Devin Buckley is a 190cm guard from Brooklyn Park, MN that began his basketball career at Park Center High School. He then played at Wisc.-River Falls (NCAA3) from 2013-2018 playing a total of 93 games. In his freshman season he played 21 games averaging 7.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 70.2%. In his second season at Wisc.-River Falls (NCAA3) he played 18 games averaging 7.0ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 49.2%, FT: 87.1%. In his junior season at Wisc.-River Falls (NCAA3) he played 29 games averaging 10.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 72.4%. In his senior year with Wisc.-River Falls (NCAA3) he played 25 games averaging 6.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 36.4%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 68.6%. He got his first professional experience in 2018 with Team Amsterdam (Eurobasket Summer League in Dallas) playing 2 games averaging 17.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg. The American is taking part at the Howard Hoops Tour in Germany this week and spoke to germanhoops.com about his career.
Devin thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thank you for featuring me on your website! I am currently in Brooklyn Park, MN and my summer has been great, just been working hard, training everyday getting ready for my opportunity to try and earn a contract to play professionally overseas.
You have been working out with player trainer Ron Howard and will be joining his Howard Hoops tour in next weeks in Germany. How did the contact come about to him?
I work out at a training facility called GameFace Training and Ron Howard used to do basketball training at the Facility. One day I worked out with him and I really enjoyed the session. He has a lot of knowledge for the game so after we worked out we had a conversation about my future and he told me that he has connections in Germany and that’s when he presented me with the opportunity to compete for a job in his Howard Hoops Tour.
You played your last NCAA 3 game in 2018. What have you been doing in the last year during your search for a professional team? Did you get that job at Target?
I’ve been training 5 days a week doing speed and agility, jump training, and strength training. Also I do some sort of basketball work out 6 days a week, such as basketball work out sessions, open gyms, and summer leagues. I actually did get the job at Target, but I turned it down to pursue my dream in playing professional basketball!
You have been struggling to find a professional fit since ending your NCAA 3 career at Wisc.-River Falls (NCAA3) in 2018. Your second summer is winding down and still no pro team. Despite knowing that how high is your self confidence that it might work this time now that you know Ron Howard?
I am very confident. I never get discouraged because I know that God’s plan for me is bigger than anything that I could ever imagine! I believe that God put Ron into my life for a reason, everything is going to work out this time and I will become a professional basketball.
What kind of training program have you had with Ron Howard? How has his program helped your fitness and game grow since you have known him?
Ron is very creative with his work out programs not only is he great at improving your fundamentals like dribbling, passing, and shooting, but he always develops advanced skills such as court vision, on and off ball screen work, and even conditioning. He makes sure that you are ready for any scenario and all aspects of the game!
What have been the biggest difficulties in finding a professional club? Has the addition of an agent or not been a factor that has hindered you to be able to play the game that you love?
I would say that there have been a couple things that have made it difficult to find a professional club to play for.
1, I feel like the majority of clubs overseas think that D3 players aren’t very skilled compared to D1 and D2 players, but that isn’t completely true. Throughout my college career I competed against a number of D2 schools and performed well and actually defeated most of the D2 schools I played against so I think that because they haven’t seen me play in person they feel that I’m not as good because I played D3 basketball.
2. The other thing is just finding an opportunity to be seen, but now that Ron is providing this opportunity to play in front of different coaches and clubs I can show them that D3 guys can play and that I could benefit a team and help them win this upcoming season!
You haven’t been totally without professional experience. In the summer of 2018, you had the opportunity to play with Team Amsterdam (Eurobasket Summer League in Dallas) playing 2 games averaging 17.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg. What kind of experience was this and what did you get out of it?
Yes, I did, it was a great experience I had the chance to compete against D2, D1, and even former pros that played overseas the year before! And I believe that my numbers showed from the 2 games that I performed very well and can compete at the next level as a pro ball player. The exposure camp with Eurobasket give me the confidence that professional basketball is obtainable and that I am good enough.
You will be a part of the Howard Hoops tour in August in Germany. How excited are you for this opportunity and what are you looking most forward to in this week when you come to Germany?
