heinnews’ David Hein took the chance at the 2009 U18 All Star Game to have a chat with emerging German center talent Philipp Neumann, who averaged 16.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks at the 2009 U18 European Championship in Metz. They discussed what the 17-year-old learned from playing with and against the likes of Serbian Dejan Musli and Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas at the All Star Game at EuroBasket; the youth movement with the German senior national team; and his move to Brose Baskets Bamberg and what role he expects to have there this season.

heinnews: Philipp, you had a super summer in Metz at the U18 European Championship and then were recognized with a chance to play at the U18 All-Star Game at EuroBasket 2009. What was it like playing in that game with some big names from big basketball nations?
Neumann: It really is a nice feeling because you worked hard for years and years. And then to play together with the best U18 players from all of Europe really makes you feel proud and that the hard worked at least partially has paid off.

heinnews: Were there some moments during the game or during training that you thought, Okay, I can really learn some things here too from these great players?
Neumann: Right from the first second that I heard that Dejan Musli and Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas would be coming. Those are two of the best centers in Europe in my age group. And you can always learn regardless if the game goes well or not. There are always things that others do better than you can learn.

heinnews: What were some of the things you learned during the training and the game in Poland?
Neumann: I learned from Musli for example how to pass out of the post better. I also learned how to play against bigger players. I faced Musli in training and I was able to show him a little bit that he can’t do everything against me. But he taught me a lot of what I can do better.

heinnews: Germany at EuroBasket 2009 featured a very young team with coach Dirk Bauermann bringing along five players 21 years or younger. What does that tell a young player like yourself about your chances of eventually working your way into the German senior side?
Neumann: I think that should motivate young players to work harder on themselves. And it shows that a young player like Robin Benzing can be one of the best players on the court. We have reached a point where the national team needs young players. So I definitely think we have a better chance than two years ago.

heinnews: This coming season you will be with Brose Baskets Bamberg. How did that come about?
Neumann: That was kind of a last minute thing. I knew I was going away with the national team (for the U18 Euros) and I didn’t want to worry about that and keep my head clear for the national team. I had meetings with Bamberg and Nuremberg and Nuremberg were quite uncertain about their sponsor and if they would have the money for ProB. Even if they made it through this season, they didn’t know about next season. And I knew I had to stay somewhere for two years. So I had to decide for either Bamberg or Nuremberg and the fact was that Bamberg had individual coaches and a really strong concept. Nuremberg had a good concept but they were uncertain. And I didn’t want to play one year ProB and then the Regionalliga (fourth division). So I decided for Bamberg.

heinnews: Do you know already how things look in Bamberg? Have you had much contact with coach Neumann: Chris Fleming and if so, what has he said he expects from you this season?
We worked out that until I finish my schooling that I will get some experience in ProB and with Breitengussbach in the NBBL. The BBL will have to wait a bit. Of course I would like to play there. But basketball is not everything. I need to finish my schooling first. Until then I will be able to train once or twice with the BBL – we don’t know yet. And I think when I do that I can take some big steps. So that’s how it looks. ProB will be the main spot.

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