Demarkus Stuckey(wiha Panthers) Has Overcome Adversary Gaining Success By Having A Chip And Staying Consistent And Working Hard
For some guys not playing basketball can be as difficult as it is for some New England Patriots fans having to ask themselves each day that football life will never be the same again in New England without Tom Brady. Some players miss a few months or have to sit out a season because of a serious injury, but at least they can come back and battle on the court and continue to play the game they love. But imagine being healthy for the most part and not playing basketball for three years. That is exactly what happened to Demarkus Stuckey who is currently balling in Germany for Pro A club wiha Panthers. He was 19 years old at the time and had just played two years at Grand Rapids Community College. He was at two schools in that time at King University (NCAA2) and Harris-Stowe State University (NAIA). His credits didn´t transfer and he also suffered some health issues. But he didn´t let that adversary eat him up, but just stayed focused, kept grinding in the gym and never lost his love for basketball. 4 years later, he has already seen more countries and basketball then most opponenst who he would have played at that time in the NAIA. He was a stand out at Goshen(NAIA), saw real men duel in the CBA and saw what it is like living in small towns in countries like Kosovo and Montenegro and then saw the warmer side of Cyprus and now is back in the woods in Schwenningen, Germany. He has always been blessed with healthy self-confidence and always knew he could play. It doesn´t matter where he has played, but he has always put up good stats and showed that he can adapt to any country and league. Who knows where he would be today had he not been able to survive those three years of basketball inactivity. “The time sitting out at King University and in Stowe helped me grow mentally because it showed me what life would be like without basketball and having to focus and really take things more serious if I wanted to play basketball as well as to make a professional career out of it”, warned Demarkus Stuckey. He got a chip on his shoulder at a young age and I´m sure it will never disappear or be taken away in his career.” I play with a chip on my shoulder. The key has been keeping the chip on my shoulder making me stay consistent and work hard and taking full advantage of my opportunity, that has been the key to my success overcoming my adversity in my career”, stressed Demarkus Stuckey.
Demarkus Stuckey who´s favorite athlete is Steve Nash was born in 1996 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and played two seasons at Grand Rapids Community College. He was able to make basketball strides there as he upped his stats from 14/4/3 as a freshman to 18/5/5 in his sophomore campaign. Playing in the fifth college basketball league JUCO is surely as far away from basketball paradise as the Orlando Magic are from winning a NBA title, but playing in JUCO is super tough because every guy wants to get out, but once you have survived, it has proved to have benefited so many guys that made it across the pond and had careers overseas. “My two years at Grand Rapids community college were great for me being in my home state and playing for two coaches that believed in me and it also helped me sell myself very well from my freshman to sophomore year. My game grew in JUCO because I started taking training serious and working on my game and that helped me become more confident”, remembered Demarkus Stuckey. His patience was rewarded after three years of not playing, being able to lace up his sneakers for NAIA school Goshen where current NBA player Errick Mccullum of the Portland Trailblazers is a legend. He had an incredible senior season at Goshen averaging 21.3ppg, 4.7rpg, 5.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 74.8%. “My senior year at Goshen was definitely really good. My game grew because it helped me become a leader as a senior to a team that was pretty young and helped me change the culture to more winning habits”, expressed Demarkus Stuckey. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games and scored 20 points or more 16 times and had two major explosions of 36 points against St Francis,In and against Indiana Wesleyen. “The 36 points beating Indiana Wesleyan at the buzzer was definitely the most memorable game at Goshen”, stated Demarkus Stuckey. The Michigan native who loves Eli Gingerich, but knows that his ex teammate would never beat him at 1-1 couldn´t have had the career he had at Goshen without the guidance of head coach John Tropf. “Coach John helped me grow because he trusted me to not only to be a leader but also be a scorer as well as to grow from my mistakes that I made. He was a very good coach for me on and off the court”, commented Demarkus Stuckey.
