is a 26 year old 199cm forward that is playing his first season in the easyCredit BBL with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. In the BBL he is averaging 2,8ppg and 1,7rpg and in the Basketball Champions League he averaged 5,1ppg and 2,9rpg. Last season he played with PS Karlsruhe Lions (ProA) averaging 13,9ppg, 5,9rpg, 3,0apg and 1,8spg. Last season as a rookie he played with Vechta (BBL) and the Westchester Knicks (D-League). He was born in South Carolina and grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. He headed back to the states in 2008 and returned in 2016. He played at Pleasant Beach HS an dthen played for three NCAA schools with Rice, Rhode Island and E Kentucky playing a total of 125 games. He had his break out season as a senior at E.Kentucky (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 17.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com before the game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Jarelle thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and is hanging out at the Rhein river something you will do now when the weather gets warmer?
Hey thanks for interviewing me again I’m currently still in Bonn. I did go to the Rhein river over the weekend since we had great weather
Before we get to your current situation with the Telekom Baskets Bonn, let’s talk about the team’s season. The team is fighting for a playoff spot and competed in the Basketball Champions League this season. How would summarize the season to this stand point?
The season to this stand point has been a rollercoaster just like pretty much every basketball season. Our goals for each competition CL and BBL was to play in the post season which we did in the CL and now we want to accomplish that in the BBL as well
It has been a very interesting season for the club in the easyCredit BBL in that it has been completely up and down. It began the season with a three game winning streak then lost 8 0f 10 games and soon changed coaches. Then you won 9 of 11 games and currently have lost three of four games. You have had injuries, but why do you think has the team not been able to play at a more consistent rate this season?
I think that the league is so competitive and that at any given night anyone can beat anyone. We put down some great months winning a few games in a row and beating good teams. I think other teams had just better performances during certain games which we have to give credit to. Winning 9 of 11 games shows that we can be consistent when we show up focused and ready.
The club had to make a change and said farewell to head coach Predrag Krunic. Did the players lose faith in him during that first big losing streak
No we never lost faith in Predrag. He did a great job while he coached here. Losing streaks are part of Basketball we battled our way back and are now on course for the playoffs
How have you seen the further development of the club under new head coach Chris O’Shea? He has done a fine job making the adjustment from an assistant to a head coach. What have you appreciated most about his coaching style?
Coach Chris been in Bonn for a while and he knows the guys that have been there and has great relationships with everyone in the program. As a coach he pays close attention to details and makes it clear that the little things matter especially on a high level. He gives our guys a lot of freedom on offense but makes sure we bring it on defense as well.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn score a lot of points 86 on average, but also give up 86 points per game. A lot of the games you won were shoot outs. Why has the Bonn defense continued to be a work in progress this season? The club has very athletic and feisty guard defenders with Polas, DiLeo and Mayo.
Those guys been great just like everyone on our team has been defensively. I think that’s an area we pride ourselves in. There has also been games where we held teams to low scoring. Sometimes the games become up tempo and with good players the scoreboard can run up quick. As long as we get the needed stops towards the end of the game and come up with a win we are all going to be happy.
It is a real dog fight for the last playoff spots as Wurzburg and Ludwigsburg are hanging on and at the playoff doorstep. The club has a tough schedule and the last home game against FC Bayern Munich could be the decider. How confident are you that the team will compete in the playoffs and what will be key to being successful in the last five games on the court?
I have confidence in us that we can make the playoffs as long as we stay focused. During the end of the season everyone is fighting for something and we have to keep doing the things that made us successful over the last months
The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners. They won the first game 83-79. What does it mean for you playing against the organization where you began your career with with Eintracht Frankfurt (2 regionalliga) in 2007. Do you ever wonder how your career would have gone if you would have stayed there a few more years instead of going to New Jersey?
