Photo by Instagram / Lars Thiemann
Cal Basketball

Bears Dip Into International Pool Again with Commitment from German Center, Thiemann

June 9, 2019
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The Bears dipped into the international talent pool again for 7-0/240 center Lars Thiemann after this weekend’s official visit to Cal.

"I'm happy and proud to announce that I will join Cal next season," Thiemann told ESPN earlier today. "I'm incredibly excited to be a part of Mark Fox's very first recruiting class.

“I couldn't pass on the opportunity to attend such an academically prestigious university while playing college basketball at a level like the Pac-12. They recruited me harder than any other school and I can't wait to arrive on campus in Berkeley. I am ready to take the next step in my career."

Thiemann fills the Bears biggest need in adding a big who can score and rebound and who brings club and international experience to the Bears. While playing for Leverkusen of the German NBBL U19 league last season, he averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds..

Thiemann also played professionally in the German Pro B league, helping Leverkusen win the championship, earning a promotion to the Pro A league next season. Thiemann has also been invited to try out for the German U20 national team, as well.

Thiemann joins a large class of six who will comprise half of the Bears’ roster in 2019-20, joining early signees 6-8/230 Austin, Texas power forward DJ Thorpe, 6-2/180 Toronto point guard Joel Brown, who both reaffirmed their commitment to head coach Mark Fox and staff after his hiring last month. Late signees with Thiemann include 6-10/220 Austrailian center Kuany Kuany, 6-6/210 guard Dimitrios Klonaras and Toronto native 6-2/185 grad transfer guard Kareem South.

Additional recruiting stories:

Cal Adds Grad Transfer Kareem South

Kuany and Coach Talk About Cal Commitment and Signing

Discussion from...

Bears Dip Into International Pool Again with Commitment from German Center, Thiemann

Big C
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Welcome to California, Lars Thiemann! Go Bears!!!
NavyBear
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Wow, great news! Lars is going to be the-man. . .

His highlights are impressive:

GBear4Life
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Wow, whether it works or not, Fox clearly came in with a plan -- and he's executing it.
Bobodeluxe
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Fire Fox.
CALiforniALUM
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Any good German restaurants in Berkeley? Obviously Top Dog might quench his thirst for a Brat.
75bear
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Bobodeluxe said:

Fire Fox.

More like Fox on fire.
OneTopOneChickenApple
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Gaumenkitzel on San Pablo Ave.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/gaumenkitzel-berkeley
SFCityBear
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GBear4Life said:

Wow, whether it works or not, Fox clearly came in with a plan -- and he's executing it.
I can't wait for Fox's next press conference, where he opens with, "Yesss? Anyone still have a question about whether I can do this job?"
BeachedBear
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SFCityBear said:

GBear4Life said:

Wow, whether it works or not, Fox clearly came in with a plan -- and he's executing it.
I can't wait for Fox's next press conference, where he opens with, "Yesss? Anyone still have a question about whether I can do this job?"
That would likely be responded by me. There is a lot of his job left to be seen. However, he has assembled a roster using resources (international & transfers) that the prior staff seemed unable to do. So that is great. Right now, I'd prefer to wait until a press conference a few weeks in to the season, because the two biggest questions in my mind are:

1. What is he doing with this roster (probably THE most important criteria for success), and
2. Are these new players any good?
SFCityBear
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BeachedBear said:

SFCityBear said:

GBear4Life said:

Wow, whether it works or not, Fox clearly came in with a plan -- and he's executing it.
I can't wait for Fox's next press conference, where he opens with, "Yesss? Anyone still have a question about whether I can do this job?"
That would likely be responded by me. There is a lot of his job left to be seen. However, he has assembled a roster using resources (international & transfers) that the prior staff seemed unable to do. So that is great. Right now, I'd prefer to wait until a press conference a few weeks in to the season, because the two biggest questions in my mind are:

1. What is he doing with this roster (probably THE most important criteria for success), and
2. Are these new players any good?
You are right, of course. We know almost nothing at this point as to whether the man can coach. I was talking as a fan, still displeased a little with the first reactions to the hiring of Coach Fox, when we knew less than we know now. But you don't sign recruits who have some credibility based on the schools who were also interested in them, but Fox signed them, and he signed them very late in the process, which means he or his assistants have recruiting connections better than Jones had, or perhaps he had relationships with some of these players. For many fans, but not me, recruits are the most important part of being a coach, and those fans are likely to be willing to give Fox a chance now, although those fans want all recruits to be 5 stars or top 30 players at least, and these recruits are not ranked that high. What I like about the roster is that Fox has seemingly recruited for need and depth. We are now a solid 2-deep at each position. How good the players are and how Fox gets them to play together is what is important when judging him, as you said or implied.
BeachedBear
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SFCityBear said:

BeachedBear said:

SFCityBear said:

GBear4Life said:

