Marshawn Blackmon (196-F-1997, college: Newman) is a 25 year old 196cm forward from St Peters, Missouri that completed his rookie season with the SC RASTA Vechta 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga) helping them move up to the Pro B averaging 16.9ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 65.6%, 3PT: 27.4%, FT: 67.8%. He began his career with Fort Zumwalt South High School. He then played two seasons and 36 NCAA games with Eastern Illinois. He then played a season at Moberly Area Community College (JUCO) and then finished at Newman University (NCAA2) averaging 14.9ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 17.6%, FT: 63.6% as a junior and as a senior averaged 17.7ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 67.3%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Thanks Marshawn for talking to germanhoops.com You were in the States during the Pandemic. How have you experienced COVID and what were the most challenging things you had to cope with?
Covid wasn’t bad as I thought it would be but I made sure to just wash my hands wear a mask and go by the covid guidelines to make sure myself, other, and family were safe.
With everything that you witnessed during COVID off the court how do you feel did you get stronger as a man?
I feel covid made me a stronger person being at home made me become more mature and more patient and more humble as I waited for my next opportunity as a professional basketball player.
How tough was it not playing last season? Did you grind even more in the lab to be best prepared for your rookie season?
It was tough Not being able to play last year I worked out a lot and made sure I stayed preparing myself for my next opportunity but it made me become patient and more humble like I said before. But I had to stay in the gym so when my opportunity came I knew I would be ready.
You played your rookie season for SC RASTA Vechta 2nd team (Germany-Regionalliga). What kind of experience wa sit playing the game you love in Germany?
Playing in Vechta has been great for me. I’ve learned a lot from my coaches and my teammates from being here and they welcomed me with open arms and treat me like family since I’ve been here. I couldn’t have asked for better people to be around for my first year as a pro. It’s a good environment here and I can see myself getting better as a person and a player each and everyday.
Your put up very solid stats. What has been your secret to really not needing any adjustment time as a rookie?
From being at home working out and staying ready. I’ve had some bad games like really bad games but having my coaches and teammates believing in me and trusting each other has helped a lot. Everybody here gets better everyday and we all work hard so you have no choice but to get better and play good. We all work hard and help each other out.
How big is your urge to always get better?
I try to be a better player and teammate every time I step on the court. Having that mentality with hard work I know overtime it will lead to good things. I try not to focus on the future but I know if I continue to work hard and trust my coaches and teammates then everything will workout for itself. I know if I continue to do those things everyday then I will become a really good player in the future.
You had so many young Germans as teammates. What kind of an experience was it playing with German kids? What was your impression in general of the skill level of young German players?
They remind me a lot of myself when I was their age. They all work hard and have a positive attitude each and everyday and I love it. Those guys are great kids and they are mature for their age and I can’t wait to see how much better they will be in the future. Just like me, they are getting better each and every day and they have bright futures.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 196cm forward. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the description?
I’m a versatile player and this year I’ve switched to playing guard. 1-3. In college I played the 4 at a very undersized size. My coaches here have developed some of the skills I’ve already had and made them better and that’s how I’ve been able to transition to playing guard this year. If I could compare my game I would say a Jimmy Butler/ Rudy Gay type. One of my favorite players is Kawhi Leonard and I like his mentality and the way he approaches the game. As my skills continue to develop and get better I think the comparisons will change overtime.
You can fill the stats sheet with ease. Is versatility your biggest strength?
I think so yes. Growing up I’ve played every position so I’ve been able to do almost everything on the court my whole life and I pride myself on being able to do that. Also having good teammates helps a lot too.
Your three continues to be a work in progress. How confident are you that you will be able to have an above shot as a professional?
Very very confident. ‘m a hard worker so as time goes on I will only get better at it. I’ve always had the ability to shoot in my opinion, but in the past, it just wasn’t my role on the team. Since I’ve been here I work on it everyday with my coaches and teammates and they’ve given me confidence to be able to make shots and grow on that aspect of my game. I like the player I’m becoming and I will continue to work on that part of my game.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most so that you will continue to improve and climb the basketball ladder?
