Foto credit “DBB/Kröger
Gordon Herbert (agency: BeoBasket ) is a Canadian/Finish coach who is currently in his 27th year coaching and is head of the German national team. He has a long coaching resume that includes having coached in Finland Austria, Russia and in Germany he coached Wurzburg, Alba Berlin and was with the Fraport Skyliners for more than a decade. He also coached the Canadian national team and was active with the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the successful double weekend wins over Estonia and Poland.
Congrats on the successful 2-0 extended weekend record over Estonia and Poland. How do you summarize the weekend? How pleased are you with the team’s play?
I was very pleased with the commitment of the players. This was a very difficult windows. You had some guys that had been out for 2 months while a Joe Voigtmann had been out for 3-4 months. It was an honor to coach these guys.
Germany had little problems beating Estonia 88-57. Did you have a feeling going into the game that the team would be very focused after the last days of practice?
The guys came in with a very good focus after 3-4 good practices. Having so little practices and then going out to play isn’t easy. I felt like the work ethic was excellent.
What would you say was the team’s biggest strength against Estonia? It seemed like everyone was there to secure the rebound?
Their work ethic was outstanding. I also thought they defended very well and got the rebounds. Plus they got a lot of the 50/50 balls.
Dennis Schroeder was 0/8 from outside. Did you have some words for him after the game or do you just leave NBA vet like that to himself?
The shots he took were very good. I think that you can still have a good game without shooting the ball well. His defense was good, he made big plays had had 9 assists. I’m more focused on the work ethic and team play. Shooting the ball is like a roller coaster. Sometimes they fall for you and sometimes they don’t. Overall he played very solid considering the few practices he had.
In the second game you beat Poland 93-83. One can truthfully say that the veterans Schroeder and Voigtmann stepped up in the fourth. This game could have gone lost without their leadership and scoring qualities.
Both of their leadership has been outstanding from day 1 in camp. They lead by example and it shows with their work ethic and professionalism in camp. They both made big plays down the stretch. Overal the team played very well. They gave a great effort despite the adversary that they faced. They had a tough flight back from Estonia to Frankfurt that was delayed 3 hours. We then missed our flight to Bremen and didn’t get there until 3am. Then Bonga gets hurt in the first half. The team did a great job staying together against Poland.
The team rebounded the ball again very well. What other aspects of Germany’s game did you like against Poland?
It all started with their work ethic which was very good. Also I liked their will to do the dirty work and once again like you said the rebounding was very good. When you only have a few practices, it is tough to execute the offense. But I felt they all gave a great effort.
Dennis Schroeder had an incredible game with 38 points. How important was AJ Slaughter’s effort. It seemed like Dennis didn’t want to lose that battle?
Dennis took on the challenge and wanted to guard Slaughter with 3 fouls. The way he played and took on the challenge says a lot about his competitiveness.
Many continue to question Schroeder’s leadership. But this weekend it was spot on wasn’t it?
His leadership has been good from day 1. We have had good communication all season long and especially the last month. I made him captain because of his leadership. He has led his team 100% on and off the court. He wants to be here 100 % and play for his country.
What steps did team Germany make this week as you continue to move forward to the Eurochampionships?
We showed that we have depth. We have had guys play the first and second windows and then guys like Ogbe and Schilling who didn’t. The many windows have given guys the chance to show their game. I like how so many different guys have shown commitment and sacrifice to their country.
You last coached Isaac Bonga on a daily basis 4 years ago. What steps has he taken as a player and man since then?
I was very impressed by him in camp. He was one of our best players. His defense is outstanding. He is an all around good player. He has made big steps. It will be interesting to see where he will go from here.
How is your relationship to Johannes Voigtmann now. He looked like a boy in 2016 and now has become a man. Do you have like a blind understanding with him?
Joe is an even better person than he is player. He is an outstanding professional. Back when he played in Frankfurt in 2016, Aaron Doornekamp had a big influence on him. Aaron is the ultimate professional and helped Joe change his eating habits. Both are still close to this day. He didn’t play since February and he continued to work and he came in ready. That says a lot for the work ethic of Joe.
Talk a little about guys like David Kramer and Christian Sengfelder. Any other year where you don’t have 6 NBA players ready, they play.
David is a very interesting player. Back in November he was part of the 24 man roster, but wasn’t part of the 16 man roster. Kenneth Ogbe then got COVID and the rest is history. He played well in Nov and Feb and now is a big part of the team. He has been a nice story. I remember when David was 3 or 4 years old and I was coaching his dad in Austria in 1999. I have good memories of his family. Chris is a warrior and has an outstanding work ethic. Poland’s game plan was to take away Chris’s game, but he found away to play his game with success. He works hard every day and has become a better player. He is big into the mental aspect of the game. Both are main stays and have played great,
Is there any chance a guy like Isaiah Hartenstein will be available? It seems like he isn’t interested in playing for his country?
I won’t talk about players who didn’t play in the windows. My focus is towards those players that played in the windows.
What’s the status of guys like Austin Reves and Nick Weiler-Babb? Do they have any chance for suiting up?
I have no idea about Reaves. I can’t comment on that.
Hammink has had much success in Holland winning 3 titles in 2 years. Can he bring the Fraport Skyliners back to success?
I like Geert Hammink as a person. I have known him since many years. He was a talented player and is an even better person. He has done very well as a coach. He was a great signing by the Skyliners. I happy for them. He was atop player, top agent and top coach. This is very interesting.
Thanks Gordie for the chat.