Devaughn Akoon Purcell is a 23 year old 196cm forward from Orlando, Florida playing his rookie season with the Bakken Bears (Denmark-Ligaen). He started his basketball career at Eastern Oklahoma State College before moving to Illinois St. (NCAA) in 2014 where he played 28 games: 12.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 77.1%. In his senior year he played 31 games: 14.2ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 26.0%, FT: 71.2%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Thanks Devaughn for talking to German Hoops.You have not needed any adjustment coming overseas as you are tearing up the Denmark-Ligaen and playing very efficiently and strong in the Champions League. What has been toughest for you playing twice a week and in two different competitions and levels?
Playing twice a week and due to all the traveling has been tough. But as a professional taking care of your body plays a major role in how you perform. So I’ll say trying to eat the right things, stretch as much as possible, and lift weights consistently.
Have the first few Champions League games against teams like CEZ Nymburk, Aris and Monaco proved to you that you have the game for the top levels in Europe down the road simply because you have held your own and competited against top teams and ex NBA players like Jiri Welsch, Michaal Jenkins or Nik Caner-Medley?
Most definitely. My job is to go out every night and play my heart out. Weather its scoring, getting rebounds, defending the best player, or even being a vocal leader, I try to do what’s necessary at the moment to help my team be successful.
You have averaged only 22 minutes in both competitions, but have performed very efficiently. You would have mind boggling stats if you played 30-32 minutes. Do you feel like playing less has been better for your overall development as a rookie?
To be honest about this question I would love to play more minutes but being a rookie I have to accept what is given to me
Let´s talk a bit of your role. Are you the designated first scoring option or does your high scoring average not really define what the team is seeking to do during games?
I wouldn’t say I’m the 1st scoring option. We look for our big guy majority of the time. I try to stay in attack mode at all times and maybe that’s why it seems like I’m the 1st scoring option.
So far your shooting 47% from outside in the Danish league. You have never shot this weak. Is shot selection something you have really focused on in your first few months as a professional?
I have taken what the defense gives me.
You are a scorer that also can rebound and shoot the three. What would you say is your biggest strength as a player?
My biggest strength would probably be scoring sometimes I can put a bunch of points up in a short period of time.
To what NBA player would you best compare your game to?
I don’t like to compare myself to people but people often tell me I have a little Russell Westbrook in me.
If you had to name a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court what would you say that would be?
My post up game.
How challenging has it been battling Danish veteran Thomas Laerke each day in practice. How has he helped you most in the first few months of your rookie season?
It’s been a challenge I have accepted every day in practice we go at it and I believe he’s one of the reasons I’ve been having such good success so far from and individual standpoint.
Talk a bit about the worth of the three Danish veterans Thomas Laerke, Nicolai Iverson and Chris Christoffersen. I saw them play two seasons ago in a Eurochallenge game in Frankfurt. Would this team be functioning as well without them?
They are the key to our team. Their voice in the locker room and on the court plays a major role in our team chemistry.
What has it been like playing with Adama Darboe who is your teams most experienced player. He nailed a buzzer beater in Frankfurt two seasons ago to help his team Boras win a Eurochallenge game. Does he keep the team together?
Yes he’s the floor general everything we do on the court is ran through him. He is basically the coach on the court. It’s been great playing with him.
Baken has lost most games fairly easily in the Champions League. What do you believe have been the major problems with competing in this league?
Lack of rebounding, defending, and giving up.
The next Champions League game is against the Fraport Skyliners. How excited are to be playing another Champions League game against experienced Americans where you can show your special abilities?
It’s just the next game. Got to prepare for it just like any other game.
Last summer you had a Pre-Draft workout with Memphis Grizzlies (NBA). What kind of experience was that for you?
It was a great experience. Memphis showed me a great time and the workout was a good one as well.
After testing your skills against other top NCAA players what did you notice still needs to be done to one day reach the NBA?
Play well consistent which means shoot the ball from 3 at a high percentage. Play defense at a high level. And improve my IQ level.
Before moving to Illinois State you played at Eastern Oklahoma State College. How certain were you that one day you would make the jump to the NCAA?
After my freshman year I realized that I can some day play at a high level that I was playing in.
You had many great games at Illinois State, but which game will forever be etched in your memory most?
Beating Wichita State and the crowd rushing the court.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Daishon Knight?
We never really played one on one but I know for sure one time we were in the gym messing around and I was up 6-0 on him and he came back and won we were going to 11
How did head coach Dan Muller groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Muller Groomed and prepared me well I guess you can say.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
I guess you will have to say Fred Vanvleet or Ron Baker because those 2 guys were successful.
You come from Orlando, Florida. Were you ever curious the last years about the NBA Summer League going on there? Did you ever hang out there to see what was going on and just take in some of the atmosphere?
No not at all. I worked out all summer and stayed to myself.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Russell Westbrook, James Harden, KD, LBJ
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?
He is one of the greatest to ever do it.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
Not big on knowing about power forwards but he’s most definitely top5
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Devaughn for the chat.