Germany half-way through EU2015 qualifies, Nowitzki considering comeback, Ohlbrecht returns and Poldi on board at RheinStars
— David Hein
In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German Beko Basketball Bundesliga. If you’re short on time but still want your fill of Germany’s top basketball league then you are in the right place. Every week David Hein (www.heinnews.com) brings you up-to-date in German basketball – the Beko BBL short and sweet:
Germany 2-1 at half-time point of EuroBasket 2015 qualifying
Germany have lost the one game they can afford to lose during qualifications for the EuroBasket 2015 as they find themselves 2-1 in Group C at the half-way point of the qualifiers. Emir Mutapcic’s team lost 68-67 in Poland on two Mateusz Ponitka free throws with 18 seconds left in their opener. Germany bounced back by holding off Austria 77-64 in Austria and then breezed past Luxembourg 109-49 at home to move to 2-1. The Germans host Poland on August 20 and then welcome Austria on August 24 before finishing up the campaign in Luxembourg on August 27. Germany, Poland and Austria are all 2-1 at this point with the top finisher in the group advancing to EuroBasket 2015 as well as the six best second-placed teams.
Germany bid for part of EuroBasket 2015
While Germany try to qualify for EuroBasket 2015, they are also bidding to be one of the first round host sites of the competition. Germany have submitted a bid to FIBA Europe to have Berlin host one of the four first rounds of the tournament next season. Germany must qualify in order to be considered as a possible host with the 02 World venue in Berlin being the proposed site. A decision will be made in September after it’s clear which of the bidding countries have actually qualified for the tournament.
Nowitzki still thinking about EuroBasket 2015
Dirk Nowitzki still hasn’t retired from international play and the Dallas Mavericks veteran just might be interested in playing at EuroBasket 2015, especially if it takes place partially in Germany. “Until now, it’s never worked out to have a home tournament during my playing days. Of course it would be nice to play in Germany for the national team at a European Championship,” he told Sport Bild. “You can talk about anything. The first thing is that you are healthy. The final decision won’t come until after the NBA season. Everything is open.”
Germany get back to Division A at U18 European Championship
While Germany’s senior team tries to get to EuroBasket 2015, there was big news at the youth level. It was a true crime that Germany were not in the A Division of the U18 European Championship but that has now changed as Germany won the Division B tournament this summer to get promoted back to the top flight for 2015. Andreas Obst and Mahir Agva were named to the All-Tournament Team while the stacked German team, which went undefeated and knocked off Ukraine in the final, also included the likes of Niklas Kiel and Jan-Jan Niklas Wimberg. Congrats guys - it will be nice to see you back in Division A next summer.
Bayern go Serbian, welcome back Jagla, bid farewell to Thompson, Hamann
I expect to go to plenty of Bayern Munich games this season as the Beko BBL champions have added one of my favorite young players in Serbian playmaker Vasilije Micic to go along with the low post combination of Serbian international Vladimir Stimac and Jan Jagla. The 20-year-old Micic joined on a two-year deal with a third year option as one of the best young point guards in Europe. Micic has won European and World Championship medals for Serbia at the youth level and also played for Serbia at EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia in addition to being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in this past NBA Draft. Bayern also added two big men in bringing in the 26-year-old center Stimac, who played last season with Unicaja Malaga, as well as bringing back Jagla, who played last season at ALBA BERLIN after previously playing for Bayern. The club also bid farewell to Deon Thompson and former German international Steffen Hamann.
They’re officially gone: Bamberg come to terms with Zirbes, Smith, Sanders, Fischer
After weeks of negotiations, Brose Baskets Bamberg came to terms on the departures of Maik Zirbes, Jamar Smith, Rakim Sanders and D’Or. All four players already have destinations for next season. Zirbes will head to Serbian Euroleague side Crvena Zvzevda Telekom Belgrade, Sanders is with Sassari, Smith will play for Limoges and Fischer will block shots for Unics Kazan.
He’s back! Ohlbrecht makes way back to Germany
After two seasons in the United States, three games in the NBA for the Houston Rockets and two D-League championships, Tim Ohlbrecht is coming back to Germany. The 25-year-old big man signed on a one-year deal with ratiopharm ulm, who originally thought they were done with their roster but decided to bring in the versatile center, who can also play with his face to the basket. The move is an intriguing one for sure as Ulm have added a Beko BBL champion (Bamberg 2007), an Olympian (2008) and two-time D-League winner (2013 and 2014). Listen to Tim Ohlbrecht’s interview on the Taking The Charge podcast about his time in the United States (heinnews).
