After Three Years Playing In The Canadian NBL League Jarryn Skeete Is Ready To Make The Jump Overseas

Jarryn Skeete is a 26 year old 190cm guard from Canada that has three years of professional experience having played in the Canadian NBL league with teams Cape Breton Highlanders averaging 7.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 86.2%, the Windsor Express averaging 5.1ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 73.0% and the St. John’s Edge averaging 4.7ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.9apg. He began his basketball career at Wasatch Academy an dthen played 122 NCAA games with The University of Buffalo (NCAA) from 2012-2016. In his senior year he played 35 games averaging 7.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 28.9%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 70.2%. He spoke to about his basketball career. 

Thanks Jarryn for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is 

I’m at a good place in life. I’m at home spending time with family. This is the first time in years where I’ve been able to enjoy the festivities with my loved ones and people I care about. Life is treating me pretty good because I don’t have any complaints.

Christmas is around the corner. Will you be doing anything special for Christmas and what is your fondest X-mas memory?

Just planning to hangout and catch up with friends and family that I haven’t been able to see over the past few years, since I’ve been so heavily involved with basketball. My fondest Christmas memory would have to be two years ago, when I started playing pro, and I was able to take the money that I was paid and buy everyone Christmas gifts. It felt good to spend my own money on the people I care about.

You have played three professional years in Canada and currently are without a team. What do you feel has hindered you at the moment of being without a team. Was it more a lack of offers or just not the right situation?

I would definitely say that the right opportunity hasn’t presented itself this year. I had a few offers but timing is everything and I know that I’ll find the right team. 

How tough has it been the last months not playing and seeing your friends all playing somewhere. What has kept you most positive?

It’s never tough. Everybody has their own situations and I’m always happy for my friends and former teammates to be doing their thing. I’m a very happy and motivated person and still go to the gym everyday to stay ready for when my opportunity presents itself. I’ve been able to stay positive because I know that there are so many different platforms, leagues and avenues out there to keep playing the game I love, and I believe everything happens for a reason.

Is there any particular reason why you played in Canada in your first three professional seasons? Did you attempt to land a team overseas?

Fresh out of college I had an opportunity to play in Serbia but it didn’t make sense at the time. What did make sense was being able to stay home, play in my home country, be able to spend time with my daughter and develop myself so that when the right opportunity presents itself, I’m ready to make that jump overseas.

You didn’t put up staggering stats in your first two professional seasons due to a lack of minutes on winning teams. However, when you received minutes, you always produced. Do you believe like that may have had an effect on you getting proper options?

I definitely feel like that’s part of it, because a big part of the game is stat based. However, I’m a proven winner, I’m consistent and whenever I’m given the minutes and the chance to show what I can do, I step up where my team needs me. 

Let’s talk about your game. How would you describe your game and if you had to compare your game to an NBA player, who would best fit the description?

I think I’m a versatile combo guard, who can shoot and stretch the defense. But, at the same time, I use my point-guard IQ to get my teammates open and run the game at my pace. The NBA player I would compare myself most to is a mix of Jason Kidd and D Will because my ability to read the floor and keep defenses honest with my ability to shoot from anywhere.

You haven’t averaged double figures as a professional yet, but once you received consistent minutes you were able to do so. Talk a little about your strengths as a player and on what areas of your game that you continue to work on?

My biggest strength is my IQ for the game, my size for my position, my leadership skills in getting everyone involved in the game, and my ability to shoot/score when my team needs me. I feel like there are always new things that need to be worked on, but the most important to me at this time is getting stronger and pushing myself to play outside of my comfort zone. 

Talk a little about the NBL league. It seems to have continued to develop well in the last 10 years as very talented guys play in the league. The scores almost seem higher than in the NBA. How important is defense in this league?

I think this league has a tremendous amount of potential due to the high level of import players. You don’t see many leagues that have that many Americans coming from such high levels of basketball backgrounds. The scores are definitely high but I feel like that’s due to the skill of the players and the length of the quarters since it’s NBA style 4, 12-minute quarters. Defense is very important but I think the physicality of the players is what separates most teams from one another.

Last season you played for the St. John’s Edge (NBL Canada) reaching the league final playing 49 games: In the finals you received more minutes averaging 13.5ppg, 5rpg, 3apg. 42% 3pt 50% Fg How special was this season playing for a strong club and how did it feel to finally get more minutes and play well, but not get the team result you wanted? 

St. John’s was a very special club to play for in a very special city. I definitely enjoyed the way the fans embraced the team and supported us night in and night out. Of course it’s always fun to win, but even more fun when you’re playing with a group of guys who like each other. Losing the finals wasn’t something I enjoyed but it was a learning experience and I was happy to be able to play well when given the opportunity to show what I could do. 

How special were games 5 and 6 against the KW Titans in the semi-Finals? You had two very strong games in game 5 (21 13 & 5 ast ) and 6 (13 9 & 9).