Wow, whether it works or not, Fox clearly came in with a plan -- and he's executing it.
I can't wait for Fox's next press conference, where he opens with, "Yesss? Anyone still have a question about whether I can do this job?"
That would likely be responded by me. There is a lot of his job left to be seen. However, he has assembled a roster using resources (international & transfers) that the prior staff seemed unable to do. So that is great. Right now, I'd prefer to wait until a press conference a few weeks in to the season, because the two biggest questions in my mind are:

1. What is he doing with this roster (probably THE most important criteria for success), and
2. Are these new players any good?
You are right, of course. We know almost nothing at this point as to whether the man can coach. I was talking as a fan, still displeased a little with the first reactions to the hiring of Coach Fox, when we knew less than we know now. But you don't sign recruits who have some credibility based on the schools who were also interested in them, but Fox signed them, and he signed them very late in the process, which means he or his assistants have recruiting connections better than Jones had, or perhaps he had relationships with some of these players. For many fans, but not me, recruits are the most important part of being a coach, and those fans are likely to be willing to give Fox a chance now, although those fans want all recruits to be 5 stars or top 30 players at least, and these recruits are not ranked that high. What I like about the roster is that Fox has seemingly recruited for need and depth. We are now a solid 2-deep at each position. How good the players are and how Fox gets them to play together is what is important when judging him, as you said or implied.
I think it is promising, when we look at it from 50000 feet. This staff identified a problem (roster), came up with a plan (international and transfers) and executed on it (closed on the targets) in an effective time frame. Although I would call that basic functionality for any coaching staff, it was missing in the last one.

As a fan, I am happier than I was 5 weeks ago!
TheSouseFamily
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There are a lot of unknowns with some of these players. Some could be all-conference performers and others rarely get off the bench. It's the most uncertainty I've seen with an incoming class in my memory. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. With the international players, they're scouted far less than a guy who has been visible on the AAU circuit for years. So there's a much wider spectrum of outcomes, including finding a real gem.

One thing I find very encouraging: to my knowledge, the staff has successfully closed on every player that has made a visit. That means they've got a good message they're selling. Plus, I liked how Thiemann said that Cal was recruiting him the hardest. Seems like these guys know what it takes to close on players.
KoreAmBear
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TheSouseFamily said:

There are a lot of unknowns with some of these players. Some could be all-conference performers and others rarely get off the bench. It's the most uncertainty I've seen with an incoming class in my memory. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. With the international players, they're scouted far less than a guy who has been visible on the AAU circuit for years. So there's a much wider spectrum of outcomes, including finding a real gem.

One thing I find very encouraging: to my knowledge, the staff has successfully closed on every player that has made a visit. That means they've got a good message they're selling. Plus, I liked how Thiemann said that Cal was recruiting him the hardest. Seems like these guys know what it takes to close on players.
The coaching will be so much better, so these guys will have a chance. For the dumpster fire that Fox inherited, and notwithstanding the "opening speech," Fox and Co. have really gone to work and done it in a smart way. I hope momentum builds and we will laugh at the way we reacted to the opening speech (me included). I do remember Wilcox' first speech was boring as hell, so it gave me pause at the time whether he was the guy. But turned out his diligence and smarts were the keys to his coaching. Attention to detail. Seems like we outsmart teams all the time now -- at least on D (jury is still out on whether his delegating to Baldwin is going to work). Hopefully it's the same kind of arc Fox is on -- it appears that way thus far.
Big C
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KoreAmBear said:

TheSouseFamily said:

There are a lot of unknowns with some of these players. Some could be all-conference performers and others rarely get off the bench. It's the most uncertainty I've seen with an incoming class in my memory. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. With the international players, they're scouted far less than a guy who has been visible on the AAU circuit for years. So there's a much wider spectrum of outcomes, including finding a real gem.

One thing I find very encouraging: to my knowledge, the staff has successfully closed on every player that has made a visit. That means they've got a good message they're selling. Plus, I liked how Thiemann said that Cal was recruiting him the hardest. Seems like these guys know what it takes to close on players.
The coaching will be so much better, so these guys will have a chance. For the dumpster fire that Fox inherited, and notwithstanding the "opening speech," Fox and Co. have really gone to work and done it in a smart way. I hope momentum builds and we will laugh at the way we reacted to the opening speech (me included). I do remember Wilcox' first speech was boring as hell, so it gave me pause at the time whether he was the guy. But turned out his diligence and smarts were the keys to his coaching. Attention to detail. Seems like we outsmart teams all the time now -- at least on D (jury is still out on whether his delegating to Baldwin is going to work). Hopefully it's the same kind of arc Fox is on -- it appears that way thus far.
All of our concerns in March and April were valid ones. No problem AT ALL that we voiced them and discussed them here. If Fox turns out to be successful, then good for him, we will all be very supportive. He is gaining credibility week by week. If we stay on the right track towards success over the next few years, I would LOVE to eat crow: It would be very tasty crow!
OBear073akaSMFan
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In Alameda, Speisekammer. It's good. Have outdoor seating too!

