Shonteay Lovell is a 196cm guard from Brooklyn, New York who recently took part at the Howard Hoops academy in the Dominican Republic. He has experience having played with Albertus Magnus (NCAA3) playing 26 games averaging17.8ppg, 11.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 67.3%, FT: 65.4%. Last season he played with Talladega (NAIA) playing 10 games averaging 7.2ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 58.8%, FT: 44.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Shonteay thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Hello Miles, appreciate you for having me. I’m currently in Santo Domingo, Dominican playing for team Las Fireas in La Soga Baloncesto. Basketball life is treating me well, it’s a grind lifestyle and when you love the game you enjoy the life that comes with it.
You just finished up at Talladega (NAIA). How big was your desire the last months for getting that professional contract?
My desire was at an all-time high, knowing that I just finished my college career it was time for me to take the next step to play professional basketball. I made sure I doubled up on my workouts over the summer, added beach workouts to my training and prepared for my next opportunity to sign a professional contract.
Before we talk about your current situation let´s talk about your experience in the Dominican Republic with the Howard Hoops academy. How excited were you to be getting an opportunity like this?
I was thrilled and inspirit to be blessed with another opportunity to attend Howard Hoops academy, to be able to work on my craft as well as the chance to showcase my talents on a professional platform.
How did the whole process of becoming part of the Howard Hoops academy come about? Did you send in a video to Ron Howard or did you actually know him before or have a meeting?
It started with me seeing Ron Howard’s post on a basketball page on Facebook for free agents looking for professional basketball opportunities. I inboxed him my basketball resume and film, expressing my interest in attending his academy in Santiago, Dominican Republic. I never met Ron prior to me arriving to the academy, he responded letting me know the details of what the academy offers and I was welcome to attend. Once my flight landed in Santiago the car service brought me to the house that we would be staying in and I met Ron Howard at the front gate.
How aware were you that the chances of signing a contract after a Howard Hoops academy weren´t that bad. With what kind of expectations did you go into it?
My expectations of going into the academy was to get the opportunity to showcase my skills in front of professional team owners and coaches as well get the Professional training I needed to play on that level of basketball. I wasn’t aware that the chances to sign a contract would happen within the first few weeks of attending the academy. I was blessed to be placed in an environment to better my game and opportunity to take my game to the next level.
How confident were you that you would make an impact at the academy and leave it signing a professional contract?
I was very confident that I would make an impact in the academy because I love the grind. I bring energy with me and am highly motivated when it comes to developing my game. I love to work on my weakness and knowing that twice a day I will be working on my game would increase my chances of signing a professional contract. Leaving the academy without signing a contract was not an option for me. It was all or nothing I had the mindset that this was my last opportunity to play on a professional level and I told myself that I was going to give it my all every single day. To actually sign a professional contract felt like a dream come true to know my prayers have been answered.
Talk a little about your time at the academy with Ron Howard. What was the most important thing that you gained out of this experience?
The most important thing I gained out of the experience at Howard Hoops Academy was being throughly immersed in the overseas lifestyle with opportunity to gain knowledge from someone like the “Hoop Guru” Ron Howard with already having experience of playing professional basketball. From being surrounded by the culture in a different country and playing the game of basketball with their style of play to developing a routine of waking up to eat breakfast at 8am, at 9am training session at the gym, come back to eat lunch, resting until the second session at 2pm then repeating. Has truly been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life.
What was your impression about Howard Hoops CEO and founder Ron Howard. How quickly did you sense that his passion for helping get players a job was huge?
My first impression of Ron Howard was this guy cares for his player, he made me feel welcomed in the academy. I quickly felt his passion for helping players get opportunities after getting settled in we spoke and he expressed the weekly plan of workout sessions that was going to prepare us for the first week schedule of 1 scrimmage and 2 games in front of professional coaches. After that conversation I knew Ron was about business and helping players be prepared and ready for job opportunities.
Ron Howard is really high on your abilities and feels that you can play at a high level. Did you feel that confidence from him in your time in the Dominican Republic?
I felt confidence from Ron since day one he felt that I had the skill to play at a high level. Throughout the time here in Dominican Republic he kept me motivated pushing me pass my limits during intense training sessions. He’s see’s what I’m capable of doing on the court and expresses that he feels with the right work ethic I can play at a high level of basketball.
Let´s talk a bit about your game. You a 196cm forward that has a knack for grabbing rebounds. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that?
Honestly I feel like I my game is compared to Charles Barkley, undersized but still a beast on the boards as well as bring the type of energy that a team needs.
Would you say that rebounding is your biggest strength? What other strengths does your game possess?
I would say it´s one of my biggest strength is my versatility being able to play inside battling with the bigs as well as using my quickness on the perimeter to beat the defender to the basket. The ability to finish strong above the rim through contact is another strength that I have in my game. The fact that I take pride in defense and hustle plays, being a factor on both sides of the court.
Let´s talk a bit about your career. You played at Albertus Magnus (NCAA3) and in your last season played 26 games averaging 17.8ppg, 11.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 67.3%, FT: 65.4%. Was reaching the GNAC final one of your fondest memories?
Finally getting my first official chance to play on the college level at Albertus Magnus was an amazing memory. Throughout the whole season along side a group of players with one mindset to become the GNAC champions that year. The road to the GNAC finals wasn’t easy, we as team grinded and played our hearts out each game and to fall short completing the mission was a heartbreaker. It’s a memory that will never be forgotten but my teammates and I gave it everything we had and left it all on the court. The bitter taste of failure fueled my hunger even more to force me to get back in the lab and grind even harder.
After that great season you took a step back and played with Talladega (NAIA). Why did you go this route?
I didn’t see it as a step back, I chose to showcase my talent on a different platform. Talladega was in a tough league playing against teams all over the mid west and down south. I figured I needed to expand my audience and make connections in different parts of the country. I felt that with more people from different locations being able to watch my game it would increase my chances of me making it to the next level.
How did head coach Mitch Oliver help you develop your game at Albertus Magnus(NCAA3)?
Coach Oliver helped me get mental prepared for the college level of basketball. He scheduled 7am 1 on 1 individual workouts to help advance my skills on the court. We would have meetings for private film sessions to see my mistakes and moments that I can capitalize on.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jaqhawn Walters?
Me and Jaqhawn Walters was always known for competing against each other in practice. I would be on the team with the second group and he would run with the starters and we would go at each other the whole practice. We played One on one games on our own time, seemed so long ago we probably played each other over 100 times going back and forth because neither one of us liked losing. We grew a bond from pushing each other so hard, as to where we became brothers. To this day we still keep in contact with each other on our journeys in our career, I support him in his success as he does for mine.
Who was the toughest player that you battled over the years that might be in the NBA now?
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James
What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
I don´t have an opinion of that debate because in my eyes the debate of who was the greatest of all time was between Jordan or Kobe. I was a Kobe fan growing up and saw the similarities that Kobe learned from Jordan. Micheal is the greatest because he changed the game and paved the way for many other great players. Players patent their games off of his blueprint that alone shows his greatness because everybody wants to play like the best.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Shonteay for the chat.