Marco Porcher Jimenez is a 28 year old 193cm guard that was born in Cordoba, Spain and grew up in Benalmadena Costa, Spain, but also has the American citizenship and is playing this season for Pro B team RheinStars. He began his basketball career with the well known Oak Hill Academy. He began his NCAA career in 2010 at Fairleigh Dickinson University (NCAA) playing 14 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg. He then moved to Florida International University (NCAA) in 20102 and played 3 years there amassing a total of 89 NCAA. He played his first 2 professional seasons in Spain with Lucentum Alicante (LEB Silver) playing 27 games averaging 5.7ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 71.0% and with CB Novaschool Malaga (Spain-EBA) playing 19 games averaging 11.4ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 85.5%. In 2017-2018 he played his first season in Germany with the: Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 13.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 75.4%. In 2018-2019 he played with WWU Baskets Muenster (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games averaging 6.9ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 60.5%. Last season he played with TV Ibbenbueren Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 15.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 83.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis.
Hi Marco 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?
At the moment I’m in Ibbenbueren. The team allowed me to stay here during this time since things are so much worse back home in Spain.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
Not at all! I knew it was something to be taken very seriously. But I never imagined it getting to this point.
How did you experience the day to day life in Germany during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?
My day to day here since the outbreak has been very chill. I try to keep busy with training and learning German. Other than everyone wearing masks and gloves and the social distancing, things seem pretty normal here in Germany.
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
For sure! Now I’m way more conscious about what I touch, how often I touch my face, and also washing my hands a lot more than before.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
I was pretty disappointed when they announced that the season would be canceled. My teammates and I were really looking forward to the playoffs.
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?
For the sake of finishing competitions and declaring a champion, I think this is a great idea. However, the element of the fans is one that will be missed if these ‘Ghost Games’ continue.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
Basketball wise, I’ve learned that with some creativity and effort you can really get a lot of work done when it comes to training. Really all the exercises I would normally do in a weight room can be done from home with some simple materials. I’ve also learned how small and connected the world truly is. In times like these Nationalities, race, gender, age, ect. Make no difference. We are all in this together.
Will it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
Personally this won’t be an adjustment for me. I see no disadvantages to the extra time in the off-season. I think athletes can take this time to really assess their bodies and their games and any weaknesses they have down to the smallest details. And really take this time to work on that.
The whole world economy is going to be affected including Polish basketball. 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 am pretty optimistic about things. Although the uncertainty of it all can be stressful I am trying to stay positive and focus on the things that I can control. Eventually things should be back to normal and I’ll be ready when that time comes.
How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls.
My day to day life hasn’t changed so drastically compared to others since I really love chilling at home and watching movies and things like that. But when it comes to training, not having access to a weight room and gym to shoot has been the biggest thing for me. At home I’m training pretty much everyday. I’m working a lot on my strength and flexibility thanks to an online program called ATG (check it out!), and also my explosiveness and vertical jump. Since I can’t shoot I found an old beat up basketball and I work on my ball handling a bit each day.
If you had to name another player besides guys from your team that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?
I’ve been talking to my former teammate and good friend from FIU, Juan Ferrales a lot. And also another former teammate and good friend from Spain named Joaquin Reyes.
Let’s talk about the season of Ibbenburen. The club finished in 4th place with a 15-9 record. How would you summarize the season from a team standpoint?
In my eyes the season was a success despite the slow ending. We proved that we were a top team in this league and when we played our game we were very tough to beat.
It was a tale of 2 seasons. The club started strong winning 10 of 12 games, but then went 5-7 the rest of the season. What were the main reasons for not being ever to get out of the hole in the last 3 months.
Slumps are just part of the game. Be it individually or collectively I think when in a slump you have to keep things simple and focus on the basics. Overthinking or overanalyzing is probably the worst you could do. Perhaps we were just thinking too much into it.
Do you feel like the team underachieved in that 5-7 run? How disappointing was that negative turnaround? The team didn’t have any serious injuries and everyone on board.
We definitely underacheived in that last stretch of games. We all knew how good we were so we expected that each night. Although it was disappointing looking back now, I think the most disappointing thing is us not having the chance to redeem ourselves in the playoffs.
How key were the two narrow loses to Reckilinghausen and BG Hagen at the end of November. Do you feel like those loses stuck in the heads of players?
Those were 2 big loses for us. Because it was 100% in our hands to close those games and leave with a W. Road wins are extremely valuable in any league and you can’t afford to let them slip away. However we did not dwell too much on those losses. We were focused on getting back on track.
Let’s talk about your teammates. Bryce Leavitt said this about you. ‘Marco belongs in the Pro A, I don’t think he’s missing anything. He has a really complete game for an off-ball scorer, and he’s physical enough to play at that level. I think he just needs a team to believe in him and put him in a role that fits his strengths’. What did you appreciate most about his game?
