There are always those type of players in the Beko BBL that have that killer instinct and just dont show any fear when they are making an opponents defense look like a hapless antelope if it should go left, right or backwards with the ensuing stampede of jaguars approaching on the prarie in Senegal. Recently there was Brian Roberts who played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg and now has made the jump to the NBA New Orleans Hornets that could carry the Freak city team to wins in crucial situations with his scoring in bunches mentality. The Fraport Skyliners recently acquired candy lover Ted Scott that didnt waste anytime making 20 points in his debut in Trier and having TBB Trier head coach Henrik Rodl remembering his name. Scott has that all business killer instinct that would be extra lethal if he would play along side ex Skyliner Jimmy Mckinney that can devour defenses with the best of them. This season Alba Berlin have a new player with Nihad Djedovic (198-F-90, agency: Beo Basket) who is one of the most talented players in Europe from the 1990 birth year and hails from Bosnia. He can shoot in transition, off the dribble, off the catch and is absolutely fearless. Showed ability to put the ball on the floor and finish to the hoop or create for others. He already played in the ACB as a 19 year old for Xacobeo BluSens Obradoiro being loaned from FC Barcelona. He played for Acea Virtus Roma (Italy-SerieA) where he scored in double figures both seasons. So far this season, the youngster has shown no timidness being a very important role player in the Sasa Obradovic rotation. In an Alba Berlin roster that has enough scoring power to give a coach like Silvano Poropat jealousy attacks, the young Bosnian has shown that desire for taking responsibility and having that killer instinct in big crucial moments. When watching him on the court, he has that old school look with his uncommon moustache that makes him look more like a Bosnian butcher than a basketball player. On the court, he has been as focused as supermodel Gisele Bundchen recently was for letting her full blown baby bump get into the way of weekend plans with her hubby Tom Brady, singer Katy Perry not showing any ill will backing Barack Obama in a Milwaukee reelection rally or super funny Chris Rock using his unique comedic style making a special message to help persuade undecided white voters to reelect Barack Obama. At times, Djedovic makes some bad decisions, but that is normal for a young player and so far this season seems to have convinced the organization Alba Berlin of his talents on the court and has matured quickly to the grind and playing style of the Beko BBL. 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood has been more than impressed with his new teammate. I like his game a lot. At every practice I have amazed at what he can do. He can do so much on the offensive and defensive end. He is such a smart player as well. I am always telling him in practice how much I like a certain pass or move from him. He is so young, but has already played at such a high level. So far in my career there hasnt been a player where I could say that he has amazed me in practice until him. He does things where you really have say wow. He has a very high skill level, warned Detroit native Dashaun Wood.
Alba Berlin didnt waste anytime getting their most important order of business squared away as they hired Gordon Herbert very early in the summer of 2011 Alba Berlin see Herbert as being the man to get Alba Berlin back on the title road and not getting run over by teams like Bamberg and Munich. It was Herberts 5th season in the Beko BBL. He led Frankfurt to their first league title in 2004 and reached the cup final that year. In 2010, he was two points away to getting Frankfurt that 2nd league title as the Skyliners lost a bitter game 5 final in Bamberg. In 2010-2011, Frankfurt lost in 5 games to Alba Berlin. Herbert is known as getting the best out of his players, but also known in being able to build a strong and successful team even if talent and deepness is lacking. Herbert had a new type of challenge as the talent was even greater than usual for him.All eyes were focused on Herbert to see how he would make an already very talented club even better. However he was unable to as he never found that intact team chemistry that he wanted like he had with his Frankfurt teams.
Even after Alba Berlin had kicked out the Deutsche Bank Skyliners from the playoffs in their own living room, they still had no mercy as they stole Mr road runner Dashaun Wood from the heart of the fans. Despite that Wood had signed a contract to stay with Frankfurt, he did put some clauses in so that he could leave the club. One of those clauses was that he would go where Gordon Herbert would go. A heart of a player can be as big as Mount Everest for a team, but about as often as the sun shines in the Costa De Sol in south Spain, the green numbered paper that rules the world mostly keeps the heart of a player more green than red. Wood who was the leagues MVP in 2011 playing 42 games: Score-1 (19.0ppg), 4.6rpg, Assists-2 (5.9apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 33.2%, FT: 80.3%, will more than likely not be able to post stats like that again with alba Berlin. He will have a different role in Berlin as he will be surrounded by many scorers and not have the burden on his shoulders having to score as he often did in Frankfurt. The question will be how well can his ego get used to his new role, but he has stated that winning is his biggest priority and not scoring 20 points a game. The team brought in European experience with American Torin Francis, athletic ex NBA player Kyle Weaver and a touch of Serbian fire with Marko Simonovic. The team kept a lot of last years success intact with Mr ballerina Derrick Allen, Mr everything on the court and more Bryce Taylor, Heiko I can hit even from the Berlin TV tower Schaffartzik, inside monster Yassin Idbihi, sharpshooter Lucca Staiger and the glue that holds the team together German national player Sven Schultze.
