Japhet Mcneil(I Can Dominate A Game On The Ball Defensively)
Japhet Mcneil is a 27 year old 183 cm guard from Brooklyn, New York. He played at East Carolina from 2003 -2006. He then transferred to Bridgeport(NCAA2) for his senior year in 2006-2007. At Bridgeport, he played 31 games averaging 16.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.9apg, 4.0spg, FT: 67.3%, FGP: 38.3%, 3PT: 34.6%. In 2008-2009, he played his rookie season in Germany in the PRO A for USC Heidelberg playing 30 games and averaging 14.8ppg, 3.1rpg, Assists-1(7.9apg), Steals-1(3.5spg), FGP: 45.4%, 3PT: 24.1%, FT: 63.3%. In 2009-2010, he played in Finland for Kori-Konkarit Loimaa (Finland-1st Division, starting five): 5 games: 9.8ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.8apg, 3.4spg, FGP: 35.0%, 3PT: 19.0%, FT: 50.0%. In 2010-2011, he played for BG Karlsruhe (Germany-ProA): 3 games: 4.0ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.7apg. Last season he played for the Connecticut TopBallerz (ABA)
an dthis summer took part at the EuroDraft Camp in Schwechat (Austria): Cronus team: 4 games: 5.0ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg and the Blacktop Showcase (Team Finland B4) He spoke to Eurobasket about Basketball and life.
Japhet thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. We are in the middle of summer. Where are you presently and how have you enjoyed your summer the best away from the court?
Hey Miles, thanks for having me its always a pleasure and fun. Yea we are in mid summer, I’m actually in NYC that’s home sweet home for me. It’s been a good summer thus far, I was able to attend some exposure events and participate in some individuals to stay at surface and get my game evaluated by scouts. So I wasn’t away from the courts this summer, I went to Austria Vienna and attended the euro draft event, that was great I thought I played well and showed a good floor game from the pg perspective and in a camp setting with playing equal minutes and in increments, I did some networking met some good players and enjoyed Vienna at this point. I’m still waiting on some good feedback I got from the camp along with the exposure event that was in NYC black top mng same settings I attended that as well, I invested in my career rather than the nyc streetball this summer.
You had a very strong rookie season with USC Heidelberg in 2008-2009 playing 30 games: 14.8ppg, 3.1rpg, Assists-1(7.9apg), Steals-1(3.5spg), FGP: 45.4%, 3PT: 24.1%, FT: 63.3%., Are you a bit disappointed that you weren´t able to get a job in the Beko BBL the next season?
Yes indeed, that was a solid campaign for USC Heidelberg my rookie season. Its sort of weird but I am a tough critic toward myself and I say to myself that was a sub par year individually because I was so new to the experience, but I’d like to see myself when I am at a comfort level, Your level rises. That’s where I’m pretty much at right now with my game, trying to play at a high comfort level. The BBL teams didn’t make any concrete attempts at me, disappointing yes but motivational at the same time. That following year I took the offer in Cyprus, but it didn’t work out tough country but great experience.
After three years in Europe playing in Germany and Finland, you decided to come back to the States last season to play for the Connecticut TopBallerz (ABA). Why did you decide to make this move?
After three years overseas what made me come back to the states and play?? It was basically trial and error, the offers that was put on the table was really at a all time low, that was a period when the NBA lockout was in effect, and I thought it trickled down. When I realized it was getting late I decided to either try the developmental league which I end up not doing due to complications, or something to stay in shape until a good deal surfaced.
I was fortunate to be a part of a solid ABA organization in ctb top ballerz, they was able to present the same options that a team in Europe could with housing/pay / games/film so I opted to stay in the U.S.
What kind of experience of playing in the ABA? What was your wakeup call to playing in the ABA?
The experience playing in the ABA it has it’s very own lane honest speaking. You have teams that can’t afford the budget so they fold, so therefore you have to make up a game, level of competition is solid because you have guys that played overseas or has the talent to, but for whatever reason they not. It was very humbling but it made me realize that my game is suited for the the Europe competition I like to be professional all the way around. The organization I was apart of tried to uphold that image as much as possible that’s why we were successful by winning the northeast region and competing in the elite 8 against the other organizations that were well managed in the ABA.
If you had to compare the ABA to the PRO A in Germany, where would you see the differences in level of play and player talent?
