The Final Tournament 2020: Three weeks of basketball and … quarantine, testing and disinfectant
— 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:
When we last saw each other …
It’s been a while since basketball fans had reason to be really excited but we are there again as the 2019-20 season-ending tournament will tip off this weekend on June 6 in Munich’s Audi Dome. Ten of the 17 teams in the easyCredit BBL have decided to take part in the tournament and the Bavarian state government officials have approved the safety and hygiene concept proposed by the league and now it’s … let the games begin.
The ten teams have been broken up into two groups: Group A consisting of BG Göttingen, EWE Baskets Oldenburg, FC Bayern Munich, HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim and ratiopharm ulm with Group B made up of ALBA BERLIN, Brose Bamberg, FRAPORT SKYLINERS, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg and RASTA Vechta. There will be two games per day with the teams playing all the other teams in their groups before the top four of each group advance to the playoffs. All three rounds of the playoffs - quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals - will be played out over two legs with an aggregate score winner (full schedule)
Testing, disinfectant and distance
The league put together an extensive hygiene concept for the tournament (second PDF right here). Here are some of the main points. There will be regular testing - including all teams upon arrival in Munich and in intervals ranging from every two to five days. Hand disinfectant dispensers have been installed throughout the hotel, the Audi Dome and the training facility to make sure all players and staff keep their hands clean. All of those participating in the tournament - teams or officials - will be broken down into two groups: active and passive with the players, coaches and referees being the main active members while the table officials, league representatives and media/broadcast members being the passive individuals. And interaction between the two groups should be limited as much as possible.
Three weeks of quarantine for the players and staffs
All of the members of all the teams - players, coaches and staff - as well as league officials, referees and broadcast workers will be quarantined in a hotel together to limit any contact from outside individuals and limit any chance of spread of the Covid-19. No family visits are allowed during the course of the event.
What happens if …
The question on everybody’s mind is probably what happens if someone tests positive for Covid-19. In the case of a positive test, the individual will be immediately isolated and tracking will follow to determine necessary further testing of others in the bubble.
After the Coronavirus outbreak, many foreigners returned home to be with their families and some of those players decided against coming back to Germany for the final tournament. To help compensate for the losses, the league allowed teams to add two new players for the tournament. ALBA BERLIN, Brose Bamberg and EWE Baskets Oldenburg are the only three who did not bring in any new players.
ALBA BERLIN (Regular season: 14-5, 4th place)
Berlin will be hoping for the seasonal double after winning the MagentaSport BBL Pokal German Cup. Aito Garcias Reneses and Berlin management decided against adding new players after reserve guard Makai Mason did not return from the United States due to personal reasons while the team will not have injured Tim Schneider and his energy off the bench. But Aito will have Stefan Peno back after a long rehab process and the rest of the Berlin bunch will be hungry for the title.
Roster*: Lorenz Brenneke, Tyler Cavanaugh, Malte Delow, Marcus Eriksson, Rokas Giedraitis, Niels Giffey, Martin Hermannsson, Jonas Mattisseck, Kresimir Nikic, Landry Nnoko, Kenneth Ogbe, Stefan Peno, Luke Sikma, Peyton Siva, Johannes Thiemann
BG Göttingen (11-10, 9th)
Göttingen were in a fight to make the playoffs and decided to participate in the final tournament and now can even dream of the title. But head coach Johan Roijakkers will be missing a couple of key pieces with Kyan Anderson, Dylan Osetkowski and Adam Waleskowski all not in Munich. The team ended up bringing in point guard Leon Williams, Erol Ersek on loan from FC Bayern Munich and Dutch center Jito Kok. The Austrian Ersek has a German U23 double license so he does not count towards to two-player addition limit for the tournament. Williams, who played with Göttingen from 2016 to 2018, will be especially important since Anderson led Göttingen in points and assists.
