picture credit Hakro Merlins
James Batemon (185-G-1997, college: LMU) is a 26 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 to germanhoops.com before the game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Thanks James for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Basketball is going pretty good now. I’m a little sad that the season is coming to an end. We fell a little short of making the playoffs. I just want to enjoy the last 2 games and get some wins and then enjoy the summer grind.
You came to Crailsheim in January after balling in Greece for some months. How would you compare the German and Greek first divisions? Players have said that the Greek league is a 2 team league. What league is stronger top to bottom?
Greece was slower and more physical. The BBL is also physical, but a lot faster and the refs call more fouls. The game and speed is quicker in the BBL. The German league has more teams and is stronger top to bottom as many teams are fighting for the playoffs.
You did win your second Fiba Europe Cup game, but you didn’t win your first easyCredit BBL game until your 8th try suffering a 7 game losing streak. How tough was this time for you mentally?
The losing streak wasn’t as tough for me mainly because I was new and had a fresh start. I was still trying to get connected to the guys and of course the losing was frustrating but I was trying to build more of a connection to the team.
You only played 2 BBL games with Otis Livingston who then left for Bayreuth. Do you sometimes wonder where the team would be now had he stayed?
You always have the what if’s. You always wonder how the team would be if you had a talented guard like him. I thought we played pretty well with and off each other. It was fun while it lasted.
You guys played well together. What did you learn to enjoy most about his game?
What I really enjoyed most about his game was that he was always in attack mode and kept teams on their heels. They always had to be ready when he was going downhill and getting us out on transition.
What was it like playing against top German team Alba Berlin in a span of 2 weeks. You lost the first game by 23 points, but played them very tough in the second attempt losing only by 6 points.
It was a great experience playing against Alba and it was similar to when I played against Panathinaikos. I was hopeful to play Olympiakos but then I got injured. It was a great experience. I can’t wait to play against those type of teams again and be on a team like that one day.
You got that first BBL win beating playoff team ratiopharm Ulm 76-68. What was it like sharing the court with ex NBA player Brandon Paul. Did his game amaze you or did he appear just like another normal player?
No disrespect to Brandon Paul, but I didn’t know him before we played against each other. That was new to me. I didn’t know he made the NBA. He played well and you could see he was an NBA guy.
Then came the perfect game for you in a win against Braunschweig. You were 9/9 from the field and 10/10 from the FT line. What does this game mean to you?
It was a special game for me, because it was my break out game. I already had scored 28 points against Heidelberg, but this was the first game where I didn’t miss any shots. It actually didn’t mean so much to me even if it was a record for most shots without a miss. I was just happy we got the win and move up the standings.
In your rookie season you had a very strong game against Rapala netting 34 points on 11/13 shooting. Was the game against Braunschweig your best game?
It was my best game scoring wise just because I didn’t miss a shot. I can’t think of any other better all around games so that game was one of my best in my career.
You then lost 2 games back to back combined by 5 points against Ludwigsburg and Wurzburg. Did those games prove that Crailsheim is a lot better than their record shows?
Yes we showed in those games that we are better than what our record shows. We had a lot of small errors this season that we just couldn’t turn around. Giving up offensive rebounds and small mental break downs on defense have hurt us. That was the difference between being a playoff team and a team near the bottom.
What has it been like playing with German veteran Maurice Stuckey? What have you learned to appreciate most about his game?
It has been great playing with MO who brings his veteran presence. His leadership and communication has been important and he has helped me adapt with many things. I appreciate how hard he goes and his love and commitment to the game. I really appreciate how hard he plays for his age.
What have you appreciated most about Myles Stephens? This guy has been massive on the defensive end showing his shot blocking skills at 196cm.
He is amazing and is like a glue guy and just does what the team needs. He is always guarding the other team’s best player and has made big steps shooting the ball. He has been massive on the defensive end and a guy that every team needs. You can see that he really enjoys the moment.
You came in and right away got adjusted well to the BBL showing consistency? What was the biggest adjustment for you coming from Greece?
The biggest adjustment was just getting in shape and being able to compete at this level. I had been injured for 2 months beforehand.
You filled the stat sheet better in Greece but your shooting the ball really well from outside. What do you attribute your hot shooting to with Crailsheim?’
A long pre season in Greece and just a lot of practices brought my shooting percentages down. But after my injury my shot just felt a lot better.
What have you enjoyed most about the easyCredit BBL? How do you feel has your game adapted to the playing style best?
I like that there are great fans and energy in every gym. There are also many great players in the BBL. Your in for a challenge every night. I feel like I have adapted well to the pace. I just love the energy of the league
What are your picks in the Boston-76ers series, Knicks-Heat Series and Warriors-Lakers series?
I got the Celtics, Heat and Warriors.
Thanks James for the chat.
Tags : JAMES BATEMON, HAKRO MERLINS CRAILSHEIM, GERMAN BASKETBALL