Every now and then there will be that NBA connection with a player or players that are playing in Germany. One of the best examples ever concerning guys that have played in Germany were Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce who played in the EasyCredit BBL and were best known as having that special connection to Lebron James as all three played together at St Vincent in Akron when they were in high school. These NBA-German connections aren´t abundant, but every now and then there will be one. As I was back home in January 2018, I was back to practicing one of my childhood loves getting autographs and on January 16th, I waited before a Boston Celtics game in front of a posh 5 star Boston hotel for the New Orleans Pelicans who would lose a tough 116-113 nail bitter. There were some nice players on the team, but I was most interested in seeing ex Kentucky great Anthony Davis who came out of the hotel entrance greeted with many screams and he didn´t disappoint scribbling his initials for everyone. Another player I was interested in was Darius Miller who was back in the NBA after playing in Germany for Bamberg and helping them win titles. I had interviewed him in Germany and he actually remembered me. The team had many younger players, but also a real true NBA veteran with Jameer Nelson who had carved out a nice career at Saint Josephs (NCAA). This would be his last professional season as he would play 14 NBA seasons averaging double figures in scoring in 9 seasons and had his hey day with the Orlando Magic. I remember him exiting the hotel and being very kind and signing for all and even posed with me for a selfie. I hadn´t thought about Jameer Nelson for a long time, but then his name popped up again as I was checking Josh Sharkey´s bio at Wikipedia. The American is a rookie with German Pro A team Tigers Tuebingen and is the cousin of the ex NBA player. So there I was preparing questions for the American rookie and could add some extra questions about Jameer Nelson. It doesn´t happen so often, but every now and then there is that’ special NBA connection with another American player in a German league. Nelson isn´t just another cousin for him, but a huge mentor that has been massive for his development as a player. “He was and still is my role model. I fell in love with this game at a young age from watching two people play . Allen Iverson and my cousin Jameer Nelson. From me watching him play at St Joes university all the way to the NBA I always wanted to model my game after his. As I got older we got closer and he is someone I can go to and talk to about anything with. Life, basketball, business, etc. He’s a big brother/cousin, and father figure to me. I’ve learned so much from him not only in basketball but in life He’s taught me so much and I appreciate him for that. Like I said earlier he is the true definition of what it means to be a professional. He really taught me what it means to really work hard. He’s a great father and husband just a great family man overall. I’m lucky to have someone like him in my life. That’s something I’m grateful for. I have someone in my life that’s been where I want to be in my family”, warned Josh Sharkey. The many great moments with ex NBA player Jameer Nelson have been priceless. “One that is pretty funny is he actually made me get in my first cold tub ever. I think this was the summer going into my freshman year at Samford we had just got done working out for the second time that day and I was probably complaining about being sore so he asked the St Joes trainer could we use the cold tub. Mind you before this I had never been in one so I don’t really know what to expect. So he’s giving me all this advice I’m acting like a know it all like yeah yeah I know whatever it’s probably not even that cold. So I go get in the tub and it was the coldest feeling I ever had in my life. Five seconds in I got out it was too cold. So he’s clowning me he goes gets the trainer she comes in starts clowning me with him haha so now I’m like ok I have to get in now I get back in I’m like no way I can do this I’m asking for heat packs, towels to squeeze while I’m in there it was so cold I almost started crying I probably lasted not even two minutes in that tub but yeah he got me getting in cold tubs before I even got to college”, remembered Josh Sharkey. Having that Jameer Nelson love and loving how people underestimate him has helped Josh Sharkey(Tigers Tuebingen) become the player he is today.
