From Lakeville, Minnesota, to the Italian Province: JP Macura’s Path to Success / News
American guard JP Macura has been one of the most positive stories in Serie A this season. Signed by Derthona Basket during the off-season, the former Xavier played a very important role in the success of the newly promoted club.
|Place of birth:||Minnesota, United States of America|
So far, he’s averaging 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game in Serie A, while shooting 36% from three points.
He was also one of the main factors that led Derthona Basket to the Italian Cup final, averaging 19.3 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist per game during the competition, shooting 43% in depth.
“The mid-season cut was amazing, and I’m so happy the team played so well together,” Macura told BasketNews in an interview.
“Everyone in the team played with great confidence. I think it was a great tournament for us, we gained so much confidence, and now we can focus on the rest of the season and make the playoffs. “, explained Macura to Basketnews.
This is the second season in Europe for Macura. He played his rookie season in Turkey with Afyon Belediye, where he averaged 12.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 37% from deep.
However, the player admitted that his period of adaptation to Europe hasn’t been easy, especially during the pandemic.
“Last season in Turkey was tough,” Macura told BasketNews. “We were in the middle of the pandemic, so it took me a bit of time to adapt to European basketball. Now, after a year and a half here in Europe, I feel much more comfortable and well placed .”
Despite struggling in his first European season, Macura also found support, notably from American point guard Chris Wright, who was his teammate at Afyon and signed him from Derthona.
Wright, 32, is a veteran of European basketball, having played in many countries, including France, Turkey, Israel, and several stints in Italy. A Georgetown alum, Wright was able to play for most of his career even though he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis right out of college.
Arriving in Europe in the midst of the pandemic and with few credentials to look up to, Macura stressed how important Wright’s presence was to him in Turkey and how the connection they created was one of the main factors for the convince him to sign for Derthona Basket this summer.
“I really enjoyed playing with Chris last season because he’s a great point guard who helps me, he sees me every time I make a stealth cut, he’s a great passer and he gives me a lot of confidence,” Macura told BasketNews. “He’s been playing this game for several years and he’s a role model for me.”
“This year in Tortona, he helped me get into the team,” explained the American goalkeeper. “He called me during the summer and asked me if I wanted to play with him again, but in Italy this time, and my answer was absolutely yes.”
And it was a good decision for JP because so far he is really enjoying his Italian experience and has found a great environment around him in Tortona.
“Italy is amazing, it’s a great country and I love it,” said the American guard. “The food is great, the people are amazing. I haven’t learned the Italian language too much so far, but I want to eventually, overall my experience has been amazing.”
And part of the reason for such a good time in Italy is coach Marco Ramondino, the head coach of Derthona Basket. The 39-year-old became the team’s head coach in 2018 when the team was still in the second division.
He created a very positive culture and gradually improved the situation until the heights of last summer when the team was promoted to the first division.
“Coach Ramondino is a phenomenal head coach, everyone loves him and his coaching style is really great. He gives his players a lot of confidence to play the game,” explained Macura. “I believe he’s a player coach: he let everyone have their freedom, but he also holds everyone accountable.”
“I have a great relationship with him. Off the pitch he’s a great person to be around, he’s always happy and positive,” he added.
“I believe Italian basketball is a bit more tactical than the type of basketball I played in Turkey,” Macura added. “Turkish basketball seems to be more hectic with a fast pace compared to a more tactical approach here in Italy.”
While the good season that Derthona Basket is experiencing could surprise many, Macura and his teammates were pretty sure that their group could have been able to achieve good results since this pre-season camp.
After all, their off-season moves were impressive for a newly promoted team, and the feeling was that the team’s potential could have been really good.
“Since pre-season and building this team, the coach and everyone said our goal was to do our best to win as many games as possible,” Macura said. “From the start of the season, everyone had a vision to try to be one of the best teams in the league. There is a lot of work to be done to be there, but everyone is playing with a lot of trusting, trusting each other and it’s a really fun group to be around.”
After his college career at Xavier, JP Macura went undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft. He was picked up by the Charlotte Hornets on a two-way contract but ended up playing just two games with Charlotte in the NBA , spending most of his time in the G League.
The following season, he again played in the G League with the Canton Charge, then signed a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavs, playing just one game with the team.
After that, he decided to play in Europe, but he hasn’t closed the door on a potential return to the NBA yet.
“My main goal is always to improve,” Macura told BasketNews. “Every day I get better and keep working hard and becoming a better player overall. The NBA is always a goal for me whether it’s now or in the future it would be great to play again in the United States in front of my family and friends, but for now the goal is to keep improving and becoming a better player.”
If the main focus improves, it looks like JP Macura has achieved his goal and found himself in the perfect place for him: a great environment, a coach who completely embraced him and a fun team to play with.