Adam Waleskowskiis a 37 year old 203m forward from Ohio that is in his 15th season and has the German Citizenship and is playing with BG Goettingen after starting the season with the Fraport Skyliners. He has played most of his career in Germany having played parts of 11 seasons there including 8 seasons in the easyCredit BBL where he has played a total of 241 games and also has experience playing 24 Eurocup games and 38 Basketball Champions League games. He played in Ehingen and Duesseldorf and 5 seasons in Ludwigsburg. He also played in countries like France, Cyprus, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The ex Florida State (NCAA) player spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis.
Hi Adam 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 Goettingen at the moment. At the beginning, I wasn’t following the whole Coronavirus so much because I had teammates like Alex Ruoff who kept me informed, but naturally after the BBL stopped the league, I started to follow it more. I became more precautious and followed the safety guidelines and began to avoid contact to people more
Your enjoy walking your dog Barry. How important are these walks for your mental health? What things are foremost on your mind?
Yes it is very beneficial for my mental health having this time with my dog. I like to get into the open and get fresh air and soak up sunlight and get vitamin D. There is this creek that runs behind my apartment that flows into a pond about a kilometer away. I like walking with Barry there and see the ducks. It takes my mind off the global panic and try to process all the information. It is nice to get away.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
No I didn’t. At first I didn’t think that there would be such serious consequences. But now I have really started to worry about the older people. I have to realize that my parents belong to that risk category. I hope that there will be enough infrastructure for all in the hospitals.
How have you experienced the day to day life in Goettingen 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?
At first there was a lot of talk about the Coronavirus and nothing to crazy going on, but since the BBL stopped play about 10 days ago, I started to feel it. Now real measures have taken place with restaurants and schools having closed down. You also started seeing less people on the streets.
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
Yes I began to get the need to become more aware of just how close I could get to other people. I began avoiding people more and started to wash my hands a lot more. A big adjustment for me has been not touching my face. I like touching my nose and hair.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the BBL. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
From a BG Goettingen team perspective this league stoppage couldn’t have come at a worse time. We were on a steak having won something like 8 of our last 10 games. We had a very good streak going and then suddenly everything stopped. On a personal level, this season has been a struggle. Since coming back to Goettingen all was finally good and I had played the last two games well. I stepped in for the Alex who was injured and for Dylan who missed a game. This could possibly be my last season and I didn’t want it to end my career this way. I will just have to see and wait what happens in the next months.
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. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?
Not having fans in the arena to cheer totally defeats the purpose. I think if it was like the NBA broadcasts then we could play without the fans and let them watch from home, but there are many guys also not comfortable playing without fans as well as playing against other guys where they don’t know if they have been in contact with people who might have the virus. I also think that a game without fans has that practice like vibe and just isn’t as competitive. For fans it’s a good thing to get some entertainment and get their mind off the BS that they have had during the day.
What are your expectations when you get back to the States? Apparently the USA knew of the dangers of Corona in January/February, but President Trump didn’t do much
I think that the whole process of getting home will be difficult. It will be a pain in the butt to get back home. Once I get there I will have to keep to myself and be isolated. I don’t think that they will be able to close the whole country because of it’s size.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
I have realized in this time that there are a lot of people struggling worldwide with having to be away from other people on a daily basis. I think that when everything gets back to normal, I will know how to deal with people better who are having a bad day. I will treat them with respect and be a good person
Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
Yes it will. I will continue to observe how the world safety is progressing in the next months. There are other priorities now for clubs like trying to deal with how to survive. As a player you have to stay focused and be ready for the next season. If it were to start earlier then you have to make the adjustment. It may also mean making adjustments on the fly.
The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?
To be honest I haven’t thought too much about it yet since the BBL stopped play only 10 days ago. I’m 37 years old and near the end of my career, but it would still suck to end my career like this. I have a different kind of mindset then a 24 or 25 year old who still have their careers ahead of them who now don’t know if the league will play next season. I know that there are many guys who wouldn’t want to have a normal job now. This will be a real strain for guys to get through this. We need to have compassion for those that are going through this.
With the Coronavirus effecting the world nobody knows what will be next. Who knows how many basketball teams will fold. It could become a much more difficult time finding a job. Have you contemplated retirement?
Yes it is something that I have thought of. Even before the Coronavirus broke, I had begun to think about the process and transition after basketball. I have been thinking about what I would do next. I have been thinking of getting into coaching. My thought process now has been altered not knowing if there will be a next season for me. It is a concern for me now, but then again something that isn’t dominating my thought process. I haven’t come to a decision if coaching will be next.
You spent this season with the Fraport Skyliners and BG Goettingen. Would I be close in saying your two biggest season highlights was your great game in the win over Crailsheim where you scored 12 points in 10 minutes and finishing the season with BG Goettingen with two wins.
