I can remember when the German basketball federation named Gordon Herbert (agency: BeoBasket ) new head coach of the national team in 2021, I didn’t have to stop to pause and even have worries about the future of German basketball, because I knew right away only good things could happen. I guess I had an advantage over other people mainly because I have covered him since his first tour of duty with the then Opel Skyliners in the 2003-2004 season. Back then I covered the exciting 2004 finals run for American Forces Network that provides news for the American miliary stationed in Europe. After that I was in Freak city in 2010 when he was on the sideline in Bamberg and had to endure Mr reliable Pascal Roller miss from the free throw line that helped his rival then Dirk Bauerman rack up another BBL title to add to his collection which he had won earlier with the Bavarian team as well as Leverkusen in the 90’s. After a short stint in Berlin, I saw him back for a third time in Frankfurt and experienced the highs and lows until he departed in 2019. For him coming back to Germany after getting some experience with the Canadian national team was refreshing, but also a logical choice. He had won a title in the BBL and reached countless playoffs and won the Fiba Europe Cup and now was ready for the next and ultimate challenge of winning a medal with Germany. I always had good feelings about Germany having success at the Euro 2022. I mean when he announced the final 12 man roster, I was confident despite Germany having a very brutal group with France, Lithuania and Slovenia. So many people were skeptical of Germany’s chances, but Germany proved everybody wrong going 4-1 which actually surprised me a bit to. But that just shows that Gordon Herbert (agency: BeoBasket ) was able to go step by step from day 1 in early August and form a harmonious team that actually liked playing with each other unlike the team in 2019 in China at the world champions that weren’t on the same page. It was very different this time as the ex Canadian Olympian who played against Michael Jordan at the 1984 Olympics used his strengths and succeeded. ‘Gordon Herbert (agency: BeoBasket ) is the sports psychologist that treats each player the way it is necessary, gives clear transparent roles and is just very strong with analysis and tactics’, warned ex German national player Pascal Roller.
Germany came and didn’t fool around and waste anytime, but really came to play defeating France which actually surprised me a bit too, but that win really gave the team confidence and they continued with stunning wins over Lithuania in OT which was one of the best games at the Euro 2022 and a satisfying victory over Bosnia. The only loss was in group play against Slovenia where they couldn’t stop Luka Doncic, but that is something many teams had to taste at the Euro. It was only fitting that they ended group play with a blow out win over Hungary. Each win gave the team more self-confidence and each player understood his role. It didn’t hurt that Dennis Schroeder not only came to play, but left his ego far away and was a real team player. He clearly showed he isn’t a kid anymore, but has really matured as a person which was huge in the team believing and coming together each game. It was no secret that Gordie had to find a way to tame all the ego’s and he did that. “Guys didn’t need much motivation to play for their country. Gordie did a good job to get everyone buy into his system. I also think that it also helped him with his defensive schemes when you have great defenders and rim protectors’, stressed Quantez Robertson. The other NBA guys with Daniel Theis and Franz Wagner had great tournaments and he got everything out of guys like newcomer Nick Weiler-Babb who didn’t have it easy coming late to the team and also Johannes Thiemann who was the big discovery at the Euro for team Germany. Guys like Johannes Voigtmann and Maodo Lo were also huge in keeping the team together. The team came together and played solid against Montenegro reaching the semi-finals against Spain. Their march to the Gold came to an end against Spain. Germany definitely had chances to win this game, but some stated that Herbert had been outcoached by the Italian top trainer Sergio Scalari, but according to Fraport Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson that wasn’t the case. ‘I think some of the players were a little too anxious to make the big shots in the fourth quarter’, stated Quantez Robertson. Herbert showed real massive class after the loss taking the blame himself instead of pointing fingers at his players. “That says a lot for Gordie taking the blame for his shortcomings’, said Quantez Robertson.
The Bronze game didn’t turn out to be a classic game, but at the end of 40 minutes nobody cared. Germany had won the Bronze medal. One could see during the game that it had been a long tournament and guys were just drained. Germany didn’t play their best, but it was enough against a pesky Polish team that had super stars Mateusz Ponitka and AJ Slaughter providing havoc. Poland never gave up, but Germany stuck to their game plan and got needed three’s in crunch-time from Dennis Schroeder and Johannes Voigtmann to secure the win. When the siren sounded Germany had won seemingly comfortably 82-69 even when the 40 minutes didn’t show it. As I was watching the players celebrate, I also thought about Gordie and what he must have been going through. He had been a key figure in Germany winning their next medal after waiting 17 years. I remember the first interview we ever did which was surprisingly not until 2011 when he was with Alba Berlin, or remembering how happy he was at the Fiba Europe Cup party at the Romer in Frankfurt in 2016 or just the many casual talks we have had about players over the years like about Kevin Pangos and the chances of him coming to the Fraport Skyliners before his career took off in the Euroleague. I was genuinely very very happy for him. He totally deserved it. I don’t even want to think how busy his phone was after winning the Bronze medal, but I continued to be active to congratulate him after every win and was happy when he acknowledged me with a thank you. So many people that have been close to him on and off the court are so proud of him, while others are also very thankful and blessed to have been able to work together with him. “Gordie is for me personally one of the most important companions in my career. I have learned a lot from him. His leadership and natural presence are unique. I’m thrilled for Klaus Perwas and the whole team for being able to fulfil their dream of winning a medal. His son Daniel is working with me now in Crailsheim and I’m very thankful for that’, stressed Hakro Merlins Crailsheim head coach Sebastian Gleim. The future looks very rosy for the German national team as one looks forward to the next World Championships. The team have so much talent and will have another competitive roster. The only problem will be choosing 12 players again as there will be guys like Isaac Bonga and Moritz Wagner looking for a chance they couldn’t get this time, because they were injured as well as NBA players Isaiah Hartenstein and Maxi Kleber who could still be possibilities. All in all it was a real delight to experience the 2022 Euro and see what Germany was able to accomplish under Gordon Herbert (agency: BeoBasket ). One can’t forget that he isn’t only a sensational coach, but also a great person. Despite starting to get ready in July 2022 for the 2022 Euro, he took some time to help me with a new project of mine that will be revealed soon. Thank you Gordie for that assistance and once again for giving so many Basketball people in Germany so much joy the last weeks and helping put German basketball back on the map.