I had a change to chat with guard Tanner Smith (195-G-90, agency: Priority Sports, college: Clemson) this week and recorded an interview with the former Clemson Tiger. If there is one player who has vaulted himself and his team to the top of the must-watch list in the Dutch Basketball league, it has to be guard Tanner Smith of Landstede Zwolle. As he says in this EuroBasket.com interview, Smith wants to be champ and knows how tough that will be to accomplish. "It's not about money or names, but about how hard you play and how serious you take the game".
In this wide-ranging interview we talked about his basketballcareer and course about "Tanner's Tote", a a non-profit organization that fills tote bags for pre-teens and teens undergoing long term treatment in the hospital.
You grew up in Norcross, Georgia what was your childhood like? My childhood was extremely different than most. My father had been a dentist, but due to cancer treatment and life threatening Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD) he was unable to continue his practice. With his health problems, my father and I were unable to experience many of the father son activities like shooting the basketball around, throwing the football, going fishing, or anything that forced his to stand for long periods of time. I was also an only child, which taught me to be independent and confident with who I was and what I stood for.
When did you first realize you had a talent for basketball? My father was a walk-on at Tennessee Tech for his freshman year of college, and ever since I was a little kid, my dad and I both enjoyed basketball. I didn't realize I had a future in it until after my freshman year of high school. Halfway through my freshman year, I began to start on the varsity team with other freshman Howard (Trey) Thompkins, now with the LA Clippers, and Al-farouq Aminu, now with the New Orleans Hornets. With both of these guys on my team, my exposure to college coaches increased and also allowed me to play with one of the top AAU teams in the country, the Georgia Stars. I quit football and baseball after my freshman year and focused all my time on the court. I think that decision really payed off for me.
What were your basketball influences growing up? The two basketball influences I had growing up were my father and Mark Price. As a young boy growing up in Georgia, Mark Price was considered an icon in the basketball world. He was not only a great player, but a stand up guy and father. He was someone I could model my life after not only on the court but off it as well. Luckily, I have been able to form a great relationship with Mr. Price and his family through my high school and college days. He has been a life altering influence. It is amazing to be able to call my lifelong role model a lifelong friend.
What will you remember about your time at Clemson University the most? Clemson University was the perfect place for me and my family. I always dreamed of playing in the ACC, but also never imagined I would be good enough to play at that level. The highlights would be the relationships I made with the community, my teammates, and my coaches. I formed relationships with people that I will be in contact with for the rest of my life. Other highlights would be beating every ACC team while I was at Clemson, making the NCAA tournament 3 of my 4 years, playing for a top 10 team, and being able to call Clemson my home.
After 4 years of NCAA basketball with the Clemson Tigers you turned pro last summer. Was that something you always planned to do? And Tanner, how did you end up in Holland? I have always wanted to play professional basketball. I worked my entire life to fulfill a dream that I set for myself in the fourth grade. Holland seemed like the right fit for me for my first experience as a professional. I have been able to learn what the lifestyle is as a professional and what it takes to compete at an even higher level. My agent and I decided that Holland was the perfect fit for me, and I couldn't be happier with my decision.
How does Coach Van der Belt compare to previous coaches youve had? The style of basketball we play has been different from my college coaches, but he has helped me to understand the basics of the offense and allowing me to learn in myself at the same time. He treats his players with respect and teaches us to take ownership in the team. It has been a pleasure learning from him.
Now that youve been here for a few months, what are your impressions of the team and the city. Once again, the situation I have been blessed with has been fantastic. The city of Zwolle is full of history. I can't express how exciting it is to play basketball in a foreign country. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our team started out slow, but we have started to play better and understand our roles as the season has progressed. We have a great mix of young talent and experience that allows us to compete in every game.
At the age of twelve you started a non-profit company called Tanner's Totes. Tell me about Tanner's Totes. Tanner's Totes is a non-profit organization that fills tote bags for pre-teens and teens undergoing long term treatment in the hospital. We fill the totes with 60 to 70 worth of new items to help cheer up the patients days in the gloomy hospital rooms. In just ten years, we have delivered over 4,000 tote bags to over 40 hospitals in 25 different states (www.tannerstotes.com). Since we are non-profit, all donations we receive either go into buying the items used in filling the tote, or the shipping costs we acquire when sending totes cross country. The hospital pays nothing; the hospital patient pays nothing. With my father having his illness, we have been able to turn something bad into something good with Tanner's Totes.
Tanner, Understood that a number of children in Zwolle, organize an action "ALLOW CHILDREN WITH CANCER LAUGH, SUPPORT TANNER'S TOTES". Surprised by this initiative? I was blown away by the initiative the three girls took to raise money for Tanner's Totes. With the holidays around the corner, many children are thinking about what they want, so for 9 year old girls to think of others during this time of the year is truly inspirational.
