Jacob Burtschi is a 31 year old 198cm forward from Chickasha, Oklahoma that will be playing his sixth professional season and first with the Nilan Bisons Loimaa (Finland-Korisliiga). He played at the Air Force from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 35 games averaging 13.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3Pts: 39.0%, FT: 77.3%. As a rookie in 2010-2011 he played for Phoenix Hagen averaging 14.2ppg, 6.9rpg, 2.5apg, Steals-3(1.5spg), FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 82.2%. In the 2011-2012 season he played for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-ACB) playing 9 games averaging 2.6ppg, 2.4rpg; left in Nov.’11, in Dec.’11 moved to Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL): German League: 22 games: 8.2ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 87.5%; EuroCup: 2 games: 5.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0spg. In the 2012-2013 season he played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-BBL) playing 33 games: 9.8ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 45.9%, 3FGP: 40.3%, FT: 89.3%. He played the last two seasons for the Fraport Skyliners and last season played EuroChallenge playing 8 games averaging 8.6ppg, 7reb, 2ast, 1steal and 15 BBL games averaging 7.3ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 87.5%. In three seasons for Frankfurt he played a total of 63 BBL games. He talked to German Hoops about his new job in Finland and ex team Fraport Skyliners.
Thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I’m currently in Oklahoma City, OK. The summer has been great. Traveled some and spent some time on the lake.
How long can you hold out in a sauna and are you looking forward to getting to know how it is in a real Finish Sauna?
I’d say 15 minutes and I guess we will see what the Finnish sauna is all about.
The news came tonight that you have signed with Nilan Bisons Loimaa (Finland-Korisliiga). The Fraport Skyliners kept Aaron Doornekamp. Did you know then that your days in Frankfurt were over?
Had a good feeling. Gordy and I have a great relationship and we are always straight with each other. Aaron is a great player and can play more than one position. So having me come back would just take away minutes from both of us.
When you look back at last season you came in late to the Fraport Skyliners, but helped the club reach the playoffs again, Eurochallenge Final 4 and hit your ex team Bremerhaven with 36 points. Were you pleased with your game despite coming so late to Frankfurt and coming back from injury?
A little less than pleased. It was great to be back and play. Had some good games but I didn’t exactly play well in the playoffs vs Munich when it really mattered.
Your season highlight was probably your 10 three pointers and 36 points against Bremerhaven. How often as a player do you question yourself why it isn´t possible to hit more three pointers at a consistent rate like that?
Sometimes it’s getting that many looks or just being in rhythm. That’s s once in a lifetime kind of night.
You have signed with Nilan Bisons Loimaa (Finland-Korisliiga). How important was it that ex Skyliner Mikko Koivisto was on the team. How much did that weigh in on your decision to come here?
Mikko helped play a big role. Not only to recruit me but also encourage the coaches to take a chance on me.
The team also plays in two leagues with the Finish league and VTB league that will take you to countries like Russia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Georgia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. This will be a very rigorous travel schedule. Could this season be the biggest challenge in your professional career?
Traveling wise and taking care of my body, absolutely. This is a new and exciting challenge. Need to get over my fear of flying ASAP I guess.
You will be living in Loimaa which is a tad bigger than your home town Chickasha,Oklahoma with 16,000 and like Quackenbruck home of the Artland Dragons. The nearest airport is about 60 kilometers away with city Turku. Will this be a place where you will totally be able to focus on basketball 100% again?
I’ll definitely be focused on basketball but everyone needs their breaks. I’ll have my Xbox and golf clubs to help from time to time to get away from ball.
Finland is known as a league where Americans get many minutes and score much. Could this be a season where you will find your consistent scoring touch again?
Well only in Hagen I have been needed as a scorer. Everywhere else I am more of a glue guy. There are a lot more better scorers out there than me on most teams so I just try and get them the ball. I’m happy to get Wins, not points.
At the moment you are the oldest player on the team. Besides adding experience and helping the younger players, do you see yourself also being a type of glue player?
I guess you could say that. I’m an easy going guy that can connect with people pretty well. So hopefully I can help keep a good team chemistry going.
You are 31 years old and not getting younger. What have you learned to appreciate most as a professional basketball player as you get older?
Cherish these moments. I know I don’t have a ton of years left so I’m enjoying the ride.
You were teammates with Danilo Barthel for three seasons and saw him as a shy, but hungry and talented player come on the scene in 2011 to being a BBL allstar and NBA Summer league player. What did you appreciate most in his development while you were in Frankfurt?
It was great to watch him develop. From a timid player to a monster to deal with now. He has made huge strides and is still getting better.
Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season in the NBA?
Hopefully they win it, but I won’t lose any sleep if they don’t.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
One day he will. What he did in the finals is unheard of. Have to respect him.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jacob for the chat.