12 - 20
August 2016
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German U20 team will inspire us, U16 leader Mattisseck says

BERLIN (FIBA U16 European Championship 2016) - Germany head into the FIBA U16 European Championship 2016 with high hopes and leader Jonas Mattisseck said the team will draw inspiration from the country's U20 team, who finished strong in Helsinki a few weeks ago. 

The U20 side won their Quarter-Final game against Ukraine to see them move into the Semi-Finals. 

"We watched as many games of the U20 European Championship as possible. And every German team can be inspired by what they accomplished," Mattisseck said of the U20 team that ended up finishing fourth in Helsinki. 

"Winning a Quarter-Final is a great feeling and it would be really great with the national team," Mattisseck said.

"We know that we still have a long way ahead of us, but we are working hard to be in the situation again to play a Quarter-Final and to win it as well."

Mattisseck said this German team, who will face Croatia, hosts Poland and Turkey in Group B, is a very deep one. 

"Every one of our players can play at a high level. We have a very good mentality and have often fought back in games, which is also a strength of ours," Mattisseck explained. "We are all really excited about the European Championship and really want to go far."

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A photo posted by Hendrik (@hendrik.drescher) on

Just like the U20 team, this German team will have to buck a recent trend if they want to play for the podium. Germany have lost at the U16 Quarter-Finals for the last five summers. Their last podium came in 1983. 

"It's a real shame that Germany have had so many strong teams in recent years and just barely lost in the knockout stage," he said. "Of course we want to end this."

Mattisseck expects to take on a leadership role for the German team in Radom. 

"I would like to be a leader on and off the court," he said. "I still have to work on my game, but I think that I am on the path to becoming a very good team leader."

The 1.91m point guard was Germany's second-leading scorer at the TBF International U16 Tournament in Samsun in January, where the Germans finished eighth of 12 teams. Mattisseck averaged 11.2 points to go with 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 steals. 

Mattisseck also played a big role in bringing Berlin-based club TuS Lichterfelde to the Final Four of this past season's German U16 JBBL league Final Four, averaging 21 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.2 steals per game. Despite his 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in the Semi-Finals, Lichterfelde lost to host team ratiopharm akademie. 

Mattisseck received a bit of consolation in that he was named as the JBBL's Defensive Player of the Year. 

Jonas Mattisseck's excellence in defense were rewarded this season.

"It was a very meaningful award. Unfortunately we couldn't win the Final Four, so I was disappointed in myself afterwards," he admitted. "I think I am a very aggressive defender who does a good job putting opposing players under pressure and forcing mistakes. But I still have to work on my cleverness."

Mattisseck said his teammate at Lichterfelde Hendrik Drescher will play a major role for the German team as well in Radom. The 2.04m big man is the only player who was with the U16 team last summer. 

"In addition to his playing quality, he can also help us a lot off the court," Mattisseck said of Drescher, who was named as the JBBL MVP for last season. "He's the only one with European Championship experience in our team and he will exude calmness during the European Championship which will impact the whole team."

Add to that the inspiration of the U20 team and Germany hope to finally get back to the U16 top four for the first time since 1985.