Dexter Werner is a 24 year old 198cm forward from Bismark, North Dakota that that recently finished his rookie professional season in Germany with Lok Germany averaging 14,0ppg, 8,0rpg and 2,0apg. 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 after bowing out against Iserlohn.
Dexter thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on reaching the playoffs, but you got swept by Iserlohn. How disappointing was losing game 2 at home by such a tight score of 78-76?
Losing a close game like that is always disappointing no matter what the circumstances are. It was good that we made the playoffs, but we also had goals of going much further.
How long did you still have the last seconds in your mind? Was this one of those games that took you longer to forget?
The last second shot was a tough way to lose that game. A loss like that where it is so close sticks with you a little longer than most games.
The game winning shot by Simon Kutzschmaar was a difficult contested shot that he made. Is there anything Lok Bernau could have done on the defensive end not to have it come to it or was that the absolute best defense you could have played as a team in that situation?
Honestly, on that last possession we defended them very well. We kept the ball away from their main scoring options and forced a really tough shot from Kutschmaar. The things we could have executed better were situations leading up to that possession that gave them a chance for the winning shot.
What was key for Iserlohn winning the series. They outrebounded you in game one, but Lok Bernau won the rebounding duel in game two. Was the experience of Iserlohn a big factor?
In game one we struggled with our game plan. I think we made some good adjustments and executed well in game two. The one area that really hurt us was taking care of the basketball. In an even series like this one, every possession mattered, and we gave too many of those possessions away with unforced turnovers.
Would Lok Bernau have won the series had they done a better job of slowing down the American duo of Dontae Nichols and Julian Scott who combined for 65 points in the two games?
Like I said, in the first game we had a tough time slowing those guys down and that was a big difference in the game. In the second game, we executed our defensive game plan much better but we made too many offensive mistakes of our own to be able to get the win.
What is your team summary for the season. You had a stronger first half of the season than in the second half. How difficult was it performing at a consistent level as a team never knowing what BBL license players would be available?
This season we had to make a lot of adjustments on the fly. It was a new experience for me playing with the BBL license players and not knowing whether they would be at the game or not that weekend. Some injuries to the two-way BBL players as well as some Alba players really impacted our rotation. We had a few games with only eight or nine active guys on the court with some role players that had to step up and give us some big minutes. Overall, I think we handled this adversity pretty well and everyone had a good attitude about it.
What were some your season highlights? Was the win against Rostock one of the biggest wins of the season?
There were a lot of highlights this season that I really enjoyed. The win against Rostock at home was big as well as our home win against Bochum. Bochum beat our team in all four meetings the previous season so for us to get that game at home was big for us.
You had many great games with Lok Bernau, but was the win against Oldenburg your best game? You scored 24 points, had 9 rebounds, three assists and four blocks while shooting 100 from the field going 11/11. How did this game compare with the 12/13 shooting you experienced against University of North Dakota last season as a senior?
I had a lot of games this year that I felt really good about my performance. The Oldenburg game was one of those games where I was in a zone and everything that I shot, I made. Those games are always fun.
Let´s talk a little about your teammates. Describe what it was playing with the two German huge talents Hendrik Drescher and Jonas Mattisseck? How far are they as 18 year olds and how do you feel would they compare to freshmen in the NCAA with their play?
My interaction with Hendrik was pretty brief as he spent most of his time with Alba’s NBBL team, but Jonas was with our Lok Bernau team a majority of the season. Both of them are extremely talented for their age. The big advantage they have over some players in the U.S. is they play basketball pretty much year-round. This has really helped them develop their game and I have no doubt they could hold their own if they chose to go to college in the U.S.
How important was German Robert Kulawick. He has played many years in the EasyCredit BBL and won one of only four German international titles ever won. By German teams. How important was his experience in helping you get adjusted well in the German Pro B?
Robert was one of our team captains and his years of experience were a major source of information for me during my rookie season. He is very knowledgeable and has a high understanding of the game. We had many conversations before and after practices and he gave me pieces of advice that I will continue to carry with me throughout my career.
