|14 June 2013|
|Tim Ohlbrecht will skip the EuroBasket to focus on his NBA career |
Houston Rockets big man Tim Ohlbrecht announced on Friday his decision to follow a personal training programme in the summer rather than joining the German national team on their EuroBasket 2013 campaign.
"This was a difficult decision for me because I always want to play for Germany," Olbrecht explained in a statement on the official website of the German federation (DBB).
"Together with my younger team-mates we took the first step towards a generational change [in the national team] last summer.
"This summer however is pivotal for my career so, in consultation with my team, the Houston Rockets, I decided to spend the whole summer in the United States and prepare myself intensely for the upcoming NBA season."
Ohlbrecht, who turns 25 in August, had averaged 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in last summer's EuroBasket Qualification Round to help a new-look Germany under coach Svetislav Pesic punch their ticket to September's big tournament in Slovenia.
He started the season playing in the NBA's development league with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and his appearances there convinced coach Kevin McHale in February to give him a place on the roster of the Houston Rockets, who are the Vipers' parent club.
"I understand Tim's decision," new Germany coach Frank Menz stated.
"He has a long-term contract with the Rockets and if he wants to fulfil his dream in the NBA, he has to do it that way."
Menz is confident that he has enough options in the frontcourt to counterbalance Ohlbrecht's absence.
"We have Tibor Pleiss, Maik Zirbes, Philipp Neumann and Andreas Seiferth in this position," the coach said.
During his teenage years, Ohlbrecht impressed with Germany at successive U18 European Championships in 2005 and 2006 and first suited up for the senior national team at the 2008 Olympics, as a very promising 20-year-old prospect.
He became a steady member of the squad and played in every major tournament since then, without however assuming the leading role many had expected earlier in his career.
Ohlbrecht's best performances in a German jersey came at the 2010 World Championship, where he averaged eight points and 4.4 rebounds per contest but Germany finished in 17th place.
Germany are in First Round Group A at EuroBasket 2013, together with France, Israel, Ukraine, Great Britain and Belgium.