Taylor Rochestie is a 30 year old 185cm guard from Santa Barbara, California playing his seventh professional season and first with Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv (Israel-Winner League). He played at Tulane(NCAA) and then finished at Washington St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 33 games averaging 13.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 39.2%, 3Pts: 37.9%, FT: 89.1%. He started his professional basketball career in 2009 with MEG Goettingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing EuroChallenge: 16 games: 14.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 79.6%; German League: 38 games: Score-3(15.1ppg), 2.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 84.1%. In the 2010-2011 season he played for Galatasaray Cafecrown Istanbul (Turkey-TBL): Turkish League: 16 games: 7.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 84.2%; EuroCup: 11 games: 6.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 38.3%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 81.8%, left in Feb.’11, later that month moved to ALBA Berlin (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 27 games: 8.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 76.6%. In the 2011-2012 season he played for Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA) playing EuroCup: 8 games: 12.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 82.4%; French League: 37 games: 16.3ppg, 3.4rpg, Assists-2(6.4apg), FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 42.8%, FT: 89.3%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Caja Laboral Vitoria (Spain-ACB): Euroleague: 4 games: 1.5ppg, 1.0spg; Spanish ACB: 7 games: 6.1ppg, 2.6apg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3FGP: 54.5%, in Jan.’13 moved to Angelico Biella (Italy-SerieA) playing 16 games: 13.4ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT-3(92.1%).In the 2013-2014 season he played for Montepaschi Siena (Italy-SerieA): Euroleague: 10 games: 6.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.7apg, 2FGP: 41.0%, 3FGP: 39.1%, FT: 85.7%; Italian SerieA: 13 games: 7.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.0apg, 2FGP: 56.9%, 3FGP: 22.2%, FT: 94.1%, in Jan.’14 moved to BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB): 17 games: 14.9ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 47.4%, FT: 88.7%; Eurocup: 12 games: 14.3ppg, 1.5rpg, 4.8apg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 89.7%. Last season he played for BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB): 31 games: 14.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 5.3apg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 89.9%; Euroleague: 21 games: Score-1(18.9ppg), 1.6rpg, 5.7apg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT-3(92.5%). He spoke to German Hoops before the Euroleague clash in Bamberg against the Brose Baskets Bamberg.
Taylor thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are back in Bamberg playing Euroleague. What memories do you have of games against this top team when you played with BG Goettingen and Alba Berlin? I guess you wont forget the finals loss to Bamberg in 2011 so easily?
My first year in Germany is when Bamberg started to win titles. I remember how tough it was to play at their gym, and over the years it didn’t get easier. Always well coached with players that play hard, Bamberg is a tough place for any team to come in and get a win, with a large credit due to their amazing fans.
Both Bamberg and Maccabi Tel Aviv are 1-2 and this is a big game for both teams to stay in the group hunt and not slip further back. Do you believe that this game will be won on the defensive end?
Most tough games are won with big stops defensively and also the ability to score big baskets when it counts. Momentum plays a big role as well and being able to control the pace of the game, especially on the road in a great environment.
You are playing your first season for Maccabi Tel Aviv and currently the team is 3-1 in the Israel Winner league and only 1-2 in Euroleague play. How big is the pressure to have to win with this team?
All the pressure exists outside of the court and the locker room. The press and the fans and outsiders create this. On the court and in our locker room we believe in who we are and what we are doing, and we are confident in our team and the goals we have this season.
The club was hammered by CSKA Moscow and lost to Malaga but beat Italian team Banco Di Srd. Is the team still feeling itself out in Euroleague play as a 1-2 start is more than surprising. The club is averaging giving up 85 points per Euroleague game.
We are still a new team with new additions, as well as players playing their first Euroleague season. It takes time, but our goals are still well in reach. Each week we have gotten better, and we showed how well we can play defensively against sassari who is very talented offensively. Day by day we are getting better and knowing each other better as well.
You have played for many top teams in Europe in Spain and Italy, but Maccabi Tel Aviv is by far the most famous and prestigious club. What has been the best example or experience of this team being different than most other teams in Europe.
From the first day I arrived in Tel Aviv you can feel the love and the passion of the people here in Israel for the sport of basketball and for this club, we watched a movie about the first European championship team that Maccabi had and realized that this club is basically a way of life for many people in the county. It’s our job to carry on this tradition and fight for the fans and the people that paved the way for us to be where we are.
In a team that is stacked at every position you are holding your own and third most efficient player in the Euroleague. Has it been a big adjustment coming to a team where one has to share more on the floor than usual?
It’s been an easy adjustment when you surround yourself with great players and great people. Everyone here is about winning and playing for the team. I am here to do my part in the winning process. Whatever the coach needs and whatever my teammates need, that’s what I must contribute. Just giving my best.
