Arguably the best performer in the Pro B Germany, 'Point-Forward' Yannick Anzuluni (205-F-87, college: Houghton) took his time to talk to EUROBASKET about his current season. The Rostock Seawolves are the Pro B North Regular Season Champions 2014/15 and have played the most successful season in franchise history.
Yannick, the regular season is coming to an end. You guys were able to clinch the regular season championship of the Pro B North. Did you see this happening when you joined the Rostock Seawolves for the 2014-15 season?
I don't want to say that I was sure we were going to be the Regular Season Champions but my ultimate goal when I decided to come and play for Rostock was to win a championship. Part of accomplishing that goal was to be the best team in the league and I'm very glad that all the hard work we've all put in throughout the season is about to pay off when we officially are named the Pro B North Regular Season Champions next weekend.
You played a stellar season last year in Finland being named the Division 1 Player of the Year. What made you decide to return to Germany?
I spent a lot of time talking with our Head Coach Basti all of last summer and I just felt like we really understood each other. I liked everything he told me about the team, the city, the fans, his playing style and his vision for the season and we really clicked. I also had a great experience playing in Germany two years ago so it really helped my decision to come back to Germany.
The SEAWOLVES fought their way up to the Pro B from the Regional League North last season. Tell us a little about the team's attitude and identity.
The Rostock Seawolves, we are a hard nose, hardworking basketball team who play with a chip on our shoulders because of our "underdog" status. Last season no one believed that they could win the league and move up to Pro B but they were able to prove the doubters wrong. This year all the pre-season predictions had us finishing last and moving back down, so we used it as motivation and outworked everyone in the league.
You personally are playing another terrific season, currently averaging a very versatile 20.5 PTS, 3.5 AST, 3.2 STL, 8.2 REB all capped by an efficiency rating of 21.7. How do you feel about your all-around play this year?
My biggest strength as a basketball player is my versatility, being able to do everything on the court. I have forward size with guard skills which really plays to my advantage and helps me with having those good all-around stats. I'm able to score inside-out, handle the ball, rebound, get my teammates easy baskets and play defense. Being able to affect a game in many different ways and not being one dimensional is what I try to do every time I step on the basketball court.
What can you tell me about your season averages in AST (3.5), STL (3.2) and TO (3.7)?
Well, I have to admit that I'm not very happy with the amount of turnovers which I consider a little bit too high but I also understand that I play a lot of minutes with the ball in my hands very often. Mistakes will happen, but I'm happy that I can make up for those mistakes by stealing back as many balls as I turn over. As far as the assists they are my favorite stats, getting a teammate an easy basket is what I love the most when I play basketball and wish I could double that amount every game.
You seem to have a very healthy approach to the game. You play intense but almost always have a smile on your face. What gives you the energy to play with so much passion?
Basketball is my passion and since I was a kid my dream was to become a professional basketball player and all glory to God, being able to fulfill my dream right now just brings me joy. That's why I always have a smile on my face every time I play and the energy and passion I play with comes from me being a very competitive person and wanting to win at all cost all the time. I play every game like it's my last.
Last season, your team (Pyrinto) made it to the Finnish 1st Division semifinals. Do you think your team has what it takes to go all the way this year?
I definitely think we have what it takes to go all the way and win a championship this year. We have a great coach and a great group of guys who play very well together. We've been able to stay at the top of the league table for the majority of the season and we are not ready to stop. We are going to work even harder now that the playoffs are about to start and outwork everyone all the way to another championship.
Yannick, thank you for taking your time to talk to EUROBASKET. We wish you all the best for the remaining season and your future.
Thank you very much and God bless!