Alejo Rodriguez is a 24 year old 203cm forward from the Bronx, New York. He played at Iona(NCAA) from 2006-2011 playing a total of 119 NCAA games. In his senior year he played 36 games: 6.6ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.0apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 69.9%, FT: 53.8%. Last season as a rookie, he played for the Springfield Armor (D-League): 7 games: 0.7ppg, 2.6rpg, left in Jan.’12, then joined Oviedo Club Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Silver): 5 games: 3.2ppg, 5.6rpg. He spoke to German Hoops after the 73-64 loss against the Fraport Skyliners juniors.
What was your impression of playing in the BCM gym of the Fraport Skyliners? NBA players like Alan Anderson and Carlos Arroyo have played here before.
Oh really I had no idea that those guys had played here. I had a very good impression here. I love our fan support very much. It seemed like we had more fans than Frankfurt did. We have very diehard fans and I really appreciate their support in every game.
The Dragons Rhondorf only have two Americans, but still are the best team in the PRO B south. What makes the team so potent?
I think that we have shown all season long that the team doesn´t only depend on the two Americans. The team depends on everyone. We have a very good starting five where each German gives much support. Our bench is also very good. Each guy understands their role and always step up in each game.
Did you feel added pressure in the game, because four guys were out on account of the flu?
Obviously we were missing guys, actually it was five so it did feel a lot different with our limited rotation. We had problems with fouls and our limited bench did hurt us. This did benefit Frankfurt down the stretch.
You fouled out in the third quarter and Frankfurt was able to lead comfortably in the fourth quarter having a ten point lead. What was key in the fourth quarter for Frankfurt getting the win?
Frankfurt was able to control the paint in the fourth quarter and they got open three point shots. Frankfurt played a smart and great game. With me fouling out, we couldn´t keep our game plan going, because whenever we had to give something up on the three point line or under the basket, they were able to counter.
As a rookie last season, you got experience in the D-league with Springfield and in the third league in Spain. What were the most important things that you could learn?
The D-league was great. I only played seven games, but it was my first pro experience and I learned the ropes how to take care of my body and just see that daily grind. In Spain, there was a total different style than in the States. I got my first taste of how the European game works and it helped me now in Germany, but it is still a learning process and am still learning each day.
You were born in the Bronx, but grew up in Manhattan. What was the worst thing that you experienced in the Bronx?
Well to be honest I never really had anything bad happen to me, but I did see some bad things. There are some bad parts of the Bronx, but also some good parts and the Bronx often gets a bad rap in movies. I am happy that nothing happened to my family or friends. I am also thankful that basketball kept me busy as a kid and I didn´t slip into anything bad. It is just sad what happens there. The youth of today need to be smarter.
Your teammate Geddes Robinson also comes from the Bronx. Did you know him prior to coming to Rhondorf?
We actually did. We met in high school when we were 16 or 17. We didn´t talk again until this season. It was nice coming in knowing that there was a guy that I had known before and that he was no random guy.
Last season at Oviedo(Leb Silver) you played together with Bryan Leduc. Who won a one on one in practice?
He was a great guy. I learned so much from him and he took me under his wing and showed me the ropes showing me how to live in Europe. Of course I would win a one on one, but he is a great shooter with moves inside and is a great shooter.
Your coach at Iona(NCAA) was ex NBA player Jeff Ruland who was an NBA allstar in 1984. What is the most important thing that you learned from him?
He told me that the game in the 80s was a totally different game where there was more grinding and more physical play. He said nowadays the NBA is so superstar orientated. He was a great coach and it was nice having a big man as a coach which isn´t so usual. He taught me how to be always strong on the court and use my emotion to my advantage.
Last season, you played in the D-league for the Springfield Armour. You played for Bob Mckinnon who seems like a calm coach. What could you learn from him?
Yes that is right he is calm and grows confidence into a player. He taught to always be ready no matter if your playing 30 minutes or only one minute. He also was my first professional coach and taught me how to always be professional and focus on getting a little better each day.
You played at Iona(NCAA) Who was the best player that you played against in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
There were quite a few, but if I had to name a few than I would say Evan Turner and Elton Brand who was tough to play against. I played against Brand in summer pick up games.
Did you ever meet ex Skyliner Greg Jenkins who also played at Iona?
I didn´t play with him at Iona, but practiced with him during the summers. He is quiet, but a great guy. He is a physical player that taught me to always look for things on the court. He is very dedicated to the weight room and got me to become more of a physical player and get me into the weight room.
In you last season at Iona, you had Tim Cluess as your head coach. How did he get you ready for a professional basketball career?
He taught me how to understand the offense more. I was more of a defensive player, but I learned to read plays better on offense and defense.
When you were a kid, who did you dream about being when you were on the playgrounds?
Well I started very late with basketball at age 15. I came to basketball, because of a bet where someone bet me that I couldn´t make the team, but I was the last guy picked freshman year. I always liked Tim Duncan, because of his demeanor and I love his emotion. He is also the perfect role model for kids.
Who will win the Superbowl?
The 49ers will win.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Hang Over 2.
Thanks Alejo for the chat.