George King (198-G-94, college: Colorado, agency: Slash Sports) is a 27 year old 198cm guard from San Antonio, Texas playing his third professional season and first with the NINNERS Chemnitz currently averaging 11,2ppg, 4,2rpg, 1,3apg and 1,0spg while shooting an astronomical 50% from outside. Last season he split time with Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A) playing 16 games averaging 5.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 2FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 23.7%, FT: 89.5%; played 12 Eurocup games averaging 6.3ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 44.8%, FT: 90.5%, in Jan.’20 moved to Stelmet Enea BC Zielona Gora (Poland-EBL) playing 6 games averaging 8.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 2FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 39.1%, FT: 66.7%; and played 5 VTB United League games averaging 10.6ppg, 5.6rpg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 45.5%. In 2018 he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round with the #59th pick and played mainly for the Northern Arizona Suns (NBA G League) playing 40 games averaging 15.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 43.9%, FT: 81.7%. He also played 1 NBA game for the Phoenix Suns. He played at the University of Colorado (NCAA) from 2013-2018 playing a total of 127 games and as a senior averaged 12.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 78.2%. He spoke to eurobasket after the huge 87-83 win over the Basketbaall Lowen Braunschweig
George congrats on the huge 87-83 win over Braunschweig. How good did it feel getting revenge and halting the team three game losing streak?
The win felt really good. I thought that we had bit of an advantage over them. We had just played them and knew how to play them.
How crazy is it now looking back and remembering how you beat Bamberg and Munich back to back by only 5 points and then lose three games in a row? Does that show just how competitive the easyCredit BBL is?
I think it shows just how aggressive the Corona virus is. We beat Vechta, Bamberg and Munich always having a day break before the next game. Then came the Fiba break. We had a much needed rest. . We had a guy go to the national team. We took a week off and then came back to practice and got the ball rolling again. Then after the 4th day, we had two positive Corona cases and had to play Goettingen 48 hours later. Then we were quarantined for two weeks. So then we were one month in the house with no basketball. It effected our rhythm and it took us a while to get back. Then we had to play the top team Ludwigsburg with only 8 guys and no point guard. Then we played against Braunschweig and were expecting not to have our point guard. Hours before game the three guys who had been tested for corona Matthews, Thornton and Wimburg got in a van and drove to Braunschweig. They had had no practice. It was nuts. Braunschweig was tough that shot the ball really well and had guys hit shots that we didn’t expect to make shots. Then we played in Bayreuth and couldn’t buy a bucket. Now thankfully we are all healthy and back.
Braunschweig was firing on all cylinders scoring 33 points in the first half despite being down 7-0. What was key for them being so potent on offense?
Braunschweig is a good team with good players. We just didn’t click in the first half. We locked down in the second half and were able to pull out the win.
Did you even have German talent Luc Van Slooten on the scouting report?
What number was he? #15?
No that was Peterka. Van Slooten has # 4
Oh ok. Yes we had him briefly on the scouting report. There wasn’t a big emphasis on him. I remember the numbers better than the names.
The Niners were down 50-35 at the break. What did head coach Rodrigo Pastore tell you guys to do better in the third quarter? It helped as you scored 28 points to trail only 73-61
I don’t really remember what he said. We just locked down and played at a higher level. Basketball always has mood swings during the game. A team will have momentum and then it will swing in the other direction. I’m happy that it then swung in our direction.
The fourth quarter was a real dogfight. The Niners never gave up. What was key on the defensive end in crunch-time that allowed you to grind out the win?
I think it was the little things that helped us get the win. Little things like making the post entry more difficult and just having hands in the face and just taking away the easy stuff and forcing them to harder things. Every guy made the extra effort on defense. Wimburg had a big block that was also huge.
The Niners Chemnitz are currently in 11th place. How realistic do you see the playoffs? You have a ok remaining schedule where you could win possibly 5-6 games if all goes well?
Our goal is to be a top 8 team. I think it is as realistic as the air we breathe. I think that it can be done if we continue to play at a high level. I feel that it will also be beneficial if teams help us along the way. We just have to continue to be focused and take care of business. I have been in this situation before in college. We began 0-7 and then would have stretches where we would win three or four in a row and then lose one or two games. At the end of the year we had teams helping us and then boom the post season was there.
You saw German Karim Jallow twice now as he scored 21 points in the first game and 16 in the loss. He has developed great with Braunschweig after being with FC Bayern Munich and not getting a chance earlier in his career. How much potential does this guy have?
He has good size and strength a great straight line drive to the hoop. I think that he can be as good as he wants to be. I think that he can develop fine with the work ethic and will and go as far as he wants to.
How much fun has it been playing with ex NBA player Jonathan Williams. You dished up a nice alley-oop pass in the fourth quarter. How valuable has the acquisition been?
Jon has been really big for us. His value has really shown with his ability to rebound and play defense. We let him defend one on one, because we really like our chances of being successful. A big plus is that he won’t only force a player to a bad shot, but at the same time will clean up on the glass and get the rebound and start the fast break. On top of that he is really a great guy. If he wasn’t involved with basketball, I could really see myself hanging out with him. I can say that about all my teammates. We have a special team.
It’s been four months since we last spoke. You have been a vital contributor all season long. How comfortable do you feel now playing in the easyCredit BBL? How has your game developed?
I am comfortable playing in this league. But you can always have lapses and it can be turbulent with the rules, but each league in Europe has it’s own way of doing things. I’m still not comfortable with how some fouls are called, but overal I’m continuing to become more comfortable with my team and role. My game is still developing. I was more of an off the ball player as the season started, but have become more of an on ball player. I was more on the ball against Alba Berlin. When I came here all saw me as an off ball player, but now people are seeing me more as an on ball player.
Your three pointer has been very lethal as your shooting 50%. How do you explain your rapid rise from the parking lot?
I think that my good shooting this season is a testament to the work I put in last summer. I also think that Rodrigo’s system has really helped me. He has really given me the freedom and encouraged me to shoot. It has helped that I have gotten so many spot ups. If you want to stop my shot then you have to hug me. Also it has helped that I have great teammates that have found me all season long.
Ex NBA legend Dino Radja stated that he couldn’t imagine Russell Westbrook having success leading a European team to success. Do you agree?
That is his opinion. I believe that any player can accomplish what he wants if he really puts his mind to it. So many guys come overseas and struggle and it could also happen with Westbrook. But I’m sure after time he would figure it out how to be successful here. He probably wouldn’t dominate right away, but I think that with the right coach and system, he could be successful. He won’t be the Russell of Europe overnight, but with time he can.
Draymond Green said he is the best defensive player to ever play the game. Do you agree?
He is definitely special on defense. I bet that he scouts other teams as much as coaches do. He is making millions for a reason. But is he the best ever? I don’t want to knock Draymond. I’m a Scottie Pippen fan and also like guys like Akeem and Kareem in the discussion. If Draymond wants to be in the discussion as the best defender ever why not. I won’t be mad about it.
Will Michigan or Gonzaga win the 2021 NCAA title or will another team?
I have to be honest that I have hardly followed the NCAA this season. My Colorado team is out. My man Jonathan Williams went to Gonzaga. I heard through the grape wine that this years Gonzaga team is one of the best ever. They are undefeated and their resume speaks for itself.
Have you seen Coming To America 2 yet? Shouldn’t they just have left it with the first one and not making a sequel?
I haven’t seen it yet. I also have heard that it wasn’t as good as the original. All the actors are still alive and they wanted to make some money off the sequel. I will still watch it in the States. The original is a classic and hard to top it.
Thanks George for the chat.