Gerald Robinson Has No Happy End With USC Freiburg
Gerald Robinson is a 25 year old 204cm forward that was born in Amsterdam and grew up in Los Angeles. He is blessed with tremendous size and length. He demonstrates tremendous athletic ability and excellent leaping skills, which makes him a difficult match up for any team to guard. He is a true team leader and has a knack for hitting the big shot. He can take the defender off the dribble or use his incredible range and size to shoot over the defender. He played at Tennessee-Martin from 2004-2008 and in his senior year he played 28 games averaging 14.0ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.7%, 3Pts: 30.3%, FT: 64.0%.
Last season, he split time between Spain and the UK with Alerta Cantabria Lobos (Spain-LEB Bronze, starting five): 9 games: 3.3ppg, 2.1rpg, in Dec.’08 moved to Oviedo Club Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Bronze), Spanish League: 3 games: 7.7ppg, 3.3rpg; left in Jan.’09, then moved to Airwaves Plymouth Raiders (United Kingdom-BBL): 18 games: 8.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 2FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 67.9%.
This season, he played with USC Freiburg before being released. He spoke to German Hoops about why he got fired.
Gerald you are playing your first season in Germany in the PRO A with USC Freiburg. Why did you choose to come to play basketball in Germany?
I came to Germany because I heard a lot of good things about Germany and I thought it was a good situation for me.
USC Freiburg is currently in 12th place with a record of 8-14. why has the season not been as successful?
Well its hard to just throw a good team together in a short time. We have had some hurt players and lost some close games. But things will get better.
There have been rumours that the USC Freiburg fired you because you came late to practice. Is that true?
We practice in 3 different gyms and I went to the wrong gym one time. i missed a few practices in the begining of the season due to a little injury to my foot. When we beat the Kirchheim Knights(20.02.2010) and Coach Zilch was happy, and told the team we had training on the following Monday evening at 9pm. My friend was here from the States to visit, and I had to drive them to the return flight to Frankfurt on Sunday. While in Frankfurt I received a call from USC manager. He called me at noon asking me where I was for the meeting, but he knew I wouldn’t be available, because after to the game I told him I could meet with him around 3 because that’s when I would be back in Freiburg. So because of this they tried to say I’m always late and they fired me without notice. I was however in my spare time. I played in each game, practice and haven’t missed one all season. They wanted to get only another inside player (Kinsella). So they tried to trap me or find a reason to fire me! But things will get resolved.
There also seems to be other problems that you are suffering? Could you please talk about the salary problems?
Since I arrived in Freiburg there has been money problems. Not only with me, but also with the other players. The remainder of December’s salary we got real late. And I still haven’t received the money for January AND February! Even though the management was late for months, I still played in each game and practice. In my contract it states that they pay me, and I play. I lived up to my side of the agreement, and they haven’t. Also former players did not get their salaries punctually. But things will get resolved.
Not getting paid must really hurt your motivation?
It did hurt my motivation a little, but I still tried to play to my best of my abilities! I can only control my actions, and I have been a professional during this whole time. In order to quit without notice. Most people believe without money is no achievement, but I still tried to do my best given the current situation.
Have you ever suffered these type of problems with a professional team so early in your basketball career?
I am surprised at the USC Freiburg management. I regarded the club as honest people I thought I could trust the word and contract of the management. So far I have never had these types of problems. I know most German teams pay on time, but USC seems to be a special association. All past players have said this to me.
How disappointed are you about your current situation?
Without money one cannot live in Germany. I have been waiting now two months for my salary, I need money in the bank. With this reality it makes too tough to survive and play good basketball. If you do not know when you’re going to get paid, how can you eat? Pay things back home in America or pay your cell phone bill or whatever? You panic and you ask yourself, is the club broke or will it pay?
What are the major problems of the team at the moment? Why is the team only in 12th place?
It’s hard work selecting a right team and coach each season. All of the pieces have to fit in the puzzle correctly to have a good season, and right now we are still trying to put them together. And we have been struggling on offense.
How is your relationship with coach Markus Zilch?
I think i have a pretty good relationship with Coach Zilch just like any other player and coach relationship. I respect everybody, especially coaches and management.
You are playing a solid season averaging 12,3ppg and 7,3rpg. How happy are you with your season so far?
Well it has been solid so far but I always think I should do better.
What will be your next move? Would you like to play in Germany again?
Not sure yet what my next move will be, I will have to see what happens. Yes I like Germany its a nice country and good basketball so we’ll see what happens. Just looking to finish up the year somewhere.
What things do you still need to improve on with your game?
Well I’m never all the way happy so I like to improve on every part of my game!
Are you playing more the four position or the five position? You are more a four position player right?
Well actually I’m a three in college I started at the three and played some four, but I’m better at the three. This year I’ve been starting at the four and playing a little three.
To what NBA player would you compare your game to?
I wouldn’t say compare but I tried to model my game after players that play inside and outside. Players like Antoine Walker, Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce.
Who were your NBA idols?
Well growing up in LA I was a Lakers fan so Nick Van Exel and Kobe Bryant were my favorite players.
Your from Los Angeles California, what was your childhood like?
Yes I was born in Amsterdam and raised in Los Angeles. Growing up in Los Angeles I had a nice childhood experience. Just like every other kid I played all sports basketball, football and baseball I just choose to stick with basketball. I love LA!
You must know many guys playing in Europe from Los Angeles?
Yes I know quit a few guys playing!
Where do you like to hang out most in Los Angeles?
Well I live in Florida now but when I’m back in Los Angeles I’m everywhere I have friends and family everywhere so I just visit with them and most importantly I work out.
What was your nicest memories of Tennesse Martin University?
My best memory was when my family came and seen me play on Senior night it was the first time they seen me play at home that was great and just being with the team.
What are your memories of Jared Newson?
Well Jared Newson left the year that I came so I didn’t play with him but we would go at it in pick up games in the summer time at my school. He’s a good player.
You had your first professional Basketball experience in Spain, but you didn´t have an easy time there did you?
Well I was playing out of position there I was playing the 4 and 5. They got rid of the 5 man right before the season started. So it wasn’t right for me.
You finished the season in the UK with Airwaves Plymouth Raiders (United Kingdom-BBL): 13 games: 8.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 2FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 67.9%. How was this basketball league?
Yes that was in 13 minutes of play. I liked the British basketball league I liked playing there Plymouth was great. I think that the league there is underrated, there is a lot of good players there.
What was your most crazy shot in a game or practice?
Well I don’t have one crazy shot that I can remember but last year in England I was 4-4 in half court shots in the game which was kinda of crazy.
Who wins a one on one in practice, you or Lars Gruebler?
Lars is a good player but I think I will win that one.
What would you like to do after your basketball career?
I want to open a clothing store and be a inspirational speaker to the youth about making right decisions.
What are your hobbies?
Besides basketball I like to lift weights, read and travel.
Whats was your best 2010 winter Olympic moment?
I don’t have a best moment but I like watching Ice Hockey and watching Sidney Crosby play he’s a great player.
What was the last DVD that you saw?
The last DVD I seen was Taken.
Thanks Gerald for telling your story!