Roster*: Terry Allen, Mihajlo Andric, Kevin Bryant, Erol Ersek, Bennet Hundt, Jito Kok, Dennis Kramer, Elias Lasisi, Dominic Lockhart, Mathis Mönninghoff, Marvin Omuvwie, Alex Ruoff, Leon Williams
Brose Bamberg (12-9, 7th)
Bamberg will not have their Freak City fans on site in Munich as they shoot for league title number 10 - and the first in the Roel Moors era. The head coach will not have Bryce Taylor or Louis Olinde but the core of the team remains in tact - one that underperformed expectations in the Basketball Champions League, where they failed to get out of the group stage. The team did not add any new players for the tournament, but they were still getting used to Jordan Crawford, who had played only the final two games in the league before the Coronavirus outbreak and will be needed to score.
Roster*: Jordan Crawford, Elias Harris, Marvin Heckel, Daniel Keppeler, Paris Lee, Assem Marei, Tre McLean, Retin Obasohan, Moritz Plescher, Christian Sengfelder, Mateo Seric, Kameron Taylor, Nelson Weidemann
EWE Baskets Oldenburg (13-7, 5th)
Oldenburg were up and down this season and now focus on adding a second league trophy after the 2008-09 season. Head coach Mladen Drijencic still has the main core, missing only two reserves in Kevin McClain and Justin Sears. Oldenburg did not add any new players especially for the tournament but they brought in Ian Hummer just before the suspension of the season as the exciting forward played just one game and can be a big factor for the team’s hopes.
Roster*: Robin Amaize, Nathan Boothe, Robert Drijencic, Braydon Hobbs, Jacob Hollatz, Ian Hummer, Marcel Kessen, Tyler Larson, Rasid Mahalbasic, Armani Moore, Rickey Paulding, Philipp Schwethelm, Filip Stanic, Karsten Tadda
FC Bayern Munich (19-2, 1st)
Bayern will be aiming for a three-peat and will have the home court advantage - more just knowing the dynamics of the Audi Dome since there will not be any fans. But head coach Oliver Kostic will be without two of the team’s biggest leaders as Greg Monroe did not come back from the United States and Nihad Djedovic - the MVP of the Finals last season - is out injured. Monroe led the team in scoring, rebounds and steals while Djedovic was third in scoring and second in steals. Bayern did go out and add German national team guard Ismet Akpinar for the tournament, but the story will be how they can overcome the absence of especially Monroe.
Roster*: Ismet Akpinar, Danilo Barthel, T.J. Bray, Diego Flaccadori, Jason George, Sasha Grant, Alex King, Petteri Koponen, Mathias Lessort, Maodo Lo, Vladimir Lucic, Leon Radosevic, Matej Rudan, Zan Mark Sisko, Paul Zipser
FRAPORT SKYLINERS (6-15, 14th)
Frankfurt have new life after a season to forget - with just six wins in 21 games. Head coach Sebastian Gleim - who received news that the man he was filling in for Gordie Herbert will not be coming back next season - not only has his main weapons back with Lamont Jones and Tez Robertson, but the team also brought in for the tournament the two-time German league Defensive Player of the Year Yorman Polas Bartolo. Big man Leon Kratzer is injured and it’s unclear if he can play so Frankfurt added Lithuania talent Gytis Masiulis. Not with the team in Munich will be Matt Mobley, Daniel Schmidt and Darius Carter.
Roster*: Yorman Polas Bartolo, Richard Freudenberg, Shaquille Hines, Lamont Jones, Aaron Kayser, Leon Kratzer, Gytis Masiulis, Matt McQuaid, Joe Rahon, Quantez Robertson, Len Schoormann, Akeem Vargas, Marco Völler, Bruno Vrcic
HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim (15-6, 3rd)
Crailsheim must be thrilled to have a end-of-season tournament as they were the magical team of the season with a 15-6 record and third place. Head coach Tuomas Iisalo will be missing Aaron Jones, Quincy Ford and Jan Span - Jones and Ford both double-digit scorers and Span the team’s second-best assist man. But Crailsheim, who added David Brembly and Marvin Ogunsipe, still have much of their balanced attack as Javontae Hawkins, Sebastian Herrera, Jeremy Morgan and DeWayne Russell all scored in double figures as well. Can the magic continue?
