Jaleen Smith is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with the MHP Riesen. 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.
Congrats on advancing past FC Bayern Munich to reach the semi-finals. Is this the biggest achievement in your young basketball career?
This is maybe the biggest thing in my young basketball career but there is still more work to be done this next coming week. Beating FC Bayern Munich is a huge feat.
The MHP Riesen still have a long road ahead, but how did the team celebrate after? Was there any serious celebrating going on in the locker room and later at the team dinner?
We ordered dominoes as a late night snack haha. We watch the Ulm game a little bit.
How special are the MHP Riesen? You were without glue guy Hans Brase and Jonas Wolfarth Bottermann missed 10 free throws, but you still won. How big is the heart of this team?
We can do something special here. You can feel everyone is locked in and knows the task at hand and that’s to win the championship. We do a great job of just staying together no matter the situation.
FC Bayern Munich was up by 9 points at half-time. What words of wisdom did John Patrick tell the fellows at half-time?
We were down in the first game by single digits and also the second game so we knew we had to come out with a lot of energy to beat Munich in the second half.
In the second half FC Bayern Munich continued to give you problems having a lead in double figures, but you never gave up. Was the second half of basketball another great example that each player has the ‘Never give up’ as a middle name?
Yeah for sure we always just playing our brand of basketball and that’s getting stops on defense and running the fast break on offense.
The last quarter was a total dog fight. After playing FC Bayern Munich tough in the first game do you feel that you had the game already won mentally?
I feel like we had them mentally. We started getting some calls we didn’t get in the first half and it kind of got to Munich and we saw that. We just knew we had to stay together and just worry about ourselves.
With 16 seconds to and FC Bayern Munich up and with the ball, they were in the drivers seat and could win. What did John Patrick tell the team?
He told us just to stay together and we needed one more defensive stop to seal the game.
It is ironic that a big defensive play brought Ludwigsburg the win at the end? How has the Ludwigsburg team overall grown as a team on the defensive end from the first day until now?
Just like everyone does, we didn’t know what kind of defense we were running then we play in games and were buying into the system. We know that’s our calling card to winches tournament and we’re not going to forget it.
You had 18 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Was this game one of your best games as a professional considering the ramifications of the game?
I would say it’s in my top 5 games of my career especially against a team like Munich.
Does your good play against FC Bayern Munich motivate you a bit more to work even harder this summer as you may get serious offers from big teams this summer?
No matter what’s going to happen after this tournament I’ m always going to be a hard worker. I’m just built to have a great work ethic. Even after my performance against Munich, I’m not satisfied I just want more out of myself.
You next battle against ratiopharm Ulm. Will the MHP Riesen have enough gas for another great series and what will be key for advancing to the final?
We have a great training staff and they always take care of us after these games so well be ready for another great series.
You battled against ex NBA player Paul Zipser 3 times this season. He was in the NBA when you were at UNH (NCAA). Did you know about him when you were at UNH? He is a very good player, but when you see a guy like that does that motivate you mentally that you can reach any level if you continue to work hard and get some breaks?
I just go out and play basketball. No matter if they played in the league or not. This motivates me because they been their done that so I like a match up like that.
With more teams gone, the hotel is emptier. Has that allowed you to spend more time in the game room or are you totally locked in to what you will do on the court?
I’ve been totally locked into the next game. Teams start getting weaved out and the strong survive.
Thanks Jaleen for the chat.