It is around midnight on a Saturday night/Sunday in the dog days of summer 2019 when an up beat and good mooded Jordan Sibert (193-G-92, college: Dayton) finally calls me back for our long awaited interview something that had first been planned in Mid February when he was grinding in the G-League and on the brink of reaching the NBA. I had written an article late in the 2018-2019 season when he was with the Fraport Skyliners predicting he would get to the NBA someday and here we were again talking about the real reality of the NBA in 2019. ‘Sorry Miles for the late call. Were you already sleeping? I’m just back from lifting and then had to take care of some personal matters’, stressed Jordan Sibert. In the case of the ex Dayton (NCAA) standout, better late than never. So much has happened in the last five months that he could of written a special journal for his ex school to help fill the summer hole with exciting and interesting basketball stories. Sibert reaches me from Atlanta, Georgia where he has been staying after a successful NBA Summer League with the ex Dennis Schroeder team Atlanta Hawks and is just waiting for news hoping three could be a charm and that possible third ticket back to the NBA with the hopes of this one being not only a longer stay, but a more permanent one. The NBA has always been on his mind since his rookie season when he was with the Orlando Magic continuing with his two seasons in Europe where he balled in Greece and in Germany for two teams and now he reflected on the last season in the G-League, his short tenure with the Atlanta Hawks and his one NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the positive NBA Summer League appearance in Las Vegas. The big question is will he remain with the Atlanta Hawks and get a training camp deal or go to another NBA team or return back to Europe? ‘Right now that is the big question. I’m waiting to get a call. If it looks good with Atlanta then I will stay here. I have to do what is best for me’, warned Jordan Sibert. Even if he has played only four professional seasons, if he ever has a dull moment while waiting, he will never suffer from having a lack of great basketball stories. In the last year, he has had the opportunity to play with probably one of the best defenders to ever play in the German easyCredit BBL with Quantez Robertson who simply goes by Tez and one of the best dunkers to ever battle in the NBA with Vince Carter and remembers them fondly. ‘Many don’t know this but Tez and I are both from Cincinnati, Ohio. When I got to Frankfurt, I remember Tez asking me if I was from there. When he found out I had gone to Princeton high school, he asked me if I knew his brother Brian Shelby. It turned out that he was my best friend there. I remember Brian always telling me that he had a brother in Germany who was the man in German basketball. The basketball world is definitely small. Vince Carter is a great dude. I don’t remember what the first thing was what I asked him, but I do remember getting into the gym and seeing him under the basket. At that moment my childhood memories came back to me remembering me and my brother having all these pictures of him on our bedroom walls. I quickly started to bombard him with questions about the game about knowing plays, being in the right position and how to read the offense better and defense quicker. He was always there to help me. He even came to me at times to point out things. We had a good relationship and it was just a crazy feeling being his teammate. He did beat me in a few shooting games’, joked Jordan Sibert. Even if every basketball junkie knows where Jordan Sibert is today, it was time for a new installment in the Miles where are they now player feature as his rise and development to the NBA in the last year has been remarkable.
