Tyrone Nash is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Queens, New York playing his sixth professional season and first with Ironi Nahariya (Israel-Winner League). He started his basketball career with Notre Dame (NCAA) in 2007 and played 118 NCAA games until 2011 and as a senior played 34 games averaging 9.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 68.9%. He started his professional career in 2011 with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played for three seasons playing 99 BBL games and in his last season there played 33 games: 10.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for SPO Rouen Basket (France-ProA): 11 games: 8.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.1%, FT: 50.0%. Last season he returned back to Germany to play for the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games averaging 10.9ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 66.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Tyrone thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your playing your first season in Israel for Ironi Nahariya (Israel-Winner League). You played the last years mostly in Germany and one season in France. In terms to weather how close are you to living in a paradise atmosphere?
It is really great waking up to sunshine everyday and having the beach literally across the street from me. I can see why a lot of players choose to play here.
You played four years in Germany in the BBL and got used to it, but what for you has been the biggest challenge in Israel on and off the court? Has it been difficult to adapt?
On the court, the biggest challenge has been adjusting to the “Russian Rule”, where two Israeli players have to be on the court at all times. And with 4 other talented American players it is at times difficult to get extended minutes. Off the court, I had to get used to ‘Shabbat’ in which most stores and restaurants close from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. Sundays are normal days here in Israel, with all stores and restaurants open, as compared to Germany where everything is closed. So that definitely took time getting used to.
People often say the BBL is one of most competitive leagues as anyone can beat anyone on any given day, but the Winner League looks very competitive this season as your team is near the bottom, but with a few wins could quickly be near the top again. Have you noticed that the Winner League is very well balanced from the competitive nature of the teams?
Yeah, this league is ultra competitive. Every team is beatable on any given night. I heard that last year four of eight teams who made the playoffs finished the season with a record below 500.
Ironi Nahariya started off slow in the Champions League at 0-4 losing to tough teams, but currently is riding a two game winning streak, but beat weaker teams Helios and Bakken. What do you believe has been missing from your team to beat stronger teams in the group?
Outside of Derwin Kitchen, most of our group is entirely new to European competition, such as the FIBA Champions League. I feel we had to get used to the style of play and in process learn how to win. I figured we would hit a few bumps in the roads early on, learn from them and improve in the second half of the season.
How much has switch of ex NBA player Marquis Teague to Derwin Kitchen hurt the development of the team? Do you feel like this move will benefit the team?
Derwin has been a great asset to our group. His experience playing on big teams throughout Europe has helped us a lot. He pushes the ball in transition constantly and rebounds very well for a guard. With all that said, Teague is a great, young talent. He worked hard and had a Knack of getting into paint and breaking down the defense. I feel often times it takes former NBA players some time to adjust to the Euro style of play and Teague some times struggled with that but the more he plays over here the better he will adjust.
The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners who are struggling this season. You played 8 times against them having a 3-5 record. Was your most memorable game the exciting 71-70 win in Frankfurt in 2014?
Damn didn’t know I had a losing record against them. Smh, have to change that! Lol — No, I think my first ever BBL game was against Frankfurt when they had Thompson, Gray and Leuer back in 2011. So, that definitely stands out as my most memorable game against them.
You have played mostly against Quantez Robertson in your 8 games against Frankfurt. To what NBA player would you describe him to and what is most annoying about his game?
Robertson has always been a good, tough defender, and always seems to make big shots when they are needed. He rebounds well for a guard too. He reminds me of Tony Allen.
How content have you been with your game this season. Your stats are down to what you normally averaged in other seasons. What exactly your role as you come from the bench and have started, but are you less of a scoring option this season?
It has been an adjustment for me this year dealing with the ‘Russian Rule’ in the Winner Cup League. It is something I didn’t realize until I got here. Sometimes you will play a lot and other times you wont. It’s an unfortunate situation because I want to play at all times but I am making the best of the situation and just try to produce when I am out on the court.
Last season you played for Braunschweig for head coach Raoul Korner and you almost made the playoffs. This season he has led Bayreuth on a early season 10 game winning streak. Is this something that you could have predicted after having him as coach last season?
Yes, I knew it was a matter of time before Coach Korner would be in the playoffs. His drive to get there is evident in the way his team is playing early on in the season. I hope they continue this style of play throughout the rest of the season. I am pulling for him and his group.
