Jordan Theodore(Unics Kazan) You Can´t Live In Fear Of The Coronavirus But Just Be Smart

Jordan Theodore is a 30 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his seventh professional season and began with Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey BSL) averaging 13,8ppg, 2,8rpg and 6,8apg in the Turkish league and 11,8ppg, 2,8rpg and 5,6apg. He recently moved to Unics Kazan and currently is averaging 10,3ppg, 4,5rpg and 7,7apg in the VTB and 8,7ppg, 2,2rpg and 4,8apg in the Eurocup. 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 eurobasket during the coronavirus crisis.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jordan Theodore in Bonn, Germany in 2019

Hi Jordan Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?

I’m in Kazan, Russia. I’m good and happy that I’m healthy. My family is also good and safe. My first priority that all are safe and healthy.

Has this been a time where you have had contact to other players over social media, whats app and possibly with people you didn’t have so much contact in the past just trading stories and advice about this tough time?

Yes definitely. I have been able to be closer to my teammates in this time. I also have been talking to friends who are playing in other countries. Every one wants to know the others situation. Each situation is different. It is a very weird time at the moment. I’m making the best of it.

What has been the day to day schedule for you and the club. Many teams took the weekend off and resumed individual practices this week. How has it been for you?

We had off from Friday to Monday. We got back to work on Monday. We are still having normal team practices. The virus hasn’t hit Kazan yet. We have a quarantine three times a day at our practice facilities. Everything is cleaned and wiped down. These are safety precautions for all. We practice each day at 12 noon for an hour or an hour and a half and that’s it. Coach isn’t killing us in practice. I feel safe here. The scariest places for me now are airports. My wife is well and safe in Turkey. My first born is due to arrive in the first week of May.

How is the current state in Russia with the Corona Virus. In some places it’s better and in other places worse. Does something like this put fear into you?

I don’t have fear. I predicted that this would happen. I started getting people ready in January as it got known that it had hit China. I’m young and healthy. As long as I don’t put myself in harms way, I will be ok. I am making sure not to be around many people, always wash my hands and not touch my face. There hasn’t been many infections in Russia. It’s somewhere around 60. I feel pretty safe in Kazan. Many people here are doing their regular routine. I really care for my safety because you can never know what may happen.

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?

It began as a virus in China and it didn’t surprise me. China is a huge country with many airports and many people flying in and out of China each day. It is hard to stop a virus spreading when you have so many people traveling around the world. I told my family at the beginning of the virus that it would get worse. I travel so much that I know what’s it like being at an airport. You get on a plane and right away you see people coughing. Plus all the touching that goes on. There are too many people and it’s just easy to get infected. 

How have you experienced the day to day life in Kazan during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?

I have began to see it having more of an effect here even if the coronavirus hasn’t hit here. People are cautious and want to be prepared. I saw that there have been more things being bought in supermarkets than usual here. People have been taking the right precuations here. Russia was one of the first places to put that travel ban into effect. People aren’t stupid here. We are watching the news and are aware of what is happening. You can’t live in fear of the coronavirus.

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing?

I limit myself being around other people. I hardly leave home except for going to the gym and supermarket. Russia is big on shaking hands, but at the moment people are limiting it. My teammates are doing the same as me with limiting contacts. If I want to go to a restaurant then only to one’s that aren’t crowded. Being at home for weeks is tough. You can’t live in fear Of the coronavirus but just be smart.

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. How do you see the situation of playing games without fans?

I played a game in front of no fans. We had a very important Eurocup game in Monaco for first place and got our butts kicked. It was a tough game playing without fans. Fans are important and it sucks playing without them. Fans bring out the best in you. 

Do you fear that the coronavirus could really have a huge effect on the next player transfer period with salaries possibly taking a huge dip?

The market will get worse, but it will effect the lower budget teams more than teams with higher budgets. Player salaries will take a dip. Teams don’t want to pay their players now, but our contracts are guaranteed This coronavirus wasn’t in the hands of the players. I just hope we can get around to finishing the season. 

You played your last game on March 7 beating N Novgorod steering 21 points and 6 assists. Will this be a game that you will remember for a long time as basketball then completely shut down.

That could possibly have been my last game of this season. It sucks, because I just got to Unics Kazan 2 months ago. I feel really good with this organization. This is a place that feels like home. This is the perfect time of the season for us. We are all healthy and clicking and now this. 

You already had a tough season starting in Turkey with Besiktas and then going to Russia to Kazan. How tough is it having to abruptly end the season and never being able to know where the season may have ended?

