“To be a top EL player? Long way to go”

2014-11-18T17:40:51+00:00 2015-05-24T20:27:58+00:00.

Aris Barkas

18/Nov/14 17:40


Jamel Mclean is well known right now for his crazy buzzer beater at the Win of Alba Berlin Vs the NBA champions San Antonio Spurs, but he is also having a really great rookie season in Euroleague. We can say he is one of the major revelations of the league

By Stathis Trapezanlidis/ info@eurohoops.net

Jamel Mclean is well known right now for his crazy buzzer beater at the Win of Alba Berlin Vs the NBA champions San Antonio Spurs, but he is also having a really great rookie season in Euroleague. We can say he is one of the major revelations of the league.

At BEKO BBL the American Power Forward is pretty impressive (at the last game he scored 33 points, grabbed 12 rebounds), but everybody knows Euroleague is the highest and most competitive league in the world after the NBA. So, his effort there, counts more.

The first round of the regular season is over and Jamel Mclean averages 16.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assist per game, while shooting with 67,6% on 2p shots with a total PIR of 20.6!
Not bad at all for a rookie in Euroleague. Do you agree? The player of unbeaten in BBL Alba Berlin, had a chat with Eurohoops just before the trip of the team to Moscow, for the upcoming game Vs CSKA.

-Your appearances in your rookie Euroleague season are great. After three months in Berlin you look more comfortable. How is going your adjustment in your new environment, especially in Euroleague?

“We have a good system and this is important, the stuff is really good and that helps me a lot. I still have a long way to go but I m starting to feel more comfortable here for sure. It’s a little bit over adjustment playing against these really good teams in Euroleague, you know how good the players are, how big are the challenges. First season in Euroleague of course is completely different from BEKO BBL. But we have a coach who has a good system for us, he prepares everyone really well for being ready for Euroleague”.

-You look really “hard” on the court, full of energy and very athletic. A lot of people seeing on you a new Kyle Hines and I talk especially about his quick steps from BEKO BBL to the highest level of Euroleague. Is going to be like this?

“You should ask me this question at the end of the season! As player I am not comfortable still to talk about it, I have a lot to learn during this season and say that I can be like some of the top players of the league with long careers. This is just my first year. I continue to learn. The only way to learn is to keep playing, especially in basketball. The differences between the BBL and the Euroleague are big and you need to be ready for different kind of games. So it is like an adjustment”.

-Would you like to stay in Germany for more years or you feel ready for a new challenge in a top Euroleague team?

“Where I am, this is my challenge. I can’t say I want to stay in Germany or here, or there. Wherever I am, I want to become better as a player. Step by step and just to see in time”.

-Although the game against San Antonio Spurs was just a friendly game, it is not easy for someone to forget your buzzer beater. What was the reaction of your people?

“It was crazy!. A lot of people wrote me, wow crazy shot, crazy game. It was like this maybe for three or four days, receiving messages. It was good to have this support from family, fans, all university coaches. But you know you can’t enjoy it too much because we had a game two days later. For sure it is something I’ll definitely watch in summer time trying to relive that moment and enjoy”.

-On the other side, just some years ago, Scafati (an Italian team in second division) rejected you after one week in trainings. What happened?

“It was my second year in Europe. In preseason the president just told me that I am not the appropriate player for them. They were looking for a different style. It’s crazy because the general manager actually told me that he knows I am a good player, he knows that I‘ll do well in Europe but for this team, I wasn’t what the president wanted”.

-Did that make you stronger? What did you think?

“You know, I can’t think too much about that, I don’t know what kind of player they wanted. Sometimes maybe just the situation doesn’t work. You need to move on and keep working”.

-How did you take the decision to come in Europe?

I knew my chances in NBA were not the greatest. I knew that the level in Europe is high and a lot of Americans come over here. Nowadays also a lot of Europeans go to NBA. Financially, it makes sense to come over here.

But the NBA is always a goal?

“Hopefully, if the door is open I would like to try in NBA, but if not, I am going to continue playing here and becoming better”.

-The first half of Euroleague regular season is over. Alba Berlin has good possibilities to qualify for Top-16, which was the goal?

“We had a really hard start against CSKA, Malaga and Maccabi Tel Aviv but then we had two good games against Limoges and Cedevita, that made us feel more confident. Now we have again CSKA, Malaga and Maccabi and a win is going to bring us close to our goal to qualify for the Top-16”.

-Still undefeated in BEKO BBL. Ready for the title after so many years?

“We have a long way to go also. We have a lot of things to learn, it’s still November, it’s a long season. We are focused on every game. We want the title. Not necessarily undefeated but we play in every game for the win”.