Hello there. Thanks for sparing us some of your time after yesterday’s game.
No problem, I only feel a little stressed because the game did not meet my expectations. For a start I was not happy with the programme of our A-team and a second viewing of the DVD also revealed some of our shortcomings, our performance in that game was poor. Musel Pikes had all their players at their disposal and the third quarter really turned the game. There’s work to be done her.
Did it come as a disappointment or would it be something to be expected ?
No, it’s early days, and I’m here to get to know and work with the team. After my long stint at Musel Pikes I also looked for a challenge with other teams. There’s a learning process with new teams all the time.
You worked with other teams in the meantime.
Yes, I set myself rather ambitious targets, and I must say that I achieved my goals with both Racing and Ettelbrück. The target I set us always to make the top four. After a time routine sets in, it’s down to attitudes with me. If the team can uphold a professional and dedicated attitude I’m happy to give it my best.
Was that the reason why you changed after a time ?
Yes and no. I get involved in the work with my teams and travelling to Ettelbrück for practices took a heavy toll on my other duties. I work in Differdange, so I was on the road quite a lot : training is a demanding job, with all the input of time and energy required.
Did the offer from T71 suit you better then ?
Well yes, it did. But not for that reason only. OK, so it’s more convenient to work in Differdange, return home to Remich and train half way there, but the team also meant a new challenge to me. I have been watching the team for quite some time, ever since my time at Zolver, actually. The team has all the potential you can expect, and with a few changes I would like to operate we could achieve quite something together.
So, where would you see the points of comparison and the strengths and weaknesses of the team as you took over ?
Well, compared to Ettelbrück I now have a more mature team, and in comparison with Remich I see the severe handicap of not having the tall players I would like to see evolving at this level.
Did that determine your implication in the choice of our American player ?
It did, yes. We have the usual financial constraints but my main requirement was for a tall player.
It’s early days, but where do we stand at the moment.
True, but I consider the preparation and the first game to have been very satisfactory. I thought the team was terribly nervous, maybe they wanted to impress the new player. It took some time to get them to perform as a team again. Basically that’s I want them to do, perform as a team, because the team has the experience and I can rely on all positions to be doubled. All in all the team is well balanced.
So you see the potential in the national league.
Wouldn’t want it to be otherwise. We can aim for the finals, our players bring that kind of experience as well, both at the national and international levels.
No complaints then ?
Like I said before, there are individualities, and there remains work to be done to get the team to perform as such. Melissa has integrated the team beautifully, and the players have seen the point of having her play in her position. I also insist on more realism in their playing and a certain calm that can be beneficial in many games. A problem that you always face in our national context is the heavy demands on the students in the team. The high attendance will automatically drop once the academic year resumes, and some of the coming games will be tough because my starting five will not be available all the time.
What does that mean for you ?
An opportunity, actually. I can have all the players turn and judge their performance in real game conditions. Having so many players at my disposal allows me to take the stress out and to some extent to avoid hectic changes. This brings extra confidence, which to me is more important in our present situation than some taller players. Our training sessions are all geared to achieve that fitness and to organize the defence side of our game. A good defence can help us, even on a bad day.
Does your confidence building stretch beyond the game ?
Not really, I think the players should draw all the satisfaction from their playing, but there is also a life outside basketball for them. I welcome other interests in their lives, it helps all of us.
Did that suit you?
Yes, it was more convenient and it also worked out in my game. We won twenty-one games and only lost in the second round of the conference. Personally, I again made Player of the Year. We played in division two all American, and my stats improved to 20 points/game and 10 rebounds on average.
Thanks a lot for the interview, and good luck in the games to come.