For six years Sebastian Wild was the only European head coach in NCAA basketball. The 33-year-old ended his tenure at the helm of the women's basketball team at Lees-McRae College this year and returned to his German home, the city of Rostock. Earlier this summer he accepted the job as a head coach of EBC Rostock and plans to take his team and the entire organization to new heights. In an interview with Eurobasket.com Coach Wild talked about the up and coming season in the 1. Regionalliga North, the EBC organization and his journey from Rostock to North Carolina and back.
Moving up to the 2. Bundesliga Pro B has been set as a midterm goal of EBC Rostock. Can you talk about how and when that goal should be achieved and why EBC Rostock would be a good organization to join the Pro B? Sebastian Wild: At this point that is the goal we as an organization have set for ourselves. With that being said; we are a long ways away from achieving that. I've always been convinced that you have to set lofty goals and construct a plan to reach them. For us here in Rostock that goal is to join the Pro B league within the next 5 years. A lot of positive things have happened here over the course of the past 8 years since I left. We are playing in a state-of-the art arena, there is tremendous support from our fans, and most importantly we have started developing a youth league network in the region that designed to develop talented youngsters to support our team. It's really an exciting time here in Rostock, but with that being said, we will have to move step by step without overexerting ourselves - which means everything will take a few more years.
The summer signings that have been made by the RLN teams so far, including numerous imports from the US and Eastern Europe, bode well for an exciting season in the 1. Regionalliga North, but also for an intense fight for the top spots in the league. Will EBC be in the mix for that? Wild: I'm obviously not very familiar with the make up of the RLN, but peeking over to some of the other squads in the league, it is obvious that we are up against some fierce competition. Unfortunately we are not even close to competing with those teams in terms of our resources just yet. The quality of our team, as far as I can evaluate it right now, is nowhere close to where it needs to be for us to compete this year. We have lots of work to do. All of our players are working tremendously hard and every single one of our practice sessions thus far has been very spirited - we are getting better no doubt. This year it is all about 'survival' for us. Our only goal is to hopefully collect enough Ws to stay in the RLN. We have lost some key contributors for last year's sixth place team, and up to this point we have not been able to replace them. I do expect us to complete our roster and add some quality within the next few weeks though. All I know is: We will not be outworked! Not in the front office and not on the court.
You kicked off pre season practice some weeks ago: How has team practice been thus far? Wild: We started practice about 4 weeks ago. However we have only worked in an Individual Skill-work type environment up to this point. That gave me a great opportunity to get to know all the of our personnel much better. In addition our players received a lot of one on one attention and we could spend a great deal on fundamental skill work. I couldn't be happier with how our guys have responded to the 'new intensity' that is demanded of them. They are really embracing the challenge and compete on a daily basis. You can see them improving by the minute. So I really enjoy this 'small group setting' in those workouts. It's what I'm used to since you have about 7 weeks for individual work in the NCAA before you start team sessions. I strongly believe that it is a critical stage of the season, since you lay the foundation and everyone gets so many more repetitions. In the mean time we are still working on our roster for the coming season and hope to be able to start our intense team sessions within the next two weeks.
Many of the players who shaped the face of the EBC Rostock team over the years have crossed or are approaching the 30 years mark: How much of your job includes adding fresh blood to the roster? Wild: That is absolutely critical. We will need to add some younger pieces in the coming years. Rostock is a beautiful city right at the shore of the Baltic Sea with a highly respected University. We hope we can use that to attract some talented, young players that really want to develop and get a quality education. Some of our key players are at the peak of their basketball careers right now. Many of them have a few more years left, performing at an exceptional level. We want to use those years to build around them and the leadership they bring, with younger contributors to ensure a solid foundation here at the EBC for years to come.
As mentioned most of the ambitious RLN teams have signed one or more import players. Will EBC Rostock do the same or do you think it's possible to be successful in the league playing without the help from outside? Wild: Great Question. As far as I can tell after only a few weeks, it will definitely be difficult to compete without 'outside help'... Especially with the new regulations in place in the higher leagues. Even teams in the Bundesliga and Pro-A will have to play with more German talent now. I'm convinced that this will drain some of the young, promising 'home grown' talent out of the lower leagues like the RLN. Some of those kids that would have played in our league are getting called up to play a league or two up. This obviously leaves teams at our level with a void. The 'quick fix' would be to bring in Foreign players for a year and go from there. I'm not a big believer in that strategy. We will have to be very creative in our quest to ensure long term success, especially with our slim budget. However, I do have a ton of contacts to high level NCAA coaches all over the U.S. that have become valued friends of mine over the past 8 years and I'm in touch with a ton of proven U.S. talent that were absolute key players on NCAA Tournament-teams and are beyond hungry for an opportunity to play over here, just in case we feel like we want to go into that direction.
