Willy Manigat is a 26 year old 180cm point guard from Montreal, Canada that will be playing his third professional season and second in Germany and first with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. Last season he played for the Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (Germany-ProB, starting five): 8 games: 20.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.4apg, 3.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3Pts: 41.2%, FT: 81.6%, in Feb.’14 moved to New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig (Germany-BBL): 2 games: 3.0ppg. He started his basketball career in 2005 with the University of Ottawa (CIS). In 2007 he moved on to Carleton University (CIS) where he played until 2012 and as a senior played 28 games: 11.6ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 86.0%. He started his professional basketball career in 2012 for Summerside Storm (NBL): 36 games: 3.4ppg. He talked to German Hoops about basketball during the summer.
Thanks Willy for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how are you enjoying your summer?
Hey Miles, thank you to you and German Hoops for choosing me for this interview. I am currently in Ottawa, Canada, this is where I train for the summer at Carleton University where I attended school. My summer has been going by very quickly with all the training going on but so far so good.
You signed to play for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. How thrilled are you to be able to continue your career as well as staying in Germany?
I’m extremely happy with my return to Germany. When the season ended last year, one of my goals was to come back to Germany in order to continue building on the success of last season. I’m looking forward to this upcoming season with Bayer Giants Leverkusen.
How was the summer job market experience for you? Last season you signed late into the season in December 2013 to Braunschweig while this summer you got signed early. Did you have some offers to choose from or was Leverkusen your main choice?
The job market has been quite stressful as I’m sure most basketball players can relate to but I am extremely happy to be heading to Leverkusen. It’s the first time in my career that I’ve known where I was heading this early and can properly prepare for the upcoming season.
What sold you on coming to the Bayer Giants Leverkusen the most? The club has a rich history and the German Pro A is very competitive two things that you will experience this season?
Bayer Giants Leverkusen wasn’t a hard sell for me. I have heard great things about coach Kuczmann and the organization. I’m excited to get to Leverkusen as I’ve heard it’s a nice city to live in.
Last season you played for the Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (Germany-ProB) : 8 games: 20.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.4apg, 3.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3Pts: 41.2%, FT: 81.6%. What kind of experience was this for you coming from the CIS and NBL leagues?
Last year I really enjoyed my experience in the German ProB. It gave me a chance to show people what kind of player I am and can be. The CIS prepared me for the European game of the German proB which made the transition a lot easier for me.
You are obviously a scoring point guard, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
That to me is the most exciting part of the upcoming season. I get to show to people my ability to pass the ball and display my basketball IQ. I think scoring is something that comes naturally to me but it’s far from the only thing I can contribute, not to mention the pride I take on defense. I think the Leverkusen staff identified all those things in my game which led to their interest. I am a student of the game and loves watching film of myself and opponents. I’ve already watch a fair amount of full games of Bayer Giants of last year to start seeing myself in the system that we run.
Liviu Calin discovered Dennis Schroeder of the Atlanta Hawks on the Braunschweig playground. How important was he in your time in Braunschweig? How did your game grow under him?
Liviu Calin was extremely important in my time in Braunschweig. Him and I got along very well and he believed in me and from the start of my time there. He always encouraged me because he believes that I have the ability to play at the highest levels. Calin is also great at developing players and has great workouts that helped me improved in a lot of different aspect of the game.
You also played two games for Beko BBL team Braunschweig. You scored six points against Alba Berlin in 11 minutes. What do you remember most from this experience and how challenging was it battling against Alba Berlin point guard Cliff Hammonds?
What I remember most from that experience was just the opportunity to play again one of the top clubs in Europe. It was good to know that playing a high caliber team like Alba Berlin didn’t make me feel out of place in anyway. In a lot of ways I felt right where I belonged. What I remember the most about Cliff Hammonds was how strong he is physically. I’m a physical player myself but he was just a different strong. Definitely a could measuring stick moving forward.
You were a CIS tournament winner in 2011 and 2012 with Carleton. Which title was the sweetest for you?
The sweetest National championship to me was definitely the last one. We went undefeated against all Canadian competition as well as beating the majority of NCAA div1 competition we faced. It was a year where everything was in sync. We were a well oiled machine.
When you were at Carleton did the name Osvaldo Jeanty ever mentioned? He played many years in Germany and was known for his pinpoint three point shooting.
Many people don’t know this but I’ve now know Os for most of my life. My older brother and him grew up together we’re great friends. He is in many ways the reason why I started taking basketball seriously. In the summer we still train and play together almost every day. He has mentored me since my days in high school and he continues to be just that. I owe a lot to that guy and is one of my closest friends.
As a rookie you played for the Summerside Storm (NBL): 36 games: 3.4ppg. You didn´t get much playing time and you were on a team infested with Americans. How difficult was this rookie season for you? Did you ever have any doubts about continuing your basketball career? Who has been your biggest basketball supporter?
My rookie season was extremely difficult for me. It was filled with a lot of down but for me those times build character and test the kind of person you are. I used that rookie season as a year to just get stronger and to learn from a good group of vets we had. Our team was one with a lot of experience and depth. My teammates and guys like Brandon Robinson who played last year at Chemnitz and had a great year in the Pro A were very encouraging and believed in what I could do.
How does a normal Willy Manigat work out day look like on and off the court?
I usually start a normal day by going to the gym around 7am and shooting anywhere between 500-1000 stand still midrange and 3s. Then I go home to eat and to relax until I go back to the gym at noon. At noon I usually do more ball handling and off the dribble and off screen shooting for an hour and bit. Go back home again for some rest and food before I meet up with my personal trainer around 3:30 for weights, conditioning and agility work. Then to cap of the day at Carleton university I scrimmage with the team and Osvaldo from 6-8 everyday. I usually take the weekend off to rest my body from the grind of the week.
Montreal being a ice hockey crazed town what is more weird having Willy Manigat the basketball player or Eugene Bouchard the tennis player making a name in the world?
I’m born in Montreal but this august marks my 20th year living in Ottawa. Therefore my home is and has for a long time been Ottawa.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Think like a man Too with Kevin Hart. I don’t really watch DVDs. I’m more into tv shows for the most part.
Thanks Willy for the chat