Bobby Jones is a 30 year old 201cm forward from Compton, California that is playing his ninth professional season and third with Virtus Acea Roma. He started his basketball career at Washington(NCAA) in 2002 where he played until 2006 playing a total of 127 NCAA games and reached two NCAA Sweet 16´s. IN 2006 he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA,2rd(37) and as a rookie played for the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), in Nov.’06 assigned to Fort Worth Flyers (D-League Eastern Div): 3 games: 13.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 69.2% , then joined back Philadelphia 76ers (NBA): 44 games: 2.5ppg, 1.3rpg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 11.1%, FT: 56.1%. IN the 2007-2008 season he played for the Denver Nuggets (NBA), waived in Jan.’08, later that month signed 10 days contract with Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), in Feb.’08 assigned to Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League): 5 games: 12.4ppg, 5.6rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 80.0%, later that month moved to Houston Rockets (NBA), left in March’08, then signed a 10-day contract with Miami Heat (NBA), in April ’08 signed a 10-day contract at San Antonio Spurs (NBA), then agreed terms with Denver Nuggets (NBA): 47 games: 3.8ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 78.4%. IN the 2008-2009 season he played for the Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League) 48 games: 16.3ppg, 7.7rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 79.4%. In 2009-2010 he came to Europe and has been in Italy since and that first season played for Banca Tercas Teramo (Italy-SerieA): EuroCup: 8 games: 12.0ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 37.0%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 72.2%; Italian League: 29 games: 11.2ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8spg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 78.8%. In the 2010-2011 season he played for Fabi Shoes Montegranaro (Italy-SerieA): 20 games: 7.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 74.5%, in March’11 moved to MarcoPoloShop.it Forli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 9 games: 17.2ppg, 9.0rpg, 3.0spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 79.5%. In the 2011-2012 season he played for Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 41 games: 14.4ppg, Reb-3(7.9rpg), 1.6apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 70.9%. This past summer he played for Titanes del Licey (Dominican Rep.-LNB) 20 games: Score-4(18.0ppg), 6.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP-2(53%), 3PT-4(40%). He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurocup game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
Bobby thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. Is this your first time to Germany and what dealings have you had with the country in basketball terms?
I haven´t had too much basketball dealings in Germany. I remember last season we played against Bonn and Berlin. I know some guys that are playing here like my ex teammate Trevor Mbakwe who is playing for Bamberg.
You played Eurocup your first season in Italy with Banca Tercas Teramo and then didn´t play international club play for three years until last year. What do you like most about playing these games?
We actually qualified my first year, but we didn’t advance. I like playing international because it makes the season go faster, have more games and can travel.
You are playing your third season with Virtus Roma. Has Rome become like a second home to you? It obviously is difficult to compare Rome to Compton, California.
Both places have their perks. I am playing my third year in Rome and it isn´t to normal for a player to play longer than two seasons in one country. I am all about being comfortable and I don´t like moving from country to country each season. I have friends on and off the court in Rome so staying has been good. I also have made a documentary about international players. I am hoping for a spring or summer 2015 release. The whole promotion is easier with me being in Rome. If I had left then it would have been more difficult promoting this. The name of the documentary is Basketball Jones: Overseas Journey. I am hoping for it to get picked up by some film festivals.
Virtus Roma is only in 12th place in the Italian league at 4-6 and has been struggling in Eurocup play. What have been the main reasons for the slow start?
There were four or five games that we could of won, but didn´t. The same goes for Eurocup where we could of lost some more. We have had breaks in Eurocup play, but not in the Italian league. In Eurocup if you don’t win games early you don´t advance, but in the Italian league we still have six months to correct our game.
Oldenburg gave Virtus Roma a good run for the money as you won in a nail bitter 83-81. What do you remember most from that game besides the timely three pointers from Rok Stipcevic.
We already played Oldenburg in the pre season in Artland. Oldenburg is a good team that play good at home. We gave them confidence to hang around in our arena earlier this season. We easily could of lost that game. Stipcevic hit some crucial buckets. We know that Oldenburg need to win, but we want to win in Oldenburg, keep the momentum and finish strong.
Rebounding was a big factor and should pose vital tonight as well. What else will be key to getting to the next round?
We have been letting teams score too much in the Italian league. Key will be defense. It is never easy to win on the road. We can´t allow to turnover the ball and let Oldenburg run and get easy buckets. We will have to play defense and rebound well to get out with a win.
You played with American Jordan Taylor for two seasons in Rome. He has played NBA Summer League the last three seasons. What do you think is missing for him to get that chance in the worlds best league?
Jordan plays in Israel now and we still keep in touch. It has to do with timing. He is a big and smart point guard. He could be in the NBA now. Key is to stay patient and wait for that next opportunity. It may come now or in the future. In the meantime you have to continue to work on your game to always get better wheather your playing in Europe or in the NBA.
You’re a guy that can score but also be a force on the boards but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away?
I am a team player that leads by example and not being as vocal. I´m intangible and do those things that you don´t see on the stat sheet. I am a dirty worker and do all the things that need to be done and don´t get promoted.
What did you learn from the 2010-2011 season where you started with top Italian team Fabi Shoes Montegranaro (Italy-SerieA) playing 20 games: 7.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 74.5%, and then moving to MarcoPoloShop.it Forli (Italy-Lega2) replacing Lorenzo Gordon and finishing strong playing 9 games: 17.2ppg, 9.0rpg, 3.0spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 79.5%. You obviously had no adjustment problems moving so late in the season.
