- National Teams
Delme Herriman is a living English basketball legend. Originally from Manchester, Herriman had a successful collegiate, professional and international career before settling down with Division 3 side Warrington Wolves where he is currently player/coach (find a full bio on his website). Earlier this year, he released his autobiography “Mr Versatility” which chronicles his storied career (buy here). Hoopsfix got a chance to catch up with the man himself for a Hoopsfix 1 on 1.
Hoopsfix (HF): Delme, can we start by you giving a quick rundown of your basketball career?
Delme Herriman (DH): I played for Manchester United under 13’s, 15’s,17’s
I then was a rotary exchange student and went to High School in Uhrichsville,OH in 1990.
I got offered a full ride to Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio 1991-96.
I was a 4 year starter and my freshman year we went the NCAA Tourney and played No.1 Seed Indiana Hoosiers, in the Hoosier Dome in front of 42,000 people.
My junior year 1995, I hit the biggest shot in the history of my school against No.25 ranked Xavier, with 1.1 seconds left on the clock (hence the book cover).
In 1996 when I graduated I was 2nd all time in minutes and 3rd all time in games played.
In 1996/97 I became the first Englishman to play in Italy’s premier league.
An 8 year european pro career followed.
HF: What age did you start playing and why?
DH: I started playing for the Manchester United under 13’s team. I was about 11 or 12 and saw my first pro game in Warrington (FSO Vikings). I fell in love with the sport and after a couple of years, it was my only ambition to try and play high school ball in the US.
HF: What do you think the biggest barriers were to you achieving your dreams and going pro?
DH: I would say just the chance of getting to the States for me. Now it’s better, with academies and such things, but back then I was totally focused on the states, that was my one and only ticket I saw to the pro world.
HF: You’ve been around the game a long time, how do you feel about the progress of basketball in the UK over the past 10-15 years or so?
DH: From a pro standpoint I think the BBL has gone down hill in the last 10-15 years. I know it was on Sky and players were getting A LOT more money and exposure 10 years ago than now! Besides that, at a younger level in schools and clubs, even though we still lack facilities we can access at any time to improve our game or for general training sessions, the level of participation and talent has really improved. More and more kids have gone off to European academies and to the US.
HF: What can people expect from your book?
DH: A brutally honest insight to a kid with a huge dream, the journey it takes him on, and where it leads to. Every baller should relate to it about the dream part, but in reality it isn’t always what you expect it to be! Also a look into what it’s like to be adopted and not know your roots and to be searching for your father your entire life! It is deep and covers many angles, not strictly all ball related.
HF: Tell us a little about your experiences with Midnight Madness?
Unbelievable, I wrote a whole chapter about it in my book! I was just as proud repping Midnight Madness over in the states as I was repping England in decade of service. Nhamo and Jack have created an unbelievable experience and opportunity for ballers in the UK. I am honoured I was a part of it before I retired.
HF: What is the highlight of your playing career?
DH: In no particular order, hitting the shot against Xavier, signing my first Italian contract, Commonwealth Games bronze medal, captaining the Midnight Madness squad and beating that stacked Chicago team in the last game by a point!
HF: What are you currently doing?
DH: I just lost my job at the Warrington Wolves Foundation (Basketball Development Ofiicer) as it was only funded for one year. So now I am trying to make a living doing my own coaching and have two part time jobs; one involving working for After Adoption (adoption Society) and another with troubled teens. I am still the Player/Coach of Warrington Wolves D3 Team.
Do you think it’s necessary for players to have to go to the US like you to have any chance of a good professional career?
DH: No, but I think it helps and not only that, the college experience, both on and off the court in the States, holds some of the best memories of my life! But it doesn’t work out for everyone. Europe in an academy could be better for some players.
HF: Who were your role models growing up?
DH: Basketball wise, Will Brown (Manchester United, BBL), Ron Harper, Scottie Pippen, Sean Elliot, Penny Hardaway. Then from the age of 17 it was Allan Houston.
HF: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
DH: From Dean Lockwood, currently the assistant coach at University Of Tennessee Women’s team. “If your mind can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, your body can achieve it!”
HF: Advice you’d give to young British players hoping to go pro?
DH: Get your grades in order first or else you ain’t getting in college in the States. Secondly, by all means have that dream, but don’t talk about it, be about it! Actions speak louder than words. You have to eat sleep and live basketball, everyday. I don’t think some players really know how hard they have to work or the sacrifices they have to make to make it to the top level. There’s working hard and there’s working smart, you have to do both.
HF: And what are your plans for the future?
DH: To get a good stable job in basketball (don’t laugh!), if this isn’t possible maybe coaching over in the NCAA, or changing my career completely. But for now I love coaching my men’s team at Warrington, but there’s just no funding or money in it to make a living from it.
Image Credit: Mike Slade Photography