Dane Watts (Ratiopharm Ulm): I Think That John Bryant And I Will Compliment Each Other Well On The Court
Dane Watts is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Warrensburg that just completed his second season for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen averaging 13,7ppg, 7,6rpg and 1,1 apg. He played shortly in France recently for Hyeres-Toulon averaging 7,3ppg, 6,0rpg and 1,7apg. Recently he signedwith Ratiopharm Ulm for the 2011-2012 Beko BBL season. He played at Creighton (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 11.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3Pts: 42.5%, FT: 71.8%. In 2008, he came to Germany and started his professional basketball career with EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 32 games: 8.9ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP-1(68.4%), 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 68.7%. Last season, he played for The Walter Tigers Tuebingen playing 34 games: 10.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 71.0%. Watts sat down with German Hoops and talked about basketball and RatiopharmUlm.
The Walter Tigers Tuebingen missed the Beko BBL playoffs and you have had an extended summer. How has your summer been? What has been your most enjoyable non basketball experience so far?
I feel like my summer has been shorter than usual. After our last game in Berlin I went to Toulon France for 3 weeks and ended up playing as long as most BBL teams. We just had the 4th of July here and it was a great time. I got to see some family that I had not seen in a while, always great to be around loved ones.
The Brose Baskets Bamberg beat Alba Berlin 3-2 to win their second league title in a row. Are Beko BBL teams getting better? Will it be more difficult for Bamberg in the upcoming season or will they be even stronger if they continue to keep bulk of team?
I think that they have a great team. There is a saying “if its not broke, don’t fix it.” They have won twice in a row now and will be the favorites until proven different.
You had many offers in the Beko BBL. Why did you sign with Ratiopharm Ulm?
I did not think Ulm was really an option for me until I talked with the coach. Getting to meet Coach Thorsten Leibenath face to face and hear what his plans were for the team and how he saw me helping them was key. Getting to see the improvements they made to be a more professional club and give players the opportunities to get better (practice facility, new arena, etc.) was something that I was looking for in a club. They seem to have high goals and that is something that I strive for as well.
Gordon Herbert was interested in your services to bring to Frankfurt. Then he went to Alba Berlin. Did that ruin your chances of becoming a Skyliner?
Frankfurt is a place that I am sure many players would love to play, there was some interest there and the timing just didnt work out with him leaving. It is always tricky with a coaching change, something that I experienced in Ludwigsburg my first year. I have learned that there is different levels of interest from teams in the offseason, some want you more than others and Coach Thorsten made it clear to me from the beginning that he wanted to work with me, and that meant a lot.
Is it the food or landscape of the Schwaben land or why do you continue to stay there having played for cities like Ludwigsburg and Tuebingen?
I have enjoyed my time in the South these last 3 year and I am glad that I can continue to get Schwabien food. The people have been great to me and my family at every stop, that has meant a lot to us.
What do you expect from coach Thorsten Leibenath? Do you think that you will have a similar role as you had in Tuebingen?
I think that he will put players in a position to use there individual skills as best they can for the team. He mentioned that he liked my versatility so I hope that I will be able to further develop and show myself in the BBL in Ulm.
Ratiopharm Ulm will have a strong front court with John Bryant and yourself. How happy are you seeing Bryant bang with opponents instead of banging against you this season under the court?
He is a big fella and I felt some of his hits when we played them. I think that we will compliment each other well on the court and give each other opportunities to play our game.
Ratiopharm Ulm is still building the new team. You have never reached the Beko BBL playoffs. With guys like Per Guenter and Rocky Trice and John Bryant on board and Isaiah Swann also there, will Ratiopharm Ulm have a chance to make the playoffs?
There will be many teams competing for the playoffs like every year and now Munich is involved. Ulm has higher goals for the next few years and reaching the playoffs is part of that, I want to help them achieve that.
How far away is Dane Watts from playing for a team like Alba Berlin or Bamberg?
I guess you would have to ask the people at Alba and Bamberg. I will continue to prove myself and compete every night against the competition no matter what jersey I am wearing.
On what things will Dane Watts be working most on this summer in the gym?
Continue to strengthen what I do best and improve my versatility. Work on my ball handling. Stay conditioned for the season and add some new tricks.
What is your summary of the NBA lockout? Will both sides get this resolved soon?
It seems that the managers want more than the players can give, just like any agreement there has to be a middle ground. Seems like it is lopsided right now, one side will have to give in to the demands if the can’t come to mutual terms.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Watching the Pirates of the Caribbean series before I see the new one.
Thanks Dane for the chat.