Daniel Norl is a 188cm guard from Clarksville, Tennessee that is playing his second professional season and first with PS Karlsruhe averaging 9,1ppg, 1,6rpg and 1,6apg. He socred 23 points against Trier and 18 points against Schwenningen.. Last season as a rookie he played with Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 32 games averaging 13.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. He began his basketball career at Eastern Kentucky (NCAA) playing 9 game averaging 1.3ppg. In 2015-2016 he moved to Mineral Area CC (JUCO) playing 31 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 77.5%. He finished at Omaha (NCAA) playing 29 games as a junior averaging 5.6ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 80.0% and as a senior at Omaha (NCAA) upped his stats playing 30 games averaging 13.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 81.1%. He spoke to germanhoops.com last summer about his basketball career.
Daniel thanks for talking to germanhoops.com After playing your rookie season in Great Britain, what were your main goals of going into the transfer period in your second season? Playing in the British BBL is a good place to start your professional basketball career.
Cheshire was the best move for me as a rookie. My agent thought the same thing. My goals are to work on my ball handling and shooting off the dribble as well as my playmaking and getting my teammates involved. I also want to be the best teammate possible.
You ended up signing with German Pro A team PS Karlsruhe. What were the main reasons for joining this team?
The reasons I joined was because the Pro A is a good league. The main reason was the coach. He showed interest from the start. He had plans for me. He was one of the few coaches that saw something in me personally from the jump and that was very important for me.
I can imagine that you were told about the massive growth the team has made in the last 4 years moving from the Regionalliga to the Pro B and becoming a playoff team in the Pro A. How enticing is it for you to strap on the jersey of this very ambitious club?
It´s a great opportunity and I´m blessed. It is important as a player to help keep building that success. I´m very excited to be a part of that growth.
Talk a bit about your backround. You grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee, but also have the German citizenship. What are exactly your ties to Germany?
I moved to Tennessee when I was 4. I was born in Wurzburg and lived there for 4 years. My mom is German. My older siblings were raised in Germany. I recently went to Germany this past Christmas and saw my family. I can´t speak it to well, but I can understand it pretty well.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Have you had any friends or former teammates or opponents play here?
I know a few guys that have played in the BBL and some guys from the UK that have recently signed there. I don´t know too much about the basketball there. I´m more of a person where when I´m there I´m focused on it, but if I´m not there yet I won´t be that focused on it yet. But when I get to Germany I will check it out. I´m really looking forward to this experience.
After playing a very solid rookie season in the UK with the Cheshire Phoenix, what are your main goals as a player. In what area´s of your game do you want to shine with PS Karlsruhe?
This year I want to prove people I can really play the point guard. I am a scoring point guard, but I try to make the right play for the team. I´m a team first guy, but at the same time be as aggressive and consistent from start to finish. I showed the ability to score last season and want to continue to that this season and make other improvements in my player.
Let´s talk about your game. You’re a 188cm combo guard that can do a lot of things on the court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?
I´m not sure. My favorite player of all-time is Dwayne Wade. When I was younger, I always tried to model my game after him. When I was younger, I was more of a shooter, a guy that liked to catch and shoot. I have gotten comparisons to Donovan Mitchell and Deron Williams. I also have gotten D Wayde, but I´m obviously not there yet. I try to take things not only from their games and implement into mine, but also from guys I have played with and against in my career.
You are a very strong offensive player. Your rookie coach at Cheshire coach Thomas stated that you can punish the defense in a variety of ways. Talk a bit about how lethal your offensive game is?
I take what the defense gives me and like to penetrate and make a play. If you give me the space, I will shoot it. If my defender and help step up, I will dish it off. I just try and make the right play every time. That is how I have always played the game.
You been a very consistent three point shooter in the last years keeping high percentages. Do you feel that your shot will grow more with extended reps or raising your IQ as a player with the right shot selection?
Yes I think shot selection is important, but for me it´s more mental. I have had games where I have shot the lights out and then I have had games where I haven´t shot it well. Obviously getting the reps is important, but mentally it´s also a big part to being able to shoot well.
You are also a passionate defender. Do you feel like you are a player at times that gets his offense rolling through great defense?
Yes I do. I do it to a certain extent. I had coaches in the past who have preached that if you can´t defend, you won´t play for me. Each team needs a good defender and a guy who is willing to play hard. I always want to defend well. That is my competitive nature. I also think that If you focus on defense and the smaller things that the offense just comes. I also like to control the things that I can and I can do that playing defense.
You’re a guy that can fill the state sheet at ease, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?
I´m not to sure. I thin k it is my playmaking and making the right play. That sometimes gets overlooked. I need to be more aggressive, but like I said before it is important for me to get my teammates involved and just make the right play. My defense also at times gets overlooked. I don´t get a lot of steals or blocks and my defense doesn´t show up on the stat sheet. I move my feet well and stay in front of my game and just play hard.
On what things are you working on most this summer so you will be 100% ready to compete in the German Pro A?
I´m always working on ball handling and shooting. It was important for me this summer to get back to basics. Last summer I was trying to improve in area´s like my moves where I looked good. Now with a year under my belt, I learned last season in the UK that there are a lot of players that have the basic good moves.
