WARSAW (EuroBasket) - Anyone wondering how high Dirk Bauermann will set the bar for Poland now that he’s in charge of the national team already has the answer.
The former Germany coach has called his new national team a “sleeping giant”.
In an interview published by the Polish Basketball Federation website, Bauermann, who was installed as the new coach last week, speaks with enthusiasm and plenty of confidence about his new side.
"I think that the Polish team has a combination of very good, experienced players with young talent," Bauermann said.
"It has a very high potential.
"If I did not think so, I wouldn't accept the challenge.
"I believe that in Europe there are two sleeping giants, the teams that have the potential to reach the highest level. One is Germany, the other is Poland.”
Bauermann led Germany in two stints.
He took over for a short spell after their EuroBasket 1993 gold-medal triumph, coaching them at the 1994 FIBA World Championship, and more recently led them for several years.
One of his teams, in 2005, captured a EuroBasket silver medal in Belgrade.
Bauermann, who last coached Germany at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania, has replaced Ales Pipan at the helm after the Slovenian and federation agreed to part ways.
"My goal is to choose the right players who will work hard in training and games, and will be hungry for victories," Bauermann said.
"There is no reason why the Polish national team should not win in basketball against Spain, Turkey, France, Greece or whoever.
"It's all hard work and self-confidence. (Have) Faith in your abilities that you can achieve anything."
Similar to his time as coach of Germany, when he worked with Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki, Bauermann now has a high-profile player who competes in the NBA in Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat.
"Marcin is a player who, like Nowitzki, works hard in training, has a great will to fight and is hungry for victories," Bauermann said.
"Both Nowitzki and Gortat often take the brunt of the game, but concentrate on the good of the team.
"This is very important."
As for what sort of style Poland fans can expect to see their team play, Bauermann says he will play to the players' strengths and get them to play as a team.
Bauermann's emphasis, first and foremost, will be on defense.
"I will do everything to ensure that Poland has the best defending team in the EuroBasket," he said.