Shawn Dawson is a 22 year old 198cm Israeli playing his third season for Maccabi Rishon. He helped the club win the country youth title in 2012 and since turning professional as a 19 year old has improved his scoring and rebounding each season. Some of his most memorable games so far was his 28 point 18 rebound game against Hapoel Holon and scoring 11 points with the Israeli national team against France at the 2015 European championships. He spoke to German Hoops before the do or die game against the Fraport Skyliners in the Fiba Europe Cup competition for the ticket to the Final 4.
Shawn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the big 88-84 OT win against the Fraport Skyliners. How does it feel being the first team to beat them in Fiba Europe Cup and breaking their 15 game winning streak?
It feels great man, we knew that the game one did not reflect at all the differences between the teams and it was a tough one for us because we played bad, and we knew anything is possible when we play at home
Maccabi Rishon had their backs to the wall and had to win at home. How confident was the team that they could be able to pull it out even when it was down 14 points?
Basketball is played 40 minutes, and it aint over until its over. We kept on pushing and I am glad we got the win.
A very important thing in a series in basketball is making adjustments. How difficult was it constructing a superb zone defense which worked very well despite hardly using it in the Israeli Winner League?
It wasnt hard, because its not anyone of us’s first time playing zone and the basic zone rules rarely change so we had our adjustments before the game, went over the rules in case we use it and it worked out well for us
Jordan Theodore had a great game with 27 points, but when the game got into it´s crucial stage in the fourth and OT, he kept running into a wall. How key was that for being able to get the win?
It was very important, because he was on the roll the whole game and was the one to keep them in the game. We knew that if we would stop him, we had allot better chance of winning this game
Darryl Monroe had a huge game with 28 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists just missing the triple double. How close is he to being the best center in the Israeli Winter League now at age 30?
I dont think he is close to be the best center in the Israeli winner league, but he is the best center in this league. And I am sure he can play great in a lot higher level.
Mark Lyons told me in an interview that he has the type of mentality that can rub off on other people to give it their all. How has his mentality helped you make strides this season?
Yea Mark has helped me a lot this year, me and him are good friends on and off the floor and me and him are the main creators on our backcourt lineup so we got great chemistry and we enjoy playing together
Is American Kevin Palmer the ultimate role player? He had 11 points, eight rebounds and five steals? What do you appreciate most about his game?
Yea Kevin is great, what I like most about his game is that he don´t force anything and he sacrifices for the team and he gives his all every game, no matter what we need him to do. Even if its 5 fouls in 10 minutes. I was really happy for him and his performance in game two. He had a great game and helped us get that win.
I call you the Quantez Robertson of Maccabi Rishon. Both are freak athletes. When you watch the 31 year Frankfurt veteran are their things that you can pickup?
Haha Quantez is a great player, and we both can do a lot more than just jump, but I dont think we play alike.
Now Maccabi Rishon faces another do or die game against the Fraport Skyliners, but on the road. Frankfurt surely will play totally different. How confident are you that you will walk off the court as the winner and what will be key to getting to the Fiba Europe Cup Final 4?
I can´t say who’s going to win but you can be sure both teams will come to fight and win. I believe in my team and its going to be interesting
In the Winner League Maccabi Rishon has a 12-12 record. How realistic are the playoffs for the team?
Very realistic, we know what we are capable of and its in our hands. If were going to play like we know we will be there.
What do you believe have been the reasons for the total downfall of traditional Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv this season? This seems to be a refreshing change for the Winter League?
I guess that it was a year that players just didn´t fit each other and in the league Maccabi will always be Maccabi, the team that has the biggest budget and has the most chances of winning the title
You are 22 and playing your third season with Maccabi Rishon. How do you handle being the top young Israeli player at the moment?
This is my 5th season with Rishon lol, but it is my third season being a main player and it feels great. I love it and I learn allot from it
You are a very athletic player that lives on top of the rim, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I believe that its my shot. I feel really comfortable with it. People say I can´t shoot, but that is not true and if they think they are right, they can step back and check haha
How much of a role model has your father Joe been for you who played 20 years in Israel) What has been the most important piece of advice that he has given you in the last years?
Its amazing ! He is helping me a lot and shares his experience and knowledge with me. His best advice was that one time he told me, before I started my ist year with the pro team when I was 17 and he said “it doesn´t matter who you playing against, play your game, just play your game and do be afraid of no one”
You helped Maccai Rishon youth team win the title in 2012. Why did you chose to go the route in Israeli instead of going overseas to college or to another country in Europe?
Umm I always dreamed of going to college but when I finished high school I just didn´t feel like I was good enough and I didn´t feel ready to leave my family and go be on my own. I hear about a lot of college experiences and how great it is from my teammates and I wish I had went but it just wasn´t my path.
You had interest from NBA teams like the Rockets, Pelicans and Suns. Are you still not ready for going this route?
Last summer I really wanted to get there because it´s a dream, but I wasn´t ready and teams also didn´t think I am ready yet. I am hoping this summer it’ll be different. I feel like I improved my game and that I can improve it a lot more in the NBA. We’ll just have to wait and see
You have improved your scoring and rebounding average in your first three seasons in the Israeli Winter League. What do you feel has been key in your development going so well with Maccabi Rishon the last three years?
I just always look to improve every aspect in my game and every summer I work to improve it even though in the last 4 summers I have been with the national team. I still learned something from every experience if its basketball wise or mental wise which is even more important
In the summer of 2015 you played at the European championships with Israeli. What will you never forget from your 11 point game against France?
It was my 1st time playing against a few NBA players that I am used to watching on TV playing and it felt great playing on the same court with them and feel like I belong to that level
How much have you learned from Sharon Drucker who was mentored by the legendary Pini Gershon this season being able to make that next step as a professional`?
I have known coach for a long time, since I was 18 and I always learned something new, every year both with Rishon and the national team and we been through a lot together We have been doing great and we can do some more big things this year too and I am looking forward to it
Some of the older NBA players that played at different times are having a hard time giving Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors credit for their success saying they might not have had that success 20-30 years ago. Are these former players just jealous or why can´t they just give credit where it´s due?
No one can take it away from the Warriors, they playing great and they are hard to beat. The basketball really was different 20 -30 years ago but you can never know and no one can tell what would of happened. Steph and Klay are two of the best shooters to ever play so it´s tough to tell
Recently ESPN made a top 100 greatest NBA players of alltime poll putting Lebron at #3 before legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and BIll Russell. Do you see that as being justified?
Yes I do, Lebron can do it all, he is fast, strong, athletic, quick, tall and he can shoot, drive, pass defend He can do it all and he still keeps improving more and more and you see that type of player once in 20-30 yrs. A lot of people are hating on him because he lost so many championship games, but he got there every year and winning a championship is not easy.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I have seen was “creed” in the movies lol loved it..
Thanks Shawn for the chat.