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Bamberg and Oldenburg in the finals / Derrick Allen joins Jena’s oldies / Denis Wucherer lands in Cologne Daniel Löb

Bamberg and Oldenburg in the finals / Derrick Allen joins Jena’s oldies / Denis Wucherer lands in Cologne

— David Hein

The easyCredit BBL Finals are here and we get to see if EWE Baskets Oldenburg have a bit more magic left in them to keep Brose Bamberg from picking up a three-peat. Game 1 went to Bamberg convincingly as the champs were on fire from long range. There was other news than the finals as Derrick Allen joined the oldies club at Science City Jena and Denis Wucherer did not become head coach at ALBA BERLIN but returns to the ProA to coach RheinStars Cologne.

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:

Blazing hot Bamberg grab Game 1

Reigning champions Brose Bamberg came out all guns a blazing in Game One of the easyCredit BBL Finals with a 96-60 victory over EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Bamberg nailed 52 percent from three-point range (13-of-25) and 64 percent overall in racing to an early 1-0 lead with a home win. Darius Miller hit four three-pointers and Maodo Lo and Lucca Staiger both went 3-for-3 from long range to pace Bamberg, who had 24 assists to just 10 turnovers. Bamberg went ahead 11-0 and the lead was 24-6 after 10 minutes and the champs never let up. Oldenburg knocked down just 3-of-26 three-pointers (11 percent) but turned the ball over just six times. Oldenburg will try to even the series at home on Wednesday with Game 2.

Bamberg for a third straight or another Oldenburg surprise

Raise your hand if you predicted EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the easyCredit BBL Finals going against defending champs Brose Bamberg. That is the match-up for the trophy as Oldenburg took down their second straight favored team in finishing off ratiopharm ulm in five games 3-2 in semis after getting past medi bayreuth 3-1 in the first round of the post-season. Bamberg have given up just one game in getting to their third straight Finals and seventh in the last eight years. Bamberg got past Telekom Baskets Bonn 3-1 and then swept FC Bayern Munich 3-0. Bamberg won both of the showdowns with Oldenburg this season - winning 83-77 at home in late October and then 83-62 in Oldenburg on March 12. The first game of the Finals is Sunday June 4 at 3pm in Bamberg. Games 2 is Wednesday at 8:30pm in Oldenburg.

Paulding magic sends Oldenburg to the Finals

Paulding, Paulding, Paulding - EWE Baskets Oldenburg’s veteran Rickey Paulding carried the 2009 champions back to the easyCredit BBL Finals for the first time since 2013 with a 3-2 series win over regular season champions ratiopharm ulm. Ulm had lost just two games at home during the regular season but Oldenburg beat them twice at ratiopharm arena within six days to take the series. Paulding poured in 27 points and had 6 assists in the 78-75 win in Game 5, coming back from a disappointing Game 4 in which he had just 12 points. Paulding tallied 28 points in the spectacular Game 2 win at home as Oldenburg came back from 27 points down and Paulding nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime in a 107-103 win. Oldenburg then grabbed home court advantage in Game 3 with a 68-61 win in Ulm before losing at home themselves, setting up another strong Oldenburg showing in Game 5.

Bamberg sweep through Bayern, ready for three-peat

Brose Bamberg raced past FC Bayern Munich with a 3-0 series sweep to reach their third straight Finals and seventh in the last eight seasons. After an 82-59 drubbing in Game 1 in Bamberg, the champs got 21 points from Fabien Causeur and a layup by Janis Strelnieks with 5.4 seconds remaining to secure an 80-76 Game 2 victory in Munich. Five Bamberg players scored in double figures as they wasted no chance to finish off Bayern with a 76-67 win in Game 3. Bamberg allowed just 22 points in the second half in the Game 3 triumph.

Ulm to host easyCredit TOP FOUR 2018

There was some good news for ratiopharm ulm fans as the club was awarded the right to host the easyCredit TOP FOUR 2018. Ulm will welcome three other teams to the cup weekend planned for February 17-18, 2018. Ulm hosted the TOP FOUR in 2014.

