Whe loves basketball, he has to go to Wilhelmsburg on weekends. Not because the towers of Hamburg are magic, but because the Hanseatic city is the location of the VTG Supercup. The national teams of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary show what they are capable of just before the World Cup in China (August 31 to September 15).
Already Friday, the NBA star, Dennis Schröder, will lead the team of coach Henrik Rödl in the match against Hungary (20:00). But also the coach of the Towers, Mike Taylor, is in anticipation. As we know, he is almost incidentally responsible for the Poles, a very demanding task for the 46-year-old American who, speaking with WELT, is also looking into the first season of the Towers in the best German league.
world: In Waldenburg / Silesia you prepare the Polish national team for several weeks for the World Cup. At the same time, you are after the climb with the Hamburg Towers before the first Bundesliga season. It looks like a lot of work …
Mike Taylor: It's hard work, but I love it. For someone like me, there can be nothing better than having two great teams with good helpers by my side. The days now at Wilhelmsburg are certainly extreme. Three important matches with Poland, two preparatory games with the Towers, between a speech made at a meeting of the German Basketball Federation – my schedule is complete.
world: With all the concentration on the poles, it was also necessary to take into account the composition of the team of the towers. What did you put a particular emphasis on?
Taylor: The team was found in close coordination with Marvin Willoughby and co-coaches Benka Barloschky and Austen Rowland. Our goal was to become more athletic and more creative on the offensive. It was clear that we wanted to combine the main players in the promotion team with new people.
world: Drew Barham, their top scorer in the promotion season, will not be here anymore. The favorite public, Beau Beech, remains the turns against her.
Taylor: Drew wanted to redefine his life and build a future as a driver at home. We wish him the best for that. Beau is one of the leaders who will help us in the Bundesliga. He is not only an excellent shooter, he is also a smart guy, always positive, who is of paramount importance to us.
world: There is a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of your new designated playmaker, Khalil Dukes. Is a man from the 2nd Russian league the right person for the Bundesliga challenge?
Taylor: American professionals travel to the remotest corners of the world for a variety of reasons. Khalil dominated this league with an average of 23 points and 5.2 assists. At the same time, he is only 24 years old and he still has the best basketball of his life. Everyone can make big names, but the real art is to recognize the potential of talent.
world: Still in the Philippines, you have discovered such talent …
Taylor: As I said – I'm not interested in having a player from Siberia or a Pacific island in Hamburg. Prince Ibeh, who played for the last time at Northport Batang Pier, will help us with his 2.08 meters, especially in defense. Physically, he has the caliber of an NBA player and fans can adapt to spectacular blocks of him.
world: Next stop: Lithuania. How did you find the Dutch international Yannick Franke in the Pieno Zvaigzdes team?
Taylor: I became aware of Yannick during our qualification for the World Cup. He is only 23 years old, but he has already gained experience at the highest level in Italy and Lithuania. He is a key player on the Dutch team and when we spoke briefly with Poland before the final duel, I realized that he could be one for the Tours. He shot very well from a distance, and when Marvin met him later in Berlin, it was finally clear that he suited us perfectly.
world: On September 30, the Bundesliga adventure begins for the tours. You are traveling to the German champion. Is it because you are allowed to lose high against Bayern Munich?
Taylor: You're kidding? This is not what we think. But it's a fantastic start for another reason. An ambitious team always wants to compete with the best. We will be shown right away, what wind is blowing up. The Bavarians will demand the maximum, which I look forward to. However, this appointment seems to me infinitely far. Let me first go to China. We will see then.