Jordan Theodore is a 26 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that will commence his fifth professional season with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL). Last season he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 127 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five): 17 games: 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2(6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to German Hoops about his successful season with the Fraport Skyliners and future in Turkey.
Jordan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I am in Englewood, New Jersey and just kicking back and enjoying my time with family and friends. I had a very long season in Europe and just want to take in as much time with everyone. I missed them so much. I didn´t take a vacation, because I wouldn´t be able to take them since they don´t like to fly.
You had your longest season as a professional with the Fraport Skyliners reaching the semi-finals in comparison to your first three seasons where you had shorter seasons. With less time this summer to be home, have you sensed that you have appreciated your time more at home in 2016?
Yes I really appreciate my time at home. The season was long and hard on the body, but it was good coming home as a winner. Not many players can experience that. It just feels very good being appreciated.
It has been almost two months since the unawaited season ending series loss to ratiopharm Ulm. How hard was this to digest for you?
It was tough at first, but I am over it now. I think that a problem was that everyone already had us in the final against Bamberg. We came up against a good team with Ulm and they played us tough. They just wanted it more than us.
What do you believe was the most difficult thing to understand and accept about losing this series.
We didn´t play our best basketball against Ulm. We prided our season on defense, but didn´t bring it in the series against Ulm. We did a great job against Alba Berlin, but couldn´t bring it after that. When you want to beat a good team like Ulm you have to bring it every night, but we didn´t.
In a sense it seems like many people including myself already saw the Fraport Skyliners in the final against Bamberg. Do you sense like the club had the incorrect self-confidence going into the ratiopharm series?
I feel that we didn´t overlook Ulm. We knew that Ulm was a good team with many good players and was well coached. They just wanted it more than we did. Losing that first game was very tough. That had been the first time in a long time that we had lost at home. That loss set the tone for the series
Would the Fraport Skyliners have won the series against ratiopharm Ulm had they won game one and controlled German Per Guenther better?
I think so. The series was very emotional. We had many guys in their first ever semi-final and had injuries. But I don´t want to take anything away from Ulm. They played a great series against us and deserved to win.
You had your two best games in the game one and four loses, but in game two had one of your worst games where you had six turnovers. Did you make yourself responsible for that loss?
Yes I did. I hold myself responsible for every loss. I am the point guard and it is my responsibility to get the team going and playing well. I know what I bring to the table and how I have to play. Anytime I have six turnovers, it will be difficult to win.
It was still an amazing season for the Fraport Skyliners as they won their third club title with the Fiba Europe Cup winning two tough games against Enisey and Varese in Chalon, France. What memories do you still have when the buzzer sounded? Did memories of all the hard work that you have put in the last years surface or all you went through growing up in Englewood and making it this far as a professional?
I remember everything. I remember as the buzzer sounded throwing the ball into the crowd and then celebrating in the locker room. After that I returned back to the court long after the game had ended and just sat down and cried a little. I just thought about what I had just achieved. I had to just sit there and take it all in. It just started to sink in then. As the buzzer sounded it wasn´t real yet. I came into the season with a lot of doubters. I knew I was good, but just wanted to show it. I won a lot at the high school level, but had never won a major title as a professional. I always dreamed of this and it was a blessing that it came through. I always try to stay in the moment and stay grounded, because I know that it can all be taken away. I also remember having so much champagne. The Fraport Skyliners was the best team that I ever played on.
The final win wasn´t your best game, but you made deciding plays and a huge three pointer. Was that ending script written especially for you?
I think that the final minutes was written especially for me. I had been used to taking over games in the second half and coming through in the clutch all season. I came through in the second half of the Enisey game and in the final against Varese played bad until the last three minutes. My teammates kept telling me not to worry that I will come through for the team since I have been doing it all season. Quantez Robertson hit a big three and we played great defense down the stretch. I told myself that I couldn´t let my team down and I came up big.
You had your best season as a professional averaging 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. You also racked up Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Newcomer of the Year -16, Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga 3rd Team -16, and Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Newcomers Team -16. What kind of player was Jordan Theodore coming into the season and what kind of player are you now?
Coming into last season to Frankfurt, I was a really good player pass first guard, but wasn´t a winner. Now I am not only a good player, but a winner and player that makes the big plays when the team needs him to. In the past, I played for bad teams and as the point guard wasn´t seen as a winner because I could lead the team. I always play with a big chip on my shoulder. My new team Banvit knows that I am a leader that can defend, score and get the team involved and just a positive guy. I just want to win and make big memories.
You came in second place in the MVP voting to Brad Wanamaker. Is he a kind of role model for you as he has gone his way through Europe step by step and matured into one of the best point guards in Europe. Does he motivate you to work even harder in the gym?
Brad Wanamaker motivates me every day to get better. I know Brad since school and we have had many battles. We had good battles last season against Bamberg and won at home. We had the same path in our career. He took less money in Italy and I took less money in Frankfurt. He made his way to Bamberg and I am going to Turkey. I am looking forward to playing against him this season in Turkey. I am happy he won the MVP. He deserved it. I am no sore loser.
