Jacob Burtschi (I Don’t Think I’m Still 100% Ready To Retire But It Seems Like The Best Move For Now)

Jacob Burtschi is a 32 year old 198cm forward from Chickasha, Oklahoma that can look back at a 6 year professional basketball career and has decided to retire. He played at the Air Force from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 35 games averaging 13.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3Pts: 39.0%, FT: 77.3%. As a rookie in 2010-2011 he played for ). He played as a rookie for Phoenix Hagen in 2010-2011 averaging 14.2ppg, 6.9rpg, 2.5apg, Steals-3(1.5spg), FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 82.2%. In the 2011-2012 season he played for CAI Zaragoza (Spain-ACB) playing 9 games averaging  2.6ppg, 2.4rpg; left in Nov.’11, in Dec.’11 moved to Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL): German League: 22 games: 8.2ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 87.5%; EuroCup: 2 games: 5.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0spg. In the 2012-2013 season he played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-BBL) playing 33 games averaging 9.8ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 45.9%, 3FGP: 40.3%, FT: 89.3%. He returned back to the Fraport Skyliners in 2013 where he would play two more seasons and played a total of 63 BBL games for them. Last season he played for the Bisons Loimaa (Finland-Korisliiga): VTB League: 19 games: 6.9ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 72.7%; Finnish Korisliiga: 15 games: 10.2ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 42.3%, 3FGP: 43.7%, FT: 94.4%. He then played with Soles de Mexicali (Mexico-LNBP) playing 13 games: 8.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 64.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 88.9%. The American spoke to German Hoops quite a few times in his professional career and in his 20th interview for the sight gave one last farewell interview.

Jacob thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how was your summer this time around? Was there more reflection around for you as you were thinking about your future and basketball career?

I am currently in Oklahoma where I am spending time with the family and letting the body heal. I´m not getting any younger and being away from family for 6 years is tough.

You have decided to hang them up. How did you tackle this summer in terms of possibly continuing your basketball career. Did the good basketball situations just not pop up the way you had liked?

I continued to train and prepare for next season. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a ton of opportunity to return.

What were the main reasons for deciding to retire from the game of basketball. I know that you are a big family man and for most American families a bigger family than most. How much did family play a role about making this decision?

Family played a big role in it. But they would support me either way.

What was the most difficult part about coming to this decision of retiring? When were you 100% sure that you wanted to make this decision?

It’s a tough pill to swallow but eventually basketball was going to leave me behind. I guess I can take my ego to the old men’s leagues at the YMCA. I don’t think I’m still 100% ready to retire but it seems like the best move for now.

Last season you played for Bisons Loimaa (Finland-Korisliiga) and Soles de Mexicali (Mexico-LNBP). After playing mostly in the German BBL and briefly in Spain, you played in lower leagues, but still in one of Europe´s top leagues VTB. How important was it for you making this experience and now knowing you went out playing at a top level?

It was a great feeling to play in the VTB league. Tons of top talent in that league. Just a pleasure to compete on that level.

Despite losing 87-59 to CEZ Nymburk, you had a 28 point game and dropped eight three pointer´s that reminded one of your 36 point 10 three game against Bremerhaven a few years ago. You were always a guy that could fill up the stat sheet, but was your three your bread & butter?

My 3 point shot was definitely my bread and butter. Kept me around longer than what I should have been probably.

You played only one game with Soles de Mexicali (Mexico-LNBP) two seasons ago and saw American Zach Graham put up 24 points. How difficult was it seeing him go off against your ex team Fraport Skyliners winning the Fiba Intercontinental Cup and MVP?

It was tough but I’m happy for Zach. First class guy who is a heck of a ball player. My former Soles coach was also the coach of that team that won the cup. Congrats to them both for winning that game.

You played most of your professional career with the Fraport Skyliners in parts of three seasons. What will you miss most about this time with Frankfurt and how do you feel did you benefit most from your stay there?

The family atmosphere. Tez and I grew close and I also became close with a lot of the German guys. Trying to immerse myself in the German culture was a blast. I’ll definitely miss my Skyliner family.

Was your 36 point 10 three pointer onslaught against your ex team Bremerhaven your most memorable game?

It definitely was. I’ll never pull that feat off again. It was an awesome experience.

You have played with many great teammates, and you have mentioned in a past interview that Quantez Robertson belonged to your best all-time teammates. Would you bet your car that one day that you will be able to return to the Fraport Skyliners and observe his number 13 hanging from the rafters next to Pascal Roeller?

It would be awesome if I could. If it’s possible, I would love to. It will be a great and well deserved honor for Tez!

As a player you had many road trips, but what long lasting memory do you have of the long, long trip to Krasnoyarsk. What was always special about making this trips and having a joker like Quantez Robertson along?

Not only Tez, but all the Germans too. Those guys are a funny group to be around. I’m glad I never have to make that trip to Krasnoyarsk again though!

In a previous interview in 2011, you told me one of the best players that you battled against with CAI Zaragoza (Spain-ACB) was NBA player Serge Ibaka and now looking back in your career who was actually the toughest player that you played against?

The toughest player I have played against was probably Derrick Allen. The way he competes. He is a tough SOB. And he is still going.

As a rookie you had your strongest statistical season with Phoenix Hagen (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 33 games: 14.2ppg, 6.9rpg, 2.5apg, Steals-3(1.5spg), FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 82.2%. What do you feel was key for making a name for yourself as a rookie in the BBL? Was it the Ingo Freyer system of run and gun?

I just wanted to help out in anyway possible. Luckily for me the run and gun system helped inflate some numbers but I was able to show I was capable of playing in the league after sitting out for 3 years because of my commitment.

With David “Baby Shaq” Bell you played with one of the strongest built guys in the league for his stature and with Quentin Pryor possibly the guy with the biggest heart that ever played in the BBL. How important were these two players for you as a rookie on and off the court?

Those guys were great. Helped show me the ropes and they were competitive every day. Although neither one was capable of beating me in monopoly.

How important were your 7 years at the Air Force helping shape your game on the court and making you the man that you are today?

The Air Force taught me a lot. Never give up. Never quit. Never back down.

You could have had a nine year professional career, but did duty for the Air Force from 2007-2010. How do you think that your career may have gone had you been a rookie in 2007 and not 2010?

No clue. But the friendships I made and the people I met during my time in the AF I wouldn’t trade for an extra 3 years of ball. Those guys are friends for life.

How would you like fans to remember Jacob Burtschi as the professional basketball player?

A guy that loved that game of basketball and a memorable guy off the court.

What is the next step for Jacob Burtschi? You have let it be known that you will be helping kids improve their game as a skill development trainer. Any other plans that you will have?

Most likely coaching. No clue what the future holds. It’s scary and awesome at the same time.

Family, team organizations and fans know you as being a very outgoing and bubbly guy that always had the right sayings. If you and Quantez Robertson were to become a duo on TV and have their own show what kind of show would it be and what characters would you play?

It would probably be like the show Rob and Big on MTV. Although the roles would probably be switched.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Fast and Furious 2.

Thanks Jacob for the chat.

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