Adjusting To Different Types Of Defenses And Players Helped Arkim Robertson(Union Neuchatel Basket) Display His Break Out Season Last Year

Arkim Robertson (208-C-1994, college: CS Fullerton) is a 28 year old 208cm center from Grenada playing his 5th professional season and first with Union Neuchatel Basket (Switzerland-SBL). Last season he played with the Lugano Tigers (Switzerland-SBL) averaging 18.2ppg, Reb-2 (10.1rpg), 2.2apg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP: 58.7%, FT: 66.1%. In 2020-2021 he played with BC Adria Oil Skrljevo (Croatia-Premijer Liga) averaging 17.1ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 69.3%, FT: 59.3%. In his first 2 professional seasons he got experience in Argentina,Brazil and Chille. He began his basketball career at Western Oklahoma State College (JUCO) and then finished at California State University, Fullerton (NCAA). He spoke to before a test game in Germany against the wiha Panthers Schwenninge

Thanks Arkim for talking to Your playing your first season for Union Neuchatel Basket (Switzerland-SBL) and playing a test game in Germany today against Pro A team wiha Panthers Schwenningen. Have you been able to explore Germany in the last year as you were living in Switzerland?

Since I have been in Switzerland my two years I have never been to Germany so this is my first time ever going there.

If someone had told you in the summer of 2016 after your last JUCO season that in the next 5 years you would live in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chille, Croatia and Switzerland and play the game you love for a living what would you have said?

If someone had told me that I would have said no way because i would not have believed it, but now that I’m here it is a blessing to have the opportunity to play the game I love and travel the world do so, so I am grateful.

You averaged only 4,0ppg in your senior year in the NCAA but still turned pro. The first 2 seasons in South America were tough, but in the last 2 years have become a very good player and put up good stats. What kept you going in those first few years to bring you this far?

My first season I was just figuring who I am as a player and how I can be useful to any team. So I stayed motivated everyday knowing one day my time will come where all the working I am putting in will reward itself.

You had an incredible season last season with the Lugano Tigers establishing yourself in the Swiss league. Seriously how can you top that season? What is your mindset like going into this season?

Yes last season was good individually it was but this season I feel like I can show more in terms of playing better defense being a better leader, passing and also scoring the basketball.

Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 208cm center. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

I’m actually 209 hahaha but I would say my game is kind of like Tim Duncan, I post up a lot and every now and then I take a mid range jumper but I love posting up and I’ve watched Tim Duncan a lot when I was younger.

Would it be fair to say that you can do it all except shoot the three. Is the three something you want to incorporate into your game down the road?

Hahaha I think so but definitely, I would love to put that part into my game as well because I think I am capable of making the threes so I will be working on that part of my game when the summer comes but all for now I will be posting up and taking mid range shots occasionally hahaha

You can score and rebound very well. What other strengths does your game incorporate? Talk a bit about your defensive game. How would you describe yourself as a shot blocker now and where do you still want to get to?

Well I think I am a pretty good defender when it comes to defending my position, I love to come from the weak side to block shots, I also live chasing down blocks to but what I would love to get better in is defending the position four really good and the three position as well.

On what areas of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?

Facing up that is one thing I have been working on a lot, slowing down the game and reading the defenders, free throw shooting of course and also picking my spots on the floor being more consistent with making my shots.

Last season you played with the Lugano Tigers (Switzerland-SBL)Score-4 (18.2ppg), Reb-2 (10.1rpg), 2.2apg, Blocks-3 (1.2bpg), FGP: 58.7%, FT: 66.1%. You turned into a double double monster. How did your game grow that season?

Well I figured out how they were guarding me and I just adjusted myself to it, I know I would get double teamed every time so I had to make my move very fast, I also knew I am one of the strongest guys in the league so I was using that to my advantage, I have a feel for the rebound so I would put myself in position to get it every time, for me it was all about adjusting to the different types of defense’s and players.

You had a crazy 45/20 game against Boncourt and shot 79% from the floor. What memories do you have of this masterpiece?

Oh man that was a good game and the reason it was a good game was because we were going at one another, it was me and a guy called Brent, I just remember I had like 18 points and my teammates were telling Arkim they can’t stop you get 50 and in my mind I’m thinking okay today is one of those days where I’ll go off and every time I touch the ball I was scoring and I remember I was seeing the rim big in my eyes, that was a cool moment to have.

