Brandon Jefferson is a 25 year old 175cm point guard from Flower Mound, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM). As a rookie he played for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 48 games: Score-4(18.5ppg), 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, Steals-2(2.2spg), FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 88.0%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 13.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 88.5%. He started his basketball career in 2010 for Metro State(NCAA2) where he played a total of 129 NCAA games. In college he was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 21.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 92.3%. Last season he played for Phoenix Hagen (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games averaging 13.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 34.7%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 83.2%He spoke to German Hoops after the tough Eurocup loss to ratiopharm Ulm in Ulm.
Brandon thanks for talking to German Hoops. How did it feel to be back in Germany again with your new team Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) playing Eurocup in Ulm?
It felt great being back in Germany. Was very excited when I saw that Ulm was in our group for EuroCup because it meant I had the chance to go back to Germany.
Last season, you lost both games to ratiopharm Ulm with Phoenix Hagen by a combined score of 48 points and you scored combined only 11 points. Tonight you lost again, but it was a lot closer game 87-82. What was your opinion of the play of ratiopharm Ulm this season? They have many guys back and have good chemistry. Is the team better than last season?
Yes I remember the result last year very well. Ulm embarrassed us last season twice. They are obviously a great team. They will a force to reckon with this year again in the BBL and EuroCup. I’ve been keeping up with their scores. They have added some really good players so I do believe they are better than their team last season.
Despite the loss, you had a great game scoring 28 points with eight three´s. Last season in both games against ratiopharm Ulm, you shot only 1/12. Were you really motivated for this Eurocup game?
I was very motivated for this game against Ulm. Like I said earlier, they embarrassed us last season, including me. Any competitor would be up for the challenge after someone has embarrassed them in the past.
The game was very tight in the first quarter, but Ulm was able to break away a bit in the second quarter to lead by 11 points, but Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) fought back and trailed only 45-41 at the break. What was giving Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) the biggest problems in the second quarter?
We had a lot of turnovers and it starts with me. I’ve been really careless with the ball. Need to control the tempo better and get the all where it needs to be.
Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) was down by as much as by 13 in the fourth quarter, but you staged a massive comeback ending the game on a 11-3 run sparked by your two three pointers, but time ran out. Did all the come-back runs that you made really weaken the team energy?
We have a team of fighters. We will never give up during a game. It’s all mental when it comes to being tired.
One could say that Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) have had some serious misfortune so far as you have lost three of four games by one point. How have you handled this mentally in the early part of the season?
It’s been tough losing these games by 1. Mistakes we need to clean up coming down the stretch of games have cost us. We are working every day to improve in those areas. We take the positive out of it though. We can’t pout or feel sorry for ourselves. That’s why it’s good having all of these games. No time for any of that, have move forward and get ready for next opponent.
There are only two Americans on the team with you and Devin Oliver who also is in his third professional season. Do you have a special bond to him and do you miss somewhat that very experienced American that you could go to for advice?
Devin and I do have a bond. We are the same age trying to move forward in our careers. We are experienced in our short three year careers. We aren’t rookies anymore, we need to figure things out and help one another.
Is your role overall a lot different this season than last season with Phoenix Hagen? Do you have to be more of a scoring point guard this season?
I just do whatever the team and the coaches ask me to do. I play my game.
How cool is it playing in three leagues this season with the Eurocup, ABA and Slovenian league? How important do you feel is this format for your development as a player in your third professional season?
It’s fun playing in 3 different leagues this season. A lot of exposure comes out of these leagues. It’s a challenge every night. The BBL taught me a lot though. Last season was a huge learning experience for me that has helped me coming into this season.
Last season with Phoenix Hagen you averaged 13.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 34.7%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 83.2% in one of the top leagues in Europe. What do you feel did your game best playing in the BBL last season?
It showed me everything I needed to improve on. It exposed me in many ways that helped me moving forward. I’m forever grateful for the experience I got last season in BBL.
Your shooting 52% combined in the Eurocup and ABA leagues from downtown. Did you work extra hard and long last summer on your shooting or is your current hot streak due more to a current good run and shot selection?
I think it has a little bit to do with both. I know I was very inconsistent last season with my shot. I was taking a lot of bad shots which took my percentage down. Being smarter with my shot selection is something I learned playing in the BBL. Looking back on last season, I missed a lot of clean looks at the basket as well, so it was about knocking down shots at the end of the day.
Phoenix Hagen is having serious financial problems at the moment and their season could be cut short. How thankful are you that you are currently in a very good situation with Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM)?
I’m saddened by the news of my former team! Still close to David Bell and I know he will bounce back! I’m very thankful for this organization and situation with Union Olympija. Give all glory to God!
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy and where he ranks with the all-time best to have ever played in the NBA?
Never really been a big Kevin Garnett guy, but I do know what he has done for the game! He will go down as one of the greats.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Brandon for the chat.