David Dennis is a 185cm point guard from Canal Winchester, Ohio that will begin his rookie season in Germany with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen on Saturday against the Kirchheim Knights. He began his basketball career at Harvest Prep and then proceeded to play at West Liberty State (NCAA2) for two seasons totaling 64 games. In his freshman season he played 35 games averaging 14.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 5.8apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 67.5%. In his sophomore season at West Liberty State (NCAA2) he played 29 games averaging 13.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 6.1apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 66.9%. In 2017-2018 he moved to Nova SE (NCAA2) playing 27 games averaging 19.2ppg, 6.1rpg, 6.8apg, 3.6spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 78.1%. In his senior year at Nova SE (NCAA2) he played 33 games averaging 15.8ppg, 5.0rpg, 5.8apg, 2.8spg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 66.9%. He spoke to germanhoops.com earlier in the summer about his basketball career.
David thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thanks for having me Miles . I am currently living in Fort Lauderdale Florida where I finished my college career. Training here with some of the coaching staff and individual trainers. My summer has been good so far. Very busy trying to prepare myself for the next level.
Congrats on signing your first professional contract with German club wiha Panthers Schwenningen. Do you honestly feel like you would have accomplished this and your success in school if you hadn’t made the step moving in with your dad in high school and playing for him at Harvest Prep?
Thank you. Very excited to get the first contract signed and reach my dream of being a pro. I honestly don’t think I would’ve made it this far without transferring over to play for my dad my junior year. He pushed me every day on and off the court to be a better player and person. The exposure was way better for me and the experience of traveling out of state so much prepared me for college basketball
Did you get any feedback from your ex teammate Seger Bonifant who has been a top German Pro A shooter with Team Ehingen?
Yes I talked to Seger a couple times when I first was in contact with wiha and just asked him about the league and the competition and if he was in my shoes what would he do. He was a very big key to my success my freshman year. He took me under his wing from day 1 and just stayed on me to stay focused and made sure I knew the amount of work it takes to be a high level player.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball. Do you know any guys playing here besides the deadly sniper Seger Bonifant?
From what Seger says Germany is a very big basketball country and the people are very supportive. Says it’s a fairly smooth transition when it comes to communicating with most Germans speaking or at least understanding English. I know Dan Monteroso who played with me at West Liberty my sophomore year. He played with seg this year. Then I also know Luquon Choice and Dorian Pinson who played in the same league. Seg and I played against them both my freshman year in the final four. When I decommited from West Liberty , Dorian called to try and get me to transfer to Lincoln Memorial with him. So we’ve gotten closer over the years.
Head coach Alen Velcic is high on your abilities and listed you as one of his desired players. What were the main factors besides his trust and team plans for you joining and what was the deciding factor?
He was very dedicated to talking to me and answered any questions me and my agent had for him. He really emphasized a high tempo transition game in which I feel I excel in. Creating for others and myself. The pieces he’s brought in he feels will really be fun and easy to play with so I’m excited to meet the guys and get to work .
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a dynamic point guard that reminds me a bit of Mike Conley. To what NBA player would you best describe your game to?
A lot of people have described my game to Mike Conley so that is funny you say that as well. I feel I’m a point guard who wants to get out and run and make the game easy for everyone around me . I feel I’m a better than average finisher around the rim with either hand and can see the game before it happens . I also really understand the pick and roll and make the right decisions out of that.
Your stat line and being near triple doubles also reminds me of Russell Westbrook. You were close to triple doubles as a freshman against Shepherd and Kutztown. Is there a little of Russ in you?
I feel I play with the same passion as Russ. There’s not a game or a possession that I take a play off. I’m going to play as hard as I physically can every second I am on that floor. The triple doubles and the stats are just a plus to that and as long as we win I don’t care much about my numbers
You’re a versatile point guard that can score, rebound and get assists as well as being a menace on defense. What are other strengths in your game that Germany will see this season?
They will see a young rookie play hard and just do everything he can to help his team be successful. I feel I am a great leader by words and by actions. I will push myself to be the best I can be as well as my teammates. Diving on the floor, hustling after loose balls, taking charges all little things I’m willing to do.
You have been described as being a player that plays like a veteran and has a good basketball understanding. Is this something that you got early on from your dad?
Yes , I would say my dad had the biggest impact on me learning the game and just understanding how it should be played. Watching him play growing up to watching film on myself together. When we watch college or NBA games we don’t watch the ball we watch everyone else and their movements and how the defense is set up. He really focused me at a young age on making the right reads out of ball screens and reading the help side defense
You also have a very good character on and off the court? How challenging is it to be a very fair competitor, but at the same time being an aggressive and ruthless pest on defense every night?
