Virgil Matthews is a 36 year old 188cm guard from Federal Way, Washington that completed his 12th professional season and fourth with the Niners Chemnitz averaging 7,4ppg,39rpg and 6,1apg. Two seasons ago 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%. Three 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 resigned with the Niners Chemnitz in June and spoke to germanhoops.com earlier in the summer
Virgil thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer been going?
I’m good back in the states working out and doing a lot of golfing.
Before we talk about the future let’s briefly look back on last season? We last spoke in the second half of the season. You stressed the team would finish the season strong and did in first, but again lost in the semi’s. Was the playoff loss to the Hamburg Towers difficult to digest?
It’s still hard to digest. To have a season like that and then to have it end like that not sure I will ever get over it.
You swept PS Karlsruhe quite easily. How was the focus and confidence level going into the series against the Hamburg Towers? Did you think back on that dreaded series against Gotha in 2017?
We swept Karlsruhe but that was not an easy series. They were a good team with strong players. Our confidence was high we felt we were the best team. We didn’t think it would be easy against Hamburg but we were confident. The series with Gotha was in my mind but I tried to not think about it, this was a different year with different teams.
Again Chemnitz was up 2-1 in the semi-final series this time against Hamburg and lost again. Was the game four 98-96 loss one of the toughest in your career?
Actually game 2 I think was worse than game 4. We didn’t control game 4, but we controlled game 2 and lost it.
When you look back at the five game series against Hamburg, what do you feel was the deciding factor at the end that ended your season?
I think they just played better in the big moments. I think the pressure level was a bit different for them once they finished in 4th and as well as we were playing. I think people expected us to win. There was pressure on both sides and they just did a better job of performing in the face of it.
Rodrigo Pastore continues to be one of the top Pro A coaches the last years. How hungry do you feel will he be this upcoming season to be successful? It is about time that he leads you to the BBL.
Yea he’s taught me so much over the years and I know he’s hungry to move up but he wants to earn it by winning. Its definitely that time and we hope this year is the year.
The last few years, I have always been thinking about preparing that last retirement article, but so far it never happens, because you keep coming back. What do you feel has stayed younger your mind or body?
Haha! My body is not young at all my teammates keep my mind young. I think my mind keeps my body going and just the enjoyment of playing, I like competing in games and I still want to win. That is what keeps me playing.
Chemnitz isn’t far away from Jena. How important have the BBL legends Derrick Allen, Immamuel Mcelroy and Julius Jenkins been for your continued focus and will to keep playing into your mid thirties?
I don’t know them personally at all just a bit from playing against them. They are amazing to still be able to do what they have done for all these years. They are all legends in Geman basketball. I don’t think I’ll play quite as long as they did but you never know.
Congrats on resigning with the Niners Chemnitz. This will be your fifth season with them. What were the main reasons for coming back for another season now at age 35?
There are many factors, the club treats me very well it’s a very close group its like family, that is nice. Coach Pastore is also a big reason, we get along well he does a good job I like the way he coaches. His passion and desire is unlike any coach I have ever played for. And last but not least the fans! The Atmosphere in Chemnitz is the best in the Pro A for sure! There is so much passion and they are always there and always supporting. Having that kind of support makes the decision easy.
Can one say now that Chemnitz is your second home ahead of Ehingen where you played only four seasons?
That’s so hard to say, I don’t want to have to pick one. I still have great friends in Ehingen and still get a great reception every time I go there. Chemnitz is great to me and I love being there. I like to think of it as I have two homes when I’m back in Germany.
Of course Ehingen was a very important place because it was the first place after playing in Munich and Schwelm that gave you an opportunity to develop further as a player. What kind of a player were you then and what kind of player have you become?
I think I am a similar player, I was probably still a bit more athletic in Ehingen, but I’ve learned so much in Chemnitz I think I’m a lot smarter. I think I’ve learned more and understand more now, I think that makes me a better communicator. That’s the biggest difference I think I understand how to communicate better, and I understand both sides like from the coach’s point of view and the players point of view
How important was it for Chris Carter coming back to Chemnitz? How valuable is he as a player and how is he better today than a few years ago when you were teammates?
