Shaquiell Mitchell: “In Europe Basketball Academy you can’t be overlooked.”

10 questions and answers with Europe Basketball Academy player Shaquiell Mitchell former NCAA division 1 South Carolina State student that started pro career in Spain last week.

Where you started to play basketball and if you may explain your basketball background?
I started playing basketball in the 3rd grade. My grandfather played during his younger days and he stayed around it even after he was done playing. I hang around him a lot so it rubbed off on me and I fell in love with it ever since then. When I was younger I would play with the older guys. Some days I would play some days I wouldn't even touch the court. I just continued to work on my game and eventually I started getting better and better and those guys would start picking me up to play. When you play pick up ball in majority of the places in the states you would have to have down or some call it next to play. I knew I was getting better when I didn't have to worry about anything of that, I would just get picked up. That was motivation to continue to get better as a player.

What problems to get in the European market you faced before you came to play in Europe first time?
Before I came to the academy the number 1 problem was I had no experience. Every coach or agent I came in contact with to get an opportunity to start my career as a rookie always told me I didn't have any experience. It was never about my game but that I didn't have any experience. In addition one other problem was having the right people working for you in helping you get the opportunity. The academy provided me with all these things.

Why you decided to join Europe Basketball Academy?
I decided to join the Europe Basketball Academy because my representation at the time was helping me to get a opportunity to start my professional career told me they believed this was a great option for me and that I can get a legit opportunity from attending and doing what I have to do. So I took what he said, attended the academy, did what I had to do while I was there to get better as a pro on and off the court and I was able to land my first professional opportunity.

Did you attend some camps in USA and if you did can you explain difference between those camps and Europe Basketball Academy?
Yes, I did attend a camp in the USA during the summer of 2016. I was fresh out of college and trying to get put on and connect with the right people to get my career going so I talked with some people and they told me if I wanted to do any camp do the camps out in Vegas during the summer. So I attended Harts Sports Management camp. The camp had at least 180 players whereas the academy had 14-15 at most. At the camp they putted a few plays in and we just played in front of agents, scouts and team personnel members. At the academy you learn how to become a pro on and off the court. At the academy things are broken down to you so you can understand the game and what the coaches here are looking for. At the academy you learn that talent isn't the only thing needed to be successful in Europe and you learn about all the things that are necessary. The academy gives you that experience before being on a team whereas at the camp you just are what you are. At the camp you can be overlooked and you can hide things in your game that you aren't good at but at the academy you can't be overlooked and you can better at things your not good at while maintaining or even improving on the things you're already good at.

What is difference between playing in Europe and where you played before coming to Europe?
The difference between playing in Europe and playing in the states is definitely the travel call for me. Back in the states you can catch it on the fast break with 2 hands and then put it down but in Europe you have catch it with one or just throw it down with one and then continue so you do not make travelling. In addition , I believe the play game is more fluid and the players are really fundamental.

How the days looked for you at Europe Basketball Academy? Describe the regular day you were going through? Describe what new you learned about European basketball in Europe Basketball Academy?
A normal day for me at the academy is wake up about 6:45 am get ready for practice. Head to the first practice and then once that practice is over head to fitness center to work on my body and then head to lunch. After lunch I would go back to the room to rejuvenate for the next practice and then after the second practice of the day I would go back to fitness center for a really light lift and recovery. When I'm done there I would go to dinner and then back to the room to rest and prepare for same exact thing the next day. At the academy I learned how fundamentally sound you have to be in order to be a good player in Europe and also the playing style here.

Your advice to players that are considering joining Europe Basketball Academy? What kind of player should enter academy?
My advice to players that are considering joining the academy is you have to be serious about playing the game of basketball on the professional level. The coaches and other guys there that will be teaching can only teach you, its what you do with teaching. Also another important reason to be serious about playing because at the academy they don't watch to see if you go to fitness to workout even though its mandatory but it will show eventually, you have to do things by yourself as a pro. So you have to be serious about getting better on the court and off as a professional so when that opportunity comes around you'll be ready. Values that we share commitment and players that should attend the academy are players who are serious about playing professional basketball and having a career.

Share some interesting situations that you experienced in academy that you will remember and that made strong impression on you.
Interesting situations that I experienced at the academy that I will remember is Coach Ivan and Coach Srdjan long speeches after practice. Everything they talked about will stick with me for the remainder of my professional career. One of the things they both constantly talked about was being a professional everyday and bringing it each other day you stepped on the court because at the end of the day all that matters is results.

Where you ended up after you attended Europe Basketball Academy?
Within my month at the academy I got an opportunity to tryout for a team. I went on the tryout and did really well and they offered me a contract. I'm currently with that club Sant Gervasi in Barcelona playing in my rookie season in Spain.

Final comments?
The academy was really great to me. I left the academy as a better player and better professional on and off court. I was able to work on my game and improve my body tremendously. I think if I haven't came to the academy I wouldn't be where I'm at now as a person, player and professional. I just want to thank everyone at the academy for all the help and support.

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