Darnell Foreman is a 185cm guard from Pitman, New Jersey that played his second professional season with Team Ehingen (Pro A) playing 8 games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 27.7%, 3PT: 6.7%, FT: 71.4%. In his rookie season he played with the Uni Baskets Paderborn (Pro A) averaging 15.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 6.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 81.0%. He began is basketball career at Pitmann High School and played Pennsylvania (NCAA) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 118 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 10.7ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 73.2%.. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball during COVID-19.
Hi Darnell 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?
How is it going? I am currently in Philadelphia, PA, USA. I am well. Trying to stay positive and keep myself focused on things I can control at this moment. This outbreak has definitely been a shared experience for the whole world. My thoughts and prayers are for everyone affected by these events. We will overcome this.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
No, I did not initially. As more news started to come out, I realized the severity of the virus and knew it was only a matter of time before it affected the entire world.
You had begun the season with Team Ehingen, but had to leave in November after only 8 games. You didn’t finish the season elsewhere. How was it testing the job market then? You had successfully conquered it in January 2019 landing a rookie job with the German team Uni Baskets. What kind of experience was it the second time around?
The job market was a bit challenging at that point. I was eager to jump into another team and situation at that point but sometimes things do not line up the way you want it to. Also, with the spreading of the Coronavirus, it was smarter and safer to stay in the states. Regardless, I was and still am really confident in my future and my abilities to help an organization win. No question.
How has the day to day life been now in the States with the outbreak of the Coronavirus? How have you been affected mentally by the fact that it has gotten so bad in the States now?
It has definitely been different. Most states are in some type of lockdown or isolation. The major emphasis is on social distancing. For me, most days are pretty similar. I get out of my apartment for a walk/ jog or some exercise each day. Majority of it, though, is indoors.
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
For sure. Just being aware of not touching things that are in common places and washing my hands as much as possible throughout the day.
Before leagues were shut down in Germany 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?
I think it is not ideal for the game, itself. Spectators play a huge factor in any sporting event. With that being said, it was the most responsible decision to keep everyone safe, players and fans.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
Tough times do not last. Tough people do. Being able to pivot your focus and make the best out of any situation, has definitely helped me stay positive and productive during this down time. While it is not ideal, it is the status quo. We have to make the most of it.
What kind of an adjustment has it been coming from staying in shape in the gym the last months to not having any gym time with basketball work for weeks during the Coronavirus? Many players haven’t touched a ball in weeks. How was it with you?
It has been a challenge. I do not have the resources at home that a gym or a basketball facility would have so I have to be creative. I do a combination of push ups, squats, and core exercises everyday. I go jogging or bike riding for cardio, also.
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?
Yes. I am aware of the affect the outbreak will have on markets across the globe. It is something to prepare for, for sure. Ultimately, though, I cannot control what happens next, I can only adjust and adapt. Next season will definitely be different.
Have you been keeping in touch with former teammates in Germany or other friends overseas during this time just to exchange stories and see how they are doing?
For sure! I have been talking to friends from all over the United States and abroad. First, to check in and make sure they are well and their families are well. Then, to try to gain an account of their actions during this time. Things that they have been doing to stay busy, stay in shape, and stay engaged with other people. While the times have been very tough, this has been quite enjoyable because I get to communicate a great deal with a lot people that normally would be harder to do so.
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?
Just reaching out more. Calling, texting, those sorts of things. Being available when someone needs an ear to listen to them.
Let’s talk about the season of Team Ehingen. It was a tough season for Team Ehingen finishing in last place with a 4-23 record. The season had 2 parts. It had a 4-10 record on December 14th, but after that didn’t win another game suffering a 13 game losing streak. You left as the team had a 2-6 record. How was the mood at that time? Did it seem like the losing would continue or did you see hope of getting on a winning track?
First off, I would like to thank Team Ehingen for the opportunity to compete for them. At the time I was there, the mood was positive. There was never a time when we felt defeated or lost hope. Each day in practice, we competed and fought hard to get better and get through obstacles. For me, that has always been the approach. In the seven games I played, we competed very hard and in almost all cases we were right there at the end of the game. While we were not able to come out victorious in some of those cases, we were getting closer to that point. Being a young team, we had to learn how to win collectively. That takes time.
A big problem for the team was cutting down on points. Why was the team unable to find a defensive identity early in the season?
I think we just needed more time. More experiences together where we saw different types of offenses. Ultimately, the best defenses have 5 guys that are on the same page. They have accountability. I thought we were getting close to that point.
A big problem was that most of the roster were new players and there weren’t any other veterans on the team. Players also came and went. Why do you feel was finding team chemistry particular with this team so tough to accomplish in the early going as well as injuries occuring?
