Daniel Berger is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Medford, Oregon playing his rookie season with Team Ehingen Urspring (Germany-ProB). He started his basketball career with Chemeketa community college an dthen moved to Utah State(NCAA) where he played 59 NCAA games from 2011-2014. As a senior he played with BYU-Hawaii (NCAA2) playing 20 games: 14.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 48.4%, FT: 79.2%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.
Danny thanks for talking to German Hoops A tough 84-72 loss against Nordlingen last weekend. Did the weak start pretty much build the foundation for the loss?
Yeah they threw a good first punch and we never really overcame it. We started with little energy and they were making shots and we were not. Have to give them credit they played a great game.
Ehingen had some runs as is usual in the game of basketball, but was playing pick up basketball the whole day and did exerting too much extra energy do the team in?
We had to play from behind the entire game and they did a good job of keeping the lead and staying aggressive.
Nordlingen is led by the trio of Talbert and Lockhart and German Schmidkunz. Was there not a way to make better adjustments as the game progressed trying to get these guys better under control?
We tried to make a few adjustments but ultimately had a difficult time stopping the guards from penetrating and creating for their teammates. They are good players and we evidently did not do a good enough job to stop them from doing what they wanted.
After starting the season winning eight of the first nine games, it now has lost two of it´s last three games. What have been the main reasons for this change in the play of the team?
Its a long season and every team I have played on has had its ups and downs. Its just a matter of limiting the times when your struggling and staying together. We have struggled shooting the ball in the games we have lost, and that is where you have to rely on defense to stay in the game and in the 2 games that hasnt been where it should be.
The team is a good defensive team giving up 70 points on average and scoring 77 points. On what areas does the team still need to work on to go another big winning streak?
I think we need to work on playing faster. When we get out and run in transition we are hard to stop because it helps our defense out. If we get into a game full of half court possessions we tend to struggle a bit. Also rebounding is somewhere we are improving and need to continue.
You are leading the club in scoring as a rookie. How have you come to terms with that?
I just try to be aggressive when possible. As a team we average a lot of assists and get everyone involved so I know my teammates look for me when the opportunity is there. As I try to play to my strengths I get scoring opportunities throughout the game.
Is this something that you like being? At Utah State you were more of a role player and last season you were a scorer at BYU-Hawaii (NCAA2).
Its not something I need to be. Scoring is good for the team and if thats what I need to do to win then I will try. I think every player likes to score points, but there is so much more that goes in to the game that is not measured on a stat sheet, but at the end of the day the team who outscores the other team wins the game.
How vital has German veteran Tobias Jahn been who plays your position and also spent some years in the States playing at Cal Poly Pomona is helping you get adjusted on and off the court?
Toby has been unbelievably helpful to me on and off the court. He picked me up at the airport when I arrived and ever since then we have been great friends. I usually wake up to a funny picture or video that he texts me which I enjoy. Especially being so far from home he has made the transition easier.
Currently you are shooting 31,0% from outside. Last season at BYU-Hawaii (NCAA2) you shot 48,4% from downtown. Is improving your outside shooting something that you are working on at the moment?
Yeah I have been in a bit of a slump from 3. I shoot everyday but I need to take more game speed shots. I’m not going to put to much thought into it because I know I am a good shooter. I have been in slumps before so I am confident Ill pull through it.
You can score and snatch rebounds, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I would say my ability to pass the ball. I’m usually taller than my defender so I can see the court better. Even though I may not get the direct assist, I think I can make the right play most of the time. Also I can handle the ball in transition and find my teammates on the run.
You have adjusted well to the German Pro B, but what has or is still taking some time to get used to on the court that you weren´t used to in the NCAA 2?
Just the little difference are still strange. The main thing is putting the ball on the floor as soon as penetrate. I haven´t had hardly any traveling violations, but I still think about it a lot. The shot clock/ 8 second violation as well as the wide key and 3 point line has taken some adjusting as well.
What kind of experience has it been playing for Ehingen? It belongs to the best German basketball schools. Despite being a rookie at age 25 do you see yourself giving much advice to the younger Germans on the team?
I really enjoy being around the younger players on the team. I feel like I can relate to them and give them advice because I have played on multiple levels. The biggest thing is competing in practice every day which helps them elevate their games.
How has it been working with young Croatian Marko Sarac of Croatia who has been with the program for some time. How much potential does he have?
Marko is a guy who is always happy to see you. He is a great athlete with a lot of skill. He has a lot of potential and over time will learn more about the mental part of the game.
German point guard Zaire Thompson won titles with the youth program with Ehingen and last season wanted to go the NCAA route, but didn´t make it at Fordham playing only 8 games and has returned. Now he is fighting to get minutes with an ambitious team of young players. As a guy who has NCAA experience have you been helping his confidence of getting his foot back in the door in the Pro B?
I really like playing with Zaire. He plays fast and is very unselfish. I admire how much he works along with coming to basketball practice. He has very little free time, but still comes with a good attitude. He can play and just needs to take advantage of whenever he is on the court. My job is to try and help him stay positive and confident.
How different has it been playing for German head coach Domenik Reinboth? How has he been different to what you learned under Stew Murrill, Tim Duryea and Ken Wagner?
Every coach does things differently. I have played for multiple coaches and have learned to do things their way. All I can worry about is whatever way a coach tells me to do it I need to do it hard with maximum effort. Domenik has been good, and lets us play to our strengths. I admire how much work he puts in as well. I know he wants to win and is trying to do whatever he thinks is right to do so.
You played two seasons with American Jarred Shaw at Utah State. What was your fondest memory with the current D-league player at Santa Cruz?
Jarred and I got along great. I have a picture with Jared the year I sat out with my heart situation. In the picture I am walking next to him, he is in uniform and I am in street clothes. He has a number 12 patch on his jersey which was my number. He shared some thoughts with me about the picture. What he said is my fondest memory of Jared.
How vital was Pablo Coro of Chille last season in BYU-Hawaii winning the Pac West tournament?
Pablo was extremely vital to our success last season. His ability to shoot the ball as well as create offensively made it easier on all of us. Plus he was a great guy to be around and was very welcoming as i transferred in.
Who won a one on one last season you or Luke Ashton?
Who was the toughest player that you battled on the court that is in the NBA or in Europe now?
I have played against a lot of very good players. Playing pick up games with Paul George and Jabari Parker was tremendous competition. Rodney Hood was a tough cover, but honestly my teammate at Utah State Spencer Butterfield who plays in Lithuania now helped me elevate my game to another level. Guarding him every day made me a lot better, and for sure taught me how to box out a rebounding guard.
What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you ever see him being mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?
Lebron is a guy who has no limits. Nothing he does will surprise me. Michael is on a pedestal to me because he is an ultimate champion in my eyes.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched was Star Wars episode 3. I actually watched all 6 of them in preparation for the new one coming out.
Thanks Dan for the chat.