Ronald Ross is a 30 year old 188cm guard that will be starting his third season in Croatia for Jolly. He is originally from Hobbs New Mexico and played at Texas Tech from 2001-2005. In his senior year, he averaged 17.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 3.0apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3Pts: 43% and reached the NCAA Sweet 16. He started his professional career with Univer Castelletto Ticino (Italy-Lega2) and then moved on to the CBA in 2006-2007 for Butte Daredevils playing 48 games averaging 15.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.8apg, Steals-2(2.4spg), FGP: 49%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 74.2% and in 2007 for the Albany Patroons (USBL, starting five) playing 21 games: Score-3(17.4ppg), 3.0rpg, Assists-4(4.0apg), Steals-1(2.5spg), FGP: 47.6%, 3FGP: 41.4%, FT: 84.2%. In 2007-2008, he played for ENBW Ludwigsburg playing 34 games and averaging 14.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-2(1.7spg), 2FGP: 52.5%, 3PT: 29.1%, FT: 77.9% reaching the cup final in 2008. In 2008-2009 he started in Israel before moving on to the Artland Dragons playing 12 games and averaging 15.8ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 59.0%, 3PT: 57.1%, FT: 70.0%. in 2009-2010 for the Artland Dragons, he played 12 games: 10.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 83.0%; German League: 32 games: 11.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 75.7%. In 2010-2011 he playedfor Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 24 games: Score-5(15.9ppg), 4.2rpg, 2.0apg, Steals-4(1.5spg), FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 80.2%. He played the last two seasons for Jolly Jadranska Banka Sibenik (Croatia-A1) and last season played 32 games: Score-1(20.6ppg), 5.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-1(2.8spg), FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 76.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball life in Croatia.
You played four years in Germany and now you have played the last two seasons in Croatia. Has Croatia become your second home now?
Yeah, I definitely love Croatia! I’ve been very fortunate to meet a lot of special people there and really find a comfort level suitable to my liking.
You play for the team Jolly in the Croatian league where you have to battle teams like Cibona, KK Split or Cedvitta. How has your experience been playing for Jolly as a whole? The team reached the semi finals the last season.
Overall, my experience with Jolly has been humbling. It’s been really nice playing with players that have high ambitions and a desire to win. We didn’t have any of the big names, budget, or whatever excuses people use for not winning, but we had the right ingredients as an organization and we accomplished more than what was expected with a focused attitude. I was really proud to be a part of Jolly last season.
You were third in scoring your first season and last season led the league in scoring and you were number one in steals both seasons. How would you rate the competitive level of the league in comparison to the Beko BBL?
It was my role the last 2 seasons to score more and as far as defense, I’ll play hard or go home. I don’t need a role for that. It’s my own motto! The Beko BBL is a stronger league though. It has more foreigners collectively on each team and there are more teams and more games played. It was my role score more these last 2 seasons and as far as defense, I’ll play or go home. Although, I’ve always been extremely impressed with talent level and production of great national players Croatia has always had to be such a small country compared to any of the other bigger countries in Europe.
After such a strong individual season, did you not have some offers to play for top level teams or are you at appoint in your career at age 30 where you think of other things on and off the court?
Yeah, I have/had several offers as far as Spain, Italy, Turkey and even some interest in Argentina. I also participated in the Dallas Mavericks mini camp this summer. Everything will work out the way its suppose to. God got me! And being 30 is not a concern. My body feels amazing and I know everything I do is determined by my focus.
You had experience in Germany having 4-5 Americans wherever you played. What was it like being the sole American on the team? Do they treat different than your teammates back in Germany?
I made some really great friends and never really thought about the sole American too much. Either you relate to people or you don’t. If you act like an idiot, people will treat you like an idiot, but if your normal, then respect is always mutual in most cases.
What are the goals of Jolly this season and how can you top your individual play this season?
My goals are always the same. I want to win the Championship. Nothing else is acceptable to me. I just want to win.
You have played against some top American guards like Dontaye Draper or DJ Strawberry. Which guard duel have you cherished the most in the last two seasons in Croatia?
Haha! They’re both cool guys, but I can’t say I cherished a duel between any one of them. I get more of a kick out the youngsters in practice that were coming up on the team like Josip Gulam that consistently took on the challenge to guard me disregarding any circumstance or disadvantage.
You don’t see many familiar faces in Croatia from your Germany days, but last season you played against Romeo Travis. He was one of the top forwards last season in Croatia. How far has he come as a player since you saw him play in Germany back with Artland and Ludwigsburg?
Ah, Romeo! That’s my guy! With time we all develop and get better, but I think he’s always been a good player and I’m so glad to seem him on that platform getting the credit and exposure that he deserves and that he’s worked for consistently through the years.
You lived in some nice places in Germany like Ludwigsburg, Quackenbruck and Weissenfels. Now your living in the coastal town Sibenik. Is this place sometimes feel like heaven with its beautiful artchitecture, on the beach setting and nice climate?
I live in small city named Vodice close to Sibenik where I play and hands down it’s the nicest place I’ve played or lived at for sure. I’m a country boy that lives in the desert so anything on the coast I’m going to like!
Do you think you might return back to Germany and play in the Beko BBL before you hang up your sneakers?
You never know! I had some good experiences in Germany and met some great people there as well so going back would only be a good thing.
You played with so many players in your years in Germany, but what is your fondest memory of Florian Hartenstein with the Artland Dragons?
First of all, I hated getting nailed by one of Flo’s ball screens. He used to kill me! lol But the most impressive thing about Flo was he had these 5’3′ arms on a 6’9′ frame, but accomplished so much. It was hilarious, but beneficial because we were on the same team.
You have started a music career and been very successful in Croatia. Are you more known as a basketball player or music artist? What are your future goals with this endeavor?
Man!!! The music thing is such a huge blessing! I’ve been doing my music on the side for years and then it took off in Croatia! I collaborated with a great group from Croatia called “Klapa Godimenti” and we were fortunate enough to make a hit song! People know me a lot for both I guess because the media always correlates the two together. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I completely separate my basketball and my music. Basketball is number one and the music never distracts me. My music has always been theraputic so its easy to stay focused.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
“The Conjuring” Great scary movie based on a true story!
Thanks Ron for the chat.