Beko BBL Weekly News 18: Dirk is coming home, Tibor headed to Spain and Rödl gets new young guns
The Alpha Males: Obradovic's ALBA taking shape; Bayern re-sign big men
With their sights set on finally returning to the top of the BBL, ALBA BERLIN and new head coach Sasa Obradovic are re-shaping the team with past winners from the coach's time in Ukraine. Obradovic added Serbian point guard Vule Avdalovic - with whom he won the Ukrainian title last season at BC Donetsk - and forward Zach Morley, who claimed the 2011 Ukrainian crown with Budivelnyk Kiev (check the video below). Obradovic also made a superb addition to his front court with Nathan Peavy from Artland Dragons while re-signing German veteran Sven Schultze.
Bayern Munich meanwhile are bringing back their superb low post tandem of Chevon Troutman and Jared Homan - both signing on two-year deals. Munich also extended their deal with German international Bastian Doreth for three years until 2015, though they will send the 23-year-old point guard on loan to TBB Trier for next season.
The Thriller: Zirbes replaces Spain-bound Pleiß at Bamberg
Where will he go? That was the question. Not if he would go. And now we know. Brose Baskets center Tibor Pleiß is heading to Spanish powers Caja Laboral on a four-year contract instead of joining the NBA and Oklahoma City Thunder. Tibor will have more time to continue his superb development in a league which will be a great challenge for the 22-year-old. But in freak city he will always be remembered for the three championships and three cups the club won with him at the center position:
The other question was if Bamberg could reel in the best available German big man Maik Zirbes (check out his video highlights 2011/12). And Bamberg GM Wolfgang Heyder got the deal done in signing him until 2015 - a move that was almost a must as the three-time reigning champs lost both big men to Spanish teams with Marcus Slaughter joining Real Madrid. In the backcourt, Bamberg were able to keep German guard Karsten Tadda for the next two years and is still hoping to get the guard tandem of Brian Roberts and Anton Gavel back for the starting line-up.
The Young Guns: Trier boss Henrik Rödl gets two more youngsters
After watching Philip Zwiener, Maik Zirbes and Dru Joyce grow into hot commodities and leave for bigger BBL clubs, TBB Trier coach Henrik Rödl gets two more youngsters to shape into top talents. In addition to getting Bastian Doreth for one season on loan from Bayern Munich, Trier also signed a 21-year-old Zimbabwean prospect Vitalis Chikoko to a three-year contract (check out his practice video below and some of his highlights). Chikoko emerged with more playing time at the end of the season, averaging 15.4 points and 8.4 rebounds and shooting 65 percent from the field in the final five games for relegated side BG Göttingen.
Best of the Rest: Würzburg re-tooling for second season
s.Oliver Baskets are re-tooling after a great playoffs run to the semi-finals as they named previous assistant coach Marcel Schröder as head coach - replacing John Patrick - and re-signed Jason Boone, John Little and Ben Jacobsen for next season. Würzburg also made a big splash by adding German big man Chris McNaughton, also snagged BBL veteran Jimmy McKinney from FRAPORT SKYLINERS and get Maurice Stuckey on loan from Bamberg (Würzburg did lose top scorer Chris Kramer to EWE Baskets Oldenburg).
European Adventures: Lucky Seven - without Bayern
Nearly half of the Beko BBL will be playing in Europe - but not Bayern Munich. According to sports director Marko Pesic, Bay-ern want to "concentrate on the Bundesliga" rather than com-pete in the EuroChallenge - Europe's third-class competition. That leaves a Lucky Seven to represent Germany abroad. Brose Baskets and ALBA BERLIN (with a C license - thank you o2 World!) will play in the Euroleague Regular Season with ratiopharm ulm hoping to grab a spot through the Euroleague qualification. Artland Dragons and s.Oliver Baskets will play in the EuroCup while EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Telekom Bas-kets Bonn will represent the BBL in the EuroChallenge.
Meat and potatoes: Mark down October 6 in calen-dars: Dirk playing in Berlin
Dirk is coming home! After six years, the NBA is returning to Germany with Deutschland's favorite son Dirk Nowitzki and his Dallas Mavericks set to play against ALBA BERLIN on October 6 in the o2 World Berlin. One should be warned that thousands of visiting basketball fans will take over Germanys capital and go wild when spotting the Dirkstar - like last summer in his home town Würzburg: