2019 NBA Champion Jordan Loyd(KK Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd) Learned That You Need The Mentality That Nothing Is Promised In The NBA

Jordan Loyd is a 27 year old 193cm guard from Milton, Georgia that completed his fourth professional season and first with Valencia Basket averaging 12.8ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 84.3% in the ACB and 11.1ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 77.4% in the Euroleague. He will play his 5th professional season with KK Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd In 2018-2019 he split time with the Toronto Raptors (NBA) playing 12 games averaging 2.4ppg, and played also with the Raptors 905 Missisauga (NBA G League) playing 42 games averaging 22.5ppg, 6.1rpg, 6.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 86.0%. In the 2017-2018 season he played with Hapoel Eilat (Israel-Winner League) playing 38 games: Score-4 (17.4ppg), 4.9rpg, 3.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 86.0%. He played his rookie season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League): playing 52 games averaging 14.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 86.8%. He began his basketball career at Milton High School and also played with the Georgia Netburners (AAU). He began his career at Furman in 2011 and played 2 seasons there. He then played at the University of Indianapolis (NCAA2) from 2013-2016 and as a senior played 29 games averaging 20.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 50.1%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 85.8%.He spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus as he was still in Valencia, Spain waiting to see what would happen with the season.

Thanks Jordan for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?

I always try to be positive. I always look at the situation and think it could be worse. There are a lot of people who are struggling during this. I just always try to make the best of it. Some days are better than others. I just go day by day.

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?

No. I had seen what had happened in China and people around the world didn’t take it seriously. It was tough to know what would happen. It was something new for everyone. I never imagined that this would put the world on pause.

How have you experienced the day to day life in Valencia? Spain was hit hard. What things did you notice in public where you knew right away that something wasn’t right?

As soon as we had some games without fans, I knew that it was serious. Then when the lock down came, I knew that it was very serious.

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing

I have always been aware of my surroundings and how to handle myself being taught to cover my mouth when I cough. Nothing changed for me when the virus came because I was already doing it. People started to wear masks and gloves, but I didn’t overreact. I have always practiced good sanitation. People need to do this after the virus is over.

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. Many countries are only postponed instead of cancelled including the ACB and Euroleague. How confident are you that you will be playing again?

It is hard to comment on this because I don’t know. All I can say is that us players all want to play again. I was out 2 months before the virus came am I’m really itching to play. But at the same time we know that health comes first and want everyone to be safe as well. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?

It’s tough. As a player you want to play for the fans. Fans get you going and drive you to play your best. Not playing in front of fans isn’t ideal, but at the same time we have to deal with it. We just have to stay as positive as we can with the situation.

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?

Just stay mentally positive and have a daily routine. I work out every day and find other things I can do to occupy my time. I have never been much of a reader, but in these times have found my time reading more. Also I have seen myself check up on people more. Usually I’m so busy with life. I am more of a perspective person now and just try to be a better person and grow as a man.

How have been coping with being so far away from home from family. Do you have a daily routine where you stay in contact with everyone?

I talk to my mom, dad, grandparents, sister and girlfriend each day. I work out in my apartment and on the terrace and watching TV and playing video games. I also have had a lot more time being able to work on my flexibility and stretching more. 

The whole world economy is going to be effected. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?

I know that with this profession you never know what to expect. I’m used to this because my professional route has helped me cope with the unknown and I can only control what I can.

If you had to name another player besides guys from Valencia that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?

Mostly ex teammates and guys from school, but not on a regular basis. 

How has your approach to family changed since the outbreak of Corona? What things have you seen yourself do that you may not have done before?

I’m a big family man. Family is the most important in my life. I have taken more time through all of this of having longer conversations with family members than in the past. I have already planning trips to visit everyone.

You were teammates with Greg Monroe last season in Toronto. You won the first meeting at home against FC Bayern Munich 82-56. What kind of a feeling was it like playing against him in Europe?

It was cool playing against Greg again. We built up a pretty good friendship in Toronto last season. He showed a lot of love and support for me last season. It wasn’t too cool though how he blocked my shot. But all in all he has had a career that we all strive to have. I tried to learn as much as I could from him with Toronto. He is a good dude.

Your playing your first season with Valencia Basket (ACB). After having a great G-League season last season and playing in the NBA and winning the title with the Toronto Raptors, your back in Europe again. After having so much success last season why did you chose against trying for the NBA again and returning to Europe?

I was in my second year and had a 2 way deal. I felt that I had nothing more to prove at the G-League level. I always wanted to play in the Euroleague. I feel being able to play in the Euroleague has made me more diverse and marketable. I wanted to show everyone that I can play at that level and believe I have proved it this year. Being able to play Euroleague has given me another box to check.

