Nate Britt is a 26 year old 185cm guard from Washington DC that will play his 4th professional season with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (Germany-ProA). Last season he played with Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) playing 21 games averaging 14.5ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5 (1.8spg), FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 77.5%. He began his basketball career at Gonzaga College High School and also played a year at the very well known Oak Hill Academy. He then had a stellar NCAA career at North Carolina winning the 2017 NCAA title and reaching the final in 2016. After finishing at North Carolina, he played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV (Atlanta Hawks) averaging 1.7ppg, 1.7apg. He then began his professional basketball career with the Glasgow Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 25 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5 (1.8spg), FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 81.5%. In 2018-2019 he began with Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1) and finished with the: Boca Juniors (Argentina-La Liga) playing 10 games averaging 3.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.2apg. He spoke to germanhoops.com during COVID-19.
Hi Nate, 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?
I am in Washington D.C. Since my senior year of high school, my life has been busy. I’m always on the go. Because of that I haven’t spent as much time as I’d like with my family, so I’m taking full advantage opportunity to do that now.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
I did not, not at first. I followed the news concerning the virus once it spread to the third country. At that point I knew it would become a big problem. I didn’t think the entire world would be affected by this.
How did you experienced the day to day life in Cyprus during the early Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?
Everything continued as normal in Cyprus for the majority of the time I was there. Cyprus was one of the last countries to experience an outbreak. Fans weren’t allowed to attend the last game we played. This was the only early change. The rest of the world seemed to be going crazy and we were on regular scheduled programming. It created some tension because some of the players felt a need to go home. But we still had games to play and a season to finish. The same day guys were considering going home, the league started taking precautions. Games were being postponed. A few days later it was announced that the season would be canceled. The country’s president decided to close down all sporting facilities and events. So we were in Cyprus and couldn’t lift or workout. That was a miserable few days. We worried about travel bands and being stuck in a different country. If we did get stuck, how long would we have to remain away from our families!? My GM did a great job of getting us flights back home. We didn’t have any troubles traveling and everyone got back safely.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
I’ve learned how important it is to take care of yourself. We tend to everything but ourselves. It’s how society teaches us to act. I’ve been able to sit, meditate, and be more mindful of my thoughts and actions. In order to have a positive impact on the world, we must be right within.
How have you experienced the day to day life back home ? How has the Coronavirus affected your daily life? How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls.
Life at home has been very different. As soon as I arrived back in the states, I had to do a 14 day quarantine. That restriction felt like a tease, because I was home but couldn’t see all of my friends and family I had missed while being away. Post quarantine, my life has been pretty busy. I’ve been taking the time to help my family with some home improvements. We are still in the process of changing things around the house. I’ve still been able to exercise but I’ve had to get creative in doing it. Most of my workouts consists of running, biking, and band resistance training.
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 blessed are you that you found a new club so early with the wiha Panthers?
I’m not worried at all. I’m sure everything will work itself out in due time. God’s timing is perfect. Whatever happens is meant to happen for a reason so I’m just trusting the process. I’m extremely blessed to have found a new club in the Panthers. The whole world has been on pause, delaying the timing signing and recruiting. I’m very fortunate to have signed a contract this early!
If you had to name another player besides guys from your team that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?
I’m not on social media too heavy. Excluding all of my teammates, I’m probably in contact with Kennedy Meeks and Markel Starks the most.
Congrats on signing with the wiha Panthers. What do you know in general about Germany and it’s basketball? Did you get some tips form ex Villanova player Kris Jenkins who had played in Germany with Bremerhaven?
Thank you! I honestly don’t know much about the country. I know Germany has the best chocolate and I know a lot of people who have played in Germany. They spoke highly on the level of basketball and the living. I’m extremely excited to be engulfed in a new culture and adapt to a new style of basketball.
What were the deciding factors that convinced you to come to the wiha Panthers. And what kind of an impression did head coach Alen Velcic leave you?
I’m going to play at the highest level of basketball in Europe. Germany Pro A is the perfect situation for me to improve my game and continue to learn and prepare myself for what’s ahead. I spoke to Coach Velcic and learned he is all about winning. I trust where his heart is and feel his passion will push me to be the best player I can be every practice and game. The Panther’s following is very impressive as well. This team, this coach, this league is where I need to be.
