Shavar Newkirk is a 22 year old 183cm guard from the Bronx, New York playing his rookie season in Germany with FC Schalke 04 (Germany-ProA). He began his basketball career at Cardinal Heyes HS /Bronx, NY. In 2014 he began his NCAA career with St.Joseph’s (NCAA) playing 31 games averaging 3.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.3apg. In his sophomore season with St.Joseph’s (NCAA) he played 37 games averaging 8.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 31.2%, FT: 73.8%. In his junior season at St.Joseph’s (NCAA) he played 12 games averaging 20.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 84.7%. In his senior year with St.Joseph’s (NCAA) he played 32 games averaging 17.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 76.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com earlier in the year about basketball.
Shavar thanks for talking to germanhoops.com It is 2019 and you were rewarded with a rookie contract with FC Schalke. How did you arrive into 2019? How did you experience new years in Germany? How was it different from New York?
Thank you and the pleasure is all mine. I arrived to Germany the day after Christmas. I went to a New Year’s Eve engagement with some of my teammates. The difference between Germany and New York is the six hour time frame.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? This isn’t your first time in Germany as you participated in 2014 at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. Have you had any friends playing in Germany in the last years besides Javon Baumann?
You are correct, this is my second time in Germany. I don’t know much about Germany but I am planning to experience a lot while am out here for however long that is to meet new friends and lifelong partnerships. I am vaguely familiar with the German basketball league but I do know of a few players from the NBA that are from Germany such as Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Schroder. Not that I am aware of, ‘What’s up Javon Baumann’ LOL
Are you one of those guys that likes to make new years resolutions of one of those guys that doesn’t believe in it? If you do what are some new years resolutions that you have set for 2019?
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but I set goals throughout the year. My main goal is to be the best basketball player that I can be and my second goal is the win a championship.
Congrats on signing with FC Schalke. You started with Canadian team Halifax Hurricanes, but that was brief. How could a guy like you that ripped up the NCAA as a junior and senior not have had a team earlier in your rookie season?
Your guess is as good as mine. Things happen for a reason and I’m with FC now and I will give my best to them.
How did the last months effect your mentality and self confidence? How did you stay positive that you would land a team?
It was frustrating that no one picked me up right away but I didn’t lose confidence. I continued working out and working on perfecting my craft. In addition, I played in a neighborhood tournament which I won a championship and received a MVP award. I had to stay patient and positive and I knew that my hard work would pay off.
Your coming to a team that is struggling in their first season in the Pro A. What has been your experience being apart of the FC Schalke organization? Do you feel that the club is rich in tradition? Especially with their football department and their amazing stadium? Do you like football? Will we see you at upcoming home games?
When I got here, they welcomed me with open arms and it feels like a family. I like the defense and offense schemes. Yes, with their deep rooted history in football I feel blessed to be part of this organization. I am interested in the sport of football and watched a few world cup games. If my time allows me, I would like to attend a few games at this beautiful huge stadium. I would like to have this experience.
You couldn’t have a better teammate and mentor at the guard position than Courtney Belger who belongs to the top guards in the Pro A. How important has he been for you on the court in the early going
I was brought her to put the ball in the basket but I feel like a ball player first and will do whatever it takes to the team to win.
Having you and Belger on the court could be one of the more explosive guard duo’s on the court. Do you feel like you both will profit from each other when you are on the court at the same time?
Because of his experience I’m getting a lot of wisdom which will help me at game time. He has taken me under his wing like I’m his little brother. I can’t wait to war with him. I haven’t experienced game time with him yet, but what I’ve seen in practice is amazing. With his experience and my youth and me being a blur, I think we will make a dynamic duo.
Let’s talk a bit more about your game. You’re a guy that has many abilities at the guard position. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit tat description best?
Growing up I watched the great small guards and took bits and pieces from their game which is why I believe that I have an all-around game. If I had to pick someone, I would pick the future hall of fame Chris Paul because of his generalship and all-around game.
You are a player that showed all around good offensive qualities in the NCAA. What parts of your game are most important at continuing to develop now in your rookie season?
