Jaleen Smith Knows Alba Berlin Will Be Sharp Going Into The Playoffs and Not Feeling Rust Like Other Teams Will With The Long Break

Jaleen Smith (193-PG-1994, 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 crushing 109-80 win over Giessen.

Thanks Jaleen for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the win over the Giessen 46ers. How weird is it still playing while other teams are already on summer vacation or playoff teams waiting for the playoffs to start?

Seeing other teams play was kind of hard to watch because you can see the players are ready to be home but they have to finish the season. I understand especially when you don’t have any playoff hopes left in any of the games.

There will be teams like Hamburg, Bonn and Bamberg that will have a two week rest while Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Munich will be playing right up to the start of the playoffs? An advantage or disadvantage for Alba Berlin?

I think it’s an advantage because we will be sharp playing right into the playoffs as for other teams are going to be rusty getting back into games.

How important is it to face teams like Giessen and Braunschweig before you have the real test against FC Bayern Munich right before the playoffs start? How key will added self-confidence be for the team going into the playoffs?

Building up our self confidence is going to be huge going into playoffs because having everyone feeling good and ready for the games is going to be key to us making a run in playoffs.

Alba Berlin played it’s typical fine offensive game scoring 61 points in the first half, but also gave up 43 points against Giessen. Isn’t that too much against a poor team like that?

We took Giessen for granted because 2 of their best players weren’t with them and they came out and showed character and gave us a fight in the first quarter.

Giessen Germans scored the first 13 Giessen points. German talent Bjarne Kraushaar had 10 points. Was he a little off your radar this time?

Having the best players out it caused him to step up and he hurt us in the first quarter. He got an opportunity and took advantage of the chance.

How good did it feel hitting back to back three’s in the second quarter. You have been shooting the three ball pretty well as of late.

These are shots I’ve been working on during and after practice. I’m just glad I’m hitting my stride at the right time.

You were leading by 25 points after three quarters. Were you surprised that their depleted roster that was without key players Kendale Mccullum and Nuni Omot still had so much energy?

They came out in the first and second half making everything and playing with a lot of confidence which is dangerous with any team.

You didn’t play once against Kendale Mccullum this season who had a decent personal season despite playing for Giessen. He is also a guy that made it to the top from the Pro A. Does sometimes not having that duel weigh more than against a top player?

I would’ve love to match up with him. I have heard nothing but good things about him and he does little bit of everything for his team. He is the next great guard that is a product of the Pro A division.

Even though the team allowed 80 points you still forced 22 turnovers. Was this one of those games where you experimented with certain defensive schemes?

We stuck to what we always do nothing changed with our defense. We just wasn’t focused to give up 80 points to this team.

We have talked about Oscar Da Silva in the past. How vital is his character intelligence for his development. This guy could easily be a starter on any team, but sometimes plays only 14 minutes, but continues to be so efficient. Can a younger guy like this be a role model even for a veteran like you?

His development alone is crazy to see. He’s always working on his game and even now with the minutes he plays he’s contributing.

Oscar Da Silva had another inspiring game with 16 points and 5 boards in 18 minutes. Would you inspire him to play NBA Summer League again?

I would because his projection as a player is going to the NBA. On how long that would take is all about opportunity and he deserves a chance.

Alba Berlin also allowed young German point guard Nils Machowski to play his second BBL game. He will be dueling in the German U-19 final 4 in 3 weeks. How talented is he?

He is a very talented guard from what I’ve heard. I haven’t seen him play too much to talk about him but him coming into the game and being aggressive as he was on offense shows how much confidence he has in his game.

One guy we haven’t talked about ever is German Jonas Mattisseck. He had his best scoring game with 19 points. Is he a guy that has continued to be able to develop his basketball IQ playing in the Alba Berlin system?

The thing now for Jonas is his confidence I seen him do stuff in practice that is like ‘wow I didn’t know he could do that’ I feel like the more confidence he has in his self and his game the sky is the limit for him.

You had a very solid game with 16/4/7/4 stats in 24 minutes. Was this game also one of those opportunities that allows you to experiment with your game?

I’m just still trying to get better as the season comes to an end and get ready for the playoffs coming up.

What is the team’s biggest goal to do in the last two games besides win the games in preparation for the playoffs?

First our goal is to be healthy going into the playoffs with no injuries. Second to having everyone feeling good and confident before the playoffs start so everyone is having that ‘feel good’ feeling.

Do you believe that FC Bayern Munich’s loss against FC Barcelona will make them more hungry? What do you believe was missing from them reaching the Final 4?

I think it’s tough to win in Barcelona against a really good team like that. I think Barcelona made a lot more plays to win the game and in those games that is what it comes down to. They will be more hungry to win the BBL Championship for sure. We just have to be ready for what’s ahead.

Since playing NBA Summer League for the Phoenix Suns, have you become a fan of the team? How hungry are they to win the NBA title this season?

I think Chris Paul wants this championship more this year just tasting the Finals for him wasn’t enough. HE WANTS A CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!

Do the Memphis Grizzlies have any chance against the Golden State Warriors? Can one single guy like Ja Morant carry a team past Steph and Co?

I think it will be tough now especially since they are going to be on the road. The Warriors are a tough team to beat at home in the playoffs.

How do you see the east shaping up? Can Boston get by Milwaukee and how far will Miami go?

Right now it looks like Miami and Milwaukee will meet in the Conference final again. I have Miami going to the Finals again and getting past Milwaukee.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Star Wars: The Revenge of The Sith.

Thanks Jaleen for the chat


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