Jordan Sibert was born in Cincinnati on August first and after a stellar beginning to basketball life at Princeton, he had his first basketball pains at Ohio State playing 49 NCAA games in his first two seasons never averaging more than 3,0ppg, but then transferred to Dayton (NCAA). There he saw his breakout season averaging 12,2ppg as a junior and really exploding as a senior averaging 16.1ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 78.8%. Even if he had tasted success at Ohio State winning the Big 10 title and reaching the NCAA Final 4 in 2012 in a limited role, he really stood out at Dayton helping the team reach the Elite 8 at the big dance. He turned professional in 2015 and already then turned heads quickly with a grand showing at the NBA Summer League with the Orlando Magic averaging 11.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. He was cut in training camp, but had a solid rookie season with the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) playing 44 games averaging 13.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 87.1%. Early in the 2016-2017 season his second and first in Europe with PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1), he always had the NBA on his mind and knew that the NBA wasn’t a reach for him. ‘ I never thought the NBA was far away, but felt it was close. I feel like I just need enough good moments to get an NBA chance. I still feel the NBA is close now’, warned Jordan Sibert back in 2016. With the Greek side, he needed no real adjustment period putting up good stats in two competitions averaging 11.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 87.9% in the Greek League and 11.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 83.3% in the Basketball Champions League. His third professional season was a bit up and down as he began with the Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) playing 18 games averaging a solid 12.2ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 53.2%, 3FGP: 32.4%, FT: 87.2%, in Mar.’18 moved to Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 16 games averaging 5.0ppg, 1.2rpg, but he had his moments having some strong games against Gotha and Giessen and against FC Bayern Munich in game 2 with 13 points. Time went by rapidly for the Ohio native in the last three years, ‘It has gone by quickly. Starting in Greece where I got injured and then playing for two good teams in Germany. My time overseas was great and it is good to have played well. I just wanted to come home’, stressed Jordan Sibert.
‘Coming back last season wasn’t easy. I had to work really hard to get into the rotation at Lake Eire, but when I did I really moved forward. Then I got the 10 day contract with the Atlanta Hawks, played a game, made a shot, made another step in the NBA Summer League. Now I’m waiting to make the next step again’, said Jordan Sibert. So here we are in July 2019 and the NBA has never been as close as it is now for Jordan Sibert. When he was in Europe from 2016-2018, he wasn’t oblivious of what was happening in the G-league as the pay got better and guys who were in Europe and in general were getting chances there as well as in the NBA. ‘I came back to the States with the attraction of getting to the NBA. I think in the last years, the G-League has built a great foundation for young and older players. I felt that there was an NBA avenue for me to get there and that felt enticing’, stressed Jordan Sibert. He was smart and went back to an old stomping ground joining the Eire Bay Hawks. ‘The front office had been great to me in my first tour of duty there. They really looked out for me my first time there. For me it was important to go back there and help out. On top of that being able to help out in the community was also important as well as giving the fans another good show’, added Jordan Sibert. Even if the American had been away for two seasons, a lot had changed in that time with the league that also helped make the whole experience more appealing to him. ‘I think that the competition really grew. The league is a total upgrade to what I saw the first time as a rookie. The travel is also a lot better You fly a lot more and when you take a sleeper bus, you actually can sleep and get the proper rest that you need, because you play so many games’, stressed Jordan Sibert. Ex NBA player Bracey Wright told me last season that there is no reason for any player not to be able to stay with an NBA club if you take charge and make the most of the resources given to you. For the most part that is correct. This is the best conditions for a player to keep getting better and something that Jordan Sibert was able to do last season. ‘I think it depends. Some teams have that access while other teams are working on it in the G-League. In the NBA it is there. I had that opportunity when I was in Orlando to be able to get in the gym at anytime to work and become the best I could. In the G-League they are working on it to gain that same accessibility. It will take time, but it is growing’, warned Jordan Sibert.
Even if he had his short stay in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks, he played most of the season with the Erie Bay Hawks (NBA G League) playing 42 games averaging 16.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 84.4%. It was a bit of a culture shock returning back to the States after two seasons in Europe where he saw a totally different brand of basketball. ‘In Europe it is all about the team. The better the team does the higher you go. In the G-League there is no attention to team, but it’s about the player working on their individual skills and getting better. If that happens to you then you get attention. If you can work on your craft in the G-League and show it in games then it is best for the player’, warned Jordan Sibert. When he was a rookie with the Orlando Magic, he belonged to the younger guys, but now a few years later he was the second oldest on the squad and he understood that despite having to perform and put up stats, he also had a responsibility to the younger players. ‘It meant a lot to me having that veteran role. I really had to know how to communicate and show the guys my understanding of the game. You tend see a lot of older guys in the G-League that don’t know how to lead’, added Jordan Sibert. He had a very talented trio out of ex Kentucky (NCAA) players on the team with Terrence Ross, Isaac Humphries and Alex Poythres that made his basketball life also easier. ‘Those guys really helped us. When you have guys of that caliber that have that special mentality and backround, it definitely makes it easier to play around. It was good to have guys of that quality around’, warned Jordan Sibert.
