Jordan Theodore is a 29 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his seventh professional season and first with AEK Athens (Greece-A1). Last season he played for EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) playing 20 games averaging 10.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 75.0%; and played 23 Euroleague games averaging 11.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 86.5%. In the 2016-2017 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 2015-2016 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 )playing 17 games averaging 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Eurocup game against Dijon where the American enjoyed a dish of Spaghetti Bolognese and grilled salmon with sauteed spinage in Athens.
Jordan thanks for talking to germanhoops.com What was your holiday highlight and where did you celebrate coming into 2019?
I spent getting into 2019 with my wife and friends in Istanbul. The fire works were nice and spending time with friends
We last spoke before the Euroleague game in Bamberg last season. In that game Milan won 83-78. What memories do you have of that game? You had just returned from a tough injury?
It was tough. I was so happy to be back. I was a bit nervous since it was the first time coming back after an injury. I did suffer some setbacks after the game in the season. It wasn”t the easiest thing, but in general I was just happy to be back on the court.
You played a very good Euroleague season last year. Do you ever wonder how your season would have played out had you not gotten injured?
I do. I try not to cry over spilled milk. It was what it was. I had a tough injury and my focus was just to move forward
You had many great Euroleague games last season, but in some you lost. Was your 20 point game in the win against Valenica or your 19 point effort in the win against FC Barcelona your most memorable games?
Honestly I don’t have any memorable games from last season. We had a tough season losing many games. We lost many close games. I remember the loses more than the wins
When you recap last season how would you say that your game developed further in the Italian Serie A and Euroleague before your injury? Were you content how everything progressed leading up to the injury?
Yes I was. I knew coming in that Euroleague wouldn’t be easy. I knew that nothing would be given to me, but that I had to earn respect. I thought that I was ready to take over, but the team was new and so was the coach. We tried to gel overnight. In the Euroleague a majority of the teams have a core of guys that have been together for three or four years. I felt we made strides last season, but we just couldn’t close out games. We had growing pains as a team.
The last 10 months have been difficult as you couldn’t get out of your contract with Milan. Talk a little why it all came to this? Couldn’t the whole hassle been avoided somehow?
I’m not really sure what happened. I was hurt and my rehabbing took longer than all expected. Milan was playing well then and I didn’t want to be a cancer. I cheered on the team and tried to help as much as I could. Over the summer the club said that my role would change and I would get less money. I was ready for training camp and two days before they told me that I would get paid from home. I was told to stay home as I wasn’t in the coaches plans. I took it as a professional and would get paid while the buy out was being figured out. They stopped paying me. I don’t know why. When that happened, my agent and I waited for the breach of contract. A lot of teams wanted me and I’m happy that everything fit with AEK Athens.
How did this whole period of not knowing your future and just not playing effect you mentally? How did you get through this period? Was there anybody that really stood out in this time that stayed by your side?
My wife was there from the beginning. She understood what I was going through. She understood as did I that it was God’s plan. We knew that we couldn’t do anything about it. I knew that this was business and I understood there was nothing I could do about it and that I had done nothing wrong. I knew that I had had a guaranteed contract and I had fulfilled all my requirements. My wife constantly told me there was nothing I could do about the situation. I focused on myself and continued to work out. I also had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my family something I hadn’t done in the last six years. I celebrated my mother’s and brother’s birthday’s and spent time with my grandmother. These were all things I usually couldn’t do because I play overseas. I was very happy to spend a lot of quality time with my family.
Are you 100% fit. Now at age 29 how do you go about staying fit and never losing your physical edge? Do you feel like you need to do more than say 3-4 years ago?
I’m 29 years old and don’t feel old. I have always taken care of my body. I get therapy and stretch two to three times per day. I just continue to do the little things that the body needs. I feel great at the moment and have the most energy in years. I’m ready to show the world what I can still do.
Did you speak to our old teammate Quantez Robertson during this time? I’m sure he could of given you some much needed brotherly advice?
I went to Frankfurt last October. I hung out with the guys and spent time with Gordon Herbert and Klaus Perwas and trained with Dennis. We have a group chat and I’m in constant contact with John Little, Tez, Mike Morrison, Aaron Doornekamp and Phil Scrubb.
In our last interview you stated that last season I was the hunter and now I’m the hunted. How did you feel now in the last months while you were looking for a new team. Did anything change in this regard concerning your worth to teams?
No I don’t think anything changed for me in this time. Teams continued to call me each day. Nobody forgot me. I got offers from Euroleague and Eurocup games, but I felt that AEK Athens was the best place to play for.
Gordon Herbert would have liked you to have returned. Was there any realistic chance of you having come back to the Fraport Skyliners?
I had many phone conversations with Gordie. We just couldn’t get it done. It had nothing to do with money. It was more timing.
There were rumors of you going to Manresa, but now your suiting up for AEK Athens. What were the main reasons for joining this team? How did they convince you best that they need you most?
I had a one hour talk with coach Luca Banchi that was very nice. Also important for me coming to AEK Athens was having Delroy James also come on board. I have known him since I was young and we come from the same area. The thought of teaming up with him was good. Knowing that coach Luca knew and liked what I brought to the table and knowing the confidence that Delroy and I have in each other helped me make my decision. Money wasn’t an issue, but just knowing that If I came I would be valued and needed.
How excited are you to be playing in Greece? This is another new step in your career. Your playing in a new country. How appealing was it to be battling the two power houses Olympiakos and Panathinaikos?
