Darnell Foreman is a 185cm guard from Pitman, New Jersey playing his rookie season with the Uni Baskets Paderborn (Pro A). He began is basketball career at Pitmann High School and played Pennsylvania (NCAA) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 118 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 10.7ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 73.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Darnell thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Welcome to Germany. It took a while but you are a professional player. How does it feel being bale to play the game you love for a living?
It is truly a blessing. I am just grateful for this opportunity to continue playing. With that being said, I am more hungry than ever to keep progressing in all aspects of the game.
It took you a while to find a team. Why do you feel was it such a struggle getting that first professional opportunity considering that you had a fine NCAA career at Pennsylvania?
I wouldn’t say it was a struggle but just my personal journey to finding my next opportunity. While yes it was much longer then I initially expected, I could not start questioning things. It was just apart of the journey.
How tough were the last months trying to make the next step form the NCAA to the professional ranks? Was there a person besides friends and family that really made a difference?
It definitely was a welcoming challenge. Just trying to gain information about the next steps to your basketball career was crucial. Once I did that, just being confident enough to make solid decisions about what u wanted to do next. I would say my coaches at Penn, both former or current, and friends that play professionally were big aids for me. Just being their to answer questions that I may have or giving me personal advice for situations that they have been through. If I had to give names it would be the current staff at Penn, Ira Bowman, Mike Lintulahti, Jerome Allen, and players like Tony Hicks and Samme Givens
How thankful are you of having a guy like Gerrit from Scorer’s First for finding you the right fit? What stuck with you with his positive attitude with getting you a job?
Very. I met Gerrit through a mutual friend not too long ago. I was immediately impressed with his work effort in such a short notice. He really did his job and researched well in order to put me in the position I am in now. I give a great deal of credit to him.
Congrats on signing with German Pro A team Uni Baskets. What were the main reasons for signing with this team? The club didn’t get a replacement for the injured Grant Benzinger, but felt it needed some added bulk at the point guard position. What was your biggest goal and challenge coming in to achieve on the court?
Thank you! Like you said, Grant suffered a injury that would have him out so they had a need for another import. My biggest goals was to just be myself even though I will be coming in towards the end of the season and also making it apparent to my teammates and coaches my commitment to working hard and winning games.
It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for the Uni Baskets who have been up and down the whole season? Were did you see the biggest improvement areas when you arrived?
I wouldn’t call it an improvement area but just being a guy that can control the game’s pace and also being able to put guys in good positions with and without the ball.
The team started to win when you arrived. Do you feel like the team mentality has changed with your arrival?
Not necessarily. I think the commitment level from each individual guy for winning is there. I think I am helping bring that to a more collective view and also having that be the standard every time we step on a court as a team.
The spots around the last playoff places are tight and the club still has chances to slip in. How vital will it be to allow less points and find some consistency in the down stretch of the season?
Crucial. That is the goal for our club getting to the playoffs but we can’t look to far to do that. We have to worry about one team at a time.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How important has other point guard veteran Demetrius Ward been for you? How did he help you get accustomed to the new style and league best?
D Ward has been a huge help with understanding how we play, other teams play, and how Germany is in general. We talk all the time about how we can be better communicators and also how we are able to play off each other.
How much easier just a guy like sharp shooter Connor Wood make your game when he shooting at extremely high clips? What have you learned to appreciate most about his game?
It’s makes one defender less likely to help. Teams have to be aware of him at all times on the court which makes them space some more. I really appreciate his commitment level to not just being a ‘shooter’. He has shown me that he can score at all three levels and also has been eager to guard guys on the opposite end.
How vital has a guy like fellow rookie Matt Klinewski been for you? Did you remind him that you had a 2-0 record against him in the NCAA?
It’s brings a familiarity to me even though we are far from the US. I remember how tough of a competitor he was when we were in college so I know what to expect from him. Hahaha. Towards the end of our college careers I got the better of him and wouldn’t be a good teammate if I didn’t lol.
Klinewski has adjusted well to the Pro A. Is he another guy that you can soak up rookie info that you need on the court?
For sure! Just being able to share game experiences is very helpful to me.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 190cm point guard that can do it all. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?
I don’t have a true comparison to anyone in the NBA. I do like to watch film on Mike Conley and Tony Parker. Their abilities to change speeds, push tempo and their comfortablity in the paint has help me in my development.
You were never that explosive scorer in the NCAA. You showed signs of it in the game against Trier dropping 27 points. Do you feel that when given more of a scoring role that you can be that guy that could average 15 plus points as a professional?
I think that my game has developed a great deal through college and in my first pro year. I still focus on being a floor general more than anything but am very comfortable with taking advantage of scoring opportunities when they present themselves. It’s just another way to keep the defense off balanced and another benefit for any team that I play on.
You were up and down as a three point shooter in the NCAA. Is your outside shooting a work in progress and how are you best trying to become a better shooter besides just getting up more reps and having good shot selection?
Just having that composure when I have an open shot. Not rushing it or being off balance. And only taking good, quality shots from there. Not putting myself in bad positions. I put in quite a lot of time to becoming a better shooter. I have definitely gotten better as a shooter. Like everything in this game, your effort will determine your results.
How much pride do you take with defense?. You helped win the Ivy League title by slowing up the Ivy league player of the year Seth Towns to 5-14 shooting. Would you describe yourself as being a lock down defender?
