Berlin keep up pressure on leaders / Würzburg bring Bauermann back / English saves Frankfurt with buzzer-beater
— David Hein
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:
Ulm rush past Göttingen, finish season’s first half undefeate
ratiopharm ulm didn’t have Per Günther or Tim Ohlbrecht but it didn’t matter as they breezed past BG Göttingen 89-65 to finish the first half of the easyCredit BBL with a perfect 16-0 record. Raymar Morgan scored 22 points to eclipse the 20-point mark for the sixth time in the last seven games for Ulm, who also got 7 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 6 steals for Braydon Hobbs. Göttingen have now dropped four of their last five games to fall to 6-10 in 12th place - still five games ahead of the second relegation spot.
Ohlbrecht will undergo surgery, could still return this season
ratiopharm ulm might miss Tim Ohlbrecht for the rest of the season as the center will undergo surgery for a knee ligament injury. Ohlbrecht, who was examined in Ulm and Munich, will be operated this week by Munich surgeon Dr. Stefan Hinterwimmer, who also operated on past Ulm players Tommy Mason-Griffin and Carlon Brown. Ulm said it is unclear if the All-Star big man will be able to return this season.
Bauermann named new Würzburg coach after team sacks Spradley
Former German national team coach and nine-time easyCredit BBL champion Dirk Bauermann has returned to the sidelines in Germany as new head coach of s.Oliver Würzburg with a contract until the end of the 2019-20 season. The 59-year-old Bauermann, whose last coaching post was with the Iranian national team, will be replacing Doug Spradley after Würzburg fired him following a 5-11 start to the season. Bauermann helped Bayer Leverkusen and Brose Bamberg to nine league titles and four German cup crowns, and also guided the German national team to second place at EuroBasket 2005 during his run from 2003 to 2011. Spradley took over at Würzburg in ProA in 2014 and earned promotion in his first season. Last season, Spradley and Würzburg reached the playoffs in their first campaign back in the easyCredit BBL.
The Bauermann introduction press conference will be on Würzburg’s youtube channel soon.
Bayern, Bayreuth remain even on record behind top duo
While ratiopharm ulm moved to 16-0 and Brose Bamberg had an off-week at 15-1, Bayern Munich and medi Bayreuth both picked up wins to move two games behind Bamberg at 13-3. Bayern trailed Basketball Löwen Braunschweig 47-43 at halftime at home before racing past Braunschweig 89-74. Seven Bayern players scored at least 9 points as the team dished out 23 assists. Bayreuth meanwhile picked their third win in the last four games in an 83-78 victory over Telekom Baskets Bonn. Bayreuth hit 42 percent from three-point range and 94 percent of their free throws while Kyan Anderson and Trey Lewis combined for 40 points. Bonn dropped to 9-7 after their second loss in the last three games.
Berlin keep pressure on second and third Bs
ALBA BERLIN are keeping up the pressure on the second and third Bs in the league with their seventh straight victory by pulling away late from EWE Baskets Oldenburg 81-63. Berlin were playing without Elmedin Kikanovic but it wasn’t a problem as Tony Gaffney stepped up into the center spot and scored 21 points on 10-of-11 shots as ALBA jumped to 11-5. Oldenburg have lost two straight and are out of the playoffs ranks at the half-way point in the regular season at 8-8.
Giessen remain road warriors, keep Vechta reeling
GIESSEN 46ers continued their superb play on the road by coming back from a 13-point deficit to win 87-83 at RASTA Vechta. Giessen nearly blew a 14-point fourth quarter lead before Thomas Scrubb and Skyler Bowlin combined for 3-of-4 free throws in the final 10 seconds. Giessen improved to 5-2 on the road with an 8-8 record for eighth place. Only the top five teams in the league have a better road record than Giessen. Vechta meanwhile lost their 10th in a row to fall to 1-15 - two games behind WALTER Tigers Tübingen and Basketball Löwen Braunschweig.
Jena upset continues Ludwigsburg’s up-and-down season
One of the most up-and-down teams thus far this season has been MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg who scored just 9 points in the fourth quarter in losing at home to Science City Jena 71-69 after leading much of the game. Ludwigsburg are still among the playoff ranks at 8-8 despite a 4-7 record in the last 11 games. Marcos Knight scored 18 points and Shaq Goodwin had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Jena while Wayne Bernhard hit all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, including the game winning jumper with 18 seconds left. Jena are 6-10 and just two games from the playoffs and more importantly five games from the relegation zone.
English saves SKYLINERS with buzzer-beater over Tübingen
FRAPORT SKYLINERS wasted a 22-point lead at WALTER Tigers Tübingen but came through with a thrilling buzzer-beater by new acquisition AJ English. Frankfurt scored the first 15 points in Tübingen and led by 22 points in the first quarter and still 21 points in the second quarter before Tübingen fought back into the game, taking the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Gary McGhee made one free throw with 1.52 seconds left to give Tübingen the lead 81-80. Then English came through with some magic with his sixth three-pointer of the game. SKYLINERS jumped to 6-10 while Tübingen, who got 20 points from Davion Berry, fell to 3-13 - just two spots from the drop zone.