Has your family been a strong source of support in your life? My family has been my support group throughout my life. Being an only child, my parents and I are a very close knit group. We have been through countless trials together with my dad's illness, and we come out better for it on the other end. Just a few weeks ago, my father had his left leg amputated. Obviously I was here playing, so the updates from my mom was the only thing connecting me to my family at a difficult time. My father is doing well in his recovery, but it has been difficult to sit here in the Netherlands while my family is going through a rough patch.
Back to basketball, The team is a very close-knit group, how important is that to help bring wins? Our team chemistry is great. Each player respects what everyone brings to the table. This respect on and off the court allows us to work together at a high level. The trust we have formed in just a few short months will hopefully take us a long way as the season progresses.
What's your mentality when the game is on the line in a pressure situation? During pressure situations, I remind myself of the hard work I have put in over the years. I know I have prepared for every scenario a game can throw at me. This allows me to play with confidence and provide what the team needs during high pressure situations. There are countless ways to change the outcome of a game and only one is scoring the basketball. You can't always control whether the ball goes in or not, but the energy and effort you bring to the game should be constant no matter what the scenario.
Finally, how far can Landstede Zwolle go this season? Which are the goals for you, personally, and for your team? I am excited to see where this team will be in a few months. We have all the pieces to compete for a championship. We need to continue to work every day to get better as a team, and for myself, constant improvement is a must if I want to help our team reach the ultimate prize of winning a championship.
Thanks Tanner for the time doing this interview. Wish You and Landstede Zwolle a successful season.
Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Eredivisie) agreed terms with American forward Daviyon Draper (201-98kg). He just graduated from Florida International University (NCAA). Draper has played there for the last three years. In 31 games he had very impressive stats: 15.9ppg, 7.0rpg, 2.2apg and 1.0spg last season. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season as a pro. Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden roster for 2016-2017: Forwards: Mohamed Kherrazi Will Felder Daviyon... [read more]
Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Eredivisie) agreed terms with American forward Daviyon Draper (201-98kg). He just graduated from Florida International University (NCAA). Draper has played there for the last three years. In 31 games he had very impressive stats: 15.9ppg, 7.0rpg, 2.2apg and 1.0spg last season. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season as a pro.
Weert keeps Padberg for another season - 2 days ago
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Maxxcom BS Weert (Eredivisie) re-signed 25-year old power forward Joost Padberg (202-91). He has played there for the last six seasons. In 18 Eredivisie games he averaged 6.9ppg, 3.5rpg and 1.4apg last season. Padberg's team made it to the Eredivisie Semifinals in 2010. He represented Holland at the European Championships U18 Division B in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) seven years ago. His stats at that event were 4 games: 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 70.0%. Pad... [read more]
Maxxcom BS Weert (Eredivisie) re-signed 25-year old power forward Joost Padberg (202-91). He has played there for the last six seasons. In 18 Eredivisie games he averaged 6.9ppg, 3.5rpg and 1.4apg last season. Padberg's team made it to the Eredivisie Semifinals in 2010. He represented Holland at the European Championships U18 Division B in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) seven years ago. His stats at that event were 4 games: 6.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 70.0%. Padberg has played previously for two other teams: Dukes Unlimited Den Bosch and Leeuwarden. He is described as:
PF with good Inside Moves + Shot. Also a good 3pt Shooter. Fysical good Defender. Good Rebouder.
Netherlands hand Great Britain second straight defeat in Manchester - 3 days ago
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Great Britain - Netherlands 68:79 Netherlands celebrated the second straight victory in the exhibition series versus Great Britain. Worthy de Jong (194-SG-88) tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Dutch team to the victory in Manchester. Great Britain jumped to an early lead. They posted a 23:12 advantage after ten minutes. The hosts maintained the lead throughout the second term. Great Britain established a 41:37 halftime lead. Netherlands however erased the deficit in the thir... [read more]
Great Britain - Netherlands 68:79
Netherlands celebrated the second straight victory in the exhibition series versus Great Britain. Worthy de Jong (194-SG-88) tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Dutch team to the victory in Manchester. Great Britain jumped to an early lead. They posted a 23:12 advantage after ten minutes. The hosts maintained the lead throughout the second term. Great Britain established a 41:37 halftime lead. Netherlands however erased the deficit in the third term. The visitors pulled ahead for a one-point lead at the final intermission. Netherlands held Great Britain to just 8 points in the fourth stanza and rallied to the victory. Yannick Franke (194-G-96) tossed in 15 points, while Charlon Kloof (190-G-90, college: St.Bonaventure, agency: Octagon Europe) had 10 points in the win. Andrew Lawrence (185-PG-90, college: Charleston, agency: Two Points) responded with 14 points for Great Britain. Ben Gordon (190-G-83, college: Connecticut) had 13 points in the defeat.
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