Dylan Ennis talks about “positive domino effect”, family in Murcia, and Dillon Brooks’ attitude

2023-10-26T17:00:07+00:00 2023-10-26T17:11:09+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

26/Oct/23 17:00


The 31-year-old shooting guard is experiencing the fourth Basketball Champions League Regular Season with his fourth Spanish team

By Cesare Milanti / info@eurohoops.net

Usually, you don’t find special and outspoken characters in the European basketball landscape. You may witness high-level players on the court, and interesting qualities for what they show during those forty minutes, but the rarity of unique personalities is no news within the Old Continent.

Sometimes, however, there are exceptions to the common rule, and Dylan Ennis rightfully belongs in this category. And he doesn’t even try to avoid it, being so present 24/7 on social media, while exposing his character to fans and opposing audiences whether it’s domestic league or European action.

Coming back to Spain for the fifth time and the fourth team during his six-year professional career overseas, the soon-to-be 32-year-old guard spoke exclusively to Eurohoops to open up about his smile-sharing attitude, and living a new chapter with UCAM Murcia in the ACB and the Basketball Champions League.

Why not bring and spread positivity around you?

If you haven’t lived under rocks and checked out recently on the Canadian native guard’s way of life on and off the court, you may have realized he’s different from the rest. Using his own words from an interview conceded to Movistar+ a few years ago, he now thinks “on the positive things, never on the negative things”, and that if you do it, “positive things come back to you”.

Commenting on this take, he explained this has truly influenced his whole trajectory. “That’s a big quote for me because whether it’s life or basketball, I believe when you have a positive mindset you’re always in the right mentality to do your best”, UCAM Murcia’s guard commented, clarifying that even though it won’t always be perfectly fine, it’s all part of the process.

“On the court, it’s not always going to be perfect. You’re gonna have times where you lose your cool, but at the same time that’s sports. When I got to that point, I found a way to bring it back to the positive, trying to find out what’s going good right now and trying to build off that positive energy”, Dylan Ennis then stated.

He describes this as a “domino effect”, pointing out the spreading way of this attitude. “I know it’s contagious: when people see me positive, they become positive. When you’re negative, other people become it as well. It’s a domino effect. I try to stay positive because I know everybody else will be positive”, Dylan Ennis added, opening up later on about his use of social media platforms.

Despite understanding that “some people are private or just have introverted personalities”, and that “not everybody needs to do it”, he feels like his way of using social media is “great for reporting”. At the end of the day, if you follow the kind of activity he keeps up with on Instagram or X, this truly stands out from his colleagues. “I think it’s great when fans are able to see the personal side of you. I think these fans that love me, they’re able to see Dylan [Ennis] besides the basketball player”, he explained.

The basis relies on trying to connect with people back home, but it turns out to be an important piece of the puzzle to build relationships with his new overseas fans. “I think the reason why I started being so active on social media was actually that when I came to Europe I wanted my family and my friends to be able to follow every step I’m doing because they can’t watch every game, I can’t call everybody all the time”, the former Casademont Zaragoza player first said.

“But through social media, everybody from back home could get a glimpse of what I’m doing, and that just transferred into fans loving it, and fans wanting to interact. I enjoy it because I know there’s gonna be one day I quit playing basketball and retire: nobody is gonna care what Dylan [Ennis] is doing. Why not do it while I’m here?”, he then commented.

Most importantly, it helps grow the chemistry of the team he’s with. He happened several times in the past, but Dylan Ennis believes this time with UCAM Murcia is truly different from his previous experiences with other locker rooms, whether it was Serbia, Spain, Monaco, or Turkey. “I think with the team this year, thus far, it’s been so amazing because you don’t find many teams where guys are friends on and off the court”, he first stated about the type of atmosphere they’re living this season.

