Jackson Trapp (193-G-92, college: FAU) is a 28 year old 193cm guard that was born in Tallahassee, Florida and completed his second season with Pro A team uni Baskets playing 9 games averaging 15.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 4.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 66.7%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 80.0%. In his rookie season he played 26 games averaging 14.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 88.2%. He brought professional experience to Germany having played in Canada with the Island Storm and with the Yakima Sun Kings (TB). He played at Florida Atlantic (NCAA) from 2012-2016 playing a total of 118 NCAA games. His best season was his junior year where he averaged 10.1ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 83.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 20-21 season.
Thanks Jackson for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Good to talk again! I am actually in New Smyrna Beach, Florida right now, on a small vacation with the family. But will be in Orlando the rest of the summer and offseason.
When you touched down back to the States what was the first eatery that you searched and found?
There is a famous grocery store chain here in the southeast U.S. called Publix. They have the best subs you can get anywhere in the world. I find my way there every time I get back home.
Another season has come and gone. This was a season like no other. Talk a little about how you experienced COVID-19 in Germany. What was the most difficult thing that affected you on and off the court?
It was definitely different this season than my previous season in Germany thanks to Covid, especially coming from Florida (where there are practically no restrictions). My first few weeks in Germany, everything was closed. It caused the whole social aspect of living abroad and doing activities with teammates outside of basketball much more difficult, which I think could easily play a part in the mental state of the players that leave their families and friends to travel across the world to come play.
How can one honestly rate a season like this with COVID-19? With all the obstacles that were there on a daily basis. No team was 100% this season.
I think in the future there will always be an asterisk next to this season. Almost every team in Pro A had to miss several games at one point, just to try to stuff the games in a at a later point in the season. The playoff layout was different than normal years. I believe we were the only team in the league that did not have to miss a game because one of our players tested positive. Unfortunately for us, our bigger problem this year was with injuries, which you can’t help but think that most players not having the normal training availability throughout the offseason played a significant factor in those injuries.
The Uni Baskets Paderborn failed to reach the playoffs. How much of an effect did the two early season close loses to Schwenningen and Tuebingen have? You weren’t here yet, but I’m sure you heard about it?
Losing close games are always tough. Especially at the beginning of the season when you are still trying to evaluate how you sit compared to the rest of the league.
Is it fair to say one of the biggest problems that the team had this season was the inability to find a consistent rhythm? You only had 2 winning streaks and usually when you won a few loses would follow.
I think the biggest issue and reason we couldn’t bring in multiple wins at a time was the high amount of injuries we had. Due to this, our rhythm and chemistry was always affected to a certain extent.
Why was the team not able to find a defensive rhythm?
I believe the team did defend better in the last few months. In the short time I was there, we tried changing certain things with the defense to try and adjust to the roster that we had. In the first few weeks I was there, we had a surplus of guards and only two true 4/5 men available. About six weeks later, four of our guards had suffered season ending injuries, and we had just as many healthy big men as guards, with a 7 or 8 man roster. This makes finding any type of rhythm on offense or defense very difficult.
Let’s talk about your teammates. Point guard Daniel Mixich has been a solid Pro A player for years. He has made the next step in Paderborn the last three years. How is he a better point guard now then when you first arrived?
Daniel is an awesome teammate both on and off the court. Despite still being relatively young (I thought he was 30 years old when I met him haha), he has a lot of experience at the professional level, and is a calming presence on the court, and is a great shooter that hit some big time shots for us the past two years.
How important was it for guard Robert Drijencic to come from his comfort zone in Oldenburg and take a step back and come to Paderborn? How did his game grow during the season?
I never got to see Rob before I got to Paderborn in February, but he is a guy that has good size and is a great shooter. He has the potential to play at a high level here in Germany.
Drew Cushingberry was the teams Kendale Mccullum. How did his game grow during the season and how was he a different player than Muccullum?
I give a lot of credit to coach Esterkamp. Going in two years in a row finding ‘under the radar’ guys that played at the D2 NCAA level, to come in and put up crazy numbers the way they did, is very impressive. Drew is a similar player to Kendale. They both are really good in the Pick n Roll, being able to both read the defense and find the open player, or getting all the way to the basket with some very tough finishes. I think they differ in two ways: Drew is aggressive in transition, but KD was the next level in terms of pushing in transition. Drew on the other hand has a lot of size and strength, which he was very good at using to his advantage against smaller point guards.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 15,0ppg, 2,6rpg, 4,2apg and 1,0spg. How content were you with your season?
It is hard to be content with your individual goals when you don’t meet your team goals. With that being said, I did average more assists than I have in years past, which I think is due to getting more comfortable and more under control in pick n roll situations.
How tough was playing a shortend season and winning only two games? Despite that you were very consistent.
It was tough at times for sure. It helps coming into a team that where you already know half the guys, along with the coach and the system that he plays, but there were definitely times at the beginning of my time back where I had to refresh up on some things after not playing in a real game for 10 months.
You shot over 40% from outside. How did your shot grow again and how vital was shot selection this time for the less games that you played?
As always, during the offseason the biggest thing I want to do is improve my strengths, my biggest being shooting the 3. I shoot a lot of 3’s in games, and I sat down with coach to go over the best times of when I should and shouldn’t take some of the 3’s I take.
Last season you stated your decision making between to shoot the three and penetrate was something you could improve. Did you make better decisions this season?
I think I did. A majority of the 3’s I did take the previous season were good shots, but there are always situations where I could have penetrated to score or find a teammate. I think I improved on that this season.
Last summer you worked on reading pick and roll better, getting a quicker release on your shot and foot work. What will you be focusing most on this summer to continue to become the best player that you can?
The same thing. I have found my ‘niche’, and I want to be the very best at it. Any team or league I play in, I want to be the best shooter. That means I have to continue to work on my strengths in order to advance my game.
Who was the toughest player that you battled on the court this season?
This is a tough one. There were a lot of good players I played against in my ten games, and choosing one is tough to do.
Where will your journey go? I think that you can be an impact player in the German Pro A or are your goals higher?
Pro A is a good league with a lot of good players. I think because of my playing style, I could play at a higher level and still perform at a similar level. I think the same would go if I for some reason had to play at a lower level too.
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?
I think he is top 5 all time. Looking at how much he improves whatever team he goes to is speaks a lot for how much value he brings to a team.
How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points and 60 this season. Where will his journey go as a player in the next years?
He is a great player. With the size, skill and ability to shoot, he can be a superstar in the next coming years.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
I definitely disagree. Although his playing style does not match Europe’s, he is the most explosive PG in the history of basketball, and there is not a chance anyone in the world, let alone Europe, could stop him from getting wherever he wants on the floor at any time. I’m not saying he would win any type of championship, but with the insane numbers he would put up, I think there is a very small percentage that he would not lead a team to ‘success’ in Europe.
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
I think he is a great defender, but definitely not the best all time.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I have not seen it! There are plenty of old classics that have been brought back when they shouldn’t have, let’s hope this is not one of them haha.
Thanks Jackson for the chat.