Josh Sharkey was born on September 10th, 1997 in Philadelphia and grew up in Radnor, Pennsylvania. He began his basketball career at Archbishop Carroll High School. A few years later he would play against future NBA players on a regular basis in the NCAA, but he was blessed already in high school to be able to call future NBA player Derrick Jones as a teammate. “What’s crazy is Derrick and I actually played with each other before my time at Carroll. So we were familiar with each other’s game once I came to Carroll. But I mean you definitely knew from day 1 that he was an NBA talent. I was actually just telling someone the other day he is the greatest dunker I have ever seen with my own two eyes. The things he is capable of doing are just crazy to think of it’s really like a video game. But Derrick is a hard worker and you can see each year he comes back better than he was the year before and each year his role with whatever team he is on increases. But to answer your question it was amazing to play with Derrick and he made my job extremely easy. All I had to do was throw it close to the rim and he would go and get it. It’s great to see him live out his dream. He is a really great guy”, expressed Josh Sharkey. He was named to the roster of the annual Philly/New York City Classic, which showcases some the best high school talent in the Northeast. He proved to be one of only 10 players in the Philadelphia area to earn the distinction. He got a lot of interest from schools like Dayton, Penn State, East Carolina, Wofford, Tulsa, James Madison, Boston University, Penn, Quinnipiac and Fairleigh Dickinson, but in the end chose Samford. He played at Samford from 2016-2020 playing a total of 128 NCAA games. In his freshman year he played 36 game averaging: 8.2ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.2apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 21.7%, FT: 72.0%. He started only 2 games in his freshman year and was the backup to Christen Cunningham, but is thankful that he could soak up so much valuable information to help his game as a young buck. “That’s my big brother. I learned so much from him and he was actually the reason I ultimately decided to go to Samford. He was my host of my official visit and we clicked from day 1. He was also a big reason why I took that big jump from sophomore year to junior year. Learning from him and competing against him in practice every day only made me better as a player. CC is a traditional PG. he gets guys in the right spots, he leads vocally and with action, gets guys involved and scores when the team needs him to. Really appreciate him”, said Josh Sharkey. He scored in double figures in 16 games including 23 points in a loss against Furman, 18 points in a win against Citadel and 15 points in a victory over S Alabama. He led the conference in steals with 71 and set a team single season record with 71 steals. He was named to the Socon all freshman team. In his sophomore season he played 29 games averaging 7.4ppg, 2.1rpg, 5.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 19.2%, FT: 75.4%. He scored in double figures in 8 games including a 25 points effort in a loss against NC Greensboro and 16 points in a loss against VMI.
The American´s game took a huge rise in his junior year as he played 33 games averaging 16.3ppg, 3.8rpg, 7.2apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 75.0%. He scored in double figures in 30 games and registered 7 double doubles. His best scoring games included 27 points against Chattanooga and Mercer. He also scored 25 points in a win over PFW and had 24 points against Houston Baptist, Mercer and NC Greensboro. He set a school record 16 assists in a wild 107-106 loss against Wofford which he will never forget. “That was probably the best and most entertaining game I was a part of in my entire career. Back and forth the entire game I think we actually made sports center after it but yeah I broke the record was a great game but just wish we could’ve pulled that one out. We were on the road, very tough to win at Wofford and they had a great player in Fletcher Magee who is one of the best college basketball shooters of all time. So I actually made the layup to give us a 106-105 lead with about 5 seconds left. They inbound the ball to my man he comes down takes a one leg fadeaway and it goes in at the buzzer. We were crushed to have competed that hard against one of the best teams in the league on the road to come up short like that hurt. But yeah definitely one of the most entertaining games I ever played in”, added Josh Sharkey. He also had good memories playing against VMI and always had to be prepared to give an extra good effort against that school. “You could say that it was expected they were the team to end my career. But I loved and hated the VMI games because me going to Samford meant my family wouldn’t get to see me play in person as much due to the distance from Philly and Birmingham. So when we would go to VMI Virginia is 5 hours away so my family would come and I would feel like I had to play well for them because they didn’t get to see me in person that often. What sucks about the VMI games was then11 hour bus ride there and back to campus lol brutal”, stated Josh Sharkey. It was also in his junior year and not his senior season where he felt he had his best NCAA game. “I wound say my best college game was my junior year against Jacksonville State University. I think I finished with 22 points 10 assists like 6 or 7 rebounds and 8 steals but the most important thing was we won that game so I would say that one for sure”, remembered Josh Sharkey. He was named to the All-SoCon 2nd Team.
