Emanuel Terry is a 24 year old 206cm center from Alabama playing his third professional season and first with KK Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (Serbia-KLS). Last season was his first overseas as he played with Teksut Bandirma (Turkey-BSL) playing 20 games averaging 10.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 71.9%, FT: 65.3%; and played 14 BCL games averaging 11.9ppg, Reb-2 (9.9rpg), 1.9apg, 1.0spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 61.2%, FT: 64.1%, in Feb.’20 moved to Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel-Winner League) playing 10 games averaging 9.4ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 63.9%, FT: 66.7%; BCL: 2 games: 4.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0spg. In his rookie season he played 3 NBA games with Phoenix and Miami and also played with the Canton Charge (NBA G League) playing 20 games averaging 8.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 52.0%, and with the Sioux Falls Skyforce (NBA G League) playing 18 games averaging 14.1ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 51.3%. He played at Lincoln Memorial (NCAA2) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 100 games and as a senior averaged 16.9ppg, 10.3rpg, 1.2apg, 2.2bpg, FGP: 71.1%, FT: 70.0. He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Euroleague game against FC Bayern Munich in Munich.
Emanuel thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
I’m in Belgrade, Serbia. It has been a fun experience playing for this club and playing against top tier teams in Europe. I want to continue to get better. I love hard work
Before we get to your basketball career, let us talk about Covid-19. How did you experience the last 7-8 months with COVID-19? What was the most challenging thing you encountered in these hard times?
COVID-19 was tough the last months. I had symptoms, but didn’t really feel anything. I took it for what it was. I didn’t know where I would play this season so I got that done and spent a lot of time with family and continued to keep in shape
You were one of the few guys that played during the summer in Israel for Hapoel Jerusalem. What kind of experience was it playing in the bubble and playing with Jeremy Pargo?
JP was my guy, my dancing partner. We had this special hand shake going. He did a good job helping me get my touch on the court and getting me going. At first it was tough playing without fans, but soon I realized it was less of a distraction. I also saw I could be very focused without fans. It was a good experience and helped me get better.
After playing In Turkey in your first season in Europe, how did you like playing in the Winner League? Was the league and climate a combination you would like to experience again?
Of course. Any basketball place is good when your playing at a high level. I tried to sponge up as much as I could in Israel. It is a place where I definitely would like to play again.
Your playing your first season with KK Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (Serbia-KLS). The club is up and down with 2-3 in the Euroleague and 4-0 in the ABA league. It has some talented players with some ex NBA guys like yourself, Jordan Loyd, Johnny O’ Bryant and Corey Walden. What type of a journey do you see this team taking this season?
We have a great coaching staff and I feel the team has connected well so far. We all have our backs and I feel we will do well this season.
What kind of an experience has it been being teammates with Johnny O’ Bryant who recently joined the team? After many years in the NBA how have you witnessed his game getting adjusted to the European style?
He has been doing well since he arrived. He has done a good job understanding the system in quick time. With time he will do better. Everybody knows what he brings to the table.
With Jordan Loyd you have a guard who won an NBA title withToronto. Does he have that special flair on the court that will be vital in bringing the needed leadership?
Most certainly. I actually didn’t know who he was when I arrived until I saw the Raptors victory celebration picture with Kawhi Leonard. He brings another special style to the court. He has the ability to pick us up in a special way. He is a great teammate.
How demanding it has it been playing for Serbian legend Sasa Obradovic? Give an example of something he has done that you have never seen from another coach in your career?
The main thing with him is that he is very direct. A lot of people see him as being crazy, but he isn’t. He is a coach that is studying basketball all day and always trying to perfect his craft. He wants the best for us at all times. He is always fixing details so we can always be the last team standing.
You’re a player that can score and rebound and also bring a lot of energy on the defensive end. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the description?
I have been told Kenneth Faried. I feel I’m a better player though. I’m the type of player that will score, rebound and bring it on defense as well as making that highlight film play. I actually met Kenneth when I was with the Suns. He actually knew who I was. I’m just the type of player that can do a lot of things that will help my team win.
You averaged double double stats in scoring and rebounding at Lincoln Memorial and was close in the G-League and in Turkey. Bringing those kind of stats will be hard in the Euroleague. What kind of player do you want to develop into at the Euroleague level?
I bring energy all the time on the court. Some guys get tired out there , but if you go hard all the time good things will happen. I knew coming in to the Euroleague that getting a double double or 20 points would be hard. I’m trying to become the main perfect role player at a young age. It is peaceful to know what I’m capable of being able to do. I know I can benefit a lot.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to develop well as a player?
I’m working most on my jump shot and touch. I feel that these things haven’t come into the open yet. I also want to become louder on the floor. Each team where ever I have played have told me to do something different and I always did. I will continue to perfect my craft and be real.
