Coreontae Deberry is a 23 year old 208cm center from Holland, Michigan that is playing his second professional season in Germany with the Cuxhaven Baskets (Germany-ProB). So far this season the club has a record of 1-3 while Deberry is averaging 10,7ppg and 5,0rpg. Last season as a rookie he split time with the Windy City Bulls (D-League) playing 12 games averaging 2.8ppg, 2.3rpg, left during the season, in Mar.’17 moved to Halifax Hurricanes (Canada-NBL Canada): playing 14 games: averaging 0.8ppg, 1.9rpg. Earlier in his rookie season he played with the Mono Vampire Bangkok (Thailand-TBL) playing 12 games averaging 12.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FT: 75.0%. He started his basketball career at Mott CC (JUCO) and then moved to Hutchinson CC (JUCO playing 34 games averaging 11.8ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 69.7%. He finished at Cincinnati (NCAA) playing 67 NCAA games in the 2014-2016 time and as a senior played 33 games averaging 6.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 56.4%, FT: 68.3%. He spoke to German Hoops late in the summer about basketball.
Coreontae thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. It is near the end of the summer in terms of the basketball transfer period. How relived are you that you finally got signed and were you getting a little nervous?
I am excited when I found out the I had a team in Germany interested in me playing for them. I was relieved that I did not have to worry about waiting to find out where I’ll be playing next. I was able to enjoy the rest of my time home with my family.
You have a very unique first name with Coreontae. Talk a little about how you have experienced your first 22 years with the name. Were there any hard times with it in school or was it one of those names that everyone loved to say?
Lots of people have had comments about my first name. I have never met another person or heard of another person with the same first name as me. Some people can say it correctly and some people have a hard time trying to say my first name. But everyone seems to like it though.
Congrats on signing with Cuxhaven. How did you go about making the choice to sign with this team? Did you have some other offers and what was the deciding factor that made you sign with the German Pro B team?
Honestly I have never heard of Cuxhaven until my agent told me about it. By researching how the city is like it seems like a lowkey city and not too much going on. I don’t really do much outside of basketball anyway so it didn´t seem like a bad idea. Plus it was in Europe so why not. My decision was made talking with my agent. He had a few teams in mind but we found the right fit in Germany.
Cuxhaven CEO Knut Spreckelsen can´t really believe it that you were able to come to this team. How excited are to be playing in Germany?
I am very excited that Knut Spreckelsen is being very welcoming me to play there. That’s the best way to start something special. I’m excited to be playing in Germany.
You will be living in Cuxhaven which is on the water and remind you of Lake Macatawa. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball?
Yeah I heard I’ll be living close to the water. Hopefully I have a good view. It would remind me of Lake Mac! I don’t know much about Germany but I have heard good basketball is being played there.
I described you a famished lion concerning your hunger in your second professional season. You didn´t really get a chance in the D-League or Canada averaging under 10 minutes a game. How hungry are you to show the basketball world of your abilities?
I am hoping to come to Europe help win games and accomplish good things there. The sky is the limit from there.
Let´s talk about your game. You are a pretty athletic 208cm big man. How would you describe your game and if you had to to what NBA player would you compare your game to?
I do t really like comparing myself to anyone but I do idol and respect the game of Lebron James.
You have been described as having hands the size of gloves. Do you feel like just your presence will be able to intimidate opponents this season before games when they see you dunking in warm ups?
I get that I have big hands almost everywhere I go. Yeah I have to agree there not normal size hands!
You should not only be an impact player in the Pro B, but should dominate this season. What will be your main personal goal on the court besides winning games that you want to showcase with your game?
I feel like my presence on the court will help win games! Of course I’ll have to take care of business at the same time. I would like to showcase my all around game to Germany. That will be a goal of mine.
Your first experience as a professional was with the Mono Vampire Bangkok (Thailand-TBL) playing 12 games averaging 12.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FT: 75.0%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Asia where you knew that you were far away from home in Michigan?
Yeah that experience was crazy. Being that far away from home was really different for me. I enjoyed it though We ended winning a Championship there I’ll never forget that experience. Longest plan ride ever!
You didn´t have huge stats in the NCAA with Cincinnati (NCAA) as as a senior you played 33 games averaging 6.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 56.4%, FT: 68.3%. You went the D-league route with many other guys looking to make their dream of the NBA come true. Basketball players are always confident, but were you realistic knowing that the NBA probably wouldn´t happen after the first few days of practice?
The NBA is a hit or miss situation. I played for the Chicago Bulls D League for 3 months. I did not go in the D league thinking NBA right away. I knew I needed a little more experience so I planned on playing overseas. I chose the D League route before going overseas to play in the States so my family and Friends could come watch me play. Playing overseas it’s kind of hard to come watch a game when you want to
What kind of experience was the D-League in general. What do you feel is placing you apart from the NBA from teammates like Paul Zipser and Jerian Grant who would play for the Chicago Bulls last season?
I have played in practice with both of those guys Grant and Zip and I did pretty good against them when they joined our practices.
You seemed to take the Canada experience in stride as well as even though you didn´t play much you helped the team to the final. Do you feel like you could gain something from head coach Mike Leslie´s knowledge there?
When I get that NBA experience back it will be much different than before. I feel like I did not gain much from Coach Leslie. We didn’t really see eye to eye because of his coaching style. But I did not let that stop my focus on helping my team to the finals.
You had to pay your dues at Mott CC (JUCO) and Hutchinson CC (JUCO) before moving to Cincinnati(NCAA). When looking back how glad are you that you could make this experience? How did 2 years of Juco ball kind of shape your basketball character?
JUCO basketball changed my life for basketball because I had to learn how to play more tougher. And that’s when I really found my role in this game of basketball. Being the muscle on the court.
You played 67 NCAA games at Cincinnati(NCAA) scoring in double figures in 10 games. How do you feel did you grow as a player in the NCAA in your last two seasons?
I feel like after my college career like I gained good knowledge about the game and saw things better on the court. And I was able to react to things better.
How important was a guy like Octavius Ellis who will play in Russia in the top level VTB league this season in your last two years at Cincinnati? How did he help make you a better player and vice versa
Ellis was a good player and one of my good friends at Cincinnati. We played off each other’s energy in games and practices. I’m happy he is still chasing his dream.
It has been 18 months since your last NCAA game which you lost 78-76 and scored the most points in your NCAA career against ST Joseph´s with 18. Is this a game where you can still play the last seconds through your head today?
Yeah I can still play those last few seconds in my head and I hate to think about it. That was heartbreaking but yeah it was a tough one to take in.
As a junior you lost the last game of the season against power school Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. You held your own with 7 points and 6 boards in 17 minutes against 6 future NBA players. If somebody had told you after that game that Devin Booker would be the best of those six to make it in the NBA would you have believed it after that game?
After playing Kentucky that year they had 7 NBA players get drafted I felt like Karl A. Towns deserved to be in the NBA.
How did head coach Larry Davis help groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Larry Davis prepared me best for those big games I had at Cincinnati.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Octavius Ellis?
In practice me and Ellis never played one on one but we do battle in practice and worked hard.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
The toughest player I played in the NCAA was Ryan Boatright from Uconn.
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?
Like I said before my idol is Lebron so of course I think he’s the best right now. Micheal Jordan will always be the GOAT and will always be respected by me.
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 one can stop Westbrook and people that criticism him don’t know what there talking about. He averages a triple double! No one else is doing that.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Last movie I saw was Horrible Bosses 2.
Thanks Coreontae for the chat.