You had your breakout season overseas with BC Adria Oil Skrljevo (Croatia-Premijer Liga) Score-4 (17.1ppg), 7.0rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 69.3%, FT: 59.3%. What kind of mindset did you have coming into the season? Your confidence must have been well since you had finished the season before solidly in Croatia?

Well I was confident prior to the last year because I knew I have played there before and the season was cut short because of corona so if that did not happen who knows how that season would have ended hahaha. My confidence was up because I believe in my self and what I can do and then I was working on improving my game and getting stronger as well.

You played against top address Cibona 5 times and played well each game. Did you realize after these type of games that you could play at a high level?

When I played in Brazil I started to realize that I could play at a high level. I was playing against guys who came from the G league and guys who played in the NBB and then when I came and playing in Croatia against those teams I realized I could really compete with that and I wasn’t afraid.

Do keep tabs on top Croatian guys like Planinic and Prkacin where you held your own against?

Not really but I do know he was supposed to get into to NBA draft that’s all I know and I hope he does get to go to the NBA because he is really good, I enjoyed my time playing against him.

In your second season you began with CD Asociacion de Basquetbol Temuco (Chile-Liga Nacional) and then moved to BC Adria Oil Skrljevo (Croatia-Premijer Liga) averaging 11.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 59.0%, FT: 50.0%. How valuable was finishing in Croatia so strong? Did you see that as your last chance?

It was valuable for me because I was cut from Chile because I sprained my ankle and I had five ligaments that were damaged, so I took that very personal into my next job so my mind set was to go in strong and finish strong.

How vital was a vet like Mark Dorris in your first Croatia gig? He has seen it all as a professional?

Mark Dorris was a very good guy to have around he taught me a lot not just basketball but networking and how to conduct myself as a professional

You played your rookie season first with Progreso de General Roca (Argentina-La Liga Argentina) and then Pato Basquete (Brazil-Liga Ouro) averaging 8.4ppg, 6.1rpg, FGP: 53.3%, FT: 59.4%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being a rookie where you knew that you were far away from home?

My wake up call was when I knew that I was far away from home and I couldn’t go to my mom to figure out stuff no more, like why I’m playing bad, what am I not doing to help my team stuff like really woke me up fast.

Argentina was rough but at least you finished out your rookie season in Brazil well. What positives could you take from your Brazil time?

I went to Brazil and I played pretty good. I love how the played Brazil it’s nice, it’s physical to so that’s why I love it.

You began your career with Western Oklahoma State College (JUCO) and played 2 seasons there. Every guy I have interviewed that played JUCO has described the experience one as very challenging and tough, but one that they wouldn’t have traded in for the world. How was it for you?

JUCO was hard haha I’m not going to lie to you but it is a part of my life where if I had to do it again I would because I loved it, it shaped me and prepared me for the future.

You then finished at California State University, Fullerton (NCAA) playing 59 games and averaging 4/4 stats. How was the whole NCAA experience for you? Do you feel like you made the most of the 15 minutes you got per game in those 2 years?

The whole NCAA experience for me was amazing I wish I could’ve done it again to be honest I had a lot of fun playing with those guys, yes I felt like I made the most of the minutes I played I did what my coach asked me to do it and I was having fun doing it, so yes I did made the most out of it.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Johnny Wang?

Me of course hahaha but Johnny he’s a good player, I like him.

Who is the best player that you ever battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?

Carson Edwards and I can’t remember the other guy name there were three of them from Purdue.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

My five best teammates of all time that is hard hahaha I’ll have to say Kyle from Cal state Khalid also from Cal state Fullerton, Phillip and Luka from Croatia and Markel Humphrey in Switzerland.

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?

My personal Mount Rushmore has to be Bill Russell, Kareem, Lebron, Kobe and Jordan.

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?

Me personally I think they both great players but I grew up in a Lebron era and I have seen the things he is able to do over the years and it’s just amazing to watch,I would pick Lebron because of his all around game.

Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?

Yes I did, I thought it was funny but not as the first one so yeah hahaha maybe they should have left that one alone.

Thanks Arkim for the chat.

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