Gabe York is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Orange, California playing his second professional season and first with medi Bayreuth. Last season as a rookie he played for Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A) playing 6 games averaging 4.3ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.5apg, left in Nov.’16, later that month moved to Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) playing 44 games avergaging15.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 83.7%. He played at Arizona from 2012-2016 playing a total of 124 games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 15.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 42.1%, FT: 75.6%. With Arizona he won the Pac 10 tournament in 2015 and reached the NCAA Elite 8 twice and NCAA Sweet 16 once. He spoke to German Hoops before the 2018 easyCredit BBL cup semi-final game against Alba Berlin in Ulm.
Gabe thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the great season. Fourth place in the BBL, playoffs in the Basketball Champions League and top 4 cup appearance. How good is basketball life right now?
It´s been really good. After coming off a bad experience in Italy last season and playing in the NBA Summer League where I had a chance at the NBA, I had to take a step back this season, but the season has been great and I want to finish strong and do some damage in the playoffs.
Bayreuth is 150 kilometers away from Wurzburg. Who visited who more until his release you or Ryan Anderson who was your teammate at Arizona?
He was released 3 or 4 months ago. We had planned to hang out, but we never did because of our schedules
How excited is the club for the cup weekend in Ulm? You have to beat Alba Berlin to get to the final. You beat Alba Berlin already once this season. Is this team feeling title in their veins?
We never want to look past our opponent which is Alba Berlin. If we stick to our game plan, then we feel that we can beat anyone in the league. Alba Berlin is a really fast paced team and we will have to be ready for them. We will have to be ready for any punches they throw and be ready throw them back.
Head coach Raoul Korner is a guy that has a good touch for finding the exact right players to help bolster a team chemistry. He has been a big reason why the club is so successful. How do you feel has each player profited best from him?
Coach Korner does a great job knowing the abilities of each player. He also knows when to put the right players on the court where the others will feed best off of them. Also important is that we have 10 very good players on the roster and not only five or six very good players. We always have good players coming in and there is never any drop off. We have a full roster that can play at a high level at anytime during a game.
A big reason for the success is the solid team chemistry. The club held many vital parts and added the right new players. Is the best team chemistry that you have encountered as a basketball player or did you experience something like this at Arizona?
This was the first time I have come to a team where there was a great team chemistry right away and not like in college where it gets developed over three to four years. The team had seven returning players and only three new players with Robinson, Cox and myself. The seven players did a good job helping us get accustomed to the lifestyle and how to play right. I would say it is about even in terms of best team chemistry I have ever had. In Bayreuth it was already here and with Arizona it took two to three years.
Medi Bayreuth lost two vital players with trey Lewis and Kyan Anderson. You are taking the spot of Lewis. He belonged to the top shooting guards last year. Did you feel some pressure having to fill his shoes?
I have felt no pressure. Coach Korner saw something in my game where he knew I could fill his shoes. I came in to this situation knowing I could fill his shoes if I played my game and be able to be a real asset. I have been known as being a scorer and shooter, but I feel that this season I have shown I can do that as well as get in the lane and get to the free throw line.
Bayreuth has many key players, but how valuable is Nate Linhart? He is the glue guy. Is he one of those guys where one can learn something new each day?
Nate is a really really good player. He has been in the league something like 10 years and played for great teams. He is one of those guys that doesn´t always need to score, but is just happy when his team wins. He is our glue guy and always does what the team needs to win. Anyone of the 10 guys on the roster can go off for 20 points on any night and we just feed off whoever is having a big scoring night.
Let´s talk about your game. Your shooting really stands out, but what other strengths do you possess in your game that really describes what kind of a player you are?
Not a lot else really. We have a lot of good playmakers that do the majority of the ball handling and passing. I obviously focus on scoring, but I feel that I can help the team with my passing game. I have shown getting 5 assists plus while scoring 20 plus points. Even when defenses are focusing on me, I try to be selfless and make that extra pass.
If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who do you feel do you pattern your game most after?
For me it´s tough to compare myself to one player, but people have said I play like Steph Curry. But I feel that comparison is a little too much out of reach. He is a great great shooter that also knows how to create his own shot and get off screens so well. I do feel that I´m more athletic than him. He has been the biggest comparison that I have gotten since playing at Arizona.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet at ease, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the floor?
A hidden strength is being able to be that floor general from the two spot. I feel also I´m able to find different reads and get my teamamtes open.
You started your professional career with Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A) playing 6 games averaging 4.3ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.5apg, The club was stocked with a lot of talent including guard Tru Holloway. What did you learn from your first station in Italy that will help you the second and third time around? Etc
I learned that I shouldn´t go on a team that I know nothing about. It was a bad fit and overall bad experience for me. There was no role for me. I came to Italy having played 35 minutes in college to playing only 8-10 minutes in Italy. When I got there, everything was already set in stone with who would be getting the minutes. Holloway and Omar Thomas did a great job keeping my head on straight and telling me there would be other opportunites that I would have to take advantage of.
