Jay Threatt (180-PG-1989, college: Delaware St.) is a 33 year old 180cm point guard from Virginia that is playing his 11th professional season and first with Golden Eagle Ylli (Kosovo-Superliga). He has sampled extensive experience overseas having played in Iceland, Germany, Finland, Romania, Hungry, France, Poland and Greece. He began his NCAA career at George Mason and then finished at Delaware State averaging 8.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 6.0apg, Steals-1 (3.0spg), FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 26.4%, FT: 82.1%. He spoke to eurobasket before a Fiba Europe Cup game against Bamberg.
Thanks Jay for talking to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Wassup Miles. I’m currently playing in Kosovo for Golden Eagle Ylli on a 2 month FIBA Europe Cup deal. Anytime I’m blessed enough to be doing what I love to do I’m happy.
The last time I interviewed you is more than 8,5 years ago. Has time flown by? T
This is year 11 for me as a pro. Some days I can’t even believe it. Time has flown by.
How blessed are you to still playing the game that you love? If someone had told you in your second year in Heidelberg that you would still be playing in 2022 what would you have said?
It’s a HUGE blessing to still be playing this game at a high level; especially what the world has went through the last couple years. A lot of players I started this journey with aren’t doing it anymore so I’m blessed.
What kind of a player were you in 2013 and what kind of player are you today? You had a great second season for the MLP Academics averaging 15.3ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-3 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 79.6%
Honestly I feel like I’m the same player but just stronger and way more experienced. I have seen it all at this point in my career.
Your playing in your 9th country with Golden Eagle Ylli (Kosovo-Superliga). You did play some years for different French clubs but still you have seen a lot. Has the globetrotter life been more enriching then staying in 1-3 places in your pro career?
Playing in different countries has allowed me to obviously experience different cultures but different styles of basketball. Which in the end has made me a more versatile player. I feel like I can play anywhere and have success. But after this next month I would like to sign a 2 year deal and stay in one place.
What kind of an experience has it been playing in Kosovo? What have you learned to appreciate the most about living in this country?
Kosovo is very different but the people have been very nice and welcoming to me. I appreciate the passion from the fans at games even though sometimes it can get out of hand on the road games.
The team is quite experienced. You’re the oldest on the team. Do you have a big role as veteran or not so since there are so many experienced guys?
Yes I definitely have a big role on the team but like you said it a few guys alongside coach that have experience. Still a lot of teaching to the younger players.
What has it been like playing with a guy like Malcolm Armstead that is 33 like you? Can a guy like you still learn something new from a guy like that?
Its great having another guy my age who has played on high levels, who understands the game. I don’t have to dominate the ball when he’s out there, which allows me to go off the ball and become a different type of threat.
Basketball life has changed a bit in the last 10 years. The team isn’t as dominant as back when you were in Germany. How do you remember Bamberg back in 2013 as you could follow the BBL from the Pro A?
Yea we already played the game in Bamberg 2 weeks ago and won. It was great playing back in Germany again. Bamberg has a rich basketball history that I’m well aware of and to beat them with a team from Kosovo was huge.
I can imagine that you were really focused to play in Bamberg and win?
Yea it was and still (next two FIBA GAMES) great to play against quality BBL teams. I’ve always loved Germany as a country so any chance I get to show teams there that I’m still more than capable of playing on that level I’m going to take advantage. I could of been came back over the years but the money or situation wasn’t right. but maybe in a month when I’m free.
American guards were always good in the German Pro A. When you look back to 2013 and all the guards that you competed against what percent of Americans do you feel could have done well in the BBL?
It all depends on situations. Having the right coach and team around a player makes all the difference.
How have you followed your second pro team MLP Academics in the last years? They are in the BBL now. How much do you have to tip the hat to manager Matthias Lautenschlaeger? How do you remember his passion for the game in 2013?
I spoke to Matthias within the last year. We just caught up a bit and I told him I’m proud of him and the club. Wish them nothing but the best.
Your ex teammate Shy Ely is still with the MLP Academics. Did you know back then that he could become a lifer in Heidelberg?
Shy is my guy. We speak pretty often about the year we were together, possibly playing together again and just life in general. But nah we both had no idea back then he would stay there forever.
You have always put up consistent stats in your career. What has been your secret to being able to play so consistent in so many different places and for different organizations?
I appreciate you noticing my consistency. I pride myself on that. Teams know exactly what your going to get from me and a team that’s going to compete. I think like I said earlier my ability to adapt in different styles of basketball has made me a very versatile player.
You always have high assist rates. How would you describe your playmaking qualities. Have you always been a pass first guard or did that change during your career? You already averaged 6.0 assists at Delaware State (NCAA).
It’s very hard to guard me 1 on 1 so teams always used to send more than one guy at me to stop me. So I learned by getting my teammates involved and in a rhythm, teams couldn’t just focus on me. Which in the end would open the lanes back up for me. When everybody on the court feel involved teams normally play better.
In your third pro season you played with BC Nokia (Finland-1st Division) averaging 13.4ppg, 4.9rpg, Assists-3 (5.1apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 85.5%. You won the league title. What do you remember being so special about this team?
