Fenerbahce's success in the EuroCup this season owes much to their South Korean-born American, Jarod Stevenson.
The 30-year-old's 47.4% shooting from three-point range (27 for 57) not only boosts his scoring average, which is currently 15 points per game.
The mere threat of Stevenson launching those shots from behind the arc creates opportunities for his team-mates because defences have to guard him - sometimes with a double-team.
|Jarod Stevenson |
FIBA Europe: Hi Jarod, Happy New Year. How did you spend New Year's Eve - after beating Pinar Karsiyaka in the Turkish league?
Stevenson: I played the game with a heavy heart since my son was sick with bronchitis. I spent New Year's Day in the hospital. But he's better now.
FIBA Europe: Despite your dominance in the EuroCup, you guys have been struggling somewhat in the Turkish league - with an 9-6 record. How can you explain that?
Stevenson: I guess we kind of lose our focus. We know that one of our main goals this season is to do well in the European league and we've kind of lost our focus in the Turkish league.
FIBA Europe: Are you guys regaining that focus in Turkey now?
Stevenson: Yeah, it's getting better now. It has to because we've lost enough games already. But we have to keep our focus in both competitions.
FIBA Europe: You team up with Kaspars Kambala and Damir Mrsic to make up one of the most productive trios in the EuroCup. What's it like having guys like that along side you?
Stevenson: It makes everything a lot easier. Teams can't focus on just one player. Any of us can go off and have a big game. So, people have to watch all of us, which helps all of us.
FIBA Europe: What do you bring to the team after playing in Italy and Israel and last season reaching the final of the Europe Cup with Lokomotiv Rostov?
Stevenson: I think I bring some experience since I'm an older guy now. At 30, I bring some good experience, and I'm still an offensive threat.
FIBA Europe: What's it like playing for Coach Aydins Ors, who's obviously known throughout Turkey but also Europe after leading the national team to the 2001 EuroBasket final.
Stevenson: It's good playing for him. He works us hard and gets the most out of us. We definitely need to pick it up on the defence, though. He has a reputation as a defensive coach. So he's disappointed with that aspect of our game. But we're trying to get better as the season goes along.
FIBA Europe: You were born in Seoul and your mother is South Korean. Did you ever think about playing for the South Korean national team?
Stevenson: I thought about it. But I don't know what channels I would have to go through so I haven't done anything about it. I was born there, but I left when I was six or seven months old and I've never been back.
FIBA Europe: But what if the South Korean Basketball Federation were to see this and call you and help you?
Stevenson: That would be something I would like to do. I would love to play for the country I was born in. It would be a great experience. Well, we'll see. Maybe at the 2008 Olympics. Man, that would be really nice.