Darryl Watkins (211-C-84, college: Syracuse, agency: Inception Sports) 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 Sacramen... [read more]
Darryl Watkins (211-C-84, college: Syracuse, agency: Inception Sports) 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 eurobasket after the exciting 81-79 win against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Champions league play.
Thanks Darryl for talking to eurobasket.com. 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.
Walter Hodge(183-PG-86, college: Florida) is a 30 year old 183cm point guard from the US Virgin Islands playing his seventh professional season and first season with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He is one of those rare players that won two NCAA titles with Florida in 2006 and 2007. He started his professional career in 2010 with Zastal Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) where he played three seasons winning the league title in 2013. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Laboral Ku... [read more]
Walter Hodge (183-PG-86, college: Florida) is a 30 year old 183cm point guard from the US Virgin Islands playing his seventh professional season and first season with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He is one of those rare players that won two NCAA titles with Florida in 2006 and 2007. He started his professional career in 2010 with Zastal Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) where he played three seasons winning the league title in 2013. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing Euroleague: 15 games: 7.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 3.1apg, 2FGP: 50.0%, 3FGP: 30.0%, FT: 91.3%; Liga Endesa: 15 games: 6.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 44.9%, 3FGP: 21.4%, FT: 85.0%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia-VTB) playing 33 games: Score-4 (16.4ppg), 2.3rpg, Assists-5 (6.3apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 84.9%; Eurocup: 18 games: 14.8ppg, 1.8rpg, Assists-4 (6.3apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 92.9%. Last season he played for Acqua Vitasnella Cantu (Italy-Serie A): 23 games: 11.9ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-3 (5.5apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 84.5%; FIBA Europe Cup: 8 games: 12.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 8.3apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 47.5%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 84.0%; Italian Serie A: 22 games: 11.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 5.5apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 53.1%, 3FGP: 29.7%, FT: 83.6%. He also stayed active during the summer playing five times in his home country league. He spoke to eurobasket before the Champions League clast against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Oldenburg.
Walter thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome to Germany. You have played in various international competitions in the last years, but never played against a German team. How excited are you to be in a new country playing the game that you love?
It is very exciting for me to be in Germany playing against Oldenburg. They are a very good team. I really like Germany and am enjoying my time as best as I can here.
Your playing your seventh professional season and have played in 8 countries. You have had the tendency to switch teams every season. Do you at times feel like a basketball globetrotter?
Well I played in Poland my first three years and then I played in Spain, Russia and Italy. Now I am in France. It is nice to travel a bit as a professional. Learn a new language and just enjoy your time there as best as possible.
Your playing your first season in France for ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). Your playing for the team of NBA superstar Tony Parker. How much dealings did you actually have with him during the contract negotiations?
Tony Parker was a big reason why I came to Asvel. He called me last summer and told me his plans for the team and me for the future. I liked what he said and decided that this was a great opportunity. He is a very serious guy and a great human being. I have a lot of respect for him.
Recently the Fraport Skyliners got your ex teammate Kwame Vaughn. What do you feel is his best asset on the court? Kwame is a very crafty guy, can score and is very good at changing speeds. He also is a very good defender. I think that overall he is a very good player.
Despite the team having much experience, do you still feel like one of the main leaders on the team? It seems like your play is guiding the team at the moment?
One of the main reasons why Asvel wanted me was for my leadership skills. They also need me to be able to create for others. We continue to get better as a team as we have added Demarcus Nelson.
You have played so many games in your career, but when you come to a new team and meet a guy like Darryl Watkins, can you remember playing him at Florida and beating him and Syracuse 75-70 or is remembering so many guys over time difficult?
I remembered Darryl from that game. The first time we met this season, I reminded him that we had beat him. I told him first that it was by 20, but then I remembered that Syracuse made a push at the end to come back. The game was my freshman year. We talk about that game every so often.
You just turned 30 and are having a very strong statistical season. Do you feel like that now you are in your prime and this could be one of your best seasons ever? I try to be my best every season. My main focus is too always keep working, stay healthy and not get hurt. I feel that we can have a huge season and win it all.
Last season you played in Italy with Cantu. Was the 4-5 combo of ex NBA players Jajuan Johnson and Kyrylo Fesenko the best front man that you have played with in your career?
Jajohn Johnson is one hell of a player and so athletic and Kyrylo Fesenko surely also one of the best that I ever played with, but I also played with two great players at Laboral with Tibor Pleiss and Andreas Nocioni.
After three strong seasons in Poland you made the jump in 2013 to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa). What was your most fondest Euroleague memory?
My sweetest Euroleague memory that season was beating Euroleague powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv twice with guys like Ricky Hickman and Tyrese Rice.
