Marcellus Barksdale Has Improved his Mental Focus So When He Gets Good Looks He Knocks Them Down

Marcellus Barksdale is a 24 year old 196cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky that recently completed his first professional season in Germany with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) averaging 17,0ppg, 6,0rpg and 3,3apg.He played at IUPUI (NCAA) form 2011-2016 playing a total of 131 NCAA games. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 8.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 73.1%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

Marcellus thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

 I’m back home in Lexington, Kentucky. I’ve had a great summer spending time with my family and friends.

What was the coolist non basketball event that you did this summer that you hadn´t done before in your life?

I got the opportunity to fly to New York City this summer and work as a basketball choreographer for a basketball theatre musical called BOUNCE. It was by far the most random thing I’ve done in my life but I enjoyed working closely with talented actors and singers.

 It´s September and teams around the globe are slowly filled and you are still unsigned. After playing your rookie season you must be extremely hungry to keep the basketball journey going. How tough is it for you at the moment sitting at home and waiting by the phone?

Surprisingly, it all feels very similar to last year for me. Last year I didn’t sign until the end of September so it feels normal. I just have faith that the right opportunity will come soon.

You had a very strong rookie season in the German Pro B, but still are without a team. What have you learned about the business side of basketball in the last year that doesn´t always make sense to how the whole process works for players finding that right fit?

The business of basketball is a crazy and unpredictable process but I have learned that you have to stay ready at all times because the phone could ring at any time.

How was your second summer transfer period? Did you have some offers that just weren´t the right fit? How did you experience this whole process? I don´t understand how a guy like you had a good rookie Pro B season couldn´t at least have found a Pro B team in Germany?

I had one offer for a Pro B team in Germany but I felt it was a similar situation as my rookie season. I feel I played great basketball all last season and proved that I can compete and be effective at a higher level.

You became a real leader with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) averaging 17.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.3apg, Steals-1(2.9spg), FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 85.4%. How do you feel did your leadership qualities raise your game last season?

My leadership abilities really stood out last season. I was an older guy on a younger team and had to lead by example at all times. I feel I was able to raise all of teammates individual games and it really showed towards the end of the season.

Stats don´t lie as you shot 27% last season, but you’re a way better shooter than what that stats showed. Was shooting something that you worked on the last months?  

Shooting is something that I constantly work on. I had a couple of big shooting slumps last season that really killed my shooting numbers. However, I’m a confident player and work extremely hard so I never allow the numbers to dictate my confidence.

On what other things did you work on in the lab this summer to help prepare you best for that next opportunity?

I really emphasized my finishing ability all offseason. More so than anything, I worked hard to improve my mental focus so that when I get good looks and open shots, I knock them down. In the past I feel like I had a tendency to rush shots—not anymore.

Would you consider playing semi-pro basketball in the States to just keep your resume active and stay basketball fit?

I’ve pondered the idea of playing semi-pro basketball in the States. It’s not my first choice but I would rather do that than take an entire season off from basketball.

If you could describe your game in a few sentences as to why you could help any team now how would you do it?

I can help any team on any level right now because I have a complete game. I’m a leader that knows how to play good solid basketball on both ends of the court. I play at my own pace and take pride in being a physical guard that plays intense defense. My game is versatile so I can fit a variety of roles. Whatever a team needs—defense, passing, scoring, rebounding, leadership, or anything else, I feel I can come in and add value right away.

How proud are you of your ex teammate Vincent Sanford that made his breakthrough from the Pro B to the German BBL and this season will play Pro A in France. Does his journey give you hope that there is faith in the basketball process if you just stay positive?

I’m super proud of Vee. I told him before we teamed up last year that he would get his chance to play BBL by the end of the season. He’s a very talented guard and he’s only getting better. His journey gives me faith and reassurance that the right situation will come my way. I just have to stay patient and ready.

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?

In my opinion, Michael Jordan stands alone as the GOAT of basketball. LeBron is definitely a top-five player all-time.

How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?

I think the biggest sleeper of the draft was Donovan Mitchell for the Utah Jazz. He immediately proved in summer league that he is ready to come into the league and be effective. I think the departure of Gordon Hayward will give him a chance to come in right away and be a leader. He’s my early pick for Rookie of the Year.

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 the Rockets will be eliminated in the second round. I don’t think Chris Paul and James Harden will play that well together. They both play their best basketball at the PG position. Also, they don’t have enough of a defensive mentality to be a real threat in the West.

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?

I think the Celtics got the better deal in the long run. With LeBron’s free agency situation, you never know where he might end up after this season. Thomas health is a small concern as well but their depth will be a huge problem for teams. However, neither team will be good enough to beat Golden State four times in a playoff series. Warriors might win the next five titles! 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Narcos.

Thanks Marcellus for the chat.

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