Eugene Harris (Gaiteros de Zulia) I Have To Keep Pushing To Reach Heights That I Set Out For Myself

Eugene Harris is a 29 year old 193cm point guard from Pittsburgh that completed his sixth professional season and first in Germany with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau averaging 14,3ppg, 1,7rpg, 3,4apg and shot 39% from outside. 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 at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 Hebeisen White Wings season.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Eugene Harris after a 2016-2017 pre season game in Hanau against the Luxemburg national team during the Basketball Aid international tour

Eugene thanks for talking to German Hoops. It was a tale of two seasons for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. The second half was one too forget. How disappointed were you with how the second half went and how long did it take you to digest the season?

We had a lot of missed opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of as a team and we have to learn and grow from it. Still digesting the  long season but you have to eventually move on and get back to work

In the last two months, I was checking the box score every Sunday night and just continued to see loss after loss. After January 28, Hanau only won one more game. If someone had told you on January 28th that the team would go 1-10 what would you have thought?

Yes I wouldn’t have believed it whatsoever but like I said we have to learn and grow from this we faced different challenges and adversity and we continued to battle and fight each and every night, which showed great character regardless of the outcome.

If you look back at the last 11 games, what do you feel was the main cause that the Hebeisen White Wings suffered this long losing streak?

I think just a lot of minor errors and mental breakdowns that won or lost games.

The team went through many injuries as well as hardships as Jordan Wild had to depart the team mid way through of the season on account of returning back to the States to tend for his sick dad. One never wants to make excuses, but how much did the mental side of the game play a factor in the last months?

It was tough I mean Jordan Wild was a huge part of our early success and it definitely took a toll on the team but regardless we had 10 very good basketball players so people stepped up and we filled the void the best we could just didn’t turn out in our favor.

You stated in an interview with me in December that “Hanau needs to take care of business regardless of the circumstances. The club could not do that. What do you feel was missing for that to happen in the last two months?

You can talk about this and that it boils down to wins and losses we didn’t get it done in the second half of the season so we as players myself need to continue to study film and get better individually.

 

When you look back at the season how would you summarize it? What were the positives from the season?

I think the program is moving in the right direction in the second year in Pro A and we had great opportunities for continued success. I  definitely feel being under Coach Simon Cote my teammates and I got better!

Do you feel like the last few months despite all the losses will help head coach Simon Cote mature further as a head coach?
His work ethic is undeniable he’s preparing right now!

German Til Joscha Joenke played his second season in the Pro A for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau and improved his stats. After playing in the BBL with Ulm and Tuebingen and not making his breakthrough, he took a step back to go to the Pro A. After two solid Pro A seasons, is the German ready for the BBL now?

I think he is definitely ready for the BBL who is a great competitor fearless my brother he definitely pushed me every day we was on the court.

What Hanau player do you feel improved most this season from the first day of training camp to the last game against Crailsheim?

The whole team from the day we walked in till the last game it has been drastic changes to each one of our games I’ve never been on a team where collectively everybody is in the gym getting better every chance they had!

Your teammate Kruize Pinkins made another big step as a player in his second season in the Pro A. Is he ready for the BBL next season?

No question he’s ready what he did this season was big time and he’s prepared!

Let´s talk about your game. You finished the season averaging 14,3ppg, 1,7rpg and 3,4apg. How would you summarize your season?

My season was ok I’m more concerned about the disappointing fact of not getting in the playoffs so for me individually I have to and will continue to get better no doubt about that!

All season long whenever I asked you in interviews about your game, your answer was always the same in that you had to improve in many things. Did you do that this season with the Hebeisen White Wings?

Improving is never ending so I’m always improving especially if your putting in the work. Did I get better in certain areas? Yyes of course but I have to keep pushing to reach heights that I set out for myself.

Your turning 31 in May, but have that mindset that you are never satisfied with your game. How vital do you feel has your basketball mental state been for your progression as a player? You have so much desire to get better and have that special mindset rarely seen with a professional player.
I mean I want to play and compete at a high level so yes I’m always going to have that mentality because I think that’s what drives me and makes me who I am as basketball player.

What is the next step for Eugene Harris? You have been a globetrotter as a professional as Germany was your eighth country as a professional. Are you tending to carry on your basketball nomad ways and exploring a new basketball country or could Germany be your home next season?

We will have to wait and see my job now is to continue to prepare and be prepared for the moment wherever that might be if its in Germany in the BBL or somewhere outside of the country but my agent and I will figure out the best situation for me!

What are your summer plans? Where would you like to go this summer where you have never been to?

I don’t have any plans this summer really will see have to play it by ear!

How special was the run of South Carolina at the 2017 NCAA tournament? Do you feel like this was the story of March Madness 2017?

Unbelievable run I have a friend Tre Kelly who played for South Carolina back in the day so I was rooting for their success!

Now that the NCAA tournament is history, what professional sports do you focus on in the next months?

The NBA of course playoff time is the best time of the year!

Is Lonzo Ball the real thing? Do you feel like he will be able to develop further despite the antics of his father on social media?

I haven’t really seen him play but from the brief highlights I’ve seen I think he will definitely be competitive at the NBA level.

There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?

Not at all he’s a the real deal MVP

What was the last movie that you saw?
Dave Chappelle Stand up comedy.

Thanks Eugene for the Chat.

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