We recently sat down to speak with former division 3 basketball star turned pro, David Knowles. The D 3 hoops standout point guard will cover many in depth topics, personal experiences, and advice on many issues, such as how to handle a sports contract and how to keep your job playing professional basketball in Europe. Knowles' experiences and advice to others on playing basketball overseas is as honest and open as advice comes. How do you find an agent? How do you market your game? What questions should you ask when talking with coaches? What can you expect with your lifestyle and style of play overseas? There are so many questions and we answer them and all and then some. This is part one of the interview.
Basketball Video Transcription: So basketball there, so much is predicated off of American basketball, we are the founders of basketball and pretty much every drill that you have ever done, you are more than prepared and equipped to go and do there. As an American you are just expected to be better. You know, based on where you go to play, everybody, from the team manager down to the coach, everybody is going to have a certain expectation of your level of play, and a lot of it can be based on your game tapes, your basketball resume, your agent, or whoever has put you in connection with these basketball club teams, and even yourself, who put yourself in connection with these teams. But you are just expected to be playing basketball a certain level. But drill wise, skill wise, Americans are going to be ahead of the curve.
Everything is going to be the same, these coaches, a lot of these coaches, buy coaching material from American coaches. A lot of American coaches are actually coaches over in Europe. Every basketball drill, every coach that you have ever had, has more than prepared you for the practice and the drill work of overseas basketball.
So professional basketball, differentiates from college basketball from the standpoint that professional basketball is more of an entertainment style game. Now, depending on what league you are playing in and depending on what part of the world you are in be it America or Asia it is still entertainment. So the game is very wide open and is, pretty much, a situation where you go out as the American basketball player, the star player, the paid player, and simply perform your role and just play. There is no greater feeling than to just play, and to play openly. Now, a lot of it is going to depend on your coach, and the team, and which league you are in, as well as your complement of players. But, for the most part, you are a paid player, so you are your own coach at this point and you're like a contract killer. You get paid to play your game, whatever your specialty is, whether that's rebounding, or scoring, or shooting, or maybe you are an athlete on the team, or whatever you do well, you do what you do best because that is what you get paid for. And the longer, and the better, that you do this than the longer you play the game and the more you get paid.
The first team that I play with in Germany, had just a small practice gym, it was like the old rec center of the main city. I mean it was nice, but again the main gym was a lot nicer. It was more of a Division I college or a big-time Division II college game type atmosphere. But, the practice gym was alright. The team practiced in it, it was just like an normal rec center and they often played games there. On the second team that I played for, it was much more, it was just a complete professional situation for me. From two practices a day, to having access to the gym pretty much whenever you wanted to use it. But, again we had two practices a day and it was a different situation, but the first team was a lower budget team, you only had access to the gym at certain times of the day because everybody pretty much uses the gym from the local schools all the way to what have you. So, based on each individual situation…it will be different. I speak for myself.
I was injured on my first team. It was the last game before Christmas break, so they wanted to give me Christmas break to heal. I came back after Christmas break after not playing that well. The other American on the team was not playing up to par, let’s say. It was just a bad situation, and so the need to have Americans are because in my league you could only have two Americans per team. When I did get hurt, it was not publicized to the coaches or anything. It was a situation where the team I was with gave me the opportunity to play with an affiliate team, which was a lower league team. I'm still getting paid the same amount, I still am in the same place, but they still tried to open up that situation for me. But funny enough, another team had a guy, come back after Christmas, or actually the guy didn't comeback. The guy who got hired did not get on the plane to comeback. So the team needed an American. Again, it was in the lower league, but the situation was much more professional. I got paid double what I was getting paid pretty much even though they were a league lower. Which is an overall better situation. But it is not a bad thing.
Anyway, as an American you are a product and are brought in to perform, and if you don't perform, or are out late being stupid, those are some of the main things that would get you sent home. You simply have to perform, and do what you do.
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