A Gordon Herbert has the gift of making the best out of the talent that he has and forming successful teams as he did with the Opel Skyliners in 2004 and Deutsche Bank Skyliners in 2010. Bamberg scout Brendan Rooney has the talent of finding exactly the right players for the Brose baskets Bamberg as he proved with Kyle Hines and Marcus Slaughter giving the needed push to help the five time champion win four additional titles in 2011 and 2012 or John Patrick finding no name NCAA players and shaping them into even better players helping them advance to better European teams as was witnessed with guys like Taylor Rochestie, Chris Oliver or Dwayne Anderson in the last years. He also was responsible for discovering the talent of a Jason Boone who flew from the Regionaliga to the Beko BBL in one swift motion in 2008. Artland Dragon head coach Stefan Koch has been known as being a top coach in the Beko BBL winning the cup with the Opel Skyliners in 2000, leading a lesser talented Giessen 46er team in 2005 to the semi finals getting American Chuck Eidson rolling on the way to becoming a Euroleague player and helping the Artland Dragons go to the playoffs the last two years. He is also heralded as a strategical mastermind on the court. In the last years he has also displayed a knack for bringing in the right young point guard who promt became one of the top offensive players that season. With Tyrese Rice and David Holston, his hunch was right. Can three be a charm with Demond Mallet (186-G-78, agency: Higher Vision Sports, college: McNeese St.). With Mallet, Koch didnt attempt any risk by bringing in an unknown, young and inexperienced point guard, but a well known European basketball player who won titles with Rhein Energy Cologne, winning the 2008 ULEB Cup with NBA player Rickey Rubio and playing for a team like Macabbi Tel Aviv. Koch didnt gamble with Mallet, but just relied on common sense, the right feeling and knowing what Mallet can do in the past. The question is can mallet bring a second title to Quackenbruck after their last title cup win in 2008 in Hamburg? One can only wonder where Stefan Koch gets this special feeling for finding that special point guard? Each coach has their own way of finding the right talent. Koch just has a good eye for quality. He just knows which players will make his team successful. I also think bringing in Kristaps Valters was the right choice. I like Valters. He plays bold and is always dangerous. You can never leave him out of your eyes, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss.
After winning their first BEKO BBL title with the cup in 2008 against EnBW Luwdigsburg in Hamburg in 2008, it seemed like the Artland Dragons were on a positive way with possible future hardware, but instead the club might secretly have been dreaming of the glory day in Hamburg where Darius Hall was in the middle of a swarm of Artland fans celebrating the win, because ever since that big title, the team has been looking for another success and missed the playoffs two seasons in a row. The Artland Dragons have been about as unlucky not reaching the playoffs the two seasons as a Formula one driver is racing the race of their life and then dropping out because the engine dies in the last lap as German Sebastian Vettel recently had to accept or poor cute lovable polar bear Knut who is being shunned by three female bears including his mother who cant remember he is her kid. In 2009, they had to win the last game and did crushing Frankfurt 90-69, but not reaching the playoffs because Paderborn won on the last day against BG Goettingen and in 2010, they made a last comeback winning the last four games, but losing their last game 82-80 to the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven a game they had to win missing the playoffs again. "I think that in 2010, Artland was lacking a guard who could control the team until the end. Ross was more of a scoring guard and Price could of done job, but he came to late in season to turn it around. The chemistry was lacking too and it seemed like players had their own agenda", stressed Quentin Pryor.
In 2010-2011,The Artland Dragons finally reached the Beko BBL playoffs again after a two year drought where they should of made it finishing the season with a record of 23-11 and landing in fourth place. They went the distance in the Beko BBL playoffs in the quarters beating a feisty Braunschweig team where the yhad to come from 2-1 down to win and in the semi finals gave a very hard fight against 4 time Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg bowing out 83-55 in game five. During the season, they had three three game winning streaks and one five game winning streak. They finished the season strong heading in to the Beko BBL playoffs winning eight of their last 10 games. They were unable to beat Bamberg in the regular season, but lost twice only by a combined score of 8 points. They were able to beat Alba Berlin once, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven and BG Goettingen. One thing that The Artland Dragons improved on was not getting lost on defense. We didn't lose our defensive focus when we weren't scoring on the offensive end. Earlier in the year, when we would miss shots, our defensive intensity would go down. Later we are able to move on to the next play, without thinking about our past mistakes", stressed ex Artland Dragon guard Bryan Bailey. In that season their strength was their speed and ability to score at a high pace. If you allowed them to play this then they can score 80 points plus. A hidden strength is that they were a very confident team and feel and play as if they were the best team in the league", warned Kyle Hines. Another strength of the team was their depth, they were deep at each position and continued to get better. The weakness if there had to be one is just being consistent but they were doing that late in the season", said John Bynum.
