Pete Strobl has been around the European basketball scene for 20 years having had a stellar professional basketball career and now is an assistant coach for German easyCredit BBL team ratiopharm Ulm. He played at Niagara (NCAA) from 1997-2000 and then had a 9 year professional playing career that took him to countries like Germany, Austria, France, Ireland, Iceland and Switzerland. He founded The Scoring Factory in Pittsburgh and wrote a must read book called Backspin. He is a very interesting basketball mind that doesn´t shy away from speaking his mind especially on Twitter. German Hoops and Pete Strobl will team up every few weeks talking basketball with the title “Current basketball affairs with Pete Strobl. You can follow Pete Strobl on twitter @petestrobl
1. You’ve really stood out lately with some of your twitter posts on social media and have made some pretty cool observations about all kinds of interesting topics regarding the European basketball landscape. What inspires you to tackle these controversial areas?
I was pretty excited when we advanced to the top 16 of the EuroCup, and equally frustrated when we didn’t make it to the next round of playoffs. I remember thinking that I wanted a better way to interact with our fans and just kind of let my personality and joy for the game come across. I also want to share knowledge with all of our coaches, players and their families at The Scoring Factory in Pittsburgh. I watch numerous games every week from a variety of leagues and it’s enjoyable to highlight some of the things that stand out to me for the benefit of people who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to see what I get to see. I love dissecting basketball strategy as well as diving into the little details that allow players to create an advantage. When I tweet certain plays or actions, it’s for the benefit of a multitude of players and coaches so that this knowledge that I’m accumulating here in Europe has a chance to trickle down on that side of the Atlantic too. As you know, The Scoring Factory is very near and dear to my heart and Player Development is something that I’ve always been passionate about. As far as being controversial, I’m not the type of guy to purposely start an argument or say anything negative, but I don’t have a problem speaking the truth and stimulating healthy debate in order to ignite positive change even if it momentarily makes people feel uncomfortable.
2. In one tweet in particular, you mentioned that you would be interested in joining Magenta Sport to do a bilingual broadcast of a BBL game. Do you see a demand for this in Germany?
Let me be crystal clear here and make it known that I absolutely love the work that Telekom and Magenta Sport are doing. Our league has benefited tremendously from the overall production value, and the quality of the telecasts is phenomenal. In the tweet you’re referring to, I was replying to a friend, Benni Zander, who I think does great work and brings a ton of energy and excitement to the games. Germany is currently going through a critical growth phase and it’s vital that the momentum continues in the right direction. My suggestion of joining to do a special broadcast in which I speak English and the main commentator speaks German, providing a little something for everybody, was not just a joke or an empty offer. I would honestly love to do something like that and I think it could play a small role in continuing to help raise awareness the game. Germany is a special place with the strength of the current economic climate and the history of American GI’s staying here after their time in the service. In that regard it’s unlike many other European countries and is very open to foreign language and culture. Combine that with the fact that each team in the Bundesliga has roughly 6 foreigners with families, friends and fans that want to watch and follow their games. There’s an untapped market of English speakers around the world that definitely would enjoy watching games from our league with at least a little bit in their own language. I know that you’ve done some work broadcasting games in English in the past for some international games, so I’m sure you agree that there’s a demand for this as well. Who knows, maybe someday you and I broadcast some games together!
3. This is your third season now as the top assistant coach for ratiopharm ulm and you’ve been a part of some beautiful basketball. How do you see the team finishing this season and what are your plans for the future?
The entire experience here has been wonderful and I’ve learned from the good times as well as the bad. I think it’s important to take everything in and really master your environment in order to better prepare for the future. Obviously winning 27 games in a row and setting the league record is a fond memory that I’ll never forget. But being a part of an organization like ratiopharm ulm that is so consistently dedicated toward success has been a blessing. I’m honored that Thorsten Leibenath brought me and my family here and I’ve learned so much on this journey. I hope we continue to grow and finish the season with a strong push to make a deep run in the playoffs. There’s more parity in our league than ever before and there’s a traffic jam of teams vying for the playoffs. I’m confident in our players and look forward to doing something special this season. Although it’s not yet the right time to think about what comes after this season, I’ll answer your question by saying that my goal is to be a head coach. I’ve had a chance to experience the highs and lows on one of the biggest stages of European basketball here, and I’m in love with each aspect of building and leading a team. I embrace the daily grind and enjoy the work involved with cultivating a culture with a comprehensive environment of success. My goal is to find a team that wants somebody like me and then to reward their trust. Whenever I get that chance, people will see a team overachieve through hard work, discipline, positive communication and consistent leadership. I want to do things the right way with respect for the game and work toward winning championships!
Thanks Pete for your insight about current topics.