Basketball professional Johannes Thiemann from Alba Berlin convinced
“Seven or eight mistakes! In less than five minutes playing time!” The Bonn basketball pro Finn Delany had to listen to criticism from coach Tuomas Iisalo in the first time-out of the game. But it was also difficult for him. In the top game of the Bundesliga between Alba Berlin and Telekom Bonn, Delany and Tyson Ward Johannes Thiemann had to do it.
He contributed twelve points to the 81:76 (20:23, 28:21, 14:19, 19:13) of the Berliners on Sunday in front of 8760 spectators in the Max-Schmeling-Halle and helped Alba to lead the table. Only point guard Tamir Blatt surpassed him (13 points). Center Ben Lammers also had twelve points. The wide spread was enough.
TJ Shorts, the Bonner (30) point guard, still wanted to score so well. Alba was a tad better. In the past ten days, the Berliners have played in the Euroleague and Bundesliga against Baskonia Vitoria, Bayern Munich, Armani Milan, Real Madrid and now the telecom Played Baskets Bonn. Bonn stayed nine days to prepare for the top game.
Aura of a judo black belt
“JT fascinates everyone with his game under the basket,” says Luke Sikma, the team captain at Alba: “What he’s doing there is as entertaining as when Maodo plays one-on-one.” basket is a delight for basketball connoisseurs. There he pushes and he pushes, and although opponents and spectators are waiting for it, the sudden turn around his opponent comes as a surprise; in this way he creates space for an unchallenged throw.
The considered steps, the scanning and the explosive decision, which often leads to his pushing opponent losing his balance and falling, give Thiemann the aura of a black belt in judo. “If the opponent pushes too hard, I can use that against him,” says Thiemann, the master of the spin move, the rotation on the opponent: “I push and see how hard he pushes back. If he pushes too hard, I know that if I turn now, he’ll fall into space and I’ll be a meter ahead on the way to the basket.”
Without counter-pressure, it doesn’t work for the other person either. If there is no resistance, Thiemann pushes it under the basket and throws. It started with the defense. “As a young player, I realized that if you want playing time, you have to make sure nobody scores against you. You have to trust the coach to send you onto the field.” That was ten years ago, when he was eighteen in the FC Baunach second division team and as a junior player in Bamberg making a name for himself as “the machine”.
Thiemann’s pound was his muscular body. He came to Alba Berlin via Ludwigsburg in 2018. In the Euroleague database, Thiemann is listed as 2.05 meters tall. According to the Bundesliga website, he is 2.06 meters tall. You can take that as a symbol.
Thiemann impresses with brains
In the German championship, which he has won with his Berlin team in the past three seasons, Thiemann is one of the greats. There is still growth potential internationally. “The higher you play, the bigger and heavier your opponents are,” says Thiemann: “I no longer had the advantage that I have in the BBL.”
The clever man has therefore qualified further. His pitch got better; Thiemann even hits from beyond the three-point line. He learned rebounding, understanding of the game and the ability to pass from Sikma, who is considered the playmaker on the opposing basket. Thiemann no longer impressed with his physical presence alone, but also with his brains. Coach Israel Gonzalez rewarded him with a promotion to fourth position, to power forward.
“He’s very smart, he learns very quickly,” says Gonzalez: “It was a surprise how quickly he developed last season on the four.” In the final of the playoff round, in which the Berliners played against Bayern Munich prevailed, Thiemann was voted the most valuable player of the four games.
“I wouldn’t have thought that,” he says: “It gives you an extra push and gives you a different self-image for your game.” Thiemann got eight rebounds on Sunday, more than any other player, and with five assists he put teammates in the limelight , with more than the point guard hand and Maodo Lo his team.
“Mentally you can get a lot out of it”
Thiemann does not lack a sense of achievement. With the national team, he qualified for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the following year won the bronze medal at the European Championships in Cologne and Berlin. This year the World Cup is on the calendar; at least the qualification for Paris 2024 should come out of it.
During the pandemic, Thiemann began distance learning in business psychology at the IU University of Applied Sciences in Bad Honnef. The training also helps him with basketball. “It would be difficult to do more physically; the body is already exposed to such a high level of stress due to the game plan,” he says: “You can get a lot out of the psychology, mentally.”
Simple recipe: focus on the positive. Don’t let mistakes and bad decisions distract you from your goal. Shouldn’t the old one be ditched in favor of a top-heavy moniker? “I find the machine suitable,” says Thiemann: “Yes, you can solve a lot with experience and smartness. But there’s just a lot of pushing under the basket. It’s very physical, you have to be strong.” Thiemann likes it and he’s proud of it.