Marching to a title in Macedonia

Noah Dahlman takes the ball to the hole while playing professionally for MZT Skopje. The Braham native is averaging 15 points/game and 8 rebounds/game this rookie season.

Braham’s Noah Dahlman aiming for a pro championship across the Atlantic

Always the hard worker on the hard court, Braham native Noah Dahlman is now playing professional basketball for the MZT Skopje team in the top-tier league in Macedonia. His gritty, rebounding style of play fits well with his team which is coming off a 1st-place finish in the regular season and is in the midst of the league playoffs.

Dahlman is certainly used to hoops success. He was an integral part of three State championships won by the Bombers between 2004-06, and Braham also reached State his 2007 senior season when he set the Minnesota boys basketball record for career rebounds and scored over 2,400 career points.

Dahlman went on to a fantastic four-year career at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina where he scored 2,013 points while making nearly 60 percent of his field goal attempts. He amassed 81 double-doubles while leading the Terriers to their first two NCAA Div. I tourney appearances in 2010 and 2011.

Last June, Noah signed a two-year contract with MZT Skopje. Skopje is the capitol city of Macedonia, an age-old country situated just north of Greece, east of Albania, south of Serbia and west of Bulgaria. Known for its military conquests under Alexander the Great, Macedonia regained its independence from what was Yugoslavia in 1991.

Dahlman lifting the decorated trophy after MZT Skopje ended the regular season in 1st place in the top-level Macedonia league. MZT is currently in the semifinals of the league championship tournament.

In the regular-season finale, MZT Skopje defeated defending champion Feni Indistrija the third time this season when Dahlman scored 12 points and had 4 rebounds. In the March 31 playoff semifinals opener of a best-of-five series with Torus Skopje, he scored 8 points with 2 rebounds in a 65-60 victory during a balanced team effort. The next game with Torus is April 7.

Prior to the playoff opener, Noah completed a Q & A e-mail interview about his MZT team and living in Macedonia.

Q: How did your team come together down the stretch to take 1st place and head into the playoffs on a strong note?

ND: We have many veterans within our team. Having experience and playing with guys that have won championships with previous teams makes a huge difference when teams are competing for a championship. Our record is now 25-4. I’m blessed to be on such an unselfish team; our scoring is extremely even, and we have so much talent within our group anybody on our roster is capable of having a career night when we play.

Q: I’m guessing you’re playing power forward for Skopje. Did you end up leading or close to the top in the league in rebounds, and how physical overall is the Macedonia league?

ND: I’m still at the PF position. Finished the regular season with 15 ppg, 8 rpg (top 5), 71 percent from the field (top 5). It’s much more physical than in college. You’re playing against grown men that are oftentimes 7 or 8 years older and more experienced than you are.

Q: What is the playing style of MZT Skopje (fast-breakers, half-court oriented)?

ND: We are a combination of both– we adjust to what our game plan calls for. We will speed up our offense when needed and become half-court oriented as the game moves into the third and fourth quarters.

Q: What is the playoff format over the next weeks? When is the last time MZT Skopje won it all?

ND: The semis are best-of-fives and the finals are a best-of seven… MZT has never won a title in their 45 years of being a club… Hopefully this is the year we end that streak.

Q: Lifestyle questions: What’s it like living in Macedonia? Is the language differences tricky or have you adapted well over your time there?

ND: I enjoy living within Macedonia. The people and the fans have been outstanding in making me feel at home here. The language is somewhat difficult, but I’ve come a long way since when I first got here for understanding it. Skopje is, without question, one of the nicest cities to live in the Balkans, so I’m extremely lucky to be playing here.

Q: What are some favorite places you visited, either around Macedonia or other European sites? Have you picked up an appreciation for the historical aspects of Macedonia?

ND: I really enjoyed visiting Belgrade, Serbia…. We had a tournament there in the preseason and that city was something else! Really enjoyed walking around there. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, was another favorite of mine– looking forward to go back to both cities again soon. It’s been extremely interesting learning about the history of the old Yugoslavia and the older empires that once ruled this region. It’s really interesting to hear stories from the older generations here about their country’s history and make-up of their country.

Q: You are coming back home to host your Noah Dahlman Basketball Camp this summer. How neat is it to assemble a camp staff of both family members and past teammates? What’s the best way for prospective campers to sign up? 

ND: I’m extremely excited for my upcoming camp. My camp is going to be different than your regular basketball camp. It will focus on individual skill development and training. It’s something that boys and girls from the surrounding areas will enjoy and walk away from knowing that they got better as a player. I’ve assembled a staff that I trust and is extremely capable when it comes to teaching the game (Josh Vaughan– college player/coach, Whitney Olson– next- year college player, Jonah Dahlman– college player, Hannah Dahlman– great high school player). The best way for prospective campers to register is to go online to my website at www.noahdahlman42.com and fill out the online registration form. The Camp will be held at Braham High School on June 25-29. Campers are encouraged to sign up well before the camp date.

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