J J Cratit is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Miami, Florida That is playing his second professional season with TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-2.Regionalliga) In his rookie season with TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-2.Regionalliga), he averaged 23,0ppg. He played at 3 schools from 2014-2017 with Lewis and Clark Community College (JUCO) playing 24 games averaging 14.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 75.4%, Central Connecticut State University (NCAA) playing 18 games averaging 7.4ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 29.8%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 61.9% and Missouri Southern State University (NCAA2) playing 27 games averaging 14.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 79.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com late in the summer about his basketball career.
Thanks JJ for your time. Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?
I’m currently in Noerdlingen, Germany getting ready for the season. My summer was pretty good actually, spent a lot of time with family and friends, thank you.
Talk a little how tough the last 9 months were. COVID-19 hit in March and changed the world forever. How did experience the day to day back home?
It definitely was rough, I was working at the time and was let go due to the pandemic so I was stuck at home with nothing to do, nowhere to go.
What was the most challenging thing about life and and finding ways to work on your fitness and game?
The most challenging thing was finding a gym to consistently workout in. All indoor gyms were closed as well as outdoor courts, so I only worked out at the house for a good amount of time, but it was better than doing nothing.
How do you feel did you benefit from COVID-19 and how did it make you stronger as a man in general?
I honestly never paid attention to all the news on the t.v, newspapers, Internet, etc. I just kept faith and put my trust in god and kept moving forward with my life, realized sooner or later everything would be okay.
Your last season was in 2017-2018 with the giants Nordlingen and didn’t play in Europe in the last 2 seasons. Did you play semi-pro in the States and how did you earn a living in this time?
I didn’t play semi-pro but I played in a pro league that we have back home and it’s every summer, great league, great competition, it’s getting bigger & better every year.
Congrats on resigning with the Nordlingen Giants. How glad are you to be back in Nordlingen and what did you miss the most from the city?
Thank you! I’m really glad to be back in Noerdlingen, never knew I would be back so soon. I would say that I definitely missed the fans and people of Noerdlingen, they treated me well and welcomed me with open arms.
The club already wanted to get you back last season, but failed. What were the main reasons for having to wait another year to come back?
I just wanted to make sure that I was stepping into a good situation without any problems, and I also wanted to make sure everything was okay with my family back home before I took off.
Let’s talk a little about your game. You proved to have been a consistent scorer in various leagues. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
This is a tough one but I would say Paul George, just from the simple fact that we both can create our shot offensively, can score in the post, mid range, and from the three. I just need to tighten up my handles more, always room for improvement.
You can fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is your biggest asset on the floor?
Just being a vocal leader and being the best teammate I can be. We have a lot of young guys on the team so it’s important for me to be that leader and to help them in any way possible.
How do you feel are you a different player now then in 2018? What kind of a player will we see with you this time around?
Not much of a difference, my game is still the same somewhat, it’s more seasoned. Added on some more muscle to my body to keep up with the physicality of overseas ball.
On what things did you work on this summer so you will make an even greater impact in your second season in Germany?
Really just finding and picking my spots on the offensive end. I dealt with a lot of teams doubling me when I last played in Germany so that’s the main thing I worked on.
In your first season with the Giants Nordlingen you averaged 23,0ppg. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Germany where you knew that you were far away from home?
Not much of a wake up call, I’m used to being on my own due to playing at different colleges back in the states, I just had to adjust to the different culture in Germany, it was very new to me, something I’ve never experienced before.
What was your fondest memory from your rookie season with Nordlingen? You played a big role in the club staying in the second Regionalliga.
Just seeing the great support from our fans at every home game, even though we didn’t have the season we wanted, they still showed up to our games no matter what our record was.
You began your college career at Lewis and Clark Community College (JUCO) playing 24 games averaging 14.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 75.4%. How do you feel did you profit most from playing JUCO? Players continue to tell me you get tough in JUCO.
Juco was definitely a great experience that I needed, it taught me a lot. We played in a tough conference with great players that went on to play at big division 1 schools. It makes you tough because everyone you’re playing against is fighting for the same D1 dream, it was a battle every time I stepped on that court but I enjoyed it, went up against D1 prospects pretty much every game.
