Three months ago as the Beko BBL season was only two weeks old, 2004 Fiba cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC that was back in the top German league after playing in the PRO A one year after having played in the league from 2009-2011 and arrived in Frankfurt sporting a 0-2 record and in dire need of getting a win. It was an overall very exciting game, but it was MBC that kept the nerves in the fourth quarter winning 71-68 winning a big game on the road mainly due to American Kelly Beidler (199-F-88, college: Mt.St.Mary's) who had his first double double of the season registering 17 points and hauling down 10 rebounds. The 24 year old 199cm forward from Virginia Beach was a solid scorer at St Marys (NCAA), but never averaged more than 10,9ppg in his NCAA career, but then came to Europe and in his first two professional seasons averaged 21,7ppg in Iceland and 19,2ppg in Finland. Granted the leagues arent as tough as the Beko BBL, but the American got self confidence and experience in the scoring department there, but in the win against Frankfurt it wasnt only his killer instinct around the rim in crunchtime, but also his stellar defense that got MBC the win at the end. Frankfurt had the ball with 13 seconds and the chance to bring the game into OT or win it with a three pointer. Beidler who had been big on the glass proved to also be big as he blocked Peacock on the last shot giving MBC their first win of the year. The man of Peacocok got beat so I came over to help my teammates. I thought better to try and block and risk the foul and giving up free throws then letting him score. I always have liked to be aggressive. I have been blocking shots all through my career even though it doesnt get noticed as much. People look at points and rebounds. Blocking shots is a strong point in my game, warned Kelly Beidler. Beidler is the central force in our defense. His long arms make a difference on defense and rebounding. That block was huge for us, said Sharaud Curry. So far this season, Beidler is averaging 9,0ppg, 4,3rpg and is shooting a very respectable 56,1% from the field and 43,8% from downtown. He has scored in double figures in nine of 16 games. His defense keeps being a spark for MBC as was the case in a 76-70 win against the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig as he swatted away three balls showing his keenness around the rim. It is no secret about his dominating play on the boards, but just hard work. Just being active and never quitting on the play. I always want to make something happen on the glass. I always try to act on the bounce off the rim. I use my athletic ability to my advantage from the three position, warned Kelly Beidler. Zach Peacock is the go to guy for the Fraport Skyliners and might be on the defending menu for Beidler on Saturday as the team likes to get him going early. Beidler enjoys the role of keeping the others team top player in check. I have to be active and bring energy. I also focus on defense and try to make the big defensive plays get steals that lead to easy baskets. I also am there to defend the best players and make them work for their points. My offense will come from that, warned Kelly Beidler. Despite the Fraport Skyliners wanting revenge in Weissenfels, Kelly Beidler will also be motivated to repeat his strong game in Frankfurt and he keeps a very important quote in his mind when stepping onto the court before every game never getting intimidated by the name or game of a player. every player is equal when stepping onto the court but when the lights turn on and its time to play ball, the best separate themselves from the pack. Thats what I try to do every time i step on the court, warned Kelly Beidler.
This season, Silvano Poropat chose to say farewell to a core of last seasons players with Arizona Reid, Robert Faye-Holcomb, Louis Hinnat and ex North Carolina state forward Jordan Collins. He opted to keep many of the German players with the heart and soul of the team captain Sascha Leutloff, Steve Wachalski, Philipp Heyden, Malte Schwarz and Johannes Lange. He also decided to keep Iceland scorer Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson. This season, he has brought a core of talented less known Americans. Kelly Beidler tore up the league in Iceland and Finland and now is looking to make the next jump in the higher league Beko BBL. Sharaud Curry is a diminutive point guard that tore up the Austrian league last season and also is looking to make an impact in the higher league Beko BBL. Chad Timberlake brings experience to the guard position and is playing in his fifth country in Europe. Devin Uskoski is a sort of Cinderella story as it took him four years to move from the German Regionaliga to the Beko BBL. Poropat also brought in help for the boards with Serb Djordje Pantelic. With only 1,4 million Euro budget, the club has little chance of picking up high class players. Despite little money and less talented players, the team will not go scared into the season. We know that we have one of the smallest budgets in the league, but we will take up the challenge and will go with a lot of self confidence into the season. We dont want to make the mistake that small teams do and get into debt. For us it isnt so critical if we play BBL or PRO A, stressed MBC manager Martin Geisler. A strength that the team has is their unpredictability. They had many different top scorers in the pre season and the scoring was always well balanced. The team will have nothing lose and fight in every game as if its their last game. Weaknesses in the team is under the basket where the team is thinly stacked. The team also coughed up the ball much in the preseason. We are still making too many mistakes on offense and have problems finding our rhythm. We still have to work much on ending the play, warned MBC head coach Silvano Poropat.
