Jordan Theodore(Besiktas Istanbul)My Biggest Focus Now With My Game Is Knocking Down The Open Three Consistently

Jordan Theodore is a 29 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his seventh professional season and first with Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey BSL). Last season he played with AEK Athens (Greece-A1) playing 20 games averaging 8.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 80.0%; and played 8 BCL games averaging 9.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 71.4%. Two seasons ago 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 before the Basketball Champions League game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn in Bonn.

Jordan thanks for talking to Welcome back to Germany. How nice is it to be back in Germany. When you come back to Germany what is always the first thing that you are reminded of?

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Theodore after a Basketball Champions League game in Frankfurt in 2016

Of course my Skyliners family is the first thing that comes to mind. I always remember the good times that I had in Germany with the Skyliners. 

Your preparing for a Basketball Champions League game in Bonn. Could there be a chance that your ex teammate Quantez Robertson watch you play in Bonn?

I haven’t spoken to Tez yet. I’m not sure what his schedule is, but I know if he can, he will support me. Tez is my brother.

Since leaving the Fraport Skyliners you have played 10 games against German teams. Could you make a prediction of what your record is?

I know I’m over 500. I think I lost only twice. 

Your right, your record is 7-2 and a tie. Is there a game that really stands out? I remember you taking control in crunch time in Oldenburg and winning the game in Ludwigsburg on a coast to coast run and playing two nail bitters against Bamberg last season.

I had a great game in Ludwigsburg hitting the game winner. But what really stands out the most was coming back to Frankfurt for the first time with Banvit. Coming home and seeing family was a wonderful feeling.

Do you remember your record against the Telekom Baskets Bonn with the Fraport Skyliners?

I don’t think that we lost. I think we won on the road. I’m sure that if we won on the road then we definitely won at home. 

Yes your right you were 2-0 against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. How good did it feel finding a new basketball home in the summer. I remember last season you didn’t arrive to Greece until the second half of the season.

I was happy finding a new home early. Sitting out the first half of last season because of the contract situation with Milan was tough. It was tough seeing my friends playing and competing every weekend and I was at home in limbo. All I can say is that I’m blessed now to still be playing at a high level. 

After a solid season with AEK Athens (Greece-A1) how was the summer transfer period for you? Were there some other interesting offers?

I got married last summer and wanted to be close to home where my family is. That would be Istanbul. My highest priority was to be in Istanbul. I had other good offers, but in the end I always wanted to be in Istanbul. I know that I made the right choice. My numbers aren’t showing it now, but it will pick up. It is a long season.

What were the main reasons for joining Besiktas? What makes this club so appealing to you and what was the deciding factor? How much of a factor was head coach Dusko Ivanovic?

I didn’t know coach well, but I had heard good things about him. For me Besiktas was the right fit. I had a great conversation with him and It’s a match made in heaven when a coach wants you.

The team has a nice mix of Americans. Your teammates with NBA champion James Michael Mcadoo. Obviously your happy to have him on your side, but does it surprise you that a guy like that couldn’t stick in the NBA?

The NBA is a revolving day. James has amazing talent and is a great person. The NBA isn’t for everyone. He is an unbelievable player. He is playing very well. I’m sure that he will get another chance. 

You have played with many great shooting guards in your career. What makes it so special playing along side American Toddrick Gotcher. He seems like one of those players that like you needed some time more to really develop up the basketball ladder?

Todd is very young. Our team is full of young talent. This is one of the first times that I’m the oldest. He has a great future. He is a very hard worker and can shoot the ball. He can do a lot more than what we allow him to. He will continue to develop and show that he is more than just a shooter. 

When you played with the Fraport Skyliners German national player Ismet Akpinar was still a bit unknown, but now has developed into a high quality player. What kind of special dimension will he give the club?

Ismet gives us a special dimension. He can play the 1-2. When He is playing the 1, I can play the 2. He can shoot and create off the dribble. It is still early. He hasn’t shown all that is in the bag. 

Let’s talk about your game. We have talked about the NBA in the last years as well as the Euroleague. You had a very good Euroleague season with Milan. For me it’s a riddle why your not living in the Euroleague. Does it bother you that teams don’t give you the opportunity?

I don’t feel that Euroleague teams overlooked me last year. It was tough sitting out. Euroleague teams wanted to sign me, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. I didn’t want to be able to put up numbers and lose. Last season was the right situation in Greece. This season I didn’t want to wait so I signed right away. I still think that I’m one of the best point guards in Europe. It will start to show soon. I have no worries.

You had solid stats last season, but they were down from other years. How much of a toll did missing half of the season on the development of your game with AEK Athens?

