Decorey Jones is a 29 year old 201cm forward that played at Faulkner (NAIA) and has had a solid professional basketball career since 2012 having played in countries like Malaysia, Mongolia, Canada, Spain, Australia, Norway, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Armenia. He recently got the Chilean citizenship and spoke to egermanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Decorey thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how has your early summer been?
Thank you for having me Miles. I am currently in Bolivia. My early summer has been good and productive, its always good to secure a summer job to keep me in great shape leading in to the fall season market.
Our last interview was in September 2014. Since then you have continued to travel the world and have played for many teams in various countries. What have you enjoyed most about the basketball globetrotter life?
What I have enjoyed most was the relationships and connections that have crossed my path. Its bigger than basketball and its amazing some of the people I have come across are now family, some are business partners, and also experiencing the different types of cultures. These are values you take with you your whole life.
In our last interview you stressed that to play in Germany would be a big dream for you. It still hasn’t happened. Have you had any offers in the last years and do you think that it will still happen?
Germany is still a big dream of mine. I have never had any offers but I have faith it will still happen, my resume has built up since then, this business is about connections and who you know, Im sure it will happen with timing and the right people in my corner.
In 2014 you were amazed how far you have come and in the last five years you have continued the grind that has taken you to places like Norway, Australia, Japan, Chile, Argentina, Indonesia, Thailand and Armenia. What is your secret to be able to be so active as a player and always get jobs?
My secret is keeping my profile proactive. I constantly network and promote myself on all social media platforms to agents, coaches, gms, management, and my fanbase. When I do get a opportunity I leave my mark. I am a humble hardworking American Import. Attitude goes far in this business and teams know what they are getting when they sign me.
Your last team was Aragatz (Armenia-League A) I think out of all my interviews in my career I never spoke to a guy that balled in Armenia. Your stay was short. What were you able to take from this experience?
My time in Armenia was interesting. They signed me for a 20 day contract with the goal to win the Championship. After I played my first game I was informed the team registered my papers past the league deadline and they had no choice but to release me because of their mistake. I played a total of 3 games. 1 playoff 2 cup games. That country is just in its 2nd year having a league, and 1st year with imports so you would expect amateur errors like this. The country and league has a lot of potential but I hope they get more education on how to handle imports and league structure.
You began the season with Club Deportes Espanol de Talca (Chile-Liga Nacional) where you had played for a few years earlier. The pay is supposed to be very good in South America as there have been countless ex NBA players make a living there for years. Is the money and culture there satisfying enough to play a whole career there for some guys?
Yes guys who come to Latin America usually stay in this market because of the large salaries. Salaries range from 6 figures in top leagues to the smallest leagues making 3k or more. In Europe you can play in a respectable top league and make 2k or less. It only makes sense to go where the money is. The game is changing and its not about what continent you played in last, money talks and players are realizing this concept.
You had your first experience last year playing in Indonesia and Thailand. What kind of experience was that and please describe some experiences you had off the court that were memorable?
I won my second championship in Indonesia playing in one of the biggest tournaments the country has (Jawa Pos Honda Pro Tournament) for the BBM Warriors. After I won the Championship I received a phone call 2 days later to play for the CLS Knights of the ABL one of the biggest leagues in Asia. It was a dream come true and my life changed. When I finished that chapter I went to Thailand to compete in the summer leagues TBSL and TBL which were great leagues to play in to prepare me for the fall season. Asia is an amazing market and is overlooked. Off the court there was something always going on from running camps, clinics, coaching, and the asian culture was something I will always cherish. The food and the sight seeing, was amazing. Asia is quite a beautiful continent to go to for basketball for an all around experience.
Recently you played for Iwate Big Bulls (Japan-B League D2) playing 13 games averaging 5.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 60.0%. You had experienced a lot before going to Japan, but was that like a culture shock for you or was the adjustment to the culture easy for you?
Japan was difficult for me as a 3. That league is based on bigs, teams usually get stretch 4s and big time 5s. The import rule was 3 on a team and only 1 could play in the 1st quarter, 2 in the 2nd quarter, back to 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th. It was difficult for me to adjust to the minute restriction and also dealing with the coaches game philosophy. I know I can play at that level but that situation was not ideal for me, the team and I agreed to part ways because it was just not a good fit with the mix of players they had.
In 2016-2017 you played in Argentina and Australia and also had your first tour of duty with Club Deportes Espanol de Talca (Chile-Liga Nacional) playing 38 games averaging 12.0ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 21.5%, FT: 68.5%. It was the first time you played with Americans Stanley Robinson and Tyran Walker
.You played with them again a few years later. Are these two guys that are like brothers for you?
