Donte Nicholas is a 33 year old 195cm forward from Washington Dc that played his second professional season in Germany with the Rostock Seawolves (Germany-ProA) playing 27 games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 73.8%. In 2018-2019 he played with the Plymouth University Raiders (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 36 games: Score-5 (18.2ppg), Reb-2 (10.2rpg), Assists-3 (7.2apg), Steals-1 (2.4spg), FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 81.5%. In 2017-2018 he played with the Iserlohn Kangaroos (Germany-ProB). He belonged to the top players in the league averaging 17,6ppg, 8,0rpg, 4,1apg and 3,3spg while shooting 41,8% from outside. He has gained experience down under playing with the Albury Wodonga Bandits (Australia-SEABL) and with the Rockville Victors (APBL) as a rookie in the States. Last season he played with the Plymouth University Raiders (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 33 games averaging 15.3ppg, 6.7rpg, 3.4apg, Steals-5 (2.1spg), FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronviris crisis.
Hi Donte where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?
Hey Miles, I’m back home in DC currently. The mood is sort of bitter sweet because of how the season ended and also the conditions we’re in here in America but also the world. But I am happy to be home with family and making sure they’re all good and set in these trying times.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
I think I had the same reaction as most because I didn’t have all the information on what exactly it was and how serious it could be,
How did you experience the day to day life in Rostock when you were still in Germany? What things did you notice in the surroundings there that showed that life wasn’t normal?
Well I wasn’t out there for too long when the situation started to kick up in seriousness but while I was there some stores and shops started to change hours of operation or closed entirely that was really it.
Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing
To be honest, I’ve never really been big on shaking hands all the time prior to this situation anyways but now you really have to be aware of these things for obvious reasons so it’s a easy transition for me.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Pro A. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
I’m very disappointed because I feel like we were making a run for the playoffs where anything can happen but clearly I understand some things take precedence in life and this current situation is one.
Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?
Actually before they canceled our last game, they initially planned on playing it without spectators which I think would have been kind of weird. I think fans play a major role in the atmosphere and the feel of the game and are just as important as any other aspect to having a good game.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
What I’m learning is that is even while they’re promoting ‘social distancing’, we need each other more than ever right now. Not just because it’s easier to get through tough times with family and friends but also to try and fight back against this thing. We need everyone to come together and do their part to combat this.
Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
You definitely have to adjust because usually you have some what of a plan for your summer workouts and a timeline before you leave out again. This situation is a little different because of many factors, specifically because a lot of gyms and schools are closed so you can’t really train like you want. Also, no one really knows the time frame for this or how next season will work or even when it will start. We’re all just kind of assuming it will be over soon and everything will be back to normal, which we don’t really know.
The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?
I’m not really worried about the future necessarily but more of the economics of it. Basketball will go on at some point but how much will clubs have to spend as far as player budgets and salaries is more unknown at this point. I’m just trying to focus on what I can control and not focusing on what I don’t know.
**If you had to name another player besides guys from the Panthers that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?
Im assuming you mean the Seawolves and if so probably Grant Sitton
How has the day to day life been now in the States with the outbreak of the Coronavirus? Have you noticed any differences and are there any differences between the Americans and German people on how they are coping and handling themselves?
Day to day life has really been affected where I’m at specifically, can’t speak on other parts of America because it differs from state to state. Here, everyone is pretty much quarantined and isolating themselves currently. Isn’t much interaction, especially since most businesses have been forced to be closed if they’re not ‘essential’ i.e groceries, pharmacies,etc. Wasn’t in Germany long enough to see the difference honestly, I left as soon as the call was made to cancel the season.
How has your approach to family changed since the outbreak of Corona? What things have you seen yourself do that you may not have done before?
I have definitely been more active in checking in on my family, making sure everyone is doing well and staying safe. Whether it been through FaceTime or text messages, definitely reaching out to more family in these times.
Let’s talk about the season with the Rostock Seawolves. How unsatisfying is it having to end the season and not knowing what the fate of the team would have been? The club was 12-15 in 12th place and between 6-13 in the standings were only two wins the difference.
Like I mentioned before, its definitely disappointing how it ended for the exact reason you just said. We still had over a month left and anything could’ve happened. Now we have to just play the ‘what if’ game regarding this season but it is what it is because of what’s going on.
How vital was it losing 6 of your first 7 games of the season for the final record of 12-15? Why was the start so weak and what was crucial after that to finish the season at 11-9?
