Darreon Tolliver (201-C/F-92, college: York, NE) is a 201cm forward that was born in San Diego and is playing for the ScanPlus Baskets this season. He turned professional in 2016 and has experienced much in the last years having played for Green Basket 99 Palermo (Italy-Serie C Silver) averaging 14.1ppg, 9.8rpg, 1.0bpg, Launceston City Rockets (Australia-LBA) averaging 15.3ppg, 8.0rpg, Wynyard Wildcats (Australia-NWBU) averaging 14.0ppg, 9.0rpg, FGP: 57.0%, Basket Leon (Spain-EBA) averaging 13.9ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.1%, FT: 38.8%, Lithgow Lazers (Australia-Waratah) averaging 16.6ppg, 10.0rpg, BW Merzen Lions (Germany-Oberliga) averaging 27.9ppg, 13.0rpg, FGP: 65.0%, FT: 56.0% and also played for TuS 59 HammStars (Germany-Regionalliga). He began his basketball career with Mesa Community College (NJCAA) and then played two seasons with York College, NE (NAIA) averaging 5.8ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 50.4%, FT: 59.6% and averaging 6.3ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP: 49.2%, FT: 49.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a game in Limburg.
Darreon thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
At the moment I am in Ulm, Germany playing for Scanplus Basket in Elchigen & during these times basketball life is treating me great. Injury free and mentality focused. Along with thankful to play this game!
You began the season with the TuS 59 HammStars (Germany-Regionalliga) and now have helped the ScanPlus Baskets move up to the Pro B playing a total of only 6 games. How bizarre has the 20-21 season been for you?
Yes you have don’t your research! This season has been very bizarre to say the least. But I’m very thankful to still be a part of the journey of being in Germany and helping this organization complete its missions. It’s been a roller coaster the past few months but we are steps away!
How did you experience COVID-19 this season. What were the biggest challenges for you on and off the court?
The biggest challenges were to keep myself mentally, physically, emotionally locked in. You know when the game of basketball is taken away we panic but to slow down and appreciate the finer things like nature, reading, writing, meditation. This allowed for myself to enjoy the game that much more when the gyms opened back up!
How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?
Covid has allowed me to do some soul searching, in sense of Faith, Perspective & staying Motivated even through the darkest of times. Along with to enjoy the present a lot more & not wonder off into tomorrow. Enjoy the now!
Talk a little how you came to the ScanPlus Baskets. How enjoyable has your time been with the team despite not playing any games except for the tournament with Limburg and Fellbach.
They were looking for a import player of my caliber while in Germany & by the grace I was currently still in Germany working out and doing what was needed for the restart. Came to check the organization out & we had a mutual interest and it became home for this season. The time has been very enjoyable to learn from my teammates, coaches and just the German culture. With the pause it’s allowed us to spent a lot more time with one another compared to if we were in season. Enriching to say the least!
The ScanPlus Baskets practiced the whole season. What kind of an experience was it being together with a group of guys, but not playing games. What was the most memorable thing and what were things that didn’t make the experience as great?
It’s been a battle because there were times when we felt like practice was a blur due to not knowing if we were going to continue the season, but then we all locked in and pushed one another to be better because we wanted to make the time count & not waste any training sessions. I can’t say anything didn’t make the experience good, I’m one for challenges & my teammates and coaches bring that energy into the arena daily!
The ScanPlus Baskets have a lot of talent. Talk a little what has made this team so special this season?
We have guys who can really play the game & compete at a high level! It takes a lot of will to stay focused on your objective when there is no set date on when the games are going to be played. Every day we pushed one another to be great at practice & it’s showing now as we compete for the promotion! Everyone is on the same page & eager to prove their passion!
Let’s talk a little about your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
That’s a really good question, if I could compared my game to anyone in the league, I would say something like a Draymond, well rounded style of play but most Importantly thinking team First. The rest will Follow! Good with ball in hands or without & ENERGY is always there!
Talk about the strengths in your game. You are more than just a scorer and rebounder. What other aspects does your game have?
With my game, I always focus on the defense of aspect first and foremost. When the defense is clicking and I catch the feel for the game, I get going. Love to crash the boards, rebounds, dunk, get steals & get my teammates involved with assists. Basically whatever the team needs I’m capable. I don’t have a ceiling on myself.
