Robin Jorch is a 25 year old 211cm center from Berlin that will play his first season with the wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen (ProA). He played the last 5 seasons in the states with Boise State (NCAA) playing 111 NCAA games. In his senior year he averaged 3.8ppg, 2.9rpg. He began his basketball career with the International Berlin Basketball Academy. He then played with RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf from 2010-2015 playing a total of 85 Pro B games and in his last season averaged 10.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 55.4%. He also was a member of the German U-16, U-17, U-18, and U-20 national teams. He was a member of the German 3×3 Men Team for Youth Olympic Games in Italy and played at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim (Germany) in 2012. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Robin thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you experienced COVID-19 in Germany?
Thanks for interviewing me. I am in Berlin, Germany at the moment. I got back from Boise, Idaho about a week and a half ago, now sitting in quarantine for five more days. When I was still in Idaho, I was watching the German news to keep up with what was going on here. It was scary to see that people had been assigned to not leave the house and only work from home. It was shocking because in Idaho specifically, it seemed that the corona virus wasn’t as present as in other countries, or US states. Flying home to Germany, I had to wear a face-mask for the whole trip, and I was glad to take it off after almost 20 hours of traveling. Like I mentioned earlier, since I got back, I have been inside, strictly following the quarantine rules.
You played your last NCAA game on March 6th and then COVID-19 hit the world. How much longer did you remain in the States before heading home? How did you experience the early stages of COVID-19 in Idaho?
After playing my last game in March, I stayed in the US for another two months. At the time, the virus has hit Germany pretty hard and we had a high infection number. So I decided to stay in Boise, as I felt safer. Also, I had more opportunities to keep working out. I had a gym that I could access day and night, plus coaches that were willing to work me out. The beginning stages of the corona virus were weird. At first it didn’t seem as serious, but once all the sporting events, including our season, got cancelled, that was when everybody realized that this might be way more serious than just a common virus. However, Idaho continued to be very safe, as we had a low number of infected, compared to other states. That might have been due to the lack of testing resources, nevertheless the city never fully “shut down” until about late April. Even then, you were still able to order in, or go pick up food from restaurants.
When you returned back to Germany, did you do anything special to stay in shape in your house? Or were you able to do sports related things outside?
Once I got back to Germany, I knew it would be a challenge to stay in shape. Having no fitness equipment at home, I decided to go for runs and outdoor workouts in a small, nearby park. I usually go in the morning, to avoid people.
What did you learn these tough times with COVID-19 that has made you stronger as a person?
One thing my coach always used to say was “It’s not gonna be easy”. So I looked at it as a challenge, and in a time like this, there was/is only so much you can do, with gyms and fitness centers being closed. So what made me stronger was focusing on what I could do, instead of what I couldn’t. This meant working out in the backyard, or doing ballhandling in the driveway.
The easyCredit BBL is completing it’s season with fans. That could happen when the Pro A resumes in the fall. What is your opinion of playing games without fans?
Of course it is way more fun to play in a packed gym, but as of right now it is safer to not have fans at the games, and I completely understand. Personally, I haven’t played an official game with no fans present, except for closed scrimmages and practice games. But I’m sure it’ll be cool, and even a small advantage during away games.
What teammates or former teammates did you keep the closest contact during the last months?
Two of my former teammates I used to play with at Boise State still live in Boise, and over the years we became close friends. During the season it was hard to see each other and find times to hang out. But since everything slowed down with COVID-19, we had more opportunities to get together. Also, I kept in close contact with my former teammates here in Berlin. Knowing I would come back to Germany soon, we made appropriate plans ahead of time.
Congrats on signing with German pro A team wiha Panthers. What do you know in general about this organization?
Thank you, I am grateful for the opportunity, and I am excited to see what this season will bring. Honestly, I didn’t know a whole lot about the Wiha Panthers, but then again, neither did I about Boise, Idaho and I had 5 incredible years there. I knew that the Panthers had moved up from the Pro B the previous season and were in 9th place before the season got cancelled. But after talking to Coach Velcic he told me a lot about the organization, the team, and the goals for the upcoming season. This was when I started seeing myself playing for the Panthers.
Head coach Alen Velcic is really high on your abilities. You said in the press release that you see yourself developing well with this club. Was the impression you got of Alen Velcic one where you know that learning from him will be beneficial for your game?
Definitely, yes. From the beginning, Coach Velcic was very open and honest about how he coaches and runs things. And that helped a lot making my decision. I believe that he can help me improve my game and I am confident that I will fit great into this team.
You have been off the radar for German teams mainly because you have been in the States in the last 5 years. Do you feel like that could be an advantage for you in the first few months on the floor as teams may not take your game seriously yet.
Yes, I believe that can be a great advantage. Since playing in the Pro B I have made a big jump individually. And like you said, I have been off the radar, which I feel like will contribute to the advantage even more.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 211cm center that showed in the Pro B with Stahnsdorf that you can be an efficient player. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description.
I want to be really careful here, because obviously NBA players are the best of the best. But if I would have to compare myself, I would say Dirk Nowitzki, since I always had a good shooting touch for a big man. Maybe even Joel Embiid, being able to play inside out to an extent.
