Marcus Smallwood is a 34 year old 198cm forward that has played 10 professional seasons and last season with BG Karlsruhe where he played 24 games averaging 12.7ppg, Reb-5(9.6rpg), 1.0apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 61.7%. He is from Elgin, Illinois and played at Northern Illinois from 2000-2004. He came to Europe for his rookie season and played for Ostromecko Astoria Bydgoszcz (Poland-EBL): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 9.0rpg: was released in and later that month signed at Pyrbasket Tampere (Finland-Sparliiga): 6 games: 13.5ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 59%, and also played shortly at Solna Vikings (Sweden-Basketligan): 3 games: 8.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0bpg. The next season, he played in Finland for Forssan Koripojat (Finland-1st Division, starting five): 26 games: 19.7ppg, Reb-2(11.1rpg), 1.3apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-1(1.4bpg), 2FGP-3(64.1%), 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 56.2%. 2006: Elgin Racers (IBL). He had a very strong season in Finland, but surprisingly in the next few years played only briefly in the IBL for the Elgin Racers. He came back to Europe in 2008 and then played mostly in Germany for teams like Kaiserslautern, Cuxhaven, Kirchheim, Vechta, MBC and Speyer. He also played briefly in Kosovo and the Czech Republic. He spoke to German Hoops about his basketball future.
Marcus thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?
Currently I’m in Germany and my summer was pretty enjoyable as I was able to go home to the states for a little over a month and visit family and friends.
You are currently unsigned and 34 years old. What kind of an off season transfer market did you experience?
I just took an approach to see what might be available that could be a good fit. So I guess my experience was typical of anyone that was seeking a team for this season.
Does it get more difficult finding teams with each passing year once you hit 30 years old?
I think it does somewhat but ultimately I think you always find the situation which is best for you at the end of the day.
Have you thought about retirement yet or are you still as hungry about getting buckets and securing rebounds like 5-6 years ago?
At this age I think it’s normal for most players to think about what your next role will be after basketball. Whenever you step onto the court I think the same passion and hunger is always there because it’s what you love to do. But at this point you also have a hunger to be able to show veteran leadership with what you have learned over the years.
Would your desire to play now still be as high if you were to sign with a lower league team or is the Pro B the lowest limit?
My desire for the game of basketball never changes regardless of the level that it’s played because it’s something that I love and is a part of me. I have always been fortunate to be in at least Pro A or Pro B but whatever opportunity I commit to I would always bring the same level of desire, because it’s what the club and your teammates deserves to have from you.
You don´t seem to be losing your touch with age. Last season with BG Karlsruhe you played 24 games averaging 12.7ppg, Reb-5(9.6rpg), 1.0apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 61.7%. Was there never a possibility about returning?
I just wanted to focus on doing the best job I could for the time I was there and I really enjoyed all of my teammates and coaches. I was grateful to have a chance to play there and I really enjoyed my time In Karlsruhe and would always be open to be there again in the right situation. But I think to start the season the focus was to construct a team with new faces] so I understand
You and Jeremy Black were a lethal duo inside. What do you miss most about playing together with him?
What I miss most about Jeremy is knowing you’re going to battle every game with a guy who’s going to fight down low with you and give all he has on defense, in the post, and on the boards. And overall he’s just one of those great guys that will do anything for his teammates on or off the court. It was truly a blessing to be able to play with him, but also the rest of my teammates as well.
Does it surprise you that BG Karlsruhe is struggling at 0-3. They lost many important players like Rouven Roessler, Hayden Lescault and yourself, but gained top Pro B player Ricky Easterling. Is the team less deeper than last season?
I think it’s a new team and the season is still early so it always takes a while to figure each other out. So there’s still a lot of time for them to find their way.
You have been a consistent performer wherever you have played in Germany. If in shape you could give any German Pro B team help now. What has been your secret to having consistency in your middle name?
I think it starts with being able to form a great chemistry with your teammates and after that just sticking to the same routine on the court or in the weight room that has been able to help me maintain myself in a way where I’m able to produce at my highest possible level for the team. But I think the biggest thing has been being able to figure out what you need to bring to a team to make those better around you also.
What is your biggest strength on the court now at age 34 besides your overwhelming experience factor?
I really think it’s bringing a youthful enthusiasm and energy that hopefully gets into my teammates and motivates them. Your individual skills will always be there but it’s being able to infect your teammates with that positive energy of how you play that I think is most important.
How in shape are you at the moment? How have you been staying in shape the past months?
I always try to maintain a certain shape level in my daily life so if there is an opportunity to play then it then it doesn’t take to long to get in sync with the team. This includes the normal things like daily fitness room work outs, getting your cardio in on the bike or treadmill, and being able to get some training in on a basketball court.
If you could describe in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team what would they be?
Just having the experience of playing with a great team last year gives you the mindset of what you want to bring to a new team to hopefully have a chance at the same results. These are enthusiam and energy during practice and games, rebounding, being a great communicator during games, and knowing how to be a team player to add things on offense or defense that are gives your team the best chance to win each game and not just for individual stats.
Now that Lebron has finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does he rank now in the debate with Michael Jordan?
It’s really hard for me to put anybody over Jordan but that’s just me. But in my opinion he is for sure on of the top three players of all time.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where is his legacy now with the all-time best ever?
I think he’s one of the best power forwards of all time just based on the longevity of his career and also for how much he was able to produce for so many years. So I think it’s no question he’s one of the best of all time with Karl Malone and Tim Duncan.
What is the last movie that you saw?
Now you see me 2
Thanks Marcus for the chat.