Jeff Roberson (198-F-1996, college: Vanderbilt) is a 25 year old 198cm forward from Houston, Texas playing his fourth professional season and first in Germany with BG Goettingen. He played part of a season with Trefl Sopot (Poland-EBL) averaging 8.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 43.8%, 3FGP: 37.8%, FT: 89.2%. He also played parts of three seasons in the G-League with Maine and Greensboro. He began his basketball career with the Kinkaid school and then played at Vanderbilt (NCAA) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 131 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 16.8ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 85.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the win over the Fraport Skyliners
Thnks Jeff for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the 76-72 win over the Fraport Skyliners. How huge was this win after the embarrassing loss in Braunschweig?
This win against Frankfurt was huge. We had been struggling the last games. But we came back and had good practices the last days and were able to translate that energy into the games.
BG Goettingen had the 19-15 lead after one quarter. You got going quickly and produced 8 points. Did you go into the game with a good feeling knowing it was time to step up quickly?
I didn’t necessarily know it would be me. The ball just happened to come my way. My mind set in every game is to be aggressive. We were in rhythm and the ball found me and I knocked down shots.
BG Goettingen didn’t waste anytime in the second quarter jumping all over the Fraport Skyliners with a 9-0 run. You showed your passing qualities with back to back assists. Is passing off the radar in your game?
Yes I take a lot of pride in my passing. I like to get guys the ball on target. I believe that passing is a underrated part of my game. As long as I can help my team win, I’m happy. I really enjoy passing the ball.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners went on a run and cut your lead down to 42-40. Ex NBA player Jeremiah Martin then scored 7 unanswered baskets. Is he the perfect example of a walking bucket?
Jeremiah is a bucket. He has been showing that his whole career. We have embraced his game with open arms and he has shown who he is as a scorer. He helped us a lot today. He is very comfortable in his scoring role and gave us a big boost tonight.
The Fraport Skyliners made it exciting in crunch-time, but what was key for you getting the win?
I think the key was getting timely stops. They did a good job putting pressure on us and keeping the game close. We got stops when it counted and were ready at the same time.
Your playing your second season overseas and first in Germany for BG Goettingen. What have you enjoyed most about the experience in Goettingen?
It has been a great experience. It was a learning experience at first, because I got off to a slow start. But with time, I was able to find my role and be able to be efficient in the minutes I get. We have good chemistry and we all want to win.
BG Goettingen is in a big fight for the playoffs. Many people didn’t understand the 37 point loss in Braunschweig. How could a team give a performance like that at this juncture of the season?
It is a long season. Sometimes there are games where it feels like nothing will go your way. They were more physical and tougher than us and that trickled on throughout the game. When your down big, it’s tough to come back. But that game was a learning experience that we used for fuel for the Frankfurt game.
The team also lost games with Kamar Baldwin before he went down. But in Braunschweig the team showed how helpless they are without him. Is that a good reason why Kamar Baldwin is a MVP candidate?
Kamar should be MVP for his body of work. He has been consistent in crunch time and he has to have one of the highest efficiency rates in the league in crunch time. He is always locked in. He has saved us so many times this season. But we are still a very good team without him.
Your putting up solid stats in the easyCredit BBL. What has been the biggest adjustment in your game?
The style in the BBL is different than in the G-League. The play is a lot more physical here and you have to be locked in every night, because anybody can beat anybody. The league is very competitive. I feel like I have settled in well. I have focused on attacking the close outs, rebounding and being versatile and being able to defend as many positions as possible.
You had great games in the nail bitter wins over ratiopharm Ulm and medi Bayreuth. Which one was more memorable?
That is hard to choose. The game in Ulm was crazy. Kamar hit a game winner. The Bayreuth game was strange, because they only had 6 players.
Last season despite Covid you had a very solid season in the G-League with the Greensboro Swarm. What was the toughest thing that you had to cope with last season?
It was a very strange season. There were stretches of months where all I was doing was working out and not playing games. You didn’t know when you would play. I only played 15 games. It was tough not getting a full season.
You played parts of three seasons in the G-League. What kind of an experience was it. You never averaged more than 20 minutes in the G-League. How tough is it with all the talent to reach a NBA call up?
It is very difficult. Your playing time is very inconsistent. The two way players get the majority of the minutes. All you can do is play your role and be as effective as possible. I learned that you have to be a professional and always be ready, because you never know when your number will be called.
In 2019-2020 you played your first season overseas with Trefl Sopot (Poland-EBL) playing 17 games averaging 8.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 43.8%, 3FGP: 37.8%, FT: 89.2%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were very far away from home?
There were a couple of wake up calls. The first was when I arrived in Poland and got to my apartment. When the team manager left is when I felt ok I’m alone now. The other time was at Christmas. I had always been used to being away from home in school, but being in Poland was different. When I saw all my friends with family on Social Media I knew I was far away. But I knew I was making a sacrifice and in the end all would be good.