I had a little arm injury, but my assists are up this season. My shots will start to fall soon. I’m not worried. I have only had 5 games so there is nothing to trip about. I got out of my rhythm last season. I had an ankle injury got back to 100%, but then had to sit out during the contract dispute. It took a toll on me. But now I’m back mentally and physically. 

What are the main goals of Jordan Theodore this season in terms of your game? You obviously want to win, but where do you want to take your game this season?

The main goal is always to win. I want to play at a high level. My shots aren’t falling now, but they will. I want to be the best player that I can be. It is all in my hands. I really don’t feel pressure. I will continue to work hard and get my game better and push my team to win.

It seems like this season could be a season like with Banvit where you put up huge stats. It seems like you will have to be more of an offensive factor this season than what you were with Milan and AEK. It has been a while since you consistently put up big stats. 

I feel like I am still capable of having a season like with Banvit. The only difference now is that I pick my spots more. Now I’m a focal point of the team. The opponents all know what I bring to the table now. I face defenses every night that play like they need to stop me. That opens up the game for my teammates. I get my stats later. It could be hard, but only when I overthink.

You haven’t shot the ball as well from outside as you did with Frankfurt and Banvit. Did you work extra hard this summer on refining your shot? How much of a priority is it for you to be that versatile offensive monster that won’t only hurt the opponent with the penetration, but the outside shot?

Working on m shot is very important. Early in the season a lot of my shots are rushed or at the end of the shot clock. I’m working on better shot selection. At the moment I’m missing easy shots and shots that I would usually make. I won’t stay in this slump. My shots will start to fall. I will have a break out game soon and build from there.

You averaged an amazing 7 assists in the Turkish league and in the BCL with Banvit a few years ago. Have you missed having that playmaking dominance. How hungry are you to be that dominating playmaker again?

I’m still that dominating playmaker. Since I’m playing at a high level, people expect me to score 20 points and get 9/10 assists. I would love to do that, but now every night is different. With Banvit I had to put up those stats. I didn’t need to do that last year. The team now wants me to shoot more and we have other guys that can score the ball as well. When I get on track with my shooting, It will add to team moral.

What has it been playing for head coach Dusko Ivanovic? You have played for many head coaches, but how do you feel will your game profit most from him this season?

He has made me play more defense than I did in the past. I’m giving more effort on the defensive end. I was always a solid defender, but I have gotten better under him. I am paying more attention to detail. I feel like I have improved a lot in a short period of time.

Your turning 30 in December. Are you in your prime now? On what part of your game are you focusing most on now as you go into your 30’s?

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Jordan Theodore after he led the Fraport Skyliners to the 2016 FIBA Europe Cup title in Chalon, France

I continue to work on every aspect of my game. I work on taking all types of shots and my passing. My biggest focus with my game Is knocking down the open three consistently. I don’t get many open looks like I did in Frankfurt.

Johannes Voigtmann made the next step joining CSKA Moscow. Do you feel like him having the opportunity to win the Euroleague to playing sparse minutes in the NBA helped him make that decision?

I think that a lot of the European’s dream is to win the Euroleague title. Going to CSKA was a big move for Joe. He is playing for a great organization and coach. He has a great opportunity to achieve the goal of winning the Euroleague title and then possibly get an NBA shot.

How proud are you of ex teammate John Little who is an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks now. Did you already witness the coach in John Little when you were teammates?

Hell yes. John is a born coach. He was an unbelievable teammate. What he did on the court every night was tremendous. He did everything. If you would have told him to run through a wall, he would of. I wasn’t surprised when I heard that he would work for the Bucks. He is an incredible person and will have a long career in the NBA. John is my guy.

What is your opinion of how the US played at the World Championships? They finished in seventh place. Was this a major embarrassment for American basketball and how will they respond?

No. I knew that USA wouldn’t win the World Cup. Europe has many good countries and players. The USA players had no European experience. The game is a lot different in Europe from the NBA. A big problem that USA had was that they didn’t have enough shooters. USA had great playmakers and scorers, but not shooters. It showed that rest of the world is catching up. You have to tip your hat to the rest of the world. There is great talent.

How did you experience the death of player Andre Emmett. Does a death like that make you look more around your surroundings in Europe in a huge city like Istanbul or do you feel safe enough in Europe?

No I feel safe. What happened to him happened at home. That type of thing can happen anywhere. I’m fortunate that I’m living in a good place. I’m not afraid of guys coming up behind me and shooting me. I pray for the family of Andre Emmett. That really sucks what happened to him. He is a great guy that was living a great life. He just had had a daughter. The whole thing was very tragic. I know a lot of guys that knew him.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Joker. I liked it a lot.

Thanks Jordan for the chat. 

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