Julian Gamble is a 28 year old 207cm power forward/center from Durham, North Carolina that is playing 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 before the game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Julian thanks for talking to German Hoops How did you enjoy the holiday season a second time in Germany and how special is it celebrating the new year in Bonn?
My holiday season was great. It is always good spending that time with family and my team. It gives us a chance to not think about the games as much and enjoy time with each other and the fruits of our labor
Are you the kind of guy that believes in new years resolutions or do you tend to shy away from that?
I believe in New Year resolutions to a degree. I think we should always try to improve ourselves and set goals to achieve, but a New year resolution is a way to focus on a bigger goal for the calendar year.
Congrats on the big win against the Giessen 46ers. How important was it closing out 2017 with that win?
Closing out the year with a win is always good! Especially when you have a little break between games, it’s always good for the mood of practice for the next week to be coming off of a victory.
Was the game against Giessen another indication just how strong the BBL has become. Giessen came into the Bonn game with a three game winning streak with only three imports and Germans?
The BBL is definitely a good league where teams from the top to the bottom can beat each other. Giessen is a good example of a team that continues to fight and play for each other despite their injury issues and I’m sure they are excited about the potential of their team once their guys return.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn have won three of their last four games and playing solid basketball in the BBL. What have been the main reasons that the team is playing better since the blow out loss in Munich?
Our focus is to improve game to game and through our work in practice. We are just developing more of an identity that is showing every game. Now we just have to continue to improve and be consistent to continue to win games.
It seems like with all the injuries like Bonn still has a lot of potential in this season. It could be scoring more, giving up less and rebounding better. On what parts of the Bonn game is truly still a lot to be done?
I think for sure our team is moving in the right direction. We have showed in games this season scoring at a high rate, playing great defense, and rebounding well so I would say our main goal is to be as consistent as possible in all of those areas. Our team is talented from top to bottom, so for us our potential lies in the details of the game and being able to execute every night.
It seems that sometimes that truly second consistent scorer is missing behind you. Do you feel that a Josh Mayo or Malcolm Hill can get into this role?
Scoring wise our team is much deeper than people think. We have a number of guys outside of the two you mentioned that can and have had big scoring nights. Sharing the ball offensively is always a key for us and guys work constantly before, during, and after practice to be ready to attack offensively. We don´t go into a game focusing on just one guy to score, but playing a team game and guys being ready to make the right play.
The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners that are almost unbeatable at home, but suspect on the road. Last season the Telekom Baskets Bonn swept the Fraport Skyliners. This game is vital for reaching the cup qualifying. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to getting the win?
Frankfurt has played extremely well this season so far. They are very tough defensively and offensively have some big time scoring threats. It is going to be a hard fought game for sure and a big challenge to win at their place, but knowing the underlying importance of this game will serve as extra motivation to be ready to play. The key will be to make smart decisions offensively and move the ball well. Defensively we have to try to keep them out of transition and make them finish at the rim over our defense. Rebounding on both ends, I think will also play a factor in the outcome of the game.
You play against many centers, but what memories do you have of Mike Morrison. He is a guy that gives Frankfurt lots of energy and is one of those guys that excels at hitting at a very high percentage from close range. What is most challenging about defending a guy like him?
Playing against Mike is always fun and a good challenge. He is athletic and physical on both ends, so I have to try to exceed that on both ends to create an advantage of our team. Have to control his rebounding and try to prevent easy baskets to make it difficult for him.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn started 1-5 in the Basketball Champions League where generating good shots, not getting enough second chances and getting consistent stops was a problem. Since that you have won two of three games and could have been perfect had you beat Ostende where you lost by two points. What adjustments has the team made in finally getting some more wins?
In the beginning, we struggled offensively in the BCL and it greatly affected our defense as we were giving up a lot of easy baskets. There were some close games where we get a little unlucky, but the BCL is not a competition where the teams are going to give you many gifts. There weren´t any major adjustments made, we just had to start playing the way we are capable of playing and I think we have done that lately. Moving forward as we continue to play the way we want it isn´t going to be easy, but we have given ourselves a chance to advance in some way.
You have five games left in the Basketball Champions League. How confident are you that the team will show it´s true colors when it counts most?
I am always confident in my team, teammates, and myself to fight when it matters most. We have been through our trials in both the BBL and BCL and now is the time to show what we are capable of.
