Eric Washington´s(Niners Chemnitz) Size Has Always Motivated Him To Be Better And Never Forget His Chip On His Shoulder

Eric Washington (182-PG-1993, college: Miami, OH) is a 28 year old 182cm guard from Columbia, South Carolina playing his sixth professional season and first in Germany with the Niners Chemnitz. He began his basketball career with W.J. Keenan High School. He then played in the NCAA playing 115 games for two schools with Presbyterian College (NCAA) and then finished at Miami University (NCAA). Before coming to Germany he played in countries like Cyprus and Bosnia and three seasons in Hungary. He spoke to about basketball before the Cup weekend.

Thanks Eric for talking to Where are you and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

I am currently in Chemnitz, Germany. Basketball is treating me well. It’s my passion and I’m grateful that I get to wake up everyday and do something that I love.

Before we talk about your career, I have to ask you about how you experienced Covid. You were in Hungry the last two years. What were the biggest challenges for you on and off the court?

Covid has been tough for everyone. For me it has just been an eye opener on how important health is. We are exposed to everything and it’s on us to protect ourselves as much as possible. The biggest challenge off the court was that I had to adjust my routine. Covid forced us to adjust our daily schedule so for anyone who had a routine I would say they had to adjust to a new way of living. The biggest challenge on the court was probably having no fans. I have a new appreciation for fans because they bring that energy that makes our game what it is.

With everything that you have seen with Covid off the court, how do you feel did you grow as a man?

As a man I think I have grown in my patience. Just trusting and enjoying the process.

Your playing your first season in Germany and first with the Niners Chemnitz. What kind of experience has it been playing for this ambitious club? How special is their winning culture?

It has been an amazing experience so far. There are some challenges but they are good challenges in my opinion. I believe it’s a good match because I’m an ambitious person as well. I strive to be better in all aspects of my life. This club is nothing short of that. Originally being in the lower levels of German basketball and to now be in the top league and be at the top of the league says a lot. I appreciate the opportunity to keep that tradition going.

You began the season with Aix-Maurienne Savoie Basket (France-ProB) and were putting up crazy minutes and very strong stats. Has it been a difficult adjustment playing only 22 minutes for Chemnitz?

It hasn’t been difficult because I understand they are two different situations. In France, more was asked of me on the scoring aspect. With Chemnitz it’s about playing your role and excelling in that. Just shows you the different dynamics of the game and I’m enjoying learning new parts of the game at this level.

You have put up solid stats for the minutes that you receive. What has been your secret to playing so well so quickly in the best league that you have played in as a professional?

Honestly, just having fun and appreciating the opportunity. I understand the position I am in and I don’t take that for granted.

What has it been like joining a guard duo of veterans Franz Massenat and Trent Lockett? These guys have played at a very high level their whole career. What kind of an impact have they had on you since your arrival?

It has been a cool experience to learn from Trent and Frantz. I have a lot of respect for them and their journey. They give me advice on how to be better with the team and in life in general.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 182cm point guard that can do many things on the court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

I think Chris Paul is someone I could compare my game to.

It seems like you have had to be a playmaker with some teams more in the last years. How do you feel has your playmaking progressed in the last years as you have seen more levels overseas?

I can see my playmaking skills increasing at each level. You go through that process of getting used to the speed of the game or learning your new teammates but once you get comfortable then things become easy. When you’re able to play with better players it makes your job easy.

You have had to pay your dues your first 5 seasons playing second division Hungry and in Bosnia. Did you always have a chip on your shoulder or did that come more when you were a professional player?

I always had a chip. It doesn’t take much to get me motivated. Our game is dominated by size, physicality, strength, etc. Being a smaller player puts you at a disadvantage in most cases. Just because of my size it motivated me to be better.

Why do you feel like it took you 6 years to land in a league like the BBL in Germany? Do you feel it was more failed representation or too many very talented guards and too little spots in top leagues?

I’m not sure. A lot of the things that happened to me were out of my control. I trust God with my path so I believe it’s manifesting how it was originally written.

Your 28 years old and playing your sixth season as a professional. Are you in your prime now? Where do you still want to achieve as a professional basketball player?

My goal is to see how far I can take my career.

