R.T. Guinn (208-F/C-81, college: Baylor) is a 40 year old 208cm center that just finished his 17th professional season and third with KFUM Jamtland Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) averaging 10.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT-3 (47.6%), FT: 83.0%. he also has played in countries like Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, France, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Russia, Japan and Hungry. He played five seasons in the Ukraine winning three titles and was named an allstar twice. He played a season at New Mexico (NCAA) and finished at Baylor (NCAA) where he played 83 NCAA games. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his career and the special magic of Baylor basketball.
RT thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Currently I am playing in Jamtland Sweden and basketball is treating me well, keeping me young and on top off my game.
It’s been a while since you played in Germany for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (2005-2007. At that time you were at the start of your career. Now your in your 17th season and 40. What is your secret to still be able to play? Did God bless you with the fountain of youth with your body?
No secret, just taking care of my body. Getting the proper sleep, and eating right. Also a big factor is my wife who supports me and handles a ton so that I can focus on playing.
You played against Derrick Allen who retired at 39 in 2020 and Rickey Paulding is a year younger than you and still playing. What memories do you have of battling Paulding in those North derby’s Bremerhaven-Oldenburg?
I remember him being one of the top guys we had to defend there, Rickey coming from the NBA was someone we had to control to be able to beat them.
You have played in many countries with the most being the Ukraine and Sweden. Where was your most enjoyable place as a player?
This is a question I get pretty often, being able to play in as many countries as I have had the pleasure in I can’t narrow it down to just one, they all have had their experiences and memories, my top ones though I would have to say are Greece, Israel and Sweden of course.
You played briefly for Panathinaikos in 2013. Who would have won a hand wrestling match you or Sofoklis Schortsanitis?
Definitely Big Sofo, I’m big and strong but he is another level.
Let’s talk about your alma mata Baylor. You played there from 2001-2004. What memories do you have of your three years there?
I have many fond memories of Baylor, the most being my first year there when we played Kansas and beat them as they were ranked #1 in the country at the time.
How has basketball in the NCAA changed from when you were playing in 2004? What is different today when you look at the competitive level, style and players?
The level today seems to be just as competitive, the difference now I think is the players and their styles, kids today train to be athletic as it was when I played you were either athletic or you weren’t. Also the kids nowadays base their styles a lot from NBA players (ie Steph, Kyrie etc..), some have their own styles but most base theirs off their role models, just as we did like MJ.
Who won a one on one back in the day you or ex NBA player Lawrence Roberts?
We used to go at each other every day, some days he would win and others I would win.
Baylor won the 2021 NCAA title. How do you feel the day after the win?
I felt super happy for coach Drew and the team, and very proud to have been with coach his first year. He has brought them up from the bottom to the top, rising each year he was there.
Playing overseas is always a problem when you want to catch NBA and NCAA games. Did your schedule permit you to stay up and watch history being made?
Being overseas you have to make time for those and luckly I was able to do so. When I saw they made the final four I started keeping a closer eye on them.
If someone had told you in 2017 that Baylor would be crowded NCAA champions in 2021 what would you have thought?
It would not have surprised me, seeing coach Drew bring this team to the sweet 16 two times from my era, I knew they would eventually break through that and do great things. Coach Drew is a very inspiring man and a great person as well as coach.
Baylor has had 13 NCAA tournament appearances, 6 Elite 8’appearances and 5 Sweet 16’s. They also hadn’t been in a NCAA final game since 73 years. What does this title mean to the school and to you personally?
To me personally and to the school I believe it brings a sense of pride that can never be taken away.
Baylor had a simple game plan. Make some shots. If you miss get the rebounds and then make some more shots. Can basketball sometimes be that simple?
It truly can be, I mean that’s basketball in a sense anyway, only you have 4 other guys helping and 5 other guys trying to stop you, only question that comes into play is who wants to make more baskets or get more rebounds.
Baylor made 11 of their first 20 shots including six three’s and led by 19 points at the break. They had a double digit lead for 34 of the 40 minutes. How vital do you believe was the mentality of the Baylor team for being able to play this well against the heavy favorite and unbeaten Gonzaga team?
Basketball is a game of confidence, if you are confident in your shots and what your doing then you can have great games. Keeping that mentality when you are hitting shots is key as once you start to get to confident then you can become cocky and things can fall apart very quickly then.
How key was it for Baylor players Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba and Mark Vital limiting Drew Timme to 12 points?. The star Jalen Suggs had 22 points, but Gonzaga didn’t have scoring support behind him.
I think it was very key, when you can stop one of the main scorers from scoring then someone else has to step up and cover those points and that’s not always easy for someone when a team is on the defensive prowl.
Gonzaga has made big strides since 2015 making 5 NCAA Elite 8 appearances and two NCAA finals in 2021 and 2017. Could another final loss hurt their overall confidence to win the big one or do you feel like they will be due in 2022? Many are already picking them to win it next year?
It’s always tough to lose a final, as I have been in many overseas, but I don’t think that will dissuade them from coming back next year and giving it their all to get there and take it home.
Was the rebounding stat 0f 38-22 rebounds and 16 offensive rebounds one of the biggest keys for the win?
I think so, when you have that many second chance opportunities then it can really boost your team to keep fighting for them, on the other hand for Gonzaga it can dampen your spirit and puts frustration in your heart when you see that.
Davion Mitchell is seen as a ‘1 Draft pick and Jared Butler as a possible second round pick. How have you followed their careers and how do you seem them doing in the NBA?
I haven’t followed so much but I know from experience that being those picks it will all be up to them on how much work they put in with themselves and the teams they go with.
Where do you see the journey of Macio Teague going? He seemed a bit in the shadow of Butler and Mitchell. Could he make the NBA and do you see his game being suited to becoming a impact player overseas?
I think he will be able to break out of that shadow now and go on to becoming who he is meant to be, whether it is in the NBA or overseas.
When you were a senior at Baylor, it was the first season of head coach Scott Drew at the helm. What memories do you have of him then as a coach and how did he groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Drew came into a broken system and brought a new light to it, he really pushed us to becoming more on and off the court, he inspired with his words and his actions and I think he and the team deserves the title.
How do you the the future of Baylor (NCAA) basketball. Two guys seem to be heading to the NBA and Macio Teague and Mark Vital are also done as seniors.
I think the future holds great things for Baylor basketball, it has come up from the bottom of the barrel and shined a new light on the school and system. I believe with coach Drew there they will always strive for greatness.
Have you seen Coming To America 2 yet? The reviews have been mixed. Shouldn’t they just have left the original classic untouched?
Lol, I have not seen it yet but will watch it when it comes out. The originals are always hard to recreate or follow up on.
Thanks RT for the chat.