At 30 years of age, Derek Wilson Jr has been nominated for the men’s national team for the first time in his career. The national team of coach Ken Diederich starts training camp this week to prepare the games in the 2025 Eurobasket pre-qualifiers.
What was your reaction when coach Ken told you that were nominated?
I was extremely happy. I invest so much time into basketball and I work so hard to become a better player, it feels like I am rewarded.
Were your surprised?
I would not say that I was surprised by the nomination but about the moment. I am 30 years old right now and I was not invited last year so that the moment surprised ma a little bit. With my performances over the last 2 seasons, I think that I earned a chance to be on the roster in the national team right now.
You mentionned your strong performances over the last 2 years, how were you able to make such a jump forward as a player?
I worked extremely hard, especially during summer-time. Furthermore, my role in the team gives me the opportunity to show my talent. Over the 4 years in Larochette, I was able to develop my role constantly. The situation in Larochette is also perfect for me: We have a great team chemistry, 2 professional players that play for the team and with Christophe Ney (picture), we have a coach who trusts me. He wants me to take over the responsibility to guard the opponent’s best player and be effective on the offensive end. I have had many coaches in the past, including many professional coaches, but Christophe is the best coach I have had so far. He might not be a professional coach, but he is clearly the perfect coach for our team and he gives us clear roles to follow. He gives me the role to be an important part on both ends of the floor and he helps me how to do it, I benefit a lot from this situation.
What are your expectations for the upcoming practices with the national team?
First I want to enjoy the moment. I always give my best any play hard so that I will just continue to give 100% and try to give myself a chance to make the final roster for the games. I will try to help the team in any way I can. One of my goals is to prove that I am one of the best players in the country and that is also part of my mindset entering this new chapter.
You turned 30 years of age. That is usually an age in Luxembourg where a lot of players stop their career, but it sounds like that is not the case for you at all?
Absolutely, I have never felt as fit in my life before. My preparation for a season has improved a lot over the last years and I feel like I can play on this level for a lot more years to come. For many players 30 years might be old, but for me it is the perfect mix between experience and athletic abilities.
Sounds like you are going to continue to be on the weekly highlight plays many more times.
(laughs) I will try. Some people forget that I can still get up high from time to time. This is obviously also a product of the work that I put in on a regular basis.