The ex NAIA standout who lists ex Iowa State and current Denver Nugget Monte Morris as his toughest opponent didn´t begin his professional career overseas, but in the States in the CBA. He strapped on the jersey in Indiana for the Fort Wayne Flite and had a solid season averaging 12.7ppg, 5.6rpg, 4.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 55.6%. He was an instrumental part of the team reaching the final. It was a good start to his pro career getting a feel and not having to be thrown into cold water overseas where there is a lot of uncertainties beyond a player´s control. “Playing with the Fort Wayne flight was definitely an opportunity just to play competitively and just jump into the professional world playing among grown man and coming fresh out of college”, said Demarkus Stuckey. The CBA was also another place to really test his game against very hungry and driven guys who all know what it feels like to have a chip on their shoulders. “The CBA had a handful of good talent most guys were just trying to get overseas or just actively still playing because of the love of the game”, added Demarkus Stuckey. It´s very rare for guys coming overseas to start at or near the top with a Euroleague or Eurocup team unless you’re an ex NBA player, so the guard who one of his favorite music performers is Nipsey Hussle had to start from the bottom again and continue to play dues playing in countries Kosovo and Montenegro. These aren´t necessarily places where he will find a Mcdonalds on each corner. He began with KB Lipjani (Kosovo-Superliga) averaging 28.6ppg, 6.0rpg, 6.9apg, 1.9spg, 2FGP: 46.2%, 3FGP: 37.1%, FT: 76.9%, and in Jan.'20 moved to KK Ibar Rozaje (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing in the Balkan League averaging 10.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.0apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 25.0%, 3PT: 36.8%; and in the Montenegrin Erste Liga averaged 13.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.7apg. “Starting of the season in Kosovo was definitely fine. I had to prove myself and show people that I belong to play in Europe then moving on to play in Montenegro was me showcasing that I could play winning basketball on a good club and be effective in different ways”, remembered Demarkus Stuckey. He totally dominated like a man among kinds in Kosovo scoring in double figures in each game. He scored 20 points or more 13 times and 30 points or more 5 times including 41 and 40 point explosions against Prizreni and Rahoveci. Being able to score at ease and dominate like a Ja Morant was his chip showing it´s best side. “Scoring multiple 40 point games and 30 point games in Kosovo was just me going out with a chip on my shoulder having something to prove and having to be aggressive every night with the team that I was on”, remembered Demarkus Stuckey. Without anyone knowing that COVID would screw up the world, he elected to finish the season in Montenegro which was stopped after less than 2 months. “My time was cut short in Montenegro because of Covid. The positive that I got out of it was playing very good efficient basketball and seeing a country with beautiful land”, said Demarkus Stuckey.
In his second professional season he was able to make another step up the basketball ladder playing in Cyprus. Cyprus is a country that often serves as a place where Americans love to play in because the league is competitive and the weather is marvelous. Often American players take this opportunity as a stepping stone to move up to higher leagues. He balled for Enosis Neon Paralimni (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) playing 11 games averaging 15.1ppg, 5.8rpg, 4.5apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 75.0%. Here he was able to show his abilities on a bigger stage and didn´t disappoint with his game. “Playing in Cypress definitely helped my basketball development because it helped me show more of a leadership role as a guard advancing to the Final four of the Cyprus league and being a big impact on the team defensively and offensively”, expressed Demarkus Stuckey. He won´t forget his time in Cyprus and it was another experience where he could learn a new style of basketball overseas. “Playing here was definitely good.The league is very physical and very team oriented so it helps you play the game the right way. Comparing Cyprus to Kosovo in Montenegro it was definitely more physical but more of a slower pace game grind it out and defense really mattered”, added Demarkus Stuckey. He scored in double figures in 9 of 11 games including 22 points against Apollon and 21 points against APOP. Playing overseas isn´t only about learning to win and develop your game, but also forming relationships that can last a life time like he did with veteran Devaughn Jenkins. “Devaughn Jenkins was a good friend and still is a good friend /brother of mine I was more like the mentor to him but we kind of grew through that situation together. I definitely appreciate it and needed him as much as he needed me”, warned Demarkus Stuckey.
