Emanuele Berti is originally from Italy and since 2019 with Alba Berlin. He came to Germany in 2018 and was a video scout with Global Sports Analytics. He began as a Video scout with Alba Berlin and JBBL assistant coach. He is the video coordinator of the club and works individually with the BBL team and is an assistant coach with the NBBL team since 2022. He spoke to germanhoops.com before the 2023 NBBL top 4 in Frankfurt, Germany.
How excited are you be at the 2023 NBBL top 4 in Frankfurt? What are you looking forward to most?
The top 4 is where everyone gets together at the end of the season. We really want that everything works out well for the 2004 generation. For some guys it will be the last 2 games of youth basketball. We want them to enjoy it.
Alba Berlin are the defending champions and had the best record in the NBBL. Is their energy and hunger now at a different level then maybe 3 months ago?
There are many stories to this top 4. The 2004 generation played against FC Bayern Munich 5 years ago in the U-14 final and won. Munich wants revenge and we want to prove we are the best. The Alba players lost with Bernau against Vechta while Urspring wants revenge against Bernau. There is a lot of hype building up. We want to prove why we play the way we do. Important for us is too improve each day so we are best prepared on the top 4 weekend.
The team has 7 guys back from last season’s winning team, but also added new faces. You never want to compare teams, but is this team stronger than last years squad?
This team is different. It is hard to replace a guy like Gian Aydinoglu and we also lost Christoph Tilly. The role of Linus Ruff is bigger and Amon Dorries has a different game than Tilly. The positive aspect is that the core of the team remained. We kept the mentality and attitude of last season’s team. The 2004 birth year guys have brought the energy and will to improve each day.
This team has experience, can score, defend with a passion and have hungry young players. What other strengths does this team have?
We have a good group of good guys. All guys are nice and there are no ego’s. All care about each other. It makes our job a lot easier when kids want to improve and understand the meaning of team.
The team allows 59 points per game. What is so special about this team’s defense and do the guys able to heighten it 2 more times?
That is our goal. We want to play aggressive and with energy. Our goal is to work together 5 vs the ball, 5 vs the rebound and 5 vs the pick and roll. Our energy is special. Our goal is to keep improving and fix the little details.
Alba Berlin split this season with other top team Young Dragons Vechta losing by 2 points in the first game and then winning by 23 points. Are the players aware how hungry Vechta will be for revenge?
Yes we are aware of their hunger and revenge. It is hard to compare the 2 games. In both games guys were missing from both teams. We have an extra motivation to play against Kaya Bayram who was with us last season. We love him. This game is also one against friends. We know that Vechta has to prove that they are better than last season.
Alba Berlin and Vechta are the favorites while Urspring and FC Bayern Munchen are also tough. How do you rate these 2 clubs in talent?
Both teams improved a lot this season. Munich had injuries but they have Ivan Khartchenkov back and Luis Wulf will play more. Munich depend a lot on their individual talent, but they are still a good team. Urspring is well coached and use a lot of energy on how they scout other teams. They have a sophisticated way to play and have a good system and know their strengths. They have 3 high quality players with Finn Pook, Jared Grey and Jorke Aav. They peaked against Ludwigsburg. They will be tough.
A very promising young player is Jack Kayil. How good is he and what do you appreciate most about his game?
His instincts make him special. He still needs to learn to play more adult and reading the game better is a challenge. He is an easy player to coach because he always gives his best. You don’t need to motivate him. I’m proud to have him.
Two new players are Amon Doerries and Dorian Grosber. Talk a little about them and how their games will impact the game in Frankfurt?
Both impact the game with their effort and energy. They play defense without stopping. They can impact the game with their energy on transition and defense. They made good steps this season.
The heart and soul of the team are Linus Ruff, Elias Rapiqeue, Nils Machowski, Jamal Entezami and Rikus Schulte. Which guy has turned out to be the ultimate leader on the team?
I don’t think that there is an ultimate leader. All show it in different ways. Rikus isn’t the most vocal off the court, but on the court he plays by example. Elias and Nils have great personalities. Both are always helping others. Linus’s game gives feeling to the team. His play makes others better. Elias is tough and leads by example. All are energetic and focused.
What exactly is your role as an assistant coach and how does your work shine through most?
I split time between the BBL and NBBL teams. With the NBBL team I do individual training and watch videos. With the BBL team I am the video coordinator and prepare clips of the Euroleague opponents. I cut videos and prepare stats.
What kind of an experience has it been working with Vladimir Bogojevic ? What have you appreciated most about him?
He is super. He is an example for all youth coaches. He has discipline and has the kids play the game the right way. You can always learn something from him. He isn’t only a basketball teacher, but tries to teach the guys things for life. He is always there for the players on and off the court. He always tries to give advice. He is an educator that also teaches basketball.
How likely will it be that on Sunday night the German basketball community can celebrate 2 titles for Alba Berlin?
It depends on how we play. We have 2 teams and many ideas on how to play and defend. We all want to win. How well we play and if we win will depend how well we prepared and improved in the last 5 weeks.
Thanks Emanuele for the chat.