You played your first season overseas with Teksut Bandirma (Turkey-BSL) playing 20 games averaging 10.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 71.9%, FT: 65.3%; and played 14 BCL games averaging 11.9ppg, Reb-2 (9.9rpg), 1.9apg, 1.0spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 61.2%, FT: 64.1%. What was your wake up call to being in Turkey for the first time where you knew that you were far away from home?
It was a quick decision to come to Turkey. I tell this story all the time. I was reluctant to go back to the G-League after my NBA Summer League stint with the Thunder. It was a blessing to get 2 NBA 10 day contracts, but at that time I wanted to see what overseas was like. I didn’t want to come to Turkey for the sight seeing, but to continue to develop my game. In the NBA there is so much space, but in Europe there is more aggressiveness in the paint. Despite having that feeling, when I arrived in Turkey my first thought was what did I get myself into. There was no English and I heard the jets fly overhead and I thought were we going to war? I was stuck in a hotel for 2 weeks and when I did get an apartment, I was surprised to see stores in them. It was a big adjustment. Thank God for Little Caesars. I felt a little more at home having that around. That first month I ate there a lot.
In your third BSL games you beat Euroleague team Efes by 18 points scoring 13 points. Efes boasted guys like Chris Singleton, James Anderson and Bryant Dunston. Was this the game where you felt like you had arrived in Europe?
I do remember that game well. I remember my mom telling me when I was young that when I was going into a big game to bring that David from David & Goliath. That taught me that I could go against the bigger and be successful. After that game I knew that I could perform at a high level. I just had to be me.
In the summer of 2019 you played with the Oklahoma City Thunder (MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas) playing 4 games averaging 6.5ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 55.6%, FT: 50.0%. was coming to Europe instead of going through a NBA team training camp the best solution for you?
I truly believe that I made a great decision coming overseas. I feel like my name is global now. I have to admit at times I do have that what if feeling about had I stayed in the States, but I know that by coming to Europe, I have the opportunity to get better. Overseas isn’t for everybody, but I love it. I have the mind set that I have a task in Europe to get better for myself and my family. I would not trade this opportunity for anything. It is refreshing to be on that flight home knowing you have conquered all.
As a rookie in 2018-2020 you played in the G-League and in the NBA for Phoenix and Miami coming form a NCAA 2 school. Not many NCAA 2 guys have reached the NBA. If someone had told you going into your senior year at Lincoln Memorial that you would play in the NBA what would you have thought?
Honestly I said that I would reach the NBA. I told my mom in the summer before 10th grade I want to go to the NBA. I didn’t have that much confidence then despite saying it, but my mom made it more realistic for me. Senior year was like a blur for me. We were beating teams by 20 points each night. At the end of the season we had our last game on Saturday and on Monday I had a try out with the Detroit Pistons. I had no agent and was surprised. The Pistons reached out to coach and gave me a number and coach said good luck to me.
You played in 3 NBA games. What will you always remember most from your NBA experience the most?
I will remember most being around great athletes that are well known. I also won’t forget working with great coaching staffs. I remember seeing so many stars in the stands. I also won’t forget being around high level players like Dwayne Wade and Jamal Crawford. I will never forget their response to me being there. They were happy for me. They also told me that if I kept doing well, there should be no reason why I shouldn’t be in the NBA.
You played your first NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers being very efficient in 9 minutes scoring 5 points, getting 3 boards, 1 assist and 2 steals. What still comes to mind with your first game?
I remember this game well. I remember having my warm up suit on and being tense. I would unbutton it a few times thinking I might get in. Then coach pointed at me and I got a rush. It was actually my first NBA game I played in before ever having been at a NBA game. I have never been at a NBA game as a spectator.
How disappointing was it not battling against Lebron James? Was it somewhat of a consolation seeing an older Rajon Rondo in action?
Lebron was resting. It was cool to see him though. I remember when I checked in, a guy was at the free throw line. I remember Michael Beasley being to my left and Rajon Rondo was on my right. They were taunting me playfully like that Big bro little bro thing. It was their warm welcome to me to the NBA, but they were nice. They were very positive to me.
What kind of an experience was it playing together with Devin Booker? Does he sometimes get lost in the shuffle with the best in the NBA because he plays for a losing team?
I remember Devin being a player that would do anything to help impact a team to win. When I was there things just weren’t clicking for the team, but that’s life. I remember him always encouraging his teammates and doing anything to win. I remember when my 10 day stay was over that he called me and said that I deserved to have the spot and to keep going and that he was looking forward to seeing me again.
You played 1 game for the Miami Heat and was lucky to witness Dwayne Wade. What did it mean to be teammates with him and how did he handle you as a guy who was there for only a very short time?
