By Jeff Taylor
It can easily be argued that BG Göttingen's most influential player this season has been Taylor Rochestie.
The Californian feels right at home in Germany where this season he was named Newcomer of the Year in the Beko Basketball Bundesliga.
He's a big reason why the club just reeled off three straight domestic league victories in the space of five days and were, as of Thursday afternoon, at the summit with 24 wins and 10 defeats.
In Europe, Rochestie's been equally effective.
Averaging nearly 25 minutes per contest in the EuroChallenge, the 24-year-old has led the Violets in scoring at almost 14 points per game.
The 1.85m guard has been lethal from long range, drilling 38.3% (23 of 60).
Rochestie's done it at the other end of the floor as well, coming up with a team-high 19 steals.
The biggest statistic and really the only one that matters to Göttingen is the number of wins the team has managed.
They are riding a six-game winning streak and are 11-3 overall in the EuroChallenge.
Now comes their moment of truth.
Göttingen will host the Final Four this weekend.
"I think our fans have high expectations for us to win, because they truly support the team and want us to win," Rochestie said.
Rochestie doesn't believe being the hosts will be a burden.
"It doesn't bring us more pressure to host the tournament," Rochestie said.
"In fact, it gives us confidence knowing we play well at home and we have our whole town supporting us."
Rochestie gave this interview to Basketball World News for FIBA Europe.
Taylor, Germany is a long way from Santa Barbara, California, and from Washington State. How difficult was it to adjust to life off the court in Germany? Are you learning German?
Taylor Rochestie: Germany has been a very smooth transition, even being so far away from home. As a basketball player you get use to playing tournaments and being on different teams and traveling. My team has a lot of Americans, as well as having an American coach, so there was no culture shock when I first arrived cause everyone around me was from the States, and spoke English.
You seem to have had a smooth transition on the court. Is the style of game similar to what you were used to back in the United States?
Taylor Rochestie: As far as my transition on the court, the style of play is completely different from what I was used to in college, but that has been lot of fun to change it up, and has also made me evolve as a player. Having teammates that I like playing with has also made it a great transition and place to play, especially having it be my first year out.
Has anything surprised you about playing basketball in Germany's Beko BBL? How would you describe the fan interest at German league games, and what is the level of competition like?
Taylor Rochestie: The fans here are unbelievable! Göttingen and its fans have surpassed all of my expectations and I couldn't ask for a better home crowd and a better home court advantage! And it shows by our record at home this season!
Roanne are sure to be very difficult Final Four opponents. They only barely missed out on a place in the Eurocup and like Göttingen, Roanne have been excellent in the EuroChallenge. What do you consider the strength of that team?
Taylor Rochestie: Our opponents will be tough no matter who we play all weekend, and it is important to dictate the tempo, but more importantly play with passion and enjoy the opportunity that we have in front of us.
Göttingen coach John Patrick comes across as a very positive person. What's it like playing for him?
Taylor Rochestie: Playing for coach "JP" has been great. He gives the players a lot of confidence and allows them to play loose on offense which invites a positive swagger to our team, as we are always looking to attack. His awards alone this year show how good of a coach he is no matter what competition were competing in. He has given us a style of play that is fun and highly successful.
Looking back at your college experience as a freshman at Tulane, before you transferred to Washington State, you hit a shot from half-court at the half-time buzzer and you also hit some game-winning shots during your college career. What game, or games, really stand out for you from college?
Taylor Rochestie: In college, my senior night at Washington State, and each opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament, as well as my last game at UCLA standout more than the others. Overall I feel I have had a very fun ride!
As your hometown is Santa Barbara, California, is it safe to assume that you also like to go surfing? Did you play other sports growing up?
Taylor Rochestie: Growing up in Santa Barbara I wasn't a surfer, but I am very attached to the water. I love the ocean, pools, Jacuzzis' or any type of water really. There is nothing better than spending Christmas on the beach with my family.
When you're not playing basketball or looking at game films, sleeping or eating, how do you spend your time in Germany?
Taylor Rochestie: When I'm not playing ball I love to watch movies. Also I have been getting into some TV shows, but I have always loved to watch movies.
Who is your favorite basketball player and why?
Taylor Rochestie: I don't have a favorite basketball player, yet try to find inspiration and look up to many players at the top level. I guess I like rooting for the underdog, and the players that have really worked their way to the top without having much given to them.
What's next for Taylor Rochestie? Will you stay at Göttingen for another year or do you intend to play in other countries, or perhaps return home to the USA?
Taylor Rochestie: Who knows what's going to happen next year. I'm going to take it day by day and keep my trust in God. So I know I'm in good hands.