Demonte Flannigan (201-F-1995, college: CSU) is a 27 year old 201cm forward from Cleveland playing his 6th professional season and first with SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala).Last season he played with Mega Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague) averaging 17.6ppg, 9.1rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 75.5%; and in the Caucasus League) averaged 17.2ppg, Reb-4 (11.0rpg), 3.4apg, FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 73.5%. He also sampled professional experience in countries like England, Denmark, Austria and Serbia. He began his basketball career at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School and then played Cleveland State University (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 105 games and in his last 2 years averaged 11.4ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 66.7% and 11.2ppg, 5.3rpg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 65.5%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Fiba Europe Cup game against the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim.
Thanks Demonte for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I’m currently playing in Romania. Basketball life has been good for me. In the past I’ve dealt with small injuries and unfortunate events that have set me back a bit, but I understand it happens. Last year was a full year in my element, and the numbers show. I plan on capitalizing on that this year.
Welcome to Germany. What do you know about the country Germany and it’s basketball?
I’ve been to Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg in the past and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve traveled to. I know a lot about basketball in Germany because my favorite player as a kid and growing up was Dirk Nowitzki, along with Lebron James. I was a nerd so I looked up everything there is to know about him and Germany at that age. It would be great to play there one day.
You’re playing your first season with SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala). You’re a player that has moved around a lot as Romania is your 6th country in 6 pro seasons. Do you sometimes view yourself as a basketball globetrotter?
I do travel to many places to play the game that I love, so in a way I am a basketball globetrotter. It’s been great being able to go to these countries and experience the different cultures, people, and especially food. You learn so much from these adventures.
You won a title last season in Georgia. Talk a little about your new team. What are the expectations and how far can the team go in all 3 competitions?
The team that I’m on this year is filled with talent in all areas of this game. We were fortunate enough to get a veteran leader, Giordan, who not only leads us vocally but by action as well. We’re surrounded by shooter while also having big guys that are good in the post. Not only is our team filled with talent but everyone works HARD. We play for each other and not as individuals which I think is the primacy for a great team. I think this team will do really well this season in the Euro Cup and also in the league play. We just have to continue to build on what we have already established and success will come. Our coach Vitaliy demands perfection from us. That will continue to elevate us individually and as a team.
You are a veteran, but you have a lot of other veterans like Giordan Watson. How much of a pleasure has it been being a teammate and how important are his vast leadership skills?
I’ve never played with a player that knew the game so well and could articulate what he is vocalizing so well. In the two months I’ve been on this team I have learned so much from him. You can look at the game a in different way when you understand it better. His willingness to basically coach and motivate is encouraging. Makes you want to be a better player and a better teammate. Every team needs a player as such.
Last season you played with Mega Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague) averaging 17.6ppg, 9.1rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 75.5%; and in the Caucasus League averaged 17.2ppg, Reb-4 (11.0rpg), 3.4apg, FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 73.5. What was most special about this team?
What was most special about this team was that we all believed in each other and our abilities. This team knew what I was capable of, let me play my game and I felt free on the court. I feel like I speak for most athletes when I say that when you play your sport and you do not have any constraints or worries, you are at your best. Of course you have to do the things you are efficient at and can’t play out of control, but this was important for not only my success, but the teams.
You always have been a good rebounder, but in Georgia you raised your rebound game to another level. How do you feel did you grow as a rebounder?
Before going to play in Georgia I have always played with centers who were dominant rebounders or on teams that had guards that contributed effectively in that category. When I arrived in Georgia the team needed me to be a rebounder and a scorer so I did what the team needed me to do. Every team that I’ve played on has required me to implement a different skill outside of scoring, and it has stuck with me since. Once I seen that I can be a really good rebounder at my position, I expect myself to get close to ten a game. That is a part of me now.
In the Covid season you played with KK Pirot (Serbia-KLS) playing 7 games averaging 3.4ppg, 2.4rpg. You left at the end of November 2020. How tough was this season and how much of a role did COVID play in your season being shortend?
Earlier when I spoke about unfortunate events, this was one of them. The year that I joined this team it was their first year in the Serbian first league. There were internal problems within the team that I had no control over. The team did not pay me after three months and my agent and I decided it was best for me to go home. I understand what that team was going through but it was just very unlucky I was put in that situation. On the contrary, I learned a lot about myself as a person and a player. I also knew that most players go through something like this, sometimes much worse, which helped me feel like I wasn’t alone and I can persevere through this circumstance.
In your third professional season you played with Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) averaging 13.5ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT-1 (50.0%), FT: 86.7%. You came late to the team but still had a solid season. What did you enjoy most about that year?
Honestly, the fans! Not only did they do a great job cheering us on for home and away games, but I knew a lot of them personally. There were multiple people that invited me over to have dinner with their families throughout the season and I never spent a holiday alone while playing for this team. They even celebrated American holidays that are not normally celebrated in England just to be there for me. The people there were amazing and it made it so much easier for me to be away from home. It has been two years since I played there and I still talk to a lot of the people there. I’ve actually been back there twice to visit some of them. Cheshire will forever hold a place in my heart.
You were teammates with Parker Jackson-Cartwright who had to pay dues his whole life. He was the German BBL MVP last season and this season and continues to climb the basketball ladder. Did you know then that this guy would continue moving up levels?
I would lie if I said I knew he would be where he is today winning the MVP and having the season he had, but I always knew he was a special player. I followed him at Arizona and was impressed with his game. Then finding out I would be able to play with him made me look forward to come play in England again even more. He had glimpses of what he is doing in Germany during the time we played together but he took his game to another level and I’m very happy for my friends success.
