Arlon Harper is a 23 year old 188cm guard from Charleston, South Carolina that signed this summer with the ScanPlus Baskets in Germany. Recently he parted ways with the team, but German Hoops had the chance to interview the American earlier in the summer before he signed with the German team. He played at Charleston So. (NCAA) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 121 NCAA games. He was able to average double figures in scoring each season. His best season was his second where he played 32 games averagin
g 15.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 74.6%. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 13.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 67.7%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Arlon thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thank you. My summer has been well, all the sacrifice and time is definitely worth it, this is my dream to play pro and it’s finally come and I’m excited.
Congrats on signing your first professional contract with German pro B team ScanPlus Baskets. Was all the time and effort that you put in in the last year in staying in shape and working on your game worth finally having signed?
After finishing my season at Charleston, I was a few classes short of graduating and would be the first in my family to finish college so it was important to me to go back and do so.
How difficult was the last year for you mentally? Was there ever a time where you wanted to give up or did you always have the feeling that the right opportunity would present it´s self?
Mentally it was hard, but my whole life I’ve been an underdog and people always question my ability so I just viewed it as another thing to go prove myself in. There was times I wanted to give up, but I kept faith and wouldn’t let myself quit.
You haven´t played since your last season at school. How has your game changed and how is it different now?
I’ve been working on handling the ball much better since school. I played off ball majority in college, but since, I have worked on becoming more of a point guard and an emphasis on handling and becoming a better and more efficient shooter.
You have signed with the German team ScanPlus Baskets. What do you know about the country Germany and it´s basketball in general?
I don’t know much about Germany at all. I have a few friends that played or have been to Germany, everyone says it’s a great place and I’ll enjoy it. I like soccer and I know Germany has good soccer teams, but not much about basketball outside of watching Kelvin play.
Did you talk to your buddy Kelvin Martin who played in Heidelberg some years ago and is returning back to Germany this season about the German league?
I talked to Kelvin briefly after hearing about his deal in BBL and a little about me going. He’s shared a few things with me about the country and the league. In the next week’s I’ll be taking a lot more to him as I try to adjust.
What was the deciding factor that enabled you to choose the ScanPlus Baskets?
Talking with my agent and German representative Goran, it sounded like the perfect fit to start my career. All the things they were looking for I felt fit me and my style of play. Coaches seem like really good guys and it’s a great opportunity to further my career.
Did you have any talks with head Coach Dario Jerkic? What was your first impression of him?
I have not talked to head coach just yet, I’ve heard nothing but good things about him, genuine guy and works hard. I’m looking forward to speaking with him and helping have a great season.
Did you realize quickly that you and coach speak the same basketball language?
I haven’t talked to him, but from what he expects from me, it sounds like we speak the same.
How excited are you about starting your professional career in Germany. I have you as coming in and being a top player just from what you did in college. Do you feel pressure to take control right away on the court?
I’m extremely excited. From all my friends that play pro ball, everyone says Germany is a great place to be. I don’t feel pressure, this is what I do every day, I hold myself to a high standard already so as long as I continue to work hard and hold myself accountable, The sky’s the limit.
Let´s talk about your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would it be?
Right now I would compare myself to CJ McCollum. With his ability to score the ball on all 3 levels efficiently, that’s who I’d say I mostly play like.
Your scoring consistency and defense stand out. What other strength are there in your game?
I have really good court vision and high IQ. My ability to pass didn’t really shine in college because my role was to score, but I think you all will be able to see a little more in my new role.
You can really fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
Again, my ability to pass and see plays before they unfold. I always get questions about that because you don’t see it on film, but that’s one thing I do well.
Let´s talk about your time at Charleston So. (NCAA). What memories do you have of your first ever NCAA game against Kansas State where you had five steals?
Hitting my first shot I think was really memorable. I was extremely nervous, but hitting the first shot helped me relax, and us coming in with a young team and taking s 15 point lead at halftime showed how good we were going to be.
You were that steady performer for all four years in school. Was consistency something you feel you already had or was it something that developed further in your four years?
Consistency is something I try to be in everything. I always have been a guy that my team can count on no matter what. Every night you will get my best effort.
Was your career-high 33 points and nine rebounds to lift CSU to a 71-65 win over VMI in the Big South semi-final clash.the best game in your career there?
I think that game was my best game because it helped us go to the championship and my PG Saah Nimley wasn’t playing well. The team counted on me to lead us and I was able to. Definitely my best game
How did head coach Barclay Radebaugh groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Radebaugh helped me prepare for pro ball. but holding me accountable everyday. He never let us slack off, and he leaned on me to lead and be a go to guy every night. I think those things will translate.
Who won a one on one in practice you or diminutive Saah Nimley?
Haha me and Saah played one on one quite a few times. We have both had our share of wins. It’s always competitive when we play each other.
Who was the toughest player that you had to guard in the NCAA that is in the NBA today?
I think the toughest player may have been Nick Johnson, he can shoot and he’s really athletic.
He is only two years older than you, but what kind of an effect did current NBA player Khris Middleton have on you while you were growing up in Charleston?
Khris was someone everybody in Charleston looked up to on the basketball circuit. He just gives you a sense of hope. He’s come back and played with us a few times, so to see what he looks like on the same floor was good.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA heads would you choose?
MJ, Bill Russell, LeBron, and Wilt Chamberlain
Lebron finally won an NBA title with the Cavs. Where does he stand right now in your opinion in the debate as being the best of all-time?
I think he’s for sure top 5. He’s not the greatest, but he’s definitely in the top 5 of all-time.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I’m a big movie guy. The last one I saw was the new purge anarchy movie.
Thanks Arlon for the chat.