Pindo Drammeh is a 206cm center from Anchorage, Alaska that just completed his college basketball career and will be taking part at the 2020 Howard Hoops tour in Germany in August. He began at Sierra College (JUCO) playing 29 games averaging 3.0ppg, 2.5rpg. He also got furtehr experience at Clarke University (NAIA) playing 30 games averaging 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 50.6%, FT: 70.4%. He finished his basketball college career at William Jessup University (NAIA) playing 7 games averaging 1.4ppg, 1.3rpg. He talked to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Pindo thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you been holding up the last months during COVID-19?
I have been in my hometown working out, completing summer classes. The pandemic has had an impact on me because I’m not used to staying home this long but it did give me things that I needed to work on.
You played your last college game on Feb 29 against OUAZ. How tough was it having to end your NAIA career like this?
It was extremely hard for me this season because I did not get the playing time I felt like I deserved but it helped to become stronger mentally and to get through the hard times.
How did you keep busy for the last 4 months? How much of a challenge was it staying in shape? Did you know in March 2020 that you wanted to prepare and be ready for a possible professional career?
I kept busy with online school also doing outside and in-home workouts. It was a challenge for sure because being in the comfort of your own home because it can be a distraction with all of the unproductive things to do around me.
You just finished your college career at William Jessup University (NAIA). How excited are you to be able to test the professional waters this summer?
I’ve never been more excited in my life to pursue professional basketball as it has been my life’s dream to play at this level.
COVID-19 has affected the whole world. How do you feel have you become stronger as a man off the court during these hard times?
I believe I became a stronger man during these difficult times because with all the time I had in the day with very few things to do. It helped me put myself into many different things and truly discover what I am good at as person and what I can do to improve that daily.
I have often met American players having high expectations of themselves and not knowing how brutal the professional basketball world is. How aware are you that having that long professional career coming from NAIA isn’t easy, but it can be done?
I mean anytime someone is trying to pursue their dreams regardless of the profession, it is noted to me that it is not going to be easy with whatever level basketball that person had come from and I simply believe that if I put in the work that I can have a good chance of having a lengthy career.
How big is your hunger to prove people wrong after playing at 3 schools? How big is your chip on your shoulder to show people just what you are made of on the court?
My hunger comes within myself and not the schools that I had played for. For me, I felt like that if I can prove to myself that I can play this game at a high level then and I can prove everyone around me that I am here to stay and to make an impact
You have signed up with the Howard Hoops Tour. How did the contact with Ronald Howard (181-PG-84, college: Mayville St.) come about? He is currently living in Minnesota and has been training young hungry players for years. Is that how the contact came about?
The contact had come about when one of my teammates had sent me information about Ron and his Instagram page. From there I had told him about my basketball background and I am just trying to take advantage of this opportunity at hand.
How excited are you about having the opportunity to go to Germany and show your talent as a player? What do you know in general about the country of Germany and it’s basketball?
I could not be more excited to even have the opportunity of traveling to another country but to show my talents is probably the biggest blessing I could ask for in my life till this point.
What do you know in general about the Howard Hoops Tour? How aware are you of the positive record of Ronald Howard helping get guys like you with little or no experience jobs? Has that increased your hunger even more to succeed?
At this moment in time, I do not know much about the Hoops Tour, but the important thing I have noticed has placed many players on the road of success to help them achieve their dreams. The hunger to succeed has came within me but going on the tour definitely helps my chances a lot of pursing my dreams.
How big is your dream of becoming a professional player? Does your feeling of wanting that succeed any kind of feeling you have ever had for anything in your life?
Ever since I was a child all I wanted to do was to achieve my dream of becoming a pro player. Succeeding in this profession that will give me a feeling unlike I have never had in my lifetime, I am simply doing whatever it takes to be the best I can possibly be at this game.
Talk a little about the man Ronald Howard. He is an absolute basketball workaholic. How have you gotten to know the man on and off the court the best and what do you appreciate most about him?
I have gotten to know him through various phone calls. I am very appreciative of the fact that he had given me the opportunity to participate in the hoops tour. I also appreciate the fact he has given me the advice to help myself improve not any as a basketball player but a person as well.
How important will it be for you not going into the Howard Hoops tour alone as there will be some fellow William Jessup University players along for the ride.
I think that going on the tour with a couple of college teammates will give me a sense of comfort and happiness because I want to see them succeed as much as myself.
Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 206cm center. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
The player who would best fit the description would be Pascal Siakam, because he impacts the game in so many ways other than scoring and I see a lot of his game within myself.
Talk a little about your strength as a player. What kind of attributes will be on display when you play in Germany?
The strengths of my game are the ability to stretch the floor knock down the open jumpers and protecting the rim with my shot-blocking ability, but I do see myself as a versatile player as well
On what parts of your game are you working on most in the lab so that you can continue to improve your game as you continue to move forward as a player?
I feel that to take my game to the next level footwork is a must and the ability to create a shot for myself. Also, my strength is something I have been taking seriously to drastically improve.
You’re from Alaska. Basketball isn’t the most popular sport there. How did you come to love basketball growing up?
As a big surprise basketball is one of the more popular sports but the state is mostly known for our guards so taking advantage of my height was a big thing for me. I came to fall in love with the game by seeing what it takes to be great in the game and I simply love to work hard and constantly better myself
You began your college career at Sierra College (JUCO) playing 29 games averaging 3.0ppg, 2.5rpg. I hear from guys all the time that JUCO ball is real tough. Is the league filled with so many guys with chips on their shoulders that you just have to get better with the immense competitiveness of each player?
JUCO ball is tough but with facing those difficulties it had given me an opportunity of improving that I did not see at the time. The competitiveness attributed to my improved mental and the mentality that I need to become more aggressive to become successful in this game.
What positives do you feel could you get from your season at Sierra College (JUCO that helped you take a step there?
Coming from my junior college the positives I got from there were what it means to work and I began to see true improvement in myself, but the biggest positive I learned from I started to gain confidence within myself and my abilities.
You then played at Clarke University (NAIA) playing 30 games averaging 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 50.6%, FT: 70.4%. How important was this season for your mental health that has come from a tough JUCO season?
This season I had begun to show the self-confidence and the boost had also come from my teammates who had my back on and off the court
Were your 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the 93-86 win against Cardinal Stritch one of your most memorable games there?
That game was extremely memorable to my teammates and me because we had been trailing most of the game and to come back had shown we would do anything it had taken to win the game.
You made another change playing your last season at William Jessup University (NAIA) playing only 7 games averaging 1.4ppg, 1.3rpg. How tough was this season coming from a solid year at Clark? Do you ever wonder what may have happened had you remained at Clarke?
This season was not the easiest at all, I had come off my best season in collegiate basketball mentally and physically. For me to sit on the bench had affected the self-confidence that I had worked so hard to achieve the frustrating part about the whole experience is that I knew in my heart that I can play basketball at a high level. I always think about playing out my senior year there but I truly am thankful for the experience that I had there.
How did head coach Jim Blaine groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
I think it dates back to my recruiting visit when he had made it known that I can be a big part of the team’s success but at the same time he did not sugar coat anything and I earned all of the playing time that was given to me if I had stayed there I probably would have made a bigger impact.
Who won a one on one you or Josh Meier?
Unfortunately, we never got the opportunity to play one on one
Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Kylar Hayes (Clarke), AJ Stewart (Clarke), Keunte Howard (Sierra), Ernie Bolden (Clarke), Nathan Fromm (Service High)
Who has been the best player that you have battled on a court anywhere that has been in the NBA or a high level?
The best player I have played against is Jalil Abdul-Bassit
The best known NBA player from your home town Anchorage is Mario Chalmers. What kind if influence did he have on you growing up?
The Chalmers impact was huge for a kid like myself at the time that it was impossible to reach the highest level of basketball regardless of where I grew up
Please list your personal NBA Rushmore of 4 NBA heads past or present?
MJ, LeBron, Kobe, Tim Duncan
Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How much of an influence did a guy like that have on you growing up?
I remember hearing about the news while I was studying preparing for the week ahead, I could not believe it was real and in pure shock that whole day and ended up playing basketball that day in his honor
People often compare Jordan and Lebron as the best ever, but why isn’t Kobe Bryant mentioned more often in this discussion? Do you feel like Kobe gets a little sidetracked in this discussion?
I feel like Kobe doesn’t get mentioned more in this debate. Many people look at him primarily as a scorer and fans of the other two players look at more versatility than but at the same time it is quite confusing because Kobe modeled his game after MJ.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Pindo for the chat.