inicio mail me! sindicaci;ón

An interview with Kareem Maddox.

Last week Kareem Maddox officially signed with Dutch First Division team Landstede Basketbal for the upcoming season.

I had a chance to talk to Maddox via phone as he exited Universal Studios this evening and the 2010-11 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year told me about his impending opportunity in Zwolle. A transcript of our conversation appears after the jump.

The DBL is the same league that new Princeton assistant Craig Moore played in with De Friesland Aris for 2009-10. I know you talked to him - what advice did he give you about this move?

First of all, he said the Netherlands is a great place to play and that league is a good league. He did pretty well there too. He told me to do my best and get every rebound, try to get your points where you can.

It is a good place to go play team basketball so it should be what I'm used to.

He knows one of the assistant coaches and he said Holland is a good place to live, relatively safe, and he thinks I'll enjoy it there a lot.

It is a one year contract?

Eight and a half months.

How much did the NBA lockout effect your decision? Was it harder to find a team with squads in Europe and Asia possibly holding slots for American pros?

We knew that was going to factor into part of the process this year. My agent, Justin Haynes with Worldwide Hoops - Coach Johnson knew him from Georgetown and I went off of his recommendation. We thought the lockout was going to be a trickle down effect. NBA players were going to try and go overseas. Those in the top leagues in Europe were going to get knocked down to leagues to aren't as good in different countries.

We were happy to get a deal so early and have one look at a contract. We've got a lot of good recommendations. My agent knew the coach over there somewhat well. We're happy to get something that was familiar to us and we could live with so early.

Is this a league where they have quotas on the number of foreign-born players who can be on each roster?

I'm actually not sure. I know they have three Americans and just looking through some of the other teams' rosters it seems that's pretty uniform. Matt Mullery of Brown was on Landstrade last season.

Do you know who the other Americans on the team are now?

I don't know off-hand. I'm not even actually sure if they've even resigned yet. That's to be determined.

Besides the fact they wear yellow and blue, what do you know about your new team?

Not too much. I did speak with the coach Herman van den Belt briefly and he actually spoke to Coach Johnson as well. I guess they run part of the "Beilein offense," which is somewhat familiar because I know the Princeton offense.

I saw the gym they play in, it looks pretty cool and is fairly new. Other than that, I know it is in a relatively good area about an hour outside of Amsterdam.

Did your coach give you a sense what he envisions your role to be?

When I spoke to him it was mostly me asking questions and he was great about answering them. The feeling I got, because he spoke to Coach Johnson as well and then I spoke to Coach J, was that he needs someone who is versatile who plays in different positions.

According to my agent they place a lot of emphasis on getting to know the person that they're going to sign. They put as much stake in if someone is going to be a good locker room guy, if he is going to cause problems, if he is going to go out every night before practice and games.

My role is going to be similar to Princeton where I am going to have to be a good person in order to get on the court and stay there but also I am going to have to be versatile and I am going to have to get rebounds.

I think I'll be playing some "4" and probably a lot of "3," which is good. I think it is going to be very similar to what I was playing Princeton - kind of like a wing/post combo, whatever kind of combo that is.

What is the quality of play in this league like?

I know it is not Germany and it is not Italy, not those top leagues, but it is competitive. People from there - if they do well - go play in a top league or come back to the states, whatever it may be. I know before the recession it used to be one of the top five leagues in Europe according to what my agent was saying.

I know a lot of former Princeton players have put highlight films together to get noticed professionally. Dan Mavraides had a couple up on YouTube recently. I never saw one for you. How did you get discovered in the Netherlands?

That was actually an issue. My fault. It is funny how it happened. I was in the process of making my highlight tape in a library at Princeton called J Street Library. Unwisely, I saved my stuff to the same computer I had been using day in and day out. I was slowly building up the tape and it was looking pretty good. Literally, I showed up a couple days before Reunions and every single computer was gone. I guess they took them for the summer?

It sounds like a made-up story. I was in complete disbelief. I tried to recover my work on the H drive which saves everything to a big database and I wasn't able to do it, so I didn't have my highlight tape!

I think this somewhat limited teams because if they watch a highlight tape then they become interested and they go look to the game tapes. If you only hand them game tapes it is a little more tedious to look through those.

I almost had it. In the next year in my free time I'm think I'm going to try and collect those tapes to make one for myself and put it up.

It was pretty absurd.

How's your Dutch?

Not good. I actually have some family that lives in London. Watching tapes on YouTube I didn't think the language going to be too bad to learn but according to one of my cousins it is like a combination of learnng Hebrew and Arabic. That's kind of discouraging, but apparently everyone speaks English. I'm going to do my best to learn as much as I need to get around and try to focus on learning more through Rosetta Stone.

From hearing you talk it sounds like Coach Johnson's role was pivotal in all of this.

Speaking to coaches is part of the process. I'm sure Dan Mavraides' teams will be talking to Coach Johnson as well. They want to see kind of person you are and if the coach speaks highly of you it does a lot to help your cause.

They started watching films I suppose and gave Coach Johnson a call. I guess you would have to talk with him more about what they talked about. I think he said good things about me. I've been talking to him through this whole process, asking him for advice. Him, the assistant coaches and my parents are the main people I've been talking to, and of course my agent.

He's been deeply involved in the process and helping every in step along the way. I'm grateful to have him willing to put aside the time to do that.

When do you head overseas?

I leave August 15th.

Besides going to Universal Studios, how are you biding your time between now and then?

Working out a lot. There's a place called Memorial Park down in Santa Monica. It is a gym. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday they have some really good runs - guys who have played in Europe, college guys, guys from the D-League who want to play in the NBA.

Last summer I was there and I ran into Ashani Cook from Georgetown. This year Brandon Bowman from Georgetown plays there a lot.

You holding your own?

I'm doing my best. I've been playing somewhat well but you can always get better.

Is there a specific part of your game you've been working on?

Shooting. I've been getting up a lot of shots because the European game - everything I've heard is that it is just different. Being able to shoot is going to be such an advantage to open up the lane a little bit for the drive. A lot of shooting.

There are three other former Tigers playing overseas. Have you reached out to any of them for advice on playing professionally in another land?

Mostly it has been talking to Coach Johnson and Coach Moore as resources. Coach Earl and Coach Henderson have been really helpful as well. There has been just such a plethora of help. I spoke to Coach Greenman via text message.

I haven't felt the need yet. When I'm over there those guys will be a lot closer. I definitely think I'll reach out to them sometime in the next year.

Given the lockout, I'm glad you have somewhere you know that you can play and as a new college graduate I'm sure you're glad to have a job right out of school!

It is good to be employed and not contribute to these unemployment numbers anymore!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.