De'Mon Brooks win thriller at buzzer / Ulm set new record / Ex-champ Chris Williams dies
— David Hein
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:
Ulm take place in league history
ratiopharm ulm took their place in easyCredit BBL history as they knocked off ALBA BERLIN 82-76 for their record 26th straight victory to start the season. The home win, which improved Ulm to 25-0 atop the league, saw Ulm eclipse the mark of 25 straight wins during the season by TuS Leverkusen, who won the 1969-70 title with their 25th straight triumph. The all-time mark for most wins in a row is held by ALBA BERLIN, who grabbed 32 wins spanning the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. Raymar Morgan collected 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists for Ulm, who led most of the second half after trailing for most of the first half. Berlin dropped their fifth game in the last six and are now 15-10 - just one-half game ahead of Telekom Baskets Bonn in fifth place.
Flashback to 1969-70
ratiopharm ulm broke the 47-year-old record but many readers might not really know what basketball in Germany looked like back then. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Bayern get revenge, beat tired Bamberg
ratiopharm ulm are the winners of the game day as they saw their lead in the league improve to two games over Brose Bamberg, who were flat and tired in losing 67-59 at FC Bayern Munich in a defensive battle. Nick Johnson came off the Munich bench to score 12 points and Bayern pulled away in the fourth quarter for their ninth straight win to move to 21-3 - 1.5 games behind Bamberg, who dropped to 23-2 but still own the tiebreaker advantage over Munich. Bamberg have a EuroLeague game on Tuesday at home against Baskonia before they host ratiopharm ulm in what could see Ulm essentially clinch home court advantage in the playoffs - though mathematically that would not yet be the case with an Ulm win.
Bayreuth win thriller at buzzer, stay clear in fourth place
While things are tightening up a bit in the top three spots, medi bayreuth seem destined to finish fourth after winning spectacularly 82-81 over WALTER Tigers Tübingen on De’Mon Brooks’ layup at the buzzer. Barry Stewart had given Tübingen the lead 81-80 on his wild three-pointer off the glass with 0.9 seconds left. But Brooks won it for Bayreuth, who picked up their third straight win to move to 18-6 - 3.5 games ahead of ALBA BERLIN - while Tübingen dropped their third straight after losing a 13-point lead in falling to 6-19.
Ludwigsburg overtake Oldenburg into seventh place
MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg have been fending off teams with sights set on the playoffs for weeks but now jumped into seventh place with an 80-78 home victory over Basketball Löwen Braunschweig. Jack Cooley came off the bench for 16 points and Johannes Thiemann had 13 points and 12 rebounds in Ludwigsburg’s fourth win in a row - which combined with EWE Baskets Oldenburg’s loss moved Ludwigsburg to 13-11 while Oldenburg are 13-12. Braunschweig, who cut an 18-point third quarter deficit to two points in the fourth, have now dropped seven straight and are just 4-20 and two games ahead of RASTA Vechta in the battle for the other relegation spot.
Vechta show life with derby win over Oldenburg
RASTA Vechta showed a sign of life in the easyCredit BBL by beating EWE Baskets Oldenburg 89-76 to snap a 17-game losing streak. Devin Searcy had 18 points and 8 rebounds as the leader of five Vechta players in double digit scoring. While Oldenburg lost their fourth straight to move to 13-12, Vechta are now 2-22 but just two games behind Basketball Löwen Braunschweig.
Bremerhaven drop 113 points on Bonn to snap losing streak
Eisbären Bremerhaven ended a seven-game losing streak as they dropped a season-high 113 points in a 113-103 win over Telekom Baskets Bonn. Jordan Hulls followed up his 30-point showing last week against GIESSEN 46ers with 28 points against Bonn, who beat Bremerhaven 98-93 in late November at home. Bremerhaven moved to 7-17 while Bonn are 14-10 - just one game ahead of MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in sixth place.
Ex-Skyliners star and league champion Chris Williams dies at age 36
The basketball world was rocked by the much-too-early death of former easyCredit BBL star Chris Williams at age 36. “The Big Smooth” - as Williams was known - guided FRAPORT SKYLINERS to the 2004 league title - the first in club history. Williams, who later would play in South Korea, Turkey, China and Iran before retiring in 2013, died due to blood clots going to his heart. The SKYLINERS held a minute of silence before their 81-67 win over BG Göttingen. The Weekly News sends condolences to Williams’ family and friends.
