Diante Watkins is a 24 year old 174cm point guard that is playing his third professional season and second with SC Rist Wedel (Germany-ProB). He started his basketball career in 2009 with Daley CC (JUCO): 28 games: 26.5ppg, 5.8apg, 2.7rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 44%, 3Pts: 38%, FT: 86%. He then played two seasons with Robert Morris (NAIA) and as a senior played 27 games: 24.4ppg, 7.4apg, 3.0rpg, 2.1spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3Pts: 38.9%, FT: 82.7%. Last season for SC Rist Wedel (Germany-ProB) he played 30 games: 16.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 86.9%. He spoke to German Hoops before game two against Leipzig.
Diante thanks for talking to German Hoops SC Rist Wedel has the 1-0 lead against Leipzig. You celebrated a big 76-63 win. How motivated is the team to ending the series this weekend in Leipzig and not wanting a do or die game like you did against Schwelm?
Everything is going good, we are really motivated right now because we have a chance to end the series and get some extra rest instead of playing a tough game 3. This late in the season the fresher we can stay is the best so we are definitely going into this game 2 with a must win mentality.
It seems like some key facts is that SC Rist Wedel match up very well against Leipzig and have a deeper roster. It seems like You were given a tougher first round opponent with Schwelm for a good warmup and now you have had an easier time with Leipzig?
I think Leipzig is tougher than Schwelm, because they play more physical, they just aren’t that deep so we have a chance to tire them out! Schwelm was a good opponent as well.
SC Rist Wedel have stepped up their defense in the first four playoff games giving up an average of only 68 points per game. What has been the secret on the defensive end that has allowed the team to defend so well?
We are really taking pride in the defense, we understand this late in the season, it’s not going to be the offense that’s going to win the game. With the coach, and the group of guys we have we are just accepting the challenge as a team & working as a unit!
Did the Schwelm Johnson duo pose greater problems for SC Rist Wedel than what you expected as a team?
Johnson posed a lot of problems for us because we didn’t expect him to shoot so well from the field. We have a great scouting report on him, but throughout the series he made some really tough, contested shots!
You poured in 30 points in a do or die game against Schwelm. How many of these do or die games have you had in your career and have you always came out as the victor?
I played so bad in Schwelm I just wanted to help the team in a do or die. I think that was my 3rd do or die game in my pro career! I’m 2-1 right now, I lost in the semis last season to Oldenburg!
How valuable has the pickup of Brandon Spearman been? What has been his most asset that he has given to the club?
It’s been huge for our team, he gives us a huge lift at the wing position that we were missing on both defense and offense! I think his energy and his activity on the floor had been the best asset for us!
German Christop Roquette has been the second most consistent scorer on the team after you and American Denzell Erves has had a solid first season in the German Pro averaging 11,2ppg and 7,3rpg. How much fun has it been playing with these somewhat undersized guys?
It’s been a lot of fun because they are somewhat undersized but they bring two totally different things to the team! Roq is just so tough and his leadership is huge! He plays physical and just his passion to win is almost unmatched I love playing with him. Denzel is good too he runs the floor maybe faster than me and it’s a lot of fun to throw alley opps to him as well as seeing him out run guys down the floor after he gets rebounds is cool!
How well has young 19 year old German Rene Kindzeka developed this season? He has played mostly for SC Rist Wedel, but also played for Pro A team Hamburg Towers.
He has gotten better, his jump shot, his defense, you can see the growth in him from last season! Once he really learns how to use his athleticism he has a chance to be a really good player. I love playing with Rene he gives it his all every time he is on the court!
You have improved your stats form last season in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Was it just having that first season under your belt in the Pro B the reason why you have improved more or your hard work in the gym last summer?
I think it was just given the opportunity to run the team! Last season we had a lot of good players with Lee Jeka & Davey Hopkins so we all shared minutes. This season it’s pretty much my show, my minutes have gone up so my stats have gotten better this season and I think with my hard work in the summer is one of the reasons of course!
You have scored in double figures in 25 of 26 games and 20 points or more 18 times. Your worst game of the season was 2 points against Stahnsdorf where you shot 1/8. Is this a game that you have already forgotten or do you tend to go back often to this game in your thoughts about what you could have done better?
Of course that game comes up in my head, that was my worst game of my pro career! I always ask myself what I can do better, even after I have a good game!
How do you explain your huge increase to assists over last season. Your scoring more this season than last season and dishing out three assists more. Has head coach Michael Claxton just given you more trust this season?
Yea I think coach has trusted me with my decisions, and it’s showing, but the guys are making the shots so they are the reason my assist are up haha.
You have had many great games this season but where do you rate your 25 point 16 assist effort against Leipzig in the regular season?
I think that was maybe my best game of the season as far as picking my spots when to score and when to get my teammates involved!
Who will reach the 2015 NCAA final and win it?
I think it will be Kentucky vs Michigan State. I have Kentucky winning it all like most people haha
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Paid In Full was my last DVD I watched.
Thanks Diante for the chat.