The MVP diary from Munich: "Soccer? I'm starting to learn the strategy."
Hi all Beko BBL and Bayern Munich fans, not too much spectacular is going on right now. I really haven’t seen or done anything new or out of the ordinary lately. I am really happy that the weather is still nice and that it’s not winter time yet. I’m hoping the weather lasts a little bit longer.
On the court, we played our first two Euroleague games, beating Gora on the road and winning at home against Siena. The games were exciting and that’s the reason I came to Munich, to play in the Euroleague. We’ve played great games for most of the time, but we had a couple of runs where we didn’t play defense, or we didn’t do the things we were expected to do. Looking at the first two games, I think we can take a positive note in saying that we won the games. In the first two games I think we played about 30 minutes of good basketball. But we need to play 40 minutes to win against great teams like we’re going to play. We do great things and then we have lapses where we don’t do good things. We need the consistency. We have so many weapons on offense that it’s a no-brainer we’re going to score. We just need to play defense.
"Olympiakos is a statement game for us"
For me personally, it’s great to show my talents on this level which is what every player in Europe wants to do. It’s a big step up for me. I’ve played a lot better in the Euroleague than in the Beko BBL, which is kind of backwards. I have played in the German league for three years now, there should be better stats than in Euroleague. But I’m playing better in the Euroleague. I don’t know what the difference is. But I’m happy with my Euroleague play, though you can always do better on the defensive end.
Thursday we play at Olympiacos. It’s a huge game for me personally and the team. Playing against the defending two-time champs is a huge opportunity and we’re going to go in there and try to play our game and try to win. Playing against them is like a measuring stick for us to see where we are as a team and where I am personally. I think it’s a statement game for us to see if we can pull out a win. It would be huge for us. Going out there and showing the teams in Europe that we can play with the best of them – and Olympiacos is one of them – is something we’re exciting about and looking forward to doing.
"Soccer? I'm starting to learn the game and the strategy"
I have not been to a Bayern soccer game yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I was supposed to go to one when my brother was here a few weeks ago, but we had practice so I couldn’t go. But he said he had a great time and it was super fun. They said that we will go to one as a team though so we’ll see when that happens. It will definitely be a big thing for me because I’ve never been to a soccer game here. I watched a lot of soccer last season. Whenever we were on the road in the hotel they really didn’t have any English channels so we always watched sports channels. All the guys were really big soccer fans. Per Günther was always watching soccer. I would watch some games with him. It’s definitely something I didn’t watch when I first came over here. But I’m starting to learn the game more and more and learn the strategy. That makes it a lot more fun than watching guys just kick the ball around which is how a lot of Americans see it. They don’t understand the strategy and the different tactics. Now that I’ve been over here a few years I’m starting to learn a bit more. It’s nice to have the soccer players at the basketball game. I recognize them and know more of them now that I’m playing for this team. They’re good club mates.
Since my last diary, I’ve had another One on One with Robin Benzing. We played Mario Kart and Street Fighter on Super Nintendo. I am definitely the gamer compared to him. I used to be a real gamer when I first came over here and in college. Robin wasn’t excited about playing because he doesn’t like to play a lot of video games. I took the win. It came down to the wire. On Mario Kart we were pretty much tied but I won a couple more than he did. In Street Fighter, he thought he had me beat, but my guy was just dazed. My guy came back and hit him and I won the game. It was a close matchup but I took the win, the second battle. But the war is still going on.
So, that’s it for this week. We want to make Germany proud and we’re going to try to do that. Keep supporting us and we’re going to keep playing hard. Best, John