I've got the opportunity to have a little interview with american forward Eddie Paul Johnson III of Jarfalla Basket Vikings who is averaging really good numbers in the second swedish league, Basketettan.
Hi Paul, can you please introduce yourself? I would say I am a skilled left hander with an unorthodox style and good footwork with a deadly floater at the rim. I am also a physical slasher with a sweet mid range when i feel the defense is backing off of me. I started playing basketball when I was 2 years old and was one of the best in the state of new jersey for my age group. I traveled all over the states playing AAU tournaments at a very young age. In my small town everyone knew me as Paul the Basketball player. My junior and senior year of high school i decided to stop playing basketball because it felt like more of a job then fun. Then 4 years later I ended up missing basketball so much i decided to walk on to the Rutgers university Div 1 basketball team. Although I was good enough to play there was a new coach and the program went through a complete change. So i began working out with the players and practicing every single day. How did you end up in playing basketball in Sweden? It's crazy that I ended up playing basketball in Sweden of all places. A family friend by the name of Amir saw some of my highlights and thought that I could be good enough to play in the top 2 leagues in Sweden and told me that I should try it out, and that Sweden was a beautiful country. So after I graduated I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Sweden. I started sleeping on a friends couch and trying out for many different clubs all over the country. I got my first start on a Division 2 club here by the name of Tensta BBK where I made a name for myself. It took about 7 months for other clubs to see that I was ready to move up to Division 1. This is where I met my new coach Bjorn Hjalmarsson who truthfully brought out the most potential I've seen in myself since a child. Not only Bjorn, but the entire Jarfalla Basket Vikings team accepted me right in the middle of the season, and it is them that I thank with my entire heart for allowing me to be a part of something bigger then myself. They are the reason I have had these break out performances, because without them I would be nothing this season.
Can you tell us the main differences between College Basketball in USA and basketball in Sweden that you have found? I would say the main differences between college basketball and european basketball is the size an athleticism some of these players in America have. Besides that, I would say european players have a better IQ and are more skilled in the fundamentals of basketball. Also the game is much more team oriented and everyone is always thinking about the extra pass. Which is completely the opposite to most american college teams. What are the team goal for this season? My team goal this season was to bring energy to whatever squad I joined and to be the best possible version of myself day in and day out. I always wanted to be great, and in order to do that I have to push myself to limits I have never been before. And by judging my last performances I believe I am doing just that. You are having some really good performances in the last matches - also your season-high 30 points and 13 rebounds in the last win against Alvik - and seems that you are improving game by game. Where do you see yourself at the end of the season? I must say that training with this new club Jarfalla Basket Vikings has most definitely made me a better player. After scoring 30 points, 13 rebounds and 4 steals with no turnovers against one of the top 5 clubs in Sweden has shown me that the sky is the limit. I thank god everyday I am able to lace my shoes up and prove the world wrong. Since there is only one game left until the season is over I hope to find an agent and progress further in my basketball career from this top flight performance. I also want my teammate Joeffrey Masabe Paulsson (186-G-90) to know that I am the left handed assassin on the team and there can only be one! Can you tell us your typical day in Stockholm? Depending on the time of year, for me a typical day in Sweden starts with breakfast, relaxing inside before practice because half of the time its so dark and cold you don't want to do anything else. Then I go to practice, come home, stop at Pressbyran (local corner store chain) and then go home just to repeat it all over again. What part of the swedish life style do you like the most? I'd say the part of the swedish lifestyle I like the most is the amazing tap water, ice cream, chocolate, and you can place bets at just about any corner store. What are you missing the most from the USA? This is the easiest question. I miss my friends, family and the FOOD! Nothing compares to the endless amount of unhealthy food selections in America that tastes amazing. No country can compare in my opinion. What are your favorite hobbies outside basketball? Outside of basketball I love to socialize with people and play video games. I am a videogame nerd at heart, and I'm a God on the FIFA and 2k pitch. I am an xbox one guy. What are your favorite team and your favorite NBA player? My favorite team is the Dallas Mavericks and my favorite player is James Harden (196-SG-89, college: Arizona St.) because he is one of the only left handers still holding it down.
Thanks Paul for the interview and good luck fort the rest of the season (and for your career).
Marcus Eriksson selected the top Swedish players playing abroad in last week's games - 13 hours ago
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We bring you last week's top performances from Swedish players who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level. This week's number one is former international shooting guard Marcus Eriksson (201-93). He led FC Barcelona to a victory over one of league's weakest teams Sevilla in the Spanish Liga Endesa in Saturday night's game.
