Tyler Kalinoski is a 24 yer old 193cm guard that was born in Cincinnati and is playing his third professional season and first in Belgium with the Antwerpen Giants. Last season he played with AS Apollon Patras (Greece-A1) playing 25 games averaging 10.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 56.1%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 78.7%. As a rookie he played with ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA) playing 36 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 82.8%;In the FIBA Europe Cup he played 19 games averaging 10.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 51.1%, FT: 50.0%. He played at Davidson from 2011-2015 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averaging 16.7ppg, 5.7rpg, 4.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 78.9%. He spoke to German Hoops while playing a tournament in Frankfurt Germany against the Fraport Skyliners and Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Tyler thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. You’re in Frankfurt playing exhibition games against Frankfurt and Bonn. You didn´t play against German teams in France or Greece. Have you ever been in Germany before or played here?
I have been in Germany before. We traveled through Frankfurt a number of times in my rookie season with Chalon. I also visited last season as my friend Brian Sullivan who was my teammate at Davidson was playing with the Hebeisen White Wings.
You won a thriller against the Fraport Skyliners 86-85 on Paris Lee free throws. That was a wild end. What was the wildest game that you ever played in at the college or professional level?
The most wild game that I played in college was when we beat La Salle in a conference game where we were down by 18 and won on a buzzer beater. As a professional my most wild game was when we were playing Le Mans at home with Chalon and won on a buzzer beater alley-op from out of bounds from Illian Evtimov to Devin Booker.
As a rookie two seasons ago you played with Chalon that lost a heart breaker at home to Varese. You then watched Frankfurt win the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup final. What memories did you have of Frankfurt then and what was your impression of them today?
I don´t have too much memories of Frankfurt at the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup final 4 in Chalon except that they were well coached and executed well. I saw a bit of the same in Frankfurt this weekend. They executed very well and were never out of the game and came back and almost won. They were a very good team that was well coached.
Your playing your third professional season and first in Belgium with the Antwerpen Giants. After two solid seasons in France and Greece, what are your goals as a player besides winning in your third professional season?
After not winning a title as a rookie and not making the playoffs in Greece, my main goal is to win a championship. Personally I just want to get better and continue to grow as a player. I want to take little steps and never become stagnant.
Antwerpen has a very talented team with some skilled Americans with veterans Jason Clark and Dave Dubzinski, rookie Paris Lee and many talented Belgium players. Where do you see being your role? Clark is the team leader. What do you see yourself giving the team?
I think my shooting will help us spread the defense and I will be able to give my teammates open looks. I am also one of the players that does the important things on the court that people don´t always recognize like rebounding and passing.
When looking at your game your shooting obviously stands out as you shot 48% and 42% in your last two seasons at Davidson. But you also have other qualities. How do you prove on the court best that you aren´t a one-dimensional player?
I can see how people can feel that I could be a one-dimensional player. People simply overlook my rebounding and making the extra pass. People just see me as a shooter, but I give so much more to the game.
Last season you played with Michael Stockton with AS Apollon Patras (Greece-A1) playing 25 games averaging 10.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 56.1%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 78.7%. Did any of his dad and NBA stories wet your appetite for giving the NBA another shot?
Mike is a great guy and it was nice being teammates with him last season in Greece. Every player wants to play at the highest level and playing in the NBA has always been a goal of mine. I just want to keep getting better and push to reach my goal. I hung out a lot with Mike and he gets asked a lot about his dad and he told stories, but I didn´t push him too much to talk about his dad.
As a rookie you played for Chalon in France. You were teammates with one of my favorite guys that I covered in Frankfurt 10 years ago with Ilian Evtimov who played at North Carolina State. How did he help you best in your rookie year?
Evtimov was a great leader. He taught me many of the important little things about being a professional. He is the type of player that plays the game in a smart way. He taught me reads and just to conduct me in a professional way. He was a good mentor for me as a rookie.
After the 2015-2016 season David Micheau was drafted, Devin Booker was one f the best centers in the Pro A and John Roberson led Chalon the next year to the Pro A title. How did all this talent enrich your game?
Their different skill set and their experience of what they have seen and where they have been really taught me a lot about how important work ethic is. Their games helped my game evolve further as a rookie.
After coming out of Davidson you played NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat. Dan Green of the Miami heat said you could be a 14th or 15th guy on an NBA team. You stated “”It’s a game of chess, of making the right moves. You never know what is going to be the right decision”. When looking back at the last few years do you feel like you should maybe have stayed in the states and seen what could of happened?
