By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
MANILA, Philippines – You could say it can’t get much better than beating the USA in the semifinal of the FIBA World Cup.
But not for Germany.
Coach Gordon Herbert, a Canadian by the way, didn’t hide his thoughts: “It’s a special group. The way we played together and stuck together when things were bad. So we enjoy this tonight and get ready on Sunday”.
As he had elaborated earlier: “We talked about it in the locker room after the game. It’s a great win, but we are not where we want to be yet. This group of players wants to win gold, so one more to go. We will let the players enjoy this tonight and tomorrow we will move on and get ready for Sunday”.
Franz Wagner, of course, agreed talking about the German national team: “Just a super special group, a historic win for Germany. We got one more to go and we are super happy we won today”.
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As Wagner explained, after missing the chance to win at home the Eurobasket, the German national team was more than focused on this tournament: “We let the last one slip and I think it definitely helps to play together every summer. It’s what we felt before the prep game against the USA in Abu Dhabi. Everyone felt that last year. We have a big goal this year and from the first moment we were together we believed we could win any team”.
And this result can help German basketball, according to Wagner: “Hopefully, this means more kids start to play basketball, maybe some more free TV games and we will continue the evolution that we have”.
Without trying to be provocative, Herbert explained how focused he was on his game, but not watching at all the semifinal between Serbia and Canada: “I have no idea who won. I am focused on this 100% and haven’t seen them play. Coach Pesic is a great friend and one of the greatest European coaches of all time, that’s all I have to say”.
Herbert also gave credit to Andreas Obst, who proved to be the key to Germany’s win: “For me, Obst is one of the best shooters in FIBA and he can do more. The biggest thing is that he creates space for Schroder and Wagner and of course, he had a great game. You have seen his evolution in the Eurobasket, the EuroLeague and now he is more than a shooter. He is a great defender”.
So what’s the German secret? A special team of humans and a totally unselfish coach who can say the following: “We have players who care about each other. It’s a special group with a lot of special players and even better human beings. I can’t take credit for this. Credit goes to the players”.