Tre Demps is a 23 year old 188cm guard from San Antonio, texas playing his rookie season in Belgium with Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Belgium-Euromillions League). He played at Northwestern (NCAA) from 2011-2016 playing a total of 133 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 15.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 33.2%, FT: 66.2%. Before turning pro he took part at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) playing 3 games: 16.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.7apg. He spoke to German Hoops before the Fiba Europe Cup game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Tre thanks for talking to German Hoops. You’re a rookie playing your first season overseas for Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Belgium-Euromillions League). Your from San Antonio, Texas and also lived 4 years in Chicago playing for Nothwestern(NCAA). Has it been a big adjustment living in the pretty countryside of Belgium?
The adjustment has been good so far. I’ve moved around my whole life so I’m kind of used to being able to pack up and adjust to new places. Belgium is a very relaxed place with a lot of great places to shop. My family and I love the peacefulness of Belgium the most coming from Chicago.
It isn´t always normal for a guy to play with the same guy for 4 years in school, then play NBA Summer league and then move to the same professional team as a rookie. Do you and Romanian Alexandru Olah have a special bond that many won´t necessarily understand how great it is?
Yes. We have a very good bond on and off the court. We can always be honest with each other and help each other which is really nice. He is such a great teammate and friend so I was very excited to have the opportunity to play with him again. I love the passion and enthusiasm he brings to the locker room.
Belfius Mons Hainaut has a 2 game winning streak. Congrats on the wins against Leuvin and Aalstar. Is the team finding a groove now in the Belgium league?
Yes, I believe we are finally clicking and figuring each other out. We have the type of team where there can be a new “player of the game” every night. We are learning what specific plays each player likes to score or create, and defensively we’ve played with much more intensity and smarts.
The club has found it´s rhythm on defense and is second in Belgium in points allowed. Is this a good basis to keep building on which in turn will get the offense to possibly keep growing as well?
Absolutely. Justin Cage is the head of our defense so we follow his lead and intensity. I think we can be really good in the open court if we can force tough shots from the other team. I think we need to improve on getting more easy baskets and that has definitely been an emphasis in practice.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn are playing some good basketball currently having a 5-2 record. What will be key in getting the win?
I think controlling the tempo of the game. Obviously they may have more athletes than us, but I think we can put ourselves in a good position if we play with smarts, and fearlessness.
You have needed so adjustment coming from the NCAA to the Belgium league as you are averaging double figures in scoring. Does the European style fit your style?
I like the European game. As a rookie I still have so much to learn. I’m trying my best to take in as much information as I can from older players and the coaching staff. Reading the defense on ball screens is something I need to improve on, but right now I’m trying to utilize my athleticism to make plays
If you had too chose one thing that has made the adjustment harder in Europe which would it be?
I would say the strong emphasis on making good reads on the Screen and roll. The European game is very tactical in that regard, so I’ve been trying to focus on that the most.
You have evolved into one of the scoring options, but what exactly is your role on the team?
I think it’s been just trying to bring energy off the bench and push the ball and make plays with both scoring and passing. But mainly binging energy to the game.
You can do so much on the court, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?
When I’m in a good rhythm I think I can make good passes especially in transition.
Your playing with two veterans with Justin Cage and Lionel Bosco. How have you learned best from them in the first few months and has one of them taken you under their wing?
Yes I’ve learned so much from them. Lio is a true team guy and never takes days off in practice. He pushes me to go hard in practice every day. He’s also very good passing out of ball screens and organizing the team, which are areas I look up to him in. Justin is a great teammate and a true professional. We have similar situations with young daughters so he has been a mentor for me off the court mainly.
Last April you played at the well known Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 16.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.7apg. You played very well. Was there any NBA interest after that?
Not much to be honest, and I’m ok with that. The NBA nowadays likes prospects with outstanding features such as youth/potential, long wingspan, and athleticism. I don’t really have any of those features. I am content with where I am.
Your dad Dell Demps is the general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans. What dealings have you had with NBA players over the years. Any cool stories that you have had?
Yes. I used to help out with the San Antonio Spurs workouts when I was in middle school, and every now and then they’d let me hop in. I use to run sprints with Tim Duncan, and Bruce Bowen early in the mornings. Funny story I was working out one time with them and I accidentally spilled the trainers coffee all over the weight room. I was very embarrassed!
You played at Northwestern(NCAA) from 2011-2016. You had some huge games against Michigan winning once and losing one, but scoring 20 and 21 points. Were those games tops on your memory list?
The top games of my memory list would probably be beating # 6 ranked Wisconsin on the road my Soph year and also beating Indiana my Junior year at home.
How did head coach Chris Collins groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
We come from similar pedigrees with his dad being a former NBA coach. He taught me a lot about being competitive and how to win, and he taught me how to calm down and not put so pressure on myself when I play, because he understood how badly I wanted to be a good player.
Who was the toughest player that you battled on the court in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jordan Ash?
We always had shooting competitions. I would win most of the time.
You played four years with Drew Crawford. He has been so close to the NBA. Is it just luck that is missing for him to reach his dream?
Drew is definitely one of my favorite teammates. I think he is an NBA player that just needs to find the right fit and opportunity. I feel like he was competing with a lot of guys for limited spots in the two opportunities he got (with the magic and raptors). But people have taken notice of his play and I know he’s going to break through soon
When you came to Northwestern in 2011 what Michael juice Thompson stories do you remember hearing?
Recently Juice has been a mentor for me. He is someone that has had success playing in Europe and knows what it takes to be successful here. I worked out with him and his brother all summer and they definitely prepared me for this upcoming season. I didn’t really hear stories, people just told me he was a very confident player and a great shooter.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Bill Russell Michael Jordan Magic Johnson Kobe Bryant
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
I think he’s 5th. I have so much respect for LeBron because he came into the league with so much hype and he has lived up to it. I don’t like that people criticize him, people should just appreciate his greatness
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
I would say 2nd behind Tim Duncan,
What was the last movie that you saw?
Remember The Titans on Netflix.
Thanks Tre for the chat.