Eric Palm is a 29 year old 185cm guard from Illinois that recently signed with Danish club Bakken Bears after having started the season with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL) playing 6 games: 22.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3FGP: 35.0%, FT: 95.1%, left in Nov.’16, later that month moved to KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-SuperLeague, starting five): Balkan League: 5 games: 22.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.0apg, 2FGP: 62.1%, 3FGP: 46.2%, FT: 88.5%; Kosovan SuperLeague: 5 games: 12.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.2apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 52.6%, 3FGP: 50.0%,He started his basketball career at McKendree (NAIA) in 2005 where he played until 2009 and as a senior played 35 games: 20.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3Pts: 38.3%, FT: 85.2%. He started his professional basketball career in 2010 with Thor AK (Iceland-D1) where he played until 2012 and in the 2011-2012 season played 11 games: 26.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.7apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 84.5%. In 2012-2013 he played for IR Reykjavik (Iceland-Dominos League) playing 22 games: Score-3(26.5ppg), 4.3rpg, 3.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT-1(93.9%). In the 2013-2014 season he played for BV Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games: 15.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 84.1%. He played the last two seasons with the Giessen 46ers helping the team move back up to the BBL in 2015 and last season played 22 games: 7.9ppg, 1.4apg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 83.3%. German Hoops interviewed him over the years when he played in Giessen and sat down with him again before playing the Fraport Skyliners in the Champions League.
Eric Welcome back to Germany. After two seasons of just moving around in Germany with the Giessen 46ers, this season you have been on the rapid move playing in Slovakia and Kosovo and now have moved to Denmark to Bakken. Do you feel like a basketball globetrotter this year?
It’s definitely been a very long year for me this year moving around so much and getting to know new teammates and staffs around Europe. However I’m happy to have settled in Denmark with the Bakken Bears.
What has been the best example this season that you have seen basketball being purely a basketball business?
I would have to say when I arrived in Denmark. They have been a class act since day 1, taking care of my needs and preparing me for the team stuff over the holidays. Each staff member reached out to me to welcome me and some had meetings gave to face to talk with me about the season. Felt like home as soon as I arrived.
Bakken will be your third team this season and third time having to adjust to a new situation and second time after Kosovo where you will have to do it quickly during the season. How difficult are making these rapid changes and having to learn so much in a short period of time?
It can be pretty difficult moving into teams so late in the season. Learning all the names, plays and playing style, and just trying to fit in with the team chemistry on and off the court. But at the end of the day, we all have the same goals to win games and compete hard. So in a short time, I feel like I’ve moved in well with everyone here.
You put up big stats with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL) playing 6 games: averaging 22.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3FGP: 35.0%, FT: 95.1%. What kind of experience was this league? It seemed like everything came easy to you coming from the German BBL?
Slovakia was def an adjustment from the BBL in a competition standpoint, but my goals there was to show the various levels of my playing style. In Giessen I was mainly a spot up shooter respectively, but I needed to show I can handle the ball in pick and rolls and being a slasher.
You then moved to KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-SuperLeague) playing Balkan League: 5 games: 22.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.0apg, 2FGP: 62.1%, 3FGP: 46.2%, FT: 88.5%; Kosovan SuperLeague: 5 games: 12.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.2apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 52.6%, 3FGP: 50.0%. What were the main differences skill wise and talent wise between the two leagues?
Heading into Kosovo, the main difference between the leagues was talent on the court and the rules for the leagues. Balkan League we could play 4 imports/1 Domestic and Kosovo SL we only had 3 imports/2 Domestic. With our team structured the way it was, we were more dangerous in the Balkan league which made things easier for us to create for one another on the court. There were some solid teams in the Balkan League.
Now you have joined the Bakken Bears, a top team in Denmark. A team stalked with some very talented players, what do you see your role being?