Can you talk about your journey as a basketball coach. How you ended up being appointed the head coach of Lees-McRae College and how all these years with the Bobcats have affected your style of coaching and your way of developing players? And what made you return to Rostock? Wild: I'm not sure how to answer all of that without writing a book. Let's just say I've been very very fortunate over the past 12-13 years. I've been able to establish myself as a young coach here in Germany in the early 2000s, while spending a lot of time in the U.S. back then. I worked a ton of summer top 100 camps on the East Coast and made a lot of connections in the process. I never thought it could lead to a position as a coach at the NCAA level, but I was presented with an opportunity to join a coaching staff in for the 2004 season, which was an absolute dream come true. Two years later I was named the only European Head Coach in all of NCAA basketball. I guess I can say I was very lucky, having been able to live my dream for the past 8 years. On the other hand: Luck is when Opportunity meets preparation. I did work very hard to get to that point and I still do now. It's my passion. The time in North Carolina did mold me a lot; as a person and as a coach. Being able to learn from and compete with some of the top college programs in Nation is a Luxury. I spent countless hours at places like Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Clemson, NC State, Tennessee, Davidson, the Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Bobcats and so on watching practices and meeting with coaches. I loved that time. As you can imagine, you do learn a lot if you approach every day with an open mind. Why EBC Rostock? My Visa was close to running out and I knew that Rostock was probably the only place I would return to, since my family and a ton of friends are still here. There were plenty of inquiries from high level clubs, but I still felt connected to the EBC here, since they opened a lot of doors for me early in my career. I believe the coming years here will be a great challenge for us. There is always tremendous reward in building something special from the ground up - that's what I will try to be a part of here. It won't be easy, that's for sure, but I love challenges.
Obviously there is a huge difference between coaching at the college level and working for a Regionalliga team in Germany. But what can you carry over from your tenure at Lees-McRae to your daily work at EBC Rostock? Wild: As you probably know there is a huge difference... I'm still having trouble adjusting to it. I guess I am a little spoiled. I do feel like I can instill a different level of professionalism and bring a whole new level of intensity and drive to our program here in Rostock. And at the end, it is just basketball. Many of the on-court aspects will carry over in a way. As coaches you always adjust to personnel and situation anyway... always... so you have to be flexible. I'm still convinced a lot of my unique experiences from the past 8 years will help me a great deal in the process.
How has EBC Rostock developed and grown as an organization throughout the years that you spent in North Carolina? Wild: Everything here has become a lot more solid. There is tremendous support here now; great crowds. It is a ton of fun to be part of it now. People in leading positions here have done a phenomenal job creating a concept that is very sustainable. We want to continue to grow in a healthy way. Step by Step. The foundation has been created, now it is our job to continue to build. The main thing we do need here is financial support. Literally everything else is in place. We are hoping to find more partners that want to be part of our journey and grow with us.
EBC Rostock is pretty much the one and only basketball club in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern that is commonly known and the only ambitious program in the region, regarding men's, women's and youth basketball. Does that help or hurt EBC Rostock's cause? Wild: It is not ideal. Competition is always good and I'm convinced the lack thereof has slowed our development in recent years quite a bit. If you look closely though, there a number of clubs in the regions now that have started quality youth programs. It'll take a while to develop, but it's the right approach. We are looking forward to partner with those clubs and help take basketball in our region, not just our city to another level.
