Virgil Matthews is a 35 year old 188cm guard from Federal Way, Washington that is playing his 12th professional season and fourth with the Niners Chemnitz. He has given his massive experience and helped the club currentlyachieve a 10-0 record averaging 6,6ppg, 2,9rpg and 4,8apg. Last season he played with the Nuernberg Falcons BC (Germany-ProA) playing 24 games averaging 8.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 71.4%. Two seasons ago he almost led Chemnitz (Germany-ProA) into the BBL playing 40 games averaging 9.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 86.7% He played at Montana (NCAA) and in his senior year played 31 games averaging 10.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 4.0apg, 1.7spg, FG: 49.8%, 3PT: 48.4%, FT: 76.1%. In 2006-2007, he turned professional and came to Germany and played for KICKZ Muenchen Basket (Germany-2.Bundesliga) playing 29 games averaging 18.0ppg, 6.1rpg, 5.2apg, 2.6spg, 2FGP: 57.3%, 3FGP: 31.8%, FT: 66.5%. In 2007-2008, he played for Tacoma Jazz (IBL). In 2008-2009, he returned back to Germany and played for Schwelmer Baskets (Germany-Regionalliga). In 2009-2010, he played for Olympia Reign (IBL) playing 28 games averaging 23.1ppg, 7.2rpg and for Seattle Aviators (NABL).In 2010-2011, he played his first season for Erdgas Ehingen playing 32 games averaging 11.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT:71.3%. He would play until 2014 with Ehingen playing 126 games with three seasons in the Pro A and one in the Pro B. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketballlate in the summer about basketball.
Virgil thanks fortalking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?
I’m in Chemnitz now summer was good, I just worked summer camp and spent time with family.
You have been very active over the years with me as this will be our 15th interview as we started back when you were with Ehingen. When you look back at your years with Ehingen up to now, do you feel like your career has flown by?
Yea the career has gone fast, but it’s has been good I’ve made lots of friends and seen lots of things here in Germany.
Your 35 years old and still playing. If someone had told you 8 years ago that you would still be playing at age 35 what would you have honestly thought?
I never thought I would still be playing at this age. But I’ve changed my game as I’ve gotten older. Now I’m transitioning into learning things for my future where I hope to coach.
Do guys like the Science Jena trio of legends Derrick Allen, Immanuel Mcelroy and Julius Jenkins motivate you to keep playing? One of them will retire one day as the oldest of the trio and you might be the same in the Pro A. Do you have the drive to keep pushing yourself into your late thirties?
No, it’s pretty amazing what those guys have been able to do they have taken good care of themselves and are all smart players which allow them to keep playing on such a high level. I don’t think I have it in me to keep playing that long.
The new season is starting soon as the pre season has arrived. I was wondering when you would get signed and was thrilled when your old team BV Chemnitz signed you again. You signed late last season with Nurnberg as well. Do you feel like finding that right situation in your mid thirties is getting more difficult than when you were younger?
Yes very much so, new situations don’t really intrigue me as much it’s more about going somewhere you’re familiar with and coaches that understand the situation and know what I can bring to the table. When I was young I thought I could do anything and play anywhere.
Before we get to your current situation with BV Chemnitz let´s take a quick look back to last season where you played with Nurnberg. You came late to Nurnberg last season and averaged 8.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 71.4%. How do you summarize the season of the team and your game?
I wish I would’ve been in better shape arriving last season there were a few games early on that I wish I could’ve done more, but overall we stayed in the league which was the goal, my body felt good which was good, but I expect to have a strong season again this year.
Last season like always you filled the stat sheet well and did all you could to help lead the team to success, but on a team that didn´t have so much success and the deepest scoring do you feel like you could have been more aggressive in the scoring area?
Yea looking back I probably should’ve been more aggressive I think it would’ve taken pressure off of some other guys that maybe didn’t have the experience.
Congrats on signing with BV Chemnitz. Your back on your ex team that just missed the reaching the BBL in 2017. In our last interview concerning the tough loss losing 3-2 after leading 2-0, “They played well and Mitchell played incredible and they just made plays down the stretch and we didn’t. Did you feel disappointed after that great season that you didn´t remain or did you feel it was time for a change after three years there?
Therewas disappointment but there were mistakes on both sides in making anagreement. I think me and them both probably realize we work well together andare glad to be back united.
The club didn´t reach the playoffs last season and had a disappointing season. How excited are you to be coming back and play for Rodrigo Pastore whom you have enjoyed playing for and what expectations have you set for the team success?
I’m really excited to come back Coach Pastore is a great coach and his passion to win is so strong, he works so hard so I’m hoping we can make it back to playoffs and try to finish what we almost did 2 years ago.
Obviously you played there for three years, had success and played for a very good coach in Rodrigo Pastore, but what other reasons prompted you to sign with them again?
Familiarity, and just the organization, the fans, and coach they have all been really great to me the fans in Chemnitz are the best in Pro A and I don’t think it’s close. And again coach has been good to me and help me maximize my skills at my old age.
Only two guys remain from two seasons ago with Malte Zigenhagen and Jonas Richter. The team looks very interesting on paper. The club added two good Pro A players with Matt Vest and Kavin Gilder-Tilbury and two very talented Germans with Georg Voigtmann and Lukas Wank. What kind of feeling do you have with the talent the team has?
I think the team is very deep and talented. It will very interesting to see how good we come together but I think there is very high potential.
Let´s talk about your game. Rodrigo Pastore stated that you won´t have the kind of role that you had in younger years and won´t be borderline triple doubles, but bring many qualities that will help the team. You averaged 27 minutes last season. Do you believe like you will be averaging way less minutes perhaps below 20 minutes or even less?
I’m ok with any situation as long as we’re winning. I think I can be effective in any role I’m put in. I don’t really look at minutes or things like that.
Your experience is huge and will help the young players like always, but also guys like Matt Vest and Lukas wank will profit from you. What other strengths in your game do you feel will really be vital this season for the success of the team?
Just executing especially in late game situations being able to read a situation without always needing coach to call a timeout. I also know coach well so I hope to help communicate things that coach wants if sometimes the players don’t fully understand, Just help anyway I can.
Obviously you will do all for the team as your filling the stat sheet has demonstrated since you began in Munich in 2006, but do you feel like you can still be a consistent scorer now if Rodrigo Pastore needs you to step it up in that department?
I would try I hope it doesn’t come to that.
In our last interview you stated that ““I’m probably harder on myself now just because I’m smarter and see things better. I spend most of my time just criticizing myself for being old and too slow“. Does age make you have to work harder over the summer to keep yourself best prepared for another season? How did you stay fit and on what things did you work on most in the lab?
It makes me work harder because it takes more to stay where I want to be. So a lot of time is spent on my body and nutrition along with the on court stuff.
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
Depends on KD and Klay as long asthey stay no one will beat the Warriors in my opinion.
With Lebron with the Los Angeles and many new guys arrived, do the Lakers have it to win the 2019 NBA title?
They have a chance Lebron changes everything I think they have a shot.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luka Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?
I think either way you can’t go wrong. I think Luka is amazing but Ayton is a special talent I’m really excited to see this years rookie class.
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?
As many as he wants. Lebron is the best player around right now there’s no limit I would put on anything he wants to do on a basketball court.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Virgil for the chat.