John Bynum Retires: An Exclusive Interview

John Bynum is a 35 year old 191 cm guard from Visalia California that recently announced his retirement from professional basketball. He played last season for TBB Trier averaging   6.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 39.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 63.6%. He played this season in the German Pro A for BV Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA) playing 21 games avergaing 11,8ppg, 5,2rpg and 3,6apg. He was a good fighter, fast and good in offensive playing. He was a great athlete who could shoot the ball with consistency from 3 and finish with authority on the break. He was a tremendous defender on the ball. He played college basketball at College of the Sequoias Junior College:from 1996-1998 and then transferred to Metropolitan St. (NCAA2): and played there from 1998-2000. He started his professional basketball career in 2001 in the Uk for the Solent Stars (United Kingdom-NBLConf): 31 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assist. In 2002-2003, came his first tour of duty in Germany for BSG Grevenbroich (Germany-Regionalliga): 24.7ppg, 9.2rpg, 6.7apg, 3.5spg. In 2003-2004, he played for the Ulriken Eagles (Norway-BNLO): Regular Season: 14 games: 20,1ppg, 8,1rpg, 2,5apg, 2,9spg, 0,4bpg.In 2004-2005, he was back in Germany playing for BSG Grevenbroich (Germany-2. can Bundesliga): 30 games: Score-5(26.0ppg), 7.7rpg, Ast-4(5.4apg), 1.7spg, 2FGP: 55.5%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 63.6%. In 2005-2006, he played for InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-A1): only pre-season, then joined COOCOON Baskets Weiden (Germany-2.Bundesliga, starting five): 8 games: 15.6ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.0apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 51%, left in Jan.’06 and later that month signed at Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 21 games: 7.8ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.8apg, 2FGP: 56.5%. In 2006-2007, he played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 31 games: 5.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 43.1%, 3FGP: 25.0%, FT: 55.9%. In 2007-2008, he played for USC Heidelberg (Germany-ProA, starting five): 14 games: 14.4ppg, 4.4rpg, Assists-5(4.6apg), 2.3spg, 2FGP: 54%, 3FGP: 27.3%, FT: 58.5%, left in Jan.’08 due to shoulder injury, in Feb.’08 moved to Digibu Baskets Paderborn (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 13 games: 6.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.4apg, 2FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 70.0%. In 2009-2010, he played in the PRO A for Proveo Merlins Crailsheim (Germany-ProA, starting five): 27 games: 16.9ppg, 7.1rpg, Assists-3(5.4apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 62.8%.  Last season with TBB Trier, he played  35 games: 6.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 64.3%. He sat down with German Hoops talking about his basketball career.

The season isn´t even over and you and Chemnitz are going separate ways. A very uncharachteristic thing for you since you always finish the season. Why did the 2012-2013 season come to an abrupt end now?

Yea this is the first time that anything like this had happened in my career and it feels weird but when you don’t see eye to eye with certain people about certain things then someone has to go and with 8 weeks left in a season in a playoff race they did what they had to do and someone had to be blamed.

Your 35 now. Is Chemnitz the end of a long basketball career or will you hang on another year?

Yes this year was mentally draining to be honest and I don’t want to experience anything like this so I can honestly say that this was it. I had a great run and a long career and met many great people and developed a lot of friendships as well.

You were averaging 31 minutes for Chemnitz and had solid stats with 11,8ppg, 5,2rpg, 3,6apg and 1,5spg. You were one of the important contributers on the team, but was there no way how one could of soothed over any differences between you and others?

I honestly always felt I could do more and that’s not a jab at anyone but it was a tough situation to come into. I wasnt able to showcase my strengths on a consistent basis throughout the season. I was trying to fit in most the season instead of doing things that I did well throughout my career.

Your coach Felix Schreier is 23 and you 35. Was the age difference the biggest problem in your relationship with him?

I don’t think the age difference was the problem. Felix is a great coach with a lot of potential and a huge upside but I am an outspoken person and very emotional and some people handle it better than others. I have always said what other people think but don’t want to say it because they are scared to say it.

You played for 11 professional teams and experienced much, but what were you able to learn from your time in Chemnitz and was it beneficial going through this at age 35 then maybe at age 25?

The one thing that I take from the experience is that you have to look closer into situations before you get involved in them. It isn’t always about playing basketball it is about feeling comfortable and when your not comfortable then it is tough maximizing your potential and I am thankful that Chemnitz took a chance on me and believed in me and it is an experience that I will always remember in a lot of positive ways.

18 year old German Kilian Leuteritz got into some games. How has he developed in the last six months and where do you see him in 5 years?

Killian has developed and I think he just has to develop that killer instinct and just believe in his abilities. As far as where do I see him in five years that will be up to him and what he wants to do with his basketball career.

Chemnitz is currently in seventh place with a record of 11-11. Is the competitiveness of the PRO A a reason why Chemnitz isn´t better than 500 now?

In my eyes Chemnitz is a better team that .500. I believed we were under achieving. We have a great scorer with ishi, and the best defensive and rebounding big man in the league with Donald Lawson but anyone can beat anyone in pro A and in my eyes not one team stands out no matter the record. It’s about winning on the road and if you can’t get that done then you will be around .500.

