Updated: Nov 13, 2020
Growing up, Quaran McPherson often heard talk of how good his dad was at basketball. McPherson never truly believed it, until he finally had the opportunity to watch his dad play. Ever since then, McPherson knew he too had a love for the game and has been on a mission to make a name for himself.
Now in his second year at Woodstock Academy, one of the premier prep basketball programs in the northeast, McPherson is one of the leaders for Coach Jacque Rivera’s team. McPherson is at his best when he’s attacking downhill, but he has a versatile offensive game with the ability to score at the rim, in the midrange, or out to three-point range. McPherson isn’t just known for his offense, as he plays hard-nosed defense and has good rebounding ability for a guard.
Now more than two years removed from a difficult knee injury, the high major interest in McPherson is starting to heat up as programs such as Auburn, Nebraska, Seton Hall, St. John’s, and UConn have taken notice of the versatile combo guard.
In this interview, McPherson talks about his strengths and weaknesses on the court, why trash talk gets him going, his expectations for year two at Woodstock Academy, who he compares his game to, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2021 prospect Quaran McPherson, from Queens, New York:
Pro Insight: Tell us about your background and where you grew up?
Quaran McPherson: I’m from Queens, New York. I come from a place where not too many people make it and you got to work for everything. So if you work hard, you’ll end up being successful where we come from just with the work ethic to be great and do something with yourself.
PI: Have you gone through hardships, and what did you learn from those experiences?
QM: Yeah, I can say I went through something that most athletes really don’t want to go through. I had a torn ACL and meniscus like two years ago, so I couldn’t play for a whole year. So with that I felt like it was over, I couldn’t play no more, couldn’t be myself. I couldn’t do anything, I was helpless. Basketball was the only thing I knew, so I was just lost. But I had family members who helped me, helped me get through it. They was just like ‘you’re gonna be better than before so keep going through the therapy, don’t give up on yourself, you’re gonna come back better.’ So I stuck with it and I’m back.
PI: How has your mindset changed going through that experience?
QM: My mindset changed where I feel like don’t take anything for granted, the game you love could be snatched with the snap of your finger. It just so happened, I was playing great and then the freak accident happened. It wasn’t on purpose, or intentionally, I just went up for a layup and a kid bumped me and I just fell wrong. So, play every game like it’s your last and always be focused on your goal and want to achieve something in life.
PI: Did you play any sports other than basketball growing up?
QM: I tried to play football, that’s actually a funny story. So I tried to play, and my dad doesn’t know nobody so he just know his son wants to try, so we gonna try to let him play. And it was only practice, season didn’t even start yet, and I got sick. And I never went back at all. I don’t know nobody, I don’t want to. So I’m not playing football, it’s over.
PI: What made you fall in love with the game of basketball?
QM: I saw that all my cousins played. And whenever I would go to games, everyone would go up to my dad talking about how good he was. And I’m like, ‘Him? He’s trash.’ And then one day I went to one of his games, I had to be in like fourth or fifth grade and he played and I’m watching and he is nice. And he’s taller than everybody. So then I’m like, I think I like basketball and I might stick with it.
PI: How tall is your dad and did he play college?
QM: My dad is about 6’7”. He went to JUCO and then he transferred to a D1 school. But he played basketball, like streetball, and everybody knows him. Like he goes out, everybody knows who he is, like they call me ‘little him’ and I’m like you can’t keep calling me that, I want my own name.
PI: So when you play basketball now, what gets you going in a game?
QM: What gets me going is the crowd and when people talk trash to me. Cause every game, you don’t want to go out like ‘I’m gonna score 50 today.’ Sometimes I’ll work on things when I play. Like little things to improve so coaches and whoever is there see ‘he improved his game.’ And then certain people talking in the crowd, like kids, and I’m like ‘chill.’ That gets me going.
PI: Are you a trash talker, or do you just hear them and channel that?
QM: It depends how much trash they talking. Like if you talking trash and you not scoring, now I’m gonna talk trash and I’m gonna score on you. But sometimes I channel it like I’m not gonna talk, I’m just gonna kill them today. I’m just gonna play hard, take the ball and I’m gonna score every time.
PI: Describe your game. What are your greatest strengths?
QM: My game is I do a little bit of everything. I can shoot. I can attack the rim. I can pass, play defense, rebound. But mostly, I’m a scorer. I get to spots, like the midrange area. I can get to the rim and create, like eurosteps, hop-steps, floaters, left hand, right hand, pull-up. Sometimes I’ll mix it up with 3’s. I just started shooting better. I been working this summer, so I’ve been shooting a lot of jump shots, a lot of 3’s working on moves into 3’s. Mostly scoring, though.
PI: What are some things you need to work on and improve?
QM: I had to work on keeping my [shooting] hand all the way up. So, before when I would shoot, I would snatch my hand back. And then my trainer was like ‘when you do that, you take away from your shot so keep your hand up.’ And I used to drop my guide hand. When you see some players when they shoot, they drop their guide hand. So I had to work on keeping both my hands up and holding my follow through. And I’ve been working on that over the summer and it’s been working for me.
PI: Who do you train with?