DJ Covington is a 24 year old 203cm forward from Virginia Beach playing his second professional season and first with Phoenox Hagen where he is currently averaging 11,9ppg and 6,3rpg. He has scored in double figures 11 times and registered four double doubles. Some of his best games include a 19/16 showing in the win against Bayreuth and 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Last season as a rookie he played for Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League): 8 games: 4.8ppg, 3.9rpg and then signed at AE Nea Kifisia Dimoulas Athens (Greece-A1): 5 games: 1.2ppg, 1.6rpg. Last summer he got experience playing with Alaska Aces (Philippines-PBA): 4 games: 22.0ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3bpg. He started his basketball career in 2010 with VMI (NCAA) playing a total of 30 games averaging 19.3ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.0spg, 3.2bpg, FGP: 58.7%, FT: 69.3%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the season after a huge win against Ludwigsburg.
DJ Congrats on the big win over Ludwigsburg. How good did it feel beating one of the best teams in the league and then so convincingly?
It felt great we had a tough start and just tried to stick to our game plan and make sure that we were focused on what we were trying to accomplish and it worked out for us.
How key was it keeping them reduced to making only one three pointer all night long while Phoenix Hagen had their usual solid three point shooting night?
Very key. We understood that if we allowed for them to get into a rhythm while hitting their threes and having Brockman inside collecting boards it would have been a really long night for us by not limiting their 3’s.
How challenging is it playing against one of the best big men in the league Jon Brockman? Do you watch a guy like that more closely to try to pick up little things about how he gets rebounds so easy?
Very he does a really good job of doing his work early and making sure that he is in the best position to get a possible miss.
Do you see yourself as a little good luck charm? Ever since you came back from injury the team has won three of five games and beat two playoff teams with Oldenburg and Ludwigsburg?
I wouldn’t say a good luck charm but I do think that I am an important part of the team. All of our wins have come from playing solid tough team basketball and I think our chemistry that we have on and off the court is a key factor in our success. There are no egos and we are all hungry for wins
Phoenix Hagen probably gave their best back to back defensive efforts this season as you give up 72 points per game. What has been especially good and improved over the last two games?
I think our toughness and our never quoting mentality has been the biggest help in overcoming a lot of adversity and knuckling down and containing our opponents
Do you feel extra pressure coming from the bench? Does Phoenix Hagen rely too much on their starting five?
No I don’t really feel any pressure. I actually like it and I think of it as a chance to come in and give my team that extra push when we need it in the game. I think that we have solid players off the bench that all play a key role in our success
Do you ever sit back on the bench and just enjoy the game of baby Shaq David Bell. Have you played with a better shooter than him in your young career?
I really haven’t he is a lights out shooter. With a hairpin trigger pull I mean once he is ready to shoot the ball is out of there and into the net and not to mention he is our leader out there
You were injured for the first two months. How tough was this time and was the adjustment period tough for you when you first came back?
It was a pretty tough adjustment being out so long but I think that the toughest thing that I had to adjust to was getting the conditioning back that is needed to play in our system. And secondly finding my rhythm again.
What has been the most challenging thing to get used to in the Beko BBL concerning the style and pace of game?
I would say the way that fouls are called I’m still trying to understand some of the situations and how the officials call things here
You are averaging 9,8ppg and 3,0rpg in five games. How happy have you been with your game. Is getting your rebound input up a goal of yours?
I couldn’t say that I’m happy with my game just yet but I do feel like every week I’m getting closer to playing the Way that I normally play. And as for the rebounds I need to improve on those and focus on grabbing the balls that I tip instead of tipping them to teammates .Its been a focus of mine and I’m a believer that hard work always pays off
How challenging and fulfilling is it battling a guy like Ivan Elliot every day in practice? What have you been able to pick up form his game in the last months?
Ivan is a great player and a fierce competitor it keeps the intensity level up in practice and brings the most out of you for sure and I think the biggest thing would have to be his crafty ness in finishing on the drive
You bring it on the offensive and defensive end of the court, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I think my biggest strength that I have is firing up my teammates and helping us all stay focused and together especially through some tough times
Last season as a rookie you played in Belgium and Greece. What was your wake up call to being a rookie last season in Europe?
I would say that its all about the situation rather than the money. Everyone wants to get paid but sometimes chasing the money isn’t going to be the best for your game and development as a pro
You never found a rhythm in Belgium or in Greece. What lesson did you learn in your rookie season that will help you now in your basketball career?
Just remain positive and continue to have faith in your game because once you lose that it makes things a lot tougher as a player
When you came to AE Nea Kifisia Dimoulas Athens (Greece-A1), you came for the departed Patrick Ewing Jr who then went into coaching. Is this a side note that you might remember now?
No not really being there allowed for me to see another side of what it takes to be a pro and it all leads back to consistency and self confidence
You played at VMI from 2010-2014. How did head coach Duggar Baucom prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Work ethic. He allowed for me to develop myself and taught me early that there are going to be a lot of situations where all the pressure will be on you and you still have to produce. He taught me things like always being on time and putting the extra work in no matter what
You played two seasons with guard Keith Gabriel at VMI. What was the most amazing thing that you remember him doing on the court?
His dunks. Keith was a high flyer and a very streaky shooter and with him being left handed no one really expected him to take off the way that he did
Who won a one on one in practice you or Craig Hinton?
Me for sure but Craig is a good player but he wasn’t ready. I´d like to see him 3 years from now once the full package if put together he will really be a great pro
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you ever see him being mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
I don’t know to me Michael Jordan will always be number one but I don’t see him taking over games while still keeping everyone involved the same way that MJ did but he is one of the greats though hands down
What was the last movie that you saw?
DOPE it was actually pretty good too was´t expecting that.
Thanks DJ for the chat.