You are shooting over 50% from downtown in both competitions. Is your good shot selection something that has just come from experience or did you get tips over time from someone?
Confidence and practice. Knowing I’m going to make each shot I take, whether it goes in or not. My teammates also do a great job of creating opportunities for me.
You are two years older than ex NBA player Jordan Farmer, but what kind of experience has it been playing with him and how do you make each other better?
It´s been a great start to the season, he has lots of experience and knows how to play the game. It’s great to have another pg and creator on the floor making his teammates better, as well as Yogev, we can be very dynamic offensively by having multiple guards that can attack and create.
Over the last few years I talked to guys like Alex Tyus and Shawn James who have marveled about Devin Smith. What kind of experience has it been playing with this guy as one can only describe him as being a winner.
He’s defiantly a winner. To me, Devin is about getting the job done and being reliable. Always working hard and of course it helps when you rarely miss shots. He bring leadership and experience to this club and they love him here for that.
You have won cups in Italy and Israel and who could forget the Eurochallenge win in 2010 with BG Goettingen, but where does your scoring Title in the Euroleague last season rank in career achievements?
The scoring title is important to me because in order to get it Nizhny had to reach the top 16, which was a big thing being in its first Euroleague season. The title is for my coaches and teammates, fans and the management of Nizhny. Team cups and championships as a team rank higher, as I can share it with my team.
You averaged 5.7apg last season in the Euroleague coupled with being the top scorer was this the best basketball that you ever played in a season?
Statistically yes. Every team and situation asks to me to contribute in different ways, but over time I have evolved and developed. Trying to be more consistent and play my game. Try to always be aggressive and creating things for my team. Last season was fun bringing it all together.
Besides visiting beautiful places within a season and living in nice places a player also experiences playing with many players. Last season with BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB) you encountered ex NBA player Dijon Thompson. He was at UCLA when you started at Tulane in 2004. What kind of experience was it playing with a guy in the twilight of his career?
Twilight. I hope I am as good in my twilight years. He is a great player and a great teammate. Still playing at a high level I think he was the best player on the team for us, having big games in big situations.
You had seen the development of Tibor Pleiss in Germany and was a teammate with him in Spain with Caja Laboral Vitoria (Spain-ACB). Now the big man is in the NBA. Do you see him getting even better in the NBA and will he stick?
So many times it’s about the right place at the right time, or someone giving you the right opportunity. Tibor is a hard worker that wants to get better. With the right opportunity and chance he can be successful wherever he is.
After playing in Germany and Turkey, you made a next step in France with Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA) where you were second in the league in assists. Was this the season that finally established you in Europe and paved the way for your further success?
It was a big year for me to grow up as a player. Learning to be more aggressive and attack the game. I loved my teammates and time in France and they made the game easy for me, and I owe that success to my teammates.
How important was head coach John Patrick for your professional basketball career? He brought you to BG Goettingen as a rookie and pretty much let you run the team.
I truly think he played a huge roll for me. Immediately encouraged me to be a leader and pushed my outside my comfort zone to make me a better player. A lot of careers are made and lost in the first season out here, while many Americans either love their European experience or they have a hard time adjusting. JP, as well as my teammates created an amazing first year for me, and immediately I knew I wanted to make a long career in Europe playing ball.
If you talk to guys like Jason Boone, Ben Jacobson or John Little, they will say we were all family that season. Was that 2009-2010 BG Goettingen like a big family where the season was capped off with that great Eurochallenge win?
Family on and off the court. I still keep in touch with most of the guys. That was a special year and a great experience. Was like I was still in college, without having to take all the tests!
You have played with and against many tough guards, but where does a John Little rank in feistiness?
This guy is something else. I have said many times that he is a player that deserves any and all respect he is given.. He can control a game by himself and gives more to the team than stats will show, I would always want him on my team.
After coming out of Washington State in 2009, did you ever think in your wildest dreams that you would have such an interesting and fruitful professional basketball career overseas as you have had?
I have always wanted this and worked hard to get it, so yes I knew I could make it happen, yet I am still blessed and thankful. Feel everyday like I have won the lottery.
It has been a while since Washington State, but one highlight on the court from Klay Thompson will always remain in your mind about this exceptional ex teammate of yours?
He wasn’t the most emotional guy in college and when he had a big dunk in a game against Stanford it was the first time I saw him really smile and get excited in a game. I’ll always remember that. Also on his recruiting trip, Klay made 21 out of 25 shots from the 3. I was like “nice looking shot” he said “I would have made more but I’m wearing sandals” that’s hard to forget as well.
When you have some time to reflect in the summer what is your favorite place to hang out in Santa Barbara?
Beach club called coral casino. Which is not for gambling, but for relaxing in the Jacuzzi by the beach. Anything with family and friends.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I’m watching movies all day. The Martian movie with Matt Damon. Great new movie.
Thanks Taylor for the chat.