Jordan Hamilton is a 26 year old 198cm forward playing his second professional season and just joined the Dragons Rhondorf. He started the season with Grengewald Hostert (Luxembourg-N2). Asa rookie in 2013-2014 he played for the Brampton A’s (Canada-NBL Canada): 38 games: 5.2ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 75.5%. He played at Lehigh (NCAA) from 2008-2012 playing a total of 92 NCAA games. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Jordan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. How thankful are you to have landed with the Dragons Rhondorf?
I am very grateful to be a part of the Dragons. I honestly cannot imagine a better situation or organization to be a part of.
What do you know about the country Germany and the basketball here?
I recently watched the documentary on Dirk “The Perfect Shot” which helped educate me on the history of German basketball. I had no idea how deep the roots of basketball reached in this country. Germany has been a country I have wanted to visit and play in for a while, partly because I admire the culture and history and of course the competitiveness of the leagues here.
You started the season with Grengewald Hostert (Luxembourg-N2). What kind of an experience was it playing there and what were the main reasons for having to depart?
I came into Grengewald with a 6 week contract to fill in for an injured player. For me it was a great experience. Although I was playing out of position, I had the chance to get some European experience, get game film, and meet some great guys. Ultimately they were looking for a pure 4, while I am a 2/3 so it did not work out for either party. Still I am grateful for the opportunity.
Now you have landed in Germany in the very competitive Pro A and go to a last place team. They have swapped two Americans for two new ones. Do you feel a lot of pressure of having to have to perform very well right away?
If there is any benefit to being at the bottom it is that there is only one place you can go which is up. I think this team has a lot of talent and the more we play and get to know one another, the better we will be.
You come to a 1-10 team that needs instant wins. This is the first time in your career that you will have moved mid season to a new team. Do you feel like you are the type of guy that can adapt to a new surrounding and style of play fast?
I feel confident that I can adapt to these new circumstances. After watching film it is clear that 1-10 record is not reflective of the teams potential. If a few plays would have gone differently the record could be 3-8 or even 4-7.
You have mostly never been a scorer in your career except now in Luxemburg, but more of a role player. If given the minutes you could turn into more of a scorer if asked?
In Grengewald I was asked to do the majority of the scoring along with my teammate Byran Hammond. It was a good experience for me to step into the role of a scorer, which I have always felt I was capable of doing given the opportunity. I believe I can carry that momentum into this season with the Dragons and contribute offensively.
At Lehigh you belonged to the top defenders on the team. Do you feel that you can infect your new teammates to playing better defense, because at the moment the club is giving up 84 points per game while scoring only 67 points a game.
Bringing defensive energy and intensity is one of my greatest strengths. I enjoy the challenge of guarding prolific scorers and take pride in playing solid team defense. If we change some of our habits and increase our communication I think we will see improvements on the defensive end.
This could be your fourth professional season, but it is only your second. You have had a very difficult time finding the right fit the last years. What has continued to keep you going on and on and not giving up?
You know after college I was not sure if I wanted to play basketball anymore. I was burnt out and had many other interests in life I wanted to explore. But basketball kept calling and eventually I had to answer. That is when I went to play for Brampton. After my season there I had an opportunity to join a promising start up venture with some close friends of mine. It was a tough decision but I decided not to go back to Canada and instead explore the opportunity in Seattle. Mid way through the year it became clear once again that I was not done with basketball. In the spring I began training again and working my way back into shape. I guess to answer your question is I feel a need to follow my dreams, the same dream I had as a little kid playing in my backyard.
As a rookie two seasons ago you played for the Brampton A´s in the Canadian league NBL. What kind of experience was that for you. It was important getting your foot in the door and you averaged 5.2ppg, 2.0rpg. Were you like in the NCAA a role player here?
Playing in Canada, I fell into more of a role of being strictly a shooter and defender. I learned a valuable lesson of the importance of defining you own role and being consistent day in and day out. I had a few games where I scored 18-25 and others where I wouldn’t score at all. Being consistent at this level is extremely important.
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in the NBL with the Brampton A´s where you knew that you were very far from home in Seattle, Washington?
I was pretty used to it at that point. Having gone to Lehigh in PA, being away from home was nothing new to me.
Many have said that the NBL is an up and coming league. Would you agree with this or is this a type of Canadian D-league with players just playing for stats?
The NBL is definitely up and coming. The amount of talent in the league is impressive. In the past I think it could have been organized better but now that David Magley is Commissioner I am sure that it will start to get the respect it deserves.
You played at Lehigh from 2008-2012 playing a total of 92 NCAA games winning two Patriot league titles in 2010 and 2012. Which title was sweeter?
2012 without a doubt. 2010 was sweet don’t get me wrong but 2012 was truly special. I was a co-captain and starter so I felt more apart of the success than in previous years. Plus we were a very close team on and off the court which made winning that much more fulfilling.
I would imagine your favorite college game was the sensational win against Duke 75-70 which featured future NBA players like Mason and Miles Plumlee, Austin Rivers and Seth Curry. What do you remember most from this great win?
College provided me with many memorable wins. The win against Duke was special. What I remember most is the feeling going into the game where we as a team believed we would win the game. The rest of the world had written us off but amongst ourselves we knew we would win. For me personally, it would have to be a fast break dunk I had near the end of the game that helped seal the deal.
You scored 8 points in that game and two buckets. Are these two baskets that just remain with you?
For sure. They do but it was more of the game in its entirety and all of the work that lead to the results that will stay with me forever.
When you look back and remember how those future NBA players played and look at 1000´s of other players in the world not playing in the NBA can one realize that there are just too few open slots, but many more talented players that could play in the NBA?
There are countless players that have the talent to play in the NBA. A lot of it comes down to being in the right situation at the right time. Fortunately basketball overseas is continuing to grow and offer chances for these talented players to make good money playing the game they love.
Lehigh probably wouldn´t have won the game without the stellar play and 30 points from CJ Mccollum. You were teammates with him for 4 years. What kind of relationship did you have with him and despite playing different positions what things could you pick up from his game?
CJ and I had a relationship of mutual respect and more importantly a friendship on and off the court. He was the first player I had met that I could say worked harder than I did. And it pushed me to work that much harder. One thing that I learned from CJ was his ability to move on to the next play. No matter what happened he was able to bring himself back to the present. He is an incredible scorer. I knew he would be successful in the NBA, all he needed was an opportunity to be himself and play his game.
What was the most amazing thing that you saw CJ Mccollum do in a game or practice that you won´t forget?
I would have to say it was when we played Kent State my junior year and CJ had 43. He is from Ohio and to him the game was personal. Many of the schools had overlooked him because of his size and he made sure to let them know that they missed out on something great.
Would you say that your 23 points in the 90-80 win against Liberty was your best game at Lehigh?
I do not believe that stats tell the whole story of a game or performance but in this case, yes, I would say this was my best game at Lehigh.
How did Brett Reed prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Reed does a great job teaching defensive principles. I think that his emphasis on defense helped me tremendously in making the transition from college to pro. At the pro level, everyone can score. Being able to lock down and get a stop becomes that much more important.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan one day?
I do not like the comparison between players. They are two different players and two different people. There style of play varies greatly and it is tough to compare the two. There will never be another Michael Jordan, nor will there ever be another Lebron James.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jordan for the chat.