Devin Booker
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

Devin Booker returned from a rather serious injury that kept him away from FC Bayern Munich’s action for three months. After a hard loss at the hands of Olympiacos (89-69), Bayern focuses on the game against FC Barcelona Lassa with a view to improving its 12-15 Euroleague record. The 28-year-old center and his teammates will try to keep the Bavarian hopes for the play-offs alive.

Booker, now on his third -and probably not final- season with Bayern (since he renewed his contract last summer), discusses with his team’s slim chances of getting a Euroleague play-off spot and emphasizes the impact of Derrick Williams on the organization. A player, who was chosen to the All-EuroCup First Team (2018) and was a BBL All-Star (2018), had a lot of interesting things to say.

Q: How is the situation right now for Bayern?

A: It’s a tough one. We needed that game. It was huge for us. We got off to a bad start from the beginning. We gave them too much confidence and dug ourselves a hole. It’s hard to get out of a hole against a good team like that.

Q: Rebounding was the key to Olympiacos winning easily?

A: It was one of the keys. Rebounds were included in our bad start of the game. A lot of things went wrong tonight and Olympiacos took full advantage of them.

Q: How was your duel against Nikola Milutinov and Zach LeDay?

A: They were huge tonight. They came out, played with a lot of confidence, had many shots to fall early on. We couldn’t figure out how to stop them on defense and they took advantage of it.

Q: Are you optimistic about your team’s future and prospects?

A: We can’t look too far ahead. We only focus on the next game. We’ll try to win Barcelona and we know it’s really difficult to qualify. There’s not much else to do but win.

Q: Overall, are you happy with the way Bayern competed in the 2018-19 Euroleague?

A: I’m not satisfied, but I’m definitely happy. We could have done a lot better than we are right now. We let some games slip away from us. The one against Olympiacos was huge for us and that’s why I’m not satisfied.

Q: Do you think your team is having a hard time in general, considering the fact that you have suffered two losses in the BBL over the last month?

A: It’s bad starts in the game that cost us a lot. Once we figure out what we need to do, we’ll take care of the situation and we’ll be alright.

Q: How are you feeling after being absent for a whole round in the Euroleague?

A: I’m still not at 100%, but I’m getting better every day. I’m trying to strengthen my legs and feet.

Q: You’ve played in most continental competitions so far, including the FIBA Europe Cup and the Eurocup. How is Euroleague for you?

A: It’s a tough competition. A lot of good teams with great guys, veterans who have been playing for many years in the league and know the game. This is my first time in Euroleague and there’s a lot of things I still have to figure out. Once I do that, I’ll be a lot better than I was this year.

Q: Which is the thing that troubles you the most?

A: As a team, we have to win as many games as possible. Individually, I have to put more effort myself. I want to help my team as much as possible.

Q: Was the win against Fenerbahce the highlight of Bayern this year?

A: For sure. That game proved that we can play with anybody in the league. Fenerbahce is a tough team. OF course, they were without Jan Vesely but it was a great game. We came out and played that night and that’s what we got to do every night.

Q: Before you decided to join Bayern Munich, you talked with Malcolm Delaney. Did you consult other players, like Derrick Williams, to do the same?

A: Not really. We didn’t talk before he came, but once he got here he gave great vibes to everyone, including myself. He’s a great player and I’m glad we got him on our team. He’s one of a kind. There’s a lot of guys that come from the NBA to play overseas, thinking that they are better than everyone else. But as soon as he came here, we felt positive vibes right away. He is continuing to give that off.

Q: Despite Derrick’s impact, I guess that the Serbian influence prevails over anything else.

A: Of course, coach Djordjevic and coach Radonjic have their own style of play. We are adjusting pretty well to the latter in order to get through the dark moment.

Q: What is the relationship with the fans in a soccer-crazy city like Munich? Do you get as much attention as the soccer team?

A: Not as much. Germany is a soccer-oriented country. The basketball team is still part of the club and the fans are great. They don’t support us as much as they support the soccer team, but I love them.

Q: Are you still getting mixed up with the NBA player under the same name?

A: For sure, all the time! I don’t know why it’s still happening.