Interviews

Diante Watkins(Nurnberg Falcons BC) I Definitely Think I Can Play At The BBL Level And Make An Impact On A Team

Diante Watkins is a 26 year old 174cm point guard that finished his fourth professional season and first with the Nurnberg Falcons BC averaging 17,1ppg, 2,7rpg and 4,7apg. Last season an injury in pre season derailed his path playing for 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 in 2014-2015 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 gave German Hoops a season ending interview.

 

Diante thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been spending your post season time?

Hey Miles, im still in Nürnberg just relaxing I’ll stay in Europe until the end of the month and than go back to Chicago.

Nurnberg finished the season in 12th place with a 11-19 record. After reaching the Pro A playoffs last season, is it fair to say that this season was overall a disappointment?

I mean I don’t think it was a disappointment, but of course we wanted to make playoffs and have a better record, but we faced injuries which caused a lot of rotational problems so we were able to keep the team in ProA and that’s a positive.

Did losing six of seven games in October/November kind of set the tone for how the season would go in that it would be a struggle to reach the playoffs?

Yes those 2 months were tough for us and we lost a lot of really close games that we could’ve won.

The Nurnberg Falcons had one two game winning streak at the start of the season and one near the end. The club was simply to inconsistent. Why wasn´t the club a playoff team this season?

We just had ups and downs. It’s hard to say the exact thing.

 

I always felt that the team had the talent to score 80 points this season, but averaged only 73 points. Do you feel like the offensive potential was never really realized?

 

We just had games when we weren’t as consistent. From me to others.

Which German player do you feel improved the most from the start of camp until the last loss against Cologne?

I think Sebastian Schroeder improved throughout the season. He had a good year for us.

I saw German Moritz Sanders play in the NBBL and was overwhelmed by his talent and potential. This season he averaged 7,2ppg in the Pro A. Where do you see his basketball journey heading in the next few years?

 

I think he will be a really good player, he has big potential.

You led the team in scoring, assists and steals despite missing the entire last season due to injury. Despite not making the playoffs, how enjoyable was this season for you in terms of just being able to play again and play at a high level?

It felt good to just be back on the court showing I’m healthy and also showing I can play at this level.

 

The success of a team is often linked to how well the point guard can lead a team. What do you feel did you learn from this season that will help you in the next seasons in terms of leadership?

I learned a lot this season. I have to pay more attention to details. I think I lead by example so that won’t change.

You stated in an interview that we did last October that “I feel I’m better, I still have a lot of improving to do and I’m learning as I go”. What was your personal season summary in terms of how you developed in your first full Pro A season?

I feel I had a solid season but I had to be a little smarter I feel I had too many careless turnovers.

You finished the season averaging 3,6 turnovers per game and had a bad two game stretch in December where you had 15 turnovers in two contests and seven turnovers against Paderborn in January. You finished the season strong with only 14 turnovers in the last six games. Do you feel like getting to know the Pro A better helped you with reading defenses better?

Those were just really bad games I was just in a bad funk, it was nothing that the teams did special to force turnovers I was just playing really bad.

What is the next step for Diante Watkins? Do you feel as though you could make an even step next season with Nurnberg or another Pro A team, or would you try to go to another country?

It’s too early to say now I’m just focused on vacation for a few weeks and than seeing what will come my way.

You have seen enough BBL games and know enough guys playing at that level. Guys like Carlos Medlock and Carlton Guyton made the next step to the BBL this season. Could you make an impact at the BBL level?

I definitely think I can play at the BBL level and make an impact on a team.

What are your summer plans? Will you visit some place that you have never been to?

Right now I’m just going to go to Chicago and relax. Maybe I will visit somewhere

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`?

Yea it was a great story but I wish Kentucky would’ve won it all.

Now that the 2017 NCAA tournament is history, what do you concentrate most on? Are the NBA playoffs and MLB seasons something that you will follow?

Yea I’m interested in seeing how the Cavaliers will do in the playoffs. And I like baseball but I usually like watching the playoffs of sports.

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?

I think he’s a good player. He will be challenged in the NBA because of the antics of his father.

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?

No, I’ve followed it and the team is 33-8 when he has a triple double so it’s obviously helping his team win games!

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

 

I watched Blue Hill Avenue

 

Thanks Diante for the chat.

Deandre Lansdowne (Hamburg Towers) My Next Step Is To Be One Of The More Dominant Players In Pro A

Deandre Lansdowne is a 26 year old 187cm guard from Albuquerque, Mexico that completed his third professional season and first with the Hamburg Towers averaging 12,3ppg, 5,0rpg and 2,3apg. Last season he played with Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Pro B) playing 27 games: Score-2(22.9ppg), 8.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5(2.6spg), FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 66.5% He played college ball at Fort Lewis (NCAA2) and as a senior played 32 games averaging 15.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 50.7%. He then gained his first professional experience with Pioneros de Delicias (Mexico-Chihuahua Vive) before continuing career in Germany. He spoke to German Hoops after the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.

Deandre thanks for talking to German Hoops! Where are you at the moment and how has your few days been after the end of the season with the Pro A Hamburg Towers?

