Will Barnes is a 28 year old 185cm point guard from Tuscaloosa, Alabama that will be playing his third professional season with SC Rist Wedel. Last season he signed with German Pro B team Weissenhorn, but a serious knee injury kept him from playing last season. In the 22014-2015 season he played for the Hamburg Towers playing 28 games averaging 13.8ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 77.1% He started his basketball career in 2006 for Tennessee Tech (NCAA) where he played a total of 98 NCAA games. In 2012-2013 he played at Lee (NAIA) playing 34 games: 20.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 77.7%. As a rookie he played for the Finke Baskets playing 29 games: Score-3(18.8ppg), 3.5rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 64.3%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball
Will thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been going?
What’s going on Miles? Everything’s good my way. Excited about getting back on the court! I’ve been focused on taking care of my family and training this summer. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m really motivated to come back stronger than before my injury.
It had become very very quiet with you as you had missed a season with a severe knee injury and quite honestly I personally had forgot all about you, but today everyone can say “Will Barnes is back”! Congrats on signing with SC Rist Wedel. If you look back on the last year and all the hardships you endured as well as never giving up and working hard to get healthy again, what was driving you to get back to a position where you could lead a team again?
Yes, this last calendar year was tough for me mentally but adversity builds character. More than anything my family was my motivation. They are my inner circle. My son being the biggest of those! Also the competitor in me wouldn’t allow me to go out in that fashion. Yes, the surgery was tough to go through and come back from but I knew all along that I was going to come back.
You had been a very active member in the Hamburg Towers community helping young kids learn to play basketball as well as being a positive influence on the community. How important was having this bond to the Hamburg Towers for getting the job with SC Rist Wedel?
It was very important, but not the sole reason I worked with them. I really do enjoy helping and teaching kids the game. Especially here in another country. It really helped my German and helped me gain more of an appreciation for different people from different cultures. It was a really nice experience!
You are taking a step back to play in the Pro B with SC Rist Wedel. Did you feel it is better to go this route and not try to get back to fast to the level where you were in your first two seasons in the Pro A with Paderborn and Hamburg?
Yeah, I feel like the move to Wedel will really pay off for me. I’m not looking at it as taking a step back. I really do have to “reprove” myself and I will carry that mentality with me from here out. It’s rare that Americans get another opportunity at this level after missing a full season because of surgery. The market is so big now that coaches and GM’s can literally just look to the next player. So I’m very appreciative of the chance Wedel has given me.
What was the deciding factor that made you go and sign on the dotted line with SC Rist Wedel?
My family situation. It was better for us to be here in Hamburg where we have our own place and have everything settled already. Less stress and I can have more focus on basketball and training.
SC Rist Wedel has hauled in a new head coach, but you had contact to manager Christoph Roquette. What kind of special relationship do you with him and how was he able to convince you that playing for SC Rist Wedel was the best choice that you could make?
Yes Christoph is a great guy. The few times we’ve met, we talked about the many advantages I could have by playing in Wedel. It was a no brainer. It didn’t take much convincing!
Let´s talk a bit about your comeback. It has been a while since our last interview, but how difficult was it coming back and what did you learn about your body and mind during this long process? You are 100% fit again. What do you feel did you lose most in your inactivity on the court basketball wise that you will have to find again in time?
Yeah it was a long process. The most difficult was the initial period of being bad, out of shape, and frustrated haha. I was lucky to have the resources I have. The Towers organization helped me tremendously in that regard. I’m able to train 5 days a week and work with professionals. It’s really helped me. But as far as what I lost most is my rhythm. It’s gonning take some time for everything to feel natural again, especially after missing a full year.
On what things are you working on most now? Is finding that shooting touch again like going back to school? How does one find that shooting touch again besides massive repetition?
I’m actually working on my ball handling the most. It’s so essential to my game that I’m a completely different player without it. Shooting also of course. I’m working on everything and even more. All the fundamentals!
You will have even less imports around you in the Pro B than in the Pro A. Do you see yourself having your leadership take on a totally new dimension this season?
Yes, but that’s where I’m comfortable. I’m a natural leader so I always take on the challenge. And most of the players I’ve been working with this summer so it will be a smooth transition.
If you had to pick one person that really helped you most in this ordeal from the Hamburg Towers organization who would you chose?
Marvin Willoughby without a doubt. We’ve had a really good relationship since I played here in 14-15 but it evolved in the past year. He really understood where I was and that I needed help. He pointed me in all the right situations. Very appreciative to know him and how much he’s helped me.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 legendary NBA heads would you add?
Tough. I’m the type that when talking about all time players, I only list who I personally saw play. So MJ, Shaq, Kobe, and Bron.
Lebron James finally won that NBA title with his Cavs. Where does this added title rank Lebron now with the greatest. Many say he is the best ever while old school NBA legend Charles Barkley doesn´t have him in his top 5 ever?
I think Lebron is a solid top 5 player now in any list. Barkley is a character, so there’s no telling why he chose to leave Lebron out of his list haha.
What was the last movie that you saw
Pursuit of Happiness.
Thanks Will for the chat.