Malcolm Delaney is a 25 year old 191cm point guard from Baltimore, Maryland that is playing his fourth professional season and first with Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia-VTB). He started his basketball career with Virginia Tech (NCAA) in 2007 and played a total of 136 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games: 18.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 42.0%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 85.0%. In 2011-2012 he started his professional basketball career with ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA, starting five): EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, 2.0spg; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 14.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT: 84.7%; French League: 35 games: 15.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 86.0%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): 52 games: 14.7ppg, 4.5rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 77.9%; EuroCup: 16 games: 16.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 85.1%. Last season he played for FC Bayern Muenchen (Germany-BBL, starting five): Euroleague: 24 games: 13.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 84.7%; German League: 46 games: 12.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 87.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Brose Baskets Bamberg.
Malcolm thanks for talking to German Hoops and welcome back to Germany. What is it like to be back in Bamberg? Last season you have good memories of the two FC Bayern Munich wins.
We played once in Bamberg last season and pulled out a tough win. FC Bayern Munich was hyped team to win it all last season in preseason, but Bamberg was still the team to beat. It was nice beating Bamberg twice. It is nice being back in Germany. I was actually Munich last week. I had a few days off and was chilling there.
You will battle against top Beko BBL point guard Brad Wanamaker. How excited are you to play him and what do you know about his game?
I know Brad´s game. We have played together in the same circle since high school. I think we played against each other one or two seasons ago. I believe that Brad is probably the best point guard in the Beko BBL this season. I think that he made a great choice to play in Bamberg and showcase his skills. It will be fun to be playing against him again.
Bamberg has a new team and hardly any guys from last season. Bamberg has adapted well to the new coach. What kind of series can we await and what will be key to getting the win?
Bamberg has a very good coach and system. I think key for us getting past Bamberg is to take them out of what they do best. We can play with any team on the offense end so key will be to play good defense and get out on transition will be what will separate us from Bamberg.
You won a professional title in each of your three seasons as a professional in France, Ukraine and Germany. Will you keep the streak alive this season in VTB and Eurocup still being played?
I hope so. I feel that the VTB league is the toughest in Europe now. There are many great teams in the VTB and it will come down to the wire. I feel we have a very good chance to win the Eurocup as we have a great team and have firepower. If we stay healthy I think that we can win it all. I definitely want to keep the streak alive.
How do you explain this knack of winning titles? Going into each season how good of a feeling did you always have that that team had something special?
I only had that feeling last season with FC Bayern Munich. As a rookie I played for Chalon and they weren´t even a top 5 team budget wise and had just won the cup. I thought that it would be a good situation for me because they were returning most guys and I was new at the point guard position. We reached the Eurochallenge final that year and won the cup. The Ukraine team wasn´t a top team either, but I felt comfortable going in as I was told that it was a good team to play for. We reached the Eurocup final 4. The main reason I went to play there was because I would be able play my game. FC Bayern Munich built a great team and there I was also able to play my style.
You have been the point guard and man in charge wherever you have played in Europe. Is your role any different this season than say last season with FC Bayern Munich?
My role doesn´t change so much simply because I am the point guard. We have so much firepower this season with Lokomotive Kuban that I don´t need to score as much as in the past, but my leadership is very important this season. My role is to score less, but to put everything in place and get my teammates to do what they do best on the court. With Munich I always had the ball in my hands, but this season I have a different caliber of players so I don´t always need to have the ball in my hands.
How has your experience been with Lokomotiv Kuban? This season you are blessed with some ex NBA players with Derrick Brown and Anthony Randolph. How do you see yourself developing further this season?
Just being able to play with this talent will help me develop further. The travel hasn´t been easy in the VTB league, but that is part of the job. I think this season my leadership will help me show that I am able to play with high caliber players and keep them together and get the job done.
You have had solid stats each season as a professional. What is your secret to having no problem adapting to a new system?
I am a versatile player. When I came out of college I was a scorer. I could play point guard, but nobody gave me a chance. When I was in France and Ukraine I had to score the ball and couldn´t display my point guard ability as much. Munich gave the chance to play point guard and I proved that I could play point guard as well as score. This season in Russia I enjoy seeing other players be successful as I don´t need to score as much. This gives me the opportunity to work on other areas like rebounding and defense. I am an unselfish player and have no problem making sacrifices in order to win games.
Last season you won the Beko BBL title with FC Bayern Munich. Wasn´t their any chance of coming back for a second season?
I had the possibility to return to Munich, but I wanted to play in the NBA. I had the chance to play for the Houston Rockets, but Munich didn´t let me out of the contract. During the summer I wanted to weigh my options and try for the NBA. Munich offered me an extension, but I turned it down. I loved Munich and had no complaints about playing there. For me to have stayed I needed to feel comfortable, but other teams wanted me more. Munich tried to sell me that they are the best club and brand, but that didn´t mean much to me. At the end of the day this wasn´t helping my future and giving me the security I needed. When I got home during the summer I didn´t talk to Munich. I got great offers from many teams like Olympiakos Piraus and then came the offer of Lokomotiv Kuban. Munich didn´t come hard at me with an offer, but Kuban did showing the most interest and security I need with a two year deal and NBA out.