However despite all this unending talent on board, Alba Berlin GOT out of the wrong side of the bed last season as they started with a less than satisfactory 2-2 record. They werent given a good role of the dice either getting their first three games on the road. They started with a heartbreaking 71-69 loss in Bremerhaven that probably had Herbert and Wood in long discussions after analyzing ways they could of won the game. Alba Berlin then creamed potential playoff team New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig 87-68, only to go to Phoenix Hagen the next week and get their second loss in a row there. Last season 37 points by Derrick Allen couldnt get a win and this season it was Marc Carter that shot out the lights as Alba Berlin lost again 98-91. They returned to the O-2 World arena for their first home game and got a pesky fight from the Walter Tigers Tuebingen as they stayed close, but the eight time Beko BBL champion closed out the game in style with a 20-5 run to win 76-56. Except for the high scoring game in Hagen, they have defended well in the other three games letting up an average of only 71 points per game. With a new coach, players and system, Alba Berlin was just figuring each other out in the early going not too mention the building pressure to win each season. Yea it is pressure winning wherever you are at at any level and yea they have more pressure because the standard is higher in Berlin because of the tradition, but I thought all of their players could handle it or else they wouldn't be there, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. They then won nine games in a row including an easy 83-57 win in Frankfurt who shot only 26% from the parking lot and were forced to 18 turnovers. In this big winning streak, they beat Oldenburg, Bamberg and Ulm at home and won in Munich. They then had their only weakness of the season going on a three game losing streak losing to Artland, Bonn and Wurzburg. The three game losing streak also took a toll on 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood. I have never experienced anything like that before, but one has to remember just how much I have played recently. We had games on the 18th, 20th, 23rd, 27th and 30th of December and the second, fifth and eighth of January. At the end of that game streak, it just showed that I was tired, expressed Dashaun Wood. Since the three game losing streak, they finished strong going on a 17-3 record losing in Bayreuth, a game they let slip away. But they had some big wins against Artland, Oldenburg and FC Bayern Munich. They came into the Beko BBL playoffs playing the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. This was just a team that didnt fit their style. They lost the series 3-1. They won the first game in Berlin, but then lost the final three games including the crucial game three at home. Alba Berlin had huge problems getting used to the gym atmosphere in Wurzburg. The season ended unspectacular in mid May as Alba Berlin went home again with no titles. Alba Berlin finished in third place with a record of 26-8 in the regular season, but the only time that really counts is May and June when titles are won.
What does a traditional and respected Beko BBL team do that has won 8 titles to get back on track after last winning a title in 2009? It brings back a familiar face that is used to winning and has won with Alba Berlin before. No one better than sasa Obradovic who won the Korac cup in 1995 and the double in 1997 with Alba Berlin. As a player he won three world championships with the former Jugoslavia and as a coach won the title in 2006 with Cologne. His name stands for winning. He stands for unending passion. He burns for this team, stated Marco Baldi. Obradovic is a tough coach, but is also the type of coach that makes his players better. Obradovic brought something new to the spree with versatility that the new players have. He chose players that can play many different positions thus making it harder for opponents to read and defend. The team has only won one title in the last nine years and Sasa Obradovic did a house cleaning this past off season getting rid of seven players and hauling in eight new players. The team held Dashaun Wood, Heiko Schaffartzik, Yassin Idbihi and Sven Schultze to somewhat maintain a small collective in the team. Obrdovic did a good job bringing in a healthy mix of three Americans, a Bosnian, Serb and two young Germans. He brought in experienced Vule Avdalovic who he coached at BC Donetsk and has Euroleague experience and has played many years in the ACB and will make some competition for Dashaun Wood. Nihad Djedovic was brought in for giving that special versatility and all around good play. He brought in Nathan peavey who might be the most underrated power forward in the Beko BBL. A pity that he was injured and will miss most of the season. Zack Morley was brought in for toughness and can also score when needed. Further flexibility and power under the basket was brought in with Deon Thompson who played at the top NCAA school North Carolina. Obradovic brought in Spanish ACB veteran Albert Miralles recently to help bring muscle to the basket and help bang with the centers of the league. Young German David Herwig and Steven Monse also arrived to help round out the roster. The biggest strength of Alba Berlin likely is their guard rotation with Wood, Schaffartzik and Avdalovic who could be the best guard trio in the Beko BBL. Obradovic will be very flexible at this position often being able to play two at a time. Also at the forward position, he has players like Thompson, Miralles and Morley that can play different positions and will keep opponents guessing what the 8 time Beko BBL champion will do next in their offensive sets as they will be unpredictable. Alba Berlin has a very deep roster once again and if there are any problems that could arise then it is how well the team can respond to the coaching decisions of the coach as playing time will be reduced. Dashaun Wood that was the commander on the court in Frankfurt and Berlin doesnt have that big role this season with more offensive weapons, but has taken this reality in stride and showed his character of playing for the team and not for his stats. Obradovic will make Wood an even better player than what he already is. The team cant afford more injuries as they will need a full roster to make an impact in the Beko BBL playoffs as they also play Euroleague.