I just love playing it. Defense is definitely driven by your effort and competitive spirit. I’ve always prided myself in that. When things are not going your way, your personal defense is one anchor that can turn your game around.
You have an unbelievable work ethic something that you built at Pennslyvania. How has your work ethic continued to grow as you continue to work harder than the rest as a professional?
Being a pro now, I consider myself back at the bottom of the totem pole. That’s what I need as motivation. All I have done in basketball means nothing to me, personally. I have to push myself to new limits in order to keep progressing in this game.
On what things are you really adhering to improve in your rookie season so your climb up the professional basketball ladder will be able to work well?
Just being consistent on the court with my performances and also establishing myself as a true professional on and off the court. Being a positive, hardworking piece for any club I’m apart of.
You played at Pennsylvania (NCAA) from 2014-2018. What were your fondest memories there? Was one possibly winning the 2018 Ivy League tournament something that hadn’t been done in 11 years?
Definitely winning the Ivy title last year was a huge accomplishment. I would also say winning my first Philadelphia Big 5 game was a milestone for me too
Have you put a mark on the calendar on the 23rd of February? That is when you will battle your ex teammate at Pennslyvania (NCAA) Tony Hicks. How excited are you to display what you have learned since he left after your freshman season to go to Louisville?
Man that game is going to be one of those experiences that you remember until it happens again. Tone is my brother in real life. He has helped me through so many obstacles in college and in life. We both share similar ideas when it comes to our approach to the game. Just to outwork everyone at all cost. As far as the game, we are just going to compete like we did everyday in practice.
What do you remember from Tony Hicks when you were at Pennsylvania (NCAA)? How did you benefit from his game as you were trying to fit in as a freshman?
Tone was and still is a pretty dynamic scorer. He can score from all 3 levels and when he gets going he is pretty hard to stop. His work ethic was definitely something that rubbed off on me. Him just being in the gym at all hours was motivation for me to do the same.
You improved your scoring, rebounding and assists averages each season. How do you feel did your game overall improve in your four years at Pennsylvania (NCAA)? Talk a bit how you conquered the early growing pains?
I think my career at Penn was a perfect representation of myself. I was not a highly touted recruit but I worked really hard and knew that my efforts will be rewarded one day. My freshman and sophomore years, I struggled somewhat to produce statistically and in the winning category. With that being said, I was able to establish myself as a guy committed to do everything the team needed. Being a guy that just wanted to compete and win. As the years progressed, I started to have a better feel for the game which meant I was able to produce more on the stat sheet while also displaying those intangibles
Quite a few guys from Pennsylvania (NCAA) went on to have great careers like Michael Jordan and Adam Chubb who won titles in Germany. What stories do you remember hearing about these guys especially Jordan who I know had a picture on campus that you looked at constantly for four years?
I actually have been in contact with those guys for the past couple of years. They have been very supportive in my career and I could not thank them enough for that. Both of those guys have very interesting stories, Adam really excelled once he started playing in Europe so he was able to tell me stories how he worked his way up throughout his career. Mike Jordan is a Penn legend. He excelled whereever he went. With that being said, he still was eager to reach out to me throughout my career which was very helpful.
You made the last dance in 2018 losing to Kansas (NCAA) 75-60. What will you always remember from that game where you held your own against future NBA players?
Just the idea that when you apply yourself and put in the work, you can compete against anyone. When we played against Kansas at no time did I feel overwhelmed. Had we made more free throws and got some more stops, that game would have been different. Regardless, it’s a experience that every player dreams of growing up.
You faced off against current NBA player Devonte Graham in your last NBA player. How much does a guy like that continue to make you work harder than the rest as you continue your path up the basketball ladder?
From playing against him, I learned, first and foremost, how much confidence you must have in yourself to be successful in this game. His demeanor never wavered throughout the game. Whether they were up or down, he still had this swagger about him.
You played a season for Jerome Allen and three seasons for Steve Donahue. How did these two coaches groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
I learned a great deal from both of them. Both coaches truly loved the game. They watched a extreme amount of film and their overall preparation for the game was bar none. Coach Allen was a great point guard also. He taught me so many things about the position and also how to carry yourself in life in general. With Coach Donahue, I learned a lot about the value of each and every shot. Never wasting a possession and getting a high quality shot eveytime.
Who would win a one on one in practice today you or Matt Howard? What do you remember most about your two hour battle as a freshman?
Definitely me. No doubt about it. That’s still my brother though. Hahaha. That they used to be exactly that, Battles. He was way more talented than me. He had good size, super athletic, score at all levels and was very physical. So I really had my work cut out against me. At the time none of that affected me though. I wanted to win and if I could do it against him, I could do it against anyone.
Who is the toughest guy that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
Dejonte Murray. He was so creative with the ball that he was hard to scout and even harder to play against. He made shots when we played them so he was pretty much unguardable
If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?
Me, Tony Hicks, Ryan Betley, Matt Howard, and Max Rothschild. We would score a ton of points and would be able to guard multiple positions.
If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
Lebron, Michael Jordan, Kobe, and Shaq
What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?
Lebron, he is a better overall player.
What was the last movie that you saw?
American Gangster featuring Denzel Washington
Thanks Darnell for the chat.