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.
Jefferson Mason(198-G/F-88, college: Minn.St.-Mankato) is a 28 year old 198cm guard from Crystal Minnesota that has decided to hang up his sneakers and retire from professional basketball.He played his first three seasons of college ball at N.Colorado (NCAA) playing a total of 58 NCAA games. He then played at Minnesota State-Mankato (NCAA2) from 2009-2011 and in his senior year he played 33 games: 19.2ppg, 8.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, FG%: 55.5, 3FG%: 30.6, FT%: 70.0. He started his profession... [read more]
Jefferson Mason (198-G/F-88, college: Minn.St.-Mankato) is a 28 year old 198cm guard from Crystal Minnesota that has decided to hang up his sneakers and retire from professional basketball.He played his first three seasons of college ball at N.Colorado (NCAA) playing a total of 58 NCAA games. He then played at Minnesota State-Mankato (NCAA2) from 2009-2011 and in his senior year he played 33 games: 19.2ppg, 8.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, FG%: 55.5, 3FG%: 30.6, FT%: 70.0. He started his professional basketball career in Germany for the Webmoebel Baskets Paderborn (Germany-Pro A) playing 31 games: 17.1ppg, 6.7rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 65.8%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Frisco Texas Legends (D-League): 1 game: 2pts, 2rbs, in Dec.'12 moved to CSU Atlassib Sibiu (Romania-Division A), left in Dec.'12: 4 games: 8.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, in Jan.'13 signed at Al-Tadamoun (Iraq-D1). In the 2013-2014 season he played for AB Contern (Luxembourg-Total League) playing 29 games averaging 19.6ppg, 10.9rpg, 1.9apg, Steals-5 (1.8spg), FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 56.0%. His last professional season was with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProB) playing 4 games averaging 10.8ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg. He spoke to eurobasket about his basketball career.
Jefferson thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I am currently living in Minneapolis, MN and my summer has been great. I have been able to stay active playing basketball in the Pro Am League here in Minneapolis this summer. I have also been busy training and also working for Dr. Dish!
My first thought was when you contacted me saying you had officially retired from professional basketball was 'boy your still so young'. Then I looked closer and saw your last professional game was in October 2014. Did you still have thoughts the last two years to continue to play the game that you love? Yes you are correct, I am young and I did decide to retire young. I think that it was something that came out of nowhere for me, especially since I am young and in my prime. For me basketball was always a gateway to moving forward and opening up opportunities. I was fortunate enough to receive several opportunities here in Minneapolis the past 2 years. One being the opportunity to work at Dr. Dish and really stand behind something I believe in!
Now you have made it official that you will step down from the game after only parts of four seasons. Was this a difficult decision for you to make or was the fact that life had gone on for you with new challenges in your life make your decision easier? I think that since I'm still heavily involved in basketball, it has allowed me to gracefully separate myself from the thrill and excitement of being a professional basketball player. I am able now to help kids reach the same dream of becoming a college and pro basketball player through Dr. Dish and youth training.
You told me in an interview in 2012 that you would love to play the game as long as your body allows you to? Could you still have been able to have played into your 30's?
Yes! I am actually in some ways more athletic than I was several years ago. I've always been mentally sharp and blessed to stay healthy my entire career. It was always a dream to play until I could no more, but I've always believed family comes before self-ambition. Having received an incredible job offer, in the basketball world, being able to stay home with my family, was the ultimate turning point for myself.
Our second interview was in October 2014 after a game in Langen where you went 3/10 from the free throw line with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau. Do you remember that performance? It was one of your last games as a professional as a few weeks later you were gone I remember speaking with you before and after that game. I can definitely say it wasn't my best performance, but at that point in my career I understood that I couldn't be perfect. I knew that getting wins was the most important thing, so I always tried to work hard and make my teammates better even if shots weren't falling. My very last play, in my last game, was a dunk and I think that was a great way to go out since that was my specialty!
In 4 games with Hanau you had very solid stats averaging 10.8ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg. Was there something in this short experience that made you dislike the game or not have that desire anymore. You never played professionally again after that?
To some those may be impressive stats, but for me and my skill set it was below average. Leaving Hanau was tough because it was the first time in my career I felt I wasn't able to show my full potential as a player. I loved the city, my teammates, and the management, so it was tough leaving Hanau. Although this was tough, it really had no impact on my decision to stop playing basketball professionally.
Was that the end how you wanted it at that time? Weren't teams not biting anymore or as you said in that interview, the right fit never came again to make you want to sign again with a new team? When I finished at Hanau I had many teams contact me for my services. At the time, I didn't want to rush into a bad decision and I really wanted to take a few weeks to think about my options. I declined multiple offers and instead of going directly to another team, I decided to head to America and regroup and refocus. While in the states, I was able to speak with my wife about what we wanted for our future. As the days turned into weeks, I realized that basketball wasn't the only thing I was born to do. I relied heavily on my faith and when I was offered opportunities to work in the basketball realm, I knew it was my next step in life!
