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Race for Giffey opens up / Quantez back for Frankfurt / Oldenburg beat Ulm again

Race for Giffey opens up / Quantez back for Frankfurt / Oldenburg beat Ulm again

Oldenburg beat Ulm again; Beko BBL gets ready for ALLSTAR Day; Quantez back for SKYLINERS; Lischka to take four weeks off

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:

Oldenburg continue to have Ulm’s number

ratiopharm ulm don’t have good memories of EWE Baskets Oldenburg, stemming from Oldenburg taking last season’s playoff semi-final thriller in five games. The northern Germans gave Ulm another bad memory this weekend by winning in Ulm 88-77 to solidify their spot as the number one challenger to the Big Three Bs – Bayern, Bamberg and Berlin. A 15-0 run in the fourth quarter was the difference for Oldenburg.

Beko BBL, Bonn prepares for festivities, Caloario in ALLSTAR Game for Djedovic

The Beko BBL takes off a weekend to celebrate itself with the ALLSTAR Day in Bonn on Saturday, January 18. The doors open at 3:15 p.m. with players giving autographs at 3:45 p.m. The NBBL ALLSTAR Game will start at 4:45 p.m. with the draw for the Beko BBL TOP FOUR qualifiers (to be played on February 5) among Bayern, Bamberg, Berlin, Oldenburg, Artland and Bonn to follow at 6 p.m. The crowd will get back into the fun starting at 6:15 p.m. with the three-point and dunk contests. And the festivities finish off with the Beko BBL ALLSTAR Game between Team National and Team International at 8:15 p.m. Team International coach Tyron McCoy was forced to make a change this week as Bayern Munich’s Nihad Djedovic was ruled out with an ankle injury. McCoy added Mitteldeutscher BC’s Angelo Caloario in place of Djedovic. Follow the whole action (NBBL game, dunk and three point contest and the ALLSTAR game) via live stream here …

Burtschi has successful surgery, Braunschweig release Kadji

Jacob Burtschi was supposed to take part in the Three-Point contest. But expect plenty of tweets from him – at @jbutschi – in the coming weeks as he rehabs from his back surgery to repair a herniated disc. Jacob says he will be back on the court for Fraport Skyliners in eight weeks. He also gave his fans a “Thumbs up” via Facebook. One player who won’t be giving any thumbs up any time soon in Germany is Kenny Kadji, as New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig released the 25-year-old professional rookie, who was brought in on a contract until February as a temporary replacement for the injured Harding Nana.

Lischka taking time away to shed weight

Don’t expect to see much of Johannes Lischka in the near future. And when the German international does return, he hopes you see less of him. The 26-year-old power forward has told WALTER Tigers Tübingen he plans to take off four weeks to lose some weight. Lischka came back five weeks after brain surgery and the medication he must take makes it hard for him to lose the weight he gained while recovering. Lischka has played only three of four games since returning, playing a combined 18:35 minutes in those games. He did not make the trip with the team to Bayreuth last weekend. Lischka believes coach Igor Perovic is not playing him because of his weight issues. “If the coach thinks I underestimate the problem with being overweight, then it’s okay. Maybe it’s really the best thing if I leave for four weeks. The risk of injury increases with the weight,” Lischka told Südwest Presse. Lischka is hoping to lose 10 kilograms through his individual workouts.

Quantez back, but not “back” yet

As if there weren’t enough reasons to follow FRAPORT SKYLINERS, now they have their heart and soul back. Quantez Robertson got back on the court against ALBA BERLIN after rehabbing from his broken fibula. The all-around guard, who last played on October 9, showed he still has some rust – shooting 3-of-8 for six points, one rebound, two turnovers and four fouls in 20:18 minutes. He might not be fully “back” – and that cannot be expected just yet - but he is back. Stay healthy Tez so we can see more highlights like these:

Barthel a cook? What would he cook for Coach Herbert?

Want to get to know SKYLINERS power forward Danilo Barthel a little better? Check out this interview on the Taking The Charge podcast.

Race for Giffey opens up

He’s not even a free agent yet but Beko BBL teams are already lining up hoping to bring in the German international Niels Giffey for next season. The Berliner Zeitung quoted ALBA BERLIN sports director Mithat Demirel saying they would like to sign the University of Connecticut forward, who excelled last summer with Germany at EuroBasket 2013, scoring 14 points against France and 16 points against Ukraine. “We are in contact. Of course we want to bring him back. He’s our guy,” said Demirel, referring to the 22-year-old Giffey. The Berlin native played in the Alba Berlin system until 2010, when he left for UConn and in 2011 won the NCAA title with the Huskies. The BZ story also said Berlin are interested in Maxi Kleber from s.Oliver Würzburg. But back to Giffey, at least one other leading Beko BBL team has told Weekly News that they are working hard on attracting Giffey to their club. Watch some of his high lights at the Eurobasket last summer:

Kleber watch

Speaking of Maxi Kleber, the power forward is still fighting to shake off the rust on his shot but he did other things to try and help Würzburg avoid the loss to Rasta Vechta. Kleber went 1-of-5 from the field – 1-of-4 from behind the stripe – in scoring three points and also had three rebounds, three nice blocks in 20:26 minutes.

Players of the Week

The magic number this week was 27 and two players hit that efficiency rating mark. Devin Searcy came off the bench for Eisbären Bremerhaven against TBB Trier and scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 5-of-8 free throws to go along with 16 rebounds, one steal and three blocks. Bamberg playmaker Zack Wright also came up with his biggest game of the season with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 6-of-7 free throws while also collecting seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Meanwhile Vechta’s Richie Williams was voted as the top performer for December by the fans of the Beko BBL:

Young Guns

Johannes Voigtmann, 21, C, FRAPORT SKYLINERS

It might be getting old, but we gotta keep JoVo in this section as long as he continues to excel. He tallied nine points on 4-of-9 shooting while chipping in eight rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block in a blowout loss to Alba Berlin. JoVo showed he can hit the three-pointer and also had a nice floater while also playing some tough defense. Here he dunks a nice pass from fellow young German Danilo Barthel:

Daniel Theis, 21, PF, ratiopharm ulm

Also on that video was Theis, who is starting to find the form that made him a Young Guns regular last season. He collected 12 points, five rebounds, one steal and two blocks in a tough loss at home to Oldenburg. Theis has scored at least 12 points in three of his last four games.

Bazoumana Kone, 20, SG, Eisbären Bremerhaven

It’s nice to see Kone on this list as it means he’s receiving playing time. The 20-year-old played in his second straight game – and fifth of the season – in scoring four points with one assist in 5:45 minutes against Trier.

Meat and Potatoes

With the regular season at the halfway point, Bayern Munich lead the Beko BBL at 15-2 followed by Brose Baskets Bamberg at 14-3 and ALBA BERLIN at 13-4. Tübingen are in last place at 3-14 with Würzburg one spot better at 3-13. Darius Adams from Bremerhaven goes into the break as the leading scorer at 18.82 ppg followed by Isaiah Swann from Braunschweig (17.76 ppg) and Skyliners’ Andy Rautins (17.60 ppg). The leading rebounder is Hagen’s Larry Gordon at 8.0 rpg with Angelo Caloiaro from MBC second (7.5 rpg) and Bayern’s John Bryant third (7.3 rpg). Bayreuth’s Kevin Hamilton remains in second place in the assist race (Bonn’s Jared Jordan leads at 7.2 apg) with 5.9 assists a game while Richard Williams from Vechta is third at 5.6 apg. Calairo leads the league in efficiency rating at 19.53 per game followed by Gordon (17.94) and Adams (17.18).

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