Since the climatic semi final win over Alba Berlin in 2005, where guys like Chris Williams and Tyrone Ellis led the then Opel Skyliners into the BBL final, Frankfurt has only a 9-16 record against the Albatros, but have built installed a special albatross cage in the Ballsporthalle which has rewarded them with a 5-3 record. One of the biggest and most emotional wins in the last years was the 81-67 trouncing in January 2006 as it was the debut of ex Skyliner coach Charles Barton. It was only a shame that the team was unable to take this big win and grow off it as they won little more that season and had to win on the last day at home against The EWE Baskets Oldenburg to stay in the BBL. Some nice wins in the last years was the 74-58 win in 2008 as American Derrick Allen added 19 points and six rebounds and in 2009, they won 73-66 as ex Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds. Last season, the two teams split the season series 1-1 as Alba Berlin held Frankfurt to 53 points in the Ballsporthalle and winning. Frankfurt returned to Berlin to win 76-70 as Derrick Allen led the team with 18 points. Frankfurt then surprisingly kicked out Alba Berlin in the playoffs 3-1 winning game four at home 69-58 as Derrick Allen had 26 points. In the first meeting last season, Alba Berlin escaped the O-2 World arena with a 81-77 win. Frankfurt led for 36 minutes before Alba Berlin put on the turbo and went on a 8-2 run which sparked the win. Dashaun Wood led all players with 32 points and Derrick Allen chipped in with 17 points for Alba Berlin. Alba Berlin shot 57% from the field and 44% from the parking lot, but Frankfurt had control of the boards 31-21. In the second meeting last season, Alba Berlin prevailed 79-70 as Dashaun Wood led Frankfurt with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and ex Skyliner Derrick Allen had 18 points. Frankfurt lost in the 2011 Beko BBL semi finals 3-2 . Last season the Fraport Skyliners stunk out their Fraport arena with a 83-57 loss where Dashaun Wood led all scorers with 21 points and also lost a close game 70-66 in Berlin. The Fraport Skyliners go to Berlin to meet Alba Berlin this Sunday. Alba Berlin is currently in eighth place with a record of 4-2. Alba Berlin has the double load with Euroleague play and are still trying to establish a team identity in the Beko BBL. After some tough loss against ratiopharm Ulm and in Ludwigsburg, the team is currently riding a two game winning streak and showed moral winning a tough road game in Trier in OT and then wining easy at MBC where it is never easy to play in the loud wolves den. The Fraport Sklyiners have won two of their last three games, but played their hearts out in Bambegr playing agreat first half, but losing steam in the second half. Frankfurt continues to defend very well having given up an average of 62 points in the last three games. The Fraport Skyliners know exactly what they will need to do to escape Berlin with a win. We have to take Alba Berlin out of their comfort zone. If we defend like we did in Bamberg and against Braunschweig then we will have good chances to win, warned Fraport Skyliner guard Devin Gibson. Its the same as in every game, just defend the way we know how and we have chnaces to win, added Fraport Sklyiner forward Zach Peacock.
Alba Berlin is led by Deon Thompson who is playing his first season in the Beko BBL. Thompson is a 24 year old 203cm forward from Torrnace, California. He played at North Carolina from 2006-2010, reaching a NCAA Final 4 and Elite 8. At North Carolina, he had the pleasure of playing with NBA players like Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansborough, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green. As a rookie in 2010-2011, he played for Ikaros Kallitheas (Greece-A1, starting five): 25 games: 14.1ppg, Reb-2 (8.8rpg), Blocks-3 (1.3bpg), FGP: 50.0%, FT: 70.7%. Last season, he played for Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Telemach League, starting five): Adriatic League: 24 games: 12.2ppg, 5.3rpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 67.9%; Euroleague: 10 games: 8.8ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 48.1%, FT: 47.6%; Slovenian League: 16 games: 11.9ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5 (1.0bpg), FGP: 51.2%, FT: 72.5%. There he won the cup and was MVP as well as mVP of the Slovenian Allstar game. Dashaun Wood is a 27 year old 185cm point guard from Detroit, Michigan that is playing his second season for Alba Berlin. He has natural leadership abilities, who directs teammates on the floor and takes the ball in clutch moments. Loves to go inside to score, challenging the big guys, but has also shooting range from behind the 3pts arch. Despite lack of size, he can be effective even at the defensive side. He played at Wright State from 2003-2007. He then had a superb rookie season for Tisettanta Cantu (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 38 games: Score-5 (16.9ppg), 3.0rpg, Assists-4 (3.3apg), 2.7spg, 2FGP:52.1%, 3PT-2 (42.8%), FT:77.4%. In his second season he played for : Benetton Treviso (Italy-SerieA), injured in Oct.'08 and was off for 2 months: Eurocup: 12 games: 5.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 87.5%; Italian League: 17 games: 7.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.2apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 70.4%. He sat out the next season due to injuries and The Deutsche Bank Skyliners took a gamble signing him in 2010, but it paid off. Wood who was the leagues MVP in 2011 playing 42 games: Score-1 (19.0ppg), 4.6rpg, Assists-2 (5.9apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 33.2%, FT: 80.3%. Last season for Alba Berlin he played German League: 37 games: Score-5 (15.0ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-4 (4.8apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 79.2%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 9.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0spg; EuroCup: 12 games: 14.2ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-1 (5.4apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 82.2%.
