Bamberg capture cup No. 5 / Oldenburg commit to Drijencic / Moritz Wagner playing big
In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German easyCredit 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 easyCredit BBL short and sweet:
Bamberg hold off Bayern for fifth cup title - first since 2012
Brose Bamberg survived a battle against Bayern Munich 74-71 to win the 2017 easyCredit TOP FOUR title - the club’s fifth cup crown and first since 2012. Bamberg were never able to put away Bayern, who haven’t hoisted the trophy since 1968. In the end, Bamberg needed an unstoppable Fabien Causeur (18 point), a fantastic Daniel Theis (17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks) and a big block by Nicolo Melli with 6 seconds left to end their five-year drought.
Strelnieks undergoes shoulder surgery
The dark side of the cup victory was Bamberg losing point guard Janis Strelnieks to a shoulder injury. The Latvian playmaker had to undergo surgery and will miss at least four weeks.
Bayern, Bamberg reach easyCredit TOP FOUR final
The two big Bs - Bayern Munich and Brose Bamberg - both booked berths in the easyCredit TOP FOUR title game with solid wins in the semi-finals at the Mercedes Benz Arena. Nick Johnson came off the bench and had perhaps his best game for Bayern with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals in a 78-70 win over defending champions and hosts ALBA BERLIN. Bayern nearly gave up a 14-point fourth quarter lead but held on as Berlin made just 5-of-27 three-pointers (19 percent) - that coming just a week after going 0-of-15 vs Bayern in the easyCredit BBL. Bamberg pulled away in the fourth quarter for an 85-78 win over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. Theis and Causeur both scored 19 points and Bamberg had 25 assists on 28 made baskets.
Berlin bounce back, beat Ludwigsburg for third place
ALBA BERLIN bounced back in fine fashion in the easyCredit TOP FOUR third place game as they pulled away from MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 84-70. Carl English drained 4 three-pointers in scoring 17 points as one of five Berlin players in double figures.
Bamberg win dress rehearsal of cup semi vs Ludwigsburg
Brose Bamberg caught up on the schedule with a Round 19 victory over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, winning 84-75 at home in what amounted to a dress rehearsal for the easyCredit TOP FOUR. Fabien Causeur collected 17 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals while Aleksej Nikolic came off the bench for a career-high 17 points as Bamberg improved to 20-1 - one game behind league leaders ratiopharm ulm. Ludwigsburg wasted a 25-point showing from Drew Crawford in dropping their fourth game in the last five for a 9-11 record - a half-game from a playoff spot.
Jena with two comeback wins over Berlin and Göttingen
Science City Jena actually passed MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in the standings with a 10-12 record after picking up two victories for a three-game winning streak. Jena fought back from a 20-point deficit to beat ALBA BERLIN 74-73 in a Round 23 game in the German capital. Marcos Knight hit the winning free throw with 29 seconds left - for 16 points - before Engin Atsür missed the possible game-winning layup at the buzzer. The loss was Berlin’s third straight in the league after a 10-game winning streak to fall to 14-8 - behind fourth place medi bayreuth at 15-5. Jena followed that up with another comeback win, fighting back from 11 points down to beat BG Göttingen 102-92 in a Round 30 game. Knight paced Jena with 25 points while Stephan Haukohl scored a career-high 24 points.
Bonn blast Würzburg for third straight win
Telekom Baskets Bonn also have put together a three-game winning streak by knocking off s.Oliver Würzburg 101-84 in a Round 19 match-up. Yorman Polas Bartolo scored 21 points and Julian Gamble had 16 points and 10 rebounds as Bonn improved to 12-8 in seventh place. Würzburg dropped their sixth straight game - and still have not won under new coach Dirk Bauermann - in falling to 5-16 for 15th place.
Oldenburg extend deal with coach Drijencic until end of next season
EWE Baskets Oldenburg did not have a game in Germany this week but did make news as they extended their expiring contract with head coach Mladen Drijencic until the end of next season. The club also agreed to an extension until the end of the 2017-18 with sports manager Srdjan Klaric. Drjencic took over as Oldenburg coach in March 2015 and then guided the club to the easyCredit TOP FOUR title just weeks later.
Hagen move on from coach Freyer, Grothe takes over
Phoenix Hagen are taking steps to make another push to return to the easyCredit BBL and have announced that long-time coach Ingo Freyer will no longer be with the team and Matthias Grothe will take over as head coach. Hagen’s all-time leader in games player Bernd Kruel will support the sponsoring and operations office within the club. Freyer had been Hagen’s coach since 2007. Phoenix Hagen were immediately relegated from the top flight earlier this season when they filed for bankruptcy. The club said Freyer and long time star David Bell will receive a proper farewell at a home game next season.
German Top Five of the Week
G: Ismet Akpinar, ALBA BERLIN
Akpinar is slowly playing his way into more action and he scored a team-high 15 points against Science City Jena to go with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. In the easyCredit TOP FOUR semi-finals against Bayern Munich, Akpinar had 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. And then in the third place game against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, he picked up 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
G: Sebastian Betz, s.Oliver Würzburg
Betz had by far his most productive game of the season against Telekom Baskets Bonn with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 24:13 minutes off the bench. The 31-year-old had only scored 5 points and grabbed 5 rebounds combined in his previous seven games this season.
F: Yorman Polas Bartolo, Telekom Baskets Bonn
The Cuban-German is on this list again after scoring a season-high 21 points against s.Oliver Würzburg while also picking up 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.
F: Stephan Haukohl, Science City Jena
Haukohl has picked up his game more of late with more playing time. Against ALBA BERLIN the 23-year-old had 9 points, 6 rebounds and an assist. He then collected a career-high 24 points to go with 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block against BG Göttingen. Over his last three games, Haukohl has averaged 16.7 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 75 percent from the field.
F: Daniel Theis, Brose Bamberg
Theis has been playing like the leader of Bamberg with three more solid games this week. First, he had 8 points, 2 rebounds and 4 blocks against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in the easyCredit BBL. Theis followed that up with 19 points, 5 rebounds and a block against Ludwigsburg in the easyCredit TOP FOUR semi-finals. And then he had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks against Bayern Munich to get Bamberg the title.
Mateo Seric, 17, PF, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg
The 17-year-old talent, who is heading this week to the Adidas Next Generation Tournament, made his professional debut in the easyCredit TOP FOUR third place game. Seric picked up 4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 15:51 minutes against ALBA BERLIN.
Alexander Möller, 19, C, Telekom Baskets Bonn
Möller made his easyCredit BBL debut for Bonn as he played 1:46 minutes and picked up 1 foul against s.Oliver Würzburg.
Isaac Bonga, 17, PG, FRAPORT SKYLINERS/Philipp Herkenhoff, 17, F, RASTA Vechta
The two German 1999-born talents both showcased their skills at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp at the NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans.
Moritz Wagner is showing that he can play at a big time college in the United States, becoming one of the leaders for Big Ten powers Michigan. In his last four games, the 1997-born forward is averaging 16.5 points while shooting 54 percent from the field including 47 percent from three-point range. He also has averaged 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals.