Dylan Travis is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Omaha, Nebraska that recently completed his rookie season with Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 17 games averaging 14.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.9apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 70.5%. He began his basketball career in 2012 with Midland (NAIA) playing 25 games averaging 7.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 67.5%. After a season at Iowa Central CC (JUCO) he moved to Florida Southern (NCAA2) in 2014 playing 25 games averaging 11.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 78.7%. In his senior year at Florida Southern (NCAA2) he played 24 games averaging 21.5ppg, 7.3rpg, 4.9apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 84.0%.He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Dylan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer going?
Danke Miles, right now I am in Florida working part time and of course staying in shape and working on my basketball game every day.
Congrats on being a big figure in helping Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven (Germany-Regionalliga) to the Pro B. If somebody had told you at the start of the season that the club would move up this season what would you have thought?
Yes, that was a big reason why I went to Cuxhaven. I love the ambition the club had, once we finally had our roster in place we talked every day about winning the league and we achieved that goal. The club deserves and so do the loyal fans.
The club has made big strides in the last two years moving from the Regionalliga 2 to the Pro B. Did you sense as a rookie that this is a club where the expectation level continues to grow with every new success?
Yes, I learned when I got there that Cuxhaven used to be Pro A so the community is used to that type of basketball and wants to get back to the Bundesliga ASAP.
How important was the fact that Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven (Germany-Regionalliga) had so many different nationalities on the roster from countries like Spain, Serbia, Croatia and Lithuania to name a few for the success last season?
I think having such a diverse club helped us come together more as a team. We had unselfish guys that had a high basketball IQ and that resulted in a lot of wins.
Do you feel like your experience having played in big tournaments like reaching the NAIA D2 Elite Eight in 2013 with Midland and winning the 2015 NCAA 2 title with Florida Southern (NCAA2) rubbed off on your teammates?
I think so for sure, I think my winning mentality and style of play rubbed off. Playing the game the right way and making the extra pass is contagious and is very fun. When guys see the American doesn’t care about how many points he scores I think that unselfish mentality spreads and helps the club win.
Was it a big adjustment period for you as the lone American playing with so many different nationalities? I guess you had no reason to even get an ego as lone Americans sometime get when they are surrounded by only one nationality.
Overall I loved how diverse we were. I learned so much about other cultures and made some great friends. The locker room you would hear 4 different languages being spoken at once. I think my mindset of wanting to embrace this new experience in Germany made it impossible for me to have an ego. I didn’t want to be that guy who shoots too much or worries about points. The European style of play of working as a team fits me and my type of play.
Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven (Germany-Regionalliga) would like to have you back. But you are currently scoping out all offers possible. Where do you see the trend going for you? More a farewell from Cuxhaven or a welcome back to Cuxhaven?
Cuxhaven and I have been in talks about next season. I am waiting to hear back about some details which are important for me. Cuxhaven was great though, the fans there made it feel like my 2nd home. Inviting me to their house for Christmas really made me feel welcomed. So whatever happens next season if I’m back or not I’ll always have love for Cuxhaven.
How thankful are you with how your professional career has gone? You had a great senior season at Florida Southern(NCAA2), but so did your teammate Dominique Williams, but instead of coming to Europe, he landed a semi-pro contract in the ABA with the Orlando waves. Have you learned early that it is vital to trust the process in order to survive?
I am very thankful, yes I am in a lower league but everyone has a different path. I know I can play with the best and that is my goal to be playing in a top league one day. And yes Dom just got engaged and got set up with a nice job back in Florida so it makes sense for him to just keep playing locally. Indeed it is vital to trust the process, last summer I didn’t sign until August. It’s almost July, but I trust something good will come. Whatever God has in store for me I’m ready.
I am sure you saw some BBL games live last season in Oldenburg or Bremerhaven. When you see those guys play, what do you feel is still missing from your game to make that jump? There have been players make the BBL from the Regionaliga.
We have a partnership with Bremerhaven and we scrimmaged and practiced with them every week pretty much. Going up against guys like Jordan Hulls, Quincy Diggs, Karvel Andersen, made me realize my defense needs to get better. That’s been big this summer with me, working on my quickness and lateral speed. The coaches at Bremerhaven really broke down the game for me also, helping me with using ball screen and various things. Which they didn’t have to do, I was just a Regionalliga guy, so I respect that.
How important was Croatian Luka Petkovic for you as a rookie in terms of you adjusting to the game? He has played in many countries and seen it all. How did he help your game mature as a rookie?
Luka helped me a lot. He has such a great feel for the game and his IQ is very high. Me and him were a great 1,2 punch. He would always break down different situations during practice giving me advice on different movements when I’m without the ball.
Last season you played 17 games averaging 14.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.9apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 70.5%. What was your summary of your own rookie season? With what were you content and what not?
