Derek Wright Is a 28 year old 179cm point guard from Los Angeles, California that is playing his sixth professional season and first in Germany for SC Rasta Vechta. He started his basketball career in 2004 for Austin Peay St where he played until 2008 and as a senior played 35 games: 11.4ppg, 2.5rpg, AssistsOVC-4(4.7apg), StealsOVC-2(2.5spg), FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 40.2%, FTOVC-7(79.1%): Finished career ranked first all-time at APSU in steals (228), third in assists (487) and tied for first in school and conference history in games played (131). He came to Europe in 2009 and started his professional basketball career with BK Synthesia Pardubice (Czech Rep.-NBL) where he played until 2011. In the 2011-2012 season he played for Levharti Chomutov (Czech Rep.-NBL, starting five): 14 games: 17.9ppg, 5.1rpg, 4.6apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 26.6%, FT: 85.5%; then moved to BK Nova Hut Ostrava (Czech Rep.-NBL, starting five): 24 games: 11.6ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-4(4.6apg), Steals-4(2.1spg), FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 81.4%. In the 2012-2103 season he played for CS U-Mobitelco Cluj Napoca (Romania-Division A, starting five): 32 games: 14.6ppg, 4.2rpg, Assists-1(6.8apg), Steals-1(2.9spg), FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 81.4%. Last season he played for the Lions de Geneve (Switzerland-LNA): 3 games: 11.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.3apg, 1.7spg, in Nov.’13 moved to A.G.O Rethymno Aegean (Greece-A1): 19 games: 10.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 4.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 43.5%, FT: 80.5%. He spoke to German Hoopsbefore the game against the Giessen 46ers.
Derek thanks for talking to German Hoops. You got signed very late this season. Was the offers less than in previous years or just not the right ones?
I was just looking for a good situation. I recently got married and just wanted the best situation for my family.
SC Rasta Vechta needed a new point guard to replace Ahmad Smith. What sold you on joining SC Rasta Vechta?
I saw how professional the organization SC Rasta Vechta is. Head coach Stephan Arigbabu also convinced that coming to Vechta would be ideal. He told me that the team has a bright future and what its expectations were. He told me that he saw me as the right person that would help the team build.
The club is 2-1. You seemed to have made a rather quick adjustment to play. Has the many changes of scenery in the last years helped you in general have a knack for getting to know a new basketball environment better?
Yes I have played in a couple places the last years. However I have played for a long time and after awhile its always the same. You come into a new situation and you don´t know what to expect. Basketball is basketball so its just a matter of getting adjusted.
Offensively you have been scoring well, but have averaged 4,3 turnovers in your first three games. What has been the toughest adjustment for you so far on the offensive end?
I haven´t been myself yet, but that is because I came in late and missed preseason. I don’t have that game feel yet, but it is slowly coming back to me. My timing is off and fatigue sets in in certain situations and that effects you mentally. However my timing is slowly coming back.
SC Rasta Vechta is a very young team with two American rookies with Vince Bailey and Amir Carraway. You are the third oldest behind Chase Griffin and Max Weber. Do you see yourself being a leader type of guy as the season moves along and the team gets to know you better?
I have been vocal since I have been here. The young players have an ear open and are willing to learn. It is great to see that they take the advice. I also listen to them for advice. I hope that all will fall into place with this team. Everyone has their ears open and that makes everyone better.
You’re a very quick-footed PG, he’s an ideal quarterback for a run and shot game based on fast breaks. Defends very well on the perimeter, can steal lots of balls and has a good scoring range and accuracy, even from behind the 3pts arch. What is strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
A hidden strength is my ability to lead the team. I am like a coach on the floor that wants to help the team at all times. I first look to help the team be better and not myself first. I am a hard working player and feel that my effort to help the team get better on the offensive and defensive end gets overlooked.
The next opponent of SC Rasta Vechta are the Giessen 46ers that have won five of their last six games and are a very disciplined team. What will be key to winning the game?
Every team can beat each other in this league. We saw video on Giessen and they move the ball very well. We will have to play Vechta basketball. We have to communicate well on defense and just do what it takes to win.
What has been your early impression of Vechta head coach Stephan Arigbabu? Did you know that he played on the German national team with Dirk Nowitzki?
Yes I knew that before I came in. A teammate in Greece had played with him in Greece. He is a great guy and has a great personality. He really looks out for his players and is a guy that you can always talk to. He gives good advice and shows that he believes in you. I heard that he was a good player.
You had a stellar college career at Austin Peay State from 2004-2008. How did head coach David Loos get you prepared for a professional basketball career best?
Loos was very hard on me. I didn´t understand it as a freshman, but when I left I did. He taught me very much and how to lead a team. He always pushed me to the limit and he really helped me to understand the game better. He wanted me to go into games confident and just be the most consistent player on the court and just do what I do best. I actually spoke to him not to long ago.
How important was it for your start in Europe to play your first two seasons in the Czech Republic with Maurice Hampton for BK JIP Pardubice. How did your relationship grow from your college days into the professional years?
I met Maurice when I was 17 years old. When I visited Austin Peay St, he was my host. He went on to become one of my best friends. We still talk today. I came to the Czech Republic as a rookie and Maurice helped me so much. I didn´t know what to expect and it was hard to adapt from the American style of play to the European style. He was always there for me when I had tough situations. It was a great experience with him and I have the most respect for him.
You have played in many countries like the Czech Republic, Romania, Switzerland, and Greece. What style has fit your game most?
I think that the style that has fit me most was in Greece. There were many athletic players there that could shot and the game was in the open court that fit my style. It was great being able to find guys above the rim or being able to penetrate and dish the ball to the wings. I learned the most in Romania. My coach there really helped me to understand the point guard position best. I was able to use my quickness and passing best there.
You played last season in Greece for Agor. What memories do you have of the 103-79 loss to Olympiacos against Vassillis Spanoulis? You held your own scoring 10 points and dishing out eight assists in 22 minutes while he had five points and nine assists in 19 minutes.
Spanoulis is a great player. This was my first game in Greece. I was a bit nervous before the game, but when I got on the court I felt confident. It was like a dream for me to play against these great players and seeing an Acie Law who played in the NBA. Even though we lost, I hit shots and found my teammates. Spanoulis didn´t guard me the whole time though.
What was the craziest thing that you experienced in your short stay in Greece?
It was on the road. At halftime, we were walking back into the locker room and some fan threw a m-80 firecracker into the stands. It sounded like a bomb. You never knew what to expect in Greece. They had some crazy fans.
Who was the best player that you played against in the NCAA that is the NBA now?
When I was a senior, I played Derrick Rose who was a freshman. He wasn´t the best player on his team as it was Chris Douglas Roberts, but you knew that he would be great someday. When we played Memphis at the start of the season, Rose wasn´t as experienced as he would get towards the end. I was impressed how quick he was and how well he could finish for a freshman.
Where will the journey of the Los Angeles Lakers end this season?
It is tough. I don´t see them making the playoffs. They are rebuilding and missing some pieces. I hope they get those pieces. Kobe is old, but you can never count him out. I hope they can achieve something before he retires.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The Edge of Tomorrow.
Thanks Derek for the chat.