Mike James wants to stay in AS Monaco and continue on working for the next step in the EuroLeague.

Credit: Rokas Snarskis
Credit Rokas Snarskis

Mike James slowly stepped through the media zone after the EuroLeague third-place game.

Mike James

Mike  James
Mike  James
MIN: 30.28
PTS: 15.92 (49.86%)
REB: 3.74
As: 4.45
ST: 0.97
BL: 0.03
TO: 2.18
GM: 38

AS Monaco comfortably handled FC Barcelona, winning 78-66 and securing the third spot in just their second EuroLeague season.

"I'm old!" James smirked ironically when asked why he was holding his back.

It looked as if he was hurt.

"It's my 10th year in the EuroLeague. That's a lot of years," the American smiled again, responding to what "old" means in the EuroLeague.

Having had an impressive post-season, James only spent six minutes on the court in the third-place game.

However, despite scoring three points, grabbing two rebounds, and making an assist, Monaco's leader didn't appear on the court much afterward.

Was it due to back pain?

"You gotta ask the coach. I don't know. I don't make the substitutions," James replied.

When asked if James' health was at 100% for the Barcelona game, he responded, "Yeah, I thought I started the game pretty good."

BasketNews presents an in-depth interview with Mike James about his future with Monaco, his prediction for the EuroLeague final, and criticism of Nikola Mirotic.

What would be your advice for the 3rd place game if you had a conversation with Marshall Glickman?
I don't know. That's above my pay grade. I was thinking about it earlier when we were playing, how we could change it, and what could be a new strategy. I believe with the one-game format, it's tough to figure out what's the right way to go. But it's still basketball. You get to come out and play and enjoy. Do not cheat the game.

Would you prefer playoff series for the semifinals and finals?
I don't know, that's a lot more games. That's a long season already. We might finish it in late June. It's already a long season. I would instead shorten the season and add more playoff games.

Points this season

Points made: 82,3
Accuracy: 46,2%
Place in standings: 8
Record max: 102
Record min: 62
Best scorer: Mike James

But I don't have options in front of me, what are the optics, and what can go right or wrong. It's never bad to come out and play. It's better to win it even though it's a 3rd place game rather than lose and go home. 

Some people before the season doubted Monaco's big three, including you, Jordan Loyd, and Elie Okobo. How did you guys click together, and what made it successful that you achieved the Final Four?
I think that any team with me on it people don't really like. I think it's just a general consensus, I'm starting to understand.

We can play. Just finding our dynamic through the season, finding out how we can fit together, and sacrificing a little bit of each other's game to make the pieces fit was fun this year. I definitely think we can continue to get better. We all three could shoot the ball a bit better this year.

It's a lot of space to improve and ways we can improve. I'm excited to start the next season already.

What's your contract situation in Monaco (last summer, he signed a two-year deal)? Are you committed to staying next year?
I don't know, if they want me, I'm here.

From your side, you're committed to staying?
Yes, I'm here. I got a Monaco jersey. 

Jaron Blossomgame said that the Final Four should be a standard for Monaco. What do you think about it?
Yes, maybe. For me, it's always been there. I don't play unless I can make it to the Final Four. That's always been my goal every year. Our goal should be to win. We got it this year.

We can't just stop. Why not try to take the next step? We have to keep improving in as many ways as we can. Work on our game in the summer. See how many guys will be back. I don't know what's going on with that.

I hope we can keep a lot of people. I hope everybody's happy and looks forward that way.

Are you going to watch the title game between Olympiacos and Madrid?
I'm going to try to watch the game.

What are your predictions?
Probably, it's 50/50. 

It's going to be hard for Madrid to lose if Tavares plays how he did the other day. He looks dominant. He was running around, blocking shots. He was kind of everywhere.

I don't know. Olympiacos is good. They play well. They've been there before. They seem really hungry.

You always want Olympiacos to lose because their fans are obnoxious. But their team, with the coach and individual players, staff, it's a good organization out there.

You can say that they deserved to win the title this year just by how they played, carried themselves, and fought.

So I'm split. I don't have a favorite. I'm just excited to watch a good game. Hopefully, the better team wins.

You had a small talk with Nikola Mirotic after the final whistle. What was that about? Did you try to get into his shoes and analyze his semifinal performance?
Mirotic is generational in EuroLeague. He's one of the best to ever play if you ask me. I've been around a long time. I haven't seen somebody like him play as consistently and as good for this long. He's one of the best to me.

It's one game, and everybody is going to say something about one game. But how many times last year we saw them play and they lost in the semifinals, although he was amazing, playing like the best player in Europe.

I was just talking to my guy. We played together in New Orleans, so we talked for a minute. We had a solid relationship.

We want to hear from you. Be the first to comment!
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website