What kind of role do you have with the ScanPlus Baskets. Your scoring strength and grabbing rebounds was one that was present here again.
Yes here I’m more of the motor guy, you know we have shooters, we have attackers & I can play the post, mid range occasionally, move so out the ball, set good screens, assist out the post & just staying active. Being able to guard 1-5 gives our team an advantage with the other players we have surrounding.
Last season you played with the BW Merzen Lions (Germany-Oberliga) playing 18 games averaging 27.9ppg, 13.0rpg, FGP: 65.0%, FT: 56.0%. What kind of experience was your first season in Germany? How did the Oberliga league compare to the leagues in Australia in terms of skill level?
My first experience in Germany was one that was great, it was a moment in which allowed me to trust & believe that I can play at this level of not higher. The culture & the atmosphere along with my teammates from Merzen made the season that much more enjoyable! Oberliga & Australia is a lot different in my opinion for a few guys in Oberliga it’s a hobby & for some guys in Australia it’s a job. But on all aspects I enjoyed the experiences because you learn from them! Shout out to Mello one of my teammates from Merzen, great times!
You played for three different teams and leagues in Australia. What kind of an experience was it playing down under? How do you feel did your game grow there?
Yes playing down under was a great experience & allowed me to grow my game more on the physical aspect. They really play physical down there and it’s clean play. So being able to take screens, fouls & just the physicality can only help grow your game. Plus coach Ben Armstrong & Dez Best we’re studs at coaching and play development!
You played a season for Basket Leon (Spain-EBA) playing 23 games averaging 13.9ppg, 9.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.1%, FT: 38.8%. What was it like playing on a team with all Spanish players. Did they look up to you because you were an American?
Playing in Leon was maybe one of my greatest times within my career so far, being able to actually understand the game on a IQ level, moving without the ball, moving with a purpose, playing team ball helped my game grow into the systems in which I play now! All my teammates respected one another in Leon along with the coaches and staff. We all wanted to learn from one another & reach the goal of a Promotion. I’m forever thankful for my growth in Leon! Gracias Leon!
The Spanish EBA league is a very good league comparable to the German Pro B. Does that give you hope to continue to dream about playing in higher leagues in Germany?
Most definitely! In this profession every time I step on the court I want to be the hardest worker on the court. I trust my abilities and understanding for the game that if continuing to take it one day at a time, opportunities will continue to present themselves. At a higher level in Germany or anywhere around Europe.
As a rookie you played with Green Basket 99 Palermo (Italy-Serie C Silver) averaging 14.1ppg, 9.8rpg, 1.0bpg. What was your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were very far away from home?
Wake up call knowing that it was a business. In college you might get subbed out and maybe subbed back in but overseas in Italy you might get subbed out and sent home. There aren’t any do overs. So always be true to yourself on that court and give it your all because you are always being watched for a better cause or a lost one. Stay grounded! Stay positive!
You played 64 games for York College, NE (NAIA). What memories do you have from the 2016 Elite 8?
Growth as a basketball players but most important as a person. A lot of memories from the time at York college and our elite 8 run, enables me to handle situations I encounter today a lot better than ever. Plus it was a brotherhood at York we all wanted the same for one another when we put on that YC jersey. Then history was made! Elite 8 baby!!
How did head coach Delton Deal groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Deal is monumental to my growth, there were times when I used to question things that were happening but with Deal I realized he only was that hard on myself because he saw the potential. He didn’t have to give me the opportunity to attend York or play minutes there for my two years but his trust in my abilities allowed me to run with the game & create a pathway for others! Forever thankful for Coach Deal! Not just on the court but grooming us into better people Without the ball also!
Who won a one on one in practice you or Cameron Coleman?
I’ll be honest Cameron won the 1 on 1 we played at York. As us both being pros now, there will be a time and a place for another go around!
Who was the best player that you ever battled that made the NBA?
I would say Norman Powell played against him in the semis in high-school, he could play the game and still can.
Please name your five best teammates of all-time’?
Cameron Coleman David Blanks Marcos Fernandez Mello Jac Ome Novian Cherry
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Kobe Mike Lebron Dirk KD
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Both great players and different eras, what they both have done is remarkable & Lebron still has time to shatter records. Exciting times ahead. Just appreciate greatness!
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I watched was TRIAL 4, very great series!
Thanks Darreon for the chat.