Dark Horse QJ Peterson(Bakken Bears) Doesn´t Need A Golden Stable But Rather Get That Dream House For His Parents

It was January 5th, 2021 as Quentin Peterson arrived to the Bakken Bears home area and for many players it would just have been another game, but it wasn´t for the American. He was coming off a big win over Danish team Naestved, but it wasn´t one of his more prolific scoring games as he netted only 12 points. He definitely wanted to make amends and be more of a help for his team in his first game of 2021. The guy has played in countries like the Czech Republic, South Korea,Cyprus and Ukraine, but his opponent Galatasaray from Turkey in the Basketball Champions League was without a doubt the best team that he had played in his professional career. He had scored 28 points in his last home game on December 28th against Horsens IC. So he met the Turkish side with a lot of self-confidence and had that good feel from the last game hovering in his thoughts. Not only did he help lead the Bears to the win, but he exploded for an amazing 35 points and also aided the squad with seven rebounds, five dimes and 3 steals. His versatility on the court was breathtaking as he really showed that he can score in so many variety of ways. He nailed 6 three´s including a few deep ones from the North Sea, scored beautiful off balance jumpers, made lay ins, floaters ala Tiny Archibald and even showed some Kemba Walker swagger with his famous step back jumper. He also scored on transition and snuck in the paint on numerous occasions catching an airball and squirming his way through a wall with a lay in, made a tip in dunk and made beautiful feeds all night long. He has had career nights in other countries like in the Czech Republic and Cyprus where he scored 29 points apiece or in South Korea where he dropped 34 points. Heck last season he went scoring crazy in the Ukraine scoring an amazing 48 points. But scoring 35 points against Galatasaray was a feat beyond anything he has done before simply from the team´s reputation and incredible talent on the team. The roster of Galatasaray had a who´s who of ex NBA players. He battled ex Duke(NCAA) standout Amile Jefferson who had only signed a few days before the game, RJ Hunter who played parts of four seasons in the NBA, Jonathan Williams who played with the Los Angeles Lakers, Darryl Macon who played with the Dallas Mavericks, Euroleague veteran Brock Motum and Travis Trice who had been borderline NBA. Quentin Peterson was without a doubt the best player on the floor that evening. A 183cm guard beat up on ex NBA players, but he has never been able to escape his label of being a dark horse. This game gave him some added self-confidence, but a scoring explosion like this hasn´t satisfied him. He wants to get to the top. “I think it was a big game that we needed to win but just another game none the less. Every game no matter what league or where you play, is always an opportunity to prove that you belong and can compete at the highest level. Good or bad games do not really give me extra motivation to keep working hard. Working hard is what I have had to do all my life. I have never had a big name, I didn’t go to a big D1 school, nor did I get a chance to win a national championship. What keeps me motivated is knowing I have not bought my mother and father their dream house yet. What keeps me motivated is all the kids back at home in a small town called Hedgesville, WV who think they are too short, can’t shoot well enough, not athletic enough, or don’t have the biggest name and aren’t a 4 or 5 star McDonalds All American. I don’t like to think they have no shot at living out their dream to be whatever they want to be, so I do my best to be living proof as an example that you can do and be whatever you want no matter where you come from as long as you work hard, grind, and impose your will on anything and everything you do in life. My mindset applies to either a normal everyday job or becoming a professional athlete.  Impose your will on everything and life will give in to you and the things you want. All of these things are what keeps me motivated to keep grinding and keep proving myself every game that I belong in the NBA”, warned Quentin Peterson

