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Derrick Michael is the future of Indonesian basketball says coach Toroman
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - Coach Rajko Toroman was clear about what his team needed in the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers. Sure, he had smart and tactical players in the squad, which are just as important, but Toroman still needed a bit more than that.
He emphasized the advantage the Philippines had after their loss. Not only were the Philippines very talented, but they were also athletic from top to bottom, whether it was the likes of Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy, and especially Thirdy Ravena.
Athleticism and size is what the Indonesian national team tactician needs. Though he admits that the team is currently in shortage of that area, Toroman can see a lot of promise. He doesn't even have to look for it too far, as it will only take just a glimpse down towards the end of his bench.
"We have to work with Derrick," Toroman said. "Derrick really is the future of Indonesia basketball."
Such is high praise from the experienced Serbian coach for the lankly 16-year-old Derrick Michael Xzavierro. It's clear why Toroman has such high expectations for Derrick; he still has plenty of years left as a teenager and is already towering at 2.03M (6'8"). There's plenty of room for Derrick to grow, and every Indonesia basketball fan is hoping that he will.
The youngster is still very raw, but he moves fluidly enough that he has promise playing as a forward. His wingspan and height alone right now makes him a pestering presence around the rim.
Again, Derrick is far from a finished prospect. But he has sky-high potential that nearly everyone can see and be hopeful for. That's why coach Rajko allowed him to get onto the court during the fourth quarter of their game against Korea. It's why the crowd at Mahaka Arena greeted him with a standing ovation as he was substituted into the game.
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"Shocked," Derrick said about how he felt when coach Toroman called him in. "I felt that I'm still not ready and afraid to play in the court. When I was called, I could still can't believe it."
"I was told that whatever happened, I had to believe in myself and have to do my best," Derrick told the media after the game.
In his first-ever appearance for the senior national team, Derrick grabbed two rebounds in two minutes of play. He didn't sway the momentum of a game that Korea had already gotten control of, but when he was on the floor, the future looked even brighter for Indonesia basketball. It might take some time for him to pan out to his full potential fully, but everyone is looking forward to seeing it happen.
"[In] 3 years, he will be very competitive in international competition," claimed Toroman. "But he must work with these guys so that he can improve."
"That's the future of Indonesia basketball."