Dennis Schroder just led his nation to their first-ever FIBA World Cup title this Sunday, as he captained Germany to a 83-77 victory against Serbia in the championship contest. His recent performance added to his case of becoming the competition’s MVP, just as compatriot Dirk Nowitzki did back in 2002.
“It’s an unbelievable group,” the Raptors star said. “It’s unbelievable going 8-0. I think this is the best team I’ve ever played on, whether it’s the NBA or national team. In Germany, people are starting to recognize what we’re doing for our country. We want our respect as well.”
Schroder proved he’s worthy of earning this award, which signifies the pinnacle of his individual accomplisments. The German guard also equaled the record for most points scored in a World Cup final with 28 to his name.
🇩🇪 Averaged team high, 19.1 PPG & 6.1 APG
🇩🇪 Led Germany to an undefeated title
— NBA (@NBA) September 10, 2023
“We just want our respect. I don’t need to say more because we are a team. We always stick together, no matter what happens, and that’s been the case for the past two years. I’ve been here for 10 years now. We just won bronze last year. This year, it’s a gold medal. I don’t want to hear anything more about my name,” he said after the championship match.
Head coach Gordie Herbert, who accepted this job two years ago, recalled that the first thing he did when accepting this role was to drive and meet with Schroder. He shared that they built a strong connection that day, after spending around four hours together.
“It’s a little bit of a surreal moment,”the German trainer expressed. “It’s like I told the players. It’s a tremendous group of players, but we were a team first. Guys cared about each other and they challenged each other.”
It was hard to catch Herbert after the game as the German locker room had become a party after lifting the FIBA trophy. “Sorry, the beers were flowing in the locker room,” he apologized. “I love the Philippines, but they gotta get better beer.”
The Serbians recognized that their opponents deserved the gold medal, but still feel proud of their team’s achievements
Serbia, who marked 6-2 in this FIBA competition, had Aleksa Avramovic score 21 and Bogdan Bogdanovic add 17 in the championship game. Even though they missed out of having star Nikola Jokic contribute to the team this summer, they went on a surprise run all the way to the Final.
“We made great success,” Avramovic said. “Our heads are up. This is already past, and our next goal is to go the Olympic Games and make better success than this. Germany, they have been playing amazing. … We know that we made our country happy and put a smile on them.”
Despite their enormous effort, Serbian coach Svetislav Petic recognized that their rivals outperformed them and are worthy of the World Cup title. “They deserved this win,” he said. “They played 40 minutes at a high level.”
Two years ago, Germany signed a three-year commitment with their main stars to participate in both this FIBA competition, as well as the Paris Olympics, and it seems the agreement is paying off.