James Washington is a 26 year old 182cm guard from St Louis that recently completed his third professional season having played for KFUM Nassjo Basket (Sweden-Basketligan): 36 games: 17.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.9apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 38.7%, FT: 83.6%, in Mar.’14 moved to VOO Wolves Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): 9 games: 13.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 36.8%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 86.1%. He started his basketball career in 2006 for W.Illinois (NCAA) where he played 36 NCAA games in two seasons. After a year at Indian Hills C, he went to Middle Tenn.St. (NCAA) in 2009 where he played until 2011. As a senior he played 32 games: 14.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 86.4%. In 2011-2012 he started his professional basketball career in Germany for TBB Trier (Germany-BBL) playing 23 games: 5.7ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 38.8%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 80.0%. IN 2012-2013 he played for BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-ProB) playing 15 games: 20.0ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 83.5%. He talked to German Hoops about basketball.
Hi James, where are you at the moment. How has your summer been?
What’s going on, I’m in St. Louis, Missouri. My summer has been really good, spent time with my family, traveled, and worked out.
You are obviously staying in shape and doing your workout programs, but how often does the Ferguson incident enter your mind when you are training? Every so often it seems like the fight against racism makes strides, but all in all examples like this show that this problem seems to be a difficult issue that will forever haunt the United States. How have you experienced the last week in St Louis with this issue?
Honestly when I go into to the gym or workouts I zone out, but when I leave it’s definitely on my mind because my mother and father’s house is only about 3-5 minutes from the crime scene and protesting grounds and I have other family members that stay even closer. But, investigation is still on going and all details have yet to be determined. So I don’t want to make it a racial issue I just want justice for Mike Brown, his family, and any other parties involved. I don’t by any means support the looting and destroying of our communities, but love how we have shown we can come together!
The summer is nearing to an end and you still are in the States while your ex teammates and friends are already in Europe preparing for the new season. I’ve heard You had 4 offers so far, but you rejected them all. Was it the money or going to a low league that enabled you to say no to these offers?
All of the offers have pretty much been from good to top leagues. My agent and I just want the best situation for myself and future all in one. Including winning, league, team, money etc.
I guess after last season where you tore up the league in Sweden and had very good stats in Belgium, you were expecting good offers this summer. Are you a little disappointed that they haven´t come?
I’ve had some pretty good offers, just waiting for the best opportunity.
Did you have any offers from Germany? I am sure you would like to play there again after having been in Trier and Leitershofen?
My agent have been In contact with a few BBL German teams, but none of those offers are from there. I tell people all the time how good the league was and how Germany reminds me of the States being so Americanized.
Players have had this experience in the past where they waited and waited for the best offer and before they knew it the new season started and they were still in the States with no team. Aren´t you getting a bit nervous that this fate could happen to you?
Naturally of course the thought runs through my mind every so often, but at the same time I trust my game, what I can bring to a team, and my agents work to land me a good job.
Lets look back on last season. You started the season at KFUM Nassjo Basket (Sweden-Basketligan): 36 games: 17.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.9apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 38.7%, FT: 83.6%. How important was it having these good stats again coming from the lower German Pro B?
I think it was very important to show what I could do not just offensively, but on both ends of the floor. Not taking anything from German Pro B level because it’s good players there too. But I needed to show I could do the same thing at a higher level, and now I’m looking forward to repeating myself again next season.
You were actually the second oldest on the team behind Torbjorn Svensson. How strange was it being the only American on the team? Were you seen automatically as the leader?
You making me feel old, but it’s not often being 25 at the time and being almost oldest on the team. But yes we had a very young team and I had a big role in Sweden. Coming from always being the youngest in Germany at TBB Trier to the leader in Sweden, helped me grow even faster and makes me feel like I went from a rookie to a veteran in one season. I was the only American for a short time in the beginning of the season before Taylor Brown got there and at the end when he left to Belgium first. Felt very different without him at times.
You played the last two months of last season with VOO Wolves Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-Ethias League) playing 9 games: 13.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 36.8%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 86.1%. You only had a 1-8 record, but what was the most important thing that you gained from that short experience?
The biggest thing I gained was experiencing the talent and speed of another top league again. The Belgium league reminds me of the athleticism and physicality of the German BBL.
You played against many solid guards like Demond Mallet, Taylor Battle or Derek Raivio all who have played in the Beko BBL. You gained self confidence I am sure, but what part of your game really was tweaked in those last two months?
I think being able to decide when to be more of a scorer or more a distributer. I led my team in scoring in Belgium also, but after watching film I noticed sometimes in certain parts of the game I needed to get the ball to certain people or certain spots on the floor.
Did you see Jimmy Mckinney this summer? He also is still unsigned. Would it be like a dream to play on the same team with him?
Of course, J Roc is a big brother to me. We workout, play pick up, and play in the pro am almost every day together. That would be crazy! We know each other’s game very well which would help out a lot. I know where to get him the ball so I would for sure average some extra assists just off him.
When you were with TBB Trier, you played together with Nate Linhart who was playing his first season in Europe. This season he will play for Euroleague team Macabbi tel Aviv. When you look back on that season, did you know that he had the game to make it this far? What did you like most about his game?
I want to say congrats to Nate for that opportunity and good luck. But looking back Nate was always the player coach Henrik couldn’t keep off the floor because he did so many things and brought so much to the table. I liked how he slashed to the basket and ran the floor to make it easier for Dru Joyce and I on fast break opportunities.
If you could describe yourself in a few sentences as to why you could help any team now how would you do it?
I am a point guard with shooting, and scoring abilities of an off guard. Son of a coach so I grew up on defense and doing what it takes to win ball games.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Watched Identity Thief yesterday.
Thanks James for the chat