The Perseverance From Being Overlooked His Whole Career Has Carried Terrell Harris(Hakro Merlins) From Iserlohn To The BBL Cup Final

Terrell Harris (191-G-1993, college: Georgia Coll., agency: Players Group) is a 28 year old 190cm guard from Indiantown, Florida that finished his fifth professional season and second with the NINERS Chemnitz (Germany-ProA) averaging 11,4ppg, 3,3rpg and 3,9apg. He will play his sixth professional season with the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. In 2019-2020 in the Pro A with the Ninners he averaged 14,1ppg, 2,6rpg and 5,0apg. In 2018-2019 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%. Three 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 after reaching the 2022 easyCredit BBL cup final.

Terrell, thanks for talking to Congrats on reaching the BBL Cup final. The Hakro Merlins didn’t win, but gave absolutely everything and were down only by 3 points with a minute to play. How proud are you of who the team fought this weekend?

It was a tough battle, Berlin executed down the stretch when they need to and came away with an earned victory. I’m proud of the way we fought all weekend, we will learn from it and build on moving forward.

The weekend began with a huge win over Braunschweig. The game was up and down for three quarters tied 57-57. How was the mood of the team going into the fourth quarter? What do you remember Sebastian Gleim telling the troops in the huddle?

Sebastian is a very intense guy, he’s always pushing us to the best of our abilities throughout the game. He just told us to focus on one play at a time.

In the fourth quarter TJ Shorts showed why he is the number 1 MVP candidate. How confident were you that as usual TJ would come through and lead the team into the final?

TJ is TJ, he’s unbelievable and lives for these moments. Once he gets a few going in he scores in bunches. Nobody in this league can guard him.

How tough was it containing David Kramer on this day? He had 25 points. I remember him telling me 6 years ago in an interview with me that his goal was the NBA. I didn’t laugh, but was amazed by his self-confidence. He did play in the G-League and continues to develop his game. What steps have you seen him make in the last two years?

Kramer is a good player, he can shoot the ball very well. Once Tookie Brown went out he had to try to take over the game. They have a very good young team and system over there that allows them to just play freely. I haven’t kept up with him to be honest but hopefully he reaches all his goals professional wise.

How refreshing is it seeing the work of Jesus Ramierz. You have seen how well a Spanish coach works with Rodrigo Pastore in Chemnitz. What do you believe has been the secret of Braunschweig’s success this season?

I haven’t really kept up with them as much but it seems like it’s working for them. They do a good job of competing, I wish him nothing but the best moving forward as well.

How did you personally wake up on Sunday morning. How were you feeling mentally remembering you had lost by 32 points a week ago in Berlin?

I woke up liking our chances, the week prior we didn’t come in focused so they beat us pretty good. We knew we had to compete to give ourself a chance.

The Hakro Merlins were really motivated and led by 4 points at the break. It was like day and night from a week ago. Was the team just better rested despite having played 24 hours earlier? What adjustments did the team make?

We just came out more focused and ready to compete from the jump ball. Alba is a good team so you have to be ready from the start to finish to even have a chance.

Alba Berlin came out refocused in the third quarter and won the quarter 25-15. Was Berlin’s biggest adjustment doing a better job with their help from the bigs on Shorts?

They made some tough baskets and we broke down a little on the execution side but the game of basketball is full of runs every team have a moment of breakdowns. It’s just a matter of when and how fast you bounce back.

In the fourth quarter it looked like Alba Berlin had the game wrapped up leading by 14, but the Merlins went on a crazy 16-5 run to cut the Berlin lead down to 79-76. Did you see the killer instinct in TJ Shorts eyes when down by 14 points.

Once again the game is full of runs, you have to stay level headed and poised. 10-15 point leads are nothing at this level.

Alba Berlin closed out the game with a 7-0 run by Maodo Lo. Was a little inexperience in big games and fatigue something that hindered the Merlins to get over the hump?

At that point everyone is tired from both sides. They executed very good and hit some big shots. Hats off to them they have a great team.

TJ Shorts combined for 56 points and 13 assists. With all respect to Parker Jackson-Cartwright of Bonn, but is TJ Shorts the number one MVP candidate after his performance at the cup weekend?

I’m taking TJ over any point guard in the BBL, not for what he did at the cup but the body of work for the first half of the season. We also played Bonn in Crailsheim and we have them coming out the break. Cartwright is a good player that’s leading his team as well. No disrespect to his game. The awards I will leave to you media guys. Our focus will be on the second half and improving. Everything else will play out like it’s supposed to.

How much will a tough loss like this motivate TJ Shorts? Could the final loss be like a blessing in disguise for how TJ will perform in the stretch run?

He’s already a highly motivated guy, I’m sure he will continue playing the way he’s been playing coming off the break.

Crailsheim got a huge addition with Jon Axel Gudmundsson. For a guy that had so much freedom last season from Gleim in Frankfurt, it’s a little difficult t understand why he is playing no factor at the moment. Will he make more of an impact in the stretch run?

We have a great team here. I’m sure coming out of the break he will help us moving forward. We have a lot of basketball to go. We are going to need everyone.

If someone had said two years ago that in 2022 that Chemnitz and Crailsheim would be in the cup final 4, people would have laughed. Please talk about the incredible development both organizations have taken where you have been a part of

Both clubs are doing a tremendous job building their organization up. They are both managed and coached well. Both started from Pro A and earned their right to be here. It was just a matter of time for Rodrigo, he has a great system I’m not surprised at all by the success they are having. Sebastian is on a mission himself as well, he’s proving he belongs up there with the best. Both coaches have bright and long careers ahead of them. Also both organizations will for sure be competing in their leagues and international level for sure.

It was an incredible weekend for you and the Hakro Merlins. What one thing will you never forget from this weekend?

I’m a stay in the moment person. I haven’t had time to reflect. I try to learn and move on I’m sure it will hit me down the line or something. We have a lot of basketball to play for the second half. I can reflect after the season.

You had solid games this weekend. What do you believe did your game take from this weekend in these big stage moments that will continue to help you go your way this season?

I didn’t play so well this past weekend, I will watch film and move on. Focusing on having a big second half of the season, so we can be much stronger team.

You have come a long way from your Iserlohn days. I remember interviewing you in the small Frankfurt gym 5 years ago. Since then you have continued to move up the basketball ladder. What besides hard work has gotten you to where you are today?

I’ve started basketball late. I’ve been overlooked since middle school. It’s has been the story of my career, even at this point. I can bring a lot to the team from playing 2 and help out at the 1. Every where I went overseas we won no matter the level. I played a huge role on all the teams I played on, including this year as well. I’ve been overlooked my entire professional career for what I bring to a team so the perseverance from that keeps me going on top of working on my game.

How did you see the James Harden trade? How far can Brooklyn go this season?

I don’t get to caught up in the NBA but it seems like both teams got what they wanted. I’m sure they will both compete and try to put themselves in a position to win it all.

I’m sure you didn’t see the dunk contest because you were sleeping, but it was supposed to have been weak. Are there no good dunkers left like the Vince Carters and Michael Jordan’s?

I didn’t even see the highlights, I’m sure they are some good dunkers still out there though.

Thanks Terrell for the chat.

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