Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Rise of Walter He-MANN

Walter HERRMANN was named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for the month of March'07, a feat that almost seemed impossible to believe when he joined the Charlotte BOBCATS at the start of the season.

El Guerrero as he is known was born on the 26th of June 1979 in Venado Tuerto. The first team he played was for local outfit Olimpia de Venado Tuerto in 1999, averaging 13.2 points per game (ppg). The following year he managed an average 18.6 ppg, 7.2 rebound per game (rpg). In 2000 he was named in the Argentinean All-Star Game and even won the Slam Dunk Contest (in fact he was well known for being one the best slam dunkers in Argentina and Spain).

His performance got the attention of Asociación Deportiva Atenas with whom he signed in the year 2001. On his debut season, he avaraged 18.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, while helping the club to win the Liga Sudamericana (South American League). The following season prove to be much more successful for both HERRMANN and Atenas as he averaged 20.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.9 assists (ast) in 54 games. The club won the Liga Nacional de Básquetbol (LNB) after defeating Estudiantes de Olavarría 4-1 in the play offs final and HERRMANN was named the finals MVP.

In 2002 he decided to go across the Atlantic Ocean, to play in the ACB (Asociación de Clubes de Baloncesto) for Fuenlabrada Madrid. On his debut season in Spain, he was named the Regular Season MVP as well as the Top Scorer in ACB. The following season he was transferred again this time to Unicaja Málaga.

In 2004, HERRMANN's name was included in the Argentina squad for Athens Olympic Games. Though he was a reserve and was used sparingly, he made his most important appearance at the Athens Games against Team USA in the semi-finals, scoring 11 points in 14 minutes of that 89-81 triumph. Argentina went on to win the gold medal after defeating Italy in the final.

However, the years 2003 and 2004 proved to be the toughest time for HERRMANN, off the court especially. First in 2003, he lost his mother, 2 younger sisters and girlfriend in a tragic car accident. Exactly one year later, his father died of a heart attack.

He remained in Unicaja until 2006, where he helped the club to win the ACB title. Rumours have been circulating that he was on the verge of a move to the NBA. Something that he himself has always dreamed about.

In 2006, HERRMANN name was included in Sergio HERNANDEZ Argentina national team for the FIBA World Championship in Japan. Despite having a tough act to follow from their Olympic triumph, Argentina managed to finish fourth in the tournament.

It was also during this time, after weeks of speculations, that the BOBCATS have announced they have signed HERRMANN as a free agent. His contract is a one-year deal with an option for a further season. His NBA journey did not have the greatest of starts as he was often warming the bench and language barrier was a problem itself, adding to the fact that he was on the verge of an NBA disappearing act. But that did not stop him from realizing his dream, as through plenty of hardwork and motivation, his was finally rewarded for his patience.

With the BOBCATS suffering from an injury crisis, coach Bernie BICKERSTAFF had no choice but to call him on, the number five responded with one fine display after another.
In one nine-game stretch, he averaged 14.8 points and shot 59% from the floor, which lead him to the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award. Even more important is that the 27-year-old HERRMANN's defense has been excellent. HERRMANN is a very good example of how players sometimes need to play a waiting game in the NBA.

On a lighter note, HERRMANN has a new nickname. People in the Queen City have taken to calling him Fabio because of his resemblance to the male fashion model who appeared on the covers of countless romance novels in America in the 1980s and 90s.

And somewhere in heaven right now, Mr. & Mrs HERRMANN must be very proud of their son.


Eres una inspiración para cada uno de nosotros

1 comment:

Seba said...

John, Walter have been one of my favourites since I first seen him playing in our national league.

Now when the tragedy strucked him in such a horrendous way and he came back stronger as a true Warrior then words just fail me.

As a note to that, I'd add that his mother, girlfriend and siblings died in a car accident WHEN THEY WERE GOING TO ONE OF WALTER'S MATCHES REPRESENTING ARGENTINA. So that adds an extra painful detail to an already tragic episode.

He really is an example to everybody and I'm thrilled with how things are going for him in his first season in the NBA.

A true legend in my eyes.

Here's hoping he secures a new deal at Charlotte or with any other team in need of a Warrior. There aren't many with a heart like his!