Pete Strobl has been around the European basketball scene for 20 years having had a stellar professional basketball career and was an assistant coach for German easyCredit BBL team ratiopharm Ulm last season. Currently he is head coach of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. 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 team up every month talking basketball with the title “Current basketball affairs with Pete Strobl. You can follow Pete Strobl on twitter @petestrobl
Your team won a huge road game in Bonn. Did you feel pressure before that game?
I have really big goals and I put a lot of pressure on myself. The win in Bonn was just as meaningful as every other win in terms of our team chasing a playoff spot. Before the season we announced making the playoffs as one of our goals and that obviously put a lot of pressure on our team, even from our own fan base. In retrospect, perhaps it might have been wiser to phrase it more judiciously in building support for a team returning with only two rotation players from the previous season. That’s just one part of growth and learning from situations. My concept of pressure can best be characterized by the phrase “Pressure makes diamonds”. I put myself under constant pressure to succeed because that’s how I’m wired. We’re all professionals and we are paid to be here. I’m glad that people have expectations because I do too.
Has your philosophy changed this season with the addition of new players?
My overall basketball philosophy is consistent, but of course the finer details of our approach and individual player roles have changed now that we’ve had a period of time together. Every coach starts the season with an idea of how he wants to play and builds a plan based on the available pieces on the roster. Ten months is a very long time and there’s a natural evolution teams experience during the course of a season. As you mentioned, some of our pieces have changed so obviously we’ve adapted out of necessity. The addition of Lucca Staiger has given us a boost in terms of having another experienced leader on the floor. Of course we’re working to make sure we use him to take full advantage of his strengths. I think people looking for immediate results can sometimes underestimate the value of continuity and keeping a group of core players together for multiple seasons. I don’t think it is a secret formula that some teams continue to be strong year after year because of their ability to keep key players together for more than a single season.
What needs to change for Germany to be the best league in Europe?
It’s interesting to look at where the league is now compared to 10 years ago. There have been remarkable improvements on every level. Players and agents respect the fact that you actually get what you agree to when signing a contract in Germany, even though the overall numbers might still be higher in other places. Therefore, the salaries need to increase to get and keep top-level players. This would hopefully result in better overall performance from all the German teams playing international competitions. Raising the overall profile would cause the cycle to continue and perhaps even snowball to a successful outcome. But that’s an easy short-term answer. Looking at it long-term, there needs to be a massive increase in the investments committed to youth basketball in order to develop more fans from the pool of family and friends. Over the coming years, as youth players filter into the professional ranks, there would naturally be an increased demand from these new fans of the game to insist on more basketball games being shown on TV. Sponsors will always put their money where they receive the most return on their investment. Basketball in Germany doesn’t need to compete with soccer, but it does have to claw its way into the mainstream. I think the process is already started, but there’s a lot more work to be done.