Darryl Watkins is a 31 year old 211cm center from Patterson, New Jersey that is playing his 10th professional season and second with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He started his basketball career with Syracuse (NCAA) in 2003 playing a total of 106NCAA games and as a senior in 2007 played 33 games averaging 8.1ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.2spg, 3.4bpg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 61.2%. As a rookie in 2007 he played 9 NBA games for the Sacramento Kings and also spent time in the D-league with Los Angeles and Iowa. In the 2008-2009 season he played for TianJin Rongcheng (China-CBA) playing 43 games averaging 20.7ppg, 14.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.7spg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 67.2%. In the 2009-2010 season he spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA). In the 2010-2011 he played with Sagesse – Al Hekmeh Beirut (Lebanon-Div.A) playing 27 games: 15.5ppg, 10.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.9spg, Blocks-5(1.4bpg), FGP: 57.8%, FT: 61.7%. Ion the 2011-2012 season he played with InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-Division A) playing Cyprus League: 14 games: 12.9ppg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 11.8ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 40.3%, FT: 70.8%, in Apr.’12 signed a 10-day contract with New Orleans Hornets (NBA) playing 5 games: 4.6ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2spg. In the 2012-2013 season he played with Lukoil Academik (Bulgaria-NBL): 37 games: 13.2ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-2(1.3bpg), FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 68.0%; EuroCup: 6 games: 12.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.5%, FT: 50.0%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 18pts, 15reb, 2blk, 1stl. In the 2013-2014 season he played with Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League): Eurocup: 10 games: 11.2ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, 1.4spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 51.2%, FT: 66.7%; Ethias League: 39 games: 10.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 53.4%, FT: 64.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (France-ProA) playing 34 games: 11.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-4(1.2bpg), FGP: 54.5%, FT: 70.6%. Last season he played with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA): 45 games: 8.4ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 49.5%, FT: 72.6%; FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games: 6.5ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.5%, FT: 71.1%. He spoke to German Hoops after the exciting 81-79 win against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Champions league play.
Thanks Darryl for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on a wild 81-79 win in Oldenburg. How motivated was the team not to lose again by a slim margin like last week against Varese?
Yes we came out very focused in Oldenburg, because we didn´t want to lose at the end again the way we did in Italy. We ended up getting a big win.
Did Asvel just want it more at the end showcasing effort and securing the Dragovic rebound and making the put back?
The loss last week in Italy was devastating so we tried to do anything possible to come out with a win against Oldenburg. I was very proud of our win in Oldenburg.
You are playing your second season with Asvel. Do you feel a lot of pressure having to defend your title from last season?
Anytime a team wins a title, they always have a harder time following it up the next season. We have a new team this season, but talented new players. We have to start to find a rhythm in the French Pro A and start winning more.
What made last season´s team so special? It seemed like the club had a lot of special players that filled their role correctly from the bench?
I think that last season´s team messed together well. We also liked to play together.
What an exciting 5 game series final against Strassburg. Strassburg was up 2-0, but Asvel came back and won the next three games. Was this the most exciting week that you ever had in your professional career?
Yes it was for me. It was my second season in France and to win the title was amazing. I also made the allstar team. We plan to repeat this season.
You won titles in Cyprus and Bulgaria as well, but did the France pro A title top all the others?
The title in France topped those simply because the France Pro A gets more recognition. People respect the France Pro A and it´s players more.
This season you are playing more minutes than last season. How is your role different this season from last season?
I have more of a focal point this season. I will try to fill my role as best as possible again.
You are known as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, but what do you feel has been something in your career that has not always been noticed much on the court?
I think my ability to come into a game and bring energy and to be able to change the momentum of the game gets overlooked.
Three seasons ago you played for Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League) with American Demond Mallet who finally retired at almost 40 years of age. Was he one of the biggest energy sparks that you ever played with?
Demond was a great guy and had great knowledge of the game which he helped me with. He also was able to let me comprehend what was expected me on the court at all times.
Were you and American Theron Smith the most dominant 4-5 duo during the season at TianJin Rongcheng (China-CBA) that you were ever involved with?
Yes he was. That was my first time overseas and I was still feeling my way around in a new environment. I came from being a big man on campus at Syracuse and now had a smaller role. Theorn motivated me to play and just to play what felt natural.
You had your time in the NBA with stints with the Kings and Hornets. What did you appreciate most about your short time in the NBA?
Just having the opportunity to be in the NBA and learn from the head coaches and assistants. They helped me develop my game to another level.
In your last game with the Hornets you scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds in 42 minutes in a loss to the Houston Rockets. Was this the proof in your own mind that you had what it took to be an NBA player?
I still think about this game. This game proved that I could do some things at the NBA level.
As a rookie you was with the Sacramento Kings. What was your wake up call to being in the NBA?
It was tough coming into a situation where I didn´t know how to fit into the system and to a team that was trying to get wins. They are still in this type of state today.
Did you have to do any jobs or deeds for the players as a rookie?
I had to bring donuts or fruit for guys like Mike Bibby and Ron Artest.
What kind of character was Ron Artest?
He was a totally different dude off the court, but on the court he just played. The way he played back in 2008 shows that he still has it today as he got a roster spot with the Lakers.
You played two seasons at Syracuse with sniper Andy Rautins. What was the most amazing thing you remember him doing in a game or practice concerning his shot?
Rautins made many ridiculous shots in my time there. I can´t really pinpoint one, because there were so many. When we needed a sniper, he came through for us.
How did head coach Jim Boeheim prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
He was successful teaching me how to play in a zone system. He was a big reason why I got a shot in the NBA.
What was your most memorable block in college that you can recollect?
I remember in my freshman year blocking a few guys from Pittsburgh who tried to dunk on me. I didn´t play much that game, but I came in toward the end of the game and played well.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that made it to the NBA?
The toughest guy I battled was Emeka Okafor of UCONN. He was a beast and won an NCAA title.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose?
Jordan, Magic, Shaq, Duncan.
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the all-time best debate against Michael Jordan?
Lebron is incomparable to Jordan. Jordan did so much. He won titles then walked away and came back and still won titles and dominated. That is hard to duplicate or go above and beyond.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy with the best power forwards to have ever played the game?
Garnett will go down as one of the greatest. He is a future hall of famer.
Many players comment that Tim Duncan was better.
It really depends what type of game you like. Garnett was all about energy and heart. Duncan didn´t show any emotion.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Now you see me 2.
Thanks Darryl for the chat.