Hapoel Jerusalem welcomes Limoges to Israel for their second game in the Basketball Champions League. In their first contest, the Reds just came up just short in Turkey falling to Turk Telekom 98-94 while the French club defeated Igokea 80-75. Against the Bosnian club, Scrubb starred with 17 points and 11 assists in the victory as he made his mark early and often.
Ahead of this week’s clash one of Limoges’s new recruits, Canadian Philip Scrubb spoke to The Sports Rabbi about his goals with Limoges, career to date, the keys to playing Jerusalem and how he’s been able to acclimate seamlessly with his new team.
“It’s going well so far despite the COVID-19 situation. We have a really good team and I came in as one of only two new players. There is a good culture and the club has helped me fit in.”
As for the team’s goals this season, Scrubb explained that in both the Champions League and in the domestic LNB, Limoges is striving to take home the hardware at the end of each campaign, “We’re taking it game by game but we want to be competitive and we want to reach the end in both competitions. We have a great group of guys and we want to advance and make the playoffs where we will have the chance to compete for both titles.”
The 6’4 guard had an excellent first game and got into the swing of things quickly making a great first impression on his new team, “I have been given a lot of confidence from the coach. I knew what my role was going to right away and I play as I usually play. My teammates trust me with the ball.”
The Richmond, British Columbia native was born into a basketball family, so he knew form a pretty young age that he would following in their steps and also saw plenty of live NBA action close to home, “Both my brother Thomas (who is also a professional basketball player in France with JL Bourg) and our parents played in university. A children we played outside and watched a lot of basketball on TV, so we knew that basketball was going to be the sport that we were going to focus on. When the Grizzlies were still in Vancouver we went to a lot of games and we split season tickets with friends. I can really remember when Allen Iverson and Vince Carter came to town.”
As for role models, it’s no surprise who Scrubb enjoyed watching and who he looked up to, “Mostly my parents, but when I younger it was Michael Jordan who was pretty special He made me fall in love with basketball. My brother and parents were my role models though as to how I should act on and off the court and represent them well.”
When it was time to head to college, choosing Carleton in the nation’s capital of Ottawa was a fairly easy decision he explained, “My brother began University a year before me and I saw how he enjoyed it when he came back from his first year. I also spoke to coach Dave Smart who stressed that he would give me all the tools to make me a pro player. My parents and I trusted him to do that and it was one of the best decisions I made going to Carleton.”
Interestingly enough, the Scrubb brothers are both playing in France but due to the corornavirus it’s been a challenge for them to see one another, “We haven’t gotten to see each other yet and we were supposed to play each other but the game was canceled. It was special to play with each other with the Canadian National Team.”
After averaging 16.6 points in five years at Carleton, Scrubb turned pro and headed to Europe where he spent a number of seasons with the Fraport Skyliners based in Frankfurt, “Coach Gordie Herbert invested a lot in me especially when I arrived in the middle of the season and even the year after when I was out with a knee injury. The team gave me another shot I had a good year. The culture of the organization is really good and they brought in hard working guys with personality.”
In Germany, Scrubb became close with fellow Carleton graduate Aaron Doornekamp who went on to play in the Euroleague with Valencia and ended up showing his Maple Leaf compatriot the ropes playing international hoops, “Aaron is a great player and even better person. He looked out for me and that really helped me adjust to a new team. Mike Morrison was also always trying to get me out of my shell and we still talk.”
After averaging 18.3 points in the 2017/18 season, the next stop for Scrubb was in Russia signing with Zenit St. Petersburg where he met up with Israeli guard and National Team captain Gal Mekel, “Gal and I got along well. We’re still in contact and he’s a really good player and plays at a very high level. He played well at the point and we overachieved going to the semifinals of the VTB League which marked a good year for the club.”
In the summer of 2019, Scrubb was part of Team Canada which took part of the World Cup in China where he was able to work under NBA Champion head coach Toronto Raptors Nick Nurse along with many other players who featured in the “World’s Best League”, “It was a really good experience. The World Cup was great as we were able to compete in a tough group with Lithuania and Australia but having Nick Nurse and quality players was really important for us. As long as the team can keep the culture the same then we have a chance to qualify for the Olympics.”
As for Limoges against Hapoel Jerusalem, Scrubb isn’t taking the Reds lightly, “They are a very talented team and they have a lot of guys who can score. They switch a lot on ball screens and the have guys that can defend in the post and on the perimeter. We have to defend well or else they will give is problems. On our side if we share the ball, defend and rebound be will be alright.”