Terrell Harris is a 26 year old 190cm guard from Indiantown,Florida that completed his fourth professional season and first with the NINERS Chemnitz (Germany-ProA) averaging 14,1ppg, 2,6rpg and 5,0apg. Last season he played with the Rostock Seawolves (Germany-ProA) averaging 13.6ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 66.3%. Two seasons ago he played with the Svendborg Rabbits (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 24 games averaging 17.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 71.6%. In his rookie season he played with the Iserlohn Kangaroos (Germany-ProB) averaging 18,1ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,8apg. He started his basketball career at Mars Hill (NCAA2) in 2011 and then moved to Georgia College in 2012. As a senior he played 29 games averaging 24.6ppg, 6.7rpg, 4.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 76.8%. He concluded his college basketball career winning the All-PeachBelt Player of the Year 2016. Harris spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis.
Hi Terrell Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?
Hey Miles, I am good. We are all in good spirits and in good energy. I am still in Germany at the moment but hopefully I will be home soon to my family. This year has been crazy and full of surprises.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
I honestly had no idea this virus would cause this much panicking and interruption to the world but hopefully it can go away. I’m sure in the near future we will find a solution and get back to living.
How did you experience the last weeks? Are your loved ones in the States concerned for your well being?
I’ve been in good spirits also my family been in good spirits as well. Times has been unpredictable and unknown but everyone is ok.
How have you experienced the day to day life in Chemnitz during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?
I mean as hoopers we are not allowed to workout in none of the facilities so all of us players are feeling the effects. Hopefully this ends very soon.
Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing?
No not at all, we were taught to cover our mouths when we cough and wash our hands to stay clean on the regular.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Regionalliga. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to playoffs?
I was very disappointed that the league shut down. You play this game for moments like the playoffs and championship rounds. Our health is bigger than sports though. The league did the right thing by shutting it down and giving the top 2 the right to move up to BBL.
Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. Do you see any kind of advantage having games played without spectators?
I didn’t see that particular game but playing without fans is more of a practice or open scrimmage. I’m sure we as Chemnitz would’ve been good to go. Our best competition was our practices. We had some game type vibe and feelings a lot of days in practice.
If somebody had told you two months ago that the Chemnitz season would be over in mid March, but you would have still got the BBL ticket. Could you have come up with any plausible reason why this could have happened not knowing about the coronavirus?
I would’ve thought someone lied to me but it is what is. We were clearly the best team this year. When we took teams serious and locked in we dominated from start to finish. Our easy games were actually against the top teams. Heidelberg both games. Jena away game was a slaughter in the 4th quarter. Bremerhaven we beat easy as well. Rostock was probably our most dominant game at home. We were just head, shoulders, and toes above everyone.
What kind of a feeling do you have being able to move up to the easyCredit BBL without earning it through the playoffs and through the coronavirus? Are there mixed feelings?
I wish we could’ve played the season out but it didn’t happen like that. The league made the decision to stop and promote the top two teams something we couldn’t control. I hear a lot of players and fans had things to say but they should’ve beat us in the regular season when they had the chance. Bad habits doesn’t just stop when the playoffs start. All of a sudden everybody thinks they could beat us 3 out of 5 times in a series where we didn’t lose at home all season. If I am teams I am glad Chemnitz left because it would’ve been the same next year plus a year of playing with each other.
Despite how it all happened, the Niners Chemnitz had a very strong season. How do you sum up the season and how the team performed on the court?
This season was just fun basketball and culture to be a part of. We had games like practices most of the times. Coach Rod made this year fun and exciting from Day 1. It’s hard winning, it takes a lot to win consistently. He always found new ways to motivate us and keep us sharp. As players, I never met or played with a bunch of selfless guys. We had our moments of ups and downs but we always stuck together and figured it out.
The team was the best offensive team and sixth best defensive team. How much fun was it this season being part of a very lethal offense?
The most dangerous part of our offense was the ability to create and flow with how we were being guarded. We had sets that will explore your weaknesses. We were good at exploiting other teams weaknesses. When you have guys who are willing to play together for the bigger cause as in winning a championship it made the game easy for everyone. We understood our roles and how to play with each other.