My shooting ability and play making ability are the 2 things I’m working on the most. Transitioning this year to guard I’ve realized those are 2 important things to becoming a great guard is having those in your game so I work on those everyday. But, I still work on everything else in my game to keep being a versatile player.
You had had the great opportunity to have played at 3 schools called Eastern Illinois University (NCAA): Moberly Area Community College (JUCO), and Newman University (NCAA2).Talk a little about all 3 schools and how did each school helped your game best?
Each school helped me become a better player as I played different roles and positions and each of them. I learned so much by playing for 3 different coaches and my IQ for the game got better each year throughout my college career. Each coach taught me a lot and I also learned a lot from my teammates.
You played two seasons in the NCAA playing at Eastern Illinois University. How small is the world when you see a guy like John Murry also playing in the German Regionalliga west? You battled against him and Austin Peay each season.
It’s cool seeing guys you’ve competed against doing good things. It’s great he’s fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.
You had some nice wins in the NCAA but where does the 67-64 win over Missouri rank?
It was good beating Missouri since I’m from there. I felt at home playing there and it was a good experience.
After two seasons in the NCAA, you took a few steps back to play JUCO at Moberly Area Community College. Now that was an extreme step. Why did you do that?
I wanted to try to go back to division 1 but the season didn’t go as planned. I was still recovering from a foot injury and I wasn’t physically ready to play but I had to tough it out and play because I only had one year to prove myself. I was still close to home because I was playing in Missouri. I wish I could’ve played that season being 100% healthy instead of 75% healthy but It was good playing for coach Pat and meeting new teammates that are life long friends now. The year didn’t go as planned but I ended up going division 2 which was still a good opportunity for me to prove myself as a player and get a good college education.
Every guy I have spoken to that has played JUCO said it was very tough, but worth it. How was it for you?
It was good. I learned a lot about myself and about the game of basketball. It’s a school in the middle of nowhere and you’re basically just playing basketball. With me recovering from a injury and roughing it out and still trying to play and get better made me a stronger and better person. I went through ups and downs but I realized I loved the game of basketball and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything it was great for me.
You then finished at Newman University (NCAA2) averaging 14.9ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 17.6%, FT: 63.6% and as a senior averaged 17.7ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 67.3%. How do you feel did your game grow in those 2 years?
It made me see the game different. My first years of college I was kind of a role player and then going to Newman I was kind of the go to guy but had to play unselfish and that makes sense. It made me think the game different and become more efficient and learn when to attack and when to be a playmaker. It also made me realize what I needed to work on too. I had to play the underside 4 and sacrifice playing the guard position there. Being the versatile player I am I didn’t complain and took it as a challenge to be the best player I could be. We had some good players also who could score so we had to play as a team. I wish I had more than 2 years playing with those guys because I think as our chemistry got better and we got better as a team.
Some of your personal best game there were in tough losses against Central Oklahoma and Nebrasca-Kearney. What was your best game in the NCAA2?
I wish I could say those were my best games but we lost. I would say my best game would either be my junior year against Emporia State when I had 26 points and 15 rebounds or against Rockhurst when I had 22 points and 17 rebounds. I would say one of those because we won!
How did head coach RJ Allen groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He helped me become a better player and better person. He gave me challenges every day and help my game on a mental level a lot. He made me a smarter player and he is someone I know I can go to for advice on and off the court.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Caleb Allison?
We never played but I think if we did I would beat him. He is a great player and a future pro!!
Who was the toughest player that you encountered in the NCAA 2 that would reach the NBA?
I’m not sure if I know his name but he went to a Truman State and was a pretty good player.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
I can’t name 5 but I will say all of the guys I’ve played with because I learned a lot from each and every one of them.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads.
Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt chamberlain.
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I never seen Michael jordan play before I’ve only seen Lebron. So I will say Lebron, he’s my favorite player too.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
No I haven’t but I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Thanks Marshawn for the chat.