We bring you last week's top performances from Swedish players who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level.
#1. This week's number one is former international shooting guard Marcus Eriksson (201-93, currently plays in Spain). He led FC Barcelona to a victory over one of league's weakest teams Sevilla (8-21) 89-72 in the Spanish Liga Endesa in Saturday night's game.
Eriksson was MVP of the game. He recorded 18 points and added 3 assists in a mere 18 minutes on the court.
FC Barcelona Lassa (20-9) is placed third in the Liga Endesa.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This year Eriksson averages: 7.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 60.5%(23-38), 3FGP: 44.9% and FT: 88.9% in 26 games he played so far.
He played for the Swedish senior national team four years ago.
#2. Second place goes to former international small forward Jeffery Taylor (201-89, college: Vanderbilt, currently plays in Euroleague). Taylor managed to help Real Madrid in a victory against the eighth-ranked Darussafaka (16-14) 89-78 in the Euroleague on Friday night.
He recorded 5 points in 17 minutes.
Real Madrid (23-7) is placed first in the Euroleague.
It was his team's fourth consecutive victory in a row.
This year Taylor's overall stats are: 4.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 2FGP: 63.0%(29-46), 3FGP: 37.0% and FT: 66.7% in 28 games.
He is a naturalized American.
Taylor played for the Swedish national team in 2013.
Strangely he has never played in Sweden.
#3. The Swedish player who performed third best last week abroad was an experienced former international power forward Jonathan Skjoldebrand (204-83, currently plays in Israel). Skjoldebrand contributed to an Ironi Nahariya's victory against one of league's weakest teams Galil Gilboa (12-17) 89-83 in the Israeli Winner League last Saturday.
He recorded 9 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 29 minutes.
Ironi Nahariya (15-14) is placed eighth in the Winner League.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
It's Skjoldebrand's first season with the team.
Skjoldebrand has relatively good stats this year: 11.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 48.1%, 3FGP: 41.2% and FT: 74.5% in 28 games.
He has a dual citizenship: Swedish and Israeli.
Former Sodertalje Kings starter played for the Swedish national team four years ago.
#4. Forward Pierre Hampton (201-91, agency: Interperformances, currently plays in United Kingdom) could not help Leicester Riders (27-6) in their last game on Friday. Despite Hampton's good performance the league leader Leicester Riders was edged 73-73 on the road by the much lower-ranked Scorchers (#8).
He recorded 12 points.
This season Hampton has relatively solid stats: 11.5ppg, 5.6rpg and 1.4apg.
He used to play for the Swedish national team
back in 2014.
#5. International point guard Ludvig Hakanson (190-96, currently plays in Spain) was not able to help Baloncesto Fuenlabrada in their game against Andorra (15-13) in the Spanish Liga Endesa.
Hakanson scored 7 points in 27 minutes.
Baloncesto Fuenlabrada was badly defeated 96-78 on the opponent's court by the higher-ranked (#8) Andorra.
It was Baloncesto Fuenlabrada's third consecutive loss in a row.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be important.
This year Hakanson's total stats are: 5.9ppg, 1.7rpg and 3.3apg in 28 games.
He plays currently for the Swedish national team.
#6. Power forward Jonas Jerebko (208-87, currently plays in NBA) contributed to an easy victory against the Chicago Bulls (41-41) crushing them 105-83 in the NBA last Friday.
Jerebko scored only 3 points, had 4 rebounds and dished 4 assists.
The Boston Celtics have a solid 53-29 record this season.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
Jerebko has averaged so far 3.8ppg and 3.4rpg.
He is a naturalized American.
Jerebko is a former international player as he played for the Swedish senior team four years ago.
He used to play for Boras/Marbo Basket in Swedish league.
#7. Former international small forward Viktor Gaddefors (201-92, also represented by Interperformances, currently plays in Italy) contributed to Juvecaserta's victory against the ninth-ranked Enel Brindisi (13-15) 86-82 in the Italian Serie A on Sunday night.
Gaddefors recorded 7 points and had 3 steals in 28 minutes.
Pasta Reggia JuveCaserta (11-17) is placed 14th in the Serie A.
There are only two games left until the end of the Regular Season.
Gaddefors has averaged so far 3.6ppg, 2.9rpg and 1.2apg in 28 games.
He used to play for the Swedish national team
four years ago.
#8. Guard Chris Czerapowicz (201-91, college: Davidson, currently plays in Spain) faced previously mentioned Ludvig Hakanson in the Spanish Liga Endesa last game.
