Demetrius Ward is a 27 year old 188cm guard from Detroit, Michigan that is playing his sixth professional season with MTV Wolfenbuettel Herzoege (Germany-ProB) and last season played 22 games averaging 19.0ppg, 6.4rpg, 4.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 83.6%. He played at Western Michigan from 2008-2012 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 76.2%. He spoke German Hoops to about basketball.
Demetrius, thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and what are you looking forward to most this Christmas?
Hello Miles I’m currently at home in Detroit. I am looking forward to spending time with my family during the break.
Before we talk about Wolfenbuettel, I have to remind you about this quote you gave me in your last interview in April 2017. “I definitely think I can make an impact in the Pro A on and off the court. I’m not a one dimensional player, I can create my own shot and also create for others. I guess all I need is a chance to show my talents at the next level”. Are you very disappointed you didn´t catch on with a Pro A team? What do you feel is missing for getting that opportunity?
It was disappointing but, I have a great opportunity here in Wolfenbuttel which maybe better than playing in the Pro A. I think I don’t have the representation or anyone pushing me to go to the Pro A. My time will come eventually or maybe its not meant to happen but I definitely can play Pro A.
Before we get to the current season, let´s talk about your second home Wolfenbuettel. Your playing your sixth professional season with the club. With the way your career is going how realistic is that you would play here until the end of your career?
That´s a good question, at the end of each season Wolfenbuttel always comes with a good offer to keep me around. This is a good situation for me and its been nothing but love here. I would like to make that next step to a higher league. Time will only tell what will happen with me in my career.
It´s like night and day between last season and this season. Last season you played 6 pressure cooked playdown games and remained in the league. This season your in fourth place. Congrats on the great first half of the season. What has been the secret of the success?
We are locked in to what coach Steve concept and its been working for us. We all play for each other and there are no egos on the team. The success comes down to our team chemistry. We have different people leading us in different categories each game.
How does it feel being ahead of Rostock in the standings a team that is a favorite to move up to the Pro A?
I honestly don’t pay attention to that. Rostock is a good team with a lot of talent but my focus is on my team. I am happy to see that see are clicking after starting off to a slow start.
Was sweeping Rostock your biggest moments this season as a player?
No it wasn’t, the biggest moments this season so far is winning 6 games in a row with always 7-9 players on the roster, after practicing all week with 4 players.
Last season the club fought to stay in the Pro B. This season it´s on course to reach the playoffs. Is it too lofty to have the goal to win the Pro B title?
Our goal is to making the playoffs and be playing are best basketball around January. If that opportunity presents itself then it would be nice to make a run at the title.
How strange was it going back to the player function this season as Steven Esterkamp took over as head coach? Do you miss the plyer/coach role a bit?
It actually felt good to be just a player. I’m able to learn a lot from coach Steve. I am the NBBL coach for Juniors Lowens and some of the players practice with us so I’m still coaching a little.
What was the most important thing that you learned as being a player/coach that will help you continue to develop further in your coaching career down the road?
I would say being more patience and explaining things and why we are doing them. I’m more open with my players listening and hearing their advice.
Do you have a special relationship with Steven Esterkamp different form the other players simply because you have coached before? Do you at times give him advice?
Steven and I have a really good relationship we are able to talk about a lot of things. We have a different relationship from others because I’m the NBBL coach so we always have to talk about practice and planning for the week. He is always open for my advice, he loves to listen to us and have a conversation about our thoughts and how I see things.
Esterkamp is a young coach that sampled a lot of experience with Gotha. What have you appreciated most about his coaching philosophy and style?
He is a really smart guy on and off the court. I appreciate how he pays attention to details in the small things that makes the biggest difference. He is honest and will tell you the truth which is sometimes hard to do.
The team is averaging 85 points a game, but also giving up 81 points per game which is risky. What are the biggest building blocks at the moment on the defensive end?
I think the biggest block is that we are never able to practice our defense as a team because we never have a real team practice. That is difficult to work on when you have 5-8 people at practice all week.
How much would you credit the team chemistry to the ability to keep so many players from last season? The club held 5 Germans that are also BBL license players, but only two with Tom Alte and Constantin Ebert have played the bulk of the games.
That comes down to communication and trust. Last year we struggled to stay in the league and after the coach left it was a disaster but we fought through it. Last year we had to stick together after all and we didn’t have a coach so that brought us closer together.
You continue to see the development of the Germans. How do you rate the maturation of Alte and Ebert. Are these guys BBL route continuing to progress?
Both Tom and Consti have developed a lot from last season. You can see in their numbers but also how they’re playing. I think both have a bright future if they continue to work hard and stay focused.
How valuable has the signing of American rookie Tarique Thompson been? He is having a very solid rookie season. What have you learned to appreciate most about his game?
Tarique brings so much to the team. He’s an undersized 4 man that can guard 1-5 in this league. We have a lot of injuries this season and he was able to start playing the different positions. I appreciate that he isn’t a one dimensional player, he is also very unselfish maybe a little to unselfish haha.
Let´s talk about your game. Your having another great season as your stats are very similar to last season. What is personally the biggest challenge for you to continue to be as consistent as possible?
My challenge is to not take plays off during the game. Averaging about 36-37 mins a game I tend to take plays off.
You stated in our last interview “ I would say my game improved as a leader. I was able to put us in good situations to win games without me being the leading scorer all the time. In the last months players stepped up and gained confidence and started producing”. What are some of your personal goals this season in your game?
My personal goal is to be efficient without taking so many shots, scoring the ball with limited dribbles. Anyone can average 20pts but to average 20pts with 8-9 shots and have a winning record is impressive. This is my personal goal, to win games without jacking so many shots or taking a hundred dribbles.
You stated in our last interview that you would work on your defense on and away from the ball last summer. You averaged 3,2 steals per game in the 2014-2015 season. Do you feel like that has ripped benefits this season in your game?
Getting steals and playing defense is in my opinion two different things. I would like to be always in the right spot when needed to be. That takes focus and effort.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I like Kyle from the Lakers, he’s from Michigan and he is playing some really good basketball.
What is your opinion on Lavar Ball starting his own league for high school kids that will be able to skip college? Will this league catch on because the young kids will be able to earn up to 10,000 dollars per month?
I think Lavar is an interesting person that is catching a lot of attention. I´m not sure how this will go, I think it could be a hit or miss because some players need the money and since you can’t go to the NBA from high school. They would maybe go to this league to make some quick money before the draft.
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 don’t think they have enough power to make a run at a title.
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
At the moment it looks like Boston has the better deal on the trade. We will see later during the year
Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?
I don’t think they have a chance to make a serious run either.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Demetrius for the chat