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 eurobasket.
A tough final series loss to Alba Berlin. How tough was the high first game loss mentaly for the team? How did head coach John Patrick motivate you best for the second game?
Yeah the first game weighed on me mentally just to think we were down 20 to start the second game. We just went out played loose and just played really hard the second game.
How present will be the ‘what if’ questions this summer concerning Marcos Knight if he hadn’t been injured? How tough is never knowing just how good the MHP Riesen would have been against Alba Berlin had Marcos Knight been on board.
They’ll be there for sure but we can’t really be worried about the ‘what if’ just what we could’ve done to do better in the first game. We would’ve been better as a team with him playing with us.
The team had nothing to lose in the second game and played a lot better. What do you feel did the club learn about themselves having to play without Marcos Knight?
The reality was we didn’t have him for the series as soon as we knew that we knew we had to play a lot better.
How proud are you of the team bringing Alba Berlin to the wire despite losing 75-74? Do you feel like the team did everything right at the end with the Thomas Wimbush shot?
I’m glad we fought the second game of the series. We really wanted to play hard this game. We could’ve given up and just play everyone equal minutes but we fought hard. If I could go back in time, I would do it over again. Thats Wimbush shot and I could let him shot it every time.
The team saved the best for last allowing only 8 points in the fourth quarter and getting big plays from everyone like little used Christian Von Fintel block and from Johannes Patrick. Is this the way how you wanted to end the season?
We finished it off with what we know best and that’s with our defense. We played great the second game of the series.
You had your best game of the Munich Series with 15 points, 4 boards, 6 assists and 5 steals. You opened up the fourth quarter with 7 points in a row. How do you feel did you grow as a player in the last 3 weeks?
I have grown a lot just playing point guard and watching a lot of film on my opponent on my own. From this tournament I’m going to take the mental part of the game a lot more serious.
What was your fondest memory of the Munich tournament on and off the court where you know that you will still remember in 10 years?
Our BBQs at the hotel will be the best and our series against Munich will probably be the best on the court. You were able to make the jump from the Pro A to the easyCredit BBL without a problem-.
How is Jaleen Smith a better player in June 2020 than he was in September 2019?
I have learned a lot during the year Learning more defensively, playing a lot off the ball, etc. My mentality for the game has helped me a lot also.
What is the next step for you? You were part of a very special group of guys in Ludwigsburg. Could you imagine staying for another season or are you ready for a challenge elsewhere?
I just have to wait and see what happens these next couple of weeks to see the next thing. I can’t say at the moment what’s next for me.
On what things are you looking forward most when you return home that you hope to do now that you couldn’t do during the lock down?
Just to spend time with my family and friends that’s really it.
What will be the first eatery that you will set foot in when you return home?
As soon as I got back to the states I had chick-fi-a.
Thanks Jaleen for the chat