The club had many guys from last season, but also had 5 new players to integrate. How much credit does the success go to head coach Rodrigo Pastore. How has he developed as a head coach since your first tour of duty in Chemnitz?
Before coming to Chemnitz I really wanted to go back to Rostock. I felt they could’ve built a team to compete due to their budget. But once I did my homework and saw who Chemnitz was bringing back I was in awe because I thought most guys would leave. My childhood friend wanted me to join him which he already knew the system. Once I got the call from coach Rod I was convinced by the picture he painted with who we wanted to sign. I felt we could be special if we stayed committed to the process. He has to be one of the best coaches here in Germany. He took 5 new players who never played with each other and broke the Pro A most consecutive wins in a single season without a single starter from last year team. He deserves coach of the year for sure. Coach Rod just kept us grounded and level headed from day 1. He never promised anything and treated everyone fairly. He was the same guy last game against Kirchheim.
Let’s talk about your teammates. How vital was it for the team to have Chris Carter this season? He came from a tough Pro A season in Vechta. How much did you enjoy him as a teammate and could you soak anything up from his game that helped your game?
Our relationship is bigger than basketball. He’s like a big brother to me. As soon as my season in Rostock ended we got on the phone and talk about teaming up. It was just a matter of where. I’m grateful I was able to play for Chemnitz with him. He showed me a lot from the pg position which I improved very much in. We had all of our individuals together so we were able to feed off each other a lot.
You’re a veteran, but please describe what kind of an influence veteran Virgil Matthews had on you. The American is turning 37 years old this month. Do you see him reaching age 40 as a player and does his work ethic motivate you to play longer now than what you might have felt before you met him?
Uncle Virg is immortal. He’s the most savvy and smartest player I played with. I tried to stick by his side with whatever we do from film, to bus rides, on the court watching him etc. He has a very high IQ. He showed me so much this year on and off the court. I will never forget him. Another lifetime friend. I’m sure Virgil can play to he’s 40. He takes care of his body and eats very healthy so he’s still in good shape. He doesn’t seem 36 for sure
German Malte Zigenhagen had an amazing season and if he could of hit a few more free throws he could have been a member of the 90-50-50 club. You have seen him the last years in the BBL and was teammates in Chemnitz in 2016-2017. How did he develop and improve this season?
I only played against Malte once and with him this past year. He’s the best shooter I played with. He shot 50% on 154 attempts that’s insane. He had some games where he caught instant fire and broke the lead open for us. I love playing with him on the court
If you had to pick a player who was the most improved who would you pick from last season?
It’s hard for me to say that because I wasn’t here last year but throughout the season to see the development of Nicklas was amazing. He has a chance to be special. He can shoot, drive to dunk, and handle and 6,9. It’s rare you see that in this league.
Let’s talk about your season. You averaged 14,1ppg, 2,6rpg, 5,0apg and 1,4spg. How content were you with your season?
I could’ve been a lot better in some areas but for the most part I like the way I played this season. This season I was able to play my game and create more for teammates rather just trying to score all the time. Coach Rod put me in great situations such as pick and rolls and down hill situation all season long for me to be successful which allowed us to be successful as a team.
Would you consider your Chemnitz season your best as a professional? You scored better in lower leagues, but your overall stats in a good league were excellent.
Yes for sure this was my best season. Coming out of college you think scoring is winning basketball. In those lower leagues you have to score to make your name in Europe. As you climb the ladder and play with good players you have to do more than just score because your minutes will go down, your touches will go down, and teammates are better all around. So you will need to find ways to stay effective. I figured out how to make everyone around me better with my play making ability and speed. I played less minutes and had less touches this year compared to last year. I was able to finish top 10 in assist and top 12 in scoring. All my numbers were up so yes this was my best year.
You have made huge strides in your playmaking. As a rookie with Iserlohn you averaged only 1,8apg and this season it was 5,0apg. Did the playmaking of Virgil Matthews influence your game?