It is amazing how the game of basketball spirals in a full circle. Stanley I met in Canada playing for the Moncton Miracles in 2014, and when I found out we were going to play on the same team I was super excited. As for Ty I met him through a connection because the team asked me for assistance finding a a big. Since then these guys have became my brothers. Playing on the court with your Brothers is automatic chemistry and no team can compete with that.
In 2015-2016 you played with Nidaros Jets Trondheim (Norway-BLNO) playing 20 games: Score-5 (21.7ppg), 9.7rpg, 2.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 74.4%. You had a great season. Why has it been so difficult for you to get jobs in Europe or have you preferred to play elsewhere?
Im happy you asked this question. After my successful season in Norway, I went on to continue to play in Australia after. My mom received a letter in the mail stating that I was banned from the Schengen Area for 2 years due to working illegally. The team did not handle my visa papers properly having me on a tourist visa and playing at the same time. This is a major crime. Unfortunately when I pleaded my case I lost, and there was nothing i could do. I had little effort and help from the GM who was responsible for the visa process. But the Norwegian government stated It was my responsibility. 2 years banned for something I had no control of! I had to take my talents to Asia, South America, and Australia. The ban is now over and I can compete again on Europe soil. I want to get back to that market in a top league hopefully.
Out of all the leagues you have played in as a professional where would you rank the BLNO of Norway against all the others?
BlNO was a solid league. It would rank in the mid tier of all the countries I played in. The most difficult countries I have played in was Argentina and Japan.
How do you feel has your game continued to develop since 2014 when we last spoke? Where on the offensive and defensive end do you feel have you made the most strides?
Since 2014 I am a much smarter player, more skilled, and experienced. Defensively I am sill aggressive and have a lot of energy, but I’m more smarter with how I defend players, before I just played, now I watch more film than ever, I study player trends, and I also study myself more.
You won one professional title with Club Deportes Espanol de Talca (Chile-Liga Nacional) in 2017. What did you cherish most about this season?
I cherished a life value that many people will never get to experience. I had got cut in Argentina and I was really at a low point in my life at that time, my agent at that time found me an opportunity with Espanol 3 days later I had no idea what to expect, my main goal was to finish the season and be the best player I could be for them, I wasn’t expecting to win a championship actually nobody did. Thats what made the season so magical and special. The life lesson on everything happens for a reason and when 1 door closes another and better one opens!
One thing that one notices about you is that you are always looking for a playing opportunity like playing in Australia over the summer. Is that an option that you will do again this summer or will you spend more time at home in the states?
I love summer ball! No matter which country. When you can play basketball and make a living over the summer and stay in shape? Your not living a bad life. I focus on the summer market with my perspective of a paid offseason! I am currently playing in Bolivia for the summer.
Your turning 29 in July. Are you in your prime now? On what things are you working on most now to keep improving your game?
I’m coming in to my prime! Im still waiting on the big opportunity in a big league where the coach lets me play my game! My time is coming I have faith! my game has improved I am more efficient, I’m smarter and I now know the game and how people work in this business. The biggest thing that I I constantly improve is my mentality. Also I now have duel citizenship as I have a child with an chilean woman. Now I can play as a local in some South American leagues.
You stated in our last interview that you worked out a lot with ex professional player Chuck Eidson. Do you still have that strong relationship with him and what is he up to today?
Yeah I still try to stay in touch with him and his dad, and other peers connected to him. The last time we spoke he was on the golf field lol. He is relaxing to the fullest. He will play a pick up game here and there but he’s now more focused on taking care of his family.
Have you started to give any thought about what you will do one day after your professional career is over? Many professionals get ready for life after basketball during their career. Have you been able to do that or are you 100% focused on basketball at all times?
Thoughts about life after basketball is always scary for us hoopers. Its all we know its all we have done to provide a living for us. Luckily I have built up great connections along my globetrotting journey and I defiantly will pick up a coaching gig after I’m done playing. Rather its an academy or individual skill training with professional teams, I can’t see myself not being around basketball anymore working a 9-5.
Please pick your five best teammate of all-time?
Nathan Fisher, Marcus Douthit, Kevin Van Hook, Stanley Robinson, Jammar Johnson.
Who are the five best players in the NBA right now by position in your own opinion?
Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Lebron, Nikola Jokic.
If you had to name your NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaquille Oneal.
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Michael Jordan can’t be replaced and never will. He changed the game forever and set a bar that no NBA player will touch, maybe get close but never touch. He is a basketball God!
What was the last movie that you saw?
Avengers End Game movie of the year! watched it twice!
Thanks Decorey for the chat.