                Peterson who lists NBA legends MJ, Shaq, KD, Steph, and Larry Bird in his personal NBA Mount Rushmore was born on October 14th, 1994 in in Hedgesville, West Virginia. He received his first basketball experience with Hedgesville High School and Massanutten Military Academy. He then proceeded to attend Virginia Military Institute (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 107 NCAA games and scoring in double figures in 99 games. He gave the name consistency a new meaning as he averaged a stellar 19,0ppg in each season. In his freshman year he played 30 games averaging  19.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 76.4%. He scored in double figures in 28 games having 20 points or more 15 times and had his best scoring games were against North Carolina-Ashville with 38 points and he vhit Bridgewater for 37 points. He has fond memories of the 109-105 win over North Carolina-Ashville. “It was extremely memorable because we only had 20 minutes to warm up because we were stuck in traffic due to snow, and we had got down by 20 or so in the beginning of the game, and ended up taking the lead at half time. The most memorable part about it was Rod Glasgow having 33 and 12 assists and DJ Covington having 28 and 11 rebounds, which was awesome. One of the best games i’ll never forget”, stressed Quentin Peterson His breakthrough as a freshman allowed him to pick up All-Big South Conf. Freshman of the Year, All-Big South Conf. 2nd Team -14, Big South Conf. North Division Regular Season Runner-Up, and Big South Conf. Tournament Semifinals -14. He had no sophomore blues with his game as his consistency remained as he played 18 games averaging 19.6ppg, 4.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 27.7%, FT: 82.1%. He scored in double figures in 16 games and had Mercer´s number scoring 32 and 31 points. But what many don´t no he had blues with himself and his season was cut short. “My mental break down was something I feel every young man faces in his life as a college student not just as an athlete.  During that time I was in a serious relationship and what I thought I knew about being in love and what actually is was two different things.  I took time away to work on myself and focused on my God given talent. I woke up every morning and got in the gym at 6am.  I choose to work on my game and changing my focus to becoming the best player I could be.  Being a high level college player requires a lot of time and can work on you mentally if you aren’t up to handling it.  I chose to handle it by centering my time and attention into being great on the court and in the classroom.  That moment in my life made me who I am today but at the same time that experience becomes an obstacle sometimes for me to advance my career as pro teams dig into your past as they are interested in acquiring you to play for them and they want to make sure that you can perform not just on the court at a high level but as well be a good teammate and positive person in and out of the locker room.  I overcame that time of my life many years ago and I continue to push, lead my teammates, and prove to those who are interested in me that I’m very strong mentally and that my game continues to grow.  I feel the person I am today and all of the experiences I have had put me in a great spot to perform at a level that suits all higher level pro teams either it be in the NBA or overseas.  I like to think if I was a professional team or a company and was in charge of hiring the most talented individual to make my team or company better that I would choose the one with the best resume and has the most experience.  I feel a lot of the younger players coming out and going straight to the NBA are missing out on a lot of the skills and coaching that makes them a better player and person.  I understand getting them in early will develop them a lot quicker but if it comes to the mental side of things it’s hard to ask of an 18 year old to be able to come in and perform at a high level with all of the attention and money they’re given when they’ve never had to experience it.  I feel we all play the game to win, so if I’m putting a team together I’m going to hire the player with the most experience on the court and life experience as the two play hand in hand and will more times than none be more of a benefit when you go after the person who’s been fighting for the opportunity to be seen than one who’s been groomed for it.  If I ever get the chance to play in the NBA I will use my experience and love for the game to help any team I’m on win more games and be the best teammate I can be in any situation that is asked of me”, warned Quentin Peterson.

In his junior year he played 29 games averaging 19.9ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 45.0%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 90.2%. He scored in double figures in 27 games and annoyed Mercer again exploding for 46 points. He also possessed Samford´s number scoring 33 and 32 points. He was awarded with All-SoCon 1st Team and SoCon All-Tournament 2nd Team -16. He has very fond memories of being a pain in the neck against Mercer and couldn´t have predicted his 46 point explosion. “I did not. It kind of just happened. I was just playing as hard as I can and wanted to win, next thing you know, my teammate Tim Marshall told me I had 44 points on the free throw line and told me that I was scared to beat the school record of 45”, remembered Quentin Peterson. He finished his great NCAA career as a senior playing 30 games averaging  19.6ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.4apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 71.2%. He scored in double figures in 29 games and had some more typical explosions hitting Chattanooga for 40 points in a 80-64 win, and nailed Citadel for 37 points in a 101-78 win. He also had very good games against top basketball schools like Ohio State, Butler and Virginia Tech. Being able to perform well against schools like these were vital in his development. “I took each one of these opportunities the same way I do today in the different countries and opportunities I’ve been given and that’s to be the best player on the court.  I’m a very loyal person and I showed that by signing early in college to attend VMI before my senior season even started.  Maybe if I would’ve waited it out I would’ve been playing for one of these schools but I wanted to concentrate on where I would spend my time playing college ball and work on being the very best I could be and let my game do the talking right away.  I always thought to myself it doesn’t matter where you play but how you play.  I now have played in a number of countries and tried out in front of many NBA teams which all have helped me develop my game to a higher level each year.  I’ve been blessed to be rewarded for my play and I hope that this will be the season that catches everyone´s eyes and realize that QJ Peterson can play at any level and be given the golden opportunity for an NBA team to take a chance on me so I can make their team better and live out my dream”, stressed Quentin Peterson. His daily grinding paid off in the NCAA, but he also knows that he wouldn´t be where he is today without the proper guidance of his two head coaches Duggar Baucom and Dan Earl. “I think what helped in this situation were the two different styles of play. Meaning, I was able to realize that the faster pace of play better suited my play style for me, however, I am also capable and able to adapt to a slower tempo style and a structured system and learned how to pick my spots of when to score and attack and things like that”, remembered Quentin Peterson. He picked up All-SoCon 2nd Team and left Virginia Military Institute with the best thoughts of what he had experienced there for four years. “I would probably have to say the road trips were the best parts. Just being away from the school and escaping the military aspect of things there and just having fun with my teammates”, said Quentin Peterson.  

