Louis Darby is a 32 year old 196cm guard from Pacoima, California playing his ninth professional season and first with German Beko BBL team Mitteldeutscher BC. He played most of his professional career in Romania with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu winning the Romanian cup last season and playing a total of 181 league games and last season helped the team march to the Eurochallenge final four playing 14 games averaging 10.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 86.1%. In the Romanian division A last season he played 28 games: 13.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 86.2%. He also had experience early in his professional career playing for Al Wahda Damascus (Syria-D1)and the Carlsbad Beach Dawgs (WCBL). He started his basketball career in 2003 with Long Beach St. (NCAA) until 2007 playing a total of 99 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 5.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 46.4%, 3Pts: 34.8%, FT: 69.5%. He joined MBC in January and has played eight games averaging 5,5ppg, 1,4rpg and 1,0apg. AS of late the Mitteldeutscher BC had finally been winning games and in a real battle to stay in the league. He spoke to German Hoops recently when he joined the club.
Louis thanks for talking to German Hoops. With 2016 very young what new years resolutions have you made for yourself the player and person?
As a player I want to be consistent and as a person off the court.
You are in Germany playing with the Mitteldeutscher BC. Is this winter there tougher than what you experienced the last 7 years in Romania?
I think it’s tougher because I spent so many months away from the court. I usually workout the whole time.
This season was the first time that you didn´t start with a team at the beginning of the season. After 7 years with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu didn´t you ever challenge the question to finish your career there at 32 considering last season was so successful with the Eurochallenge?
It was great last season. This year I wanted to spend more time with my family. I felt so many years playing I missed out on many things with my daughter.
Your stats were down last season with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu, but still were the team leader with your experience and an always important offensive weapon. Did the club feel your time had run out or was your mission finished with the club?
I felt this past season I didn’t need to do much scoring. We had many scoring weapons. So I accepted a different role that would make it better for the team to win. Winning is better than scoring to me at this age. I had a chance to go back to the club but I had decided to quit playing basketball after this past season.
What was some of the most important things that you realized the last months sitting at home in California where you could reflect on your career as a player and knew that you still had much energy left in the tank?
The most important thing that I learned while at home is that you can never rule out playing until you just can’t walk or feel you can’t play anymore And I feel I still can play way more basketball.
Now you joined MBC that is the door mat of the league in 18th place. With CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu, you never finished lower than 11th place. With what kinds of emotions are you going into this situation?
I’m expecting to help the team in any way. It’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish. I am here to finish with this team and do a great job as a team.
What is your first impression of your new club? What do you believe is the most important mechanical thing that the team has to do very well to get back on the winning road?
I think the new team is very professional. The group of guys they have work really hard and are dedicated to getting better and want the same goal. That’s getting better the second part of the season.
Do you see adding additional leadership skills to the extremely experienced Marcus Hatten or do you see giving your basketball expertise in other areas?
I see myself as the new guy who is just trying to fit in and help in anyway I can. Marcus is very experienced at a high level and knows what it takes to be successful. As well as the coach. Both very experienced.
Do you feel that your vast offensive skills often overshadow your very potent defensive skills on the court?
I think I’m known as a better defender than offensive. I came to Europe more scoring minded. So it stood out more than my defensive.
Last season CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu made it to the Eurochallenge final 4 in Turkey. What was your highlight, the thrilling series against Le Mans or finishing third with the win against the Fraport Skyliners?
I think our overall season was a success. Even though we didn’t win the champion ship. I’d rather beat every team than just a certain team. The goal is to finish first. Not 2nd not 4th or 8th. But to the credit of my team we did beat some good teams last year in the Eurochallenge
In that game against Frankfurt you played against big man baby faced Johannes Voigtmann who was back up to Tibor Pleiss at the 2015 Euro championships and has garnered interest from the NBA. What was a memory of his game that is still vivid for you?
To tell the truth I didn’t really remember names of the players. I just went in knowing that they were a good team. Although all their players were pretty good bigs and guards.
You played 6 seasons with Porter Troupe with CS Energia Rovinari Targu Jiu. Could one say that you are both brothers and would you of become the player you are today without him as a teammate?
We are like brothers. We came into a place with a little name and made them known. We went through it all together. Injuries everything. Heck we always helped each other on and off the court. He will always be a brother to me.
You won the Romanian Allstar slam dunk contest in 2011 and 2015. Which one was sweetest for you?
I think 2011 was better because I really put effort into that dunk contest.
As a rookie in 2007 you played for Al Wahda Damascus (Syria-D1). What was your wake up call to being a rookie in the middle east where you knew that you were very far away from California?
My wakeup call was that I didn’t have access to my family like I thought I would. I didn’t have any internet access. Nothing for 3 months. The people in Syria were great to me though.
You played at Long Beach State from 2003-2007. On the 2006-2007 team you won the big West tournament against Cal Poly to top of your college career. When you look back from now until then, did you ever think that you could have such a long and fruitful professional career considering you were 7th in team scoring as a senior?
I thought I was good enough to play at a high level I think if I had all the right people around me in college as far as coaching then I would have been better prepared for the next level. I always had the support of family and friends. That’s why I’m in the position I’m in now. They pushed me. I’ve always been competitive so to see myself playing so long just shows I’m still hungry and have s love for the game.
How did Long Beach State coach Larry Reynolds groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
I don’t think Reynolds prepared me for anything honestly. Only thing I can say he did was make me mentally stronger. The guys that played professional under Reynolds were just hungry honestly. Guys like Kevin Houston, Mark Dawson, Jibril Hodges, Kejuan Johnson and Aaron Nixon. I think what we got we earned.
You played three seasons with Jabril Hodges. What story about his father Craig stands out in your mind most when you look back at your college days?
Me and him actually came into long beach together. What stands out the most is our first day playing against the players at long beach state before we graduated from school. And that day we both decided to sign at Long Beach.
The Cleveland Cavaliers fired David Blatt today. How crazy is that? Do you feel that it was a hasty decision by the club?
I think that it’s all business. Probably the first coach in history to get fired after being in first place in their conference. I think he will be back in the NBA soon.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw in theatres was with my wife. Creed. “Great movie”.
Thanks Louis for the chat.