Isaiah Swann is a 26 year old 188cm guard from Germantown, Maryland that is playing his first season in Germany for ratiopharm Ulm. He is an athletic, left-handed point guard who is capable of putting up big numbers. He played at Florida State from 2004-2008 and in his senior year played 24 games: 11.8ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3Pts: 38.8%, FT: 84.0%. In his rookie season in 2008, he played for three teams including Aget Imola (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 15 games: 13.6ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.1apg, 3.1spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 71.9%; left in Jan.’09, in Feb.’09 moved to Harem Scafati (Italy-Lega2): 1 game: 4pts, 1reb, 2steals, 1block; in March ’09 signed at Altshuler Saham Galil Gilboa (Israel-Premier League): 13 games: 7.3ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 38.7%, 3PT-3(46.3%), FT: 87.5%. In 2009-2010, he played for Altshuler Saham Galil Gilboa (Israel-Premier League): 27 games: 8.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 41.5%, 3PT: 42.7%, FT: 81.5%. Last season, he played for Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 3 games: 7.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.7apg, in Dec.’10 moved to Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Premier League, starting five): 24 games: 12.7ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 84.1%. He was Israeli Premier League Champion in 2010. He spoke with German Hoops about basketball.
How much of a luxury is it to have three strong point guards with Per Guenther, Tommy Mason-Griffin and yourself?
It is a very unique situation. We can all play the position one and two. We can create for ourselves and for each other as well as for our teammate. Most teams that I have seen have one or two point guards so having our situation is a big help.
What was it like playing against ex NBA player Jamison Brewer?
It was nice playing against Jamie that is what I called him back in the day. I played at the same high school along with other players like James White and Demarcus Johnson. I watched him play back then and he was always a great point guard. He can find other players like no other. He doesn´t score much. But he is always finding his teammates. It was good seeing him and it was the first time that I played against him.
What were the main reasons for the fast start of ratiopharm Ulm this season?
We play for each other and there is never one player that wants to do it all himself. Every player knows how to do his part and we never give up. Each guy is a competitor and nobody on this team likes to lose including coach.
Where did the strong nerves come from early in season as you won a number of close games?
I think that it has to do with experience. We know that each guy has to step it up in crunch time and each guy accepts it. We fight until the end and you can never count out ratiopharm Ulm.
How tough was it playing the first seven of nine games on the road?
It reminds back when I played in the ACC. It was always tough to win on the road. We knew early on that we would start with many road games because our new arena was being built so we had to be up to the challenge. We started extra early in the pre season and really got ready for adversity.
How quickly did you get used to the small Kuhberg gym which is like night and day when comparing it to the Donald Tucker center at Florida State where you played that sat 12,200?
We didn´t always fill the stands at Florida State, but we do at Ulm. I like playing in the Kuhberg gym. The fans are great and give a lot of support.
You are playing the first time for a German coach with Thorsten Leibenath. How have you gotten used to his style?
Leibenath is our style. It fits the team perfect. He was able to find the right group of guys that fit his system best. He is a great coach that is young and he wants to win. He pushes us hard, but at the same time knows when to have fun. But when it comes down to business then he is all business.
What are the advantages of having you and Per Guenther on the floor at the same time?
We both create. I play more the two position. When I am on ball screens, I can make decisions. Per is the same in which he can score and pass.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I would say my passing. Most people see me as a scorer, but I think that I can do it all. I think I am unique because even though I play more the two, my pg qualities help me make good decisions at that position.
Which Ulm players have impressed you the most this season so far?
Mason-Griffin and Bryant. Tommy does so much that helps us. When he stops his man then he pushes the ball up and is unstoppable on transition. Bryant is a beast with soft hands. He rebounds so well and is just dominant at his position.
If you could take a quality from David Holstons game what would you chose?
He is so fearless. He will go to the cup time in and time out get banged up, but always come back. He always suprises you. He is a great talent.
You are from Maryland. How was your childhood?
I grew up with my mom and sister. My childhood was all about basketball. All what I wanted to do was play basketball. That also motivated to get me through school. My mom worked 2-3 jobs and helped me and my sister get through life. Now I do what I can to help her.
Who were your NBA idols as a kid?
I liked Magic Johnson who could do it all and play all five positions and Isiah Thomas who was unstoppable. They are both competitors and I think that is where I got my competiveness. They both hated to lose just like me.
What will you remember most from the Florida State-Florida rivalry?
We both hated each other. We didn´t know each other, but you just had to hate the other. It was nothing personal, but as soon as it was game time we fought to win. We beat them a few times. It was always like a back board brawl.
You played together with top players Al Thornton, Alexander Johnson, Von Wafer and Tony Douglas at Florida State. With what player did you get along best with?
Al Thornton and I were very close. He was always joking around and kept the fun going on the team. We still keep in touch and I also had a good relationship with Tony Douglas. I visited him last season.
What was the most crazy thing that you saw Al Thornton do on the court?#
When he scored 45 points at Miami. He hit like 80% of his shots. It was as if Michael Jordan hit for 50 points.
You played three seasons in Israel. Would you back and play there if you could some day?
Sure I would go back if I got the right situation. I was very successful there going to three Final 4s and winning one title.
What do you like most about Ulm?
Ulm is quiet and not to big and too small. It makes me feel good getting support of the fans when you walk around town and get recognized.
What were the most free throws that you made in a row in a practice?
What was your most crazy shot that you made in a game?
It was this season at Bamberg. It was an isolation play and Tibor Pleiss was guarding me on the wing. The shot clock was running down and suddenly I looked at the clock and there were two seconds remaining and I just flung the ball and it went in. The Bamberg crowd was silent.
Who wins a one on one, you or Per Guenther?
If we were too play, I would get him.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Horrible Boses with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman.
Thanks Isaiah for the chat.
Swann was great in Israel, hope he comes back someday!!!!