Eugene Harris is a 29 year old 193cm point guard from Pittsburgh and is playing his sixth professional season and first in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. Last season he played for Siarka Tarnobrzeg (Poland-TBL): 13 games: 6.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 32.6%, 3FGP: 25.4%, left in Jan.’16, later that month moved to KTE-Duna Aszfalt (Hungary-A Division): 11 games: 6.4ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 75.0%. He started his basketball career in 2006 with High Point (NCAA) where he played until 2010 playing a total of 121 NCAA games. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 38.7%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 87.5%.In his first five professional seasons, he has gained vast experience having played in countries like Lithuania, Georgia, Cyprus, Macedonia, and Ukraine. He spoke to German Hoops after the big 68-63 victory against the Kirchheim Knights.
Eugene thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 68-63 win against top Pro A team Kirchheim Knights. What makes a grind out win like this more difficult to accomplish than a shoot out win?
Thank you miles I appreciate you, it’s always a great feeling to win no matter the circumstances but this game was definitely more defensive oriented where it was tough to get an offensive flow on both sides
The fourth quarter started with a huge run by the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau as Kruize Pinkins scored in bunches, but Kirchheim fought back. The game was technically over at the two minute mark as German Josef Eichler hit a three and there was no more scoring after that. How strange of a fourth quarter ending was this for you?
It was one of those grind out games coach kept stressing to continue to put pressure on them defensively and it will open up in the 4th in which it did.
What do you believe was key on the defensive end in the last two minutes that allowed the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau to prevail and go into the short winter break with a win?
One of the main keys was crowding the lane forcing them to take long jumpers then finishing possessions with rebounding the basketball
Currently the team is in sixth place with a record of 9-6. How proud have you been of the team that has battled through adversity on so many occasions this season and come through?
Yea we faced a lot of adversity going through the first half but that’s not an excuse there’s a couple of close games we should have won regardless that we let slip away so we have to get continue to get better as a group
The club had had a strong span winning six of seven games, but then lost twice to Chemnitz and Paderborn before the win against Kirchheim. Without making a short rotation as an excuse what do you believe did the team get away from in these two loses?
I think maturity as a team we need to learn how to take care of business regardless the circumstances and that comes with preparation especially mentally
Obviously the success of the Hebeisen White Wings has to do with a full team effort, but seriously where would the team be now if work horse Kruize Pinkins weren´t on board?
Kruize is a huge part of the team success his motor and. Passing ability makes him a tough match up and hard to guard.
The team is fourth in defense in the Pro A allowing only 70 points per game which is fourth best in the league. Defense is all about desire and wanting to excel on the defensive end. Do you feel like that desire could even be higher by every guy and can that be reached in the second half of the season?
Will see I hope so like I said we have to continue to get better everyday and live with the outcome
The club is in the playoff race now. On what things do you believe does the team need to work on to be even better in the second half of the season?
There’s tons of things we need to sharpen up or improve on. Offensively and defensively so we have a short break and then back at it preparing for the second half
It has been a tough rookie season for Brian Sullivan with his limited minutes at the start and then his injury that kept him out over a month. What advice have you been giving him to continue to remain positive?
We talk all the time just keeping his confident high and making sure he understands and reads the game he’s mature beyond his years so I don’t have to say much. His flow will come because he puts in the work everyday
Of course Brian Sullivan is part of a very talented guard rotation with you and Till Joscha Joenke. How confident are you that the American will fully benefit by this guard rotation with the daily head to head practices and come out continuing to develop as a player?
I’m extremely confident Brian shoots the ball at a high level and he understands the game so it’s going to be scary once he gets in the flow of things
How much do you feel has a Till Joscha Joenke benefited from your experience? What do you feel is he doing better than at the start of the season?
Till is the glue guy of the team he does all the small things defends great leader and communicator we have helped each other a lot thus far. Better than anything I think he’s shooting the ball really well and by adding that to his game makes him a tough matchup
You have rebounded well from last season where you weren´t at the top of your game. Your having the type of statistical season that you had two seasons ago in the Ukraine. Are you having the type of stat season that you envisioned coming to Germany?
I think I have to get a lot better so that will continue to be my focus besides that I’m not really thinking about stats it’s about the teams success which makes everything better
Every player always says that they can always improve on things, but what do you feel is something a guy like yourself at age 30 can bring better to the table in the second half of the season?
There’s a lot of things to improve on that’s what’s great about this game is there’s always something to add or sharpen to your game so defensively and offensively I have to be better
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
That was an elite level efficiency and performance. I was impressed
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Yes what he does for his team I think he’s the best player in the world right now
How have you experienced your first Christmas in Germany. What have you enjoyed most about the holiday season in a new culture?
My favorite thing is the Christmas market I go there as much as I can. You haven’t experienced Germany until you embrace that. Hands down my favorite place to be
What was your most memorable Christmas experience in Pittsburgh when you were a kid?
Being with my family waking up to gifts not being able to sleep at night because of the excitement that’s the most memorable time. Christmas is the best time of year!
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just finished a TV series “White collar”
Thanks Eugene for the chat.