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 and will play his third professional season with German pro B team Weissenhorn. 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 about basketball.
Congrats Will on signing with German Pro B team Weissenhorn. How happy are you stay a third year in Germany?
Hello Miles, thanks for the wishes and the interview! I am very happy to be back in Germany with Weißenhorn for my 3rd season. It’s a great opportunity for me to prove myself again that I’m healthy and help out a club full of young German players.
It was a tough summer for you with rehabbing your injury and not getting signed very quickly. What lessons did you learn this summer from basketball and life in general?
Yes this summer was tough for me. I had to remain very confident and strong mentally to battle the self doubt. I was constantly training in the weight room and gym to get back fit. I mainly learned to always trust in my hard work and career achievements. I had to remind myself that I’ve achieved a lot in my career and to not get too down about me not being signed early.
Recently in an interview with me you stated that many teams were keeping their distance because of your injury. How tough was the summer in general for you having to get to 100% again and not getting signed right away?
It was tough but it just made me even hungrier. I worked hard to get back healthy. It was a real grind to get my knee and body back fit! I just had to stay confident that in the end, everything would work out and I would be in a good situation.
So now you can truthfully say that you are 100% and ready to go with Weissenhorn?
Yes, I am 100% ready to go. We just finished up our first day of practices. I feel great. Just have to get back in the rhythm and get back in game shape.
Did you have any other offers or did you pretty much take this offer because it was already so late in the transfer period?
I had offers in other markets but in the end, Weißenhorn was a great situation for me to go with. Germany is all I know professionally and I really do love playing here. People show me so much love and support. It was definitely the right decision.
How do you block out of your head that going to Weissenhorn isn´t a step back in your career?
I don’t think it’s a step back at all. It may be for those who simply look at the fact that I am now in the pro B league. But in my first day here, I see the amazing structure and professionalism of the Ratiopharm Ulm organization. The club is extremely successful and full of great people. Being in this winning, positive environment makes my decision so much easier. And I am being exposed to some great coaches and who knows what could happen in the future. I just have to remain hungry and focused.
Have you talked to head coach Danny Jansson yet? If yes what have been your first impression of him?
Yes, Coach Jansson is a great guy and coach. I love his style. He’s very feisty and hungry. That mentality will spread throughout our team and help us greatly this season. We’ve already talked about how important our relationship will be with this team. I see nothing but great things happening.
Do you see as having a big statistical season going hand in hand with winning games?
No. I learned that my rookie season in Paderborn. I had explosive numbers and was considerd a top 3 guard in pro A that season. Yet we struggled! I won’t be focusing on stats, I’m focusing on playing a winning style of basketball, being a leader, and simply getting better individually. Nothing is more important than winning games and being successful.
How excited are you to be working with young Germans this season. Do you see yourself as a mentor in only your third professional season?
I’m very excited to be with this young group. They all are great talents with hungry attitudes. From day one I am embracing my leadership role and will mature greatly from playing with this team.
You also might be able to practice with ratiopharm Ulm on occasion. How important will you see these experiences this season when you can showcase your talent with the top players in the BBL which you didn´t have in Paderborn or Hamburg?
It will be very important for me personally. Just getting to play with or against such great players at that level will be great for my game. I always embrace playing against great competition and the lessons learned from these type of experiences. If I am needed to help in practice or in games, I will bring my best attitude and work ethic. And be ready to learn!
What will be the first meal that you took in when you set foot in Germany?
The first meal I had was Italian in the city of Ulm! It was great!
What was the last movie that you saw?
Straight Outta Compton. It was a great movie. I highly recommend it!
Thanks Will for the chat.