European Prospects

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NBBL Top4: Daniel Theis vs Johannes Richter

May 13th, 2011 · No Comments

The first semi-final of the NBBL Top4 will see Braunschweig play against Breitengüssbach. We spoke with a player from each team to get their feelings on the upcoming event.

Braunschweig has reached the Top4 for the first time. Daniel Theis, how do you see your chances to win the title?

I think we have a very good chance to win the title. We have always been the underdogs in the Play-offs and really worked well with that status. We proved everybody that black is white and that is our approach as well for the Top4.

The semi-final is the opportunity to see Theis play against Philipp Neumann, two of the most promising German Center talents. Johannes Richter, can you tell us what else Breitengüssbach has to offer in this battle?

It will of course be a very exciting duel between Philipp and Daniel Theis. Both are the top prospects on the Center position in Germany or even in Europe. Our force is the depth of our roster, that’s how we could play nearly the whole regular season without Philipp who practiced and played with the Brose Baskets professional team. Additionally, our defense, like for every Breitengüssbach youth team, is very efficient. We got scored on the least points in the whole NBBL.

Daniel, the match-up between you and Philipp Neumann is the main headline for lots of people who will follow the Top4. Where do you see the strengths of Neumann and what are his weaknesses that you will try to address?

In my opinion, he is very physical and very strong and the Breitengüssbach game is focused a lot on his performances. His weakness is that he is by far too slow in his feet because he is a pure Center. I will use this in order to beat him.

Braunschweig comes as the underdog to the Top4 after having played a mediocre Regular Season. Johannes, do you think that your team is the favorite for the semi-final or even the title?

I would not qualify Braunschweig as the underdog. They have a very good trio in Theis, Schröder and Nawrocki who are three very strong players that we need to take seriously. In this Top4, I do not think there is a real favorite because every team has its own strengths and you can not compare the different participants. For example, the Wendt-twins can decide a game on their own for Paderborn if they run hot. The form of the day of the different teams will decide.

Daniel, your team has twice beat the better ranked team in the playoffs. How do you explain this as you played only a mediocre Regular Season?

We could only practice all together a few times during the Regular Season because a lot of the players were with the ProB team. Myself, I only practiced with the Professional team of Braunschweig. But during the Playoffs, we started to have real team practices and we started to win our games because we knew each other better on and off the court and felt what the others are doing. We are all friends and want to have fun on the court.

Johannes, statistically you played a very good season. Are you satisfied with what you have done so far? How do you see your season from a personal point of view?

Of course, it was a very successful season for me but I also had some periods where it did not work that well. For me, statistics are not really essential but I want to develop and improve myself together with the team. I think we did some good work this season in that area.

Daniel, you played already some very good games on the ProB level this season. Do you think you will see also some regular minutes with the Bundesliga team next season?

I work hard and regularly on my game and I hope that I will see some minutes in the Bundesliga next season because I think that I showed this year that I can play on that level.

Richter only played limited minutes with the U17 National Team in 2010 but showed his potential with the U18 during the Villagarcia Tournament this spring. Johannes, how can you explain this progress?

I only joined the U17 National Team very late in the preparation for the World Championships. For me, that was a real big thing as I did not even get selected for the Regional Teams before. But when Frank Menz (coach of the U17 National Team) gave me the necessary confidence and selected me for the Final Roster, it was like a dream coming true for me. I considered it as a success to be with the team and I did not care how much I played. In the summer after the World Championship, I moved to Bamberg and could use their excellent Youth Program where you can develop your skills a lot. I think, I took very good care of this which explains why my role in the National Team has increased since last summer.

Daniel, what are your plans for this summer once you have finished the NBBL Top4?

For me, the summer program starts immediately on the 19th May with the National Team. This goes on until the end of July so that I do not have that much of free time to do other stuff…

For Richter, the summer program will be basically the same.

We will start one week after the Top4 with a first training camp for the Youth National Teams with coach Dirk Bauermann. After that, we have approximately 6 weeks full of practices and tournaments with the U18 National Team with the highlight being the U18 European Championship in Poland. For this event, I will prepare myself with my coaches in Bamberg on an individual basis as well. During these practices and also after the European Championship, I will work on my footwork and defense and try to become a better player facing the basket as well. For next season, I hope I can get more minutes on the ProB team in order to play against better players. What comes after that, we will see.

Daniel, Draftexpress features you on a list of the 25 best European prospect of the 1992 generation. Do you consider the NBA as a goal or is your future more likely to be in Germany or Europe?

I think, the NBA is a dream for every player, so you want to go there one day if it is possible. However, you should set one’s sights low first and get a spot in the Bundesliga team to move eventually to a European team afterwards. I would love to play in 2-3 years in the ACB, without thinking on the NBA.

Thanks to both players for their time and good luck for the Top4.

Braunschweig will play against Breitengüssbach on Saturday at 17h30.

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