We have some dangerous talent here in Denmark. I feel I can bring my experience and leadership to this team most effectively. I have played various levels, where I can adjust and help some of the younger players. As far as my style, just mixing up my game from shooting 3s to helping at the PG, we are a deep team so being efficient on the court is the main goal.
You scored 14 points in 28 minutes in a loss to SISU. Do you feel with all the experience you have had this season playing in many leagues that you will have an easier adjustment period?
First games are always tough. I hadn’t played in over 2.5 weeks, learning the teams style and plays. I felt in the second half we got our groove back a bit, but as a team we were too flat and overlooked our opponent who played well on that day.
You are playing with highly talented rookie Devaughn Akoon-Purcell who is the second best scorer in the Champions League and first in the Danish League. What has stood out most in his game in the short time that you have been teammates?
DAP is an amazing talent on the court. With his length and athleticism sky is the limit for this kid. With more years to come and more adjustments to the euro style of basketball, he will play at a very high level here in Europe. I haven’t seen much that he can’t do on the offensive side of the ball and his hunger for the game is always there. I’m excited to play with him this season.
You will play Champions League in Frankfurt against the Fraport Skyliners. How excited are to be back in Germany and do you hope some Giessen fans will make short trip to Frankfurt?
It is great to be back in Hessen. I have had many fans reach out via Facebook/Twitter/IG wishing me luck and some trying to make the game tonight to watch. Giessen was a great home for me for two seasons and it means a lot to see the people of Giessen still care for their former players.
You played two seasons with the Giessen 46ers and helped the club move up to the BBL in 2015. What was most special about the team that season?
That was a special season. Coach DW constructed a championship caliber team to make a long run to get back to the BBL for the next season. On and off the court we were a close knit group of guys, there wasn’t much we didn’t do as a whole. But the most special part of the season was how we stuck together and went 8-0 to sweep playoffs, beating Wurzburg two times in a row, holding the trophy/banner up in Giessen Osthalle!
The guard position was always well stocked, but especially last season with guys like Braydon Hobbs, TJ Dileo and Karsten Tadda. How do you feel your game was able to develop further with Giessen?
We had so many guards last season who could flat out play in their own style. Each day we would compete hard in practice vs one another, and by learning different things from each other’s playing style. In the end, having DW, Milos Petcovic, and Steven Key helping us day by day with their critiquing is really helped me this summer and this year with adjusting my playing style.
Gießen really has been one of the continued Cinderella stories as it continues to develop under Denis Wucherer despite having a limited budget? What is his secret to the players buying into his system so quickly?
DW really knows how to construct a team with a limited budget. He always seems to find the hungry talented players in some outside leagues who fit his system very well. That’s the main key for him, getting the right fit and having them buy into his system, then from there it’s all on the players to continue their jobs.
What was your fondest memory with captain TJ DiLeo? He made the next step and is playing for the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
There are so many good memories with TJ. Throughout all the games we got to play together it’s hard to put it all on one time. But obviously again, sharing the court with him for two years was a great experience itself.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Ohhh, well I will choose this based on my upbringing since I wasn’t able to watch many greats before my time. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal respectively.
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?
LBJ is making a push for being “one” of the greatest players of all time. But I just don’t know if he can surpass MJ with that honor. It’s hard to pass MJ when he has never lost an NBA Finals or let a game 7 happen, all with MVPs in each of the finals.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
From my generation he makes a strong case for one of the all time greats, but I have to side with Tim Duncan as the all time best at the PF position.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Klay is such an amazing talent in the NBA. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands at all times to make his mark in the game. I believe he barely even dribbled the ball that game too. But that performance was something special in the league.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
It’s easy to say stat wise he is the best player individually, but it also matters how his team fares in the end with all of his stats. I think James Harden is deserving of more talk, he is doing great things for being transitioned to the PG and showing his adjustment to that role.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I haven’t been on many movies lately. My mind has been focused on Prison Break (tv show)
Thanks Eric for the chat.