Yes watching Virgil in practice and film helped me a lot with my play making ability also from Chris as well. Coach Rod allowed me to play point guard in practice everyday so I had to run my own team most of the year in practice. I had my ups and downs, I never had a coach who put me in that situation but it helped me in the long run.
You had a very strong Pro A season with Rostock in 2018-2019, but made even more strides with Chemnitz. Both teams had talent and were deep. How was the overall Chemnitz situation with it’s offensive players different than in Rostock that helped you make another step with your game?
In Rostock I wasn’t use the same way as I was here. I wasn’t able to create for others as much. I was more of a spot up and shot my midrange whenever I got my play call. We didn’t play as a unit most of the time there. We were winning off natural talent. Here in Chemnitz from day 1 we implemented an offense where everyone was able to touch the ball and make plays. We had our 5 and 4 man starting fast breaks. Coach Rod just created a system where we enjoyed playing with each other. We had numerous games of 30 plus assists that speaks a lot about the culture we had.
In our season ending interview with Rostock you stated ‘I feel my game grew as in more playmaking defensively and offensively. I guarded the other team’s best perimeter player every game. I knew I can defend but this year I think I really showed that I can defend at a high level. Whenever I was the primary defender on a guard they usually didn’t get their average. Most of the top perimeters struggled against me from Andrew (Hamburg) avg 16 a game in the regular season, but in the playoffs only 9.5. Goodwin, Choice, Ziegenhagen, and etc had some of their worst scoring games against me. Offensively I showed again that I was very efficient. This was the most assists I ever average this season as well . I can always shoot the three and pull up at a good percentage. I should’ve got to the free throw line more and attempted more 3s for sure though. How do you see did your game improve once more with the Niners Chemnitz and ycou played 5 minutes less this season than last season in Rostock. You were more effective this season. Could you estimate about how much you would have scored per game had you played 5 minutes more?
I did play 5 minutes less than I did last year but all my numbers improved. I’m sure if I would’ve played 5 minutes more I would’ve scored 4 more points maybe 2 assist more 17 or 18 a game easy along with 7 assist on avg but who cares when you’re winning. I knew I was giving those things up when I came here and I was ok with that. I take the season I had over all the guys who were about to miss the playoffs or wouldn’t have gone far if they made the playoffs. I love winning and I got a great taste of it this year. My game grew with Chemnitz from play making and knowing when to score and when to get your teammates involve. I feel like if you’re able to be effective in Chemnitz you can play anywhere because you learn here how to play high level basketball from a high IQ coach. I really enjoyed this year with these group of guys.
How tough is it having the season end this way? Would it be easier or more difficult to get motivated to get into the lab each day to keep working on your game . How important will individual work be now during the corona virus time?
Who knows what is going to happen for next year. I mean from this Corona Virus to contract situations amongst the leagues some teams might take a hit financially. All I know Is that I have a few months to build on the season I had. Im very excited to get back in the lab.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the 2019-2020 Pro A season?
Pro A had some really tough guards this year I like Kasey Hill’s game a lot though he can be special. Good speed and can finish with both hands. Also Lofton was good, Geist, Mccullum, and Wilson.
How much do you feel for those NCAA guys who might have reached March Madness as a senior for the only time and now can’t play. What advice would you give that player who missed March Madness because of the CoronaVirus?
I am grateful I was able to play all my years in college. This sucks for seniors at the collegiate level hopefully they can some how get the games back or something. It will be tough but I’m sure they will find a solution.
I feel Luka Doncic is a top 3 NBA player. Am I a bit blinded or is that a proper assessment after his second professional season?
Luka is great but he hasn’t deliverd a championship yet only time will tell. Bron, Steph, KD, and Kathy already delivered multiple times. I hate ranking players so just let him be great and we will see where that stands when he’s done.
Atlanta Hawk guard Trae Young made huge strides in his second season. How much better can he get now and is he a top NBA point guard now?
. Trae Young is going to be special he can do it all. As long as he stays level headed and puts in the work he will have a very successful career.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was Spenser Confidential with Mark Wahlberg. It was a good one.
Thanks Terrell for the chat.