You then made it to the NCAA with Central Connecticut State University (NCAA) playing 18 games averaging 7.4ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 29.8%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 61.9%. After playing JUCO did your competition level continue to grow as the hunger to prove all wrong continued to grow?
Not really, the competition level wasn’t anything I’ve never seen before, I would say my juco conference had better competition compared to when I was at Central Connecticut State.
It was a tough year, because you didn’t win much. How do you feel did your game make most strides in the NCAA?
Very tough year, I honestly didn’t make any strides that year, which is the main reason why I transferred, in the end it just didn’t work out, I had to do what was best for my career.
You had one of your best NCAA games against Boston College scoring 20 points. What memories do you have from that game?
I just remember I had it going early during that game, my confidence was through the roof, didn’t care who I was going against. I just love playing under the bright lights, big stages, it just brings something out of me. I like being the underdog.
Do you remember battling Eli Carter who averaged 16,00ppg in the NCAA. He didn’t have a easy professional route and has been out of basketball since 2017. Does the fact that his career showing just how difficult it can be to make it as a pro despite having a strong senior year help easen your situation a bit seeing that even established NCAA guys won’t make it?
Yes I remember watching him when he was playing at Florida, very talented point guard. Making it overseas professionally can be tough at times, everyone’s path is different but if it’s something that you truly want to pursue you just got to continue to work and be patient, that’s a huge key to being in this business.
What kind of experience was it playing for ex NBA player Donyell Marshall. How do you remember your relationship with him and how did you learn best from him?
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to play for Donyell, I already made the decision to transfer when he was hired. I did get the chance to have a meeting with him before I left, very down to earth guy, great attitude, played with Lebron James so he knows the game very well. I’m sure guys enjoy playing for him.
You finished at Missouri Southern State University (NCAA2) playing 27 game averaging 14.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 79.6%. How do you feel did your game mature in your last year?
My game definitely took a huge step my senior year, best year of my college career. I wished I could’ve played all four years at Missouri Southern State, that’s how great of a program they have going on in Joplin. Loved every minute of it.
You had some tough loses like against Central Oklahoma 83-82 where you scored 21 points but also had super games. What was your fondest moment on the court there?
My greatest moment from that year was when we beat Northwest Missouri on our home floor, they were the number 1 team in the country. They were tough but we came up with the perfect game plan to beat them that night, I’ll never forget that game.
How did head coach Jeff Boschee help groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Boschee helped me a lot with my game, especially on the defensive end. He’s also a great offensive minded coach and knows the game from top to bottom, he played for Coach Roy Williams at the University of Kansas and started all four years. I really enjoyed taking pointers and learning from him, all around great coach.
What was it like having 173cm guard CJ Carr as a teammate? He also hasn’t had an easy road, but continues to grind and find pro teams? How big was the competitive level between you two?
Having CJ as a teammate was great. We both had transferred in from our division 1 schools that year so we connected instantly. CJ is a gym rat, constantly working on his game to get better, I don’t see him having any problems finding pro teams the rest of his career, he’s never satisfied and wants to continue to prove doubters wrong. Me and CJ battled all year long during the season, it just made us better individually, I enjoyed having him as my point guard.
Who won a one on one in practice you or CJ Carr who is 20cm shorter than you?
Me and CJ never really had one on ones during practice, we were always matched up with teammates our size, but sometimes during scrimmages he would score on me and I would score on him.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA or anywhere that went to the NBA?
I played against Bobby Portis and Grayson Allen at a couple AAU travel ball tournaments, they were tough.
Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Antravious Simmons CJ Carr Elyjah Clark Burak Eslik Lawrence Brown
Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present players?
Lebron James Kevin Durant Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant Dwyane Wade
What is your personal opinion between the never ending debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James concerning who is the greatest of all-time?
I try to avoid this debate between Jordan and Lebron, but to me Lebron James is an all around better player than Jordan in points, rebounds, assists, blocks. Jordan has the rings and he definitely had that killer instinct that Lebron can’t match. Lebron still has a lot of years left to play and it looks like he won’t be slowing down anytime soon, so I’m not sure who’s the greatest of all time.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Spider-Man Far From Home.
Thanks JJ for the chat.