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.
Devaughn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Christmas and the new year have passed and we are in 2017. How did you come to experience your first holiday season overseas in Denmark?
Christmas in Denmark was a little different than what I’m use to because I wasn’t with my actual family. But my girlfriend from home came to visit me so it was good not being all alone for Christmas.
On what childhood memories do you even think about today that you had when you were a kid in Orlando?
Honestly too many memories to just pick out one specific one. To pick something I will never forget will have to be winning a national championship as well as our state championship my senior year at West Oaks Academy with the record of 39-1.
Before we talk about the next Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners, let´s look back on the 74-68 loss against Slovenian club Helios. As a team you were so close to getting the win, but couldn´t get over the hump in crunch-time. What was key in the last two minutes that Helios could get their second win of the competition?
They executed down the stretch and made plays both offensively and defensively to put themselves in position to win.
In the first game, Bakken kept Brandyn Curry pretty much under tabs holding him to 8 points, but he erupted in the second game for 23 points. What did Bakken get away from in this loss on the defensive side that allowed Curry to be more active on the offensive end?
Brandyn just came out with an aggressive mindset early and was able to get shots to fall from the beginning and he never looked back. Us defensively didn’t step up to the plate to shut him down.
How much of a difference would the outcome of the game have been had Adama Darfoe been able to play? What did the Bakken game miss most with his absence besides added leadership?
His leadership most definitely would have helped. But because he’s sitting out doesn’t mean he can’t be a leader from the sideline. We just weren’t tough down the stretch to make winning plays to get the victory.
You had 20 points and 18 boards in the loss. This was the most offensive rebounds that you have had going back past your days at Illinois State. Do you learn some new capabilities in your rebounding game from this performance?
Not really I just try to play hard every night. My shot wasn’t going in so I had to contribute some other way and going to the glass literally every position is why I ended up with so many rebounds. But I can’t talk about that too much because we had an unsuccessful night.
You are having a very strong Champions League season averaging 18,0ppg,6,5rpg,1,5apg and 2,3spg. How difficult is it too truly enjoy and appreciate your own accomplishments when the team is always losing?
It’s always good to have stats and what not. But it’s never good nor fun when you lose. I can care less about the stats because of how terrible our Champions League record is.
You are also tearing up the Danish league and have scored in double figures in 11 Danish league games and 13 Champions League games. How has your game profited most from the Champions League games?
I can say the Champions League definitely helps with the way I’ve been playing in the Danish league because of the physicality and competition is totally different.
The Bakken Bears have three Champions League games left and next play the Fraport Skyliners. Do you feel like the Bakken Bears will be a notch more focused then in the first game knowing that was the only win they got so far this season?
I will say yes to that because we have to go to their home court and show them that we didn’t beat them by mistake last time.
How tough is it in general winning almost every weekend in the Danish league and losing almost every mid week in the Champions League? How much of a test has this been for you as a rookie to be ready every game no matter what?
It hasn’t been a good test. No one is ever happy with losing. But me being a rookie It’s a blessing just having the opportunity.
Bakken had their only win against the Fraport Skyliners in the Champions League play and now face them on the road. This will be another do or die game for Frankfurt as they continue to look to secure the fifth and last spot to advance while Bakken are playing for pride. Could we await another grind out defensive battle?
That’s what we are aiming for.
The Fraport Skyliners are a much different team than when you faced them in the first game as Ekene Ibekwe has left and former Iona sharp shooter AJ English has come on board. Bakken did a good job on the boards in the first game. What will be key to getting the win?
Defense and rebounding.
You most likely will have Quantez Robertson guarding you to make your basketball life on the court very difficult. You had no problems scoring 24 points in the first game. What kind of a mind set do you have in a return game where you know that your opponent will be extra motivated to shut you down better the second game?
Just go out there and hoop. If I get shut down scoring I’ll do something different to help my team.
When you look back at your 2 year NCAA career at Illinois State what match up do you remember being the most difficult for you on the court that you didn´t forget so quickly?
The only 2 signal digit games I had against northern Iowa.
I am sure that you are following Illinois State carefully from abroad, but how sure are you that you will be seeing your ex teammate Paris Lee somewhere in Europe next season or could you imagine him going the D-league route as a rookie?
I think he would be a great point guard somewhere in Europe.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
He’s a great player and in the regular season they don’t play defense in the NBA that’s why all these players can do all this crazy stuff.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
He’s my favorite player and I think he’s the best player in the league. Just my opinion I also respect all the other greats like KD Lebron Curry etc.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Devaughn for the chat.