Thanks for having me again. Right now I am gearing up to head back to America. The last week has consisted mainly of relaxing, and hanging out with teammates before we all go our separate ways.

The Hamburg Towers made a furious run in the last weeks and just missed the playoffs landing in ninth place. The ambition of the Hamburg Towers is the BBL and one doesn´t always know if the goal is very soon or if the management wants to be there yesterday? After reaching the playoffs last season, was this season a disappointment?

Yes it’s always a disappointment when you don’t do as well in the standings as the season before. It took this team I think awhile to click, since there were only 3 returners.

How often do you feel will the bitter 82-81 loss to Crailsheim resurface in your memory? A win in Crailsheim could have been your ticket to the playoffs.

Yes it plays in my head from time to time. It hurt a lot, because that could’ve heighten ed our great late season playoff push. But as I say, that’s basketball. We had a lot of close games this season, some went out way, and some went the other. I wouldn’t say our season was defined solely off of that play.

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Chris Miller (Giessen Pointers) I Had To Mature Faster Than The Average Rookie

Chris Miller is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Brooklyn, New York that completed his rookie season in Germany with VfL Bensheim (2.Regionalliga). Before coming to Europe, he got semi-pro league experience in the states with the jamestown jackals. He played college ball at Salem international University and graduated in 2015. He spoke to German Hoops about his rookie season in Germany and before he signed with the Giessen Pointers.

Chris thanks for talking to German HoopsWhere are you at the moment and how is professional basketball life treating you as a rookie.

Hello, and thank you for having me. I am Currently in New York City In the gym crafting my game for next season. I am blessed, I get to do what I love and earn money from it, not many people can say that.

You have had a long rookie season as you went through the Ron Howard Hoops program last season and prompt got signed by German rRgionaliga two team Bensheim. Did your rookie season full fill your expectations of what it would be like in your first professional season?

It was a long journey to get to VFL Bensheim but overall I am happy with the way I have handled this year. I came in with the mindset to prove that I belong in this profession and I believe I achieved that goal.

Bensheim finished in ninth place out of 12 team and had a 10-12 record. You had a great rookie season being the MVP. Did your great stat season help lessen the tension of having a losing season?

Our season was very rough. In the beginning we had a full team and were seen as a contender. As the year went on we lost 7 players and a coach. I had to increase my level of play tremendously for my team to have a chance to win. I was looked at to score a bulk of the points, defend, assist. Basically be the “MR. Everything ” of the team kind of like Russel Westbrook this year. The outcome doesn’t look pretty on paper, but given the situation I was put in I feel I did a pretty good job.

What do you feel was missing from the Bensheim team that could have ended the season higher up in the standings?

Even being under manned we still found a way to compete. One of our biggest problems was scoring. Almost the whole season the opposing team would play box and 1 denying me the ball. We had trouble punishing teams with when they did that. I feel if we had one more guy who could go get a basket and another big man we would of won the league no question.

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Chase Adams (Uni Baskets Paderborn) I’ve Been On The Rollercoaster Ride Since College And I’m Ready To Keep Climbing

Chase Adams is a 28 year old 188cm point guard from Baltimore, Maryland that completed hiss econd season with the Uni Baskets Paderborn averaging 11,9ppg, 4,1rpg and 5,6apg. He started his basketball career at Centenary (NCAA) in 2006 where he played three seasons and a total of 89 NCAA games. As a senior he moved to Pittsburgh (NCAA). He turned professional in 2001 and played briefly in the ABA and in the UBL before making Germany his home as he played for teams like Dortmund, Bochum, and Science City Jena. He spoke to German Hoops after the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.

Chase thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how have you been able to digest the end of the season?

Still here in Germany switching gears directly into off-season grind mode. It was tough at first but realizing all that we accomplished in 2 seasons with the same roster is something special in itself. It’s best not to dwell on what “could’ve-would’ve-should’ve happened”. I’ll take all the positives and build on that momentum for my next steps.

Days after the season ended you were in the gym again with talented German Til Gloger. I guess you didn´t want this season and nice Paderborn run to stop?

It felt like we were just getting started and just like that it ended abruptly in the last two games. Only way to distract myself from that disappointment, at this point, is to start working on my weaknesses and health in this down time. The Paderborn run is a testament to what consistency , faith, and patience can do for you.

Congrats on helping Paderborn to their best season since 2012. In the end, you just missed reaching the playoffs. Do you feel like if the season would have had a few more games more that you would have reached the playoffs?

I wish we did have a few more games, I believe we would have been a sleeper in the playoffs. There was a lot of gas still left in the tank and we were still getting better.

