Vaughn Duggins is a 29 year old 190cm guard from Pendleton, Indiana that is playing his sixth professional season, fourth in Germany and second with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Last season with Oldenburg he played 36 games: 14.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.5%; Eurocup: 18 games: 11.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 83.7%. He started his basketball career in 2006 with Wright St. (NCAA) where he played until 2011 paying a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 18.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 82.2%. In 2011, he started his professional basketball career in Germany with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played until 2013 and in his second season played 33 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 82.0%. He then played two seasons in France with Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA): 31 games: 10.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 85.9%; Eurocup: 10 games: 10.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.2% and Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA, starting five): 32 games: 14.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 79.3%; Eurocup: 12 games: 11.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 78.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball recently during holiday time..
Vaughn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you and how have you enjoyed the Christmas time in Germany this season?
I’m currently at my apartment in Oldenburg. The Holiday season in Germany is always amazing. Now that I’m able to share it with my wife and son, it makes it even more special. My mom, Paula, came to visit as well so I have gotten to spend a lot of time with all of them.
You have experienced some Christmas markets over the years in Germany, but where did the Christmas market rank in my all-time favorite city of Hamburg?
The Hamburg Christmas market is high level, and it is always great to experience what each city does differently. It is definitely in my top 3, but Tübingen’s Christmas market has always had a special place in my heart and, together with Oldenburg’s, is my favorite.
You had surgery on your ankle recently. How did that go and how has it been the last weeks not being able to play?
Surgery went amazingly well. I was in great hands with foot/ankle specialist Dr. Preis in Wiesbaden. I am feeling better every day and God-willing, I will be on the court faster than anticipated. The last few weeks not playing has not been fun. I am very competitive and not being able to be on the court with my teammates hurts.
You have been pretty injury free your whole career except your junior career with Wright State. With time and experience does a player gain the ability to know how to play wiser knowing how to get around sustaining dumb injuries that could have been avoided on the court?
Haha I wish that were the case. The longer you play, you get to know the “dirtier” players and you try not to get caught in a situation where a dumb injury can occur. Injuries are going to happen regardless of how wise you become, and sometimes, if you actively try to avoid injuries, the more likely they happen.
Up until your last game in Frankfurt, you were playing very consistently averaging 13,0ppg,3,3rpg and 3,0apg. How much of a pain was it physically playing on a bad ankle?
I have been in pain almost all season and it has definitely affected my play, and it even affected my mentality at times. I wasn’t as aggressive and did not have the explosiveness and power that my game commands. I could not help the team like I was used to and It was very frustrating at times.
Last season you averaged 14.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.5%; Eurocup: 18 games: 11.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 83.7%. Your scoring is down this season. Has your role changed a bit this season with more scoring options?
No, my role has not changed at all. Up to my last game at the end of November, I have not played to the level I played at last season. I do believe I can play a lot better and will try to prove that when I get back on the court.
How much fun is it playing possibly with the best small forward Rickey Paulding and best center Brian Qvale in the BBL? How much easier do they make your job on the court?
I love playing with Rickey and Brian. I have gotten to know them over the last year and a half of being teammates and as good a players as they are, they are even better people off the court. They do so much for the team. Rickey is our leader and and sets a great example for everyone. Brian is an unstoppable force on the block and our defensive anchor.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg have been up and down with a 8-8 record. How confident are you that the club will have a big turn around in the second half of the season?
I am 100% confident that we will turn up the heat and start playing how we did the second half of last year. We have too many good players and our team chemistry is too good for us not to make a second half push and a deep playoff run.
The club had some good defensive games against Braunschweig, Tuebingen and BG Goettingen earlier in the season. But overall the team has been allowing too many points. What area on the defensive end does the team need to make improvements in the second half of the season?
We just have to execute the defensive plan a little bit better. Our defense could be a lot worse, but if we want to challenge the Top 4, we need to have the same focus every defensive possession and to have constant communication. Just a little bit of talking on that end would fix a lot mistakes we make by having each other’s backs.
The club is 6-4 in Champions League play and holding it´s own, but it could be 8-2 having lost some close games. What has been the biggest challenge the team has had being successful in this competition?
The Champions league has proved to be a very competitive league in only its first year in existence. The challenge has been in bringing the focus and motivation to every game. We don’t have as many fans attending the games home or away as in the BBL and the travel is much more intense also. It is important that we control only what we can control and that is our effort, focus, and mentality every night.
