Alexandre Sarr & Reed Sheppard On ‘Podcast P With Paul George’

Alexandre Sarr & Reed Sheppard On ‘Podcast P With Paul George’

Alexandre Sarr and Reed Sheppard look ahead to rookie seasons plus talk Wemby, Giannis, Coach Cal, and more on “Podcast P with Paul George”.

We share this week’s episode of “Podcast P with Paul George”, presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, where PG and the guys are joined by projected top-3 NBA draft prospects Alexandre Sarr and Reed Sheppard.

The episode opens with PG and the guys sitting down with Alex Sarr to discuss his career journey going from leaving home at 14-years-old to play professionally in Europe with Real Madrid.

Sarr reflects on the challenges of moving to a new country where he didn’t speak the language and the support he received from his teammates and coaches.

He also emphasizes the high level of player development in Europe, particularly in weightlifting and team practices, compared to the individual skills focus in the United States.

Later, Sarr discusses his admiration for NBA players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis, how he incorporates their moves into his own game and his desire to make a significant impact in his rookie season, drawing inspiration from Victor Wembanyama’s success.

Next, Reed Sheppard joins the show to discuss his experience playing at Kentucky under Coach Cal for his final season, and his surprising combine showing where he led the class with a 42-inch vertical jump.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

  • 6:58 – SARR ON LEAVING HOME AT 14-YEARS-OLD TO PLAY PROFESSIONALLY WITH THE REAL MADRID JUNIORS

DALLAS:Real Madrid is one of the best European basketball programs out there and you have some NBA superstars like Luka [Dončić] and some other NBA guys, but at 14 [years old] you started your journey to [a] professional basketball career there. What was that like becoming a professional at 14 years old? What was the most difficult challenge you had at such a young age and entering that professional level?

SARR:Yeah, I mean obviously just living [at] home when you’re that young, it’s tough. I’m in another country, people don’t speak my language, so you got to get used to all this, but after a few weeks you got teammates around you, you got a lot of people, your coaches and you realize it is real now and I got to work towards my dreams.

PG:I mean it had to be helpful having your dad in your corner, your older brother in your corner going through that period. Did you lean on him for any help through that process?

SARR:Yeah, I mean I still lean on my brother a lot, but yeah, most definitely. I was talking to him a lot.

PG:Did he take a similar route?

SARR:Yeah, he left when he was 15, so he knew what was going on.

  • 8:53 – PG SAYS EUROPEAN PLAYERS ARE NBA-READY AT AN EARLIER AGE THAN AMERICANS

PG:We doing it all wrong [in the US]. You look at Victor, look at Luka, yourself coming up, y’all NBA-ready at such an early age where it takes us a little bit time for that development curve to reach ultimately where we become our stars and our superstars. You guys seem to hit that peak a lot sooner, so yeah, there’s something we got to do.

  • 11:12 – THE GUYS DISCUSS HOW EUROPEAN PLAYERS ARE MORE PREPARED TO ENTER THE LEAGUE WHEN COMPARED TO AMERICAN PLAYERS

SARR:Yeah, I feel like player development there is really high-level like weightlifting. I think I got bigger and stronger in general. And then just skills work. It’s something that wasn’t like this at Real Madrid. That’s the difference between Europe and America too, here you’re going to work on your skills as in Real Madrid you’re going to do a lot of team practices, but you’re not really going to get, I’ll say a higher level of skills. But at OTs, something that we really worked on a lot every day, getting a lot of shots, ball handling, all that stuff that I wasn’t doing that much back in Spain.

  • 20:34 – SARR ON THE CURRENT PLAYERS HE WANTS TO EMULATE

DALLAS:Alex, what are some NBA players that you enjoy watching now and do you have any specific moves or things about those individual players in today’s NBA that you’re trying to emulate into your own?

SARR:For sure. I mean, I like watching Giannis [Antetokounmpo], KD [Kevin Durant], AD [Anthony Davis] too. That’s more of my position guys. I mean of course, I watch guards, but at the end of the day you can get a little moves from the guards, but I can’t really go out there and do the crosses he be doing, you got to stick to your game. If I just pick what Giannis does in transition, just the bumps into a one, two and finish strong at the rim, that’s a move I think when you’re long and athletic, it can really help you.