Bayern add point guard depth with Dru Joyce
FC Bayern Munich added some point guard depth for the rest of the season as they brought in veteran playmaker Dru Joyce. The 32-year-old Joyce had been playing with Belarussian club Zmoki Minsk but returns to the easyCredit BBL, where he played for ratiopharm ulm, TBB Trier, EWE Baskets Oldenburg, Basketball Löwen Braunschweig and s.Oliver Baskets. Joyce also was the league’s all-time assist king with 1,457 assists before WALTER Tigers Tübingen point guard Jared Jordan eclipsed his mark earlier this season.
Frankfurt, Fraport agree to four-year extension
FRAPORT SKYLINERS assured themselves planning for the future as the Frankfurt club and their name name sponsor, the Frankfurt airport operators Fraport, agreed to a four-year extension of their expiring contract. While the deal is a crucial one, the club will likely have to find a replacement for premium partner Mainova as the power supply company said last year they would drop their support.
Bamberg lock up captain Harris until 2020
Brose Bamberg continue to secure their roster for the long term as the reigning German champs signed their captain Elias Harris until 2020. The German international is the latest player to sign long term with Bamberg following Leon Radosevic, Patrick Heckmann and Nikos Zisis, who all signed deals until 2019.
Ludwigsburg bring back 2014-15 top scorer Kennedy
MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg have brought back the former easyCredit BBL scoring champion D.J. Kennedy (video highlights), signing the 27-year-old until the end of the season. Kennedy, who had been playing in China for Guangzhou Long-Lions, comes back to the team with whom he won the 2014-15 scoring crown with 18.4 points per game.
Tübingen extend deal with head coach McCoy
WALTER Tigers Tübingen are happy with the work of head coach Tyron McCoy and extended their deal with the 44-year-old until the end of the 2018-19 season. McCoy took over at Tübingen in December 2015 after Igor Perovic stepped down.
Player of the Week
Basketball Löwen Braunschweig lost at MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg but Braunschweig’s Dyshawn Pierre did all he could, picking up 27 points on 8-of-13 shots and 6-of-9 free throws to go with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block for an efficiency of 33.
German Top Five of the Week
G: Karsten Tadda, ratiopharm ulm
Tadda was perfect from the field as he made all four of his shots - including one three-pointer - and both of his free throws in scoring 11 points to go with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal against ALBA BERLIN.
F: Fabian Bleck, Eisbären Bremerhaven
Bleck continued his strong season with 13 points on 6-of-6 shots and 1-of-1 free throws while also collecting 4 rebounds and 1 assist for an efficiency of 18 against Telekom Baskets Bonn one day before his 24th birthday.
F: Florian Koch, Telekom Baskets Bonn
Koch scored a season-high 12 points against Eisbären Bremerhaven to go with 4 rebounds in 21:39 minutes off the bench.
F: Johannes Thiemann, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg
Thiemann played a major role in Ludwigsburg’s big win over Basketball Löwen Braunschweig with 13 points and 12 rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
C: Maik Zirbes, Bayern Munich
Zirbes had his best game thus far for Bayern with 10 points and 7 rebounds in 16:12 minutes against Brose Bamberg.
Stefan Ilzhöfer, 21, SF, FRAPORT SKYLINERS
Ilzhöfer played a season-high 19:59 minutes and hit 2-of-3 three-pointers for 6 points along with 2 rebounds and 3 assists for an efficiency of 10.
Niklas Geske, 22, PG, RASTA Vechta
Geske helped Vechta finally grab their second win of the year with 4 points on 2-of-5 shooting with 1 rebounds and 5 assists against EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
Mahir Agva, 20, C, FRAPORT SKYLINERS
Agva came off the bench for Frankfurt and had 3 points on 1-of-5 shots and 1-of-2 free throws against BG Göttingen. The big man also had 4 rebounds and 1 assist in the win.
Brose Bamberg talent Kay Bruhnke spent the week receiving congratulations as the 15-year-old was selected to participate at the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic International Game in Brooklyn next month. The German U16 international, who turns 16 in July, was one of 10 Europeans selected for the showcase after a weekend of workouts with the continent’s top 2001-born players in Barcelona. The youngster also got the recognition from Germany’s biggest basketball star, Dirk Nowitzki, who posted on Facebook: “I am proud that Kay Bruhnke was nominated and will represent Germany at the Jordan Classic.”