Corey Raley-Ross is a 28 year old 193cm guard from Charlotte, North Carolina that has three professional seasons under his belt and this season played with KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-Superliga) averaging 18,7ppg, 6,4rpg, 3,9apg and 2,0spg. Last season he played with C.B. Aridane (Spain-EBA) playing 30 games averaging 15.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 71.1% In the 2017-2018 season he played with CB Virgen de la Concha Innova Chef (Spain-EBA) playing 28 games averaging 18.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 41.4%,FT: 64.8%. As a rookie he played for TTU Korvpalliklubi Tallinn (Estonia-Alexela KML) playing 28 games averaging 6.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 30.4%,FT: 63.6%; and played 9 Baltic League games averaging 8.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 11.1%, FT: 76.0%. He played at Buffalo (NCAA) from 2010-2014 playing 59 games. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Corey thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?
Thanks for the opportunity! I’m currently in Charlotte, NC gearing up for the 2020-21 season. The summer was unconventional as we know but great. I’m thankful that I was able to prepare the way I wanted considering the rules and regulations.
You played your fourth professional season with KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-Superliga) playing 22 games averaging 18.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.9apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 81.4%. You’re currently unsigned. How different has this summer’s transfer been and what has been the biggest challenge about finding the right fit this year?
This year’s transfer market is intriguing. I’m aware that there are many great players like myself without jobs at the moment. As for me it’s humbling. However, it gives me more time to prepare mentally and physically so my outlook is positive.The right fit will present itself at the right time, hopefully sooner than later.
How tough was it for you for the season to abruptly end in March 2020? You had won 5 of your last 6 games. How much of that ‘what if’ feeling was on your mind this summer?
I let it go as the season ended. What if’s are only hypotheticals. Though, we were surging as a team picking up steam for the playoffs. I thought we all believed that we could win the championship. That was the end goal from Day one.
How did you experience the whole COVID-19 crisis back home in the States. What was most challenging about life and basketball?
I was fortunate with the whole Covid-19 experience. My brother was playing in China so he was always a month or two ahead of what was happening on our side of the world. This allowed me to move accordingly. Also, I was able to work through my family business that gave me unlimited access to sports facilities. On the flip side the biggest uncertainty was how this season would unfold.
How challenging was it for you to stay in shape and work on your basketball skills in the last 6 months? Did you come up with some new unique exercises to compensate the loss of gym time?
It wasn’t hard at all! I’m blessed to train with a group of professionals throughout the summer. Essentially, I’ve been in optimal shape for some time now. I’m always innovative in my approach to training. This summer I focused more on injury prevention, stability and balance as unique exercises.
How did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?
It has challenged me immensely. Mainly to stay the course, capture my goals and create new ones.
Let’s talk about your last season. You played in the Kosovo Superliga. How would you compare that league in skill to the leagues you played in in Estonia, Germany and Spain?
There are very talented players in all leagues. Being a middle tier European league, Kosovo is most similar to Estonia. It was very competitive. Competing against Fiba Cup teams, Balkan League, and VTB teams is more my flavor.
You averaged 18.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.9apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 28.4%, FT: 81.4%. and was top 10 in scoring. Were you content with your personal season?
I’m never content. Hindsight we could have won more games with better preparation, and I don’t feel that my 3pt percentage reflected well on how good of a shooter I’ve become. I believe that I can perform at a higher level, without a doubt.
Your stats were similar to what you put up in Spain a few years ago. Which season do you feel was your better one?
I’d take my season in Kosovo (Superliga) any day of the year. I performed in a much stronger league and we won more games!
How tough was the 93-91 loss to Feronikeli where you put up 32 points? Was this a game that you remembered into the summer?
This game was hard to swallow! I had a chance to win it and couldn’t deliver for my team. No worries, we returned the favor when we matched up with them again.
A year ago you really worked on your three point shooting, but wasn’t rewarded in Kosovo shooting only 28%. How much does a stat like that annoys you?
It’s encouraging. It’s a goal to shoot in the high 30s and 40s as a basketballer. For me it’s routine. As long as I’m confident and shooting quality shots for the team I have no doubt that they will eventually fall.
How do you believe you grew as a player in Kosovo? Do you feel like you improved in a certain aspect of your game?
I grew mentally a lot. First I had to make my imprint on the team. Gain my team’s trust, and then lead by example. That’s in practice, the weight room and off the court. I like to think that improving mentally allowed me to become a better leader and grow in every other area as well.
On what things did you focus on most this summer in helping you continue to improve your game?
My focus was primarily improving my skill and durability. Specifically IQ, decision making, efficiency and training regiment. My work habits changed and as a result I’ve taken my game to a new level.
You’re a basketball junkie who constantly is watching basketball. Did you follow a bit more the NBA in Orlando? What do you watch more there than when you were watching the 2019 World Cup?
The ‘Bubble’ so they call it has been great to watch. It’s RAW and uncut. There aren’t any distractions, just players playing for themselves and their teams.I appreciate more how they’ve used their platform for social reform. This is the underlying issue after all.
In our interview a year ago you stated this in terms of how you could help any team now. ‘I believe I can help any team with my knowledge of the game, positive energy, athletic ability, defensive prowess; guarding 94 feet, defending multiple positions, play-making ability, shot-making ability, being accountable and by leading by example’. Is there anything new that you can add to that?
At this very moment, more experience. I’m excited for the next challenge
Who was the toughest American player that you battled in Kosovo?
There were two! My teammates Terick Bridgeman and Stevie Clark. Both of these guys like myself received accolades throughout the league. They challenged me every day to improve hence is why I felt so strongly about winning the championship. They are two guys who can take their careers where they believe!!!
You have been in Europe 4 years and saw the rise of Luka Doncic. Is it just ignorance or why can’t certain well known NBA figures accept how great this guy is?
It’s ignorance not to accept how good he is. And I’m not so sure if there’s anyone who doesn’t. His flare and court savvy is unmatched. Not to mention his age. All I can say is that the future of basketball is in good hands with him and a crop of other young players performing at an extremely high level. All in all, he’s a joy to watch.
Which 2 teams will reach the 2020 NBA final and who will win?
Lakers and Heat. The Lakers will take the championship!!!
What was the last movie that you saw?
Tenet!!! It’s a must watch.!!!!Thanks for the interview.
No problem Corey.