KJ Sherrill (Dragons Rhondorf) Aaron Nelson is a great player, but I don’t feel pressured to follow in his footsteps

KJ Sherrill is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Cleveland,North Carolina that is embarking into his third professional season. He started his basketball career at Charlotte (NCAA) in 2009 where he played until 2012 playing a total of 75 NCAA games. He then moved to Augusta St. (NCAA2) and as a senior played 32 games averaging 14.7ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 76.7%. He started his professional career with the Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA) playing 27 games averaging 7.9ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 60.8%. Last season he played with the  Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 18 games averaging 14.8ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 68.4%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about basketball.

KJ thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer going?

I am currently in Germany visiting my girlfriend; this summer has been pretty good so far.

You already have returned to Germany in early July shortly after July 4th. Usually Americans don´t return until training camp in August. Are you back early this season because you are extra focused on having a great third professional season with the Dragons Rhondorf?

I am back to Germany this early so that I and my girlfriend can take a few trips before I have to report to Rhöndorf. I am much focused as well to start my 3rd season with the Dragons.

Congrats on signing with the Dragons Rhondorf of the Pro B. How was this summer´s transfer period after having a very strong season with Herten. Was Rhondorf the best offer that you got?

The summer was a bit stressful not knowing which team I would sign with next. But I continued to work out daily and remain positive knowing that my agent would find me a good team, which he did. So I’m very thankful to be a part of the dragons.

Rhondorf are very high on you as you have the complete package as you are a very versatile player, but at the same have a very good character. What convinced you that Rhondorf was the perfect fit for you?

I realized Rhöndorf was a good fit for me because the way they reached out to me and as bad as they wanted me to be a part of their organization, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me.

You demonstrated three seasons ago that you could be a very solid performer in the Pro A with Cuxhaven and last season you had a strong season in the Regionaliga. Now in the Pro B the level of play is between the pro A and Regionalliga. What are you expecting form your game in the pro B?

In Pro B, I’m expected to have a major impact being that I’m a little experienced coming from Pro A and also Regionalliga. I will lead my team as far as possible and also have a great relationship with everyone.

You are coming in and replacing Aaron Nelson who averaged 23 and 12 last season and was the best big man in the Pro B. Do you feel any pressure that you will have to perform up to his standards and that the expectations might be routed to high form the club and fans?

Aaron Nelson is definitely a great player, but I don’t feel pressured to follow in his footsteps. I know I’m a pretty good player as well, so I’m eager to show my talents to the Rhöndorf organization.

Let´s talk a bit about your game. When looking at your stats your scoring and rebounding stood out last season with Herten, but stats don´t always tell the whole story. What other parts of your game do you see playing a big role with Rhondorf this season?

I am a very vocal player and I show a lot of leadership. That definitely helps on the basketball court.

You are a guy that can fill the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the floor?

My hidden strength would be me being very vocal.  I can be very loud on the court given commands and telling my teammates where the right place to be.

You played together with your brother in school. Was he one of those guys that never left you short of being amazed with his play and how much does he deserve a chance to play up a level like you do?

I think my brother deserves the best opportunity he can get. He had a outstanding college career, so he deserves the best.

You didn´t play in the season 15-16, but came back last season with Herten and showed that that year off hadn´t hurt your play. How thankful are you for Herten to have given you the chance to come back? How difficult was the whole period where you didn´t play in that year?

I am very thankful Herten gave me the opportunity after sitting out one year. It was very difficult, as bad as I wanted to play, my injury wouldn’t let me.

As a rookie you balled for the Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA) playing 27 games averaging 7.9ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 60.8%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Germany where you knew that you were very far away from home in North Carolina?

Not being able to go home for holidays is when I realized how far away I was from home.

How important was experienced Edward Seward for you as a rookie in Cuxhaven? Was he like a mentor for you and what do you remember him giving you on advice that stuck out most?

Eddie Seward is still to this day like a big brother to me. Not only did he show me how to survive in Pro A, he showed me how to survive out here in Germany in general.

You played three seasons with Charlotte(NCAA) playing for Bobby Lutz and Alan Major but after three seasons and 75 games you left. You didn´t get minutes there. What positives could you take from this experience? You moved on to play at  Augusta St. (NCAA2) where as a senior you played 32 games averaging 14.7ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 76.7%. How big a reason was it going there so you could play with your little brother Keshun?

Me transitioning to Augusta st. was the best move I’ve ever made. Playing with my brother Keshun was the main reason going there, but once I got there, I instantly felt right at home. Meeting great people who I still to this day call family.

Your brother Keshun just finished at  Augusta St. (NCAA2) and averaged 23,0ppg in his last two seasons.How content are you that he will be in Europe soon to play? Why not for Rhondorf to have that brother duo in action again?

I am very content that he will play in Europe, simply for the experience and of course getting paid well. I tell him very often how amazing it is out here and he always tell me he’s coming soon as he gets the opportunity.

Please revel why you were called big goofy in high school. You certainly weren´t goofy with the basketball.

I was called big goofy because I was always smiling. I’m a happy person.

How did head coach Dip Metress give you that last important touch as a senior and helped groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach Dip pushed me each and every day, on and off the basketball court. He knew that I had potential to play basketball professionally one day.

Who wins a one on one you or your brother Keshun? Do you at least give him a small advantage since you are 28cm taller?

When it comes to 1 on 1 against Keshun or any of my brothers, I usually win simply because I know how to use my size against them.

How does a summer work out day look like for you on and off the court?

Summer work out days usually includes early morning weights and running. Then in the evenings is when I get in the basketball gym and work on my game to get better.

Who was the toughest player you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

I would say the toughest player I’ve ever faced was Derrick Favors when he was at Georgia Tech. He was an animal.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?

I’m a big LeBron James fan, so he would definitely be the first I would put on Mt. Rushmore. Following him would be: Kawai Leonard, Russel Westbrook, KD, and James Harden.

Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?

I would say LeBron and Jordan are very close, they both are pure greatness.

 

There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?

I think Russel Westbrook should continue focusing on winning and breaking records.

How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?

I would love to see Lonzo Ball excel in the NBA. He has a big plate to fill, but he is very talented.

Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?

I think Chris and Harden will make a big impact together for the Rockets. As a package, they’re unstoppable together.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Last movie I saw was the Tupac movie “All Eyes on Me”. It was an OK film, but I expected a lot more being that I’m a Tupac fan.

Thanks KJ for the chat.

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