Marcus Smallwood is a 33 year old 198cm forward that is playing his tenth professional season and first with BG Karlsruhe. He played for the BIS Baskets Speyer the last two seasons and last season played BIS Baskets Speyer (Germany-ProB) played 22 games averaging 17.8ppg, Reb-1(12.8rpg), 1.5apg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 25.6%, FT: 59.2%. He is from Elgin, Illinois and played at Northern Illinois from 2000-2004. He came to Europe for his rookie season and played for Ostromecko Astoria Bydgoszcz (Poland-EBL): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 9.0rpg: was released in and later that month signed at Pyrbasket Tampere (Finland-Sparliiga): 6 games: 13.5ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 59%, and also played shortly at Solna Vikings (Sweden-Basketligan): 3 games: 8.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0bpg. The next season, he played in Finland for Forssan Koripojat (Finland-1st Division, starting five): 26 games: 19.7ppg, Reb-2(11.1rpg), 1.3apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-1(1.4bpg), 2FGP-3(64.1%), 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 56.2%. 2006: Elgin Racers (IBL). He had a very strong season in Finland, but surprisingly in the next few years played only briefly in the IBL for the Elgin Racers. He played for Kaiserslautern from 2008-2010. In the 2010-2011 season he played for Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA) playing 9 games: 12.6ppg, 10.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 51.6%, FT: 52.8%; in Dec.’10 moved to VfL Kirchheim Knights (Germany-Pro A) playing 20 games: 15.7ppg, Reb-1(10.8rpg), Blocks-2(2.1bpg), FGP: 60.3%, FT: 47.8%. In 2011-2012 he played for Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-ProA) playing 10 games: 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, FGP: 60.4%, FT: 31.8%; left in Nov.’11, in Dec.’11 moved to Sigal Prishtina (Kosova-SuperLeague), later that month signed at SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProB) playing 19 games: 12.1ppg, Reb-4(10.5rpg), FGP: 53.7%, FT: 51.4%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for the VfL Kirchheim Knights (Germany-ProA) playing 29 games: 11.1ppg, 7.9rpg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 57.4%, FT: 67.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.
Marcus thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are playing your first season with BG Karlsruhe. What do you enjoy most about the game now at 33 that may not have been the case at age 25?
I’m just more grateful and appreciative now because I was always in Pro A, but now I find myself in Pro B trying to work my way back up and it makes you realize how hard you have to work because everyone at this level is hungry for a chance to play higher. So it really keeps you a hungry and competitive player.
BG Karlsruhe is in first place with a record of 9-1. How satisfying has the season been so far for you and did you expect the team be so successful as you saw the team develop through pre-season?
To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect from the beginning since it’s been so long that I have had a real preseason. But coach Josipovic is a guy who requires you can practice at a high intensity level..and so far the results from that have been showing in our great start so far. But it’s still a long way to go and we know we still have a lot of work to do to reach our goals.
The club is averaging 82 points per game and giving up 69 points a game. Despite the success what areas of the game does the team still need some tweaking to do?
I think the challenge for any team that has a great start is to not get comfortable and continue to practice and work harder than any other team in the league on a daily basis. So if we do that then I think everything else works itself out.
Rouven Roessler, Jeremy Black and your self average half of the teams points. Do you feel that there wont be the risk of being too overly dependent on you guys?
Rouven and Jeremy in my eyes are BBL level players and cornerstones of Karlsruhe basketball. So I think it’s a requirement that both of them are central in what we do and then we just build off of that. But other guys on our team do a great job of being ready when there is an opportunity for them to do more in games.
How key has the inside defensive presence been for the success on the defensive end for the team?
So far it’s been a big key but we have a great communicator in Jeremy but also a hard worker in Adrian Lind so its’ easy to keep a great inside presence so far
You and Jeremy Black average combined 18 rebounds per game. How much fun has it been playing with the Florida native this season?
Jeremy is a workhorse and great on/off court leader and if I would of played with him earlier in my career I can’t imagine the level of success we could have had in the Pro A. But he challenges me to get better in practice which has carried over into games, so for that I’m really grateful so far.
You guys aren´t the tallest, but make up in other areas for the success. How important is pure experience that both of you bring to the court?
It speaks volumes because I’m more of a leader by example and can be too intense at times, but Jeremy does a great job of communicating with our younger players in practice which has led to them being more productive in our games so far. But it’s also great to have someone who brings that “workhorse” mentality to every game.
Both of you are superb rebounders. At your age how can you guys still improve from each other?
By just competing against each other every day. Even though our team is in the Pro B. I play every day against a Pro A/BBL caliber player. So just having that allows me and I hope him to continue to improve every day.
For many years you played against Rouven Roessler at least twice a season. How happy are you now that he is on your team and not vice versa?
He’s a really talented guy when he chooses to really turn on the switch in practice or games. So to have a guy like that on your team gives you confidence to know that in pressure situations he’s ready for that challenge
Roessler is similar to you and Black in that he doesn´t seem to get any worse with age, but stays so consistent. Do you three have the same habits when it comes to knowing what is good for you over the age of 30?
Well I can’t speak on their routines but both are High Level Players so I think just having that characteristic allows them to keep bodies and a shape that is well under their actual ages.
How have you seen the development of Hayden Lescault? Is he a guy that could move up levels in Germany in the next years should he decide to remain here?
From day one he has done nothing but been a hard worker and someone that continues to improve every week. I have no doubt that for as long as he chooses to stay in Germany and stays healthy he can play at a higher level. His level of awareness and confidence in his skill set at his age is really an amazing thing to see in practice everyday.
The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. What memories do you have of the bitter 75-73 loss last season with the BIS Baskets Speyer?
One of those what if losses that if we would have had it then maybe we make the playoffs. But in the long run it really helped improve our team to play well in the play downs and stay in the league.
The key to this game will be the inside game with the experience of you and Black against the youth of Johannes Richter and Niklas Kiel. Are you looking forward to containing their inside out game?
With a full squad and playing on their home court they will be in my opinion our toughest game so far. But for sure it will be enjoyable to step up to that challenge because we know that it will be a battle!
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan one day?
Individually I think he’s the better player but there is no greater winner then Michael Jordan(6-0 in the Finals). But both are top 5 of all time so you can’t go wrong with either one of them
What was the last movie that you saw?
The new 007 movie Spectre.
Thanks Marcus for the chat