Chris Denson is a 23 year old 188cm guard from Midland, Georgia that is playing his rookie season for the SPM Shoeters Den Bosch (Holland-Eredivisie). H eplayed at Auburn form 2010-2014 playing a total of 100 NCAA games. In his senior year he played 30 games averaging 19.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 26.5%, FT: 65.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurochallenge game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Chris thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. You have been to Germany before having played against ratiopharm Ulm, but what is your overall impression of the country and its basketball?
Basketball is big in Germany. Playing in Ulm was a great experience. I remember Ulm having a bigger arena than us and they had a crazy crowd.
You averaged 22 points in the two games against ratiopharm Ulm. You seemed to have their number. Could you imagine playing in the Beko BBL in the future a league that is a bit higher in skill level than the Dutch league.
I feel I could play in the Beko BBL down the road, but at the moment I am totally focused on my team the SPM Shoeters Den Bosch and we want to win as many games as possible and win the Dutch league.
You are a rookie playing for the SPM Shoeters Den Bosch. The club is in first place. It seems like each team has 2-3 skilled Americans and the rest Dutch players. Is it the three Americans that have made the difference for Den Bosch being in first place?
I think that we have very strong Americans with myself, Reggie Johnson who is a dominant big man and a talented floor general with Brandyn Curry. We do have very good pieces around us with many good Dutch veterans.
You are averaging 17ppg in the Dutch league and in Eurochallenge play. How happy have you been with your play and what main facet of your game can you improve?
I have been impressed with my game so far as a rookie and I am thankful that my hard work from last summer has paid off and that coach has self confidence in me to make plays. I feel that I need to improve my jump shot most. I rely too much on attacking and I believe that later teams will need me to shoot. I will continue to work very hard on my shot this summer and I feel when I got that down that no one will be able to guard me.
You are known as a player that can score the awkward shot in the penetration, but what is a hidden quality in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
My competitiveness is a hidden strength in my game. I have no fear and when I attack I do it no matter how big the defender is. I always want to win.
You have been given the nickname slippery as you once wore a spiderman suit under your uniform. You slither in the paint like a snake. To what NBA player could compare your penetration play to?
Yes that is right I slither to the basket. I like to make the tough shot. I also had a superman suit, but my teammates made fun of me so I got rid of it. I would compare that part of my game to Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. Those guys attack the paint with so much force and I try to mimic their game.
What kind of rookie relationship do you and Brandyn Curry have and how have you made each other better in your rookie seasons?
We have a very tight relationships and are roommates in Holland. We are always together and hardly go out. He has helped me a lot with my shot as he is a good volume shooter. I have made him better with my penetration and getting him open shots. I have the utmost respect for him.
What kind of experience has it been playing for Den Bosch head coach Samuel Jones. How much has it helped that he has American blood and how has he made you a better player in your first five months?
It definitely has helped that he is American and no translator is needed. I can talk to him about all things and I have a lot of respect for him. I am happy that he has the ultimate confidence in my game. He has helped me a lot with my jumper and also helped me with adjusting from the States to the European style and how to overcome getting a traveling call here.
Recently you shot 3/21 from the field against Leiden and Wert, but followed it up with a magnificent 22 point game against Amsterdam shooting 8/11. In college at times you forced things instead of letting the game come to you. Did you get back into old habits again in this short span?
Yes I did get back into old habits again. I was forcing too much and not letting the game come to me. Coach knew that I was frustrated and he calmed me down and told me to just let the game come to me.
There are so many talented guards coming out of college and tonight there are guys like Justin Cobbs, Sean Armand and yourself. What do you know about them and how excited are you about playing against young basketball blood?
I am very excited to be able to play against Cobbs and Armand and it will be a big challenge. I remember watching Justin Cobbs on TV when he played at the University of California. He is a very good guard. We watched film on them and we will have to be ready. If they get going it will be very tough. We will have to buckle down on defense.
When I say the name Quantez Robertson does that ring a bell? Is he an Auburn legend? What stories did you hear of him at Auburn?
Tez was leaving when I came to Auburn. He is an Auburn legend, a real competitor and very strong. This will be my first time playing against him and it will be a challenge.
When you get a chance to speak to him at the game what is the first thing that you want to ask him?
I have spoken to him in the past. But when I speak to him again I would ask him advice about how he has been able to have a good career in Germany. I look up to older players and hope I can progress like he did
Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said that you came to Auburn unprepared. How did he get you ready for a professional basketball career in your four years best?
When I came to Auburn I was very little and I had to get tough. Coach Barbee taught me defensive toughness. I came to Auburn not knowing much about defense just knowing to guard my man. I learned the help side and how to defend ball screens. Coach Barbee never gave up on me.
You came to Auburn not knowing how to defend. What kind of a defender would you call yourself today?
I would call myself an elite defender now. I was always good one on one, but it was just the other things. Basketball is a team game and I had to learn that. My help side defense is 100% right now.
You were the first Auburn player in 25 years to score 25 or more points in four plus games. With the talent coming into Auburn do you think that will be a record that will be stand for a while?
I don´t know. Their coach now is Bruce Pearl who runs a different system than when I was there. Auburn now plays more press and coach Pearl gets guys in and out. No Auburn player is averaging more than 29 minutes a game. If a player does break it I won´t be mad.
Who won a one on one in practice more you or KT Harrell?
We had our days. He has NBA game. When he is hot then he is hot. He got the best of me on some days and on other days I got the best of him. I would call it even.
You come from Georgia. Where will the journey of the Atlanta Hawks end this season and do you see German Dennis Schroeder being a NBA starter in the future?
The Atlanta Hawks are a playoff team, but I am not sure if they could win a seven game series. Dennis Schroeder can definitely become an NBA starter. I remember when he got drafted I thought who is he, but he is a very tough good player. You can see that he comes to play every night. He does the little things that help the Hawks win.
Who was the best player that you battled against in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Bradley Beal lit me up for 28 points.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Season 4 of the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.
Thanks Chris for the chat.