I’m not content with anything. All my percentages will be higher next season because of the work I am putting in now. I love the fact we won the league, that makes two championships in the last 3 seasons for me. I hope a club can see even though my numbers aren’t crazy, I do the things a good teammate does that are crucial for winning games.
You are a scoring guard, can shoot well from outside and a very good rebounder for 190Cm as you had two double doubles last season. To what NBA player would you compare your game to and what would you classify as your biggest strength on the court?
I’m not big on comparing but I guess a do it all type of guard. A European guy like Nicolas Batum. Doing it all with points, assists, rebounds, and steals. My biggest strength is my shot, but also my decision making and unselfishness passing the ball. In college I averaged 5 assists a game so I am capable of doing more than that.
Your a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?
I would say rebounding. I have a good knack for where the ball is going to bounce off the rim. In college I averaged almost 8 rebounds and this season I was averaging 7 for the longest time. That’s just a mindset, you have to be that junkyard dog and want to get every rebound.
You played against many very talented young Germans players as a rookie. Who was the toughest match up last season?
The youngsters at Vechta II were very good. Look out for a couple of those guys in the future.
Before turning professional, you already got a lot of experience at different levels with schools Midland (NAIA), Iowa Central CC (JUCO) and Florida Southern (NCAA2). How do you feel did your game evolve differently going this route instead of if you had been only at one school for 4 years?
I didn’t go into college wanting to transfer but things happen and different opportunities present itself. At midland I met some great friends who will be in my wedding one day. Juco was a crazy experience, a lot of stuff going on outside of basketball but my focus and desire to be great kept me in the gym and out of trouble which led me to the sunny state of Florida where I won a national championship and was All American. My game evolved the most at Iowa Central under hall of fame coach, Dennis Pilcher and his staff. That’s where I learned how to communicate at all times, how to move without the ball, just how to play basketball the right way.
You achieved a lot with Midland and Florida Southern having played in big tournaments like reaching the NAIA D2 Elite Eight in 2013 with Midland and winning the 2015 NCAA 2 title with Florida Southern (NCAA2). When you look back at this time would you say that you wouldn´t have done it any other way?
It’s crazy because a great opportunity presented itself. After we won the National Championship I was offered a D1 scholarship to Wisconsin Green Bay. But I just felt in my heart It was best to stay. So it’s fulfilling to know if I wanted to play NCAA D1 I could have. Overall, no regrets.
You made huge strides from your junior season where you averaged 24 minutes and 11.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 78.7% and as a senior averaged 21.5ppg, 7.3rpg, 4.9apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 84.0%. Was it just the minutes that was responsible for this huge push or was it also other factors that helped you mature as a player?
It was both. After we won the championship our head coach went D1. His way of play everyone would play 20 – maybe 30 mins a game. We played a fast paced style which led to a lot of subbing to stay fresh since we had a deep talented squad. My senior year we weren’t so deep so I had to play a lot of minutes. I embraced it though and tried my best to help the team win.
What is your sweetest memory from winning the 2015 NCAA 2 title against Indiana PA where you scored 18 points in the 77-62 victory?
Me hitting some clutch threes and looking up at the big screen over center court and seeing my mom dancing with her sister. Seeing her so happy I literally just sat during a timeout and thought how great this was. A guy who wasn’t given a chance at a NAIA school is about to win a NCAA D2 championship.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Dominique Williams?
He won’t like this… but we played once in 2014 in pre season, and I won. He probably would say that didn’t happen though.
How does a normal summer work out day look like for you on and off the court and what are the main things you will be working on in your game?
A normal day for me is waking up going to work from 7-1:00. Coming home eating lunch then go to the gym to lift and play basketball. I am in 3 summer leagues in the Tampa area so that’s nice to have some competitive games every week. I am just ready for next season, wherever I end up, we’re going to win another championship.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Present time, I am choosing Lebron, Russ, Anthony Davis, and Ricky Rubio because that’s my favorite player.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title an dhas three to Michael Jordan. There are so many experts that keep proclaiming that Lebron is the best of all-time. Where do you rate him in the neverending debate about who the best of all-time is?
I grew up watching Lebron. My only memories of MJ was him with the Wizards. So I’m a Lebron fan so I am biased I guess you can say. Also I think Kobe should be in the conversation for what he did back in the day. Especially when he won it without Shaq.
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?
I watched a segment on ESPN and it showed some where his big guys would obviously defer and let him rebound. But maybe there’s strategy to that so there is no outlet pass and he can just go. Either way he makes up for it by the other rebounds he gets over 7 foot defenders and his tenacity all game that he brings.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I think it is a very talented draft. My sleeper is my guy from my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Justin Patton, Minnesota T wolves. My t wolves will make the playoffs this season with J Butler on the team now.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was the Mummy with Tom Cruise.
Thanks Dylan for the chat.