Drew Williamson is a 25 year old 183cm guard from Burlington, North Carolina. He played at ODU from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 33 games averaging 11.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.3apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 41.8%, 3Pts: 35.0%, FT: 72.6%. He was the CAA Regular Season Champion in 2005 and reached the NIT Final Four in 2006. In 2007-2008, he came to Germany as a rookie and played for Mitteldeutscher BC playing 9 games: 13.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.6apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 72.2%. Last season, he played for Science City Jena playing 30 games averaging 12.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 4.3apg, Steals-4(2.2spg), FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 83.3%. Drew took some time to speak to German Hoops.
Drew, how tough was it sitting at home in North Carolina and not finding a team until late into the new season?
Sitting at home was very tough. I was so confused at why I couldn’t find a team, and what made everything so bad is that I really had no control over anything. Everybody that I was playing in summer leagues with had all found teams and gone back already. It was just me and one of my friends still at home waiting and working out trying to stay positive.
Ricky Hickman had the same problem, but found a team in Finland. Do you as professional players help each other get through the hard times, especially that you two guys lived not far away in the same state?
As professional basketball players we do try to help each other with a lot of different situations. It’s quite a few of us from North Carolina that play basketball over here, and we keep in contact with each other and see how each other are doing. I spoke to Ricky a lot over last season and a little bit over the summer. I’m glad he finally found a team and I’m glad that he is playing so well over in Finland.
Why do you think that it took so long this season after you had a strong statistical year at Science City Jena averaging 12.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 4.3apg, Steals-4(2.2spg), FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 83.3% ?
It was so frustrating to be at home and not know exactly why it took a team so long to show interest in me. I was trying to figure out why that was, and I felt like I didn’t have as strong of a second half of the season as the first half was. So I want to try to stay as consistent as possible this season.
How did your offseason training regimen look like. How fit were you coming into your new situation in Bayreuth?
I was in pretty good shape. I played basketball all summer, and I worked at least once a day, and some days even twice. It started to get a little frustrating after not having a team, but I tried to continue to stay positive and keep working out as much as possible. I wanted to make sure I was ready if and when I got the call.
Didn´t you get any other offers from teams in Europe that were worth taking?
It was really bad and frustrating for me this summer, because I really didn’t ever have anything solid over the entire summer. I had something in Poland that fell through and that was pretty much it.
How easy was taking the job with top PRO A team Bayreuth knowing you were coming in as a backup to Thomas Jackson?
It wasn’t that hard. I spoke with them and they told me what they had in mind for me as a backup PG. I was so anxious to get back over here and start playing. I really felt this could be a good situation, because the organization is very professional and they really want to move up to the BBL next season.
How exactly does your role look like? What does coach Andreas Wagner expect you to do foremost? Do you have the chance to fight for the starting job?
They were pretty straight forward with me when I spoke with them. They told me that I would be the backup PG. They didn’t say anything about how many minutes that I would play. Coach told me when I talked to him that they really wanted me to come and be a part of the team, and that went a long way with my decision to come. I don’t expect my stats to change that much, but it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to WIN. Hopefully we can keep doing that.
How happy are you with your momentary stats of 5,0ppg, 1,2rpg and 2,4apg in 18 minutes? I guess its hard to build on the stats with so much scoring on the team?
We do have a really good team, but there are plenty other good teams in the Pro A. For us as team though, we really do work hard and try to treat every game like a playoff game. We have a lot experienced players and we all realize how important each and every game is since there is no playoffs.
The team is 10-0 in German PRO A? Why has the team rolled over all the opponents? It can´t only be that the talent level is higher is it?
I’m not sure. It is still a long season. I think we have a chance to do some special things, if we all can stay focused and continue to work hard. 30-0 will be tough, but we will just have to wait and see how we can continue out the rest of the year.
The goal of BBC Bayreuth is moving up to the BEKO BBL and it seems like they are already preparing for that. How professional wise is the club run and what is the biggest difference to Science City Jena?
The club is very professional. I am still amazed sometime how professional this entire organization is. The main goal is to definitely move up to the BBL.
You are reunited again with your ex coach Sean McCaw who is a youth coach with Bayreuth. How much easier was the transition having a known face in the organization and what do you like most about him?
Yeah, Sean played a vital part of getting me out here to Bayreuth. It was definitely good knowing that I would already know one person in Bayreuth when I got here. Sean is a really good guy. He is really straight forward and he will help you out as much as he can.
You beat most teams quite easily even though the last two wins were a bit closer. What are is the biggest strength that the club has?
I think our biggest strengths as a team is our experience, and our depth. We have a really deep rotation, and have many guys that can contribute in many different ways.
BBC Bayreuth has many talented Americans, but I think the unsung hero of the team so far is Emeka Erege, who has delivered valuable stats and team play. What do you respect most about the ex Ulm player?
Emeka is a really good player. He helps our team out in so many different ways. If its rebounding, scoring or playing defensive. I really respect his ability to be a leader. He doesn’t always say much, but every once in a while he will speak up during a game. He has first league experience so its always good to have somebody like Em to be around. He knows what it takes to be successful at the highest level in Germany.
Another young German who is really playing solid is Jermain Raffington. Could he strengthen his role even more this season?
Jermaine is also a really good player. I think Jermaine still has the potential to get even better, and he is already really good. A big man that can play inside and outside, solid rebounder, and a good defender. I think he will continue to get better.
What is it like living in Bayreuth? What are the major differences to when you were living in Jena which had a big building that one could not miss and in Weissenfels?
Bayreuth reminds me of Jena in many ways. Besides the big building in Jena. The city is not too big and its not to small either. I’ve enjoyed the town ever since I’ve been here.
How healthy is the competition on the court with Thomas Jackson. You guys face each other each day in practice. Who wins a one on one duel?
Me and TJ just try to make each other better every day in practice. Whenever we play 5 on 5 in practice, they are pretty competitive at every position. At every position from the guard to the the center, it is really competitive in practice.
What tips can you give to young Americans coming out of college that want to play in Germany?
I think the best tip that I could give someone coming out of college, is to tell them, “ Make sure that you really love the game of basketball”. Its pretty tough if you don’t love to workout, and practice. Basketball is your life. Its not like college where you have classes to go to and then practice. Its practice in the morning and then practice again at night.
Who are your top picks to win the 2010 NBA title?
I think its going to be a good NBA playoffs this season. There are so many good teams, and teams that made some good pickups over the offseason. I think its going to be between the Lakers and Celtics. I also think Denver, Cleveland, Orlando have a chance too.
What was the last DVD that you saw?
The last DVD I watch was “The Soloist” with Jamie Foxx, and Robert Downey Jr.
Thanks Drew for the chat! Good luck in the quest to reach The BEKO BBL.