Terrell Harris is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Indiantown,Florida that completed his professional season with the Svendborg Rabbits (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 24 games averaging 17.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 71.6%. In his rookie season he played with the Iserlohn Kangaroos (Germany-ProB) averaging 18,1ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,8apg. He started his basketball career at Mars Hill (NCAA2) in 2011 and then moved to Georgia College in 2012. As a senior he played 29 games averaging 24.6ppg, 6.7rpg, 4.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 76.8%. He concluded his college basketball career winning the All-PeachBelt Player of the Year 2016. Harris spoke to German Hoops after completing his season in Denmark.
Terrell thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how have you been enjoying your early summer vacation?
Hey, Miles everything is going good. I have been home in Florida spending time with family and training a lot preparing my body physically and mentally for this upcoming season.
You recently completed your second professional season in Denmark with the Svendborg Rabbits (Denmark-Ligaen). Coming form Germany what kind of experience was it playing there?
Yes I just played my second season in Denmark first league. It was an unexplainable year. We started out good for the first half of the season and we won some big games. We went into break at the number 3 seed or tied for number 3. Around December time it seemed like everyone body started to breakdown. We had some bad injuries as guys were missing for extended time such as weeks and months. At one point I was at the starting point guard spot for 6 games straight because of injuries. As a team top to bottom we had the second best team on paper but we all know you have to put it on the court and win games. Unfournately we did not win enough and that was frustrating no matter if we were injured or didn’t put it together.
In Germany you played in the third league Pro B with Iserlohn and in Denmark in the first league. How would you compare the Denmark-Ligaen with the Pro B? Was the level of play overall higher in Denmark?
Denmark first league the top 6 teams could easy win the PRO B league. The Americans were overall better as well. I mean Bakken had the eurocup player of the year and he didn’t even win Danish player of the year. The top 6 teams basically took turns beating each other besides Bakken when it really mattered. Pro B had really good teams when I was in Pro B and would probably finish 5 or 6 in the Danish league. I could score easy in Pro B coming out of college without knowing how to play the European style of basketball, just off raw talent and athleticism. In Denmark you had more veterans as Americans and homegrown players along with great coaches who scouted you good.
You help lead the Svendborg Rabbits (Denmark-Ligaen) to the playoffs but was swept by Naestved. What was your summary of the team season? You beat them in the first regular season game 83-81 and then lost the next four games. Was this a team that your team just couldn´t adjust to playing better against?
Yes I lead the Svendborg Rabbits into the playoffs against Naestved who we actually beat in the regular season. Our starting 4 and 5 man was out for the series along with our 5 man who just came back from a 4 month layoff due to a gruesome injury against that exact team early on in the season. We played that series basically with guards. I take my hat of to Naestved They came to play from the start. They were ready mentally and physically. They had a great coach(Milan Skobalj) who is now coaching Pro A Rostock. They killed us on the boards and on the inside. Troy Framklin who was a veteran PG controlled the tempo the entire series. We just couldn’t figure them out offensively, it seemed like they had a counter to everything they ran which was crucial in the playoffs. And that was the summary of the season. We couldn´t get enough stops against the great teams in the league. Any mistakes against a good team will get exposed and that´s what happened.
The club lost to Naestved in the playoffs on average by 16 points, but you had a strong series averaging 19ppg and also brought it on the defensive end. How difficult has it been digesting the season after giving all you had, but still losing?
It was very difficult. I learned my lesson from the playoffs last year in Germany to take it one game at a time and play in the moment no matter what the series is. I played some of my best basketball in my career that series from start to finish offensively and defensively. Unfournately, we got swept which was disappointing knowing all the hard work you put in and knowing we couldve beat that team missing our 4 and 5 man. I was still confident that we could win with what we had but it didn’t turned out that way.
Let´s talk a little about your teammates. In Germany you had many German teammates and in Denmark many Danish players. Basketball is the same where ever you go, but what was it like having Danish teammates. Did you sense a big difference to your German teammates in terms of attitude, style and talent?
The teammates I played with in Germany was very similiar guys to my teammates in Denmark. They all were great guys on and off the court. My German teammtes were more older overall so they had more knowledge of the game but talent wise we had some good Danish players who played for the national team.
What was it like having a guy like Michael Moore as a teammate. He like you also played in the NCAA 2 and as a rookie played in the Italian Serie C which is the third league. Did you notice that big chip on his shoulder or was he a guy that hide it better?
