|Paul Zipser admits Germany find themselves in a very difficult group at the U18 European Championship this summer|
By David Hein
Paul Zipser is one of the leading stars of Germany's next generation of young talents.
And he will need to show he's one of Europe's top prospects this summer as Germany were drawn into a difficult U18 European Championship group.
The Germans will take on reigning champions Spain, finalists Serbia as well as Ukraine in the Preliminary Round.
The Heidelberg native captained Germany to a fourth place finish at the 2012 Albert Schweitzer Tournament, making the All-Tournament Team as Germany's leading scorer, third best rebounder, tied for best assist man and the second best shot-blocker in the tournament.
Zipser, who turned 18 in February, had a strong season at German ProA (second division) club USC Heidelberg, averaging 7.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks while shooting 56 percent overall and 55 percent from three-point range.
With the German Beko BBL league requiring six German players on the 12-man game rosters next season, Zipser will most likely move this off-season to a top flight side, where he will continue his development.
The young player visited with FIBAEurope.com after the tournament.
FIBAEurope.com: Germany finished fourth at the 2012 Albert Schweitzer Tournament. What were your thoughts on the tournament?
Paul Zipser: "We achieved our main goal of reaching the semi-finals. That's all that counts."
What is the biggest thing you and the German team learned from this experience?
We are still young players and every tournament is important for our development. And a tournament like this is very important in that way, especially being here in Germany.
At the U18 European Championship, Germany have Serbia, Spain and Ukraine in Preliminary Round action. Tell us how you see that group and those teams.
That is one of the hardest groups in the championship. We'll see. We're a good team. Spain and Serbia are a couple of the best teams in Europe. It will be tough.
What are your expectations going into that tournament?
We don't really know each other that well yet. We just want to start the tournament strong. We haven't set any goals yet.
The last time many people saw you was at the U19 German NBBL All Star Game in Ludwigsburg in January. Tell us about your development in the past year or so.
I have learned a lot, especially regarding the media and all the pressure around it. This year has been very important, very hard. I'm really happy about it. I finished my schools, the tournament, the new position in the team as captain. I've had to learn a lot this year. And I'm just trying my best.
When you start thinking about the future, what goals do you have in mind?
I have to finish all my school first and then we'll see, in two or three months. I have taken all my exams but I don't know if I have passed them or not.
What is the biggest thing you have to still work on in your game?
I think I have to be tougher and stronger. I have a lot to learn, just like any young player.
There are a lot of professional scouts at the AST. How is it for you playing in front of them?
I looked around before the game and noticed some people I know, but I tried to just play my game and not think what they expect from my game.
You have received a lot of attention in the past year or so. How much pressure do you sense?
I felt a bit of pressure here during this week at Albert Schweitzer. But it was not that hard to deal with.