He was so humble right from day 1 when I was there. There was the main locker room and then another one for the 10 day guys. I remember bumping into Udonis Haslem and he congratulating me and Dwayne Wade said ‘congrats young fella, it’s good that you’re here. I remember the first day of practice and it was Wade, Ryan Anderson and me doing a drill. I said to Wade that I would set up a pin down for Anderson and he said we can do that. Anderson hit the shot. Assistant coach Juwan Howard asked me who had taught me that. He said that the way the play was run was elite.
What was the best example that you saw during your time in the NBA and G-League that it is a business and nothing more?
I saw a lot of examples. There will never be any bad blood from me to the NBA. I saw that the NBA was a business when I was with the Thunder in the NBA Summer League. I always went hard from day one and always came in early. I was always friendly when talking with the higher ups. That showed me that despite all I did, I would only be good enough for an Exhibition 10 contract or for the G-League. I questioned myself if I really wanted to go through that again. Everybody wants that NBA contract I decided to try a different route with Europe. You can’t question the NBA process but fall in love with it.
Your only in your second professional season. How present is the NBA still in your mind. Loads of guys have come to Europe from the NBA and returned.
I love the fact that I was born in 1996. My professional process has been quick and surprising. My main priority now is to continue to build up my resume and help Red Star now. If the NBA doesn’t call now, then I have a big opportunity to perform and present myself in Europe. The NBA will always be there. I just have to be ready.
You played at Lincoln Memorial (NCAA 2) from 2014-2018 wining the SAC tournament in 2016 and 2018. Which title was the sweetest?
I would say the first one. There were like 4,000 people living in that area and 4,000 people filled the arena. That whole season was a blur. I just remember cutting down the net. That is something I will always remember.
You improved your points and rebounds each season at Lincoln Memorial. How do you feel did you develop as a player there best?
D-2 has a lot of amazing athletes. I was able to play for a great coaching staff that took the time to build me up. I remember being in coaches office as a freshman crying real tears. I wanted to be good. Coach Scherz said ‘Emmanuel you’re a great kid, but if you were good today then we would be awful’. I knew then that it would be a long process to become good and I trusted it. I remember assistant coach Omar Wattad telling me as I was going into my junior year that I would be the man on the court. He trusted me. We spoke a couple of hours. I wanted to do well so badly, but it would take time. I thank him to this day that he helped me.
In your sophomore season you had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 8 blocks in a win over Newberry. Was that one of those games where you were in the zone on the defensive end?
Newberry is a team that always plays at a very high pace. They will sub in 5 guys and a few seconds later a new 5. Coach told me that game that he needed me. I knew that I could affect the game with my energy. I knew that If I did that good things would happen.
What memories do you have of Dorian Pinson? He had similar stats that you had at Lincoln Memorial, but as a professional played in the German and Israeli second division. Is this a good example that there are so many talented guys and too little top teams to play for?
He came in the same time as me and left at the same time. He was my roommate for many years. We always pushed each other. These things happen in life with how guys get opportunities. There are so many guys that deserve an opportunity, but don’t get it.
I have interviewed 2 ex Lincoln Memorial players with Vincent Bailey and Dorian Pinson. Bailey said this about your ex coach Josh Schertz ‘He taught me worth ethic, how to be a competitor and how to stay focused on the goal for the team but taking it one day at a time instead of worrying about the end result’. Pinson said this about Schertz ‘Josh Schertz is hands down one of the best coaches I have ever had more than just basketball with him so many life lessons along with trials and tribulations throughout my college career wouldn’t have wanted to go through it with anybody else as my coach better yet a close friend’. How did he groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He was like a second father for me. He constantly reminded us to never remember the time, but the moment. You could always go to him for anything. He always tried to help you become the best version of yourself. He had so much trust in me and allowed me to perform. I benefited a lot from him and he did the same as well.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Rhondi Hackett?
We called him slight 40. He had so much potential. He was my little brother. At the start he was just a shooter, but with time he could play with his face and back to the basket. I had more experience than him and made things tough for him. But I did tell him that he had potential.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA 2 that went to the NBA?
A guy by the name of Daniel Jansen. He was a dog that could shoot the three, but also post up and pass. He wasn’t the quickest, but was a tough cookie. I thought that he was NBA material. I will never forget him.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Lincoln Memorial Sophomore team, Duncan Robinson, Deandre Liggins, Briante Webber
Pleas construct your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Jordan, Lebron, Kobe, Shaq
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
It’s so tough, because they played in different era’s. Lebron is the man now. When I watched the Jordan documentary it really raised eye brows for me. I never watched Jordan so for me it would be Lebron.
What was the last movie that you saw?
50 Cent ‘Get rich or die tryin’.
Thanks Emmanuel for the chat.