The basketball journey of Demarkus Stuckey who lists Devaughn Jenkins, Ladon Carnegie , Chase Fairchild , Cam Burhanon, and Titus Robinson as his five best teammates of all-time continued in 2021-2022 as he was briefly with Frederick Achilleas Kaimakliou (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) before landing in Germany with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen. In these tough times in the world, it isn´t self-evident that you will find a job. There are so many guys that haven´t played or have had extreme difficulty finding a job. But he has had fortune always finding jobs, but the whole stress has affected him, but also helped him. “During the time of covid, I would definitely say the toughest was being away from family and having to stay disciplined about being careful of going places to the store or even out to eat and dealing with the isolation. It made me appreciate life more and also to take the time you get with loved ones and cherish that also helped me stay more focused to being disciplined”, warned Demarkus Stuckey. He has joined a very ambitious team that played in the German fourth division 4 years ago, but with so many clubs during COVID have been battling with injuries and everything attached with the pandemic and have been struggling as of late having lost 5 of the last 7 games and currently are in 12th places two wins away from the last playoff spot. So far he doesn´t know too much about Germany other than that Berlin is the capital and that the easyCredit BBL and Pro A are competitive leagues and are respected throughout Europe, but he does know that his new head coach Alen Velcic is a guy that he can trust. “Coach Alen is a Coach that believes in my ability to help this club win games and it sold me on just his confidence in me”, stated Demarkus Stuckey.
So what kind of game can we await from him who has Lebron,KD,Kobe,and MJ on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore and believes that Lebron James is greater than Michael Jordan, because Lebron is in his time and era has had start difficulties with his new team. In his first game, he was right away put to the test playing 35 minutes in a tough 91-73 loss to Bochum. He was in the starting five and scored 5 points, had 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 5 turnovers. In his second game, he couldn´t be much of a force in an exciting 111-104 double overtime win over Paderborn playing only 7 minutes and hitting a trey and dishing out 2 assists. In the first game top point guard David Cohn wasn´t on board, but in the second game was, plus the signing of new guard Robert Drijencic didn´t help his cause for extended minutes. He is a guy that has proved that he can score and has leadership qualities, but he also brings other attributes to the table. “I am a very good defender willing to defend that can press the ball and as well as a good rebounding guard”, said Demarkus Stuckey. In his first two games he showed that he has a nice passing game and watching mini Steve Nash David Cohn surely will only be an advantage to having in practice each day. “David has a nice game as a play maker. I like to make the right plays always and try to think one pass a head being aggressive attacking and looking to find open teammates”, expressed Demarkus Stuckey. The Pro A is a league that is dominated by very good American guards and this is a massive challenge for him, but he is a player that could also make an impact on the defensive end. “I take a lot of pride on the defensive and especially having a chip on my shoulder being a small college guy is definitely an area that I’m looking to improve as far as steal numbers and just guarding the best that I can every night”, warned Demarkus Stuckey. He has the most talented teammates now and toughest foes on the court that he has ever seen in his career and being able to match his abilities every day will only help him grow, but he also knows putting in the work will be just as important. “Parts of my game I’m working on is being efficient at every scoring level being able to score points without taking a lot of shots and improving in every aspect”, stressed Demarkus Stuckey. It is no secret that Alen Velcic is incredibly ambitious. The wiha Panthers are his baby as he is in his 21st season with the team. There are 13 games left and he wants to make the playoffs. He wants to have the deepest roster possible and that means for some, playing 30 plus minutes won´t be a reality. That could be the case for Demarkus Stuckey. Having that role of 10-15 minutes is one that he may find himself in. So far he has been integrated very well and shown that he can sacrifice team for stats and playing time. No matter how many minutes he sees, this guy will do all he can for the team. “I just believe in the work that I put in and also stay confident in my abilities. I know what I’m capable of and whenever I’m on the court I try to display my ability”, warned Demarkus Stuckey. This dude has seen so much adversary and stuck through it. His chip will continue to help him have success even if times won´t always be so easy. His chip helps him conquer every challenge.