How much of a challenge was it battling American Amin Stevens each day last season? How did you make each other better on the court?
Amin is blessed with athleticism and long arms which makes it very difficult to score on him at times. He is deceptively quick and can really handle the ball so guarding him isn’t easy either.
Two seasons ago you played with Rouen in France. When you look back at that season and compare it to the BBL, what league do you feel catered best to your strength on the court?
I really liked the up and down play of the ProA in France. A lot of the guys there are extremely athletic and that was fun to play against. I feel like with my game I can adjust to different styles of play. I prefer either league.
You have played with many point guards in your career, but where do you rank a Michael Thompson? He has been steadily improving since years and belongs to the top point guards in Europe now?
I always thought “Juice” was a great player going back to our days playing against each other in college. Mike has steadily improved each year. During my year with him In Rouen he was always getting up extra shots after practice, it is no wonder he is considered one of the top guards in Europe.
You played three seasons for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. You played two seasons with Reggie Redding and Vaughn Duggins who really developed there well early in their career and made the next step. What do you believe was their best game trait that enabled them to develop so well?
Vaughn had a killer mentality. Once he flipped that switch there was no stopping him. He so athletic he puts you off balance thus allowing him to attack the lane or go for his patented pull up jumper. Reggie just did everything on the court. He Made the game real easy and made everyone around him better. He is a big guard who sees the floor well but can also score when needed.
How memorable will your last game as a Tiger be beating Phoenix Hagen to stay in the BBL as you, Jonathan Wallace and Daequan Cook combined for 73 points?
We never made the playoffs during my tenure in Tübingen but that game felt like a playoff game. It had that playoff game atmosphere because had we lost we would have been relegated. But it was a great effort by the entire team to pull out that win at home and keep Tubingen in the first league.
You played in Germany and France with Daequan Cook. What do you remember the most amazing thing that you remember him doing on the court where you said wow?
I think it was one practice we had where, and I am dead serious, he did not miss a single shot. He was hitting everything! At one point I just laughed because the defender couldn’t have played any better defense and DC still made the shot. I mean, he won the NBA 3pt shooting contest so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised of his shot making ability.
What was your wake up call to be a rookie in Germany in 2011 where you knew that you were very far away from Queens, New York?
Once I landed in the Stuttgart airport and heard everyone around speaking a language I did not recognize I knew it was not New York anymore. Then, after arriving in Tubingen…well, if you have been to Tubingen you just know it is not NYC anymore. lol
You played at the well known Notre Dame from 2007-2011. What kind of an overall experience was it for you playing for such a prestigious school? How did it shape you as a man?
Playing at ND was great not only because of the great education and the great competition of playing in the Big East, but also the connections you make throughout your time there with the people you encounter on and off the court. I really grew up during my four years there and learned many life lessons that will only prove beneficial later on in life.
You played two seasons with future NBA player Luke Harangody. How much of a challenge was it for you in your first two seasons to battle him in practice each day? What do you feel was the most valuable asset that you picked up during your on court dealings with him?
It was a challenge early on because I expected to compete for some playing time during my Freshman year at ND but during that year Luke went on to have a breakout year and won Big East Player of the Year. And at the time the Big East was probably the best conference in the NCAA so that was a hell of an achievement. Luke worked so hard on the court and in the weight room. I definitely noticed that and decided I would have to go extra harder to be able to compete against him on a daily basis.
How did head coach Mike Brey groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
One thing that Coach Brey said that really stood out in my mind is that, “life is a marathon, not a sprint”, you can apply that quote to many things you experience in life, including my professional career. You can’t rush everything, no matter how badly when want something to come, at times you just have to be patient and let things develop.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Who won a one on one in practice you or Tim Abromatis?
Tim won all the shooting games!. I won most of the one on ones.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Jordan, Dr. J, Oscar Robertson, LeBron
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
Jordan is still number one because he went unblemished with a 6-0 NBA Finals record but LeBron is right behind him. Jordan has a different mentality than LeBron, and that is fine. LeBron did it his own way, he does not have to be MJ, just continue being himself.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
I loved Tim Duncan’s game. Plus TD won 5 rings and has a longggg list of accolades so I would have to put TD before KG.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Kevin Hart: What Now?
Thanks Tyrone for the chat.