A Conversation With Marcus Smallwood (MBC)

Marcus Smallwood is a 29 year 198cm forward playing his first season with the Mitteldeutscher BC. He is from Elgin, Illinois and played at Northern Illinois from 2000-2004. He came to Europe for his rookie season and played for Ostromecko Astoria Bydgoszcz (Poland-EBL): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 9.0rpg: was released in and later that month signed at Pyrbasket Tampere (Finland-Sparliiga): 6 games: 13.5ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 59%, and also played shortly at Solna Vikings (Sweden-Basketligan): 3 games: 8.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0bpg. The next season, he played in Finland for Forssan Koripojat (Finland-1st Division, starting five): 26 games: 19.7ppg, Reb-2(11.1rpg), 1.3apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-1(1.4bpg), 2FGP-3(64.1%), 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 56.2%. 2006: Elgin Racers (IBL). He had a very strong season in Finland, but surprisingly in the next few years played only briefly in the IBL for the Elgin Racers. He played for the Saar-Pfalz Braves (Germany-ProA) from 2008-2010 and in 2009-2010,he played 30 games: 14.5ppg, Reb-2(9.5rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 62.8%, FT: 49.0%.Last season, he played for Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA, starting five): 9 games: 12.6ppg, 10.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 51.6%, FT: 52.8%; in Dec.’10 moved to VfL Kirchheim Knights (Germany-ProA, starting five): 20 games: 15.7ppg, Reb-1(10.8rpg), Blocks-2(2.1bpg). He spoke to German Hoops over the summer about basketball.

So many players the last years have had difficulty finding jobs, because the market has been so tough. You got ajob with MBC in mid July this year. How did the off season search for a team go? Did you have many other offers besides MBC?

Well I was very fortunate to have interest from some other clubs including some outside of Germany, but to be honest when I learned I might have a chance to play for MBC that instantly became the offer I wanted the most.

Since 2008, you have played nonstop in Germany. Why do you keep coming back? Is it the women or the food or something else?

Haha even though those are both good answers I would say it’s a combination of the great people and friends I’ve been able to meet since being here along with Germany just being a great country to live in as well. I just feel that if I had my choice of living somewhere besides the States Germany would definitely be the place if I were ever able to properly learn the language.

The Mitteldeutscher BC seem content to want to return back to the Beko BBL as soon as possible. What was the main reason for you going to Weissenfels?

Well I saw it as a opportunity to be a part of a club that has a clear vision of their main goal this year. And I really wanted to be a part of something that could be special

Did coach Silvano Poropat have a special way of convincing you to join?
Not really. In all honestly I’m just glad they viewed me as being a player which could help contribute to their goals this year.

You told me in the last interview that you have a big desire to play in the Beko BBL. This is your fourth team in the PRO A. Are you very disappointed that you haven´t made that step yet? What do you think is the main reason? You are 198cm and a great rebounder,maybe too small to survive in the Beko BBL? Guys like Kyle Hines and Jeff Gibbs also showed that they could play. They must be your motivation right?

To be honest the Beko BBL was a goal for me for what it represents..the most professional clubs in Germany, the highest level of competition in Germany, the opportunity to play in front of large crowd environments as well as playing with a team full of people that are as motivated as I am or even more. Signing with MBC has given me a chance to have all of that. So if I’m blessed enough to play with clubs which are as professional as MBC for the rest of my career I will be very happy.

The new MBC roster is slowly taking shape. The club brought in Americans Darius Hargrove(much experience) and Aaron Cook(top assist man in PRO A last season) and Germans like Steve Wachalski,Malte Schwartzand Phillip Heyden. What can we expect from the team this season?

Honestly I’m probably the wrong person to ask because this is Coach Poropats team and I’m just a small part to that. I just look forward to getting to play with them because they are all really talented guys.

Last season, you split time bewteen Cuxhaven and Kirchheim. What was the main reason for you switching teams?
The thing that will always be hard for me is to think that people thought I left Cuxhaven because we were losing. I actually had two great coaches that I loved playing for in Cuxhaven and they both understood that Kirchheim represented a better situation for both them and me for the rest of the season

Last season Branislav Ignjatovic coached you at Kirchheim. What was the most important thing that you could learn from him on and off the court?
Not a lot of people know that Coach Frenki drives 2 hrs each way to practice everyday. Just that speaks volumes of the commitment you have to be willing to give to something you are passionate about.

On what things have you been working on this summer in preparation for the upcoming MBC season to better your game?

I’ve tried to do the things I’ve always done in the summer training wise. But the most important thing for me is to be prepared to accept whatever role Coach Poropat feels I’m best for. This will be the most talented team I’ve had a chance to play for since I’ve been in Germany. So it’s my main goal to make sure I fit into what the team needs me to do.

How much do you miss catching ally-opps from Whit Holcomb-Faye. What is your fondest memory with him on and off the court?
Playing with Whit was like a kid in the candy store..there wasn’t any time he was afraid to throw the ball at the rim for an ally- op. No fondest memory I guess but only because Whit is someone that you can’t help but enjoy yourself all the time when he’s around.

If you had to guard Jeff Gibbs in a game, how would you shut him down under the boards? Maybe you don´t want to reveal your rebounding secret? Lol.

Well he’s the definition of the word Beast so you never really shut him down, haha. But I try to always stay active on the boards so hopefully he would tire using energy boxing me out as I would him.

What is your opinion of Ron Artest changing his name to World Peace?

Have to respect him for changing his name to a great cause, but it will always look funny on a drivers license that’s for sure

If you could ask 2011 NBA champion Dirk Nowitzki one question what would you ask him?
If I could the borrow the ring and get catch a ride on the team plane sometime
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio
Thanks Marcus for the chat.

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