BRISTOL, Tenn. – Derick Pope's basketball career ended at King University in March, but his dream to play after college has come true. Earlier this spring, Pope signed a contract to play in Germany for the Bramsche TUS Red Devils.
Pope is excited about the opportunity to continue his playing career and learning a different culture, but the thing he might be most excited about might be that the team gave him a key to the gym.
"I'm most excited about basketball being my job now, no distractions, no school or anything and I can just focus on basketball," Pope stated. "They gave me a key to the gym, so I'm excited about that. I want to reach my full potential and travel the world while doing that."
The Red Devils compete in Germany-2.Regionalliga and they finished 16-6 last season. That record gave the Red Devils a second place in the North-West Division. Pope will be one of two imports they are allowed for the upcoming season that starts in September.
For Pope, this will be the first time he will travel outside of the United States and says he has mixed feelings about traveling overseas and being away from family for eight months.
"I have talked to a lot of people that have been to Germany and they say it's a great country," Pope continued. "Some people say be careful because Europe is having a lot of problems right now, but I'm having mixed feelings. I'm going to believe in God to protect me while I'm over there and hopefully I can have a good time."
In his time at King, Pope served many different roles for Head Coach George Pitts, being able to shoot from the outside and play inside.
"I am happy and proud that he gets an opportunity to play in Germany," Pitts said. "Derick is a very versatile player with a huge upside."
Last season the Duluth, Ga., native shot 41.9 percent from three-point range, connecting on 36 triples. He also shot 50.0 percent from the floor while ranking third on the team with a scoring average of 10.9 points per game. On the defensive side, Pope ranked second on the team with an average of 5.1 rebounds per game and posted 11 blocks and 13 steals.
"During this process I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people and they said Europe is big on having versatile players that can play inside out and shoot the ball really well and that's what King prepared me for," said Pope.
Outside of basketball, Pope is excited to learn a new culture and coach young kids in his time off the court.
"I'm pretty excited because I'm kind of interesting in learning a new culture. In most countries like that English is a second language so a lot of people can speak decent English," Pope finished. "I will be coaching a youth team and I asked the Vice President how I will communicate with them. He said I will actually have an assistant that speaks both German and English, so hopefully I can still get the same point across."
Pope leaves for Germany in August and the season runs until April.