Jason Boone is a 29 year old 198cm power forward/center from Sugar Loaf, New York That is playing this season for Torku Selcuk Universitesi Konya (Turkey-TBL) He played three seasons with the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and last season played 28 games averaging 8,4ppg and 4,1rpg. He played three seasons for BG Goettingen. He played at New York University(NCAA 3) from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 28 games averaging 14.1ppg, 9.6rpg, 2.4bpg, 2.9apg, FG: 63.0%, FT: 64.3%. In 2007-2008, he played at Bernau(Regionalliga) before making the jump up three leagues to MEG Goettingen. In 2008-2009, he averaged 4.4ppg, 4.0rpg, FG: 53.7. In 2009-2010, he won the Eurochallenge playing EuroChallenge: 16 games: 10.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 53.8%; German League: 35 games: 9.1ppg, 6.1rpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 55.9%. He spoke to German Hoops about his new basketball experience in Turkey.
Jason thanks for talking to German Hoops You are playing your first season in Turkey for after 7 seasons in Germany. How strange was it leaving a country that was like a second home for you?
The decision to leave Germany didn’t come easy. I took a lot of time weighing the pros and cons. But I’ve always been one that needs to break out of my comfort zone to grow as a person. And that was definitely something I was going to have to do this year.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you on and off the court? Is English as widely known around the city as it was in rural Germany in places like Goettingen and Wurzburg?
Basketball is basketball. On the court the only real adjustment has been in the playing style of our head coach. He demands more of me than any other coach I’ve ever played for and his excitement about the game of basketball is contagious. Off the court, Konya is very different from anywhere I’ve ever lived. The biggest difference from Germany however is the traffic rules. Or lack thereof. It’s a free-for-all out here in these streets.
You are 29 years old and in your 8th season. Depending on who you talk to being in your prime can range from 23-27 years of age. Where do you see your self basketball wise now at age 29. Are you in your prime now?
I still feel like I can be a very efficient player out on the court. My knowledge of the game is higher than it’s ever been and I still can rely on speed and athleticism when I need to. Staying healthy is the key, but if I can manage that, I can see myself at the top of my game for a few more years.
How thrilled are you to be able to make this new basketball experience in Turkey. Without having played all the teams yet, but looking at the top Turkish teams of Efes, Besiktas, Galatasaray and Ulker where do you feel is more talent stacked among these teams and the top 4 in Germany?
I’m just excited to be able to play basketball every day. Far too often people don’t appreciate this career until it’s all over. I don’t want to be one of those guys. Like you said, I haven’t played against many Turkish teams yet but I got to watch a lot of them play during the Turkish Cup. And I can definitely say, without any doubt, that Turkey is one of the best, if not, the best league in Europe this year.
After playing mostly in Germany with Americans and Germans, now your playing with mostly Americans and Turkish players. What has been your experience playing for Torku Selcuk Universitesi Konya (Turkey-TBL)? How is the talent level for Turkish players?
We rely on our imports for a lot of minutes and production but the Turkish players that we have are extremely talented and hard working. We have a veteran group of smart players and it’s evident by how quickly we’ve gelled this season.
After three games you are averaging 8,3ppg and 3,3rpg. What exactly is your role on the team. You come off the bench for bangers like Sean Williams and RT Guinn.
My job duties haven’t changed much from my days in Germany. Bringing a sense of toughness on defense and a high efficiency on offense. I’m also playing minutes at the PF this year so I’ve had to really focus on defensive principles I wasn’t used to.
In the 88-81 win against Tofas you played against Dashaun Wood who played many years in the Beko BBL and played against you? The 2011 BBL MVP had 27 points. Is this a league that is suited for his game and could he be a scoring leader in the TBL?
He’s a very capable scorer but we were able to limit him getting other players involved and it worked to our advantage. This league is full of very good point guards so he’s going to have his hands full on a nightly basis. He won’t lead this league in scoring but he’ll have, on paper, a very good year.
Your teammate Sean Williams has been in beast mode so far averaging 14,7ppg and 11,0rpg. He made it into the NBA early and since then has been in Europe and always trying to get back. His work ethic has been questionable at times. Do you think that he has matured mentally and with his play with time and experience?
Sean is an incredible talent. Playing against him every day in practice, I’ve gotten to see his ability to take over on offense and his knack for perfect timing on defense. I don’t have an “immature Sean” to compare him to but like I’ve stated before, we have a veteran group of guys so we haven’t had to deal with any problems you run into with younger or immature players.
When Troy DeVries was a rookie with BG Karlsruhe in 2005, you were a junior at New York university. He has been a real warrior playing in 6 countries and even played in the (Spain-Liga Endesa). He seems to have gotten better with age. Is he a good example of how constant hard work is essential for having a long and successful career?
I can’t say enough about Troy. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever played with. He understands what it takes to win and really has fun out there on the court. He’s dealt with a few career threatening injuries but has always managed to bounce back stronger. He’s a real testament to what a true professional athlete should be.
Talk a little about the new Turkish culture you have been encountering. Konya has a population of 1,1 million people and is rich with history. How much have you been able to explore and what has amazed you about your new city where you live?
I’ve heard that Konya is very different than other parts of Turkey. It’s a very high population of conservative Muslims and maybe that’s why socially I haven’t found nearly as many things to do as in Germany. But the fans are great and I’m adjusting pretty well. I just started taking a few Turkish lessons and understanding the German language opened so many doors there, that I feel like learning some Turkish will do the same.
Your exteammate John Little is the only ex Goettingen player of the three amigos of you and Ben Jacobson that is playing for a third team with John Patrick. If all four of you could be reunited again on a team besides Goettingen or Wurzburg where would it be?
Your theoretical questions get better year by year. I would have to say that the best bet would be Ludwigsburg, although I don’t know how good I look in yellow. Wherever we ended up, we would be successful though. Our track record has proven that.
Where will the journey of the New York Knicks end this season in the NBA? How do you see their chances in the east?
I like Phil Jackson behind the scenes, I like the way Carmelo has looked thus far. They have a lot of improving to do if they want to be serious about competing but they have the tools to be relevant. I think they are still one or two pieces away from beating the Chicago’s and Cleveland’s on their way to a title.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
I’m currently watching the final season of HBO’s The Sopranos. I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to watch this series. Very entertaining.
Thanks Jason for the chat.