Jordan Theodore (EA7 Emporio Armani Milano) Last Season I Was The Hunter And Now I´m The Hunted

Jordan Theodore is a 28 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his sixth professional season and first with EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A). Last season he played with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL) playimg 31 games: Score-3(18.4ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-1(7.2apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 81.2%; In the BCL, he played  19 games: Score-4(16.2ppg), 4.1rpg, Assists-1(7.5apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 76.3% In the 2016-2017 season, he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 127 NCAA games and as a playing a total of senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five): 17 games: 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2(6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to German Hoops after the tight 83-78 Euroleague win against Brose Bamberg in Bamberg.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Jordan Theodore after the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup win in Chalon, France

Jordan thanks for talking to German Hoops. We spoke more than a year ago as you were preparing for a Basketball Champions league game in Oldenburg with Banvit. How does it feel to be back in Germany again?

It was great being back in Germany. This was my first time back at Freak City since playing with Frankfurt here. I loved playing for a German team with Frankfurt and love coming back. The Germans always give me a lot of love. I wasn´t 100% since I´m coming off an injury and played only 7 minutes. I was just happy to be back on the court.

Easter time is here. What were your fondest memories of Easter as a kid?

My fondest Easter memory as a kid was the candy and the Easter egg hunts. I got really rotten teeth and paying for it now. I did have 2 teeth pulled recently, but all is good. I still have nice white teeth and a nice smile.

Two seasons ago with the Fraport Skyliners you split the season series winning an exciting 88-86 game at home, but then losing in Bamberg 71-58 where you had a good game netting 21 points in a losing cause. With what kind of feelings did you come back too Bamberg?

It was good walking back into the Bamberg arena knowing that I had had a good game my last time with Frankfurt. I felt comfortable being back on the court. Bamberg has been up and down this season. The fans weren´t as active as both teams were playing for nothing except pride. It is always great  playing against a great team that has great players. Being out the last 2 months has been tough. I wasn´t traveling with the team the last months and at times it felt like I wasn´t part of the team. But the team has really stayed behind me during my comeback.

You won the first game with Milan 71-62. There has been a lot of disarray with Bamberg as it is going through a lot of change. Head coach Andrea Trinchieri was dismissed. From a neutral stand point do you feel that this was the wrong decision?

I really can´t comment on the Trinchieri situation.  For me he is one of the best coaches in Europe. He did a great job bringing so many titles to Bamberg. Sometimes teams have down years and that was what has happened this season with Bamberg.

You played with losing team Bourg in France and know what it´s like. They have so much talent, but how difficult can it truly be developing team chemistry?

It can be tough. Talent can win you games, but also lose you games. Sometimes when a team has a lot of talent, you get guys that think that they can do more than others guys and that isn´t best for the team. I have been on good teams and struggled, but that is part of the process. Bamberg has had a new team and lost a lot of important pieces. They also had a lot of injuries which can make or break a season. Bamberg was affected more by injuries and they couldn´t get over it.

 

Both teams are playing for the honor of winning and finishing with the best possible Euroleague record. What was key for the 83-78 victory?

Defense got us the win tonight. We played against a strong Bamberg team tonight. They weren´t scoring as much from outside, but banging inside more and getting easy baskets from Ricky Hickman and Daniel Hackett. We got crucial stops and scores down the stretch. We had guys who were ready for the call and produced.

You were out for some weeks and are coming back slowly. You scored 2 points in 7 minutes in the win. How do you feel and are you becoming the old Jordan Theodore?

I felt good. I was just happy to be back on the court. I´m getting back to my old self. It has been tough getting back into that rhythm as I haven´t practiced with the team so much recently because they were on the road so much. My main focus now is getting stronger, better and helping my team win games.

You’re playing your first season with EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A). What was the most difficult adjustment coming from the Turkish league to the Italian league?

The biggest adjustment has been just getting adjusted to how teams play you possession by possession. In Turkey I played against 5 Euroleague teams while in Italy we are the only Euroleague team. There are many good Eurocup and BCL teams in both countries. The biggest change from last season to this season is that I went from being the hunter to being hunted. Last season I played at a high level, had a big role and took teams down. This season I don´t have to prove myself anymore, but keep what is mine. I had my struggles early in the Euroleague which is a tough league. I have a totally different outlook on the Euroleague and have a lot of respect for it.

