Will Chavis is a 34 year old 181 cm guard who comes from Philadelphia and retired in 2014 from professional basketball after playing for 11 years. He started his basketball learning at New Hampshire in 1998-1999 averaging 9.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.9apg before going to Texas to play at Panola Junior College averaging 25 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals per game . This gained the interest of legendary coach Bobby Knight at Texas Tech. Knight had only the best to say about the guy he coached two years at Texas Tech. ‘Will takes pride in taking good shots, and is a great shooter. He also takes very good care of the ball. He is aggressive and quick on defense, and can anticipate or put under pressure the opposite point guard’, stressed Bobby Knight. At Texas Tech, Chavis played together with ex Artland Dragon Ronald Ross and in his senior year, played 33 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.2apg. He started his professional basketball career in 2003 going to Iceland to play for UMFN Njardvikur playing 6 games and averaging 18.3ppg; 3.1rpg; 7.8apg ( 41 assists to 11 turnovers); 2.0spg; 3pts 45.6%; FT 85.6%. The next season, he was tested by Olimpia GE Larisa (Greece-A1), but was not signed and finished the season practicing with Climamio Fortitudo Bologna (Italy-SerieA). In 2005-2006, he started to make a name playing for Mlekarna Kunin Novi Jicin (Czech Republic-NBL, starting five) playing 5 EuroCup Challenge games averaging 15.2ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.4apg, 2FGP: 50%, 3FGP: 50% and playing 44 games in the Czech Rep. League averaging 14.6ppg, 3.4rpg, Assists-4 (5.2apg), 2FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 85.0%. The next season, he went to top Dutch team Demon Astronauts Amsterdam continuing to show who well he could perform in FIBA EuroCup playing 6 games and averaging 11.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 55.2%, 3FGP: 15%, FT: 78.3% and playing 39 games in the Dutch League and averaging 14.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 40.3%, FT: 87.8%, 3Pts: 40.9%. In 2007-2008, he split time with Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus, but left after 7 games, where he averaged 10.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 36.6%, 3FGP: 27.8%, FT: 87.5%, and then moved to MBC in Jan 2008 playing 12 games and averaging 13.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 39.3%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT-1 ( 91.7%). In 2008-2009, he led MBC into the BBL averaging 10.9ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 37.0%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 86.5% in 29 games. He finished his basketball career in Nurnberg playing 141 games form 2009-2014. He will start his coaching career as an assistant to Ralph Junge with Nurnberg. He spoke to German Hoops directly after retiring in the summer of 2014 and talked about his basketball career and future.
Will thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been enjoying your summer?
Hello Miles its been a while. I am I am my hometown of Philadelphia enjoying the time with my family.
You have retired at the age of 33. What were the main reasons for retiring now. You still put up solid stats. Was it the reduced role or was it more your body that told you it was time to hang up your sneakers?
Actually I can still Go! But I just felt there was no future for me playing basketball and that the next step would be coaching. I was offered a great opportunity to stay in Nurnberg and coach under Ralph Junge and it seemed more attractive for me, instead of going out and proving I can still play because of my reduced role last season.
It is no secret that Rent4Office have been very focused on moving up to the Beko BBL. They have had very strong teams the last years, but the Pro A has become more and more competitive. What do you think has been lacking the most the last few years on the club moving up?
Honestly we have had enough talent to move up the past 3 years I think, But what we lacked was accountability and the willingness to be a cohesive unit. The Pro A is difficult because most players see it as a stepping stone to higher pay and better competitions around Europe. So most players are one and done. Last year was probably our best chance but we had problems to accept that it takes a team to win a championship.
What was your season highlight last season? You had very strong games against Ehingen, Leverkusen and Gotha where you helped the team win the game.
LoL, I played well because I actually played extended minutes. When given minutes I have always produced. Just look at the stats they speak for themselves. But Gotha was a great feeling because we were together as a team back then and we won that game as a unit on the road against a tough team at the time. Everyone didn´t give us a chance because Ron Thompson and Ahmad Smith were hurt, but we pulled it out and the bus ride back was great.
You have stated that Nurnberg is like a second home to you. You played five years in the organization. Did you have to think long when new head coach Ralph Junge asked you to join his coaching staff? What makes the Nurnberg basketball organization so unique?
I did have a short pause because my season last year ended in a way that is not ideal for a competitor. But that is life and I dont like to live in the past. One thing that I learned is when bad things happen they dont happen to you but rather it happens for you. So I felt comfort in knowing that and it got me through the first year in Nurnberg in the ProB coming from the ProA champion. But it has turned out great. Nurnberg is like a second home so staying there was a huge factor in my decision. Its unique because its a great city with huge potential for basketball. The fan base is growing and your starting to see the results of all the hard work the organization has done through the years.
Bastian Doreth has matured into a German national player. In your first season, he was your teammate. What memories do you have from the young buck your first season?
I remember telling him he can make the national team. Basti came to me and asked if he can play PG because Dirk( Bauermann) wanted him to. So I had no problems with that. He was always working hard and was one of the best teammates I had. He would always want to guard the best German players so I knew he was a special young player. He has Heart and is willing to fight to win. Point Blank. A winner. That is why he is where he is and he deserves to be.
