Robert Nortman is a 33 year old 204cm forward from Nassau, Bahamas that completed his third season in Germany and first with the ROMERSTROM Gladiators Trier (ProA) averaging 4,4ppg and 4,3rpg. Last season he played with UMF Sindri Hofn (Iceland-D1) playing 9 games avergaing 16.2ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 64.8%. In 2018-2019 he palyed with the Tigers Tuebingen. He was injured for most of the season and played only 8 games averaging 1,6ppg and 1,1rpg. In 2017-2018 he played for the ROMERSTROM Gladiators Trier (Germany-ProA averaging 4,8ppg and 2,6rpg. He has played most of his professional career in Canada with teams Halifax Rainmen (Canada-NBL Canada), Island Storm (Canada-NBL Canada), and Windsor Express (Canada-NBL Canada). He also gained experience with teams Maitland Mustangs (Australia-WARATAH) and Francavilla Fontana (Italy-Serie C Silver). He played four years at Dalhousie University (Canada-CIS) and as a senior played 21 games averaging 14.6ppg, 6.4rpg, FGP: 49.4%, FT: 61.7%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 20-21 season in Germany.
Robert thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is life treating you?
Hi Miles, life is treating me really good right now. I decided to stay in Trier with my family for the summer. My wife gave birth to our first child recently, so it’s been a real blessing for us to have so much free time with our daughter.
What was the first eatery that you seeked out once you came home?
Haha I now do most of my eating at home since the arrival of the baby.
You played your second season with the Romerstrom Gladiators. What was the most difficult thing that you observed in the last year in Germany concerning COVID-19?
It was really difficult not really being able to really interact with people. Not really being able to see people or have fans at the game took a lot of joy from this past season.
It was a tough season for the Romerstrom Gladiators as they missed the Pro A playoffs. How can one honestly rate this season concerning all the drama that was going on and obstacles with COVID-19?
It was very disappointing not making the playoffs. Trier has definitely the top fan base in the Pro A and not having fans at the games eliminated one of our major advantages. We got caught with a couple of covid breaks and many season ending injuries that really hurt us.
The team was very up and down but could of made the playoffs. How costly was the five game losing streak in March?
That losing streak really put is in a bad situation. Any time you lose 5 games in a row at any point in the season it will cost you in the end.
The team scored well and rebounded well, but also let up too many points. What were the biggest problems that the club had on the defensive end this season that they couldn’t solve?
Trier’s defense is built on being aggressive, outworking opponents and having superior fitness. The circumstances of this season made that a challenge. With players catching covid, quarantines, and many season ending injuries. It was difficult to get into the shape that we needed to be successful.
How costly was it also not having team leader Jermaine Bucknor. People often talk about his leadership skills, but he still has game at his age.
It was a huge loss for our team. The amount of experience, skill and leadership that we lost with Buck’s injury was hard to make up. He was probably our best playmaker and one of our top shooters. The wealth of knowledge and experience that he brings to the team was a huge part of our recipe for success.
What kind of a lasting impression did point guard Chase Adams leave on you? How much easier did he make your job?
Chase is a great player and an even better teammate. He works hard, doesn’t complain, and always gives his all. It was always a pleasure to go to battle with him, because you know you have a fighter who doesn’t back down. Chase is aggressive and it is always easier to do your job when you have players that are going to attack the defense.
How much of a pleasure was it playing with young German Ruppert Hennen. Did it surprise you that the team didn’t keep him?
Rupy is a confident, quick, young player. When he gets downhill he can be hard to stop. Management makes decisions based on their best intentions.
What was it like playing together with Jonathan Dubas? One doesn’t see Belgium players to often playing in Germany. What did you learn to appreciate most about his game?
Duby is a very smart basketball player with a lot of experience. He really sees and understands the game. He also has great playmaking and passing abilities at his size. He is an entertaining player who really makes the game fun.
Let’s talk about your game. You are a versatile player like Draymond Green and last played in Trier in the 17-18 season. Since then you played in the German Pro A with Tuebingen, Canada and Iceland. How are you a different and better player today then your first tour of duty with Trier?
