Brandon Jefferson(Phoenix Hagen) How We Defend Will Ultimately Decide If We Make The Playoffs Or Not

Brandon Jefferson is a 24 year old 175cm point guard from Flower Mound, Texas that is playing second professional season and first in Germany with Phoenix Hagen and currently averaging 10,5ppg, 2,8rpg and 4,0apg. Last season as a rookie he played for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 48 games: Score-4(18.5ppg), 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, Steals-2(2.2spg), FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 88.0%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 13.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 88.5%. He started his basketball career in 2010 for Metro State(NCAA2) where he played a total of 129 NCAA games. In college he was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 21.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 92.3%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball before the game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg.



Brandon thanks for talking to German Hoops. The Beko BBL teams had a 2 week break between the cup top 4 in Munich. Did Phoenix Hagen give the team some time off and how did you pass the time? Did you visit any nice sights?

Yes sir, coach gave us some time off to recover. I didn’t leave the Hagen area at all. I used the time to freshen up my mind. The mental part is key.

Last season you played 48 games for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) and currently you have played 22 games for Phoenix Hagen. In your second season as a professional how do you feel at the moment body wise with the work load of playing in your second professional season?

I feel pretty good actually. I learned a lot from last year on how to take care of my body. It’s a long, grind it out season, and players/teams break down because of all the games. It’s vital to take care of the body on and off the court so you can perform at your best.

Phoenix Hagen is 3-3 in 2016 and in 11th place. What is your 2016 summary thus far in terms how the club has been performing?

We are .500 in 2016 so far. I really don’t think back at all our games, but our last game against Wurzburg was huge for us. We still can learn a lot from that game, but that was one of our most complete games of the season.

Phoenix Hagen often beat teams below them, but lose to teams above them. What do you feel is still missing from Phoenix Hagen to being a type of playoff team?

I don’t feel that Phoenix Hagen is missing anything. If you look back on the season, we’ve beat top teams. We’ve given up 20 point leads numerous times that have cost us, but it’s all in the process of learning from those games. I feel confident that we can make a run at the playoffs and get in. We are in a good spot right now as a team.

The season is still long, but Phoenix Hagen is in 10th place two wins from the last playoff team. How conscious is the club that the playoffs could be a reality this season?

We are conscious of the playoff race. We are taking it one day at a time though. It starts in practice. We have a game on the road this Friday against a great team. That’s all we are worried about right now.

Does Phoenix Hagen realize that they are a very good three point shooting team and if they could just defend more consistently would make the difference between a playoff team and non playoff team?

Everyone in the league knows that we can shoot the three at a high level. Offense can only take you so far. You can’t out score people in this league. The teams are too good. How we defend will ultimately decide if we make the playoffs or not. We have to get stops at a high level so we can get out and do what we do on the offensive end.

Why is the club unable to defend better as it is allowing 85 points per game?

We are more than capable to defend teams. We are growing each and every day on the defensive end. It starts with us guards. We need to bring the intensity and the rest of the team will follow us!

In the last week, you held a very talented Wurzburg team to 71 points. Was that the first step in Phoenix Hagen becoming a good defensive team?

It didn’t shock us at all that we held Wurzburg to 71 points. We can do that every night. Our mindset needs to be like that every time we step on the court. We have the personnel to be a great defensive team, but everyone needs to be on the same page and communicating at a high level with each other.

Usually one looks at David Bell, Adam Hess or you as the main shooting options, but explain just how valuable the shooting of JJ Mann is?

JJ Man is a great shooter. He spreads the court for us even more. He’s not only a spot up shooter though. He can create for others and get to the basket. He shoots a high percentage from the free throw line which also makes him dangerous.

How much fun was it being a part of David Bell´s 36 points against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg? Does his worth rise with every new amazing game he has?

Dave is a veteran! I expect him to do that! He’s a great player! What he did that night didn’t surprise anyone on the team. We see him put in the work day in and day out! He definitely got us going that night. It wasn’t only his scoring, his defensive energy was contagious. He had a terrific game.

Despite the 86-83 loss against Alba Berlin, was this one of your most memorable games this season as your 24 points stole the show from Americans Jordan Taylor and Will Cherry?

I don’t really think about the game that much. It’s in the past and we lost. I remember one play from the game though where I crossed a player and hit a step back three. I only remember that because it was all over the Internet. Other than that, I don’t really remember the game.

Did your performance against Alba Berlin prove to you that you can play at the highest level in Europe?

I’ve put in the work to be a great player! I know what I’m capable of doing. Need to keep God first and continue to stay humble and just work! Keep climbing the ladder!

You have very solid stats averaging 13,9ppg, 2,9rpg and 4,3apg while shooting 39% from outside. Is hitting from closer range one of your biggest building blocks at the moment as you are at 34%?

To be honest, I don’t pay attention to stats until after the season. I do know that I need to start finishing my lay ups more. I’m getting to the rim, just need to finish. That’s part of why my 2’s field goal percentage is low. I’m not really worried about it though. I don’t focus on the missed shots. I’m already looking at the next play. My college coach at Metro State would always tell me “next play, next play”

How do recap the NBA trade line deals? What teams did the best?

Thought the Clippers and the Cavs both made good trades to enhance their chances. Jeff Green was a big time pick up for the Clippers. I’m glad they kept Blake Griffin because he gives them a better chance to beat the Warriors.

Recently ESPN ranked the top 100 NBA players of all time. They placed Lebron James at #3 before NBA legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Bill Russell. Do you feel that is justified?

I feel that they placed him too high as of now. At the end of his career, he will definitely be top 5 greatest of all time. His versatility and the freak of nature he is puts him above a lot of people. His basketball IQ is high as well!

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I watched was The Hateful Eight.

Thanks Brandon for the chat.


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