They play a totally different style in the Italian Serie A. How would you compare it to past leagues like France, Germany and Turkey in terms of skill and player talent?

France is up and down, Italy and Germany have that mix of fast and set play while in Turkey having a fast break is rare as teams foul you right away.

After not winning a Serie A championship for decades it has won two of the last four times. Have you felt that pressure having to win something you didn´t necessarily feel the last two seasons in Germany and Turkey where you came in and helped them winning titles something that wasn´t necessarily expected at the start?

I don´t feel any pressure this season. I grew up playing basketball and it´s my love. I want to make the right plays, but you will always make mistakes. Key is how you respond to after making a mistake. Everyone knows that we have the highest budget and great players. At the end of the day basketball is basketball and we have to always bring our A game. We know that we aren´t invincible and approach each opponent with respect.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Jordan Theodore after he helped Banvit defeat his ex team Fraport Skyliners 86-70 steering home 25 points in the Basketball Champions League

What does it mean playing for EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) and living in Milan. Talk a little about the professionalism and culture of the city Milan. What have been some interesting experiences that you have witnessed with the club and in the city that you never had before?

I can´t say enough good things about the organization and city. Off the court, I have loved life here. I love fashion and Milan is the fashion capital of the world. The basketball has been up and down especially in the Euroleague which I didn´t expect and in the Serie A we are 1-2. Milan has great people and great restaurants. There are so many different fashion events and always the chance to see many celebrities. I don´t feel like a celebrity. Sometimes people want pictures, but that is normal. The biggest change for me this season playing in Milan has been the access. I can go anywhere I want and all is taken care for me. I can get in anywhere I want where normal people wouldn´t.

Let´s talk a bit about the roster. How vital has Andrew Goudeluck been for the team and your play? How has he made your game easier this season?

He is a hell of a scorer. He can break down any defender and score at will. He brings a lot to the table. He helps me in that I give him the ball and get out of the way. I always know that when he has the ball good things will happen.

The club brought in experienced American Curtis Jerrelis. Your ex head coach Gordon Herbert stated to me when it occurred that that wasn´t a slap in your face, but a move by the club to add versatility to the guard rotation as having more than one point guard on the floor at the same time is beneficial in todays game. How have you complemented each other best on the court?

Playing with Curtis has been great. He isn´t ball dominated. He doesn´t always need the ball, but can do so many other things for the team. When I read that he had left Jerusalem, I knew he was coming here. I played against him when I was a rookie in Turkey and he won a title with coach last season. It was a good pick up, because we needed an extra guard. For me it wasn´t a bad thing. It wasn´t like, I was protecting my spot, but I welcomed him. You know that I´m a team player and if it helps the team, I´m all for it. Having him here worked out for the best when I got hurt.

Could the signing of ex New York Knick Mindaugas Kuzminskas be the difference between a title and not? Did it surprise you that a guy like that didn´t stick in the NBA somehow?

Basketball is a business. You can be the most talented guy, but when a team doesn´t need you then your gone. He is a very hard worker and so versatile. I´m happy that he is here.

You lost to Real Madrid in Euroleague this season 100-90. What kind of experience was it playing in the WiZink center. Did you feel like your were on top of the basketball world for a day playing against one of the world´s most famous sport´s organizations?

I wasn´t on top of the world. It wasn´t my best game. This season anytime I stepped into a Euroleague arena, it was my first time and a great feeling. I missed a lot of games due to my injury. I didn´t play at Kaunus where there were 15,000 excited fans. I love playing on the road and had many of my best games there. I get high on silencing the crowd. When my back is too the wall, it´s do or die. My first time in Madrid was tough as we lost, but overall it was a great experience playing there.

Young sensation Luka Doncic had 27 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Is he the real deal? Should he not alone from sheer talent and experience be the NBA´s #1 Draft pick? Teams will probably take an American though.

That kid is really good. He has a lot of experience at the Euroleague level. He has more experience than I do. No kid has dominated the way he has in Europe. I think that it is hard to take a college kid over a guy like Doncic who has experience playing against men. His potential is through the roof. He has no real flaws. His play in the Euroleague playoffs will determine if he is a #1 NBA pick or a #5 pick.