Even if his GLeague season stat wise looked great, he definitely had massive early going woes as he didn’t get sufficient minutes at the start. In his first six games, he played only a total of 79 minutes scoring 20 points. But after that he got cooking and never got cold scoring in double figures in 33 of his last 35 games and in between getting the call up to Atlanta. ‘It was tough at first not playing and to this day I still don’t know why. For some coaches, you really need to earn the playing time. They have to see something special. For me it took some time to click. I was always the same player from the start. The coach then finally noticed and I got minutes. It is always good to have guys on a team that respect what I can do. Once they understood that I can shoot the ball, they started looking for me more. It was hard to get into the rotation at first, but when I did, I made sure to capitalize on it’, stressed Jordan Sibert. The American also knows that his second tour of duty in the G-League and his performance was upped by his two years of experience in Europe. ‘A lot of my success last season, I have to credit my time in Europe. In Europe you have to be able to do a lot well on the court. In the NBA your faults can be taken over by other players. In Europe if you are a very good shooter, but don’t know how to play defense, then you are a liability. I was comfortable being able to play the one last season, but that was because I did it at times with Frankfurt. In Frankfurt the guard who had the ball like Taj Webster, Isaac Bonga, Tez or me would initiate the play. Being able to do that there gave me confidence and I took that with me into my G-League season’, added Jordan Sibert. If anybody watched Sibert play last season could see that he definitely picked us some new basketball traits overseas showing that he isn’t one dimensional and only being a deadly shooter. ‘When I first came to Greece, I was a bit confused with the type of role that I had. When I got to Germany, I learned to play more free and understood that I can’t be one-dimensional. I expanded on it. When I came back to the G-League last season I wasn’t afraid to take deep three’s or contested three’s’, warned Jordan Sibert. He learned that becoming more of a complete player in Europe was vital for his further basketball development, but when it really comes down to getting that next NBA job, it will most likely be his incredible sniper qualities that will get him that third opportunity. ‘If I get that next chance, it will most likely be my shooting that teams will take into consideration. For me it is important to be good and to keep getting better being able to shoot from all ranges and being able to shoot many types of shots. There are too many guys in the G-League taking too many shoots and missing too much or just not being able to disrupt the defense. I have to keep believing that I can be a guy that will be valuable for some team with my shot. I want to keep honing in on my shot and being consistent’, warned Jordan Sibert.
On February 20, 2019 the press release came that Jordan Sibert had signed a ten day contract with the Atlanta Hawks. I was so happy when I read the statement and so was the American. ‘The Eire Bay GM called me and broke the news. I was super excited and had been playing well and had been hoping that it would happen. I was really thankful for the opportunity. My whole family was excited and it was a great feeling knowing I was going to Atlanta’, said Jordan Sibert. Another date that he will never forget will be February 27th, 2019 as he played his first NBA game in Atlanta beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 131-123. In that game he battled against some big current names like Karl Anthony-Towns and athletic beast Andrew Wiggins as well as some older top players like Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. His stat line read 4 minutes and three points. ‘It was a great experience. I could have had a suit on and sat at the end of the bench, but instead I was dressed to play each game just in case I might get in. I was always ready to play even if it might not be much. I just wanted to do the best that I could. I got a pass from Omari Spellman and just shot it. It was an amazing feeling seeing it go in’, stressed Jordan Sibert. Even if his time wasn’t long there, he also had some other amazing teammates besides a Vince Carter like top 2018-2019 rookie Trae Young who somehow got lost a bit in the shuffle and hype that Luka Doncic and Deandre Ayton were having. ‘Trae is a great kid. He has so much talent. If he continues to work hard and continues to get the freedom to play his game then he will be an elite guard down the road. He showed that he deserved more respect. He is in a great position to become a great player in the next years’, warned Jordan Sibert. His NBA dream to return back for good was very much helped with his very good performance at the NBA Summer league in Las Vegas recently. The American averaged 14,8ppg, 2,0rpg and 2,3apg and shot 38,9% from outside. He hit Milwaukee for 22 points and displayed a massive shooting clinic against Indiana scoring 21 points on 7/9 shooting from the parking lot. The question now is did this performance help him get his next NBA ticket? ‘I hope so. Being able to be in a setting like that in Las Vegas with a solid shooting game helped me. I showed a lot of people who hadn’t seen me last season what I can do. I hope it rubs off on some teams. I performed well and hope to get something out of it. I hope that my 7/9 shooting game turned some heads’, explained Jordan Sibert. The American’s self confidence is soaring now as he continues to wait at the phone for the right call not only having had a good showing, but with positive feedback that he received at Vegas. ‘I got good feedback. Many teams were impressed. People came to me at the floor and talked to me after games. I think that I was able to make an impact. All I need now is for someone to have seen my growth. I feel confident that someone will make a move’, warned Jordan Sibert.
