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“Playoffs, baby!” with Bamberg as top seed / Artland dissolves club / Günther extends with Ulm / Schultze retires © wolterfoto.de

“Playoffs, baby!” with Bamberg as top seed / Artland dissolves club / Günther extends with Ulm / Schultze retires

— David Hein

It’s Beko BBL Playoffs time and Brose Baskets Bamberg beat ALBA BERLIN to secure home court advantage. The big non-Playoffs news was Artland Dragons dissolving the club while Per Günther extended his deal with Ulm for two more years and Giessen and Würzburg will be coming back to the Beko BBL.

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:

Bamberg beat Berlin for home court in Beko BBL Playoffs

Brose Baskets Bamberg secured home court advantage throughout the Beko BBL Playoffs by beating ALBA BERLIN in the nation’s capital 78-72 in a make-up game from the 24th round of games. Brad Wanamaker was outstanding with 16 points, three assists and zero turnovers for Bamberg, who beat Berlin for the third time this season. A crowd of 13,688 at the o2 World saw Daniel Theis and Janis Strelnieks seal the deal for Bamberg, who finished the season with the best record at 29-5 and will take on MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg while Berlin took second place at 28-6 and will face EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the first round of the post-season. Watch Strelnieks’ dagger late:

Bayern finish strong for third place

Bayern Munich enter the Beko BBL Playoffs as the third seed after winning their final two games to finish at 26-8. Bayern came back from a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to beat ALBA BERLIN 70-68 and then finished off the season with a strong 70-57 win over EWE Baskets Oldenburg.

Ulm beat Bonn in Playoff preview

The end of the Regular Season also saw Telekom Baskets Bonn host ratiopharm ulm in a preview of the first round of the Beko BBL Playoffs between the fourth and fifth seeds.

Ian Vougiokas and Brion Rush combined for 28 points in a 93-87 victory in Bonn for Ulm, who will look to steal at least one game in Bonn in the playoffs.The Ulm victory also came after struggling to the finish line with four losses in their last five games, including wasting a 21-point second quarter lead in losing at home to Bamberg a week earlier. Bonn saw their six-game winning streak snapped a week after out-lasting Phoenix Hagen 101-99 in double- winning the game with a goal-tending call on an alley-oop attempt off an in-bounds play with seven seconds left. Bonn gave up a 17-point fourth quarter lead to Hagen but did come up with this impressive score:

Ludwigsburg win in Göttingen, grab final Playoff spot

The final Playoffs spot went to MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, who won essentially a play-in game at BG Göttingen 85-81 to secure eighth place at 17-17. Basketball Löwen Braunschweig were also 17-17 but Ludwigsburg held the tiebreaker. Ludwigsburg once again were led by Jon Brockman with a monster double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds while Mike Stockton had 21 points.

Trier and Crailsheim leave Beko BBL with victories

The season may not have gone as well as they had hoped but both relegated teams TBB Trier and Crailsheim Merlins finished the 2014-15 campaign with a victory. Crailsheim defeated Artland Dragons 101-99 while Trier beat MBC 89-81 - Trier also thanks to this block by Dennis Kramer:

Artland Dragons era comes to sudden end

The news hit like an earthquake - Artland Dragons will be dissolving the club with immediate effect. No more of the successful, very lovable club from the small town of Quakenbrück. The club cited increasing budgets throughout the league as the reason to shut down the program after more than 20 years. The Artland Dragons success story started in the middle of the 1990s when current German national team coach Chris Fleming took over as head coach after playing with the club. The highlights were promotion to the Beko BBL in 2003, reaching the playoffs finals in 2007 and winning the Top Four in 2008. The club also announced that its youth team Quakenbrücker TSV will continue to play as is. Let’s hope we see Artland Dragons back again soon.

Sven Schultze says goodbye to Beko BBL
After 17 years of professional basketball - four German league titles and four German Cup crowns - Sven Schultze has called it a career. Schultze played his last game in Berlin, where he played eight years with ALBA BERLIN. Schultze, who turns 37 in July, played 121 games for Germany, winning silver at EuroBasket 2005 and also competing at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Good luck in the future Sven!

Djedovic receives German passport, gives Bayern more roster flexibility

Bosnian international Nihad Djedovic has received a German passport which gives the
Beko BBL champions Bayern Munich additional roster flexibility. The 25-year-old Djedovic was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina but moved to Germany as a baby. He lived near Munich for six years before moving back to Bosnia in 1997. He returned to Germany in 2012 and played one season with ALBA BERLIN before moving to Bayern, with whom he signed a two-year contract until 2016 this past off-season. “Munich is my second home. I have integrated myself in Germany and the people have accepted me for who I am. I can only say thank you for that, also to my club, who always stuck by me,” said Djedovic.

