Sven Stammberger is a 198cm forward from Halifax, Canada and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his rookie season in Germany for Pro A team Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He played at Dalhousie University (CIS) from 2012-2018 playing a total of 97 games. He ended his career there as a senior playing 20 games averaging 18.4ppg, 8.4rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 85.9%. He spoke to germanhoops.com earlier in the summer about his basketball career.
Sven thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been going?
Hi Miles! Currently, I am at my home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I moved here in grade ten and went to high school and university at the local Dalhousie. My summer has been going well, we are finally getting some summer weather now in early June. I have been focused on finishing my degree and training to get ready for the upcoming season and get back in game shape.
You finished your college playing career in 2018 at Dalhousie University. In the last year you completed the semester in the Corporate Residency MBA program and also helped coach the woman’s team. How important was it having this year off from basketball?
I would argue that the year off playing competitive basketball was difficult for me, but important in different ways. It emphasized my desire to play professionally because I didn’t want to hang up the sneakers quite yet and stay on the sidelines. I also had the opportunity to go on an exchange semester in Denmark which I would never have had the chance to do if I was playing this past year. I think that experience was very valuable and something I won’t forget. Helping coach the women’s team at Dalhousie this past year was really nice for me to stay involved with the varsity teams at Dalhousie and gave me the chance to give back some of the stuff that I had learned over the years.
Congrats on signing with German Pro A team Tigers Tuebingen. Were you on the radar of German teams or was it more the good connections that your agent Matt Slan had that was vital for you getting the job with the Tigers?
Even though I grew up in Germany and my mother played professionally for many years I do not have a strong connection with any teams anymore. Matt was a great help in navigating my first year going pro. It was really helpful to have someone that knew coaches and teams in the German leagues to help me gauge the situation. I am really happy and excited to start off in Tuebingen. It looks like a nice place.
You moved to Canada when you were 9 years old and lived there for 15 years. How Canadian did you get in those 15 years and what is your relationship to the German culture now as you return back to Germany?
I think both me and my sister have a pretty even connection to both places. I remember growing up we would always cheer for both countries at the Olympics and watching the German team win the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 gave us a special feeling. However, after 15 years living in Canada I would say that culturally I am more Canadian, but I am excited to rekindle that connection with Germany.
What kind of relationship did you have with Germany in the last 15 years? Did you ever return back to Germany and were you able to keep your German language alive?
I have been back to Germany many times since I moved away. Mostly in the summers to visit with friends and relatives. I can still speak German; however, my vocabulary is not as large as it should be, due to my leaving Germany after grade three. Within a few months of moving to Canada I would speak English almost all the time. I still speak German with my Omi in Germany and my father every so often. Usually it takes me a few weeks immersed in the language to feel fully comfortable speaking German again.
You practiced with a BBL team in 2013/2014. What kind of experience was that and how do you feel are you a better player today than you were then?
A good family friend of ours, and former assistant coach with my mother’s team Mathias Fischer, was coaching the Telekom Baskets Bonn that year and he invited me to train with them for a couple weeks during the training camp in August. I was just coming off my first year playing at Dalhousie and had suffered a broken wrist resulting in me missing the second half of the season. The opportunity to train with the professional athletes was amazing because it really got me ready for our team’s training camp and bumped me into the starting lineup from only playing 5 minutes per game the year before. It also gave me the experience of seeing what level the pros were playing at and where I had to get, to make that transition to the pro game myself.
You signed with the Tigers Tuebingen. What were the main reasons for signing with the Tigers Tuebingen? How vital was head coach Doug Spradley in helping make your decision easier?
It’s a team that has recently played in the BBL so they know what it takes to get there. It is a nice city and area to live in. I had some good conversations with Doug and liked what his vision for the team was. I thought I would fit in well that way. Ultimately I signed with the Tigers because I thought the team gave me a good opportunity to start my career and that they valued what I brought to the court.
You had a very productive career in Canada showing your versatility. How confident are you that you will be able to make an impact at the Pro A level?
I am a competitor who always works hard and fights for his team. I am confident that I can make an impact at this level. I came out of high school unrecruited and hardly played my first years before many successful years playing at Dal culminating in an All-Canadian nod in my senior year. All that is because of my work ethic and ability to learn from players better than myself.
You will be teammates with Canadian Tanner Graham who you played against once in a pre-season game in 2017. He is a versatile forward like yourself. How do you feel will you two guys compliment each other best on the court?
