Nick Minnerath (Avtodor Saratov) I Am Playing My Best Basketball At The Moment And Focus Is To Play Hard Every Game

Nick Minnerath is a 28 year old 207cm forward playing his fourth professional season and first with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-VTB). He started his basketball career with Jackson CC (JUCO) in 2009 and then moved to Detroit Mercy( where he played from 2010-2013 playing a total of 71 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 14.6ppg, 5.9rpg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 78.8%. He started his professional basketball career in 2013 with Blusens Monbus Obradoiro CAB (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 15 games averaging 6.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 2FGP: 43.1%, 3FGP: 43.8%, FT: 81.3%, in Jan.’14 moved to STB Le Havre (France-ProA) playing 15 games averaging 11.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 41.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with Cholet Basket (France-Pro A) playing 34 games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 85.9%. Last season he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), released in Oct.’15, then moved to Canton Charge (D-League) playing 53 games averaging 18.4ppg, 6.9rpg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 89.3%. He currently is leading the VTB and Champions League in scoring and spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League playoff game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg.

Nick thanks for talking to German Hoops Before we start talking basketball, as a fellow New Englander had you lost hope after the new England Patriots were down 28-3 at halftime?

I didn´t watch the Super Bowl because of the time difference, but I am a Pats fan. I obviously saw the highlights. That was a pretty good comeback.

Your playing for first season with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-VTB) and you won a tight 87-84 game against German team EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Was this one of those fourth quarters where you could say you were happy to have been able to pull out the win?

Yes we were happy to be able to have won that game. We didn´t play well in the second half and came out with the three point win.

A book could have been written about the fourth quarter as excitement and drama were given a new meaning with 8 lead changes. So much happened as Brenden Fraizer had 11 points, Nick Minnerath gave a lot of enery and the team just stuck together. What do you feel was key in crunch-time for being able to pull out the victory?

We were able to limit our turnovers at the end and didn´t give up offensive rebounds.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg easily outrebounded Avtodor Saratov and shot very well from outside and 2004 NBA Draft Pick Ricky Paulding had a superb game. What ill be key to leaving Germany with a win of more than three points?

We have to stay calm and play our game. Key will be limiting our turnovers and holding them to one shot per possession.

Your playing your first season for Avtodor Saratov (Russia-VTB) and averaging more than 20,0ppg in the tough VTB and challenging Champions League competitions. Are you playing your best basketball at the moment in your professional career?

Yes I believe that I am. Things are going well for me and the team this season. My teammates have been a big part for our success. I have stepped up the points this season, but my main focus is to continue to play hard every game.

How much do you believe is a guy like Vince Hunter profiting from your play on your court and leadership off the court? He has been so close to the NBA? When do you feel will his time come?

He is young and a very good player. If he continues to work hard his time will come.

You have played at 3 NBA Summer Leagues and was part of the  Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) last season. Your playing a great season. Do you feel like the really well and smart NBA people still have you on their radar?

If they are smart then they have me on their NBA radar.

What did you learn with your NBA experience and dealings the last years that the NBA is foremost a business and at times it doesn´t always matter just how skillful a player is?

I feel that politics have just as much to do with it as talent.

What kind of experience was it for you being with the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA),until being released on October 22nd? Your best Lebron James story?

Anytime you play with a guy like that, you just try to soak in as much as possible when you are around him, because he is a winner. I just tried seeing the little things and picking up as much as possible from him.

You played a great season with the Canton Charge (D-League): 53 games: 18.4ppg, 6.9rpg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 89.3%. Did you feel like you had played good enough to have had warranted at least one NBA call up?

Yes for sure. There weren´t many more players that were having a better season than me last season. Of course it was very disappointing for me not getting that NBA call up. But it is what it is and I just stayed positive. I got what I wanted in getting D-league experience and getting me better looks overseas.

Two seasons ago you played in France with Cholet and were teammates with two ex BBL players Chris Oliver and Zach Peacock. How valuable were these two veterans for you coming off your rookie season?

Chris Oliver is my guy. He is one of the best playing in Taiwan now. He is enjoying the style and lifestyle there and I wish him the best. I have no comment for Zach Peacock.

As a rookie you played for  Blusens Monbus Obradoiro CAB (Spain-Liga Endesa): 15 games: 6.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 2FGP: 43.1%, 3FGP: 43.8%, FT: 81.3%, in Jan.’14 moved to STB Le Havre (France-ProA): 15 games: 11.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 41.5%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from Cape Cod?

It is never easy for an American being out of the country for the first time. It was the little things day to day which was most difficult like not having cell phone service. I lived in a small town in Spain and still expected everyone to speak English, but no one did. It was hard at first, but you live and learn. It was still a great experience.

You have played many games, but how big was the 77-60 win against FC Barcelona as a rookie in Spain playing against many of the top players in the world? Were you in awe playing against guys like Navarro and Nachbar?

I am not in awe of anyone. It was a good opportunity for me playing my first year in Spain. I then moved to France, because I felt it was the best opportunity for me. Spain didn´t work out, but it was still a great experience for me.

How blessed do you feel today how far you have come as a basketball player? At Nauset Regional High School you hardly played as a junior, broke your leg as a senior and then went to Jackson Community College. Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you could get so far?

Once I went to Jackson Community College, I really thought I could make it. I just stayed positive and wanted to do the right things and god forbid stay healthy. I hope it´s still just the beginning.

How did head coach Ray Maccallum groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Detroit Mercy(NCAA)?

Coach Maccallum was a good coach. I am thankful that he gave me the opportunity to play and he always did the right things showing me how to be a professional.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Jermaine Lippert?

I am taking that one, but Jermaine is my guy.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

Norris Cole. He was a very good player that was strong, fast and always a tough matchup.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?

Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Shaq!

Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?

Lebron is at the top, but not #1 yet because he isn´t retired yet. You can make a case for it every year.

Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?

He is second behind Tim Duncan.

Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?

He is a great player, but I don´t know where that ranks all-time.

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?

He is one of the best in the world.

Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?

That is an incredible unusual stat. You just don´t see a player getting 10 steals or blocks in a game!

What was the last movie that you saw?

Arrival.

Thanks Nick for the Chat.

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