A (Translated) Interview With Matz Stockman's Norwegian Coach

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

There's still very little known about new U of L signee Matz Stockman, but that hasn't stopped the 7'2 center from gaining his own "Norwegian Legion" in Louisville.

Since information is so difficult to come by, we must turn to things like this: a rough translation of an interview with his coach over in Norway.

Here's the transcript, as best I can make it out:

Matz Stockman has signed with the Louisville Cardinals, and to be honest I'm not sure how that kind of stuff works. At least not at that level. The way I see it, Matz has agreed to be part of the Cardinals next season, so long as coach Rick Pitino still wants him.

Currently, everything indicates that they are serious.

Now it's unlikely that Rick and Matz have a relationship yet. At the press conference on next year's signings, Pitino spoke very favorably about Mat based on the talent scouts he's talked to. The guys who scouted Matz told Pitino that Matz would have been among the top three centers in the U.S. now, if he were playing there.

For us who have been close Matz and worked with him in recent years, this is not totally shocking. I think all agree that Matz has the talent to be discovered. No one has disputed his abilities on the court: it is extremely rare for such a big guy to move so effortlessly and also have a skill set that is so extensive.

Therefore, it was also sooo funny the first few weeks of this season (Editor's note: no idea what's going on here). We had just come home from the B Championship in Macedonia where Matz had some absolutely unforgettable minutes (... and by all means also some periods that were very forgettable). But his 8 blocks in one game against Romania took our breath away on the bench and took the air completely out of the game. And Matz also had wonderful times offensively in several battles, but his biggest problem has been his unique ability to let the irritation of poor performances go beyond itself.

Matz has never been a player that accepts that it is possible to miss the obvious shot. He has never been willing to hear that even the best don't make every shot. That is why it is important for him to have good support, and now that Matz is about to live the dream, I think it's even more important.

I imagine that the NTG-coach Henning Bergh has been important to him. Hennings patience and ability to see the players for what they are must have given him confidence. I'm guessing Christer Elgmork should also share some of the credit for the moves he has in spades. And I think that the Norwegian Championship team this summer helped him as well, and especially Franck Mill Place, who was a kind of personal mental trainer for him in Macedonia.

And even thought they did not spend much time together, I think Matz was inspired by Nils-Paul's enthusiasm and passion at the start of this season. Before it became clear that Matz was sticking with Gran Canaria, they had many sessions together in Hosle Hall. They fired each other up, and Matz was often alone and up far too early in the hall to get more repetitions. I had never seen that from Matz before and then I should surely have realized that Matz was starting to grow up.

Matz has been great - but hardly as large as the U.S. media will have him: 7'2 is the actual 218 cm and even measured with American high-heeled shoes may be the stretching reality a bit.

Some are already talking about the NBA. Maybe so, but you have to take this one step at a time - one 7-foot step at a time.

Good luck - make us proud!

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