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Mickell Gladness Q&A

Mickell Gladness

By Tom Read (@traread)

Last week, the Townsville Crocodies announced the signing of their exciting new import, former NBA player Mickell Gladness. The signing was a huge coup for both the Crocs & the League. Gladness’ elite defensive capabilities could be the signature that propels the North Queensland club into the ‘contenders’ conversation. This week, ATF caught up with Gladness to have a chat about his career to-date & what he hopes to bring to the NBL.

Tom Read: Welcome to Australia & congratulations on signing with the Townsville Crocodiles! Are you excited about the prospect of coming Down Under & playing in a league that’s been going from strength-to-strength recently?

Mickell Gladness: Having a chance to work and live in a place that so many people dream of like Australia is a dream. I’m looking forward to everything the league and the country has to offer and teach me. Hopefully this will be a great league for me to make a mark on.

TR: Have you watched much NBL or know much about the League?

MG: I have to be honest, I haven’t watched much of the NBL and much of the knowledge that I have of it is very recent. I’ve heard how great of a league it is from fellow Alabama product Rod Grizzard and of course Australian native/my agent Daniel Moldovan.

TR: Have you had a chance to speak to Shawn Dennis yet? What sort of role is he looking to get out of you this season?

MG: Unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to really get in-depth about my role with the Crocs and how I will fit the system. We’ve recently exchanged emails and I’m sure we’ll be talking about that in the near future. It’s always exciting and interesting to see how your coach feels you fit into the puzzle of the team.

TR: What are your goals for this NBL season, both individually & as a member of the Crocodiles?

MG: My plans for the NBL season this year is to take my game to another level as I have done in previous years. I always strive to be at the top of the defensive charts, but also prove this year that I am an important piece to any team on the offensive end also. For the team, I hope that we can find good chemistry quickly and be as consistent as we can. That’s what wins games, aside from defense and scoring more than the other team obviously.

TR: You’re known predominately as a shot blocker & your stats at the College & Pro level speak for themselves! But, outside of that, you’ve got a really solid all-round defensive game. What other aspects of your game have you been working on & you feel you can bring to the Crocs?

MG: From college on to my professional career I’ve worked at being more efficient and more of an asset on offense. I have continued to work on that. Of course, now I have to add another little tweak to my previous preparation because of the style of play in the NBL and abroad. I worked to not only be known as a “shot blocker” but as a defensive presence, and that is first and foremost what I will bring to the Crocs.

TR: You hold the record for the most amount of blocks recorded in a NCAA Division 1 game. Take us back to February 24th 2007 where you swatted 16 shots into the other direction vs Texas Southern. What was that like for you? Did you realise that you were on the cusp of a record breaking evening?

MG: I still think about it to this day. Mainly because I will forever be remember for it. I can tell my kids one day and actually show them. It’s very difficult to get that many blocks against anyone and it even amazes me. That is all God given talent. I had never thought about NCAA records so during the game or even my career it never crossed my mind. I knew that I was on the verge of breaking a record that night because some kids in the student section jokingly said to me, while I was at the foul line, “you’re trying to break a record aren’t you?” I never took that statement seriously til after the game and found out that I had done just that.

TR: In the 2011/12 Season you spent a bit of time in the NBA, firstly with the Miami Heat. What was it like playing on such a talented roster & learning from one of the best coaches in the NBA, Erik Spoelstra & playing/training alongside the likes of LeBron James, Chris Bosh & Dwyane Wade?

MG: Playing in the NBA alone was a blessing in itself, but to make such a highly regarded organization such as the Miami Heat was a dream. Practicing and training with all those greats and intelligent players and coaches made me step my game up another level. It gave me a first-hand look at what it took to get better and stay at the top. I got to see how the players I had watched on tv and looked up to really were in a one on one setting; as a person outside of basketball.

TR: Did you learn anything from that Heat experience that you’ve taken on board & continue to do today?

MG: Defense is such a crucial part of the Miami Heat’s success. To this day I use techniques and philosophies that my coaches used to tell me. As a player that has played in structured environment such as that, I see defense differently. I learned so much from that I can self-critique myself and help others at times. Taking pride in my defense, aside from just being a shot blocker is what I got from them.

TR: After the Heat, you spent a bit of time with the Golden State Warriors, starting 7 games. How was the transition going from a guy trying to make an NBA roster to starting & playing some big minutes against some of the best big-men in the world? I particularly remember a game where you were matched up against Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol.

MG: In my mind it proved to me that all my hard work had paid off and quickly at that. My preparation had met the opportunity, and I felt like that is all I needed. Playing against that calibre of players helped me prove to myself that I can do it. That I am a high level even NBA level shot blocker and defender. Now anywhere I go I have the confidence that I can guard anyone. I mean as you said at one time I guarded the likes of some of the best in the world.

TR: You’ve opted to spend most of your career to date in the D-League rather than heading overseas. How important has the D-League experience been to developing your game to where it is today?

MG: The D-League first helped me to get my footing in the professional basketball world. I have gotten to work with the likes of ex NBA players to current talent in the NBA right now. I have learned everything from professionalism to dealing with adversity. Most important thing I learned in the D-League is how to adapt, because there are so many interactions in the league between affiliate and parent teams in the NBA. I have gotten to hone my talent against high level talent if nothing else.

TR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us today, Mickell. Good luck for the season!

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Nat Where You At

Nat Where You At

Basketball Junkie
Basketball junkie living in the real South Beach (Wollongong!). I talk too much about basketball, eat too much bacon and reminisce about the Seattle SuperSonics almost everyday.
Nat Where You At

Latest posts by Nat Where You At (see all)

Jay Cieplucha
Jay Cieplucha

All I ever see around several Facebook pages is this Clint bloke talking negative about nbl and basketball in Australia. Support it or leave it.

Russel Bach
Russel Bach

Stop being a whinging bitch Cdog try reading the actual article instead of just looking at the pictures.

Dan Uing
Dan Uing

He's a defense first player looking to improve his offensive game. You can already sense his attitude is way better than J.E. Great to have him in the NBL.

And The
And The

If you dont like the NBL Clint, stop wasting your time complaining about it.

Clinton C-Dogg Gardiner
Clinton C-Dogg Gardiner

Prob another show pony that couldn't make it in the NBA like Enis so he comes here. Watch the NBL dick ride the Miami Heat with this guy as well (should never advertise another company within your own company). Great for a stand alone league.