Jamie Stewart is a 22 year old 6´5 guard from Detroit. He started his basketball career at Henry Ford CC (JUCO) in 2009. He then played two years at Montana State(NCAA). As a senior he played 10 games: 10.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 67.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Jamie thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and what are your new years resolutions for 2014?
My New Years resolution is simple; just to become a better person, better then I was last year. After that, everything else will fall into place.
The first half of the 2013-2104 professional basketball season is over and your still without a team. How tough has it been not being on a team and just sitting at home seeing your ex teammates balling in college or somewhere on the professional level?
It’s been real tough! Luckily I have a great support system around me, to get through the tough times. Its one of the toughest things I ever had to deal with! Being without something you love the most, and knowing that you have so much to offer a team (from a basketball standpoint) but adversity builds character. I have a lot of friends playing professional ball right now and I’m living my dream vicariously through them for now. Knowing that my time will come.
How tough has the search been for you? Have you had any offers at all, or just not thought that they were good situations for you?
The search has been very difficult for me, personally. It’s like I’m being blackballed, marginalized or something (laughing lol). When you look at my CV it brings up red flags. But it’s been so tough because of what happened the last two seasons at MSU, which I only have myself to blame. I’ve had numerous coaches and GMs tell me that is why they can’t offer me a contract because I played in only 23 games in two years, which I feel, I contributed decently in that time, especially under certain circumstances. Also, I had some of the best agencies tell me that, they couldn’t represent me for basically the same reasons. So it’s very tough and disheartening being told no, over and over again. But I’m a competitor and a fighter, so I’m going to keep fighting.
There are quite a few leagues in the States. The lower ones don´t pay well, but wouldn´t this route be a good start for you just to get your foot through the door and being able to get your first experience as a professional?
I’ve had a lot of ABA, PBL and other minor league teams contact me throughout the year that I passed on, because it wasn’t worth not finishing my degree. I actually had an offer this summer to play in South America, but I felt it wasn’t the best situation for me and my career and so I enrolled back in school at Montana State. I just finished up the semester with one of my highest GPA’s of my collegiate career, so I’m very proud of that accomplishment.
However Europe is a place where the pay is better and you can get a glimpse of other cultures as well. Do you have any friends playing in Europe and if you do what stories have they told you about their situations?
I have a lot of friends and former teammates playing in Europe right now, so I get mixed reviews from different people, all the time. I hear it’s great – then I hear it’s bad, I hear a lot of different things, but the only way to find out, is for myself! Certain things and places work and doesn’t work for different people. I’m from Detroit though, and we feel, if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere! Just give me a basketball, I’ll be fine.
How have you been staying in shape this season? How does a normal workout day look like for you? What do you do on the court and in the gym to stay in best shape?
I changed my diet and I eat a lot healthier now. I train with our strength and conditioning coach – Coach Ramirez everyday here at the University. A normal workout day for me is; getting up early, eating a big breakfast and drinking a lot of water before I weigh in (laughing lol) – first we start with stretching and warm up drills (hurdles, jump roping, progressions) next we hit the court for speed and agility work (ladders, sprints, cone drills) after that, back to the weight room for my plyometrics routine then I lift and do whatever is on my workout card for the day. After that, I drink a protein shake and we hit the court again for conditioning. This usually takes about two hours. Then I go get food, come back about 2hrs later and do ball handling drills and shooting. So this takes about 5hrs out of my day combined then it’s rest, eat, sleep and get ready to go back at it tomorrow.
After having a standout high school career at Clarenceville where you were A McDonald’s All-America nominee who was Class B All-State selection as a junior and senior, winning conference MVP honors each season, you finished your career as Clarenceville’s all-time scoring leader averaged 18 points and six rebounds a game as a sophomore, 22 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals as a junior, 28.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals a game as a senior. Were you disappointed that you started your college career at a Juco school at Henry Ford?
I was disappointed in a sense that, I wasn’t able to go D1 right after high school. I struggled with academics my freshmen and sophomore year of high school because injuries and surgeries kept me out of class for a lot of the school year. So making up assignments, not being in class lectures and such was hard to juggle. And I ended up not passing the NCAA Clearinghouse, which is the reason I ended up in JUCO. But JUCO was a great experience for me! I don’t regret it at all. I had some fun times, with some of the best people I’ve ever met. We won a lot and was a Top 5 program in the country those two years. So I’ll say it was quite successful.
You were a two-year standout at Henry Ford, earning NJCAA All-America and all-region honors each season averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists a game as a sophomore, 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds a game as a freshman. How important was this experience taking a step back and being able to show that you have the talent for the next level?
I don’t think it was ever a question about my talent level. Everyone knew I was extremely talented, rankings don’t mean much to me, but I was rated the #1 shooting guard in that 09 class in Michigan on some sites, but it was other facts that they weren’t so sure about. I was being recruited by some high major programs, but mostly mid majors but I didn’t pass the Clearinghouse a few times and it just didn’t work out. But if it did work out then I’d probably would have chosen to go to UCF (University of Central Florida) out of high school.