He began his professional basketball career in 2017 and quickly saw two parts of the world splitting time with USK Praha (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 6 Czech Republic NBL games averaging  21.5ppg, 7.7rpg, 4.3apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 54.0%, 3FGP: 28.2%, FT: 75.7%, and then finished the season with Anyang KGC (South Korea-KBL) playing 51 games averaging  15.5ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.5%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 75.6%. For American rookies coming overseas, those first months can be very difficult for players as some endure a culture shock. Some make it through and others don´t. Peterson made it through the first months, but also had some issues that he had to get used to. “My wake up call I would say, is not having cell phone service walking out of my house as well as trying to transfer money home to my bank account. That is when I realized I was far away from home”, remembered Quentin Peterson. He performed well on the court in the Czech Republic having some stellar games against BK Decin with 29 points and had 26 points against BK Pardubice. His stay in the Czech Republic was short and he decided to close out his rookie season in South Korea. This was another place where he had no problems adjusting to the play and will always have this experience in his heart. “I think it was an amazing experience, one that I would go back to for sure. The pace of play was faster than Europe which fit me perfectly I believe. Just enjoying the beautiful city in South Korea was the best part. They had everything from Nike, to under armor stores, to bbq places, it was amazing”, commented Quentin Peterson. He scored in double figures in 39 games showing that that special consistency that he had established in the NCAA was still present there. Sometimes one is the lone American on a team which can get lonely, but he was fortunate to have had another fellow David Simon by his side. “I was extremely blessed. He taught me what it means to be a pro and how to be a pro. He definitely was and still is a brother to me”, remembered Quentin Peterson.

