Jaleen Smithbis a 25 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. Last season he played with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) averaging 12,7ppg, 3,9rpg and 2,7apg. In his rookie season with Heidelberg he averaged 7,6ppg, 2,8rpg and 2,9apg. He had a stellar four year career with New Hampshire (NCAA) from 2013-2017 where he played a total of 120 NCAA games. He improved his scoring, rebounding and assists average each season and as a senior he played 32 games averaging 15.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 78.1%. He is conducting a special diary from the BBL tournament in Munich with germanhoops.com
A tough 97-89 loss against Alba Berlin. The MHP Riesen played their hearts out, but ran a bit out of steam and gave up 2 late three’s. How good of a test was this game for the upcoming series against FC Bayern Munich?
Yeah playing against Berlin is always tough. They are a really good team and going against them is a great test before we play Munich.
Congrats on a very solid 3-1 record and being able to reach the knock out round. How important was it having a mix of being able to win some tight games as well as being able to register a blow out?
Winning those tight games always brings out your teams character and we have shown a lot of character through out the year winning games like that. Plus winning big in some games shows how we are as well.
What has been the secret to the success of the MHP Riesen in Munich? You lost some key players, but also got some solid players with Myers and Nixon and why does it seem like the team didn’t have to really get adjusted to the conditions?
We just have a bunch of guys that are hungry and want to win. We play fearless no matter who the other team is and what players they have. Were going to play our game no matter what.
Zamal Nixon said this about you recently. ‘I met Jaleen a few times because he came to Heidelberg to watch some games during the season. He’s a great guy & it’s definitely cool to share the backcourt with someone who’s grinding their way to the first league through the lower leagues. I always have a different level of respect for those guys because I know first hand how hard it is’. How important has it been for you to have a vet like Zamal knowing he began in lower leagues like you?
He brings the experience of playing in Europe to our team. Also coming from. Heidelberg in Ludwigsburg is a great change. I have experienced it and its great to see someone from the same team as me get the opportunity to play at a high level in Germany.
The MHP Riesen now face FC Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals. You won the only contest of the season 81-74. Is the confidence level at a healthy level and how aware is the team that they could make an upset?
Everyone knows that they are Bayern, big name, but like I said before no matter the team or what players they have we are going to play our game and stick with it.
How much weaker is an FC Bayern Munich when Greg Monroe isn’t on the floor? Could him not being present make the difference for you having a very good chance of advancing?
Greg Monroe was a big part of their offense during the year but he wasn’t the only guy who can contribute. They have a lot of guys that can shoot so we have to be careful of not underestimating them during these 2 games.
FC Bayern Munich haven’t played their best basketball in the last week and are beatable. What kind of series can we await and what will be key to advancing?
Were going to have a dogfight with those guys. The keys for us during the series is not allowing their shooters to get open looks and limiting the post guys from getting easy touches inside.
Please give a brief summary of the last week living in a hotel with 10 other teams. Did you make any new friends and how often did you visit the game room?
Living with the other teams in a hotel has been good. I have talked with a couple of the players from different teams. Everyone is just happy to play basketball again and to finish the season off. I have only visited the game room once since I’ve been here. I have my own game room in my hotel room haha.
When you were at New Hampshire (NCAA), guys like Jordan Crawford and Archie Goodwin were in the NBA. Are you in awe when you see them walking around or are they just normal players like everyone else?
Just seeing guys like that makes me even hungrier because those guys been there and now there here in a great league. Just goes to show you it doesn’t matter what level you’re at in college you can get to the top. Everyone just has a different route to get there.
Corona has been a tough time for the world. What did you learn in this time that you feel made you stronger as a man?
I have been spending all my time with family and friends. I learned to enjoy the little things in life rather than the bigger picture because basketball won’t always be there for me but my family will be. So just spending more time with them is key.
Do you feel like the younger generation may have different feelings about who is the GOAT after watching the ‘Last Dance’ or do you feel like many still hinge toward Lebron James?
Yes personally for me I have a lot more respect for Jordan and the 1998 Bulls because of the distraction they had during the season from Scottie demanding a trade to the GM of the Bulls not bringing back the Head coach and some the players for the next season no matter if they win a championship or not. I just think the GOAT conversation is forever going to happen between LeBron, Jordan and Kobe.
Thanks Jaleen for the chat.