Roster*: Fabian Bleck, David Brembly, Liam Carpenter, Javontae Hawkins, Sebastian Herrera, Aleksa Kovacevic, Dejan Kovacevic, Jeremy Morgan, Marvin Ogunsipe, DeWayne Russell, Maurice Stuckey, Sören Urbansky
MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (17-4, 2nd)
Ludwigsburg were having a great season, dropping just four games for second place before the break for Coronavirus. Head coach John Patrick will desperately miss his leading scorer and assist man Khadeen Carrington, who did not return and neither did double-digit scoring big man Tanner Leissner and energy source Konstantin Konga. But Ludwigsburg brought in Teyvon Myers, who was the leading scorer this season for JobStairs GIESSENS 46ers, as well as Zamal Nixon, who averaged 13.7 points and 4.1 assists and 1.4 steals in the ProA.
Roster*: Hanse Brase, Radii Caisin, Christian von Finte, Lukas Herzog, Ariel Hukporti, Cameron Jackson, Marcos Knight, Teyvon Myers, Zamal Nixon, Jaleen Smith, Nick Weiler-Babb, Thomas Wimbush, Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann
RASTA Vechta (12-9, 6th)
Vechta finished off their magical run last season with a limited rotation in the playoffs. Well, head coach Pedro Calles will need his men to come up with another such performance. Sure, Vechta do have leading scorer Trevis Simpson, Josh Young, top big man Ishmail Wainwright and defensive stalwart Max DiLeo. But Calles will not have Robin Christen, Jordan Davis, Zabian Dowdell, Kamari Murphy, Justin Raffington and Steve Vasturia. Vechta were able to bring in Matic Rebec from Cibona Zagreb and Jaroslaw Zyskowski from Stelmet Zielona Gora, but this will be a tall task for this team.
Roster*: Max DiLeo, Philipp Herkenhoff, Michael Kessens, Matic Rebec, Jarelle Reischel, Trevis Simpson, Luc Van Slooten, Ishmail Wainright, Josh Young, Jaroslaw Zyskowski
ratiopharm ulm (10-10, 10th)
Ulm entered this season with the dawning of a new era with Jaka Lakovic as new head coach. The team had its ups and downs and took a hit in January when they lost the league’s leading scorer Zoran Dragic to the EuroLeague. For the tournament in Munich, Lakovic will not have his leading playmaker Killian Hayes, who has decided to stay in the United States and prepare for the NBA Draft. Also not on hand will be Seth Hinrichs and Grant Jerrett. But Ulm were able to sign BG Göttingen big man Dylan Osetkowski, who received a German passport and signed on to remain with the club; and also bring in Thomas Klepeisz from Basketball Löwen Braunschweig.
Roster*: Archie Goodwin, Per Günther, Tyler Harvey, Patrick Heckmann, Thomas Klepeisz, Andreas Obst, Dylan Osetkowski, Christoph Philipps, Gavin Schilling, Max Ugrai, Derek Willis
*The deadline to finalize rosters is June 4.
All games on MagentaSport - six on SPORT1
Fans can watch all the games live online as MagentaSport will be streaming the whole tournament. In addition, six games will be shown on SPORT1, including the game between MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg and Brose Bamberg on June 11 and the second game of the finals on June 28.
Public viewing - drive-in theater style
Fans will not be allowed into the Audi Dome for the games and like everyone, they should also practice social distancing, meaning watching the games in a bar with friends might not be the best solution either. The answer for some fans? Public view in drive-in theater style. Some clubs such as BG Göttingen and FC Bayern Munich will be showing the games in style of drive-in theater - including the audio coming through the car radio (or a cell phone).
Das Final-Turnier 2020 in München: Modus mit Playoff-Feeling und erhöhtem Überraschungspotenzial
Litauischer Big Man fürs Final-Turnier 2020: Gytis Masiulis komplettiert Frankfurts Kader
Spielplan für das easyCredit BBL Final-Turnier 2020 steht / 35 Spiele ab dem 06. Juni / Finale am 28. Juni
Nationalspieler Ismet Akpinar verstärkt Bayern beim Final-Turnier / Greg Monroe und Nihad Djedovic nicht dabei
Frankfurt verstärkt sich mit Yorman Polas Bartolo / Vertrag mit Daniel Schmidt ausgelaufen