Dan Oppland (201-C-84, college: Valpo) is a 37 year old 203cm forward that completed his 15 professional season and second season with SSV Lokomotive Bernau (Germany-ProB) playing 20 games averaging 13,9ppg, 7,6rpg and 1,8apg. In 2019-2020 he played 22 games averaging 15.5ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT-11 (95.6%). In the 2018-2019 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 germanhoops.com after the 2020-2021 season.
Dan thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?
Hey Miles. Thanks for hitting me up. I hope everything is going well with you and your recovery. Everything is fine here. I am here in Berlin just working at school, practicing and coaching every day.
You played a full season during COVID-19. How did you experience this season with all the restrictions and drama of COVID-19 on and off the court?
At first, the restrictions with no fans and testing before each game, took some time to get used to, but after a while it became a mere formality. You have to learn how to deal with the hands you are dealt. That is what life is all about.
What were the biggest challenges for you in getting through this season and trying to have as much success as possible?
Mentally being ready for every game even though there was a chance it would be cancelled because of COVID and then having to prepare for a game directly out of a quarantine was never an easy task.
It was a very tough season for Lok Bernau. How can one seriously rate a season like this where really each team had their difficulties with COVID-19?
Even though it was a difficult season, you can always look at the positive side of things and see all the ways in which we can improve and hopefully grow as a club. I don’t like to make excuses on the COVID situation because everyone else was going through it as well. It is was it is. Life is not always going to go as planned. You have got to fight through the adversity no matter what.
From mid December until the end of the season Lok Bernau lost 12 of 14 games. How tough was this stretch and what do you believe limited the team from winning more?
That was the most difficult stretch in my entire career not only because of the losing, but because you almost don’t know what else to say or do that will make things get better. In the end, time always makes things better. We hurt ourselves in many of those losses whether it be turning the ball over late, or breakdowns on defense, etc.
It seems like the club made progress towards the end of the season losing three close battles against Stahnsdorf, Schwelm and Bochum and ending the season with a huge win over Cologne. What steps do you feel did the club make in the last month?
I don’t know if we progressed because we played everyone close all year. We just never figured out how to consistently finish games as a team. Ending the season on a high note is always vital for a team who struggled all season long.
Could one say one of the big positives of the tough season was having many many young talents being able to practice with the team for the whole season?
Of course this is a positive when you have a depleted roster like we had all season long. This gave the young guys the opportunity to step up and make contributions right away. It’s a growing experience that can only help with their development.
Let’s talk about the young talents. German Abdulah Kameric had a huge season. How did you observe his development and when will he be ready to make some Alba Berlin appearances?
Abi did a great job for us this year, which was necessary with all the injuries we had. He gave us consistent scoring from the 1,2 spots. Hopefully he can continue to grow and work on those areas that need improvement and take an even bigger step next season. I hope ALBA comes calling for him very soon. We will see.
Another player that made a massive jump was 18 year old Christoph Tilly. What do you believe was key in his development that made him find Pro B consistency at such a young age?
I think the future is bright for Christoph. He has a great attitude and very good work ethic for his age. His skill set is extremely high for someone at his age as well. He also doesn’t get intimidated or back down when situations get tough or challenging on the court. It will be interesting to see where he ends up in the years the come.
Alba Berlin has so much young talents that there seems not to be room for some. Two of those are Elias Roedl and Erik Penteker. Both guys got 9 and 7 minutes per game. How do you see them develop and are they candidates to possibly find more bliss elsewhere?
I think Elias and Erik made some great strides this season even with the limited minutes they were given. If they keep developing on their weaknesses and understanding what their strengths are, they have a shot to contribute next season.
You’re a mentor for so many young kids at Lok Bernau. What was your nicest moment concerning your mentorship with a player last season that you won’t forget?
I don’t know if there was one specific moment because I am always trying to talk to the guys. I really enjoyed working with Friederich Feldrappe this season because he reminds me so much of myself at his age. I am really excited to see where his career takes him in the future.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 13,9ppg, 7,6rpg, 18apg and 1,4apg. How content were you with your personal game?
At my age, it’s never really about my personal stats anymore. I am looking more for wins than anything else. Although I am never satisfied personally, I felt like my contributions were pretty solid all year.
You didn’t have quite the stats of the 2019-2020 season, but still very impressive for a 37 year old. Do you feel like you could be getting better with age and aging like fine wine?
I don’t know about that! I don’t feel younger. But I always pride myself on staying consistent, and I’ve always been able to do that during my career.
You continue not to take many three’s. How do you manage to physically cope with the physicality inside at your age? What is your secret to being able to be successful while not taking many three’s?
The three has something that has never fully become a consistent repertoire in my game, but it is something that I will use from time to time. I just try to be the best ‘me’ whenever I am out on the floor.
As a mentor you have to lead by example. In our last interview you stated that you have to improve your leadership. How do you feel did working with many young kids bring you another step forward in terms of leadership?
Working with younger guys always makes you work on your leadership skills because you want them to be successful. Communication is key. You have to be honest with these guys so they understand what it takes to get to that next level.
You have been on the brink of retirement before, but remained playing. What is the next step for you? Will you come back or retire?
I will play another season.
Who was the toughest guard that you faced in the Pro B this season?
There were some real good guards in our league this season. If I had to pick one, I guess I would say Toni Prostran from Iserlohn.
On what areas of your game will you be working on most this summer to continue to improve your game?
I will work on my shot, my lateral quickness, etc. but also take some more time to rest and heal my body.
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?
He is definitely in my top 10 all time point guards. He is a game changer. It will be interesting to see if Phoenix can make a run this year.
How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points this season and recently 60. Where will his journey go as a player in the next years?
The sky is the limit for this kid. Amazing talent with such a high basketball IQ. I have been a big fan of his since he was in high school. He is from my hometown, so it’s cool to see a homegrown kid play at the level he is playing.
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
That is difficult to say. If he was able to adjust to the style of play, I don’t know why Westbrook couldn’t lead a team to success in Europe.
Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?
I don’t think I am ready to make that statement yet. There were and are some great defenders out there. It’s hard to just give one guy that label.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I have not seen it yet. It’s usually not a great idea to make a sequel to a classic movie like that.
Thanks Dan for the chat.