Jordan Theodore (182-PG-89, college: Seton Hall, agency: Network Sports International) is a 31 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his eighth professional season and second with Unics Kazan. Last season he began with Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey BSL) averaging 13,8ppg, 2,8rpg and 6,8apg in the Turkish league and 11,8ppg, 2,8rpg and 5,6apg and then moved to Unics Kazan playing 16 Eurocup games averaging 6.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 43.7%, 3PT: 23.3%, FT: 71.4%. In the 2018-2019 season he played with AEK Athens (Greece-A1) playing 20 games averaging 8.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 80.0%; and played 8 BCL games averaging 9.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 71.4%. Three seasons ago he played for EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) playing 20 games averaging 10.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 75.0%; and played 23 Euroleague games averaging 11.6ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 86.5%. In the 2016-2017 season he played with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL) playimg 31 games: Score-3 (18.4ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-1 (7.2apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 81.2%; In the BCL, he played 19 games: Score-4 (16.2ppg), 4.1rpg, Assists-1 (7.5apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 76.3% In the 2015-2016 season, he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 127 NCAA games and as a playing a total of senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five )playing 17 games averaging 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Thanks Jordan for talking to germanhoops.com. Your playing with Unics Kazan. This is the second team after Antalya where you have been a second season. Is this club like a second home for you?
Every one from management to the coaching staff to all the Russian players have made me feel like home. Also Jamar Smith who has been here four years and all the new guys have shown me nothing but love and respect. Nobody has shown any dislike. It really feels good to play here.
What makes playing for this organization special and different than for other teams that you have played for?
It’s a close-knit family. It is a family run business run by the son and daughter of the president. The coaching staff have been here for a long time. The chemistry is really good.
What was for you personally the most challenging thing that you had to cope and master dealing with COVID in the last year?
I think that the biggest adjustment in the last year has been adjusting to all the different rules that your confronted with. I have been very fortunate that my family has been with me the whole time. The family part hasn’t affected me as much as other guys overseas. It has been tough with the rules. Having to wear masks and wash your hands every where has been life changing.
With everything that you have seen off the court with COVID how do you feel has COVID made you stronger as a man?
COVID has shown me much love and compassion toward people that you love. These times have shown me that you need to reach the people you love more. COVID has affected people in many different ways around the world. It has taught me to love and care for the people that you love most.
Unics Kazan is playing another great season. Your playing for the VTB title. You have a better record than CSKA Moscow. How good does that feel? What has been your definition of the secret of the team success?
I think that the main thing has been our chemistry. We have come together well and have understood that having success hasn’t been about one person, but a team thing. I came a little late and the team had been affected by COVID. They were one piece away until I came. We then started to click. I came in and helped the team. Despite losing the Eurocup final, we still had a great season. We finished top 3 in VTB which had been one of our goals.
The team is so deep and talented. Does it feel like a Euroleague type of roster in terms of talent and depth?
Of course we feel like we have a Euroleague roster. We feel that we can compete with any one at any level. We are two deep at every position and guys could start for any other team. We have a lot of experienced players that have been through wars in Europe and had ups and downs. The experience has been the biggest reason for our success.
The older Russian players aren’t scoring much, but how valuable is their experience for keeping the ship running?
Kolesnikov is my guy. He has a ton of experience. Guys like Sergeev and Antipov also have been around for a while. Klimenko was able to show this season just how good he really is. He really has stepped up in the paint as have other guys.
How beneficial has it been having ex NBA player Isaiah Canaan 235 games for 6 teams as a teammate a guy that can score and do playmaking?
Isaiah has been great. This is his first year in Europe. He is still trying to understand the game and it isn’t always easy coming from the NBA to Europe. It has ben an adjustment to the style, country and travel. It also has been life changing for him. He has done a great job spacing the floor for, because he is such a good shooter so I can get to the rim easier. I feel his creating is very underrated. He has had some big games for us.
Can a scorer like you learn anything new from sniper Jamar Smith in the scoring department?
Jamar has it all. He is 34 and just won the Eurocup MVP award. He has had a great season and played point guard earlier in the season. He is our leader and captain. He has become like a brother to me. I don’t know too many players in Europe that can put the ball in the basket the way he does.
You have so many experienced guys around you. How has a Nate Wolters been able to rub off his playmaking skills on you?
