Dennis Schröder commits to Germany; hints a return for Dirk
Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schröder will be suiting up for Germany in the 2015 Eurobasket Qualifying Rounds.
Schröder will look to lead the Germans past Poland, Austria and Luxembourg in Group C as they bid to better the woeful pool stage exit at Eurobasket in Ljubljana last year.
The 20-year-old skipped the tournament in Slovenia, so that he could prepare properly for his rookie season in the NBA. He was a part of Atlanta’s run to the first round of the Playoffs where they were eliminated by Indiana Pacers in seven games.
The 20-year-old even stated that Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki is still determined to lead Germany’s new generation of stars to the Olympic Games in Rio, two years from now.
“For me it goes without saying that you play for the national team. I am ready to help my team-mates,” Schröder said in a video interview with the German Basketball Federation.
“Our main goal is to qualify for the EuroBasket and then – step by step – reach the Olympic Games, hopefully with Dirk Nowitzki.
“I’ve been in touch with Dirk during the season. We spoke about the national team and agreed that we both want to play at EuroBasket and the Olympics. That’s the goals we’re setting and we want to reach together.”
This will no doubt come as welcome news to German fans, as it was widely rumoured that Nowitzki would retire from the international game in 2011.
Nowitzki last played for Germany in their second round exit to hosts Lithuania at Eurobasket 2011.
Then Germany coach Dirk Bauermann stated in that post-game press conference in Vilnius that Nowitzki would play for the national team again, despite obvious signs of fatigue throughout the tournament.
With all the excitement surrounding the possible return of the most recognisable German basketball player ever, Schröder’s focus is on the Qualifying Rounds – and not Nowitzki’s possible comeback at Eurobasket 2015.
Germany have to get there first.
“I have had many phone conversations with the coach [Emir Mutapcic] in the last few days,” Schröder said. “He explained to me that he needs the best players to suit up and that I am important to the team. He gave me a lot of confidence, and I expect this to be a good summer,”