Ulm extend deal with Leibenath until 2017
Maybe it was hearing their man’s name mentioned in rumors about Bamberg’s job opening, but ratiopharm ulm said enough is enough and locked up head coach Thorsten Leibenath for an additional two seasons until 2017. Leibenath’s contract was due to expire at the end of the up-coming season but Ulm didn’t want to waste any time and agreed to a contract extension.
McLean joins Berlin, Bonn add Klimavicius
After weeks of rumors, ALBA BERLIN finally got their man as the cup winners signed Jamel McLean to a one-year deal with an option for a second season. McLean was a big part of the success last season for Telekom Baskets Bonn and now will fill the Berlin front court after the departure of Levon Kendall. Berlin also decided to keep guard Vojdan Stojanovski for an additional season.There are also reports that Berlin are looking for a new jersey sponsor (Berliner Morgenpost).
Bonn for their part have brought on Lithuanian big man Tadas Klimavicius for the up-coming season as well as guard Mickey McConnell. Artland Dragons meanwhile welcome back three of their main leaders in captain Anthony King, Brandon Thomas and Antonio Graves with one-year extensions while they also added Dennis Horner on a 1+1 contract and announced that German U16 international and former JBBL MVP Isaiah Hartenstein will be with the professional team starting the season. Eisbären Bremerhaven meanwhile have added sharpshooter Moses Ehambe from the NBA D-League as well as shooting guard Tyrus McGee from Spanish LEB Gold team CB Breogan on one-year deals. The team is also dealing with injuries as Rodney Williams will be out at least three months with a shoulder injury and center Devin Searcy about four weeks with a calf injury. MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg made another addition in signing 22-year-old guard Stephen Holt for one year.
Braunschweig sign Joyce to replace Janavicius
Basketball Löwen Braunschweig were hoping that new Lithuanian point guard Zygimantas Janavicius would be able to recover quickly from his broken hand. But the bad news that he might miss the entire season sent Braunschweig back onto the market and added Beko BBL veteran playmaker Dru Joyce, who played the last two seasons with EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Braunschweig recommended to Janavicius that he return to Lithuania to undergo surgery. Braunschweig also have added shooting guard Trent Lockett for this season.
Trier lock up Bosnian talent Vrabac
TBB Trier are well known for developing young talent and now the club has moved outside of Germany to grab a youngster full of promise in bringing in 20-year-old Bosnian Adin Vrabac and signing the combo guard on a four-year deal. Vrabac, who has already played for the Bosnia and Herzegovina senior national team, comes to Trier from the highly-regarded program OKK Spars Sarajevo. While the club, who also extended their deal another season with veteran Jermaine Anderson, knows how to acquire and develop young talent, their fans are hoping to show they know how to knit - as they attempt to knit a 2.5 kilometer long fan scarf for the start of their 25th straight season in Germany’s top flight (TBB Trier).
Göttingen lose captain Grimaldi, go to work in building roster
After finally resolving matters with former captain Marco Grimaldi - who will leave the club for Heidelberg - promoted club BG Göttingen got down to the business of filling their roster for the up-coming season. They added power forward Raymar Morgan, who sat out last season with an injury, as well as big men Harper Kamp and Jamal Boykin while David Godbold will remain with the team from last season. Göttingen also signed 35-year-old American point guard Khalid El-Amin, who comes to the Beko BBL with loads of international experience.
Poldolski agrees to help RheinStars Köln
Maybe it was after seeing good friend Bastian Schweinsteiger have so much fun watching Bayern Munich, or maybe because he wanted to help out his home city of Cologne. Whatever the reason, German international football star and 2014 World Cup champion Lukas Podolski has agreed to work with the RheinStars Köln fourth division basketball club. Podolski will serve as a partner and the Arsenal star will help to bring in top level sponsors for the club. The RheinStars have already given Podolski his much-beloved No. 10 jersey number.
Pleiß moves to Barcelona
It’s hard to believe that Tibor Pleiß has already been out of the Beko BBL for two full seasons. Now the former Brose Baskets Bamberg big man is on the move from Kuxta Laboral Vitoria to Barcelona on a two-year deal. Pleiß has been great in two years in Spain and we want to wish him a continued success there.
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