Last season there was interest from the NBA during the season with FC Bayern Munich. You didn´t play NBA Summer League and moved to Russia. Has your NBA dream been put on hold?
Lebron held up the whole NBA. No team was making moves until he signed. I had to either wait and pass up big deals or take a good deal in Europe. I decided to take guaranteed money and get that security. I could of waited with the NBA, but I didn´t want to take that chance.
Last season you were named league MVP and Marko Pesic named you one of the top guards in Europe. Obviously you and your team were key in winning the title, but if you had to single out that unsung hero form last seasons team who would you name?
Bryce Taylor was our unsung hero last season. He had a great season and was a real leader. Its no surprise that he is captain. I connected the most with him, but to be honest at the end of the season I was connected with every player. Bryce and I had this special bond on the court. I always knew where he would be.
What kind of experience was it playing for Svetislav Pesic. Did you see him smile on a day to day basis?
Pesic is a great coach and helped me a lot. He is probably the best coach that I have ever played for. He is a very demanding coach and we always had hard practices and rarely had days off, but he made you better as a player. I think I was able to develop so well because we practiced so much. At times the wear and tear took a toll on the body and on the season. He is a great x& o coach and did everything for the win. If you weren´t mentally tough then it was tough playing for him. He prepared me to play against anybody. I remember him smiling a few times after the wins in the semi finals and in the finals. He is all business. I really respect him. He took control and showed that he was boss and never let the players dictate anything.
In your second season you played with Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague) winning the title there. How special was this win considering the talent you had? Was this your most challenging title to win?
For sure this was the most challenging title that I ever won. I still have no idea how we reached the Eurocup final 4. I think that we had some luck as St Petersberg were clearly the better team. The team only had two import players and Leo Lyons and I connected. We also had good role players that did their jobs. Mariupol was the favored to win the title, but we beat them in seven games.
Aa a rookie you played for ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA). You played with talented American Blake SChilb. How surprised are you that he isn´t playing for a top Euroleague team?
I am actually surprised that Blake Schilb isn´t in the NBA. He is the best player that I ever played with before this season. He could single handedly take over a game at any time. I remember that so many teams wanted him, but Chalon didn´t let him out of the contract. He is a very family orientated guy. He is playing in Paris now where they are trying to build something. I believe that he can play anywhere in Europe or NBA.
Illian Evtimov told me a few years ago that he never saw a guy like you that could draw a foul on command in the lane. Is this something that you born with or did that come with experience?
I think that having this ability to draw fouls grew with me from high school on. When I was young I was always the best player on the team and had the best defender on me. That got me to trying to draw fouls against the best defender. My brother once told me that the easiest way to get 20 points in a game is to get 8-10 free throws. Even if you have a bad shooting day, you can reach 20 points. Getting to the free throw line also helped my free throw shooting as I have always been a good free throw shooter.
Ilian Evtimov is a French/Bulgarian that played at North Carolina State and is Americanized. Did his movie knowledge ever come into a discussion during your rookie season?
Illian is a smart guy and always referenced movies. He is a cool guy. When I was a sophomore in high school, I went on an unofficial visit to North Carolina State where he played at. I knew about him when I came to Chalon. We connected right away. He is a great shooter.
You played at Virginia Tech from 2007-2011. How did head coach Seth Greenberg get you prepared best for a professional basketball career?
He is a good guy that recruited me. He was honest with me and told me from the start that I would play a lot. Jamont Gordon who plays in Turkey now left when I came in. I didn´t start the first 10 games, but from then on I was handed the ball. He trusted me more and more as I got better. So often college coaches lie to get a player to come to school and then they don´t play. He gave me the freedom to play and that is the reason why I am where I am now.
You played three seasons at Virginia Tech with Dorenzo Hudson. What memories do you have of him on the court?
He was hurt my senior year and we really missed him. We were very close and always had a bond. We stuck together on and off the court. He had a very good junior season. The best memory that I have with him was when we beat the then number one school Wake Forest. For Dorenzo it was a big win since he is from North Carolina.
Baltimore native Jimmy Dorsey fled his hometown for a college career in Canada and now is playing in the German third division with BG Karlsruhe. What kind of advice do you have for a guy that always hears great things about your success, but has never met you?
My motivation has always been seeing other guys succeed. Seeing guys succeed has always motivated me to grind and be in the gym to get better. Whenever I played against a guy who was more known or was making more money, it was my motivation to play well against him. I always want to be the best. No matter where you play if it is in a low division you always have to take advantage of the chance to play because you might never play again or that next job might be the best ever.
Do you see John Wall being the best point guard in the NBA in the future?
That is a tough question. The point guard position is the toughest. He has some good point guards ahead of him with Irving, Westbrook, Curry and Lillard, but Wall is a special player. He is definitely the most developed. He went from the fastest to the best assist guy. He has a great chance with his size, skill level and athleticism to be a top five point guard for a long time. He has done a great job with the Wizzards in that they were bad once, but he has carried them to be a good team.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The interview which I saw on the flight from Moscow to Frankfurt today. It was pretty funny.
Thanks Malcolm for the chat.