Nihad Djedovic is a 22 year old 198cm forward that can play the position one to three. He hails form Bosnia and started his basketball career at Bosna TH Telecom Sarajevo in 2006. He then played for WTC Cornella (Spain-LEB Silver) from 2007-2009. In 2009-2010, he played for Xacobeo BluSens Obradoiro (Spain-ACB, starting five): 27 games: 6.3ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 69.0%. Last season, he played for Acea Virtus Roma (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 25 games: 11.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 71.2%; in Jan.'12 loaned to UCAM Murcia (Spain-ACB, starting five), in Mar.'12 signed at Galatasaray Medical Park Istanbul (Turkey-TBL): 12 games: 11.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 63.6%. He recently played the Qualifications to European Championships 2013 -12: 8 games: 16.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 62.2%. The team brings back 29 year old 208cm forward/center Yassin Idbihi from Cologne for a tird season. He can score, but is not so fast, but has potent moves. He played at The University of Buffalo from 2003-2007 and finished as the schools fourth all time leading scorer with 1,514 points and the third all time leading rebounder with 844. He became the first player in school history to score 1,500 points and 800 rebounds. He played with the Cologne 99ers and had some experience playing in France for Limoges. In 2009-2010, he helped lead The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig into the BEKO BBL semi finals losing against The Brose Baskets Bamberg where he played games 39 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.2rpg, FGP: 56.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 80.0%. In 2010-2011, he got better in the second half of the season playing German League: 43 games: 7.4ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 58.3%, FT: 73.4%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 4 games: 3.3ppg, 3.3rpg; EuroCup: 11 games: 7.0ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP-1 (71.4%), FT: 73.9%. Last season, he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 3.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg; EuroCup: 8 games: 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, FGP: 63.0%, FT: 73.1%; German League: 30 games: 8.8ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 59.2%, FT: 83.3%. The team brought back Heiko Schaffartzik who is a 28 year old 182cm point guard who is a German National player who has been a BBL traveler who has played for many different BEKO BBL teams like Giessen, Oldenburg, Nurnberg, EnBW Ludwigsburg and Braunschweig. He had his big international breakthrough at the Euro Championships in 2009 averaging 12,7ppg, 2,0rpg, 3,8apg and shot 54% from the three point line. He shoots first and penetrates second. He is a great one on one player. His biggest weapon is his shooting as he loves the catch and pop and off the dribble shooting. He started the season with Turk telekom in Turkey, but never found his rhythm as he played 10 games averaging 3,8ppg, 1,6rpg and 2,3apg in 15 minutes per game. He had a strong playoff series against Frankfurt and in 2010-2011 played German League: 32 games: 4.1ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.8apg; EuroCup: 5 games: 6.2ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 30.4%, FT: 66.7%. Last season, he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 8.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg; EuroCup: 11 games: 8.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 80.0%; German League: 37 games: 9.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 85.7%. Last summer he played Qualifications to European Championships 2013 -12: 8 games: 12.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 45.9%, FT: 82.6%.
The team also brought in 30 year old 208cm Spaniard Alberto Miralles who has much ACB experience. He is a good board fighter and an score from mid-range. He started his basketball career in 1999 with Juventut Badalona. He already played Euroleague as a 19 year old with Virtus Kinder Bologna . He was drafted in 2004 by the NBA team Toronto Raptors. In 2004-2005, he played for Vertical Vision Cantu (Italy-SerieA): ULEB Cup: 9 games: 7,3ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 51.9%, 3Pts: 00.0%; Italian League: 37 games: 11.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3spg, 2FGP-1 ( 62.3%), 3FGP: 33.3%. He then had a long time playing for Pamesa Valencia (ACB) from 2005-2009. He then played for Lagun Aro Gipuzkoa BC (ACB) from 2009-2010. Last season, he played for Angelico Biella (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 32 games: 10.8ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 64.4%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 55.8%. Zach Morley is a 29 year old 203cm forward that is playing his first season in the Beko BBL with Alba Berlin. He started his basketball career at Indian Hills Community College before finishing his college career at Wisconsin in 2005. He came to Europe in 2005 and played his first five seasons in Spain in the Leb Gold division. He played for Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague,) the last two seasons and last season played Ukrainian League: 50 games: 11.8ppg, 6.1rpg, 3.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 84.2%; VTB League: 15 games: 9.0ppg, Reb-4 (6.9rpg), 2.2apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 23.8%, FT: 76.7%. He won the Ukrainian cup last season. Vule Avdalovic is a 31 year old 189cm point guard from Serbia. He is a true point guard, good passer and organizer, who is able to run a team at any pace. Has leadership and court vision, and, like any ex-Yugo player, knows how to score if left open. He started his basketball career in 1999 for Partizan Beograd where he played until 2005. He then played with Albert Miralles at Pamesa Valencia until 2009. In 2009-2010, he played for : Lucentum Alicante Costablanca (Spain-ACB): 34 games: 7.2ppg, 1.1rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 82.6%. In 2010-2011, he played for Cholet Basket (France-ProA): Euroleague: 10 games: 8.5ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 41.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 80.6%; French League: 34 games: 10.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 38.9%, 3PT: 42.1%, FT: 80.6%. Last season, he played for BC Donetsk (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 5pts, 2reb, 1ast; EuroCup: 14 games: 11.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 81.3%; Ukrainian League: 49 games: 11.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 80.4%. Last season, he was Ukrainian Superleague Champion . He played the World Championships in Japan -06: 6 games: 6.7ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.7apg, 2FGP: 44.8%, 3FGP: 36.4%, FT: 76.9%. . The team also brought back a familiar face with very experienced Sven Schultze who played many years for The German national team. He is a 34 year old 206cm power forward that was born in Bamberg. He is a very strong player with a deadly shot. With his size, he will post up the opponents small forwards and outrun the opponents power forwards. He is able to defend bigger players, but also agile enough to defend smaller ones. He can drop the three pointer in a variety of ways which gave Luka Pavicevic so many more ways of using him. He also is very dangerous on the fast break as he can with the speed of a point guard and then dunk. He started his career with Bamberg and then played for Alba Berlin from 1998-2002 winning four BEKO BBL titles. He then played for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen until 2005 before going south to Play in Italy in Milian, Udine and Biella. he also played shortly in Greece for Larissa. He finished the 2009-2010 season playing for Ferrara (Italy-SerieA): 13 games: 8.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 60.6%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 75.0%. He won a silver in Belgrad in 2005 at the European Championships and played at the Olympic games 2008 in Bejing. In 2010-2011 for Alba Berlin he played EuroCup: 12 games: 4.7ppg, 2.3rpg; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 2 games: 3.5ppg, 1.5rpg; German League: 43 games: 3.1ppg, 1.3rpg. Last season, he played Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 0pts, 1reb; EuroCup: 12 games: 2.6ppg, 1.2rpg; German League: 32 games: 4.0ppg, 1.2rpg. The team also has young Germans David Herwig, Steven Monse and Sebastian Fulle.
