De´Mon Brooks is a 24 year old 202cm forward from Charlotte, North Carolina that is playing his third professional season and first in Germany with medi Bayreuth. He started his basketball career in 2010 with Davidson (NCAA) where he played until 2014playing a total of 123 NCAA games. As a senior he played 24 games averaging 17.3ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 56.4%, FT: 75.3%. He started his professional basketball career in 2014 with Givova Napoli Basket (Italy-A2 Gold): 17 games: 17.5ppg, 8.2rpg, 2FGP: 58.9%, 3FGP: 32.4%, FT: 77.6%, in Feb.’15 moved to Galil Gilboa (Israel-Winner League): 14 games: 9.3ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 69.6%. Last season he played with Orsi Derthona Basket Tortona (Italy-Serie A2, starting five): 39 games: 15.7ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 82.3%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners in Bayreuth.
Demon thanks for talking to German Hoops. A tough 83-65 loss against Brose Bamberg. How much did the big 28-18 first quarter kind of set the path for the visitors to victory?
Bamberg is a great team. They did a good job controlling the speed of the game and making us work hard for every shot on offense. We knew coming in that we needed to start strong. We just a trouble getting into a rhythm.
How disappointing was this loss? Medi Bayreuth played Bamberg tough in the first game losing only by 4 points and had chances to win. Bamberg won the rebounding battle, but you had 5 extra possessions with only 8 turnovers against a very tough defense. Where do you feel was this game lost?
It is always tough to lose no matter who the opponent is. Bamberg did a good job moving the ball getting great shots. Their efficiency on offense is what stood out this game.
If everything goes to plan then you should finish 4-1 or at least 3-2. Will that be enough to secure home court advantage in the playoffs?
Our goal right now is to take one game at a time and finish the season as strong as possible to obtain home court advantage. We have some tough opponents coming up, and in the BBL nothing is certain.
It has been a real fairytale season for medi Bayreuth as the team has gone beyond expectations. In our first interview at the start of the season you said this: “I think that we have a great team from top to bottom. We are very young and deep. We have a number of guys that can start on many other clubs. At the beginning stages we have many things we need to work on, however, I like our progress and where we are so far”. Out of your own opinion has the team played better than you could have imagined?
Compared to the beginning of the season we have come a long way as a team. I am not surprised about our results so far because everyone puts in the work and does their job really well from players to the coaching staff. But with that being said, we still have a ways to go to be ready for the playoffs and I think we have not reached our ceiling yet.
It really doesn´t matter who I talk to you, but the name Raoul Korner always comes up as being most responsible for the success. You said in our first interview “What I like about Coach Korner is that he really cares for everyone in his program and his attention to detail. There is no stone left unturned, but at the same time he knows how to communicate with his players to get the best out of us. To me he is a players coach and those are the type to create a winning environment”. What has been his formula that has made this team be so successful this season?
Coach Korner has done a great job developing everyones game this season. He gives us a lot of freedom on the court, however with that freedom comes responsibility as he holds everyone accountable. I think that balance has made a huge impact on our team’s chemistry and has led to our results that we have now.
Usually it is beneficial that players can do many things well on the court. However head coach Raoul Korner focused on getting players that did one thing very well. How much of a difference has this been for the success?
It makes a huge difference because as a team we are all confident in one another and our abilities. Having that confidence is key as team because you know, no matter what, we all have each other backs no matter the situation.
Having a very healthy team chemistry is always something that is very important for the success of any team in any sport. What has been extra special about this seasons medi Bayreuth team chemistry that has really stood out?
One thing special about this team that we are all good guys that really get along with one another. But in practice you would think we hate one another because everyone hates to lose. That competitiveness in practice has been a major key to our success as a team because by the time the games come around we know what to expect of one another.
In the last interview we discussed Kyan Anderson and Nate Linhart and this time I want to ask you about Josepth Lewis and Assem Marei. Lewis is a rookie and has played like a veteran, He leads the team in scoring and is the club´s best three point shooter. What do you feel has been most vital about his play that has brought the team to new heights this season?
Trey is a great player especially for a rookie. I have seen him do things that just make you shake your head sometimes. What makes Trey stand out is that he has good practice habits. Every times he steps on the court he goes 100 percent and takes no days off. He is constantly working on his game and perfecting his craft. The sky the limit for him.
Assem Marei also has played at a very high level. How do you feel has he developed further as a player and will he be able to raise his game even more in the playoffs?