Last season, the Artland Dragons reached the Beko BBL playoffs for a second straight season after missing them twice with successful ratiopharm Ulm head coach Thorsten Leibenath in 2009 and 2010. Last season the Artland Dragons finished in fourth place with a record of 24-10. They were led by David Holston who was only 167cm, but played with a huge heart and like he was a big 195cm guard not being intimidated by the bigger players. The club played pretty solid the whole season having two five games and four game winning streaks in the season. Their biggest wins of the season was against FC Bayern Munich at home 86-83 at home where David Holston had an eye to eye shooting clinic with Je kel Foster that was only out done by the famous Larry Bird-Dominique Wilkins shoot out in the 1988 NBA playoffs. The Artland Dragons also swept the season series with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. Koch once again formed a very competitive team around Holston with guys like David Fenn, Nathan Peavy, Brandon Thomas, Adam Hess and Bryan Bailey. In the palyoffs, the Artland Dragons squashed the title dreams of FC Bayern Munich winning in five games. Who could forget the spectacular win in Munich where they had no David Holston who had been suspended for a game. In the semi finals, they lost 3-0 to the Brose Baskets Bamberg who just rolled over the Quackenbruck team winning by more than 74 points. It seemed like the spanking of the holy mighty FC Bayern Munich had been their highlight and they just ran out of gas against the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the playoffs.
After two consecutive seasons in the Beko BBL playoffs the only goal for the Artland Dragons is a return, annoying the other top teams and possibly sneaking into the Beko BBL final. The two biggest loses for the team were David Holston and Nathan Peavy. It is still difficult to understand why they didnt try to hold Holston who went back to Turkey where he had started his professional team, but Koch possibly already had mallet in mind to bring that extra needed experience to the team. Peavy left to join 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin. He had played consistently in his time with the Dragons and will be dearly missed. The club also lost players like Bryan Bailey, Adam Hess, Darren fenn and Brandon Thomas. Despite so many going, the Artland Dragons have presented the league another very strong team this season. Joining Mallet in a top basketball ensemble will be Bryce Taylor possibly the second most important signing after Mallet, because of his offensive and defensive versatility, unending energy and never losing mentality. Andrew Drevo is back in the Beko BBL and will present mismatches at the position four with his stretching the defense. Koch also brought in Kristaps Valters for the injured Mallet who played two seasons with Don Beck in Oldenburg and has been a consistent performer in Europes strongest league ACB in Spain. He also brought in talented youngsters Marquez Haynes who played in the ACB who will bring athletic power to the guard position and Sergio Kerusch who is starting his second professional season after having played in Greece last season. Petar Popovic is a rugged big man that has oodles of experience and will bring physical stability to the boards. The team also brought in German Ben Spoeler. The team kept ex Skyliner Anthony King, versatile guard Johannes Strasser and Germans Guido Grunheid and Acja Njei. The biggest strength of the 2008 cup winner again will be their deep roster and unlimited offensive power. If the Artland Dragons can combine that with a willingness to defend then they will be able to beat any team on any night. The only thing that could stand in the way of the Artland Dragons is underachieving. They are so talented, but will need to bring it to the table every night. Koch is known for forming formidable chemistry in his teams and will do it again with this gang. Stefan Koch has done a good job again finding the right players. He always finds the right players. He knows how to find well functioning teams. Bryce Taylor was a very important pick up. The Artland Dragons will be a top team and play at the top, stressed basketball expert Steven Klauss.
The Frankfurt Skyliners have had unfond memories to playing the Artland Dragons as both having a 7-7 record since 2005 and during 2005-2007 Frankfurtlosing all four games including being outscored in the Artland arena 172-129. However, the tide turned for the better from 2007-2009 as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners had a 3-1 record. Four years ago, they celebrated a very big emotional win 87-75 winning in overtime as captain Pascal Roller sparked Frankfurt to the win with 26 points. two seasons ago on the last day, Frankfurt lacked spirit and were beaten in every phase of the game losing 90-69. In 2009-2010, the team lost a thriller 77-76 in Artland as Frankfurt staged one of their famous comebacks despite a late Pascal Roller three pointer, it wasnt enough as they lost. Frankfurt was able to win at home 77-65 as Pascal Roller scored 20 points. Frankfurt won their first show down in 2010-2011 on the road winning 82-56 coming out of half time with a 24-8 run to easily win. Frankfurt was led by AJ Moye with 18 points and six rebounds and fans will remember a crashing dunk by ex NBA player Roger Powell. Frankfurt also won their home encounter 83-72 as Dashaun Wood had a Derrick Rose type of game making 29 points, 9 assists, five rebounds and four steals. The team lost a meaningless cup game in Bamberg against Artland where both teams played for third place and Frankfurt was without Dashaun Wood. Last season, both teams played a defensive classic in Frankfurt as Artland won 49-44. Frankfurt returned to Artland winning 66-60 as Jimmy Mckinney led the scoring with 15 points and ex NBA player Jermario Davidson had 13 points, six rebounds and six blocks.
In the second game of the season, both teams will have a lot to prove as both teams stunk up the house on the road. The Artland Dragons were routed in Berlin 94-62 as they shot only 21% from outside and had a whopping 21 turnovers. The Artland Dragons will be returning home and are always very difficult to beat there. They didnt show very much offensive power in Berlin and werent on the same defensive page as Stefan Koch. The Fraport Skyliners lost 74-56 and never found their offensive rhythm being stifled by the Ludwigsburg aggressive defense and also not showing their routine defense that they are accustomed to. We are all mad about this performance in Ludiwgsburg. We will go back to practice and see what we did wrong. We have to get Peacock integrated. We will have to play a way better game on offense and defense and let our defense spark our offense, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein. That will be a tough game in Artland. Frankfurt will have to play top defense and beat Artland with their quickness, warned Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg guard Wayne Bernard.