You played at one of the top schools in the NCAA and won an NCAA title. You didn’t have overpowering stats at NC, but had an important back up role. Any guy that is on the 12 man roster of a school like North Carolina is a very good player. But you didn’t play in high leagues in your first 3 seasons playing in Scotland, Argentina and Cyprus. Was this a tough time for you mentally? Did this show you that not even an NCAA ring can get you quicker up the basketball ladder?
I came from a storied program in UNC and had my share of accomplishments during my four years at the university. I’m even in the top 20 all time for a few things. I definitely expected to land on a higher level after graduating. Opportunities were on the table but I had some unfortunate circumstances that set my climb back a bit. It was frustrating and it was tough for me mentally. I had to come to terms that everything happens for a reason and my plan isn’t always the master plan. Along my journey I’ve learned a lot about myself, met some great people and feel even more prepared for success. I don’t regret my path and I love where I am right now.
Usually when talented guys play in lower college leagues like NAIA or Juco or lower professional leagues, they always have a chip on their shoulder. How is for you? Of course the competition level at North Carolina is unbelievable. Did you develop a chip there or did you not get one mainly because you were playing at the highest level possible and best team?
I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder. I wore number 0 my entire amateur career because I had a chip on my shoulder. Carolina only enhanced it. I wanted to play more, I wanted to do more for my team. I felt I had earned the right to do so. That wasn’t in the plans. I was ok with that sacrifice to play in back to back NCAA Championship games and win the second one. But those moments when I felt I should’ve been in the game and I wasn’t or should’ve had more responsibility and didn’t aren’t forgotten. That chip has only gotten bigger.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 185cm Point guard. Would it be fair to say that you are a scoring point guard? To what NBA player would you best compare your game to?
I wouldn’t like to say I’m a scoring point guard but I’d say I’m a point guard who will score. I grew up trying to model my game after Rajon Rondo and Steve Nash. In today’s game I’d like to be like Jrue Holiday. We play very different but I’d want to model his production. He defends, he’s one of the top PGs in assists, he rebounds, and he scores efficiently.
You’re a player that can fill the stat sheet at ease. On part of your game do you feel has developed the best in your first three seasons as a professional?
I’m always trying to improve. My game in the half court, enduring the physicality and rebounding has improved a lot over the last season. Like I said Rondo is my favorite PG so rebound is a priority. I never rebounded as much as I thought I should have. Last season was a big step of improvement. I’ll strive to keep making that better.
Your 3 pointer continues to be a work in progress. Where do you see lies the most difficulty in being a consistent shooter? Will that be another area where you will concentrate on working on this summer?
It is a work in progress. I’ve had a lot of changes with it throughout my career. In High School most of my 3 point shots were off the bounce. My role at UNC transitioned me to more of a spot up 3point shooter. As a pro, I’m playing on the ball more which is where I’m most effective. Making threes off the bounce, especially in pick and roll situations has been a focus of improvement after last season. Gaining that comfortability again has been a process. I feel very confident about this season.
You also take a lot of pride on the defensive end. How do you see yourself taking your defensive game to the next level in Germany this season?
Defense is a focus every year. It’s all about heart and passion. It’s never to be lacking on the defensive end. I’m very aggressive on the defensive end which got me into a lot of foul trouble last season. I’d like to be more mindful of the rules of contact and choosing my spots this season.
Last season you played with Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) playing 21 games averaging 14.5ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5 (1.8spg), FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 77.5%. Would you say that this was your break out season as a professional?
I never looked at it that way. The pandemic happened and there was a rush to get home. Looking back on the season I was very upset, we couldn’t finish. My team had a lot of changes throughout the season and we were finally catching rhythm. We had a very good position to win our league cup and didn’t get that opportunity. I’m very disappointed about that. My stats were solid so I guess you could call it a break out season.
How much of a pleasure was it being teammates with pure scorer David Nicholas. How beneficial was it for your game that he could score the ball so well?
It was great! David could really score the ball. He led the league in scoring so the eyes were on him every possession. I like to get assists and I like to get my teammates involved. When you have a player who can score at all three levels, it makes my job that much easier. I also loved that we competed everyday in practice.
In your second professional season you began with Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1,) but left after pre season and then played 10 games with the Boca Juniors (Argentina-La Liga):averaging 3.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.2apg. How tough was this season and what did you learn about this season that made you stronger as a man?