Inconstant: I would choose this adjective to define the first part of ALBA's season. Some exciting victory - as happened in Eurocup against Bilbao and especially with Lietuvos in a thrilling match marked by a double overtime - but also heavy defeats, some of which were unexpected for the outcome of the game (Frankfurt, for example) or for the deep scoring margin (against Bayern, Khimki and Fuenlabrada). But results' discontinuity is the tangible proof of the discontinuity showed during a... [read more]
Inconstant: I would choose this adjective to define the first part of ALBA's season. Some exciting victory - as happened in Eurocup against Bilbao and especially with Lietuvos in a thrilling match marked by a double overtime - but also heavy defeats, some of which were unexpected for the outcome of the game (Frankfurt, for example) or for the deep scoring margin (against Bayern, Khimki and Fuenlabrada). But results' discontinuity is the tangible proof of the discontinuity showed during a single match: even when the team wins, it can be seen two sides of the same team. Great efficiency on both halves of the court followed by sudden drops that provoke negative consequences.
When we are talking about defense, it is important to bear in mind that one, two or three players are not enough to make a good team's defense; it is necessary to create the right collaborations and especially a great communication to build a solid defensive system. Naturally it takes time to set up it, in particulary when there are a lot of new players. Great teams "breathe together" defensively, but unfortunately this is not ALBA's case at the moment. There are different reasons to explain their defensive issues: bad collaboration - that often causes terrible mistakes on the switches - , wrong defensive attitude, low concentration off the ball. But I would pay attention to the biggest - in my humble opinion- trouble: little desire to fight and to struggle. After Braunschweig, ALBA is the worst BBL's team at rebounding and many games have been characterized by a clean predominance of its opponents. For sure there aren't extraordinary rebounders in ALBA's frontcourt but this is not the only key to clear up this lack; I noted little desire and little presence to grab a rebound or to recover a loose ball. In the last game against Giessen, I saw a different attitude and the right intensity for the first time; recently ALBA's head coach, Ahmet Caki , upgraded to starting lineup Akeem Vargas (192-G-90, college: Iowa Lakes CC), probably the best on ball-defender of his team. I think the Turkish coach wants to "reward" who shows a defensive abnegation on the field during this difficult and discontinuous period: that's why also Ismet Akpinar (190-PG-95, agency: BeoBasket) finds important minutes. Vargas and Niels Giffey (200-G/F-91, college: Connecticut) are doing a commendable job on defense. The first stays always aggressive on the ball, putting an amazing intensity to get through the screens and to contest the opposing shots taking advantage of his long arms; the second has the ability to be helpful in a lot of situations and I love his defensive skills: always focused, always with the right defensive position and the right balance to make efficient close-outs, always ready on the switches, where his weapons are readiness and a remarkable quickness of his feet. He's an intelligent player, so he can help the teammates in many different ways. He's a substantial 3-point shooter but he's also a great cutter and a capable rebounder with good physicality: many times he knows before anyone else where the ball will drop and on defense he's able in going to pre-rotation for a double-team, too. Every time I saw him this season's beginning, I appreciated his effort on both sides of the floor: he has been the most solid element as yet. Now let's focus on two players that haven't offered so far what everybody expected: Peyton Siva (183-PG-90, college: Louisville) and Dominique Johnson (192-SG-87, college: Azusa Pacific, agency: Higher Vision Sports). Peyton is as creative as conditioning for the way he plays and the role he covers; Dominique needs to play a particular kind of basketball made up of high pace and enough possessions to be productive. I think Siva and Johnson are both humoral and instinctive players, so when you decide to acquire them you must be aware of their features, first as person - being integral part of the team is fundamental for the both of them - and secondly as player. Doubtless, they prefer an up-tempo system with many fast-breaks, in short a game based on quick offensive transitions; but playing so unavoidably implies a large number of turn-overs and questionable choices. Probably, Caki would prefer a more controlled game with more prudent choices, especially in crucial parts of the matches; in truth, different choices at the end of the quarters - or in other important moments of the game, too - are truly questionable but I also believe that the most appropriate attitude towards them is being patient and willing to "forgive" and tolerate their mistakes, because mistakes are integral part of their style of play. Punishing is not the solution to problems, in my opinion. Certainly live ball turn-overs guarantee easy points to the opponents and can change the inertia, but if you are not prepared to accept their instinct - with positive/negative effects - you mustn't acquire them. Their defense is rather the real problem. I think Johnson's defensive performances are well below his possibilities; I note he's a good on-ball defender, when he's engaged with the right attitude and concentration. Last year he played a good defense with Banvit, but now it looks like he has not a great desire to apply in this part of the game. Off the ball, his opponent often creates separation with him, so a wide open shot can be produced; on the ball he does not takes the proper aggressiveness in pick and roll's situations so he's forced to slide behind the screen and he's often out of the best defensive position, doing bad slips without using his chest, too. And yet he's a better defender! Engin Atsur (190-G-84, college: N.Carolina St., agency: BeoBasket) is completely different compared to Siva; he prefers a half-court game and his best weapon has been the 3-point shot so far. He's a great shooter especially in catch-and-shoot's situations but he can also scores directly from the dribble. Differently than Siva, certainly he does not have great quickness and great ability to create an advantage from the dribble, but he's a solid player, able to be an important "balancer" for his team. On defense, he's showing teammates' same issues: separated from his opponent off the ball, little intensity on the ball, where he does not possess great physicality. An other guy that alternates good and bad defenses is Dragan Milosavljevic (198-G/F-89). I believe sometimes he's too much soft, in particulary on the opposing screens, on and off the ball too. Not always focused and ready on the switches so far, in my opinion one of Dragan's defensive problems is slowless in doing lateral slips, so it happens that even when he makes a good defense, he's often off balance when the opponent makes a sudden and quick spin or decides to change direction. On the other hand, his offensive qualities are indisputable. I think he's doing a great job off the ball: he never stays stationary and he never gives a reference point to the opponent who's guarding him, so he's very good at making back-door cuts and at coming off the screens to do what he prefers: dribble-jump stop-shot. He's a capable shooter behind the arc, especially in catch-and-shoot and he's also fine at finishing at the rim due to his good physicality. I noted recently his head coach decided to entrust him more possessions concerning pick and roll: Dragan has an important IQ and he's also a good passer, able to read what defense puts forward; winning choice by Caki because against Giessen, Dragan offered a substantial performance with 8 dishes. ALBA's back-court has many excellent players at passing the ball coming off the pick and roll with great timing, like Siva, Johnson, Atsur and Milosavljevic.