The Artland Dragons are led by Demond Mallet. Mallet is a 34 year old 186cm guard from Louisiana that has the distinction of being a cousin of Shaq. He played at Mcneese State and turned professional in 2001 and played for Braunschweig leading the team to the playoffs. With his scoring ability, he quickly went to Bamberg where he was able to become one of the top Americans playing in Germany at that time. He won the Beko BBL title with Bamberg in 2005. He then went to Cologne helping them win the cup in 2007. His biggets success was winning the 2008 ULEB Cup with Joventut Badalona with German Jan Jagla. In the last years, he has played in Turkey, Belgium and Israel. Last season he played for Belgacom Spirou (Belgium-D1, starting five): 26 games: Score-3 (15.1ppg), 2.7rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 84.0%; Euroleague: 12 games: Score-4 (16.6ppg), 2.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 71.0%; in Dec.'11 moved to Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv (Israel-Premier League): Israeli League: 4 games: 3.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg; Euroleague: 10 games: 4.6ppg; Adriatic League: 12 games: 6.3ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 87.5%, He is a five time Beko BBL allstar winning the MVP in 2007. He was the Beko BBL player of the year in 2002 and 2003 and was the Belgium league MVP in 2011. The team also brought in 26 year old 196cm shooting guard Bryce Taylor last season who hails from San Diego, California. He is the son of former NBA player Brian Taylor. He is a great sharpshooter with an aggressive dribble drive and has a keen understanding of the game. He played at Oregon from 2004-2008. In his senior year at Oregon, he averaged 12.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3Pts: 38.2%, FT: 82.3% in 30 games. Three seasons ago, he turned professional and played in Italy for Premiata Montegranaro playing 30 games: and averaging 13.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.6spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 82.6%. In 2009-2010 in Bonn, he played 6 Eurocup games: 18.5ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 36.4%; German League: 34 games: 12.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 81.4%. In 2010, he played NBA Summer league for the Indiana Pacers. In 2010-2011 for Alba Berlin Taylor played EuroCup: 11 games: 7.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 83.9%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 5 games: 0.8ppg; German League: 49 games: 7.8ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 76.0%. Last season for Alba Berlin he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 9.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg; EuroCup: 12 games: 9.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 80.0%; German League: 36 games: 11.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 82.4%.
The team also signed Andrew Drevo to a short term contract. Drevo is no unknown player in the Beko BBL as he has played three and a half seasons in the Beko BBL. Drevo is a 31 year old 202cm forward from Lincoln, Nebraska. He has good size and can run the floor while adding a solid presence in the paint. An all-around player, Drevo can pass well inside and has the ability to step outside the arc, which will create matchup problems for opposing defenses.He played at Nebraska (NCAA) from 2002-2004 and was a teammate of Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg center John Turek. Before coming to Germany to play, he gained experience in countries like Sweden and France. He played for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig from 2007-2009. He then played for Sant Josep Girona (Spain-LEB Gold): 20 games: 10.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 65.2%,. He played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven helping them reach the 2010 semi finals before losing in five hard fought games to the Deutsch Bank Skyliners. Last season, he played for the Iowa Energy (D-League): 52 games: 11.3ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 87.3%. The team picked up Kristaps Valters who is a 31 year old 190cm guard from Latvia that is a good point guard. Quick and good ballhandler. Likes fast breaks. Can pass the ball and good court penetration. The Beko BBL remembers him best from his two seasons with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg from 2004-2006. In the 2005-2006 season, he played 34 games: 13.2ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 40.3%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 46.7%. He already played for Efes Pilsen Istanbul as a 19 year old. Since 2006, he has played two seasons in the top Italian league and the last four years in the ACB in Spain. Last season, he played for Unicaja Malaga (Spain-ACB, starting five): Euroleague: 13 games: 8.2ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 72.2%; Spanish League: 29 games: 9.4ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT-3 (47.3%), FT: 81.9%. He has been a member of the Latvian national team and played at the European Championships in Belgrade -05: 3 games: 11.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 28.6%, 3FGP: 30%, FT: 91.7%. He also played at the European Championships in Poland -09: 8 games: 9.5ppg, 4.9rpg, 4.0apg, FGP: 36.7%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 62.1%. The team also brought in experienced 33 year old 211cm Petar Popovic from Serbia. He is a very experienced center, who knows ho to play back-to-the basket and has good fundamentals. He isn' t an explosive leaper, neither a shot-blocker, and probably he grabs less rebounds than expected, but he' s a good inside presence defensively and has enough soft hands to score in double digits any night.. He already got experience at age 22 joining top team Hemofarm Vrsac playing there for four years. In the last years he has played for teams like Benneton Treviso, MMT Estudiantes Madrid, and Spartak St.Petersburg. Last season, he played for Crvena Zvezda Beograd (A League, starting five): Adriatic League: 25 games: 11.2ppg, 5.3rpg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 77.2%; Serbian League: 21 games: 11.1ppg, 4.0rpg, FGP: 55.0%, FT: 58.5%. He has won five titles in his career the biggest being the 2008 ULEB cup with Demond mallet at Badalona Joventut. He also played at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
The club also signed 25 year old 191cm guard Marquez Haynes from Irving Texas. He played at Boston College from 2005-2007 and finished his NCAA career with Texas Arlington in 2010. In his senior year, he played 30 games: ScoreNCAA-3 (22.6ppg), 4.3rpg, 3.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 74.6%. As a rookie he played together with ex Skyliner Ilian Evtimov for ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA, starting five): 33 games: 14.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.9apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 73.1%. Last season, he played for C.B. Gran Canaria 2014 (Spain-ACB, starting five): EuroCup: 8 games: 11.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 50.0%; Spanish League: 34 games: 10.9ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 79.1%. Recently he played NBA Summer league with AirTran Orlando Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder): 2 games: 2.0ppg, 1.0apg. He reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2006, won the French cup in 2011 with Chalon and is a member of the Georgian national team. Sergio Kerush is a 23 year old 195cm forward from Memphis, Tennessee that also has the German nationality. He played at Western Kentucky. As a senior he played 32 games: 15.6ppg, 7.9rpg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 64.4%. Last season as rookie he played for Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1): EuroCup: 12 games: 7.4ppg, 5.8rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 66.7%; Greek League: 26 games: 7.5ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 61.2%. The team also brought in 24 year old 206cm German Ben Spoeler. He started his basketball career in 2oo3 with herten. He then played for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen from 2004-2010 getting into five Beko BBL games. He played two seasons in Paderborn and last season played 24 games: 6.1ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 65.6%.
