Jordan Taylor is a 26 year old 187cm point guard from Bloomington, Minnesota playing his forth professional season and first with Alba Berlin. He started his basketball career at Wisconsin(NCAA) in 2008 where he played until 2012 reaching two NCAA Sweet 16´s and played a total of 136 NCAA games. As a senior he played 36 games averaging 14.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 78.5%. He started his professional career in 2012 with Virtus Roma (Italy-SerieA) where he played until 2014. Last season he played with Hapoel Holon (Israel-Winner League) playing 37 games: 14.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-4(1.9spg), FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 73.9%. He won the 2016 Beko BBL cup title with Alba Berlin earlier this season and spoke with German Hoops before game one against the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt.
Thanks Jordan for taking some time to talk to German Hoops. When you look out your hotel room does the skyline of Frankfurt remind you a bit of Bloomington, Minnesota?
Yes a little bit.
If someone had told you before the season started that two Jordan´s you and Jordan Theodore would already have a title combined before the start of the playoffs what would you have thought?
I wouldn´t have thought to much about it so early in the season. But then again he and I have very big expectations to always want to win. I have known Jordan since he was 13, so us having won two titles already hasn´t been so much a surprise.
Alba Berlin had some injury problems to deal with this season, but seriously what else do feel contributed to only reaching sixth place?
I feel that the biggest problem that we have had this season has been our consistency. We lost some games that on paper we really should of won like against Bremerhaven. I believe another problem has been not finding a real identity within the team.
How positive are you that winning the cup in February wasn´t the time where Alba Berlin had reached it´s peak? How has the team developed further?
I think that we are still growing. We are finally healthy again. We have Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann back and have players from 1-12 that can give minutes. We feel as a team that we can give a collective effort together and make a run in this post season.
Alba Berlin now face the Fraport Skyliners who are coming into the playoffs having reached a season goal winning a title. With what kinds of thoughts are you entering the playoff series with Frankfurt?
I am going into the post season not thinking about what happened in the past, but looking ahead. The most important thing is to give my best for the next month and worrying about winning that next title with Alba Berlin.
Does Alba Berlin have the pressure to have to perform since Frankfurt can sit back a bit more since it has already won a title?
I feel that any team has pressure because it is in the competitive nature of everyone. Nobody expects us to win accept us so I feel like we don´t have pressure going into the Frankfurt series.
Alba Berlin won in Frankfurt and Munich against Frankfurt, but recently lost in Berlin. Is Frankfurt a better team than the cup semi-final?
Frankfurt is a better and more confident team now than when they played at the cup in Munich. Winning the Fiba Europe Cup has definitely made them more confident and they feel like they can beat anyone.
How excited are you to be playing against Jordan Theodore? He still has some revenge on you after you hit the last shot in Munich giving Alba Berlin the win over Frankfurt.
It is great playing against Jordan again. He is one of the best players in the league. I will try to raise my game and excel, but my main goal to help win the series over Frankfurt. It is always nice to see a familiar childhood face like Jordan.
Your stats as a professional have been very solid in Italy and in Israel, but this season you shot the best from outside in a regular season. How did your game progress this season in Germany?
I feel like I am getting healthy again. I was injured my second year in Italy and came back last season in Israel. My goal continues to be to work on my game and body. I can play with anyone when I am healthy.
How challenging has it been playing for head coach Sasa Obradovic? Did you learn early that you had to play defense or be sitting?
Coming to Alba Berlin wasn´t a big adjustment, because I played for a defensive orientated team at Wisconsin. Sasa really knows the game and is one of the most knowledgeable coaches that I have played for in Europe. I just try to soak in as much from him as possible.
How has guard Ismet Akpinar developed further this season and how have you helped him in practice?
He is a young player and one of the more talented guys that I have been around in Europe. The sky is the limit for him. When he plays with confidence and is aggressive, then I think that he can play at any level. He will get better with age.
It has been 8 months ago since ex NBA player Will Cherry became your teammate. What have you learned about him in this time that you didn´t know before that?
He is a real fun guy to be around and when you can be around a great player like him that always wants success, then it is a good thing to be around a guy like him. In our system having a guy like him that can get in the lane, score and play defense, it takes a lot of pressure off me. We need to have two guards like that in our system.
Last season you played in Israel for Hapoel Holon. After two seasons in the world city Rome, you played in the small country of Israel. What did you learn about the country there that will always make a lasting impression on you?
What really stuck out in my mind was that Tel Aviv is nothing like it is portrayed in the media, so going there was a nice surprise that it was different. It is very Americanized, nice weather and nice people. Israel was one of my favorite places to play. I will always love Israel.
You played your first two seasons in Italy with Virtus Roma. How important was American ex NBA player Bobby Jones in helping you make the adjustment easier as a rookie?
Bobby Jones was invaluable to me. He was more important to me than he will ever know. My first week in Rome, I hadn´t been paid yet and he took me under his wing and showed me around. He took me to the Hard Rock café and made the transition a lot easier as a rookie.
Have you ever had a more professional teammate than Bobby Jones?
He is up there. He wants to always be good in everything and that is how I also want to be. What really stuck out was that he was very detailed orientated. We just clicked right away. Phil Goss also helped me a lot in the early going.
You played NBA Summer League from 2012-2014, but not last summer. Is the NBA off your goal sheet at the moment?
No, I still hope to get a chance to play in the NBA one day. My main goal is to get healthy again. I never got a real chance during those times and it was frustrating. I hope I can continue to move up and advance in my career and get a chance at the NBA one day.
You played four years at Wisconsin under Bo Ryan. How did he groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Bo was one of the best teachers in basketball for me. He tried to get you ready for life. Wisconsin had some guys reach the NBA like Jon Leuer and Frank Kaminsky and other guys go overseas, but it wasn´t really a program that foremost tried to turn the players into professionals. Everything Bo did had a purpose behind it. He was very disciplined and he always had our best interests in mind.
You reached two NCAA Sweet 16 games with Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012. Your last college game was a little more than four years ago where you lost to Syracuse 64-63. What still stands out vividly in your mind when that game comes to mind?
I took the last shot in that game and missed it. The shot was similar to the one I took against Frankfurt in the cup semi in Munich that won the game, but this one was more off balance off a broken play. We were the underdog in the game and felt like we played good enough to win, but couldn´t get over the hump at the end. I have nothing but good feelings about my time at Wisconsin. It was the best time of my life.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Trevon Hughes at Wisconsin?
Me all day. A younger Pop got me, but now I would win. In our prime, I would have won. He was similar to Bobby Jones in that he also took me under his wing when I arrived at Wisconsin.
If you had to build a NBA Rushmore what 4 players would you pick?
Magic, Shaq, Lebron and Jordan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Captain America Cival War.
Thanks Jordan for the chat.