It Was Very Gratifying For Dan Oppland(Lok Bernau) To Work And Mentor The Young Players

Dan Oppland is a 36 year old 203cm forward that completed his 14 professional season and first season with SSV Lokomotive Bernau (Germany-ProB) playing 22 games averaging 15.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT-11 (95.6%) Last season he played with the MLP Academics averaging 10,7ppg, 4,9rpg and 1,6 apg. He started his basketball career with Valparaiso (NCAA) in 2002 where he played until 2006. He started his professional basketball career in 2006 for Hanzevast Capitals Groningen (Holland). He then played in countries like Poland and Sweden before coming to Bayreuth in 2008. He then played for seasons four Allianz Swans Gmunden (Austria-A Bundesliga) where he won three titles. He also played for Namika Lahti (Finland-Korisliiga) in the 2013-2014 season playing 47 games averaging 15.7ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%. He played 119 games with Nurnberg from 2014-2018 and was able to improve his scoring average each season. He spoke to during the Coronavirus crisis.

Hi Dan where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?

Hey Miles. I am currently in Germany taking this pandemic one day at a time. I feel blessed knowing that all my friends and family are currently healthy and safe. Even though it is not easy being quarantined, our family has adjusted pretty well. It could always be a lot worse, and we are grateful of all the health care workers who are putting countless hours into trying to save the lives of others. These are the true heroes. 

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?

To be honest, I didn’t think it would be such a big deal. We have had viruses come and go in the past that never made such a global impact as this coronavirus has had on our society.

How have you experienced the day to day life in Bernau during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?

I live in Berlin, so I have only experienced the day to day coronavirus outbreak here. You can see small differences here and there, like people keeping their distance or wearing masks and gloves at the stores, etc. It has definitely been a lot quieter here than usual. 

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing

Once this pandemic spread at such a high rate, the only thing you could do was be more aware of your everyday interactions with other people. It’s these little things that might keep you healthy in the end. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?

Even though we were playing in the playdowns, it definitely was disappointing not being able to finish the season. I never thought it would come down to this decision. Life without sports is very boring. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?

It would be an odd experience to play a game without fans. If it gets to that point, then I think it’s best not to even play the games anymore. 

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?

Times like this make me realize how insignificant we as humans really are. Our agendas, problems, etc. Really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. It also made me realize to appreciate what I’ve got, especially the small things like seeing friends or traveling. So much of our independence has been taken because of this virus. Hopefully we as humans will appreciate those things even more once everything slowly comes back to normal.

Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?

It won’t be an adjustment for me because I am always working out regardless of the situation. You have to love the grind if you want to play this game. The disadvantage during this crisis is it will be challenging to stay sharp with basketball training since everything is closed at the moment, but the advantage is I can become creative with other types of workouts. 

The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?

It’s going to be very interesting to see the scope of professional basketball and all sports next season. I’m just hoping that not too many teams go bankrupt because of the economical situation. I don’t stress over my personal situation, just taking it one day at a time. We will see what happens.

How have you experienced the day to day life back home? How has the Coronavirus affected your daily life?

My day to day life is pretty basic. I workout almost every day and just enjoy the time with my wife and baby girl. We are both teachers, so since the schools are shut down, it’s been a little adjustment having to stay at home. 

How have you been keeping in shape inside your home. Talk about the type of exercises and work out you have been able to perform inside your own 4 walls.

I do a variety of workouts during the week. Sometimes I will go for long runs, while other times I will do sprint work. I also incorporate upper and lower body strength exercises, along with a lot of stretching and agility exercises. I am always trying to change things up to trick my body. 

If you had to name another player besides guys from Bernau that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?

Eric Palm and Sebastian Schroeder are two guys I keep up with pretty frequently. They are my family so we stay in good touch with one another. 

Congrats on a fine season in the Pro B with Lok Bernau. What kind of experience was it playing for the Alba Berlin farm teams that has some of Germany’s finest young players. What did you enjoy most from the experience?

It was definitely a different experience for me because I have never played with so many young players in my entire career. But it was very gratifying to work and mentor these guys. They were a great group of kids who came to work every day. 

You were already a mentor type of player in Nurnberg with the youth. How was it mentoring some of these huge talents? Was it another kind of level playing with so many talented young guys to what you had been accustomed to?

Playing with young players this season was a challenge for me at first because I have been used to playing with older professional players my entire career. But I used it as chance to be a coach on the floor and pass down some knowledge to them. 