Let´s talk about your game. Last season you had a great season with Banvit in the Turkish and BCL leagues averaging  Score-3(18.4ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-1(7.2apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 81.2%; BCL: 19 games: Score-4(16.2ppg), 4.1rpg, Assists-1(7.5apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 76.3%. How difficult has it been still being a very key figure for Milan, but your stats being down?

I´m not looking at my stats so much. I have always scored 12,0 plus points, 50% from two and 30% from three in my professional career. My numbers have been consistent, but it´s all about the wins and losses. This season has been tough with all the Euroleague losses, because I want to win so bad. I have wanted to show so much at the Euroleague level, but this level is about team and not self. We had some tough losses being up 20 at CSKA and up 15 against Real Madrid and losing. We led so many times this season for 35 minutes and then made big time mistakes against teams that had great chemistry. We can´t dwell on mistakes, but I feel with time we will become better in these type of situations once we have more experience.

Your averaging 28 minutes per game and averaging 11,3ppf, 3,1rpg and 3,2apg in the Serie A and in the Euroleague averaging 27 minutes 12,6ppg, 2,0rpg and 4,3apg. How happy have you been with your game?

I always feel that I can play better. This is the first time in my career where I have had so many weapons to my disposal. Before I used to always make all the plays, but now I don´t need to always have the ball in my hands. It´s not about me putting up big numbers, but what my team needs me to do to help them be successful. This season key is about accepting the role and buying into what the team needs.

Last season you stated that you belonged to the best point guards in Europe. What is your summary as of now after playing almost a season in the Euroleague? Which point guards have impressed you the most?

There are many really good players, but none that have been mind boggling.

You stated last season that every season has been a stepping stone and the NBA isn´t far away. A guy like Shane Larkin after playing in the Euroleague last season made it to the Boston Celtics. His stats with Baskona last season weren´t that much better than yours. Do you feel like you could be on the radar of NBA teams now?

I feel that my stats haven´t been bad for my rookie Euroleague season. The difference between a Shane Larkin and me is that he went to the playoffs last season with Baskonia and we didn´t this season. If we were winning and I had these stats, I would be talked about being one of the best point guards. But were losing and I´m not talked about. I don´t care about my stats. If the NBA comes calling great. But my main focus now is Milan. My main goal is getting healthy and bringing Milan a Serie A title.

Last season you did a great job being the leader on a team Banvit with little American imports and always supplying consistent stats. How has your game developed further this season as your playing on a team with many more offensive weapons than last season?

This season has shown me that there is more to the game that I had ever thought about. I came into this season with high expectations. Last season I averaged 38 minutes with Banvit, had little time off and played for the Macedonian national team and then came to Milan. This was tough on the body. I learned to continue to work hard and not take off days. I also learned not to take the game for granted. I was out 2 months and really missed the game. During my injury, I didn´t walk for 3 weeks. That really can take your mind to different places. I had never been hurt for so long. It was a frustrating time, but the whole club stuck with me. The club didn´t rush me back. I stayed focused and knew that the game could be taken away from you at any time.

You were a very dominant player last season. What kind of player is Jordan Theodore in March 2018?

I´m a player that is still getting better on and off the court.

You beat Baskonia 92-85 in the Euroleague this season as you scored 12 points and your ex teammate Johannes Voigtmann supplied 6 points. How has he developed since Frankfurt now in his second season in the Euroleague? Seriously shouldn´t a versatile guy like that have  a bigger role for Baskonia?

Every Euroleague team is loaded. Teams sign guys for certain roles. Joe is super talented and can do it all on the court. He was signed for a certain role. If he can give the team more than great. He is one of the most efficient three point shooters in the Euroleague. He is doing his job for Baskonia and they are benefiting from his role.

How refreshing and strange is it seeing a NCAA Final 4 without a Kentucky, North Carolina or Duke?

It isn´t strange. Anything can happen at March Madness.

Recently Lebron James made some pretty passes for assists in a win against the Los Angeles Lakers. Where do you rate his passing overall in his game? If he played only point guard for one season what kind of stats would he have?

We have never seen anything like him as a passer except for Magic Johnson. I was too young when he played and only saw his videos. He is the greatest passer that I have ever seen.

What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?

Yes it was Black Panther.

Thanks Jordan for the chat.

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