Coming at the front-court, for sure Elmedin Kikanovic (211-C-88, agency: BeoBasket) has been the most positive note of his team until now. On offense, his offensive luggage has only one word to be described: completeness. He is known for his abilities in post-up where he can score with many different moves: static situations where he takes advantage of his strenght and finishes with a drop-step in the middle of the paint or with a baby-hook shot. Despite not possessing a massive body, he has very quick feet that allow him to make snap and unpredictable moves making sudden spins with an exceptional tip and taking the baseline, too. Because of his feet's quickness, he runs the floor very well and he's also able to attack front of the rim, dribbling with good ability and excellent coordination and adding an important mid-range shot, a very important weapon to make him more dangerous. He produces a lot of points making the most of his ability to allow fouls. On defense, though this choice hasn't been too much lucky so far, Ahmet Caki pretends his centers make aggressive "shows" on the perimeter. Not always Elmedin feels comfortable in this situation, so it happens that he sometimes is good at stretching defense's perimeter, sometimes takes a bad position, not bent with his legs, so wide spaces grow for the opponents. I think he have to become more continuous on the switches and he have to improve at rebounding and helping: as mentioned before, he's not massive and too much powerful, but I don't think this is the only problem. He's often out of the proper position to grab a rebound and he doesn't makes the box-out correctly and in my opinion he's not ready to struggle so much. About Tony Gaffney (206-PF-84, college: Massachusetts, agency: Octagon Europe), we can say he's showing off an extraordinary commitment on the defensive side: he brings to this team a lot of energy, he never gives up and he's always ready to throw on a loose-ball and to fight for a rebound. Important team player, doubtless he's more efficient than Kikanovic and Bogdan Radosavljevic (213-C-93) at making defensive choices his head coach requests because of his good feet's speed and catching energy and aggressiveness. Bogdan Radosavljevic has a good offensive potential; like Kikanovic, he's able to cut after the screen so he feels comfortable with a lot of good passers in ball screen's situations. He have to improve at posting-up, but he's also demonstrating an acceptable mid-range shot. On defense, there are concentration's issues: he is not always focused. Last Sunday he committed 5 fouls in 10 minutes, showing a very bad attitude on the floor: always off balance and never bent on the legs with an excessive use of his hands to contain opponents' penetrations. Few words about Paul Carter (205-F-87, college: Ill.-Chicago) and Malcolm Miller (200-F-93, college: Holy Cross): Carter arrived to replace injured Miller and showed a poor comprehension of the game. Besides issues concerning his bodily structure - his weight is not enough to contain opponents with a higher size and weight, as happened against Bayreuth's DeMon Brooks - , he has proved many limits about defensive principles: he's behind schedule about defensive helps and rotations and he have to be more aggressive and resolute when he's on the court. It's too early to judge Miller, but he can add verticality to the front-court, despite not having great weight to offer. It seems he's decided and ready with great determination.
Finally: defense is the sore note, not the offense. It is true that there aren't many good defensive players and it is true that several of them have structural problems on this side. But it is also undeniable that these issues could be relieved with intelligence and collaboration and in particulary with the desire to struggle every single possession. Without desire, everything gets more complicated.
Banco di Sardegna Sassari (Serie A) tabbed experienced 35-year old American point guard David Bell (188-90kg-81, agency: Three Eye Sports). He already started the season at Phoenix Hagen in German BBL league. Bell has played there for the last five years. In 10 BBL games he had very impressive stats: 18.3ppg, 3.2rpg and 6.1apg this season. The last season he played also at Phoenix Hagen (also in BBL) where in 34 games he was third best scorer with remarkable 15.3ppg and averaged 2.9rpg an... [read more]
Banco di Sardegna Sassari (Serie A) tabbed experienced 35-year old American point guard David Bell (188-90kg-81, agency: Three Eye Sports). He already started the season at Phoenix Hagen in German BBL league. Bell has played there for the last five years. In 10 BBL games he had very impressive stats: 18.3ppg, 3.2rpg and 6.1apg this season. The last season he played also at Phoenix Hagen (also in BBL) where in 34 games he was third best scorer with remarkable 15.3ppg and averaged 2.9rpg and 5.7apg (top 5). Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga 2nd Team. Bell's team made it to the Dutch Eredivisie Semifinals in 2012. He is quite experienced player. Bell has played also professionally in Finland (Kouvot), France (Chalons-Reims), Switzerland (Neuchatel), Holland (Groningen), D-League (Santa Cruz Warriors), USBL (Dodge City L.) and CBA (Butte D.). It's very possible he may end his playing career at Banco di Srd. Bell could be described:
A 1/2 guard who simply assaults any game he plays. David is an outstanding 3 pt. shooter, can penetrate and dish with the best. Offensively can carry a team, also is a top defender.
