Dexter Werner is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Bismark, North Dakota that will be starting his professional career in Germany with Lok Germany. He just finished a stellar career at N.Dakota St. (NCAA) where he played from 2013-2017 playing a total of 105 NCAA games. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 12.0ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 61.2%, FT: 73.7%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.
Dexter thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Summer has been great. I just got back from spending a few weeks visiting some family in Denver and I will spend the rest of my summer in Bismarck and Fargo.
Four months ago you were toying with football and the NFL and now you can call yourself after all a professional basketball player as you will start your professional career in Germany with Lok Bernau. How serious did you take that Pro Day work out at North Dakota State?
I took the Pro Day workout very seriously. I looked at it as another chance to compete and showcase my athletic ability. I was confident that only good would come of it no matter which sport that was in.
At the Pro Day you witnessed drills that were made to display that explosiveness along with strength and speed with the likes of shuttle runs, 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump and standing long jump. What kind of impression did you leave and did you get any feedback form NFL scouts?
I think I definitely performed well with all of the pro day drills. I was able to show some of my athletic ability that may go unnoticed at first glance. I received feedback that I ran and caught the ball well for not having played football in five years.
Even though you are a professional basketball player now how much of an influence was a guy like NFL player Carson Wentz of your hometown Bismark for you as a professional athlete?
Carson is a great role model for a lot of young athletes in North Dakota and all across the country. I had the pleasure of getting to know him a bit throughout our time at NDSU and I think he will continue to have an impact on young athletes throughout his professional career.
How do you feel will your football skills in the long run benefit your basketball game on the court in certain situations in a game?
I have always thought that my physicality that I developed while playing football has been a big advantage for me when playing on the court. I am usually stronger than the person I go up against and that allows me to out-work them.
Congrats on signing with Lok Bernau? How excited are you to be starting your professional career in Germany. You come from a small town and won´t be too far way from the capital Berlin.
I can’t wait to begin my career with Lok Bernau. They are a great organization in a great location and I think it will be a great first year of my professional career.
Head coach Rene Schilling is impressed by your effectiveness on the court and likes your calmness on the court. What impressed you most about this organization?
I was impressed with the track record of Lok Bernau and success that they have had in the past. I hope to be able to continue this high level of success.
You will be teammates with 18 year old 215cm Kresmir Nikic of Croatia. How excited are you to be playing with one of Croatia´s best talents? Even though you are 16 cm´s smaller, do you feel like he could gain something from your physicality?
It is definitely exciting to get the chance to play with a young talent that has a promising future in Nikic. I look forward to meeting him and helping add some new aspects to his game.
Let´s talk about your game. At first glance you have an unorthodox game at times, but are an effective player that brings calmness to the team. To what NBA player would you describe your game to and what other strengths do you have in your play?
I have been told by others I play like Charles Barkley at times because of my rebounding and playmaking ability even though I am a little undersized.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?
I feel like my athleticism is something that can fly under the radar at times. I have put a lot of work into increasing my speed and explosiveness and it has definitely paid off.
What memories do you have of your last game as a sophomore against Gonzaga where you scored 22 points in 24 minutes in a 86-76 loss. Was that your best game in the NCAA?
Up to that point it was definitely my best game in the NCAA. After that game I was highly motivated to keep developing my game and I think that gave me the confidence to expand my game and play even better the next two years.
How challenging was it playing against giant Domantas Sabonis? Was it just another game or is this something that you might mention at Christmas dinner with your grand children down the road?
Sabonis in an incredible talent But I try to approach every game the same no matter who I go up against. It is a great memory that I got to play against that team and I will always remember it
. How did head coach David Richman groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at North Dakota State?
Coach Richman and his staff definitely gave me all the tools I need to be a professional. They taught me things that translate well to the next level and they also showed me how to act like a professional on and off the court which is a big staple of our program’s culture.
You were a two time Summit tournament winner in 2014 and 2015. Which win was the toughest and which will remain most in your heart?
The 2015 year was really special to me because we were picked as a 5 seed that year in the pre-season and we had a very young team. Not a lot of people gave us a chance to compete for a championship that year and we proved everybody wrong.
Who won a one on one in practice you or AJ Jacobson?
I have been playing with AJ since we were in high school and he is one of my best friends. We will keep the result of our one on one games behind closed doors.
How does a summer work out day look like for you on and off the court?
A typical summer workout day usually begins with a fruit, oatmeal, and protein smoothie for breakfast. Then I will get a shooting workout in that morning, followed by a lift. Then later that night I will come back to the gym to either play pickup games or just do another shooting workout. I usually lift 4 times a week, 3 on-court workouts, and 3-4 sessions of pickup games/shooting.
Who was the toughest player you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Some of the toughest players I have battled with are Sabonis, Karnowski, Wiltjer, Myles Turner, and Moses Kingsley.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Shaquille O’Neal -Lebron James -Bill Russell -Michael Jordan
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
My argument with this topic is the definition of the words greatest and best. I say that MJ is the greatest, you can’t argue with greatness. But when it’s all said and done, Lebron will be the best player to ever step on the court.
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 think Russell Westbrook is an amazing player. Nobody can argue with that. But I personally believe that an NBA MVP should be able to get his team further than an 8th seed in the playoffs and a first round elimination. But he had an amazing season regardless and still deserved to be the MVP.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
My sleeper pick for the NBA draft is Derrick White who was drafted by the Spurs. I think he is an under the radar draft pick because he originally was a D2 player before transferring to Colorado and I think he will be the perfect fit in Popovich’s System.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
I think the team will obviously be better than they were last year but they will have to have one more key contributor to be a serious contender.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Moana on Netflix. Great movie.
Thanks Dexter for the chat.