Jordan Theodore is a 26 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his fifth professional season and first with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL). Last season he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 127 NCAA games and as a playing a total of senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five): 17 games: 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2(6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to German Hoops before his comeback back to Frankfurt in Champions League action.
Jordan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your 3-0 with Banvit in the Turkish BSL league and 1-0 in the Champions League. How good is basketball life for you at the moment?
My basketball life at the moment is very good. We had a very long pre-season with coach working us very hard. Everyone is buying into his system and we are all getting along. Basketball is very fun at the moment.
This is your third season in the Turkish league and currently after two games in the Turkish league are averaging 23,5ppg and 9,0apg. These are your best stats ever. Did you even get better over the summer? What was your secret to last summer´s training regimen?
As a player you always try to build off the last season. It all has to do with understanding the game, getting stronger and continuing to work on your weaknesses. Last summer I played no tournaments, but just stayed in the gym and worked on my body and jump shot.
With your great stats and stellar play at the moment could one say that the Turkish league is appealing to your style of game?
I feel that I could play well in any league. This season I have to give a lot of credit to the system of Banvit. It is perfect for my game with the pick and roll, getting out on transition and I am surrounded with good shooters. Finding my teammates and creating is my game. Though the Turkish league is tough. Understanding the game has helped me here and with having good teammates has just made everything easy so far letting me pick my spots with first finding my teammates and then scoring.
Do you feel like that this season you could end with your best scoring and assist season ever?
I feel I could. I have to give my teammates a lot of credit. No one is easy to guard. They have a lot of confidence in me and I in them to find each other.
Do you feel like this season your job as point guard is more of a challenge than last season simply because with six new imports in, you don´t have that solid team chemistry that the Fraport Skyliners had.
This season is more of a challenge. Not only with the chemistry, but I wanted to come back this season consistent and come back better. In Frankfurt we had great coaches in Gordie Herbert and Klaus Perwass and they had established a good chemistry that all I had to last season was come in and just bring my game to the table since the team already was playing together. This season it hasn´t been easy learning to find my spots, but my teammates have a lot of confidence in me so that like in Frankfurt I am allowed to play my game here as well getting guys involved and taking over when needed.
What really is amazing is how you are winning as a team with only two Americans and a nine man rotation. What is the secret to the success of the team?
Our secret this season has been that every player has bought into what coach wants us to do on the court. We all work together and it´s all team. No one is upset when one guy is getting more minutes or more shots. We all want to win. Many said before the season that Banvit have no big name players and not many were expecting much from us. But we have players that have played at a high level and a coach who also has coached at the highest level. Our team is perfect and we all compliment each other well.
It seems like the success wouldn´t be there without the help of imports Edo Muric, Damian Kulig, Gaspar Vidmar and Gediminas Orelik. These guys aren’t household names, but getting the job done big time. Is Banvit a team this season that is all about team and less about self?
Yes it´s all about team with us. The club did a great job this off season putting together guys with high characters that don´t care about individual stats. Everyone wants to win first before caring about individual stats.
How strange is it having only one other American on the squad with Jeremy Chappell? Do you feel like when there is only one American that you have a more intense relationship on and off the court than if you had 4-5 Americans?
For me it isn´t strange really. We had many more Americans last season with Frankfurt, but there I hung out with everyone as I do this season as well. Jeremy is a married man that has two little boys and a new born baby girl. We do spend time together, but many of my teammates have families. When we are in the gym it´s all about business, but off the court we have good team bonding and go to dinner together. It was the same with the Fraport Skyliners. Team bonding and having team chemistry helps you win.
Within 48 hours, you beat top Turkish teams Darussafaka with BBL MVP Brad Wanamaker and then potent Israeli team Ironi Nahariya with ex NBA player Marquis Teague. Do these kind of wins and battling these top point guards and winning the head to head play give your self-confidence another boost up or or you at a stage now where your game is strengthed further in other ways?
I always get a kick out of playing against the elite point guards. To be honest I always feel like I am the best and I go into every game giving my best. My opponents better bring their best each game, because that is what I will be doing. I am here to stay and play. You better bring your game, because I will bring my game.
I honestly believe one of the main reasons of your success in the last year is your continued approach to each game in that you go into it having the need to prove something. It seems like you are never satisfied with your game and keep working hard and go into every game needing to prove something. Is this an approach that you will always be able to hold?
Yes I think so. Every practice is a reward for me. I also approach each practice like this. I always work hard in practice. If I don´t take a sub in practice, I won´t need one in a game, because I am not tired. I give my all each game and yes I do have a chip on my shoulder. I know that I have been overlooked a lot, but I understand that this now is my opportunity and I want to make the most of it. This approach helps me and my team most.
Banvit is a very unselfish club that stresses team before anything else, but despite these circumstances, you are the playmaker that loves to score, but also loves to find his teammates. Despite having some big scoring games, could you imagine averaging 6-8 assists a game?
Yes I think I could and that is my goal. I always want to average double double stats. Some nights won´t go your way, but I am always confident in myself. As long as I give my all and am in attack mode my stats will come. But I don’t think about stats, but want to win the most. I do whatever it takes to help my team win.
