Derrick Byars is a 30 year old 201cm swingman that is playing his 8th professional season and first in Spain with Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain-Liga Endesa). He started his basketball career with Virginia in 2002 where he played until 2004. He then moved to Vanderbilt (NCAA) in 2005 where he played until 2007. In 2007 he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA,2rd(42). IN 2007-2008, he started his professional basketball career with the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), left in Oct.’07, in Nov.’07 moved to Koeln 99ers (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 4 games: 3.5ppg, 2.0rpg; ULEB Cup: 4 games: 6.3ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.0apg; released in Dec.’07, in Jan.’08 signed at Chorale de Roanne Basket (France-ProA, starting five): French League: 10 games: 8.8ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.1apg, 2FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 63.2%. In 2008-2009 he played for the Bakersfield Jam (D-League) playing 49 games: 17.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 75.6%. In 2009-2010 he played for the Chicago Bulls (NBA): only pre-season, in Nov.’09 moved to ALBA Berlin (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): German League: 31 games: 8.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 75.4%; EuroCup: 15 games: 7.7ppg, 2.2rpg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 70.0%. In 2010-2011 he played for Panellinios Athens (Greece-A1, starting five): Greek League: 5 games: 15.2ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 70.0%; EuroCup: 1 game: 6pts, 8reb, 1steal, in Jan.’11 moved to Bakersfield Jam (D-League, starting five): 33 games: 17.5ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 70.5%. In 2011 he played for Cholet Basket (France-ProA): Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 2pts, 1reb, 1steal; French League: 1 game: 9pts, 3reb, 1ast, 1steal, in Dec.’11 signed for $457,588 at Miami Heat (NBA), only pre-season, in Feb.’12 moved to Bakersfield Jam (D-League, starting five): 29 games: 15.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 81.6%; then agreed terms with San Antonio Spurs (NBA, starting five): 2 games: 5.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0spg. In 2012-2013 he played for the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), only pre-season, in Nov.’12 signed at ALBA Berlin (Germany-BBL, starting five): 13 games: 9.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 65.4%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 60.0%; Euroleague: 18 games: 6.7ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 46.5%, FT: 61.5%. Last season he played for Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), only pre-season, in Jan.’14 signed at Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB), left shortly, in Mar.’14 signed at Bakersfield Jam (D-League, starting five): 14 games: 12.4ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.9apg, 2FGP: 53.8%, 3FGP: 41.7%, FT: 50.0%, in Apr.’14 moved to Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): 10 games: 10.0ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 76.5%. He spoke to German Hoops on the eve of the eurocup game in Oldenburg against the EWE Baskets.
Derrick thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your back in Oldenburg. What memories do you have of playing here with your two years with Alba Berlin?
It is always a great environment in Oldenburg. The fans are terrific there and there was always a lot of energy. It is too bad that I won´t be playing in the new arena. Julius Jenkins who I still talk to today told me they play their Eurocup games in old arena for whatever reasons.
You played in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs and knows what it takes to get there. Rickey Paulding was drafted in 2004 by the Detroit Pistons. Do you think that he should of deserved a chance? He chose to become a legend in Oldenburg.
There is no question that Rickey Paulding could of played in the NBA. He chose to become that legend in Oldenburg. It always depends what guys want to do. Rickey Paulding has the shooting and athleticism of an NBA wing.
You are playing your first season in the best league after the NBA in Spain for Sevilla. Why do you think it took you so late in your career to play in Spain?
I can´t point a finger on that. I had good games in Eurocup and Euroleague against Spanish teams. It always has to do with exposure and I never had one place in my professional career that I could call home. Guys like Julius Jenkins and Rickey Paulding always played in the same place that they could call home. I am happy to be playing in Spain now
Sevilla started 0-2. What have been the reasons for the slow start of the club?
There have been a number of reasons why we have started off 0-2. We have been playing too soft. We have to tighten up on defense. We can´t allow to give up 100 points. We are a very young team and are still trying to find our chemistry.
It seems like the team is very talented at the guard position with guys like Jacob Pullen that played for FC Barcelona last season, or Xavier Thames that was drafted by the Toronto Raptors. Is the guard position the biggest strength of the team?
I think that we are equally balanced at every position. We have young prospects at every position and it is about applying hard nosed intensity throughout the game. We have a very good young point guard in Nikola Radicevic, but even with much talent, we aren´t winning now and that has to change.
With the exception of Berni Rodriguez who is the oldest on the team, you are the second oldest on the team? What exactly is your role and how much of a leadership role do you have?
Beni Rodriguez is our leader and has played many years in the best league in Germany. We really look to him for leadership. I also would like to see myself as a leader also. The core of our team is between 19-23 and we have to help them with our experience.
Ex Fraport Skyliner Dane Watts hasn´t got much minutes yet. Do you see him getting a bigger role as the season goes along?
I think his role will increase. Dane Watts doesn´t get discouraged easily, because he has a winners mind set and is always focused to play his role. Our coach just said the other day that he should of played Dane more in the first games.
What is it like playing for head coach Audie Norris? He played in the NBA in the 80s for the Portland Trailblazers. Is the American philosophy in Europe in general different than what an American coach has in the States?
It is great to play for him. He has so much experience from the States and also in Europe. I think that he uses a mix of basketball principles from the States and also in Europe.
Did you know Audie Norris´s nickname is atomic dog? Does that fit him?
Yes I knew about that nickname because he has it on his twitter. I have no idea why they call him that. I remember that there was a cartoon about atomic dog and George Clinton had a song by that name in the 80s.
What are your memories of Immanuel Mcelroy? What will you never forget from him?
I remember Imac fouling me every day in practice. No just kidding. He was one of the most physical guys that I ever played against
I will never forget your crushing dunk in the playoffs against Frankfurt in 2010 in Berlin. Do you remember that dunk and where would you rate it in your alltime best dunks?
Yes I do remember that dunk. The lane was open so I took it. There are many dunks on You Tube from me, but I thought that that was one of my better dunks. I had many nice dunks that season.
In five of your eight professional seasons you were in NBA training camps with teams like Philadelphia, Oklahoma, Chicago, San Antonio and Memphis. If you look back at all those experiences where were you closest?
I actually made the opening night roster of the Chicago Bulls in 2009. Because of financial reasons I had to go another way. I was the back up two guard to John Salmons in training camp.
You played two games with the San Antonio Spurs. What amazed you most about the player Tim Duncan which you would never have expected?
Nothing. Everything about Tim Duncan and how he was was how I expected it. What you see is what you get. Just how he carried himself showed how great of a professional he was. The greatest power forward of all time.
Who was the best player that you played against in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
The best player that I played against was Josh Howard who isn´t in the NBA anymore now. I think Glen Davis was the toughest guy I faced. He was incredible in college and a hard matchup
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was seven Powers with Will Smith that was on TV. It was a good movie.
Thanks Derrick for the chat.