Two-time defending BBL league and German Cup champions Bamberg won the first crown of the 2011-12 season by beating Braunschweig for the Champions Cup. heinnews’s David Hein was at the game and chatted after the game with Bamberg big man Marcus Slaughter. They talked about how he has been received in the Bamberg team; playing in a strong Euroleague group; what Bamberg coach Chris Fleming has asked of him this season; and the standing of the German BBL outside of the country.

heinnews: Bamberg won the Domreiter Cup last week and then beat Braunschweig in the Champions Cup. Talk a bit about the preparations for the season. 

Slaughter: It’s a good pre-season whenever you win game. But we are looking forward to playing games that really count.

heinnews: The team is really tight from last season with most of the players back. How have you been accepted in the team?

Slaughter: It is a tight team, but they are good people. They want to win so they will welcome anyone who can help them win. There’s nothing bad with the team, and we all like each other, everyone gets along.

heinnews: You’ve played in European competitions in the past and now have a strong Euroleague group with Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow among others. What are your thoughts on playing in this group? 

Slaughter: It’s always good to play against good competition. That’s what you want as a player. So it’s very exciting. I think we have a good enough team that we can advance in the Euroleague.

heinnews: One of the goals in the off-season was to get the team more athletic and rebound better. What has coach Chris Fleming told you to focus on?

Slaughter: Play defense. That’s our number one priority, to play strong defense. Good defensive teams are the teams that win. If you can help with defensive stops then you can play, and then you win. And that’s what it’s all about.

heinnews: Many are saying that this may be the best BBL season of all time. What are your thoughts going into the campaign?

Slaughter: It’s another season that Bamberg is supposed to win. We’re the defending champs, and we have to defend that. The teams are getting better and the league is getting better. It’s better competition. But you welcome that because you want the league to get better.

heinnews: You’ve played in Spain and Turkey and Israel, where do you think the German BBL ranks? 

Slaughter: It’s definitely getting better and more people are recognizing that around the world. Last year was a good year for Bamberg, who just missed advancing in the Euroleague. That would have been a surprise for many people. They made a name around the world, and that’s good. This year we have to build on the success from last season and make German basketball more apparent.

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