Julian Gamble is a 26 year old 207cm power forward/center from Durham, North Carolina that will be starting his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He started his basketball career at Miami(NCAA) in 2008 and played there until 2013 playing a total of 127 games. In 2013 he started his professional career with Saint Vallier Basket Drome (France-ProB): 44 games: 16.3ppg, Reb-3(9.0rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-1(1.5bpg), FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 10.0%, FT: 62.9%. In 2014 he moved to the Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 25 games: 17.0ppg, Reb-3(7.6rpg), 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-1(1.6bpg), FGP: 57.0%, FT: 69.2%. Last season he remained with the Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 36 games: Score-5(16.6ppg), Reb-2(8.3rpg), 1.3apg, 1.5spg, Blocks-1(1.9bpg), FGP: 60.8%, FT: 68.1%. He spoke to German Hoops after signing with the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Julian thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I am currently in Knightdale, North Carolina and my summer has been nothing short of amazing. I recently got married shortly after the birth of my first son, so it has been a summer full of great life moments. Other than that just working out and enjoying family, because I know how fast the summer goes before its time to go back to work.
After two very successful seasons in Belgium with Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League), did you feel like you had seen everything there and were ready for the next step and challenge in Germany in the very competitive Beko BBL?
Belgium was great to me, it was a great place to play and live, and Brussels in particular felt like a second home to me. My ultimate goal is to play on the highest level possible and I felt, along with everyone around me, that I had accomplished great things in Belgium and moving to a higher level would be best. I am most definitely ready for the challenge that lies ahead, I feel like I still have a lot to prove.
Congrats on signing with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball there?
I know German basketball is very prestigious, very competitive, and very physical. The fans are very passionate, and I know that from the amount of support I am receiving already from the fans of Bonn.
Being your from North Carolina that breeds basketball talent, you have many friends that have played in Germany. Did you speak to a guy like Chris Oliver who played many years in Germany and could of told you first hand what it´s like?
The list of guys that I know that have played in Germany is quite long. I have spoken to a few guys about how life and playing in Germany is. I do know Chris but haven’t spoken to him yet. I have spoken to Jared Newson, Shawan Robinson, John Flowers, as well as others about their experience.
What sold you on joining the Telekom Baskets Bonn? They are rich in tradition and have really only had two bad seasons in 20 years and last year was one of them. Was that challenge to get the team back to the playoffs a challenge you wanted most?
What sold me was first speaking to the coach. I know the rich tradition of this club, and I also know they had a couple of down seasons, but speaking to the coach and hearing his ambitions for this season gave me a great deal of confidence for the direction of this team. It will be a challenge no doubt, but I definitely welcome the challenge of returning this team to glory.
Have you had talks with head coach Silvano Poropat? What was your first impression of him?
My first impression of Coach is that he very badly wants to win. I feel he knows the game well, in the ways he described to me things he liked I did. I also feel that family is important to him, which is important to me, because chemistry both on and off the court is what will make our time together something to remember.
You have been used to scoring and being a top rebounder and shot blocker in your first three seasons as a professional. Would you be able to adjust to possibly not being as much as the main offensive presence in Bonn as you were in France and Belgium?
My goal production wise will not change, but ultimately I want to win. Whatever it takes to win is what I will do, but my personal ambition as a player is to be the best I can be.
Did you sense like you and coach were speaking the same basketball language when you talked and discussed the season?
I definitely felt the coach and I were on the same page when it came to basketball. We have a common goal in mind and that is to win. That common goal won’t change, and I will do whatever he asks to make that goal a reality.
Let us talk about your game. You are a scorer and rebounder and top notch shot blocker. If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would you choose?
I would say similar to a Blake Griffin. Not many people know about my ability to put the ball on the floor in the open court and pass. I also think that I have come a long way in terms of the athletic parts of the game and being able to succeed in that area.
You were the top shot blocker in the French and Belgium leagues the last three seasons. Did this amazing ability grow with time or did you develop this slowly at Miami(NCAA)?
