James Washington is a 28 year old 182cm guard from St Louis Missouri that is entering his sixth professional season and first with Boras Basket (Sweden-Basketligan). He played at W.Illinois (NCAA) from 2006-2008 and then transferred to Middle Tenn.St. (NCAA). In his senior year he played 32 games: 14.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 86.4%. He started his professional basketball career for TBB Trier (Germany-BBL) in 2011 and played 23 games averaging 5.7ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 38.8%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 80.0%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Pro B) playing 15 games averaging 20.0ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 83.5%. In the 2013-2014 season he moved to KFUM Nassjo Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) playing 36 games averaging 17.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.9apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 38.7%, FT: 83.6%, in Mar.’14 moved to VOO Wolves Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-Ethias League) playing 9 games averaging 13.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 36.8%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 86.1%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for Solna Vikings (Sweden-Basketligan) playing 36 games averaging 15.3ppg, 2.2rpg, Assists-4(5.7apg), Steals-5(1.8spg), FGP: 45.0%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 82.4%. Last season he played for Jolly Jadranska Banka Sibenik (Croatia-A1) playing 18 games averaging 16.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 4.7apg, 2FGP: 53.2%, 3FGP: 41.2%, FT: 86.2%, in Mar.’16 moved to Chorale de Roanne Basket (France-ProB, starting five): 13 games: 8.8ppg, 2.5rpg, 4.6apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 70.4%. He spoke to German Hoopsabout basketball.
Hi James thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thanks for having me. I’m currently in Sweden right now. Just signed to Boras Basket. My summer was good, as I got to spend time with my family, travel some, and play some summer ball.
Did you see Jimmy Mckinney this summer? He hasn’t signed yet and I fear he may retire. Do you have any latest scoop on what he is up to`?
I’ve seen Jimmy a lot this summer, he’s like a big brother to me. But unfortunately for Europe and specifically German BBL fans, J Roc has chosen to retire. He is now coaching at our old high school and helping in the community with working out younger kids. Played pick up ball with him this summer and he still has it.
You were unsigned for a long time this summer. Has this summer transfer market been different than in the past?
I would say it has been a little different. Last couple of seasons I’ve signed early in the summer. But it’s still a lot of good players unsigned and I think the market will get better over the next few years.
Why wasn´t the right situation just not there this summer?
Well my agent and I discussed my future goals and aspirations as I’m basically entering the prime of my career. We had offers on the table but just wanted take a good step for almost a perfect fit.
You finally found a team with respectable Swedish team Boras. What was key in signing with them?
I’ve actually been in talks with Boras several times over the last few seasons. And now we’ve finally reached a deal together. I think the key was knowing the winning history of the club. Trying to make the next step by getting to the finals, possibly winning a championship, and getting back into European competition.
Last season you split time with Jolly Jadranska Banka Sibenik (Croatia-A1) playing 18 games: 16.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 4.7apg, 2FGP: 53.2%, 3FGP: 41.2%, FT: 86.2%, in Mar.’16 moved to Chorale de Roanne Basket (France-ProB) playing 13 games: 8.8ppg, 2.5rpg, 4.6apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 70.4%. How would you summarize your season?
In Croatia, individually my stats were okay being 2nd in the league in scoring and 5th in assist, but I wanted to win more games before I left. In France I took too long to adjust with the new team and never got any rhythm until the last 4 or 5 games.
How tough was finishing last season in France with Chorale de Roanne Basket (France-ProB)? They played in the Pro A for 12 seasons and got demoted in 2014 and last season placed 16th in the Pro B. What has happened to this once very respected Pro A team?
The tough part was not winning how we expected to and for our fans. For myself it was tough not to play my best when we were 1 and 2 games away from the playoffs. They brought me in towards the end of the season to push for the playoffs and to stay in the league. Only One of those goals were met and as the point guard I take most of the responsibility for that. But the club has great history and tremendous support. They have new season and new coach so I think they will be fine.
With what kind of confidence are you going to Boras? Do you feel like you can be an impact player for them?
I’m going in with the same mindset as always. To play with a chip on my shoulder while playing like I have something to prove. Yes I feel I’m an impact player on any team I put a jersey on for.
You have played 5 professional seasons and are still looking for that first chip. You were ICCAC Champion in 2009. How hungry are you for a professional title and what would you do to get that amazing feeling of winning?
So many great memories from that season playing with Dwight Buycks, Dwight Hardy, LaRon Dendy, Marcus Relphorde, Delvon Johnson, Jerome Van Der List, Leon Powell and others I still talk to today. To be able to share that same excitement on the professional level would be even better. And make me hungrier for more and more chips.
You will be turning 29 in December. Do you feel like that you are in your prime now?
Are you trying to make me feel old? haha. But seriously yes I do. Even though I’m still learning every day and have room to continuously Improve. God willing I stay healthy, I believe these next 4-5 years will be my best years yet.
What do you believe is your biggest offensive weapon now in your career?
I would have to say shooting the ball. Running a team while being able to use my scoring abilities to draw defenders and find my teammates.
How does a normal work out day look like for you in the summer of 2016?
Mornings usually do on court drills. Then pick up games in the afternoon with the players that are back home. And every other day around midnight hit the weights or swim.
As a rookie you played for TBB Trier and had so many characters on that team like Dru Joyce, Nate Linhart, John Bynum, Maik Zirbes or Philip Zwiener just to name a few. What teammate had the biggest impact on you?
I learned so much that season from all those guys. But I would have to say Dru Joyce. We still talk every couple weeks.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?
I hope Dru Joyce doesn’t read this lol. But I think this ring saved a lot of LeBron’s legacy as far as being one of the greatest of all time. But in my opinion you can’t compare anyone to Jordan. The game has changed so much today, and he was just different than anybody we have ever seen still to this day.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose?
In no particular order except number 1. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Grown Ups 2.
Thanks James for the chat.