You played the last two years with Oroszlanyi Sportegylet E Lions (Hungary-A Division) averaging 16.1ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.0apg, Steals-2 (2.1spg), FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT-13 (91.5%) and in your second season average Score-3 (19.7ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-5 (5.1apg), Steals-4 (1.8spg), FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 89.5%. How important were these two seasons in your basketball development? Do you feel like your game rose and made you a more explosive player?

Totally! I learned so much about myself on and off the court. I was provided an opportunity that I never had up until that point. It was a respected league and I was able to showcase what I was capable of. That was everything to me and Hungary will always hold a special place in my heart. I have a lot of respect for the country and the basketball league.

In 2018-2019 you played your first season in Hungary with MAFC Budapest (Hungary-B Division) averaging 24.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 6.3apg, 3.3spg. After having a solid but short season in Bosnia, was it like a slap in the face having to play in the second division?

It was humbling but it served a purpose. Maybe not the best league on paper but it was everything I needed for my growth as a player at the time. It gave me confidence to be the player I am now. I was able to explore the game offensively in ways I was never able to. I had to learn new tricks and trades to the game that I still apply to my situation today. I wouldn’t have never learned those things if I didn’t go to second division Hungary.

Your played your second professional season with KK Bosna-Royal Sarajevo (Bosnia-Division I) averaging 16.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.0apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 77.4%. After a solid rookie season in Cyprus, you did land the Bosnia gig until late in the season. What positives could you get out of the that experience?

Trusting the process. Most things won’t come when you want them. So, what are you doing in your time of waiting? I am living out what I visualized in my time of waiting. I just had to be patient and to continue to grow as a man and as a player so I would be ready when that time came.

You played your rookie season with Enosis Neon Paralimni (Cyprus-Division A) averaging13.1ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-3 (4.7apg), Steals-2 (1.9spg), FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 83.6%. What do you remember being your wake up call where you knew that you were very far away from home?

I remember we didn’t have wifi in our apartment for a couple days because of a storm I believe. So I had no way of communicating and I felt helpless. That’s when I knew being overseas was different.

You began your NCAA career at Presbyterian College (NCAA) from 2011-2013 playing total of 54 games. What memories do you have from this time and why did you leave after two seasons?

My first years of college were like my experiences in Europe. I believe that is what allowed me to handle my transition to Europe the way I did. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself and the game. Made some lifelong friends that I still have a great relationship with till this day. Ultimately, I transferred at the time because I believe our values didn’t match.

In your second NCAA game as a freshman you lost by 41 points to Duke scoring 9 points. What memories do you have playing against guys like Seth Curry, Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook and the Plumlee brothers.

That was a fun experience. Playing against your childhood dream school and getting to play against some of the top players in the country is what you dream of. Playing at Cameron indoor was one the craziest atmospheres I ever played in.

You then finished school at Miami University (NCAA) from 2014-2016 averaging 14.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 5.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 79.5% and as a senior averaged 13.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 4.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 79.9%. How do you feel did your game grow in these two years?

I believe going to Miami is what set me up to be a pro. My body caught up with me. We had great resources at Miami to help me become the player I am today. If I didn’t make the move to Miami (oh) then there is a good chance I’m not a pro.

As a senior you played two crazy games against Ball St. In the first game you lost 48-46 scoring 26 points and in the second game netted 15 points winning 49-47. How seldom is it seeing two games under 50 points twice in the same season against the same team?

I remember it being a tough overall game. On the defensive end and the offensive end. We ended up splitting, but we won when it mattered.

How did head coach John Copper groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Coop was like a lot of my coaches in Europe. Holding you accountable when you weren’t being the best you. I appreciated him and the way he coached me because I had no room to relax. In the moment it may be difficult to deal with a coach who is always on you but it’s what I needed. Cause I probably wouldn’t be a professional if I relaxed in college.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Geovonie McKnight

Haha. I don’t know. He knew to stay far away when it came to the 1v1.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Will Sullivan, Buck Johnson, Akos Garamvolgyi, Bartos Balint, Cheik Sane

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?

Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Spud Webb

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?

Michael Jordan

Did you see the sequel to the classic movie Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?

I haven’t seen it, sorry lol. If the sequel is trash then yes they should have left it alone.

Thanks Eric for the chat.

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