John Eggleston is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Indiana that will be playing his fourth professional season and fourth in Germany and first with the MLP Academics Heidelberg. He played his first three seasons with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen helping the team move up to the German Pro A in 2013. Last season in the Pro A for Leverkusen he played 20 games: 16.3ppg, Reb-3(9.0rpg), 3.9apg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 80.9%. He started his basketball career in 2007 at Pennsylvania (NCAA) and as a senior played 28 games: 13.2ppg, 8.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 45.1%, FT: 73.5%. He was able to improve his points and rebounds each season in college. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Jack thanks for talking to German Hoops. You have been busy keeping in shape, were in Las Vegas playing basketball, but were you able to find some time this summer to get away and go somewhere and not have to think about basketball for a moment?
Yes I always make it a point to get away and try to get my mind off of basketball for a while. As much as I love the game, it’s easy to get burned out if I don’t take a little time to focus on other things.
You played three seasons with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen that are known as being a close knit basketball family. Was it difficult leaving after three seasons?
It was very difficult to leave Leverkusen, but I think it is the right move for me. I really appreciate everything the coaches, GM, fans, and especially my teammates did for me in my time there. Leverkusen will always have a special place in my heart.
You had a very extraordinary season in your first Pro A season averaging 16.3ppg, Reb-3(9.0rpg), 3.9apg. Did your injury and not making the playoffs put a little damper on your third professional season?
Last season was a pretty tough year. The injury was obviously miserable because I felt like I was letting my teammates down. Our struggles as a team were very frustrating as well.
There weren´t many Leverksuen season highlights last season, but if you had to choose one which would it be? Possibly your double double effort in the 84-83 victory against your new team MLP Academics?
That first game at home against Heidelberg was a special win for us. Goetz Twiehoff made an incredible play to get the victory on a last second shot. I’d say another highlight was winning on the road at Karlsruhe to secure our place in the Pro A for another year.
When you look back at your three seasons in Leverkusen would you say that your most special teammate was Josh Parker? What game will you always remember most about him and what is your impression of him going to play in the second division of Turkey?
Josh was probably the most talented player I played with in my three years there, but there were a lot of special teammates. I still keep in touch with some of the guys and wish them the best going forward. I’m excited to see how Josh will do in the next step of his journey in Turkey.
You played under Achim Kuzmann for three years. If you had to pick an aspect of your game where you have improved the most under his guidance what would you take?
I’d say Coach Kuczmann helped me most with my decision making. He is a very good coach who has been a presence in German basketball for over 40 years now. I have nothing but respect for him.
After a very strong Pro A season you are moving to another Pro A team with the MLP Academics Heidelberg? What were the main reasons for heading south? Didn´t some Beko BBL teams or other countries inquire about your services?
I had some interest from other countries, but I felt like Heidelberg was the best option for me going forward. They are a well run team who is in position to be successful this season. I hope to help them achieve that success.
In Leverkusen, you were the main force inside, but with Heidelberg you will be playing with American Chris Gadley. How excited are you to be having a force under the basket to take some of the dirty work from you?
I’m very excited to play with Chris. If he is fully recovered from his injury, I think he and I can make a formidable front line in the Pro A.
At Penn you improved your points and rebounds per season average each season and also continued it in your first two professional seasons in Leverkusen. Another interesting stat is that at Penn, your free throw percentage went down each season, but as a professional your free throw percentage has risen each season. Is free throw shooting for you more about repetition and practice then it is about mind and game situations? How do you explain this decrease and rise in your basketball career from the free throw line?
It’s funny that you point that out, Miles, because my free throw percentage has been a source of frustration for me the past few years. I think I am very capable of shooting over 80% from the line, but I sometimes let my head get in the way. I hope to continue my improvement in that department this season.
When looking back at the last three summers, how has your off season work out program developed? Do you see yourself doing more or changing routines? How does a 2014 summer work out day look like for Jack Eggleston?
My first two summers out of college I worked normal 9-5 office jobs, which limited my training. I decided that if I was serious about reaching my full potential I needed to focus on basketball in the summer. So the last two summers I have been in San Diego training full time. I usually am on the court 5-6 days a week and lift three times a week. My focus has become more and more on staying healthy and getting my body to the point where it can endure a long season.
Where will the journey of the Clevland Cavaliars end this season with Lebron James and co?
That’s a tough question to answer right now because we don’t know for sure if they are done making changes to their roster. I see them being a contender in the East and threatening to make a push for the Finals.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched was Enough Said.
Thanks Jack for the chat. All the best with Heidelberg.