The Fraport Skyliners have a major house cleaning going on in the roster this season. Do you have the confidence that Canadian national player Philip Scrubb has the game and mental toughness in just his second season to take a similar kind of role that you had last season?
Yes Phil does. He is still learning. But I think that the experience that he has gained the last two summers playing for the Canadian national team will continue to help him. It always helps you when you are playing against high level guys. Coach Herbert will continue to be tough on him and Tez Robertson will help him. Both Herbert and Tez also helped me last season. Phil already showed that he could play as a rookie. He has the toughness and just needs to keep working. I am confident that he will have his break out year in Frankfurt this season.
It´s always hard to single out one player on a club that had so much success and 12 players were responsible for the success, but if you had to choose one player that had the most impact on your game and on you who would you name?
I would pick John Little. He was my roommate and a guy that didn´t play a lot, but he brought it every day and kept me level headed and focused. He was the ultimate professional and never had negative energy. It didn´t matter what time of day it was, he would always bring positive energy even at 7am. I feel that he was the most important player on the team last season. He did so much important things that wasn´t seen on the stat sheet and always kept us together. I also have to credit the coaching staff who always helped me get better with talks and film. They helped the team so much and as player´s coaches let us make mistakes.
This summer it took you a while you sign on the dotted line with a new team, but in the end you chose Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL). What besides the allurement of playing in a rising league and against top player made you chose this?
I knew already during the season that I would end up with Banvit. I already played against top players like Bo Mccaleb, Jordan Farmer and Bobby Dixson in my first stay in Turkey. It is a big market where the top players come to play. I am looking forward to this season and my year to break through. Teams and players in Turkey know what I bring to the table. I am coming so you better be ready for me. I am going to a team that has been winning in the last years and a coach that is a winner. I hope that AJ Slaughter will stay. If he does then we will have a very tough back court that make it tough for many teams.
Devastating terrorism in the world continues and seems to get worse. Recently there has been uproar in Antalya and Istanbul. With what kind of a feeling will you be going to Turkey soon?
The way I look at it is that terror is going on everywhere in the world. In the states there has been police killing innocent men or civilians killing police. There are also many suicide bombers in the world. It is all so sad what is going on in the world, but one can´t go on living in fear and just keep living life. I love to play basketball and opportunity has taken me now to Turkey. I just can´t concern myself with everything that is going on in the world. Of course my family is very concerned and that is understandable. It seems to be clearing up in Turkey and I think I will be fine by the time I get there on August 20th. I pray for the world that the madness will stop and people will come together and love each other.
You will return back to Frankfurt this season to clash with the Fraport Skyliners in the Champions Cup. Will this be one of your best home comings as a professional?
Yes it will be and it is at the top of my list. It will be amazing to come back to Frankfurt. I talk to Tez every day and I am looking forward to it. It will be good seeing Phil Scrubb and all the coaches. I hope the fans will also be happy to see me. I hope the fans will be nice to me. I will ask the Skyliner fans if they want to see my gold, pink or silver sneakers for that game
What is your overall take on the group with Frankfurt, Aris, Nymburk, Helios Suns and Monaco?
This draw is amazing with many good teams and I am really looking forward to traveling and it´s all about winning. I will come to Turkey and gel with my teammates. It will be another long season and it won´t be easy. I am sure that Banvit will make a strong team that want to win and have positive energy.
How does a normal summer work out day look like for Jordan Theodore on and off the court in 2016?
I usually hit the weight room by 11am and do weights for an hour and a half. Then I work on skills with ball handling and shooting. I am in the gym about 4-5 hours. At night I play against top level guys like Andre Barrett, John Holland or Ndour who played with Real Madrid last year and just signed with the New York Knicks. It is always useful to take the things that I worked on during the day and use it against top level talent at night. I put on about 12 pounds of muscle this summer.
You will travel to Monte Carlo this season to playing the Champions Cup. How much luck have you had in your life in the casino?
I am not a gambler. I have tried my luck at the roulette table in the Dominican Republic, but that is about it. I don´t like to lose money gambling. There is a lot more to do in Monte Carlo then just gamble. My boy Jamal Shuler is playing there so I will hang out with him.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which four NBA legends would you pick?
I can only put three, because there are too many good players for that fourth head. I would have Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Magic Johnson. My favorite six players would be Jordan, Johnson, Russell, Kareem, Lebron and Kobe. My favorite all-time player is Jordan. He didn´t always have top games, but always came up big when it counted most.
Lebron finally won an NBA title with the Cavs. Where does this further NBA title put him with the all-time greats?
The only knock on Lebron is having lost some finals. The biggest thing that he did was bringing a title home with the Cavs. I think now you will see Lebron more loose, free and happy. He has that ring with the Cavs now and there is nothing anyone can say now. I think they will win some more now.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The TV show Power.
Thanks Jordan for the chat.