Dane Watts is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Warrensburg, Missouri that will be entering his seventh professional season and first in Spain with Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain-Liga Endesa). He played at Creighton (NCAA) from 2004-2008 with NBA player Anthony Tolliver. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 11.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3Pts: 42.5%, FT: 71.8%. In 2008, he came to Germany and started his professional basketball career with EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 32 games: 8.9ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP-1(68.4%), 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 68.7%. In 2009-2010, he came to The Walter Tigers Tuebingen playing 34 games: 10.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 71.0%. In 2010-2011 for Tuebingen, he played 33 games: 13.7ppg, Reb-4(7.6rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 54.5%; in May’11 moved to Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA): 3 games: 7.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. He then played for ratiopharm Ulm from 2011-2013. Last season he played briefly for the Fraport Skyliners before another injury forced him to cut his season short. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Dane thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?
I am in Seville Spain getting acclimated to the team and new city.
The most important question is how are you? Last season you were only able to play four game for the Fraport Skyliners. You suffered a concussion in Ludwigsburg which very much shortended your season.
I am fully recovered from that unfortunate incident that cut my time short in Frankfurt. I don’t feel like the fans, management and team got a chance to see what I could fully bring to the club. There were a lot of injuries to the Skyliners that kept them from winning more games.
How difficult were the last 18 months? Your 2012-2013 season was cut short in Ulm where you had to rehab and come back and then in Frankfurt your stay was very abrupt. What did you learn in this time having to miss basketball on the court?
I learned who really cared about me as a person when I couldn’t perform as a player. I can’t thank for family enough for supporting me during this rough season in my career. My faith grew and gave me hope, I am not defined by what I do but who I am.
You have played for several coaches in Germany like Igor Perovic and Torsten Leibenath, but in your short time with the Fraport Skyliners, what important aspect about the game of basketball could you learn from Gordon Herbert?
I enjoyed working with Gordie, I know it was a difficult season for him with so many players with little experience but I appreciated his concepts for spacing on the court. Teaching reads and letting players make basketball plays.
Your exteammate Jacob Burtschi isn´t with the team now despite still being listed on the Fraport Skyliners roster. You had played against him for three seasons and last season was his teammate. If you look at him the basketball player and his charachter, what is still something that we haven´t seen from Jacob Burtschi that you could see still happening?
Jacob is a guy that helped the team in numerous ways. I was looking forward to playing with him and Andy Rautins in Frankfurt. I don’t know what the future holds for Burtschi but I wish him the best in his endeavors
You have signed with Spanish team Sevilla. Hoe blessed do you feel to be able to make the next step in your career and play in the second best basketball league in the world?
I am extremely blessed, I feel like God still has a purpose for me on the basketball court and I look forward to the competition in the ACB
Your agent did some outstanding work not only getting you signed after 18 months of injuries, but on top of that getting you to a team in Spain. Were you at first suprised when you were told that Sevilla wanted you or was your reaction more laid back like „Ok cool“?lol
I am working with a new agent who has been a friend of mine and he went to work right away to get me opportunities this summer into different markets. I was in Vegas training and got to workout with a lot of good players at Impact while numerous coaches and GMs watched. The new owner from Seville was there and the communication began.
You are 28 years old now. Do you feel that you are in your best basketball age? Do you see yourself putting higher expectations on yourself now that you will be playing in the Spain-Liga Endesa
I always have high expectations for myself, I have played at a high level in Europe with Ulm and look forward to the weekly challenges of the ACB
Looking at the roster, you have three American teammates that have been in some way affliated with the NBA. You played against former San Antonio Spur Derrick Byers when he played for Alba Berlin, Jerel Mcneil had a 10 day NBA contract with the Denver Nuggets and Xavier Thames was drafted by the Toronto Raptors. Do you feel somehwat in awe being around guys like this or did you already have that feeling in Ulm with Allan Ray?
Basketball is basketball and we are playing on the same court together. There will be a lot of eyes on this team with the young players with NBA potential as well as the players you mentioned. Practices will be daily battles
In Ludwigsburg and Tuebingen you were a central figure in the offense and in Ulm you were a role player while in Frankfurt you would have been a central figure in the offense. How do you see your role with Sevilla. What has been your impression so far as to what kind of a role you could have?
I have just arrived but I am sure that the team is relying on me for my leadership and European experience with such a young team.
How excited are you to be playing against FC Barcelona and Tibor Pleiss? This will be the third season of Pleiss in Spain and maybe his last before going tot he NBA. What memories do you have from Pleiss early in your BBL career? Did you ever think such a skinny kid then could get so far?
The main memory I have of Pleiss is catching the lob from Brian Roberts to beat us in the finals
You will be playing Eurocup with Sevilla and will have the chance to play against German teams like Bonn, Oldenburg, Bamberg or Artland. If you could pick one team that you would like to play against in the Eurocup who would you chose?
I will enjoy coming back to play anywhere in Germany, it will be a chance to play against a style I am familiar with and for the league/fans to see me in a new role.
When you were a rookie with ENBW Ludwigsburg, it was the last professional season of Brian Jones, Kelvin Gibbs and Brandon Woudstra. If you could describe each in a sentence from your memories with them how would you?
Brandon was maybe the best shooter I have played with in Europe and a big help to my transition living in Europe. kelvin aka “pamper” was another veteran that helped me transition from college to pro. Brian was our floor general that never got rattled on the court. All of those guys should have played a few more years in my opinion
Where will the NBA journey of the Cavs and Lebron and Kevin Love end this season?
If they don’t go to the Eastern conference finals it will be a failure. Health of Love and Kyrie will be big
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
I watched Spiderman 2 on the flight over.
Thanks Dane for the chat.