Jaleen Smith (193-PG-94, college: UNH) is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his fourth professional season and second with the MHP Riesen currently averaging 16,4ppg, 5,5rpg, 5,4apg and 1,8spg. Last season he played 28 games averaging 10.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 82,8%. In 2018-2019 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 spoke to germanhoops.com following the brutal 106-69 win over the Fraport Skyliners
Jalen thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the 106-69 win. How tough was it watching and could one say the team didn’t need you today?
That just goes to show you how deep our team is. When one guy goes down, the next steps up. We saw it tonight with Jonah Radebaugh and Andrew Warren stepping up. It wasn’t that tough sitting out. It would have been tougher if it had been a close game. Frankfurt had a couple of runs, but I had a lot of confidence in my teammates.
Tonight we saw a prime example how COVID can really effect a team and game. The Fraport Skyliners were very undermanned missing three guys due to COVID and top scorer Matt Mobley was out as was rookie Jon Axel Gudmundsson. As a competitor does one ever feel for the opponent when they see a situation like this?
This was the second time this season where we played a team that was very undermanned. A few months ago we played Chemnitz who were missing guys. You feel for them and have sympathy, but at the end of the day you still want to win.
The game was already decided after one quarter as the MHP Riesen led 35-15. Can it at times be a challenge mentally when one just scorers and scorers not to lose focus?
You can fall into a trap. Your offense is going good, but then you don’t pay attention to defense. But we take a lot of pride on defense. You just can’t lose focus and have to hang on. We did a good job doing that.
Frankfurt shocked Ludwigsburg with a 17-3 run in the second quarter. How big was playing with emotion for Frankfurt?
Frankfurt got into a groove. They had a lot of young guys playing and they came in with a lot of self confidence and shot the ball really well.
In the second half the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg buckled down winning the half 48-27. What was the biggest strength on the night? Possibly the 9 turnovers?
It didn’t matter who we threw out there, everybody did their job. We stuck to our strengths and played Ludwigsburg basketball what gets us wins. We just played our game.
You have four games remaining including against Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Munich. Will the results of these games give a good indication where you will end up in the playoffs?
We have to take care of business in the next two games. But the last two games will also be big games.
Joshua Bonga of the Fraport Skyliners made his debut at age 16. What was your impression of him? Experts say he is more talented than brother Isaac.
That kid played with a lot of self confidence. He played against older guys. A couple of shots didn’t fall, but he had some good looks. He looked like he really wanted to play at the top level.
What has been your early impression of ex Stanford forward Oscar Da Silva. Does it surprise how quickly he has adjusted to the John Patrick system?
Stanford is one of the top schools in America academically so it wasn’t surprising at all that he latched on so quickly. JP isn’t a guy that will bring a guy that will drag on. He picked up the system quickly and is a great player.
Many had stated that Oscar not only had a big interest in basketball, but with his Stanford education could of got a job in another field. How focused is he on basketball and how big is his desire to become the best basketball player he can?
You don’t see that many young guys in Europe like him that put in so much hard work. He really takes care of his body. He is in the gym 30-45 minutes before practice just stretching. He then stays 40-50 minutes after practice getting up extra shots. He shows his desire to want to get to the next level. He is really focused on his goal.
What has it been for you working with the Patrick sons Johannes and Jakob? Is it sometimes overwhelming seeing not one but two John Patrick sons scrapping on the court?
It is always fun watching them go against each other in practice. They are both very competitive.
Johannes Patrick continues to develop nicely. Could you see him being a BBL allstar in the future?
Yes I can. He is another one of those young players that works very hard getting in extra lifts and shots. Where he goes depends how much he wants to get there. He can become what he wants.
Talk a little about talented young German Nico Santana Mojica. He has seen a few minutes this season. Just how talented is this guy?
He is really athletic. I think he is athletic enough to play at the BBL level or even higher. His shot is funky, but he really wants to work on it and improve it. He has been working on his mechanics with Andrew Warren after practice and has improved his shot. He isn’t scared on the court and plays like he belongs.
How tough is John Patrick’s job of keeping the guard rotation happy? There are so many guards that want playing time like a Jonah Radebaugh?
We have a lot of good guards. You never know when your time will come so it has been great that every sone tays ready. The whole atmosphere here is so positive, because we have been winning. Everyone is happy, because everyone is good with each other.
Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?
He is in the top 5. You saw what he did with the Suns. Before he came they were missing a true point guard and he came in and helped them become better. He is a winner.
How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points this season. Where will he journey go as a player in the next years?
He is in the top 10 now. He is real good.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
His killer mentality rubs off everybody. That alone would help any team in Europe.
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
No I don’t. There are so many great defenders. He is a good defender, but not best of all-time.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
Yes I saw it. It had some funny parts, but think they should of left it alone.
Thanks Jaleen for the chat.