Diante Watkins is a 26 year old 174cm point guard that is going to be playing his fourth professional season and first with the Nurnberg Falcons BC. Last season an injury in pre season derailed his path playing for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He started his basketball career in 2009 with Daley CC (JUCO): 28 games: 26.5ppg, 5.8apg, 2.7rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 44%, 3Pts: 38%, FT: 86%. He then played two seasons with Robert Morris (NAIA) and as a senior played 27 games: 24.4ppg, 7.4apg, 3.0rpg, 2.1spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3Pts: 38.9%, FT: 82.7%. In 2013-2014 he started his professional basketball career with SC Rist Wedel where he played 30 games averaging 16.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 86.9%. He improved his play in 2014-2015 with SC Rist Wedel playing 32 games: Score-2(21.3ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-1(6.8apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 87.4%. He cleaned up the Eurobasket awards winning Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Honorable Mention -14, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -15, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -15. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Diante thanks for talking to German Hoops. Have you only been in Chicago this summer or had been able to travel a little?
Hey Miles, I been in Chicago for the most part, I did a little traveling but nothing too special.
The last interview we did was back in December 2015 to check in on how rehab was going after you had had surgery four months earlier. How much better are you feeling physically and mentally today than back in December 2015?
I’m feeling great, I’m 100%, I was pretty healthy back in December but mentally I’m a lot stronger and confident.
Talk a little how the rehab continued for you in 2016 up to now. Was it a normal procedure or did you experience any jilts along the way?
In 2016, it’s been pretty normal just back to the normal routine! Working out 2-3 times a day. I’ve matured more in the sense of taking care of my body.
As the rehab kept going and you could sense that your body was getting back to where it should be did you sense that your confidence about being able to continue to do what you love could become a reality again?
Of course, I think that was the mental part. Strong Body Strong Mind. I never doubted it, I knew I would play again just needed the opportunity!
What do you feel was the most important thing that you learned during this very painful process of having to sit out a season and rehab a severe injury?
The most painful part was not being able to compete. It killed me not being able to play last season! The rehab part wasn’t that bad just took discipline.
Are you 100% healthy now and how would you describe your physical and basketball shape now?
I’m 100% healthy and I’m in basketball shape. I’m ready to compete right now if the season started!
How is your body different now then from your last game with SC Rist wedel on May 2, 2015 against Oldenburg?
I’m stronger now. I’ve been working on my core and my legs a lot more!
How confident are you that you will be able to continue to give the basketball world the kind of Diante Watkins that everyone saw with SC Rist Wedel?
I’m greatly confident. I’m 100% and when I’m healthy I’m always confident in myself.
You recently played at the China Four Nations Tournament in Yunyang, Dazu and Shenzhen (Team USA): 8 games: 18.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 6.3apg, 3.0spg. What kind of experience was that for you?
It was a great experience, I was able to see and learn a little bit of Chinese culture! The games were tough though, it challenged my body for sure. We played 8 games in 11 days.
You really tore up the competition at the China Four Nations Tournament. Is your confidence at an alltime high now as you return back to an old stomping ground in Germany?
I’m excited to return back to Germany. It’s been a whole season so I have to refresh the minds that I can still play!
Congrats on signing with the Falcons in Nurnberg. Did the fact that the organization was bankrupt and now have found a way back not make the signing process a bit uneasy for you?
It was a little uneasy but I just trusted the process.
What was the main reason for joining the Nurnberg Falcons BC? Was the idea of playing in the Pro A a big motivation for you?
The main reason was Coach Ralph, I talked to him a lot. I met him in China and I wanted to play for him and Nurnberg. The Pro A was only focus, it was my focus from the beginning!
How confident are you that you can make the next step at the Pro A after your severe injury?
I think I’ll do really good in Pro A. I’m excited to get back playing in Germany!
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA heads would you choose?
Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Magic Johnson and the fourth I would have to think about it! Haha
Now that Lebron finally won a NBA title with the Cavs where does this title put him in the debate as the all-time best player in the world?
In my eyes I think he’s the 2nd greatest of all-time behind Jordan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just watched Belly, it’s an old school movie with DMX and Nas one of my favorites!
Thanks Diante for the chat.