Marc Steutel has described GB’s recent promotion to Division A as one of the ‘proudest basketball moments of his career’ as he now prepares for another season with Team Northumbria.
“It’s quite difficult to really put into words how special it was”
The under-20’s side won their first seven matches at the European Championships before falling short in the Final against Poland, a team they had beaten earlier in the tournament. GB will now compete in Division A at under-20 level for the first time, which is a remarkable achievement to underline their progression.
“It really is amazing to be a part of something that is great for the future of British Basketball,” added Steutel, who was the performance analyst/assistant coach in Romania.
Steutel insists that ‘belief, togetherness and a winning culture instilled from the top down’ were the reasons behind GB’s success and was full of praise for the new head-coach.
“Douglas Leichner was remarkable in the way he drove the programme forward with outstanding leadership! Through his direction, we were all relishing the challenge presented to us”
The 28 year-old spoke of the enormous amount of pride that comes with representing your country, something Steutel is not unfamiliar with- having represented England at u18 level and led the 2012 English Universities team. Being involved with GB this summer has now surpassed those achievements.
Looking ahead to next season, Steutel plans to use some of the tricks and trades gained from Romania but won’t be showing his hand just yet whilst taking inspiration from the team ethic he witnessed.
“There were certain tactical approaches that I was able to see that I will use for next season (can’t be specific which ones – have to keep something’s a secret! ) but the biggest lesson I learnt was what can be achieved when everyone is pulling in the same direction”
Team Northumbria are going from strength to strength in the EBL having followed up a Division 2 title with a very respectable third place finish in their first season in the Vcars.co.uk Division1. Both achievements have deservedly reflected well on Steutel, who has been rewarded with consecutive Coach of the Year awards.
“I am appreciative of the Coach of Year awards because of how the voting system works. It is flattering to be thought of highly by your peers who you are competing against on a weekly basis. However, I genuinely feel that the players I have been fortunate to coach and help develop over the previous two seasons should really feel proud of those awards also!” added a pleased head-coach.
Despite a widely regarded impressive 3rd place finish, Steutel’s reaction defines him as a coach with a clear desire to win evident:
“We have received a lot of positive comments on finishing 3rd, which I have found difficult at times as nobody sets out to finish 3rd! That is no disrespect to any other players or coaches in EBL 1, just you are always striving to be the best”
Imagine then losing in the semi-finals of the EBL Final Fours in controversial fashion in the dying seconds! Team Northumbria thought they had beaten Worthing after a last gasp buzzer-beater rimmed out only for the officials to award the basket due to an illegal goal-tend in a cruel twist of fate.
Steutel admits he is still hurting over the defeat and will discuss the game for the final time with his players when they assemble for pre-season training:
“It was agonising! It truly was. I felt for our players more than anything. We had 4th & 3rd year players who have committed and sacrificed so much for the good of our programme and I wanted to be in the final purely for those guys!”
BBL side Newcastle Eagles are Team Northumbria‘s parent club and Steutel believes the link ‘creates a healthy sense of competition’ for his players. As well as his coaching duties with the EBL side, Steutel is also head-coach at Tyne Met College and cited players such as Jack Wilson, Ross Wilson, Lamar Morrison and Eddie Matthew as leading examples of the benefit of the college-EBL-BBL link.
“l absolutely love being able to be a big part of student/athletes development from this age group. I am extremely proud of the development system we have built at TyneMet and it fits in perfect with the Newcastle Eagles-Team Northumbria development system”
Steutel concedes time constraints can prove difficult at times in juggling his head-coaching responsibilities but is looking forward to the upcoming season. The two-time EBL Coach of the Year winner is excited about new recruits coming in whilst keeping an eye firmly fixed on the future: “I am hoping we can keep this group together for three years and enable everyone of the players to develop fully.”
“I will be planning and monitoring everyone’s individual programmes as early as possible into the season. We will again aim to be true to our style of play every opportunity we get and if we do that then we hope we will have a successful season in every sense of the word.”
You can follow Tyne Met College & Team Northumbria’s head-coach on Twitter (@steutel10) and read the full Q+A transcript below: