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 before the BBL game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Thanks Jaleen for talking to germanhoops.com. Your playing your first Euroleague season. How crazy has it been for you personally with Covid and all the postponements etc. Is there one trip you won’t forget so quickly?
I won’t forget our Belgrade trip. The city, the fans, just everything about the trip was really cool. I loved it out there.
Alba Berlin had a tough January in Euroleague but have won two of the last three games. It seems like you really have picked up the game on the defensive end. What has been
key in the last games besides against CSKA that you have been able to play top defense?
We just tried to be more physical on both ends of the floor. With us being more physical, we can see teams struggle sometimes against it.
How much do you get up playing against guys like NBA champion Jordan Loyd? What gets you most pumped playing against guys like that?
I love those games going against ex-NBA guys. You always want to try and match your skills up with theirs.
A couple weeks ago you played against OJ Mayo. You weren’t even in high school yet when he was making a name for himself in the NBA. What was it like playing against an aging player like that? Are you the type of guy to take the opportunity to do some small talk with him before or after the game?
No because its surreal to even be on the same court as him. I just watch how be plays and try to learn little bit from his game.
In the win over Monaco you played solid having 10 points in 12 minutes while ex NBA player Mike James netted 25 points for the losers. What does a Jaleen Smith still have to do to reach his level?
I have to put in a lot of work for the next couple of off-season to match his level. Mike is a seasoned veteran in the league too so a couple of years to get a feel for all the teams and coaches.
Alba Berlin is currently 8-18 in Euroleague. With what kind of an approach is the club going into the rest of the games? Does the club still believe they could accomplish something great with a run?
We just try and get better every game and just taking it one day at a time. We still looking towards the end goal and that is to win a championship in the German BBL.
Alba Berlin is only in sixth place at 12-5. How competitive is the easyCredit BBL this season. How dangerous is a team like ratiopharm Ulm? The 71-66 win was a tough piece of work this season.
ULM has been playing really well in EuroCup and in the BBL they are really fun to watch. The BBL is really competitive this season its actually really fun to look forward to every game because you have to be ready to play every night.
How have you seen the development of Maodo Lo? For two seasons you were opponents and now teammates. His quickness stands out, but what do you feel is off the radar on his game?
His defense is really underrated. He’s a great defender just as good as his offense is.
Welcome back to Frankfurt. Alba Berlin crushed Frankfurt in Berlin 101-63. But Frankfurt is a different team. They have added some new faces with Cherry and Mclean. What kind of game will w see this time?
They definitely will be playing a lot better this time around and they are going to have revenge on their mind when we play them. So we will have to be ready to play.
When Will Cherry was in the NBA, you were just starting at UNH. Lebron James gave the assist for his first NBA basket. How much of a challenge will it be facing his very aggressive defense?
Definitely ready for the challenge of a really good defender. Also I know he will probably guard the best perimeter guy on our team so I probaly won’t be me haha.
You will face Quantez Robertson again. With what kind of feelings are you going into the game that this could be his last game you play against him? He is 37 and a BBL identity figure. But don’t worry I think he will be back next season in the BBL.
Just treating him like it’s another game I think he’ll play until he’s 40 I believe. So it’s just going to be another basketball game for me.
You will face Rickey Paulding soon in Berlin. Is there anything you would like to ask him when you say farewell that game?
I have nothing at the moment actually
Next weekend you play against the Niners Chemnitz to reach the easyCredit BBL cup final. On paper Alba Berlin is the favorite, but not the big favorite or?
In our mind we will play our way and we know they are a very good team so we’re going to be ready.
Alba Berlin won the first game easily 82-63, but Chemnitz have stepped up their game as of late. Will the Alba three point party and the Chemnitz easy baskets inside be the main element to the game or could we expect some other surprises?
The game is going to be very physical for sure it’s the POKAL they are going to let us play all game. I think it’ll come down to whoever is the tougher team.
How much of a factor will it be just wearing out Chemnitz? It has been along season and there were times where Covid really depleted them roster wise.
Yeah when we played them I think they were missing a couple of players and they’ll be ready to play us this time around. They are a very prideful team and we’ll have to be ready for whatever they come at us with on Saturday.
How hungry are you win your first pro chip? How do you feel has your winning mentality grown since playing with Alba Berlin?
I can’t wait to win my first pro Championship it’s going to be a crazy moment and I won’t forget about it for the rest of my life. I have 3 years to complete the goal for sure a lot of chances.
You have been in and out of the starting lineup all season long. How much of an advantage is it for you to come off the bench? What main things do you watch the most during the game so you are best prepared when you come into the game.
Just seeing the tempo of the game from the bench is something I pay attention to. Also how my match up has been playing just to be ready to give extra energy out on the court.
You continue to work on being the most efficient player you can be. How tough has it been mentality having to play so many games on the fly with COVID?
I actually like it because it’s less practice time haha. More games to just figure stuff out and we’ve done a good job with it.
Your shooting under 40% from the two point range. What is the biggest challenge to correct this while having more limited shots with a deep roster like Alba Berlin. Is this shooting percentage more to do with bad shot selection?
Just taking better shots would help with the overall percentage for sure. I’ve been taking a lot of midrange pull-ups more this year than recent years and those are tough shots.
How has your defense game developed in a team like Alba Berlin that prides good defense? How have you become a better on ball defender?
Learning a different technique is definitely great to have here in ALBA. I’ve learned different techniques for one on one and pick roll defense it’s helped my growth a lot.
What is your take on the James Harden trade to the 76ers? Can Brooklyn mesh better now without a Harden?
Yeah im actually surprised he asked for a trade from Brooklyn I thought things were going great.
Will Cherry believes that Lebron James could score 80 points in the easyCredit BBL. What is your take on that?
If he would want to Lebron would average that but I think he’ll definitely average a triple double in our league for sure.
Who will win The 2022 Super Bowl Rams or Bengals?
Thanks Jaleen for the chat.