You had a very short basketball career, but having played in Germany, D-league, Romania, Luxemburg and Iraq, could one say that it was a sweet career even if it wasn't long?
Playing 4 years is a short career on the professional side of things, but I have been playing basketball since I was a kid. Majority of my life has been centered around the game and it still is. You could say I'm just on the other side of things now! I was blessed with the perfect situation in Germany my rookie year. I played with several Americans I knew, and Coach Thomas Glasauer did an amazing job of maximizing my strengths and helping me develop my weaknesses as a player. We exceeded expectations by far that year and I had an abundance of opportunity after that. Spending time in the preseason working out with the MN Timberwolves the following year showed me that I could compete at the highest level. This led me to get drafted in the D-League by the Dallas Mavericks. That experience on top of playing in Romania, really showed me the business aspect of the game. I made lifetime friends playing in the middle east and I experienced a whole new world living there for 4 months!
As a rookie you played for the Webmoebel Baskets Paderborn (Germany-ProA) playing 31 games: 17.1ppg, 6.7rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 65.8%. Do you feel like you could have that lingering question in your mind forever what could have been had a BBL team given me the chance? I definitely thought after my rookie season in Paderborn I would have had a few offers to play in the BBL. When team's interest never developed into actual offers I was disappointed but motivated. Having not received that big contract right off the bat led me to my workouts with the Timberwolves and being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks D-League team. The NBA is the highest level, so being able to show people I could excel was self-gratifying to say the least.
What will you remember most from your rookie season where you played with Americans Nick Freer, Justin Stommes and Jamar Diggs? Were you able to form lasting friendships with them? I will always remember how hard we pushed each other and the intense workouts we had. Nick Freer was an amazing teammate and extremely unselfish. He always put the team first and was one of the hardest workers I ever played with/against. Justin Stommes and Jamar Diggs are from Minnesota so we all knew each other and had played against each other in high school. It's rare you play with guys from high school at the professional level and we definitely took advantage of the opportunity. I can remember the amazing nights we had following big wins and the unpredictable road trips we took together. I still stay in touch with those guys to this day and they are both really good friends of mine. The Pro-am league I play here in Minnesota, was started by Jamar Diggs and we play on the same team. It's awesome to still be able to compete with those guys.
Talk a little about the highlights in your professional career? You reached the semi-finals in Luxemburg and played in Iraq which is worth a few unforgettable stories.
Playing in Paderborn finishing 3rd in the standings my rookie year was a huge accomplishment because we were preseason projected to finish basically last. When I played in Luxembourg it was a similar situation in which we were picked to finish at the bottom and ended up reaching the semi-finals that year. Luxembourg is a beautiful country and my teammates that year really made my wife and I feel welcome. I traveled all over Europe that year with several of my teammates and made memories that will last a lifetime. I spent most of my time in Kurdistan when I played for Al Tadamoun in the Middle East. That area was surprisingly beautiful and the people were extremely kind and generous. My first American teammate there had a compound fracture which caused his bone to come through his skin. I remember running up to him after he made the basket and fell to the floor, and telling him to get up. That is when I saw the bone and I almost passed out. The game literally stopped and I went with him to the nearest doctor which wasn't at a hospital. The doctor there tried to push the bone back into his skin and had me helping out by holding his leg! I can remember how chaotic the situation was and I can remember saying that he needed meds immediately and that we needed to go to a hospital right away. He ended up having surgery and recovered just fine, but the uncertainty of the situation, combined with the language barrier made it a memory that will stick with me forever!
Your professional basketball career was short, but what will you always appreciate most about having had the opportunity to play the game you love something so many guys dream about doing?
I will always appreciate the people who believed in me. Coaches, managers, teammates and people in the cities I played for. People invested time and money into me, because they believed I could help them win and bring excitement. So many great players never get the opportunity to play professionally and I was able to have a great 4 years. The game of basketball has helped me reach out to the youth and help motivate the younger generation. Basketball has giving me the expertise to work for Dr. Dish now. My knowledge and skills allow me to utilize Dr. Dish shooting machines to help people of all ages and athletic abilities become better basketball players and lead healthy lifestyles. Doing this was also a dream of mine, so I am able to continue to live my dream after my professional career ended.
How would you like to have fans remember Jefferson Mason the basketball player and person?
I would like the fans to remember my high flying dunks and the excitement that I brought to each and every game. I want fans to remember my dedication and hard work I showed on the court. I tried my best to make every fan feel special and smile as much as I could. Playing professionally was an honor and blessing I never took for granted. I hope my former teammates have fond memories of me and I hope the young players in the countries I played for, were motivated by my on court play and personality.
Who was the toughest player that you battled against at any level that you ever played at?
I played against many tough players throughout my college and pro career. One of the toughest guys I went up was against Rodney Stuckey of the Indiana Pacers. When I was a freshman in college we played against him twice and he was a nightmare on the offensive side of the ball. He could post up smaller guards with his size and easily take bigger guards/forwards off the dribble. His passing and physical tools were overlooked often because of his scoring ability. He was one guy that took it to me when we matched up!