You didn’t play as much in the NCAA like you may have liked to. How hungry are you to make a statement in the Pro A?
I am extremely hungry. I am excited to be playing in Germany again, and like you said, I wasn’t able to show my full potential during my college time. I believe the European basketball style will fit me better, and I will be able to show that on the court and be more efficient.
Talk a little about your game. What strengths do you have besides scoring and rebounding? You are known for being a team player.
Another strength would be my defense, and being willing to give up my body, meaning taking charges and diving on/for the ball. Also I feel like I’m good at reading the game and specific situations, knowing when to score or rather pass the ball. I love making plays for my teammates, as I understand that my team will be more successful that way.
How much pride do you take on the defensive end. How did you grow as a defender in school and what do you need to do now to make the next step as a defender?
I always understood the importance of defense and that, over the course of the game, will eventually win you the game. So I valued that early, and looked for ways to improve it. Something I want to work on to become an even better defender is my lateral quickness. That will help me in Pick n’ Roll situations, but also defending big man that can play off the dribble.
On what parts of your game will you be tweaking most this summer so that you will be best prepared when you arrive in the Pro A this fall?
I want to work on my 3-point-shooting, so that I can get back to playing more Pick n’ Pop and being a threat from 3′. Additionally, I will continue working on creating plays out of short rolls as I believe them to be valuable and hard to defend.
You played 5 years at Eintracht Stahnsdorf. How important were these years in your early basketball development?
These 5 years at Stahnsdorf gave a lot of confidence. In young years I struggled with playing to my best potential, but playing in the Pro B when I was younger helped come closer to that. I also got to a point where I could try moves in practices and games that I wanted to add to my game. So overall, I am very grateful I was able to play that way during my time there.
How vital was Michael Hauke in your early development? What do you remember soaking up most from his game?
I didn’t realize this until later, but playing against Hauke during practice made me more physical. I was this 16 year old trying to defend this strong and grown man in the post. And I had to put a lot of effort into even trying keeping him on the block. But like I said, playing against him made it easier in the game to play against other centers, because at the time he was one of the strongest post-players.
You played 4 years at Boise State. How did you develop as a player in the NCAA and how is Robin Jorch a better player today than in 2015?
College Basketball is way faster and partly more physical than European basketball. Over the years I learned to play faster and get more used to the physicality, especially under the basket. Also, I improved my post-game since that was my main focus during the games. I got better at reading post-situations and playing to my strengths.
What were your biggest highlights at Boise State? As a senior you had some huge games against UTEP and SJSU with wins and good individual games
One of my highlights was scoring my season high, against San Jose State University. But besides from having good offensive games, I remember my games were I had great defensive efforts. During the 2019 Christmas tournament in Hawaii, I took 8 offensive fouls in only 3 games.
You averaged 15 minutes as a senior after averaging 8 as a sophomore and 9 as a junior. Was your limited role difficult to live with. How did you grow mentally as a player having to learn to be efficient coming from the bench?
I never complained about wanting to play more minutes. Most important to me was that the team was winning, even if that meant that I had to sit on the bench more during a game. During games like that I always try to think of what I can to do contribute to the team’s success. So I would think to myself “If I only come in for a short amount of time, then I will just play as hard as I can”, knowing I did everything in my power that I can control.
You were teammates with German Christian Sengfelder. What was your fondest memory with him and how do you feel did you profit from his game best?
Man, I love Chris. One thing I can learned from Chris is always playing at 110%. He always has this extreme energy, and you just know you get his best at all times. Me and Chris have bunch of great memories together, but one of the funniest was in the locker room before a game. We would always have to know the scouting report of the opponent team. So Chris gets called on and gets quizzed, and with his heavy accent he says “… He (this player from the other team) will try to be super physical, he will try to bully me, but I won’t let that happen”. Everybody just started laughing.
How did head coach Leon Rice groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Rice was a great Coach, he always pushed me to be my best version. That sometimes meant getting on me and yelling at me, trying to get the best out of me. Additionally, he always took care of his players. He would make sure that we always had food in our locker-room, had enough time to rest between shoot-around’s and games, and that we would have off days to recover our bodies. At first I took that for granted, but quickly noticed that this was something not every school had and did. So thanks to him I am still healthy and able to do what I love.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Zach Haney?
Good one. I think it is pretty even by now, but at the end Zach won one or two more games against me. I’ll give him that.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that made the NBA?
Chandler Hutchison, my teammate. and I hate to be that guy that picks him, but I’ve seen what he went through and had to battle at the time. The jump that he made was incredible, and he knew exactly what it would take. And he showed that perseverance and became a great and tough leader in our team. I speak highly of him, because he deserves nothing less.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Chris Sengfelder, Chandler Hutchison, Paul Zipser, James Reid, and Nick Duncan.
What is your personal opinion of who is the greatest Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I don’t have an answer to that. Obviously, they both are one of a kind. Jordan was the greatest back in his era, now LeBron is the greatest of this era. I hate to disrespect Jordan like that, but in a 1v1, I believe LeBron to win, just because he is physically stronger, and can play any position.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I watched was “Ford v Ferrari”on the plane back to Germany. Good movie, I would recommend it.
Thanks Robin for the chat.