You played the last two seasons with Ahmad Smith. I am anxious to see where he will end up. How much does he deserve the chance to show his triple double skills in the Beko BBL?
Yes I played with Ahmad a total of Two and a half season. Its funny because Ahmad is different on the court than he is off the court. Ahmad definitely deserves a chance to show that he can play on the highest level in Germany and I hope that he gets a chance. He overcame a lot coming from Regionalliga and proved his worth at every level since. I wish him the best going forward.
Your ex teammate Cornelius Adler on the other hand will play in the Beko BBL this season with Braunschweig. Some years ago, BG Goettingen head coach John Patrick saw his talent and hauled him in. However he didn´t make the jump and landed in Nurnberg. What did he learn the last few years that has helped him become a Beko BBL player now?
I dont know what he learned you would have to ask him that. I just think he is physically better and he had the playing time to show he can contribute. He also worked hard in the summers especially with Martin Ides and he had an opportunity to get a lot of minutes and he took advantage of it. So well deserved and I also wish him all the best going forward also.
You played 141 games for Nurnberg in the Pro B and Pro A. What game will forever be etched in your mind as your sweetest memory with the team.
That is a tough question, but I remember back in the PRO B days we beat Wurzburg at home and they had about 400 fans throwing toilet paper on the floor. I threw one back over my head into the stands, it was pretty funny.
Now you will start your coaching career for Rent4Office. What are you most looking forward to with your new adventure?
Just learning so hopefully I can grow everyday under Ralph .
You played two seasons for legendary head coach Bobby Knight. Is there anything you would like to incorporate from his coaching style?
Mental toughness, and paying attention to details. I think he put a huge emphasis on these things and I saw the importance of not doing both throughout my playing career.
What do you respect most from new head coach Ralph Junge? Possibly his ability to find and develop new German talents?
I definitely respect his ability to develop new German talents. I think he did an exceptional job of this throughout the years. What really impressed me the most when I played against his teams were their discipline and willingness to make a play for a teammates. That is s hard to teach and get across to young players.
You really have had a great career. Would you say that the years between 2005-2007 were your most exciting winning a cup in the Czech Republic while scoring 61 points and playing Eurochallenge in the Dutch league and having great stats. Does it still bother you that after these two years, nobody really gave you a chance to play at a higher level again?
I actually played Eurochallenge in the Czech Republic and EuroCup in Holland for Amsterdam. I think those were definitely great years in my career. It doesn´t bother me because I made the decision to come to Germany on my own. After a half season in Cyprus where the club was behind two months on my pay, I boycotted going back until they made an effort to pay me. While waiting the job in MBC came up and they had ambition to play BBL so it appealed to me at the time. I had a contract to go back and play in the BBL with MBC after we won the ProA but that is s another story. I came to Nurnberg and feel it was the best thing I could have done. I have no regrets. It happened exactly how God planned it to.
You were a very instruemental part of the MBC team moving up to the Beko BBL in 2009. You were captain and should have been a shoo in for staying, but Martin Ides, Greg Burke and yourself weren´t asked back. You were very professional about the whole sticky situation never lashing out your frustration. Does your behavior towards this situation have to do with the Philli mentality or the way you were brought up by your parents?
Yeah it was definitely a sticky situation to say the least but I know it was best for me to leave without lashing out, its just not who I am. I am a man and a father and I dont think that has to do with the Philly Mentality because the Philly in me would have raised hell. But that is in the past and since I have been back to Weissenfels and they showed me nothing but love and appreciation for what we accomplished there. They have great people in that city who I consider friends and some of the best and most loyal fans in Germany. I have nothing bad to say about the organization and wish them all the best in the BBL. The fans there deserve it.
You played together with Ronald Ross at Texas Tech. He has had a very nice singing career in Croatia. Was he already singing under the shower back in the day and would you ever have thought that he would have a moonlighting career in the music business?
Ron sat right next to me in the locker room from day one so I always had to hear his singing. He was a rookie back then so we would just tell him he sucked!! Just to give him a hard time but actually Ron is one of the coolest dudes I know and I hope he has all the success on and off the court with his music. Great dude!
When you look back at your basketball career, who was the toughest player that you competed against? A guy where you always had headaches when you played against him?
Ummm Wow. That is a tough but I would have to say John Linenhan if you know John John you know why. When we played AAU together I appreciated him even more because he was on the other team..lol. Best Defender in the world when he was in his prime. ASK anyone!
How would you like to have the basketball world remember the player Will Chavis?
I would like them to remember me as a gamer, a person always willing to take and make a big shot, a winner, a competitor.
Your Philadelphia buddy Michael Jordan is currently an assistant coach with Colgate. I always thought that acting was something that he would be most inclined to do next to coaching. What could you envision would be the perfect role for him?
Hahaha really. I just talked to Mike today actually. Umm he would be good in a Romance Comedy with like an Adam Sandler.
You have lived in Germany now since 2008. What German charachteristic have you adapted into your life the most since then?
I would have to say the language mostly. Its still a bit difficult to enunciate certain words but I try and the food. I really need to stay out of Der Beck seriously. In Philly we have soft pretzels and in German you have Butter pretzels i love them equally!!!
What was the last movie that you saw?
I can´t remember, I have kids, but I think it was Las Vegas.
Thanks Will for the chat.
Thanks Will for the chat.