Yes for sure. I played the last two games with BG Goettingen well. I played different positions in both games with the 4 and 5. They were the high points of the season. If my career were to end now, I could always say I ended my career on a high note.
Frankfurt had talent but couldn’t find consistency. What was the biggest problem the chemistry or the team not having been put together the right way?
There were a bunch of things that effected their season. It wasn’t easy for Sebastian as a first time BBL coach and then the injury plague was tough for the team. It began with Anthony Hickey getting injured right when the season started. It seemed like everyone was out at some point. Shaq was out, Mo was out as was Richie and Akeem as well. That effected the team chemistry a lot. Another problem was losing so many close games. I think one more run or basket in many games could of given the Frankfurt season a different story.
How happy were you to finally call Quantez Robertson a teammate? Can you a recall a game in your career where the guy was just a real pain in the neck?
I always hated playing against Tez. He always played like a bull dog. I remember there being multiple times during the Ludwigsburg-Frankfurt games where I really hated having to play him, but then being teammates I saw that he was a great dude and family guy. We always went to the gym together. In the past I also hated playing against Dennis Kramer and now we are teammates. He was a frustrating guy to go against because of his jamming in the paint. Now he has become a good friend. Now I enjoy watching him jam other guys.
Your turning 38 in November. How much gas do you still have in your tank and what do you believe is your biggest strength at age 37?
I feel that the willingness and motivation is still there. The thing that is frustrating now at my age are the numerous small injuries, bumps and bruises. It is an everyday thing that I’m confronted with. It was a struggle this season coping with it. I proved in the last games that I can still help a team. My biggest strength now at my age is being a vocal leader and my experience. I know my role and don’t take other guys roles. I can always help out and If I need to play more or less or not at all, it doesn’t bother me anymore.
How special of a player are you when you have been able to play for two demanding coaches like John Patrick and Johan Roijakkers?
I think that being able to play for any kind of coach comes along with being in the business for 15 years. I have the experience to be able to deal with different coaches who have different styles and learn to adapt to them. A part of the mental battle is learning how to take criticism from different coaches in different ways. I always try to learn from all my experiences.
In January you returned back to BG Goettingen for your third tour of duty. Would be fair to say that is your second home in Germany after Ludwigsburg?
Yes it felt that way. I know the surrounding area well as well as the organization and fans. I have a sense that I belong here.
You were on of the veterans with Alex Ruoff who like you has had a long and fruitful career. How special a player is he and what have you been able to appreciate you the most about his game?
Alex brings such versatility and handles the ball so well. He is a great player with a great IQ. He is able to help other players around him because he sees the game so well. When he came the team won 6 of 8 games. That shows that he had a huge impact for how the team ended.
One player I really l really like is Bennet Hundt. He doesn’t have it always easy with his height. How much potential does he have and can he help give the little man’s player some confidence?
He showed from the start that he can lead a team. All have recognized just how much potential he has. His play makes the little guy player more aware. He is very tough on the mismatch and loves to play cat and mouse. He has a good sense of the game and sees the floor well. In the last game against Hamburg he had nice drives and finishes in crunch-time. He has shown that he has the potential of becoming a top German player.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the BBL this season?
I would say Greg Monroe. He is big and long and such a skilled big man. He has such great hands and finishes well around the rim.
You have probably seen many beautiful places in your basketball career, but how did the city of Frankfurt grow on you?
Living and being in Frankfurt was nice. There were some great places around the river. I enjoyed the multi-culture feeling and the Christmas Market.
If you were to spend a day in quarantine with Quantez Robertson who would get sick of whom first?
I think Tez would get sick of me first. He wouldn’t like my music. No I’m kidding. We had a little special bond. We would travel around together a lot. But I still think that he would get sick of me first. He has no patience
Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?
Yes. If you take the current superstars in the league I would say yes. I mean there are a lot of great players like Lebron, Westbrook, Harden and Durant. I don’t follow the NBA enough so it’s hard to chose.
Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 14 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence?
I was at home when I heard that he had passed away. It was one of those ‘Oh crap’ moments. It was such a tragedy. He was such a hard worker and great athlete. To be honest I didn’t like him growing up. He didn’t have a huge impact on me. I was more into Dirk and Steve Nash. Later it was Lebron and the Cavs. I don’t watch the NBA so much. It has changed so much. I rather watch Euroleague.
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?
It is terrible that the Coronavirus has had an effect on the tournament. It is best for the safety that it was cancelled, but from a player and fan standpoint, this is one of the big times of the year. You look forward to it and the main goal in the season is to get there and then near the end it is taken away. My heart goes out to them. My advice to those kids would be to keep their heads up and look ahead and keep working hard.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Adam for the chat.