Justin Alston is a 22 year old 203cm forward from Maryland that will start his professional basketball career in Germany with the Romerstrom Gladiators. He recently completed his career at Boston University(NCAA) where he played from 2012-2017 amassing a total of 114 games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 12.0ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 57.1%, FT: 74.7%. He spoke to German Hoops about Basketball.
Justin thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer going?
My summer is going great, I have been training everyday and just trying to prepare myself for the next Level.
Congrats on signing with German team Romerstrom Gladiators. You signed very early into the summer. What was the deciding factor that chose you to choose this Team?
Thank you, and a few deciding factors where the love and support from my family and agent. They were both very influential in my decision. Also by signing early in the summer it gives me a chance to be stress free about where I will be playing.
How was your first time testing the professional waters? Did you have many offers or did you just happen to take the Gladiators offer because it was the most appealing?
It was an awesome experience, my agent really helped me understand what kind of things I should be looking for going into my first season, and the Gladiators were my first and only offer but their presentation and offer was very appealing.
What do you know in general about the German basketball scene? Do you have any friends play here? Ex Boston University standout Jake O Brien played a season in Germany.
I do not know a lot, other than the fact their brand of basketball is very respected and well-known globally. Also Ricky Harris from UMASS actually played in Trier and gave me a lot of advice on the city and style of play.
You played 5 seasons at Boston University instead of the usual four. How important do you feel it was for you being there for an extra year in terms of you maturing as a player and person in the classroom?
Being able to receive my grad year, was one of the best experiences of my life. I had two goals which were to become the best player I could by staying in the gym every day and receiving my masters degree in a year. I was able to complete both of my goals with the help of my friends, coaches, and loving family.
Boston University were one of the top teams in the Patriot league, but there hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament were stopped by Lehigh who beat you 91-88 in double OT. What will you always remember about this game years down the road?
Years down the line I think I will just still remember how disappointed I was not to reach the NCAA tournament, but I will be thankful for the blessings and opportunities that BU has provided for my life.
Earlier in the season you did a good job on the 29th best scorer in the country Tim Kempton Jr while in your last game at Boston University he hit you for 31 points. Does remembering him having a great game like you motivate you to go even harder this summer when you prepare for your rookie season in Germany?
Just as a competitor I want to win the matchups and win the game, but my motivation isn’t based of another person. I want to be the best that I can be and that’s what motivates me every day.
You’re a guy that can score and get rebounds, but how would you exactly describe your game and to what NBA player does it compare to most?
I would describe my game as being an energy guy who will always be going to give you all I have every night and a guy who isn’t finished developing his game. I still have a lot more things that I need to improve in but that’s the beauty of my game I feel like I am a unfinished project willing to learn and work. An a guy right now in the league who I can compare myself too is Amir Johnson.
You can do many things for a big man, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I believe my touch and ability to knock down open jump shots sometimes gets unnoticed as well as my ability to pass the ball from out of the post.
You possessed a great instinct to be able to position yourself well around the basket to get the rebound which is an underappreciated asset at the college level. What part of your game do you see yourself making the most impact at the professional level as a rookie?
The part of my game which I see helping me at the next level will probably be my energy and willingness to go after every ball.
It has been a while since you played Kentucky in your third season losing 89-65 and playing against future NBA players like the Harrison brothers, Devin Booker, Karl Anthony Towns, Tyler Ulis, Tyler Lyes and Willy Cauley-Stein. What one of those guys do you remember amazing you the most then on the court?
Devin Booker for sure because going into halftime we were down three points and then in the second half he probably made every three point shot he took.
What kind of a special relationship did you have with Eric Fanning? What will you always remember most about him on the court and off?
Eric Fanning is my brother we fight a lot, we argued a lot but when we both put our heads to one goal we really work well together on and off the court. I always remember his personality and you will not meet to many people like Eric he is one of a kind for sure.
How did head coach Joe Jones groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Jones is awesome. He is a great guy first before he is a coach to me. He has done so much for me over the years to help in my development as a player and person, I really appreciate him and his family for all their love and support over the years.
You and some other teammates like Eric Fanning have demonstrated that you are not only role models on the court, but off as you strive for Master degree´s as you are pursuing project management. How has Boston University shaped you to not only making an impact on the court, but off it?
Boston University has given me the blueprint on how to be successful in life in any field I choose to pursue. BU has provided me with a world class education with a Bachelors in hospitality and business management and a Masters degree in project management.
You recently had a workout with the Boston Celtics. What kind of experience was that for you and what did the club tell you to do to get better and how far is the NBA for a guy like you?
My workout with the Celtics was confirmation that God is always working on your behalf and prayer and hard work pays off. That is an experience which was unreal and something that I will be able to hold with me for the rest of my life. After the workout they told me I really held my own and I should continue working on developing my shot more and being able to handle the ball and I should have a bright future.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Nick Havener?
Me every time but Nick has a very unorthodox game so it’s sometimes hard to guard him.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird
If Lebron wins a fourth NBA title, where will he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with the best of all-time?
Lebron is great and has to be recognized when its all said and done he will number two behind MJ.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
Tim Duncan is the best power forward to ever play the game.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Klay is great shooter and his performance should be recognized but I’m not sure where to rank such a performance when many other’s have done great things.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
As of this season he has averaged a triple double in 82 games. No one has ever seen anything like this before.
Is Lonzo Ball the real thing? Do you feel like he will be able to develop further despite the antics of his father on social media?
I believe that Lonzo Ball is a great talent and he and his father are stirring up the pot but sometimes change is what’s needed.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell.
I do not think this is a fair assessment because he was trying to do everything possible for his team to be successful and when he was not on the floor his team struggled. Russell Westbrook gets my vote for MVP.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw the new fast and furious movie “ The Fate of the Furious”.
Thanks Justin for the chat.