Both games were a lot of fun and I love playing in game that mean something with that type of playoff atmosphere. Like I mentioned, I was very happy when I was given the opportunity and I could seize the moment. My teammates and my coach believed in me and I was able to go out there and do my thing. I feel like with my size and my position, I’m able to impact the game in many different ways. This series made me realize that grabbing defensive rebounds can help me get myself going.

You had limited minutes in the first half of the season, but they really increased in the second half especially in the last 18 games. Talk a little about the season and why your minutes were so up and down.

When you’re playing on a winning team with veterans, sometimes it’s hard to get the minutes you want. But that’s where you become a good teammate, be happy for others’ success, stay positive, and be ready for when your number is called on so that you make the most of your opportunity when you get it.

How cool was it playing with big baby Glen Davis who didn’t play professional basketball from 2014-2018? How much of the old big baby is he still?

It was a great experience. I definitely learned a lot of things playing with an NBA champion, which is something most people may not get the opportunity to do. That said, I soaked up as much knowledge as I could over the season. Him being close with a point-guard like Rondo, he was able to teach me a lot of different things about aspects of the game I’d never thought of as much. I think he’s pretty much the same, he’s just aged a little bit. But his basketball IQ is through the roof! 

What did you appreciate most about his presence and did he tell any stories from his old days with the Boston Celtics?

I appreciated how genuine he was, his willingness to teach and his confidence in us. He told me many stories, not just from the Boston Celtics, but from his entire NBA career.

What kind of relationship did you have with Desmond Lee who you were teammates for both years? He is a guy that began in JUCO and is still looking to work his way up to higher leagues. Was he like a role model for you?

Dez and I still have a great relationship. We immediately got along and understood each other very well. We’ve both helped each other grow as players and he’s like a big brother to me.

In your second professional season you played with the St Johns Edge (NBL Canada) playing 45 games averaging 5.1ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 73.0%, but your numbers increased when you started the last 12 games of the season going into the playoffs. You played with two real old veterans with Carl English and Ransford Brempong. How vital were these two guys for your early development?

I became close with both Carl and Ransford and respect them not only as athletes but as former national players who represent our country on the Olympic stage. They both told me believe in yourself, confidence and taking care of your body will take you a long way.

Both of those guys had long careers in Europe. How hungry are you to get over to Europe. Your game could take on a very different development once you play in structured leagues where defense is played. 

Yes, they both had impressionable careers in Europe. I’m very hungry, but I know my game will fit the European style. Yes, I’m always open to new development in my game. I know it’s a lot harder to score in Europe but I know my shot can help stretch the defense, which will open the floor for myself and teammates.

In your rookie season you played with the : Cape Breton Highlanders (NBL) playing 22 games averaging 7.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 86.2%. You seem to come out of your shell in the second half of the season. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make coming from the NCAA?

My biggest adjustment was the speed and physicality of the game, and realizing that you have to always be professional and sometimes wait until your number is called. 

You began your career in 2012 with the university of Buffalo and played until 2016 playing a total of 122 NCAA games. Please talk how key it was for your game playing for 3 different coaches and how each coach helped you?

It was a very interesting experience. Every coach had a different way of shaping me as a player and my knowledge for the game. I’m very grateful to have been able to play in so many games. Coach Hurley really helped me develop and sharpen my guard skills, and showed me what it takes to win at the college level. 

You had many special NCAA games, but how special was your 18 point game against Akron that broke their 18 game winning streak?

It was very special. Not only because I performed well as a freshman but because we got the win and beat our rival in the process.

As a sophomore you moved to shooting guard. How did this season help your game and become a more versatile guard?

It helped me expand my game to not only score when I’m playing point guard, but to find ways to score off the ball and use my shot to space the floor and get teammates open.

You won the MAC tournament in 2015 and 2016. Which title was the sweetest?

There’s nothing sweeter than the first time. But number two was a lot of fun because it was my senior year.

In your junior year you lost to powerhouse Kentucky 71-52, but led all scorers playing against future NBA players like Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis, Dakari Johnson, Karl Anthony Towns, the Harrison brothers, Willy Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles. When you look back at that do you feel like you can play with anyone?

Yes, I feel like I can play with anyone but that comes from the work you put in when no ones watching and respecting your opponent.

Early in your career you were teammates with Tony Watson and Corey Raley-Ross who both played in Germany. What memories do you have of these two players. How much influence did their overall presence have on your early development?

I have too many memories to name but they were both great teammates and like older brothers to me. They definitely had an influence on my early development and showed me the ropes when coming in as a freshman.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Shannon Evans?

We never kept track. But we battled every day and made each other better. We’re still close to this day and I’m so happy to see him doing well.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA?

I played against many different players who are now in the NBA, but I’d have to say Devin Booker, Brandon Ingram or Alex Caruso.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Naz Long, Carl English, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Tyler Ennis.

If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads past or present would you take?

MJ, Lebron James, Shaq and Magic. 

What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

I hope one day he passes him, but I have to go with Michael. 

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Joker.

Thanks Jarryn for the chat. 

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