Chris is beloved by the city of Chemnitz and he’s a very good player. He’s better now he’s led a team to the BBL he is a better shooter and a better player, also a better leader. Getting him back is a great deal and a great acquisition for Chemnitz.
You guys still have some unfinished business to take care of for the Chemnitz fans. Back in 2017 you were up 2-1 in the semi’s and still lost not moving up to the BBL. Do you feel like there will be a special fire between the two of you to help make special things happen this season?
I think the whole team will have a fire to finish the goal that we all want. I’m sure for him its important too after his past season he has something to prove and I think moving up helps get him back on track for his career.
The last time you were teammates you averaged 9,4ppg. Do you feel like you can become more of a scorer again with Carter on board?
I don’t mind scoring or not as long as we are winning. I think I can do other things to help the team win. If I just make more open shots I think the scoring will or can go up so that’s the main key for me is just to be more efficient shooting the ball. I’m not worried at all though.
Let’s talk about your game. Last season you averaged 7.4ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-3 (6.1apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 66.9%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 75.4%. How content were you with your season?
Like I referred to earlier that 3pt % is terrible I’m not content with that at all I’m in the gym trying to make sure that percentage is much better than that. Besides that I think the season was ok. We had a great team so stats don’t stand out as much as some other teams who play guys a lot more minutes and rely on them for heavy production.
I can imagine you will have the backup role to Chris Carter this upcoming season. What will you be focusing on most this season with the back up role?
Just to help any of the players. We have with my knowledge just seeing things may they don’t see and telling them about it. Sometimes it is better coming from a player rather than a coach. Sometimes it is also easier to see things from the sidelines, so that’s what role I’ll try to have.
Do you feel like it would be wrong to say that Carter/Matthews won’t be able to be the best 1-2 point guard tandem in the Pro A? How strong do you feel you guys will be?
That would be a great situation, coming off the bench hopefully when we do get time we will be the best guard duo. I think his aspirations are to be the best pg in the league so I’m ok being the best bench pg in league too.
You stated in our last interview that an important aspect to you will playing is that your body keeps feeling great. But adrenaline also plays an important role. How much longer do you feel can that continue to happen as your body continues to age?
Not much longer. I would be very surprised if it goes much further as far as me on the court.
You averaged 26 minutes last season and six assists. Passing and reading the game has been a big strength in your game in your career. Does age put some unneeded pressure on you having to stay consistent each new season?
Not really I don’t put unneeded pressure on myself. I know what I can do. What I try to do more than anything is just stay consistent do my job every game without having big ups and downs. I think I can do that if I’m out there. When I don’t think I can do that anymore I’ll know its time to stop playing.
How will your off season program look like this summer? Will there be any new things that you will incorporate into your routine or stick to what has been working the last years?
Just more shooting making sure to stay in pretty good shape. Lots more concern on maximizing my body and improving my shot.
Who was the toughest point guard that you battled last season?
It had to be Scootie from Hamburg. What he did in that game 5 was amazing looking back on it we should’ve just been trying to deny him the ball he played great. I’m sure there were others but he stands out maybe also because it was the last game.
How important was the Toronto Raptors NBA title for the NBA? Is the Warriors dynasty over or will they be back?
The Raptors winning is good for the NBA just furthers their reach as a global game. There is already a strong Canadian basketball world out there but this has grown it. Plus with players like Gasol and Siakam their home countries gain exposure by them winning. So it is good for the NBA. I think the Warriors will surprise people this season. They have a very good coach and front office. They will make adjustments with the injuries and be competitive this season, and then the season after I think they’ll be right back at it.
How did you experience the 2019 NBA draft results? What were the surprises for you this time around?
Not really I don’t watch a ton of College basketball, I think it will be interesting to see how these players adjust and play in the NBA
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Virgil for the chat.