Diante Watkins is a 26 year old 174cm point guard that finished his fourth professional season and first with the Nurnberg Falcons BC averaging 17,1ppg, 2,7rpg and 4,7apg. Last season an injury in pre season derailed his path playing for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He started his basketball career in 2009 with Daley CC (JUCO): 28 games: 26.5ppg, 5.8apg, 2.7rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 44%, 3Pts: 38%, FT: 86%. He then played two seasons with Robert Morris (NAIA) and as a senior played 27 games: 24.4ppg, 7.4apg, 3.0rpg, 2.1spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3Pts: 38.9%, FT: 82.7%. In 2013-2014 he started his professional basketball career with SC Rist Wedel where he played 30 games averaging 16.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 86.9%. He improved his play in 2014-2015 with SC Rist Wedel playing 32 games: Score-2(21.3ppg), 3.8rpg, Assists-1(6.8apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 87.4%. He cleaned up the Eurobasket awards winning Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Honorable Mention -14, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year -15, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -15, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -15. He gave German Hoops a season ending interview.
Diante thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been spending your post season time?
Hey Miles, im still in Nürnberg just relaxing I’ll stay in Europe until the end of the month and than go back to Chicago.
Nurnberg finished the season in 12th place with a 11-19 record. After reaching the Pro A playoffs last season, is it fair to say that this season was overall a disappointment?
I mean I don’t think it was a disappointment, but of course we wanted to make playoffs and have a better record, but we faced injuries which caused a lot of rotational problems so we were able to keep the team in ProA and that’s a positive.
Did losing six of seven games in October/November kind of set the tone for how the season would go in that it would be a struggle to reach the playoffs?
Yes those 2 months were tough for us and we lost a lot of really close games that we could’ve won.
The Nurnberg Falcons had one two game winning streak at the start of the season and one near the end. The club was simply to inconsistent. Why wasn´t the club a playoff team this season?
We just had ups and downs. It’s hard to say the exact thing.
I always felt that the team had the talent to score 80 points this season, but averaged only 73 points. Do you feel like the offensive potential was never really realized?
We just had games when we weren’t as consistent. From me to others.
Which German player do you feel improved the most from the start of camp until the last loss against Cologne?
I think Sebastian Schroeder improved throughout the season. He had a good year for us.
I saw German Moritz Sanders play in the NBBL and was overwhelmed by his talent and potential. This season he averaged 7,2ppg in the Pro A. Where do you see his basketball journey heading in the next few years?
I think he will be a really good player, he has big potential.
You led the team in scoring, assists and steals despite missing the entire last season due to injury. Despite not making the playoffs, how enjoyable was this season for you in terms of just being able to play again and play at a high level?
It felt good to just be back on the court showing I’m healthy and also showing I can play at this level.
The success of a team is often linked to how well the point guard can lead a team. What do you feel did you learn from this season that will help you in the next seasons in terms of leadership?
I learned a lot this season. I have to pay more attention to details. I think I lead by example so that won’t change.
You stated in an interview that we did last October that “I feel I’m better, I still have a lot of improving to do and I’m learning as I go”. What was your personal season summary in terms of how you developed in your first full Pro A season?
I feel I had a solid season but I had to be a little smarter I feel I had too many careless turnovers.
You finished the season averaging 3,6 turnovers per game and had a bad two game stretch in December where you had 15 turnovers in two contests and seven turnovers against Paderborn in January. You finished the season strong with only 14 turnovers in the last six games. Do you feel like getting to know the Pro A better helped you with reading defenses better?
Those were just really bad games I was just in a bad funk, it was nothing that the teams did special to force turnovers I was just playing really bad.
What is the next step for Diante Watkins? Do you feel as though you could make an even step next season with Nurnberg or another Pro A team, or would you try to go to another country?
It’s too early to say now I’m just focused on vacation for a few weeks and than seeing what will come my way.
You have seen enough BBL games and know enough guys playing at that level. Guys like Carlos Medlock and Carlton Guyton made the next step to the BBL this season. Could you make an impact at the BBL level?
I definitely think I can play at the BBL level and make an impact on a team.
What are your summer plans? Will you visit some place that you have never been to?
Right now I’m just going to go to Chicago and relax. Maybe I will visit somewhere
How special was the run of South Carolina at the 2017 NCAA tournament? Do you feel like this was the story of March Madness 2017`?
Yea it was a great story but I wish Kentucky would’ve won it all.
Now that the 2017 NCAA tournament is history, what do you concentrate most on? Are the NBA playoffs and MLB seasons something that you will follow?
Yea I’m interested in seeing how the Cavaliers will do in the playoffs. And I like baseball but I usually like watching the playoffs of sports.
Is Lonzo Ball the real thing? Do you feel like he will be able to develop further despite the antics of his father on social media?
I think he’s a good player. He will be challenged in the NBA because of the antics of his father.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
No, I’ve followed it and the team is 33-8 when he has a triple double so it’s obviously helping his team win games!
What was the last movie that you saw?
I watched Blue Hill Avenue
Thanks Diante for the chat.