Darrell Tucker is a 32 year old 204cm power forward from Oakland, California that recently played in the Beko BBL for BG Goettingen. He played at USF from 1999-2003. He was the WAC Freshman of the Year in 2000. The American started his basketball career in 2003 and in this span has played in 10 countries. Some of the teams that he played for were Stade Clermontois Basket Auvergne (France-ProA), Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-DBL), Eiffel Towers Den Bosch (Holland-Eredivisie), Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA), or Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Premier League). He won the Dutch cup in 2008. He took some time to talk about basketball with German Hoops.
You have played all over the world in various leagues with The top German League being your most recent stop and what do you have to say about the top League in Germany?
The BBL is a well organized league and is extremely competitive. Every night in the BBL you must bring your ‘A’ game. From top to bottom this league is good.
How would you compare the Beko BBL with other leagues and Europe and how would you rate it against the others?
The Beko BBL is easily in my top 10 leagues regarding Europe. If I had to place it I would say the BBL is 6th on my list. From top to bottom this league is very competitive with good players. The BBL is a scouting league and each game feels like an intense Chess Match. Many games are won based on how well a team execute their offense and defense in the BBL. Compared to a French team/league where many games could be won on pure athleticism.
BG Gottingen which was managed by the Starting Five filed for Bankruptcy, how did this decision affect you and the rest of the players?
Well it affected us all terribly to be honest but it affected me more then others. As of today myself and another player has yet to be paid the remaining money on our contract for our labor. This really hurts me because I was promised on more the one occasion that I will receive all of my money. Basketball is my job, it is how I provide myself and my family with the necessities to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as food and a place to stay. It has been nearly 4 months since I have received any money.
How is this possible when the great fans of BG Gottingen donated the money for your salary before you arrived?
This is the million dollar question that I am wondering myself Miles. I am happy that you mentioned the fans because they are really the greatest fans in Germany. I wish I could tell them where to find the money they raised for me because I am missing more then half of it. Today I just received some shocking news, The German government has mistakenly given my money to another player. Keep in mind it was still significantly less then what they owe me.
Sorry to hear about the money problems with BG Gottingen. How do you plan to resolve this matter?
I think like many others, that it is only fair that I get paid for my labor on and off the court. So if I have to take legal action I will.
How difficult was it coming into a situation like BG Goettingen where the team was in last place and no real hope of staying in the league?
It was very difficult for me and it was a lot of pressure. Being the new guy on a losing team is tough because they are hoping that you are the missing piece to help them win Ball games. At the same time I was faced with the struggle of trying to find my way and rhythm on the court after being out for 8 months.
BG Goettingen had talent, but was it simply not enough talent to be able to stick with the other top Beko BBL teams each week?
You are right we had more then enough talent to win more then what we did and we proved that by beating Frankfurt. However, I was never a man of excuses but there are many reasons why we as a team couldn’t just get it going in my opinion. This team had to deal with a coaching change, although it was early in the season a change of the head coach could throw off a teams chemistry, this team had dealt with a tragic accident on the autobahn and many of the people who lost their lives rest in peace, and lastly we had a very young team with a few rookies. Experience is a key element in winning basketball games. A team needs youth but it needs older guys as well, the balance has to be right. Im not saying these are mainly the reasons why we lost but they do have a contribution to us losing.
You came in bringing a lot of experience. Were you disappointed that you only averaged 15 minutes per game?
Is was extremely disappointed that I only averaged 15 minutes per game. I worked hard, I didn’t miss one day of practice and as I got in great shape I was the first to enter the gym before practices. I was our best 3 point shooter percentage wise and I led us in field goal percentage as well. On defense I only given up 8 points in the post since arriving. Don’t get me wrong every player wants to play more but I knew as well as others that I deserved to play more.
Who was the best teammate that you had while playing for BG Goettingen?
The best teammate I had while playing for BG Goettingen was Vitalis Chikoko and I am sure everyone else on the team would say the same thing if they had to choose their best teammate. Vitah never complained as a teammate, he worked hard at his craft, and he is very unselfish on and off the court.
What was your sweetest memory of the sweet 62-61 win in Frankfurt? Did you know that the shot from Matt Bauscher was going in?
I have to say the sweetest moment was midway through the 4th quarter, as I was running down the court towards our basket, I looked over at our bench and everyone was anticipating and waiting to explode when we make our next shot. Sure enough we did and I ran back on defense all while looking at our bench go crazy and I said to myself, “WE GOT THIS”. That was the sweetest moment in the 62-61 win over a good Skyliners team. Of course I knew Matt’s shot was going in because I seen him do that time after time in practice. His shot was the icing on the cake to say the least.
Would BG Goettingen have won this game without your four three pointers?
Honestly its tough to say. I was locked in that night but so was Jerel Allen and Matt Bauscher. They could easily knock down the shots I made as well. Basketball is a team effort and there were other contributing factors besides me making 4 three pointer that allowed us to get the win.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Sean Evans?
Myself and Sean never played a 1 on 1 game but I am sure I would get him hahaha, and I know he thinks he would beat me. In fact Sean thinks he would beat everybody he is an extremely confident guy in his own abilities. At the end of the day Sean is Talented and can have a long career if he chooses to.
Where do you think that you will play next season? Would you return to the Beko BBL?
I have no idea where I am going to play next season. I leave that in Gods hands he has ordered my steps. If it is the BBL I know what to expect this time around I can tell you that much.
Who do you believe was the best player in the BBL this past season?
I would have to say PJ Tucker because not only did he have good statistics, but he led his team in winning a Championship.
The season before this one you played along side Isaiah Swann in the Top Israeli League what can you say about him as a person and teammate?
He is a great guy on and off the court. He is very competitive and wants to win at everything from basketball games to table tennis.
Several years ago you played for Euroleague Slovenia Power Union Olimpija. How was that experience for you especially playing against teams like Regal FC Barcelona?
It was great but definitely a learning lesson. At the time Barcelona was the best team in Europe. I was a rookie and my coach at the time assigned me to guard a guy by the name of Dejan Bodiroga. That night I found out why he was the best and is one of the greatest European ball players ever.
Who is a better player Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Durant and why?
Dirk because he is a champion. However, Durant is not far away and he has the potential to be better then Dirk as he gets older and he must win a ring.
How does a summer workout plan look like for you?
I have a pretty stressful workout regime. Six days a week I play 5 on 5 against local college players and pros at a nearby college from 9:45 am to 11:25 am. At 12:00 I travel to a separate gym and I perform the “Insanity” workout with my trainer. The only days I have off are Thursday and Sunday but most times on Thursday and Sunday we perform a light workout.
Who was the best player that you played against in the NCAA that might be in the NBA?
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Darrell for the chat.