Dominique Collier (FC Schalke) Is Benefitting From Learning From Courtney Belger

Dominique Collier is a 22 year old 188cm guard from Denver, Colorado that will be starting his professional career in Germany with FC Schalke. He played at Colorado (NCAA,) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 121 NCAA games and as a freshman played 30 games averaging 4.7ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.5apg. In his second season at Colorado (NCAA) he played 34 games averaging 7.5ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 33.9%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 75.7%. In his junior year at Colorado (NCAA) he played 25 games averaging 6.0ppg, 1.1rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 34.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 74.0%. In his senior year at Colorado (NCAA), he played 32 games averaging 7.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 38.2%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 72.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com  about basketball earlier in the summer.

Hi Dom thanks for talking to germanhoops.com  Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

I was in Colorado back and forth from Denver and Boulder working out and getting my stuff prepared to come out here to Germany. And the summer has been good!

Congrats on signing with German Pro A team FC Schalke. How did you experience your first summer pro transfer period? Did you have a good share of offers and was this whole process at times humbling?

Thank you! I had a couple of offers but when talking with my agent we thought this was the best fit because the coach won coach of the year last year in Pro B and they had a returning guard that was really good and saw that as an opportunity to learn from him. And yes the process was a humbling but good experience.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Did you know that one of Colorado’s well known basketball players Chris Copeland first made a name for himself in Europe with his game?

I really didn’t know anything about Germany in general and not much about the basketball here. Just knew that Dirk and Dennis Schroeder are legends here! And no I didn’t know that, but me and Cope are friends.

You have signed with FC Schalke an organization more known for it’s soccer team than basketball team, but as of late the basketball team has really picked it up and moved up a level moving up to the Pro A. What were the main reasons for deciding on starting your professional career here?


Like I talked about a little earlier, me and my agent (Stefan) saw this as a really good opportunity to start my career here because we saw coach Raffi as a real good coach with winning coach of the year last year in Pro B and when I would talk with him on the phone we had good conversations and really fit my style of play really. Also he mentioned Courtney a lot when talking with him so I wanted to learn from him because he has been with coach Raffi for some years now and believe I can learn a lot from him along with the other guys with this being my first year.

Your parents were at almost every game you played missing 5 of the 121 games you played in the last four years at and considering that the distances are great in the states that is a big feat. Will you expect to see your parents visiting you in some arena’s in Germany and how important have they been for your development as a person?

Yes they already told me a trip that they have planned to come visit Germany and to come watch a couple of games. They want to come out here and just experience Germany because they have never been here. And they have been a huge part in my development as a person. I owe them the world for that and really appreciate their love and support and commitment toward me ever since a young age.

Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a 188cm point guard that can shoot at a high level, but also when needed can be a very good playmaker. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who best fits how you play the game?


Lol my teammates always said I played like Lou Williams. So I would say him. Because he can shoot very well and can also can be a playmaker. And we also have the same body frame.

What other strengths do you have in your game that will make you an impact player as a rookie in the Pro A?


My quickness will also be a strength going into Pro a and just the feel for the game.

You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet at ease, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away?


I think my steals. I use my quickness and hands to get my hands on balls. And also penetration to the basketball being slippery

You played at Colorado (NCAA) from 2014-2018 amassing 121 NCAA games. You had your ups and downs. What do you feel was your biggest achievement in these four years that your most proud of?

I think making the tournament my sophomore year because I started at point guard that year so it forced me to get outside my comfort zone a little bit and run the offense. Also my three point percentage my junior year and in conference play my senior year. Really thought I was going to make every three I shot when we got to conference play.

You struggled as a freshman from outside shooting only 26%, but improved that to 44% as a sophomore. You didn’t shoot over 40% again the last two seasons. Do you take that sophomore season as a constant motivation when your in the lab fine tuning your shot?

 

Yes for sure. I took a lot of good shots my sophomore year. And after that would say I took a lot of rushed shots and tough threes but of course I use that as a constant motivation because I know I can shoot the ball especially when I am balanced so that is what I focus on when I work on shooting is balance and aiming toward the back of the rim.

