Kerry Carter is a 26 year old 188cm guard from West Covina, California that completed his second professional season and first with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-ProB). Last season as a rookie he played for Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 5 games: 3.2ppg. He started his basketball career with Citrus College and then moved to St.Mary’s, CA (NCAA) where he played 63 NCAA games and as senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg. He currently is tearing up the German Pro B league averaging 29,0ppg and spoke to eurobasket after being ousted by the Astrostars Bochum ending his season.
Kerry thanks for talking to German Hoops. You and the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were dismissed in the first round of the playoffs by Bochum. Are you back in the States or still in Germany? What did you do in your last days in Germany?
I’m still in Germany at the moment. I am not sure what’s next but I’m just training and staying sharp. The season ended too early for my liking, I’m not ready to go into offseason yet.
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen lost 2-1 against Bochum. How disappointing was this for you personally not being able to make a longer run in the Pro B playoffs?
Leverkusen had made it clear that the goal was to win the league and get promoted to Pro A, so losing was obviously a huge disappointment. No discredit to Bochum though, they brought more energy and they were the tougher team. A few plays could have changed the outcome of the series but that’s how it goes.
You scored 91 points in the three game series and averaged 27 point per game. From a neutral stand point, you did all that you could, but from a competitor stand point what do you feel could you still have done better and contributed more to moving on?
I knew going into the series what my responsibility was and at the end of the day I didn’t do enough to win. I competed the right way but there are a few plays I wish I could have back. We were in control that first game, if I could do it over there’s no way I’d let us lose that momentum.
A big problem all season long had been defense. In the three game series you averaged giving up 85 points and during the season as a team it was 80 points. Why do you feel that the club couldn´t buckle down in the playoffs and play better defense?
I think defensively it comes down to desire. You look at any good defender and it’s always somebody that takes it personally and has the passion to defend with grit. It’s not something you can coach really, but we didn’t have that unfortunately and at times our opponents could sense it and they capitalized.
What do you feel was key in the playoff series for Bochum moving on?
Just peaking at the right time. Sometimes it’s not the best team that wins the championship but the team that is playing their best basketball at the right time. We peaked too early and our fire got extinguished at the end.
How key was depth? It seemed like Bochum had so many different parts that helped in their success as in game one it was German Felix Engel, in game two Gary Johnson and game three it was Davon Roberts.
They definitely had more depth than us but that’s no excuse. We had Blessig out in game 2, a significant contributor, and still won. Adversity is always going to arise it’s just about finding a way to win anyway.
When you look back at the season goals before the season how would you summarize the Bayer Giants Leverkusen season? Did they meet their goals?
We definitely fell short of the goal. Overall though, it was a good season and there are some great people in this organization.
How did you see the development of American Brian Nazione? He had a strong rookie season. Do you see him making the next step already next season?
Brandon was big for us. He was the only other player who helped with a bulk of the scoring on a consistent basis. I’m not sure what the next step for B is but he’ll be a great asset to a team wherever he ends up.
If you had to choose the German player that you feel made the most strides in his development this season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen who would you pick?
Daniel Merkens. He didn’t get a lot of in game minutes to prove himself but he was relentless in his efforts and he made a lot of progress this season.
You finished the season strong averaging 24,8ppg, 4,0rpg, 5,2apg and 2,9spg. For the level you played at and your abilities do you feel like the stats were solid for the minutes that you got with 32?
I would have liked to get more rebounds and more assists.
You stated in the last interview concerning your turnover rate of 4,0 that “I’ve connected with my teammates in a variety of ways this season and I think I’ve learned where guys prefer the ball and when so that helps. I’ve also gotten more comfortable in the offense through the course of the season”. What is the next step now? How do you see yourself working on your turnovers? Besides the usual ball work and game situations, could you see yourself looking at different measures of improving your turnover rate with means you haven´t ever explored before?
My handle work is solid, I don’t lose the ball on the bounce. Most of my turnovers were on the pass trying to create. At the next level guys are more athletic and usually have softer hands, so that helps a lot. We didn’t have a dominant post presence so I always had to create penetration to get the defense to collapse and I tend to zip the ball sometimes which causes some turnovers as well, but as I move on I don’t think it will be much concern.
You averaged 2,9spg, but real defense isn´t always measured by the amount of steals you get. How do you feel did you grow as a defender in your second professional season and first in the Pro B?
I think I proved myself as a solid defender in college but sometimes I’d get a little too aggressive and end up in foul trouble. This season I logged a lot of minutes and I had to be more disciplined while still applying pressure.
You were challenged all season long often having 5-6 matchups a game, but stayed consistent putting up overwhelming stats. You were obviously too good for the Pro B and will make the next step next season. How did putting up great stats help you as a player. Did your self confidence grow as a player and will that continue to remain with you once to move to a better level next season?
Coming from the ACB, I wasn’t thrilled about going to Pro B originally. It was very humbling and these circumstances helped me develop an insatiable appetite to hoop, no matter the level. I’ve always had the confidence but this year reaffirmed that I’m built for this. Whether on the big stage in front of thousands or in small gyms, I do this.
The summer will be very exciting and interesting. I am sure you won´t only have many offers from German Pro A teams, but also BBL teams as well as teams from other countries. After seeing the basketball in Germany, could you imagine staying here? A former Leverkusen player Josh Parker made the jump from Pro B to the BBL 4 years ago.
Germany is a great place. I could definitely imagine staying here if I found the right fit. I know several Americans that played in the BBL and I think it would be a good fit for me. Even beyond basketball, Germany has a great quality of life and it was easy for me to adapt out here without feeling too homesick.
What summer plans do you have? Will you be visiting some places at the start or be back in the gym soon working on your game?
I’m in the gym this summer. I need to make another big jump in my development as a player. I’m on the verge of making a real impact out here and I’m not satisfied yet.. I’ll spend some time with the fam and enjoy that California weather. Anything else that happens this summer is a bonus.
How exciting was the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Was South Carolina reaching the NCAA Final 4 the biggest story of the March Madness for you?
South Carolina was very unexpected. But as a former WCC player, I’ve had my eye on Gonzaga. They’ve got a good group this year.
Where do you personally rate Boston Celtic point guard Isaiah Thomas among the top NBA point guards? Is he near the top 5 or in it behind the Westbrooks, Harden´s, Wall´s and Paul´s?
It is right outside of that top 5 mark. He’s got so many intangible aspects of his game that can’t be recreated. It’s unreal what he’s doing at his height.
I recently read an interesting article where it was stated that Russell Westbrook´s rebounds that help him garner so many triple doubles is a result of stat padding. The stats don´t lie, but seriously is this an insult to his abilities or should this be an issue that can be debated?
I don’t think you can take away anything from what Russ is doing this year. He’s willed his team to that position on the west and he’s one of the most difficult players to guard in the league.
Lonzo Ball of UCLA has put up huge stats as a freshman. Is he the real deal. Will he be able to continue to develop or be derailed a bit by his dads antics on social media?
I watched Lonzo play in high school and I wasn’t really convinced, but after seeing the year he had at UCLA I think he can make some noise. His dad just says what he has to to get attention and people give it to him so more power to them. Whatever works
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Kerry for the Chat.