It’s a regular game for me. We played against Frankfurt a few times now. I’m not sure how my career would have gone if I would if stayed in Frankfurt. But that team developed very good players so I’m sure it would also been a positive experience
The Fraport Skyliners have had a poor season and most likely won’t play in the playoffs bearing a miracle. The Telekom Baskets Bonn have another must win. What will be key to coming out with a win?
The key for tomorrow is to make them uncomfortable and take them out of their sets. They are very disciplined on offense and a gritty defensive team so our main goal is it to disrupt them
Let’s talk about your teammates. Josh Mayo is having another solid season and has been lighting it up from outside. He doesn’t always get the respect for his abilities maybe because he hasn’t been able to lead Bonn to a title. How valuable has he been this season for the team and will he ever get the deserved respect in the BBL?
Josh been great I think he got the respect he deserves from the players He’s very valuable with his shooting and his leadership
One of the big stories has been German Martin Breunig who has had his break out season after Charles Jackson was injured. What have you been able to appreciate most about his game and what do you feel has been most key in him having consistent success?
Martin is a guy who brings it every time with his finishing but also his passing has been great for us. I believe he’s always been that good he just took advantage of his opportunity with Charles having to sit out so long
The club recently got ex Euroleague player Nate Linhart who is as versatile as they get in the basketball business. What have you been able to soak up from his game in the short time that he has been there?
Just his feel for the game. Nate does so many little things that help our team win but his play making ability and basketball iq is what I soaked up the most while he’s been here
Let’s talk about your game. After a great season in the Pro A, you have struggled to get minutes averaging only 9,1 per game in the easyCredit BBL. How tough has this season been for you mentally?
It’s been tough not playing or having the role you want to have. But I think I improved a lot and I was able to show it the times I played a little longer. I understand it’s a process. I learned so much this season and I can’t wait to show it in the future
With what kind of expectations did you come into your first BBL season? Were they higher than the number of minutes that you have received?
I didn’t really have any expectations. I just wanted to come in early work hard and prove myself.
You have been efficient in some games like scoring 14 points against Bremerhaven and 8 points against Ludwigsburg. You have made the most of your chances in many games, but that didn’t help you get better minutes later. Obviously the team is stocked with talent, but do you at times feel like you haven’t got a fair chance of being able to play more minutes?
Like you said we have a lot of great players on our team. I did get my chances to play more and even start, I believe that I took advantage of the times where I did play more
How much of a learning experience has this season been for you. Despite the limited minutes, what positives have you been able to take from this season in your development?
I think I developed a lot physically. Our athletic trainer Yorgo does a great job. I did a lot of extra work with him after practice.
You averaged 15 minutes in the Basketball Champions league averaging 5,1ppg and 2,9rpg and have played very well. What kind of an experience has it been playing international club basketball and how has it helped your game most?
It was a great experience traveling around Europe and playing other good teams. I think just getting more playing time on that level improved my game a lot. There’s a difference playing in the Pro A and playing internationally
You have stated in a past interview with me that you always have a chip on your shoulder. After reaching a top league like the easyCredit BBl, does it make it easier to lessen the chip or do you have that phrase ‘once a chip always a chip’ in your thinking?
Yea that chip will always stay there. You can always improve and want more no matter how high you get. I’m in the first league now and I have new goals I want to reach and yes that chip is there
Please name your five best teammates of all-time including school and pro’s?
All my teammates are great I can’t just pick 5 everyone was special in their own way
Damien Lillard hit a crazy three sending the Oklahoma Thunder home. Why can’t Russell Westbrook lead his team to more success in the post season?
Damien was unbelievable all series and they couldn’t stop him
What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?
Lebron has the right to say that after all that he accomplished
Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?
No comment MJ is the goat
When all is said and done do you feel like Luka Doncic could become one of the greatest Europeans to ever ball in the NBA or will it be hard to surpass Dirk Nowitzki?
I think it’s hard to pass Dirk. He set the bar high but nothing is impossible
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jarelle for the chat.