Kamar Baldwin (185-G-1997, college: Butler) is a 24 year old 185 cm guard from Winder, Georgia playing his second professional season and first with BG Goetingen. Last season he played his rookie campaign with Turk Telekom Ankara (Turkey-BSL) playing 17 games averaging 6.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 27.6%, FT-2 (94.7%); and played 8 BCL games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 60.0%: He began his basketball career with Apalachee High School. He then played at Butler University (NCAA) from 2016-2020 reaching the NCAA Sweet 16. In his last three seasons he averaged 16,0ppg, 4,0rpg and 3,0apg. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a game against the Fraport Skyliners
Kamar thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about how you have experienced the whole Ukraine crisis in Germany. Have you been glued to CNN?
I have not followed it so much. But when I found out my former Butler (NCAA) teammate Avery Woodson played in the Ukraine, it caught my attention. I have ben keeping an eye on it now. I wish all the best for the Ukrainians. I hope Russia go back to Russia.
As an American where there isn’t war in the country, but where solders have always fought in other countries, how has it been for you being near to war in Europe? Do you feel safe in Germany?
I feel safe in Germany for the most part. It is different living in a country that is closer to a place that is at war. In Gottingen they had a bomb from World war 2 go up that was buried in the ground. That was scary.
Your playing your second professional season and first in Germany with BG Goettingen. After a so so rookie season you are the second best scorer in the easyCredit BBL. Does the BBL fit your game?
I feel that the BBL does fit my style. Coach Moers has a lot of confidence in my game and gives me a lot of responsibility. In my rookie season in Turkey, I had a lot of guys ahead of me. I was more of a defensive option. With Goettingen I play defense and am that offensive weapon.
If the playoffs began tomorrow BG Goettingen would be in the playoffs. The team is the best three point shooting team in the league. The club has more guys that can create and the team is allowing 10 points less than last year. What besides better organization has been key for the team defending better?
I think that paying attention to the scouting report and our opponents strengths has been key. I think that we are well connected as a team. And really important is that we always have really good practices leading up to games and that has translated well over to the games.
How important has veteran Akeem Vargas been for the team defense? How vital are his leadership qualities as well?
Akem has been great. He is our captain and has been around for a while and played for Alba Berlin. He knows all the players and has done a great job helping us navigate which helps us play better. He is an amazing leader that brings us all on the same page. In pre season he had everyone at his house. There was a lot of bonding. I think that has played a big part as to why we have been so successful.
The club recently signed Harald Frey. What kind of different dimension does he give the team now?
Harald has been great. He has the ability to create for others and himself. He is another weapon and takes a lot of pressure off the rest of the guys. His presence was felt right when he came. He had a great game against Ulm. He has been a great addition.
You’re a 185cm guard that has the complete package. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
I haven’t heard any current NBA guys comparisons. My game is really centered around the mid range game so I have always modeled my game around Michael Jordan.
Your scoring skills really stand out, but what other strengths does your game have?
I’m a good defender and can rebound pretty well for my size. I also think that my passing is underrated.
You are an ambitious defender. What kind of defender are you now and what kind do you want to become?
I feel like I’m a decent defender now. Now I give up too many straight drives on the close out. I need to be able to put more pressure on the ball. I definitely want to become that lock down defender that can guard the other team’s best player while still being that scorer. I want to be able to play both sides and do at a more efficient rate.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so that you will continue to climb the basketball ladder?
I want to continue to work more on my three pointer and become more consistent. I worked very hard on my shot last summer. I also want to be more efficient on the offensive end. All in all work on all parts of my game.
Last season you played with Turk Telekom. What do you remember being your wake up call to being a rookie overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?
I remember when I flew from Atlanta to Istanbul, I had to find my next terminal. I knew they spoke English there, but not like at home. I had to figure out myself how to get to the terminal. That was my wake up call to being in a foreign country for the first time.
You had solid stats, but surely would have liked to have more of a role. Was it hard getting by the veteran guards Nick Johnson and Marcus Foster?
Yes it was. I felt like I competed in the practice at the same level as those guys. They were more experienced at that level. It was hard mentally not playing for some weeks at a time. I took the practice days as my game days to get better. This really helped me for this season and showed me not to take playing time for granted. Playing for Goettingen has been such a blessing. I’m trying to take the most of this opportunity.
You played at Butler from 2016-2020. You reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2018. What memories do you have of the 90-82 loss to North Carolina?
They won the NCAA title. I remember them being like a track team. They really knew how to push the ball well. They had some very good players with Justin Jackson, Joel Berry and Theo Pinson. They shot the ball very well. We had a very good year that season.
So many teams that you faced in the NCAA had guards that went to the NBA. In the NC game a guy like Theo Pinson went to the NBA. But you and Avery Woodson haven’t. Aren’t there just too many great guards on earth and too little NBA spots?
Yes you could say that. There is a lot of politics involved. Covid happened when I came out. It was frustrating. I didn’t know what would happen. But that’s life. I will continue to do the most of my chance in Goettingen. Maybe I will get a chance in the NBA one day.
You put up very consistent stats all four years. How do you feel did your game develop at Butler?
I became more of a complete player. I was able to read the defense better and played better with pace. I also feel like I was able to feel the rhythm of the game better and my IQ grew.
You had so many incredible games at Butler like the as a freshman scoring 30 + points against Georgetown and Seton Hall or your game winner over Xavier as a senior? But where does your game winner over Northwestern in only your second game at Butler rank?
I put the Northwestern game winner at number two and my number one is the Xavier game winner. I take Xavier because it was last game as a senior and plus they were our biggest rival.
How did head coach Lavall Jordan groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He helped me grow my IQ adding pace and more fundamentals. He also helped me with my passing and reading the defense. Coach basically helped me see the bigger picture.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Aaron Thompson?
We were pretty even. He is a very good defender. He is one of the top defenders in the nation now.
Who was the toughest guard that you faced in the NCAA that went to the NBA?
I would say Jalen Brunson. He had incredible pace and knew how to get to his spots. He was always under control and got what he wanted. I really respect his game. You always had to be ready when you played him,.
Please name your five best teammates of all-time?
Henry Baddley, Rickey Wonzon, Stephen Brown, Jeff Roberson, Kelan Martin and Shawn Mcdermott
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Kareem, Magic
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron and why isn’t Kobe mentioned more?
Jordan is the GOAT. I think Kobe isn’t mentioned more because he came right after Jordan. Kobe just doesn’t get respect.
Did you see the sequel to the classic coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
I didn’t see the sequel, but I heard it was bad. They should of left it alone.
Thanks Kamar for the chat.