In the 2018-2019 season he gathered new experience with Cytavision Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) playing 8 games averaging 15.8ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 65.0. Even though his season was cut short, he did learn new valuable things about how basketball life can be off the court. “I just remember having to move from one hotel, to an apartment filled with roaches, to having a car that broke down, to not being paid my full and it was never on time, to moving back into another hotel. It was awful. However, it is part of my journey and it did make me stronger and learn a lot about the business side of pro sports”, warned Quentin Peterson. He scored 29 points against Apollon and 22 points against E.N. Paralimni. He was lucky to have had a number of established veterans on the club including ex Purdue(NCAA) great Keaton Grant who has carved out a nice professional career. “From watching him pick his spots on the court, when to score and pass, as well as how he carried himself off the court. He was professional at all times no matter what”, stated Quentin Peterson. In the 2019-2020 season he made a giant step in his career moving to MBC Mykolaiv (Ukraine-Superleague) and totally dominated playing18 games: averaging 29.5ppg), Reb-5(7.6rpg), Assists-2(6.1apg), Steals-1(2.1spg), FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 78.3%. Despite putting up huge stats, he wasn´t winning and that always puts a strain on players. His team lost three games at the end of the season with no more than 7 points combined. “It was very hard for me as winning is my main priority.  Not being able to win takes a lot out of you when you leave it all out there on the court.  A team is not just what I can bring to the team, but how can I better my teammates and instill in all of them that we all are professional playing this great game to not only pay our bills but for a lot of us we have childhood dreams of reaching the NBA one day.  Although it was hard losing three games in a row I couldn’t let it bring my game down or my mental as I was a leader and I had to do my best in finishing the season on a high note while also picking up my teammates and giving them a reason to give their all each and every game win or not”, stressed Quentin Peterson. Not only did he score in double figures in all 18 games, but also scored more than 20 points in each game. He demonstrated again that consistency should be his middle name. “Each summer after my season comes to an end I spend a lot of my time down in North Carolina training with my agent and playing in daily pick up games with some of the local NBA talent.  The summers I spend all of my day working on the things that I feel I need to improve on as well working on the feedback my agent gets from NBA teams that have shown interest in me and given me the opportunity to workout with.  One of my main focuses in the Ukraine was to become more of a complete player at the point guard position.  I’ve always been known as a scorer but being six foot I have to bring a lot more to the table than just scoring so I’ve tried to develop my game to crash the boards on the offense and defensive side, find the open man for a higher percentage shot, not force a shot but create higher percentage shots to be more effective for my team and to help better my teammates”, expressed Quentin Peterson. He had huge games against K Sokoly scoring 39 points, had 38 points against Zaporizhye and totally exploded against Dnipro with 48 points and 9 three´s. Ex NBA giant Kyrylo Fesenko witnessed as Peterson was showing again that he is taking steps toward greatness. “I did not know they had a guy that played in the NBA. I just remember that some of my teammates felt a bit defeated before the game even started and I always go in to a game with the mindset we can win and that I just wanted to motivate the guys and show them that they have to play the game of basketball just like we have to. No team is unbeatable. One thing just led to another and I just wanted to show the guys that they are human and that we always have a chance at winning as long as we fight and compete. Kervin Bristol told me before the game to just go off and pretend I´m playing pick up back at home or in summer league back home and I did just that and he told me at halftime that I had 30 points and told me to keep going no matter what and next thing I know, he told me I had 48 points at the end of the game. Just wanted to win and was playing hard”, added Quentin Peterson.

Let´s fast forward to 2021. The American who lists NBA player KJ Mcdaniels as the toughest player he encountered in the NBA is playing his fourth professional season in Denmark for the Bakken Bears. He like everyone else on earth has had to deal with COVID in a certain way. This agonizing time has been difficult for all, but somehow he was to get through hard times even if it wasn´t an easy task. “I think my experience with Covid has been a very fortunate and lucky one. Although our season ended early, I was able to go home earlier than expected and spend time with my fiancée, family, and friends. It was not challenging at all to work on my craft while I was at home. I was fortunate and blessed enough to be able to train on outdoor courts with double rims and sometimes able to still have access to a gym to life, lift weights, do basketball workouts, and make some extra money by training local kids and helping them better their basketball game. I think I grew a great deal. I was able to work on myself mentally in terms of getting closer with God, and meditating every day, as well finding out what else I am good at besides basketball. I was able to take time to focus on my community and give back to the younger generation by holding training sessions for them and share life experiences through my basketball journey”, stated Quentin Peterson. He has had a very successful season so far in Denmark as the Bakken Bears are in first place in the country division and are in the next round of the Basketball Champions League as all the hard work has paid off and the team chemistry continues to grow. The club has an incredible offensive arsenal that is stacked with an abundance of talent. “We do have a lot of people who can score the basketball on the team and it can come in waves, which is great. Especially if one person may not have it going one night, the others can pick that person up and chip in, which makes for a great team. With that being said, it all starts on the defensive end and holding teams to one shot and getting out in the open court for guys like Tylor Ongwai, Darko Jurkic, Ryan Evans, Deshawn Stephans and myself to make plays. In the half court, its about knowing where guys like to catch the ball and have the highest chance of scoring and crashing the offensive glass”, said Quentin Peterson.

