Branden Sheppard is a 23 year old 203cm forward from Shreveport, Louisiana that is playing his rookie professional basketball season with the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga). He began his basketball career with Huntington High School. He then was two years at Louisiana Tech (NCAA playing 30 NCAA games. In 2016-2017 he gained further experience with Pearl River CC (JUCO) playing 23 games averaging 8.0ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 66.0%, FT: 65.7%. He then finished his college career at William Carey (NAIA) playing 27 games as a junior averaging 7.7ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 49.1%, FT: 75.9%. In his senior year at William Carey (NAIA) he played 33 games averaging 11.3ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.1apg, 1.5bpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.1%, FT: 66.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball late in the summer.
HI Brandon thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer coming along?
Thank you for the opportunity. I have been doing good been a busy summer trying to stay in shape and also graduating from school been a great summer.
You played at three schools in at three different levels NCAA, NAIA and JUCO. With what kind of emotions are you entering your professional career and how do you feel do you have an advantage having played at three schools and seen so many different levels and coaches?
My emotions are huge and crazy going to three different schools. I gained a lot experience from La Tech coming in redshirting my first year as Mike White who coaches the Florida Gators now I learned many things then my next year we got a new coach Eric Konkol great coach I just felt that I couldn’t display my skills so I went Juco for a year to Pearl River in Mississippi. That was a good experience. I feel it made me more hungry wanting to be a pro more each day and then I went to William Carey. I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff. We were NAIA but everything was treated as we were d-1 coach Steve knight coach Phillip McCray the best trainer down south they gave me the chance to show what I can do on the floor I wouldn’t say it’s an advantage but I experienced more and got knowledge of the game and different styles of play.
Congrats on signing with German Regionalliga team Giessen Pointers. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball?
Thank you it’s a blessing. I don’t know much besides Dirk is from Germany so I’m pretty sure the basketball is great.
Do you know any former teammates that have played in Germany or friends that have had experience here?
No I have friends playing and played overseas but not Germany.
What were the main reasons for choosing the Giessen Pointers? What sold you on wanting to begin your professional career with them?
The coaching staff is great the city is beautiful and I thought it would be a perfect first start.
What are you looking forward to most in your new adventure in Germany and do you feel like you can be an impact player in a league that is dominated by guards?
I look forward to trying to win a championship. I think I can be an impact player because my style of play being able to post up, play in the midrange and step outside the three could be something different in the league.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 203cm forward that can do many different things on the court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description.
Well if I could compare myself to an NBA player I would say Anthony Davis.
You aren’t the classic inside man. Would it be fair to classify you as a modern day forward?
I would say I’m a minders day coward but I also have the game of the classic inside man so I would say both in a way.
You took 14 three’s last season at William Carey (NAIA). Do you see yourself continuing to develop your outside shot more as you move up the professional ranks?
Most definitely I only took 14 because I just never took the opportunity but William Carey made me shoot them more. I was shooting them every day in practice.
How much pride do you take in your defensive game. You have become quite the shot blocker. What is your secret to being able to swat away balls on a consistent basis.
I take a lot of pride in defending I think blocking shots is all about timing and using length so if I don’t block the shot it will be a hard shot to make.
You’re a guy that can do many things on the floor, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away?
My outside game. Being able to put the ball on the floor and my passing.
On what things are you working on this summer to continue to polish your game so you will be ready for the pro ranks?
Getting stronger and working on my shooting and ball handling.
You began your college basketball career at Louisiana Tech (NCAA) playing one season playing 30 games averaging 2,5ppg and 2,5rpg. It isn’t always a given that one will play much as an underclassman. How did you experience playing on the big stage in the NCAA?
It was great. I played against some big schools like Ohio State Texas A&M, Syracuse and many more it was great experience. I used to miss it lol but it made me more humble thinking about it.
You had your moments in the NCAA scoring 10 points against Millsaps and Southern. What were the main reasons for turning your back on the NCAA and leaving?
It had nothing to do with coaching. I just felt that I couldn’t display my real talent that I have.
Even if you played only a minute in the 82-74 win against Ohio State, what did it mean to you playing against this top basketball address?
Just being able to experience it was great to me.
After a season at Louisiana Tech, you took a step backwards to play for Pearl River CC (JUCO) playing 23 games averaging 8.0ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 66.0%, FT: 65.7%. How important was it taking this step for your basketball career and what were the main positives?
It was important. It was a probing point that I can play.
You finished your college career at William Carey (NAIA). What kind of experience was this and how do you feel did you grow as a player in your two years there?
It was great. I could have went back to the NCAA after my first year but I loved the system so much I had to stick with it. I learned how to push myself and to work for what you want no matter the situation.
How tough was it losing to Georgetown, Kentucky in the NAIA Final 4 and going scoreless? Is this a game that keeps you motivated and working harder in the lab?
It was tough. I felt like I let my team down. I just take it as motivation and never wanting to feel like that again.
Was your 21 points and 14 rebounds game in the win against Florida College one of your personal best games in the NAIA?
Lol that was a nice one. I forgot about that one but yeah it was one but maybe the game I had I think 16 and 16 rebounds was my best to me but that Florida game was nice.
What were your fondest memories of winning the SSAC tournament in 2018?
Man just feeling like you accomplished something. It felt so great just the hard work and the ups and downs that team went through made it such a great experience and feeling.
How did head coach Steve Knight groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
PRACTICE AND CONDITIONING. We ran like a track team lol but it kept us in perfect shape and we were always ready. He was my favorite coach. We still talk till this day.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jartavius Dobbs?
Lol Dobbs knows he could never beat me in one on one but he came close, but just couldn’t finish.
Who was the toughest opponent that you played in the NCAA, NAIA or anywhere else that is in the NBA or in Europe now.
Jahil Okafor. He playes for the Philadelphia 76ers. I think I played Nike summer circuit in the summers in high school. Man he is a beast.
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
Jacobi boykins Latech Adrian Williams William Carey Cameron Douglas William Carey Brandon Cranford William Carey Rodney Mallet William Carey.
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
Micheal Jordan,Kobe Bryant ,Lebron James ,Shaq, and Allen Iverson.
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Lol man I thing Jordan is the goat but Lebron surpasses him stats don’t lie lol
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Branden for the chat.