Reggie Hopkins is a 26 year old 180cm guard from Gastonia, North Carolina that has three years of professional basketball under his belt. He started his basketball career at Queens (NC) (NCAA2) in 2007 where he played until 2011 playing a total of 114 NCAA2 games. He was able to improve his scoring average each season at Queens and shot over 40% from outside in three of four years. He started his professional career in 2012 with Yenicami (CYP-North League) averaging 26ppg, 4.5rpg, 11.apg. He won the league title and cup. He then moved to T 71 Dudelange (Luxembourg-Diekirch League): 3 games: 15.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0spg. In the 2013-2014 season he played for VfL Stade (Germany-ProB): 16 games: 20.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 79.0%. Last season he played for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProB): 21 games: 3.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 2.5apg. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Reggie thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer going? How does a normal day look like for you in the summer of 2015 on and off the court?
I work a regular job during summer, like I do every year. I’m used to being busy. Before work I’d go run a few miles every morning, then in the evening I usually lift, get up some shots by myself then play a few games of pickup ball against other pro players who are home right now.
You played this season for the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProB). In a retrospective, what was the turnaround points of the season from the 0-5 start over the strong second round which secured a playoff spot, to the eventual elimination against Rostock?
It took us some time but eventually we began functioning as a team. We had a lot of offensive fire power on that roster and multiple players who were the 1st and 2nd option on previous teams so it took some time to gel. Losing at the beginning isn’t always the worst thing because it showed us our strengths and weaknesses. The biggest piece that I think helped us was adding Cory Cooperwood because he is very versatile in being able to guard multiple positions,score, pass, rebound and is very vocal on the floor. Adding him then getting Cardell McFarland back made us a totally different team. With the backwind we already had from winning many games in a row, we eventually came in 4th. Of course everyone was hoping to win the league and move up which is what I loved about this club, they wanted to win not just stay in the league. But we had bad luck with injuries and illnesses starting pretty much right away into the 1st playoff round. Then against Rostock, we in my opinion beat ourselves. Once you get to the playoffs there is little room for error and the top teams rarely make mistakes like having a lot of turnovers or giving up second chance points. We had our fair chance of course after winning the first game on the road. Yes we definitely should have closed it out at home.
Things sure didnt go as planned for you personally this season. Having started and carried your respective teams throughout your whole prior career, what was your way of dealing with suddenly coming off the bench?
It was definitely new to me, first time ever since sophomore year high school. Frustrating at times? Of course. There is no way really to deny it. But it was obvious that as soon as Cardell would recover from his injury, me as the player who was brought in to replace him, would have to find a different role on the team. I learned to make the best out of my limited minutes. I see this season as a learning experience. Because if anything, you still can learn a lesson from any situation in life.
You also had to miss the last few games of the playoffs due to being sick, something that also happened to a few of your teammates around the same time. Please give us and update on your recovery.
Being sick wasn’t nearly as bad for me as it was mind boggling. I couldn’t help my team and it was really bothering me a lot, having to just follow the games and not being able to contribute my part. I am fully recovered now, I have been playing and working out at my full capability pretty much ever since I came back to the States.
Did the team’s success in the second half somewhat lessen the pains you had struggling with your otherwise effective and successful game? Is it true that in the end, the most important thing is always that the team wins?
Basketball is a team sport so of course the team comes first. Winning and celebrating our wins with my teammates took my mind away sometimes from the frustration I had and because I also knew that I wasn’t the only one who had to make sacrifices on the team. But I am proud of the fact that I could contribute my part to the most successful season this team ever had.
How tough was your season on you mentally? After a great season with VfL Stade (Germany-ProB): 16 games: 20.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 79.0%, you had a severe reduction in your stats with Hanau. After a year like this, many athletes would call it quits. What is it that keeps you going and makes you say „I want to and will continue to play basketball“?
It was tough but never tough enough to make me doubt myself. I have had many things not go how I wanted in life and I always bounced back from them. I know what I am capable of and I want to show it. It’s simple, I want to and will continue to play because I love the game. I will forever be a student of this game. Even if I wasn’t playing professionally I would still play every day faithfully.
Is there anything that you learned from this season with Hanau that will help make you stronger for the future? You formed a strong bond with your teammate Cardell McFarland, was there anything you picked up from the way he plays? What were positives in your game where you made strides and what will you work on in the summer?
Cardell is a great player and now someone who is like a brother to me. Most people don’t even realize how high his game IQ is. I definitely picked up a lot of things from him, especially because we would usually be matched up against each other in practice. But we also spent a lot of time looking at game film together. He would point out things on the bench during the time he was injured that I wasn’t seeing and majority of the time would be right. It really helped to have someone seeing things from a different perspective, because he would give you a different point of view and a new approach whether how to attack certain things or something as simple as why he practiced shooting off bad passes so often.
With my minutes being limited last season, I put a lot of effort into being that hard nosed, ugly defender no one wants to play against. Just went out there and tried to shut down my opponent for as long as I was on the court. This trait will definitely stick around from now on. Overall, right now in summer I will stay in best possible shape and just try and play every day against the best people I can get ahold of.
A lot of coaches tend to evaluate a player only based on the performance from his most recent campaign, but in your case, your successful past clearly outweighs the last season. What are your goals now when approaching the new season and potential new teams?
All I really want is to get into a good, productive situation on a squad that needs a player like me. Of course coaches will pass on me based on how the last season went. But I have been doubted for pretty much my whole life. It’s nothing new and it is nothing that can bring me down. I’m OK with it because I always proved the doubters wrong I feed off of it honestly. I know that there is a team out there for me. A coach who will give me a second look and realize I’m the puzzle piece he has been looking for. So I will stay ready and wait for the phone call.
If you could describe yourself in a few sentences as to why you could help any team how would you convey that message? If you had to point out one aspect of your game that makes it special, what would it be?
I am a scorer and someone who can lead a team. I’ve done that for years. I still work every day to improve my game. I would sit down for hours look at film and analyze them and add things to my game. But if I had to point out just one aspect, it would be the fact that I’m not satisfied with anything but winning. You will never see me smile or joke around after my team loses, no matter how well I did individually in that game. Because winning is all that matters. This attitude is something I can and want to give to the team that signs me. I will never become complacent.
What has to happen in the off season and in general for the Charlotte Hornets to become a playoff team?
I don’t keep up with them, only really a fan of Kemba Walker. I rarely even watch NBA until playoffs honestly because that’s the only time 90 percent of NBA players really play hard nose defense.
What is the state of Lebron in 2015? What does he have to do to be mentioned in the same breath with Michael Jordan?
In my mind he already is mentioned in the same breath because so many people say he will never be Jordan but he never asked to be compared people just started comparing them. The state of LeBron in 2015 is focused like he always is. He is the most efficient player in the NBA for a reason whether people like him or not.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Rebound The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault
Thanks Reggie for the chat.