“Not saying that nobody talked to each other from other teams”, he immediately clarified, “but I think here we really enjoy each other’s presence”. Touching once more on his online platforms, he gave the perfect example. “I had a Halloween party with all my teammates and their families, and we just built that report because when we get on the court it’s built off the court already. It helps us on the basketball court to do this. This is the first year that I really feel like from 1 to 12 everybody truly likes each other as people, and not as basketball players”, Dylan Ennis also remarked.

UCAM Murcia’s versatility is its main weapon

Bringing on board Dylan Ennis after his Basketball Champions League season with Galatasaray, averaging 11.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, UCAM Murcia gave Sito Alonso two more new weapons on the backcourt, alongside the veteran Thaddus McFadden, with the team since 2021.

Having other two combo guards like Troy Caupain and Ludde Hakanson, respectively coming from Brescia and Bilbao, will give the Spanish coach the opportunity to try out different solutions, with the Swedish player and Dylan Ennis being present on the most-used lineup by UCAM Murcia so far, which includes Arturs Kurucs, Dustin Sleva, and Simon Birgander, spending a total of 66 minutes together on the court.

Commenting on the vast majority of various playing opportunities, the former Gran Canaria player shared his opinion. “I think we can do so many things, we have so many different combinations we can throw on the court. We can have a defensive lineup or an offensive lineup, all shooters, we can play small ball. It makes us so dangerous because it’s hard to scout a team that doesn’t have a true identity. Obviously, people make it about our defense and intensity, but we can switch up different things and be versatile”, he opened up about his team’s precious versatility.

Moreover, this has given the opportunity to shine even more on a personal note to the overseas veteran, conscious he has different shields to protect him when things get difficult on both sides of the floor. “Having these other guys who can do so many other things makes my job so much easier. There have been years where I felt like I had to take up a load in scoring, so defensively maybe I gave 90% instead of 100%. This year, on both ends I know I’m going 110% because I have the other guys right beside me who are doing the exact same thing, whether it’s somebody coming off the bench or starting. We can all do the same stuff, and I think we trust each other so much for that. It makes us great”, Dylan Ennis added.

Being the second-most used player on UCAM Murcia’s roster with 27 minutes per game in six ACB games thus far – Simon Birgander is 1st, slightly ahead with 28 minutes on the court – he has been averaging 14.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per encounter, shooting 62.8% from two and being the 3rd player with most shooting-paint attempts (5.3) in the whole league among guards.

Suffering two defeats against Bilbao and the unbeaten Real Madrid, UCAM Murcia is still 4th with a 4-2 record and will fight until the very end for a playoff spot. “The Spanish league is the best domestic league in Europe, hands down. Every game is a challenge, no matter if a team is at the bottom or at the top of the pack: they can beat you on every given night, especially if you’re playing on the road”, Dylan Ennis said about the level of basketball in Spain, having played there several times.

This translates into a very challenging path each and every week during the season. “That just makes European competition or ACB so much harder, because when you’re coming to Spain with a dog fight on Saturday, when you go Wednesday you’re still tired from that game on Saturday. And then if you get a good win or a loss in your European competition, you pick it back up on Saturday because it’s always gonna be a tough game in the ACB”, the 31-year-old explained.

Touching on once more on the level of the domestic league, he brought out an example from the past. “I think the Spanish league has shown so much representation of their talent, and how great teams are, not only in the ACB but in Europe as well. When with Zaragoza we went to the Basketball Champions League Final Eight back to back, in each edition there were three Spanish teams. Then obviously you have Real Madrid and Barcelona, always at the top of the pack in the EuroLeague. It just shows how strong the ACB is, and you can’t take a night off. That’s why I came back: I love that competition”, he said.

Moving on to the Basketball Champions League, where UCAM Murcia started the Regular Season with an away defeat against Derthona Tortona, Dylan Ennis doesn’t want to enter the “toughest group” conversation, even though they will also need to face both Tofas Bursa and Igokea. “In any competition, competitors are gonna compete, no matter who’s in front of us. We lost that first game on the road which we thought we could have won, but it’s well on them. The whole group is tough, and we have to come prepared every night”, he opened before going more into detail.

