Ondrej Sehnal (196-PG-1997) is a 25 year old 192cm point guard that is playing his first season in Germany with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig currently averaging 7.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 6.0apg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 55.6%. He previously played his whole career in his home country Czech Republic for USK Prag. He played 115 NBL league games in the Czech Republic. Last season he played 31 games averaging 16.7ppg, 5.8rpg, Assists-2 (8.0apg), Steals-5 (1.7spg), FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 54.4%. He played at the 2021 Olympic games in Japan and spoke to germanhoops.com after the tough 72-67 loss against the Fraport Skyliners.
Thanks Ondrej for talking to germanhoops.com. A tough 72-67 loss for the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. You had a three game losing streak and Frankfurt a seven game losing streak. Was the team aware that a totally different Frankfurt team would play with a coaching change?
Yes we were aware that they would be a totally different team. We had prepared all week for this. Coach Ramirez said that they would come out with a lot of energy. It showed in that we didn’t start well. We were a bit sleepy.
How were the Fraport Skyliners a different team tonight with a Cherry and Mclean in comparison to the start of the season?
The team today was a lot different than the team we saw at the start of the season. They play a different style now. They played a more fast at the start of the season and today slowed the game down more. They have more experience now with Cherry and Mclean and are a lot different individually. They knew that we are a young team and like to run. They did a good job slowing down the game and keeping us to 67 points on our coach is pretty good.
It was a real grind out game. Would it be fair to say that the 22 turnovers were the main reason for Braunschweig not being able to win the game?
Yes for sure. Two days ago we had a team meeting and the first thing that was discussed was reducing our turnovers. We wanted to keep it under 13. We couldn’t do that today. We already had 13 at half time. Having so many more turnovers limits us 10-12 shots less. We need to come together and do a better job of taking care of the ball.
Owen Klassen was a real beast in the first quarter, but other than that Braunschweig had difficulty getting their offense going? What kind of defensive identity did Frankfurt create in the early going that gave you trouble?
Frankfurt slowed the game down. We usually make much more points on transition. Today we had something like only 10 transition points. They defended Kramer and Peterka very well. That is our whole offense. Klassen had a good game, but nothing came easy for him. Frankfurt made everything tough for him.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners were able to get away a bit but Braunschweig fought back to trail only 34-32 at the break. David Kramer hit a big three pointer. Has he been the teams MVP this season?
Kramer is our best scorer for sure and Peterka our best shooter. Klassen could also be our MVP. It doesn’t matter who you pick, you won’t go wrong.
You had many hook ups with Owen Klassen. Is it fair to say that you two understand each other blind on the court?
Yes we do. We have really good connection together. He is one of the best bigs that I have ever played with. He knows exactly what I will do. We often talk together after practice about how we will beat the defense. We have a very good connection on the pick and roll.
The Fraport Skyliners stepped it up in the third quarter and led 50-44 after three quarters. Frankfurt is known as a poor three point shooting team. Why did Braunschweig have problems stopping the Frankfurt short game better?
Cherry did a good job driving and creating for others. He is their biggest key. He can score at all three levels. We really tried to stop him changing up and mixing up the defense. But our defense wasn’t our problem today, but our lack of scoring.
The fourth quarter was a real exciting close affair. Braunschweig started to let it rain three’s, but it just wasn’t enough. What was key in crunch-time for Frankfurt getting the win?
Frankfurt had timeless stops. Whenever we cut the lead down to a few points, they always had an answer with a stop or a transition basket. Even if they had lost 7 in a row, their experience was really key.
Could Tookie Brown have made the difference had he played?
Yes for sure. We really miss his scoring. Today we could really have used his 12 points. I hope he is back soon. We really miss him.
You saw the Fraport Skyliners and they are deep in the fight to stay in the league. Do you feel like they could profit from the coaching change and make a run and stay in the league?
For me they still have a big chance to stay in the BBL. They still have to win 4-5 games. They have the experience and capability to do it, but it will be difficult.
Your playing your first season in Germany with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. What kind of an experience has it been playing with head coach Jesus Ramirez? He has done a good job getting as much out of the team as possible so far?
Coach has done a great job working with us and trying to get the best out of each player. On offense he has allowed us to show our talent and put us in the best situations to be successful. He has been successful between knowing when to lead and push us and when he let’s us play our game.
How much easier was the adjustment for you having Martin Peterka as a teammate? Is it his leadership that has been most important that he has given the team?
For sure. He really prepared me well for the season. He told me all last summer that the BBL would be a lot different from the Czech league. He told me that I had to raise my game. He really prepared me well. His leadership has been one of his most important qualities for us.
What has it been like being teammates with Robin Amaize? How has this season helped him in his quest to keep climbing the basketball ladder?
Personally I love him. He is a great teammate. He was our most important player until he got injured. I hope he is back soon and will be able to make a step in his career.
After many great seasons in the Czech Republic, you have moved to a top 5 league in Europe with the EasyCredit BBL. What has been the biggest adjustment for you?
The BBL is a lot more athletic and physical then the NBL in the Czech Republic. I had to score more the last years because we didn’t have as much talent. In Braunschweig, I have great teammates so I have to create for others. I need to be tougher on the court, because the league is so physical.
You have always been a good scorer in the Czech Republic. With maybe 3-4 more baskets per game, then you would be one of the top 5 point guards in the league. I guess the many scoring options has kept you from scoring more?
I don’t have to score as much. With Robin out it has been tougher, but we still have great scorers. My task is to create for others. Before the Frankfurt game we were a top 5 offensive team in the league. So something is working for us.
Before the Alba Berlin game you had a span where you only had 10 assists in 4 games. You had another great playmaking game against Frankfurt with 10 assists. What is the biggest challenge in this league to be able to get consistent assists while keeping your turnovers lower?
It’s not easy. Teams have been more prepared for me better in the last 3-4 games. They know I concentrate on creating. So I had to be more aggressive the last games and get to the free throw line. I have to read situations better. It is hard to be consistent. I have to continue on improving.
Braunschweig have some tough games coming up in the next weeks. What does the team need to do better on the court to start a winning streak?
We have a tough schedule coming up. We need to play the type of defense we showed against Frankfurt today. We have to play even more aggressive and on offense play our game and play faster and get more easy points.
In a few more weeks you will play one last time against Rickey Paulding in Oldenburg. What has impressed you most about what he can still do on the court at his age?
He is a great scorer and leader. It is unbelievable that he can still play at such a high level at his age. I can’t imagine to still be able to play like that at that age. Hopefully I can still play at his level at his age, but I don’t know.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I don’t watch movies much. I watch more sports. I last watched tennis with the tournament at Indian Wells and I also watch BBL and NBL leagues.
Thanks Ondrej for the chat.