Terence Billups is a 198cm forward from Jeffersonville, Indiana that will be going into his fourth professional season and third in Germany. After tearing up the Regionaliga with Cottbus and Rendsburg, he now will attempt the next step in the pro B with the UNI-Riesen Leipzig. He started his basketball career with Western Dakota Tech (JUCO) and then moved to Indiana SE (NAIA) in 2012 playing 20 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 85.7%. In 2013 he started his professional basketball career with West Michigan Lake Hawks (ABA). In the 2014-2015 season he came to Germany to BBC White Devils Cottbus (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 22 games Score-3(24.8ppg), 8.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, Blocks-2(2.0bpg), FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 76.3%.In the 2015-2016 season he played for Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games averaging 18.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 67.3%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Terence thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thank you for the interview! I’m pleased to be part of this! I am currently in my hometown of Jeffersonville, IN. This has been a good summer for me thus far. I have been preoccupied with a part time job working with teenagers, visiting and spending time with my family and friends, doing my basketball workouts in the gym and weight room, and preparing myself for another successful year in Germany.
Congrats on signing with German Pro B team UNI-Riesen Leipzig. Does the fact losing your phone and now not getting further congratulatory messages sour your mood at the moment?
I wasn’t so happy that my phone was recently stolen, but I went 2 full seasons in Germany without a phone that I could call family and friends in the U.S. on. So I’ll be just fine if I go without a phone for the summer. Having a phone was my primary source of communication, but I also have messenger and other forms of communication on another device. And I am able to buy another phone if necessary. But this doesn’t completely stop me from talking to my family and friends. So this doesn’t put me in a sour mood so much.
You payed your dues the last two seasons in the German Regionaliga with Cottbus and Rendsburg. How ready are you to play in the German Pro B this season?
I am very ready and excited for the Pro B level. When I first arrived in Germany a couple of years ago, I believed I was ready for the Pro B level. I was also ready last year. Now I’m going into my third year and finally moving to the next level of Pro B. I am very confident, excited, and ready.
You really tore up the German Regionaliga the last two seasons. Was there ever any doubt in your mind that you would reach the next level?
There wasn’t one ounce of doubt in my mind that I would reach the Pro B level. I believe that I will reach the first league of Germany. But all in due time.
You were signed pretty early in the summer. UNI_Riesen head coach Thomas Krzywinski had seen you play as a rookie with Cottbus. What sold you most about coming back east, but to a new team in Leipzig?
During my rookie year with Cottbus, Coach Thomas was the head coach of Pro B team Dresden Titans. He came and watched me play during my final home game in Cottbus as he had an interest in me. I believe I scored 30+ points and had an overall great game. And we won. So he was able to see me play in person to see how I was on the court. He invited me to Dresden that week to workout with the team. I was able to see a little bit of how he was as a coach and leader. I saw a little of the drive in him for his players. He really put me to the test to see how I reacted and to see my results in a different situations. That sparked my interest in him as a coach. I was pleased to hear that he still had an interest in me for the upcoming season. This is what sold me to come play for Leipzig. And the club has a good track record for being in the Pro B and not dropping down in leagues. So I believe that I will be entering a good club under good leadership.
What has been your overall impression of head coach Thomas Krzywinski. After talks could you say that you speak the same basketball language or is that a work in progress that will be continued in August when the club meets for training camp?
Coach Thomas seems like a great coach and person. I will have the opportunity to really know him much more than I already do during the upcoming season. I would say that I have a good understanding of what Coach Thomas expects from me as a person and player. I remember the conversations we had after my rookie year and he expects me to be ready when I arrive in Leipzig as I have the same expectations for myself.
You will have more talented and strong player as teammates with Leipzig then in the Regionaliga and most likely won´t put up consistent big numbers like in the Regionaliga. Is this something that you will be able to come to terms with?
I believe that I will be able to make a huge contribution to the team whether its points, assists, or defense. I believe my presence will be big and I also plan on making a big impact on the stat sheet consistently as well.
Let´s talk a bit about your game. You can do it all at the forward position and a bit more. How would you describe your game and if you had to what NBA player could you compare your game to?
I would say that my game resembles Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. George can bring the ball up, give you rebounds, points at any given moment, strike from long and close range, give you a defense presence, bring excitement to the game, and so much more. He could play from the 1 to the 4 in my opinion. At the Pro B level, I could for sure play 1 to 4 and even 5 at times.
What do you feel is a hidden talent in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court, but that you feel you excel at?
I think being a good teammate doesn’t get noticed right away. And I believe that I am a great teammate.
What do you feel could you develop in your two years of professional ball in your game in the Regionalliga that will allow you to make the next step in the Pro B?
I’ve developed the mindset to take over in crucial game situations using my God-given talents. This has been expected of me during my first two seasons in Germany and if my team needs me to take over this upcoming year, then I will be able to carry this mindset over to Leipzig.
How vital was it for your game and leadership skills being the only American the last two years with Cottbus and Rendsburg? Do you feel that the young German players could benefit from your game and leadership?
I think that having a good relationship with the players on and off the court will be vital for good chemistry and teamwork with all players. It doesn’t bother me much at all being the only American for the team. I felt that I fit in really well with the German players outside of basketball and on the court. My main thing was to put much effort into whatever I did. And this will be recognized by the players and others because of my talents as a player and person.
Let´s look back briefly at your college career. You finished at Indiana SE (NAIA) and reached the NAIA D2 Final Four and won the KIAC Tournament. What were your fondest memories in this successful last season in school?
My fondest moments during this period was being in practice with my teammates and coaches and being able to carry out all of that hard work, strategic planning, chemistry, love and trust, and talents over into the games. And being part of a team that won the conference championship and finishing with a school record (30-5) and taking the school to a record setting Final 4 title would definitely be a fond moment for me.
How did head coach Wiley Brown groom and prepare you best for a college career while at Indiana SE (NAIA)?
Coach Wiley didn’t take any b.s. from his players. He got on us when needed in his own way. He recognized the strengths within each player and came up with strategies to implement those strengths in games. He was always prepared for games and practices. Also, he helped the team to be a real team and not a one or two man show. His motto was “pass up a good shot for a great shot.” That has always been stuck in my head to this day. He made sure we played as a team and I believe this was key to why we made it to the Final 4. Everything he has done as a coach and person has really helped me to grow as a player.
Who won a one on one in practice at Indiana SE (NAIA) you or Kegan Clark?
Haha… I can sit here and say that I would win a one on one match up with Kegan, but he would say the the opposite if you were to ask him. We were matched up quite a bit in practice at Indiana SE, but I would say that we made one another better and tougher players.
How does a workout in the summer of 2016 look like for you on and off the court?
A workout on the court will consist of two-ball set dribbling, moves, shooting from all ranges, and one on one drills to name a few. Off the court, the weight room would be the primary target. This is a general idea of my workouts in the summer of 2016.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which four NBA legend heads would you chose?
I know Stephen Curry isn’t yet a legend, but he would be there along with Kobe, Shaq, and Jordan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just recently saw the Conjuring 2 in theatres.
Thanks Terence for the chat.