I am an overall better player than I was in my first stint with Trier. I have improved physically, as I have stayed consistent with my strength training. My increased physical strength and mobility has helped me improve as a defender and rebounder. I am a much more experienced player and now understand the style of play here in Germany. During my first time with Trier, I was figuring out my role and how to be effective. I have learned many ways that I can help my team win and my knowledge of the tactical part of the game has greatly increased. I also have spent a lot of time improving my offensive skill set since my last time with Trier.
You averaged 4,4ppg and 4,3rpg for Trier. How content were you with your season?
I felt that I had a solid season that I can build on. I feel blessed that I remained healthy during this covid season, as I was the only big man to play in every game. I consistently worked hard, stayed professional and lead by example. I brought a tough defensive presence and a relentless rebounding presence to every game. I also improved as a screen setter and quick roller this season. However, there are opportunities for me to improve as an offensive threat on the court.
You stated in a previous interview with me that you were a late bloomer. What has been the biggest challenge for you in your development as a player on account of being a late bloomer?
I started playing basketball casually at 15 and I wasn’t coached until I was 18 years. I did one year of prep school in Toronto and then I started my university basketball career. I was tall, athletic, physical and had a great motor. However, I was an extremely raw player who needed to learn the game and develop a skill set. I learned in university that I could get playing time as a defender and rebounder. So I really focused on developing those abilities, and then began to slowly round out my game. I understood my abilities and tended to play to my strengths, which has helped to keep me in the game. However, there were gaps of knowledge and skill that I missed early in my career. I have been able to develop and fill those gaps with each season that I play.
You had a 16/11 game against Ehingen in a tough loss. How good did it feel playing 29 minutes and how realistic do you see yourself having more that type of a role now even at your age?
It felt great to play that many minutes and to have a bigger role. I am definitely continuing to improve as a player and I believe that I will continue to have more performances with a bigger role. My body feels great and my knowledge and my skill set are only improving.
On what area’s of your game will you be working on this summer to continue to grow as a player?
I am a great defensive player, however I need to polish my offensive game. I am a quick post player, so I will continue to improve my face up attack from the post – square up jump shots, quick drives, running hooks, and spins moves. Next, I will develop a variety of different finishes as the roll man. I will also improve as a floor spacer with my catch and shoot ability from both midrange and the three.
Your turning 34 years old this year? What is the next step for you?
I definitely want to enjoy playing the game for as long as possible. My wife is a personal trainer and nutritionist and she has really helped to foster my longevity. Luckily, I have had a career without many injuries and my body still feels great. After my playing career, I definitely want to stay in basketball as a coach and mentor. I love basketball and working with youth.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the Pro A this season?
My toughest match up this season would probably be Dennis Heinzmann from Leverkusen. His height, size and length definitely make him a tough opponent.
Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?
I am a big fan of CP3. I would have him between 5-7 on my all-time point guard list. He makes teams better. Every organization that CP3 has joined has had a substantial boost in wins. He puts his teammates in the best position to succeed, always competes, and is true a mentor and leader to his teammates.
How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points this season. Where will he journey go as a player in the next years?
Jason Tatum is currently one of the most skilled scorers in the NBA. He reminds me of a modern day Kobe or T-Mac. His ability to effortlessly put the ball in the basket is a joy to watch. He definitely has the potential to lead the NBA in scoring and I believe could be the best player on an NBA Championship team.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
Westbrook is a former NBA MVP and one of the most talented players in the world. He plays hard all the time, produces consistently, and is a very dynamic player that can help a team in so many different ways. He has some flaws as a player, like shooting consistency and decision making at times. But if you surround him with the right pieces, he can definitely lead a European team to success.
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
I am a big fan of Draymond’s game and he is definitely one of the best defenders of this generation. I really love his belief in himself. However, I would have to rank several other players above Draymond.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I haven’t seen it yet. I am a big fan of the original and I am curious to see what they were able to put together.
Thanks Robert for the chat