Julian Gamble is a 27 year old 207cm power forward/center from Durham, North Carolina that will be starting his fifth professional season and second in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He started his basketball career at Miami(NCAA) in 2008 and played there until 2013 playing a total of 127 games. In 2013 he started his professional career with Saint Vallier Basket Drome (France-ProB): 44 games: 16.3ppg, Reb-3(9.0rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-1(1.5bpg), FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 10.0%, FT: 62.9%. In 2014 he moved to the Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 25 games: 17.0ppg, Reb-3(7.6rpg), 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-1(1.6bpg), FGP: 57.0%, FT: 69.2%. Two seasons ago, he remained with the Basic-Fit Brussels (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 36 games: Score-5(16.6ppg), Reb-2(8.3rpg), 1.3apg, 1.5spg, Blocks-1(1.9bpg), FGP: 60.8%, FT: 68.1%. Last season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn he played 37 games averaging 13.2ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.7apg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP: 61.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 58.0%; He also played 16 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 12.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 61.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 58.2%. He spoke to German Hoops after the club returned from a training camp in Slovenia.
Julian welcome back to Germany. You are playing your second season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Did the summer fly by quickly? What was your most memorable thing that you did in the summer?
Thank you, I am very happy to be back. Yes, the summer flew by like it always does after a long season but it was amazing. The most memorable thing was traveling to Cancun, Mexico with my family for the wedding of a very close family friend.
Before we start about this upcoming season, I have to ask you about last season. You were a main figure in Bonn reaching the BBL playoffs as well as helping the team into the Fiba Cup semi finals. You played 37 games averaging 13.2ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.7apg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP: 61.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 58.0%; In the FIBA Europe Cup you played 16 games averaging12.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 61.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 58.2%. Was this tops your best season as a professional weighing in the team success and your play?
Yes I believe this was my best season. We accomplished many great things as a team that we can be proud of and somewhat restored the tradition of Bonn in the playoffs. We accomplished some things on the European stage which was good as well. For me individually, I was able to overcome a lot of adversity in my play and become a big factor in helping my team to important victories and big games. So I am looking to build on that this season.
I saw the loss to Nanteere live and was shocked that the Telekom Baskets Bonn let it slip away. Did that fourth quarter come up here and there in your thoughts over the summer and what did the team learn from this loss that will help them be stronger in those kind of situations this season?
No, it didn’t. My goal is to be better in every way this season and help lead this entire new group of guys to where we ultimately want to be. All due respect to Nanteere but that happened because of us and not them. We will be stronger in any situation like that moving forward, that is for sure.
You stated in our last interview that you have improved your shot selection over the years and demonstrated that nicely shooting 13/15 against medi Bayreuth last season. How else do you feel coupled with the team success did your game grow last season in your fourth professional season?
I definitely discovered the importance of taking care of your body during the year to be able to perform. early in the season I was not where I wanted to be in that respect and it greatly affected my play. Once that was taken care of my game started to grow exponentially every night to become a major threat in this league for the opposition. I will continue to learn to be even more efficient and add things to my game to make me more dangerous.
My favorite quote of you last season was “personal numbers don’t mean near as much as winning with this talented group of guys”. Now going into your fifth professional season does your hunger to win that first professional title grow even more? Does it get to a point where it can get to you mentally that your still without a professional title?
I definitely want to win and despite not having a title yet I know that I am a winner. Winning a title for me is not a matter of if, but when. In the mean time I am going to continue to work to make that a reality.
This season the Telekom Baskets Bonn will play a level up in the Basketball Champions League and continue to battle in the BBL for the playoffs. What particularly did you work on most this summer so you will be best prepared to be successful on the court?
Just staying in the best shape possible. Other than that you will have to wait until the games to see what I have up my sleeve.
That you have a gifted offensive game is no secret, but you excel just as much on the defensive end as you were top shot blocker in France and Belgium in your first three seasons and last season third in the BBL. You will be turning 28 in September and in your best basketball age. Do you feel like you can turn it up a notch more on the defensive end becoming even more of a shot block monster, but also be better in other areas that overall will improve the Bonn defense?
