Will Barnes is a 27 year old 185cm point guard from Tuscaloosa, Alabama that recently completed his second professional season and first with the Hamburg Towers. With Hamburg he played 28 games averaging 13.8ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 77.1% He started his basketball career in 2006 for Tennessee Tech (NCAA) where he played a total of 98 NCAA games. In 2012-2013 he played at Lee (NAIA) playing 34 games: 20.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 77.7%. Last season as a rookie he played for the Finke Baskets playing 29 games: Score-3(18.8ppg), 3.5rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 64.3%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to German Hoops after the end of the 2014-2015 season.
Will thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been enjoying your summer so far?
Hello Miles, all is well my way! I am actually still in Hamburg training with a trainer and working out. I fly back to America next weekend
You just completed your second season in Germany and first with new team Hamburg Towers. How content were you with the teams performance?
I was pleased overall with our season. It was a great accomplishment to reach the playoffs in our first year existing as a club. But at the same time, I feel we let a lot of games slip away that if we would have won, we would’ve avoided the 8th spot.
You didn´t play in the playoffs because you were injured. Was that experience and all around player in you missing in the series against Wurzburg?
Yes I could tell from game 1 that my presence was missed in the series against Wurzburg. The pressure I could’ve put on their defense would have made it a different series. They just sat back in zone mostly.
How are you at the moment physically? Will you be ready to play next season wherever you play?
Physically, I am doing extremely well. Staying here in Germany and working with professionals to recover and rehab correctly has me at 100 as of today! Honestly, my injury is being blown out of proportion. It was basically a sprained knee. The training and rehabilitation I went through has me feeling very strong physically. The timing of the injury just came at the worst time possibly. It was something to deal with but all in all it made me stronger.
Hamburg made the playoffs, started to sell out the new arena halfway through the season and brought a new kind of basketball life to the 1,7 million city. How did you sense did the basketball excitement grow in the city throughout the season?
The city definitely supported us to the fullest this year. Considering it was our first year in existence, the fans were tremendously supportive through the highs and lows of the season. They were great!
We talked about your teammate Bazou Kone throughout the season and he suffered an almost 4 month injury in December 2014. He came back late in the season and held his own against Wurzburg doing the best he could in your absence. How do you evaluate his development form the start to the end of the season?
Bazou is a hungry, young player! Unfortunately as you mentioned his season was cut very short due to injury. Without question had he been healthy, our season would’ve been completely different.
Your stats were down from your season in Paderborn, but your role was different in Hamburg and you had more scoring options in Hamburg. How do you evaluate your season. Were you able to grow as a Hamburg Tower?
I feel overall I played a solid season. I had to play off the ball pretty much the whole season which I am not used to. I pretty much was strictly a shooting guard this year, and it was something to adjust to considering my point guard back ground. I also had to battle through a lot of small bangs and bruises. I played through a broken finger the last 15 games of the season that I suffered in a test game against Itzehoe during Christmas break. But I definitely grew as a player and person this season. Being captain, there was just so much more expectations and it will prove to make me better for the rest of my career.
The Hamburg Towers have signaled that they will keep many players. What is your status for next season? There has been speculation that German pro B player of the year Diante Watkins may take your role.
I’ve heard the rumors and have been told certain things from the club that lead me to figure they are looking elsewhere even though they have told me different. I just once again feel like my knee injury is being blown out of proportion. It was a cartilage injury that didn’t require surgery. I’m already back at training hard and preparing for next season wherever that may be. I talk to many people around the world and always keep my options open. So, I’m not in a predicament to worry about my career being in jeopardy or to worry about next season.
After two seasons in the German Pro A could you imagine trying another country or do you feel you could help a Beko BBL team if you got the opportunity?
Yes, I am completely open at this point because I haven’t received a commitment from the Hamburg Towers of any kind. Teams offer and sign returners soon after the season ends and I know how to put 2 and 2 together. I’ve been drawing interest from many markets so I am focused on bettering my game and body. The rest will take care of itself. But I am preparing myself to make a jump in league competition and salary. Where exactly that will be is to be determined!
How does a normal work out day look like for you on and off the court this summer?
A normal workout day includes a morning workout usually in the weight room followed by shooting. Then another skill and ball handling session in the evening when I’m not playing in open gym or summer leagues. My work ethic is the reason I am where I am today. I love to train and get better in the offseason.
What is your 2015 NBA final pick? Will the Splash brothers and Golden State get by Lebron?
I’m taking the Warriors! I’m a huge Steph Curry fan and would love to see him win it.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched was Life.
Thanks Will for the chat.