Corey Raley-Rossis a 27 year old 193cm guard from Charlotte, North Carolina playing his thirdprofessional season and first with C.B. Aridane (Spain-EBA).Last season he played with CB Virgen de la Concha Innova Chef(Spain-EBA) playing 28 games averaging 18.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 41.4%,FT: 64.8%. As a rookie he played for TTU Korvpalliklubi Tallinn(Estonia-Alexela KML) playing 28 games averaging 6.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 30.4%,FT: 63.6%; and played 9 Baltic League games averaging 8.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 11.1%, FT: 76.0%. He played atBuffalo(NCAA) from 2010-2014 playing 59 games. He spoke to germanhoops.com duringhis brief time in Germany as he was set to play for Stahnsdorf, but then movedto C.B.Aridane (Spain-EBA). Currently he is averaging 17,4ppg, 5,6rpg, 38apg and1,3spg.
Corey thanks fortalking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how has your summerbeen?
I’m currently in Berlin, Germany. And my summer was great. Busy! But that’s the way I like them to be.
Before we get to your career please explain to me why so many good basketball players come from the state of North Carolina? You must be able to give a good list of well known players you could meet any day of the summer in the gym´s in Charlotte?
North Carolina has a rich basketball tradition…that’s no secret. There is Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest and many other universities that have benefited from instate talent. Also, there are basketball legends like Jordan, James Worthy, David Thompson, Steph Curry and Chris Paul who have paved the way for the generation now. During the summer guys are always playing. I wouldn’t know where to start on a list…there’s just so many. My brother Brandis and I work independently, he’s more less who I’m meeting at the gym day to day.
You have experience in Estonia and Spain. What was your goal going into your third professional season when looking for that perfect fit? After a solid season in Estonia, you followed it up with a great season in the Spanish EBA. Will it be tough to follow that up this season?
I don’t believe in a perfect fit. I believe in the best fit. Germany seemed to be just that. And my goal is to win WIN, WIN, WIN. I had a strong season in Spain yes. Will it be tough to follow? Let’s wait and see. Though, I can assure you all that I’m a much improved player.
Congrats on signing with German Pro B team RV Eintracht. What were the main reasons for making this your next destination in your career?
From my options early on it was the best fit. I’m also familiar with coach Dennis. He understands me as a player, and I understand him as a coach.
Your coming in to replace the departed Michael Holton Jr who had a superb season and fled to the Ukraine. Do you feel some pressure coming in to fill his shoes or having that immense confidence from last season in Spain?
No pressure! I don’t believe in that either. I’m focused on me and the now. This allows me to prepare well, that’s where my confidence hides.
You had a very short stay with Stahnsdorf. Why didn´t it work out?
We had a mutual parting. It wasn’t the fit that both parties expected.
You now have signed with C.B. Aridane (EBA) and will be moving to Spain. Why did you pick this team?
And CB Aridane seemed extremely excited about showcasing my ability.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a strong and athletic combo guard who is excellent in the open court. Your a good slasher who can hit the pull-up jump shot with consistency. Your also a terrific defensive player who can guard up to 4 positions if needed with your quickness, length, and athleticism. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who best match the description how you play?
Dwayne Wade 5 years ago, haha. He has a very“High” IQ on top of being a relentless slasher, defender and playmaker. His craftinessand deception separates him from most other combo guards as well. He’s thefirst person that comes to mind.
After hardly playing much at Buffalo(NCAA), was it a tough adjustment going to the pro ranks and suddenly playing more? How do you feel has your game developed in the last few years since school?
The adjustment wasn’t tough. It’s just took patience, and experience. And since school my game has developed tremendously. I’m smarter, stronger, more skilled and surprisingly more passionate about playing.
You’re a very versatile defender. What do you take most pride in on the defensive end?
I take pride in winning my match-up. I start there. Kobe Bryant once said to dominate in basketball is to dominate both ends. I like to say I’ve done more than just take this as advice.
You made huge strides as an outside shooter last season in Spain. What has been your secret to eclipsing the 40% mark last season? Was it just a combination of reps and shot selection or were there other things like changing up mechanics?
Reps and shot selection definitely. My mechanics are the same.
You’re a player that can fill up the stat sheet, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?
My hustle and competitiveness. I want to win at all cost. This is every possession, every 50/50 ball, every block out and every hustle play.
Last season you played with CB Virgen de la Concha Innova Chef (Spain-EBA) playing 28 games averaging 18.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 64.8%. One could say that was your breakout season as a player. What did you learn about your game last season that you hadn´t known about previously where you never really got the chance to show your abilities the right way?
I learned at that level that I could control and change the tempo of the game, all while being efficient. In the right situation I’m certain I could have learned these things earlier, but I never question the timing of when things happen. I understand that things happen when I’m prepared for them.