This was one of the most trying times of my life. I put in a lot of work in over the summer and was fully prepared to play that season. Things went poorly and I was home the majority of the year. The time home gave me a lot to think about and it taught me things I didn’t know about myself. I found another thing I’m passionate about in my basketball camp that my brother and I hosted. I would’ve never known that if I were away the whole season playing. It gave me a different drive and a different mindset to have approaching a basketball season. I feel that mental capacity will carry me through anything I’m faced with going forward.
How cool was it being a member of the Boca Juniors. They have the most famous soccer team and the greatest fans. How was the whole atmosphere there for you?
That was a great experience! I loved being thrown in that environment. In the short time I was there, I started learning the language and adapting to the culture. Boca’s campus is beautiful. The culture surrounding their club is rich! I’m truly blessed for all the places God has taken me through basketball.
As a rookie you played with the Glasgow Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 25 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5 (1.8spg), FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 81.5%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
This is not college! In school everything was prepared and handed to us. We were extremely spoiled. I realized most organizations don’t have the same set up that we had at UNC. We had unlimited access to all facilities. We had hot tubs, cold, tubs, poolsetc. That’s just not how it is everywhere else.
You were very close to a triple double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists in the 86-82 win over Manchester. Is that a game you will always remember and do you feel like you are the type of player that can always be good for a triple double?
I will always remember that game because it was the closest to a triple double I’ve ever been. We had some guys and I really needed to do more. I did just that. I do feel I’m the kind of player who’s good for a triple double night or very close to it.
In the summer of 2017 you played NBA Summer League with the Atlanta Hawks. What do you remember most from that experience? Do you remember getting any special advice from a coach or player there that has stuck with you too this day?
It was in Vegas! It was my first time in Las Vegas being old enough to do anything. I didn’t do anything but the fact that I could was pretty cool. I really enjoyed the practices and experienced level change from college to NBA. Guys were so much stronger and athletic. Everyone was extremely efficient as well.
You played at the 2012 Fiba America’s U-18 tournament. You played a significant role on the team and was teammates with future NBA players Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, Sam Dekkar and Montrezl Harrell. What memories do you have of this time and which one of those players impressed you the most then?
That was so long ago! I enjoyed being around so much talent. I loved that I could lead those guys and start as the point guard on that team. Montrezl was the most impressive by far. I knew his ceiling was super high. What he does now in the NBA is the same exact things he was doing back then!
You played at North Carolina from 2013-2017 winning the NCAA title in 2017 and reaching the final in 2016. What kind of a player and person did you become in your 4 years there?
I became a better leader. I was never the official captain on the team but Coach Williams always knew whatever he needed to get done, he could come to me and I’d take care of it. I always put the team first and made sure everyone was ok.
You did start the first 10 games as a freshman but was mostly the back up to Marcus Paige and Joel Berry. Despite having this role, how vital was this for your development? You were pushed in each practice by these 2 players, and I’m sure you were gunning for them in every practice to be better.
I was gunning for them every day! The three of us were very competitive. We complimented each other well and took pieces of each others game that we could use for ourselves. I loved being in the backcourt with those two. They understood the game and played at a high level. That point guard bond is a different kind of bond.
What memory will you always have from the 71-65 NCAA title win over Gonzaga? Is there a play in crunch-time that you will always be ready to play out in your mind when you want to?
The best moment was the feeling after the clock went off. Everyone sprinted out on the court and embraced each other. We had put in so much work leading up to that moment. The weight had been lifted and we had redeemed the previous year’s championship loss. My classmates, Kennedy and Isaiah, made huge plays to close the game. I’ll remember those plays and that moment for the rest of my life.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Marcus Paige?
We both did. All of the guards on our team regularly played one on one games, Marcus, Joel, Justin, Theo and I. We’d play king of the hill. One on one until the first person scores. Loser steps off the court, next man in line steps on the court. First to seven wins and we would do three spots. Everyone won games. We were extremely competitive.
Please list your personal own NBA Mount Rushmore?
Jordan, Lebron, Kareem, Magic
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan and Lebron James and why isn’t Kobe Bryant mentioned in this debate?
This is no debate. Kobe isn’t in the conversation. Jordan and Lebron are not to be compared. There’s too many variables from Jordan’s era to Lebron’s. That’s that.
What is the last movie that you saw?
Ready or Notnot for everyone. It’s a little graphic.
Thanks Nate for the chat.