The life of a professional basketball player in Europe obviously is worlds apart from the glitz and glamour of the NBA, but it´s still an occupation and a meal ticket for so many Americans living their basketball dream. A professional basketball player in Europe has so much free time on his hands during the day something any normal Joe Shmoe that is working a 9-5 job would dream of having at least once a week, but professional basketball players have it almost every day and sometimes worry too much about what and what not to do. Usually a club will have a weight room workout and light shooting somewhere in the vicinity of 10-1 and then a hard practice at night for 1-2 hours and in between and after a player has many options to fill their time. Back in the 80´s and 90´s a player had to be very imaginative about their free time as their was no social media, state of the art cell phones or Skype. Back then a player actually went into book stores to fill up on reading material and had possibly more interesting encounters of how to pick up women simply because then it was a work of art whereas now you can find a new one every night in the internet. However an interesting thing that clubs have done over the years is send players to schools to talk about their experiences with basketball and life or to help aspiring young kids how to play basketball. Usually it seems the taller and more gregarious a player is, the more interest a player will get simply because you don’t see many 208cm men walking around in Europe. Fraport Skyliner Mike Morrison can fill the Fraport arena alone with his crushing dunks as it is always a highlight to see him running the floor and getting served up an alley-op hard throw down from a AJ English, Kwame Vaughn or Quantez Robertson as his 8 dunks recently against Turkish team Pinar Karsiyaka seemed like an eternity for the Champions League team on that night. Of course, Morrison could also tell great tales about his experiences in Finland and Cyprus or school days at George Mason as well as other players recalling their great moments, but it´s not every day that a player can rock the court with his play and also fill a classroom with his Kobe Ammunition. One of these guys is Jordan Burris who currently is living his basketball dream in the German 4th league with up and coming team Coburg. He is having a great third professional season which in a way is his rookie season after his first two professional seasons didn´t really pan out the way he wanted to. He is filling the gym in Coburg with his game as he is averaging 20,8ppg, 9,1rpg, 2,6rpg and 2,4spg and if he had to would be able to fill any other room with his Kobe Bryant story. Burris had the opportunity to film a commercial with NBA legend Kobe Bryant that would fill any room to capacity, but then again if Mike Morrison would film an interview with his son Mike junior, it would surely get the thumbs up in Frankfurt and fill any room as anything they would do could only be entertaining as this father and son duo had the perfect wedding proposal plan and party time plan when mommy left for a trip to the States recently. If Burris really wanted to and needed extra cash, he could surely come up with a way to spice up the Kobe Bryant experience and just tour the country. He will forever cherish his time with the LA Laker legend. “ He’s been my favorite player since I can remember. So to meet him and be able to pick his brain was the experience of a lifetime. At one point he stopped the production of the commercial and gave me a personal lesson on his fade away. That’s a memory I will cherish forever. He’s also a big trash talker man. But I guess in 20 years of NBA basketball he’s heard it all”, stated Jordan Burris.
Burris also had the audacity to talk trash with Kobe and warned him about blocking his shot, but instead saw the master drop 10/10 on him. “I told him I’m Jordan I’m the guy that’s going to lock you down. To that he said that’s not what my 30,000+ points say. After that I had nothing to say. But just being a huge fan of his, I admire his work ethic and tried to incorporate that into my game. Be the first one in and last one out as much as possible. A line that sticks with me from Kobe is rest in the end; not in the middle”, stated Jordan Burris.
Burris is a 25 year old 201cm forward from Bakersfield, California that is playing his third professional season if one can call it that as he played only three D-League games with the Reno Bighorns and had stints in the American minor leagues with the Santa Monica Jump (IBL) and Indiana Diesels (PBL).Before turning professional he played at Nevada (NCAA) from 2010-2013 playing a total of 92 NCAA games and stat wise his junior season was his most productive as he played 31 games averaging 6.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 71.0%. Two of his best games were against Cal Poly-SLO where he scored 13 points in a 69-56 win and faced American Chris Eversley who currently is playing two leagues higher than him in Germany with the RheinStars had 7 points and the other fine outing was against USF in a 59-51 victory where he steered 11 points and seven boards However after three seasons he decided to move to CS San Bernardino(NCAA2) for his senior year where he displayed his knack for being a well rounded team player playing 25 games averaging 14.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 72.0%. He also showed how quickly he could adjust to a new environment. “It’s always tough going to a new place especially after being comfortable in one place. I think this adversity and learning to play a whole new team in a short amount of time benefited me for the start of my pro career”, stressed Jordan Burris. His best two scoring games were against Chico State where he hammered in 31 and 24 points, but it wasn´t his fondest memories there. “They were good individual games. But if I remember correctly we lost both. Some games I remember more than that are winning our 16th straight game against Humboldt State and beating Chaminade in the tourney”, added Jordan Burris.
