James Robinson is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Mitchellville, Maryland that is playing his second professional season and first with medi Bayreuth (Germany-BBL) averaging 8,6ppg, 2,2rpg and 3,8apg. Last season as a rookie he played with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) helping them win the cup playing 16 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT-2(48.8%), FT: 75.8%; He also played in the Adriatic League playing 24 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 86.3%. Before turning professional he played at Pittsburgh (NCAA) form 2012-2016 playing a total of 137 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 10.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 5.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Basketball Champions League game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.
James congrats on a fine season with medi Bayreuth. We are coming up to the stretch run of the season. Medi Bayreuth is in the Basketball Champions League quarterfinals and in fourth place in the EasyCredit BBL standings. How good is basketball life for you at the moment?
I’m loving playing basketball here in Bayreuth. The fan support has been great and our team is continuing to get better and better each day as we approach the end of the regular season.
A big basketball battle starts in the Basketball Champions League tonight with medi Bayreuth against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. How excited are you for this and how confident are you that you can advance past this very tough team?
I’m really excited to be competing with my teammates as one of the 8 teams remaining in the BCL. I think it shows how strong the basketball is in the BBL to have two of its teams represented this late in such a big time international event. The games will be hard fought and filled with a lot of excitement, but if we play how well we know we can, we will advance.
Medi Bayreuth has to have a lot of revenge after the embarrassing 78-47 loss. What memories do you have from that nasty loss?
It was a bad game from us on that night, we have learned from it and gotten better since.
Ludwigsburg played one of their best defensive efforts of the game. What makes it most difficult to play against the John Patrick press defense?
They use an active and aggressive press the entire game, but if we take care of the ball and make simple plays we feel like we can break down the press and put ourselves into easy scoring positions.
A big similarity I see with medi Bayreuth and Ludwigsburg is that both have great team chemistry. The only difference is that Ludwigsburg is a lot deeper. What will be key to getting off to a good start and getting the win to be in good position for the return game in Bayreuth?
I respectfully disagree with you, I think we are deeper than them.
The two most obvious reasons for the success has been the team chemistry and head coach Raoul Korner. What other reasons have you noticed this season that has helped with the success of the team?
Coach Korner and the rest of the staff have put us in position to be successful all year, as players we have went out and executed game plans and played hard for each other so just that mentality of being together has helped us out tremendously.
Your teammate Gabe York said this to me in an interview at the Cup weekend. “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”. How has this fact continued to improve as the season has progressed and can all 10 players heighten their games now when it gets important with two potential titles on the horizon?
I agree with Gabe in that we are 10 players strong and any game it could be somebody different that carries us offensively, locks in and shuts down the opponents best player, or just guys we trust to be in the game at any situation.
Gabe York stated this about coach Korner in my interview. “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. How vital is the overall scouting of coach Korner. What do you believe is his biggest strength with the scouting area?
All of our coaches deserve credit when it comes to scouting and forming a game plan. They do a good job of having a plan going into the game but also adjusting and coming up with a new one mid game or during timeouts.
Medi Bayreuth has many talented players, but how key has Gabe York been for the team this season. What have you appreciated most about his game and how has your game progressed with him on the court?
Gabe has led us in scoring throughout this season so having a guy like him who is capable of getting hot at any point in the game is very beneficial to any team. He draws a lot of attention from defenses so as a result opens up other opportunities for other players on the court.
Before the season not many experts except for maybe Raoul Korner would have had the audacity to say how good a duo Assem Marei and Andreas Seiferth would be this season, but the German Seiferth is like reborn. Together they make 22 points and 11 rebounds per game. How have you seen the further development of Seiferth and how key has the existence of Marei been for the German?
Assem and Andreas complement each other very well. They battle each other each day in practice and as a result both produce at high levels during the game.
Nate LInhart for me has been the best pick up medi Bayreuth has had since they arrived back in the BBL in 2010. Everyone seems to have a special basketball story about him simply because he can do so much on the court and often produces amazing plays. What has been your best experience with him on the court where you saw his play in full bloom?