http://www.speisekammer.com
calumnus
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BeachedBear said:

SFCityBear said:

BeachedBear said:

SFCityBear said:

GBear4Life said:

Wow, whether it works or not, Fox clearly came in with a plan -- and he's executing it.
I can't wait for Fox's next press conference, where he opens with, "Yesss? Anyone still have a question about whether I can do this job?"
That would likely be responded by me. There is a lot of his job left to be seen. However, he has assembled a roster using resources (international & transfers) that the prior staff seemed unable to do. So that is great. Right now, I'd prefer to wait until a press conference a few weeks in to the season, because the two biggest questions in my mind are:

1. What is he doing with this roster (probably THE most important criteria for success), and
2. Are these new players any good?
You are right, of course. We know almost nothing at this point as to whether the man can coach. I was talking as a fan, still displeased a little with the first reactions to the hiring of Coach Fox, when we knew less than we know now. But you don't sign recruits who have some credibility based on the schools who were also interested in them, but Fox signed them, and he signed them very late in the process, which means he or his assistants have recruiting connections better than Jones had, or perhaps he had relationships with some of these players. For many fans, but not me, recruits are the most important part of being a coach, and those fans are likely to be willing to give Fox a chance now, although those fans want all recruits to be 5 stars or top 30 players at least, and these recruits are not ranked that high. What I like about the roster is that Fox has seemingly recruited for need and depth. We are now a solid 2-deep at each position. How good the players are and how Fox gets them to play together is what is important when judging him, as you said or implied.
I think it is promising, when we look at it from 50000 feet. This staff identified a problem (roster), came up with a plan (international and transfers) and executed on it (closed on the targets) in an effective time frame. Although I would call that basic functionality for any coaching staff, it was missing in the last one.

As a fan, I am happier than I was 5 weeks ago!


Well said. Agreed, kudos to Fox and his staff. As I've said all along, as a coach he reminds me of Ben Braun, and assembling a decent roster using transfers and international players was one of Braun's strengths. Hopefully we see great results. We are rooting for him to succeed.

Go Bears!
GBear4Life
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I was not as down on the hire as most, and though I agree with others who preferred an up and coming HC with no history of losing, I thought Fox was pretty bright and knew what he was doing. No idea if that will lead to wins, but I'm liking the hire more and more, obviously.
Uthaithani
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I'm impressed. I think most observers expected Fox to not be able to fill the holes in the roster this year - it was too late, he had no track record at Cal, blah blah. Instead he went out and got what he wanted while giving himself openings to build an even more solid recruiting class during his first season at Cal.

So, yes, we have no idea how well he will coach (and may not know everything after this season, either). But he hit the ground running as far as hiring good assistants and recruiting, so it's very promising so far.

There's certainly an energy and competence in the MBB program that's been lacking for quite some time, a "results, not excuses" mentality that's good to see.
KoreAmBear
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Too bad we canceled that Europe trip. Would have been a perfect time for all the new players to gel with the ones coming back. Hopefully all the internationals get on campus sooner than later and workout together (assuming they book appointments at the RSF in advance).

3146gabby
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time will tell of course, but Vanover seemed to have less upside than Thiemann.

stu
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3146gabby said:

time will tell of course, but Vanover seemed to have less upside than Thiemann.
IMHO that depends on whether Vanover is able to add enough weight and strength. I think the redshirt year could help him with that.
Fyght4Cal
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This is great news. Welcome Lars! I'm encouraged that Fox & Friends put together a credible, timely roster.
🎵There’s the Highland Dutch and the Lowland Dutch
The Rotterdam Dutch and Tim DeRuyter 🎶
Yogi Bear
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Fyght4Cal said:

This is great news. Welcome Lars! I'm encouraged that Fox & Friends put together a credible, timely roster.
And the best part - zero collusion.
calumnus
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"Thiemann also played professionally in the German Pro B league, helping Leverkusen win the championship, earning a promotion to the Pro A league next season."

This used to be a problem when Braun was bringing in players from Germany and Israel even if the players just played WITH professionals, I guess NCAA rules have changed?
BeachedBear
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Will we be calling him Lars "Toots" Thiemann?
stu
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BeachedBear said:

Will we be calling him Lars "Toots" Thiemann?
How about "Team" Thiemann? I think the "h" in Thiemann is silent.
Fyght4Cal
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BeachedBear said:

Will we be calling him Lars "Toots" Thiemann?
LOL That's exactly where my mind went when I first saw his name #JazzersRule
🎵There’s the Highland Dutch and the Lowland Dutch
The Rotterdam Dutch and Tim DeRuyter 🎶
oskidunker
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We are not getting any 5 stars locally that are difference makers so its worth a try. Rabb and Brown could not win a game in the ncaas
Last year is over,” Fox said. “Today we start to fight forward. We build for greater days.”
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