You played at Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa) with French national player Thomas Huertel and German national player Tibor Pleiss. What memories did you have of the competition level with the Huertel and are you surprised Pleiss didn't last in the NBA? I really liked Thomas Huertel. He was a very tough guy on the court. We made each other work so hard every day in practice. We became great friends. He is such a competitor and I respect that very much. Tibor is a great kid, but still needs to learn a lot. I think that he could play many years in the NBA. He can be his own enemy. He just needs to be mentally strong and then he could play many years there.
You played three seasons with Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) and won the Polish title in your third. A team with few Americans and a dominant Turow, what made your team so special?
The bonding that we had as a team made it so special. We all clicked at the right time and as the playoffs came, we were rolling as a team and everyone knew their roles. We had so much confidence in each other. Now they are a Polish powerhouse. My evolution with them was crazy
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Poland when you knew that you were far away from home?
The food and language a bit. I am a very picky eater and the first 4-5 months was difficult. It felt like I ate Mcdonalds every day. After then I found some restaurants and then all was perfect.
Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) retired your number in 2013. What exactly does this achievement mean to you in your career as a professional player?
It was crazy for me. When I arrived I said in an interview that I want to win the title. When I came there they had just advanced up to the first league and three years later we won the title. After my third year and title win, I decided to leave the team for Spain to have the opportunity to play Euroleague. They said they wanted to retire my jersey. At first I thought it was a joke, but it was true. This is a huge achievement for me.
You have played in Puerto Rico often the last summers like Kevin Hamilton always did. Are you more a game player in the summers getting good competition then having to do the tedious work outs without game practice?
Having a league like this at home is always great. I think playing in a league like this not only keeps me in shape, but also in rhythm. I did this for five years and it was perfect. Whenever I came back to Europe after playing in the Puerto Rico league, I had no adjustment time. If I only work out during the summers, I would have no rhythm when I came back. I remember many battles against Kevin Hamilton. We beat his team last summer in the semi-finals.
Any professional player would be happy to have one NCAA ring, but like German player Niels Giffey, you possess two rings. Is this a feat that you think about every day
Of course I do. The last time a team won back to back NCAA titles before we did with Florida was Duke in 1991 and 1992. Then we did it. It was just crazy.
When you look back at the two wins which one would you say was the more difficult to accomplish?
The most difficult was the first, because we were still learning how to win. The second one was so much more easy, because we knew how to do it. Our confidence the second time around was crazy.
Florida had so many amazing players that also later went to the NBA like Corey Brewer. Al Horford, Taurean Green, Joakim Noah or Marreese Speights. Which player in the two year NCAA run really had the most impact on you? Al Horford. Just how he pursued and played the game really impressed me. He was a beast.
How did head coach Billy Donovan groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He is one of the best coaches that I ever had. His best assets was how he was always able to prepare us best for each opponent and his motivation.
Who was the toughest player that you played against in the NCAA that went to the NBA? The toughest player I fought against was Jodie Meeks. He was always strong against us and always gave us trouble.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose?
Jordan, Shaq, Bird and Magic
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the alltime best debate against Michael Jordan? He is number three for me. He isn't before Jordan or Kobe. He might pass Kobe, but to get past Jordan, he needs that killer instinct.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy with the best power forwards to have ever played the game? I never liked his game, but I liked his passion and I respect him as a player. He is one of the best. He comes after Tim Duncan.
MKS Dabrowa Gornicza inks Roderick Trice, ex Ludwigsburg - 13 hours ago
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MKS Dabrowa Gornicza (TBL) signed 32-year old American shooting guard Roderick Trice (185-82kg-84, college: S.Carolina). He played last season at MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in German BBL league. In 29 games he had 11.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.6apg and 1.6spg (in top 2). A very impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Honorable Mention. Trice also played 15 games in Eurocup where he recorded 8.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.7apg and 2.2spg. The previous (14-15) season Trice played at S... [read more]
MKS Dabrowa Gornicza (TBL) signed 32-year old American shooting guard Roderick Trice (185-82kg-84, college: S.Carolina). He played last season at MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in German BBL league. In 29 games he had 11.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.6apg and 1.6spg (in top 2). A very impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Honorable Mention. Trice also played 15 games in Eurocup where he recorded 8.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.7apg and 2.2spg. The previous (14-15) season Trice played at Slask. In 32 TBL games he averaged 13.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.4apg and 1.9spg (in top 5). He helped them to make it to the Supercup final. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com Polish League All-Imports Team and Honorable Mention. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Trice's team was regular season runner-up in German 2.Bundesliga Pro A in 2008. He was also voted Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Player of the Year and Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Defensive Player of the Year back in 2008. Trice has played previously professionally in Poland (Energa Czarni). He attended University of South Carolina until 2006 and it will be his eleventh (!!!) season as a professional player.
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