  • 25:28 – SARR SAYS HE WANTS TO MAKE AS MUCH OF AN IMPACT AS WEMBY MADE HIS ROOKIE YEAR

PG:We want talk about the other Frenchmen being Victor Wembanyama who had a stellar rookie season winning rookie of the year and first team all defensive team. When you look at players like Wemby and the impact he had on his first year, do you kind of see yourself making that impact as well on your rookie campaign?

SARR:Yeah, I mean obviously I want to make as much impact as it did in the league. I think what he did this year, he made the expectation that we’re giving to him and it’s really inspiring. He makes me think about a national team two, three years from now and it’s exciting.

  • 42:59 – REED EXPLAINS HIS NBA COMBINE 42-INCH VERTICAL JUMP

DALLAS:So during the NBA combine, you recorded one of the top max vertical leaps at 42 inches and I don’t know many white guys that have a vertical leap of 42 inches, but I’m a little confused because you said that you didn’t expect it. So why were you surprised? Did you not know that you had bounce? Walk me through that.

REED:I know I can jump, but I didn’t know I was going to have the highest vertical in the NBA draft, but I got to give a lot of credit to my I guy Ryan, at Proactive, he kind of helped us out with a little arm trick. So I was able to get a couple more inches, but it was all fun and I did, I looked up at the board and when I saw 42 [inches] it kind of made me laugh because I wasn’t expecting it and I know no one else was expecting it, so it was a funny time.

  • 49:18 – REED ON BEING RECRUITED BY COACH CAL “THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD”

DALLAS:And Reed, as you know, Coach Cal just recently left the University of Kentucky and is heading over to Arkansas, but we always hear these stories of what a great recruiter that Coach Cal is. Do you have any good, maybe funny stories about how Coach Cal recruited you to Kentucky?

REED:I’ve always said Coach Cal’s the greatest salesman in the world. Hearing some of the stuff that the other people say. For me it was a no-brainer for me. I’m from Kentucky, I live an hour from Lexington, so he didn’t have to do much persuading for me. As soon as he offered I was all in. But even there [were] times in the season just stuff he would say to anyone, it doesn’t matter. And now you can tell he went to Arkansas like you just said, he got all his guys he wanted. That’s crazy. Going from Kentucky to Arkansas and all your guys being committed already and taking ’em with you, that just shows how good of a coach and how good of a recruiter that he really is.

  • 57:33 – PG’s ADVICE FOR HOW ROOKIES CAN INTEGRATE THEMSELVES INTO THEIR NEW TEAMS

REED:Going into whatever team drafts me, going into the first week of practice or whatever it is – what advice would you give to getting yourself [integrated] into the team? And instead of just being the rookie that is staying out of it…

PG:I love that question. I think, and I tell the rookies this because you got veterans that will be on the team, but they’re comfortable being on the team and they don’t want any parts of the practice, any parts of the workouts, any parts of the drills, you’ll see veterans on teams that are fine being the 15th, 14th guy on the team, I used to tell the rookies this all the time. You get into drills, you get into the second unit until a veteran say, ‘yo young fella,’ until they pull you out. You know what I mean? Don’t necessarily assume because you’re a rookie, you have to be behind veterans or you have to be the third string or you have to be in the third unit. Force your way into those drills.

You can be a leader as a rookie. You can still have that positive effect being the youngest player on the team. That was kind of how I pursued my rookie season. I wanted to be in every drill. I wanted to win every drill. I showed up early for practice, I stayed late. I asked questions. I got comfortable with the veterans. I wanted them to be comfortable around me because I was the youngest… But what I did most was I wasn’t afraid to ask questions. I wasn’t afraid to kind of stay after and hang with them and kind of just show that I want to do whatever I can to make this team successful as I can. So I think just picking up on those things, you being a point guard, I think naturally is your calling to be a connector. And so just embrace that and own that. And like I said, just don’t be afraid to be a leader.

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