Last season Olden burg had an unwanted departure in the quarterfinals against a very nasty but potent Ulm team. Do the EWE Baskets Oldenburg have the character to be a championship team or just be a strong team that will make the playoffs, but not do damage?
Ulm has not looked back since that series. They are showing their class with their amazing start this year. Of course we believe we have the character, talent, and team chemistry to win a BBL championship. Why else do we play the game? We can beat anyone at any given time, but we have to take it one practice and one game at a time if we want to make it to that level.
I was impressed by the 16 point game by Belgium national player Maxime Zeeuw in Frankfurt. Has he been the solid role player from the bench that you envisioned when he was picked up?
I played against Maxime in Eurocup when I was in Nancy and he was in Rome, so I knew him as a player and his athletic ability and intensity still surprised me. He has high work ethic and can affect the game in many different ways on the court.
Chris Kramer once scored a bucket sitting on the floor at Purdue. You have seen him now everyday for the second season. What has been the most amazing thing you have seen him do on the court in a game or practice?
Chris is the definition of “machine”. He is a work-horse that is always making amazing plays on both ends of the court. As many tomahawk dunks as he’s had in his career, the most incredible things I’ve seen from him are his chase down blocks. He comes flying out of nowhere when you least expect it.
You are 29 years old and in your sixth season. Would you say that you are in your prime now? Do you see yourself heightening your game in the next few seasons?
Yes, I believe I am in my prime physically, but I always feel there is room to improve, especially from a mental perspective. I have no idea what God’s plans are for me and my game, but I am always striving to get better and I want to play the best basketball I can for as long as possible. I will control what I can, but I am just along for the ride.
You played two seasons with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen.and Reggie Redding. Did you know then that he would become a Euroleague player with Alba Berlin and Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul (Turkey-BSL)?
I knew Reggie was incredibly talented and could play at a very high level, but you never know what is going to happen. He definitely belongs at that level and proves that day-in and day-out. He is a great guy and I want nothing but the best for him.
You also played a season with American point guard Cameron Wells. How refreshing is it for you to have seen his development with the Giessen 46ers into a very fine BBL player?
It is awesome to see the way Cam is playing. The situation in Tuebingen was a tough one for him. He has reinvented himself in Giessen as a leader and a go-to guy and he has really thrived in that role. He has a bright future.
As a rookie, you told me this about Dashaun Wood. “! Dashaun beat me 9 out of 10 times on one on one. I was a young puppy out of high school and he was the horizon league player of the year. I don’t remember him having any weaknesses other than he was smaller than me so I could post him up. How would that older puppy do against him today?
Haha well Dashaun will for sure disagree with me,, but I think I could take him now. He is one of those guys that is best in a competitive trash talk situation. He raises his level and can play with ANYONE, but I think my strength and athleticism would outlast him. It would be interesting to see that go down. We might have to schedule a closed 1 on 1 game soon.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Michael, Magic, Larry and Wilt. And there is no debate!
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?
That is a great question and I’m sure many fist fights have been started by it. I could argue that the last Championship was his greatest of the 3 and it puts him into the top 5 all-time greats. His resumé needs a lot more work to crack the top 3, but he is definitely capable of that.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
He is number 4 in my personal opinion. Tim Duncan is #1, Karl Malone, is 2, James Worthy is 3 and then KG, but that sure is debatable too.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
It is one of the most amazing scoring displays of all-time. It is close behind Wilt’s 100 and Kobe’s 81. I was very surprised that he didn’t demand to stay in the game. He was “en fuego” and who knows how many times that type of feeling will happen throughout his career.
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?
Yes, he absolutely is. The numbers he puts up on a nightly bases are out of this world. He is responsible for almost every creative decision on that team and its crazy that he has that high of efficiency with the speed and intensity he plays with.
What was your most memorable Christmas experience in Indiana when you were a kid?
Our family had a long tradition of driving to Fort Wayne, Indiana and going to (what we thought) was the best Mexican restaurant in the U.S. We would eat there Christmas Eve with my Grandparents and then drive to their house, which was 30 minutes away, to stay and open of presents Christmas morning. We did that for 15+ straight years and it always puts a smile on my face when I think of those times.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Disney’s Moana with my wife, Maria, and my 18 month old son, Gianni.
Thanks Vaughn for the chat.