cyprus-Division A) playing 11 games: 10.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 6.4apg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 76.5%. In the 2013-2014 season he played with the Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek (Belgium-Ethias League): 26 games: 10.3ppg, 3.3rpg, Assists-2(4.7apg), FGP: 43.2%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 77.9%. Last season he played with the t Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 10 games: 4.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.4apg, in Feb.’15 moved back to Maine Red Claws (D-League): 9 games: 2.4ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.2apg. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of the season.
Luke thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Miles, as always, thanks for taking the time to interview me. I am currently living in Tallahassee, FL and spending some time back at Florida State University working out where I played in college. My summer has been going great so far.
Your season ended at the end of March. Has the time from then until now felt like an eternity or has the time away from games flown by?
The offseason always seems to go quick so time has flown by up to this point. I am trying to work my tail off this summer to be prepared for my next season in Europe.
The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau finished the season in 11th place with a record of 13-17 and good enough to make the playoffs. Was this the most interesting season as a professional where the club started poorly, made a run and at the end didn´t get a rematch with Kirchheim because of an issue with the clock?
This was definitely the most interesting year I’ve played in Europe. We had stretches where we could play with anyone in the league and other stretches where we had a slew of small injuries and couldn’t seem to find a groove as a unit. The end of the season was very odd, waiting for the league to determine our fate for the playoffs from a contested game that was played (partially) months prior.
The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau won 4 times against playoff teams including sweeping the Gladiators Trier. How do you feel did the team grow from a poor team at the start to a playoff type team in the last month?
We were playing really good basketball by the end of the season. I think our team was gelling and everyone figured out their roles to a better extent throughout the second half of the season. Our leaders stepped up and we beat some of the better teams in our league. During the final 4 weeks we felt as if we could win every game, no matter who we played.
When you look back at the season, what will you cherish most about the ups and downs of the season on the floor and off with your teammates?
The White Wings had a great group of guys this year. We were all a close knit group by the end of the season and I have a few friends that I will always keep in touch with.
You played 29 games averaging 9,3ppg, 3,1rpg and 4,3apg. How would you rate your season in the Pro A. How do you feel did you develop further as a player?
I rate my season as a quality step in the right direction of where I want to be. I think I could have put up better individual stats this year but I’m not a guy that worries too much about personal stats – I want to be efficient, be a leader, and give us the best chance to win every time I’m on the court. I feel that I did my job in helping lead a team with expectations of just staying in the league to knocking on the door of the playoffs. I came to this team because I had respect for the coaches, Simon Cote and Ryan Pannone, and the culture they were trying to build with the White Wings club. It was a great way to get my foot back in the door in Europe after the D-League and a long offseason last year. I can further develop my game by becoming a lock-down individual defender, working on my lateral quickness, and improving my ability to look for myself occasionally in a scoring mentality rather than always looking for the next best pass.
What is the next step for Luke Loucks? Do you see yourself continuing your career overseas next season or could you see yourself playing in the D-league again?
I hope to play in Europe next season again, hopefully for a lower-level BBL team or another team back in Belgium possibly. I know I can give quality contributions and can bring a lot to the table for European teams that value pass-first point guards and veteran leadership.
What was your season highlight on the floor with your team last season? Possibly the 70-69 loss where the team almost beat the future Pro A champ and you poured in 23 points?
The Jena game was probably my best individual effort but we lost, even though it was only by one point to the eventual champion, so I can’t rate that as the best highlight. I would probably say the highlight for me was beating Trier on the road and dishing out 10 assists to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The locker room after the game was a lot of fun and something I’ll remember for a long time.
On what things will you stress most in your summertime workout sessions concerning your game that you want to improve most on?
I will focus on improving my quickness, strength, and lateral stability, improving my shooting, and maintaining my ball handling and passing abilities.
How did you see Kruize Pinkins develop. Do you see him being able to make the next step to the Beko BBL?
Kruize had a great rookie season for us. His motor, effort and attitude for a young player brought great value every time he was on the court. He will need to continue to work on his shooting and overall strength in the post to develop into a high level European contributor. There is no question he could contribute for a lower-level BBL team next season.
Which young German improved the most this season for the Hebeisen White Wings???
I would say both Till Jonke and Robin Christen were our two most improved and most reliable German players. They were both heavy contributors to our success.
If you had to choose one player that was toughest to battle on the floor in Germany who would you chose?
For me, probably Richie Williams. I am a bigger point guard and he was the polar opposite, a smaller super quick point guard. Those guys are the toughest to chase around for an entire game. He had a good year in Pro A this season.
If you were to construct a NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA heads would you make?
Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James
What was the first American eatery that you sought out when you arrived back to the States?
4 Rivers BBQ in Orlando, FL. Really good barbecue!!
What is going to be a place that you will try to visit this summer where you necessarily haven´t ever been to in your life?
I will spend most of my time down in Florida, but am planning on playing in The Basketball Tournament with Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, my old FSU teammate Deividas Dulkys, and a few other high level European players. I think we will play in Chicago, Philadelphia, and NYC if we keep winning. Those will all be fun places to visit.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Luke for the chat.