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Ohlbrecht confidence grows in America

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When the NBA D-League announced this week that Tim Olhbrecht  would play in its All-Star Game on the 16th of February, the news did not send shockwaves across the basketball landscape.

Yet the fact that the 24-year-old is to represent his team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, in the mid-season showpiece event is a good indication that his decision to experience the sport across the Atlantic is paying off.

The Vipers, who are led by American Nick Nurse, a former coach in Europe who worked the past several years as an assistant for the Great Britain national side, and Ohlbrecht are a perfect fit.

The side is affiliated with Houston, with some players having been on the rosters of both the Vipers and the Rockets this season.

Twenty-five games into the season and Ohlbrecht, a member of Germany‘s squad the past several summers, has thrived.

He is averaging 13.5 points and 6.9 rebounds.

While Ohlbrecht would like to play in the NBA, most important to him is that he gain a new experience and improve.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was asked on Twitter about Ohlbrecht in late January and his response was positive.

“He is playing extremely well, we have gr8 bigs (at)rgvvipers,” Morey tweeted.

In an interview last month, Ohlbrecht gave the world some insight into his thinking.

Asked if he had developed and if there was anything specific he’d worked on, Ohlbrecht answered to DraftExpress.com: “I think the most important thing is I’ve developed trust in my coach and he’s developed trust in me and I’ve got trust in my teammates.

“I feel comfortable with the whole package. I feel good on the court even if I make mistakes, I won’t be pulled out right away, I’m going to learn from them.

“I get to play a bigger role. I get to be decisive, have more opportunity.”

Nurse has played a big role in boosting the confidence of Ohlbrecht, who had played in Germany the past few seasons for Bamberg, Bonn and Frankfurt.

“The coach will draw something up to get me the ball, and I’d never had that before and it is nice,” Ohlbrecht said.

“I like the experience of getting the ball in crunch time and that is helping me to improve and develop and be consistent.”

And what if the call-up from the Rockets or another NBA club never comes?

Will Ohlbrecht, who turned down opportunities to continue making a good living in Europe to play in America, look down on his experience in the D-League?

“No,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve developed, I’m developing every day.

“I’m happy to take this step and if it’s not working out, it’s not working out, and that just how it is.

“I want to try my best while I have a chance and want to until the day I do not have one.”

Last summer, Ohlbrecht averaged 14.7 minutes per game for Germany in the Qualification Round for EuroBasket 2013.

Don’t be surprised if he has an even bigger role this summer in Slovenia when Germany, now led by coach Frank Menz, play in the Final Round and attempt to book a place in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

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