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 15,7ppg, 5,2rpg, 5,5apg 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 after the MHP Riesen game 5 95-73 win over Brose Bamberg
Congrats on the massive 95-73 victory over Brose Bamberg. How good does it feel winning again after seeing adversary twice?
It felt great. The way we played in game 5 shows the kind of character that we have. When the tough get going the going gets tough. We played tough and got back to playing Ludwigsburg basketball.
How tough was that bus ride home after game four. On what things did you think about first about doing better in game 5?
I thought about coming back more focused in game five and make an impression on defense.
Losing two games in a row is something that the club hadn’t witnessed before this season. What do you believe did the team learn from the two Bamberg loss that would help them come out strong in the do or die game?
We learned that we had to be ready to play. A team like Bamberg had nothing to lose. We knew that we had to get that mentality again to get stops to win games.
After losing two games in a row something that never happened this season, did you sense a different mentality with the team as you stepped on the floor for the tip in game 5?
We came into game five more locked in and be more focused on defense than on offense. We knew that if we got back to defending the way we know how we would be able to get out running where we are at our best.
It was like night and day between game four and game five. The MHP Riesen found back to their typical game by getting into their offense via the defense. Bamberg did a good job with the match ups and physicality. Why didn’t it work out at all in game five?
I think key in game five was that Bamberg wasn’t able to bring the kind of physicality that they had had in game three and game four. We used so much energy in game five that they were drained.
The MHP Riesen did a good job really not allowing Bamberg to get over the hump once. You had 8 players that had 8 offensive rebounds. How proud are you of the team the way their heart and desire came together in a do or die game?
It was great getting that kind of support. We were tough and knew that we could of closed out the series earlier had we been more focused.
How much fun is it playing with Jamel Mclean? Should he get a patent on his fade away jumper?
Yes I think so. At the start I kept wondering why he always used that shot, but now I know that it works best for him. That is his thing.
How focused were you coming into the game? You had had a tough 2/16 game against Crailsheim, but also couldn’t find the hoop in game 4 going 2/13. I thought you may have been a bit mentally fatigued in game four?
Yes I have to credit Bamberg for playing good defense on me. I didn’t get easy looks and they where all over me full court. They did a good job making it tough for me to get the ball and took me out of the game. I have to give credit to my teammates for stepping up and making shots.
How did you personally go into the game preparation mentally? On what things are you most focused on with your game after a bad shooting game?
I don’t think about getting more shots, but on being locked in on defense. No matter what happens on offense, play hard on defense and get my guys involved. Picking and choosing when to go or find my teammates is also important.
You didn’t have a great shooting game, but made up for it in other areas with rebounding and playmaking. How vital is it having a deep roster where you don’t have to always worry about making that big shot on every other play?
It is a relief when you know your 8-9 guys deep that can make plays and you never know which guy will go off on any given night. It is fun and relaxing to know that I don’t always have to make that shot.
The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg next clash against FC Bayern Munich. You split the season series 1-1. What kind of series can we await?
I believe the series against Munich will be even more physical than against Bamberg. They are bigger, but I feel we will be ok if we can use our quickness to our advantage. We are really looking forward to meeting them.
Ludwigsburg have a huge winning streak at home. Will that record still be alive come game 3?
It is tough, but I honestly believe that we will still be undefeated at home. We play really well at home. I feel that we are more comfortable at home than on the road even without fans. Having our families watching us relaxes us.
You had two tough games against FC Bayern Munich. How psyched are you to be going up against ex NBA player wade Baldwin?
If I want to reach the Euroleague or NBA, I have to be able to go up against guys like that. But for me it isn’t about my game, but more the Lubo/Munich match up. I’m more focused on that then individual match ups.
What kind of series can wea wait between Alba Berlin and ratiopharm Ulm. Ulm are a real final dark horse team. Can Ulm make the upset?
I think Ulm could make an upset. Ulm played so well against Oldenburg. Troy Caupain has been playing like a maniac. If he keeps playing like that I can see it happening.
Do you remember German player Kay Bruhnke of medi Bayreuth? He said in the current BIG magazine that if he could have the skill set of one player for a day it would be you. How does that make you feel when a German kid says that about you?
That is crazy. Coming from the States, I have my own idols, but being in Germany and hearing a German kid say that you wouldn’t think that that would be said. I’m still wondering what my skill set is. It is a blessing and so cool to hear.
What was your reaction to how Kwame Brown described how he was treated by the Washington Wizards and Michael Jordan early in his career?
Many rookies seem to go through something like that in the NBA. Some can handle it while others can’t. He was so passionate about how he was treated. It is very sad to hear.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jaleen for the chat.