With national team coach Dirk Bauermann looking on, Germany’s U18 squad snapped a six-game losing streak and won their first game of the UMCOR U18 European Championship Men by defeating Iceland 92-63.
Bauermann refuses to take any credit for the win, which prevented Germany from relegation to Division B.
“The team was struggling and I thought it would be good to come and show my support,” he said.
|Germany's U18 team has struggled in Greece.|
“But I had nothing to do with the win. They played well today and the players and coaches deserve the credit for that."
“I am happy we won today because it is important that we stay in Division A.”
Unable to draw from Germany’s senior team success at EuroBasket 2005, the U18 and youth teams have struggled this summer.
“We are all concerned,” he said.
“The A1 league in Germany allows for teams to have an unlimited number of foreigners, which means that professional basketball will not be investing in our youth players."
"That is a great concern. We have to do something about that. We need to allow our own kids to play.”
Bauermann was quick to point out that there are some very talented youth players in Germany, such as 210-cm forward Tim Ohlbrecht.
"If he works hard and develops, he could be a top European player," said Bauermann.
The coach's visit to Greece comes in the midst of the German national team’s training for the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
|Dirk Bauermann and Germany are optimistic about the 2006 FIBA World Championship.|
Bauermann will go back to Germany tomorrow to continue training with the national squad.
When he returns, Germany will welcome superstar Dirk Nowitzki to training camp for the first time this summer.
“Dirk has spent the last couple of weeks practicing with Holger (Geschwinder),” said Bauermann.
“He is working hard and trying to get better every day.”
“He is an unbelievable role model.”
Germany will begin their quest for gold in Japan on August 19th when they take on the host country in the preliminary round.
“I think the silver medal from last year (EuroBasket) will give us a lot of confidence,” Bauermann said.
“We have some guys back, like Ademola Okulaja, so we are very optimistic.”