Almost exactly a year ago, ivan pavic took over as coach of the basketball team from bike-cafe messingschlager baunach, which was then at the bottom of the 2nd division. League prob stood. What followed in 2014 was a success story. The team made it into the play-offs and advanced to the proa as runners-up. The team from baunach is also playing well in germany’s second-highest division and finished the preliminary round in ninth place. The following is an interview with pavic and jochen hirmke, managing director of baunacher sport und event gmbh, on how the season has gone so far.
9th place at the halay point of the season with seven wins and eight defeats: are you satisfied with your performance??
Jochen hirmke: when someone asked me before the season if I would take ninth place at the end of the season, I immediately signed three times. We figured that if we won ten games, we could stay in the league. Since we now already have seven victories, we actually had to achieve our goal. But we have seen with our series of defeats that it can also go down again quickly. With a young team, the fluctuations are still extremely rough. That’s why we have to keep working hard.
Ivan pavic: we set two goals before the season started. One was to stay in the league, and the other was to challenge young players and give them playing time. I think we’re on a really good path on both counts. As a coach, I’m not quite as happy because we lost some games in which we certainly weren’t the worse team. What makes me feel positive is that the team has learned from its defeats. Especially in the last two games in leverkusen and at home against nurnberg, we showed some very impressive basketball, in which the young players played a major role. This is something to build on.
The team started the season very well with four wins out of the first five games, then suffered seven defeats in a row, but then won three games in a row again. What is the explanation for this roller coaster ride??
Pavic: the league was new territory for all of us. The only thing we knew was that this season it was the strongest second division ever. That proved to be true. The difference between prob and proa is immense, but the leap between proa and bundesliga is, in my view, not so great. Of course there are explanations for the series of defeats. We look at the things that went wrong and for which we are responsible. We had it in our hands to win these games, but we didn’t do it. Everything else are excuses and excuses, and I will certainly not discuss them in public.
With marcos knight, anthony lee and logan stutz, the three u.S. Players are the best basket jagers. Are they too dependent on the foreign players?
Pavic: we are the only team that started the season with only three americans. Out of a possible 120 minutes of playing time, our americans only play 80, if that. This is not the case with any other team in the first and second division. When you see how our young players present themselves and are partly responsible for the victories, you can be quite satisfied. Of course we depend on our americans playing well, but we also depend on our young players playing well and getting as much playing time as possible.
Has ex-national player and returnee steffen hamann fulfilled his intended role as pack leader??
Pavic: we all knew what we were getting from steffen. He can teach and give the team a lot, which doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. You have to take into account that steffen went into the season without any preparation and then was knocked out by four minor injuries. Now towards the end he has picked up speed again. All in all, steffen’s performance was very good from our point of view. There is also no reason to exhaust his playing time. Alex engel has been developing steadily uphill for the past year. So it’s a great tandem that we have there, with an experienced and a young player. In addition, there is tibor taras, whom we have already had play several times.
With andi obst, alex engel, johannes thiemann and leon kratzer, four baunach players are in the top ten of the so-called top performers among the U22 players. Obst has already made the jump to the brose baskets squad. Is this evidence of talent development working??
Pavic: we are primarily the cooperation partner of the brose baskets and have set ourselves the goal of developing young players at the highest possible level. I am convinced of every single one of our young players and think that there is still a lot of potential in them. We will try to exploit this as much as possible, so that the boys can make the step to the bundesliga in the near future.
Hirmke: the topic of bundesliga/proa cooperation has not yet been exhausted this year. We have a unique selling point. In germany, there is no such close cooperation between a bundesliga team and a proa team as here in bamberg. We could have gotten even more out of him if we had brought in highly talented young german or foreign players from the U17 or U18. Last summer, this was not possible in bamberg for the reasons we all know, because they had other things on their minds. But if you know that the same constellation will exist again next season, then you should already try to bring one or the other top european talent to bamberg. A man like paul zipser from bayern munchen, for example, should have ended up in bamberg. He could train here at the highest level and play in both bundesliga and proa. With such a pound we had to grow even more than we have done so far.
The team is only two points behind a play-off place, but already eight points ahead of the first relegation place. Will the season goal, which so far hieb klassenerhalt, corrected upwards?
Pavic: the season’s goals – to secure a place in the league as early as possible and to challenge young players – remain the same. If we manage to stay in the league, I expect that we will let the young players play even more and take responsibility for their further development. This is our way, which we have committed ourselves to. And then we will see how far we can go with it. Of course we want to win every game. For this we train.
Hirmke: ivan has been criticized during the losing streak for letting the americans play too much. But the best way to develop a young player is to take the pressure off him. We saw that in the play-offs last season. We had already reached our goal, the play-offs were just the bonus, and suddenly the team has exploded in terms of performance. I am therefore convinced that once we have managed to stay in the league, the team will take another step forward. And then let’s see what comes of it.
The average number of spectators in the preliminary round was 979 per home game. Are you satisfied with that?
Hirmke: what we had calculated beforehand, has actually come true. We are just the number two in bamberg, and then there is also the 2. Ladies’ league. You can’t expect people to go to every game. In this respect, we are satisfied, even if the organizational effort is enormous. But we can do it. There has not been a breakdown yet. But a rough team is needed. Our 30 to 40 helpers have to do a lot of work at every home game.
On 11. January they move to the brose arena for the home game against the league leaders and championship favorites wurzburg. For the game, which also serves a good purpose, they hope for a full house. What is the state of affairs?
Hirmke: with the statement full house one must consider that it was planned from the beginning to hang the north tribune and not to use it. We want to see if we can set a new season record. The is currently at 3284 spectators, only recently set at the game gieben against wurzburg. I think we’re on the right track to crack it. We will offer the same program for the spectators as at all home games and will not copy anything from the brose baskets. We also want to show our independence in the brose arena. But I also want to emphasize once again the benefit idea of this game. 10 000 euros will be donated to charity. Especially the action "friend instead of stranger" currently needs every euro. Considering the situation of those seeking help in bamberg, we hope to fill the hall to support the cause accordingly.
Pavic: it’s a highlight for all of us, especially the young players who look up to the brose baskets. It’s a very special game for me, too. Nevertheless, we will approach it like any other and want to have a chance to win in the end. You can be sure that we will go to our limits and try everything to win this game. We will give the wurzburgers a tough fight.