The 2021 German League MVP Jaleen Smith is ready for the next step in his career, after joining German League champions ALBA Berlin.
Smith led Ludwigsburg in scoring, assists, steals, while being the second-best rebounder of the team, leading the team to the postseason.
He left his mark in the playoffs, helping the team reach the second round, where Ludwigsburg fell to Bayern Munich in four games.
Smith had a masterpiece in Ludwigsburg’s Game 3 loss to the Bavarian team, with 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
The 26-year-old guard finished the regular season with averages of 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assist and 1.7 steals per contest to win the German League MVP award.
Smith, a New Hampshire product, stayed in college for four years, before entering the 2017 NBA Draft. He did not find a spot in the draft; however, he had the opportunity to start overseas with USC Heidelberg.
He then joined Ludwigsburg, where he stayed for two seasons, leading the team to a second-place in the German top-tier league in his first season.
He remained in the yellow and grey for another year, before jumping to ALBA this offseason. The American guard explained why he chose to continue in Berlin even though he had several teams interested in him.
“Like other teams, ALBA approached me at an early age. But I wanted to find out whether there were opportunities for me in the NBA and I made that very clear to everyone,” Smith said in a recent interview in ALBA’s official site.
“With some teams, I had the impression that they were too unsure about it and that they didn’t want to wait so long for me. ALBA showed understanding and in the end it was the best option for me because I really like the Berlin style of playing and I generally feel good in Germany.”
Smith will make his debut in the EuroLeague this season, sharing his thoughts on the differences he is expecting to experience this year in the upper-level of the European basketball scene.
“When moving from the second to the first division, I first had to get used to the much more physical and faster game. In the EuroLeague all teams have strong big guys, which makes the game slower. I will therefore have to get used to a slightly slower game again.”
EasyCredit BBL action is starting next Thursday with ALBA Berlin facing Telecom Bonn in front of their fans. They will open the EuroLeague season on October 1st vs. the 2021 Final-4 finalists FC Barcelona.