Assem has been great for us all year long. His ability to rebound has always been on a high level, but now he has the ability to pass the ball. He is a monster down in the post so most teams have to double him. Being able to find the open man has made the team better and makes it easier for all of us on the offensive side of the ball. We still working on that 3 point range LOL.
You resigned very early and will play next season with medi Bayreuth. Besides the normal bla bla like liking the city, coach, teammates and being able to play internationally next season, what else was very important for remaining in Bayreuth?
Me and my family feel really comfortable here in Bayreuth. Being a professional basketball player overseas, the opportunity to have that stability and security is rare. You never know where you will be at next year. Going into the summer your mind is all over the place because you have no idea where you will be going next. Having that security for me and my family in place that we love and loves us back was the main reason I decided to stay in Bayreuth another year.
How pleased are you to be playing with 34 year old German Steev Wachalski again next season. Have you ever seen a better guy in basketball shape for his age?
Age is nothing but a number when it comes to Steve. He is a machine and one of the best shooters I have played with. Its so tough playing against him in practice because he makes the toughest shots and makes it looks so easy. Its great to have him as a teammates because he motivates me to get better and improve my game. Also with his experience it is great to be able to pick his brain about certain things.
In our interview at the start of the season you said, “Every time I step on the court I set expectations for myself to play at a high level on both ends. We have a team full of great individual talent”. You are averaging 12,4ppg and 3,5rpg. Have you been content with your season?
I never been too concerned about stats, but I am excited about our season so far. We still have a ways to go, but it is great to be on a team with so much excitement. No one expected this kind of season from us. I’m just glad to be a part of it all.
You aren´t the first or second scoring option on the team and don´t have the high scoring stats you had in Italy the last two seasons. In what other ways has your game been beneficial to the success of medi Bayreuth?
The BBL is a more competitive league compared to second division Italy so I knew coming in it would be different. In Italy I was the first option and had to put up huge numbers in order to be successful as a team. Here in Bayreuth I don’t have to do that because everyone here can score the ball. I try to focus on things that don’t show in the stat sheet like improving defensively, setting screens, and improving my spacing. These are the things that will help me in the long run to become a better player throughout my career.
The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners who you beat early in the season 72-56 on the road. They will be without key players Kwame Vaughn, Shavon Shields and Shawn Huff. Is there any danger that you will take the team too lightly without even really knowing it?
In this league there are no easy games. You have to bring your best every night or you will lose. Teams here are too talented to go through the motions. We will be focus for this game just like any other, especially after just losing to Bamberg.
The Fraport Skyliners are a lot better team then their record shows. They are out of the playoffs, but will defend hard until the end of the season. What will be key for getting the win?
Fraport is a good team and they are very tough defensively. Plus they have Robertson, Morrison, and English which are very good players. We will need to come out and control the tempo of the game from the beginning. The key of the game will be on defense and controlling the boards.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Yeah stat wise it is him and James Harden being a close second. I am not a stat guy but Lebon James is still the best in the NBA in my opinion.
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
No one has the mentality that Draymond has. So many players today put so much emphasis on scoring points. Green will do whatever it takes for his team to win no matter if its grabbing rebounds, getting others open, or kicking people in the mid section LOL. His value to the Warriors is not seen in the scoring column.
How special was the run of South Carolina at the 2017 NCAA tournament? Do you feel like this was the story of March Madness 2017`?
I think that’s what the NCAA Tournament is all about. You cannot predict the outcome of the tournament. Any team can win or lose on any given night, and people love to see underdogs come on top. It was great to see Both SC and UNC in the final 4 and represent the Carolinas on such huge platform.
Is Lonzo Ball the real thing? Do you feel like he will be able to develop further despite the antics of his father on social media?
To be honest I have not seen him play. From what I have heard he is really good and has the potential to be great, but only time will tell. I hope he becomes one of the great point guards in the league and he seems like a level headed kid. On the other hand his father is hilarious with the stuff he been saying. I just hope everything goes will with his career because with social media and everything going on today people can get out of hand.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
I love Westbrook’s game. I have not seen that kind of dog in someone since Allen Iverson was with the 76ers back in the day. The will he has to put the team on his back and do whatever it takes to win a game, especially after KD leaving the way he did is great to watch. I said it before the season he will average a trouble double. Its just crazy to actually see him get 42 of them.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks De´mon for the chat.