Man. Bryce is my guy! We had instant chemistry on the court in practice. He is probably the most unselfish teammate I’ve ever had in my career and his basketball IQ and court vision are off the charts. It’s a blessing to play with a PG like this, especially for a wing player that is good at moving without the ball and getting to open spots, because he ALWAYS sees you. Another aspect of his game that is overshadowed is his scoring ability. Me and Bryce played a lot of 1-on-1 this season and they were always really heated. This is probably overshadowed because of how unselfish he is.
Do you understand why a versatile player like that is only playing in the Regionalliga?
Unfortunately for Bryce he had a serious injury at the end of his season with WWU Baskets Muenster. That season he led them to a championship and a promotion to Pro B. If it wasn’t for the injury Bryce would have been right there with me in Muenster at the Pro B level doing his thing. And who knows where that could have led to. Many GMs were insecure about his health so he used this season as an opportunity to show he is healthy. I think he successfully showed this.
You are a versatile player as well. How important was it having another versatile player like Juan Manuel Barga on the squad. How do you feel did you profit most from his game?
Juan was huge for us and for me individually as well. I profited most from his rebounding ability as a guard. Our identity this season was to play fast pace and when you have rebounding guards like Juan it makes things easier, because they can rebound themselves and start the break. Defensively Juan also pushed me a lot in practice and prepared me for going up against tough defenders in the league. He took practice very seriously and helped me improve because of that.
Let’s talk about your game. If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would you pick?
This is always such a hard question to answer for me since I really take pieces from many players. But if I have to pick 1 I would say Jimmy Butler, because he is physical, loves the mid range, can score at all levels and he is a lock-down defender. Other guys that I watch a lot are Demar Derozan, Jrue Holiday, Manu Ginobili, and James Harden (really any lefty in the league I watch a lot of).
Talk a little about your best attributes on the court. You were never a scorer in the NCAA because you didn’t get sufficient minutes. You proved in Spain and Germany that you can be a scorer. Have you always been a scorer or is that something that you developed further as a professional?
My best attribute on the court is just my versatility. If a coach needs me to score I can do this, if they need a stop on defense or a rebound I can do this as well. I pride myself for being a threat in any situation. I always knew that I had the ability to be a scorer. However in the NCAA I was much more of a spot up shooter, as this was the role I had on the team. This never kept me from working on other aspects of my game because I knew sooner or later I would have the opportunity to show my full ability.
You shot the ball really well this season from outside at a clip of 35% the best percentage since turning professional. What was your secret to being able to do this? Was it more reps and shot selection or did you change up something with your mechanics?
The only secret was consistency and confidence. Me and Bryce really worked a lot on our free time and we held each other accountable to not miss these extra workouts. The confidence aspect came from that work. This season I could’ve missed 10 shots in a row and I would’ve believed the 11th would go in. I give a lot of credit to my coach, Marc Pohlmann, for having that same confidence in me. A coach’s confidence can really make or break a player.
You have played in the Pro B with Munster. What is the next step for you. Do you believe that you can play in the Pro A now or is proving yourself in the Pro B the next step? Or would you play in the Leb Silver or Gold in Spain?
My plan is to stay here in Germany and continue to grow here. I know for a fact that I can help a Pro A team, and if that opportunity presents itself I will be ready for the challenge. Having another season in the Pro B to really prove myself and showcase my abilities at that level seems like a more realistic plan for next season. I know I could dominate that league.
What are the most key things that you are continuing to tweak in the lab that will continue to help you improve your game?
I’m really focusing a lot on my ball handling and my decision making in the Pick n’ Roll. I would like for coaches to feel confident playing me at the point guard position if needed. Also I’m really focusing on my body and just being more explosive, more flexible, quicker, faster and stronger.
This season you hit Grevenbroich for 34 points on 7 three’s. Was this one of the best games in your career?
Scoring wise it was one of my best games so far. But overall I don’t consider it one of my best games since all I really did was score.
Last season you played with the WWU Baskets Muenster (Germany-ProB) playing 27 games averaging 6.9ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 60.5%. How cool was it having that exciting season and great run? What did you cherish most from that season?
That experience is one I’ll remember forever. I think it’s every athlete’s dream to be part of a ‘Cinderella Story’ and with WWU Baskets I got that chance. The thing I’ll cherish the most is the city and the love and support that they showed us. The entire city really rallied behind us and made us feel super appreciated. That feeling was amazing. Big shout out to all the fans of WWU Baskets.
In 2017-2018 you played your first season in Germany with the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 13.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 75.4%. What was your wake up call to being your first season in Germany where you knew that you were far away from home?
Honestly the wake up call was when I was offered an extremely low contract to play in Spain. That really made me question my value and what I believe I’m worth. There I kind of realized that maybe it was time for me to leave Spain and try my luck elsewhere. It was a great decision.
You played your second professional season with CB Novaschool Malaga (Spain-EBA) playing19 games averaging 11.4ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 85.5%. The EBA is Spain’s 4th league. How competitive is this league exactly and how would you compare it in skill and level to the German Regionalliga?
