Chris Buckley (183-PG) is a 183cm guard that will play at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany. He hails from Minnesota and is seeking his first ever professional contract. He played at three schools at Waubonsee Community College (JUCO) averaging 11.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 60.9%, east Georgia State College and at Central Lakes College (JUCO) averaging 21.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.6apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 79.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Chris thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Right now I’m in a great space I just welcomed my first son into the world. Life has been great for me and I feel that I’m at the best I’ve ever been when it comes to basketball.
You finished school in 2019. Have you found any professional experience or semi-professional experience in the last years?
No, just some pro Am stuff in the city really just staying consistent with my body and working out.
How big has your urge been to be a professional player since leaving school? Why do you believe hasn’t your dream of being a professional player panned out?
Greater than its ever been because I had such a great season at Central Lakes and even had interest from the University of Arkansas. Only thing was my clock had ran out to play NCAA which means I couldn’t join the team unless I appealed.
Do you have a chip on your shoulder? You only played at the JUCO level, but showed there that you can dominate. You must feel like you can compete at a higher level?
I have always played with a chip on my shoulder coming from were I come from it was instilled in me. I know I can play at a higher level and I just want to show people what I can do.
Let’s talk a little about COPVID-19. What were the biggest challenges for you during this time? Was it tougher keeping that normal work out routine?
The biggest challenges during Covid was not being able to workout consistently and yes it was very tough to keep the same routine but I learned to improvise and just workout from home.
With everything that you have experienced during COVID-19 off the court how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?
I think I’ve grown mentally because I had a chance to regroup and expand my mind and read a little bit more and focus on what’s important to me.
You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Combine in Germany in August. How excited are you to show your abilities in front of GM’s and coaches?
This is and experience of a lifetime not too many people get this opportunity to go showcase their skills in another country. I’m very excited looking take full advantage.
How excited are you to be playing in Germany? What do you know about the country and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex opponents or teammates play there?
Excited isn’t a word but I’m not too familiar with Germany’s basketball but I’ve been watching the Olympics and they looked pretty good. I know Quintin Hooker he’s a Minnesota guy and he’s been putting on ever since he left North Dakota.
How did you get in contact with CEO and founder Ron Howard? Did he find you or did you find him? I can imagine you met him in Minnesota where he trains players.
A trainer from lifetime put me in contact with Ron and he wanted to see me hoop in person. He invited me to a private run and it was a go from there.
Ron Howard is a legend. He is the voice for the unknown players wanting to get a job overseas. What kind of relationship do you have with him and what do you appreciate most about his character.
I look at Ron like a big brother. He can relate to the young guys and he’s played in Germany so he can give guys insight on what it takes to be a pro so I have much respect for Ron and giving me this opportunity he’s a stand up guy. He’s not just one of those people who talks he can show you.
What is your biggest goal at the Howard Hoops Combine besides getting a job overseas?
Just to show coaches and Gm’s that I can compete on any level and to get more exposure.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 183cm point guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
I would say Kyrie Irving and Damion Lillard.
You’re a player that can fill the stat sheet with ease. Is versatility one of your biggest strengths on the court?
Of course, I always wanted to be a well rounded player I wanted coaches to look at me and think he can do it all we need a player like that.
You also have a developing three pointer. How has the development of your three pointer continued since leaving school?
It’s the best it’s ever been and my range has increased being a shorter player you need to have a consistent shot in today’s game.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to grow as a player?
I think IQ. I want to out think my opponents and give my teammates better looks. I’ve always been a scorer that comes natural but I want to have less turnovers and be reliable in all aspects of the game.
You played at Waubonsee Community College (JUCO) in 2015-2016 averaging11.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 60.9%. What memories do you have from your first JUCO year?
I was a young buck trying to find my way in the world. I had so much to prove as a freshman I wasn’t developed I had a lot to learn but I showed ready to work hard each day.
Did you continue to play there or play elsewhere before going to Central Lakes College (JUCO)?
No I left and went to East Georgia State College.
Every JUCO player that I have interviewed all have said that JUCO was hard, but an experience that they would never have traded for the world. Was it the same with you?
Yes I needed to learn discipline and to buckle down. I learned how to block out all the noise and lock in. I stayed in the gym and weight room every day and it paid off I feel like if I stay consistent with that formula I can’t lose in life.
You finished at Central Lakes College (JUCO) playing 31 games averaging 21.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.6apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 79.7%. You made a massive jump in your game there. How do you feel did your game grow in your last season there?
I became a leader that I always knew I could be that reliable player that you can count on. I challenged my teammates in practice and made them better as well. Even off the court I wanted to have the best grades so I had grown from a young boy to a MAN.
You reached the NJCAA D3 Final Four there. What memories do you have from that amazing run?
The was one of the best memories because we had talked about that the whole year and I wasn’t going to let anything stop that. Durning the national tournament I had an injury in my foot and I still went out there and gave it my all but it was all worth it to see my guys right there with me enjoying the moment.
How did head coach Jum Russell groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He believed in me and shaped me into a man. He allowed me to be myself and let me lead.We developed a great relationship and he showed me how to be that coach out on the floor when some of the guys aren’t responding well I was that other coach who could get them going or relay the message.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Josh Arnold?
Guys know in practice I’m playing like a game I wasn’t letting anyone beat me.
Who was the best player that you ever battled that went to the NBA?
I played against Chris Duarte in an All star Game for Juco. He was a smooth 6’5 guard who could do it all. He was tough for sure but I knew that I could hoop with the best of them.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Tyreeon Johnson, Malik Hill, Al Jearue Ray, Dakota Fleming, Josh Arnold
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Mj, Kobe, Lebron, Shaq, KD
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
No Debate, Jordans The Greatest of ALL Time ask Lebron
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Chris for the chat.