Vinny Curta is a 196cm guard/forward from Oak Lawn, Illinois that played his rookie season in German with Regionaliga team Nordlingen averaging 21,0ppg, but his season ended in December 2019 due to injury. He had a fascinating four year career at Grinnell playing a total of 95 NCAA 3 games and averaged an incredible 25,2ppg, 32,7ppg and 25,0. He spoke to germanhoops about his basketball career prior to beginning his professional season in Germany.
Vincent thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how way our summer?
I am currently in Nördlingen in my apartment. My summer was great. I was in Chicago working out with my Dad and former teammates every day.
Congrats on signing with German Regionalliga team Nordlingen. There aren´t many NCAA 3 players that can say they were able to turn professional. How thankful are you for being able to make your love to your profession?
Thank you, yes, it’s tough trying to secure a contract because there are so many great players from not only the US but all over the world that are fighting for spots. It hurts your chances even more the lower the level that you come from in the NCAA or NAIA. I am beyond thankful and grateful to this city of Nördlingen and the club for this opportunity to play as a pro here. They have turned my dreams since I was a little kid into a reality.
What do you now in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Have you had any friends, ex-teammates or opponents play in Germany?
I know first and foremost that Germany has great talent across all basketball divisions. I know that they have one of the most respected first leagues around the world. I’m also aware of course of the great talent that has come out of Germany and had success in the NBA. I was excited and relieved that when I touched down here everyone was very welcoming and wanted to bring me into the culture as soon as possible. As far as people I know playing here, I have had plenty. Not just in Germany but in other European countries as well.
History is on your side. You went to a high school named after Dwight Eisenhower and history was your major. Now your living in a very old city Nordlingen that has a wall around the city. What has impressed you most about the history of Germany that you will be able to experience this season?
The city of Nordlingen is incredible when you first get here. The drive from Munich to Nördlingen showcased a beautiful landscape. It was amazing to see the structure of the city in general and walk around with some teammates and talk about how old buildings were and some stories and history that made the town what it is today. The tower at the center of the city and the authentic German food were some great things to experience. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out as much as I can about the city and then traveling with some teammates to other parts of Germany before my time here is up.
How was your summer transfer period? Was it tough getting interest coming from an NCAA 3 school and did your massive stats raise some more eye brows from teams besides Nordlingen?
This past summer was great. I put in a ton of work and was lucky enough to have my dad, who is a coach of 20 plus years, work me out and put me through different training sessions. It’s really a credit to him for sacrificing so much of his time to making me a better player. I am beyond thankful. I think the journey from NCAA 3 to a professional team is rough but definitely not impossible. My stats may have turned some heads but not enough to pull the trigger on me. As for looks from other teams, I got a few looks from other areas but nothing was as exciting as talking to Coach Moll and what he had planned for me and the way that he talked about how I would become part of the family here.
Nordlingen is really high on your basketball abilities. What was the deciding factor that helped you make the decision of starting your professional career in Germany easier?
I would have to say that talking to the Coach and learning about what my role on the team would be played the biggest factor. Coach Moll stressed to me that I would be able to be a leader and that I could have the chance to coach some of the younger guys as well, which was great in my mind because I want to become a coach at some point in my life.
Head coach Sebbi Moll wants you to take over in key situations and lead the young team. You are only 22 years old and had much experience at a young age. How large is this challenge for you?
Actually, I am 22 years old, but I am straight out of college and have never really played the European style before. I would say it’s a challenge to have such a large role but I will work as hard as I possibly can to be the player, they want me to be and to help the team have success this year.
You were a student at Grinnell and now you will be teaching the Nordlingen U-18 team. How much of a challenge will this be teaching young men that aren´t really that much younger than you?
I think that my first chance to coach a team will have its up’s and downs for sure, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I know what it’s like to lead a team and to explain what needs to be done as a player, so hopefully some of this can translate to me coaching and we can get better day in and day out.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a 196cm guard/forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
This is a tough one. NBA players are in a different world when it comes to talent. I honestly have no idea who I play like maybe my teammates can decide that one.