Every player wants to win titles, but has your hunger for winning the next one grown to ridiculous proportions after tasting victory with the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup chip?
Yes It is, but last season I also tasted defeat in the way we went out of the playoffs. That wasn´t an easy pill for me to swallow. I know I did some things wrong in the Ulm series and it has made me hungrier to win more titles. I want to win all titles possible. But I know that I have to take the season one day at a time. Take each practice as if it was my last. The hunger is there and I need to put in the work now and see the results later.
You are returning back to Frankfurt for the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners. With what kind of feelings are you returning to the place where you helped win their third club title?
I am extremely excited, overwhelmed and happy to be returning back to Frankfurt. The Fraport Skyliners helped me get to where I am today. Coming back to Frankfurt will be very emotional for me. I will be very happy to see my former coaches, teammates and fans. It will be an unbelievable feeling coming back, but I am coming to win. It will be tough to suit up in the visiting dressing room, but I know I will have a job to do. I will have to stay professional. I have really missed the Skyliner fans. We had many great moments last season.
Will it personally feel very strange for you dressing up in different colors and going onto the court and battling against Quantez Robertson and Max Merz for loose balls?
It will be strange, but a lot of fun. I still talk to Tez today and they are like my brothers, family for life. We accomplished a lot together and things that many haven´t been able to do.
Do you already have any idea what color shoes you will wear or is that a spur of the moment decision that you will make on game day?
I have some ideas, but I have made up my mind yet. Last season I wore many different styles and we will see what I chose.
The Fraport Skyliners have changed from last season, but there are still some familiar faces around with Quantez Robertson, Mike Morrison and the German kids with Max Merz, Stefab Ilzhoefer, Niklas Kiel and Garai Zeeb. They got some good pieces with Antonio Graves, Kwame Vaughn and Shavon Shields. What is your impression of the team?
It is still early in the season. They added many new pieces. The team is still getting to know each other and how to play together. Coach Perwas is a great coach and we all know that Frankfurt play great defense. Frankfurt always play hard and with a lot of intensity no matter what even if the offense isn´t working. Their chemistry isn´t there yet, but their defensive intensity is. This will be a very fun game. Frankfurt will be hyped.
Your one of those guys that has the rare ability of just knowing every American that is playing ball overseas. When Antonio Graves was asked if he knew the new guy Kwame Vaughn, he said no. Do you know seasoned veteran Antonio Graves or Kwame Vaughn?
Hahaha that is true, but believe it or not I don´t know Graves and Vaughn. At least I don´t believe that I have met them.
It hasn´t been easy this season for head coach Klaus Perwas who had to take over for Gordon Herbert who has a sick leave. Perwas is known for being a great individual trainer. How did he help you best last season?
Klaus and I had a lot of talks last season and video sessions. He got on me a lot, but it did me good. He helped me work on my jump shot and helped to develop it further. He is underrated because he wasn´t the head coach last season. He is an unbelievable scouter and incredible film guy really knowing how to break down games. Klaus didn´t talk much, but when he did talk, his words were felt. Klaus always got his point across and made sure we understood exactly what he was saying.
When you see Quantez Robertson for the first time again on the court, what will be the first thing you will ask him after the usual hello´s and what do you believe he will ask you?
That is a tricky question. Tez and I talk all the time. Tez is family. I actually spoke to him three hours ago after their loss in Wurzburg. I still talk to Konstantin Klein, Philipp Scrubb, Mike Morrison and Aaron Doornekamp. I think that when I see Tez for the first time on the court we will all be smiles. Tez and I hung out a lot last season and played a lot of UNO and Tez liked to cheat. He liked being the old head at Uno. Tez made his own rules at Uno. If you don´t believe me ask Mike Mo and Aaron.
You told me recently that Banvit will sparkle on the defensive end this season. The Fraport Skyliners are also a very defensive minded team as always. Can we await more of a defensive affair?
Yes I could see the game being a very defensive game with a lot of intensity. We play defensive, but have a fun offensive style. You will see a lot of both. We have a tough minded defense and a fun minded offense
Your ex teammates the German twin towers Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann have started off very well with their respective teams of FC Bayern Munich and Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (Spain-Liga Endesa). These two guys always seemed so reserved any place I saw them. What are your two fondest memories with them off the court?
I have a fun memory of big Joe from last season when we were in London at the Tony Robbins convention. Joe was the hit with his Dab dancing. I call it Joe dabbing in London. I had so many great memories with Nilo. He is a great character and just very funny. He is a jokester and just a great guy to be around.
Kevin Garnet has retired. Where do you see his legacy as belonging to the best power forwards of all-time?
I didn´t really have the chance to see Kevin Mchale play live, but I saw him on video. Garnett the big ticket was like a point guard in a four man body. It was amazing to see how he could push the break and dribble as a seven footer. I think he was the first seven footer that could guard a guard. He will go down as a top 2-3 best power forward of all-time. He didn´t have the range of a Tim Duncan, but th effect that he had on people especially from urban areas was big. His work ethic was great and he didn´t even have to talk as just watching him was enough.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jordan for the chat.