Demetrius Ward (188-PG-90, college: W.Michigan) is a 30 year old 188cm guard from Detroit, Michigan that played his ninth professional season and third with Pro A team uni Baskets Paderborn and averaged13.9ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 91.3%. Last season he averaged 12.2ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 82.1%. In the 2018-2019 season he averaged 9,1ppg, 4,4rpg and 5,6apg. He played his first six professional seasons with MTV Wolfenbuettel Herzoege (Germany-ProB) playing a total of 138 games. He played at Western Michigan from 2008-2012 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 76.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 2020-2021 season.
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Demetrius Ward in 2018 in Rhondorf
Thanks Demetrius for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Hey Miles, I’m currently in Paderborn at the moment. The basketball life is non-identical, we never seen anything like it before from the ghost games, to the testing before every game.
When you touched down back to the States what was the first eatery that you searched and found?
When I get to my home my usual first spot is Taco Bell. I recently converted to the vegetarian lifestyle so I guess I’ll find a new spot.
Another season has come and gone. This was a season like no other. Talk a little about how you experienced COVID-19 in Germany. What was the most difficult thing that affected you on and off the court?
This season is unrelated to any other season, it is one to remember for sure. I usually enjoy staying home but when you’re forced to stay home it’s another thing. Everyday life just got so repetitive. It was difficult in the beginning but I’ve gotten used to it. I think the hardest part was adjusting to the curfew.
How can one honestly rate a season like this with COVID-19? With all the obstacles that were there on a daily basis. No team was 100% this season.
It was a strange season, like you said no teams were 100%. There were so many injuries on top of the COVID cases. If a team didn’t have any injuries then sure enough they tested positive for COVID. Injuries is apart of the game but the quarantine was tough for some
teams. Coming out of quarantine and trying to get back in shape and find your rhythm wasn’t an easy task.
The Uni Baskets Paderborn failed to reach the playoffs. How much of an effect did the two early season close loses to Schwenningen and Tuebingen have?
If we would’ve won those two games early on I think we would’ve had a different outcome to the season.
Is it fair to say one of the biggest problems that the team had this season was the inability to find a consistent rhythm? You only had 2 winning streaks and usually when you won a few loses would follow.
Yes you could say that but it was also injuries, we never had a full roster. We made the most of what we had and we competed each game and always had a chance to win. I think we were one of the toughest teams to play against.
Why was the team not able to find a defensive rhythm? I believe the team did defend better in the last few months.
We made adjustments towards the end due to the short rotation we had and it worked out well for us.
Let’s talk about your teammates. Point guard Daniel Mixich has been a solid Pro A player for years. He has made the next step in Paderborn the last three years. How is he a better point guard now than when you first arrived?
When Daniel first came to Paderborn it was our first season together. I knew he could play but in the beginning the confidence wasn’t always there. Over the past two years he found that confidence and he showed that he is one of the best German point guards in the league.
How important was it for guard Robert Drijencic to come from his comfort zone in Oldenburg and take a step back and come to Paderborn? How did his game grow during the season?
Robert made a big step this season. Coming from a club where he played most if not all of his career and was the go to guy, deciding to leave takes a lot of courage. Rob developed throughout the year, it was tough for him in the beginning with all the terms, new role, and learning our offensive style, but he kept working and had some big games for us. He showed that he’s not just a shooter but a complete player.
Drew Cushing berry was the teams Kendale Mccullum. How did his game grow during the season and how was he a different player than Muccullum?
Drew was very quiet in the beginning but slowly came out of his shell. He’s a great player, very unselfish to unselfish at times if you ask me. He was very solid throughout the year, his numbers were impressive. The difference between Kendale and Drew was, Kendale is more aggressive than Drew other than that the two have a lot of similarities. They will both fill up the stat sheet and both are fun to watch.
Let s talk about your game. You averaged 13,9ppg, 3,6rpg, 4,5apg and 1,1spg. How content were with your season?
My goal before coming into this season was to improve in every area. I think I’ve accomplished that but looking back on the season I’ve could’ve done a lot better. I’m not content with this season at all.
How was your role different this season not having Kendale Mccullum around?
My role was pretty much the same as last year. This season I had the ball more often and was in a lot more Pick and rolls.
You have improved each season in the Pro A. What was your secret to being able to be consistent despite all the drama and obstacles around COVID-19 really disrupting everybody’s life on and off the court?
I guess staying true to my game and not trying to play outside of myself. During the offseason I focused on things I’ve struggled with the previous season. The lockdown made it easy to watch a lot of film and breakdown things I need to work on.
You lauded your efficiency in the 2019-2020 season. You played 3 minutes more than last season. Were you as efficient as that season?
I felt more efficient this season, I’m not sure if it’s because I played more minutes or because I had the ball more. 2020-2021 season was a better season for me personally but I would take the 2019-2020 because we won more.
Better late than never. You eclipsed the 40% mark from outside for the first time as a professional. Did the COVID-19 force you to lock yourself more into a gym to avoid people and get up even more shots? Lol
Haha I was actually in the gym the whole summer and was focusing on being consistent with my shot. It was also base on shot selection knowing what’s a good or bad shot.
How big was shooting off the dribble this season to get your three pointer to fall more?
I really didn’t shoot that many 3’s off the dribble as of my 3’s came from catch and shoot. Off the dribble shots came late in the shot clock.
Talk a little about overall leadership. Do you feel for a guy like fellow veteran Chase Adams who is a point guard like you does all he can to be successful, but gets bashed by management that he didn’t lead the team well enough not making the playoffs?
I think leadership shouldn’t be based on if you make the playoffs or not. This season wasn’t a normal season due to COVID. In Chase’s situation they started the season off with injuries and it stayed that way throughout the season along with a few positive COVID tests. They finished 9th one place from the playoffs with all the adversity they had. I think they did their best with what they had. Me personally I think Chase did a good job this season keeping the guys together. From the outside looking in they looked well organized on the court.
You had many great games against Phoenix Hagen, Bayer Giants Leverkusen and Tuebingen to name just a few. What was your favorite personal moment on the court?
I would say the Leverkusen game for sure. We were down maybe 13 in the 4th and to come back with a deep 3 at the buzzer from Rob. Not not only did we win the game in OT but also the direct match with points.
Who was the toughest player that you battled on the court this season?
This season I’ve guarded the 4 most of the season, I would say Julius Wolf and JJ Mann
What is the next step for you? Is feeling comfortable with the club and Steve Esterkamp a
reason to remain?
I’m pretty comfortable here in Paderborn for sure, but I would like to wait to see if I’ll get
another opportunity somewhere else.
Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?
He’s top 5 for sure.
How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points and 60 this season. Where will his journey go as a player in the next years?
He’ll be the leagues MVP in the next years.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
I highly disagree.
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
I disagree with the statement.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn t they just have left it alone?
Yes I’ve seen the movie and they should’ve left it alone haha.
Thanks Demetrius for the chat.