You turned professional in 2001 and in your 12 year professional career, you played in Germany for 10 seasons. Could one say that you’re a Germany lover?

I guess I just never wanted to leave. I left Germany after 04-05 and had a terrible experience in Cyprus and after that I just never really wanted to experience anything like that again and just got used to being here and was scared to make a move. I really enjoyed Germany and it is actually home away from home.

Was it just the luck of getting jobs in Germany, or did you really get a soft spot for Germany over time?

Well I for sure got used to things here in Germany and it helps when people know you around different leagues and it was easier to get jobs. I for sure developed a soft spot for Germany, I mean how many people can say your from California and lived in a foreign country for such a long time.

After tearing up the Regionaliga in 2002-2003 with BSG Grevenbroich, did you ever dream that you would have such a long professional career?

I had no idea at that time it was just important for me to keep playing and I played under a great coach Raphael Wilder who gave me a shot and also showed a lot of confidence in me where I could actually play my style and I just took advantage of it and just rode it till the wheels fell off. Without him I wouldn’t have been able to make the move up to a higher level.

After some seasons in the Regionaliga and second league, you made the jump to the BBL in 2005 with Bremerhaven and played two seasons there. What was your wake up call to the BBL on the court?

I think it never really hit me until I saw the size of the crowds. I mean we play in front of crowds in the states but after playing in some places where the gyms had volleyball lines all over it actually felt good to see wooden floors and great size arenas and to actually play with everyone who was a professional not just doing it for a hobby.

You played with Judson Wallace in his first two years after coming from Princeton. Did you ever think that he would develop into a top European player playing now for FC Barcelona?

Yes I did. Jud had a huge upside and he was always working on his game. He was a very versatile player that could do a lot on the court. I am glad to see him doing well and it was a good time playing with him in Bremerhaven.

In 2007-2008, you played for the Paderborn Baskets. You played with a lot of very talented guys there. How competitive was the head to head play with Tim Black in practice?

We had a great team in Paderborn. Playing along side guys like Nathan Peavy, Steve Esterkamp, Malik Moore, and Tim Black. I came late and the guys accepted me from day one. Playing with Tim was a great experience, I learned a lot from the time there and It improved my defense for sure having to guard an explosive offensive player like that every day in practice. I also appreciate the chance that Doug Spradley gave me as well.

You sat out the 2008-2009 season because you wanted to start a business. Were you sick of basketball?

I was a little burned out to be honest and wanted to try something different so a buddy and I from home started a youth basketball developmental program (B3 Elite) but after a year or so I began to miss basketball and wanted to get back overseas.

What prompted you to come back to Europe and make a comeback?

Well after coaching my AAU team I just missed being out there and wasn’t ready to give it up. I had a great group of kids that I coached and I just had that fire again and felt like I could still play.

After a season in Crailsheim, you got another chance to play in the Beko BBL for TBB Trier. How thrilled were to get another chance at 32 knowing that you still had what it took to play at the top level?

It was great just to have an opportunity to continue my career. I didnt really look at my age but mostly I was thrilled to play for a great coach as well for Henrik Rödl and to try and build a program for Trier as well.

How was your relationship with Henrik Rodl? I always had the feeling that you guys understood each other really well.

The relationship was good, we had a great understanding my first season really well and he is a great coach and I respect his coaching abilities on the court. He tells you what he expects and gets the best out of his players. Off the court he is great and if I needed anything I’m sure he would go out of his way to make sure he could help any possible way he could.

Nate Linhart is having a great season. Will he make the step to a top team in Spain or Italy in the future?

I think sky is the limit for Nate because he is versatile as well. He can defend and finds way to get to the basket and finish around bigger defenders. He can play at a high level and he will get the chance to in my eyes.

What is the most amazing thing that you ever saw Maik Zirbes do on the court with TBB Trier?

Maik is a talented player but one thing that stands out was a block that he had in Bonn to preserve a win on the road in my first year there. I think that was his coming out party and his confidence shot through the roof after that game.

Who was the toughest player that you played against in the Beko BBL?

I think the toughest player was Bobby Brown or Doron Perkins.

What would you like to have fans remember John Bynum for on the court?

I just want fans to remember as a guy who had a good time on the court and loved to compete. I have a couple of personalities but at the same time just someone who liked to win and hated to lose.

You would like to get into coaching. Who is your coaching role model?

Yes I would like to get into coaching so if anyone is looking for a coach next season find me lol. But yes my role model as a coach has to be my college coach and current coach of the Charlotte bobcats Mike Dunlap. I learned so much from him at a young age on and off the court and he is a great role model not just for basketball but in the game of life as well.

What is the most important thing that you learned from Henrik Rodl that you might want to incorporate into your coaching in the future?

I think honesty and getting the most out of your players. He has a great way of communicating with his players and like I said getting people on the same page and his fierce competitive attitude as well.

Would you like to coach in Germany or go back to the States?

I actually would like to stay in Germany to coach. I really don’t want to coach college basketball in the states and would like to stay in the pro game.

Will the Denver Nuggets ever win an NBA title in your lifetime?

Yes the Nuggets will win a NBA title in my lifetime. If people keep slipping on them it might happen this season… Lol

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

The last DVD I saw was he got game with Denzel Washington and Ray Allen.

Thanks John for the chat.

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