This season was all about winning. That was everybody’s goal and we all sacrificed a lot to get it done. But I remember it being extremely cold out there.
In your third professional season you played with CS Phoenix Galati (Romania-Liga National) averaging 13.5ppg, 3.1rpg, Assists-2 (6.6apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 40.1%, 3PT: 42.1%, FT: 76.1%. What memories do you have of Romania? What was special about playing there?
I remember just taking a team that had just moved up to the top league to a 7th place finish and just all the hard work it took to accomplish that. Was a very difficult season dealing when a lot of things that weren’t right off the court. That season taught me to focus only on the things I can control.
In 2016-2017 you played with Sopron KC (Hungary-A Division) averaging 10.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.2apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 41.9%, 3FGP: 28.0%, FT: 71.4% in the Fiba Europe Cup and 14.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 6.2apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 44.7%, 3FGP: 47.8%, FT: 75.8%, in the Hungarian league. It was the first time that you played in an international club tournament. Is it tough that you didn’t play in more?
That was another grind. Playing the whole Euro cup injured was difficult but I enjoyed the traveling and playing twice a week. That was the reason I decided to do it again now I missed that stage.
What do you remember it being like being teammates with high rebounding guard Julien Mills? Do you still have contact to him?
Not much. he was older then and not I have no contact with him.
You finished the season in France and then played parts of the next 2 seasons in France with Denain ASC Voltaire averaging 10.3ppg, 3.7rpg, Assists-5 (5.8apg), 1.6spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 76.5% and with Union Poitiers Basket 86 (France-ProB) averaging 15.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 8.0apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 55.2%, 3FGP: 36.0%, FT: 80.0%. How do you remember France. You won a cup there.
I have played the longest in France and it’s like a second home to me. The leagues are different from everywhere else in Europe with the athleticism. Wining the leaders cup there was a huge accomplishment for me and the club. Just showed that if I’m given the right pieces I can win.
I always felt like the France Pro B is an underrated league. How would you compare it then in skill level to the German Pro A?
France Pro B is the hardest second league in Europe by far. Even better than some first leagues. Anybody that’s played there knows. A lot of talent there. Way more athletic than German pro A.
You also got experience playing in Lithuania with Pieno Zvaigzdes Pasvalys (Lithuania-LKL) averaging 13.4ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-1 (5.7apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 78.7%. Is the country as passionate about the game as people always say? What experience do you remember having with fans that proved that?
Basketball in Lithuania is #1. not soccer. They love it and the understand the game. Which made it real easy for me to play out there. The fans of all teams showed me a lot of love because of how I played and impacted winning. They always wanted pics with me after the games and I appreciated that.
In 2019-2020 you played with BM Slam Stal Ostrow Wlkp. (Poland-EBL) averaging 13.6ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-1 (7.0apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 85.5%. What was it like playing in Poland? You won the assist title. This is another league on the rise?
Poland is definitely a league on the rise. More money has been put into basketball the last couple of years which has made better players come to the league, which then has made the polish players better. You are seeing the results of that in World Cups.
Many players had misfortune during Covid, but you had a lot of luck and made the France Pro A and Greek first division. Was that a testament of your consistent hard work to reach high leagues late in your career?
Yes I think it was just years of consistent play and the respect teams and coaches have for me across Europe.
Were you able to bond with one of my favorite guard Vincent Sanford who went from the German Pro B to the France Pro A. How quickly did you notice his chip on his shoulder?
That’s my guy right there. We talk a few times a month. Great guy and great player. We both have chips on our shoulder that’s why we get along so well.
You only played 4 games in Greece. How do you remember that league? I’m sure you would have loved to have played against Panathinaikos?
Yea I tore my hamstring after slipping on a sticker last year. Team started losing and they fired the coaches and 3 players. I didn’t want stay through all that so I decided to leave. Plus the money problems that everybody knows Greece has but the brand of basketball there is still good. Very high IQ league. Wish I got a chance to play against the Euroleague teams there before I left.
You were really close to a triple double a few times in your career and once had 15 assists. What was your best game in your pro career so far?
Ummmm I honestly don’t know what my best game was in my career. But having 36 pts 7 rebs 8 assist 45 eval in Romainia is up there.
Do you feel like you could play 5 more years? How much longer do you feel you will play?
This is the question everybody always ask me. I think I have a good 3 years left in my for sure. After that we will just have to see what happens.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Daniel Bailey Shy Ely Jalen Hudson CJ Williams Malachi Richardson
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Allen Iverson (I’m from Virginia I’m biased) MJ Bron Shaq
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest Jordan or Lebron? Will his bad start in L.A this season tarnish his career? It seems he is waiting to beat Kareem’s scoring record.
I grew up in the Jordan era. For me it’s not even close. MJ is the GOAT. But I think Bron will go down as the best all around player. I don’t think anything that’s going on now will hurt Brons legacy. He will be at the top of every basketball record.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
YES they should of left that one alone.
Thanks Jay for the chat.