Let´s talk about your game. You led the club in scoring and rebounding. Despite being a professional rookie, how important was your NCAA experience for being a role model for the other German´s and for having a strong rookie season?
I think the success I was able to have during my rookie season really solidifies the way that my coaches developed and prepared me during my time at NDSU. I believe that learning the game of basketball with a heavy emphasis on toughness and fundamentals got me ready to play professionally.
How did your game gain from the physicality of Kresimir Nikic? Did you have to think twice when bumping into him in the paint area?
Kresimir is one of those guys with that unique combination of size and skill. As the year progressed, Kresimir’s game continued to develop and he has a chance to be a really special player.
How content were you with your rookie Pro B season? How do you feel did you develop as a rookie and what part of your game did you improve most?
There were definitely some ups and downs throughout the year but overall, I was very happy with my rookie season. I feel really good about how I was able to adjust to the style of play in Europe and play well during my first season. As I head into next season I think the game will continue to slow down a bit for me and I can continue to elevate my level of play.
You have always been a good playmaker, but did you catch any tricks from the diminutive Bennet Hundt who has an amazing court vision for his small stature?
Unfortunately, Bennet was sidelined a majority of the season with a broken foot. When I did get to spend playing with him I always noticed his ability to change speeds and get around defenders. Being able to change your pace to keep your defender guessing on your next move is something that I will continue to improve upon in my own game.
You watched many Alba Berlin games. When you experienced those players competing at that level, how confident are you that if given a shot at that level that you could hold your own?
A big reason why I am where I am today is because I have always believed in myself as a player. Each time I have advanced to the next level of basketball, I have shown that I belong on the court. If given the opportunity to play at that level I know that I would be able to find ways to contribute and make an impact.
Your season is over now in mid-March. Will you stay in Europe for a while or head back to the States soon? What was your biggest thrill off the court this season as a rookie?
I will spend another week in Germany before heading home for the summer. The thing I enjoyed most off the court this season was getting to see a different part of the world. I had never been to Europe before this year, so it was a very enjoyable experience for me. I am also finishing my Master’s degree online while playing so it has been a good way for me to stay busy during my free time.
What is the next step for Dexter Werner. You had a very strong rookie season. Can you imagine staying in Germany or going to another country and could you imagine yourself playing in the German Pro B again or even in the Pro A?
I have no complaints about my time spent in Germany. This summer I will look at all of my options that I have available and at the end of the day I will make a decision that I think is best for me and my career. Whether that is in Germany or not, I am very excited to see what that next step is.
Who was the toughest player that you battled as a rookie with Bernau in the Pro B?
I think the Pro B is a strong league with a lot of talented players. It is hard to pick just one player, but I ran into multiple guys that I competed against in college and it was cool to go head to head with them again.
How have you experienced the 2018 NCAA March Madness. What was the biggest surprises for you?
Even with the time difference I have been able to catch quite a few of the games. Obviously, I think the biggest surprise was seeing #16 UMBC beat #1 Virginia by 20 points. That was unexpected and having played for a smaller mid-major school it is always cool to see schools like that have success on the biggest stage.
Do you feel like that buzzer beater win by Michigan over Houston will give them that added self confidence to propel them to new heights?
In March, it’s time to win or go home. A lot of times, a crazy shot like that can spark a team’s confidence and give them that extra boost to help them make a deep run in the tournament.
Recently Lebron James had some fancy passes for assists in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. How do you rate him overall as a passer and how would he do if he played only point guard for a season?
I am definitely biased because Lebron is my favorite player, but I think he is one of the best passers in the game, across all positions. His court vision is unbelievable and he could definitely play point guard for a season.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw in theaters was Jumanji. I grew up with the original Jumanji movie as a kid, so it was really cool to see it translated into a movie based on modern society. I thought it was hilarious.
Thanks Dexter for the chat.