Well looking back, clearly it was vital to how we finished. You don’t want to lose 6/7 games at any point in the season but we had to deal with a few injuries coming into the season which played a part I feel. Once those guys came back, we had to reintroduce them into what we were trying to do which might’ve slowed our progression as a whole maybe..you never really know.
What is your final summary of the season? The playoffs were still within reach. What will you remember most from this season?
My final summary is like I said earlier, all we can do now is just play the ‘what if’ game. Can’t really take too much away from this season because of how it ended, I can look back over my own performance and critique aspects I need to improve but that’s about it.
The team did a good job in crunch-time winning some emotional tight games. Did the exciting 91-90 win over Ehingen in the last game give some positive closure to the season?
At the moment it was a spark that we needed to try and string some wins together. I think because we weren’t aware that it would be our last game, we didn’t see it as closure for the season.
Talk a little about your personal experience with head coach Dirk Bauermann. How challenging was it working for him and what will you never forget from having had the chance to work with him?
I don’t think there were many challenges for me personally playing for him because I’ve played for many different coaches and many different coaching styles. What ill take away from my short time playing under him will be his approach to every game and his intensity.
Let’s talk about your teammates. American Zack Lofton played only 4 games, but exploded averaging 30 points per game. Obviously a flat out scorer, but what was significant about his scoring talents that set him apart from everyone else in the Pro A?
I think you pretty much said it all, he’s a flat out scorer. Even if a team made adjustments for him, he still would end up with 20+ pts
With Tony Hicks the club returned a player that had played there before. You have played with many talented guards in your career, but what was special with his game that set him apart from many other guards in the league?
I think he had what I call some ‘dog’ in him which some guards in this league don’t. Just being gritty and doing the ugly work to get the job done, not all flash and hype like a lot of guys these days.
The club had many talented Germans. If you had to pick one player that improved the most who would it be?
Ha I think all my guys got better over the season. All of them progressed individually throughout the season and they all had their moments in different games and situations which they showed that.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 10.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 73.8% in your first Pro A season. How content were you with your season in the Pro A? You have stated in the past that your never content with your play and your numbers were down from other seasons, but this season you always played at a higher level than previously.
I’m not content at all ha. This is by far my worst season and I’m aware of that and would be the first to admit it. I’m not going to make any excuses or anything like that, Im just going to take this time to review, look back and learn how to improve from last year. This was a very difficult year but I’ll definitely use it as a learning experience so this type of performance won’t get repeated.
You weren’t the type of scorer this season like you have been in the past, but what do you feel was your biggest quality this season that helped you be successful on the court?
Honestly, I’ve never been a big scorer or has that ever been my objective coming into a season. I think my greatest strength is making plays, and if you followed the season you could see there were games when I was able to do that and my numbers would show. Sometimes in this game it comes down to situation and opportunity, if you only look at the numbers then you can lose that concept.
You fill the stat sheet very well and two big strengths of you from your Pro B season in Iserlohn was your intensity and basketball IQ. How do you feel have you developed in the last two years as a player?
The thing about this sport is you never stop learning and I think being able to play in different countries you pick up different ideas and aspects from each one which you can transition into you’re own game. Just like if your a doctor or any other occupation, the more you experience the more you learn and knowledge and it is as important in this game as athleticism or anything else.
You had some very fine and memorable games with Rostock, but was your 22/14 game against PS Karlsruhe your best game in the Pro A?
I think it was one of my better games statistically speaking but I do a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet which is just as important to securing a win as well. So there may have been some other good games too but this is definitely one of them.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro A this season?
Toughest guy for me to guard was probably the import guard from Heidelburg, I forget his name but he came off of so many screens when we played them and he knew how to read the screens perfectly. Seems like he always made the right read, and always scored off of them.
Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?
Luka’s game is incredible but he’s definitely not top 3 yet. Needs a lot more body of work to be rated that high at least in my opinion.
Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence?
I don’t remember exactly but I think we were on the road when I found out and it was sort of a surreal moment, like it wasn’t real. I was never really a Kobe fan, I liked A.I but I’ve always respected Kobe and his approach to the game. His career accomplishments are crazy but a lot of people appreciated him for his mindset, the #MambaMentality.
How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?
That tournament is definitely something I’m sure all the players, senior or not, were looking forward to and one you never know if you’ll be able to experience again which is unfortunate. I honestly wouldn’t know what to say to those guys because this is such an unprecedented time of uncertainty, I would just tell them to appreciate everything that happen along the journey.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I watched was Queen and Slim on the flight home from Rostock. Great movie
Thanks Donte for the chat.