The differences in rules between college, international and NBA basketball vary greatly, from the length of the quarters to things such as goaltending and the three-point line (for a list of all the rule differences click here). We caught up with James Robinson to ask about those differences in comparison to the American game.
November 28 - We are almost at the halfway point of the Adriatic League and my team is in sixth place in the league with a 6-5 record. Comparing the style of play here to what I am accustom to in the United States, I have found there to be many similarities. However, one of the major differences that I have seen is the strategic use of defensive fouls throughout a quarter. Here, a defensive player is willing to commit a foul as soon as they feel the offensive player has beat them. The terminology my team uses for this tactic is a "small foul." I have seen these types of fouls committed in the States but definitely not at the rate they are used in Europe.
Another aspect of the game that I have noticed to be somewhat different is the amount of "team" basketball that is played here in Europe. There are very few one-on-one isolation plays, and each possession usually consists of four, if not all five offensive players touching the basketball at some point. Other than these two differences, along with a few minor rule changes, basketball is very much the same in Europe as it is in the United States.
In Germany I haven't seen any fast food restaurants other than Burger King, KFC and McDonald's, and in all three fast food restaurants it tastes a lot different than the ones in the USA. Me and my team eat at a nice local restaurant in the city called Schwanen and they usually serve German-based food like spaetzle noodles with meat and gravy and a lot of dishes with schnitzel. The most annoying thing here is that there are no free refills in any establishment I have visited but the food is definitely a lot healthier and fresher than what I've had in USA restaurants. I enjoy a lot of the German dishes that my teammates and the restaurants have prepared!
November 8, 2016 - Today was a light day with the only team obligation being weight lifting from 10-11:30 this morning. We didn’t have practice this afternoon which meant I got to grab a late lunch and then take care of some errands like doing laundry, buying groceries and opening a bank account here in Leeds. Walking home from lunch with a teammate, I bumped into one of our team's co-owner’s in town. He runs a restaurant chain called PizzaWay, and he showed us around his newest location (it’s similar to Blaze Pizza in America). The new location is ideal for the business and convenient for those of us who live in Headingley. Because PizzaWay is a major sponsor of the team, they provide players free pizza – a perk I’m certainly thankful for!
The overall spirit of the team was down after a close loss to Glasgow moved us to 2-5. We have the pieces and talent that we need, but we aren’t executing in practice or games at a high enough rate. Knowing each other’s strengths and weakness takes some time but once we synchronize, I’m confident we’ll be tough to beat. The league emphasizes scoring in transition and fast break situations, yet we’ve had the lowest transition production at ten percent of our offensive coming in transition. That is partly our lack of creating turnovers and turning them into easy baskets. That is also partly due to our style of play. We are a systematic team that emphasizes a half court orientated game. We want to score using our half-court plays and work our sets in order to gain an advantage, extend an advantage, and maintain an advantage.
Off the court, the weekend included three days of travel and site seeing adventure. I channeled my inner tourist by visiting Liverpool with my teammates on Saturday. We went to the Cavern Club where the Beatles found a home and performed regularly. Liverpool had a museum featuring a history of the port city and another museum on slavery. The night concluded with a fireworks show on the water in honor of the holiday “Bonfire Night” and the legendary tale of Guy Fawkes, who tried to burn down the parliament on November 5, 1605.
I'd found out the day before that my brother Matt would be flying to London to spend three days for work. I was able to catch a ride with a generous team manager/photographer. After about four hours and a stop at the Dr. Martens’ factory, we arrived in North London. Next, we walked to the closest tube station to get to the center of the city where my brother’s hotel was located. We spent an hour catching up in his hotel room before going with him on his drone presentation to 500 Apple employees in the world’s most successful Apple shops…no big deal.
It was cool to see behind the scenes of my brother’s job, and we finished the night with fish and chips! The next day, I said goodbye early because my brother had to travel to Stratford to give more presentations, and I met up with Kieron, our team manager. We grabbed a coffee and walked around the city, which was beautiful. We went to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Winston Churchill war rooms, Trafalgar Square, and witnessed a procession leading up to the changing of the guard. Around 12:30 p.m. we took the Tube out of the city to get the car and on our way back to Leeds in time for practice that night.
Aleksandrovac, Bosnia-Herzegovina - These past few weeks have consisted of a lot of down time and practice. Having only one game per week leaves a lot of time for PlayStation, FaceTime, and texting friends and family back home. If anybody thinks they can beat me in Madden '17 add me (J-Rob_0) and we will see!
Basketball-wise, our record stands at 4-4 which is in the middle of the pack in the very competitive Adriatic League (*note: the Adriatic Legaue is a regional league that features teams from many countries, mostly from the former Yugoslavia including Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Montenegro). This past away game we played Zadar, a team based in Croatia. Their city is located along the sea so it made for some great sights. There was also a McDonald's in the city, so I had to take advantage of the opportunity and get some with a few of my teammates. This was the first "American" food I have had since leaving home so you can imagine how good it tasted!