Anthony King is a 27 year old 206cmpower forward/center from Durham, North Carolina. He is back in the Beko BBL after playing in Cyprus and Greece the last two years. This will be his second season for the Artland Dragons. He gives the team an additional scoring threat in the post as well as rebounding, is a physical performer who doesnt mind mixing it up down low and gives the team added toughness in the paint. He played at Miami, FL (NCAA) from 2003-2008 playing 34 games in his senior year averaging 7.1ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 43.1%, FT: 68.9%. He played for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners in his rookie season. In 2009-2010, he played for InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-Division A, starting five): Score-5 (236 pts), Reb-1 (148 rbs), Blocks-2 (24 blocks). Last season, he remained with InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-Division A, starting five): Cypriot League: EuroChallenge: 8 games: 17.0ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-1 (2.0bpg), FGP: 53.6%, FT: 76.2%; Cyprus League: 16 games: 14.3ppg, Reb-2 (10.0rpg), 1.1apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-2 (1.8bpg), FGP: 54.1%, 3PT-3 (50.0%), FT: 76.8%; Playoffs: 10 games: 14.2ppg, 10.4rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.4%, FT:80%, after winning the championship moved in Apr.'11 to Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1, starting five): 9 games: 8.1ppg, 5.8rpg, FGP: 50.8%, FT: 57.9%. He was won the double in Cyprus with InterCollege Etha Engomis. %. Last season, he played EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 3.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0bpg; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 10.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 62.0%, FT: 81.8%; German League: 36 games: 9.9ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 80.2% 30 year old 190cm combo guard Johannes Strasser is playing his third season with The Artland Dragons. He is a very strong point guard that can hit the open three pointer at any time, penetrate and finish or find the open guy and is a pest on defense. He started his basketball career at Rhondorf in 1999. He had a very successful time with Rhein Energy Cologne from 2001-2007 winning the 2006 BBL league title and three cup titles in 2004,2005 and 2007. He played with the Telekom Baskets Bonn from 2007-2010 reaching the BEKO BBL title twice. His job is to come from the bench and help out at the point or hurt opponents with his deadly three pointer. In 2010-2011, he played 40 games: 6.4ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 87.2%. Last season, he played : EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 8.5ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0spg; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 4.2ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.6apg; German League: 42 games: 5.9ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 84.1%
Guido Gruinheid is a 30 year old 209cm forward from Jena that is playing his second season for the Artland Dragons. He is an in-betweener forward with the height (but not the size) of a 4 and the quickness (but not the ball handling and the shot) of a 3. A good rebounder and a hustler. He played for Alba Berlin from 2001-2005 winning three BEKO BBL titles and two cup titles. He then moved to Rhein Energie Koln in 2005 where he won his fourth BEKO BBL title in 2006 and another cup in 2007. He got added experience playing in Holland for Hanzevast Capitals Groningen . He also has gained valuable experience playing for the German national team as he was a member playing at the 2006 World Championships in Japan and at the 2007 European Championships in Spain. In 2010-2011 for MBC, he played 33 games: 7.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 58.9%, 3PT: 23.0%, FT: 44.7%. Last season for Artland he played : EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 8.5ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0spg; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 4.2ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.6apg; German League: 42 games: 5.9ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 84.1%. The team also retain Christian Hoffman and Acha Njei. Hoffmann is a 25 year old 187cm guard from the Tegernsee in Bavaria. He started his basketball career in 2003 for FC Bayern Munchen (Regionalliga) where he played until 2007. He then got some Beko BBL experience form 2007-2009 playing 44 Beko BBL games with TBB Trier. He then played another season with FC Bayern Munich and Science City Jena before coming to Artland last season. Acha Njei is a 27 year old 190cm guard that started his basketball career in 2004 with Vegesacker TV (2. Regionalliga). He then played fort eh Bremen Roosters from 2005-2009. He then played for 2009 Beko BBL champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg from 2009-2011 playing seven Beko BBL games and three Euroleague games. Last season for Artland he played EuroCup Qualifications: 1 game: 0pts; EuroChallenge: 9 games: 0.6ppg, 1.0rpg; German League: 15 games: 0.7ppg.