“People will say “Hey, we’ve got the toughest group”, but it’s sports: it’s not fair, we decided to compete at this high level and we have to bring it every night. If we don’t, we can find ourselves in a situation like the last game. I don’t like to lose, but maybe that was a reality check that the Basketball Champions League isn’t going to be easy, we have to bring it whether it’s on the road or at home. We’re gonna do that and we realize the mistakes we made. We won’t make those again”, Dylan Ennis completed.

The Oregon alumni had the opportunity of playing in several places since moving to the Old Continent, suiting up with Crvena Zvezda in the EuroLeague, with MoraBanc Andorra, AS Monaco, and Gran Canaria in the EuroCup, and finally with Casademont Zaragoza, Galatasaray and UCAM Murcia in the Basketball Champions League.

When talking about the level of European basketball, therefore, he has nothing but great words to share. “Each league is getting better and better every year. I was fortunate enough to play in the BCL, the EuroCup, the ACB, EuroLeague: Europe has competition, talent, and great teams everywhere. The rest of the world is starting to realize that the NBA is great, but not everybody makes it there”, he said.

Step by step, the reality check regarding Europe being competitive is growing and growing, considering the fact that way more American-bound players are coming to hoop here. “Coming overseas doesn’t necessarily mean that Americans are going to beat everybody on talent, no matter what country or what league you’re in. You really have to be a good player now. And it’s amazing that I’m able to see all these leagues and play everywhere, giving advice to everybody else to come over”, UCAM Murcia’s own added.

At the end of the day, he gave so many insights and advice to several American players via a thread published during his time back with Galatasaray, following the example of Tomasz Gielo. In case you missed it, check it out.

Shattering the Dillon Brooks stereotype, praising Canada

Despite representing Jamaica on the International stage, Dylan Ennis was born and raised in Canada, and followed closely the red-and-white adventure at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, capturing a historic bronze medal after beating Team USA in the 3rd place final in Manila. “I think what they’re doing in Canada Basketball is so amazing. Canadians have always felt like the underdogs to American teams, whether that’s AAU, college, or professionals. Because we have that underdog mentality, I think we’re starting to do a lot better in those International competitions”, he first stated.

“I’m not saying that the US takes it lightly, but when you don’t have that chip on your shoulders, it’s a different game. I love what Canada is doing, we’re finally getting the right guys to go playing, getting those NBA guys. Canada has always had talent, but those NBA guys playing now, showing that we’re really serious, it’s great for the whole country. You see so many young guys coming out now, getting to top levels in Europe or the NBA. This is just gonna breathe more basketball players from Canada around the world”, Dylan Ennis also commented.

Among the players who shone at the 2023 FIBA World Cup under head coach Jordi Fernandez, Dillon Brooks surely is one of the main candidates for this category, posting up 15.1 points (29th in the whole tournament), 2.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game with the Canadian national team, exploding for 39 points and 7/8 from beyond the arc against Team USA on his last appearance in the Philippines.

Dylan Ennis revealed he has been knowing the Houston Rockets player for quite some time now. “I actually grew up with Dillon [Brooks]. My father used to coach him when he was younger, so I’ve known him since he was like 10 years old. What I love about him is he hasn’t changed, he has been like that since he was young. As far as the antics, he has always played hard, has never changed his personality, and approached the game the right way, as far as dedicating and doing what he’s good at”, he said, having also shared two years with him with the Oregon Ducks.

“I think people see Dillon Brooks on the court and they think “Oh, you must be like this all the time”. No! He’s a competitor, he knows what makes him successful, and I think he does good for his team. If you meet Dillon Brooks in person, you’re gonna say “I didn’t know he was like this”. He’s nicer than what people realize”, he finally stated on the Canadian forward.


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Un post condiviso da Dylan Ennis (@dylanennis31)

PHOTO CREDIT: Basketball Champions League