Tyler Creammer (208-C-1997, college: VMI) is a 25 year old 208cm center from North Carolina that has professional experience having played in countries Denmark, Slovakia and Austria. He began his basketball career with South View High School and then played at the Virginia Military Institute from 2016-2020 playing a total of 117 NCAA games. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Thanks Tyler for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Thank you for your time and for setting up this interview. I’m currently back home in North Myrtle Beach, SC preparing for the new season. Life in basketball is good, I feel BLESSED to be able to play professional basketball and I’m excited for my 3rd season as a pro.
After not winning a title in the NCAA or in Denmark, you came closer in Austria reaching the semi-finals and cup final. I can imagine your urge to win a title now has risen?
The urge to win and compete for titles is the goal of every professional player. No one likes to get so close and lose. There is some positive in coming so close and falling short though. The experience I gained of getting to the cup final and the playoff semi-finals helped me grow as a player. I just look forward to helping future teams win with the experience I gained in Austria.
Does that change your outlook immensely when searching for a team?
No, I am hungry for any opportunity to help a team win and continue to prove myself as a player.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 208cm center. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
I think the NBA is so much different than professional basketball in Europe. I tend to watch the Euroleague big men a lot more. Watching them really inspired me to work on my game more and develop the skills necessary so that I can play the 4 and 5. If I had to pick an NBA player to compare my game to though it would be Domantas Sabonis.
Is it fair to say that you are a modern day big? How have you seen the development of your outside shot?
I would like to think of myself as a modern day big. I always had a soft touch but my coaches in Denmark really helped me to develop my confidence more to where I felt comfortable shooting on the perimeter. I carried that confidence into my summer workouts back home in between my 1st and 2nd year as pro. All the hard work manifested last year with a good shooting percentage from the 3 point line. So a big thank you to Jeffrey Fawme, Erez Bittman and Colin Stevens.
You can score and rebound. What other strengths does your game have?
I think of myself as a leader given my military background. I believe that I’m a solid defender especially 1-on-1 in the post, I can hold my own against other bigs even on the perimeter. Also I think I am a good passer and a shot blocker
. Where do you see your development as a defender at the moment? What kind of defender do you still want to become?
I think of myself as a solid defender. I can hold my own against bigs in 1-on-1 situations, also against 4 men on the perimeter. I want to continue to get better at my lateral movement and at guarding smaller players.
On what areas of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?
I want to continue to get more comfortable on the perimeter and to continue to grow my skills as a 4 man as well.
You began last season with BC Prievidza (Slovakia-Nike SBL) averaging 16.9ppg, 11.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 69.8%: You had great stats but won no games. Did you become the scapegoat and have to go?
No, that was not the reason for me leaving the club. The whole time the management and coaching staff were thankful for my efforts as a player. When the new coach came in, he wanted to bring his own players in. He had not built the original roster. So most of the original imports were cut.
How tough were these months putting up good stats but losing? What do you believe you learned from this experience?
It was very tough and being one of the best players on the team you feel responsible for every loss. I think that this experience taught me to continue to push and give your all every game. Also to value every possession in the game because you never know where a game will be decided or what will be the winning play. You see so many good teams win games and you can sometimes take winning for granted. I for sure gained a deeper appreciation for winning.
You then moved to Unger Steel Gunners Oberwart (Austria-BSL) averaging 8.1ppg, 5.9rpg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 66.2% and bang winning came easier. But you averaged 16 minutes less. Was it tough making this adjustment?
It was not tough for me. I was happy and felt privileged to have the opportunity to join the Oberwart organization. It was all about finding a role on the team and settling in. We had the max number of imports on the team and we usually played 10 players every game. The minutes were split and divided up amongst us, so I just tried to bring toughness, energy and rebounding to the team. To do whatever necessary to help the team win games.
How proud were you of the team that really locked down on defense in the last 2 games against Kapfenberg allowing an average of only 47 points per game?
I was really proud of the team and our effort. We were upset about dropping Game 2 on the road in Kapfenberg. We wanted the sweep coming into the series. So in Games 3 and 4 we really wanted to set the tone, not give Kapfenberg any hope and shut them down.
You played Gmunden tough but how instrumental was the 83-81 loss in game 1? Do you believe the series could have taken a different turn had you won game 1?
It was a tough loss for sure. The whole complexity and situation of the series changes if you take Game 1 especially since we played in Gmunden. I think the series could have been different had we won but we will never know.
You played your rookie season with Copenhagen Basketball (Denmark-BasketLigaen) averaging 13.5ppg, Reb-1 (12.0rpg), 1.7apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 11.5%, FT: 69.9%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?
I think my wake up call was when we played Svendborg in the 2nd game of the season. I struggled in that game. I also was dealing with the fact that both of my parents were fighting for their lives with COVID during the same time. It was a tough stretch for me mentally as I just felt helpless and was feeling sorry for myself. Jeffrey Fawme, my coach, really helped me through that dark time.
What memories do you have of teammate Bakary Dibba who played in the German pro A last season? How did you see him grow as a player and how much potential does he have?
Bakary Dibba was one of my friends on the team and I really tried to push him to be better in every practice. I think that he could reach the highest levels of European basketball if he keeps developing.
Does a game against a powerhouse like Kentucky in your junior year at Virginia Military Institute where you had 13/5 stats and held your own against future NBA guys like Washington, Quickley and Hero always give you confidence when you’re having a bad day? What memories do you have of that game?
Playing at Kentucky will forever be a highlight in my basketball career. I think my favorite memory of that game was shooting free throws and the crowd was so loud that my vision was shaking. I managed to hit both of my free throws somehow but it was still very nerve racking. Also, just the overall memory of playing against so many future NBA guys was nice and it does give you confidence to know you held your own.
You played a season with QJ Peterson. Why isn’t this guy in the NBA? Is this a good example of how there are 1000’s of great guards in the world and too few NBA spots?
I think you and I both are wondering why QJ isn’t in the NBA. I think he has more than enough talent to be there. If anything it just shows how competitive the NBA is and how few spots there are every year. I hope that he gets a shot in the near future.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
It was PJ Washington. He is so fast and explosive for his size. It really makes you appreciate how gifted athletically and skills wise NBA players are.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Bam Adebayo, QJ Peterson, Miles Bridges, Dennis Smith Jr, Justin Robinson
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Tim Duncan
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
Personally, I think it is like the Messi vs Ronaldo debate. Both players are generational talents. Why can’t we just appreciate greatness while we can still experience it because one day they will not be playing any more.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Should they have left it alone?
No, I did not see the sequel. The original is a classic like you said and I enjoy it every time I see it on the television. It never gets old!
Thanks Tyler for the chat.