Two years ago you were the third best scorer in the Israeli Winner League with Hapoel Eilat and last season played in the States. How has your game developed in the last year and how is Jordan Loyd a different player now then when he played in Israel?

Last year playing in the G-League and NBA was my first real chance of getting professional individual work on a consistent level. I was able to work on my skills better and it really opened my eyes to a new world of basketball. Having the work outs, drills and playing in the NBA on a day to day basis really helped me better my game and transform it into this season. I was raw going into Israel a few years ago, but coming into this season, I had more experience at a high level and just saw a lot. I didn’t come to Valencia overwhelmed, but prepared.

Valencia is currently in 7th place in the ACB and in 11th place in the Euroleague and with chances of reaching the post season. How can one judge now where the journey will go after such a long break should the leagues start up again?

It’s tough not knowing what would have happened had the season not stopped. We are definitely in a good position to make the playoffs in both competitions. That has been our goal all a long. We have shown a lot of fight and promise and have showed that we can play with anyone. We will see what happens. I’m glad that we were playing well leading up to the break.

How refreshing has it been having only two Americans on the team and playing with so many different nationalities. How do you feel has your team play improved just with being around so many different kind of players and characters?

It’s great having so many different guys on the team from different countries and to see how they all play different. A lot of those guys have played Euroleague before and I just tried to fit in and learn as much as possible.. All of us have different ways of playing and it did take some time to mesh together, but when we did it was special. 

How beneficial has it been for you being able to play with highly talented and big time veterans Joaquin Colom and Sam Van Rossom? How have their games shone a positive light on your game?

They have been great. I had long talks with them at the beginning and they have me useful insight to how game is played in Spain. I followed their lead. I definitely want to have a career like they have. They helped me quickly make a smooth transition and it has been a lot of fun playing with them. They are great guys.

You have been a very dominant scorer which you showed in the NCAA2 at Indianapolis, in Israel and the G-League. You haven’t been able to do that this season because Valencia is stacked with so many scoring options. Do you feel like patience and decision making has really benefited your play with this team?

Having so many scoring options has given me a new outlook of how each player is different. That has helped me able to adapt to any style of play. 

Your also shooting your best from downtown since your senior year at Indianapolis shooting over 40% in the ACB and Euroleague. Has your stellar shooting this season been a combination of reps, shot selection and having good teammates or have you changed something up on mechanics?

I didn’t change any of my mechanics. I just put up a lot of reps last summer. That helped me transition into this season. I think what also helped me a lot was that I was able to extend my range. I was forced to shoot from very far away in the NBA. But I also have to credit my teammates for doing a really good job getting me the ball in good positions. I also have been able to make quick decisions. I am shooting the ball with a lot of confidence now.

Last season you played with the Raptors 905 Missisauga (NBA G League) averaging 22.5ppg, 6.1rpg, 6.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 86.0%.Was it weird playing your first NBA game before even playing in the G-League? What memories do have from the loss against the Milwaukee Bucks?

It was more of a surreal moment. When I checked in, I remembered that the NBA was always a dream of mine. It was like a flash and then it happened. I was very nervous, but at the same time so excited to finally do something that I had always dreamed of. Having this type of milestone is really cool. 

You went back and forth playing in the G-League and NBA last season. How challenging was it always being prepared and what did you learn about yourself last season that helped you play a successful season?

This goes back to the unknown. I was in the G-league and you never know when you might get called up. You have to always be prepared for the call up. I didn’t know when it would happened so all I could do was stay calm. When your in the NBA, you have to be able to do what the teams needs you to do. If it means getting in a game or just being a good practice player, you always have to remain mentally strong, because you will have your ups and downs. 

You had two triple doubles last season in the G-League against Windy City and FT Wayne .How much meaning did these performances mean to you? Were these two games a good example that you are truly a versatile player?

Yes I think so. I want to be show everyone my skills and that I’m able to run a team and get all involved. I also have been able to show that I can be a scorer and rebounder. I just want to be able to do a bit of everything. My knock has always been that I couldn’t play the point guard position. It was questionable the last years, but last year I proved I can be a point guard and that was very special. 

You played 12 games and won a NBA title despite not playing in the playoffs. Is it tough mentally justifying the fact that you didn’t play minutes during the playoffs?

I was very lucky that I was in the right place at the right time. It is hard not playing in the playoffs especially when you get so much praise and congrats of winning the NBA title. I just continue to reassure myself knowing that I was part of the team and contributed in practice was part of the team and that was a feat. I credit the whole team because they are the reason I have a ring. 

