Jason Boone is a 30 year old 198cm power forward/center from Sugar Loaf, New York that is playing his ninth professional season and eighth in Germany and first with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. He played three seasons with the s. Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and three seasons for BG Goettingen. He played at New York University(NCAA 3) from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 28 games averaging 14.1ppg, 9.6rpg, 2.4bpg, 2.9apg, FG: 63.0%, FT: 64.3%. In 2007-2008, he turned professional and played played at Bernau(Regionalliga) before making the jump up three leagues to MEG Goettingen. In 2008-2009, he averaged 4.4ppg, 4.0rpg, FG: 53.7. In 2009-2010, he won the Eurochallenge for BG Goettingen playing EuroChallenge: 16 games: 10.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 53.8%; German League: 35 games: 9.1ppg, 6.1rpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 55.9%. Last season he split time with Torku Konyaspor (Turkey-TBL): 14 games: 6.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 2FGP: 60.7%, FT: 46.2%, in Mar.’15 moved to SO Maritime Boulogne (France-ProA) playing 12 games: 9.7ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 63.6%, FT: 51.4%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball before the game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Jason thanks for talking to German Hoops. Merry Christmas 2015. After having spent Christmas in Germany now at least 8 times, have you been celebrating it once at night the German way, twice, the German and American way or just the American way in Germany waking up in the mornings and opening up the presents?
Merry Xmas to you as well. I’ve been fortunate enough to become really close with a number of families in Germany. And because of that, I’ve only celebrated Christmas the way that they do. If we’re being honest though, I like it better.
After being in Germany for so many years, what have you been able to appreciate most about the German Christmas in Germany?
I love the Christmas Market and the way it brings a city together. But I appreciate how the German Christmas doesn’t feel as commercialized. They focus more on the important things that Christmas represents.
You came back to Germany and have been are playing for John Patrick for a third time after being with him in Goettingen and Wurzburg. Of course it was a no brainer to come back to a coach where you have had success before, but was there something in his words he exchanged with you when you spoke where you instantly had memories back to playing Krasnoyarsk?
Our history spoke louder than any specific thing he said to me. I know that he is the best at judging talent and team chemistry. So when you know that you’re going to be surrounded with a good group of guys that want to win, it simply becomes about doing the work and staying healthy.
Congrats on the super season with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. Despite being near the top. It hasn´t beat a top team in the Beko BBL yet, but Alba Berlin twice in Eurocup play. Is Alba Berlin a team that you simply match up well against?
We’ve had two great games against Alba thus far but this league is notorious for proving that any team can win or lose on any given night against any opponent. There isn’t an “easy win” on the schedule.
I had the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg as a dark horse last year and even more this season. The club has lost to FC Bayern Munich and the Brose Baskets Bamberg the last two seasons in the playoffs. What do you feel does the team have extra special this season that could make the season extra special?
We are a very deep team. And that’s a luxury with the wear and tear of multiple games a week for an extended amount of time. We have to keep working but we are preparing to make this season a special one.
How vital is the experience factor this season? The team has 6 players 30 or older with you the youngest of the lot. How does it feel being an older guy on the team, but then again still being younger than 5 other guys on the team?
The guys on the team told me I couldn’t have “vet-status” until I turned 30. But it’s definitely a great feeling to be playing with this group of guys. We’ve all been battle-tested and know what it takes to be successful. But the fact that we have so many guys that know how to lead is what really makes this group special.
The club is averaging 81 points per game in the Beko BBL, but give up 77 points. It started the season off well keeping Giessen and Tuebingen to under 70 points and then soon after had some good dpurts against MBC and Ulm, but as of late been keep teams to 75-80 points which is risky when you aren´t averaging 90 points per game. What does the team need to do better to get teams to under 70 points on a consistent level?
It’s no secret that getting defensive stops start with our offensive shot selection, and end with defensive rebounding. We always want to work to improve those areas as much as we can, while also dedicating ourselves to forcing players into doing things that they don’t want to do.
How vital was the pick-up of Mustafa Shakur? What has he given the team that it didn´t have before besides experience that can be the difference between a playoff appearance and a title?
Mustafa has been great for us thus far. Good leaders take a little less than their share of the credit and a little more than their share of the blame. I think that sums him up better than anything. He’s super talented but humble, and he is a hard worker. That’s the recipe for a great teammate.
You have played with many centers in your career, but this season form the incredible duo with ex NBA player Jon Brockman the Bully Brothers. Is this the most lethal center duo in the league and what have you as a veteran been able to take into your game?
The end of the season will show which center duo is the best one, but we just want to be a duo that opponents aren’t looking forward to playing against. John is an incredible player with a motor that doesn’t stop. His mix of athleticism and strength is one that I’ve never seen before but it’s that motor that sets him apart.
On Sunday you will play against your best friend John Little for the first time ever as you were teammates with BG Goettingen and the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. With what kind of emotions are you going into this game?
I’ve never enjoyed playing with someone as much as I’ve enjoyed playing with John. And the reason for that is the way he competes. Both teams are heading into this game to get a win and to do that, you can’t be too over-motivated. I’m just going to focus on doing anything I can to get my team a win.
Little is like a brother to you and you guys have experienced so much together as teammates and as friends. What is the most important thing that he has been able to give you that you feel has made you better as a person over time?
I feel like you can’t talk about John without bringing up that competitive spirt. It can be anything from a sprint to a shooting contest, a weight room contest to an actual game. He wants to win everything. And he makes people around him want to compete as well. If I take anything from him, that’s what I want it to be.
You are like the sixth man for the Fraport Skyliners or a good luck charm as whenever you made the trip from Ludwisgburg on an off day to support John Little Frankfurt won. You have seen much of the Fraport Skyliners and also of German national player Johannes Voigtmann. You told me recently he is the best center in the Beko BBL. You said he could play at the top level in Europe for many years to come. With a few more years of development do you see him having the game and most importantly mentality to reach the NBA?
If you look at the direction the NBA is going, then a player with the skill set of his, at that height and body type, has to be a possibility. I don’t know him personally but John speaks highly of him and he’s a better judge of talent than I ever will be. I’m definitely excited to see where that age group of German players end up in the next few years.
On Sunday it will be a huge game for the Fraport Skyliners as they want to continue to stay in range of being in the top 6 to make the Beko BBL cup. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to winning?
Anytime you have two teams that are competitive as the two playing Sunday it should make for an exciting game. Frankfurt is a very hard place to win and if we can have a good start and take their crowd out of it, we will give ourselves a better chance of escaping with a victory.
I don´t know if you saw Star Wars, The Force Awakens, but you being a movie buff, I am sure you have. What is your whole take on the 7 movies and what remains your favorite?
I actually have not. I’ve only seen the original three but have heard only good reviews about this newest one. Maybe I’ll catch up on the most recent three and then go see the new one. Nothing will ever beat the first one though.
Thanks Jason for the chat.