James Batemon (185-G-1997, college: LMU) is a 25 year old 185cm guard that recently moved from As Karditsas (Greece-GBL) to the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim currently averaging 14,0ppg, 1,5rpg and 5,0apg. He played the last 2 years in France with Jean D’Arc Vichy Clermont Metropole (France-ProB) averaging 17.2ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 53.7%, FT: 83.7% and with Union Tours Metropole Basket (France-ProB) averaging 15.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 83.4%. he played his rookie season with BK Ogre (Latvia-LBL, starting five): LatEstBL) averaging 17.6ppg), 3.9rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 45.7%, FT: 77.4%. before University he played AAU ball with the Milwaukee Bulldogs and at Riverside University high school. He then played 2 years with North Dakota State College of Science (JUCO) averaging 20.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 79.1% and in his second season averaged 20.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 5.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 81.4%. He then played at Loyola Marymount University (NCAA) from 2017-2019 averaging 17.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 4.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 79.7% and as a senior averaged 16.4ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 82.2%. He spoke togermanhoops.com about basketball
Thanks James for talking togermanhoops.com. Congrats on signing with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. What do you know about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had guys play here that you know?
Thank you about the opportunity. I don’t know much about Germany. I didn’t think I would end up here. I watched the national team and have known guys that have played here. I have only heard good things about the BBL-
What convinced most to come and play for the Hakro Merlin Crailsheim
Coming to Crailsheim was almost a no brainer. They play in heavy competition in the BBL and Fiba Europe Cup.
You will be playing in a top 5 league in Europe with the easyCredit BBL. What do you feel will be the biggest challenge for you on the court?
The biggest challenge will be adapting to a new team and building chemistry. I hope to find my spots as I jump in in mid season.
You began the season with AS Karditsas (Greece-GBL). You put up really impressive stats there. Why did it end after only 7 games?
My time ended earlier there because I had a better opportunity with the Merlins.I couldn’t pass up the chance to play in the BBL. My goal is the Euroleague and NBA. I’m just trying to get a step closer to my dream.,
What kind of an experience was it like playing in Greece? What did you appreciate most about the opportunity?
Playing in Greece was a great experience. I appreciated the people most. They were really nice. The food was awesome. They spoke good English. Greece was the best country so far in terms of how well people spoke English. The domestic players were very nice as well. I had a fun time playing there.
You were the top scorer in the win over Euroleague team Panathinaikos with 22 points. How good did it feel showing you could hold your own against some of the best?
It felt good playing against a Euroleague team. I wish we could have been more competitive and made the game closer because we beat them in the pre -season. But pre season is always hit or miss. Some guys are out of shape or just coasting. I wish we could of upset them, but it is what it is. I will have another opportunity to play against a Euroleague team so I’m not worried about that.
What was it like playing against Derrick Williams. You were in high school when he was in the NBA? Did you have any small talk with him?
It was a great experience playing against him. No there wasn’t really any small talk. I was more communicating with the point guard. It was great seeing a guy that was drafted second overall and matching up against him. He is a great player and showed that against us.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 185cm guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would bets fit the description?
I would compare my game to Donovan Mitchell a guy that is athletic, can shoot the three, drive and get teammates involved. But a guy that also plays good defense. I get this comparison a lot.
Your a combo guard. Do you feel most comfortable at the 1 or 2?
I play comfortable at both positions. Playing the 1 and setting up my teammates. But I also love to score. If my team needs that then I feel capable of being able to do that It is really whatever the team needs me to do at that moment. I like the combo guard title.
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet. What do you feel is your biggest strength on the court?
My biggest strength is to be able to create shots for my teammates and myself.
You have made a big jump since school with your outside shooting. What has been the biggest reason for your success?
When I was in school, my main focus was to improve my shot. The reason for my success is simply putting in the work and having confidence. As more shots began to fall, the more confidence I got. My teammates and coaches also gave me the confidence to shoot the ball.
What kind of defender would you call yourself and what kind of defender do you want to be in the next years?
