Isaac Gordon is a 26 year old 196cm guard from Los Angeles, California playing his fourth professional season and first with SC Rist Wedel (Germany-ProB). He started his basketball career at Mercer (NCAA) in 2006 playing 25 NCAA games. He then moved to UTEP(NCAA) playing three seasons and a total of 73 NCAA games. He turned professional in 2012 and played for Templeogue Azzurri Dublin (Ireland-Division ) from 2012-2015 and last season played 13 games averagingb17.2ppg, 6.7rpg, Assists-5(5.4apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 47.5%, FT: 78.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Isaac thanks for talking to German Hoops. You played the last 3 yesrs in Ireland. If you had to estimate where it has rained more on average in a season would you say Ireland or Germany?
Ireland by far. There was so much rain that I forgot what it was like to see sunny days and a clear sky.
SC Rist Wedel suffered a tough 84-72 loss last weekend against aspiring Rostock. Could one say it was one of those games where your team could never get fully over the hump even if the game was tighter in the first half?
Every loss is tough, and this one was no different because we went in prepared and ready to get a win on the road against a good team. I felt that we had great effort on both sides of the ball, but that our defense wasn’t as strong as we needed it down the stretch in the 3rd and 4th quarters as we gave up too many easy baskets and second chance points in the paint.
Was controlling the boards and Hunter and Murrillo one of the biggest keys for not being able to break the teams losing streak?
I think the rebounding last game was definitely a key factor. Any time you give up as many offensive rebounds as we did and give a solid team extra possessions with easy looks in the paint it is hard to overcome.
Despite the less than average 5-13 team record SC Rist wedel is only two wins from a playoff place. How realistic are the playoffs from the current team play or is the playdowns more realistic?
We prepare every week to play what is the biggest game of the season. That’s our approach and we understand that there is still a lot at stake, so we’re focused on preparing for Itzehoe this weekend and working to secure a home win. From there, we can only control what’s in our hands and take it one day, practice, and game at a time.
One big problem this season has been the lack of putting up points as SC Rist Wedel averages only 62 points. Why is this such a big problem this season?
We have an extremely talented roster with players that can score from every position. Starting with pre-season and throughout the year we have lost a few key players with season ending injuries, had some players in and out with other injuries, and added some new faces along the way. Although versatile and dangerous, we’re continuing to mesh as we have our full roster for the first time just over the past few weeks. We are definitely due for a breakout game offensively and I have no doubt it is going to happen.
The team defends very well giving up on average only 65 points. How frustrating is it for a team when it gives 100% on the defensive end with major results, but can´t do it on the other end?
Defense is something that we take pride in because we know that regardless of who we’re playing, we can control our own effort and intensity while making things tough on our opponents. Although frustration sometimes sets in, we are all working together as we continue to press forward and bring all the pieces together offensively for a final playoff run.
How much of a joy has it been playing with German talents Louis Olinde and Helge Baues? How much potential do they possess?
It has been phenomenal playing with all of the young guys on our roster. Louis in particular has really impressed me with his work ethic, coachability, and obvious natural gifts. He is a true superstar in the making that has the ability to play at the Div 1 NCAA level, top level in Europe, and even the NBA. He can go as far as he wants if he’s willing to put in the work. Helge has really grown throughout the course of the season and I think his versatility has been instrumental for our team. He allows us to have a lot of different attack options on offense and defense because of his length and creativity around the basket. But I also must give praise to our other young guys: Lenny, Abu, Jack, Alex, and Janis who have worked their tails off all year and have grown throughout the season.
You are playing in your fourth professional season. How much of a leader are you for the young German guys?
From day one I knew that I was going to be in a position of leadership with this young team. I’ve always been a natural leader, but with every team you have to find your voice and really learn the individual players and coaches so that you can be the most effective leader for that specific unit. With this team, it has really been a joy because we have an unselfish, hard working group of guys that are committed to getting better.
Do you feel that the young German players look up to you especially since you are an American and are well traveled and have played NCAA?
I’m not sure if they look up to me, but I do understand that they are always watching me, and my actions will definitely have an impact on their approach to the game now and possibly for some years to come. I really just try to focus on being a professional each and every day, as I take great pride in my work ethic and commitment to being present everyday regardless of the circumstances.
Currently you are averaging 13,4ppg, 4,8rpg and 3,4apg. How happy have you been with your play in your first season in the German Pro B?
I’ve been extremely satisfied with my growth and maturity as it relates to leading this team on a nightly basis in whatever capacity they ask. The past few years, I’ve been put in a position to score a bit more, but with this team I’ve really been able to use my versatility to impact the game in ways that often go beyond the stats. Some nights I’m in a position to score 25+ points, other nights I’m the point guard and floor general, and some nights I’m a glue/energy guy that makes the whole engine run. For me, I’ve had to sacrifice a bit of my natural game at times but it is rewarding as a leader when you see others around you growing and the team becoming stronger because of it.
