Tony Gaffney: Marcus Camby is Similar To Chris Ensminger Who Will Probably Play Until He is 50

Tony Gaffney is a 27 year old 204cm forward from Berkely, Massachusetts that is playing for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He is a forward who brings a high level of energy and athleticism to any teams he joins. He is a tenacious rebounder and great defender. He was the Atlantic 10 Conference defensive player of the year in 2008-09, and one of the nation’s leading shot-blockers. He played at Boston University from 2004-2006 and then went to Massachusetts (NCAA) where he played from 2006-2009. In his senior year, he played 30 games: 11.5ppg, RebA10-2(10.2rpg), 1.7apg, StealsA10-2(2.0spg), BlocksNCAA-3(3.8bpg), FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 64.6%: Finished career at UMass ranked seventh all-time in blocks (174). In 2009-2010, he played for Altshuler Saham Galil Gilboa (Israel-Premier League): 1 game: 2pts, 2reb, 1steal, 1block, but left next month, in Apr.’10 moved to Boston Celtics (NBA). Last season, he played for the Boston Celtics (NBA), in Oct.’10 moved to Turk Telekom Ankara (Turkey-TBL): Turkish League: 8 games: 6.0ppg, 2.4rpg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 80.0%; EuroChallenge: 3 games: 8.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0spg; left in Jan.’11, same month acquired by Utah Flash (D-League): 38 games: 10.3ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.3apg, 1.4spg, Blocks-4(2.3bpg), FGP: 55.9%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 66.7%. He spoke to German Hoops  a few hours before the 2012 Beko BBL Allstar game.

What is your impression of the 2012 Beko BBL Allstar game?

I like the festivities and the interaction is nice with the fans. It is a nice way to relax with the guys.

Germany-USA. Do the Germans have any chance?

Of course Germany has a chance. They have many great players like a Tibor Pleiss or Heiko Schaffartzik. I feel like Heiko could make 45 points tonight. Germany has great leaders and I think that this game will be very competitive!

You are taking part in the slam dunk contest. I heard that your Bonn teammate Andrej Mangold was in the gym with you helping you.

He has been my assist guy this week helping me. He was giving me ideas and I will be ready. I have some nice dunks in the work

The Telekom Baskets Bonn started at 5-0, but since then are 4-9. What have been the problems in the team?

We had some injuries after the good start. I think that we will be able to finish strong in the second half of the season. We can score with any team in the league, but our focus is on defense. Bringing in Taylor battle was a huge signing. Management has shown that they have trust in us.

Which Telekom Baskets Bonn player was the most improved in the first half of the season?

German Fabian Thuelig has been the most improved. He came into the starting lineup and has been very consistent and can knock down the three pointer. He plays in the flow and isn´t a liability on defense. He is the first in the gym and the last to go. I think that he and Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann have good chances of making the German national team.

In the Eurochallenge game against Chalon, Jared Jordan connected twice to you for ally-op dunks. Do you practice that  a lot? It seems like you could do it in your sleep.

We started practicing ally-ops in the first day of practice. When Jordan gets a rebound, he knows I will get down the floor quick and he just knows where I am and with a look of his eye, he is ready to make the pass to me.

How do you like your chances in the Eurochallenge?

I feel that we have good chances. It is always important to win your home games and steal one on the road. We beat Chalon, a team that had a 11 game winning streak and we were playing without Chris Ensminger. Other guys stepped up in the win against Chalon. We have very good chances to move on.

Did you study Marcus Camby as a kid? You both went to UMASS and like to block shots.

Camby was my favorite college player to watch as a kid. It looked so much fun seeing him flying around dunking and blocking shots. I was one meter tall at the time and never thought that I would be doing it one day. I was able to meet him 10 years later. He is a special player that is still going strong and has no signs of slowing down. Camby is similar to Ensminger who will probably play until he is 50.

Who is the best player that you played against in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

The best player was Tyreke Evans who is an oversized point guard that can do so much. Sharrond Collins and Tyrese Rice are other guys as well.

You were so near in the NBA being on the Celtics and Lakers rosters. Will a combination of stats and contacts help you get back?

I don´t feel as if the stats are so important. The NBA knows what I can do and it will be a matter of them needing me. There are so many guys in the Beko BBL that could play in the NBA. It just depends about getting the right situation. Guys like Slaughter and Tucker could be in the NBA now. You just have to find a general manager that will fall in love with you.

There are always some fairy tale basketball stories like Terrell Harris or Jon Leuer.

I played against Terrell Harris in the D-League and three years ago in the summer league with the Lakers. I couldn´t be happier and it couldn´t have happened to a better guy than Harris reaching the NBA. The same for Leuer who had a non guaranteed contract came to Europe and went to Bucks camp and got a job. He is similar to my game. He does some things better than I do, and I do some things better than he does. He is a stretch four and it is always good seeing guys make it like these two.

What was the most important thing that you learned from Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett?

Garnett was like a mentor for me, not as much as Ray Allen, but I try to emulate my game after Garnett. He plays each game as if it is his last game. I respect his preparation for every game as well. He never takes off a game and he is a true professional. The way he plays has changed how I view the game of basketball.

As a Boston Celtic fan, how difficult was it being a member of the Los Angeles Lakers?

It was tough the first five minutes, but then I got used to it. When you notice that a team believes in you, it is a lot easier to fall in love with them. It was great playing with guys like Bryant, gasol, Odom and Fischer and having a coach like Phil Jackson. Even the people who are closest to me became Laker fans.

Why isn´t Jared Jordan in the NBA?

I think with him it also has to do with the situation, but his game is suited to Europe. He is enjoying Europe and he is one of the best point guards that I have seen play in Europe. It wouldn´t surprise me if he makes a run at the NBA in the future.

Who was your favorite Celtic Larry Bird or Kevin Mchale?

Larry Bird is my alltime favorite Celtic, but Mchale and Robert Parish were something special as well.

What were the most free throws that you made in a row?

30-40.

What was your most crazy shot that you ever made?

When I was in middle school in seventh grade I was 13 and played in a 14 year old Allstar game. I hit three three pointers in a row with each new one being a few feet further away. My third three pointer was from about 45 feet. This experience has forever stuck in my mind.

How will the New England Patriots defeat the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game?

The Patriots offensive line has to give Tom Brady time in the pocket. The Patriots need to block better. If they can put up 30 points then they should reach the Super Bowl and get redemption against the New York Giants who beat them some years back in the Super Bowl. However having the 49ers in the final would be nice as well as I loved Jerry Rice and Joe Montana as a kid as well.

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

I am watching King of queens the 8th season, but I have to slow down since there are only nine seasons.

Thanks Tony for the chat.

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