He may play in one of the smallest markets in the Europe, but you would need to have tunnel vision not to recognize Gerald Robinson (204-F-84, agency: Court Side, college: Tennessee-Martin), the subject of this week’s Eurobasket.com interview. So say hello to Dutch-American Gerald Robinson, the rebound leader from Landstede Zwolle.
Robinson is more of a globerunner than a globetrotter, with a career that has gone from the USA to Spain to the UK to Germany to Iceland and now to Holland. And he’s still only 27. The Ibasketball.nl-MVP for Week 2, Robinson is averaging 10.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.3 blocks in just 29 minutes a game.
As a little kid, what did you want to become?
Well my dad played professional basketball as well so I wanted to be just like my father, he put the ball in my crib.
Who inspired you want to become a basketball player?
My dad did and watching all the great basketball players. Growing up in LA basketball is a way of life. Playing basketbal until it got dark outside. Watching the guys around me go to college and the NBA, they inspired me as well.
When you were growing up, did you idolize any basketball player?
I didnt idolize anybody…but after moving from Holland to Los Angeles my favorite player was Nick Van Exel he was the man back then and could really play and then came Kobe after. And I liked Dennis Rodman and Charles Barkley because he played inside and out and rebounded.
Tell us about the path of your career? You’ve gone from Spain to the UK to Germany and Iceland in three seasons. What has each of those steps been like?
Yeah, I started in Spain where they were playing me out of position so I left there but it was a good learning experience for me. I learned a lot when I was there. After that I went to Plymouth in England which was also a good learning experience for me, a nice city and great fans. After that I went to Germany and last season I played in Iceland which was also a great experience for me. I really enjoyed my season there.
Why did you join Landstede Zwolle?
Talking with my agent Jan Lugtenburg he thought Zwolle would be a good fit for me. Other teams were interested but thought Zwolle would be good for me. Talked to the GM in May when I was still back in Florida and they wanted to fly me out to meet with them. So in early June I flew out here and met with the GM Adriaan and met with Coach Herman. I was impressed with what I saw, their vision, the facilities, etc.
Landstede Zwolle has begun the season extremely well, winning beyond expectations, and you are one of the main players for Herman van den Belt. How do you see the season so far?
We started of the season with a bad game against Leiden, we didnt play our best game but think we responded well in our last two games. We are a new and young team so we just getting used to each other and getting better everyday in practice.
Gerald, everyone wants to know: What is the Landstede’s secret? You guys have beaten two huge opponents. How?
We don’t really have a secret. We are just a defensive team and we like to play defense and stop people. We don’t care who scores on offense.
Personally you can be satisfied with your performance in the beginning of the season…
Im not really satisfied with my performances. I think it can be better. Had my worst game of my career against Leiden so was not happy with that but responded well the next games. Our offense is a different style for me and a new way of playing so its just going to take some getting used to. But love the challange.
What do you think about coach Herman van den Belt as a motivator and a coach?
I think Herman is a great guy who really loves basketball and he really knows basketball. He is good with X’s and O’s and does a great job of motivating us before and during the game.
Where did you get your playing style?
Well when I was younger I was short and played the point guard and guard postiton and when I got older I became tall and had to play inside. So I just put it together and play inside and out. I like being a all around player. I allways looked at the players that played inside out that came from LA and the NBA.
Let’s talk about rebounding, a subject you seem to like. What makes a great rebounder?
I just think who ever wants the ball more will get the ball. But I’ve allways enjoyed rebounding.
There are a lot of theories on rebounding. Do you have one?
My Junior College coach once told me that if he would give me a millions dollars to get the next rebound, he was sure I would do whatever to get that next rebound. So I just try to take that approach all the time and think about that … haha.
Whom do you consider the main candidates for the Dutch championship?
Well I have not seen the whole league play yet so I really cant give a good answer plus its still early in the season. But obviously last season champs Leiden and Groningen… they were in the finals.
How far can the young and inexperienced Landstede Zwolle make it?
We want to go as far as we can, we want to win every game we play but we are taking it game by game.