Dane Watts is a 30 year old 203cm forward from Warrensburg, Missouri that is playing his ninth professional season and first with the BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-ProA). In his first two games with Gotha, he is averaging 15,5ppg, 6,0rpg and 2,0apg. He played at Creighton (NCAA) from 2004-2008 with NBA player Anthony Tolliver. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 11.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3Pts: 42.5%, FT: 71.8%. In 2008, he came to Germany and started his professional basketball career with EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 32 games: 8.9ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP-1(68.4%), 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 68.7%. In 2009-2010, he came to The Walter Tigers Tuebingen playing 34 games: 10.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 71.0%. In 2010-2011 for Tuebingen, he played 33 games: 13.7ppg, Reb-4(7.6rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 54.5%; in May’11 moved to Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA): 3 games: 7.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. He then played for ratiopharm Ulm from 2011-2013. In the 2013-2014 season he played briefly for the Fraport Skyliners before another injury forced him to cut his season short. In the 2014-2015 season he played for Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain-Liga Endesa): 7 games: 2.4ppg, 3.6rpg; Eurocup: 6 games: 2.0ppg, 2.0rpg, in Jan.’15 moved to Limburg United (Belgium-Scooore League): 15 games: 8.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 64.1%. Last season he played with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights (Austria-A Bundesliga): 27 games: 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 74.8%; FIBA Europe Cup: 10 games: 13.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 77.6%He spoke to German Hoops about his move back to Germany to Gotha.
Thanks Dane for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You were away for two years playing in Spain, Belgium and Austria. What did you miss most about Germany?
Spain was a totally different culture but Belgium and Austria were more familiar for me and my family after being in Germany so long. We have made a lot of good friends over the years being in Germany so we missed seeing them and of course the schnitzel.
I was actually preparing an article concerning your ex teammate Michael Jenkins who will play in Frankfurt again after 7 years where he played the first time in 2009 with Tuebingen and you as his teammate. I almost put Dane Watts as retired in the section with many players from that season, but didn´t because I was figuring you might not be done yet. An hour later I heard the news that you signed with Gotha. Did you have less offers this year than in the past?
Not less offers but with a rough market a lot teams were taking rookies or young players. With a family and two kids there are only certain situations I’m looking to play in overseas.
When I say you have a 7-3 record against somebody affiliated with Gotha could you guess off the top of your head who I mean?
Reading the question below is see Chris haha. Don’t know anyone else I could have played against 10 times
You owned your new head coach Chris Ensminger as a professional in Germany having a 7-3 record against him. You were perfect with ratiopharm Ulm 4-0 against him and Bonn, you were 3-1 with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen against him and Bonn, but 0-2 with Ludwigsburg against him and Paderborn. Now that you know this will you have some friendly ribbing with him at some point letting him know about your success?
That is in the past and when I was in Ulm we beat everyone except Bamberg. I want us to enjoy success together now working in the same organization.
Will it be strange having Chris Ensminger as a head coach or do you see it as being able to learn something new at age 30?
It’s not strange, just makes me realize I have been around for a while. When I was younger I thought it was weird when my teammates said they played against the coach or were teammates before. Now I played against the coach for many years and also was a teammate with the assistant.
You had some serious battles with him as a professional. One either hated or loved the guy. He was a very tough player on the court. What did you respect about him as a player and competitor?
I respected that he was able to play so long at a good level, especially as a big guy you never know how the body will hold up. To me that means he was being a true pro and taking care of himself. To do that for so long, have a family and still produce on a top level is impressive.
Currently the team is in ninth place with a record of 5-5 and still finding themselves. Do you see yourself as being a type of savior or a guy that will bring the needed energy to the team?
I am coming here to provide leadership and experience, playing in some of the top leagues in Europe over my career I have learned a lot and help this team with their goals. There is a good group of guys here and we will come together.
Last season you had a very solid season with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights (Austria-A Bundesliga) playing 27 games and averaging 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 74.8%; FIBA Europe Cup: 10 games: 13.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 77.6%. Do you feel like your role will to be a scorer or more of a glue guy?
I showed last year that I can be the reliable veteran every night and lead a winning team. It was a crazy situation that ended our season but we were 29-4 before they didn’t let us finish the season. I am coming here to help the team win, if I need to score then I can but there are other intangibles that I bring that help teams win and that is probably most important at this point.
What do you believe is still your biggest asset as a player now at age 30?
Leadership and experience can’t be taught, having played so much you see things that younger guys don’t see yet. Having another voice tell a young something guy can help him learn quicker. I have played with some great guys and will help others just like they did for me when I was coming up.
How excited are you about this new experience? You will be the oldest guy on the team. Are you looking forward to be teaching the youngsters tricks of the trade on the court?
I am excited about this experience. It is good for my family and my wife is also excited to be back in Germany. My son was born here and we have had good experiences and memories here. Also for basketball it is a chance to help a club that has aspirations, I always want to be playing for something greater than myself. I was the oldest on my team last year in Austria, I don’t feel old, just experienced.
You didn´t spend much time with the Fraport Skyliners in 2013-2014 playing only four games, but when you see how successful they were the last two seasons and see how much their struggling now, do you feel a bit for your ex teammate Quantez Robertson who has his hands full as captain?
I really enjoyed the team and my time in Frankfurt. I was disappointed in how that ended for me there. I followed them ever since and was happy to see them succeed in the Fiba cup and see the players grow individually. It’s always tough to see friends struggle, I know the coaches and everybody around the team is doing things right so it’s hard when it doesn’t translate into wins.
Who won a one on one in practice last season you or Cody Larson?
I would give Orville buckets
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Shaq, Dirk, Larry, MJ and Bron Those are the guys that I liked watching growing up, there will always be debate but that’s who I like.
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?
Not sure there will ever be a clear cut debate on who is the best all time. If a Bron wins more titles that will make it harder for sure
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
Not far behind Duncan. He was a great competitor and always played with intensity.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The man from U.N.C.L.E was on the airplane ride over here.
Thanks Dane for the chat.