Daniel Berger is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Medford, Oregon playing his rookie season with Team Ehingen Urspring (Germany-ProB). He started his basketball career with Chemeketa community college an dthen moved to Utah State(NCAA) where he played 59 NCAA games from 2011-2014. As a senior he played with BYU-Hawaii (NCAA2) playing 20 games: 14.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 48.4%, FT: 79.2%. He spoke to German Hoops after the big 80-69 win against Itzehoe
Daniel congrats on the big 80-69 in game one against Itzehoe. How excited were you to be playing in your first playoff professional game? How was the preparation different the last two weeks for a Pro B north team then it was for the usual Pro B south teams that you had seen all season long?
Thank you Miles. I was very excited and thankful for the first playoff game. Our preparation was a little different because we had 2 weeks before the game. We were able to work on some areas that we needed to improve as a team as well as watch film and prepare for Itzehoe. We felt ready to go for anything that came our way.
Despite losing the last game of the season against first placed team BG Karlsruhe 77-74, did this loss give the team added self confidence going into the playoffs?
We know we can play with any team in our league if we are prepared mentally and play hard. The Karlsruhe game was good preparation playing against a high level team with solid individual players.
Ehingen played good basketball for 30 minutes winning the first three quarters and led 71-59, but then gave up a 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Was that the typical situation when a team is up big, they lose focus? Ehingen was able to keep their composure and close out the game after the 11-0 Itzehoe run. What do you feel was key in the last seven minutes for closing the door permanently on the opponent?
Sometimes its hard to play with a lead. We didn’t stay aggressive which we needed to do. In the last seven minutes we needed to make a couple of plays. We ended up doing that but the fourth quarter is something we will look at and try to learn from. Watching Texas A&M send the game to overtime when they were down to UNI by 12 with under a minute makes you realize that no lead is safe when its March.
Devon Moore had 14 of the team 32 assists. How much credit does the American point guard get for keeping the Ehingen offense consistent all night long?
I love playing with Devon. He’s very unselfish and just wants to make the right play. Whether its to pass or shoot, whatever is best for the team he will do. He deserves a lot of credit and us other guys need to be ready to catch the ball at all times when he’s on the court.
On the defensive end, you held Itzehoe under their season game average. Ehingen matches up pretty well against them under the basket as well. What do you believe was the biggest strength of the team on the defensive end?
We were just trying to not make it easy for them. We tried making them take contested shots and for the most part did that. There is always going to be defensive mistakes but if you’re playing hard some of those mistakes can get covered up.
Ehingen can wrap the series in Itzehoe next weekend. On what things will the team need to tweak on this week to definitely come home next weekend with the sweep?
They are going to come out strong and aggressive so we need to be ready to match that. It comes down to our energy and focus. Not letting them get hot is key. We learned a few things they threw at us that we weren’t really expecting.
You really have picked up your game since the 96-90 win in Frankfurt. Have you felt the need to have to be more of a scorer or have you just let the game come to you more?
That game in Frankfurt was a confidence booster for me. I have just tried to be focused and aggressive since Christmas. Also I feel more comfortable overall and feel adjusted to the game here and just try to go out and play basketball like I know how.
You were more of a creator against Itzehoe with six assists. You have shown this season in other games that you can get 5-6 assists in a game. How important is the passing game for you personally as a 203cm forward?
Its important for me to get my teammates involved. If all 5 guys are working together than success will follow. As a taller wing player its easier to see over guys and get the ball where it needs to be.
You were the most effective Ehingen player in game one. How do you feel have you grown as a rookie in just being the best all around player that you can be?
I have really tried to refine some parts of my game. I really don’t have any distractions being away from home which is tough at times, but allows me to really try and focus on basketball 100 percent. I try to learn something every game and then try and improve it.
Were you surprised by so many upsets in the NCAA March Madness? Is there more parity with NCAA schools than possibly in the past?
Its the best tournament in any sport there is. I love March Madness. I think there is less of a gap between high major schools and mid major schools than people might assume. A lot of media hype goes into that, but there are some very good players at a lot of schools. Not just the big time schools.
What sleepers that are alive now do you see possibly making a run in the 2016 NCAA March Madness?
Id like to see Gonzaga go to the final four.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was Deadpool!
Thanks Daniel for the chat.