We continue our series “Meeting Top International Prospects with NetScouts Basketball” by interviewing one of the top international recruits in the class of 2022 and the best recruit in Sweden– the 6-foot-8 small forward Bobi Klintman. Despite the pandemic, in the past few months the recruiting process of the 190-pound versatile player has picked up with offers from San Francisco, Utah and Nebraska. Then in the last month several high majors offered him – Kansas, Virginia and Rutgers along with Santa Clara, making Klintman one of the most highly recruited European prospects in the class of 2022.
Klintman, a RIG Mark Academy product, started the season in SuperEttan, in the Swedish second division, putting solid numbers – 11.3 points and 5.2 boards in 30 minutes of action a game, converting on 40 % of his 3-pointers (12-of-30). Unfortunately, after only six rounds the competition was postponed due to the COVID-19 situation and it was officially cancelled in February.
Klintman will finish the season with Boras Basket, where he will be able to learn from experienced college players like 6-foot-2 Butler alumni and Memphis native – Avery Woodson and 6-foot-7 swingman Jeremy Harris, who helped Buffalo to two straight NCAA appearances and even led them to an upset against the fourth-seeded Arizona.
- Hello Bobi! Hope you and your family are doing well in the pandemic. Can you tell us more about how you’ve been spending the last year during the COVID-19 situation and how it affected your everyday life?
Hello! First of all, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to be part of this interview. The COVID-19 situation hit us hard here in Sweden the first months because everybody was worried and everything shut down, so we had to take care of ourselves. The first months of the pandemic we had no practices, but after a while our coach Michael Bree made a deal with the school principal so we could have skill practices without having much contact, but shooting and skills stuff. Another reason we got that opportunity was the fact that everybody on our team lives in the school campus dorms, so the only people we used to meet at the time were teammates and coaching staff. So, we lived like in a bubble. A day within the COVID-19 situation looked like this – I woke up at 7 am and then took a cold shower to get some energy. After that I had some breakfast and at 8 am we had our first practice (lifting or skill practice). Then I had virtual school from 9 am to 4 pm, after which, we had our second practice, usually – basketball. Then I had free time to do what I want, for example watch a movie, study and so on. In general, my everyday life got affected in a bad way, but I think we got the most out of the situation.
- How and when did you start playing basketball? How did you come up with the idea of playing college basketball?
I have been playing basketball pretty much my whole life, but when I started taking basketball seriously and playing for a team, I was like 8-9 years old. I have always been a big fan of college basketball, so I have watched it since I was a kid. I have always wanted to play college basketball in the USA, because it’s a life-time experience and a way for me to get my game to the next level.
My experience at RIG Mark Academy has been really good, because first of all our coach is really good. I feel like we have a really strong relationship which I value a lot and then we have a great team with a great group of players. One of the greatest advantages I’m happy about is the way that I have developed here and the way the team has been going overseas, so that eventually I have been able to get this much exposure, because I don’t think it’s that easy to get seen by an American college playing in Sweden.
- You’ve been among the key pieces on the team playing at the second-tier league in Sweden, honing your skills against more experienced players. What are the lessons a college recruit can learn while playing at this level in Sweden?
I would say try to learn the small details in the game and always go outside of your comfort zone in practices and games, because it’s the small things that are going to separate you from others and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Just go hard and always try to compete.
- Despite the pandemic, your recruiting process didn’t seem to suffer a lot, on the contrary you’ve been getting more and more offers from D1 schools lately. What do you think you can bring up to the table for a high-major college program and what style of basketball and position you think fits you the best?
I think I would be able to do a little bit of everything, like playmaking, play defense, rebound the ball offensively and defensively, score and just try to make my teammates better. I like to play as 2 or 3 most of the time. Like I said before, I like to do a little bit of everything – play pick and roll, come off screen/s and shoot the ball, drive and make plays for my teammates. I love to play up tempo and share the ball, put up a lot of shots. I think that is what fits me the best.
- What are you specifically looking for when recruited by colleges? Do you have any school preferences? Share with us your impressions of the recruiting process so far.
I always try to see what I will get and how they can help me be a better player and person. Of course, it is also important if the head coach and the rest of the coaching staff is good. I want to know if the school is doing good academically as well, because you always need to have a plan B after finishing with basketball. My recruiting process has been awesome so far. I mean it’s great to have schools calling every day, but it can be a little bit of a stress sometimes, when you have had a bad day. Nevertheless, I am having a great time throughout the recruiting process.
- Having in mind the uncertainties for the youth sports in Europe that COVID-19 situation brings, what options do you consider are best for your senior year?
I’ve been thinking a little bit of going to a high school in the USA, but it’s really a hard ongoing decision that I have to take soon. Anyway, I am really thankful and happy for what RIG Mark Academy brings for me and how they always help me develop as a player and a person, so we will see where I end up.
- What was your main focus in improving your skill set during the past summer?
I worked on everything like shooting, dribbling and so on, but the thing I put special focus on was to get more physical and stronger. I tried to gain some pounds, because that is going to make me a better player and I also think that is one of my biggest weaknesses. So, I am improving on that and I am still working on it.
- Which part of your game do you think has the biggest upside? Which aspect/s of your game will you be looking to improve the most over the year?
I think the biggest upside of my game is my ability to shoot the ball and also my basketball IQ, as it is something really hard to learn. The thing I will work on my game the most this coming year, is getting more physical. Shooting the ball off the dribble is also very important and will get me one step closer to the next level.
- What are your long-term goals, where do you envision yourself playing in 5 years?
My long-term is to play in the NBA and be one of the best players in the world. That’s my biggest goal and dream in life and it has been such since I was a kid and started playing the game I love.
- Are there any players in Europe and in the NBA you like studying/watching and why?
I really like watching Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and Lebron James because they are my favorite players, but if I study a player, I study Deandre Hunter. I can see some similarities between me and Hunter and I am not only watching his NBA games, but I also watch some of his college games.
- Which is your best on-court memory by now?
My best on-court memory is when my brother, my cousins and I played on the same team. Loved it! That was a while ago though, but I think we had a great team and we played really good together.
- What do you prefer doing in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
In my spare time I love playing video games like 2K or Fortnite or watch movies and shows on Netflix.
Thanks for your time Bobi! We hope you have a successful and healthy end of the season!