EuroBasket: Lessons From Dirk
Germany’s Jan-Hendrik Jagla learns from the Finals MVP.
by John Hobbs / @johnswisshobbs
Germany took to the floor at the impressive Siemens Arena in Vilnius for the first time since they arrived from their 2-hour, 20-minute excursion from Siauliai. The team looked relaxed, focused on the task at hand, until Chris Kaman takes a mid-range jump-shot and the complexion changes for a brief moment.
“Damn cameras,” he shouts as he misses a long-range two-pointer. “Do they have to be here now?” The media, unfazed, carry on their duties.
Dirk Nowitzki smirks, as he takes a jump-shot from the baseline, connects, all-string, glances at the media on the far-side and quietly mumbles: “funf” [five].
The focus might have been on the reigning NBA Finals MVP but standing behind the 7-footer was a man equal in stature quietly going about his business, as Jan-Hendrik Jagla drains a mid-range jumper and calmly says “sechs” [six].
The 30-year-old Berlin native is one of the veterans on the team, yet still admits that Dirk still gives him little bits of advice now-and-then.
“Having Dirk [Nowitzki] on the team is positive for all of us, including me even though I am 30 years old, which isn’t young,” Jagla admits.
“We talk both in practice and in the game and if I’m doing something wrong, he will tell me what should be done, so I can improve. But we all do that. We all look out for each other and we’ll do whatever it takes to help each other out on the court.”
Jagla, who now plays his basketball in Turkey for Turk Telekom, has been around the international stage for six years, but made his name at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey, where he averaged over 13 points per contest. Unfortunately Germany couldn’t get past the group stage.
“It was a tough group and a tough experience for us, but you learn from it, you know,” Jagla says. “Those kind of things happen, and it makes you stronger as a player. We are used to not having players like Dirk and Chris [Kaman] but, it was a hard group.”
Germany arrive in Vilnius thanks to securing the third and final spot in Group B. Jagla, who is behind Dirk in terms of the pecking order, has seen limited court-time thus far at EuroBasket, but he is still humble and remains the constant team player despite the lack of court-time.
“As long as the team are performing on the court, and I can contribute in any way, it’s all good,” Jagla explains. “I understand that Dirk and I are in the same position, and it’ll be hard for me to get meaningful minutes, but I’m here like always to prove that I can give something to the team.”
Germany started Group E with an 0-2 record, and their cause was not helped as they fell to tournament favorite Spain today, 77-68.