The Eurobasket Select Team came through to steal a win away from VfL AstroStars Bochum team 78-77. Yale's Jack Montague (183-PG, college: Yale) scored the final 8 points over the final two minutes for ESL to secure the win including the game winning floater with 34 seconds remaining. Montague finished his first professional game with a team high 16 points. Fellow starter Derrick Tony Seldon (196-F/C-93, college: W.Connecticut) and reserve Jeremiah Dunnings (183-PG, college: William Carey)... [read more]
The Eurobasket Select Team came through to steal a win away from VfL AstroStars Bochum team 78-77. Yale's Jack Montague (183-PG, college: Yale) scored the final 8 points over the final two minutes for ESL to secure the win including the game winning floater with 34 seconds remaining. Montague finished his first professional game with a team high 16 points. Fellow starter Derrick Tony Seldon (196-F/C-93, college: W.Connecticut) and reserve Jeremiah Dunnings (183-PG, college: William Carey) were the only others to reach double figures for ESL with 14 and 15 points respectively.
ESL marched out Montague, Seldon, Maurice Cole (182-PG-90, college: Dixie St.), Zack Leeper (193-G), and Bruce Marshall (208-C-94) to start the game against Bochum who were without American Clay Wilson (190-G-92, college: Princeton). 'I felt the first few minutes took some time to find our rhythm. This is the first time any of these players have played together before so I knew there would be an adjustment period,' ESL Head Coach Allen Mkrtychyan said. ESL did not get their first field goal to go down until Dominican's William Wise (206-F) knocked down a 3 point jump shot with 6 minutes to go in the first. ESL trailed 48-44 heading into halftime connecting on seven 3 point FG's in the first half (Leeper, Seldon, Wise, Ajani Santos (201-F/C-94), Dunnings, and Ethan Murray (188-G-93, college: Coll.of the Ozarks)).
The third quarter was a battle as the VfL AstroStars led by Ryon Howard (198-SF-84, college: Sacred Heart) and Michael Haucke (210-C-85) got into the bonus with 7 minutes left in the quarter. 'I thought we lacked the defensive energy we had in the first half and it resulted in unneeded fouls. We struggled to keep the tempo up and the amount of free points they had made it difficult to cut into their lead. However, the guys were able to make the adjustment in the 4th to get us back in the game', ESL Tour Manager Dustin Simcox said. ESL trailed by 12 heading into the 4th. Seldon knocked down his third 3 pointer of the game in the opening minutes to spark the rally.
Down 5 with 2:30 remaining in the game is when Montague took over to seal the game for ESL. He cut the lead to two with a three from the top the key, following a FG from Bochum, he came down and fired another three from the right wing to cut the lead to only one. Two timely defensive stops allowed him to knock down a little 12 foot floater to give ESL the lead with a little over 30 seconds remaining. It is a lead that ESL would not surrender as they escaped Bochum with a 78-77 win. ESL will play next tonight August 27th at Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven.
Notes: North Dakota's Josiah Coleman (196-F-94, college: N.Dakota), Wise, and Leeper led ESL in rebounds with 6. Cole led in assists with 4. Marshall led the team with 3 steals. Bochum out rebounded ESL 65-38. All 11 suited players scored for ESL.
Jordan Talbert (198-F-91, college: Missouri So.) is a 25 year old 198cm forward from Little Rock, Arkansas that will be playing his third professional season and first with the PS Karlsruhe Lions. He came to Germany as a rookie in 2014 and played with the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games: 21.6ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.2apg, 2.0spg, Blocks-4 (1.5bpg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 78.4%. He played his college career at Missouri SO (NCAA2) from 2010-2014 and as a senio... [read more]
Jordan Talbert (198-F-91, college: Missouri So.) is a 25 year old 198cm forward from Little Rock, Arkansas that will be playing his third professional season and first with the PS Karlsruhe Lions. He came to Germany as a rookie in 2014 and played with the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games: 21.6ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.2apg, 2.0spg, Blocks-4 (1.5bpg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 78.4%. He played his college career at Missouri SO (NCAA2) from 2010-2014 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 11.7ppg, 7.4rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 70.1%. Last season with Nordlingen he tore up the Pro B averaging 17.5ppg, Reb-1 (11.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-5 (1.5bpg), FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 73.4%. He spoke to eurobasket about his new adventure with PS Karlsruhe.
Jordan thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been? No problem, my summer was great and fulfilling. I really enjoyed my time back in the states with family and friends. At the moment I'm in Karlsruhe preparing for the upcoming season.
Congrats on signing with PS Karlsruhe. How was the summer transfer period for you? You signed rather late. Did you have a good share of offers that made your decision making tougher? No the decision was fairly easy for me. And to my knowledge I didn't have many offers to choose from but I'm happy that PS Karlsruhe had enough interest in me to bring me in.