Every season there are always numerous new players that arrive in the Pro B to show their extraordinary basketball abilities with the hope of being able to showcase their talent to a vast array of people and hoping to continue to develop and make the next step at a higher level. The Dragons Rhondorf and Bayer Giants Leverkusen have three of these players that squared off against each other in the Dragon Dome with the one player big dawg Aaron Nelson that stands 203cm that cleans up in the... [read more]
Every season there are always numerous new players that arrive in the Pro B to show their extraordinary basketball abilities with the hope of being able to showcase their talent to a vast array of people and hoping to continue to develop and make the next step at a higher level. The Dragons Rhondorf and Bayer Giants Leverkusen have three of these players that squared off against each other in the Dragon Dome with the one player big dawg Aaron Nelson that stands 203cm that cleans up in the paint area and at times is unstoppable and only content when he gets a double double as he averaged double double stats as a senior at S. Indiana and as a rookie in Chile with Los Leones de Quilpue. The other two players stood on the other side as one guy is a pure scorer and has the same last name as an ex American president. Kerry Carter who played at St Mary (NCAA) and last season had a 5 game stint in Europe's best league in Spain Endesa with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias and racked up 9 points in 10 minutes against top club Real Madrid. The last player in this trio is an American that like Nelson loves to get physical inside and post double doubles and loves Manchester United. Brandon Nazione played at Eastern Michigan and has mixed it up in the Pro B this season and had his first very tough match up against Nelson. This game not only matched up three top players who wanted to do as much as possible to help lead their club to victory, but was also the homecoming of German Tim Schonborn who played three seasons with the Dragons amassing 78 games. With so many interesting side stories to the contest, one had the tendency to forget that the most important aspect to the evening was two teams battling for a win as the 2-2 Dragons Rhondorf were looking to keep their home record spotless while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen also 2-2 were still looking for their first road victory of the season, but that still had to wait as they lost their fourth game in a row in Rhondorf since 2008 92-87 in OT. In the head to head battle Kerry Carter finished with 31 points having a 27 efficiency rate while Aaron Nelson finished with 26 points and nine boards and also a 27 efficiency rate, but the Rhondorf American won the game. After the game, Nelson was torn and tattered as Leverkusen had really made him work hard for his pay check. 'I take every game the same. We knew that Carter was a good scorer and we had to try to focus on him more, but also take away the rest of the team. He had a very good game and I am just glad we came away with the win', stressed Illinois native Aaron Nelson. Carter didn't show it with his game face still on after the game, but one could see that he was very peeved at the loss. 'I never caught up in these type of matchups. Some players get overhyped while others are off the radar. Nelson is a great player and had a great game. I go into every game the same way no matter who we play', warned Bayer Giants Leverkusen scoring ace Kerry Carter.
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were unable to connect in their first three possessions, but then got some buckets from ex Dragon Tim Schonborn and 31 year old German Gotz Twiehof scored for the early 4-2 advantage, but then it was time for the Canadian sensation Mike Lucier who gave the word scoring a new special meaning as he rattled off seven unanswered points giving Rhondorf the 9-4 lead. He can always dazzle you with his trey, but he got aggressive early in the paint as he scored twice and then made a steal and went coast to coast for the dunk. Rhondorf continued to carry the momentum upping their lead to 13-6 as Aaron Nelson scored as did Thomas Michel. However one can only control a guy like Kerry Carter so long as he had been stifled by Rhondorf in the first five minutes, but then got his motor going as he carried the Bayer Giants on a 13-4 run giving them the 19-17 lead as he nailed three trey's. Leverkusen had found their offensive rhythm and closed out the first quarter strong with the fourth three pointer of Carter and an Alexander Blessing lay in. New York native Will Trawick finished the first quarter with a timely three pointer cutting the Leverkusen lead to 23-22. 'I was really happy with how Patrick Reusch (185-G-93) played. It wasn't easy for him to come in and replace Viktor Frankl-Maus. He did a good job on offense and finding the open man. You can never really control a Carter. Take away his 10 points and we would have given up 13 points and the game would have looked a lot different', stressed Dragons Rhondorf CEO Boris Kaminski. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 47% from the field and 50% from outside while the Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 40% from the field and 20% from outside. Rhondorf had the slim 12-10 rebound edge, but five turnovers while Leverkusen had four turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen got off to a rough start once again not executing on their first three possessions, while Rhondorf went on a 10-1 run to extend their lead to 32-24. In the run, Rhondorf got solid production from Aaron 'big dawg' Nelson scoring inside twice, Will Trawick also got aggressive finishing in the paint and Sascha Tratnjek scored. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were just careless in their sets and pulled off two quick possessions without really getting settled. But then came the turning point of the second quarter as the Bayer Giants Leverkusen switched to zone propelling them on a 9-0 run as Carter once again got going again scoring seven points getting the guests the 33-32 advantage. Carter scored twice in the lane and once from the parking lot. 17 year old German Anton Geretzki stopped the run connecting on a pretty high rainbow giving Rhondorf the 35-33 lead which didn't hold up long as American rookie Brandon Nazione controlled an offensive rebound and made the put back tying the game at 35-35. Trawick made a free throw and lay in sending Rhondorf into halftime with the tight 39-36 lead. 'We started well, but they came back when they went to zone taking away our strength with Nelson and Lucier. We gave up an open three pointer to Carter which should never happen', added Dragons Rhondorf CEO Boris Kaminski. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 31% from the field and 23% from the three point line while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 41% from the field and 33% from the three point line. Rhondorf had the 27-22 rebound edge and eight turnovers while Leverkusen had nine turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Dragons Rhondorf got off to another good start which was benefited by their two opening stops which led to an 8-2 run lifting their lead to 47-38. Geretzki started the run with his second trey and Nelson scored in bunches making it look so easy. But basketball always remains a game of runs as Rhondorf didn't execute on the next few possessions which enabled Leverkusen to tie the game at 47-47 benefited by an overwhelming 9-0 run. In the run the ex BBL team got some free throws, a reverse lay up by Carter, and a Schonborn lay in and trey. The game now was a dog fight as a team would take the lead and then the other would match them. Nazione made a massive dunk and Schonborn continued to be aggressive from all areas of the court and made an acrobatic lay in tying the game at 52-52. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen closed out the third quarter with the 61-57 lead as they got some instant offense from Blessing who dropped a three and made a steal and went coast to coast for the lay in. Carter and Nazione finished with two lay ins. 'We got more stops and let our defense dictate our offense instead of the other way around. I just wish that we could of done that more throughout the game', said ex St Mary's guard Kerry Carter. 'We turned the ball over too much and they hit shots. That is when basketball becomes a game of runs. They saw the ball go in and automatically they played better offense and defense. That always feels good', added Dragons Rhondorf forward Will Trawick. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 47% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while the Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 35% from the field and 29% from the parking lot. Rhondorf had the 34-31 rebound advantage, but 16 turnovers while Leverkusen had 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, despite not executing on their first two possessions, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen soon got going taking a healthy lead and it seemed like they would carry it back home, but let the game slip away in the last four minutes letting Rhondorf sneak back and force OT. Rhondorf started off on a 4-0 run as German Patrick Reusch (185-G-93) nailed free throws and Lucier scored inside to dead lock the game at 61-61. Then Leverkusen upped their defensive intensity and rushed out on a stellar 7-2run to lead 69-63. In the run, Leverkusen was fortified by Carter with two lay ups, a Nazione reverse lay up showing on more than one occasion during the game that he can play like a guard at the 203cm frame, and a Michael Kuczmann jumper. Rhondorf continued to battle back with Nelson free throws and a Reusch lay in to cut the Leverkusen lead to 69-67. However then it seemed like the Bayer Giants Leverkusen would slam the door on Rhondorf with a timely 9-0 run as crunch-time was approaching. In the run, Leverkusen was aided by a Carter trey and Nazione lay in off a second chance and then a hard dunk off a steal and coast to coast run. Leverkusen was aided by their two best American imports and it seemed like they couldn't falter now with three minutes remaining. However behind the massive support of their fans, Rhondorf continued to chip away at the lead and come back. Rhondorf made the game dramatic going on an unbelievable 11-0 run to retake the lead 78-77 with a minute to play. In the run, Rhondorf got potent production from Aaron Nelson who got to the free throw line three times and helped the team come back. 'Leverkusen made it tough for me all night. They made me work for every bucket. I knew at this time that I had to assert my dominance and get to the free throw line, get buckets and rebounds', added Aaron Nelson. The Dragon Dome went out of control when Will Trawick nailed the go ahead three for the 78-77 Rhondorf lead. 'My shot was huge. It felt amazing when it went in. We came from being down despite them having control. I sucked the momentum out of them and gave some energy to our fans while we took the momentum into OT. I never think about shooting, because the more you do the more you tend to miss. My coach and teammates always give me the confidence to keep shooting', stressed ex Emory (NCAA3) guard Will Trawick. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen had the chance to win the game down the stretch, but Carter attempted an air ball and then missed a lay up. 'I should of made those two shots regardless if I was tired or not', warned Kerry Carter. Bastian Winterhalter then connected on free throws and Nazione put the game into OT with two free throws tying the game at 79-79. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 34% from the field and 30% from outside while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 46% from the field and 27% from outside. Rhondorf had the 42-37 rebound edge, but 20 turnovers while Leverksuen had 19 turnovers.
In the OT it was the Rhondorf German kid's show of Reusch and Falkenstein that led the club past the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. The Dragons Rhondorf went on a quick 5-2 run to lead 84-81. The run was sparked by the clever play by Patrick Reusch (185-G-93) who showed a lot of responsibility scoring inside, then drawing a foul and nailing free throws and then making a steal. Lucier added free throws. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen made one last push going on a 6-2 run to cut the Rhondorf advantage to 85-84. In the run, Leverkusen was sparked by a Blessing fingertip roll in and two buckets in the paint by Brandon 'the beast' Nazione. After a Michel free throw came the closing dagger into the heart of Leverkusen as 18 year German David Falkenstein who only practices once a week with the team stepped into a passing lane made the steal and went coast to coast for the lay in and 88-85 lead. Lucier and Reusch closed out the game with free throws as Rhondorf stayed unbeaten at home. 'The kids played great. Reusch played with a lot of confidence and Falkenstein doesn't practice much with us, but still knows all the plays was huge. Our focus was too make it tough on Carter at the end and we did a good job', stressed Aaron Nelson. 'We should of played tougher and smarter in OT. A few turnovers at the end cost us the game. We played good defense, but they just scored a little more', added ex eastern Michigan forward Brandon Nazione. 'Every guy on our team can give good minutes. Falkenstein and Reuch played good defense and had good drives. They were huge for us', warned Will Trawick. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Aaron nelson with 26 points and nine rebounds. Will Trawick added 18 points and Mike Lucier 16 points while Patrick Reusch (185-G-93) scored 10 points. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were led by Kerry Carter with 31 points, four rebounds, six assists and five steals. Brandon Nazione added 21 points and 12 rebounds. Tim Schonborn supplied 12 points and nine rebounds. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 34% from the field and 29% from the three point line while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen shot 46% from the field and 23% from the three point line. Rhondorf had the 46-43 rebound edge and 22 turnovers and Leverkusen coughed up the ball 24 times.
