Will Cummings (Aris Thessaloniki) Europe Is A Stepping Stone To Still Try And Make The NBA

Will Cummings is a 24 year old 188cm point guard from Jacksonville, Florida playing his second professional season and first with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) averaging 15,2ppg, 3,6rpg and 3,7apg in Champions League play. He played at Temple(NCAA) from 2011-2015 amassing a total of 111 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 80.8%. As a rookie last season he played for the  Houston Rockets (NBA), released in Oct.’15, then moved to Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 52 games: 20.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.7apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 53.7%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 78.5%, in Apr.’16 signed at Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg. he spoke to eurobasket recently after Aris had beat the Fraport Skyliners in Germany in Champions League action.

Welcome to Germany Will. Is this your first time in Germany? What do you know about the country and it´s basketball?

Yes that was my first time in Germany. I don’t really know too much about their basketball since this is really my first year playing basketball overseas. I just know Germany has great cities to live in and visit.

Do you have any other friends currently playing in Germany besides TJ DiLeo?

I think another former temple player Ryan Brooks might currently be playing in Germany. I know he has in the past.

Your playing your first complete season in Europe after being a rookie in the D-league last season and then played briefly with Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg. What was your wake up call to being in Europe for the first time and playing professional ball?

I would say my wake up call was playing against Milan in the first round of the Italian playoffs. Jumping right into an important and high level situation for your first experience forces you to learn quickly.

This season you are playing for Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1). You are playing in a very strong league with many talented imports from around the world. As a point guard what do you believe has been the biggest adjustment for you getting accustomed to the European game?

As a point guard I believe the biggest adjustment is learning the defenses that are being played in Europe. I played in the D league for a full season so you get accustomed to the amount of space on the court. In Europe everything is more compact so you have to find ways to still be affective with less space.

Currently the team is in sixth place in Greece and have a 8-4 record in the Champions League. What is the biggest difference for you in style and talent between the two leagues?

I would say the biggest difference is the refs from European games and Greece games.

Your rocking in both competitions in the Greek league as well as in the Champions League. Just from the stats would it be fair to say that you a scoring point guard first and playmaker second?

I don’t like to label myself. I leave that for other people evaluating my game. I just try to be affective and make plays in each game to help my team win.

When you were growing up who were your NBA role models and to what NBA player would you say does your game now resemble most?

Growing up my NBA role models were Allen Iverson and Chris Paul. I feel like I have a mixture of different players I resemble at different times. I feel like I have my own identity.

How valuable has your teammate Michael Jenkins been for in the first few months in terms of you getting accustomed to the league and life? Has he taken you a bit under your wing?

Mike has helped me a lot getting adjusted to life in Europe. Showing me the in and outs of just living on your own for a long period of time out of America.

How tough has it been with pronouncing the names of your teammates? Do you invent short nicknames for a guy like Vasilis Xanthopolous? But this name isn´t even that difficult because many of the Greek names have that Thopolous on the end?

The names haven’t been that difficult to pronounce but I have developed nicknames for all of them to eliminate me having to pronounce them.

 

How do you feel is your game improving on a daily basis when you go head to head each day with Xanthopolous in practice? Do you feel like your basketball IQ is at a different level than what it was before you came to Europe?

Going against Xanthopolous in practice has helped me because he has such a great feel for the game. He makes you figure out ways to try and out smart him. I do feel that I’m learning more. 

As a rookie in 2015 you played NBA Summer League with the Houston Rockets and then was signed and played six pre season games before getting waived. Every player I talk with that has been in a NBA training camp has had their story, but how was it with you. How did you learn in this month experience that at the end of the day basketball will always be a business no matter how talented you are?

NBA training camp was definitely and eye opener and showed me this basketball is business so it made me a lot stronger and mentally tougher to deal with my new lifestyle.

You were playing against a guy like Patrick Beverly who had played 5 years in Europe before making the jump to the NBA. When you compare your game to a guy like that what do you believe is still missing in your game to reach the NBA?

I don’t believe anything is really missing from my game to be in the NBA. I would like to be a more consistent pull up shooter but opportunity just has to be given.

Last season as a rookie you had a very strong season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 52 games: 20.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.7apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 53.7%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 78.5%. For a talented guy like you not scoring in double figures in 35 minutes per game is hard, but you still showed immense consistency doing it in all 52 games. Did you feel like you had deserved an NBA call up?

I definitely believe I deserved an NBA call up.

 

Last summer you played  NBA Summer League with the San Antonio Spurs. Is Europe a stepping stone for you to develop your game and continue to try for the NBA in the future?

Yes Europe is a stepping stone to still try and make the NBA.

You played at Temple(NCAA) from 2011-2015. How did head coach Fran Dunphy groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Fran Dunphy was the best thing that happened to my basketball career. He groomed me into a man and the tough player that I am today. I thank him for that.

You played two seasons with TJ DiLeo who is playing his 4th season in Germany. How annoying was his aggressive defense in practice every day and how do you believe did you profit from his presence on the floor?

I honestly can’t really remember practices back. So much time has passed.

You surely had many memorable games at temple8NCAA), but where do the back to back wins against Uconn and Memphis rank towards the end of your senior season?

Those back to back wins get thought about a lot. They are high on my list because I thought those two wins secured us into the NCAA tournament but we were robbed. Also, beating UCONN was on senior night. Having my whole family there was memorable.

You played against many great players in the NCAA, but what player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?

I didn´t have any.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Devin Coleman?

Great question.  I can’t remember but I’m sure I did haha.

Jacksonville seems to be a city that grooms future NFL players with very few basketball people as the most notable are Otis Smith and Dee Brown. If you could have a dinner with Dee Brown what would you want to most about his basketball experience he had?

I would want to know most about his workout habits and what he did to take himself to another level.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?

Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Kobe, Kareem 

Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?

MJ is the GOAT.

Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?

He is right there behind Tim Duncan

What was the last movie that you saw?

Last movie I saw was Kevin Hart what now? Comedy 

Thanks Will for the chat.

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