By James Blackburn
Note: James had a chance to see Dwight play at a recent overseas evaluation camp, and he currently plays in the Korisliiga for the Salon Vilpas Vipers (Finnland). Dwight is a 6’6″ forward who played college basketball in the United States.
What parts of your game do you feel are your strongest and what areas are you working on this off-season to improve on?
I would have to say my strongest point of my game right now is my ability to score the basketball. This off-season my coach is really focusing on defense that I may put together a complete game. Also getting stronger that I may futher my dominance on both ends of the floor.
Talk about your journey going from a D-II school to overseas playing in China and then returning to the States to play in the ABA. Which step/transition was the hardest to make?
Being andrafted and out of a Division II school, I was in a position were I was not getting any better or any notoriety. When I played in the UBL my coach Bobcat Kirby (a local playground legend) took me under his wing and trained me to close the gap in the market between myself and the best of the best. Coming back from China only presented the opportunity to get back in the gym with Coach Kirby and we used the ABA to gauge my progress, where I shot over 70% from 3 point range and around 75% from the floor.
What is the biggest difference between basketball here and playing internationally?
My 8 month contract I signed in Finland will probably shape my International experience because I am a different player now than I was when i went to China, in every facet of the game. Its always exciting to be in a position to experience different cultures with the game of basketball. However, my coach is training me to be the BEST IN THE WORLD and I dream to do just that. Therefore, as a result, the National Basketball Association is what I’m working toward.
Who are some of the guys you are working out with this summer and what do your workouts consists of?
Sidney Moncrief has taken a special interest in my game its always a pleasure to workout with the local pros when they come home. But my rapid advancement comes from local legends like Bobcat who I believe can lead any league in scoring at 40.
What are your thoughts on all the talk of NBA guys may be going overseas to play? Having experienced playing over the water yourself, how well do feel NBA guys will cope in their new surroundings in another country?
Many of my peers feel as though its a business decision they try not to look at any other aesthetics besides business. Our window to play professional basketball is short. Though the lockout is causing a rift in the world market it opens the door for a better brand of basketball on a world stage. I think the NBA players will cope very well in foriegn countries because they will be in markets were they can maintain their standard of living if not exceed it.
Having playing at Dallas Baptist University, a DII school, and then playing in China, the ABA, and just recently you been invited the veteran’s camp for NBDL Bakersfield Jam, what advice would you give to other players out there who play at smaller schools (DII and DIII) that aspire to play professional basketball after college?
My advice is standard:
1) Put God 1st
2) Outwork your opponent
3) Be a student of the game
4) And never give up on your dream
Nothing beats a failure but a try. I feel blessed to be in my situation coming ot of a small school, and I am blessed to have a team to help me with my progression. Seek wisdom from your immediate resources for me it was a Jeff Fudge or a Bobcat, for you it may be another master of the game.