Donald Lawson is a 27 year old 208cm center from Chicago that is playing his sixth professional season in Germany and second with SC Rasta Vechta. He played with BV Chemnitz from 2010-2014 playing a total of 118 Pro A games and two seasons ago played 30 games: 9.7ppg, Reb-2(9.4rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5(1.3bpg), FGP: 47.0%, FT: 56.5%. Last season for SC Rasta Vechta he played 25 games: 5.0ppg, 4.8rpg. He started his basketball career at W.Michigan (NCAA) from 2006-2010 playing a total of 115 NCAA games. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against ex team BV Chemnitz
Donald thanks for talking to German Hoops How welcoming has the warmer November weather been for you or are you getting excited for the cooler weather something your used to in Chicago?
The weather has been up and down, there has been some really sunny and warm days that quickly turned into cold rainy days, it definitely reminds me a lot of Chicago’s bipolar weather I just hope we don’t have tons of snow this winter.
Your playing your second season with SC Rasta Vechta. How refreshing has the turnaround been this season from last? Last season the club finished in 10th place as there was much turmoil and this season the club is in second place. What have been the main differences in the turn around?
Last season was one of the biggest learning experiences I’ve had playing professionally. We fell short of our goals and we under-achieved. Experience has been the reason for our success even though we have a new group of guys, we have guys who have tons of experience who complement each other, and we all value being successful as a team and playing for each other.
How big is the urge in Vechta to get back to the Beko BBL? Can you feel it when you are on the court and around town?
It is a goal for SC Rasta to return to the Beko BBL but our only focus is to win on Saturday we have a long season ahead of us; so we have to think about the present before the future and continue to take things one game at a time and continue to fight every week.
It has been an interesting season so far as in 9 games one has seen blow outs against Hanau and Rhondorf, close wins against Trier and Paderborn, then wins somewhere in the middle against Baunach and Gotha and losses against Hamburg and Kirchheim. Is this team despite the good record still trying to find their true identity in some ways?
Any team in this league can be beaten on any giving night; the league is just that competitive. We’ve experienced the success of winning in tough places and losing against good teams if we don’t give 110% every night. We know what we have to do as a team and we just have to be consistent and continue to execute the game plan.
SC Rasta Vechta does 3 things very good in that they average 81 points per game, average 36 rebounds and hold teams to 67 points. What of these three areas has been toughest to attain over the first 9 games?
All three have been a difficult task, every night you won’t shoot the ball well so you have to rely on your defense to help generate your offense; and in order to get back on offense you have to control the glass defensively to limit the opposing teams possessions. The one thing you can control is the effort you give to get offensive rebounds.
The next game is against BV Chemnitz who are 5-4 and is your old stomping ground. How excited are you to be playing against your former team?
Playing against Chemnitz is a special game it the first place I’ve played professionally and I remained there for four years. I am friends with a few guys on the team who I played alongside during my time there so it will always be a fun and exciting game for me.
Like last season you have a more limited role. Last season you were averaging 17 minutes and this season 14 minutes and you share time with German center Oliver Mackeldanz. Have you gotten more used to less minutes over time?
It’s not about the playing time for me it’s about getting the job done and we have a deep team full of talented players, who can make a big impact on the game to help the team win.
How are you a different player now from your last two seasons in Chemnitz where you were a main force? Is effectiveness very vital now for you in lesser minutes duty?
Being effective is a big thing for me since leaving Chemnitz and things have changed but my goals and focus hasn’t changed. I have always been a team player, who wants to be a defensive anchor and glue guy.
How proud are you about averaging 1,6 bsp in 14 minutes? Is defense something that you focusing extra on in your role?
Defense has been a huge focus of mine and I think its cool to have almost two blocks a game.
Having Derrick Allen and Christian Standhardinger playing the big positions is the current choice of head coach Andreas Wagner. Is there a better 4-5 combo in the German Pro A at the moment?
DA and Christian’s effort, skills and competitive edge plays to our advantage against most teams in the league. Their experience is what is heavy valued especially with DA who not only leads by example but is a great vocal leader.
How much of a delight has it been having Derrick Allen as a teammate. At 35 he can still play with the best of them and is one of the hardest workers. What have you grown to appreciate most about his game?
DA is definitely one of the hardest working players I’ve played aside he brings it every day; playing with DA is like having a coach on the floor, his understanding of the game is unreal and he is always positive even if things aren’t going so well.
You have played in many gyms in Germany, but are you fully convinced that the Rasta Dome is the loudest in the league?
Rasta Dome is insane, the fans support from the 6man is great and it reminds me of college rivalry games every time I step inside the Dome for game days. It is definitely the loudest gym in the league.
What kind of experience has it been playing for the German/Spanish coaching duo of Wagner/Callos? What has been their biggest duo strength that has got the team where it is now in the standings?
They’re a good two man tandem who work well together, they keep us grounded and working hard no matter the results from any game there experience’s coach helps us understand the concept of teamwork and consistency.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you ever see him being mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
LeBron is a great player who could win a championship if his team remains healthy but as of right now Steph Curry is owning the league. Statistically I think LeBron maybe one of the best to play the game because of everything he can do; but Michael Jordan will always and forever be the G.O.A.T
How much more torture can Chicago Cubs fans take? Do you see them ever winning a World Series?
The Cubs surprised me by making the play offs. I think the curse has been lifted and they should be competing in a few years for a Championship.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Mission Impossible Rogue.
Thanks Donald for the chat.