The Drive And Kick Improved In Connor Wood´s First Professional Season In Germany

Coonor Wood is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Guelph, Ontario that completed his second professional season and first in Germany with the Uni Baskets Paderborn averaging 12,7ppg, 2,6rpg and 2,9apg while shooting 43,3% from outside. He played his rookie season with Niagara River Lions (NBL Canada) playing 44 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 36.6%, FT: 74.2%. He played at Carleton University (CIS) from 2012-2017 playing a total of 124 CIS games. In his senior season he played 23 games averaging 17.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 79.5%. He won 5 CIS titles and 2 OUA titles. He spoke to after the end of the Pro A season in Germany.

Thanks Connor for talking to Where are you at the moment and has the NCAA Madness helped keep your mind off not reaching the playoffs with the Uni Baskets Paderborn?

I am in Quimper France finishing their season with them. Yea that and playing here has helped me keep my mind off that.

You played your rookie season in Germany with the Uni Baskets Paderborn. Talk a little about the experiences you made and what the positives were in first season as a professional?

My season was a great experience. I was welcomed warmly by the organization and the fans. While living in a new city far away it was very helpful. The positives were seeing and learning how the game differs overseas, as well as getting in to playing here to learn further on what I can work on to get better moving forward.

There was a short span at the end of January where the club won two of three games against Trier and Hanau. But then the club went on a seven game losing streak. What do you feel went wrong in that time?

I felt like we had some bad lapses on defense and some bad shot selection at times. we had a lot of close games through the year with a good chance to win and couldn’t pull enough of them out in the end which really hurt us.

A big problem this season for the Uni Baskets was the inability to get stops. The team gave up 84 points per game. Playing good hard defense has to do with passion and effort. What were the biggest problem this season in not being able to defend better?

Defensively I think effort and communication were things that the team needed to do better for us to get more stops.

Do you feel like the club was able to take some kind of positives out of the season? Will the win in Rostock and sweeping playoff team Trier be some of the more memorable moments?

I think so we showed the true potential of the team in some games. Everybody there thought we were a better team than we let the record show. We had to many bad games and close losses for the team we had so I think we we’re still happy with the team we had through the year.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How did it feel playing among so many rookies like Matt Klinewski, Darnell Foreman and Grant Benzinger. One could of called you the fab four. Did the inexperience have an effect on the club success?

It was good to play with them all of them talented in their own right. I think we did make some inexperienced plays during the season but I also think that we we’re experienced enough to be better than those mistakes.

Another guy that had a very solid rookie season was Grant Benzinger. How bitter was it seeing him go down for the season prior to the seven game losing streak? What did you appreciate mostly about his game and did he tell any stories about his baseball dad?

Yea it was tough seeing Grant go down. He was having a great season and brought a lot of energy to the team pushing us to do better. He was obviously having a great season. It is always hard to see a good teammate get hurt. I appreciate his hustle most of all he’s always the first guy to dive for a loose ball.

What kind of experience was it battling Grant Benzinger on a daily basis. How do you feel did he benefit from you and vice versa?

It was good. I feel like we both challenged each other to be better making each other work to get stops in practice and that leading to us being confident together on the floor.

What kind of an experience was it playing for German coach Uli Nachster? Was it very much different to what you were used to playing for American coaches at the NCAA level?

It was a good experience always interesting to see things from a new coaches perspective how that want to cover things and where they see the best options on offense. I was in the CIS but yes very different when compared to the pro level.

Coming from the NCAA what was the biggest adjustment that you had to make to playing professional ball overseas?

I think the adjustment of having a very new team each year and trying to find the best way to get the team in the roles that will help be the most successful. In university you have multiple years to do so and can get a very good culture around the team of team success where as I think that’s harder in pro ball with so many changes each year.

Let’s talk about your game. As a rookie you averaged 12,8ppg, 2,6rpg and 2,8apg while shooting 43,7% from outside. How content were you with your rookie season?

I think I had some good games in my rookie year but overal I started slow with not getting looks early and then I think I finished the season pretty poorly as well so I think I could’ve had a better season but just more reason to keep working on getting better.

You shot very well from outside at 43,7%. How confident and excited are you to be able to fire away in your third professional season?

I’m definitely confident in my shot and I’m always excited to take good looks.

How do you feel did your game progress further in Germany? Your three pointer stands out, but how do you feel did your driving and finding your teammates improve at a new level?

I think my drive and kick has gotten better with the differences in spacing having to work harder to find the open man even if it’s not for an assist but to get the ball in the right spots.

Having played in Canada and now Germany, do you feel like you could go back and visit Dave Smart and he would recognize that your basketball IQ has risen with having played at the European level?

I don’t think so. Dave Smart is always looking at what you can improve on so he’ll point out a lot of things that I can still learn or do better, instead of compliments.

On what things will you be working on most this summer as you prepare for your third professional season and will you change anything up on your work out sessions?

Definitely want to work on my ball handling and finishing around the rim more this offseason I think those are two things that would help push my game forward.

What is the next step for you? Could you imagine returning back to Germany or are you ready to explore another part of the world and showcase your basketball talent?

I’m ready to go wherever the best opportunity is whether it be back in Germany or else where. I want to play basketball at the best level I can so I can keep improving.

Please name your five all-time best teammates in college and pro’s

I can’t name a top 5 but all my teammates at Carleton were incredible wouldn’t have changed any of them. Still close to a lot of them and always great to play with.

It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA? 

Luka has had an amazing rookie season not looking like a rookie at all so I think the sky’s the limit definitely has the potential to be

What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time? 

I think that it makes sense. When your that good and trying to win you have to think of yourself as the best. I’m sure lots of guys think they are the best that’s to competitive nature that pushes them to try and prove they are better by winning. I personally still think Michael Jordan is the best ever but it is so hard to compare generations. A lot of great players I’ve never seen.

Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?

I can’t speak much to football but I think most people know Tom Brady is something very special in that game.

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Last movie I saw was Centurion

Thanks Connor for the chat.

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