Finally we gonna start: Bamberg ease to first title, teams present themselves
— 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:
Euro vets shine as Bamberg win Champions Cup over Oldenburg
Brose Baskets Bamberg captured the first title of the 2015-16 season with an 87-66 blowout victory over EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the Beko BBL Champions Cup. Despite going through just two days of practice since arriving from EuroBasket 2015, Bamberg’s trio of European veterans led the way to the victory in Bamberg. Italian Nicolo Melli was masterful with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists while Greece’s Nikos Zisis had 14 points and four assists and Janis Strelnieks of Latvia chipped in 14 points and three assists. Darius Miller had a good game as well, including this mean dunk:
New Beko BBL CEO Holz talks about wishes for first season
As part of the Beko BBL Tip-Off meeting ahead of the Champions Cup in Bamberg new Beko BBL CEO Stefan Holz discussed his many wishes for the league in his first season. “We need faces, we need German faces. We need full gyms and a wide TV audience.” Holz’s talk was followed by each of the Beko BBL team presenting themselves with goals and off-season changes - which follows.
Brose Baskets Bamberg - Kept guards, more European long term
The Beko BBL champions kept point guards Janis Strelnieks and Brad Wanamaker and then added Greek veteran Nikos Zisis to help head coach Andrea Trinchieri run his version of modern basketball with strong guards. Bamberg still has strong Germans (Elias Harris/Daniel Theis) and brought in European veterans on deals longer than one year. The club will also field one of the youngest teams in ProA with Baunach.
Bayern Munich - Younger, more athletic, want two titles, EL Top 16
Bayern’s goal in the off-season was to get younger and more athletic. Munich want to play more up-tempo, attractive basketball. A lot of Europe wanted to sign Maxi Kleber, who played in a strong league (Spain) last season but didn’t play internationally. Bayern want to win the Beko BBL title and cup and reach the Euroleague Top 16.
ALBA BERLIN - Kept Germans, want hungry unproven players
Berlin kept their German players, who are an important part of the team’s program. The team has developed players who then go to big-money teams. Berlin continue to look to give longer deals to players who can make it big but haven’t proven it yet. The Beko BBL title is the main goal for the club.
ratiopharm ulm - Rubit/Morgan duo makes Ulm a team to watch
Ulm were not in Bamberg for the presentation but Bamberg coach Andrea Trinchieri said Thorsten Leibenath’s team is one to watch this season. The duo of new additions Augustine Rubit and Raymar Morgan gives Ulm some great athleticism around the basket. Ulm have reached the Cup final in 2013 and 2014 and their last Beko BBL Finals appearance was in 2012. The hope this season is to finally get to the top step of the podium.
Telekom Baskets Bonn - Strong, harmonic team; deep rotation
Bonn have finished in the top five the past two seasons and the club leaders have worked to keep a strong and harmonic team. Bonn will have a deep rotation and will look to either replace one of the Three Bs or stake their claim for a Four Bs status. Aaron White was drafted by the Washington Wizards and should have a big role for Bonn.
FRAPORT SKYLINERS - Next young Germans should take next step
Frankfurt took a big step last season reaching the playoffs and EuroChallenge Final Four despite a heavy reliance on young German players. While Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel have established themselves already, the team is hoping the next wave of young Germans (Johannes Richter/Niklas Kiel) take the next step forward. That would help Frankfurt finish in the top eight, which is the realistic goal for the season.
EWE Baskets Oldenburg - Coach starts full season; playoffs in focus
Mladen Drijencic took over as head coach late last season and guided the club to the TOP FOUR title. A new season means new challenges - with a new team as Oldenburg lost a number of key players while also keeping guys like Rickey Paulding and Chris Kramer. New playmaker Scott Machado will be the key for the team, whose focus is on getting back to the playoffs.
MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg - First Eurocup since 2007; playoffs hope
Ludwigsburg will be playing in the Eurocup for the first time since 2007. Of course, Jon Brockman will be the team’s leader but the club will need to have production from Rocky Trice, Royce O’Neale and David McCray to be successful. The club is aiming for a spot in the upper-half of the league, hoping it’s enough to get them into the playoffs.
Basketball Löwen Braunschweig - New face for quicker team
Braunschweig have a new face with a number of new players. Head Coach Raoul Korner will be looking to play quick basketball. The goal is to have nothing to do with the relegation fight - a spot in the post-season for the first time since 2011-12 would be great. The team has big expectations from Kenny Frease and Keaton Grant.
BG Göttingen - Small budget; want to play quicker, wilder
Göttingen have one of the smallest budgets in the league and will have a lot of new players. The main goal for the club this season is to finish in 16th place or higher. Head coach Johan Rojakkers will have his team playing quicker than last year, and a bit wilder without a center. While Harper Kamp will be the star, Shane Edwards will be crucial as well.
Mitteldeutscher BC - 10 new players, want to stay in Beko BBL
MBC enter the season with 10 new players and have perhaps the least professional experience of any club in the league. The team also has one of the smallest budgets in the league though they have have one of the longest-serving coaches in Silvano Popopat. MBC will enter the season looking to avoid relegation. Rookie TaShawn Thomas will be one of the big keys to the season.
Phoenix Hagen - Young players to take step; win at home
Hagen handed over some of the responsibility last season to their young players but the club would like Niklas Geske, Moritz Krume and company to take the next step. The return to Germany of Ivan Elliott will be key. The club wants to maintain their level from last season though they are looking to win a few more games at home - after going 2-15 last season at ENERVIE Arena.
WALTER Tigers Tübingen - 12th season in BBL, expectations for Green
Tübingen survived a difficult season but will be playing their 12th season in the BBL in a row - without a wild card. Tigers leaders hope the team can stay healthy. One positive is that some of their own youth players have made their way into the roster - Julian Albus and Mahir Agva. The club is looking to avoid relegation once again with Garlon Green - the brother of NBA guard Gerald Green - playing a key role.
Eisbären Bremerhaven - Gordon, Thomas leave hopes high
Bremerhaven made some big moves with head coach Muli Katzurin adding some high level players, including former top-four NBA Draft pick Tyrus Thomas and former Beko BBL All-Star Larry Gordon. Those two additions alone should give the team hope of the team returning to the Beko BBL playoffs.
medi bayreuth - New face, Heroes Of Tomorrow
Bayreuth have completely re-done their team. The club has changed their philosophy, defining themselves under the motto H.O.T. - Heroes Of Tomorrow. Club leaders have said they will have a lot of young players coming into the team during the season. The number one goal is to avoid relegation with the help of Travis Leslie.
Gießen 46ers - In BBL w/o wild card; want to stay in BBL
Gießen make their return to the Beko BBL as ProA champions - an important step as they are at the top level without a wild card. The club also reaches the top flight with no debt. Gießen wanted to retain some consistency and kept seven players from last season’s team. The team leader will be TJ DiLeo. At the end of the season, the 46ers want to be in 16th place or better.
s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg - Big jump from ProA; kept German core
Würzburg return to the Beko BBL having kept their good core of German players, including Sebastian Betz, Ruben Spoden, Max Ugrai and Constantin Ebert. Mixed in will be top players such as Dru Joyce and Lamonte Ulmer while Maurice Stuckey comes back to the club after a year in Oldenburg. The club’s stated goal is to stay in the Beko BBL.
Craisheim Merlins - Totally re-made team; want to stay in BBL
Crailsheim have totally re-done their roster as they come back to the Beko BBL thanks to a wild card. The new group of players does not have a lot of professional experience, but the club did get a big name German in Konrad Wysocki. Matt Stainbrook will be a key factor for Crailsheim to achieve their number one goal - avoid relegation.