Burris turned professional in 2014 and was drafted by the Los Angeles D-Fenders (D-League,5rd(89), but his D-league experience didn´t start right away and when it finally did in March 2015, it lasted only 3 games. Burris entered the shark filled tank of professional basketball bringing a very well rounded game, but it didn´t seem to really to impress many at first. He really wanted to show everyone what he could do, but just didn´t get a chance as his game reminded him of a player ripping up the NBA on the other side of the Bay in San Francisco. “I like to compare myself to a Klay Thompson. He’s a good shooter and overall playmaker that can play and defend multiple positions. He also can make plays with and without the ball which I think is a valuable asset to the team”, added Jordan Burris After playing briefly with the Santa Monica Jump (IBL), he then played three games with the Reno Bighorns (D-League) and in his last game saw 14 minutes against Santa Cruz scoring three points on 1/5 shooting and that was the end of his D-league trial. “The D league is a very crazy league with people getting sent down from the NBA and pressure to put the right guys on the court and I think it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle”, warned Jordan Burris. The American who lists current Memphis Grizzlie Ray Mccallum as his toughest opponent in the NCAA never gave up and turned some heads in the famous Drew League in Los Angeles, but even after his showing there knew that the professional route wasn´t going to be easy anywhere. “Pro basketball isn’t for the weak minded. You have to be strong physically and mentally and be able to fight through some adversity”, stated Jordan Burris. After the Drew League in the summer of 2015, he didn´t get his big break, but had to settle for some more semi-pro basketball with the Indiana Diesels (PBL).Then in the summer of 2016, he finally got a break and got an offer from German Regionalliga team Coburg who were playing in the fourth league. He knew that his first two years of professional ball was nothing to write home about, but Germany was always a place where he wanted to play and 8 months later, he is thrilled that he chose Coburg. Back in the summer of 2016, he knew that he had made the right choice with Coburg. “I think there is a lot of expectations but at the end of the day it’s basketball. I’ve been playing this game for 20 years so I’m pretty confident that we will make it work! As for the pressure, hey pressure forms diamonds. Coburg picked me and I just want to go out and prove that they made the right decision”, stated Jordan Burris.
Eight months later, Both Coburg and Burris had made the right decision as the club is the best Regionalliga team in Germany posting a 20-2 record and on it´s way up to the next level the Pro B. The club surprisingly lost their only game this season at home against Bad Aibling in the always filled HUK-Coburg arena that fills 3,000 passionate Bavarian fans that got the attention of Burris early on. “The excitement is definitely growing! I love the fans they’re so loyal and passionate. They travel with us and make almost every game feel like a home game for us. So that’s what I appreciate, the pure passion that they have”, stressed Jordan Burris. The success of the team where they score 91 points per game and allow 76 points has made basketball life so much easier for the California native and sees no real secret for the success. “We’ve been very successful and the team as well as the fans and the city in general has made this a fun and easy transition to the European lifestyle. I really am enjoying my time here and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. There hasn’t really been a secret to our success. Hard work and determination with a little luck sprinkled in. We are lucky that we have a great group of guys that all get along on and off the court and are willing to sacrifice for one another to get the job done“, warned Jordan Burris.
Usually there is one or two top Americans on every Regionalliga team and usually also leading the team in scoring, but that isn´t the case as Burris is second in scoring to German Fabian Franke who has German BBL experience and played in the Pro A which is two levels above the Regionalliga. Often an American playing overseas will have that annoying ego, but not Burris who is proud of his teammate who dropped 36 points in a win against Vilsbiburg. “Fabi is very easy to play with. He has a high basketball IQ and a knack for scoring the ball. And he can score from inside and outside. I think that night he also had 12 rebounds! Monster performance by him. That’ll be tough to top, but who knows on any given night any of us from top to bottom of our team is capable of getting hot”, warned Jordan Burris. As for his own game, Burris has proved that he belongs to the best imports in the Regionalliga averaging 20,6ppg, 8,8rpg, 2,5apg and 2,4spg. He wouldn´t attribute the success in his game where he is a man playing among boys. “It’s definitely not too easy. I think there is a lot of talent in this league. I just have a mindset that I will outwork everyone. And I’m glad the results are showing. Nothing easy I just work as hard as I can and play hard also, the focus is to win the game and do what the team needs me to do! Sometimes that means scoring, sometimes that means guarding the other teams best player, sometimes it’s rebounding, I just want to win”, warned Jordan Burris. Burris credits a lot of the success of the team and his play to head coach Simon Bertram. “Coach Bertram has been great. He’s intensity is infectious. We could be up by 50 and he’s still screaming on the sidelines about defensive rotations! I think that is the quality of a winner and ultimate competitor. I believe that will lead to more success down the road”, added Jordan Burris. The biggest strength in his game is his consistency as he has scored in double figures in each game with five double doubles, but what part in his game does he believe still gets unnoticed? “I think my communication is something that you might not see. I’m always talking to my teammates and feel that on each team I’ve been on I’ve been one of the “glue” guys on and off the court. That is, I bring the team together and make sure everyone has a good time”, warned Jordan Burris. Not many teams or players in the States really know what team basketball is except the San Antonio Spurs, but Burris has learned what it means to be a team player with Coburg. “The game is a lot different than America. In the U.S. it’s more 1 on 1 isolation ball whereas here the focus is team ball. So I think I’ve become more patient and learning to pass up good shots for great shots”, added Jordan Burris. The first order of business for Burris and Coburg is the move to the Pro B. If Burris will stay is unknown at the moment, but he knows the only way for him is up, but will always be thankful that Coburg gave him his first European opportunity. “Do I believe I could play in a higher league? Sure. But this is the journey that my life has taken and I’m very proud to be where I’m at. I’m ready for the next step, but in order to do that we have to continue to win here! And of course, I love the organization, the team is awesome, the fans are so supportive, the city is fascinating, you would be crazy to not want to stay”, warned Jordan Burris. One thing is for sure, if Burris could get Kobe Bryant to Coburg to film a second commercial and tour the historic city that has the beautiful Veste castle, then the American would probably get a lifelong statue made and placed in front of the HUK-Coburg arena.