Czerapowicz contributed to an easy victory against the 12th-ranked Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (11-17) 96-78.
He scored only 2 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season.
Czerapowicz has averaged so far 4.1ppg and 1.8rpg.
He is a naturalized American.
Czerapowicz plays currently for the Swedish national team.
Apparently he has never played in Sweden.
#9. International shooting guard Johan Lofberg (199-95, currently plays in Spain) was not able to secure a victory for Oviedo CB (22-12) in their last game. Despite Lofberg's very good performance Oviedo CB lost 82-90 in Barcelona to the much lower-ranked (#14) Barca II.
He was the top scorer with 15 points. Lofberg also added 4 rebounds and 5 assists in 27 minutes.
They ended the series of four consecutive victories.
There are only three games left until the end of the Regular Season.
Lofberg has reliable stats this year: 12.0ppg, 3.5rpg and 1.2apg in 33 games.
He is also in the roster of the Swedish national team.
#10. Small forward Erik Rush (196-88, college: Montana St., currently plays in Italy) couldn't help Recanati (7-23) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Rush's very good performance the 16th-placed Recanati (7-23) was badly defeated 93-74 at home by the higher-ranked Bondi Ferrara (#12) in the East group.
He was the second best scorer with 15 points. Rush also added 7 boards, handed out 6 passes and blocked 2 shots.
The Regular Season already ended.
Rush has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages: 16.6ppg, 9.3rpg, 4.8apg and 1.2spg.
Rush is a naturalized American.
He is a former international player as four years ago he still played for the Swedish senior national team.
Interesting that Rush has never played in Sweden.
#11. International point guard Tobias Borg (184-93, currently plays in Spain) couldn't help RETAbet BB in their game against Joventut in the Spanish Liga Endesa. He cannot count Sunday's game as one of the best ones.
Borg scored only 2 points in 22 minutes.
His team was crushed by 27 points 82-55.
Borg has averaged so far 3.6ppg, 1.6rpg and 1.8apg in 28 games.
He plays currently for the Swedish national team.
#12. U20 international power forward Simon Birgander (209-97, agency: Dynamics Global Management, currently plays in Spain) couldn't help Cocinas.com in their game against Lleida Basquet in the Spanish LEB Gold (second division).
Birgander recorded 6 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.
His team was edged 87-84.
Birgander has averaged so far 4.0ppg and 4.1rpg.
He is also in the roster of the Swedish U20 national team.
#13. U18 international small forward Vilgot Larsson (198-98, currently plays in Spain) couldn't help Arenys in their game against Mataro in the Spanish EBA (fourth division).
Larsson recorded 5 points in 18 minutes.
His team was edged 68-67.
Larsson has averaged so far 5.6ppg and 2.0rpg in 21 games.
He is also Swedish U18 national team player.
The list of other players, who all have Swedish passport but never been selected to any of Swedish national teams:
#1.Omar Krayem (186-PG-88, college: Cal.Baptist, currently plays in Slovakia) could not help one of league's weakest teams Prievidza (28-12) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Krayem's very good performance Prievidza was defeated 99-94 on the road by the second-ranked Inter Bratislava.
He was the top scorer with 27 points. Krayem also added 5 rebounds and dished 8 assists.
Krayem has relatively good stats this season: 12.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 5.9apg and 1.3spg.
He has a dual citizenship: Palestinian and Swedish.
#2.Damir Markota (209-F/C-85, agency: XL Basketball Agency, currently plays in Turkey) was not able to help one of league's weakest teams one of league's weakest teams Istanbul BBSK (11-17) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Markota's good performance Istanbul BBSK was edged 80-79 at home by the higher-ranked Tofas (#9).
He recorded 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
There are only two games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
Markota's total stats this season are: 8.4ppg, 4.3rpg and 1.7apg.
He is another player who holds two passports: Swedish and Croatian.
