Chris Coffey (201-F-97, college: Georgetown, KY, agency: One Motive Sports) is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Louisville, Kentucky that is playing hiss econd professional season and first in Germany with the SYNTAINICS MBC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) averaging 11,2ppg and 7,7rpg. Last season he played his rookie year with BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL) averaging (14.6ppg), Reb-2 (7.6rpg), 1.4spg, FGP: 66.7%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 61.8%; and in the LatEstBL averaged 12.3ppg, Reb-3 (8.6rpg), 1.8apg, Steals-1 (2.2spg), Blocks-4 (1.3bpg), FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 58.5%. He began his basketball career at Seneca High School and then played at Georgetown College (NAIA) from 2016-2020 playing a total of 133 games. He was able to heighten his game each season improving his scoring and rebound average each season averaging 6.5ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 57.8%, FT: 44.1% as a freshman, 10.8ppg, 9.8rpg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 59.5%, FT: 57.4% in his second year 14.5ppg, 11.1rpg, 1.2apg, 1.2bpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.0%, 3PT: 26.8%, FT: 56.1% and as a senior averaged 15,4ppg, 12.7rpg, 1.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 63.9%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 48.1%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Chris thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about COVID-19. How did you experience everything as a rookie in Latvia? What was the most challenging thing about COVID-19 in your rookie season on and off the court?
COVID 19 was a struggle. Being that when I was traveling to Latvia I’ve got stuck in an airport for 11 hours because I couldn’t fly into Latvia so my detour was a different experience lol. The most challenging was not having family in my reach to make sure everyone and everything was okay and not really knowing how COVID would go!
With everything that you experienced with COVID-19 in the States and overseas, how do you feel did it make you stronger as a man?
Yes it definitely made me strong as a man. Made me be more independent and learn how to live by myself and understand that anything in life can happen you just have to be ready for it!
Congrats on signing with easyCredit BBL team Syntanics MBC. Two years ago you were playing in the NAIA and now your going to play in a top 5 league in Europe. If someone had told you in March 2020 that you would be playing in a top league in 2021-2022 what would you have thought?
It’s amazing how far I done come but people believed in me from day 1 but the top 5 league in Europe couldn’t imagine this fast/soon. Especially coming from the NAIA level.
This is your first season in Germany. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball?
I know Germany is a beautiful country and have a lot of great players come through and as said before it’s a top league so it’s very respected and well known.
Have you had any friends, ex teammates or opponents come to Germany and play?
Yes I know a few people who played in Germany like Don Johnson and Tj Shorts
How were the talks with coach Igor Jovovic? What were the main reasons for you joining the 2004 Fiba Europe Cup champion?
The talks with the coach were great got to know him as a person and coach and got to learn a lot more about things in Germany and about the team and the gameplan as we process to this season coming up! Main reason to Joining this Fiba Europe Cup team one they believe in my skills to come help give the team a chance to win a cup and I feel that the team will help me develop my skills more and help me get better on and off the court!
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 201cm big man that can play the 3-5 and can really rebound the ball. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
I think my game is a mix of Kenneth Faried, Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Rodman
You were a double double monster in school and put up strong stats as a rookie in Latvia. What would you say is your absolute biggest strength on the court?
I think my biggest strength on the court is my energy level. I feel like when my energy level is so good the team is alive and we play at our best! And when my energy is up it gives my teammates energy to play their game with me having their back!
You aren’t only a very gifted offensive player, but are a great defensive player. Talk a little where that passion on defense comes from and can you be a defensive impact player for MBC this season?
I was once told defense wins game. Getting stops is a key to win and when your getting stops the team feels unbeatable and makes the other team uncomfortable when things aren’t going their way. I feel I can be a great defensive player with MBC. All I got do is play my game and let the game come to me!
On what area’s of your game are you working on most so you can continue to move up the basketball ladder in the next years?
My shooting is one and my confidence. I have a great form and can shoot the ball I just have to shoot when I’m open and get up shots. I pass up many opportunities but that comes from a lack of confidence. So confidence and shooting is what I need to work on to move myself up the basketball ladder.
It is very rare for a NAIA player to go pro. In one year you have played in Latvia and now are playing in a top German league. With such rapid success, is that chip still on your shoulder? Is it difficult to keep that hunger of always wanting to prove yourself?
Yes that chip will forever be there! People over look the NAIA and think we are just far behind top division players. So the hunger will always be there to prove to people that the NAIA can produce big time players too!!
As a rookie you played with BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL) averaging 14.6ppg, Reb-27.6rpg, 1.4spg, FGP: 66.7%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 61.8%; and in the LatEstBL averaged 12.3ppg,8.6rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-1 (2.2spg), Blocks-4 (1.3bpg), FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 58.5%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
The holiday was a big one. Being from the states we celebrate almost every holiday there is with family, friends, and love ones. Knowing that you wouldn’t and couldn’t spend time with your family while watching your teammates with them hit hard!!
How important was it having experienced Cameron Rundles as a teammate as a rookie? Did he make the adjustment period easier for you?
Yes having a vet who was an American was a big bonus someone who can teach me the game and share his experience with me was love yeah happy to have him by my side and now I can call him family forever!
You needed no real adjustment time as a rookie. What was key for making the transition smoothly and how do you feel did your game grow as a rookie?
Yes my game improved tremendously as I worked on shooting and learning the European game style. It wasn’t to bad of a hump but learning where I needed to be and how I need to be on the court was a big learning step and I feel since I learned that my placement on the court is better and my defensive placement helped me end with the award at the end.
You played 4 years at Georgetown College (NAIA) winning the NAIA title in 2019. Talk about your NAIA experience and how your game and you grew as a person?
The NAIA was love and they treated me right I’ve got better on and off the court met a lot of people and until this day we still share our experiences and I call them my brothers. My game grew as I had to watch and play behind some of the greats at Georgetown but watching them helped me develop and better when I got my minutes on the hardwood!
You had many great games at Georgetown, but how big was your 32 points and 12 rebounds against William Carey in the NAIA tournament in 2019?
That was a big game for me because that set me up to be in the position that I am in now! With my agent and where I am going in life! That game set the tone for us to win that tournament and helped me set teammates up to have a great game right after that game.
How did head coach Chris Briggs groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Chris Briggs is a legend in my eyes he’s not just a coach he is a mentor! He wants the best for everyone who he talks to or is around. He going to tell you, you can do anything you put your mind to even if that’s not playing basketball He makes sure that if you ever need something he will try to do the best he can for you and as a man that’s all you can ask for and I would want to be that for everyone when If I was in that position!
Who won a one on one in practice you or Hugues Mbumba?
Lol I think I would beat him one on one. He is very strong but my quickness would get past him and I can make him tired and that would slow his game down and long as I keep him off the block I feel I would win that match up!
Who has been the toughest player that you ever faced in your life on a court that reached the NBA?
Kelan Martin, that man was tuff and was a god in high school when we played in high school along side Quentin Snider and a few others!
Please name your five best teammates of all-time?
Deondre McWhorter, Jacob Conway, Eljay Cowherd, Troy Steward, Troy Gibbs Gotta go top 5 with the MID SOUTH
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Kevin Durant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Andrew Wiggins, James Harden
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
That debate will never end. How I see it Jordan was the Goat of his time and James is the Goat of this time and age. They never played against each other or in the same time of index so you can’t really compare them.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I just saw the purge last night good movie but then again it was free that’s probably why it was good lol.
Thanks Chris for the chat.