In the short two year tenure that the Mitteldeutscher BC had from 2009-2011, the Frankfurt Skyliners were able to leave the floor each time as the winner and have a positive 4-0 record in that time. In the 2009-2010 season who could forget the exciting 76-74 win in MBC as Frankfurt was down 10 points and made a big comeback in the last minutes as American guard Aubrey Reese won the game with a shot. Frankfurt won the game at home 77-65 as American Jimmy Mckinney led Frankfurt with 17 points, Derrick Allen added 12 points and Skyliner legend Pascal Roller 11 points. In the 2010-2011 season, the Deutsche Bank Skyliners had an easier time winning as they routed the Wolves 83-52 at home as Dashaun Wood had a type of Derrick Rose performance with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Dominik Bahiense De Mello added 13 points and KImmo Muurinen 11 points. Frankfurt won in Weissenfels 70-58 as Dashaun Wood poured in 26 points and Quantez Robertson steered 11 points.
Currently the Mitteldeutscher BC is resting in 13th place with a record of 7-10. They started the season slow losing six of their first seven games as their only bright spot was the big 71-68 win in Frankfurt where they showed a lot of grit winning in crunch time and keeping their nerves in control. They showed a very spirited game losing a heartbreaker to FC Bayern Munich 73-71 at home as the game could of gone either way at the end. They then won their second game of the season 76-70 in Braunschweig. Then followed two loses to Alba Berlin and against BBC Bayreuth. Since then they have been playing better basketball winning five of their last seven games including busting out a three game winning streak. In this winning streak, they defeated the Eisaberen Bremerhaven on the road and showed their forceful play at home beating Ludwigsburg and the always tough Artland Dragons. They also beat the LTi Giessen 46ers at home, but lost in Oldenburg and Trier. They only have a 4-4 record at home, but have won their last four in a row in the comfortable wolf den in Weissenfels including a big win against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg last weekend. The team still gives us more points then what head coach Silvano Poropat would desire, but the team is always good for a surprise. A very important quality of MBC this season is their attitude when going into games which has been transported from Silvano Poropat to the team. coach has told us that players from strong teams are just like us. They do the same thing that we do. What he means by this is that we have to go into each game believing that we can win. I think that we can upset good teams, because we can play as a team for 40 minutes, warned Kelly Beidler. For the Fraport Skyliners, it will be another do or die game to get themselves away from the lower standings. They have won two of their last three games and their defense is back to where it is supposed to be having averaged giving up only 63 points in the last three games. Defense is always the key. If we can control the boards and tempo then we always have a good chance to win, warned Ted Scott. MBC recently picked up sharp shooter Osvaldo Jeanty who has had Beko BBL expereicne with Nordlingen, Giessen and Bayreuth and will spark the team on offense.
The Mitteldeutscher BC is led by Steve Wachalski who is leading the team in scoring after two games. It took the German seven years to reach the Beko BBL in 2010 with BBC Bayreuth. He played his first five seasons starting in 2003 in the Regionaliga with Osnabrueck before reaching the PRO B in 2008. In 2010-2011, he got Beko BBL experience with BBC Bayreuth playing 27 games: 3.3ppg, 1.8rpg. Last season for MBC, he played 37 games: 9.9ppg, 5.1rpg, FGP: 63.2%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 77.1%. Kelly Beidler is a 24 year old 199cm forward from Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is starting his third professional basketball season and third in Europe. He is a very athletic forward that can do it all with rebounding, posting up, shooting from outside as firstmost is a team playerHe played at Mt St Marys from 2006-2010. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 10.7ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.7spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 74.1%. In 2001 as a rookie he played for : IR Reykjavik (Iceland-Express League, starting five): 24 games: Score-4 (21.7ppg), Reb-2 (12.4rpg), 3.8apg, Steals-5 (2.5spg), Blocks-3 (2.0bpg), FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 72.9%. Last season he played for : Karhu Kauhajoki (Finland-Korisliiga, starting five): 44 games: Score-4 (19.2ppg), Reb-5 (9.8rpg), 1.4apg, Steals-1 (2.3spg), Blocks-1 (1.9bpg), FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 70.8%. Milan Brown his coach at Mt St Marys has helped shape him to be the player that he is today. Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Iceland. He started his basketball career in 2003 for Fjolnir (Intersport League) and played most of his career in Iceland except for a stint with CB Dunas Hotels Gran Canaria Las Palmas (Spain-EBA) in 2007. He played for Top Iceland team and ex Skyliner Derrick Allen team Keflavik (Iceland-Express) from 2008-2011. In his three seasons there, he never averaged less than 16,5ppg. Last season he played for Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-ProA): 37 games: 9.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 77.6%. Chad Timberlake is a 28 year old 193cm guard that was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He is a very talented point guard with good physical size (64,208 lbs.) and toughness, he can play the shooting guard position, if that is what is needed for the team. Chad is the floor general with excellent court vision and he is a natural team leader. He can play fast break style or he can run an offense with set plays, whatever is essential to win. He is an extremely athletic guard and gets to the basket, always finishing ha rd. He has the skills to take over games with his scoring and jumping ability. He played at Fairleigh Dickinson (NCAA) from 2002-2006. In 2006-2007 as a rookie he played for Mlekarna Kunin Novi Jicin (Czech Republic-NBL, starting five): EuroCup Challenge: 8 games: 16.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.0apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 61.3%, 3FGP: 21.1%, FT: 61.1%; Czechs League: 46 games: 15.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.7apg, 2FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 37.7%, FT: 60.6%. In 2007-2008, he played in the States for the Albany Patroons (CBA, starting Five): 36 games: 15.1ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 73.1.0%. In 2008-2009, he played for Sokol Znicz Jaroslaw (Poland-PLK, starting five): 11 games: 14.1ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 52.0%. In 2009-2010, he played for Zalakeramia-ZTE KK (Hungary-A Division): 18 games: 5.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 56.5%. In 2010-2011, he played for Elitzur Yavne (Israel-National League, starting five): 31 games: 20.2ppg, 5.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 21.1%, FT: 73.2%. Last season he played for Falco-Szova KC-Szombathely (Hungary-A Division, starting five): 36 games: Score-3 (21.3ppg), 5.0rpg, 3.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP-3 (67.4%), 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 71.1%. He won the cup and league title in Hungry in 2010.
