Justin Blanks is a 193cm guard from Barberton Ohio that will be starting his professional basketball career with BSG Grevenbroich (Germany-Regionalliga). He played at three schools starting with SW Illinois JC (JUCO) and he then moved to Kennedy-King CC (JUCO) playing 29 games averaging 9.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 36.3%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 74.3%. In 2016 he made the jump to McKendree (NCAA2) playing 22 games averaging 15.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 79.3%. In his senior year at McKendree (NCAA2) he played 28 games averaging 20.4ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 72.0%. He spoke to Germanhoops.com about basketball.
Justin thanks for talking togermanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you been enjoying your summer vacation?
I’m in my home town, Akron, Ohio. I have been working out hard and spending time with family.
Congrats on signing with German Regionalliga team BSG Grevenbroich. How blessed are you to be able to call your yourself a professional basketball player and did you ever think this would be possible when you were in the gym grinding day in and day out at SW Illinois JC (JUCO)?
I am very blessed to call myself a professional. And yes, I have always been confident in my game and how it progresses.
How did you experience your first summer transaction process? You signed very early. Were you being more safe than trying to experiment too much and keep waiting as the summer wore down looking for even better offers?
I think this is the best fit for me all around and I will have a good chance to move up.
You had a rollercoaster college career, but finished strong with McKendree (NCAA2). When you look back at your ride and how you finished do you feel like starting in the German fourth league is justified concerning your merits and talent or do you feel like you could have handled playing in a higher league?
I can produce in any league but I feel like Grevenbroich is a good place to play my rookie year. Majority players starting out will start in lower leagues and gradually move up.
You come from Ohio. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? What are the first things that pop into your mind when you think about these terms?
I know a little bit about the country as far as the organization of it and basketball wise I have known many players that have had good careers in Germany and enjoyed it.
You must of heard of the cinderrella story season of rookie Jeril Taylor who started in the Pro B and then became a BBL role player. He is also under contract to free agency where you are. Does his story help motivate you to work even harder this summer so you will come to Germany ready to explode and turn heads the way he did?
I’m glad he is having success quick in his professional career and I am looking to do the same.
What sold you on coming to to play for BSG Grevenbroich.They have had some known players in the past and last season had Gerrell Martin of LIU Brooklyn (NCAA) who was a big factor of the team being a season runner up. How much of a role did it play that they have belonged to the top teams in their division the last years?
I really liked how the coach wanted me to come play for him and how he has the same type of goal as I do. Of course, them being a top team in the league in recent years made a major impact.
You had a great senior year at McKendree (NCAA2) averaging 20.4ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 72.0%. How confident are you that you will be an impact player right away at this level?
I am a very confident player and I will make an impact at any level.
Now that you will be playing in Germany, you must have heard of the name of Eric Palm at one point or another at Mckendree who led the school to two NCAA 2 Sweet 16 runs and one Elite 8 run. How much of a role model is a guy like that who had success at your school and made it to the top league in Germany the BBL?
I am glad he has had a successful professional career so far and it’s good to see that he is making an impact on McKendree University
Before we talk about your college career let´s talk about your game. You’re a big 193cm guard that can flat out score the ball, but also knows how to be a playmaker. To what NBA player would you best describe your game too?
I would best describe my game to LA Clippers guard Austin Rivers.
Your also a lethal scorer and averaged 41% from outside in your last two years at McKendree (NCAA2). Where do you see your development as a three point shooter and how do you want to continue build on that strength besides just getting up many shots?
I would say staying a consistent shooter is a big thing and not only working on that but also working on all other aspects of the game.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what o you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
Court awareness, knowing where all teammates/opponents are at all times.
You started your college career at SW Illinois JC (JUCO). What kind of experience was this for you? Did you get anything positive out of it?
I think any experience can be positive about certain things. My experience was a learning process pertaining no matter what happens you just have to keep working.
You then played a season at Kennedy-King CC (JUCO) playing 29 games averaging 9.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 36.3%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 74.3%. How important was this second season of junior college for you to get ready for the NCAA 2?
My second season of Juco I learned a lot especially when it comes to recovering from injuries and playing in different environments. Also, it was important because it helped me mature on and off the court.
You finally made it to McKendree (NCAA2) in 2016 and had two strong seasons there. How do you feel did your game grow on the court there?
I feel like my game has grown a lot over the past couple years in all aspects of the game.
You had many great games at Mckendree, but was your 31 point game where you went 6/8 from outside in the 88-84 win against Missouri-St Louis one of your most memorable games there?
I think my most memorable game was when we upset number 2 in conference and top 25 ranked at Dury University.
How did legendary head coach Harry Statham who won 1,122 games at the college level, the most ever help groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He passed on to me a lot of knowledge and history of the game.
How much of a pleasure was it playing with German guard Gianni Otto? He accompanied you on your ride and also was with you at SE Illinois JC (JUCO. How did you see him grow as a person and how did his game progress in the States?
Gianni went to SouthEastern Illinois Juco and I went to SouthWestern Illinois Juco, which are two different schools. I only knew Gianni at McKendree
Who won a one on one in practice you or Mr 51 point man Nate Michael
Haha I am not in the same conversation as Nate. Stats speak for itself.
Who has ben the toughest player that you have ever battled at any level in any place that is in the NBA now?
I played against Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Looney in AAU basketball, who was a good player that made it to the NBA.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Lebron, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson
You obviously grew up in the Lebron era, but what is your personal opinion about the neve rending debate of the who´s the best of all-time Jordan or James?
It is kind of hard to say who the best of all time is between the two because they are in different eras. I think MJ was the best in his Era and Lebron is the best in the Era now.
A poll of NBA coaches voted for coach of the year and Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens got no vote. How can that happen considering how he has developed the team in the last few years. Is there jealously among the coaches?
It’s kind of hard to say what happened between the coaches and why or why not they didn’t pick him.
Will the Boston Celtics be able to win the NBA championship next year with Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving and their nice supporting cast?
Again, it’s kind of hard to say if they win or not because there is a lot of factors that play into things.
The last NBA draft class had some great kids. Where do you see the career of Jayson Tatum going? Does he have the tools to become a superstar?
I think he has the tools to become a superstar but you never know what might happen.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I watch a lot of movies, any good American movie you can think of I’ve probably watched.
Thanks Justin for the chat.