You finished your rookie season with Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) playing 44 games averaging 15.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 83.7%. What kind of experience was the D-League for you and what do you feel is still missing from your game to make that next step to the NBA?
It was a good opportunity. I feel I have done all I need to do to get to the NBA with playing in the G-league, NBA Summer League and overseas. I have played well at a high level everywhere. It is just a matter of timing and I have to wait for my chance.
Last summer you played NBA Summer League with the Los Angeles Lakers.There were many great talented players on board like Travis Wear, Brandon Ingram or Kyle Kuzma but none more than Lonzo Ball. What was the most entertaining experience you had with the team and all the hoopla around Ball?
It was a cool experience. I had known all of them from college. Basketball is a small world and there was nothing crazy about seeing them all. It was just a matter of going on the floor and playing basketball. I was hurt and didn´t really play. It was cool watching them play and seeing how they were able to develop chemistry in a short time.
You saw his triple double as well as other great games and he really can play. Do you feel he can become the next top superstar like a Lebron or Kobe or a step below to a top player in the NBA?
Ball is a selfless player. He knows how to get guys involved and that is what a point guard is supposed to do. It is still a little early to really predict what he will accomplish after 20 something games. But he was the #2 pick and I feel that he has the ability to whatever he wants. He has the platform and all believe in him in L.A. It will all depend how hard he works and how he continues to develop.
How was the NBA Summer League experience the second time around? Did you get some positive feedback from NBA teams. What do you feel is missing from your game for that NBA chance?
I was hurt. I played only in two games. They didn´t see enough of me. But it was important that they called me back wanting to see me again. I thought I was able to show the right things in the time I played, but being hurt was a minor set back. God has a plan for me, but it just wasn´t my time to be in the NBA yet.
You played 4 years at top basketball school Arizona(NCAA). You reached the NCAA Elite 8 twice in 2014 and 2015. Which run was most memorable?
Both runs were equally as special. In my sophomore season we went 21-0 and were #1 for 9 weeks. It was the best run in our history. In my junior year, I had a bigger role and was more of a factor in the success of the team. Both seasons we lost something like six or seven games only. Both seasons were great even if we didn´t reach the final.
You played with many great and future NBA players, but how valuable was having Stanley Johnson as a teammate in your junior season? Do you feel as if your game grew with his play day in and day out in practice?
He is a special talent. He always worked hard and knew what he needed to be successful. He treated each day as if it was his last. It was cool to witness his development and see he was ready and willing to play as hard as possible and leave Arizona as a great player. I feel that he has made another step in the NBA this season.
How did head coach Sean Miller groom and prepare you best for a professional career at Arizona(NCAA)?
I was a test subject. I had to overcome many obstacles at Arizona and he helped me overcome some. I learned that not everything is like green grass and beautiful, but that I need to get better and find my niche as nothing was handed to me The whole experience helped me to grow up faster and help me find a clear path and be successful as a professional now.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Kadeem Allen?
Kadeem was really a great defender. We never really played one on one, but in the few drills that we always ran, it would go back and forth.
Who was the toughest player you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Sam Dekkar was the toughest guard I played. The hardest competitor we faced at Arizona was Frank Kaminsky. No one could guard him. He was the main reason why Wisconsin reached the NCAA Final 4.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Shaq
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?
It´s a hard debate with what Lebron is still doing, but I still think Jordan is the best. He was a dominant figure in his time. It is hard to go against him with his perfect 6-0 finals record.
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 it is a fair assessment of him considering how hard he plays. He plays so hard night in and night out. That is unseen in the NBA. There is a lot of hate. You take the good with the bad when talking about him.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
Kyle Kuzma and Donovan Mitchell.
Who got the better deal the Celtics or the Cavs with the Irving for Thomas deal?
The Boston Celtics did for sure.
What is your take on the Cavs wheeling and dealing recently trading away Thomas, Wade and Rose. Will they have success with the young talent they picked up?
That´s the one million dollar question. It helps the Cavs that they are younger and can run up and down the floor.
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?
It is always tough to play with the Warriors, but Paul makes them 100 times better and more competitive.
Can the Oklahoma Thunder make a run in the playoffs with the big three of Westbrook, George and Anthony?
Yes I think that they can. They have had a rocky season, but with three stars they will find their niche in the playoffs where they will play very hard. The season has been a disappointment with so much hype.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Black Panther. It is one of the best Marvel movies that I have seen. They talked about many real life issues.
Thanks Gabe for the chat.