Wes Washpun (185-PG-93, college: N.Iowa) is a 23 year old 185cm point guard from Cedar Rapids, iowa that will be starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL). He began his basketball career in 2011 with Tennessee (NCAA). He then moved to N.Iowa (NCAA) in 2013 and in his first season played 31 games averaging 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 68.9%. As a junior he played 35 games averaging 7.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.6apg, FGP... [read more]
Wes Washpun (185-PG-93, college: N.Iowa) is a 23 year old 185cm point guard from Cedar Rapids, iowa that will be starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL). He began his basketball career in 2011 with Tennessee (NCAA). He then moved to N.Iowa (NCAA) in 2013 and in his first season played 31 games averaging 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 68.9%. As a junior he played 35 games averaging 7.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 68.1%. As a senior he played 35 games averaging 14.2ppg, 4.0rpg, 5.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 72.1%. This past summer he took part in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 8.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.3apg and NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Los Angeles Clippers): 5 games: 4.0ppg, 1.4rpg. He spoke to eurobasket about basketball earlier this summer after signing in Germany.
Wes thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been? I am currently in Iowa and my summer has been going on!
Congrats on signing with German club MHP Riesen Ludwigbsurg. What was the deciding factor that made you want to start your professional career in Germany? Germany felt like a great fit for me right away and Coach Patrick and I hit it off right away!
What do you know about the country Germany and it's basketball. Many ex N Iowa players have played in Germany like John Little, Ben Jacobsen, Deon Mitchell or Mark Sonnen to name a few. I don't know much about Germany yet but excited to learn as much as I can !
Did you have some talks with head coach John Patrick? He always has had aliking to getting N Iowa players as he reeled in John Little and Ben Jacobsen years ago when he was coaching team BG Goettingen. What kind of an impression did you have of John Patrick? Did you sense like you both spoke the same basketball language? We connected right of the bat we definitely speak the same language when it comes to basketball
You have had a very exciting summer as you recently played in the NBA Summer league with the Los Angeles Clippers. What kind of experience was this? Playing in the summer league was great and I had a wonderful experience.
Was the team basketball aspect which you get more of in the NCAA on the back burner here as players play for their stats to get noticed? No not really.
The Los Angeles Clippers were 0-5 and there were games where you had decent minutes and then games where you didn't. What do you feel like was the biggest asset that you got here that will help you when you come to Germany to start your professional basketball career? I feel like my defense and my ability to run a team will translate to the pro game!!
There was a lot of competition on the court, but what was it like practicing with and watching New Orleans draft pick French man David Michineau? When you watch a guy like this, do you sense like there is any real difference in skill between an undrafted player like yourself and a drafted player?
As a competitor you never feel like there is a difference but David and I competed and played against each other all week it was a great match up!
What was it like playing for Doc Rivers and what kind of general advice did he give you?
Doc wasn't our head coach but the coaches were telling me to be more aggressive on offense look to score more!
Let's talk a bit about your game. You're a point guard that can score, but also find your teammates at ease. How would you describe your game and to what NBA player could you describe your game too? I am a defense first point guard who can find ways to score and be effective on offense I have been called a mix between 'Westbrook and Patrick Beverly.
You're a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn't get noticed right away? I would say that my defense doesn't get noticed as much because I don't get a lot of steals or anything I just don't get scored on a lot.
You really broke out as a senior and had many amazing games. If you had to pick one game that was your best and favorite which one would it be? Possible your 21 point, eight assist game in the win against North Carolina, or your buzzer beater against Evansville or your 28 point, 11 assist game against iowa State? I would definitely say the North Carolina game because taking down the number one was great!
Your college career ended in the NCAA tournament with a bitter 92-88 loss against Texas A & M, but you gave your all with nine points and 10 assists, but you fouled out. Is this a game that you will remember for a long time? Yeah I will never forget that game, but I have put it behind me.
How did head coach Ben Jacobson groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career? He made me a man he helped me grow up that's how he helped me the most!
How won a one on one in practice you or Matt Bohannon?
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose? Jordan, Karem, Magic,Bird
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the alltime best debate against Michael Jordan? Still behind Jordan.
