heinnews’s David Hein had a chance to sit down once again with Tibor Pleiss, German international center and big man for German BBL club Brose Baskets Bamberg. They discussed winning the 2010 BBL Cup; the Rookie of the Year award; his development since last summer; as well as his expectations for the BBL playoffs and the 2010 World Championship in Turkey.
heinnews: Congratulations on the BBL Cup title. How does it feel to have won the cup?
Pleiss: Well, I already did win one cup back in Cologne. That was in 2006 and I really spent most of the time on the bench. But it’s really something special to have played an important role in accomplishing something very special.
heinnews: You were also named the BBL Rookie of the Year. We talked before the season in Bamberg and you said you were looking forward to this season. How do you see your development?
Pleiss: I really invested a lot of time in myself. I had a lot of extra practices and really worked hard to get better. And the coaching staff really did a good job in giving me a hand, in teaching me new things and helping me work on them. And I really think I have developed well and hope it continues so.
heinnews: What are some of the things you really want to work on still?
Pleiss: Really everything. That’s what I usually say. But that is how it is.
heinnews: Is there anything in particular you want to work on though?
Pleiss: I can’t really say. The things that I am doing well I am trying to do perfectly. That is what I am trying to do. We could say that.
heinnews: Are you satisfied with your development thus far?
Pleiss: For sure. I really didn’t think I would have a leading role. Last season I played in a few games and a couple in Cologne for maybe two minutes. But things are different here and this season. I am a leading player. And it’s a great feeling that I have been rewarded for all the hard work I have done.
heinnews: How important in your development was the 2009 EuroBasket in Poland?
Pleiss: I think the youth (U20) European Championship was a bit more important. Every time I have played for the national team I have gotten a little bit better. But looking at the level in Poland, okay, I didn’t really play that much there but I did in the preparations. And playing at that high level in Europe really took my another step as well.
heinnews: I hear you were at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim as an interested spectator – watching your Bamberg teammate Philipp Neumann. What did you think?
Pleiss: I saw the U18 team against Brazil and the U17 team against New Zealand. I can’t really say too much about Philipp because he’s only been practicing with us for a short time. And he didn’t really practice with us but has been watching from the sidelines. But I think that will change in the near future. About Philipp, I can say that he still has a lot to learn but that he’s a big talent. He could reach our level in a couple of years.
heinnews: Does he come to you as a fellow big man and ask for advice?
Pleiss: I really get on well with him. We are friends and we live close to one another. Sometimes we meet up and sometimes I bring him with to practice in my car.
heinnews: What are your expectations for the BBL playoff?
Pleiss: Our goal is the title. We are a super team and we can expect only the best. I think we can get very far or even win the title.
heinnews: Looking forward to this summer, there is the World Championship in Turkey. What are your thoughts on that?
Pleiss: I hope that I am with the team. I will do everything I can do be there. I think we can look forward to it. We have a strong team, a young team too. And Dirk (Nowitzki) is there, and (Chris) Kaman is there. I think we have a clear goal in mind and I think we can achieve it.
heinnews: What do you think about the development of the other young players who were in Poland – among them Robin Benzing and Elias Harris?
Pleiss: They are doing really good. I think they will help give the national team a big push in the coming years. We will have a good team, and I don’t think it will fall apart.
heinnews: That was the big fear for so many years.
Pleiss: Exactly. But we have so many good young players. Harris and Robin both played a lot and showed that they can hold their own with the other teams. I didn’t play that much but that can change as well.