It really doesn't matter what basketball player you ask in Germany that isn't playing in the easyCredit BBL, they will answer that their ultimate goal of reaching it one day and the chance of that happening isn't so off the rocker. What is funny the lower you go league wise, the more confident the player will get of their abilities while players in the Pro A are just as confident of their abilities, but seem to know that they are so close and will keep a more controlled mouth work as they... [read more]
It really doesn't matter what basketball player you ask in Germany that isn't playing in the easyCredit BBL, they will answer that their ultimate goal of reaching it one day and the chance of that happening isn't so off the rocker. What is funny the lower you go league wise, the more confident the player will get of their abilities while players in the Pro A are just as confident of their abilities, but seem to know that they are so close and will keep a more controlled mouth work as they know just having that one strong Pro A season plus having the right contact might be enough to be able to wear the jersey of that BBL club. The list of players that move up from league to league in Germany is as large as the beast magnitude that a guy like Demarcus Cousins displays each night and one of those guys that has experienced this move has been American Carlos Medlock (183-PG-87, college: E.Michigan) of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. The 29 year old 183cm point guard needed some grooming in the Pro A, but so far this season the ex Eastern Michigan (NCAA) player has displayed that he can compete in one of the best leagues in Europe as in 11 games he is averaging 11,0ppg, 1,5rpg and 4,2apg while shooting 32% from downtown for the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig as he finally reached his goal even if it took a bit longer to reach.
After coming out of college, he had to start at the bottom and prove himself in the always improving English BBL league where he led the Guildford Heat to the British trophy while playing 17 games averaging 14.9ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-4 (4.6apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 64.1%. He already showed as a rookie, that he could recover in a grand way from a set back as he came over the pond after making his first experience in the D-League with the Utah Flash. There he noticed quickly that the D-league wasn't his route as he played three games averaging 4.3ppg, 1.3rpg and instead of wasting a whole season there, he reacted quickly and came over to Europe to try his luck and in hindsight, it turned out to be the correct decision. After sitting out the season in 2011, he came back strong in 2012 and the next destination on his basketball map was Iceland a place that always turns into an adventure with the beautiful scenery, daylight issues and weather, but at least the road trips are short and it isn't worth it to switch on the lab top as you will have reached your next destination before the opening credits of Suicide Squad have even ended. In Iceland he wore the jersey of U.M.F. Skallagrimur Borganes (Iceland-Dominos League) and one could be cautious, but still say with pride that the rest is history. Like many players before him, he tore up a weak league, but for some reason many players that have achieved success here have moved on to bigger and better things. Just ask a Derrick Allen who balled with Medlock last season in Vechta as he won the cup in Iceland in 2004 and after moved to the German BBL and is currently playing his 12th season in that league and for a time belonged to the top three power forwards. In Iceland Medlock played 24 games and was second in scoring averaging 27.2ppg), 4.4rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-5 (2.3spg), FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 78.9%.
After his break out season in Iceland, he made the next step in his professional career by moving to the higher league Pro A in Germany and hasn't turned his back on the country that gave the world real Beer and real cars as is currently playing his fourth season in Germany and first for the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig in the first division, but once again to have gotten there, he needed to prove himself again and again as he played the last three seasons in the Pro A for Crailsheim, Wurzburg and Vechta. His first season in Crailsheim paved the way for his further development as a player as not only did he keep consistent stats and was always among the top three point guards in the league, but he showed leadership qualities which belongs to the most vital attributes that a point guard has to have in order to be successful. He led Crailsheim to the Pro A final, but lost to BG Goettingen that was just a number to tough for them. 'I think if we could have capitalized on our chance to make a run like we did at home maybe it would've been different. But hats off to Goettingen they got the title', stressed Carlos Medlock. However the disappointment of not getting the chip drove him on to become better and he would prove in the next two seasons that his leadership would continue to rise. He played his first season with the Crailsheim Merlins (Germany-Pro A) playing 37 games and averaging 17.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 82.2%. His stats weren't just good, but magnificent as he showed his scoring touch on numerous occasions, but also demonstrated that his playmaking is solid and that he could shoot the three at crucial moments. In his first season in the Pro A, he scored in double figures in 33 games and 20 points or more 13 times as one could of called him the scoring machine from Detroit. He had some massive games against Science City Jena with 39 points on eight three's or 32 points against Ehingen or 29 points against Heidelberg. One may have thought that one of these two games would have been his personal season best, but it was actually the game against Magdeburg where he poured in 20 points, dished out nine assists and stayed clean taking care of the ball. 'I hate having turnovers especially bad ones. The game against Jena I did go into a zone but I was just trying to do whatever I could to help my team win', stressed Carlos Medlock
In 2014, he moved on to Wurzburg who were in the second league and were looking to get back to the BBL. One may have wondered why he didn't stay in Crailsheim, in a place he was comfortable with and with the chance of making the next step to the BBL with the team in the second season, but as is so often the case with any player, a new challenge and taking that best new opportunity for himself and his family stood out. He also always had the BBL in the back of his mind just like any other American player walking on the soil in Germany. 'Just knowing Wurzburg was a good situation for me. I Feel the BBL will always be there and I know I can play in that league. When the best opportunity comes I will be playing in that league', warned Carlos Medlock. He came into a new situation and just did what a point guard has to by running the team like a point guard should, had potent stats and at the end of the season reached the Pro A final again. With Wurzburg he played 39 games averaging 13.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 75.4%. His stats weren't as big as with Crailsheim, but then again he was surrounded by more talent and he didn't have to do as much himself. 'The reason I came to this team was to show that I'm not just a scoring point guard, but I can run a team also', stressed Carlos Medlock. He still found enough opportunities to score as he scored in double figures in 29 games and even put up the goose egg against Heidelberg in 30 minutes, but nobody remembered that performance 24 hours later as his team had won by 15 points and continued to rush through the season blowing most every opponent out of their way. The season ended in disappointment as they lost in Giessen 77-76 missing out on a second pro A title. His second blow came in the off season when he wasn't retained by Wurzburg for the upcoming BBL season. Medlock remained professional and knew that this was just part of the professional process and that his time would come eventually.