At Miami, my senior year especially, I was a good player on a great team. I took great pride in being whatever my team needed that night. That didn’t always mean big numbers but I always knew I had the ability to be a big time player given the opportunity. Once I was given that chance, I never looked back.
What games will you remember most from Belgium your massive 34 point game against Leuven, 29/18 effort against Verviers or the bitter 67-64 game five loss Aalstar last season when you look back at your Belgium time in a few years?
I will definitely remember the 55eval game and that amazing series we played against Aalstar. What I will remember most is the first round of the playoffs sweeping Charleroi after beating them in game 1 in double OT at their place. That was an amazing hard fought win that I will always look back on.
As a rookie you played for Saint Vallier Basket Drome (France-ProB). What was your wake up call to being a rookie in France where you knew that you were very far away from Durham, North Carolina?
Being a rookie in St Vallier, my wake up call was instant. Being in a different country where I could not communicate or even drive my car at the time was difficult. I had to learn quickly to become comfortable but being away from my family was the most difficult part early on.
As a rookie you were teammates with athletic high flyer Jared Newson who was the last cut of the Dallas Mavericks in 2007. Was he one of those guys that helped you get adjusted to being a rookie in a foreign country?
Jared helped me a ton! He taught me a lot about how things would be, the adjustments I needed to make, and was a mentor for me my first year. He is like a big brother to me and we still talk to this day.
You played at Miami from 2008-2013. The club was always stacked with much talent and in terms of showing your offensive skills, you had to take a step back. Despite not being able to promote yourself more as an offensive player, did you always have that dream and confidence that you could become a professional basketball player one day?
Playing on a team where I had to play a role that wasn’t to score was difficult at times. It was hard because I always knew I had the ability and I worked on my game constantly. I just continued to work and prayed that God would allow me the opportunity to show what I can truly do and I think it was a surprise to most people.
What could you learn most from future NBA draft pick Dwayne Collins in your first two seasons? I am sure you guys battled against each other every day in practice?
Dwayne is a one of a kind athlete but one of the best guys I have ever known. He will, without hesitation, be there if I ever needed him. I learned much of the college game from Dwayne through his experience that I used my self after his departure.
How did Miami(NCAA) head coach Jim Larranaga groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career in your last few years?
Coach L prepared me in ways I did not even know I needed. He taught me how to be poised in difficult moments and how to simplify the game and make it easier. He constantly told me of his many experiences and how playing professional basketball was for him back when he played. I also had the advantage of talking with Michael Huger often about his professional career which was largely spent in Belgium.
You didn´t play in the 2007-2008 season at Miami(NCAA), but practiced with the team. Your teammate then Anthony King made it to being a very solid professional in Europe. He seems to not talk much, but is supposed to be a very funny guy. What falls to mind first when you hear the name Anthony King?
King was a mentor to me when I first stepped on campus. We also graduated from the same high school, so he knows what it was to make it out of where we came from. He definitely is a funny guy once you get to know him but very laid back at the same time.
Who was the toughest opponent that you battled on the court with Miami(NCAA) that is in the NBA now?
Toughest opponent I would have to say was Harrison Barnes. In college he was playing a professional game and it showed. He was a very elite and efficient player
If you could ask Mike Kryzewski one question which would you ask him?
I would ask Coach K one question it would be, what is the most important thing that has kept you succeeding at such a high level all of these years?
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA heads would you choose?
My Mount Rushmore would be: Jordan, Kobe, Kareem, and Lebron
Now that Lebron finally won a NBA title with the Cavs where does this title put him in the debate as the all-time best player in the world?
Lebron will always be in the debate of the best in the world. I think he is the best in the world and has been for years now, people see how Steph is playing now and forget that Lebron has put up amazing numbers for a decade. His longevity along with the way he has continued to play at a high level makes him the best in the world to me.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Central Intelligence with Kevin Hart and The Rock.
Thanks Julian for the chat.