There were some of your colleagues from last season like Elijah Allen and Julian Scott that made thr jump to the Pro A. I would have thought that you would be a sure shot. Did you have Pro A offers that just didn't fit your situation? No I didn't have any pro A offers. I guess I wasn't what any of the teams were looking for or they found better options than me which is understandable. I'm very happy for those guys that were able to make the transition and wish them much success.
Last season with Nordlingen you averaged 17,5ppg and led the league with 11rpg. Is Jordan Talbert (198-F-91, college: Missouri So.) a Pro A caliber player playing in the Pro B at this point? I really don't know what caliber player I am. I know that I'm a competitor that's going to give 100% each game and at each practice to be the best player I can be. Anything other than that is out of my control, and anything that's out of my control are things that I don't worry about.
What were the main reasons for joining PS Karlsruhe? What sold you on their program most? The club is up and coming, and very hungry from what I can tell. Me already being a very motivated and driven player it's like adding fuel to a fire when everyone else around you is just as ambitious and prepared to put in the necessary work. I've felt right at home from the first day.
After two seasons with the Giants Nordlingen what is your personal goal this season? Perhaps the most logical helping PS Karlsruhe move up to the Pro A? My personal goal is to win as many games as possible. I like to not have any expectations going in but we have a lot potential and I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure we maximize it.
The club just moved up from the Regionaliga and are very focused to keep their winning ways alive. The club has hauled in many German players. Do you see having the same type of role as last season in Nordlingen were you were the main scoring option? It's still very early to determine each players role from game to game. I think that's apart of team chemistry building. My intent is to come in and do whatever is needed for us to win rebounding, defense, or scoring.
The club has talented forwards with German Bill Borekambi and Croatian Dino Jakolis. Will not necessarily having to carry that' scoring load like in Karlsruhe like you did in Nordlingen be welcoming to you? We definitely have talented guys here that are able to do a lot of things. In Nordlingen much of the season and for most of the playoffs we only had a 7 or 8 man rotation. So playing 35+ minutes a night and doing all the things I had to last season for us to have a chance won't be necessary. But if coach asks that of me I will be prepared to deliver at any moments notice.
How excited are you to be playing in a city that has another team with BG Karlsruhe? In New York they call the Yankees-Mets series the subway series and in Karlsruhe they could call it the cross town series. Being from another country I was definitely unfamiliar with the rivalry but just in week I think everyone has caught me up on the history. Personally I'm looking forward to it. Those games are always the best games because it means just a little bit more to everyone which raises the competition level. The energy for that game is building day by day and I know that we're going to come prepared to battle that day.
You had a very strong season last season in Nordlingen. How did you keep the hunger alive this summer and keep working on parts of your game that you aren't happy with? Motivation has never been a problem for me. My ambitions and work ethic are the only reasons I'm still playing right now. I wasn't happy at all with my shooting percentages last season and with how my body felt towards the end of the season. So I really focused on things I could do to improve in those areas.
My day would start at 4AM with a good healthy breakfast and meditation. I would make it to gym at 5 and stay until 8 with some weight lifting and shooting. Then from 6PM to 830PM I was strictly on the court working on my craft. Off the court I had a strict diet. Cut out chocolate in particular which has always been an Achilles heel of mine. I would do this 5 times a week which now has me in the best shape of my life I believe.
Are you catching the 2016 Summer Olympics. What events besides Basketball do you enjoy watching? Yes I'm definitely keeping up with the Olympics. I enjoy track and field, swimming, gymnastics, and women's soccer. I just love watching people compete. As an athlete I know how much this moment means to them and what's not to love about watching someone put their heart and soul on the line for any event. It's inspiring.
Is Australia a dark horse for a medal? They beat France by 21 points in the opening game and have a pretty motivated team with 4 NBA players? When it comes to basketball I'm not sure nor do I care who the silver and bronze go to as long as USA brings home the gold.
Sixers expected to waive Tibor Pleiss after trade with Jazz - 11 hours ago
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On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss (7'2''-C-89) to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall(6'5''-PG-91, college: N.Carolina). The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia's Jessica Camerato. Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would... [read more]
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss (7'2''-C-89) to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall (6'5''-PG-91, college: N.Carolina). The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia's Jessica Camerato. Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it's unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season. Courtesy of: nbcsports.com
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