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 Jaleen on reaching the 2020 BBL finals. How does it feel ousting Ulm in comparison to ousting FC Bayern Munich?
ULM played really hard through out the 2 games and you can tell they wanted to win just as much as us to get to the finals.
How strange was it for you personally entering a do or die game where no team had won or lost the game?
The feeling was we were just playing another basketball game and we always playing to win the game.
Ratiopharm Ulm led 24-16 after one quarter and had a good lead in the second quarter, but Ludwigsburg finally came back to cut it to 4 points. Why did it take Ludwigsburg so long to finally find a better rhythm?
We just got our defense started and we started running more on offense and that got us started on offense.
The MHP Riesen led by 2 after 3 quarters. Did you sense at this time that the game was turning in your direction and Ulm was reeling a bit and were unsure?
Yes after our 2nd half start I got a sense that we got them on the ropes and we didn’t look back since.
The turning point came in the first minutes of the fourth quarter as you went on a 9-3 run with 3 three’s to totally shift the game in your direction. The three hadn’t been falling well up to that time. Do you believe like the basketball God was a bit more fan of Ludwigsburg than Ulm on this day?
Of course, they wanted us to advance and do something special this season. I just thank my God for allowing us to be where we are.
Then with ratiopharm Ulm treading water, along comes Marcos Knight who puts on the exclamation point with 7 unanswered points. Even if you don’t win the final is Marcos Knight the 2020 MVP of the BBL?
Yes for sure he’s been doing something special man. I never seen a guard like him averaging a double double through out a league playoffs. The stats are crazy.
What do you feel was John Patrick’s biggest strength on this day? What did you appreciate most about him on this night?
He just lets us play. He knows we will bring it on defense. On offense, he will let us do whatever we want. Which is relaxing for any player that plays.
You had another solid game netting 14 points, 4 assists and 2 steals, but shot 1/5 from outside. Will you get up some extra shots in the next days before the Alba Berlin series?
No matter a great shooting game or bad shooting game I’m always going to be in the gym working and perfecting my craft.
The final opponent will be Alba Berlin. You were 1-1 against them. How excited are you to be playing them?
I’m really excited to play against them. We owe those guys from the group playing during the tournament.
Is it a special feeling playing against a guy like Peyton Siva? You were a senior in high school in Freeport in 2013 when he won the NCAA title with Louisville. Did you exchange any words in the other two meetings you had this season?
Yeah, I remember watching him in the NCAA tournament the year they won the championship and now playing against him is crazy. Just shows what kind of level of basketball I’m playing at.
Alba Berlin play beautiful basketball and Ludwigsburg effective defensive basketball. What kind of series can we await?
Well expect a DOGFIGHT. We will try and be as physical as we can with them and try and slow their offense down. I’m just ready for the match-up with those guys.
The hotel is getting very empty now. Does this give you even more time and opportunity to really be locked down and get ready in your own way for the final?
With the hotel being empty, its weird just having 2 teams in this place.
Thanks Jaleen for the chat.