Günther, Bell, Godbold, Simon extend deals with teams

With the Regular Season ending, there is bound to be more and more contract extensions. And a couple of teams have locked up important players. Per Günther ended weeks of speculation about his future and announced before ratiopharm ulm’s game against Bamberg that he would remain in Ulm for the next two seasons. Another German point guard will stay with his current team for two more years as Nicolai Simon signed on a two-year deal with Basketball Löwen Braunschweig. Phoenix Hagen also will keep their point guard as they agreed to a two-year contract with captain David Bell with an option for a third year. Another move saw BG Göttingen lock up captain David Godbold for the 2015-16 season while WALTER Tigers Tübingen extended their contract with their guard Vladimir Mihailovic until 2016.

Slight downturn in attendance, 83.7 percent capacity

The end of the Regular Season also means the Beko BBL attendance figures are in and there was a slight downturn in attendance this season thus far. A total of 1,355,923 fans visited the 306 Beko BBL games for an average of 4,431 per game. That is actually a 1.4 percent decrease in the average attendance from last season’s record season of 4,494 fans for the Regular Season. The capacity for the league was 83.7 percent with Brose Baskets Bamberg, ratiopharm ulm and Artland Dragons all drawing 100 percent capacity this season. The top average was for ALBA BERLIN with 9,912 (168,507 total fans) with the next three teams also surpassing the 100,000 fan mark for their 17 home games - Bamberg (6,800/115,600), Ulm (6,094/103,600) and Munich (6,011/102,195). The top improvement came for MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg as average attendance jumped 5.3 percent from 3,761 to 3,959.

Kennedy ends season as top scorer, most efficient player

The freshly-crowned Best Offensive Player DJ Kennedy of MHP REISEN Ludwigsburg ended the 2014-15 Regular Season as the top scorer (18.0 points per game) as well as the most effective player (18.3).

The second-best scorer was David Bell of Phoenix Hagen (17.7 ppg) followed by Raymar Morgan of BG Göttingen (16.2ppg). Kennedy’s efficiency rating was followed by Ludwigsburg teammate John Brockman (17.5) and Most Valuable Player Jamel McLean from ALBA BERLIN (17.3). Brockman finished as the top rebounder with 9.6 boards per game with Eisbären Bremerhaven’s Devin Searcy second at 8.2rpg and Bayern Munich’s John Bryant third with 7.9rpg. The top assist man was Branislav Ratkovica of WALTER Tigers Tübingen with 7.2 assists per game. Second best was Basketball Löwen Braunschweig’s Dru Joyce with 6.0apg while Bremerhaven’s Lorenzo Williams finishing out the top three with 5.9apg. Check out some of Kennedy’s highlights this season:

Players of the Weeks

MBC’s Frantz Massenat won Player of the Week honors for Round 33 with a great performance against Göttingen as he scored 31 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 11-of-13 free throws while also picking up two rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one turnover and one block for an efficiency of 38. Jon Brockman came up huge in a huge game for MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, winning top honors in the crucial game against Göttingen with 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting, 6-of-7 free throws, 15 rebounds, three assists, one steal and two turnovers for an efficiency of 37. Check out the highlights of Massenat’s performance.

JoVo Watch

Johannes Voigtmann continued his superb season for FRAPORT SKYLINERS with 20 points on 10-of-11 shots with eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, five turnovers, two blocks and three fouls in 24:36 minutes against Tübingen:






German Top Five of the (Double) Week

Here are the top five German players of the past two rounds of games, featuring a big lineup.
G: Per Günther, ratiopharm ulm

Günther announced his contract extension before the Bamberg game but he got injured in the early going, playing just 7:48 minutes, though he had five points, two rebounds and one assist. He returned against Bonn and picked up 11 points on 4-of-7 shots and 2-of-2 free throws with one rebound, four assists and two turnovers.

F: Elias Harris, Brose Baskets

Harris continued his efficient season with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting and 2-of-2 free throws with four rebounds, two assists and one steal against Ulm. He had 17 points on 6-of-10 shots and 3-of-3 free throws to go with five rebounds, two assists and one turnovers versus Bayreuth. Harris did not play against Berlin.

F: Daniel Theis, Brose Baskets

Theis lit up his former team Ulm with a team-high 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting including four three-pointers. He also had four rebounds, one assist and two turnovers. Against Bayreuth, he collected 12 points on 3-of-5 shots and 4-of-4 free throws as well as five rebounds, two assists, three turnovers and three blocks. In the Regular Season finale against Berlin, he had 10 points on 4-of-7 shots and 2-of-2 free throws, seven rebounds, three steals and one block.

