Brandon Jefferson is a 23 year old 175cm point guard from Flower Mound, Texas that will be play his second professional season and first in Germany with Phoenix Hagen. Last season as a rookie he played for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 48 games: Score-4(18.5ppg), 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, Steals-2(2.2spg), FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 88.0%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 13.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 88.5%. He started his basketball career in 2010 for Metro State(NCAA2) where he played a total of 129 NCAA games. In college he was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 21.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 92.3%. He spoke to German Hoops about his basketball life.
Brandon thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I’m currently in Texas right now. Made it home from Florida yesterday morning. Summer has been great. Did some traveling and went to a couple amusement parks all over the United States
Congrats on signing with Phoenix Hagen. Did head coach Anton Mirolybov who was your coach in Finland last season give you some tips about the possibility of coming to Germany?
Thank you, it means a lot to me that I signed with a great league like the BBL in my second season as a pro. Have to give credit to Two Points, which is my agency. Also have to thank a lot of people who put in good words for me. Yes coach Anton helped me. He told me some things about Germany since he recently coached there. Learned a lot from coach Anton and is a great coach!
How vital was Phoenix Hagen head coach Ingo Freyer in you helping you make the decision of moving to Germany this season? Did you have talks with him and what was your first impression of the German coach?
Never spoke with coach Freyer before heading to Hagen. Actually spoke with the assistant coach. He helped me a lot and let me know how the city was and how Hagen likes to play. My agency helped me make the decision though. They let me know how Hagen plays and that it would fit my playing style.
Last season you played as a rookie in Finland with KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) reaching the semi finals. Now you enter the higher level Beko BBL. Some other players have come to Germany this season that played in Finland like your teammate Kenneth Simms and Ken Horton. What makes you think that you can make the next step in the BBL in Germany this season?
I’m a confident and humble young man. The work I put in has given me the confidence. I know there will be ups and downs but my past has built me up to handle all situations. God is on my side and with Him, anything is possible. I’m very excited for this opportunity and very thankful to Phoenix Hagen for the chance to play with them.
You don´t have the highest assists average in college or Finland. Would that allow one to assume that you are primarily a scoring point guard?
My assist totals have been low, but that’s what I was asked to do for those teams. Was asked to score the ball. I can definitely get my teammates involved. I do whatever the team and coaching staff ask me to do.
Ingo Freyer takes a lot of pride in choosing his point guards the last years as his system revolves greatly around that position and he likes the high scoring point guard. How excited are to be playing for this high paced system of Phoenix Hagen and what other strength in your game will you be able to bring to the table besides your knack to score?
I’m excited and honored that Coach Freyer saw the potential in me as the point guard. I will bring leadership and work ethic to the team. Not just scoring. Want to bring pressure on defense as well.
You are a 175cm point guard and patent your game after Nate Robinson. What is something that you wish you could develop even more from his game?
Nate Robinson is a great player. Look up to him and Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics. Both are small guards, but heart over height as they say. Want to improve my athleticism and develop more of a floater. Also, continue to learn the game each and every day.
Besides your scoring, you are a very skilled defender, but what is a hidden strength in your game that you feel often doesn´t get recognized right away on the court in your game?
I Think a hidden strength in my game is my IQ. Love the game and want to always learn more. Play smart out there on the court.
Last season in Finland you had some talented Americans around you with Kenneth Simms and Lance Ulmer, but KTP Basket Kotka lost in the semi´s. What was missing for the team reaching the final?
Yes we had a talented team, but came up short at the end. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go your way. A lot of things need to line up in order to win a championship. We have no excuses. We had the team to get the job done, but it didn’t happen. We led the Korisliiga all season, so we had the team. Lack of execution ultimately got us at the end and ran into a team that outplayed us.
Your consistency speaks for itself as last season you scored in double figures 46 times in 48 games and you had 20 points or more 23 times. Is consistency something you always have had on the court or something that you have developed over time on the court?
My whole life, my coaches and parents have spoke to me about consistency. Always take that very seriously and want to bring my A game every time I step on the court. Can still develop it more though. Still have a long way to go though.
Last season what was your rookie wake up call to being a professional basketball player where you knew that you were very far away from Metro State and Flower Mound, Texas?
Didn’t have a coach or assistant coach always watching what I was doing like in college. As a pro, I was by myself really. Had to learn and pick up things quickly, but my parents and college coaches helped me a lot to get ready to be a pro. Learned how to use my time wisely. Also learned that I really need to take care of my body with the long season.
You had a work out with the Denver Nuggets in the summer of 2014. What kind of experience was that for you. There are so many talented players in the world, but really how big do you see the difference between being an NBA player and not?
Being with the Nuggets over the 2014 summer was a great experience. Got to measure myself up against those guys. I was nervous at first but I seen that I can play with those guys. Can’t really put my finger on the gap between NBA players or not, but I know that if its meant to be, it will happen and if you can play, NBA teams will find you.
You played at Metro State(NCAA2) from 2010-2014 and reached the NCAA2 final 4 in 2014. What is still the most vivid thing in your mind about your last game at Metro State?
My senior year still is in my mind because we lost in the final four in the last seconds. We were number 1 in the country the whole year. We had the team to get it done but fell short. Still bothers me and motivates me to this day.
Despite playing NCAA 2 basketball, you had an NBA work out, have played in Finland and have made the next jump up a level to the Beko BBL. However do you feel that you still have to prove yourself time in and time out because you played NCAA2? Does that make you want to work harder each practice?
Yes with playing division 2 and being the height that I am, I’m always fighting an uphill battle and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It motivates me and makes me want to go out there and prove to people that I can play. Some Division 2 players are as good as the D1 players.
You and head coach Derrick Clark came to Metro State in 2010 and saw the highs and lows. How did Clark prepare and groom you for a professional basketball career best?
Coach Clark has been a father figure to me. He has helped me so much in becoming a young man. He spoke the truth to me about life and I love him for it. He was tough on me and really pushed me to be the player I am today. Also thank you to the assistant coaches at Metro who are coach Bahl, Wall, and Taylor Harris.
You broke so many records at metro state and had so many great games, but when looking back at your illustrious four year career, what was your greatest achievement on the court there?
The greatest achievement I had at Metro State was being able to represent the school in a positive way. Just wanted to leave a legacy at Metro!
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jamal Mcclerkin?
Jamal and I used to go at it in practice, but I would get the better of him.
As a senior you had four Australian players on the roster. At the end of the season what did you learn about the mentality of Australian people?
Loved playing with the Aussies. They are very skilled and bring different things to the table. Learned that they are very tough and like to compete!
What stories do you remember being told about John Bynum who won the NCAA2 title in 2000 at Metro State?
I know that John Bynum was a great player and even better person. Heard a lot about him as well as that 2002 team! Coach Dunlap is a legend!
Where do you see the Dallas Mavericks heading this season? They have top point guard Deron Williams. Can they be reborn in the west?
I cans see the Mavericks making a strong push buy the Western conference is loaded! See the Spurs, Warriors and Thunder competing to come out of he west.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan?
Lebron is the best player in the world. He will bring his team back to the Finals. Don’t know if they will win it though. Depends on the health of their team at the end of the season. Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time and I don’t think anyone will be worthy of mention. Lebron and Kobe are right under him though.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Actually saw a movie last night called Paper Towns. It was a good movie. Jurassic Park was the movie before that though. Definitely recommend people seeing that!
Thanks Brandon for the chat.