Let’s talk about the Lok Bernau season.The club finished in 9th place with a 11-11 record. How disappointing was it just missing he playoffs considering two other teams also had identical 11-11 records. 

It was very disappointing considering we were in playoff range the entire season. 

The club had a solid season until the last 5 games losing 4. Did the club loose some steam at the end?

It was difficult for us to stay consistent all season, with different a team being used almost every single game. Added our youth to this situation, made every game a huge challenge for us. But this is no excuse, we just didn’t get it done at the end.

How would you summarize the season. The club had an average age of 20. How do you feel did the club make strides from the first day to the last with all it’s young players?

I felt like our season was a rollercoaster ride. We had some great moments, but we never caught that rhythm to win more than a few games in a row. Our inexperience definitely was evident at times, but I felt like our guys made some great developments throughout the season. 

After playing many years for Ralph Junge, you had a new coach with Rene Schilling. What was it like playing for him and what is his secret to being able to develop young Germany so well ?

It was a privilege playing for Rene. Not only is he a standup individual but a tremendous coach as well. He was always trying to make adjustments in order to prepare for our next opponent. I learned a lot from him and you could see the positive influence he had on the young guys. 

Let’s talk about some of your teammates. Two of the biggest talents and most developed are Germans Malte Delow and Lorenz Brenneke. How did you witness them develop best and how could you enrich their basketball skills with your skills best?

Malte and Lorenz were impressive to watch and play with from day one. Their approach to the game was something you don’t see a lot in kids their age. Practicing and playing with ALBA had a lot to do with this. Their development from the beginning of the season until the end was fun to watch.

Another huge talent is big man Kressimir Nikic. Just how much potential does he have and what did he have in his game skill at the end that he didn’t have at the start?

Kresimir’s potential is through the roof in my opinion. He had some big games not only for us, but ALBA as well. His aggressiveness on offense was something that improved from the beginning to the end of the season. It will be interesting to see where his career path takes him in the future.

Another big talent is Nolan Adekunle. How did you see him grow as a very young player and was he a guy that you focused on helping him at his position?

Nolan is a great kid who is always trying to get better. He is always asking questions and trying to learn, which is important for someone with his potential. I put some added effort into Nolan this season, knowing how young he was. He really developed his game from the beginning to the end, which was shown in how confident he played.

Let’s talk about your game. After 5 years in the Pro A, you played your first season in the Pro B. What kind of experience was it for you playing in a lower league at age 35?

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect playing in the Pro B this season. Even though the level was not as high as Pro A, I was still impressed with quality of play. 

You averaged 15.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT-11 (95.6%). How content were you with your season?

I am always content with my season when the team has success. I was expecting more from us, but I still enjoyed my time in Bernau this year. 

We have talked about your three pointer in the past. You never shot better than 23% from outside with Nurnberg, but with Lok Bernau you shot the second best in your career with 41% after shooting 42% in 2009-2010 with Gmunden. You don’t take many shots, but this year they fell. Did you do anything different?

My approach to my shot is the same every season. I always work hard on it and am looking for the best possible shot to shoot whether it is a 3 pointer or two pointer. 

What do you try to improve most at this stage of your career? What were you happy about with your game in the last season with Lok Bernau?

My job at this point in my career is to lead by example and improve as a leader on and off the court. I try to help these young guys with not only the physical but also the mental aspects of the game. I was happy that I gave full effort the entire season. 

We have spoken about possible retirement in the past and you said this last time. ‘I never have looked at my age as a determinant of my playing because I still feel good. If I feel young, that is all the matters’. Are you still feeling young for a 15th professional season?

I still feel great, body is holding up fine. We will see what the future holds.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro B this season?

Probably Chris Hopper from Itzehoe.

Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?

I still think he needs to keep this level of play for a little while longer before we say he is a top 3 player. But he is amazing!

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 12 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

I was at home in Berlin when I heard about Kobe’s death. He had a huge influence on me as kid because he was one of the first to come out of high school and be an immediate success in the NBA. Not many guys were doing that. He was something special and will be missed. 

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?

That was very tough not having March Madness this year. It is one of the greatest events in sports. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for all those seniors who couldn’t participate. I would tell them that everything happens for a reason, and this is a situation that will only make them stronger in the long run.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Death Wish

Thanks Dan for the chat.

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