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Braydon Hobbs (ratiopharm Ulm) FC Bayern Munich Was A Tough Loss But We Have Responded In The Right Way

Braydon Hobbs is a 27 year old 196cm point guard playing his third season in Germany and first with ratiopharm Ulm. Last season he played for the  Giessen 46ers playing 33 games averaging 10.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-3(1.7spg), FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 86.8%. Two seasons ago he played for  rent4office Nuernberg (Germany-ProA) where he averaged 11,9ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-4(5.9apg), Steals-2(1.9spg), FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 82.4% . He started his basketball career in 2008 with Bellarmine (NCAA2) playing a total of 133 games. He turned professional in 2012 and played for Caceres Basket (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 35 games: 7.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 87.9%. In 2013-2014 he played for Alba Fehervar (Hungary-A Division, starting five): Eurocup: 10 games: 11.9ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 52.3%; Hungarian League: 32 games: 9.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.4apg, Steals-2(2.3spg), FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 72.7%. He also played three summers professionally in Australia. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners.

 

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Braydon Hobbs when he played for NBC in the Pro A in Giessen after a playoff game in 2015

Braydon thanks for talking to German HoopsYou have spent your third Easter in a row in Germany. What have you learned to appreciate most about Easter in Germany that you haven´t had in the States?

Easter is always a good time of year, whether I’m in the US or in Germany. I appreciate the time I get with my family here in Germany though. A lot of the stores are closed on Friday and then again on Monday so it gives me a lot of time to spend with the family at home.

After winning 26 games in a row, you lost to FC Bayern Munich recently, but since beat Wurzburg and Giessen. Is basketball life back to normal in Ulm?

Basketball life is definitely back to normal after the loss. It was a tough loss, but I think we have responded in the right way.

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Jermel Kennedy (Worcester Wolves) You Can´t Be A Batman Everywhere You Play

Jermel Kennedy is a 27 year old 201cm forward from Toronto Canada that is currently playing with the Worcester Wolves (United Kingdom-BBL). Last season he played with Last season he played for Cocinas.com CB Clavijo Logrono (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 30 games averaging 5.6ppg, 3.1rpg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 16.0%, FT: 75.4%. Two seasons ago he played for AB Contern (Luxembourg-Total League), in Oct.’14 signed at Porvoon Tarmo (Finland-1st Division) playing 28 games averaging 18.0ppg, 9.3rpg, 2.7apg, Steals-2(2.3spg), FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 24.7%, FT: 72.9%. He played his rookie season in the German Pro B with TV Langen in 2013-2014 where he played 24 games averaging 16.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 23.3%, FT: 78.1%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Iowa Central Community College (NJCAA) playing 26 games: 4.3ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP:47.3%, FT: 57.1%. In 2009-2010, he played for Volunteer State Community College (NJCAA) playing  27 games: 11.7ppg, 8.2rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 26.0%, FT: 83.0%. He finished his college basketball career at Lander in 2012 playing two seasons there and as a senior played  27 games: 11.0ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 66.1%, FT: 70.5%. In 2013 he was drafted by Moncton Miracles (NBL Canada,1rd(6). He spoke to German Hoops before the game against London.

 

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Jermel Kennedy as a rookie with TV Langen in Germany in 2013

Jermel thanks for talking to German Hoops. It´s been a while since we last spoke in the summer of 2015. Since then you played in the Spain Leb Gold and now playing for the Worcester Wolves in the BBL in England. It may not be the BBL in Germany, but how blessed are you to be playing in this league?

Hey Miles appreciate you having me. I’m just grateful to be here and continue to do what I love that’s all its about Miles.

This will be your first Easter weekend in the UK plus you will be playing against the London Lions. What kind of Easter weekend on and off the court are you anticipating?

I’m expecting an eventful weekend hopefully taking care of business and keeping our win streak alive would be great. My sister is also visiting so I got a few things planned for her to see this weekend.

Currently the Worcester Wolves are one of the hottest team in the UK BBL having a 10 game winning streak. How good basketball life for you at the moment?

You know it’s going great we haven’t lost in over a month and things seem to be going very well for us. I feel like we have figured it out guys understand their roles a bit better this half of the season.

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Kruize Pinkins (Hebeisen White Wings) The Coaching Staff Brought My Game To Another Level

Kruize Pinkins is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Marianna, Florida that completed his second professional season with the Hebeisen White Wings. In his second season he averaged 17,9ppg, 9,5rpg and 2,5apg. He started his basketball career at Chipola (JUCO). He then played at USF (NCAA) from 2013-2015 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 65.0%. As a rookie last season with the Hebeisen White Wings he played 29 games averaging 13.1ppg, Reb-3(9.1rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 20.8%, FT: 68.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.

Kruize thanks for talking to German Hoops! Where are you at the moment and have you slowly got into your professional post season rhythm?

 I am always working on my game during the offseason as soon as our season finished I took a few days off and then started back working on things I need to improve.

It was a tale of two seasons for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. The second half was one too forget. How disappointed were you with how the second half went and how long did it take you to digest the season?

It was disappointing in that we had a few games that we let slip away but that is a part of basketball you have your ups and downs but I am thankful to have played with and be coached by a great group of guys. Guys never hung their heads and gave in when we could have.

In the last two months, I was checking the box score every Sunday night and just continued to see loss after loss. After January 28, Hanau only won one more game. If someone had told you on January 28th that the team would go 1-10 what would you have thought?

 I wouldn’t have believed it. But like I said basketball is full of ups and downs and lessons to be learned. I am sure everyone has learned from this and it will make them a better player and person in the future.

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