Talk a little about your new teammates Malcolm Hill and Nemanja Djuristic. How valuable have they been for the success of the team?
Malcolm is as dynamic of a scorer as I have seen. He can create his own shot with ease and make difficult shots on a regular basis. He is capable of being instant offense at any moment and adjusted well in his first season in Europe. Nemanja has been great for us as well. The versatility he brings to our team makes him a threat every night. He is a very good rebounder, good passer, and very physical on the block playing the 4. Both of these guys have been vital to our teams success in every aspect of the game. We rely on them every night to be themselves and play their game, the same as we do for everyone else
Recently Croatian veteran Tomislav Zubcic joined the team and needed no adjustment period. How has it been playing with him in the front court. How much does his versatility and being able to spread the floor help your game?
Tom has been a great addition to our team. The way he helps spread the floor benefits everyone on our team because of how much of a threat he is from outside. Having his size has also helped a lot in him even being able to play minutes at the 5 when we need it, which brings another look to our team
German Konstantin Klein missed most of last season and is struggling to come back. What strides have you seen in his game lately that will gradually get him back to where he should be?
Konsti is working hard daily to get to where he wants to be on the court. I think the intensity he plays with every night and the way he shoots the ball helps us all a lot. He is getting better and better from game to game and continuing to work, so we all expect him to continue to improve
Let´s talk about your game. You said in our last interview that you don´t look at stats, but winning is the most important. In what area´s are you working on this season to get your game to the next level.
Winning will always be most important and I want to be as efficient as possible when I am on the court. I think increasing my efficiency will automatically take my game to the next level
Stats don´t lie as your scoring and two point field goal percentage is slightly down, but your putting up very strong stats in the Basketball Champions league. What kind of role do you have this season? Do you feel like you are more of a go to guy and that you have to work harder for positioning and getting touches simply because the league is keying in more on you after your strong season last year?
This season I have much more of a leading role this season. I focus a lot less on my personal game and make the right plays according to how I´m being defended. I have definitely faced a lot more double teaming this season in both BBL and BCL so that makes the way I screen and roll and how I pass much more important. I definitely have to work harder but that comes with the respect you gain from teams in the way the defend you. If the defense focusing on me helps other guys get open and the offensive flow then I am ok with that. At the end of the day I am going to stay in attack mode, and make the right play when the time comes.
In our last interview before the season you stated this. “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”. Currently your seventh in blocks in the BBL with 1,4bpg. How are you working on your defensive game so that you can get to the next level in this area as well?
I think I have caused problems for teams defensively in games. I still think I protect the rim for my team and change a lot of shots that result in stops, so despite that not being a block its good for our team. I am going to continue to be aggressive defensively and the blocks come.
Your free throw shooting has been down this season under 50%. You are usually somewhere between 60% and 70% in your professional career. I am assuming this is a continued work in progress?
My ft shooting has been down across the board this year. I am continuing to work on it but it’s been difficult because of a small injury that effects my ability to shoot consistently. Despite that, i am working through it and it will improve.
What is your opinion on Lavar Ball creating a new league for young players that get paid. Do you feel like this will be a positive thing for the basketball world?
I think what Lavar Ball is trying to do can be a good thing. My only concern is high school kids that aren´t serious prospects to be a one and done making the decision to play in the league and ruining their chance to get a scholarship and free education. Time will tell how the whole league will work out, but what Lavar Ball is doing overall in breaking the mold is a good thing. The way he is fearless in competing with the major corporations is going to open a lot of doors for many people in the years to come
Where do you see the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder going with the three super stars? Will they get it together and make a run in the playoffs?
I think the Thunder will make noise in the playoffs. You can never count out a team with three superstars of their caliber. I think they will show up when the most important time of the season comes.
Which NBA rookie has been the biggest surprise for you so far this season?
Biggest rookie surprise to me has been Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz. He has quickly turned into one of the go to guys on his team. His explosiveness and scoring ability has been on full display, even against some of the best players in the league. To me he seems to be the front runner for rookie of the year right now
Are you surprised that the Atlanta Hawks are currently the worst team in the NBA? Can they get out of their hole or is their season over?
I honestly didn´t know how good they would be but I didnt think it would be very good after losing Paul Milsap. There is a lot of time left in the season, so there is still a chance, but it seems that making the playoffs is a longshot.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Despicable Me 3, its my sons favorite movie right now so my son, wife, and I watch it every day.
Thanks Julian for the chat.