I am excited to play with him next year. We got to know each other a bit in the last year. It is always good to have a teammate to compete with because it makes both players better. I think Tanner can be that player for me. I love playing one on one and can’t wait to make up for that pre-season game where his team beat ours. But on the court, he is a great player who plays very smart and has great athleticism and those kind of players are always fun to play with.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a versatile 198cm forward that can do a bit of everything. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the description?
I think generally it is pretty hard to compare yourself to anyone so I will give a shout-out to my former teammate Kashrell Lawrence who in our first year playing together always compared me to Danilo Gallinari.
You grew as a defender in Canada at Dalhousie University. On what areas on the defensive end do you take most pride in when your helping your team stop the other team?
I think I take pride in being able to guard various positions. Our team defensive style at Dalhousie included a lot of switching and we were able to do that partly because we had players that could guard a wide range. We also would practice hard denial often, and it came in clutch for us a number of times when we were able to force turnovers in late game situations that led to late comeback victories.
Now as you start your professional career, on what things in your game do you want to continue to grow as you battle in the Pro A?
I want to continue working on my shooting ability. In the recent analytical wave in basketball the three-point shot has become so much more popular so I think it is very important to be as automatic as possible from the three-point line. Additionally, I am working on using my three-point shooting ability to create breakdown situations going at the rim and trying to make the correct reads out of that, whether it be to keep attacking or kick to a teammate.
You were voted as one of 8 of the most outstanding student athletes in the country. With being a guy that is well rounded, do you suspect to continue to be active and do usual things off the court when you are in Tuebingen?
Yes, I hope to be involved in the community when I arrive in Tuebingen. Those community service events are always more fun when you are doing things with friends, so I hope we can get some team things going together.
You won three AUS tournaments from 2015-2017. Which one was the sweetest?
That is a really difficult question because all three championships were sweet for different reasons. But our first victory was so unexpected and in each of the three games of the tournament, we were able to come back from a double-digit deficit in the second half, including a 17-point turnaround from late in the third in the championship game. This was also the year after we had missed playoffs and no one else in our conference really expected us to be good. Additionally, I was named to the tournament All-Star team which was really special because the year prior, I had been watching the playoffs with my broken wrist and didn’t expect to be an All-Star or even win the championship that very next year.
You had many memorable games at Dalhousie like hitting UNB for 40 points or hitting St Francis X for 35 and 36 points back to back. Was one of these games your most memorable or was it another?
I definitely had a lot of fun games at Dalhousie and I will remember many of them for years to come. But my most memorable game came in the semi-finals of the playoffs during our final championship run. We were the number one seed but had been playing poorly and were down by 6 with 45 seconds to go. I still remember every single possession of those last 45 seconds where we forced three turnovers including one where I stole the ball and then slammed it down to take the lead. I remember barely being able to sleep that night because the emotions were still running high.
How did head coach Richard Plato grow and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Throughout our whole Dalhousie career, Coach Plato always would harp about the ‘little things’ and I think he really taught us how important all those ‘little things’ are. This would include things like boxing out, talking loudly during every possession, taking care of the ball and many more. He also is a great motivator and really places an emphasis on working hard which is the skill that I think got me the farthest in my career.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Alex Carson?
We have a very similar playing style so we often would have close one on one games. Mostly it just depended on who was feeling it more that day.
What is your NBA Rushmore? Please select four heads old or new?
MJ, Lebron, Kareem, Magic
What is your general opinion of the never-ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I think it is so difficult to compare the two and that there will never be a definitive conclusion to that debate. There will always be people on either side, until another player comes along. At that point it will probably be a three headed debate then. If push comes to shove, I would probably choose Lebron, possibly because I’m young and never really got to appreciate MJ’s greatness, and partly because that performance he put up in the 2018 playoffs was legendary. He’s also had such longevity which I think is equally as impressive as all his other accomplishments.
What is your fondest memory of Dirk Nowitzki growing up?
I definitely enjoyed watching him win a championship in 2011 but also when I was 14 I got to see him address the crowd and present awards at the U17 world championships in Hamburg when I was there watching. And recently I noticed from Instagram that my future teammate Besnik was a player on the Germany team during that championship which is a cool coincidence.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I really like thrillers and sad movies. Not a fan of the superhero genre and may be the only person to not have seen Endgame lol. The last movie I watched was 21 Jump Street. A throwback! Funny movie though!
Thanks Sven for the chat.