Joel Berry II is having a memorable first year overseas as a professional basketball player and is heading into the playoffs in Turkey. This is nothing new for the Tar Heel who has had success multiple times in his career. Berry is one of the most decorated Tar Heels to wear the Carolina Blue and at 26 years old, he has many years ahead of him with lots of goals still to accomplish.
Joel Berry II joined the Ceiling is the Roof Podcast and sat down with George for an hour-long interview. Joel discussed his first season overseas in Turkey, including the style of play and the culture of living in Europe. He had multiple stories about his time at the University of North Carolina and much more on Coach Williams and his Tar Heel Teammates.
Berry’s career already speaks for itself and we were able to talk about the journey of his basketball career so far, from Florida to North Carolina, to California and now in Europe.
Berry was awarded Mr Florida three times when he was in High School at Lake Highland Preparatory High School, an award that was given to the best High School basketball player in the state of Florida.
“Basketball holds a special place in my heart, winning those awards was great and winning it three times and especially with the people winning it before me, guys like Vince Carter, Brandon Knight, Austin Rivers who I really grew up watching. A guy I watch and know a little bit more about in overseas basketball is Nick Calathes. Winning and being in the same company as those guys is great and it really puts Florida and basketball on the map.”
Joel Berry received a phone call from Sean May on April 1st, expecting a phone call wishing him a happy birthday, it wasn’t the call he was expecting. Coach May broke the news to Berry that Coach Williams is retiring. Berry goes onto speak about Coach Williams and what he remembers when he was still in the recruitment stage.
“A lot of people have forgotten when we committed to Carolina, we were going through the scandal academically and of course, Coach Williams being the figure that he is and every time you heard about the scandal on ESPN, his face was on it. During that time, I had a lot of people telling me “why you going there? you guys will get banned!” Through it all, I stuck to my gut feeling and Coach Williams helped us through that process as well. Every update that came out, anything that came out that was skeptical, he was always calling us and reassuring us that everything was going to be fine. We trusted Coach Williams and through it all we stuck with him. My time there speaks for itself.”
Coach Hubert Davis was an Assistant Coach during the four years that Berry was in Chapel Hill and Berry went on to comment about the new successor and how excited he is for him at UNC.
“I think it was a great decision, when they first hired him I believe they had an intention for him one day to become the Head Coach. I love that Carolina kept it in house and got someone who knows the culture of Carolina. He’s stepping into some big shoes. When you think about Carolina, you think of Dean Smith and Coach Williams. He’s part of that legacy.”
Many would say Joel Berry played for some of the greatest Tar Heel teams (2016 and 2017). Berry talked about the amount of talent that the 2016 team had, including the likes of Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige and compared the back-to-back NCAA Championship Game squads.
During his time at South Bay Lakers in the NBA G-League, Joel had quite a severe injury and tore his meniscus and broke his tibia, having him out of action for a long time. Joel went into how he overcame such an injury and still wanting to prove himself.
Joel Berry is playing his first season overseas and is playing in the Turkish Basketball League for Besiktas. Berry has been averaging over 10 PPG and the team from Istanbul are about to enter the playoffs. He is joined by former NC State player Markell Johnson.
“I think the time there, the wins we had against them, I think it speaks for itself. He’s a great dude. We laugh and joke about the battles we had against each other, particularly the 50 point game we beat them by.”
Every Ceiling is the Roof Podcast is rounded up with a Tar Heel Teammates with questions asked to Joel such as the best dancer on the team and who was most likely to get told off by Coach Williams and more.
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