I pride myself on my defense. I don’t like when people score on me. My dad always taught me before I could put the ball in the hole. That if I can’t score I better be good on defense and not let my man score because the score would be 0-0. I laugh at that today but he was right. Also going back to being a veteran minded young player I feel my help side defense is very good as well because I communicate and have very good hands if someone drives by me I feel I can steal it 9/10
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet like no other, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away?
I would say a hidden strength that doesn’t go on stat sheet is just making the hockey assist. If I make a pass out of a trap and then it’s a 2 on 1 for the bigs and they get an easy lay up that’s something I pride myself on making the game easier for everyone else
You played two years at West Liberty State (NCAA2). Do you ever wonder where you would be today if you had stayed and not followed head coach Jim Crutchfield to Nova SE (NCAA2
Honestly I don’t think about it. They had two great seasons without Coach Crutchfield and I . And we both couldn’t have been more happy for them. I know I wanted them to succeed and I wanted the guys to win and be successful in life. They won conference back to back years and made the NCAA tourney. The tradition never died down and that’s a testament to coach Howlett and the guys he recruited. I still talk to some of the guys and catch up with each other
You had incredible success at both schools reaching the NCAA 2 final 4 with West Liberty and NCAA 2 Elite 8 with Nova SE (NCAA2What were the two biggest advantages each school gave you in the time that you were there?
West Liberty it’s a very small city so there was nothing to do but be in the gym. I really found a new love for the game when I was there. Quiet nights quiet gym with just the ball bouncing and getting shots up and becoming a better basketball player. I didn’t want to be the guy to come in and mess up the tradition so that pushed me to become a good player. At Nova I had to come in and show the guys what it takes to be a champion. They all looked at me when things got tough and I had to have answers for them. If they didn’t understand what coach wanted. I had to explain in ways they could. I really grew as a leader at NSU and it’s helped me be a better player to this day.
How much of a pleasure was it being able to play with Seger Bonifant at West Liberty? Where does he rank with the best shooters that you have played with?
Like I said earlier seg took me under his wing right away. He knew I would be the starting guard and he had to make sure I was ready. He is by far the best shooter I’ve ever been around and most likely the best scorer as well. In college he scored at all 3 levels whenever he wanted. He pushed me every day and I can’t thank him enough for it.
You have had some bitter loses in your career, but was the 103-102 loss in the NCAA 2 Final 4 to Lincoln Memorial where you put up 26 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists one of your worst in your career? Two of your opponents Dorian Pinson and Luquon Choice played in Germany last season in the Pro A with Hanau
I would say it is the most frustrating loss because we scored 100 points in a game and we didn’t come out on top. I was a freshman playing in the biggest game of my career and I knew I only had so many games left with those seniors. They led the way and I just tried to keep up. LMU played a hell of a game making big shots when needed. But yes that would be the most painful loss I’ve had in my career. One game from reaching the end goal.
You then moved to Nova SE (NCAA2). You were very consistent here scoring in double figures in 52 of 60 games in your two seasons. How do you feel did your game grow in your two years here?
Coming from WL I was more of a pass first point guard and didn’t need to score as much but when I transferred I had to take on more of a scoring role. I was more aggressive trying to get myself easy looks and get to the rim when I could. I feel I have gotten stronger and have become a better finisher and shooter.
You had so many great games in your NCAA 2 career, but if you had to name a game where fans saw the best of you which would it be?
My best game was most likely the regional championship this year where we beat Lynn to move on to the elite 8. I felt I was very aggressive and efficient scoring and also felt I made lot of little plays to help my team win.
How did head coach Jim Crutchfield groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach has been preparing me for this since the first day I stepped on campus my freshman year. We talked and I told him this was my goal and everyday he pushed me personally to limits beyond what he expected from the team. He knew I had potential and he just taught me everything he could in the 4 years I was with him. He is a huge role model in my life and I wouldn’t be here today without him as well.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Nick Smith?
Nick Smith may have beat me 1 out of 100 times in one on one.
Who was the toughest player that you played in the NCAA 2 that is in the NBA or in Europe now
I played against a lot of tough players in college to name a few that stick out . Elvar Fredrickson , Haywood Highsmith ,Pat Moseh , Thomas Wimbush , Matt Bingaya , Michael Baez and Johnathon Lawton
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
It’s very hard to pick just 5 teammates that I love because I loved them all so much. They made coming to practice fun and enjoyable. They all were like family to me!
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
Kobe, Lebron, MJ, and Kareem
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I think Michael is still the greatest. He just had that edge to him and just played at a different pace than everyone else. Lebron is a great player and we might not ever see anything in the league again like him for years but MJ is still the greatest of all time to me
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks David for the chat.