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  • Johannes Nusko

Visiting Washington

Aktualisiert: 10. Apr.

During a four day trip Stefan got to work with Tomáš Satoranský and exchange knowledge with coaches in the world's best league.

„After practice on friday I was a little bit tired to be honest“, Stefan explains after having spent four days in Washington, D.C. and being back right on time for Brose Bamberg practice. „But I found some good ways of dealing with jetlag.“ When in the USA Stefan doesn’t adjust his day and night rhythm. „I usually get up at around 4 am which equals 10 am in Germany. So technically, I sleep in“, he adds with a wink.

But let’s get back to Stefan’s routines later on. Let’s focus on why the Brose Bamberg Head of Player Development even took the trip to the United States’ capital. For many years Stefan has been working with Tomáš Satoranský. The Czech is currently playing his sixth season in the NBA and a part of the Washington Wizards. The Wizards are already the third team that Tomáš has played for during this season and it’s no secret that there have been better times for the Czech international. „That is how the NBA works sometimes. You don’t always get to decide what is best for you and so you might be in a situation where you don’t play as much as you are used to“, Stefan reveals and adds: „So I came here after talking to the team and the player. Luckily the Wizards really value Tomáš’ strengths and he is definitely getting better.“

To improve Satoransky’s game even more the two had practices together and even though there weren’t many chances to work out, they both clicked right away again. „We know the parts of his game that we want to work on. During the season I also watch a lot of video and send him clips from time to time. We tried to work on his finishing and of course on his shot. But the most important thing was to bring his confidence back.“

During Stefan’s stay he got to see Tomáš in two games, losing to the Chicago Bulls (94:107) and beating the Orlando Magic (127:110). During the Wizards’ win against Orlando Tomáš contributed in a special way by adding up ten rebounds and 13 assists for a very special double double. Since he didn’t score a single point in this game, he became the third player to ever record a scoreless double double after Josh Giddey in 2021 and Norm Van Lier in 1971. „Of course that was something special. And it showed how Tomáš can contribute in so many ways“, Stefan says. „I am happy to see him play with fun and enjoyment again. I think this situation fits him very well.“

The two games that Stefan witnessed were a special experience as always when being able to see the world’s best players compete. „For me the most interesting parts of such games always take place before a single point is scored.“ Compared to players in Europe NBA athletes usually arrive to the games early. „Some of them appear at the arena three hours before tip off. What really makes a difference in their warm ups is that they get to spend time with a lot more coaches than in Europe. They arrive in groups of two or three players and therefore are able to work on details instead of just simply warming up.“


With Stefan’s stay came of course the opportunity to speak with various members of the Wizards’ staff. „I already knew a couple of people from the staff so we got into exchanging thoughts and ideas right away. And since Washington played the Bulls I also met up with Chris Fleming.“ The former coach of the German national team is an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls. Stefan knows Chris from working with him at Brose Bamberg where they won four German League championships together and formed some of the best teams in German history. A player that might be Germany’s future also appeared in one of the games that Stefan saw. „It is very interesting to see such young talent as Franz Wagner taking his first steps in the league. He is part of a young generation that will make a big impact on the NBA in the future.“ 

For Stefan the importance of seeing such talent is not only witnessing their game but also getting to know how they work and what their next steps might be. „Being with an NBA team gives me the opportunity to talk to other assistants and player development coaches such as Ryan Richmond (Wizards).“ Together they talk terminology and exchange thoughts. „This is what makes coaches better. They have to learn from each other.“ 

Stefan’s stay ended after participating in practice at noon and then heading back to the airport. „While flying back I try to sleep as much as possible“, he explains. „I then arrived at home by 8 am and headed right back to the practice facility in Strullendorf to be part of Brose Bamberg’s next practice session at noon.“ When wondering if Brose is actually ok with these trips, Stefan quickly responds: „Absolutely. They support me a lot because every side of this deal gains something. In the States I was able to help Tomáš and the Wizards. I picked up new methods and most importantly I get to use these techniques in Bamberg.“ And that’s what Stefan did during the first practice back in Franconia. „We did exactly what the assistant coaches in Washington and I talked about.“ Has it helped? Of course there are no statistics to measure Stefan’s impact right away, but still: Brose Bamberg won the game against Frankfurt and kept its playoff hopes alive. 

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