Jaleen Smith (193-PG-94, college: UNH) is a 27 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his fifth professional season and first with Alba Berlin. He played the last two seasons with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg averaging 15.2ppg, 5.0rpg, Assists-3 (5.3apg), Steals-2 (1.8spg), FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 87.5%; and 10.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 82,8% the season before. 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 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 convincing 83-62 win over the Niners Chemnitz
Congrats on the convincing 83-62 win over the Niners Chemnitz. You have a 4 game winning streak at the moment. Is Alba Berlin playing it’s best of the season?
It’s still a long season and we’re playing some really good basketball right now. We’ve found our identity these last couple of weeks and we’re winning games from playing our game.
How proud are you of the team that was without top players Sikma and Ericksson. One could carefully say you didn’t need them today.
We played really well without our key players. We just showed everyone we’re a really talented and deep team it can beat anyone on any night.
How big were the back to back Euroleague wins over Maccabi and Milan? How is Alba Berlin a better team since those wins?
Those we’re 2 big wins in the season especially winning them at home and we’re playing with a lot more confidence the more we’re playing together and it shows.
How vital was preparation in the win over Chemnitz? Chemnitz is a team with one of the best coaches in the league and they have played great since moving up from division 2. They beat Munich twice in 2 seasons. How confident was the team before this game that they wouldn’t get upset as well?
We all seen they beat Munich in the Pokal so we wanted to make sure we were ready to play today because they are a really good team. They definitely will be a better team next one we see them again. We were all very confident heading into the game. We all knew we would have to step up our game.
The first half was very tight as no team could get away from each other. Was Alba Berlin a bit surprised just how competitive and gritty this team is?
They are a really good team we expected it so we’re was trying to wear them down because we were playing with 11 people compared to their 8 people. So we kept the pressure on and they got tired in the end.
The turning point was in the third quarter where Alba Berlin exploded for 31 points. What were the magic words of Israel Gonzalez that helped get the team rolling? You guys really let it rain three’s even Tim Scheider dropped one.
We went over some of our defensive mistakes and he wanted to run even more than we did before and we did it perfect. Tim made some big 3s for us in the second half to open up the lead for us.
How important was it for a big talent like Louis Oline be so involved and get the feeling that he is as important as every other player on the team?
Just builds a players confidence about his game and what he can bring to the team. This game was a big confidence booster for everyone that played today and it showed as the game went on.
What was it like defending Franz Massenat? You guys did a good job containing him for only 7 points.
He’s a tough guard and he finishes through contact. He had to play a lot of minutes against our pressure and he got worn down as the game went on.
Three Germans with Thiemann, Schneider and Olinde scored in double figures. How much do they profit when they can be such important options?
Just helps them with their confidence and JT started great for us in the first half which is big. They profit so much from it just shows next man up and everyone has to be ready.
Alba Berlin has had growing pains this season, but are learning how to play with a deep rotation with injuries. What do you believe has the team done best in the current wining streak and on what area’s is it working on to get even better?
We all come in and play as hard as we can Doing whatever we need for us to win. We’re playing really good basketball these last couple of weeks.
We spoke about Oscar Da Silva in the past. He didn’t need any adjustment time in Ludwigsburg and either with Alba Berlin as he has proved he can play with the best in the Euroleague. A Daniel Theis needed some years in the BBL before going to the NBA. Just how big is Oscar’s potential? How have you seen him continue to rise in the last months?
Oscar has a big upside. He’s really helped us with most of the bigs being hurt in the beginning of the season and he’s been really good since everyone is back too. He can finish around the rim and he can extend his range whether that be midrange or 3s. He’s a shot blocker for us and he can get a couple of steals also.
It has been a totally new experience for you with Alba Berlin. Your minutes and stats are down. How happy are you to have made this decision instead of trying for the NBA?
I’m learning to use my minutes efficiently in the game. I don’t care how my stats look for the season as long as I help the team WIN I’m happy. Whether that be scoring, defending the best player on the other team, or all the little things I just want to win. I’m happy about my decision always will be.
Last season you were the BBL MVP and the main guy in Ludwigsburg. Now your on a team where your 1 of 12 guys. What was the most difficult thing that you had to adjust to in the last months?
Just finding my new role in slowly starting to find it. I’m still getting used to it but I’m finding my way.
Your not taking as many shots as in the past. Tonight you had 8 assists. How much has your playmaking profited on a team that loves to share the ball? What part of your playmaking has improved the most?
I love it a lot it’s really good basketball. Everyone is a shooter so either I’m finding them or they’ll find another guy which is nice.
You have played 13 Euroleague games. What has been the biggest adjustment for you with your game? How much more difficult is every possession compared to the easyCredit BBL?
You have to be full focused all game the amount of mistakes that happen in Euroleague are minimal. The team that makes the most mistakes usually loses. Every possession makes in the Euroleague.
Alba Berlin next battle famous Greek team Panathinaikos Athens. How excited are you for this trip? What will be key to getting the next Euroleague win?
I’m excited it’s a lot of history with the club and it’s going to be a tough game against another Euroleague team.
What is your opinion on how legend Scottie Pippen has bashed ex teammate GOAT Michael Jordan? How does his bashing hurt Pippen’s legacy?
I can’t talk on it because I don’t know what his problem was with Jordan. They both are top players in history respectfully. The documentary wasn’t about Scottie it’s about Jordan. I mean Scottie can make a documentary about what really went down if he wanted to.
Thanksgiving has come and gone. How did you celebrate Thanksgiving this year and can anything replace your mother’s cooking?
Nothing can replace momma and grandma’s cooking. I’m definitely missing it right now for the holidays. I went to see my people Tanner and Sasha Leissner in Lithuania and spend a couple of days over there.
Thanks Jaleen for the chat.