Josh Parker is a 23 year old 183cm point guard from Harvey, Illinois that is playing his rookie season in Germany for PRO B team Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He played at Drake from 2007-2009 and then played for Dayton(NCAA) from 2010-1012. He played a total of 130 NCAA games. Currently he is tearing up the German PRO B. He spoke to German Hoops about his rookie season.
Josh welcome to Germany. On the court you have had no adjusting to do, but how have you adjusted to the German way of life?
Thank you I am so glad to be here! I have been adjusting to the German way of life pretty good. Germany is really Americanized and easy to adjust most of the people here speak English so it has been a smooth transition for me.
The team currently has a record of 3-4. What has been the main reasons for the 3-4 start?
It’s been some ups and downs through the season like every team and with our team we lost some very close games that could have easily went our way that was unfortunate. With a team it always take some time to get familiar with everyone and now I feel like we are getting a pretty good feel for one another and starting to play well together.
In the first seven games you are averaging 30,1ppg, 7,1apg and 3,7rpg. Have you been surprised by your total domination in the German PRO B?
I have been blessed to be able to play the way I have been playing just worked hard as I can over the Summer to improve my game and just constantly trying to get better. I really give all the credit to my team and coach. They have given me a great opportunity to play the game the way I know how to play it and it has really helped me improve through the course of my time here. So I really give them most of the credit for this start!
Does it feel like you are a man playing with little kids?
(Haha) Not at all!!! There is some great competition at this level. Players and teams come to win every night so it’s been great to be able to compete with guys that want to win and get better. I’m just like one of them trying to improve and get better each game.
How would you describe the PRO B compared to the NCAA? Is your experience in the NCAA paying dividends being able to play so well in the German PRO B?
There are some comparisons with Pro B and NCAA. Some of them include the way coaches prepare for games with the scouting reports, and practices they want to win just like the players. Also the way teams compete every night they want to win and have a chance to make the playoffs similarly to NCAA where your record reflects where you are positioned in the post season whether its NCAA, NIT, or any other post season tourneys. So there are many more comparisons but those are the main one I have. Yes playing in the NCAA has really helped me prepare myself for the Pro B. Playing against some of the top competition in the NCAA every night, practices, workouts, film etc. has really prepared for this level and I wouldn’t trade that experience for nothing.
You can light up the scoreboard, but also have a sense for setting up your teammates. Are you more a scoring point guard or more the classical point guard?
I am more of a scoring point guard that has the ability to create for my team! Growing up in Chicago a point guard always had to have the ability to score while also making his teammates better, and I feel like my game is a reflection of that.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
The strength of my game that doesn’t get noticed right away is my passing ability. People say I can shoot, handle the ball or score but doesn’t notice my passing right away. I take pride in passing the ball as I continue to grow as a player I would like for that to be noticed more also.
Bayer Giants Leverkusen head coach Achim Kuczmann has lauded you that you are one of the three best players that he has ever coached and he has coached top players. How proud does that make you to get lauded like that after such a short time in Germany?
That’s an honor to be a part of that group and to have a coach that has coached many great players, and for him to say that about me words can’t even describe the feeling it means a lot to me!
What is your relationship like to Achim Kuczmann? How has he helped you adjust to the style in Germany and your game?
Our relationship is very close! Just the short time I have been here he have really been an intricate part in my success, helping me adjust to the style of play, telling me what I need to do to get better every day, and just being there for me not only on the court but off the court as well and I’m just really blessed to have a coach like him!
There is an interesting parallel between you and ex teammate Josh Young of Drake. He played in Leverkusen two season ago and had great stats and made the jump to the Beko BBL. Is it too early to think about making a jump like this?
Playing in the BBL is definitely a goal that I have for myself but right now I’m just focused on getting better, making my team better, and reaching the goals we have as a team.
On what things do you still need to improve on your game?
I feel like I still need to improve on my decision making at times and I always want to improve on the defensive side of the ball. I feel like these two areas will really help improve my game.
To what NBA player would you describe your game too?
I would describe my game to Derrick Rose. I watch him all the time we play the same type of style and both are from Chicago of course. I just love the way he can score while also getting his teammates involved, and how he keep defenses honest. He is a great player.
You played at Drake. What are your fondest memories of Josh Young? What did you respect most about him?
I have a lot of fond memories of Josh good and bad (haha) I’m just kidding. Josh is great guy that works hard no matter what the day is. He is always trying to improve and that’s what really brought us close. One of my favorite memories of him was it was one game I don’t remember against who but me and Josh was going back and forth scoring it was crazy. The announcer would stumble over his words because he kept saying Josh Young for three then next Josh Parker and it kept going back and forth so he just started saying the Josh’s are going to work (haha) it was funny but great! So I just respected how he handles himself on and off the court he is one of a kind.
Who wins a three point shooting contest in practice if you were to have one, you or sharp shooting German Mathias Goddek?
I would say me of course but Matthias would say that same thing (haha) it’s funny because every time we are in practice and we are doing shooting drills him and I always compete against each other to see who makes the most every time so it’s good. Matthias can really shoot it’s amazing I’m glad I have him on my team!!
Who was the best player that you played against in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
The best player that I played against was Derrick Rose I didn’t play him in the NCAA but I played him multiple times in high school so I have to say him.
You played the last two seasons at Dayton. Brian Roberts who plays for the Hornets played there some years ago. What stories do you remember hearing about him at Dayton?
There were a lot of stories that I heard about B Rob he can really play!! I heard that there was barely anyone that could stop him in college. I played against him in pick up games in the summers he would always come back and play with us so I know him really well. He is a great guy and player.
What have been the most free throws that you have made in a row without missing in practice?’
I have made 80 free throws in a row before in practice at Dayton.
What has been your most crazy shot that you have made in your career?
The craziest shot I have ever made was a one handed throw from the opposite free throw line of my basket at the buzzer it was crazy I couldn’t believe I had made it.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVD I saw was the Ultimate Micheal Jordan film watched it with some of my teammates.
Thanks Josh for the chat.