Travis Smith is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Johns Island, South Carolina that is playing his second professional season in Germany. As a rookie he played for RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games: 17.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 87.9%He played his last two years of college at Mercer and as a senior played 36 games: 13.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 89.8%. As a senior he reached the NCAA 2 Sweet 16 and was a A-Sun Regular Season Champion and
A-Sun Tournament Finalist in 2013. This season he started with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (Germany-ProB) where he played six games averaging 9,0ppg, 2,0rpg and 2,8apg and now has moved to the Take-Off Wuerzburg Blue Baskets (ProB) and spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Travis congrats on the 65-42 win against Eintracht Stahnsdorf. Did you have a special motivation playing against your ex team?
Thank you Miles. I really did not have any extra motivation. It’s was good to see my old teammates from Stahnsdorf but I was more focused on making sure we won and did not lose two games in a row. Stahnsdorf is a good team and we knew would have to put forth a lot of energy and effort in order to beat them.
The game was pretty much decided in the second and third quarter where Wolfenbuetel gave up a combined 15 points. What adjustments did the team make?
We wanted to maintain out aggressiveness on offense and defense. In previous games we have let teams come back and our goal last game was to make sure that played hard and aggressive for the entire game.
It was the best defensive effort of the season and after giving 90 points up last week in a loss and 75 points the week before, do you believe that there can be more consistency found on the defensive end in the next games?
I do believe so, our coach stresses defense and the depth that our team has can allow us to be a very sound defensive team.
Is consistent scoring something the team can improve more as it averages only 73 points while giving up an average of 70 points?
Yes, there is always room for improvement. The team has yet to reach its full potential. I think more important than anything is defense, making teams uncomfortable and getting stop. The team has a lot of guys that score so the offensive side will take care of itself.
The club is led in scoring one and two from Beko BBL license player Robin Amaize and Sid Marlon Theis. Can it be negative if the club becomes too dependent on them for scoring production especially then when they aren´t available for service?
Robin and Sid are great players and when they aren’t playing they are definitely missed, but a lot of other guys on the team are capable of producing consistently on offense as well.
You were injured for a while. Has it been a tough adjustment coming off the injury and getting back into rhythm?
Yes, coming off an injury is always a little difficult, but Coach Ralph and the physical therapist did a great job of pacing my recovery which made it easier for me to find my rhythm quicker.
Can we expect more scoring production from American Demetruis Ward down the stretch? It isn´t usual that an American or Americans aren´t leading their teams in scoring.
Demetrius is a good player and very capable scorer so I am sure that his production will increase as the season goes on, but I think the best thing about the Wolfenbüttel team is that they don’t really worry about who is scoring. The only concern is getting the best possible shot.
Last season you led Stahnsdof in scoring and was the go to guy. Did you have a different role this season with Wolfenbuetel?
Yes my role for Wolfenbüttel was different. They needed me to be more of point guard, control the tempo of the offensive and get easy shots for guys. In Stahnsdorf the team needed me to be more of a shooting guard and be an aggressive scorer and so that’s what I did. I am comfortable in either role.
Your shooting only 22% from outside. You have been picking your spots and only have attempted nine shots. Are you working more on your shot after practice or has it got more to do with getting better shot selection?
I always work on shooting after and before practice. I haven’t really taking many threes in the games because the team needed me to be more of a penetrator and to put pressure on the defense.
Besides your three pointer is there some other part of your game that your concentrating on on improving to help your team be better?
I have been concentrating a lot on ball handling and my strength. Also I have been watching a lot of film to see how I can be a better all around player and make my teammates better.
When you see Germans like Robin Amaize or Sid Marlon Theis getting their Beko BBL minutes, do you ever think about what is missing from your game to get to a level like that?
I often do. Luckily I have had two great coaches since I have been in Germany who both have experience coaching at the BBL level. They both have given me advice about things I need to add and areas I need to improve upon to get to that level.
What was your impression of young German Niklas Bilski? You worked with him in practice each day. Did you give the 17 year old tips when you guys are battling in practice?
Niklas is a talented young prospect and a good guy. He has very good instincts as a basketball player and he has a lot of potential to be an elite team leader at the point guard position. I do give him some tips but for the most part all he needs is more game experience his instincts are good enough to where he will figure out ways to be effective.
Who wins a one on one in practice you or Demetrius Ward?
We have actually never played one on one but that would be a good game.
Travis you are moving from Wolfenbuetel to Wurzburg. What were the main reasons for moving in mid season from a successful team?
It is tough to leave Wolfenbuetel. I enjoyed my time there and it is a great city, team, coach and organization. I started developing chemistry and friendships on the team but I only signed to play there until December.
How excited are to be going to an all German team? It is rare these days to find a team that has no import. Will it feel strange being the only import?
I am very excited about the opportunity to play with Würzburg. They are a very talented team and a great club to be a part of. I believe that my skills will help add a positive boost to the team, and I don’t think being the only American will be strange. Last season in Stanhsdorf I was the only American for a couple of months so I have experienced that before and it was not a problem.
Wurzburg has some very talented Germans. What kind of role do you see yourself having? Will you be a scorer or a type of energizer from the bench?
One of my goals is to always bring energy to my team on both sides of the ball. I believe I will have to be more of scorer here. I will play more shooting guard instead of point guard here. There will be a small adjustment as I find my niche in the offense and figure out exactly where I can be effective and help the team.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
Lebron with out a doubt deserves to be mentioned among the greats of the game he has done a lot in his career and still has more years ahead to add to his list of achievements.
What is your most nicest Christmas memory from home in South Carolina?
My mom usually hosts Christmas breakfast at our house on Christmas Day for all of my aunts uncles and their kids. We all just come together eat and enjoy each other’s company. Those breakfasts are by far my best memories.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was “Gone Girl” crazy movie.
Thanks Travis for the chat.