Brendan Lane(206-C-90, college: Pepperdine) is a 25 year old 206cm center from Rocklin, California playing his third professional season and second in Germany in the Beko BBL with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. As a rookie he played with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL): 52 games: 12.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. He started his basketball career in 2009 with UCLA (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 79 NCAA games. He finished his college b... [read more]
Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine) is a 25 year old 206cm center from Rocklin, California playing his third professional season and second in Germany in the Beko BBL with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. As a rookie he played with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL): 52 games: 12.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. He started his basketball career in 2009 with UCLA (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 79 NCAA games. He finished his college basketball career at : Pepperdine (NCAA, starting five) playing 29 games averaging 13.2ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.2apg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 62.4%. Last season with Wurzburg he played 37 games averaging 13.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 14.8%, FT: 73.6%. He belongs to the top centers in the Beko BBL He spoke to eurobasket after the big 73-64 win against the Fraport Skyliners.
Brendan thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Congrats on the two game winning streak. Is this years team finally figuring out how to win games? Yeah I think we finally got that confidence back after that tough start. Getting that first win was big for us and hopefully we can keep it going now.
s.Wurzburg assistant coach Stephan Voelkl had a busy weekend last week scouting both Frankfurt games against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and ratiopharm Ulm. Nevertheless, the Fraport Skyliners crushed you and was leading 40-22 at halftime. Did Frankfurt do anything out of the ordinary that Wurzburg didn't know going into the game which made it so difficult to keep them in check? No they weren't doing anything that we didn't prepare for, we just didn't show up to play that first half and we really struggled.
The 0/12 three point woes of the s.oliver Wurzburg didn't help either. How frustrating were the first 20 minutes and was it at that point just one of those days where nothing was falling? Yeah that was tough, but I think it was more of just settling for threes and not attacking. We were being passive and just shooting rather than attacking and setting up good shots.
I can imagine that the atmosphere was tense at halftime in the locker room. What magic words of wisdom did head coach Doug Spradley find to help get the team back on track?
At halftime he basically just said we were playing soft and not fighting at all. He just challenged us to come out in the second half and fight and do anything we could to get back into the game.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg finally got on track in the third quarter going on a 16-2 run. What adjustments did the club make to get back into the game?
I think we just started being more aggressive on defense and we were able to get some steals or rebounds and speed up the tempo of the game.
You really got going in the third quarter getting your share of buckets. Did you feel the need to have to step up? Yeah we weren't creating much offensively, especially inside, so it was important that we started rolling harder to the basket and being more aggressive and my teammates did a great job finding me when I was open.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg continued to play masterful basketball going on a 22-5 run to decide the game. What was key for keeping up the defensive consistency in the last frame? We just kept up the pressure. We knew they had played a lot of games in the past week so they probably had tired legs at the end so we had to keep being the aggressor and not let up.
So far no BBL teams have had any clue how to slow down rookie Shavon Shields who scored 18 points. Why is this guy so dominant at the moment?
He is a very versatile 4 man who can create his own shots which can be very difficult for teams to guard and he's playing with a lot of confidence.
Do you believe as time goes on that teams will figure out Shavon Shields or will he continue to hurt opponents with his quickness and pretty moves?
I think he's going to be dangerous all season. Teams will definitely focus on him more as he continues to produce, but he's still a very good player that will cause a lot of problems for teams.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg have had a slow start losing it's first four games, but have a two game winning streak now. What assets does the tam have this season they didn't have last season that will enable the club to have a another good season?
I think we are much deeper this season, but right now we are just learning how to play with each other. Last year we had great chemistry from the start and that showed with our start last year. But this year it's taken us a little longer and we had to face some adversity with the 0-4 start. Hopefully this will help us in the long term and we can get back to where we think we can finish in this league.
Jake Odum might be one of the most underrated point guards in the BBL. How is his game different from Dru Joyce and how fierce is his killer instinct?
Jake and Dru are both great point guards. Jake brings a little more size to the point guard position which will help against teams with bigger guards. But both guys are fierce competitors who want to win. Jake is still early in his career and his really hungry to prove himself in Europe and to win at every level and that is great to have in a teammate.
You battled against German national player Johannes Voigtmann last season and now you have his little brother Georg as a teammate. How have you been helping him in practice most and does he have the game to become a solid BBL player. For his size he is one of the most skilled big men I've seen. The one big key for him is just the physicality at the BBL level. It's great for him to battle every day in practice especially against a veteran like Kreso who challenges him physically. I think he will definitely be a solid BBL player at some point.
This was with the game against FC Bayern Munich your best game of the season as you gave the word efficient a new meaning once again. Do you feel any pressure at all when you know the three isn't6 falling for the team that you have to produce well quickly at a consistent rate?
I don't really feel any extra pressure when that happens, but I do look to be more aggressive and put some pressure on the other team inside.
After having a very good first season in the BBL, you are looking to take the next step as a player this season. What do you believe helped your game last season that will enable you to take it to the next level this season?
Last season I was very successful in getting good position inside and creating easy shots for myself. I think having the experience in this league now will only make me better at finding those openings in the defense.
Besides having a successful season, what is your main goal to achieve on the court this season in your game that will help you make the next step in your grooming as a player?
My main goal is to be consistent the whole season. Last year we tapered off at the end of the season and this year I want to continue playing well all the way through the end of the season.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you believe does his legacy stand when comparing him to the greatest power forwards of all-time?
He is definitely one of the greatest power forwards. He was dominant for so long and was always a winner. One of the fiercest competitors ever.
What was the last movie that you saw? The last movie I saw was Secret in their eyes.
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