Der Buzzer Beater von A.J. English zum Genießen pic.twitter.com/VNsB0sMvuW— FRAPORT SKYLINERS (@skyliners1999) December 30, 2016
Two derbies in TOP FOUR 2017 qualifiers
There will be two derbies in the fight for the TOP FOUR 2017 as the draw was made for the three qualifiers. easyCredit BBL undefeated leaders ratiopharm ulm will hit the road to Swabian rivals MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in the qualifiers while Brose Bamberg face off at Franconia neighbors medi bayreuth. The other of the January 21-22 qualifiers has Bayern Munich hosting Telekom Baskets. The three winners will join hosts ALBA BERLIN in the TOP FOUR 2017 from February 18-19 in Berlin.
Bamberg lock up Heckman until 2019
Brose Bamberg showed their commitment to Patrick Heckmann by extending their contract with the German international by one year until 2019. The 24-year-old small forward is in his second season in the easyCredit BBL after joining Bamberg from Boston College in 2015.
Vechta bring former All-Star Larry Gordon back to BBL
RASTA Vechta hope to have found reinforcements to stave off relegation as they signed two-time easyCredit BBL All-Star Larry Gordon. The 29-year-old Gordon played from 2012 to 2015 with Phoenix Hagen and spent last season with Eisbären Bremerhaven. He started the 2016-17 season with Sonic Boom KT in South Korea. Gordon’s arrival means the departure of Trevor Cooney, who only joined Vechta in November but failed to perform at the desired level.
Player of the Week
Eisbären Bremerhaven snapped a five-game losing streak by beating s.Oliver Würzburg 93-88 thanks to a great showing from Harper Kamp, who had an efficiency of 29 with 18 points from his 9-of-9 shooting to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. It was Bremerhaven’s first home win over Würzburg in five years.
German Top Five of the Week
G: Niklas Geske, RASTA Vechta
After being a regular in the Young Guns section over the past two years, it’s great to see Geske graduate to this section. The 22-year-old point guard played a season-high 25:48 minutes against GIESSEN 46ers and while he only scored 2 points - on just 1-of-6 shootings - he collected a career high 11 assists against just 3 turnovers before fouling out. Over the past four games, Geske has averaged 5.75 points, 9.75 assists and just 2.0 turnovers in 23.5 minutes a game.
G: Karsten Tadda, ratiopharm ulm
Tadda has picked up the slack with Per Günther out injured as he collected season highs with 10 points and 5 assists to go with 2 rebounds and 1 steal in a season-high 20:35 minutes against BG Göttingen.
F: Christian Standhardinger, RASTA Vechta
Standhardinger has been hard to leave off this list all season and he had another strong game against GIESSEN 46ers with 16 points on 8-of-11 shots while also picking up 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
F: Benjamin Lischka, GIESSEN 46ers
Lischka had a strong game for Giessen against RASTA Vechta in picking up 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting as well as 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
C: Johannes Thiemann, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg
Thiemann did not miss a shot in scoring 11 points on 2-of-2 shots and 7-of-7 free throws while also grabbing 5 rebounds and 1 steal.
Max Ugrai, 21, PF s.Oliver Würzburg
Ugrai went back to the bench against Eisbären Bremerhaven but was still productive in 14:27 minutes as he had 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal despite missing his only shot.
Joschka Ferner, 20, SF, ratiopharm ulm
Ferner collected 7 points as he hit all three of his shots and his one free throw while also grabbing 3 rebounds and dishing out 1 assist in 9:37 minutes against BG Göttingen.
Joanic Grüttner-Bacoul, 21, SG, BG Göttingen
The 21-year-old Grüttner-Bacoul got to play 15:28 minutes in Göttingen’s blowout loss against ratiopharm ulm and he picked up 1 rebound and 1 block while missing his three shots in the third game of his easyCredit BBL career.
Young Guns - Part II
Bayern Munich are close to bringing in one of the top young talents in all of European basketball as media reports in Serbia have 16-year-old prospect Marko Pecarski on his way to Bayern. The 2000-born Pecarski dominated the FIBA U16 European Championship 2016 with 26.6 points and 15.9 rebounds a game. The son of former EuroLeague champion Miroslav Pecarski has played most recently with Mega Leks.
Niklas Kiel did not start for FRAPORT SKYLINERS against WALTER Tigers Tübingen but the 19-year-old did pick up 7 points in shooting 1-of-3 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line while collecting 1 assist and 1 steal in 10:44 minutes.
Moritz Wagner has really started to take off in his second season with the Michigan Wolverines as he scored 12 points to go with 4 rebounds and 3 assists against Iowa on New Year’s Day. The 19-year-old Berlin native has scored in double digits in eight of the last nine games and is averaging 11.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in the first 14 games of the season. Wagner averaged 2.9 points and 1.6 rebounds during his freshman season at Ann Arbor.