Even if his NBA dream is occupying his time now in the dogs days of summer, he did find some time to talk about his ex team Fraport Skyliners. Last season he played against the South Bay Lakers in December, but couldn’t have that reunion with ex teammate Isaac Bonga as he had been called up to the Lakers, but on July 11th, 2019 he finally was able to see Isaac Bonga again in his last NBA Summer League game. Bonga had recently been traded with German Moritz Wagner to the Washington Wizards as some of the many players the Lakers gave up to acquire Anthony Davis. Washington won the game 76-71 and Isaac Bonga supplied 10 points while Sibert produced 9 points. ‘We actually didn’t talk before the game, but at halftime. I was guarding him a bit in the game. We talked about how his time was in LA. He was really appreciative of his time with the Lakers, but also happy to be in Washington now. I feel that he really matured as a player and grew last season. He is shooting the ball better and added more to his game. His confidence will continue to grow with age’, stressed Jordan Sibert. He also remembers his short time in Germany with Frankfurt seeing the German talent grow there. ‘When I first met Isaac he was working with Klaus Perwas on trying to improve his strength. What I will never forget was that he was always asking me questions about the NBA. At that time it was shortly before the draft and his NBA work outs. For Isaac it was always about learning and growing’, warned Jordan Sibert. Even if his time in Frankfurt wasn’t an easy one as he mostly had limited minutes, he did have some good games including in the Munich series. ‘I remember being frustrated about not playing much at the start of the series, but then I got in at home and played well. That turned around the whole mood of the series for Frankfurt being up 2-1. We did lose the series 3-2, but I showed in game 2 that I could compete with the top team in Germany. Coach Gordie was hesitant at first, but I showed him that I could play’, stressed Jordan Sibert. He has played with and against many players already in his young career, but he will never forget Quantez Robertson. ‘I had so many great memories with Tez, but I can’t think of just one. What I admired most about Tez was how he always played with confidence and grit. He was considered a defensive specialist, but if the game was close or we were down, he would always take the big shot or guard the other team’s best player. His love for the game made him very special. He is pretty mush the king of Frankfurt. Oh by the way many may not know this, but he likes country music’, laughed Jordan Sibert. After talking about the good old das in Frankfurt, it was back to talking about the NBA. Even if he made the big show briefly last season, the whole NBA process and continued dream has been playing huge mind games as of late. One thing is for sure even if he doesn’t get another chance at the NBA, he will be content to accept that it most likely had nothing to do with his abilities that are good enough. ‘I have been up and down lately concerning the NBA dream. Sometimes I get down being on an emotional roller coaster. What I try to fall back on when I’m down is just knowing that as long as I gave my best effort, I can’t get mad if I don’t get picked. I will know that if I don’t get picked, it won’t be because I’m a bad player or someone else was better. I will know that talent and hard work doesn’t always win. I know that a lot of favors win. All I can do is pray and hope it goes my way’, warned Jordan Sibert.