Kerry Carter is a 26 year old 188cm guard from West Covina, California that is starting his third professional season with Cuore Napoli Basket (Italy-Serie A2). Last season he played with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-ProB) playing 24 games: Score-1(24.8ppg), 4.0rpg, 5.2apg, Steals-2(2.9spg), FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 84.2%. He racked up Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -17, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -17, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -17, Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -17, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Defensive Team -17. As a rookie he played for Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 5 games: 3.2ppg. He started his basketball career with Citrus College and then moved to St.Mary’s, CA (NCAA) where he played 63 NCAA games and as senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg. He spoke to German Hoops about his new adventure in Italy with with Cuore Napoli Basket (Italy-Serie A2).
Kerry thanks for talking to German Hoops. How was your summer and what was your nicest memory from spending time at home again?
Always a pleasure. My summer was great, there’s no place like Los Angeles in the summertime. Favorite memory is just being home at the same time as some of my guys who play abroad as well and getting in the gym like old times.
Your last game with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen was more than 5 months ago. You gave it your all scoring 91 points in the 3 game series against Bochum. Are you the type of competitor that had turned off his memory bank once you arrived in the States or did that last game creep up on you from time to time over the summer when you were grinding in the lab?
I always use the losses as motivation. It’s a learning experience. I did the best I could at the time to try and win those games but we still fell short. So put a bigger chip on my shoulder and it helped me during the summer grind.
Your ex team Bayer Giants Leverkusen have a talented team again this season bring in some new talented Americans for the front court, but not an American point guard. They will go with Alexander Blessig and new talented German Marvin Heckel. How convinced are you that Blessig will be able to take over your role and successfully lead the team to success?
I learned quickly that Leverkusen always has a talented guard. I don’t know anything about those Americans but Alex works hard and he will be ready to fill that position. He put in the time and he deserves that role.
Even though the Bayer Giants Leverkusen was a step back in your career, you used the chance to your full advantage to be the Pro B player of the year and land a spot with Cuore Napoli Basket (Italy-Serie A2). How vital was this decision to take a step back? How did your game benefit from this move most?
Going Pro B was an invaluable lesson for me. Regardless of where I play, I’m a top league player. I’ve competed with the best and I feel I can match up with anybody. Going Pro B, I knew I would have to perform at a high level to prove that. It was a tough mental test for me at the time but I knew I had to make the most of my situation if I wanted to get my career back on track. I learned how to maintain a clear mental space even when things might be seemingly going bad. For any athlete that’s a step towards greatness.
You were pretty low key about in what direction you wanted to take your career this summer never ruling out staying in Germany. Did that great Pro B season bombard you with offers around the globe or was it more tame and did any BBL teams knock on your door?
Precisely, more moves and less announcements is the mantra. I was very blessed and had a solid amount of offers this offseason including the BBL, but I feel I chose the best place for me in terms of overall value and upward mobility.
You stated in our last interview concerning your summer basketball plans that “I’m in the gym this summer. I need to make another big jump in my development as a player”. On what area´s of your game did you work on and how did you progress further?
This summer I worked with Phil Scott and pinpointed areas of my development to study down to a science. The fluidity of my game has changed, and I’m more comfortable in certain situations where I may have felt rushed at times.
Did you play at any more summer leagues in the Los Angeles area and battle top players from the NBA? Did you see improvement in your game over the summer?
I played in the Drew League per usual. There’s too many superstars that come through the Drew to name but one of my most memorable games was against MHP, with Demar Derozan, Nick Young, and Julius Randle.
Congrats on signing with Cuore Napoli Basket (Italy-Serie A2). In the last years the Italy Serie A2 has really blossomed and continues to make a name. What were your main reasons for signing with this team that once played in the Serie A Italy?
This was the best fit for me in terms of overall value and possible upward mobility. At the end of the day this is a business and success is a process. I signed with the team that showed me they wanted me to be an integral part of what they are building. I decided I wanted to stay in Europe and A2 has been a solid platform for good players to showcase their ability so I signed up to be the next one.
Napoli is a big difference to Leverkusen in culture and beauty. Is it harder to concentrate on basketball with all the temptations that a big cultural city like that has to offer or have you been a disciplined gym guy so far?
I’m a gym rat for real, it’s never hard to concentrate on hoop. Italy is beautiful but I’m here to work.
You are the only American on the team with mostly young Italians, but also some experienced veterans. Do you feel like this will be your team again like it was in Leverkusen or will you have a different role?
It’s tough to compare the two. Last year I had to be the voice and the face of leadership. This year, we have a captain who proudly accepts that role so with me being the only American I just have to perform and be one of the guys.
You stated in our last interview that you would have liked to have gotten more rebounds and assists and had fewer turnovers. Besides winning what will be your main goals in your third professional season with Cuore Napoli Basket (Italy-Serie A2).
Guard of the year.
You scored 24 points in an exhibition game against a third division Italian team recently.Your first real test against top competition will be this weekend against teams Brindisi (A1), Reggio Calabria (A2) and Scafati (A2).You will be playing against talented guard Anthony Barber and others. How well are you adapting to the style and do you see yourself being an impact player in the Serie A2 this season?
I see myself as an impact player on any level. I think we have 9 preseason games total so that’s plenty of time to get ready for the season.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
The draft was interesting. I have my eye on Dennis Smith Jr. I think he was a steal at 9 and he’s going to have a good career.
In our last interview in March you stated this about Lonzo Ball. “I watched Lonzo play in high school and I wasn’t really convinced, but after seeing the year he had at UCLA I think he can make some noise”. After getting some triple doubles in the NBA Summer League do you see him as odds on favorite as rookie or the year or will guys like Markelle Fultz or Dennis Smith Jr get in the way?
As a laker fan I’m hoping Ball gets the ROY nod but D. smith is a player. He’s going to have his work cut out for him.
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?
I think those guys will develop some great chemistry. Just seeing them in the Drew League already bonding and doing things together, I think that’s big time. I don’t think they can beat the warriors in a series but it’ll be fun to watch.
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
This trade will put a major chip on IT’s shoulder. Celtics gave up a lot to get Kyrie so I think Cleveland got the better deal, especially since Kyrie wanted to leave anyway.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Message from the king.
Thanks Kerry for the chat.