I would call myself a pretty good defender, but I want to become a great defender. I want guys to be able to call me a two way player all the time. I haven’t got that title yet, but I will continue to work hard. I want to become an elite defender. I have been able to hold a team’s best player at the end of the game, but I want to do that for the whole game and still be effective on the offensive end. That is my goal in the next few years.
On what areas of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to improve your game?
I’m working most on my playmaking and certain tactics on defense. Trying to find slick ways to get over screens.
How big is your chip on your shoulder? You began at Juco and had to pay your dues for 2 years? Then you led Loyola Marymount to the NCAA tournament and was it’s best player, but still landed in Latvia as a rookie
I have a big chip on my shoulder. Starting at Juco and then transferring to Loyola and being able to perform has given me that chip on my shoulder.
Last season you played with Union Tours Metropole Basket (France-ProB) averaging 15.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 83.4%. You were teammates with Jayson Tchicamboud the son of French legend Steed. How much potential does he have and do you remember hearing stories about his dad?
It was a down year for us as a team, but I thought that I had a good year. Jayson has a ton of potential. They didn’t really tell me any stories about his dad. He is athletic, tall and is a good playmaker. If he can improve his outside shot then sky is the limit. He is also a good defender.
In 2020-2921 you played your first season in France with Jean D’Arc Vichy Clermont Metropole (France-ProB) averaging 17.2ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 53.7%, FT: 83.7%. It was a short season for you. What do you remember being your biggest challenge on a daily basis during Covid?
The biggest challenge was the stopping and going in the season with Covid. I got injured that season. I believe that if I had finished the season, I could of ended up in a better league.
You played your rookie season with BK Ogre (Latvia-LBL, starting five): LatEstBL) averaging 17.6ppg), 3.9rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 45.7%, FT: 77.4%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being a rookie in Latvia where you knew that you were far away from home?
My biggest wake up call was when the holidays came about and I couldn’t go home for Christmas. I thought that was crazy. I realized that I was in a small country. It was tough being in Latvia and all my family at home posting pics.
You began your career at North Dakota State College of Science (JUCO) averaging 20.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 79.1% and in your second season averaged : 20.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 5.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 81.4%. Almost every guy I have interviewed that played JUCO says JUCO was very tough but an experience they are so glad they had. How was it for you?
It was a great experience, but it was really tough. It was a real grind and a juggle. If you come out of JUCO, you can survive anywhere. Only the strong survive. You have to have been there to understand.
How did JUCO help you most become the type of player you are today?
It helped me work harder as everytime it was all or nothing. It helped me play with a chip knowing that if I didn’t perform, I wouldn’t get that division 1 offer.
You finished at Loyola Marymount University (NCAA) averaging 17.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 4.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.4%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 79.7% and as a senior averaged 16.4ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 82.2%. What did you cherish most about your NCAA run in 2019?
I cherished most coming in and winning 11 games and then winning 21 in my second season. Building something special and enjoying every moment with my teammates. I built memorable bonds with my teammates.
You had so many big games in the NCAA especially against major basketball programs like Gonzaga, UCLA and Washington. What was your personal best and most memorable game?
My most memorable game was my scoring outburst against Gonzaga in conference play and having a big game at Washington where I had a put back dunk.
How did head coach Mike Dunlap groom and prepare you for a professional career best?
Coach helped me become mentally stronger and gave me confidence in my shooting. He also helped me see the game differently.
Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Cam Allen?
He was very talented, but I have to be honest, he got me more than I got him.
Who is the toughest player that you ever faced in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
Frankie Ferrari was tough as was Jaylen Hands from UCLA.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Cam Allen, Elijah Scott, Julian Walters, Nicolas Collins, Melvin Newborn
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Steph and Shaq
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?
I say Jordan, but Lebron is right there. Lebron is about to become the all-time leading scorer. I think that by the time he retires he will be the GOAT. Kobe was more like Jordan and Jordan got more rings.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
No I haven’t, but I will. I’m so late. Yes they probably should of left it alone. That is why I probably haven’t seen it yet.
Thanks James for the chat.
Tags : JAMES BATEMON, HAKRO MERLINS CRAILSHEIM, GERMAN BASKETBALL