I would say that EBA is at the level of Regionalliga 1 overall. However, there are many clubs in EBA that are more like the Pro B level. It really depends on where you go in Spain.
In your rookie season you played with Lucentum Alicante (LEB Silver) playing 27 games averaging 5.7ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 71.0%. What memories do you have of your rookie season and is this a league you might like to play in again?
What I remember most about my rookie season is how close we were as a team. A lot of those guys I still talk to now and they will be my friends for a lifetime. Also Alicante is such an amazing city. I really loved it there. If the opportunity presents itself I would love to go back home to play. However, I’m very happy playing and living in Germany.
You played at the very well known school Oak Hill Academy for a year that has graduated many many future NBA players like Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony. What kind of experience was this and talk a bit about the history and kids you played with that would go to the NBA.
I could probably write a book about this experience haha. I was at Oak Hill for 2 years and I have to admit that they were 2 of the hardest years of my life. The experience was extremely humbling, as I went from being the best player on my team in Spain to being the worst player on the team. Life at Oak Hill was school and basketball. Nothing else. We probably played basketball at Oak Hill an average of 6 hours a day. And playing against that kind of talent you have no choice but to get better. But it was for sure very challenging. I remember my first day there being embarrassed in practice by Doron Lamb. It’s funny now but back then not so much lol. I got there the year after Brandon Jennings. I played with players like Doron Lamb (drafted to NBA, now in turkey), Juwan Staten, Momo Jones (who played last season in the BBL), and many others as well. They are all somewhere in the world playing pro ball.
You began your career at Fairleigh Dickinson University (NCAA) in 2010 playing 14 games averaging 2.8ppg, 1.4rpg. What memories do you have of your freshman year and could you gain anything positive from that time?
My fondest memory of my freshman year was playing Uconn, who actually ended up being the national champion that year. In that game, for some reason, I got a lot more minutes than usual and was assigned to play a box and 1 on Kemba Walker. That is something I’ll always remember.
You then played at Florida International University (NCAA) from 2012-2015 amassing a total of 89 NCAA games. Talk a little about that amazing season and tough 65-63 loss to W Kentucky in the Sunbelt tournament final.
That season was amazing! It was the first season for our new coach Richard Pitino (son of legendary coach Rick Pitino). I remember the first team meeting we had and just the intensity and drive of coach Pitino. He transformed us from a bottom of the league team to a team that was 2 points away from the NCAA tournament. He is easily the best coach I’ve had and I learned so much from him that year. I’m very grateful for that opportunity.
You got more minutes mid way through your first season and scored in double figures in 4 straight games against LA Lafayette, S Alabama, Middle Tennesse State and LA Monroe. Was that some of the best basketball that you played there?
Definitely. I almost forgot about that stretch of games. Coach Pitino really had confidence in me and that meant a lot to me at the time.
What memories do you have of guard Dennis Mavin? He is a guy that has really had to fight for getting jobs. Is he a good example of just how much abundance there is of very talented guards in the world and just not always enough jobs available at higher levels?
I remember clearly when Dennis first came to FIU. We played 1-on-1 as soon as he got there and I remember thinking “wow this guy is quick!”. We had a few battles in practice. He for sure made me a better player. Dennis is a clear cut example of the talent that’s out there. I have so many friends back in the USA that are working a regular job and these guys love basketball and have so much talent. Unfortunately the foreign player rules makes things a lot harder for them to get an opportunity to play over in Europe.
How did head coach Anthony Evans groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Evans really instilled toughness in me. He made it clear that if I did not defend and play physically, then I would just not play. That physicality and defense is still with me today.
Who won a one on one in practice back in the day you or Dennis Mavin?
Back in the day Dennis won most of the time. He ended up being one of the leading scorers in the country that season. It would be really interesting to see us go at it now.
Who was the toughest player that you ever faced that reached the NBA?
There’s so many that I can’t say just one. The one and only guy that truly left me in awe when I saw him play was Kyrie Irving. I had the chance to see him in high school then with FIU he actually practiced with us a few times when he was preparing for the NBA Draft. Other guys that I just feel bad not mentioning are Demarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker, Lorenzo Brown, Keith ‘Tiny’ Gallon, Domantas Sabonis, and many more.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Tough question. But I think I have to say: Bryce Leavitt Jojo Cooper Eduardo Guillen Juwan Staten Keith Hornsby
Please produce your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore with 4 heads past or present?
Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant Lebron James Hakeem Olajuwan
What is your general opinion with the debate between who is greater Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
It’s a tough debate and honestly a never ending one. I think MJ is the greatest of all time and he has a competitive drive and intensity that can’t even be compared to LeBron’s. However when you talk about them both as players, MJ was an elite scorer and defender, while LeBron does it all.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2
Thanks Marco for the chat.