I think that had a major effect on team chemistry. A lot of guys were battling injuries throughout my time there, including myself. We were not able to consistently play with or against each other in training camp or practice so it left us at a bit of a disadvantage going into the first part of the season.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it playing with German Jonah Akim-Jamal? He was a rookie coming from San Diego State. What was your early impression of him who had come from San Diego State?
Akim is a good player. He has great size and can finish above the rim. Playing with him was very beneficial because he was a good rim protector and was able to catch lobs and clean up drives and offensive rebound so well. The sky is the limit for him. He is definitely one of the top young players in the league.
What was your impression of German Tim Hasbargen? He made another jump in his second Pro A season. He couldn’t find a role at Cleveland State and played for a NCAA 3 school Babson as a senior. He didn’t have a great season there, but came back to Germany and really stuck out in the Pro A.
Tim was another solid player. He could guard multiple positions and he was able to do multiple things well on the offensive side. In transition, he was very dangerous because he ran the floor well and also was able to finish above the rim. Definitely was a valuable experience playing with a player like him.
Let’s talk about your game. Usually when a guy leaves early, the standard press release will have that blab la of that it wasn’t a right fit’. Was that the same with you or were there other factors?
I think that injury had a major effect on my departure from Ehingen. I got injured early in training camp. Not only was it very early, but it would prove to last throughout my time there. Playing through injury is a very tough situation. Both physically and even more mentally. I do not regret my decisions, though. It taught me a great deal about myself, the business, and basketball, in general. Ultimately, I wish that I was able to be at my best in Ehingen. The universal did not allow it. Things would have been very different, though.
After a very satisfying rookie season with the Uni Baskets where you averaged 15.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 6.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 81.0%. You must of came in with a lot of self confidence after what you were able to do with the Uni Baskets. How tough was it not being able to find to your game?
For sure. I feel like every good player comes into each season with a lot of confidence. The great players maintain that confidence throughout the season. Getting hurt then having to work myself back into the mix was challenging. That prove to be an obstacle I had to overcome. A new process. I understand that now.
You averaged 6.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 27.7%, 3PT: 6.7%, FT: 71.4%. You also played 10 minutes less than with Paderborn. How tough mentally was it coming from getting minutes in the NCAA and with Paderborn to not having that central role with Ehingen.
It was difficult. Between missing time and not being at hundred percent, I was not able to gain a rhythm; play my best. That is one of the goals when joining a new team, a new environment. How fast can you get familiar with things and start developing your rhythm on the court. My process was going to be a little longer. This is a business though, and sometimes decisions are made that you can only accept. That is understandable. It does not hang over me. I just try to focus on competing and working hard every single day.
Could you take anything positive form the Ehingen experience? Possibly having your best game with 10/5/7 against your old team Uni baskets despite suffering a close loss?
They were not all low points. Not at all. I enjoyed my time there and the people I got to know and work with/ play with. It was truly an experience. For that, I am thankful. Even not being at my best, I was still able to have production in games. Still able to make winning plays. That motivates me more than ever. It gives me confidence and makes me eager for the next opportunity. I cannot wait!
In our first interview you stated ‘Being a pro now, I consider myself back at the bottom of the totem pole. That’s what I need as motivation. All I have done in basketball means nothing to me, personally. I have to push myself to new limits in order to keep progressing in this game’. After this new learning experience with Ehingen, you are back at the end of the totem pole. How confident are you that you will rise again?
Extremely confident. Adversity reveals who you truly are. I cannot wait to show just that. It starts with, everyday, working on my game. Getting stronger. Getting better. Getting mentally and physically prepared for the next opportunity!
On what things will you be concentrating most in the lab now so you will be prepared best for the next opportunity?
Definitely want to keep working on my shooting. I also want to work on different finishes around the rim. Ultimately, just keep working on being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Pushing my limits and challenging myself everyday. This summer will be a joy.
Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?
Not top 3 just yet, but he is definitely on a fast track to being one of the top players in the NBA.
Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant.. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence?
I was home, back in the states. It still seems unreal. My heart goes out to all the families involved and affected in that accident. As a kid, he and Allen Iverson were the two players I loved to watch. Both were serious competitors and extremely hard workers. Kobe will forever be remembered, loved, and cherished. Mamba forever!
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?
Extremely. The NCAA tournament is a unique and special experience. It sucks, no question about it. My advice for the seniors that missed out on this opportunity is to keep working. Opportunities come and go. That you cannot control. Stay ready. Capitalize on when you do get that next shot.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Bone Collector starring Denzel Washington Thanks for time. All the best.
‘Life was, is, and will be good.’ Be safe!
Thanks Darnell for the chat.