Bamberg and Berlin sweep / Bayern beats Frankfurt 3-1 / Ulm steal road games to reach semis
— 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:
And then there were four – “Playoffs, Baby!” down to semi-finals
The Beko BBL semi-finals are three Bs and a U - with reigning champions Bayern Munich reaching the last four along with semi-final opponents ALBA BERLIN while Brose Baskets Bamberg will face off against ratiopharm ulm. Bayern leader Heiko Schaffartzki wants to make sure that Ulm playmaker Per Günther and Daniel Theis from Bamberg don’t get any ideas - “You can look, but you can’t touch…” But there is one more team in this equation still.
Bamberg use free throws, ball-handling to sweep Ludwigsburg
Brose Baskets Bamberg returned to the semi-finals of the Beko BBL playoffs for the first time since winning the crown in 2013 with a 3-0 sweep of MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. Bamberg did a great job taking care of the ball, committing just 9.7 turnovers per game. Another reason for the victory by Andrea Trinchieri’s team was getting to the free throw line. Bamberg shot 113 free throws in three games (37.7 per game), making 74 percent of them. A massive amount of time was spent at the line in the series as Ludwigsburg also took 91 free throws (30.3 per game) while hitting 84 percent. The Bamberg-Ludwigsburg series also featured the only overtime game as Bamberg prevailed 89-85 in Game 2 on the road after DJ Kennedy nailed a three-pointer late to force overtime. It also saw defense turned into offense.
Balanced Berlin and Papa Renfroe oust Oldenburg with sweep
ALBA BERLIN moved into the semi-finals of the Beko BBL playoffs with a 3-0 sweep of EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Berlin used a balanced team effort and an outstanding Alex Renfroe to take the series win. Berlin had five players score in double figures in Game 1 with 20 assists while Game 2 and 3 both saw four Berlin players score in double figures with 25 and 23 assists respectively. Despite the team showing, Renfroe, who had just flown back to the United States to see his new baby, really stood out with two double-doubles in the first two games - 23 points, 10 assists and four rebounds in Game 1 and 12 points, 11 assists and five rebounds in Game 2. In Game 3, he was held to three points but had seven assists and six rebounds.
Bayern need four to beat SKYLINERS, Frankfurt wonder what if
Reigning champions Bayern Munich needed four games but got the job done in beating FRAPORT SKYLINERS 3-1 in their series. After taking Game 1 at home, Munich were crushed by 24 points in Frankfurt. But Bayern bounced back to win Games 3 and 4 at home and in Frankfurt respectively with Bryce Taylor and then Vladimir Stimac stepping up as the other major scoring option alongside Nihad Djedovic. SKYLINERS will be left wondering what could have been as they lost star center Johannes Voigtmann with an ankle injury just before halftime in the first game. He missed the rest of the series. Frankfurt shot just 23 percent (9-39) from three-point range in the final two games and were out-rebounded by eight and 11 boards in those games.
Ulm steal two games in Bonn, advance to face Bamberg
Stealing one game on the road is never easy but ratiopharm ulm did it twice to beat Telekom Baskets Bonn 3-2 in their series and advance to the semi-finals against top-seeded Bamberg. The veteran leadership of Ian Vougioukas proved a major boost for Ulm as the Greek big man scored 67 points in the final three games on 25-of-29 shooting and 17-of-17 free throws along with 21 rebounds and eight assists. While Ulm have another series to play, Bonn bow out of the playoffs yet again. They have lost their last five series and are 0-3 in Game Fives.
What will Oldenburg look like next season?
After years of continuity, it seems likely that EWE Baskets Oldenburg will look drastically different next season. Chris Kramer, Maurice Stuckey, Rickey Paulding and Jan Niklas Wimberg are the only Oldenburg players with a contract for next season for coach Mladen Drijencic, who took over from Sebastian Machowski late in the season. What will become however of Robin Smeulders, Casper Ware, Philip Zwiener, Julius Jenkins, Adam Chubb, Nemanja Aleksandrov and Philipp Neumann? We will find out in the coming weeks and months.
Heckmann wants major role with Beko BBL club - internationally as well
With high level Germans at such a premium in the Beko BBL, a number of clubs will likely be looking to add in-coming rookie Patrick Heckmann, who finished his collegiate career with Boston College in the United States and is ready to come to Europe. The 23-year-old Heckmann told the Allgemeine Zeitung that he would like to be a leader on a German team but would also like to play internationally. Heckmann said a number of Beko BBL clubs are looking at him without naming any, though he did say a decision would come soon. Check out what a Beko BBL club near you might be getting:
Artland considering re-start in ProB
After the sudden departure from the Beko BBL, the Artland Dragons are considering a re-start of the basketball program in the third division ProB. After many demonstrations and discussions, former general manager Alexander Meilwes and the club are applying for a ProB license with the TSV Quakenbrück club, which had previously played in the fifth division 2. Regionalliga. The Dragons club - it’s unclear if they would use the Artland Dragons name - would take over the license from BG Braunschweig, who will be leaving ProB. If the license is approved by the league, the club still must get approval from the other ProB teams.
Johannes Voigtmann’s season ended earlier than he - and German basketball fans - had hoped. The FRAPORT SKYLINERS big man went down with an ankle injury just before half-time of the team’s Game 1 against Bayern Munich. And he missed the rest of the series. He finished the season averaging 12.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.9 blocks in 35 games while shooting 61 percent from two-point range, 36 percent from beyond the arc, and 79 percent from the free throw line. We cannot wait to see how JoVo improves this summer and comes back for next season. Check out his interview with the guys at Basketball Insiders:
Young Guns - Bayern win NBBL title, Ludwigsburg take JBBL crown
Bayern Munich and Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg both entered unchartered waters as they won their first NBBL and JBBL titles respectively at the Top Four weekend in Hagen. Richard Freudenberg scored 24 points as Bayern Munich beat Eintracht Frankfurt 69-59 in the NBBL final. Niklas Kiel and Jules Dang Akodo combined for 26 points but made just 8-of-30 shots. Bayern defeated reigning champion ALBA BERLIN in the semi-finals 66-56 with Dejan Kovacevic leading the way with 17 points. Akodo scored 25 points and Kiel had a monster double-double of 24 points and 22 rebounds in Frankfurt’s 88-80 win over Phoenix Hagen Juniors to reach the final. Here are some of the highlights of Bayern’s victory.
In the JBBL final, Ludwigsburg withstood a 14-0 Young Dragons Quakenbrück run to close the game, winning 62-61. Daniel Franz scored 11 points for the new champions. The reigning champs from Quakenbrück got 12 points and 16 rebounds from Philipp Herkenhoff in the loss. Young Dragons returned to the final by beating TSV Tröster Breitengüßbach 61-57 with Herkenhoff scoring 22 points. Lawrence Mugagan collected 13 points and 14 rebounds as Ludwigsburg beat Phoenix Hagen Youngsters 68-60 in the semi-finals. Check out highlights from Ludwigsburg’s title victory.
Euroleague Final Four returns to Berlin
Berlin will once again host the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four as Europe’s elite club competition named the o2 Arena (to be called Mercedes Benz Arena Berlin as of July 1) as the host site for the 2016 Final Four on May 12-15. Berlin hosted the event in 2009.