How tough was your junior season where you broke your foot losing your consistency. Was playing in the NCAA tournament, but losing to Uconn a big moment in your NCAA career?

It was really tough. Really didn’t get in the rhythm because I only played like 3 non conference games then right into conference play. Yes it was a huge moment because we should have won the game. We were up like 8 with around 9 minutes left in the second half then we just broke down and gave them the game.

What memories do you have of scoring ace Derrick White. He sat out a season due to NCAA transfer rules. Do you remember having a special kind of relationship to him especially when he had to sit out? How did you make each other better over the two years you were teammates?


When he sat out and practiced on the scout squad he used to kill everyday. And we were roommates. We are good friends but that was with everyone on that team. We were all real close. Guarded each other a lot during practice and he’s really good defender so I had to find ways to score.

How important was it for your development playing in the Pac -12. What area of your game do you feel profited most playing against top competition?


Really important! My shooting and changing my release point in my shot. My freshman year it was too slow that is a reason that I shot such a low percentage and just finishing ways to score because I went against some tough defenders

You played against so many great teams and players, but was the 80-77 win against top team Arizona last season one of your biggest at Colorado? You scored 14 points in 19 minutes and held your own against 2018 NBA #1 draft pick Deandre Ayton and top players Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins?

Yes that was huge win. We actually had a lot of huge wins at our arena in Boulder. A couple days before we beat Arizona State who was ranked 4th in the country and had around 15 points in same amount of minutes.

Head coach Tad Boyle said this about you to buffzone.com. ‘There’s some players, you just want them to be successful. Dom is one of those guys as a coach, you want him to be successful.”He’s got a great family. He’s a local kid who chose to stay home and play. That’s something that’s special.” How did Boyle groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

 

The way his practices are built and pre season really sets you up for success. And all of the coaches have so much knowledge for the game it’s really hard not to get better. We always had individual meetings and I found those real helpful because he is telling me things from his perspective and he coached so many good guys and teams that he knows what he is talking about.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Mckinley Wright or you last season?

We went back and forth lol. He a real tough mf! He’s going to be really good this year and has an extremely bright future. That’s my dawg!

You played against so many talented players in the NCAA, but who was your toughest opponent that reached the NBA or is in Europe?

Toughest opponent was probably Askia Booker. Guarding him in practice every day was tough! Or Markelle fultz but didn’t really guard him.

In the summer of 2011 you played the U-16 Fiba America’s cup in Cancun, Mexico. You were teammates with future NBA players like Aaron Gordon, Justin Jackson, Jabari Parker, Tyus Jones or Stanley Johnson. What memories do you have of this time?


Competing in the training camp. It was really competitive and winning the championship with them guys. That was the first time I’ve been out of the country and to win gold with them was fun

How does a summer work out plan look like for you in 2018? Have you switched up things from 2-3 years ago about how you approach getting ready for the upcoming season?


Workout with my guy coach Steve at CU strength and conditioning and also coach Valdez one of my high school coaches. Coach Valdez and I do both basketball and weights and conditioning. Really more with him this summer before I came out here.

If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?


MJ for sure, Lebron, Kobe, AI or Magic

What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?

 

Really tough never watched Jordan live just old games of his greatest game but I see Lebron night in and night out and it’s really hard to think there is a person better than him

Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?


Lol hell yea I see it happening if they keep the squad they have now because the young guys are dogs! And Kyrie and Hayward are amazing so I see it. 

Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?

Really followed it cause I wanted to see where my guy George King was going to end up and he got picked up by the Suns so I was hyped! And that is really cool also. I haven’t seen Doncic play just highlights and he’s really good. But seeing how big Ayton is in person and playing against him. It’s hard not to pick him first especially because he played all of his basketball in Arizona.

Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?


Lol I feel like he can average an easy 15. His feel for the game is really ridiculous!

What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?

Haha Na but inside man with Denzel Washington. Not a new movie but a good one

Thanks Dominique for the chat.

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