In his senior year, he was able to make another huge jump in his college development playing 30 games averaging 18.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 7.2apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 77.3%. he had a very logical explanation for why his game rose so drastically in his last two years. “I think me putting the work in just helped with my confidence. So when I came back my junior year I was shooting the ball better, watched film so I wasn’t making the same mistakes I just grew as a player and the work I put in showed on the court my last two seasons. Also there was now opportunity for me to be the player I am with some upper class men graduating and some transferring. My junior year was the first year I felt a sense of responsibility. It was my responsibility to bring it every day I was now the upperclassman so I had to take it to another level and I did that.”, stressed Josh Sharkey. He scored in double figures in 26 games and scored 20 points or more in 12 games. He scored 35 points in a loss against Chattanooga, scored 30 points in a loss against W Carolina and 27 points a piece in wins against Auburn-Montgomery and Citadel. Players will always remember those amazing moments on the court, but the NCAA isn´t all about the amount of buckets or wins and loses, but there is so much more in a college player´s experience. “ Just every single game putting that Samford jersey on was special. People don’t realize how fast it goes by. I wish I could’ve been in the moment at times a little more than I was but just having the opportunity to play at Samford was a great experience . To play at a school that believed in me when nobody else did and to be able to go to such a great school education wise was a blessing. I enjoyed every moment all the good and all the bad because it shaped me into who I am today. Both as a person and basketball player”, remembered Josh Sharkey. The American also knows that he wouldn´t be the player he is today if it hadn´t been for head coach Scott Padgett helping him get prepared for the professional grind. “I think the way the professional game is played now we see a lot of teams use pick n roll sets. Coach Padgett put me in a lot of pick n rolls throughout my career and I was very effective in them and that has made my transition to the pro game easier because we use a lot of pick n roll sets so that’s something I’m already familiar and used to”, said Josh Sharkey. He was named to the All-SoCon 3rd Team.
There was a big gap between his last NCAA game on March 6th against VMI and being signed by the Tigers Tuebingen in September. But the worst thing was having to abruptly end his college career and then not going out the way college seniors usually do after four years. “My experience with Covid was very unfortunate, pretty much just like everyone else’s and it just honestly came at a really bad time. I didn’t physically experience the virus but it definitely was tough for me mentally. Just having to realize that my senior year and last semester of college was cut short due to the virus was tough to swallow. Our season had just ended so it didn’t really affect the basketball season for me but just to not be able to walk the campus as a student again and to not get the proper graduation ceremony with my fellow seniors was hard to deal with. I feel like I didn’t get the goodbye myself and the whole senior class deserved. I learned to appreciate the time spent with my teammates. Sometimes people don’t understand but it’s really like having a whole new family. The bonds and relationships I made with the teammates I had is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Sometimes I go back and look at some of the old photos and videos I have from my four years and we really created some great memories together. I still talk to a lot of the guys I played with and that brotherhood is something that will always last and I’m grateful for that”, warned Josh Sharkey. Just like everyone else on earth, his life was heavily affected by COVID-19 off the court, but on the court he didn´t have to look for innovative ways to stay in shape and work on his game. “It really wasn’t that hard for me to stay in shape. I was still able to get gym access and work on my game daily. For those who know me and know my story they know the type of relationship I have with my cousin Jameer Nelson. He is a person in my life that I really look up to and try to model myself after. True definition of what a professional is. One thing he tells me is to always stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. So during this tough time we are in I was still able to get in the gym and work with some great trainers. As far as concentrating on trying to find a job with a team, that was difficult. Covid really messed the plans I had for myself up. I’m confident that I would’ve had the opportunity to at least workout for some NBA teams and maybe put myself in a position to make a team. With Covid happening it really crushed my plan and made it even more difficult for a guy like me undersized and coming from a mid major D1 school to do what I wanted to do. So I had to rearrange my plan and go a different direction. My agent thought it was best I consider going overseas my rookie year because we knew what the reality was. Months went by and I still didn’t have a job offer and it was tough. I’m working hard every day trying to get better and still no calls or nothing. So September comes around and I finally get that call and opportunity I was waiting for and it was honestly one of the best moments of my life”, stressed Josh Sharkey. COVID-19 has had a toll on everyone, but like many the American made the best of the situation and tried to benefit as best as possible. “I think it has made me stronger mentally more than anything. These are very very tough times we are living in and it can really take a toll on you mentally. I know we are supposed to be taking precautions trying to stay safe and that usually means staying inside more than we normally would but I encourage people to get out and just get some fresh air. Staying inside all the time not being able to interact with people can really cause people to go into funks and bad moods. Mental health is something I am big on so I encourage people to get out even if it’s just for a couple minutes and do something to help your mental. Make sure to wear your masks though”, warned Josh Sharkey.
