Sha’Markus Kennedy (203-F-98, college: McNeese St.) is a 22 year old 203cm forward from Tuscaloosa, Alabama playing his rookie season in Germany with Rasta Vechta. He began the season with Acqua S.Bernardo Cantu (Italy-Serie A) playing 21 games averaging 9.3ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.8bpg, 2FGP: 54.8%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 75.0%. he began his basketball career at Northridge High School where he also participated in track and field. He then played at Chipola College (JUCO) from 2016-2018 playing 59 games and then finished at McNeese State University (NCAA) where he played 68 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 18.6ppg, 10.9rpg, 1.5apg, 2.6bpg, FGP: 68.4%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 84-80 win over the Syntanics MBC
ShaMarkus thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the 84-80 victory. How good did it feel to break the four game losing streak?
It felt good winning again. Everything was clicking for us on offense. A big goal for us is too always keep the opponent at 80 points and we did that tonight.
Do you feel like the tough 82-81 loss to Alba Berlin recently was stuck in your heads for longer than you may have liked?
Yes out of all the games we have had since I have been here that was the toughest to digest. That stuck with me for a long time. We wanted to prove the doubters wrong, because most had us losing by 20 points.
Rasta Vechta led 17-5 in the first quarter thanks too good work in the paint, but then allowed a 14-2 run to allow the guests back into the game. What did the defense get away from in the latter part of the first quarter?
They went to a 2-3 zone which stopped our confidence and slowed us down. When we weren’t scoring it also took a toll on our defense.
In the second quarter both teams began to hit more three’s. Josh Young began the game well and ended the second quarter the way a leader should. What have you been able to pick up from his leadership shills as a rookie?
I like Josh as a mentor and leader. I like how he isn’t afraid to talk. I respect that about him a lot. I remember not knowing who he was when I arrived, but he let it be known from that first day that he was the captain. He really has embraced the leader role. I have never seen that ever before from a player.
What did head coach Derrick Allen tell the guys to do better in the second half?
He just told us to continue to play hard on defense. He told us that as long as we play defense and get out on transition, we will be ok.
In the third quarter MBC got a lead at the start with the help of Michal Michalak What made it so difficult to contain the BBL top scorer Michal Michalak who dropped 23 points?
He is a player that plays at his own pace. We had to live with him making tough shots.
The fourth quarter was really tight and exciting, but at the end Rasta Vechta was able to pull out the win. How huge was the play from Edgar Sosa?
Edgar was huge. In the first quarter he had something like 6 points and I told him that he would get something like 18 points by the end. I knew that he would make big shots in crunch-time. I knew that he would make that shot from the corner. He is so poised and confident with his game.
what has it been battling young German Philipp Herkenhof in practice? Has he given you some useful tips about European basketball?
It hasn’t been Phil as much, but more the older guys like Josh Young, Robin Christen and Dennis Clifford. The biggest form of advice is knowing the different reads on defense.
Let’s talk about your game. How tough has your rookie season been playing in Italy and Germany after having averaged 31 minutes as a senior at Mcneese State? Your only averaging 14 minutes with Rasta Vechta.
It hasn’t been tough. I just came in and tried to embrace my role as best as possible. I played 20 plus minutes at Cantu. I told coach D.A that I didn’t care how many minutes I would play, but I was just happy that I could play and give me an opportunity.
Your were a double double monster at Mcneese State. Despite not putting up those states overseas how do you feel has your game progressed overseas?
I think that I came overseas with confidence. D.A gave me confidence as well as my teammates. Whenever I have been down, my teammates have always been there to pick me up. I didn’t shoot much in college, but shot more jump hooks. I would take normal jump shots in practice, but never in games. I have the confidence now with Vechta to take jump shots in games.
You had many massive rebound games in the NCAA like 21 rebounds against Central Arkansas or 20 rebounds against Nicholls State. How much of a challenge has it been making your mark on the boards overseas?
Rebounding was tough at first, but I had no problems scoring. It took me around a month to assert myself on the glass. I had difficulty with the physicality, but once I found my groove it has gone well.
You began the season in Italy. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Italy where you knew that you were very far away from home?
My wake up call was only hearing English at practice. Every where else if it was in the store or in a restaurant, I wouldn’t hear English. It took me time to get used to that. It has been great in Germany. Everybody knows English here. I really like to talk to people and to get to know them.
Joe Dumars the legendary Detroit Piston is probably the most well known player that had played at Mcneese State, but do you remember ever hearing stories about point guard Demond Mallet who played at your school?
I heard the name Demond from my coach.
Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?
That’s tough. Him not having a ring plays a big role in his stance. I think he is at least top 7. I like Chris Paul. He has been affecting teams his whole career. It doesn’t matter if the team is good or bad, he is always able to make the team better. He has had a big effect on the Suns this year.
How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points this season and recently 60. Where will his journey go as a player in the next years?
Yes for sure. After the Lebron and Durant era, he will be battling Luka Doncic as best player in the league. He is already leaving a big mark. It is crazy as he hasn’t been in the league that long.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
No I disagree. Westbrook makes everyone around him better. He has a game that nobody has ever seen before. He can shoot, but if he was able to shoot even better, he would have the most complete game ever.
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
No I disagree. He is top 10 though. For me Dennis Rodman is the greatest defender of all-time.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
No I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t understand why they made a sequel. It has been so long since the original.
Thanks Shamarkus for the chat.