French NM1

Interview with Jared Newson, the best dunker of French NM1

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© ALAN LE BOLLOCH

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American forward Jared Newson (6’5) told us a lot of interesting things about his basketball career in the States and overseas, his path and his projects. We met him in Lorient (France), the city where he is living and playing this season. Don’t forget, you can follow him on Instagram : @newaynation

Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Jared Newson. 32 years old from Belleville, Illinois. This is my 11th year professional.

What about your high school and college career?
I played high school at Belleville East where I only had one scholarship after school to a junior college. I spent one year at Forest Park Community college then went to The University of Tennessee Martin where I spent three years. My senior year I averaged 19 pts and 7 rebs. In 2014 I got inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Then, you played in different countries during your pro career. How is life overseas?
I’ve played in 7 different countries. Australia, Germany, Poland, Finland, France, Puerto Rico, and America. Life overseas can be rough depending on your situation. A few teams I’ve played on the team was the top team in that country so the living and lifestyle was professional. Teams such as Brose Baskets Bamberg in Germany, Kataja Baskets in Finland, Cairns Taipans in Australia, Bayer Giants Leverkusen in Germany when they were in the top league to name a few. My time In France has been great as well. The fans in Toulon, St. Vallier, and Orchies supported me and the passion I brung to the court despite things that may have happened outside of basketball with a team.

What is the best country where you have played?
The best place I’ve played was definitely Australia. It was beautiful where I was and the weather was always good. The basketball in Australia is very competitive as well.

You has 5 seasons in the books in France. What do you like there?
The fans and the friends I’ve made over the years is the reason why I keep staying in France. I’m known for playing hard, never quitting, and being a player that’s going to do what it takes to try and win.

Furthermore, you are also known to be a great dunker. In 2012 in Paris, you lost at the final round of the slam dunk contest during the LNB All-Star Game. 15 000 people were in the arena. What kind of memories do you kept about this event?
The dunk contest and All star game was an amazing experience. I have no regrets on anything. I had a chance to win the dunk contest by doing a normal dunk just to get points but instead I chose to do a dunk I’ve never done before so I could give the fans a show. I took a chance, I didn’t complete it but I tried so that’s all I cared about. I still won €1500 so it’s not like I really lost. If I had a chance to do it again I would try that same dunk as well. I’m not afraid to go try new things.

Did you learned some French words with French lessons?
I took French lessons in Toulon when I played there but I found out learning French is easier when you learn from other people rather than a class. So over the years I learned more and more from just being around people and speaking.

You played in French D2 (Pro B) and now in D3 (NM1) this season. What are the main differences between those two championships?
The main difference between divisions is the quality of players. In Pro B there’s a team of more individual experienced players and in NM1 there’s good players for this league but not so experienced with playing at a high level. This year I’ve been doubled teamed several times and in pro B even if had 20pts in the first half I wouldn’t see a double team at all.

In all NM1 competition, you are the player who spend the most time on the court with around 38 minutes in average per game. Is that hard for your body to play so much every week?
In my whole career I’ve averaged 35-36 mins a game. I’m a high energy person. On the bench resting is not where I like to be. I’ll rest when I retire so In the mean time if I’m able to play physically then On the court competing is where I wanna be.

Currently, that is the Christmas break. So how is going your season in Lorient? Are you satisfied about the first part of the season? And what are your expectations for the second half of the season and futur?
I’m not satisfied with the first half of our season at all. We’ve lost four games just from us being stupid. Nothing to do with a team being better than us but us just making a stupid mistake at the end of a game. This comes from experience and hopefully the second half of the year we can learn from it and continue to grow as a team. We have a lot of talent on this team. After seeing all the teams play and the players, I can honestly say we are a top 4 team despite our inexperience collectively. As a leader I will only blame myself for us not being as successful at this moment. I need to do more in order to help my team finish games off and win.

Few weeks ago, you played against a couple of your former teams such as Orchies and Saint-Vallier. Is that special to came back there?
My first year in Orchies we went to the playoffs and the year after we just couldn’t find enough team chemistry to win. Besides basketball on the court, The fans in Orchies were amazing. They supported me and still continue to do so even though I’m on another team. When I went back to play there this year I caught me by surprise because of the standing ovations I had and the love from everyone. It was definitely a humbling experience. In St. Vallier it was pretty much the same. There’s not so many fans as Orchies but the fans that remembered me made sure they let me know that they appreciated me when I was there playing.

« I’m the founder and boss of an organization :

the Neway Elite Basketball Academy »

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© Alan Le Bolloch

Do you think that you will stay over here in France few seasons more until the end of your career?
I’m not sure how many years I still want to play. I will be opening up my Basketball Academy next summer and teaching kids is also a big passion I have. I love this game but at times there’s things that you deal with that forces you to make business decisions.

What are your hobbies during your free time and days off?
My hobbies outside of basketball is working for my business. I’m the founder and boss of an organization (Neway Elite Basketball Academy) so there’s always emails to be sent and work to be done.

So you also organize a basketball camp in USA. What can you say about it?
Last year was my first basketball camp in my hometown. I was very proud to be able to have this for the kids and my community. In 2017 I’m having three different camps and a big tournament as well. When I was in high school and growing up I didn’t have proper training and any professional guys coming to talk to me. I had to do it on my own so with me being in the position I am now I wanted to give back and help these kids the right way because I’ve been through it all.

You had a pro career in the United States too, even if it was shorter. How were your 8 NBA Pre season games in 2007 with Dallas Mavericks? Is those games were a dream come true?
Playing with Dallas was a great experience. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a dream come true all the way because just getting there wasn’t good enough for me. To make the final roster in January would have been a dream come true. But being around those guys for two or three months and seeing how they work every single day and bring that professional mindset on and off the court taught me a lot. Seeing Dirk (Nowitzki) and Jason Terry staying hours after practice to keep shooting or seeing how Eddie Jones carried his professional brand off the court. These are the situations I valued with my time there.

Moreover, you played into the Dleague during one year, in 2009/2010. What can you say about the level comparing pro basketball overseas? Why did you played there? Did you had an opportunity to get a spot for a new tryout with an NBA team?
The Dleague back then was cutthroat. I’m not sure how it is now but I’m sure it’s still somewhat the same. Everyone wanted to prove themselves and get their stats. I was top 5 in scoring averaging 20ppg and a player got assigned to our team and I got bumped. Minutes went down, stats went down and I got traded. I had to figure out what my niche would be. Once I got traded I from the Bakersfield Jam I went to Sioux Falls where they had a loaded roster of scoring already. I had to be a role player but ended up having the job as a lock down defender. This role took us to the playoffs and I was selected to join the Dleague select team in the summer league the next year.

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