Shavar Newkirk is a 23 year old 183cm guard from the Bronx, New York that played his rookie season in Germany with FC Schalke 04 (Germany-ProA) averaging 15,4ppg, 4,2rpg, 2,8apg and 1,5spg. 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 after the season
Shavar thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Has the NCAA madness distracted you a bit from not reaching the pro A playoffs?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk. I haven’t been able to watch any college games since I been out here, so the March Madness didn’t have any effect on us reaching the Pro A playoffs.
After having a 9-21 record and knowing the talent that the team had. Do you feel like the club underachieved this season or was the many players coming and going and inexperience factors that would justify the team not underachieving?
There is no reason why we didn’t have a better season than what we did have. The team were full of great talent and basketball players with high IQ. Players coming and going was one factor to the struggling performance we had. It was a rocky start , but when the team found consistency, you saw it in the game play. We played more fluently on offense and our team spirit was very high.
The team was up and down in the first months of the 2018-2019 season, but at least was winning games, but in 2019 the club won only 3 games, but lost 11 games. Why was winning so difficult in the second half of the season?
Winning was difficult in the second half of the season due to us not closing out games correctly. It is hard to beat teams twice because game plans are changed and intensity picks up. Plenty of games were close and came down to crucial possessions when we needed stops and key buckets. We just didn’t handle it very well at the end of the game.
In basketball and many other sports you are always confronted about what could have been. You lost four very close games to Baunach, Trier, Rostock and Hanau. Was crunch-time a time this season a type of disease for the team in being able to make the right offensive plays and get stops?
As I mentioned in the previous question , the end stretch of the game was difficult for us. The last few minutes came down to who wanted it more, can get key stops and put the ball in the basketball. We just didn’t execute well in crunch time.
Despite not making the playoffs, the team was one of the top rebounding teams in the Pro A and had the seventh best defense in the league. The offense seemed not to score enough points this season. What do you believe was missing from the team offense that disallowed the team to score more points on a consistent basis?
We were missing execution. Coach Raffi did a great job with coming up with plays and sometimes we didn’t run it to a T, but when we did , we managed to score pretty easily .
Despite not making the Pro A playoffs, what positives do you feel could FC Schalke take from this season?
Schalke can take that we still remained in Pro A. The community instill in their people , ‘Schalke No Fear’ and lives by it. Just have to stay together and make strides next season.
Despite losing some tight games, you also had some big wins against Ehingen and Trier. What do you believe was the team highlight this season?
The team highlight this season was when we beat the number two seed at home and everyone knew that they were going to win. That was a great feeling .
Let’s talk about your teammates. In our first interview you stated this about Courtney Belger ‘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’. What kind of experience was it being his teammate and how did you see his development this season? What one experience with him will forever remain with you as you keep your rookie season in your memories?
Courtney Belger was a great teammate and is a remarkable man. He taught me so much off the court while my time at Germany. It was also great playing a long side him on the basketball court, he was a true teammate . He did what it took to get the win and knew all the right things to say to his teammates I will never forget the late night shooting sessions we had, working on our game when we thought the previous game we played bad .
German center Adam Touray made the next step in his career making the jump from the Pro B to the Pro A. How did you witness his development and do see him becoming a very good consistent Pro A player?
Adam Touray is a true center. He has a high motor and is great defensively . His timing on blocking shots is impressive. His presence is felt inside.
You were also teammates with American Brandon Parrish. What did you appreciate most about his game and how did he improve his game?
I loved Brandon Parrish’s game. He was an underrated defender and came up big for us when we needed to lock down the key player. He also has a great shot and if he gets space he will knock it down.
German Bjoern Rowher who had been playing for years in the Ulm organization came to Schalke and made the most of his opportunity. Is he still a raw talent or has he reached his potential?
He hasn’t reached his potential and he’s not raw. He’s a good player and getting better everyday . He has a lot of upside.
Let’s talk about your game. You had a very strong rookie season with FC Schalke and needed no adjustment period coming to a losing team. What do you feel helped you most being able to be strong on the court despite not having success as a team?
The coach really helped me with that. He said he liked my talent and didn’t want me to be timid. He wanted me to play my game and do whatever it took to help the team win. So everyday I laced up my shoes and went to work .
What was the biggest adjustment that you had to make coming rom the NCAA to the German Pro A?
The biggest adjustment didn’t come on the court, it came off the court. It took me a while to get adjusted to the time difference.
You averaged 15,4ppg, 4,2rpg and 2,8apg. How content were you with your shortened rookie season in Germany?
I made the best of my opportunity in the time frame I was given. I’m never content with what I do because I know I can always do more. I feel like my numbers could have been way better.
You said in our first interview that you wanted to be the best player that you could be with FC Schalke. Do you feel like you achieved that?
No I do not feel like I did that. Being a player is more than what you do on the court. I feel like I can work on my leadership skills more .
You had some big games, but they came in loses. What was your personal highlight on the court as a rookie in Germany?
My personal highlight came in the last possession of the Rockstock game, the coach put his faith in me to take the game winning shot. Even though I was successful in that moment that meant a lot that he wanted me to take that shot.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro A this season?
The toughest player I had to go against this season was the Point guard from Tuebingen.
What is the next step for you? You were able to perform well and make a name for yourself in Germany. Would you welcome returning to Germany or could you imagine finding a new challenge in another country?
The experience of Germany was great and I can see myself coming back next season.
You have a long summer ahead of you. On what things will you be working on most in the basketball lab as you get ready for that next opportunity
The mind and body is key to having longevity . This summer I will be enhancing my body and mind.
It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?
I don’t think hewill be just be one of the greatest Europeans to play the game , but one of the greatest period. The kid has talent .
What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?
My reaction was as he should be, but when you make that claim you have to back it up . This season as a Laker he didn’t do that .
Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?
I do not share the same opinion due to the fact , they are in two different sport categories. Now if they were playing the same sport then I would might share that thought.
Tom Brady won sixth Super Bowl. Where will he be if he wins a seventh next season?
Tom Brady will just be adding on accolades to solidify him being in the Hall of Fame.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movies I saw was Us.
Thanks Shavar for the chat.