Jeremy Chappell is a 191cm guard from Cincinnati, Ohio playing his eighth professional season and first with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL). He started his basketball career with Robert Morris (NCAA) in 2005 and played there until 2009 playing a total of 124 NCAA games and as a senior played 35 games averaging.16.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.2apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3Pts: 39.6%, FT: 84.3%. he started his professional career in 2009 with Znicz Jaroslaw (Poland-PLK) playing 28 games: Score-4(18.3ppg), Reb-2(8.2rpg), 3.5apg, Steals-1(2.9spg), FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 86.3%. In the 2010-2011 season he moved to Hoverla Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine-Superleague) and then played two seasons with Ferro-ZNTU Zaporozhye (Ukraine-Superleague). In the 2013-2014 season he played with Triumph Lyubertsy (Russia-VTB). He then played two seasons with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-Superleague) and last season played 32 games: 13.4ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 75.9%; Eurocup: 16 games: 15.5ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 46.3%, FT: 83.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after the huge 86-70 Champions League win against the Fraport Skyliners.
Jeremy thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. This is your second time back to Frankfurt. Two seasons ago you played Eurochallenge with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-Superleague). What memories do you have of the 71-68 win in Frankfurt?
I remember that game well. We were down by three points late and Courtney Fortson made a clutch three to send the game into OT. It was a very hard fought game where everyone battled until the end. If Fortson hadn´t made that shot, we surely wouldn´t have won the game
Do you have a better idea about the Fraport Skyliners this time around in talks with Jordan Theodore who played there last season winning a title?
Yes I did and it really helped. Jordan gave us information about the players that he had played with last season concerning their tendencies. He picked our brains and it definitely helped us on the defensive end.
Congrats on the big 86-70 victory against the Fraport Skyliners. What was key in getting the win?
Key for the win was that third quarter. We actually played some defense in the third quarter. We were a little soft on the ball in the first half. They played too much pick and roll and got easy baskets. They also seemed to get way too many tips on balls. We communicated better on defense in the second half and played our game which is play defense and finish off possessions.
Where would the team this season so far without Jordan Theodore?
It would be tough without Jordan. He is a great one on one player and just gets the team going. Banvit wouldn´t be where we are now without Jordan Theodore.
You come from the same city as Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. He is three years older than you. What dealings have you had with him over the years in Cincinnati?
Tez is older than me. When I was a freshman, he was a senior. We never played against each other until two seasons ago in the Eurochallenge. Befoe I played against him, I had heard about him. I never saw him in the off season either, because I was never at home, but in Pittsburgh where my wife comes from.
After three seasons in Russia, did you feel the need to get to a nice and warm place like Turkey?
Yes you could say that I am finally in a warm place and it has it´s advantages now. I always felt bad for my wife the last years when we were in cold Russia when her friends were saying how great life was and that they were wearing shorts. When October came in Russia, we were wearing coats already. I have two little boys and now in Turkey they can be outside more and run around. That wasn´t possible as much in Russia where they were mostly indoors. Turkey is great for the family and we can live the good life.
After two seasons with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-Superleague), you made the jump to Banvit. It seems like you have always been a very consistent player wherever you have played, but what step do you see yourself in moving to Banvit at age 29?
I am at a stage in my career where I just want to make my team better. In the Ukraine, I reached the semi-finals all three years and in Russia the final of the Eurochallenge and was never able to get over the hump. I got three Bronze medals in the Ukraine and now I just want to help my team get over the hump. Many may think it´s all about the stats for me, but it isn´t. Now I just want to make the right decisions on the court and make the game as easy as possible for my team.
The club is special because it has a good mix of players from various countries and many guys that have won titles and know how to win games. Is that a secret to the early success of the team?
Yes I think it is. The guys know the game and the coach also understands the game well which makes it a lot easier for us. The players don´t need to do too much or things that they aren´t accustomed too. We are able to put more energy on defense, because everyone knows what to do on offense.
Jordan Theodore said recently a big strength of the team is defense. How has the team been able to get on the same page so early in the season?
Coach told us from day one that if we don´t play defense then we won´t play. We have to play team defense, good 1-1 defense, help on rotation and close outs. Each player knows that they can give extra on pressuring the ball, because if they get beat, they know someone will be there to help. In Russia, Avtodor was an offensive minded team and I knew on defense that if I got beat there probably wouldn´t be anyone there to help.
Banvit is a very special team that started off well. It only has two true Americans on the team with you and Jordan Theodore. What kind of bond have you built up over the first two months?
We have a special bond. We are roommates and hang out a lot also. It´s always nice to talk to someone when your away from family.
You have always been that kind of player that can do it all on the court and really fill up the stat sheet. How would you classify your role this season with Banvit?
My #1 thing is defense. I take a lot of pride on defense and get mad when I get beat. I am a vocal leader this season. In the past there were always older guys on the team, but this season I am the oldest. I give the team advice and make sure everyone knows what they have to do.
You played the last two seasons for Avtodor Saratov (Russia-Superleague) reaching the VTB quarterfinals and Eurochallenge final. How important were these two seasons in the development of your game?
When I came to Russia, I made the jump from the Ukraine and started to play against top teams like CSKA that were smart. In the Ukraine there was a lot of 1-1, but in Russia every club was team orientated. Just having this team concept and playing against elite teams helped my game very much.