You had many great games last season, but two games come to mind with the 97-96 win against Poferrada CDP where you steered home 27 points and the 89-88 victory against Obradoiro where you had 22 points. Was one of these games your most memorable last season?
The game against Ponferrada is most vivid. The night before I trained on how I anticipated them defending me. Shooting behind the ball screen etc… I anticipated correctly. I made two 3pt fgs in the last minute. Of course, one of those 3s put us up 1 to win the game.
As a rookie you played with TTU Korvpalliklubi Tallinn (Estonia-Alexela KML) playing 28 games averaging 6.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 63.6%; and played 9 Baltic League games averaging 8.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 11.1%, FT: 76.0%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Estonia where you knew that you were very far away from home?
My wake up call didn’t come from being far away from home, it came from the adversity. We lose a few games, the rotation changes, minutes change, trust in teammates change etc. Of course this has happened to me at different levels, but at the pro level it was new to me. To get me through I worked extra. First one in last one out.
It probably would have been easier had you had one or two Americans beside you, but you were the lone American. How vital do you feel was not having this buffer zone and having to be on your own through many different types of situations?
Being alone allowed me to grow. I was in the habit of thinking for myself.Also, I’m not really introverted, so I developed good relations with myteammates.
After your career at Buffalo(NCAA) you didn’t come to Europe right away playing with the Charlotte Elite (TRBL) and then you didn´t play at all in 2016-2017. Talk a little about the struggles you have had and what really kept you going to continue your dream as a professional player?
The TRBL kept me in shape for the most part. This led to my rookie season. The 16/17 season was quite the whirlwind. I actually signed two different contracts that year, but never got the chance to practice with either team. What it looked like initially was a setback. But I saw it as a challenge. I had more to give. I kept my foot on the peddle.
You played at Buffalo from 2010-2014 playing only 59 games. What kind of overall experience was it for you and do you ever wonder where you would be today as a professional had you played more there?
It was for sure a learning experience with many ups and downs. Do I ever wonder? Yes! But I feel strongly that my path will eventually guide me there.
There were many talented guards like Tony Watson who played in Germany or a Jarrod Oldham or a Josh Freelove and others. Was the limited minutes just more a numbers game and fierce competition battle where other guys were higher on the depth chart?
Each of these guys are good players, Without a doubt. I honesty I feel that I was a makeup of each of these players during college. I guess my talent over the years was overlooked.
You played three years for Reggie Witherspoon. Despite your limited minutes what positive things could you get from his teaching in that time?
He was a motivator. He instilled discipline. A genuine teacher.
As a senior you played even less under new coach ex NBA player Bobby Hurley. For any senior you had been working hard each day for three years to get playing time a slap in the face. Did you have a difficult relationship with Hurley despite the circumstances or was the respect there from both sides?
No resentment. No difficulty in our relationship. I respected his preparation and knowledge. I just wanted to be a sponge and to learn as much as possible from him.
You played four years with American Javon Mccrea who also has played at the top level in Germany. How did you see his game progress there and is he a late bloomer as his potential is still huge?
Javon is one of my dear friends! We speak often everyday often. He’s a great talent, always has been. I’m sure the teams in the BBL know. He’s yet to scratch his potential, much like mine. Hopefully we reunite as teammates here in Germany!!!
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jarrod Oldham?
Me all day! He’s tough as nails though. I’d love to see him back playing in Europe.
You played against so many great players at the NCAA level, but which player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?
Norris Cole. He’s in Europe now. Buthad a lot of success in the NBA. When I played against him in college he wasstellar.
How did your 2018 summer workout plan look like? On what things did you work on most so you will be fully prepared for your season?
I’m an early bird! I wake up early to train. And then train again, and again. I divide the time being in the gym, field and weight room. In preparation for the upcoming season, I’m turning weaknesses into strengths, building better habits and setting bigger goals.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
Easy! Jordan, Lebron, Wilt and Kareem
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
I believe Jordan is better. Maybe I’m biased because I see more of my game in Jordan.
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
It’s possible! Watch out for the LA Lakers though. They can play a lineup who can potentially switch all 5 positions.
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 Doncic was the best player in the draft. I don’t believe any other player would have had the success he had playing in ACB and Euroleague. Also, I believe the NCAA would have been his personal playground. This doesn’t mean he’ll be the best NBA player though. What hype did Donovan Mitchell have among the top 3 picks last year?
How did you follow the 2018 NBA Draft? How cool is it having two Germans being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers?
It’s awesome for the basketball here! I love what the youth is doing especially in Europe. Basketball is truly global. it’s a sport that is calmly bringing the world together.
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?
Lebron averaged 8.5 assists per game last season. That’s remarkable. I would see him averaging a similar amount. He’s a better scorer than he is passer. I feel that with his scoring prowess it allows him to find seams in the defense to rack up his assist total. He’s without a doubt maximizing his versatility as a player.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Space Jam 2!!! Starring Corey Raley-Ross
Thanks Corey for the chat.