Mike is a flat out hooper man. You talking about a legit 6’8 3 man who had to plat the 4. He was so athletic and can shoot the three like no other. He was a great guy off the court as well coming from D2 we both had a chip on our shoulders to prove ourselves in the European market. He and I both had great seasons and numbers Unfournately we didn’t have enough wins to show for it because we definitely were some of the top Americans in the league. Scoring together we probably was first in the league as in ppg combined being on the same team.
It is always interesting to see what guys are still hanging around and you had the pleasure of being teammates with Harding Nana who was a Delaware(NCAA) standout and played in many countries including the German BBL. How often were you able to pick his brain and how beneficial was he overall for your maturity in your second professional season?
Harding Nana was huge for me. It´s crazy how life works. I am trying to have a successful career in Europe and climb the ladder. Sometimes it can be frustrating because I know I can play at a high level but I just have to be patient. Meeting Nanna taught me how to play the game the right way and to be patient on and off the court. He helped me with the pick and roll game along with my Assistant Antonio Porta who played A1 Italy, Russia ,Argentina national league and etc. He also helped me how to be a professional. Nana was a true professional who I will always keep in contact with.
Let´s talk about your game. You averaged 17.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 71.6%. Your stats were up in some categories from your rookie season and down in others. How would you rate your second professional season. Were you content with it?
Personally I think my game grew. I can see it on film. I never ran the PG position like I did here. I understood the pick and roll but I didn´t run it as much with Iserlohn because I scored a lot off iso plays. Coming out of college I was strictly a scorer at the two. Playing in DK, I was forced to play the one due to injuries, I could always slide over to the one before but this past year I had extended mintues at the one. So I can honestly say I´m more a combo guard then a two guard who only can score. I still have work to do though. I would like to keep extended my range those year was the best. I shot the three ball and guarding the one position. I didn’t shoot free throws well which was kind of shocking to me I think it became more mental than physically.
You had many big games like your 31 points against the Wolfpack BMS or your 25 points in the victory against Naestved. Was one of these games your best memory of the season or did you have another game?
Even though I scored 31. Beating Naevsted in overtime was a huge game for us against a great team. It was my best because I played an all around game offensively and defensively
You really picked up your outside shot shooting 42% which was your highest since dating back to before college. Was there anything different that you did besides possibly the usual getting up more reps and having better shot selection or did a change in mechanics play a role?
I would say my biggest improvement was my outside shooting. I already had improved from my pull up but extending my range and mixing it up last summer really paid off this season. I knew I could shoot just needed to shoot it more and not rely on my pullup.
In our last interview you stated this about your rookie season. “If I learned one thing the most, it would be not to be too hard on myself all the time. I had games where I would go back and be like I scored 24 26 but I should’ve had more points and rebounds along with assists. My game grew a lot mentally and physically playing for Iserlohn and the circumstances we had to deal with as a team throughout the season. I learned a lot from playing basketball the correct way, fighting adversity, and just be myself no matter what”. What did you learn most from your second professional season?
I learned a lot from this past year. It´s hard to say what I learned the most but if I had to pick one thing is just live the moment and play in the moment and give it your all every single night because you might not have another day or game.
You scored a little less in Denmark in comparison to Iserlohn but like Iserlohn you had many scoring options along side you. In our last interview you stated this. “I honestly thought I could’ve dominated more on the scoring in but it was nights I had to sacrifice my game because I was playing along side with a double double machine Moussa Kone and a scoring four man Thomas Reuter. Those guys were good players as well so we all had to balance out games to make it work. I tried to balance my game where I was aggressive and made sure to keep my teammates involved. I struggled with that at times but I learned a lot from that aspect.Did your ability to balance your game take another step in comparison to your rookie season?
I feel like I can improve on a lot of things such as ball handling and keep getting reps at the three. I am 6’3 6’4 so if I can make that transition where I can be a pg who can score at the two then that would help my career a lot moving forward. So I´m watching film from this past season all the Pro A games especially my boy Chris Carter, BBL games, and Euroleague games. I just want to study the game and continue to grow mentally and physically.
In our last interview from a year ago you stressed this. “I need to work on a lot of things from ball handling, reads on pick and rolls, defense, free throws, passing, etc. I am not perfect at anything, nobody in this world is perfect so there is always room for improvement”. After the completion of your second season what do you feel do you need to improve on this summer to be ready for your third professional season?
