Despite being only 24 years old, Malcolm Delaney of Bayern Munich quickly became one of the leading scorers in Euroleague in his debut season. Last summer, Delaney joined Bayern, which is best known for its soccer program, but the guard says that Bayern is serious about becoming an elite Euroleague team as they are in the UEFA Champions League.
Delaney is currently the sixth best scorer in the Euroleague, averaging 14.9 points (44 percent 3FG), 2.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game after Week 3 of Euroleague Top 16. The former Virginia Tech standout posted season-high 22 points twice against both last season’s Euroleague finalists, Real Madrid and Olympiakos Piraeus.
RealGM caught up with Delaney in Europe to talk about Bayern’s performance in the Euroleague, team’s affiliation with the soccer program, his future plans and much more.
RealGM: Bayern started the second round with a huge away win in Kaunas and are off to a good start in Top 16.
Delaney: That was a huge win for us. We went on a streak last round, we lost many games and we finished on a good win. At that time we didn’t play well in the German basketball league. We practiced really hard and coming out of win like that was huge for us. When we take teams out of what they are comfortable doing, it becomes tough for them.
RealGM: Talking about the regular season, Bayern had a strong 3-1 start and then lost five games in a row. How did that happen?
Delaney: It’s our first year in Euroleague. At first we won 13 out of 14 German basketball league games. The first round was tough. We lost to Olympiakos in a game that I thought we should have won. Also, we led Stelmet Zielona Gora at halftime and we just didn’t play well in the second half. We weren’t playing our best basketball at that time, but we showed that we can play with everybody. In the second game against Olympiakos, we had a lead, we played the toughest we could and then they won the game in the last nine seconds. But that was last year, now we’re on a fresh start. We have many good teams and couple great teams in this stage, therefore hopefully we could sneak in and get some wins. We’re pretty comfortable.
RealGM: Before moving to Germany, you’ve played in France and Ukraine in your first years in Europe. Could you compare the places that you’ve live?
Delaney: France and Germany are similar. The style of play is pretty similar as well. The economy and financial situation is the same. People don’t have to worry about the bad part of the business. It’s pretty equal, while Ukraine is pretty tough. Traveling, long bus rides. But I was on a good team, we played in Eurocup and I lived in Kyiv. I have no complaints.
RealGM: This year you’re a part of massive sports organization. Do you feel that Bayern Munich is much bigger than only a basketball team?
Delaney: For me, this is my first year really being a part of something like this. Before that, I heard the name, but I didn’t know how big the name was until I came here. Football (soccer) players showed us support and we have a family atmosphere here. Everybody in Bayern is so close. We play well because of that. In some organizations, people don’t talk to you and they are strictly about winning or losing games. Here is more than that; it’s not only about winning or losing. They make sure we take care and we are healthy and everything possibly to help us play the best that we can.
RealGM: Before moving to Germany, did you know anything about soccer?
Delaney: In the last couple years I was in the cities where soccer was not too big, while this year I watched about four games. I still don’t really understand it. But it’s fun, especially when you know how big it is. And even when we play on the road, fans hate us because our soccer team is really good. But we’re working to get our name up there.
RealGM: Do you think that Bayern is serious about Euroleague and they could stay there for years?
Delaney: After they got invited to Euroleague, and we’ve been talking about it, they seem to be very dedicated to basketball. It’s their third year in the German top division. I think it’s going to take two or three years to develop and get those type of big players. Of course, if we can stick together and play well together because we like each other. I think in a couple of years we could be one of those high-level Euroleague teams.
RealGM: Do you see yourself staying in Germany in the future?
Delaney: It’s all about how comfortable I am and right now I feel very comfortable with the guys, coach, great general manager. Like I said, they take care of us. I haven’t been thinking about it, I was more focusing on the games, but I’m sure in a near future we will be talking about that kind of stuff. If everything is right and set in places, I would love to stay because it’s great here.