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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Shavar Newkirk embarks on opportunity in Germany

Shavar+Newkirk+takes+the+court+for+FC+Shalke+04.+PHOTOS%3A+COURTESY+OSTSEHPIC+Fotografie++
Shavar Newkirk takes the court for FC Shalke 04. PHOTOS: COURTESY OSTSEHPIC Fotografie

It has been one year since former St. Joe’s  men’s basketball guard Shavar Newkirk ’18 has played in Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena, but his basketball career hasn’t stopped.

Newkirk formally announced his signing to FC Schalke 04, a German basketball club in the German Pro A League, on Dec. 25, 2018.

Newkirk averaged 12 points, three assists and four rebounds in his first four games for the club. 

Prior to his opportunity in Germany, Newkirk signed a one-year deal with the Halifax Hurricanes, a team within within the National Basketball League of Canada, on Aug. 8, 2018. Newkirk was cut from that team on Oct. 30, 2018, before he was able to play.

Shavar Newkirk in warmups before playing a game.

The Hawk interviewed Newkirk to hear about his basketball experience after Hawk Hill.

Looking back on your experience on the Halifax Hurricanes, what lessons did you learn from being cut?

[Head Coach Mike Leslie] said I didn’t fit with their collection of players at the time. But I think the experience was a blessing because I played well and I was one of the best players there. But Coach had another guard that he said was going to play about 35 minutes a game. That scenario wouldn’t have done me any justice. Getting cut was the best outcome for me at that time.

How did you find motivation after being cut from the Halifax Hurricanes?

Getting paid for doing something I love is a blessing. Not everybody is capable or lucky enough to do that. I’ve learned that it’s hard to get a job playing basketball. Since I knew I was one of the better players in Canada, I just trained and perfected my craft until I made it. I’ll continue to do that.

How did practice sessions with Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook in the fall  help your playing?

[Their teaching me] to communicate helped me a lot. Playing against them helped me get to where I am today. In terms of spacing on the court, they taught me how to use the big man for screen and roles. That whole experience showed me that I can get there one day.

What did it mean to sign to FC Schalke 04 not long after getting cut from the Halifax Hurricanes?

It was a true blessing for me because I was frustrated and going through tough times in terms of getting a job. I was at a real low point in my life. My father kept me going during that time. He made sure that I stayed on top of my craft and kept me in the gym. I can’t thank him enough.

What’s different about playing basketball in Germany?

I stayed true to my game and didn’t change. I still do the same thing, it’s just that [Head Coach] Raphael Wilder took a liking to me. He pushes me to be the best, that’s why he stays on me. I like his approach, he’s very old school. Other than my father, this is the first time that I’ve had someone push me like this.

How has your style changed since playing at St. Joe’s?

There’s no real difference because [Head Coach Phil] Martelli likes guards that can score. Coach Wilder is the same way. If I score, I play more minutes. [Martelli and Wilder] like to break you down. Freshman year at St. Joe’s, Coach was on me a lot. He tried to test my temperature to see where my head was at. Same thing in Germany.

  

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