The fans in Greece are amazing. I have felt their presence since the first time I played there some years ago. We share the same arena as Panathinaikos. In the first game there was an unbelievable intensity and atmosphere. The fans showed me a lot of love. What I like is that AEK Athens is with the top of the pack, but not at the top. This situation with AEK Athens reminds me a lot of my situation two years ago in Turkey with Banvit. We have that underdog mentality with AEK Athens just like we had with Banvit. AEK Athens won the Basketball Champions League last season and have a winning mentality. I add that winning mentality and hard work to the winning culture. I think that if we can work hard every day as a team then we can compete with the two top Euroleague teams.
What is your early impression of AEK Athens on paper. The club has a lot of talent. Do you feel that the team is now deep enough to challenge the Greek Euroleague teams with the pick ups of you and Delroy James?
I think that we both bring great pieces. We have come at the right time and will try to make a run in the cup, BCL and Greek playoffs. I know it won’t be easy. It will come down to us outworking the other teams and wanting it more. As long as we understand that we have to work hard every day then I’m confident that results will come.
How excited are you to be working together with Malcolm Griffin? He has had a long path up the basketball ladder playing in the NCAA 2 and in Morocco only a few years ago. Do you feel like you guys have that special mentality that will carry both your game’s simply because of how you both have continued to move up the basketball ladder not always getting the respect you deserved?
Malcolm is very talented that can shoot and defend. All roles are different on the team. Everybody knows what Malcolm and I have done to have gotten here. I feel that we will excel together. I will push him daily to help him get better as he will do the same for me. I am a competitive guy and my will to win is undeniable and that will be seen every day
How will your role be with AEK. With Milan you didn’t always need the ball in your hands and didn’t worry as much about stats. Do you feel like that will change here despite the deep roster?
My role is to be a scorer that helps set up the offense. I also will create for others and be the defender that I have always been and be that guy that comes through in the clutch. I have shown the last years that I can be the main guy. My role will be game by game. I will take what the defense gives me and pick my spots as best as I can and feed off my teammates. Having depth and weapons is a very good thing.
You won the first game against Kolossos 92-82 scoring 11 points in 21 minutes. How did it feel to be back on the court?
That first game felt great. I did not shoot the ball in the first half. I just wanted to get my feet wet, play defense and get my guys involved. After a while some of my teammates said that I have to let the ball fly. Delroy James told me that In order to get my rhythm back, I needed to be aggressive and start shooting. I got to the free throw line and missed my first one. I got back to the free throw line and made them. I just needed to see the ball go through the hole. Then I had energy and start to hit a few pull up jumpers and lay ups. Then I felt good. Now I’m trying to follow up the game and be more aggressive.
Your 29 years old now. Are you in your prime now. Obviously your focus is on AEK now, but seriously you must be eyeing getting back to the Euroleague. How challenging will the next months be for your game and what kind of Jordan Theodore will we experience on the court?
My only focus is AEK Athens. My only focus is tomorrow. I have individual goals, but they can be only accompllished if the team does well. I have to set the standards each day by working hard. There will be no days off. You need to sacrifice a lot to play at the top level. I will continue to be the guy that I am and be a leader and take care of my body. I know that people have very high expectations. For the last six months nobody had any expectations for me. Now I’m just happy to be back on the court. I’m looking forward to playing basketball each day.
How proud are you of your ex teammate Danilo Barthel? He is captain of FC Bayern Munich. Do you see him turning into a Munich lifer the way Quantez Robertson did in Frankfurt?
Yes I think so. I don’t think Danilo will ever leave Munich. I hope he stays with them for the rest of his career. He always had talent. I am really happy to see how he has developed as a player being a dominant post player, good rebounder and being able to step out and take the three. People saw the potential that we had in Frankfurt from that 2015-2016 season with me, Joe, Danilo, Aaron and Phil. I think that not many saw us going so far. Give credit to all the hard work we did. Danilo always worked hard.
Quantez Robertson now is 34 years of age and still plays like a young buck. How much longer will he play? There are guys in the BBL like Derrick Allen, Julius Jenkins and Immanuel Mcelroy still playing at a high level in their late 30’s. Do you see them wheeling Tez off the court the day his body malfunctions if that is even possible?
Nope. Tez will go out when he runs through a brick wall. He is 34 and plays 38 minutes a game. He was the heart and soul of the team when I was there and still is.
Last season you lost a 100-90 game to Real Madrid where you had 10 points and five assists. You battled 19 year old phenom Luka Doncic who had 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Out of all his abilities what blew you away most about his game?
His experience at such a young age is what blew me away. He has been playing at a high level since he was 16 years old. It is amazing how he has played at such a high level at such a young age and been able to adjust on the fly and been able to put his flash on the game. I told people last summer before the NBA Draft that he will be an NBA allstar. I’m not talking about fans just voting him in, but just from his shear talent, because he is that good. He will continue to be able to do his thing in the NBA with his 1-1 play because now he has so much space. He is a super talent and a very special kid.
When all is said and done, could he be one of the greatest Europeans to follow in Dirk Nowitzki’s footsteps in the NBA?
I haven’t seen all the great Europeans play, but I have seen footage of Drazen Petrovic. I think that if he can stay healthy and continue to develop then he has a very good chance.
What is your opinion about Lebron James recent comment saying he is the greatest of all-time? Does a guy of his accomplishments need to do that?
I have no idea why he said that. It was what he felt at the time. We all know how great he is, but I don’t think that he will go down as the greatest of all-time. But he is definitely on the Mount Rushmore
Thanks Jordan for the chat.