C: Tim Ohlbrecht, ratiopharm ulm

Ohlbrecht dealt with foul trouble against Bamberg but still had a solid game with 10 points on 2-of-5 three-pointers and 4-of-5 free throws to go with three rebounds, one steal, two turnovers and one block. Against Bonn, he had 10 points on 4-of-7 shots with 2-of-4 free throws, six rebounds, one assist, three turnovers and one block. Ohlbrecht was also the beneficiary of this fine pass:

C: Dirk Mädrich, Telekom Baskets Bonn

Mädrich had a strong finish to the Regular Season with 15 points points on 6-of-8 shots and 3-of-4 free throws as well as five rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and one block against Hagen. In the final game of the season, he had a team-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shots and 6-of-6 free throws and two rebounds and two turnovers against Ulm.

Young Guns

Niklas Geske, 21, PG, Phoenix Hagen

Geske finished his 2014-15 season in strong fashion with two more good games. He only scored four points on 1-of-11 shots and 2-of-4 free throws against Bonn but he had two rebounds, eight assists, four steals, two turnovers and one block in 35:32 minutes of the double-overtime game. In his final game against Braunschweig, Geske had 14 points on 3-of-6 shots and 8-of-8 free throws to go with two rebounds, two assists, two steals and three turnovers in 29:38 minutes.

Maurice Pluskota, 22, PF, Basketball Löwen Braunschweig

Pluskota has been in the Young Guns in the past but came up with two strong contests to finish the season. Against Trier he had seven points on 3-of-6 shots and 1-of-2 free throws while also picking up five rebounds, one steal and one turnover in 11:56 minutes. In 14:00 minutes against Hagen, Pluskota collected five points on 2-of-2 shots, 1-of-3 free throws, six rebounds, two assists, three steals and three turnovers - and this dunk:

Mahir Agva, 18, C, WALTER Tigers Tübingen

Agva continued to impress late in the season as he started the last two games as well. Against Bremerhaven, the 18-year-old had six points on 3-of-8 shooting to go with seven rebounds and one turnover in 19:40 minutes. And versus SKYLINERS, Agva scored three points on 1-of-5 shots and 1-of-2 free throws and six rebounds in 14:41 minutes. The turnover was just his third of the season in more than 101 minutes of action over six games.

Pesic - More Than A Coach film debuts in Munich

A new documentary film looking back at the career of legendary coach Svetislav Pesic debuted in Munich. Zeljko Mirkovic made “Svetislav Pesic - Mehr als ein Trainer” (“More than a Coach”) following the key moments in Barcelona, Munich, Berlin, Belgrade and Pirot of the Bayern Munich coach. Here is a sampling:

MBC gives coach Poropat unprecedented five-year deal

Mitteldeutscher BC threw their long-term support behind Silvano Poropat, giving the Croatian an unprecedented five-year contract until May 2020. No German club has given a coach a contract of this length. The 44-year-old Poropat has been with MBC since May 2011. He was named the Beko BBL Coach of the Year in 2007 with EnBW Ludwigsburg. The contract is valid for the Beko BBL and ProA.

Oldenburg add Klaric as new sports manager

EWE Baskets Oldenburg added another position in their leadership group as Bosnian Srdjan Klaric was named to fill the newly-created sports manager spot. The 42-year-old Klaric served as assistant coach to Predrag Krunic from 2008 to 2012, including Oldenburg’s 2008-09 title-winning season. Klaric will serve as the intermediary between management, the Beko BBL team and the Baskets Akademie Weser-Ems side.

Fraport extend deal with SKYLINERS

The Frankfurt Airport operators Fraport AG remained committed to the FRAPORT SKYLINERS, extending its sponsorship deal with the Beko BBL. The Frankfurt club did not disclose when the contract would end, only saying it was for “numerous years”.

Giessen 46ers take ProA title in undefeated fashion

Eight games, eight victories and the ProA title - that was the playoff run for Giessen 46ers, who beat s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg in the ProA finals 77-76 on the road and 73-71 at home. The five-time German champions (1965, 1967, 1968, 1975, 1978) Giessen are returning to the Beko BBL for the first time since being relegated after the 2012-13 season. Würzburg meanwhile also get back to the Beko BBL after just one season in the ProA.

Oldenburg youth team Weser-Ems/OTB repeat at ProB champs
While Giessen won the ProA championship, EWE Baskets Oldenburg's youth side Baskets Akademie Weser-Ems/OTB captured the ProB title with 61-58 ad 79-71 victories over SC Rist Wedel. Weser-Ems/OTB went undefeated in the ProB playoffs to repeat their crown from last season. Check out highlights from the finals.

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