Last season Medlock laced up his sneakers with SC Rasta Vechta and once again led his team to the Pro A final and had his best season in the playmaking department as he played 36 games averaging 14.1ppg, 2.2rpg, Assists-3 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 78.5%. Being known for being more than just a scoring point guard seems to have always been a factor, but he finally proved with Vechta that he could be that vicious playmaker that could consistently deposit dimes the way a Scott Machado is doing this season in the BBL. Already with Wurzburg, he had set his mind on doing that. 'One of my main goals was to improve on my assists', added Carlos Medlock. With SC Rasta Vechta, he probably had the most talent in his three years in the Pro A as he had teammates like Derrick Allen, Christian Standhardinger or Chase Griffin. It was his most complete season as once again his scoring was there as he scored in double figures in 29 games including some monster games against Nurnberg with 32 points and 25 points against Science City Jena. He was more of a playmaker having big assist games with 13 against Hanau and 12 against Essen. At the end of the season though, he couldn't finally say three was a charm, but moreover might have said one more loss next season in the Pro A and I can book a room together with legendary Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly in the hotel for final losers as the Hall of fame quarterback actually reached four Super Bowls and never came home with that much desired ring. He did lead Vechta to a home 92-77 win in the final, but Science City Jena had done all the damage in the first game winning 80-54 and thus moved back to the BBL on account of a better point difference as that is how the Pro A champ is determined.
One may have thought that the American couldn't suffer anymore hardship after a third consecutive Pro A final loss, but instead of being rewarded for leading the team to the final, just like with Wurzburg, Vechta didn't retain him, but instead decided to give the point guard reigns to ex NBA player Scott Machado. Once again, Medlock stayed positive and let his game and agent do the talking and finally after six long seasons as a professional made the jump to the easyCredit BBL signing with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. This season has been one to forget as his winning ways of the last three seasons have been drastically reduced in Braunschweig as currently the club is riding a 2-9 record and is sitting near the cellar in 16th place. He has some nice complimentary players around him like a Dyshawn Pierre, Geoffrey Groselle or Carlton Guyton as well as German BBL veterans Jannik Freese and Nicolai Simon, and a handful of unproven young Germans, but all in all not really enough to compete with more than half of the other BBL teams. Head coach Frank Menz put together a risky roster with little proven BBL players and the result currently is a place near the bottom. Medlock has been holding his own incorporating his leadership qualities as best as he can leading the teams to wins against ex team SC Rasta Vechta and the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He knows that just like when he arrived in the Pro A three years ago, the BBL is all a new learning experience. 'The speed of the game is different. Throughout my career my assists been pretty consistent it's a little less than last year. But do I wish to average more of course', stressed Carlos Medlock. Leadership is something that he has always done well and this season it's been tough, but something he is still doing to the best of his capabilities. 'It's not a problem I been one of the leaders on each team that I played for. But what I try to do most of is leading by example', added Carlos Medlock. Except for a close 77-75 loss against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen, most loses have been by more than 10 points and the club even suffered brutal massacres against Bavarian teams Bamberg and new BBL sensation 10 game winning streak team Bayreuth by 48 points. Despite the lack luster, start, he is upbeat that the season will turn around. 'Very confident things will change. The team is starting to play well together and it's a long season anything can happen when we playing to our potential', said Carlos Medlock. The season has been a valuable learning experience for the American as he continues to grow day by day in a league that he has been dreaming of reaching since years. Medlock had to prove his worth as a basketball players for six years and his motivation to stick with it and continue to show the critics that he has game finally did pay off. He also knows that proving the doubters hasn't ended in Braunschweig either. 'Yeah it's been that way for me my whole life. Wish it could've been easy like the so called big name players. But it just helps me appreciate the grind of basketball more. My motivation that keeps me pushing is my kids and keep proving people wrong', stressed Carlos Medlock. Now the American continues to want to prove doubters wrong that he isn't a one hit basketball wonder, but that he can not only survive the rigors of BBL life, but become a consistent solid player that will stick for good in the top German league like that stickum stuff did to for two time Super Bowl champion Oakland Raider Lester Hays back in the day. One for thing is for sure, this summer nobody will be able to tell Carlos Medlock that he came even with Jim Kelly with four lost finals.
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