I like Nate very much. He is a nice guy. He is a little quiet and doesn’t speak much, but he comes to work and gets the job done. He is a guy that can score. When I came in, we had to split time and he had no problems with it. He plays well and is respected.
Unics Kazan lost a tough series to Monaco for the Eurocup title. As a guy who has won 5 titles, how much did this loss hurt?
Losing the Eurocup final hurt a lot. I have had my shares of wins and loses over the years. I reflect a lot before big games and understand that getting an opportunity like that doesn’t come that often. It is hard to be on a team where there is 100% chemistry and to get to the final. It really hurt the way we lost getting swept. I feel like I could of played better. I will have to live with it.
How confident are you that you would have won the title had Jamar Smith not gone 0/4 from outside. Obviously he isn’t at fault as every player can have an off day. Did you have some soothing words for him after the loss?
I had no soothing words for him. He has played well all season. Our team has that next man up mentality. When a guy had an off night, other guys stepped up all season long. It is never about one person. We know that we all could of done better. Our great defense that we have played all season didn’t show up and we also didn’t communicate well.
You had your best game with Kazan against ex coach Gordon Herbert and Avtodor. Were you extra motivated to play against your ex coach?
It is always fun to see Gordie. He is still my guy. We talk like two to three times a month. Our relationship now is still as strong like when I played for him in Frankfurt. I had a good shooting night. It is always fun killing Gordie.
Were you surprised he was fired considering the club wasn’t playing that bad, but I guess the expectations were very high?
I was very surprised he was let go. He was only a few games out of the playoffs with five games to go. I think that the move surprised everyone.
Do you remember some kind of words he told the team in the last minutes against Varesse in the 2016 fiba Europe cup final?
He didn’t say anything. He is a coach that is great with motivating players as well as with tactics. In crunch-time after he draws up a play, he screams the defense that we should run. He expected greatness out of us and I’m sure he knew that we would win the final. He also always knew exactly when I would shoot. He didn’t really have to say much, because we always knew what had to be done.
Your having a solid season but not putting up massive scoring stats. Is your role different this season than usual?
My role has changed. People know me as a scorer and facilitator and a guy that knows how to fill up the stat sheet. This year we have a lot of weapons on the team. I have taken a back seat and put my pride on the side and have done what is best for the team. I will do anything to win if that means taking two or five shots. If they tell me to get five or six assists, I will do it. I do that in my sleep. I know that people know that my stats are down, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m happy that I’m on one of the best teams in Europe. Numbers don’t matter when your winning.
Your three pointer continues to be a work in progress. How much does it bother you that you haven’t become that lethal 40% shooter?
It’s all about the shots that I have to take. In Gorden Herbert’s system, I was more of a spot up shooter. That is one of the reasons why I shot so well and it was one of my best three point shooting seasons as a professional. Now all my three pointers are more off the dribble and at the end of the shot clock which is why my three point percentages are down. I shoot a lot of bombs. But that doesn’t bother me. When it’s time to make shots, I make them.
If you were to call Gordie Herbert and ask for advice about winning a title, what would he say?
That is a funny question. I don’t know the last time where he won a title?
It was the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup with you.
I don’t know. That’s a weird question.
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?
Chris Paul is a pure winner. He is top five in assists. He is in his 17th NBA season. He has won everywhere where he has been. He is top six if not top five all-time. His numbers don’t lie. It isn’t easy to win an NBA title.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
I don’t agree. There aren’t a lot of guards his size that can push the ball, find the rim, have the power and athleticism that Russ has. I don’t see anyone stopping him. Bigs don’t challenge him in the NBA and I don’t see it happening in Europe either. There aren’t too many bigs that can stay in front of him off the pick and roll. He would need an adjustment period in Europe, but once he figured it out, he would win.
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
I like Draymond and what he does. He is all over the place on defense and offense. But It is hard to say if he is the greatest of all-time. A guy like Tony Allen guard edKobe and Lebron and they said he was one of the best defenders that they ever saw. I remember watching Bruce Bowen and Dennis Rodman who were great defenders and the list goes on and on. There are plenty of great defenders. He would definitely be in the conversation for top 10 all-time.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I didn’t see it. They should of left in alone. The first was a classic and I still like watching it. The second wasn’t needed.
Thanks Jordan for the chat.