I am content with taking the route to Europe. I have no regrets. I don´t dwell about what could have happened had I stayed in the States. I am happy with my decision.
There have been numerous examples of guys coming to the NBA late like a Malcolm Delaney who played at Chalon a few years before you of a Brian Roberts. Are you content with staying in Europe forever or are you leaving a side door open?
The side door is big. My dream is to play in the NBA, but everyone´s route is different. Ultimately my end goal is the NBA and I hope that my route will take me there.
You played four years at Davidson. Do you feel like your game and approach of playing the game was effected by how Steph Curry´s career had developed in the NBA or has the rise of Curry of becoming one of the best players in the world not effect you as you were at Davidson and beyond?
It wasn´t much on my mind. The great thing about playing basketball at Davidson is that you get better each season. No matter what level you came from, you just get better at Davidson. It has shown with Steph Curry as he got better at Davidson and has continued to get better in the NBA. I worked the best I could at Davidson to get better and I thought I got the best out of that experience at Davidson.
Your ex Davidson teammate Demon Brooks was impressed by the way Steph Curry held himself in 2011 when he went back to Davidson to finish his classes. What memories do you have of that as you were a freshman?
I remember Steph Curry coming back and playing pick-up basketball with us. I remember guarding him in pick up. As a freshman coming in this was a very cool experience for me. For Curry to come back to school and finish his classes just shows what kind of guy he is to have taken that step.
How excited are you to be playing against your ex teammate Jack Gibbs. He averaged an unbelievable 23ppg in his last two seasons. If he had played at North Carolina or Duke would he have been drafted?
I am very excited that he is playing in the same country as me and am looking forward to be playing him this season. He is a great player and put up great stats at Davidson. He had a great opportunity in the NBA Summer League and it just didn´t work out for him. There are a lot of what if´s had he played at North Carolina or Duke that he would have been drafted.
You come from an unbelievable athletic family as Scott Kalinoski played football at Purdue; uncle Dave Ford played baseball for the Baltimore Orioles; grandfather Ron Ward played hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs; aunt Pamela Kalinoski won four NCAA soccer championships with North Carolina alongside Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly; and another grandfather, Ken Kalinoski, ran track at Ohio State. How do you feel has the family roots helped shape who you have become on and off the court?
Having these family roots has been a big help being raised by unbelievable parents and being around unbelievable relatives. They taught me to always work hard and that you need good work ethic in sport and life. They taught me that if you want to reach your goals, you always have to work hard. I have always worked hard for everything I have gotten.
Your ex teammate Brooks said this about head coach Bob Mckillop “There is no better coach in the world. He is the reason why I am here today. From the time I stepped foot on Davidson he prepared me for this journey on and off the court. One of the many lesson that stays with me is with freedom comes from responsibility.” This is one lesson, especially playing professional basketball in Europe, that is very important for a player to abide if you want to have a long promising career. How did he groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
I agree with what Demon said. He is the best coach in the world. He always stressed to us that you have to get a little better each day. He brought so much toughness to practice and that translated over to what I could do on the court and in life. That toughness really affected me and I wouldn´t be where I am today without him.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jack Gibbs?
I always won. I can´t remember a time that he beat me.
Who was the toughest player that you battled ever that is in the NBA now?
I get asked this a lot, but it is hard to answer because there have been so many great players that I played against in the NCAA. I just can´t chose one.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Lebron, Kobe, Jordan and Kyrie Irving!
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?
I am such a Lebron fan. I didn´t get to watch too much of Michael Jordan because I was too young. In my eyes Lebron is the best to have played the game. He doesn´t have as many rings as Jordan, but he has done so much with every team he he has played with. It is just unbelievable what he has done.
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?
It isn´t a fair assessment of Russel Westbrook. He is such an unbelievable competitor that just wants to win each game, not try to inflate his stats.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I didn´t pay too much attention to this years draft, but I think that Lauri Markkanan of Finland will be really good. I really like his game.
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?
That backcourt of Harden and Paul is tough. It will be interesting to see how they will mesh together. The Golden State Warriors are too tough for the Rockets and have that battle won.
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?
I think in the long term that Boston has the better of the deal. Irving and Hayward will stay there for a while while with the Cavs your not 100% sure if Lebron will stay. But at face value, the Cavs got the better of the deal.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The TV series Power.
Thanks Tyler for the chat.