In your second professional season you played with BC Raiffeisen Flyers Wels (Austria-A Bundesliga) averaging 9.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 50.0%. Here your season was also cut short. What positives do you feel did you get out of it?
During my time with the Flyers I was dealing with a lingering strained calf injury in the beginning of the season. I believe it was due to lack of stretching and preparing my body for the wear and tear of the preseason and season. I was out for a couple weeks a few months in and during that time my team was not winning games. The team and I agreed to cut the contract short due to my absence. They needed to win games and I was no use. The games I did play I was not at my best. It was very hard for me not being able to play that year but I learned a couple really important lessons that make me the player I am today. The most considerable one is that this is a business. If you are not doing what you were brought there to do, just like any job no matter the circumstance, you will be replaced. Simple. The second positive I took out of this is I need to train during the summer time so when I arrive to wherever I’m playing, I’m game time ready and not using the preseason to get in shape. Also to make sure I’m taking care of my body in terms of what I consume, stretching and lifting. These things are essential. It is not just basketball when you’re doing it for a living. It is your job.
As a rookie you split time with the London Lions (United Kingdom-BBL) averaging 14.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.5apg, 2FGP: 48.7%, 3FGP: 52.9%, FT: 66.7%, In Dec.’17 moved to Svendborg Rabbits (Denmark-Ligaen) averaging 11.7ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 23.5%, FT: 69.4%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being a rookie overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?
In high school and college, things are pretty much taken care of for you. Your meals are prepared for you, your schedule is set, you’re pretty much catered to. When you enter the professional world, outside of training and games, you have to do everything yourself, which is normal for most people but can be challenging for athletes. You don’t have anyone calling to wake up on time or bring you to practice. You have full responsibility for yourself and it is a quick transition. For me, it was hard because there was a sense of entitlement there. I felt like things should be given to me. I was just used to it basically from the time I started playing basketball at 12 years old until I graduated at 22. I had to learn how the world worked and that you had to do everything yourself and earn everything you want. Once I learned that I was much better off as a professional.
In Denmark you were teammates with one of my favorite guys Terrell Harris. He went from the German third division via Denmark to the first division. What memories do you have of his game and how he approached the game in general?
What I remember most about Terrell was him being the greatest person. He treated everyone with respect and his biggest thing was treating people well that couldn’t do anything for him. As far as basketball, he approached it from such a zen point of view with a level head. He was always calm and collected but his game told a different story. He played with tenacity and aggression as a guard. He’s what they call a ‘big guard’.
You played at Cleveland State University (NCAA) from 2013-2017 and your game really took off in your last 2 seasons averaging 11.4ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 66.7% and 11.2ppg, 5.3rpg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 65.5%. How do you feel did your game grow in your last 2 seasons?
From my sophomore to junior year my roles switched from being a role player to being the main guy. The reason for this happening, outside of becoming a better player, is that five players transferred to a new school. Four of them were starters. It wasn’t easy being in that position because after all our players left there wasn’t much talent on our team. Going from being a role player to being the main player getting double teamed most possessions was challenging but it helped me become a better decision maker and a better passer. As soon as you catch the ball you have to think shoot, drive, or look for the open man. It really increases your basketball IQ.
In your second season you played a game with a crazy score of 45-33 against Louisville with guys like Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell. What memories do you have of that game? I guess shots weren’t falling.
The game against Louisville was one of the best I’ve been a part of. The score makes it look like it was a blowout but it was really close until about three minutes left. I did not have my best game as a sophomore going up against Montrez, but watching my teammates Trey Lewis, Bryn Forbes and Charlie Lee battle against this powerhouse was exceptional to me. At the end it just came down to making shots and free throws, and the Cardinals did that better than us.
You had many memorable games in the NCAA but where does your 30 points in the exciting win over Youngstown State rank?
That game is ranked in my top three. It was the beginning of my junior year and it was my first year being the main player on my team. It was a statement game telling my teammates and coaches that I am ready to lead this team. I’d done it off the court vocally but from that point on I truly lead by example on the court.
How did head coach Gary Waters groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Waters took care of the ‘professional’ part of professional athlete. More than anything he prepared me for the world outside of basketball and how to be a great man. He preached integrity, character and simply professionalism which I still carry with me until this day. He was very meticulous paying close attention to every detail, correcting any and every mistake I made. This made very detail oriented myself aiming to perfect anything I took on, whether it’s basketball, a relationship or cleaning my room. He is a big reason I am the person and player I am today and I appreciate and love him like a family member.
Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Jibri Blount?
No question, Demonte Flannigan.
Who was the toughest player that you ever faced in your life that reached the NBA?
It’s between Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randall. I played them in high school, and they were both just as athletic and skilled as they are now.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Alex Caruso Rondee Hollis-Jefferson Trey Lewis Derek Sloan Parker Jackson-Cartwright
Please name your personal NBM Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Michael Jordan Lebron James Shaquille O’Neal Steph Curry
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
I can be very biased with this question growing up in Cleveland and watching the whole process of LeBron go from a high school phenom to NBA superstar. He’s been my favorite player since I started playing basketball. Also I learned that it was considered ‘illegal defense’ to double team Michael Jordan back in the 90’s, so he wasn’t facing two players guarding him most of the game like Lebron or Kobe. Would he still be considered one of the greatest? Of course, but I’m not sure he would have been as dominant as he was.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
I did see the sequel. I didn’t think was as funny as the first Coming to America, but it was really good seeing those actors and actresses after so long. Eddie Murphy is one of my favorite comedians so anything he does still makes me laugh.
Thanks Demonte for the chat.