Veteran haven Jena add Derrick Allen as well

Science City Jena were the darlings of the easyCredit BBL last season with the oldie veterans Julius Jenkins and Immanuel McElroy. The team added another long-time star of the easyCredit BBL as Jena signed 36-year-old Derrick Allen. The center, who has played 411 games in Germany’s top flight, comes to Jena after two seasons with RASTA Vechta. Jena also added Skyler Bowlin to a core from last year including Jenkins, McElroy, Oliver Clay and Julius Wolf.

Joshiko Saibou returns to Berlin

While ALBA BERLIN did not add a head coach yet, the team from the German capital did add a German player as Joshiko Saibou signed with Berlin on a two-year contract. The 27-year-old Saibou, who just missed the playoffs this past season with GIESSEN 46ers, will be returning to Berlin after helping the club to the U19 NBBL title in 2009.

Wucherer lands at ProA team RheinStars, looks at promotion

One of the biggest post-regular season talking points in German basketball was where Denis Wucherer would land after leading GIESSEN 46ers to the easyCredit BBL and then twice just missing the playoffs. While many pegged the 44-year-old as ALBA BERLIN-bound, the destination of the former German international is back in the ProA as Wucherer has landed with second division side RheinStars Cologne. Wucherer signed just a one-year deal which will automatically extend to a second year if RheinStars can earn promotion to the easyCredit BBL. One of Wucherer’s most impressive traits was bringing in players - including Germans - and making them much better. It will be interesting to watch who Cologne bring in over the next couple of months.

Johnson leaves MBC for Bremerhaven

Former Mitteldeutsche BC captain Dominique Johnson will be leaving the team and heading to Eisbären Bremerhaven. The 24-year-old, who is returning to his former club, signed on a two-year deal with Bremerhaven.

Bayreuth keep Egyptian center Marei

A big reason for medi bayreuth’s success this season - reaching the playoffs as the fourth seed - was Assem Marei and the club was able to sign the Egyptian center for next season. The 24-year-old Marei collected 11.9 points and 7.2 rebounds a game for Bayreuth.

Gloger moves to easyCredit BBL with ProA champs MBC

ProA champions Mitteldeutsche BC added a second player with ProA experience as they prepare for their return to the easyCredit BBL in signing German power forward Till Gloger on a one-year deal. The 24-year-old Gloger played his first professional season last year with Uni Baskets Paderborn. MBC also picked up Kruize Pinkins, who played last season with Hebeisen White Wings Hanau.

DiLeo extends with Bonn until 2019, Breunig joins team for Richter

Telekom Baskets Bonn have locked up two of their German spots as they extended with TJ DiLeo and Martin Breunig has joined the team. The 26-year-old DiLeo will stay in Bonn for two more years until 2019 after spending his first season in Bonn following his arrival from GIESSEN 46ers. Bonn also announced that they have signed the 25-year-old big man Breunig, who comes to Bonn from MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. Breunig signed on a one-year deal with Bonn. Breunig will be the replacement for Johannes Richter, who has asked Bonn to be released from his contract.

Ludwigsburg captain McCray staying until 2019, team adds Evans

MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg have locked up their team captain for the next two seasons as David McCray agreed to a contract extension until 2019. The 30-year-old saw no reason to leave Ludwigsburg after reaching the playoffs with the team. Ludwigsburg also picked up their first addition for next season in bringing on Dwayne Evans from GIESSEN 46ers. The 25-year-old Evans signed a two-year deal with Ludwigsburg, who lost Martin Breunig but like Evans’ versatility.

Tübingen lure German big man Heyden on two-year deal

WALTER Tigers Tübingen added a big German to their ranks as they signed Philipp Heyden on a two-year deal. After a number of years with medi bayreuth, the 28-year-old center played last season in the ProA with MLP Academics Heidelberg. Tübingen also announced they turned down their option on center Yasin Kolo.

Giessen add young German talent Agva

GIESSEN 46ers have continued their recent history of bringing in emerging young German talent as they signed German A2 international Mahir Agva on a one-year deal. The 20-year-old Agva joins Giessen after one season with FRAPORT SKYLINERS in which he averaged 4.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13 minutes a game.

