Keith Waleskowski is a 32 year old 204cm forward that recently announced his retirement. He played in Germany in his last season for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven playing 34 games averaging 6,7ppg and 3,9rpg while averaging 15,6 minutes per game. He played at Dayton from 2000-2004. In hiss enior year, he played 32 games: 13.2ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.9apg. He turned professional in 2004 playing for Farho Gijon (Spain-LEB1): 34 games: 14.7ppg, Reb-3(9.8rpg), 1.0spg, 2FGP: 56.1%, 3FGP: 35.8%. He would play four more years in Spain for teams like Polaris World Murcia , Etosa Alicante and Caja Rural Melilla. He then played in Italy from 2009-2012 for Fileni Bpa Jesi and for Tezenis Verona (Italy-Lega2) his last two years. He spoke to German Hoops about his ex teammate Jacob Burtschi.
Marius Nolte is the captain of Fraport Skyliners, but how important will the captain experience of Burtschi be which he had with Bremerhaven helping the Fraport Skyliners?
Jake’s experience as a leader will be very beneficial for the Fraport Skyliners. He won’t officially be wearing the captain’s “C” but will be a leader on the court and in the locker room. It is always good for a team to have multiple leaders and players that know when to lead by example, and when to be more vocal. Jake has that ability to differentiate and get the most out of his teammates that are also willing to put forth the team effort.
Last season Burtschi was captain of the Eisbaeren. How did you see the effort of Burtschi leading a team that obviously had internal problems?
Obviously there were many things that went on within our team that lead to our up and down results, but if the whole team was able to get on the same page, and work for the same team goals, I think the results would have been better. Jake did his best to motivate when it was needed, nurture, teach, work, relax, and making it a worthwhile experience for everyone that was open to it. He never put himself or his own personal accolades above the team, in fact he did quite the opposite. He would rather get a win than better stats than everyone else in a loss. I’m n ot saying Jake was the perfect leader, but I thought he did a pretty good job and just wish that everyone else followed along.
What is your fondest memory of him on the court with Bremerhaven and what will you never forget about his personality?
My fondest memory is just how hard he played and how much he hustled. Most players like that lose a little bit of that edge after college because the coaches aren’t pushing them as hard. Jake constantly did the little things that don’t always show up on the stat sheet. I remember almost every time he came to the bench during a time out, he was sucking wind pretty bad because of how hard he worked.
Where would you rate his smile and laugh with the all time greats in that category?
He could light up a room that is for sure. His smile and laugh were infectious and made the daily grind a little bit easier.
With the Fraport Skyliners he will share a position with young German Danilo Barthel. Last season BBL saw his crashing dunks and he proved that white men can jump. What role with Jake play in movie white men can jump?
Jake actually missed numerous dunks this year, so if the director wants to keep his job he should not cast Jake in that movie. Or he could cast him as the sideshow friend that just talks trash and acts like a fool the whole movie and gets laughs out of everyone. He is more like Jackie Moon(played by Will Ferrell) in Semi-pro.
What is a hidden strength in game of Jacob Burtschi?
I don’t think he is hiding anything. What you see is what you get. Kid can shoot the lights out, and everything else he is going to work harder than his opponent to get. He earns every last bit of what he gets on the court.
If you played a sports competition against him with title Oklahoma vs Ohio who would win and how would you beat him at various sports disciplines?
Ohio would win, hands down. I would beat him at everything because I am crafty and have all the vet moves and I reek of so much awesomeness. Jake is the king of suckitude when it comes to various sports disciplines while I am multi-talented.
Why is he the perfect top gun type of basketball player for any team. He was in air force and would be perfect air force top gun pilot
It’s funny you say that because if you slap a pair of aviators on him he looks exactly like Iceman. I think he even tried to call himself that for awhile, but we didn’t give him that much credit because he is afraid of flying.
It seems like the Fraport Skyliners might have difficulty having players to be able to decide a game individually. Please explain why Burtschi is a consistent scorer and could be the go to guy for Frankfurt?
Jake is the type of player that lets the game come to him. He doesn’t force anything when it isn’t there. When he is open, he shoots and at a high percentage. But he can also drive and plays well in transition. And he is the type of player and person to try and get everyone involved, raising the level of the team performance. Like I have said before, for Jake it isnt all about personal stats, it is more about team results and he realizes that he can’t do it all himself and having everyone do their part is better.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Rookie of the year.
Thanks Keith for the chat.