Tony Watson is a 188cm guard from Riviera beach that will be starting his rookie season in the PRO A with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He played four years at Buffalo(NCAA) from 2009-2013 playing a total of 107 NCAA games. In his senior year he played 31 games: 11.3ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 87.5%. German Hoops gave the American a welcome to Germany interview.
Tony thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on your new job with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. What were the main reasons for taking this offer?
Leverkusen offered me a great opportunity to play for a well-known club that has had a lot of success, which is important to me as a rookie. The Giants have also been known for having excellent players at the point guard position and that is a trend I wish to continue. The coaching staff has get experience and knowledge that will improve my game. It is also a great city that I will be able to adapt to easily all while playing the sport I love.
Do you feel a lot of pressure having to step into the foot steps of MVP Josh Parker who moved up 2 leagues to the top German league Beko BBL?
Josh is an excellent player and did a ton for the Giants last season, but I don’t really feel any pressure on filling Josh’s shoes. We have actually talked a little bit about the Giants and he has given me a lot of advice. His main point was to just go out there and play your game and the rest will take care of itself.
You had a stellar career at Palm beach Gardens high school in Florida. Was there a particular reason why you chose to go to Buffalo and endure long hard winters?
Buffalo is an excellent school both academically and athletically and that was very important on my decision. I also saw it as an opportunity to see other parts of America while playing for a tremendous coaching staff. The winters were tough, especially since I only seen snow once before, but it was worth the experience.
You had a very solid senior season averaging 11.3ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 87.5%. Your good three point shooting and free throw shooting really stand out, but what is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?
I believe my biggest strength is my IQ of the game. I’m a coach’s son, so I was raised in a gym. I believe that part of my game is the most important part as well as my passing ability, which is crucial at the point position.
You had Reggie Witherspoon as coach for all four seasons before he was let go on March 2013. What was the most important thing that you learned form him that has prepared you for the next step as a professional basketball player?
Coach has really improved my mental aspects of the game. For example, how to handle adversity, how to stay confident through slopes and how to lead a team and I will bring what I learned from coach Witherspoon to the Giants.
Are you a bit sad that you wont experience ex NBA player Bobby Hurlely as coach who was named at the end of the season?
Coach Hurley was a great pick up for the Bulls. I had a chance to get to know coach over the past couple months since he’s been hired. I wouldn’t say I will be sad, only because I was able to play for great coach for 4 years.
A game that you might nor forget so quickly was the 54-39 loss to Temple. Were you guys building a house with rotten bricks on that day?
Yeah, that game was one of those games where either team couldn´t really get it going offensively. We knew were going to have to grind that game out in order to win but we just couldn’t make enough plays offensive.
In that game you played against T.J Dileo who you will play against this season as he plays with the Giessen 46ers. What do you remember from his game and how excited are to see NCAA players now in the pro ranks?
T.J. was a solid player and especially on defense. I’ll be excited to play against him this coming season as well as the rest of NCAA players who have made it to the pro ranks.
Two guys that played at Buffalo(NCAA) German Yassin Idbihi and Lou Campbell have played much in Germany. What have you been told over the years about what they accompliced at Buffalo and as pros?
I have heard countless stories of both, especially Yassin. Buffalo was very successful when he was there and his abilities played a big role in that success. Their accomplishments have paved the way for later players like me.
How does a normal Tony Watson work out day look like in the summer?
My workouts are broken up into two intense workouts. I wake up in the morning at 6:30am to do a skills workout, a lot shooting, ball handling, and using screens. Than later in the day at 1 I lift. Mostly explosive lifts and muscle building workouts with a lot of core work. And some nights I play open gym with current of former college players and pros.
Your favorite player is Lebron James. After winning his second NBA title in a row, do you believe that the Lebron haters will quiet down a bit now?
I do think they will quiet a little bit and I have actually seen a lot of haters converting to fans.
Who would win a one on one in practice you or Jarod Oldham?
I actually consider myself a very good one on one player. Jarod Oldham has never beat me in a one on one game. The only teammate to ever beat me was Javon McCrea, who has the potential to play in the NBA.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was ‘The Heat’ with Sandra Bullock. It was really funny. I plan on seeing a lot more movies this summer though.
Thanks for the chat Tony