Khalil Keel is a 188cm guard from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that like so many other players is looking to fullfil his dream of playing professional basketball. He has had extensive experience at the college level with schools like Lackawanna College, Lander (NCAA2) and Goldey-Beacom (NCAA2). He recently took part with the 2017 Howard Hoops international tour in Germany. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Khalil thanks for talking to German Hoops You are in Germany taking part in the Howard Hoops international tour. How did this all come about? Did you send Ron Howard videos or how did it come about that you could join this tour?
An agent that I know told me about the tour, then I reached out to Ron Howard and he gave me the information for the tour
You got off the plane on Friday played a game at night and three games on Sunday. That is 160 minutes of basketball in two days. How is your body holding out?
Playing games consistently after an 8 hour flight is brutal to the body, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t adapt to. I just had to give it my all regardless.
You were thrown together with a bunch of guys that you had never played with before with Howard Hoops all looking to fulfill their dream of playing professional basketball. Do you feel like after this weekends performance that you played to your best potential? You stated that you could have been more consistent.
Yes I feel as though I played well. I just always strive for perfection, so I can always use improvement.
You’re a guy that is never satisfied with your performance. Where did you get this trait of always wanting to be better?
This trait comes from growing up in Philly. In my city, if you become content, the next person will out work you as soon as you are comfortable. Therefore I always try to point out where I could’ve done better during: training, games, etc. It’s just a self made mindset.
In the first game against TV Idstein you scored 21 points and really dominated against the competition. At times it really looked easy. Did it at times feel like you were a man playing with kids?
Yes the games did feel rather easy. In America we play a much faster pace, which allowed me to really put the pressure on the players here in Germany.
What were you primarily working on this weekend on your game? Just bringing your strengths so coaches could get the best impression of you or did you also incorporate other dimensions of your game into the 4 games?
I just tried to play to my strengths and play well with my team. We all didn’t know each other, so I thought it was essential to figure out a way to incorporate my strengths to theirs.
You have described your game to a athletic type of Monta Ellis. What else besides shooting the ball would you list as a strength in your game?
Besides shooting the ball, I bring a defensive prowess to the game. Defense excites me the most, so I put my all into it. There’s nothing better than watching a team play great defense together and dominate the game whole game.
You were a very feisty defender. Does your game start with your defense?
Yes, defense is the best part my game. My objective is to keep the other team from scoring, and to score at will on the other end.
Were you surprised how unselfish the Howard Hoops team was? There were no ego´s but general nice sharing of the ball. How much did that have to do with the special character guys that this team had?
I was very surprised of how unselfish the team was. Naturally, an American style of basketball can be selfish at times so I was uncertain of how we a group of people who were unfamiliar with each other would make it work, but there were great guys on the team who understood that teamwork is the only way to win.
Which other Howard Hoops player impressed you most this weekend and do you feel like you could pick some things from other player´s game here that you might be able to add to your game?
I was surprised by Corey Lewis. I didn’t know what to expect from him but he played well, showed some versatility.
You said that Ron Howard is a very trustworthy and dependant guy and that he had not lied about anything and been very truthful. The basketball world is all about money and everyone looking after themselves. It seems like a very untypical L.A thing to do, but that is how Howard is. Doesn´t basketball need more guys like him?
Yea, Ron has been a great guy. You can tell he naturally cares about the culture of basketball. He seems to be involved in every way. There definitely needs to be more guys like him.
What do you feel was the most important thing that you gained form your Howard Hoops experience? Do you feel that not only your game, but interaction with teammates help shape your character?
This whole experience just teaches you to be humble and trust the process.
You played at schools Lackawanna College, Lander (NCAA2) and Goldey-Beacom (NCAA2). How important was it for you to get this vast experience and how was it better and more advantageous having been at three schools instead of one?
Attending multiple schools was beneficial. I’ve encountered different styles of coaching, individual game styles of teammates and opponents, team game plans, etc. So I appreciate every school I went to.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Shakeem Wilson?
Shakeem and I competed with each other with intentions to push each other to the next level so if we played it would be until we couldn’t play any more.
Your from Philadelphia which is a big town, but just how widespread is the basketball community. One guy who seems to know everyone is Michael Hakim Jordan who had a long career in Europe and now is the assistant coach at Colgate. Have you ever had any dealings with him?
Yea Philadelphia is a big time basketball cultured city. No I haven’t had the opportunity to meet him, but hopefully one day I can.
How does a summer work out day look like for you on and off the court?
The summer is vigorous for me. Every day begins at 5:30 and is full of training to work on technique, conditioning, and strength.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you Chose?
Micheal Jordan, Lebron James , Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson
Canada continues to make strides as a basketball nation. Where do you see the future going and what players should one watch in the coming years that will really break out?
I am not too familiar with all of the new players coming up, but I know that the talent of these kids is outrageous now.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
Lebron James is the best player in basketball in my opinion. He’s flat out amazing, we will never see anyone like him again.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
Russell Westbrook seems to be very competitive, so I think his focus is to win games.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
The Sixers have some pieces from the draft that will help them win many more games.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
The Houston Rockets will have a great season but I can’t see anyone beating the Warriors now that they have KD.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was the last Planet of the Apes.
Thanks Khalil for the Chat.