Basketligan Round 6 of Semi-Finals. Sodertalje join Lulea in Finals - 2 days ago
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Sodertalje - Norrkoping 78-69 Sodertalje held off Norrkoping to punch Basketligan Finals tickets. The hosts trailed by 2 points at the halftime before their 45-34 charge in the second half, which allowed them to win the game. Sodertalje Kings made 23-of-27 free shots (85.2 percent) during the game. Sodertalje Kings outrebounded Norrkoping Dolphins 34-23 including 23 on the defensive glass. 27 personal fouls committed by Norrkoping Dolphins helped opponents get some easy free throw opport... [read more]
Sodertalje held off Norrkoping to punch Basketligan Finals tickets. The hosts trailed by 2 points at the halftime before their 45-34 charge in the second half, which allowed them to win the game. Sodertalje Kings made 23-of-27 free shots (85.2 percent) during the game. Sodertalje Kings outrebounded Norrkoping Dolphins 34-23 including 23 on the defensive glass. 27 personal fouls committed by Norrkoping Dolphins helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. The former international point guard Thomas Massamba (183-85, agency: Octagon Europe) scored 21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists to lead the charge for the winners and Estonian guard Tanel Kurbas (197-88) chipped in 22 points during the contest. The best for the losing side was the former international Mikael Lindquist (193-83) with 16 points and the former international center Joakim Kjellbom (212-79, college: N.Arizona) scored 8 points and 5 rebounds. Top scorers: Sodertalje: T.Kurbas 22+1reb+3ast, T.Massamba 21+6reb+4ast, T.Bizaca 13+10reb+1ast, D.Lejasmeiers 6+1reb+3ast, D.Johnson 5+5reb+1ast, D.Brothers 4+4reb Norrkoping: M.Lindquist 16+1reb+2ast, F.Larsson 11+2reb, J.Kjellbom 8+5reb+2ast, T.Schuberg 8+2reb, J.Smith 6+4reb+5ast, C.Darling 6+7reb+2ast
Basketligan Round 5 of Semi-Finals. BC Lulea clinch Finals birth - 4 days ago
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BC Lulea - Uppsala 86-73 BC Lulea held off Uppsala to punch Basketligan Finals tickets. The game was mostly controlled by BC Lulea. Uppsala Basket managed to win third quarter 15-13. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. 25 personal fouls committed by Uppsala Basket helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. Canadian forward Yannick Anzuluni (205-87, college: Houghton) stepped up with a double-double by scoring 26 points and 11 rebounds for th... [read more]
BC Lulea held off Uppsala to punch Basketligan Finals tickets. The game was mostly controlled by BC Lulea. Uppsala Basket managed to win third quarter 15-13. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. 25 personal fouls committed by Uppsala Basket helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. Canadian forward Yannick Anzuluni (205-87, college: Houghton) stepped up with a double-double by scoring 26 points and 11 rebounds for the winners and American guard Quinton Upshur (196-93, college: N.Arizona) chipped in 20 points and 6 rebounds. Five BC Lulea players scored in double figures. The former international forward Alexander Lindqvist (205-91, agency: Interperformances) responded with 21 points and 6 rebounds and swingman Axel Nordstrom (193-91) scored 8 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists. Top scorers: Uppsala: A.Lindqvist 21+6reb, J.Person 17+4reb+4ast, A.Person 11+6reb+4ast, A.Nordstrom 8+13reb+4ast, L.Friberg 7+1reb+1ast, C.Engstrom 6+9reb BC Lulea: Y.Anzuluni 26+11reb+1ast, Q.Upshur 20+6reb+3ast, B.Rozzell 11+5reb+10ast, A.Ronnqvist 11+5reb+3ast, T.Liden 10+1reb+1ast, T.Kearney 7+1reb
Sodertalje outgunned Norrkoping on the road to secure 3-2 lead in the series. It looked good early as Norrkoping Dolphins took a 4-point small lead at the end of first quarter. But then Sodertalje Kings had a 20-7 second period charge getting the lead and Norrkoping Dolphins were not able to take back game control losing it eventually 60-65. Sodertalje Kings dominated on the defensive end, holding Norrkoping Dolphins to just 7 points in second quarter. The former international point guard Thomas Massamba (183-85, agency: Octagon Europe) nailed 29 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for the winning side and Latvian guard Davis Lejasmeiers (192-91) accounted for 12 points and 5 rebounds. The former international center Joakim Kjellbom (212-79, college: N.Arizona) came up with 13 points and 8 rebounds and American forward Cole Darling (203-91, college: Wright St., agency: Dynamics Global Management) added 13 points and 9 rebounds respectively for Norrkoping Dolphins in the defeat. Top scorers: Norrkoping: C.Darling 13+9reb, M.Lindquist 13+3reb+2ast, J.Kjellbom 13+8reb+2ast, D.Jeftic 6+5reb, T.Schuberg 6+2reb, E.Stark 6+1reb+2ast Sodertalje: T.Massamba 29+9reb+4ast, D.Lejasmeiers 12+5reb+3ast, D.Brothers 8+1reb, N.Spires 6+5reb, T.Kurbas 3+2reb+3ast, D.Johnson 3+9reb
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