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Bayern, Berlin sweep into Finals re-match / Bray with ten three pointers / New coaches in Ulm and Braunschweig

Bayern, Berlin sweep into Finals re-match / Bray with ten three pointers / New coaches in Ulm and Braunschweig

— David Hein

FC Bayern Munich and ALBA BERLIN have swept way into a re-match of last season’s easyCredit BBL Finals by racing past in three games RASTA Vechta and EWE Baskets Oldenburg, respectively. ratiopharm ulm and Basketball Löwen Braunschweig meanwhile have named new head coaches for next season.

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:

TJ Bray show not enough as Bayern sweep past Vechta into Finals

FC Bayern Munich could not stop TJ Bray but they did enough against the rest of RASTA Vechta to win Game 3 of their semi-finals series 95-80 and complete a 3-0 sweep and return to the easyCredit BBL Finals. Bayern led 29-12 after 10 minutes and the gap was just two points late in the second quarter, but Vechta never challenged the rest of the way despite 38 points from Bray. Vladimir Lucic and Danilo Barthel scored 17 points each, Nihad Djedovic had 15 points and Stefan Jovic collected 14 points, 2 rebounds and 7 assists as Bayern shot 56.7 percent including 50 percent on three-pointers while committing just 12 turnovers and out-rebounding Vechta 34-26. Vechta connected on just 45.6 percent from the field - much of that coming from Bray, who nailed 10-of-13 three-pointers to go with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. Austin Hollins did add 14 points and 4 assists and Josh Young scored 10 points but the starting trio of Clint Chapman, Seth Hinrichs and Max DiLeo combined for just 6 points as Vechta's fairytale season came to an end. Bayern will host Game 1 of the Finals on Sunday, June 16.

Bayern steal Game 2 on road with big fourth quarter run

FC Bayern Munich took a commanding 2-0 lead in their semi-finals series with RASTA Vechta by winning 89-71 on the road thanks to a big fourth quarter run. Bayern held the hosts scoreless for 6:45 minutes in reeling off a 17-0 surge to start the final frame. Nihad Djedovic led the way with 13 points while Maodo Lo had 11 points, 4 assists and 3 steals, Petteri Koponen tallied 10 points and Devin Booker chipped in 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Bayern shot 57.1 percent from the field and forced 24 Vechta turnovers. The hosts did grab 17 offensive rebounds but in addition to the ball-handling issues, they also shot just 38.2 percent for the game. TJ Bray picked up 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, Josh Young scored 15 points and Seth Hinrichs added 11 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in the loss.

Berlin sweep past Oldenburg, set up re-match date with Bayern

ALBA BERLIN swept their way into the easyCredit BBL Finals and a re-match date with FC Bayern Munich with a 100-89 victory in Game 3 at EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Berlin never trailed in the game and it was an 11 point lead in the first quarter. The game was tied early in the fourth quarter until both Martin Hermannsson and Niels Giffey nailed two three-pointers as Berlin pulled away. Just like in Game 2, Berlin had six players in double figures, including four starters with Peyton Siva leading the way with 14 points, 3 rebounds, 10 assists and 2 steals. Johannes Thiemann had 14 points and 8 rebounds off the bench, Hermannsson, Landry Nnoko and Luke Sikma all scored 12 points and Rokas Giedraitis chipped in 10 points. Berlin, who shot 55.4 percent from the field including 48.3 percent from long range and dished out 28 assists, will face Bayern again for the title. The last time there was a re-match in the easyCredit BBL Finals was in 2005 when Bamberg and Frankfurt squared off a second straight year. Oldenburg shot just 31.8 percent for the game and had only 11 assists. Will Cummings collected 31 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals, Rasid Mahalbasic picked up 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists and Rickey Paulding added 13 points in the loss.

Berlin grab Game 2 at home, take 2-0 lead

ALBA BERLIN moved one win from the easyCredit BBL Finals by taking a 2-0 lead in their semi-finals series with EWE Baskets Oldenburg with a 79-68 home victory. The game was close most of the way - though Berlin had a 10-point lead in the third quarter. But Berlin used a 15-4 run in the fourth quarter to pull ahead for good. Rokas Giedraitis’ 13 points led six players in double figures including all five starters. Niels Giffey came off the bench for 12 points while Peyton Siva had 11 points and 5 assists, Landry Nnoko picked up 11 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks, Luke Sikma tallied 11 points, 7 rebounds and Martin Hermannsson chipped in 11 points and 5 assists. Berlin shot just 43.5 percent from the field but committed only 13 turnovers and grabbed 16 offensive rebounds while holding Oldenburg to 44.4 percent shooting and 23.8 percent from long range. Rasid Mahalbasic paced Oldenburg with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists while Will Cummings had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals and Rickey Paulding chipped in 16 points and 6 rebounds.

Player(s) of the Round(s)

Two rounds of games produced two Players of the Week - if you will. Game 2’s top performer was Landry Nnoko as the ALBA BERLIN big man had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and 3-of-6 free throws, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks for an efficiency of 22 against EWE Baskets Oldenburg. The top man from the Game 3 contests was RASTA Vechta’s TJ Bray, who tallied 38 points on 11-of-15 shooting including 10-of-13 three-pointers and 6-of-6 free throws, to go with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 1 block for an efficiency of 37 in the loss against FC Bayern Munich.