I am beyond excited! I’ve been waiting for this chance to show that I can play and now that it is finally almost here I’m ready to get there and prove myself! The thing I’m looking forward to most is playing against different pro teams in Germany it will be such an amazing experience!
Will you continue your special ritual of putting on your left sock and left shoe before your right sock and right shoe?
You’ve really done your research! It’s really cool that you know that, but of course I will. I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid and I don’t think that’s ever going to change.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had any friends or ex teammates or opponents that have had a chance to ball professionally in Germany?
I don’t know a ton about Germany as a country. I know that it is a beautiful with great food and great people. As far as the basketball there I’ve heard that it is very physical so I will have to be aggressive and not be afraid of contact. I don’t have any friends/ex teammates that have played in Germany, but I do have some friends/ex teammates that have played in Europe such as Poland, France, and Hungary.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 190cm guard. So people can get a feel of what type of player you are to what NBA plyer could one describe your game best to?
If I had to choose one player in the NBA to describe me I would say Bradley Beal. I think my game is similar to Beal, he is a sharpshooter that is great from 3pt range, but he can also score in many other ways (cutting to the back, post up game as a big guard, and a good ball handler that can get to the basketball). Also I believe we both possess the ability to get our teammates involved through our play making abilities. So if I had to compare myself to an NBA guy it would definitely be Bradley Beal.
You scored only once in double figures in the NCAA 3 at 10,6ppg. What strengths does your game possess and what will you be showcasing in Germany most?
Although this is true I think that my stats from college aren’t a good representation of what I’m capable of doing if given the chance to play professionally. In college my Head Coach’s offensive philosophy was to get it into the post as much as possible. So I didn’t get to play completely the way I wanted to play and I didn’t get to shoot the ball very much, which explains why I’ve only averaged double figures once in college. But like I stated in my answer above, my game possesses not only the ability to be a knock down shooter, but also a guard that has a high basketball IQ, always makes the correct basketball play, and the ability to get my teammates open shots.
How do you feel did your game grow at Wisc.-River Falls and on what parts of your game do you continue to work on to grow as a player as you go into the professional ranks?
I’d say my athleticism greatly improved throughout college I am now able to move a lot quicker laterally. Also I think my feel for the game improved, just being able to find my spots on the court making it was easier for me to score. My shot selection improved over the years, and being able to make the extra pass to get a great shot for my team.
You played at Wisc-River Falls from 2013-2018 being a WIAC tournament finalist in 2016 and 2018 and won it in 2017. What were the highs of your college career and what was your most memorable moment?
Those tournament championship games were definitely highs during my college careers because the atmosphere and the intensity was so incredible in each of those games. And I’d say that playing in the NCAA tournament was the most memorable moment in my college career. But some of the best moments of my college basketball career were the rides home from long road trips and the trips out of State, being able to create chemistry with the guys, talk about things on the bus and in the hotel rooms, and just being together helped create memories that I will never forget.
Was your 29-point game against St Thomas one of your most memorable games in school?
It was an amazing game in my career! It was the first game of the season and we played such a successful program, so to beat them and to score the most points in the first game of the season in UW-River Falls history with 29 points it was a great night for sure!
How did head coach Jeff Berkhof groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
The best thing that Coach Berkhof taught me is to never get too high or too low on myself and just to focus on being better than I was yesterday through hard work and dedication on my craft.
Who won a one on one in school you or Clay Seifert?
Oddly Clay and I never played a game of one on one against each other, He is a good player but if we did I think I would edge him out!
Who was the toughest opponent that you played in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe now?
The toughest players that I have played that are in the NBA or Europe now would have to be Tyus Jones and Rashad Vaughn.
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I think that these two players are the only players that can be debated on as the GOAT, and Lebron James is unbelievable with his ability be so versatile and to be a 6’9 point guard, but based on the eye test as a basketball player, all the accolades, records, and championship, the GOAT has always been and still is Michael Jordan!
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched is in my opinion the greatest movie ever, it takes you on an emotional roller coast, it is based on a true story, and is the greatest upset of all time, and that movie is Glory Road!
Thanks Devin for the chat.