Jonas Jerebko Interview: First Swede in the NBA

Jonas Jerebko will likely become the first Swede to play in the NBA (Getty Images)

Jonas Jerebko is an athletic and aggressive 6-10 power forward from Sweden and is likely to become the first Swede to step foot on an NBA court come next season.

Selected with the 39th pick in this year’s NBA draft, Jerebko had to sit out the first two summer league practices before receiving clearance from FIBA.

Since then, the blond swede has impressed at scrimmage, manned the center position, and along with fellow impressive rookies Austin Daye and DeJuan Summers, has helped the Detroit Pistons to a 3-1 record in Detroit’s first four summer league games.

Jerebko has averaged nearly 11  points, 6.5  rebounds, and 2 steals in those four games (discuss Jonas Jerebko).  I hope you enjoy the interview.

Interbasket: Hey Jonas, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.  So, how has NBA practice/summer league gone so far and how does it feel being the first Swedish basketball player to be selected into the NBA?
Jonas Jerebko: It feels really good to just be an NBA player and being the first Swedish player is just a plus.

Ibn:  What was it like growing up in Sweden playing basketball? Was it difficult to find others that loved to play basketball as much as you?
JJ: Yes, Sweden is not known for its basketball and basketball is a small sport.  I just tried to play at the highest level i could in Sweden when i was younger.  Playing a lot of the point guard position when I was young helped me alot.

Ibn: Growing up, did you have any basketball idols?
JJ:  My basketball idol growing up was Reggie Miller, but with that said, I didn’t watch alot of nba growing up.

Ibn: Other than basketball, what are your hobbies?  How will you spend your NBA money?
JJ:  I will not start buying crazy stuff.  I will keep living my life and having a good time just like I am doing right now.  Other then basketball i like to hang out with friends and family, watching movies, internet and just enjoyin myelf.

Ibn: Would you like to play in the Euroleague at some point?
JJ: Yes i would love to play in the Euroleague someday. (The league is) getting better and better every year.

Ibn: Do you think are good enough to make an impact in the NBA?
JJ: Yes, I think I am good enough and I’m going to get better. That’s how i feel, just keep working hard.

Ibn: What do you consider as your best strength?
JJ: My intensity on the court and that I am a team player.

Ibn: Which player do you compare yourself with and why?
JJ: Maybe Andrei Kirilenko or Tayshaun Prince.

(editors note: I would compare Jerebko to a Linas Kleiza-type player)

Ibn: How do you compare the level of the NCAA first division with the Swedish League? Do you think kids playing in the Swedish League, nowadays have the same or similar level to those NBA prospects playings in College
JJ:  It’s hard to say but i think the swedish league is underrated, but I am not saying its better then NCAA… It’s hard to say.

Ibn: How do you feel about going to Detroit?  Did you have any city preference going in?
JJ: I don’t care that much about the city.  I wanted to come to a good team with a good staff, and that’s Detroit, so im happy.

Ibn: I know you have been busy this last month Jonas, so I want to thank you for sitting down and chatting with Interbasket.
JJ:  No problems, hope all is good.  Take care.

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