Jermelle Fraser is a 26 year old 186cm guard from New York that has the American and Antiguan citzenships. He started his basketball career with SUNY Maritime (NCAA3) in 2007. As a professional player he has played for teams like NYC Thunder (ABA), Jersey G-force (IBL) and the Westchester Dutchmen (EBA). Last season he got his first taste of European basketball playing for KB Drita Gjilan (Kosovo-SuperLeague, starting five): 1 game: 12pts, 2reb, 1ast, 2steals; Kosova SuperLeague: 7games, 18.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.6spg, FT – 80.2%, 3FG – 28.7 %, 2FG – 48.6 %. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Thanks Jermelle for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thank you Miles for your time. Right now I am home in NYC and my summer has been good so far.
Last season we did an interview and you got signed soon after. Hopefully this time you will have as much luck getting signed. How has your off season team search been going?
The search has been a little rough but much better than before because now I have a little experience. I am gaining interests from some clubs, so hopefully I will begin to get some offers. Wherever I sign, I know it will not be such a high level so I plan on dominating and leading my team in good standing for a full season ! I also still have my 2nd passport which helps in countries like Spain and Denmark etc as a ” Cotonou player”
Last season you got signed by KB Drita Gjilan (Kosovo-SuperLeague), but your stay was short because the team didn´t pay you. Please explain your Kosovo experience?
Yes like many countries there can be some financial problems throughout the season. Looking back, Kosovo was just a start for me to see if I could really compete in Europe. I really enjoyed my teammates and the people. We didn’t practice as much because guys had school or work so I had put in some extra training on my own. But I don’t regret going there because in the end, I had to start somewhere.
There were other guys on the team from the States and Canada. Did they also have problems getting paid? What have you learned from this experience that will help you on future decisions?
I think everyone last season in Europe, not just Kosovo, had problems getting paid. Even in the higher level leagues in Europe you hear it all the time about guys not getting all of their money. So as players we must still try to be professional and handle the situation as best as we can until things get better. I think having a good agent also helps.
You played 7games averaging 18.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.6spg, FT – 80.2%, 3FG – 28.7 %, 2FG – 48.6 %. You seemed to be getting into a nice little rhythm in the Superleague in Kosovo. What did you get used to on the court quickly and what took longer to get used to in your short time there?
Yes I was just getting started in those 7 games ! I had already been studying the European game as best I could without any experience, so that helped. The competition was decent nothing crazy at all, so I adjusted just fine. What took longer was learning to defend the pick and roll and finding my shot within the offensive sets.
In Kosovo everyone called you by the name “Speedy” .. How did that come about ?
Speedy was a nickname given to me by my friends since I was about 10 years old after the cartoon character “Speedy Gonzalez”. Growing up I was really small and could never get rebounds. I would play basketball outside for hours using my speed and quickness without getting tired trying to steal the ball and drive to the basket before getting blocked lol. Until this day everyone in my neighborhood calls me Speedy, no one calls me by my real name there are some who for years never knew my real name. In Drita they saw that I responded to the name Speedy and not Jermelle so they stuck with it plus it was short and easy for them to pronounce.
Despite your hard ships in Kosovo was there anything positive that you could take from this short experience?
It taught me how to really be a professional and to have patience on and off the court. The people were nice and although their English was not so good they still welcomed me with open arms and showed respect. The fans there were very passionate at times for their home team which made the games really good and competitive!
You have been training very hard this summer. I have seen some videos where you slalom around chairs. If you could have one defender to stand in for the chair that would push you most who would you want to have defending you?
Haha I don’t know. I love to compete and welcome challenges, so probably any guard who is considered a lock-down defender !
If you could sell yourself in a few sentences as to why any professional team should snap at your services how would you describe your play now?
I’m a very hardworker. There are not many NCAA 3 pros in Europe so the few of us that do make it usually have that toughness and strong work ethic. But as far as my game, I’m a natural point guard with a lot of upside. I handle the ball well and I excel at finding my teammates. With my speed and quickness I can get to the basket easily and my shot from deep is finally coming along. My perimeter defense is solid and I often crash boards to help with rebounding. My work ethic and desire to get better is extremely high.
How does a normal 2014 summer work out day look like for Jermelle Fraser on and off the court?
This summer I have been focusing a lot on my 3pt shot and athleticism. I think those two things will allow me to move to higher divisions which is what I plan to do.
Where will the journey of the New York Knicks end next season?
They will make the playoffs!
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Jermelle for the chat.