Jamal Shuler is a 31 year old 191cm shooting guard from Jacksonville, North Carolina that is playing his ninth professional season, sixth in France and second with As Monaco. Last season with AS Monaco he played 40 games averaging15.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 88.7%. He started his basketball career in 2004 with Va Commonwealth (NCAA) where he played until 2008 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 15.5ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 44.0%, 3Pts: 41.3%, FT: 79.8%. He turned professional in 2008 with TBB Trier in Germany and played there until 2010. Then he went to France and played for teams like JA Vichy Val d’Allier Auvergne basket, Sluc Nancy Basket Pro, and JSF Nanterre. He also played a season with Khimik-OPZ Yuhzny (Ukraine-Superleague). He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt.
Jamal thanks for talking to German Hoops Welcome back to Germany and Frankfurt. It has been a while since you played in Germany. Back in the 2013-2014 season you lost two Eurocup games to Alba Berlin. Where would you rank the giant Mercedes Benz arena in Berlin in your all-time best arena´s that you have played in?
Berlin’s arena is definitely one of the top gyms in Europe! It’s always fun to play there because of the competition and also because the crowd was always great!
You have played so many games in your career, but let´s see how good your memory is. Do you remember your record against Frankfurt during 2008-2010?
We won always split games with each team winning at home!
Let me help you. It was 2-2. Each team won their home games. What do you remember from the games in Frankfurt?
I know I never won in Frankfurt during my 2 seasons in the BBL lol it was always tough to play there just because back then they had such physical teams!
What memories do you have of the 84-79 Eurochallenge semi-final win against the Fraport Skyliners in 2015? Frankfurt really had a good team that season, but Nanterre was just a little better.
I think during that game we jumped out early on the Skyliners and that was a major focus of ours just because they were playing great basketball leading up to the final 4 so it was important for us not to dig ourselves in a whole! In the end my bro Kyle Weems made some hug shots and plays to lead us to a victory!
You only played against Quantez Robertson three times in your career. You saw that freak athleticism when he was a rookie twice. What do you feel does an offensive player have to fear most when he is starring into your eyes and ball on ball defense?
You just have to make sure you’re protecting the ball when he’s guarding you or even in the area of the play because he just has a nose for the ball defensively! As an offensive player you’re not going to beat him easily so you just have to be aware he’s one of the best defenders in Europe and just play your game and attack!
You won the 2010 BBL slam dunk contest in Bonn. Where is your trophy today and what dunk is still in your mind from that glorious day for you?
The trophy is with my parents! Everything I ever accomplish I give to my parents because they always pushed me growing up to try to be the best I could at basketball! As far as dunks I would say the kick flip alley Derek Raivio threw to me that I dunked and I think that helped me win the dunk contest!
Monaco is playing the Fraport Skyliners as Frankfurt is a tattered team at the moment having a very tough season. Monaco go in as the favorite. What do you believe will be key to winning the game?
I think limiting our turnovers will be the key to the game! If we allow them to get easy points off of our turnovers and get players and the crowd involved it will be a long tough night for us.
Monaco is currently at the top of the France Pro A with a 9-2 record and despite keeping only four players and adding eight new one´s have had little problems meshing. What do you feel has been key for the good start? It seems the team has a lot of experience also
The key for us this year has just been a group of guys just wanting to WIN! We came together in early august and from day 1 everyone talked about winning, no stats just as a team doing something special this year so even though we are a fairly new team everyone kind of set their own role and it’s been working for us!
What is also interesting is that Monaco distributes minutes like a Euroleague team with no player playing more than 28 minutes. Plus the club is very deep. How beneficial will this become in the post season?
It’s very beneficial because we are not a one man show! Everyone wants one another to be successful and it’s hard to focus on one person when you are game planning for us! We have a nice mix of veterans and young athletic talent that has meshed well!
John Bryant came to the BBL after you had left and tore up the league being best rebounder each season. What do you believe does he give the team now besides the mass inside that will make the team even more successful?
Big John gives us a lot of leadership, a lot of experience and a lot of great play! And he’s hungry to prove that he’s still one of the best bigs in Europe so I’m excited to have him with us even thoght it’s a short term contract, he’s one of the players I’ve followed since I’ve left Germany so it’s cool to actually get to play on the same team as him!
You and Zack Wright are among the oldest after Nik Caner-Medley, but besides both having experience, do you feel like you can learn something new each season?
I learn something new every season that’s the beautiful thing about the sport we play! I think the older you get overseas you have to find ways to evolve and try to bring something new to the table!
Your playing your second season with AS Monaco Basket. Last season you had huge scoring stats and lead the team in scoring last season. Is your role the same as last season?
My role is the same in a sense of I have to be aggressive for my team every night but I also have a lot of weapons this season so I don’t have to force anything offensively. I can let the game come to me! I also have to be a leader on and off the court and keep my teammates in good spirits because if everyone doesn’t have a positive mindset it’s hard to win!
I can imagine it was a no brainer that you remained in Monaco. How cool is it living in Monte Carlo?
Iit really was a no brainer to me! I love it here in Monaco and I really wanted to bring an excitement and a respect level to basketball here and it’s starting to happen! Living here is unbelievable!!
You recently met Prince Albert in Monte Carlo. What kind of experience was that for you and is he as down to earth as many say?
It was actually my second time meeting him face to face but my first time holding a lengthy conversation with him! He is a very down to earth guy and he’s very passionate about Monaco and the people living here and he’s very hands on with events around the principality and that’s what I respect the most about him!
What other celebrities have you seen in and about in Monte Carlo?
I’ve had bad luck with celebrities here in Monaco because every time they come we are always on the road and I miss having the chance to meet them!
This is your sixth season in playing in France. Would you say that France has become your second home? What does a North Carolina boy like yourself like most about the league and country?
For sure France is my second home! I really just enjoy the people I’ve met here! France has been great for my family and I my middle daughter was pretty much raised in France and my youngest was born last year in Monaco so it’s a special place for us!
How often do you see your amazing half court game winner against Limoges from the 2010-2011 season and get asked about it?
I used to watch it every day lol just being in disbelief that it actually went in! But now I look at it every once in a blue moon!
You played two seasons with current NBA player Chris Copeland. In one of those seasons he was top scorer in the BBL. Did you ever imagine that he could make the NBA?
I used to tell Cope from time to time I don’t know how he wasn’t in the NBA! Just because he could score at will and he had NBA size but the NBA is all about timing and I think his last year in Belgium he just proved to the scouts that he was ready and I was truly happy for him! He is an extremely talented player and works hard every day! That’s my guy man nothing but good memories and good things to say about him!
How shocked were you with the news of Chris Copeland being stabbed in New York city? Do you think twice now when you go out at night?
When I saw the report my heart dropped because you don’t want that happening to anyone, let alone someone you call a friend! When you hear stabbing you automatically think the worst but I was relieved he was ok and I reached out to him to send my well wishes! I’m not really a person who goes out unless I’m with family or teammates but of course you think twice after situations close to home like that happens!
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
MJ, Kobe, Shaq and Magic
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
As a Kobe fan I said when Lebron went back to Cleveland if he wins a championship with the Cavs then he would be 2nd all time for sure! I still think he had a lot of work to do to pass MJ maybe like 4 more rings in Cleveland lol but there will never be another player to come in the NBA with as much hype, fame and pressure as Lebron did and handle it the way he did so for that he’s an all-time great!
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
I think KG is 2a and Karl Malone is 2b just because KG got the ring but Timmy D is number 1 lol
What was the last movie that you saw?
Now You See Me 2.
Thanks Jamal for the chat.