You have made the transition from professional player to the real world as you are a youth trainer for the Minnesota Timberwolves and also work in Business development for a company called Dr. Dish. How has it been juggling these two tasks? My transition into the real world has been easy for me because both jobs involve basketball which I'm very confident in. Dr. Dish is something I really believe in because it gives the coaches and parents the ability to help their players become better shooters, post players, ball-handlers, and overall athletes on the basketball court! Also working and youth training for an NBA organization opens new opportunities to learn the game from people at the highest level.
You work with kids on the basketball court. Are there any differences to how it was when you were a kid playing basketball to kids today in terms of work ethic and passion for the game?
I believe that kids these days have all the opportunity in the world to be seen by college and professional coaches. You tube, Facebook and other social media networks allow kids to learn quicker and also showcase themselves on a national platform. Dr. Dish for example, is a shooting machine that wasn't around when I was growing up. The technology and abilities Dr. Dish shooting machines have, help players reach their potential quicker and efficiently. It helps players become accountable and maximizes training on all levels. I believe passion exponentially grows when a new opportunity to get better, like Dr. Dish, is available. Kids these days are working harder than ever to achieve their goals and when training tools like Dr. Dish shooting machines are available, it helps kids get to their goals faster!
Can the Minnesota Timberwolves rebound from their 29-53 record last season. The club is very young and talented and NBA legend Kevin Garnett is back for another season to help the young players.
I had an opportunity the past 2 summers to workout with many of the Timberwolves players and I can personally tell you that these guys are hungry and want to win. They have an incredible core that is led by an amazing vet in KG and coach in Tom Thibodeau. Zach Lavine has our Dr. Dish All Star shooting machine and recently posted a video of him working out with it in his backyard at his home in Washington. That is just one example of how dedicated these guys are to getting better! I believe this year the hard work will pay in the win column for them!
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 NBA legends would you have as the heads? This is tough but I'd say Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar!
Lebron finally won his first NBA title with the Cavs. Where does this new title place him in the all-time greatest ranking of players?
I believe LeBron James is already a top 10 player of all time. If he wins a few more championships, and continues to play at a high level, then he would be in my top 2 players of all time.
What was the last movie that you saw? My favorite and last movie I saw was The Book of Eli. I love Denzel Washington as an actor and he did an incredible job in this movie!
Thanks Jefferson for the chat. For anyone that wants to check out what Jefferson is doing you can check out https://drdishbasketball.com
ALBA Berlin tabs Dominique Johnson, ex Banvit BK - 6 hours ago
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ALBA Berlin (BBL) inked 29-year old American shooting guard Dominique Johnson (194-88kg-87, college: Azusa Pacific, agency: Higher Vision Sports). He played most recently at Banvit Basketbol Kulubu in Turkish BSL league. In 32 games he averaged 13.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg last season. Johnson helped them to make it to the Turkish Cup Semifinals. He also played 18 games in Eurocup where he had 14.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.0apg and 1.2spg. The most of previous (2014-15) season Johnson spent at... [read more]
ALBA Berlin (BBL) inked 29-year old American shooting guard Dominique Johnson (194-88kg-87, college: Azusa Pacific, agency: Higher Vision Sports). He played most recently at Banvit Basketbol Kulubu in Turkish BSL league. In 32 games he averaged 13.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.3apg and 1.3spg last season. Johnson helped them to make it to the Turkish Cup Semifinals. He also played 18 games in Eurocup where he had 14.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.0apg and 1.2spg. The most of previous (2014-15) season Johnson spent at Maccabi Rishon (Winner League) in Israel. In 20 games he recorded 14.8ppg, 2.1rpg and 2.7apg. He contributed to his team making it to the semifinals. The other team Johnson played that season for was Stabill in TBL. In 19 games he got impressive 23.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.9apg and 1.9spg. In 2010 he was drafted by Idaho Stampede (D-League) in third round (16th overall). Johnson attended Azusa Pacific University (NCAA Div.II) and it will be his seventh season in pro basketball. He has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2012. Johnson received All-NAIA D1 1st Team award back in 2010 at his college time. Johnson has played also professionally in D-League (Sioux Falls Skyforce, Texas Legends and Canton Charge), Poland (Slask) and NBA (Minnesota Timberwolves). His game is described as:
Dominique is an athletic 6'5" combo guard with a strong body and great ability to score and defend. He is an outstanding teammate and personality, a smart player who is better suited in Europe as a scorer and a top defender. Dominique could easily become one of the top players in Europe even at the Euroleague level.
Hapoel Jerusalem (Winner League) landed 31-year old American coach Ryan Pannone. He will be a skills coach and the scout. He coached most recently at Hebeisen White Wings Hanau in German ProA. By Eurobasket Data Center (via @adamd2r) Check also Complete Transfers List in Israel [read more]
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