Jaylon Pullen is an American basketball player from Dallas that has semi-pro experience. He will be part of the 2020 Howard Hoops tour in Germany. Eurobasket spoke to him about his basketball career.
Jaylon thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you held up the last months through this?
I’m currently in Dallas Texas and I’ve been pretty good just have been working and training trying to stay ready
How have you been keeping in shape best during COVID-19? Did you make a special plan so that you could train and work on your game as best as you could despite the tough times?
Best way I have been keeping in shape is not over eating and making sure I am running daily. No special plan just trying to stay active Due to some gyms being closed I’ve improvised
How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man? What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know about earlier?
Covid 19 has helped me become more aware and grateful due to the lives taken by it so far
You are from Dallas, Texas. Talk a little about your childhood. You attended W.T White high school. When did you know that you were hit with the basketball bug?
I’ve played basketball since 4th grade and have been addicted to it since. It’s always been a certain joy the game gives me and in 7th grade I was cut from my first AAU team and kind of set a fire inside of me and as I got older improving was the only thing that I wanted. High school ball was a fun experience I played all 4 years on freshmen and a little JV and was actually moved up to Varsity in the middle of my sophomore year which made me feel great for accomplishing that and made me want even more out it
When you were growing up who were your main basketball inspirations and how did they influence your game the most?
Growing up I enjoyed watching Lebron James but I’m not his size so I tended to look at guards around 6′-6’3 range like Tony Parker or Lou Williams and even Derrick Rose watching how they play the pick and roll and change pace to create their own shots
Talk a bit about the basketball experience that you have had in your life.. You played at St Gregory’s in Oklahoma for a year, but then had to depart because of family problems. How tough was this part of your life and how did you survive?
When I Had to leave school it broke me . I had no control over the situation at the time and though I had to come home to help my family I continued to play basketball and even started coaching along side a coach I once played for so that passion for the game remained in me. Bad times come and go and we managed to get through it. Seeing the game from a coaches perspective gave me more respect for the coaches I’ve had in my life
How big is the chip on your shoulder in general? Have you been one of those guys that was always doubted and haven’t had fair opportunities? How tough is it having to accept your situation and how big is your chip on your shoulder grown over time?
I wouldn’t say I didn’t have fair opportunities but I did feel doubted and that’s normal it’s basketball but I tried using that to fuel me because I love to play and I wasn’t going to let criticism stop me from playing growing up and being older now it’s just about showing I know what I’m doing when I play
You have had semi-professional experience in Dallas under Torrance Moody. What kind of experience was that for you? Could you get any positives from that?
When I First Started playing semi pro it was a good feeling it was nice being back on the floor and playing in games against good basketball players some of them are pros now so I think it helped me a lot seeing the other levels you could possibly reach and seeing what others hard work got them …I just think to myself …Why Not Me!?
There are so many guys in the States playing semi-pro ball that could play at higher levels. What has bene the toughest aspect of having to accept having to have gone this route for years?
Taking this route wasn’t by choice but god has plans for everyone even if it includes basketball or not but it’s so many people I know and I’m sure others may know people that could be playing somewhere and but one thing that’s tough to accept is I didn’t finish school completely basketball wise and I feel that could hurt me but then again what’s life without hope?
Currently you also have been coaching in Dallas. What kind of experience has that been and if a professional career doesn’t work out, could you imagine getting more involved with coaching down the road?
Coaching has been great and I’ve learned a lot from it and from other coaches I’ve met. If a professional career didn’t happen I’d still coach definitely. Being a player you spend a lot of time on self improvement to help your team of course and coaching gives you the chance to not only help your team get better but also watch them grow as individuals and that’s great to me personally
Let’s talk a bit about your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
I honestly don’t compare my game to anyone else’s but I do watch certain players like Bradley Beal or CJ MCollum always trying to find new moves
What are the biggest strenghs in your game and on what parts of your game have you been working on most now so you can continue to improve as a player?
Growing up I’ve always been a shooter but as I’ve gotten older I’ve stressed to pace myself and ball handling focusing on being able to get to my spots
You will be taking part at the Howard Hoops Tour in August. How excited are you to play in Germany and how hungry are you to show everyone that you have game?
I’m very excited to not only play in Germany but be in Germany and I’m anxious to get out there. This is a big opportunity so I look to make the most of it
I first saw Ron on Instagram and he happened to follow me and I seen he was a coach and I messaged him after he posted about a tour to Dominican Republic and I talked it over with my coaches in Dallas and my family and everyone told me to go and roll the dice and after meeting him and being trained by him and going 10-0 in DR and ended up going back thanks to Ron so I had to see what this Germany tour would be like because he knows what he’s doing
Ronald Howard has a great track record of helping players find jobs. How aware are you that you have a real golden opportunity to get a job because of him?
I am very aware I have a great chance to get a job because of him and all I can do is do my part and hear him out to succeed in the areas I want to succeed in
You have met Ronald Howard and trained with him. He truly cares for the best for his players. How have you gone to appreciate him as a coach and person the most?
I’ve appreciated him since I landed in DR on Day 1 because it’s all about basketball yes but he also tries helping each player he meet grow as a individual and I’ve seen first hand so not only player to coach he has my respect and appreciation but man to man as well
With what kind of personal expectations are you heading into the Howard Hoops tour? What kind of player will we see in Jaylon Pullen?
Personal expectations are to play hard every second and focus on making plays for the team and be a team player
Who was the toughest player that you ever faced on the playground or in a gym that has been in the NBA?
I personally have never played against anyone that’s been in the NBA I bet you’d learn a thing or 2 if you have though
Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of 4 heads past or present.
My Mount Rushmore would be Lebron James Kobe Bryant Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson
Where were you when you heard of the death of Kobe Bryant? How did he influence you the most when you were growing up as a kid?
I was at a basketball tournament when I found out Kobe died and it changed everyone’s mood that day. .Kobe’s work ethic is what made him different so always try to maintain a good work ethic
Why isn’t Kobe mentioned in the standard conversation of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
Kobe is brought up nonstop where I live so all 3 will forever have that conversation between them
Will you be following the NBA restart? Do you feel like we could see a surprise winner this season with all the drama that has happened with COVID-19?
I will definitely watch the NBA when it’s back and it’s surely a chance something crazy can happen due to what’s going on with Covid 19 so I wouldn’t be surprised
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last Movie I saw was The Old Guard
Thanks Jaylon for the chat