You played two seasons at Montana State, but had to leave twice before the end of the season. The first time it was due to academics and the second time there was no reason stated. Are you a tough character to deal with? How were you able to deal with these experiences?
That’s the exact reason! Like I said, I had numerous teams tell me that, that was the reason why. Otherwise, I’d be finishing my rookie season right now. But things happen, people make poor choices and those are the mistakes and choices that we have to deal with forever. I just hope that a team accept me for what I can do on the court. What I can bring to a team and not base my career on what happened in the past. I’m just waiting on a team to present me with that opportunity. I take it to heart that I’m not signed right now. In my mind, I feel that teams think that I’m not good enough to take a low risk on. So I work extremely hard everyday, because of the way I’m wired, and if someone tell me that I’m not good enough or says no, then I’m going to work so hard where they can’t deny me no longer. Honestly, I am tough to deal with. With my IQ of the game, the way I over analyze situations, and my demeanor sometimes land me in the Doghouse. I’m very expressive and opinionated and if I feel something isn’t working, not going to help us win games and etc. Then I am going to express my feelings. Sometimes I wish I could just shut up, but it happens subconsciously, about time I realize the situation then it’s too late. I demand a lot of myself and teammates, especially if I see something good within them, so I maybe push them to the limit. I aspire to be a coach one day, so I guess that’s the coach inside of me. Luckily in the past I had great coaching. Coaches that overshadowed my personality, and understood me as a player and a person. I believe that players/coach relationship is always key. But I learned to tone my game down a lot. I learned that everyone has different personalities and I have to learn to adjust to them. I’m learning as I go forward, learning different experiences, I’m nowhere near perfect.
You are a very good ball handler, but what other strength do you have in your game on the court?
As far as strengths go, I would say, attacking and finishing at the basket, scoring, good rebounder for the guard position, drawing fouls, mid range shot, pick n roll and just being put in isolation situations. Because I feel one on one for the most part, I’m going to get the better of my opponent.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
Is that I make my teammates better. I put them in positions where it make their jobs easier. That I’m a all around player, it’s not just about scoring for me anymore as it was in high school. Now I like to assist, rebound, defend the opposing teams best perimeter players. I want fans, coaches and myself to say I did a little bit of everything on the floor tonight. A ideal stat line for me, would be something along the lines of: 16pts, 8rebs, 6ast, 2stls and a blk and a win of course.
How important was teammate Christian Moon who was also your teammate at Henry Ford? What were you able to learn from him on the court?
Moon was great! On the court we complimented each other because he spread the floor while I attack and it opens up the lane because defenders had to stay tight on him because of his shooting ability and range. Then If defenders doubled or sagged off then I could kick it to him and I knew the shot was good. But more importantly – more important than on the court. He helped me be a better person off the court! We were roommates and been together for 4 years so I saw how he went about everyday life and I learned life long lessons from him. He was humble, charismatic, never too high or never too low, quiet and let his actions speak. I saw how he interacted with people and he was well liked. He’s a great dude.
If you could sell your self as a basketball player to any team now as to why you would help them right away, how would you describe yourself as a player and person?
If I could sell myself as a basketball player right now, the one word I would use to describe myself is: Hungry!! I’m starving to get back on the court and compete! Willing to go through extreme measures to get that opportunity and prove myself once more! The two things I have the most and is worth more than any skill set! Is heart and toughness! Other than my good size at the shooting guard/point guard spot, scoring ability, jumping ability, ball handling, attacking ability, and passing ability. I have the heart and desire to compete and be the best player that I can potentially be, because I know I’m not there just yet. I’m taking mental notes of any and everyone who told me no. I have something to prove!
What basketball dreams do you have as a basketball player?
I think, obviously every basketball player has dreams of playing in the NBA. But that is so far-fetched for me right now. I want to play at the highest level that I can possibly play and provide for my family. If I never get that opportunity to play professionally and D1 was the highest level that I could play then, I would have to call it a career and start other endeavors.
Who would win a one on one in practice you or Christian Moon?
Lol. I would destroy him. He’s too little. The score would look something like 11 to 4.
Who was the best player that you had to defend in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
I don’t even know. That’s a tough one. I had to guard so many great players over the years, in real games and pick up games that it’s hard for me to even remember. I will tell you one thing though; if they got the better of me that day then it made me work on my game endlessly the next day!
Will the Detroit Lions ever become a winning team in your lifetime?
Lol that’s funny man. I don’t know. I think they have all of the right pieces and should have made a run these last few years, I guess it’s just a matter of putting it all together. I’m a Patriots/Tom Brady fan though.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched was Training Day. I watch that almost every night. Denzel and Martin Lawerence are my favorite actors.
Thanks Jamie for the chat.