Johannes Herber (Fraport Skyliners) Jacob Burtschi Would Be The Hunter And I Would Build The Hut In The Wilderness

Johannes Herber is a 29 year old 197cm shooting guard from Darmstadt, Germany that is playing his first season for the Fraport Skyliners. He started his basketball career in 1999 for TV Langen where he played until 2002. He then played for West Virginia from 2002-2006 playing a total of 128 NCAA games reaching the NCAA elite 8 in 2005 and NCAA Sweet 16 in 2006. H ethen played for Alba Berlin from 2006-2009 playing a total of 48 Beko BBL games and 10 ULEB Cup games and two Euroleague games. He battled ACL injuries in his time in the German capital. Last season, he played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen playing 34 games averaging 6.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 66.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against Alba Berlin.

What do you remember most from the amazing 76-68 win against the Brose Baskets Bamberg?

Just the good feeling after the game. It is also nice seeing how the team has developed since the first loss in Bamberg and how many steps it has taken.

Bamberg came back in the second quarter to lead 37-36. How big was the belief of winning still at halftime?

The belief was there. We had shown early that we felt we could win with our good start. We got a bit tired in the second quarter and it was obvious that there would be some runs in this game. We wanted to play the third quarter like we did in the first quarter and did. If someone had told us before the game that we would be down by one point at halftime, we would very gladly have accepted it.

Quantez Robertson had the most spectacular play of the game getting in a passing lane stealing the ball falling out of bounds, but somehow spinning and passing the ball to Gibson. Tez then ran down on the fast break got the ball back and passed it to Tim Ohlbrecht who made a big dunk. Have you seen a more athletic player than Tez?

I don´t think so. I have seen many athletic guys already in the NCAA, but he is amazing. He is so agile. I dont know if there is a quicker player. He has a quick second and third step.

The Fraport Skyliners have as many wins as the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig who are in 8th place. How realistic are the playoffs?

We have a chance. Last year one needed 18-19 wins to make it. We have 12 wins now and need 6 wins in the last nine games. It will be hard since we still have games in Berlin and in Artland, but anything is possible.

Frankfurt belongs to the top defensive teams in the Beko BBL. How much fun is it playing for this team?

It is a lot of fun since I am more of a defensive kind of player.

Jimmy Mckinney is a scorer and strong defender, but how important are his leadership qualities?

His leadership has been so important and has showed so often that he is a leader. We don´t have so many good 1-1 players on the team, so often we look for him to do something and take command. He has made so many important shots.

The defense is the Skyliners strong point, but they aren´t always capable of putting big numbers on the board. What still needs to be improved on offense?

Often we are still too static on offense. The defense makes us take other options and not the ones we want and we are too slow to react. We tend to score better out of good defense where we get easy points.

It took a while for head coach Muli Katzurin and the team to get on the same page. What is the biggest strength of Katzurin?

He has much experience. He is good at not loosing control in difficult situations. He knows how to react in hard times. When we had injuries, he made the game slower and focused on defense.

What do you respect most about the captain abilities of Marius Nolte?

I can´t say enough about him. He is so important to the team. He may not play so much, but he gives the team so much energy, communicates well and is the glue of the team. He always gets a good atmosphere and knows when to get loud. He also has good relationship with the fans.

You come form the area. How comfortable are you in Frankfurt?

I feel very comfortable. I am from near Darmstadt. I was away for 9 years in the States, Berlin and Tuebingen and its nice to be back. I feel good with the team and my family being around.

What is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed?

I think that I understand the game well. I do the little things well and defend well as well. I am not a big scorer, but I do other things to help the team like setting blocks or cutting.

I think that you should get more shots on offense.

Please tell that to Muli. Our offense is free and usually whoever is hot is who will get the shots. I haven´t been shooting so well, so there are less plays revolving around me. I could be more aggressive and create more shots. I definitely play better with more confidence.

How was your childhood like?

I had a very nice childhood growing up at the Berg Strasse near Dramstadt. I loved basketball from a very early age.

Who were your basketball idols as a kid?

They always changed. My love to basketball started in 1993 when Germany won the European championships. I started to watch a lot of NBA as it was being shown on TV. I liked Penny Hardaway and Shaq. As I got older, I loved Michael Jordan and John Stockton. My favorite German player was Michael Koch who was a good shooter.

Was is it a tough decision going to West Virginia?

It didn´t take too long for me to decide. It has always been my dream to play in the NCAA. I wanted to see the intensity and how basketball is lived there, play in the big arenas and get an education.

What is your memory of Mike Gansey at West Virgina?

I have so many nice memories with him. I remember beating Wake Forest and Chris Paul and Justin Gray in double overtime as Gansey made 19 points. Another memory with Gansey was beating Villanova in Madison Square Garden as he hit the winning free throws.

When you were a rookie with Alba Berlin in 2006, you had young coach Henrik Rodl. What was the most important thing that he gave you?

I didn´t play much at all at the start having problems getting integrated, but he let me play more later as I developed and that is something I will never forget.

Who was the best player you played against in the NCAA that might be in the NBA today?

Carmelo Anthony. We lost too him twice. The other guy was Ben Gordon when he was with Uconn. He was so athletic that we didn´t know how to defend him.

What scene do you remember most form the 2006 World Championships against USA in Japan?

The Demond Greene block on Dwayne Wade and me posting up against Lebron James.

If you were stuck in the wilderness with Jacob Burtschi, what would the survival duties look like?

Jake would be the hunter and I would build the hut in the wilderness.

What were the most free throws that you made in a row?

50.

What was your most crazy shot in your career?

A half court game winner against IUPUI

What are your 2012 NCAA Final 4 picks?

Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, Duke

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

Moneyball.

Thanks Joe for the chat.

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