Justin Gordon is a 26 year old 198cm forward from Charlotte, North Carolina that is playing his fourth professional season He began this season in Germany with Pro A team PS Karlsruhe averaging 11,3ppg, 5,9rpg, 1,8 apg and 1,7spg. He then moved to KFUM Jamtland Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) where he is currently averaging 18,1ppg, 5,4rpg and 2,1apg while shooting 40% from outside He got his first professional experience down under with the Sandringham Sabres (Australia-SEABL-South) playing 4 games averaging 12.3ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.5apg and last season played with the Rotterdam Challengers (Holland-Eredivisie) playing 37 games: Score-3 (17.5ppg), Reb-2 (8.7rpg), 2.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 70.6%. He began his basketball career with the Northside Christian Academy. He then played at Wofford from 2012-2016 playing a total of 131 NCAA games. He was able to improve hiss coring and rebound averages each year topping it off as a senior playing 31 games averaging 11.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 58.9%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball before joining PS Karlsruhe last summer.
Justin thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I’m currently in Miami, Fl. My summer has been good as always, but I’m ready and excited to get the next season started.
Technically you have been a professional for three seasons, but have really played only one full season and had your European break out season in Holland last season. How good is basketball life for you and is your self confidence at an all-time high as you come to Germany for your second professional full professional season with PS Karlsruhe.
Basketball life has been going well, the experiences that I’ve gained playing professionally have been very helpful for my growth, both on and off the court. My confidence has definitely risen over the past few seasons and I expect that trend to continue.
Congrats on signing with German Pro A team PS Karlsruhe. After a very strong break out season in Holland, how did you experience this summers transfer period? Did you have more offers because of your good season in Holland?
Thank you. I believe my performance last season helped my agent get things moving for me a lot quicker this summer, as far as getting interest and offers.
The German Pro A is a very competitive league. What were the main reasons for coming here and playing with ambitious team Ps Karlsruhe who played in the Regionalliga only a few years ago?
Like you said, German Pro A is a very competitive league. I wanted to take the next step in Europe and play with a team that fits my style of play, the Lions provided that opportunity for me.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Did you talk to some ex Wofford players like Brad Loesing and Mike Lenzly that have played here before?
Not very much, but that will change very soon. Brad and Mike both graduated before I attended Wofford, so I never had the chance to develop a relationship with either of them.
Your ex teammate Cameron Jackson made the jump to the BBL with MBC. What kind of player will the league get and can he be an impact player in that league?
Cam will be great wherever he goes, he’s a hard working guy with the willingness to play hard, is very skilled and has a lot of intangibles that will help him succeed. I believe he will make a positive impact on his team and I’m excited to see his successes this season.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 198cm forward that can do a lot on court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player which guy would best fit the description
You’re a guy that can score, rebound the ball and can facilitate well for the teammates. What other strengths does your game incorporate that you will use this season to help the team achieve success?
I will use my leadership, defensive skills and whatever else the team needs me to do to help the out this year. I’m looking to come in and do what it takes to win and that’s my mindset wherever I’m playing.
What kind of role do you envision having with PS Karlsruhe? Similar to Rotterdam where you did a bit of everything on the offensive end?
I believe I’ll have opportunities to do a bit of everything, but I don’t think I’ll need to focus on creating on the offensive end as much as I did last season.
How do you feel have you developed further as a defensive player in the last years? Do you see yourself being able to be a type of defensive impact player?
My defense has always been a strength of mine because of my high motor and athleticism, but I definitely believe I can be an impact player on offensive and defense. My defense has improved over the years by improving my communication skills and just through experience. I’ve gotten to play against very good teams and players, and that helped me learn how to slow down certain offensive schemes or the confidence to guard anyone across from me.
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet with ease, but what do you feel is still a type of hidden strength in your game that is still off the radar for many?
As a player in general I believe I’m off the radar for many, but as far as specific strength in my game, it would be my intangible skills; little things such as diving on the floor, taking charges, bringing energy, etc.
Last season you played with the Rotterdam Challengers (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 37 games: Score-3 (17.5ppg), Reb-2 (8.7rpg), 2.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 70.6%. What did you learn about your game last season that you didn’t know about before?
Last season was really one of the first opportunities that I’ve had to be a focal point in an offense for a consistent period, so I’d say that the stats just proved what I knew and believed in already.
You have had many great games in your career, but was your 36 point explosion in the win over Leeuwarden one of your best games ever?
Yeah, as far as individual performance that was definitely my one of my best games for sure.
How tough were your first two professional seasons playing for Team Chattanooga (Eurobasket Summer League), the Sandringham Sabres (Australia-SEABL-South) and in Morocco. When you look back on this time, how do you feel did you grow as a player and person?
My first two seasons were some of the most difficult times that I’ve ever experienced in basketball and life in general. It helped me become stronger mentally and to have a more grateful approach to every season I have the opportunity to experience.
What kind of experience was it playing in Morocco? What experience off the court will you always remember for the rest of your life?
Morocco was a very difficult season on and off the court. I did get to ride a camel on the beach on my birthday, I don’t think I will forget that anytime soon.
You played at Wofford (NCAA) from 2012-2016 winning the SoCon Tournament in 2014 and 2015. Which title was the sweeter one?
Both were incredible experiences but the 2015 was a little more fun just because it was the second of the back to back and I believe I had more of an impact that year.
Wofford isn’t the most known basketball school in the States, but a school that is a fighter on a court and make the most out of it’s resources. How special was it being able to play for this school?
It was nice playing for Wofford, just being able to meet the people and teammates I’ll call my friends and family for life.
In your junior season you lost to NCAA powerhouse Duke 84-55 scoring 9 points and getting 4 rebounds. What memories do you have holding your own against 8 future NBA players. Which Duke player impressed you the most in that game?
Its always good to know I’ve played in one of the most historic stadiums in college basketball, and even better to know I played well. Jahlil Okafor impressed me that game.
As a senior you lost 78-58 to another NCAA powerhouse North Carolina once again holding your own against many future NBA players like Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson or Justin Jackson. When you look back at that game, do you feel like there was so much difference in skill level between you and guys like that?
I believe the biggest difference was their length on defense and athleticism. What I lacked in skill was made up for with effort and energy, but my game has developed a lot since then.
How did head coach Mike Young groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Young helped me a lot at Wofford. Specifically though, his high character expectations helped me learn how to be a good person and teammate.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Cameron Jackson?
You’ll have to ask the coaches on that one.
Who was the toughest opponent that you played in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe now
I’m not sure
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
I have too many guys I consider my brothers to choose 5.
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Its all a matter of opinion at the end of the day, but I believe Lebron James is the G.O.A.T
What was the last movie that you saw?
Toy Story 4
Thanks Justin for the chat.