What kind of experience was it soaking up basketball from veteran Kawhi Leonard and rising star Fred Van Vleet? How did these guys influence your game best?

I played against Freddy when in the D-League when I was a rookie. It was cool playing against him then and then being teammates. It is amazing to see how he grew and developed in only a few years. He played amazing in the finals. He has an awesome own unique game. His journey has been similar to mine. That gives me hope that anything is possible. He is a real bull dog and has that ‘I don’t care mentality. It was fun being his teammate. I have never seen a player like Kawhi. His work ethic is crazy. He is so poised and is never too high or too low. The way he works hard each day shows what it takes to get to his level. I really cherished being teammates with him. 

What did you learn about the NBA that shows that it will always be a business before anything else?

The main thing is probably guys coming and going all the time. You constantly see great coaches having to go or good players leave in mid season. The owners treat it as a business. Players also need to see and understand that it is a business first. The fluctuations and changes are crazy. You need to have the mentality that nothing is promised. 

You played your first season overseas with Hapoel Eilat (Israel-Winner League) playing 38 games: Score-4 (17.4ppg), 4.9rpg, 3.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 86.0%. What was your wake up call to being in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?

My time in Israel was amazing. A wake up call was the 8 hour time difference. I liked that a good amount of the people spoke English. The food was different from what I was used to, but it was good. It was amazing traveling around Israel and seeing cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I always tell my family that I would vacation in Israel in a heart beat.

How cool was it being teammates with ex NBA player and ex Wisconsin (NCAA) stand out player Alando Tucker who retired 6 games after the season started. Was he a guy that you were able to easily bond with?

Alando was a good dude. He was at the end of his career. He gave me a lot of important knowledge and awareness of the things I needed to focus on. He was such a polished player as were all the other Americans. I bonded very well with him

As a rookie you played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League) playing 52 games averaging 14.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 86.8%. You put up extremely consistent stats there. Did you ever feel like you were close to a NBA call up?

I never thought as a rookie that I was close to a NBA call up like I was last year with Toronto. I had come from division 2 and still had a lot of work on improving my game. But I felt I did a good job as a rookie leading the team to the playoffs.

You began your NCAA career at Furman where you played a total of 28 games between 2011-2013. What do you remember from these two years and could you gain anything positive from it?

I feel the best thing out of my experience at Furman was the people that I met. Also coach Jackson was great as well.

You then moved to the University of Indianapolis (NCAA2) where you made a huge impact improving your stats each season. What kind of transformation did your game take there and how did your game develop as a senior where you averaged 20.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 50.1%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 85.8%

I think that me becoming that player as a senior just happened. I was a late bloomer. I had a great coach and teammates around me. I was comfortable and was able to get going. Of course I had to prove myself at the start, but after that everything fell into place. I was lucky to have competitive practices and teammates that always pushed me. That helped me better myself. I also knew early on that I could become a professional player one day which helped me push myself as well. 

You lost your last NCAA 2 game to Ferris State 89-87 despite dropping 35 points. Is this a game that you can still watch today or is that a game you can’t watch?

I don’t think that I ever watched that game. Despite losing that game, I don’t believe that I went out on a sad note, but on a high note. My family was at the game which was important. I wouldn’t have a problem watching that game today again. 

How did head coach Stan Gouard groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

I don’t even know where to start with coach Gouard. He was a true players coach. He was tough on you, but also positively encouraged you to become better. He gave me the feeling that I was the guy. He was a huge mentor in my life.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Joe Retic?

Joe was a crazy isolation player then. He was big time. I actually won’t take myself, but give it to my boy. Back in the day he had more isolation skills then I. I would of beat everyone else on the team.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?

Finding a player you might know is tough. I will say Bellarmine was always tough to play as a team.

Please name your personal NBA Rushmore of past and present players?

Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

It was crazy. I was hurt and in a restaurant watching Valencia play. I was there with teammate Mike Tobey and he asked me if I had heard about Kobe. First I figured he had done something great, but when I heard about his death a tear rolled down my cheek instantly. I never met him, but he was my favorite player. I wore #8 as a kid and wore #8 last year. I idolized him. If I could meet one person it would have been him and Barack Obama. Kobe impacted so many lives without people even knowing it. Seeing his Mamba Mentality is really all you needed to be strong

The debate seems to favor Jordan James of who is the best of all-time, but where does Kobe Bryant fit into the equation?

For me the best will always be Kobe. I think when all is said and done Lebron will have the Jordan type numbers. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Primal Fear.

Thanks Jordan for the chat.

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