Ulm hire former EuroLeague champion Lakovic as new head coach

ratiopharm ulm have hired a former EuroLeague champion as their replacement for Thorsten Leibenath as Slovenian Jaka Lakovic will make his debut as head coach. The 40-year-old Lakovic, who won the 2010 EuroLeague crown as well as four Greek league titles and two Spanish ACB trophies as a player, will be in charge of a professional side for the first time. In 2015, Lakovic took over as head coach of Barcelona’s youth team. He was hired as Igor Kokoskov’s assistant coach for the Slovenian national team in 2016 and helped his homeland to the surprising FIBA EuroBasket 2017 crown. Lakovic served as assistant coach at Bilbao in 2017-18 and held the same post at Joventut Badalona last season. Now Lakovic comes to Ulm on a three-year deal as the main man on the sidelines.

Rubit among four players leaving Bamberg

After a disappointing season and first round exit in the easyCredit BBL playoffs, Brose Bamberg have started to clean house, bidding farewell to four players. Bamberg terminated the contracts of Augustine Rubit, Patrick Heckmann and Arnoldas Kulboka and the club also announced that Ricky Hickman will be leaving the club.

Braunschweig hire Ulm assistant Strobl as new head coach

Basketball Löwen Braunschweig have also found the man they hope can get them back to the playoffs as they signed Pete Strobl as the replacement for Frank Menz. The 41-year-old American Strobl arrives in Braunschweig on a two-year contract with an option for a third after serving the past three seasons as assistant coach at ratiopharm ulm. Strobl, a father of four children who runs a skills academy in the United States, will be making his professional head coaching debut.

Frankfurt extend Kiel until 2022, Clarance also will stay on board

FRAPORT SKYLINERS have locked up two upper-level talents as they signed long-term deals with Niklas Kiel and Elijah Clarance. The 21-year-old Kiel still had a deal for next season but penned an extension until 2022 with an option for the 2022-23 season. The move shows Frankfurt’s continued commitment to the power forward talent, who has been dealing with concussion issues the last two seasons. SKYLINERS and the 20-year-old Swedish talent Clarance meanwhile agreed to a deal for two seasons plus an option for a third year. The club also announced that 21-year-old center Armin Trtovac will leave the team and sign with MLP Academics Heidelberg of the ProA.

Ludwigsburg add MBC duo Brase, Brembly; see four players leave

MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg had a busy week with the signing of two players while also announcing four players will leave the club. Hans Brase and David Brembly come to Ludwigsburg from SYNTAINICS MBC with both the 25-year-old Brase and the 26-year-old Brembly signing on a one-year deals. The four players leaving the club are Karim Jallow (video on the right), Donatas Sabeckis, Aaron Best and Quirin Emanga. Jallow and Sabeckis are returning from their loans to their previous clubs, FC Bayern Munich and Zalgiris Kaunas, respectively. And Emanga will head to the United States to enrol at Northeastern University.

Crailsheim keep Russell and Herrera, add head coach’s brother as assistant

HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim are working hard to lock up their roster for next season as they extended the contracts of two important players while also filling a vacant assistant coach position. Crailsheim agreed to a two-year extension with 25-year-old point guard DeWayne Russell, who averaged 11.3 points and 4.3 assists last year. The team also announced a one-year extension with German-Chilean shooting guard Sebastian Herrera, who picked up 4.5 points and 1.2 rebounds in 14 minutes a game. Crailsheim also hired a new assistant coach to replace the departing Vesa Vertio, who has left to become head coach at Helskini Seagulls in Finland. The new assistant will be Joonas Iisalo, the brother of head coach Tuomas Iisalo.

Göttingen, Kramer agree to one-year extension

BG Göttingen and Dennis Kramer agreed to terms for another season together. The 27-year-old German, who has been with Göttingen since 2017, averaged 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds last season in 17 minutes a game. The club also has an option for the 2020-21 season.

Müller will head to Bundesliga with Hamburg

Malik Müller will remain with promoted side Hamburg Towers for the move to the easyCredit BBL. The 24-year-old guard, who has played in Germany’s top flight for Bamberg, Göttingen and Ludwigsburg, extended his deal with Hamburg for another season.

Bayreuth keep German youngster Wenzl until 2022

medi bayreuth continue their hopes of relying on German players as they signed an extension with Nico Wenzl until 2022. The 18-year-old has not played much in the easyCredit BBL but head coach Raoul Korner hopes to bring Wenzl into the senior team more next season.

Mädrich retires after 12 seasons in the Bundesliga

Dirk Mädrich is calling it a career as the 35-year-old announced his retirement after having played a total of 12 seasons in the easyCredit BBL and 16 years as a professional. The center played for seven different clubs in Germany’s top flight from 2001 to 2017, starting with Braunschweig to Bamberg, Artland Dragons, Giessen, Vechta, Bonn and Oldenburg. Mädrich, who also played one season each in France and Greece, did not play last season after playing the 2017-18 campaign with RASTA Vechta in the ProA. He also earned eight appearances with the German national team.

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