You played your rookie season with Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 32 games averaging 13.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
I was used to it. In college I was 12 hours away from home. College helped me adapt to my rookie season. Overseas is always a little different. The biggest wake up call for me was off the court with the time change and making the transition with having my friends away from me. On the court the biggest wake up call was being a rookie and playing right away. I wanted to be able to learn from the older guys right away and I think I did. Playing a major role as a rookie helped me gain experience that I needed on the court.
You grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee a city that has bred many professional athletes and from the world of basketball with the most well known Shawn Marion Is this fact something you knew about growing up or did you not pay so much attention to that?
Shawn Marion was talked around here. The main fact about him was that he never returned back and showed love to his city. He never reclaimed the city from where he came from. People around here don´t care too much for him. The biggest thing that I took from this was always show love for your city. No matter how far you go come back and show your face and support it. That is what I try to do.
How beneficial do you feel was it for your overall game having had the opportunity to play at schools Eastern Kentucky (NCAA), Mineral Area CC (JUCO) and Omaha (NCAA). How do you feel were you able to develop better as a player than having only had a four year experience at one school?
This is a phenomenal question. This was huge. This was almost like life changing for me being able to transfer and play at three schools. Idealy I always wanted to play at a four year school where I could grow in one system and under a coach, but that wasn´t the case for me. What I did was challenging for me mentally because I always felt like I had to hit a reset button. I´m a creature of habit and was able to adjust to different playing styles, coaches and teammates. It was difficult at times, but at the same it helped me pursuvere. I think that having done this will help me for my journey as a professional player.
You began your NCAA career at Eastern Kentucky (NCAA) playing 9 games averaging 1.3ppg. How tough was your freshman season. Despite not playing much, now looking back what benefits could you take from this year?
My biggest wake up call was going there. I saw how much it is a business. On my visit there, they told me about the big role I would get. Midway through the season my teammates tried to uplift me telling me not to be discouraged telling me that coach doesn´t play freshmen. That is when the truth came out. I had to learn there to stick with it. No matter what you are going through you have to keep working and grinding. I kept going to the gym and working hard with the knowledge that continuing to do this will pay off one day. I was glad to experience this at a young age.
There you were teammates with Corey Walden who has gone on to have a stellar professional career. What memories do you have of him and what do you remember standing out most in his game and could you soak anything up from his play?
I just remember him being a tough guy. He was coachable, but not so much of a talkative guy. But when something had to be done, he always led by example. He was a phenomenal player and a three level scorer. What I remember most was that he was a leader. He played with so much confidence. It was fun to watch.
After not playing much as a freshman, you took a step back and played with Mineral Area CC (JUCO) playing 31 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 77.5%. How important was it for you taking this route and how do you feel did it prepare you better for the NCAA with Omaha?
By the end of my freshman year, I actually didn´t want to transfer. I had stuck it out and had enjoyed coach Barrow. But coach then left and signed with Fordham. The new coach didn´t like me and didn´t think I was a good player which was discouraging. I just wanted to go somewhere where I could play. I wanted to play for a coach that believed me. I think leaving E Kentucky was the most important decision that I made. Going to Mineral Area gave other NCAA schools the chance to recruit me. I pushed the reset button again. Omaha saw talent in me
You finished at Omaha making a big leap between your junior and senior seasons improving your scoring from 5.6ppg to 13,0ppg. How do you feel did your game develop in your senior year?
We were really talented in my senior year. I played behind a G-league guard and beside a high level overseas professional. My junior year I was just trying to get minutes, fit in and play my role. My role wasn´t to be a heavy scorer, but just to make plays and have that winning mentality. My role changed my senior year. I was more of a scorer and leader of the team. I had to be an all around better player and best defender on the team. I gained the confidence to up my level of play.
You had a tough senior year losing more than you won. You had many tough loses like back to back loses to Tenn Tech and Jackson State by a combined three points. Was one of your more memorable games when you scored 16 points in the 75-73 win over Drake?
There were many memorable games. That year was tough, because we had a lot of injuries. Our roster was often short and coach tried to do the best job that he could. Almost beating Louisville was memorable as they pulled away at the end. The Drake game was also fun. Losing so many close games helped me pay attention more to the little plays. One turnover or steal could mean the game for you.
How did head coach Darrin Hansen groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He is a great coach. He is a cool dude and down to earth. At the same time he made sure I stayed on top of my stuff. He challenged me to be a good leader and rise to the occasion. I also remember before I went overseas that he told me that I would have control over situations. That is a conversation I will never forget.
Who won a one on one in practice you or KJ Robinson?
I don´t remember playing against him, but I definitely will take myself.
Who was the toughest opponent that you played in the NCAA that is in the NBA or in Europe now
Not sure. I played against many great players. I played against Devon Booker, Karl Anthony Towns, Deangelo Russell, and Devonte Graham. It was always a fun match up.
Please list your five best teammates of all-time?
Lagry Harrison, My little brother, Zach Jackson, Disraeli Lufadeju, Louis Sayers
Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?
Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Lebron James and Bill Russell
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I hate the question, but I am set on Lebron. He is the best because I think he is the best all-around player of all-time. Jordan had the better teams of that era. Winning championships is a team thing.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Stranger Things 3
Thanks Daniel for the chat.