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Weekly News 24: Bamberg gets Bavarian Lion, Berlin signs Miralles, pre-season highlights in the...

Weekly News 24: Bamberg gets Bavarian Lion, Berlin signs Miralles, pre-season highlights in the...

In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German Beko Basketball Bundesliga. This week: Beko BBL stars come back from Eurobasket 2012 qualiferis; Germany says no to Ulm captain Steven Esterkamp; and Bamberg get Bavarian Lion.
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 Wednesday David Hein (www.heinnews.com) brings you up-to-date in German basketball – the Beko BBL short and sweet (for feedback and suggestions please email to Simon@Beko-BBL.de).

European Adventures: Beko BBL teams welcome back international players

So, that’s what you look like: Nine Beko BBL teams finally get 14 players to their pre-season workouts as the Eurobasket 2013 qualifiers have now finished. Four of the teams – ALBA BERLIN, FC Bayern Munich, Brose Baskets and ratiopharm ulm – have at least two stars coming back with Bayern getting three players back – Robin Benzing and Jan Jagla from Germany and Israeli Yotam Halperin. Berlin head coach Sasa Obradovic welcomes home two guards in Nihad Djedovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Heiko Schaffartzik (Germany). Bamberg last week saw the return of Anton Gavel – who played with Slovakia – but Brose fans are happy Maik Zirbes and Karsten Tadda are back in the mix as well. Ulm head coach Thorsten Leibenath finally has Per Günther and Philipp Schwethelm in camp while Bastian Doreth heads to TBB Trier; Philip Zwiener to Eisbären Bremerhaven; and Lucca Staiger to Neckar GIANTS Ludwigsburg. There were also other non-Germans in EuroBasket qualifying action as EWE Baskets Oldenburg’s Robin Smeulders was playing for the Netherlands and Artland Dragons’ Anthony King starred for Cyprus. German big man Tim Ohlbrecht is without a club right now, and hopes that some BBL team was impressed by his qualification campaign.

The Drama: Ulm sign point guard, Germans say no to Esterkamp

The 2012 runners-up ratiopharm ulm found a replacement for injured point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin by signing Lance Jeter, who played his rookie season last year with Dutch team Lasaulec Aris Leeuwarden. The 24-year-old was needed when Mason-Griffin went down for the season with knee surgery. Ulm also had some bad news as captain Steven Esterkamp’s application for a German passport was denied. The 31-year-old, who has been in Germany since December 2003, has applied again. The issue apparently is that Esterkamp doesn’t want to give up his U.S. passport – a sticking point from the German side.

Now that’s an award!: Bamberg get Bavarian Lion

Sure, Brose Baskets have won both the German league and cup titles the past three years. But now the title collecting machine from Bamberg has added a different piece of hardware. The Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer presented the team with the Bavarian Lion award for their special accomplishments for the southern German state.

Games of the Weekend

Sure, the Beko BBL is still about three weeks off, but that doesn’t mean the pre-season lacks highlights. Actually next weekend features two top-notch tournaments – both in southern Germany. From 22-23 September, Bayern Munich are hosting the BEKO Leagues Cup 2012 along Besiktas Istanbul, Zalgiris Kaunas and CSKA Moscow. And from 21-23 September, Brose Baskets are taking on Maccabi Tel Aviv, Khimki Moscow and reigning Euroleague champions Olympiacos Piraeus in the Domreitercup 2012. Phew! What a bunch of great teams!

Alpha Males: Alba add frontcourt depth with Spanish veteran center

ALBA BERLIN have added more frontcourt depth and some veteran leadership in signing 30-year-old Spanish center Albert Miralles. The Barcelona native brings his high basketball IQ to the German capital, where he will team up with former teammate and friend Vule Avdalovic, with whom he played at Valencia. Miralles is Berlin’s seventh foreigner meaning head coach Sasa Obradovic will have to rotate his group of Miralles, Avdalovic, Nihad Djedovic, Zach Worley Nathan Peavy, Deon Thompson and DaShaun Wood.

Best of the Rest: Artland, Frankfurt, Hagen add low post player; Bailey an injury replacement at Bayreuth

Artland Dragons, FRAPORT SKYLINERS and Phoenix Hagen all added low post players while BBC Bayreuth snatched up Bryan Bailey as a replacement for two injured guards. Artland signed BBL veteran Andrew Drevo (Braunschweig and Bremerhaven) on a two-month contract but now need a longer term fill-in at guard as Demond Mallet may be out until December with surgery on his pectoral muscles. The Skyliners picked up power forward Dion Dowell until January 2013 after he played the last four seasons in Israel. Hagen meanwhile added Dino Gregory who played last year with the Sundsvall Dragons in Sweden. Bayreuth has been hit with injuries at the guard spot with both Kevin Hamilton and Nate Rohnert ailing. So BBC’s bosses have signed 32-year-old veteran Bryan Bailey on a one-year deal with the right to opt-out after three months. Elsewhere, LTi GIESSEN 46ers signed Jimmy Baxter and LaQuan Prowell.
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