Now let´s fast forward to February 2021. COVID-19 is still causing havoc around the world, but Josh Sharkey who lists Tony Carr Myron Gordon Lamar Stevens Derrick Jones Ruben Guerrero as his best teammates of all-time remembers his toughest foes in the NCAA with Cav´s Dylan Windler and Boston Celtic Grant Williams is staying positive despite the world problems. He didn´t sign early in the summer or in the middle of the summer, but very late. The waiting definitely paid off as he knows 100% that he is in a place where he is totally wanted. “The summer transfer period was very challenging. I wasn’t getting many offers, was getting some calls but nothing serious so when the opportunity to play with the Tigers came it was a no brainer for me and I was excited to start my professional career with them because they believed in me when nobody else did. I’ve been an underdog my entire life always having to prove I belong. I did it in high school, college and now my professional career so I’m definitely used to it and I embrace it. Really just adds some extra fuel to my fire and makes me work even harder. So my agent go the call from the club and within days coach Danny Jansson called me personally on the phone and we had a great conversation and had an understanding of what the club wanted from me. Perfect fit”, warned Josh Sharkey. There are so many guys not playing due to COVID-19 with leagues postponed or just not getting offers. One could say despite all the tough circumstances, the American is sitting on top of the world in Germany. “I´m really grateful for the opportunity to play especially with the crazy times we are in now. The basketball life has been both good and challenging. It’s been great learning from my coaches and getting better every day with my teammates. I’ve grown tremendously in the three months I’ve been here and will continue to keep growing and getting better each day. The challenging part is obviously dealing with this virus. It’s been tough with games getting canceled and several teams and organizations having to quarantine due to positive tests throughout the season. It takes a toll on you mentally but at the same time I’m still grateful to even have a job and to be able to play the game I love professionally Working for something your whole life and it finally becoming your reality is one of the best feelings in this world and it’s working out great. I love it over here In Germany. Tübingen is an amazing city and I’m really enjoying my experience this far”, stressed Josh Sharkey.
If you look at the standings of leagues around the world you will see huge differences in games played as each organization has to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and pray every night that a player isn´t tested positive. Not knowing the future of if games will be played or the league postponed can really get into a guy´s head. “It’s tough! It can really throw off your rhythm when games get canceled or when you have to quarantine for several weeks. As competitors we want to play every chance we can get so when we find out a game is postponed or something like that it kind of sucks the life and motivation out of you. But this is the reality we live in now and we know what we signed up for so we have to be professional about it and stay ready the best way we can. Only the strong will come out on top of this so yes it’s tough but at the same time you have to be mentally strong in order to be successful”, stated Josh Sharkey. The second league club is only in 12th place with a record of 6-11, but the American remembered back in December 2020 what will help the team be successful down the road. “We are off to a rough start but at the same time I have hope because we have yet to play a game where the whole team is healthy. We’ve been in every game for the most part so I’m very confident when we all get on the same page and are all healthy we will be just fine. We have a very versatile team. When we put it all together and we will soon we will be very scary for opponents. Our strength is we have a lot of guys that can do different things. We are very versatile and one thing about this team is everyone seems to have an understanding of what their role is and we all want the same thing and that is to win. When we put it all together I think we can make this a special season and do something that hasn’t been done here in a while. Right now we are struggling defensively but I’m confident we will turn things around on that end”, added Josh Sharkey. The team is very young which can be a disadvantage at times, but also be an advantage. “We are a young team like you said, don’t have a lot of experience but we thing we have is hunger and a chip on our shoulders. Everyone in the league knows we have a young team so that respect level isn’t there, so it’s our job to fix that. We have to come out and prove ourselves and prove that just because we are young doesn’t mean anything and we are professionals just like everyone else. Just another challenge for us to conquer”, warned Josh Sharkey. The team also seems to be very tight. The American has some other talented Americans by his side like Troy Simons as well as experienced Germans like Roland Nyama and Enosch Wolf who won a NCAA title with Kemba Walker at UConn. “It’s been really fun playing with Troy. In the three months I’ve been here me, Troy and Isaiah have gotten close on and off the court so that chemistry is there and it’s really fun playing with those guys. Troy is a high level shooter so he makes my job a lot easier and his ability to shoot it so well sometimes opens up different lanes for me to create and make plays. Those German guys have been helping me and the other young guys adjust to the professional game. They bring the intensity and energy every day in practice so they really set the standard and it’s great to have guys like that on your team. I actually haven’t talked to Enosch about it but I’m sure it’s something we will talk about eventually”, said Josh Sharkey. The American has had a great personal season and credits the organization for the simple adjustment. “It’s honestly been the confidence my coaches and teammates have given me. They make it easier for me to go out there and be me. They have trust in me that I will make the right play and when your coaches and teammates trust and believe in you it’s give you confidence. They have really helped with my transition from college to pros and they push me every day to be better than I was the day before. So I give all the credit to them”, stressed Josh Sharkey.
The American who lists his personal NBA Mount Rushmore with the obvious heads of Allen Iverson LeBron James Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant is a unique player that finds it hard to list some NBA players that he could compare his game to, but if he had to name some, he would take Kemba Walker, Ish Smith and Yogi Ferrell. It is obvious he can score buckets and give out bundles of dimes, but he can do so much more on the offensive end as currently he is averaging 16,1ppg, 3,4rpg, 5,9apg and 1,7spg. “I’m a point guard that plays both sides of the ball. Yes I can score and pass at a high level but I can also pick you up 94 ft and guard you all the way up the court. I think my ability to guard is very underrated. I can get into passing lanes and find different ways to be that annoying pest on the defensive end. Ultimately I am a team player that’s my biggest asset. I’m willing to do whatever the team needs me to do to win”, warned Josh Sharkey. When you’re a small player, you have to be very confident to succeed in the cruel basketball world and it is no different with his three pointer. He has vastly improved it and his hard work has paid off as he is shooting an incredible 48% at the moment and is very confident that he can become that reliable strong consistent shooter. “I’ve worked extremely hard on it throughout the years. My freshman and sophomore years at Samford I shot poorly from the three point line. That summer going into my junior year I put hours and hours and hours in. Working with Jameer and Jameer JR every single day getting tons of reps and shots up. Jameer showed me what it meant to be a professional and me putting that work in resulted in my confidence going up which then resulted in my percentage to go up as well. So I really worked hard and still have a long way to go but in the next few years I want to be known as a knock down shooter can’t leave him open type of player. And I will be”, warned Josh Sharkey. The last movie that he watched is the Wolf of Wallstreet and fans in Europe won´t only see his great offensive game down the road, but also his defensive qualities and others that he is working on improving. “I take a lot of pride on the defensive end. Early in my career that was my way onto the court. I was known has a defensive player he could be a play maker at the same time. Now I’ve added to my game so people sometimes overlook that aspect of my game but it’s still there and is something I take a lot of pride in. I’m really working on all areas of my game. I’m always looking for something to improve on whether it’s tightening up my handle, extending my range, getting stronger, getting better defensively, different layup and floater finishes. I’m never satisfied so I’m constantly trying to find ways to improve my game”, stressed Josh Sharkey. A lot has changed in his game over the years, but one thing that will never change is his chip on his shoulder. Nothing surprises the diminutive point guard anymore and any negativity that is thrown his way is seen more as a motivation. “It’s not really tough for me I think because I’m used to it now and I’ve kind of embraced it. I’ve had to prove myself my whole life so it’s nothing new to me. I love it I love when people underestimate me because of my size. I’ve heard it all throughout my basketball career and all the doubt just motivates me to prove them wrong. Just because I’m small doesn’t mean I can’t dominate. So that’s the mentality I have. I’ve had a chip on my shoulders since I started playing the game. But me coming from where I come from the city of Philadelphia you are battled tested at an early age. So me making it out of there is just proof that I can do anything. So when someone says I won’t do this or I won’t do that because of my size it doesn’t faze me because I know I can do anything I put my mind to and work for”, warned Josh Sharkey. He is just at the beginning of his basketball career, but one thing is for sure the love from cousin Jameer Nelson will always be present and the love from all his haters that he continues to fuel into very positive energy that has brought him this far and will continue to help him rise up the basketball ladder in the future.