Woltmann named new Bremerhaven GM

Former RheinStars Cologne head coach and long-time Brose Bamberg assistant Arne Woltmann has joined Eisbären Bremerhaven as the successor to Jan Rathjen as long-time club GM. Woltmann was fired at RheinStars in March of this season in his first club post as head coach.

Pavic will stay on as Oettinger coach, Oehle extends too

Another coaching position many were pondering was if Ivan Pavic would remain on as head coach at promoted OeTTINGER Rockets Gotha. The 35-year-old ended all doubts by agreeing with Gotha on a one-year extension of his expiring contract. Pavic came on as Gotha coach after the dismissal of previous head coach Chris Ensminger. Gotha also kept one of their main Germans as Robert Oehle signed on a two-year deal with the team. Still with contracts from last season are Darrel Mitchell and youth talent Kristian Kullamäe.

Bauermann adds Arigbabu as assistant coach in Würzburg

Dirk Bauermann used to coach Stephen Arigbabu with the German national team - grabbing silver at the FIBA EuroBasket 2005 in Serbia and Montenegro. Now Arigbabu reunites with Bauermann as his assistant coach at s.Oliver Würzburg. The 45-year-old Arigbabu signed on with Würzburg for one season after leaving his post as assistant coach with Basketball Löwen Braunschweig. The arrival of the 166-times capped Arigbabu meant the departure of former assistant Stephan Völkel, who was assistant coach with the team for three seasons.

Poropat returns to sidelines, takes over Dutch team

In more coaching news, this is good news for Silvano Poropat as the former easyCredit BBL coach seems to have recovered from his health issues and will return to the sidelines with Dutch club New Heroes Den Bosch. Poropat fell seriously ill shortly before the start of the 2016-17 season and stepped down from his post as head coach at Telekom Baskets Bonn - which was filled by Predrag Krunic. Poropat apparently is up to the challenge from a health standpoint, which is good to see.

Another knee surgery for Daniel Mayr - likely out until Christmas

FRAPORT SKYLINERS were hoping they were getting a young big with long term potential when they brought in Daniel Mayr from FC Bayern Munich before last season. But the 1995-born center ended up missing all of the 2016-17 season with knee surgery. The next bad news has followed as Mayr once again underwent a knee operation and is expected to be out until Christmas, according to the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

Schröder would like to bring buddy Theis to Atlanta

German NBA point guard Dennis Schröder is looking out for his former Braunschweig buddy Daniel Theis and said he wants to help the Brose Bamberg big man make it to the NBA. “I will do everything I can that he comes over,” Schröder said at a press conference in his home city Braunschweig. Schröder recently watched Theis play with Bamberg along with Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, to which Schröder said: “Coach Bud praised him.” Schröder also said he could imagine FC Bayern Munich’s Maxi Kleber making the jump to the NBA as well. “Maxi Kleber has a very good chance. He has to try to stay fit,” said the German national team playmaker.

Bayern win U19 NBBL title, U14 crown; Berlin take U16 JBBL trophy

FC Bayern Munich may have been swept from the easyCredit BBL playoffs but on the same day that Bayern lost Game 3 to Brose Bamberg, Munich’s U19 team won their second NBBL crown and the club also claimed their third straight U14 German trophy. At the NBBL-JBBL Final Four weekend in Frankfurt, Bayern first beat Young RASTA Dragons 104-61 before knocking off city rivals IBAM 94-71 in the NBBL final. Nelson Weidemann was honored as the NBBL Final Four MVP. Bayern’s U14 team knocked off TuS Lichterfelde in the Semi-Finals before beating TV Memmingen 86-69 to take home the title. In the JBBL Final Four, ALBA BERLIN claimed their first U16 trophy as they beat defending champions Eintracht Frankfurt / FRAPORT SKYLINERS 88-60 in the final with Elias Rödl - son of former German star Henrik Rödl - winning the Final Four MVP award. Berlin beat Young RASTA Dragons in the semis.

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