Baskets 96 Rahden have recently announced the signing of GB centre, Tom Smith, following his season with Rincón Dental Amivel Malaga in Spain’s Division de Honour. Smith spoke with Rollt.’s Dylan Cummings and elaborated on how excited he was to make his debut in the RBBL and help Rahden achieve further success.
Why did you decide to move to Rahden?
“Josef (Editor’s note: Head coach of Rahden) offered me a place within the team last year and this year. Josef is well respected within the basketball community, so I took this offer very seriously. I was initially hesitant due to not having lived in Germany before, however, the results they have managed over past couple of years have been very impressive. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me, and I feel I would really be able to add to the team dynamic and play in a positive way. I hope I can strengthen the team.”
How will the move to Rahden benefit your game prior to Tokyo?
“Playing in a position that suits me in a very competitive league is the best way to improve. With other teams also strengthening, it feels like the right place for me to be.”
How do you intend to fit into the team?
“As a big centre, it’s a position that needs filling on the team. I plan on opening up space for shooters, crashing into the key, being a general pain for the defence and bringing extra height to the team.”
What new challenges do you think you will face with the team?
“New country, new teams and a new climate. It’s a complete change for me. One positive is that my girlfriend is moving with me to our own flat in Rahden so no more long-distance relationship, which is great. The goal is to win the Bundesliga, so let’s start with that.”
What excites you the most about getting to play in the RBBL?
“I love a new adventure. The league is very strong, as is the team. To get a chance to play for a top four team in one of the strongest leagues in the world. How could I not be excited about that?”
How do you think the RBBL will differ from the Division de Honour?
“The level of basketball is the same. I feel there is more continuity to the RBBL. It will be easier to gather and maintain momentum. The temperature is my only worry, not sure how if it will affect my game.”
Why did you decide to leave Malaga?
“During lockdown, I came home to England to stay with my girlfriend while she worked at a hospital. I decided to support her as much I could, so I didn’t sign for a new season while everything was up in the air due to the pandemic.”
How do you think the styles of play will differ between Rahden and Malaga?
“Josef is one of the most experienced coaches in the game, I believe it will be a lot more tactical in Rahden. Whereas in Malaga, I found it was more physical and fast-paced. Rahden and Malaga are two very different teams. This adds to the excitement of the move.”
I think it’s fair to say that Malaga didn’t have a great season last season, how do you aim to change your fortunes at Rahden?
“I am a hard worker and I play my game well when I am allowed to do so. I feel my role in Rahden will be better than my role in Malaga. I like that Rahden play as a team, through thick and thin. That was what I felt was missing in Malaga.”
Finish this sentence. Tom Smith will help bring success to Rahden because…
“…I’m adaptable, compassionate, determined and have faith in me and my team to win games.”
Thanks for your time mate!
Rollt. would like to thank Tom Smith for the interview!
Tom Smith Profile
Date of Birth: 27/06/1991 (aged 29)
Hometown: Romford, East London (resided in Paderne, Portugal during his childhood)
Started playing: 2007
GB senior debut: 2017 Mitsubishi Challenge Cup – Tokyo, Japan
Disability: Left-leg amputee
Future Club: Baskets 96 Rahden, GER (starting September 2020)
_Tubarões de Quarteira, POR (2007-11)
_Clube de Basketball tbe Albuferia, POR (2011-12)
_Sussex Tigers, GBR (2012-15)
_Essex Outlaws, GBR (2015-16)
_ADM Econy BSR ACE Gran Canaria, ESP (2016-17)
_TCAT Shropshire Warriors, GBR (2017-18)
_Sheffield Steelers, GBR (2018-19)
_Rincón Dental Amivel Malaga, ESP (2019-20)
_Making his GB debut in 2017
_Winning the British Premier League Championship with Sheffield Steelers
To learn more about Tom Smith, check out the interview he done with Rollt. last year here.
Interview: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Martin Lansley