The RBC Köln 99ers have recently announced that Joe Bestwick will return to the club for the first time since 2009, following his departure from Hannover United. The 2019/20 RBBL top scorer sat down with Rollt.’s Dylan Cummings to discuss why he decided to return to Köln and how he aims to bring success to the club.
Why did you decide to return to the RBC Köln 99ers?
“It was 100% a family decision. It’s where I met my wife, it’s where she was born and grew up. We have a pre-existing support network there that can support the whole family outside of basketball. It’s similar feeling to what we had in Gießen, but with the addition of family, and all of that is what we’ve been missing out on over the last four years or so. My wife has been agreeing to whatever basketball needed for the entire time we’ve been together, so now it’s time to create a stable environment for ourselves, especially now that we’ve our children to consider too. Cologne offers that stable environment whilst also allowing me to continue to play a good standard of basketball and to help support the club who gave me my first opportunity to play as a pro. We have the chance to make Cologne our family home, and being able to combine that with basketball, both as a player and hopefully beyond, is a great life balance.”
What are your favourite memories of Cologne from when you played there previously, both on and off the court?
“On the court, I remember my first season was a real battle. It was a complete shock to me going from playing in England to playing my first professional season and having a lot of responsibility in the team. I hadn’t had that before, so it was a steep learning curve for me where I made a lot of mistakes but that helped me develop and mature a lot as a player. Off the court, my favourite memories are the people; Cologne is a super friendly city generally, but as far as the club goes, I think it says a lot that so many of the people who were there when I joined almost 14 years ago are still involved now. Being a part of that family again will be a great feeling.”
How do you think Mat Foden’s coaching style will benefit yourself and the team?
“I think Mat is really good at developing young players, so I think from that perspective, I can learn a lot from him in terms of fitting into a mentorship role. The job he did with the GB U23 squad speaks for itself, I’m fairly sure that GB wouldn’t have won the World Championships if it hadn’t had been for the foundation work that Mat had done with those young guys early on in their careers. I’m looking forward to absorbing as much knowledge as I can from him. As far as the Cologne’s playing style goes, a lot of different variables will have to be figured out before the start of the season, so we’ll have to see how that looks once we are on court together.”
Finish this sentence. Joe Bestwick will help bring success to the RBC Köln 99ers because…
“It depends how you define success. We will need to wait and see. I feel like I’ve proven that I can be a fairly effective scorer and that I’ve developed more of an outside game over the last few years, which I didn’t have beforehand. At Hannover, I was forced to play an outside game due to the players we had, however, I’m glad that I was forced into that situation because it’s helped my personal development. In Cologne, hopefully I can help stabilise the club and develop younger players as a mentor. In the long-term, I aim to leave the club in a better position by the time I am ready to stop playing and if this is achieved, I will consider that a success.”
In your Instagram statement, you thanked the Thuringia Bulls, is there anything you’d like to say to them?
“The Bulls were one of the first teams to reach out to me after my season got cut short prematurely. They’ve been awesome and really supported me. Lutz and Micha reached out directly and asked if there was anything they could do to help. It’s been an awesome experience to train with them over the last few months as they are a great group who all really made me feel so welcome and comfortable there. The quality of their training has allowed me to stay as sharp as possible for the upcoming season and for Team Germany selection camps. Without the opportunity to play team basketball as well as my individual training I don’t know what I would have done. From a personal, and I guess mental health, perspective it’s been a rough few months. Having guys like that reach out to me, during the biggest point of their season, and telling me they’ve got my back means a lot to me. There was no need for them to do that but I’m really very grateful that they did. It’s not something that I’ll be forgetting anytime soon.”
Thanks for your time mate!
Rollt. would like to thank Joe Bestwick for the interview.
Joe Bestwick Profile
Date of Birth: 01/12/1984 (aged 36)
Hometown: Leicester, Leicestershire
Started playing: 1996
International Tournament debut: 2006 World Championships – Amsterdam, Netherlands (GB)
Disability: Clubbed Foot and Single-leg below the knee amputee
Current Club: RBC Köln 99ers, GER (2007-09, 2021-Present)
_Jaguars, GBR (1996-04)
_Aces, GBR (2004-07)
_Queensland Spinning Bullets, AUS (2009)
_RGK Sporting Club Wolverhampton Rhinos, GBR (2009-12)
_RSV Lahn-Dill, GER (2012-17)
_Hannover United, GER (2017-21)
_2x Gold and 1x Silver at 3 U23 European Championships
_2006 World Championships – Amsterdam, Netherlands – 4th
_2007 European Championships – Wetzlar, Germany – Silver
_2008 Paralympic Games – Beijing, China – Bronze
_2008/09 Season – RBBL Top Scorer (RBC Köln 99ers)
_2009 European Championships – Adana, Turkey – Bronze
_2013 European Championships – Frankfurt, Germany – Gold
_4x RBBL Playoff Champion
_4x DRS Pokal Cup Champion
_2x DRS Pokal Cup Runner Up
_1x IWBF Europe Champions Cup Winner
_2019/20 Season – RBBL Top Scorer (Hannover United)
Interview: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Bert Harzer (www.fotoharzer.de)