How fortunate were you having two vets like Cameron Ayers and Carlos Medlock in Poland. What was most key in them helping you adjust best?
Those two guys were huge. They made a very positive impact on my first season overseas. Thy showed me what it takes to make it overseas. I saw that you don’t always get your way, but I watched how they handled themselves and how they prepared and were professionals helped me.
After a strong senior season at Vanderbilt (NCAA), you landed in the G-League with the Maine Red Claws (NBA G League) playing 36 games averaging 4.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.2apg. What was your wake up call to being in the G-League?
Sometimes you end up on a team where you feel like there are 12 individuals. In college it is different where there is more chemistry. In the G-League all guys have aspirations to make the NBA. It was a culture shock for me seeing that not every player was on the same page.
What kind of an experience was it being a part of the Boston Celtics organization? Did you meet any note worthy people in that time that gave you good advice?
It was an incredible experience. I was around the whole team. Seeing guys like Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Terry Rozier were incredible. One day you saw them on TV and then the next day your practicing with them. You see just how good they are and you try to learn from their work ethic. It was a priceless experience learning from the best coaches in the world.
What was the best example that you witnessed in the G-League that proves the NBA will always be a business first?
There are so many. I was teammates with PJ Dozier in Maine. He is a great player. When he was there he was on his second or third two way contract. He then eventually made it to Denver. He then was traded a few more times. Once he gets healthy he can help any team. His journey has shown that when you get hurt, teams will move on without you. It must have been hard going through what he experienced.
What memories do you have of Robert Williams. He has suffered many growing pains but come a long way from your rookie season. Has his current success surprised you?
He is one of the most freak athletes that I have ever seen. I played against him in school. His ability to jump was incredible. He could put his head on the rim. He can cover so much ground. The Celtics defense funnels in to him. He is a big reason why the team has been so good on defense.
You played at Vanderbilt (NCAA) from 2014-2018. What memories do have starting against Powerhouse Kentucky (NCAA) as a freshman and playing against so many future NBA guys like Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl Anthony-Towns and the Harrison brothers.
It was funny.We had no expectations going into that game. On the scouting report on Karl Anthony Towns it was just man up. All you can do is try to be physical on him and try your best. You can’t stop him. They were a team with Devin Booker coming off the bench. That was crazy. He is a guy that could win NBA MVP. You have to wonder how this team didn’t win the NCAA title.
In your second season you beat Kentucky and had a great game of 16/8 and saw future NBA player Jamal Murray explode for 33 points. Does a game like this prove that there are so many talented players in the NCAA and too little NBA spots?
Yes that is the nature of the game. Only a small percentage make the NBA. You have to be lucky. In college you focus to be the best that you can. Just stay in the moment and hope that it will lead to new opportunities.
You had two NCAA runs losing to Wichita State and Northwestern. I guess that 68-66 loss to Northwestern is one you will never forget.
That was an unfortunate game. Everybody made a big deal about it. We were up by one and my teammate Mathew Fischer-Davis though we were down and intentionally fouled and we lost the game. But we wouldn’t have been in the game without his strong play that game.
Every year you played against so many great players form Kentucky like Dearon Fox, Malik Monk, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Kevin Knox to name some others. In your four years in the NCAA, which Wild cat player will remain most in your memories?
Jamaal Murray gave us a lot of problems.
You had many great games as a senior like against Mississippi State, Florida or the 83-81 loss against Kentucky. Which game was your best in your career?
I think beating Florida at home my senior year was my best game. It was a great feeling winning that game at home. At that time, it was a huge win for us. The atmosphere was great and the fans crazy.
How did head coach Bryce Drew groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He was a player’s coach. He treated us like we were in the NBA. We would eat at nice restaurants on the road. His biggest thing was helping us be better people. I really appreciated that.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Matthew Fischer-Davis?
We never really played. It was more shooting drills. We played the same position freshman year. One game I would play 30 minutes and he 10 minutes and then next game it would be reversed. We had no problems with that. We pushed each other every day. He was one of the most natural talented players I ever knew.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that went to the NBA?
Ben Simmons gave us a lot of problems. Back then he was playing the one and he used his speed. He gives teams problems in the NBA and back in college it was even tougher.
Please name your five best teammates of all-time?
Damian Jones, James Siakam, Riley Lachance, Kamar Baldwin, Matthew Fischer-Davis
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
Lebron, Jordan, Kobe, Magic, Larry Bird
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest Jordan or Lebron?
It is neverending but not fair. Basketball has evolved so much. There are more talented players now. I have more appreciation for Lebron. He has continued to change his game to fit the NBA year to year. Plus he is a role model. Lebron is my goat but you can’t disregard Jordan’s legacy.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
Yes they should of left it alone. But that is what typically happens with sequels. I wasn’t upset that I saw it and it didn’t hurt it’s legacy.
Thanks Jeff for the chat.