Zilijan Jones is a 23 year old 175cm point guard that is playing his rookie season in Morocco. He played college basketball at St.Edward’s (NCAA2) for 3 years and in his last season there played 21 games: 7.3ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.4spg, FGP: 33.1%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 63.8%. He then moved to Oklah. Panhandle St. (NCAA2) playing 28 games: 12.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 41.0%. As a professional rookie he played for Kenitra AC (Morocco-D1) and in Spain this season. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Zilijan thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your day been?
Currently I am playing in the 1st National Mens división (5th) here in Spain. My team, (FCR La Roda) is the favorite to promote to the EBA league (4th). We are currently in 2nd place with the 1st place team coming to our house before the playoffs start. We are in great position to get the regular season title. So far this season we won the Presidents Cup which is a mid season final four.
At the moment you are playing for Fundacion C Rural La Roda in Spain. Describe a bit how the team is doing and what kind of experience it is for you in the EBA league.
My role on this team is to be a playmaker for my teammates. I also am a huge energy that sparks the team when we are not playing with energy. There are good basketball players everywhere. I would say the biggest difference between european basketball and NCAA 2 college basketball is the level of athleticism.
What kind of role do you have and how is the talent level in this league to what you saw in the NCAA2?
The only goal for me here at FCR La Roda is to win a championship. Anything less than a championship would be failure. Our chances to move up to EBA are very good. We just have to continue to take each game one quarter at a time.
After a bad start in Morocco, what do you hope to achieve with Fundacion C Rural La Roda. How good are the chances that the club will move up a level?
As a rookie, everything is a learning experience. I was promised things that never came into existance. I will never hold a grudge against this club, thinngs didnt workout but i am blessed and thankful for the experiences and friendships i gained during my time in Morocco.
You started the season with Kenitra AC (Morocco-D1). You had some bad misfortune there. Please explain the dealings that you had with this club?
The biggest disappointment was the lack of concern for my children. KAC knew i was talking with other clubs in Spain before they sent me a contract. KAC promised all these things to get me to come to their club and none of it was true. This put my family in danger finacially. Again everything is a learning eperience and it made me realize that you must do your research before signing a contract.
How difficult was it as a rookie coming to a foreign land and possibly being a bit naïve and taking granted of by the organization? When looking back at your short stay in Morocco, what were you able to learn from this experience?
What I learned about Morocco is in this business no one cares about your personal life. There are two types of clubs. Clubs who care about you as an all around person and the clubs who only want you for your talent.
What dealings do you exactly have with Germany. You have many friends that have played in Germany.
Germany is a good basketball market. As a young player exposure is key. Im looking for an oppritunity to show that I can perform and compete at the highest level. Germany is a great platform to showcase my skills and God given gift to lead. I have friends who play there now in lower leagues. Kendre Talley, Micheal Harvey, and Harley Fuller are my friends who play in Germany. They all play in lower leagues there and are hungy and looking for better oppritunities like me.
Do you have aspirations of playing in Germany in the future? If you could describe your game and why you could help a team how would you describe your game?
Germany is a great country, ive interacted with people from Germany and the people were great to me. Germany is a great place for exposure. If i could describe my game i would have to say im a great teammate. I can score, i can pass, and i play defense. The only stat that matters to me is winning. If that requires me to score 25 points that night then thats what i do. If i have to only pass to get the win then thts what i do. Winning is the only thing that matters to me. Im all about the teams success.
You are a short point guard. Which NBA point guards were your role models growing up?
Chris Paul. He uses his mind and creativity against his opponents. At my size you have to really know how to command respect from your teammates and be a floor leader.
You played at St.Edward’s (NCAA2) and then transferred to Oklahoma. Panhandle St. (NCAA2. What were the main reasons for making this move?
Well after playing 3 seasons at St Edwards, the coach and I felt it was best that he develop his younger guards. He wasnt the original coach that recruited me. Going to OPSU i knew would give me the best oppritunity to further my career after college.
What was your most memorable experience playing college basketball in the States?
Playing against NCAA 1 University Incarnante Word as a sophmore I scored 29 points and 7 assist. I was 19 years old.
What goals do you still have as a professional basketball player?
My goal as a profesional is to win as many championships as possible. Also work with kids and use basketball as a tool to bring all cultures together.
Derrick Rose got injured again. Do you see him ever being a healthy player for a longer period of time or will injuries haunt his whole career as it has now?
I think like all great players, D. Rose needs to adjust his game. Making his jump shot more consistant and also using his playmaking skills more.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Taken 3 was the last movie I seen.
Thanks Zilijan for the chat