For sure I have more levels to unlock. I feel I am not even in my prime yet and still have a while until I get there. My goal this year is to lead the league in blocks and cause problems on the defensive end for every team. I just want to do whatever I need to do in order to help us succeed at the highest level.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn are back from a training camp in Slovenia. Please give a recap of how the new team is coming together? There are injuries and players absent, but what is your early impression?
Our camp was very good. A lot of hard work with the weight lifting, conditioning, and basketball up in the mountains but we definitely got better as a team while we were there. Our team isn’t complete just yet but I know now that we will be a faster and more athletic team this year on both ends of the floor. It will definitely be exciting to watch.
It would be unfair to say this is Josh Mayo´s team or this is Julian Gamble´s team. You both played a huge role in the success last season and have returned back. I thought Mayo belonged to the best 3-4 point guards last season. How glad are you to have him on board again and is he capable to make another leap in his game now at age 30 despite being a top player for years in numerous countries.
I think that Josh was the best PG in the league last season. Almost on a nightly basis he put up huge numbers and made big shots. He easily belongs in the conversation of best players in this league. I am extremely happy to have him back here with me and with all of the work I see him do every day I know he will make a jump in his game this season. He will again be a top player and all star in Germany this season.
The club brought in some new guys including Jordan Parks. How impressed have you been with his game and will he be able to fill the shoes of Ken Horton?
Jordan is going to impress a lot of people this year. He is extremely athletic and very versatile on both ends of the floor. Filling Ken’s shoes won’t be easy but I believe 100 percent that Jordan is up for the task.
Ron Curry is injured and Nemanja Djurisic is away with his countries national team. What has been your impression of German Martin Breunig. He had huge stats at Montana and is a huge talent. Do you see him playing a bigger role than Johannes Richter did last year who didn´t see ample minutes?
Martin has been impressive thus far to me. He will definitely play a large role on this team as I know he is hungry to prove that he can succeed at this level. he works hard every day and I also think he will surprise people with the many things he can do on the floor.
One guy everyone in basketball Bonn has their eyes on is German Konstantin Klein. He started off well last season and got injured and now is healthy again and hit KK Rogaska for 12 points. Is he the old Konsti and could he become that added scoring threat and defensive bull dog that could have made the difference between a win and loss last season in some games?
This Konsti is new and improved. He worked extremely hard all summer to get himself ready for this season and you can easily tell that he is ready. He will be both an elite scorer and defender that we need in order to achieve the success we want this season. I am excited for him to be back on the court and doing what he loves to do.
American Kameron Taylor was added from the Dragons Rhondorf to help fill the void for Ron Curry. He is a proven Pro A player and will play in the Pro B this season. It´s never easy for a player to take a step back, but hashe proven that he can keep up with BBL players?
Kam can absolutely play at the BBL level. He was with us in camp and out tested everyone on our team in speed and quickness. He brings great energy to the game on both ends of the floor and I think he has a unique opportunity to practice and be around us a lot this season to help him develop and see what he needs to do to be on this level. I don’t think it would be a bold prediction on my part to say that he will one day play in the BBL.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
Lebron will always be in the conversation of greatest of all time. The only thing standing in his way is the number of rings but he has dominated the game in every way besides that and will continue to do so in my opinion. whether he wins another championship is a different story but there is no debate that he will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
I don’t think so. A major reason why he was able to do what he did is his drive and competitive spirit. No one has the motor of Russell Westbrook, and I think people are going to talk about what he’s been able to do regardless. At the end of the day he got it done and is playing the best way he can that serves his team.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I think this draft was very good. Dennis Smith jr in my opinion will win rookie of the year but it won’t be as easy of a race as it has been in recent years.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
I think it is too early to know if they have enough to seriously compete. the only thing we all know is the Warriors haven’t gone anywhere and are for sure looking to dominate the league again this season. Beating the Warriors are a tall task for any team in the league.
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
Its kind of early to tell, but I think that these two teams are on a collision course for the eastern conference finals and I think at that point you will see who got the better end of the deal for the near future.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I watched was Rush Hour.
Thanks Julian for the chat.