You averaged 27,0ppg and 5,5apg in your last three NCAA 3 seasons. What really stands out is that you can also find your teammates. Some guys who are prolific scorers have told me they would rather get an assist than a bucket. How is it with you?
This is exactly the type of player I am. I think I work best as a player when I know that I can incorporate all other players on the floor and trust them. I would most definitely have a high assist game over a high scoring game. And a win of course.
What other strengths does your game have besides scoring and getting your teammates involved?
I think that I communicate effectively and I am very passionate. I try each day whether it be practice or a game to get better at talking with my teammates about what’s going right and what’s going wrong on certain plays or about the ideas in general. I also think that people underestimate my athletic abilities which in turn allows me to make some good defensive plays and surprise defenders.
Your three pointer continues to be a work in progress. You will have much free time as a Regionalliga player as sometimes there are only 2-3 practices per week. Do you feel that with even more reps than what you might have had the last years at Grinnell, that you could up your three-point shooting percentages?
Of course, this is a goal of mine. I will be in the gym every day trying to improve all of my game but especially my shooting stroke.
On what other things will you continue to work on to help raise your game to the next level as a professional?
I will continue to work on evolving my game to one that suits the European style of play as well as committing to becoming a better all-around defender and rebounder. Pretty much I want to improve every aspect of my game. I also am committed to getting in the weight room and putting on muscle and getting more explosive.
You played four years at Grinnell (NCAA3) from 2015-2019. Despite not winning a title what were your fondest memories on the court?
Some of my fondest memories of playing at Grinnell were that I got to play with my older brother Nick Curta, and I got to play against some really good teams throughout my career. I really enjoyed being able to play basketball with my best friends for 4 straight years.
You averaged only 13,0ppg as a freshman and then made a huge leap average 25,0ppg, 32,0ppg and 25ppg. How do you explain this enormous jump in scoring? How did you grow as a player from your first season to the next?
I think that a shift in the team chemistry and the confidence that the coaches gave me at the end of my first season allowed me to go to work in the offseason and to really develop into more of a solid player. Getting in the gym every day with my Dad and brother and working as hard as possible.
As a junior you averaged 32,0ppg. That is like Michael Jordan back in the day or Lebron James today or Kevin Durant. What did it feel like averaging so many points per game? Did you develop that invincible scoring instincts that always had you confidence to score so much?
I just tried to be aggressive and as confident as possible because that is what the coaching staff asked of me. I had such great teammates who trusted me to make plays and once I put up a couple big numbers early on in the season, I just gained a mentality to be super aggressive and to make the defense have to work hard to stop me.
What memories do you have scoring 48 points against Lawrence University? How quickly did you know in the game that you would have a good day?
I just remember that early on as a team we were playing very solid defense and communicating very well with each other. I knew early on in the second half when Lawrence didn’t make any serious adjustments to their defense that I was going to be able to put up a big number.
How did head coach David Arseaneault groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He himself was a pro player for a season after he graduated. He gave me advice on what to expect and just told me the work ethic that I need to continue if I want to have a shot at playing overseas. He was real with me and didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, which I appreciated greatly.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Hannes Kogelnik?
This one makes me laugh, I never really got a chance to play against Hannes, He would have probably given me some trouble. I did however never figure out a way to beat Griffin Boehm, the hardest working player I ever played with in my life.
Who has been the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe?
The toughest player that I played against was actually during the summer of my Junior year going into my senior year. I played against Talen-Horton-Tucker who made everything look easy and was crazy good.
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
- Griffin Boehm
- Nick Curta
- Anthonio Johnson
- Khalil Williams
- Heavy Lamacchia
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
- Michael Jordon
- Larry Bird
- Antoine Walker
- Allen Iverson
What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
What was the last movie that you saw?
Dazed and Confused
Thanks Vinny for the chat.