Jacob Parker is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Bixby, Oklahoma that is playing his second professional season and first in Germany with BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-Pro A). As a rookie he played for KK Tajfun Sentjur (Slovenia-Telemach League) playing 13 games: 6.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 87.5%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 7.8ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 21.1%, FT: 71.4%; Adriatic League: 26 games: 5.9ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 75.0%. He started his basketball career at Stephen F. Austin (NCAA) in 2011 and played 128 NCAA games in a four year period. As a senior he played 33 games averaging13.7ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 83.9%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball after signing with Gotha.
Jacob thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are in Gotha, Germany now. What have been the most distinct differences between Slovenia where you played as a rookie and Germany in the first days that have really stood out?
The unity of the organization. Everyone here is eager to take the next step, and excited for the season to start.
You played a solid rookie season with KK Tajfun Sentjur (Slovenia-Telemach League) and this summer got signed quite late into the transfer period. How did you experience your second signing summer? Did you have more offers than expected?
Everything happened very quickly. I weighed my options and felt that this was the best opportunity for me.
Congrats on signing with German pro A team Gotha. What was the key element that caught your attention first and prompted you to call Gotha home this season?
Many great players have come through this league. It is very good basketball at a high level.
Your new head coach Chris Ensminger is a basketball legend in Germany belonging to the best rebounders in the BBL for a decade. What quality about him has impressed you the most so far?
He has a tremendous feel for the game. Incredible basketball IQ.
You come to a highly ambitious team with Gotha. Besides winning every game what is the biggest personal goal of yours that you want to achieve on the court this season?
I have never been a guy that worries about statistics, it’s all about putting your team in the right situations to win every game. Making the right plays, to make my teammates better.
What has been your early impression of the team? You have a very talented bunch of guys around you. How do you expect to fit into the team best?
Just be myself, take open shots and play as hard as possible. I have the ability to stretch the floor and get the shot blockers away from the paint
Let´s talk about your game. Chris Ensminger has described you as a very versatile player that can play many positions. At what position do you feel most comfortable?
I am most comfortable at the 4, but am also able to play spot minutes at the 3 and 5 if need be.
Ensminger talked about being able to play you at the 4/5. What is your biggest strength at 198cm?
Being undersized, you have to be able to out-smart your opponent and beat them to spots. It is something that I have been doing throughout my career. Also, stretching the floor and making the bigs move will wear them down and present more opportunities for us on the offensive end.
Your shooting really stands out, but what do you feel is still a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
Passing, being able to read the defenders and have a good idea of what my teammate will do without the ball.
You shot over 40% from outside at Stephen F. Austin (NCAA) in your last three seasons. What NBA shooter has been kind of a role model in your development as a player?
Kyle Korver and Larry Bird
Last season as a rookie you played for KK Tajfun Sentjur (Slovenia-Telemach League). What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Slovenia where you knew that you were very far away from home?
Being in a town where not much English was spoken, and not being able to drive down the road to find any fast food options
How important was it as a rookie having the opportunity to play in three leagues? What was the biggest transition you had to make?
It was great for exposure and to get a feel of how the game is played in Europe. Non shooting fouls when the opponent was on a fast break.
The club didn´t fair to well in the Adriatic league, but you had your first professional experience playing against some big teams like Cedivita, Partizan or Cibona. What was your most memorable memory you had from playing this competition as a rookie?
The fan following and the rowdiness off the gyms created a great basketball atmosphere.
You played four years at SF Austin(NCAA). You helped win the Southland Conf. Tournament in 2014 and 2015. Which win was the most sweetest? Our win against VCU in the NCAA tourney. It was our first tournament win in school history.How difficult was it erasing your last college game loss to Utah 57-50? If you had had a better shooting game, you might have won the game. Did some of those misses stay in your head after that loss?
You always want all of your shots to go in, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. It’s always tough to think about the what ifs, but you can’t let the previous shot effect the next one.
In that game you witnessed Austrian big man Jakob Poelti score 18 points and grab eight rebounds. Do you see him as a long term NBA player?
I think Jakob has tremendous potential and could have a great NBA career.
How did Brad Underwood groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Underwoods motto has been “everyday guys,” he challenged me and instilled a big time work ethic in me to be able to continue to do what I love.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Clide Geffrard?
Who and how did you faire was the toughest player that you battled against in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Jakob was a tough matchup because of his length. Kyle Anderson was tough as well.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA legends would you have as the heads?
Wilt Chamberlain, MJ, Larry Bird, Bill Russell
Lebron finally won his first NBA title with the Cavs. Where does this new title place him in the all-time greatest ranking of players?
I think it is still too early to place him. Once his career is finished, then I think I’ll be able to do so. Arguably top 5 for me right now.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jacob for the chat.