If I had to compare the two, pro a vs the ABA? For starts it will be definitely professionalism, budget, the talent level is comparable because again you get guys that played all over, for instance on our roster starting out 2 nba d league players that was drafted also John Winchester out of Tennessee and other top Connecticut natives that was successful at some point. Those were just the players that was on my team, other squads would have guys that could play in PRO A. And be successful. But it’s no comparison to the style of play I’ll give that to the European style any day better organization, that is evident you get a lot more practice time and more of a team feel.
The Connecticut TopBallerz (ABA) had all sorts of players on the roster from NCAA2 and NCAA3 players to 39 year old Jeff Johnson. What kind of experience was it playing with these guys?
Yea there were a lot of roster changes, that made it hard to really get a chemistry and that team feeling but for the most part the guys who were close on the team stayed together, you need that to be cohesive as a unit, the family feel on the court, the I got your back feel!! Hahahah that was a roster error, my guy Jeff Johnson by the way who is a hell of a player and actually played a part in my game because he made me work my tail off in practice he is 28 years old, I don’t think a 39 year old would be able to hang with me right now lol
You are 27 now and coming into the best basketball age. You have matured a lot in the last years since our first interview in 2008. How have you matured as a player and how has your game progressed since your rookie year with USC Heidelberg?
Yes, I’m 27 now and like you said I’m coming to great playing age, body still feels 22 ish but my mental aspect has got a lot tougher that saying is true the game begins to slow down and you begin to be mentally tougher, along with your game. I’m blessed to be injury free, so hopefully I’m like wine as I age I get more polished
You are interested to coming back to Germany. You played for USC Heidelberg and BG Karlsruhe. Why should a PRO A team sign Japhet Mcneil for the 2012-2013 season? What are your most important assets?
My most important assets are my defense capabilities, and the versatility because I can dominate a game on the ball defensively but on the offensive end I m able to put pressure on the defense, with my quickness + dribbling ability + passing ability. This year I’m focused on sticking the 3 ball more often and constantly knocking down the in between jump shot. I have to add I’m very coachable I think that is so vital because if your the captain of the ship you have to follow out orders to be able to sail in your destination.
You played only seven games for BG Karlsruhe, but you were able to practice with German Rouven Roessler. What was the most amazing thing that you saw him do in a practice or game?
I did. I was a member of BG Karlsruhe, Rouven was very good and competitive that’s what I liked most about him, very quiet but a nice guy atl east towards me, that’s because I was a pass first point guard lol no but Rouv got some game with him. He would go on runs by himself, fadeaways, pull ups, really good player and you can’t forget about his athleticism for his age.
How does a summer work out day look like for Japhet Mcneil in 2012?
My work outs varies, I have a physical trainer, and basketball trainer. I try to create a balance schedule during the week that way the body doesn’t get beat down and I can continue to build. As far as free weights I’m not heavy with we do a lot of agility, body weight, flexibility, core work etc. On the basketball end we work on the entire arsenal. The entire “ARSONAL”
What is your goal for this season as a basketball player?
The goal that I set for this season for whichever club I’m apart of, I want to obviously play well and be healthy but the big picture my over all goal is to finish strong. I have to be able to start well, that’s never an issue it’s about finishing better than how you start, so that’s very important to me and something I m going to focus on.
What is your sweetest memory of a Japhet Mcniel to Jibril Hodges hook up on the court during the USC Heidelberg season?
) My greatest memory with my guy Jibril Hodges aside from off the court!!! It would have to be that alley oop I threw him against Schalke, phweeew that’s all time right there, it was then and it still is to this day (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmYGl5wqE8Y&sns=em) watch it in hq ohhhh baby!!
Which team would win a game in their prime, the Dream team or Team USA 2012?
I’m going to go with team USA 2012-2013, the dream team would have match up problems. We forget this years Olympic team has 3 or 4 players legit that are going to be top 5 all time greats surpassing players like Chris Mullin and Christian Laettner etc. the dream team top guns are MJ, Scottie, Magic, Bird, a young Shaq, Ewing etc. 2012-2013 Olympic team consist of Kevin Durant a matchup problem, Kobe all time great, Lebron all time great, Chris Paul will go down as one of the top pg to ever lace em if he stays healthy same opinion with Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony all time great as well etc. I think it’s a toss up argument but at the end of the day it comes downs to match ups.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVD I saw lately, I ran out and I had to grab the classic movie “top shottas” one of my all time gangster films!!
Thanks Japhet for the chat.