Nate is definitely one of the most versatile players on our team. He can shoot it, handle the ball, make spectacular passes that some would never even try to make. As his teammate, I see his basketball savvy on a daily basis so it’s hard to say which play in particular was his best. As offensively gifted as he is, I would look at some of his plays on the defense where he would come up with a blocked shot late in a close game as some of his best plays this season.
How enjoyable has it been sharing the backcourt with German national player Bastian Doreth? He is the ultimate team player and always leaves it all on the floor. How has your defense been sparked by being teammates with Doreth?
It has been a great experience for me playing with Bastian. He is a true professional and great captain of our team. As a second year player, I have been able to learn a lot from him about small aspects of the game.
You saw many great shooters in school and now your teammates with veteran Steve Wachalski who has had that special basketball Cinderella story having played in low leagues and not reaching the BBL until he was 27. What have you appreciated you most about him? His work ethic or producing big shots so often?
Steve has an amazing story and incredible amount of humility that all players should try to have. It’s great having him out there on the court because he is a threat to shoot it from anywhere. He has come up big for us when we needed a spark a number of times this year.
Let´s talk about your game. In our first interview last summer you stressed this about your goals this season with medi Bayreuth. “My main goal this off season was to continue to improve my game in every way possible while looking for an opportunity to play for a club that would help me to continue to grow as a player and as a person”. How content have you been with your season up to now?
So far this season I am happy with my progress, however, I’m not satisfied by any means and look to finish this season on an even higher note.
Last summer in our first interview you stated this “Since I was young, I have had great teachers and coaches. Starting with my parents, they helped me develop a tough minded and winning mentality. You showed your leadership skills in Bosnia as a rookie helping the team win a title and this season you are playing for a winning team. Despite having a lot of experience with guys like John Cox and Demon Brooks, how do you feel has your leadership rubbed off on your teammates best this season?
Our team is filled with many veteran players who have a lot of experience. Even though I am the youngest on the team, I know my teammates and I have so much respect for one another that we can talk about any situation even if it may mean calling somebody out or arguing.
Your stats are down from last season with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) but your playing 6 minutes less. How difficult has it been getting shots and just playing your game as a point guard this season with so much more talent with medi Bayreuth?
I have never been a player who focuses much on stats so that in itself does not matter much to me. Our team is functioning well, we are winning and have a chance to win big games coming up. I know what I am capable of doing on the basketball court and I will continue to make the best plays that are presented to me.
Your brother Kameron Taylor´s season just ended in the Pro B and he put up MVP numbers. How has your close relationship grown this season? Have you noticed that he is close to reaching the EasyCredit BBL?
Kam is an extremely skilled player and I know how hard he works every time he is on the basketball court for practices and games. None of his success is a surprise to me, but I did enjoy watching him have a fantastic season! Kam can play and produce for any team in the BBL and whichever team is fortunate enough to sign him will be getting a huge asset to their team.
Kameron Taylor has a very good character and obviously is a talented player. How have you benefited from his character over the years?
Kam is an extremely humble player and person who is very down to earth. Recently we have been playing a lot of Fortnite on PS4 so add us.
The 2018 March Madness has been very exciting again. How did you do in your bracket? What have been your highlights from the games and results?
I did not fill out a bracket this year but it has been an exciting tournament starting off with UMBC defeating UVA, my former high school teammate Jairus Lyles put on a show all tournament season! Other than that, I have enjoyed watching the teams compete to their highest abilities and I’m expecting a very competitive final 4
How surprised were you with the Kentucky loss. Was that the tournaments biggest upset or was the Virginia loss or Nevada loss the biggest? What are your Final 4 predictions?
In sports, you have to come ready to play every game. The NCAA tournament is single elimination so on any given night if a team is better, you run the risk of losing.
Recently Lebron James had some beautiful passes for assists in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Where do you rank Lebron with the best passer´s in the NBA and if he played a season only as point guard what would you predict would be his points, rebounds and assists stats? Would they be higher than a Russell Westbrook?
LeBron has been dominating the league especially as of late. He always knows where each of his teammates are and the best ways to create an advantage for his team. At his height and freakish athletic ability the game looks easy and fun to watch.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Black Panther was the last movie I saw and I really enjoyed it!
Thanks James for the chat.