Yes I am bigger, faster, stonger, and more mature on the court. I´m more confident than ever and I feel like I´m ready to take that next step. I have to just be patient. I have been back and forth with some teams including Pro A. Two Pro A teams offered early along with some Danish teams, Slovakia and etc. Right now I´m just waiting but these next couple of weeks will be some decision making and seeing what direction I´m headed. I am currently with Players Group been back and forth with them. It´s been great so far. I wouldn´t mind coming back to play in Germany Pro A. I´m definitely ready mentally and physicallly along with a great country but I´m weighing all options.
You also stated this in our last interview. “I have a lot of goals I want to attain but my main goal is to maximize my potential. I just have to prepare and train for it. I will get there as long as I don’t take any shortcuts. I believe I can play at the highest level of basketball if I continue to put in the time and work into my game. I need to improve on a lot of things but once those weaknesses improve the sky is the limit”. Where do you see yourself now? Are you ready for a higher league? You enjoyed Germany. Do you feel like you deserve some pro A offers? You played against ex BBL player J J Mann in Denmark. When you see guys like that, you must be filled with self confidence that you can´t only play at that level, but also get some offers?
Yes very confident I will continue to receive offers from higher leagues. I have had fun playing against J.J he’s a shooter but you can tell he is towards the end of his career. He was assigned to me game 1 of the playoffs but they took him off me after the first game. I was too fast for him.
You had beautiful words for your ex coach Matthias Grothe in our last interview saying “Matthias Grothe was hard on me in a way I needed it. He challenged me everyday and every game. The one thing I liked most about him was he didn’t care that I was the best player, he got on me and treated me like everyone else on the team. I learned so much from him as a player leading the Kangaroos. Matthias wanted the best for me even though it was tough to understand at times. He saw my talent level, whenever I dropped below his standards he stepped to me. I learned so much from him in one year then I did with my other coaches. I thank him for everything he taught me such as competing, staying aggressive, grit, and toughness. He will turn Phoenix Hagen around quickly“. How have you been dealing with his death?
Wow I was in Denmark halloween I remember it like yesterday. Crazy day because I learned a lot from that guy. He was tough on me but prepared me for overseas basketball mentally. He was a great coach and better guy off the court. Life is so unpredictable and unfair at times. My heart goes out to his family, I will always remember him and what he taught me.
What did you appreciate most about the country Denmark? Talk a little about the lifestyle there? Was it more laid back to what you experienced in Germany?
Yes Denmark was a little different for me but I liked it overall. I was in Svendborg, a very quiet city compared to South Florida but the people accepted me. The town was behind the team and it was all love.
How much would you welcome a return back to Germany? The Pro B will have less imports as they cut down to one per team. Is this a good reason for you not to return back to that league and focus more on the Pro A?
I would only come back to Germany if it was Pro A. I proved I can play in Pro B already. No need to take a step back, I feel as if it wouldn´t help me to continue to grow up. I am all about making progress
Deandre Ayton seems lie he could be the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. But having been in Europe this season you must of seen some highlights of Real Madrid´s 19 year old stand out Luca Doncic who belonged to the best players in the Euroleague. Should a guy like that be the automatic #1 pick just from sheer experience and talent? No question Doncic should be number 1.
Luca is going to be a stud no matter what team he goes too. The kid can flat out go. I enjoy watching him play. He has that swagger you can´t teach, which he would need in the NBA. All of those guys who are coming out are going to be great so his future is bright for the NBA.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
Lebron James is one of the best ever. He can avg 10 plus assist if he wanted to do it. He is a monster, really enjoying his game and not taking it for granted because once h is gone it´s going to be a while before we see something like him again.
Ex NBA player Tracy Mcgrady stated that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors in the east in the next years. Do you share his assessment?
Boston will be very good next year. They have a good coach but they have to continue to grow and not rely on what everyone says. Those guys have a lot of talent and young guys so they will figure it out.
What is your NBA final prediction between the Golden State Warriors and the Cavs. Is there anyway that Lebron and Co can get the chip?
I predicted a sweep. Its 2-0 right now so we should see how it unfolds. GSW are a deep team so crazy that KD is on a team that was already good. Almost unfair to the rest of the NBA.
What was the last movie that you saw? It can´t be Black Panther, because that is some months old already.
Last movie I saw was literally Black panther right before I left Denmark. Sorry man I have been on the move traveling and training no time for any movies. I´m watching basketball and reading.
Thanks Terrell for the chat.