How important has head coach Michael Claxton been this season for the further development of your game?
Coach Claxton has been a consummate professional and has the blue-collar work ethic I love. When I came to this club, one of the first things I told coach was that I needed to be challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone as I continue my personal development to play at higher levels. He has really challenged me to be better in some of my weaker areas and has put a ton of trust in me to be the leader of this team. Experiencing some of the struggles we have as a unit has really allowed coach and myself to form a bond together as we’re constantly trying to find ways to put this team in the right position to win games. We are both resilient, hard working individuals and I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach and look up to him as a mentor and leader.
The next game is against Izehoe a real north derby. SC Rist Wedel lost the first game 68-65. What do you remember from that game? It was your best game of the season with 27 points and eight boards and you nailed six three pointers?
The last time we played Itzehoe both sides brought their best and there was no let down until the horn sounded. Both teams used different line-ups, shuffled defenses, and made adjustments throughout the game as it was back and forth. I expect a tough team in Itzehoe to come into our gym and make us earn everything.
Will taking care of the ball be a big priority this time as SC Rist Wedel coughed up the ball 18 times in that game?
Taking care of the ball is always high on our list of priorities. 18 turnovers are too many in any game if we want a good chance at coming out on the winning side.
You played the last three seasons for Templeogue Azzurri Dublin (Ireland-Division). How would you compare the style and level there compared to the German Pro B?
Both leagues are quite similar in level, although the style of play is really different. I think the game in Ireland is a little free flowing in terms of player movement on offense. Here in Germany, I notice that offenses are really much more system oriented with emphasis more on ball movement and pick and roll action rather than player movement off the ball and utilizing the dribble drive attack in Ireland. Defensively, I think both leagues are similar with tough, physical play.
It is quite unusual for a young American player to play three seasons in Ireland. What really had you bound to Ireland and it´s basketball?
Playing for Templeogue Basketball Club three years straight was really a journey where I grew and matured both on and off the court. The opportunity to grow with a club and take it to the top of the league was a challenge that I readily accepted and wanted to be a part of. Over my three years, I got to play with a tremendous group of players and coaches whom all instilled confidence in my abilities and allowed me the opportunity to craft my game and mature from a college kid to an adult. We went from the bottom of the league when things started to playing for the championship my last season, and Templeogue is now in a position where they will compete for cup and league titles every year. To have been an instrumental part of that really means a lot to me because I developed great relationships with my teammates, coaches, and all of the club supporters. That will always be my Irish home and family.
As a freshman you played at Mercer with then freshman James Florence who has made a good career in Europe and played in Germany recently. What do you remember in his game then as a kid that didn´t surprise you that he has developed so well?
James was a hard nose competitor that wanted to win. I’ve always thought really highly of him and admired his mental toughness and competitive nature. When I check and follow his career I’m never surprised that he is flourishing because he has all of the tools physically and mentally to compete at any level. Hopefully we will have a chance to cross paths and compete against one another because I know he will pull the best out of me and I will do the same for him.
You played three seasons with ex NBA player Julyan Stone. I recently saw him play in Germany and was fascinated by his game. What fascinated you most about his game and what was the most amazing thing you remember him doing on the court?
Julyan is like a brother to me and I’ve always been fascinated about his ability to impact the game well beyond the stat sheet in so many different ways. You can only appreciate his game if you watch and really understand basketball because stats will not tell the entire story. As a 6’7” point guard he is willing to do whatever it takes to put his teammates in the best position to be comfortable and give his team the best chance to win. Julyan is one of the most unselfish and versatile players that I’ve ever played with. The most amazing thing I see in his game is the passion and pride he takes in his individual defensive match ups. Although I’m the only person he can’t guard, his approach to guarding 1-4 positions is awesome and inspiring.
How did head coach Tony Barbee groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
All three of my college coaches groomed and prepared me. Coach Mark Slonaker from Mercer taught me about the importance of teamwork and having “One Heartbeat.” Coach Tony Barbee taught me about pushing through adversity and enjoying the journey, not always focusing on the destination. And coach Tim Floyd taught me how to play defense and how to represent your team, school, and city with class.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2016? When it´s all said and done will he be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
LeBron James is a dominant player in the NBA and we’re going to see him competing for more championships over the coming years. I’m personally a Kobe fan and I’ve watched him since I was 8 years old, so I’ve been trying to catch as much of his final season as possible. In order to be mentioned with Michael Jordan, you have to have the championships. If LeBron is able to get some more rings, then I think people will add him to the debate with Kobe and Jordan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Ride Along 2 with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube.
Thanks Isaac for the chat.