Culture Is Added to the Men's Basketball Team
Growing up, Jacob Hoffman travelled around the countries of Europe, now he is traveling the south region of the US with the Lee University basketball team.
Hoffman was born in Austria before he moved to France at a young age. After France came Spain, then Denmark where he lived out most of his childhood.
Born to an athletic family, both of his parents play basketball and are fairly well known back in Hoffman’s home of Haderslev, Denmark. His father is American born but travelled Europe playing basketball where he met Hoffman’s mother in Denmark
“[My parents] actually met each other in the weight room,” Hoffman laughed. “At first when they saw each other my mom actually didn’t like him because she thought every American was arrogant. She said the first thing that opened up her eyes was when he took his shirt off.”
Hoffman’s parents encouraged him to take up sports at a young age. He played soccer and badminton, but mostly enjoyed American sports such as basketball and football. In his final year in Denmark, Hoffman attended a boarding school where his father was the coach for the basketball team.
“It was hard sometimes, but then he also knew what I could do,” Hoffman said about having his father as his coach. “He also knew how to expand my game.” At age 16 Hoffman packed his bags, grabbed a plane ticket and was bound for the US. He moved in with his aunt and uncle in Atlanta, GA.
“I was just excited to be moving [to the US],” Hoffman said. “I wanted to play basketball and I’ve been wanting that since I was eight or nine years old. When my parents finally said, ‘yeah you can go over here’ I just took it. I was really happy.”
Hoffman had to adjust to his new life in Atlanta, but quickly adapted. He helped around the house by doing chores and taking care of his cousins.
“The rules were more strict, but I knew that...” Hoffman said. “I wasn’t surprised by it and I tried to be there as much as I could for my aunt and uncle.”
Hoffman has dual citizenship with the US and Denmark, but feels his pride is in Denmark.
“I just think that the culture is so laid back,” Hoffman said. “It’s very chill. It’s very open. I just love the culture back in Denmark.”
Teammate Levi Wood noticed that Hoffman sticks out from the crowd at Lee, but said that you can tell that Hoffman has a strong pride for his country.
“You see him walk around campus and he has his own style,” Wood said. “His Denmark style of clothing. He embraces it and everyone embraces him for that. He’s different and everyone likes that about him.”
Hoffman also has a love for the US and it’s prominent sports culture. He believes that was his strongest motivation to move here and start a new life.
“I love every sport. That’s what really excited me to come here and watch football as much as I wanted to, baseball and college basketball. That was probably the biggest thing that made me want to come over here is because the sports culture. Everyone knows sports here.”
Hoffman is a devout Indianapolis Colts fan. The first game he ever watched was Super Bowl XLI where the Colts beat the Chicago Bears.
“Ever since that I’ve been a Payton Manning fan and an Indianapolis Colts fan,” Hoffman said.
Lee basketball head coach Ryan “Bubba” Smith met Hoffman and his family back in the spring of last year.
“He was a very pleasant young man to talk to,” Smith said. “He’s not an extremely loud vocal guy. He’s a little bit more quiet, but he’s a tough competitor.”
Despite being a strong competitor, the coaching staff decided to give Hoffman a redshirt year in order to help him grow as a player. To improve his abilities and learn from the team.
“We just felt like if we could get a redshirt year out of him it would benefit him in the long run,” Smith said. “He would continue to get stronger and get quicker.”
Wood believes that Hoffman is unlike most redshirt freshman and has the potential to be a strong leader to the other freshman on the team.
“He’s a hard worker,” Wood said. “He’s always pushing his limits every single day. I’ve never seen anything like it. He wants to get better and he’s just a redshirt freshman. Usually redshirt freshman have a different attitude and take it easy their first year.”
Hoffman plans to continue to play basketball after college. He would prefer to play in America, but is open to other options.
“I want to play basketball somewhere,” Hoffman said. If that will lead me to stay here in America I will stay here, but I will probably go stay somewhere in Europe and play basketball.”