The American who lists his five best teammates of all-time as Dave Simon, Rod Glasgow, DJ Covington, Isaac Thornton, Qmonte Matheny is blessed again to have amazing teammates this season. One guy who has been instrumental in his further development this season has been American Ryan Evans who played at Wisconsin and is playing his third season with the Bears. He knows what is takes to win titles and already has done so winning the 2019 Danish league title and 2020 Danish cup. “Man, he has been huge! He has been like a big brother to me and has helped me adjust tremendously. I would say he has definitely took me under his wing and shown me the ropes here. Telling me how certain guys play, what coach expects, how to incorporate my game into everyone else, he has been a huge help”, stressed Quentin Peterson. It isn´t always the americans where a guy like Peterson can soak up the necessary basketball knowledge, but also from the home bred players like legends Adama Dafoe and Thomas Laerke. “It has been an amazing experience with these two. The one thing I have learned from them both, is to always try my best and have fun. They both love to crack jokes for a good laugh and are just super easy going and positive minded people. They still work hard as well when needed, but they really enjoy having fun and working hard when needed”, said Quentin Peterson. He also was really blessed to learn from former Dallas Maverick guard Justin Dentmon who was with the club for a short time at the start helping the club qualify for the Basketball Champions League. “He definitely played a huge role early on and even now if I ever needed to ask him something, he’s there for me. It gave me a chance to sit and watch him lead early on and what it takes to make it to the NBA. He would always tell me to just pick my spots out there on the floor, when to pass, and when to shoot”, remembered Quentin Peterson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex NBA player and Baaken Bear Devaughn Akoon-Purcell in 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany

The last movie that he saw was Crawl and he has made huge strides with his game again showing that he can take on responsibility in a team that is more stacked than his team MBC Mykolaiv from last season. He has shown again that he can lead a league in scoring at 22,5ppg, but is also filling up the stat sheet like no other averaging 6,2rpg, 4,5apg and 1,8spg while in the Basketball Champions League is averaging a very respectable 17,9ppg, 4,4rpg, 3,4apg and 1,5spg.  Last season he also made new strides with playmaking averaging 6,1apg. Before last season he had never averaged more than 4,3apg. But also his defense is a big part of his game. “I know I can continue to grow my game and always trust in my teammates, pick my spots, and not try to go too fast and just go at my own pace on the court. I think my defense is a huge influence on my offense. I mean the other team can’t win if they do not score right”, expressed Quentin Peterson. Of course he knows that if he wants to go places, he can never get satisfied and needs to keep grinding in the lab each day. “The things I am working on most with my game that my agent Dewey Hawkins and I agreed upon is just mentally staying positive and staying focused on our goal, playing in the NBA. I have been blessed to attend many NBA workouts, I have been drafted in the first round of the NBA G League Draft, I have been given the opportunity to be a local tryout player which allows me extra time to sell myself with an NBA organization, and I have taken my lessons that I’ve learned and developed my game and my mental approach to what is required of one to be a pro player in the NBA.  Every opportunity I’ve been given although the chips didn’t fall the way I wanted them to, I’ve grown from them and has built a very large chip on my shoulder to go into every game as another blessing to show the NBA scouts that I belong in their league”, warned Quentin Peterson. There are guys that have gone the type of path that Quentin Peterson is going in that he has been paying dues for years in Europe and is being patient and continuing to climb the basketball ladder. He has that chip on his shoulder like so many other guys in Europe and has the right attitude that will continue to take him places. “I feel like the chip on my shoulder has to be big. From the lessons I’ve learned, the amount of time I’ve spent on training, driving all over the USA to tryout in front of NBA and G League teams, I’ve learned a lot and heard a lot of reasons of why I’m not where I need to be yet, and have dedicated all of my time and energy in becoming a player that can do it all so I don’t live with any regret and become the player that the NBA needs me to be”, warned Quentin Peterson. He is only 26 years old and not at his prime yet and there have been way older guys make the NBA like this season like 29 year old Argentine national player Facundo Campazzo who is with the Denver Nuggets and there are many more that have made it. But before the NBA, goals of the Eurocup and Euroleague should be on his radar. Even if he hadn´t heard of current Euroleague player Kevin Punter of Milan, he could be the perfect motivation, because his route was similar to Peterson that he also had to pay dues in Europe before reaching the Euroleague last season. Even if Peterson doesn´t reach the NBA right away, the Euroleague could get this dark horse the dream house for his parents.

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