You played three seasons in the Ukraine from 2010-2013. How was this time for you living in a war zone area? Did you ever feel the need to pack up and go home?
I got out just before it got bad. It got bad two months after I left. I actually had a few offers from Ukrainian teams, but it was a blessing that Triumph came and signed me. I am glad I got out, because I had wife and kids and the situation in the Ukraine would have been stressful.
How important was ex NBA player Derrick Zimmerman in your first season in the Ukraine with Hoverla Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine-Superleague). He had had some years in the Ukraine. Did he take you a bit under his wing in the early going?
Derrick took me under his wing. I still talk to him today. He is retired from basketball and is a teacher in Texas now. He is a very good guy. He just helped me understand the game better in terms of when to shoot and when to pass. I came from college where I was a number one scoring option to a team that suddenly had many scoring options like me. It wasn´t easy, but he helped me understand the European game better and just tell me what I did right and wrong.
You won your first professional title in 2013 with Ferro-ZNTU Zaporozhye (Ukraine-Superleague) winning the cup. What made this team so special?
We had resigned many guys form the year before and there was a lot of chemistry with guys like Randy Culpepper and Cameron Moore who recently passed away. Every player knew exactly what was expected of them. We had the type of team that could of won the whole thing, but we just couldn´t get over the hump.
Your teammate was Randy Culpepper who led the Ukrainian league in scoring in back to back seasons and then did it in the competitive VTB league. Was there any way on offense how this guy couldn´t score?
He was one of those players that when he got hot, there was no stopping him. You had to pick your poison. If you let him shoot, he scored and if you got too close, he drove by you and scored. He also was strong on the fast break.
As a rookie you played for Znicz Jaroslaw (Poland-PLK) playing 28 games: Score-4(18.3ppg), Reb-2(8.2rpg), 3.5apg, Steals-1(2.9spg), FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 86.3%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
The first few months were tough. I remember in my first few preseason games, I was hit with 3-4 turnovers each game with the traveling call. It took me some time to get used to it. I played in a small city and roomed with Keddric Mays who had a son at home while I had a wife who was pregnant. The only thing we had was Skype and the time difference was tough. My wife was still in school and I saw her for a week during the season and was home for 3 days during Christmas.
You played at Robert Morris (NCAA) from 2005-2009. What benefit did your development as a young player have having two coaches with Mark Schmidt and Mike Rice?
It was perfect having both. In my first two years I had Schmidt who was offense minded and I learned what I needed on the offensive end. In my last two seasons, I had Rice who was a defensive minded coach. He told me that defense wins titles and it was just the perfect combo having them. It really got me ready for the professional level.
In the 2009 NEC tournament you scored 15 points in the final, earning tournament MVP honors and sending Robert Morris to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years. Was this your biggest accomplishment in college?
It was my biggest accomplishment in school. The year before we had made some major upsets on the road, but lost in the semi-finals of the NEC and missed the NCAA tournament. It was tough going into my senior year not knowing if we would ever reach the NCAA tournament. Making the steal and basket to get to the tournament in the final of the NEC my senior year was great. I still get goose bumps thinking about it today.
What memory do you still have today of the 77-62 loss against Michigan State in the NCAA tournament? Would you have seen Draymond Green in the NBA one day over Raymar Morgan?
Not at all. They weren´t really on our scouting report going into the game. Green was more of a role player coming from the bench. He wasn´t a big key for them, but then he came off the bench and totally changed the game. I played against Raymar Morgan in high school and thought that he was the best in the country. I never expected that Green would make such an impact in the NBA. Injuries slowed Morgan down. Once you get that injury tag on resume, it´s hard to break that barrier.
Who was the toughest player you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
That a tough one. There were so many. I will have to get back to you on that one.
Who wins a one on one on a playground court in Cincinnati, you or Quantez Robertson?
It will be a long game. We are both defensive minded. We play like bull dogs and do so much that isn´t seen on the stat sheet. We wouldn´t want the other to ever score on each other. I think the game would take 3-4 hours with many fouls happening.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose?
Jordan, Shaq, Lebron, Garnett(favorite of all time)
Lebron finally won the NBA title for the Cavs. Where does he stand right now in the debate with the best of all-time?
I used to be a huge critic of Lebron because the way he left the Cavs for Miami. He could of done it differently. But the way he came back last season down 3-1 to win it all was amazing against a 73-9 team. Lebron is #2 behind Jordan. Jordan won 6 rings. If Lebron can win a few more rings, then he may slide into #1.
Where does the legacy of Kevin Garnett stand right now with the best of all-time? Many players say he is behind Tim Duncan.
He is the best of all-time. They both played different type of games. Garnett poured out his heart every night. He didn´t want to lose more than he won. He hated to lose. You could see it in his eyes. He played hard every possession and never played for the stats. He guarded 1-5 and I simply feel like he brought more to the table offensively and defensively than Tim Duncan. Duncan did win more rings and played for a great team that won 50 plus games each season, but for me Garnett was the overall better player.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Jason Bourne. I saw it shortly before the Frankfurt game. I enjoyed it.
Thanks Jeremy for the chat.