John Dickson is a 24 year old 198cm forward from San Francisco, California. He played at Sacramento State from 2009-2013 playing a total of 115 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 12.8ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 75.8%. In the 2013-2014season he turned professional and played with the Willetton Tigers (Australia-SBL) playing 26 games: Score-4(29.2ppg), 10.6rpg, 2.5apg, 2.0spg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 68.5%. Last season he played for the CD Universidad Catolica de Santiago (Chile-Liga Nacional) playing 22 games: Score-1(27.1ppg), 6.3rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-2(2.2spg), FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 74.3%. This past summer he played for the Once Caldas de Manizales (Colombia-Liga DirecTV-1) playing 18 games: 16.2ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 27.7%, FT: 71.3%. He signed with German Pro A team ETB Wohnbau baskets, but recently got waived. The American had given German Hoops an interview recently before coming to Germany. Dickson will remain in Germany for a few more days and hope to hook on to a team in Germany or elsewhere.
John thanks for taking some time to talk to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I am currently in California training to get ready for this upcoming season. The summer is going good for myself because I have been able to get take a break and re-focus
In the last year and a half you have been very busy having played in Australia, Chile and Columbia. Do you feel like a mini world traveler already?
Yea, I like to say that I am very cultured. Being able to travel and play basketball has always been a dream of mine.
You will be playing in your fourth country as a professional in the German Pro A with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen. What sold you most on taking this job offer the trust from head coach Igor Krizanovic or the experience and knowledge of your agency Scorers First?
Mainly my agent Gerrit persuaded me into coming. Plus I wanted to play in Europe so I can prove that I belong in the top leagues in the world.
This will be only your second full professional season, but already have a lot of experience having played the past two summers in Australia and Columbia. What do you feel have you improved and developed in your game that you wouldn´t have had you been home the past two summers?
I have matured as a player tremendously. When I first started my pro career in Australia I got a bad rep around the league because I was labeled as a “Street ball player.” I have proved that not only can I adapt to any style of basketball, I can excel at a high level.
You join a young Essen team that has experienced floor general Gary Johnson, second year man Tre Bowman, rookie Johnathan Loyd and mostly young Germany. What do you feel will be your biggest strength on the floor?
My leadership and hardworking will become addictive to the players around me and we will grow as a group. I feel that I can make all my teammates around me better.
You demonstrated your scoring ability as a professional as well as controlling the boards, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I am a great passer and defensive stopper. I like to get everyone involved in a game so you will see me throw a lot of “no look” passes. I like to have fun when I am playing basketball. I pride myself on defense and trying to be the best defender on the court.
You sat out the 2013-2014 season. How difficult was this time for you not knowing the status of having a professional basketball career? You had had a stellar college career. Were you surprised that you were idle that season?
I was not surprised with the idled time because it was my decision to wait. I wanted to make sure I started my career in a place I felt comfortable and also a respectable league.
You started your rookie season in Chile and then played in Columbia. What were the main differences in the terms of style and culture of the court?
They were really similar in styles of play, but my role was different on each team. In Chile I had to be the leading scoring and pretty much scored 30 points a game for my team to win. In Columbia my workload was lightened substantially because we had more players who could score so I focused on being a defender and the teams shooter.
You played for one of the top teams in Chile with CD Universidad Catolica de Santiago (Chile-Liga Nacional) and led the league in scoring with 27,0ppg. You were the only American/import on the team. Was it a tough adjustment at the start to come in as a rookie and take on so much responsibility?
I like the pressure of having to play at a high level. Having the responsibility to play my best every game was stressful at times but it made me a better player. I had to figure out ways to make things happen when I did not play my best.
What was your wake up call to being a professional basketball player in Chile where you knew that you were very far away from Richmond, California?
I knew that I would be a basketball player after my freshman year of high school. I never really worked on my game in the off-season but when I did I notice that the hard work I put in was paying off. Also I was built for this, god gave me gift that I can use to be a role model to all the kids around the world. I want to be a testament to show that with hard work and dedication you can do anything you put your mind too.
Your first professional team was the Willetton Tigers (Australia-SBL). How thankful were to have teammate Quinn Mcdowell to help you show the ropes? Since then he has really developed and moved on to Europe having played in the Spanish Leb Gold league and this season will play for top Latvian club VEF Riga.
I took a lot of notes when I played with Quinn, not only was he a good teammate, but he was a great person. Quinn showed me that being a basketball player is not only about the things you do on the court, but the way you carry yourself off the court matters too. I look up to him because of the great genuine person he is.
Did you always know that you had the ability to really score like a Lebron as a professional? As a senior at Sacramento State you averaged 12,6ppg and went to 29,2ppg in Australia and 27,1ppg in Chile. Were you surprised that you were able to score at such a consistent rate back to back in your first two professional stops?
I have always been a big time scorer, but when I went to college I had to learn the team part of the game. Sacrificing for a teammate is what Coach Katz preached to me since day 1 at Sacramento State. Also, I played out of position in college sometimes having to play the center spot so I did not have as many opportunities as I would like to score.
You played four seasons at Sacramento State. You played in all 115 games not missing one in four seasons. What game do you remember most as if it was yesterday?
I remember my first game with the green and gold it was amazing. I had four or five dunks and the crowd was screaming and all I could do was smile because I made it to college from nothing. I could not stop smiling because I was so happy and all my friends and family were there cheering me on.
You had one of the best freshman seasons ever at Sacramento State as you appeared in all 30 games and had 18 starts. How vital was your Fairfield high school head coach Eddie Wilson in getting you ready for the grind of college ball?
Coach Wilson helped me with learning the game and what it takes to have a winning program. Wilson taught me that you have to work hard all the time even if you are at the top there is someone trying to take your spot. That is why when I train I go really hard to the point that I am extremely tired.
Sacramento State head coach Bryan Katz then took you under his wing. How did he prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Katz taught me a lot about toughness and not making any excuses and to be a leader you must lead by example. No one person is bigger than the team we are all one.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Joe Eberhard as a senior?
Nobody plays me one on one. Did you not know they call me Buckets?
Do you see the Golden State Warriors having the ability to repeat or will Lebron James get revenge this season or will another NBA team make the surprise win?
I am a Kobe fan, so I hope that neither team wins. I just want Kobe to go out healthy
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath of a Michael Jordan?
I do not get into comparisons because they both are great players and played in different era’s of the game. They are both top 5 in my book.
Thanks John for the chat.