Former Spider Darien Brothers catches up with Spider Voices after a busy summer in his hometown of Richmond before he takes off again another year of professional basketball. Brothers scored 1,267 points in his Richmond career, ranking sixth all-time in career three-pointers.
Could you give Richmond Spider fans a brief rundown of where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing since you last played in the Robins Center?
Since the last time I played in the Robins Center, I have played in two different countries. My first year out I played in the Spanish LEB Gold which is the second division below the ACB for a team called Melilla. My second year I played in the same league, but for a team in Ourense where we went on to win a championship my second year. This past year, I played in Finland Korisliga which is the first division in Finland. Now I’m entering my fourth year and waiting for a contract. In the mean time, I have managed to link with Spider radio great Matt Smith at sweetFrog headquarters as a marketing intern for the corporate office until I head back overseas to play my fourth year. I also was given the opportunity to start my own basketball camp through ACAC health club at Trinity Episcopal School as well and hope to build in the future.
You played two years in Spain and last year in Finland. How different were those experiences? From the basketball to the cultures…
Spain and Finland were totally different as far as level of play and culture. The weather in Spain was more traditional to the US, but Finland was in a category of its own. Just imagine living in a country where you only see 2-3 hours of sunlight in winter and temperatures reaching -30 degrees. Brutal! The games in the two countries differ tremendously. In Finland, the game is more geared towards the Americans and playing more one-on-one and fast-paced game. Spain is more of a low-scoring game with great defense played and half-court game. Luckily coming from such a prestigious system coached by Coach Mooney I was able to play both fast- and slow-paced games so I was able to adjust well to both styles.
Have you had any interesting issues with language or cultural barriers? Any funny stories?
I don’t really have many funny stories, but a fun fact was that Finnish is one of the hardest languages to learn. Something else interesting, I also speak Spanish pretty well to a certain degree so I was able to understand the coach even when he explained strategies in Spanish when I played in Spain. Also, at our championship dinner we had at the presidents house, we each had to stand up and say something about our special season and once my turn came around I surprised the team by delivering my speech in Spanish.
How often do you end up seeing other former Spiders in Europe? I saw that you played against David Gonzalvez last year.
Unfortunately, I have only seen one former teammate in David Gonzalvez throughout my career thus far. We played against each other four times last year and if you were around during our time at U of R, you would know he was like a brother to me at school and always showed me the ropes. We even used to battle it out 1 on 1 at 2-3am after road games. So you could only imagine how intense our games were playing against one another.
Richmond just returned from a trip to Ireland and Holland. What do you remember about your trip to Italy in 2012? Did that trip prepare you in any way for professional life overseas?
My trip to Italy was pretty interesting and fun. Being able to travel abroad to play against international competition while being able to tour and see history is very unique and a once in a lifetime experience. The trip shouldn’t be taken for granted and in a way it does prepare you for professional life overseas. Our coaching staff during my time gave us freedom and treated us as if we were on our own so in that aspect you head overseas and are on your own and have to find your way around, eat on your own, and also get a feel of how the international play can be.
Two years ago, T.J. Cline hit a layup with 2 seconds left to send the VCU game into double OT where UR eventually won. A lot of people compared that play to your shot in 2013. How would you compare the two plays? Do you ever still think about that shot?
It was actually amazing to see T.J. step up to hit a big shot like that. He was considered a vet on the team and he made a big play. TJ is a big time player who will have a long basketball career. Like they say big time players make big time plays and that’s what he did. He was calm, he has been there before and most important, he has practiced that shot multiple times. Same goes for me. That hard work that you put in when the lights are off that people don’t see prepares you for moments like that. It’s a great feeling to have made that shot I made in front of my home crowd; sell out at that and to come out with the win is even better and such a special moment in my life I will always remember. As I said before, those numerous times in the gym, late nights getting up shots and imagining you are going to be in that situation it pays off. I am sure TJ can say the same thing and I can say this for any kid; it’s a player’s dream to always hit a game winner!
Richmond has had at least one player sign a pro contract in 10 of 11 graduating classes under Coach Mooney. What is it about Coach Mooney and the UR program that creates such consistency and success after college life?
Coach Mooney has a tremendous track record. I think his coaching ability, his knowledge of the game and the great person he is allows for the kids including myself who have played for him to respect him and learn the game. To Mooney, it was about understanding the game not just playing. He made sure you understood why you were doing what he was teaching. I have become a better player under Mooney as far as skills and IQ of the game. He is very well connected and wants his guys to have success on and off the court and that is what I can say why at least one player signed a pro contract in 10 of 11 graduating classes. I can say I was very fortunate to be able to play under such a great coach and person.
As a Richmond native, you’re able to get back to campus a lot in the summers. What does it mean to you to kind of always have UofR as home?
It was an honor to play for my hometown. My family came to every game for my four-year career. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to play in front of my family. To be able to have my mom, dad and my little brother (Randolph Macon ’20) watch was exceptional. More so for my brother because I wanted him to follow in my footsteps and be able to watch what it was like to watch college basketball growing up. It’s awesome to have U of R as a home because I know I am always welcome. The coaches are so close knit with the players and always leave the door open for previous players to work out or help get the current players better. Not too often you get to get into a gym whenever you want and be able to call a coach to rebound for you even after you have graduated. Just a family environment and I know I will always be welcome to come back.