Diante Watkins is a 24 year old 174cm point guard that will be playing his fourth professional season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He started his basketball career in 2009 with Daley CC (JUCO): 28 games: 26.5ppg, 5.8apg, 2.7rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 44%, 3Pts: 38%, FT: 86%. He then played two seasons with Robert Morris (NAIA) and as a senior played 27 games: 24.4ppg, 7.4apg, 3.0rpg, 2.1spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3Pts: 38.9%, FT: 82.7%. In 2013-2014 he started his professional basketball career with SC Rist Wedel where he played 30 games averaging 16.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 86.9%. He improved his play this season with SC Rist Wedel playing 32 games: Score-2(21.3ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-1(6.8apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 87.4%. He cleaned up the Eurobasket awards winning Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Honorable Mention -14, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -15, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -15. He spoke to German Hoops after getting signed by the Bayer Giants Leverkusen.
Diante thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Right now I’m in Chicago training and enjoying my family and friends! My birthday just passed two days ago I had a nice time so my summer is going great!
What has been your coolist summer experience on and off the court?
The coolest part has to be when I went to Las Vegas for vacation, it was a great time of relaxing! On the court has to be playing in the summer tournaments in Chicago, nothing like Chicago basketball it’s so competitive! And of course signing ProA.
Are any of your friends taking part in the NBA Summer League? Do you follow this competition?
Yea a few of them are playing in the summer league, I really haven’t followed it this summer because I’ve been focused on what I have to do!
What young player in the NBA Summer League do you see making a breakthrough in the NBA?
I think Jahil Okafor will have a great season I like his game and because he’s from Chicago Hahaaaa.
You had a great statistical season with SC Rist Wedel, but in the end all that counts is the title which you didn´t get. How tough was it digesting that final game?
It was really tough. It took a while for me to get over it! I wanted to win it so bad, that’s what we play for to win a championship!
When you look back at the game, do you blame yourself for maybe not doing even more for the team?
Yea all the time, I still feel that way! I should’ve made more shots, made better passes all those things come to my mind when I think about that game!
Congrats on your new contract with pro A team Bayer Giants Leverkusen. What where the main reasons for joining this team?
Thanks Miles, I think the style of play was one! The coach called me and told me his plans on offense and defense and I think it fits my style of play! Also I talked to Adonde Parker who played there and he told me it was a great place, as well as the opportunity to play in a higher league was a big reason!
Were you surprised that the Hamburg Towers didn´t contact you? There had been rumours that they were interested in your services?
Yes it was pretty shocking, especially since they are partners with Rist Wedel and were at some of our biggest games but I was told they weren’t looking for a PG so that’s understandable!
You have very experienced coaches with Achim Kuczmann and Hansi Gnad. Gnad played in the NCAA and won the 1993 European championships. He is a big man, but what do you think can a big man give a guard player on the court?
Well playing at a high level you can learn stuff from any coach! He can teach me the competitive edge of ProA!
How confident are you that you can make the next step in the German Pro A?
I’m more than confident I can make the jump to the Pro A I work hard during the summer and will be ready for the next step!
On what things will you be working on in the next month before training camp so you will be in perfect shape basketball wise to make an impact in the Pro A?
I’m working on my midrange and three point shot, also my floater and pick and roll game on offense! Defensively I’m running the hill and doing other things to make sure I’m in the best shape possible
You enjoy soccer. How excited are you be going to Leverkusen games this season?
When I heard they have a soccer team really close I’m really excited! I still haven’t been to a soccer game in Germany so I will make sure I see a few this season!
What is the state of Lebron James now in the summer of 2015? What does he still need to do to be mentioned in the same breath with Michael Jordan or is he there?
I think for him he just needs to win some championships! He proved this year in the finals he can lead a team he just didn’t have quite enough! If he wins 2 more championships he will be in the same breath with MJ.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I watched the Allen Iverson documentary.
Thanks Diante for the chat.