For my game to continue as a pro and to be the best player that I can be.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away on the court?
My basketball IQ and the ability to get the ball to the rim.
You grew up in Harlem. One always hears the worst stories about Harlem and it is often portrayed as not the best place. But how was it growing up in Harlem? Was basketball the best thing to stay away from trouble as a kid?
Growing up in a two parent household, my parents always kept my brother and I on the right path. We were not problem children. Harlem to me is a community and when the community knew I was striving for basketball they always had my best interest. To me Harlem will always be home.
You played at Cardinal Hayes HS which has some notable alumni like Martin Scorsese and well known ex NBA player Jamal Washburn. What stories do you remember growing up hearing about him there? Was his path via Cardinal Hayes HS that motivated you to keep grinding and moving forward with basketball?
I originally went to Rice High School and was transferred after my freshman year to Cardinal Hayes High School. I’ve heard stories about how phenomenal player that Jamal Mashburn was. I just wanted to make my own path and be the best player I could be. I gave them their best record in 72 years @ 26-2. I love the game of basketball so I don’t need motivation to keep grinding.
Before attending St Joseph’s you played in Germany at the well known Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany (Unofficial World Championships U18) in 2014 reaching the final losing to Italy. You played 7 games averaging 12.9ppg, 5.3rpg, Ast-5 (4.6apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 33.8%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 78.7%. What memories do you have of this experience and against top future players that you battled against?
When I went to Germany at 17, it was my first experience out of America. My most memorable moment was being undefeated until the championship round and losing to Italy. I also remember the bystanders with their painted faces, the live band; the atmosphere was unlike anything that I ever saw before.
You played at St Joseph’s (NCAA) from 2014-2018. What overall kind of experience was this? Was winning the Atlantic conference title in 2016 and reaching the NCAA tournament your most memorable experience?
Playing at St. Joe’s taught me to always be ready, work hard. I always knew we would win the Atlantic 10 conference title but my most memorable experience was going against Gonzaga University. We thought that they could not handle us and the hawk would never die. When we were at halftime, we were down by 30.
You played two seasons with Atlanta Hawk DeAndre Bembre. What kind of experience was it being his teammate and what was your most fondest Bembre moment in a game where you remember going ‘Wow’?
He was a big trash talker but his game backed it up. My fondest moment is the Atlantic 10 conference when he dropped 30, it was how he did it that made it so memorable.
He has had a slow but steady development with the Atlanta Hawks. Where do you feel will his path go in the NBA? Do you see him being a guy that will average double figures in stats in the NBA in the future?
I knew DeAndre to be a hard working player and hard work pays off. I could see him averaging double digits in the future.
In your junior year after 12 games you were averaging 20.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 84.7%. then you were injured and missed the rest of the season. Do you ever wonder how your career may have shaped up or turned out differently had you stayed healthy?
I really don’t dwell on it but with all the work I put in. I believe that it would have been a great season. Everyone’s journey is different.
You had many huge games as a senior against Washington State scoring 24 points, against St Johns with 26 points, against George Mason with 24 points, against Umass with 22 points, against La Salle with 30 points and against George Mason with 23 points again. Each game was lost by 4 points or less. Did you sometimes feel like the basketball God had it in for you as a team?
We were a young team and if you look at this year the experience has paid off and the team is winning games by 4 or more.
How did head coach Phil Martelli groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
With his preparation of working hard and preparing me mentally. He helped to instill a hard work ethic and prepare me mentally for the game.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Chris Clover?
Of course it was me. LOL. Chris is my boy but I won.
If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?
James Denry, DeAndre Bembry, Isiah Miles, Aaron Brown, plus myself of course
If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
No particular order, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and LeBron James
What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?
I have to start off by saying that LeBron is my idol. I have also watched Jordan play and there are some things that I wished that LeBron would incorporate in his game. Jordan left no question unanswered.
What was the last movie that you saw?
My nephew and I went to see Bumble bee.Thanks Shavar for the chat.