That season changed my whole outlook on overseas basketball. That was the first time other than in the NBA where I had been cut. I was very disappointed and ready to go home. However the GM of my new team who had worked with my agent before getting that job convinced me to stay. The team was about to go down and I was told that if I went home then that would be remembered and it would be harder to find a team. I didn´t want to leave Italy on a bad note. I remained and in the last nine games for to MarcoPoloShop.it Forli we went 8-1. The GM of that team later went to my current team Acea Virtus Roma. I helped him at MarcoPoloShop.it Forli and he remembered that and brought me to Rome. Now we help each other out.
After playing at Washington(NCAA) you were drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves and played as a rookie for the Philadelphia 76ers. What was your wake up call to the NBA?
My wakeup call was just seeing how long an NBA season is. I learned that you may not play for two months, but you have to be always be ready and stay in shape. Guys may get hurt and then you can get your chance to play. I learned very much from veterans in the NBA. I still use those methods today in Europe. Now I am the veteran in Europe. I am very blessed to have played two seasons in the NBA where some guys don´t even stay two days. I have many memories from these two years and am writing a book about my NBA time.
With the Phildalepha 76ers you played with American Rodney Carney who was also a rookie. How fierce was the day to day competition and what could you learn from each other on and off the court?
I hadn´t known him until my rookie year. We were fighting for playing time with veterans like Kyle Korver and Willie Green. We spent a lot of time together that year since we were in the same boat. We leaned on each others shoulder for advice a lot. We remained competitive on the court and helped make each other get better.
Your NBA career continued in the 2007-2008 season where you were a part of 5 teams. How stressful was this season and did you learn here that basketball is a business foremost?
Yes I definitely learned that the NBA is a business that season. I bounced around a lot that season. My stay early with Memphis actually helped me stay the season in the NBA. I had my best game in the NBA with the Grizzlies against the Seattle Supersonics in early January 2008 scoring 20 points, getting 13 rebounds and getting seven assists. This performance helped me get three more ten day contracts. This time got me happy and depressed. Happy each time a team wanted me, but depressed when I sat in the office of a GM telling me I had to go. This season was very hard and took a lot out of me.
You finished that season with the Denver Nuggets (NBA) playing 47 games: 3.8ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 78.4%. Despite moving around so much how memorable was the Denver experience playing with greats like Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby?
That Denver Nuggets team was crazy. Iverson, Anthony and Camby were like rock stars. No offense to them, but they had their own ego´s. I just sat back at times and was like “wow” and I wouldn´t trade it in for anything. I didn´t want to appear like a fan with these guys, but I was a fan of Iverson as a kid and now he is my teammate. I tried not to be a fan, but it was hard. I enjoyed this time and was very blessed.
You reached two NCAA Sweet 16 runs in 2005 and 2006 that had some great players. What was missing from these teams to have gone further?
The first NCAA tournament run 2005 we lost to Louisville. They went on to lose to Illinois who then lost to North Carolina. We were a young team that year and was missing experience. The following year we lost to the number one seed Uconn who then lost to George Mason that went to the fInal 4 and lost to Florida who won it all. I think that we should of beat Uconn that year, because they weren´t really better than us. We lost in OT after being up five points with 30 seconds to play. We got tired and fouled out which cost us the game. After we were out, I couldn´t watch the rest of the tournament because I was so disappointed.
How did Washingon(NCAA) head coach Lorenzo Romar prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He just kept it honest and wasn´t easy on us. I went to Washington mainly because of him. He got the job a little bit before I arrived and we were both still learning our surroundings. I asked him if I work off my butt will I play and he said yes. My mentality has always been to work off my butt. We had many guys with that same approach at Washington and that made the four years there awesome.
You played with many fine players there probably not finer than Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson. What was the most amazing thing you remember from these great players exhibiting on the court?
I had already played with amazing talent before I came to Washington having played with Tyson Chandler for three years in high school. Those two guys were without a doubt the biggest names that I played with there. But when we were there, we just wanted to play hard, win games and be on ESPN Sports Center. They took the game of basketball to another level. It wasn´t really anything special for me as I tried to do the same. I still see them during the summer and we do guy stuff and play pick up basketball to get away from our ladies.
Now that your living three years in Rome, what is your favorite spot in town just to hang out?
My places to hang out change from year to year. I always want to find new places, because I don´t want to lose interest. There are many great hidden places. My new favorite hang out in Rome now is the Perfect Bun. They serve brunch there and have American dishes. They have a New York theme there and sometimes have a DJ playing music. They also have the airport arrivals on the wall. It reminds me a lot of home. Historic places where I like to visit in Rome are Campo Di Fiori and Trasteveri. These are squares where many people are sitting around.
Where will the journey of the Los Angeles Lakers end this season?
I see the Lakers in the Lottery hopefully. They still have Kobe and he still remains the attraction there. It usually takes the Lakers 1-2 years of getting a new image. I haven´t been a fan of the Lakers since college as now I am a fan of basketball. As a kid my favorite Laker was Eddie Jones.
Kobe Bryant recently surpassed Michael Jordan in alltime scoring. What is your take on this Kobe vs Michael?
They are similar, but still different at the same time. Kobe had great players around him with Shaq and Gasol while winning titles as Did Michael Jordan. The difference was that I think that Jordan made his teammates better whereas Kobe was just there. I don´t really like to compare guys from different time periods and they weren´t in their prime when they played against each other. Kobe can score better than Jordan, but Jordan was the better player.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Magic in the clouds with Woody Allen. I was an ok movie. It was something different and hat I had never seen before.
Thanks Bobby for the chat.