Interview with Bo Kramer: “Getting first place is hard but staying there is even harder.”

It was recently revealed that World and European Champion, Dutch international, Bo Kramer will play for Hot Rolling Bears Essen in the RBBL 2 next season. This news comes after she had two successful seasons in the RBBL 1 with Baskets 96 Rahden. She sat down with Rollt.’s Dylan Cummings and discussed how the move to Essen will allow her to play in a similar role to her Dutch national team role, which will help her improve her game prior to Tokyo.


Why did you choose to move to Essen?

“I chose to go to Essen for several reasons, first; it’s a lot closer to my hometown so it means I’ll save a lot of time traveling to and from Germany. The second one is the fact that my university programme will match better with the schedule of Essen, so I can train more. The third one is the fact that Ilse Arts is also playing for Essen. She is also a starter in the Dutch team, and I think it will be really valuable to play so many games together!”


How will the move benefit your game prior to Tokyo?

“I think playing the first league was an amazing experience and definitely something I would like to do again in the future. The only difference was that my role with Rahden was different to the role I play in the Dutch team. It’s good to play different styles, but I feel like playing in a team like Essen where both my roles will be kind of similar will take my game for the Dutch team to a higher level. So, therefore it will benefit my game prior to Tokyo.”


How do you intend to fit into the team?

“I’ll play there with three teammates that I practice with every day at Papendal, so I kind of know half the team already! The other guys I’ve been playing against for three or four seasons now. Essen looks like a fun team, with a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better and performing well together on court.”


What new challenges do you think you will face with the team in RBBL 2?

“A new season with a new team will be a challenge in itself. I think the second league will be a fun and a good league. I’m looking forward to seeing how strong the other teams will be. Personally, my challenge will be to develop my game to the best of my ability and learn as much as I can whilst playing games with Essen.”


How do you think the styles of play will differ between Essen and Rahden?

“I do think they will differ a lot. In Rahden, we had really good outside shooters who were mid-pointers and only one big guy. In Essen, we have more height so that changes the game already. In Rahden, we also played with three or four Dutch guys on court so that’s kind of similar. As mentioned previously, the biggest change will be my role in the team. In Essen, I’ll get the chance to play in the same role that I have in the Dutch team.”


During your time at Rahden you helped them get promoted to RBBL 1, why did you not want to continue playing in the top league?

“At first, building up a team with the goal of promotion to the first league, getting there and ending up in the top five was really awesome. I enjoyed my time there as we got stronger and stronger as a team. Of course, I still want to play to the highest level, but you can’t perform at 200% in every aspect in life. I wish I could. So, for the upcoming season I decided to give 200% to the national team, 200% to school and that gives me 150% for a club team which will be Essen.”


How much does Dutch culture differ from German culture?

“That’s a difficult question! In Germany, the wheelchair basketball league is way bigger than it is in the Netherlands, so that’s a big difference. In Germany, you get to play in front of a way bigger crowd, you won’t see that often in the Netherlands.”


The Orange Angels have resumed training at Papendal, how has that felt for you?

“That was literally the best feeling ever. At first it was great to see each other again instead of the video calls we had every week. Also being able to play on a good court in an actual gym was the best feeling ever. I missed it so much! You know how a cow that’s allowed to go outside into the field after the winter is jumping around? This was very similar to me getting back on court.”


In your opinion, what do the Orange Angels need to do to remain on top of the world?

“If I had the answer on that, winning a gold medal should be easy. But it isn’t. Getting first place is hard but staying there is even harder. We have a team with a lot of experience, but also a lot of potential talent. I think that’s a beautiful combination. We train hard every single day and with all the staff around the team, they provide the best training conditions for us to play our best game. So yeah, I guess if we work our asses off and have fun together, we can show the world some great basketball!”


How would you describe your style of play?

“I’d describe it as all-round. I love to play all the different styles. Being a centre, dominating inside the paint, setting up the plays, giving assists or shooting, I love it all. So, I’m working hard to be good in every aspect so I can play every style. Besides that, I would say I use speed and tactics to my advantage.”


Has anyone specifically influenced you to play the way you do?

“I would say my coaches. Since I started basketball Gertjan van der Linden and Irene Sloof were involved with coaching me. Since 2015, I train every single day with Irene and she has had a huge part in developing me as a player and person. I can use the knowledge she gave me when training with the national squad. My teammates are also really important to me, without their advice and feedback I wouldn’t be the player I am today.”


What piece of advice has stuck with you throughout your career?

“That’s a hard one. There are too many! One of my favourites by far is; if you work really hard, you’ll reach everything you want. I have a dream, and I’ll reach it one day.”


If you could do a training session with three other players from anywhere in the world, male or female, who you’ve never trained with before, to improve your skills, which players would you choose and why?

“Patrick Anderson from Canada, he is the most all-round and best player I’ve ever seen. I think I can learn a lot from him. With his experience and eyes for the game, it would be awesome to train with him. Phil Pratt from GB, he is a young guy but already a great player. I really enjoy watching him play and I’d learn a lot from him. This one is already retired, but I’d love to have a training session with Janet Zeltinger (McLachlan), former Canadian player and now the assistant coach of the German women. She played the game how I like to play it. She was a star player and I would love to learn from her.”


Thanks for your time Bo!


Rollt. would to thank Bo Kramer for the interview!


Bo Kramer Profile:

Date of birth: 15/09/1998 (aged 21)

Hometown: Arnhem, Gelderland

Year you started playing: 2012

Netherlands senior debut: 2014 Women’s World Championships – Toronto, Canada

Classification: 4.5

Disability: Total bone replacement in right Tibia due to bone cancer

Future Club: Hot Rolling Bears Essen, GER (starting September 2020)

Former Clubs:

_SC Devedo, NED (2012-17)

_RSC Osnabrück, GER (2017-18)

_Baskets 96 Rahden, GER (2018-20)

Career Highlights:

 _2014 Women’s World Championships – Toronto, Canada – Bronze (NED)

_2015 European Championships – Worcester, GB – Silver (NED)

_2016 Paralympic Games – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Bronze (NED)

_2017 European Championships – Tenerife, Spain – Gold (NED)

_2018 World Championships – Hamburg, Germany – Gold (NED)

_2019 Women’s European Championships – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Gold (NED)


Interview: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Steffie Wunderl

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