It is tough. I try not to think about it. The most important thing is that we continue to get better as a team and I continue to get better as a player. We are focusing not if the season will continue but when it will continue. That is our goal. This period now is a time when you can work on many things. You never get a big break like this at this point of a season. You can get healthy, work hard on the game and return stronger. We have gotten word that the VTB league will resume play on April 10th again.

You never played CSKA Moscow in your 6 games. They were the favorite, but Unics Kazan had 7 very skilled Americans. Do you feel like you could have had a very good chance of challenging CSKA for the title?

I feel that we can beat anyone. When we are healthy we can beat everyone. We have great players and a great coaching staff. The club did a good job putting together the pieces. We have the potential to make a run. 

You began the season in Turkey with Besiktas. You came back from a long injury and put up pretty good stats. Just your three wasn’t falling like in the past. After a while players began to leave the organization. In the end the only American left was Toddrick Gotcher. What happened in a short span of time that so many left?

Coach Dusko had been with Besiktas a year and a half. We were up and down, but were starting to play better, but then he got a offer from Euroleague team Baskona and left. Management also changed and they told me that they weren’t sure if they could still pay me. So I left. There were no hard feelings. It was a business deal foremost. I have a lot of love for Besiktas. Coach Dusko and I left on the same day even though we had no idea of it. Many other guys left to. James Mcadoo got a good situation with Partizan and Shaquille Mckissic got a great deal form Olympiakos. 

How proud were you of ex teammate Shaquille Mckissic who reached the Euroleague with Greek team Olympiakos Pirus? Why did it take him longer to reach the top?

Every situation is different and it isn’t easy getting to the top.His hardworking caught up with perfect timing. He had a good season with Besiktas and earned it. This was his break out. He has had good seasons in the past and has been able to put up good numbers vs top teams. He is a hard worker. It isn’t often that a coach will tell you to be yourself. He has gotten that trust form his coach. I think that he can stay at that level. He just needs guys to believe in him.

You moved to Unics Kazan and put up respectable stats. How did you experience the Russian culture and what did you enjoy most about your short time there?

I really enjoy my teammates. We have a group of guys that are mature and have been around the game and know how to win and work hard each day. This club has no flaws. I have been waiting a long time to be able to play for an organization like this. This club put together the pieces and wants to win. Kazan is a nice city. The people are nice and there are nice restaurants. But it is cold as hell here. 

How much easier did Errik Mccollum make your job and is he the prime example of a walking bucket?

He is definitely a walking bucket. He knows how to score and is flat out a scorer. He can shoot, get to the rim and draw fouls. 

How would you summarize your season on the court? How content were you with your play in Turkey and Russia despite coming back from a long injury and having to change teams. How far are you away from the Jordan Theodore of old?

I’m back. I can’t wait to get back on to the court. I’m 100% healthy, have my lift back, am shooting better and am dunking again.

Would it be easier or more difficult to get motivated to get into the lab each day to keep working on your game after not having a chance to get rewarded with a title with all the work you put in in the last year if the season were to really end?

It would be very frustrating if the season ended after having worked so hard. We reached the top 8 in Eurocup and are tied for third place in the VTB league. But in terms of getting back into the gym to continue to work on your game isn’t difficult. As a professional player it is our job to be able to feed our family. My motivation will always be there. I don’t need motivation. You go sign a new contract and have a new focus again.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 12 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

We had just beat Zenit and were in St Petersburg at the airport. I was talking with my teammates Raymar Morgan Jamar Smith, Alex Tyus, Erik Mccullum and Jamil Wilson. When we heard the news we were shocked and were in silence. We began to search if it was fake news. Kobe bRyant was our Michael Jordan. He was the goat. He was fearless and everyone wanted to be like him. He saved a lot of us. Kobe was everything for me. He was on a way to a game to do something he loves. He had a major effect on my life and had a big influence on me

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?

March Madness is a time to show your worth in front of many scouts. These kids work hard all year long and it’s really unfortunate that it got cancelled. My school Seton hall ahd a good season and would have been a thecan control your own destine by grinding hard each day third or forth seed. It is unfortunate that Miles Powell can’t show his worth. The tournament would have helped his draft stock. You just can’t control some things. These kid’s next focus should be to continue to stay in the gym and get better. The NCAA is a time where you work hard on becoming a pro. You can control your own destiny and keep grinding each day to reach your goals.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was Harriet.

Thanks Jordan for the chat.

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