Devin Uskoski is a 26 year old 201 cm forward from Brush Praire who can rebound with the best of them and reacts very smart under the boards. He played at Rocky Mountain (NAIA) and turned professional in 2009. In 2009-2010, he was a rookie for BG Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga)): 26 games: 25.9ppg, 11.0rpg, FGP: 70.3%, 3Pts: 48.6%, FT: 73.5%. In 2010-2011, he moved up a league with BG Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany): 31 games: Score-4 (20.7ppg), Reb-1 (10.8rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 62.4%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 73.4%. Last season, he was one of the top forwards in the PRO A for VfL Kirchheim Knights (Germany-ProA): 36 games: 16.1ppg, Reb-3 (8.1rpg), 1.3apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 83.4%. This past summer, he played for the Vancouver Volcanoes (IBL, starting five): 12 games: 17.2ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 57.6%, FT: 74.6%. Djordje Pantelic is a 28 year old 204cm forward form Serbia that gives MBC added experience as Germany will be his sixth country in Europe. He got early experience playing in Cyprus. In 2009-2010, he played for BC Steaua Turabo Bucuresti (Romania-Div.A, starting five): Romanian League: 14 games: 6.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 63.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 71.4%; Balkan League: 5 games: 7.4ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.0apg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 71.4%, released in Dec.09, in Feb.10 moved to Stjarnan (Iceland-Express League, starting five): 11 games: 14.1ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.7apg, 2.9bpg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 81.3%. In 2010-2011, he played for Apollon Patras (Greece-A2): 30 games: 11.0ppg, Reb-2 (8.9rpg), 1.4apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-1 (1.9bpg), FGP: 64.8%, 3PT: 26.5%, FT: 72.4%. Last season, he played for Falco-Szova KC-Szombathely (Hungary-A Division, starting five): 38 games: 13.0ppg, Reb-4 (9.0rpg), 1.9apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-2 (1.6bpg), FGP: 61.9%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 69.9%. Sascha Leutloff is a 30 year old 202cm forward from Berlin. He continues to have his heart with MBC as the captain is returning for a sixth season. He started to play organized basketball at age 16 and developed rapidly into a promising player. He has very good speed and athletic potential, is a very good and aggressive defender, can play inside out, is an exceptional offensive rebounder, has a very good character and is a smart person on and off the court. He started his basketball career with TUS Lichterfelde in 2001 and also played with Alba Berlin from 2004-2006. Last season for MBC, he played 37 games: 9.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 74.1%. He won the Beko BBL cup in 2006 with Alba Berlin. Malte Schwarz is a 23 year old 188cm guard that is palying hiss econd season in Weissenfels. He started his basketball career in 2006 with Bramfelder SV Hamburg (2.Regionalliga). He then played a season with SC Rist Wedel (Regionalliga) before getting his feet wet in the Beko BBL playing for Phoenix Hagen from 2008-2011. He played a total of 58 Beko BBL games. Last season for MBC, he played 25 games: 6.8ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 88.0%. Johannes Lange is a 27 year old 208cm center that took nine years of playing in the German minor leagues before finally getting his chance this season in the Beko BBL with MBC. He started his basketball career with Rhondorf 1912 Dragons (2.Bundesliga) in 2003 where he played until 2010. In 2010-2011, he played for GiroLive-Ballers Osnabrueck (ProA): 22 games: 3.9ppg, 2.1rpg. Last season, he played for BG Karlsruhe (ProA): 6 games: 3.2ppg, 1.0rpg; left in Nov.11, then moved to Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (ProA): 21 games: 4.3ppg, 2.0rpg
Marcellus Barksdale(196-G-93, college: IUPUI) is a 23 year old 196cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky that is playing his first professional season in Germany with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) and will start his professional career against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. He played at IUPUI (NCAA) form 2011-2016 playing a total of 131 NCAA games. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 8.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 73.1%. He spoke to eurobasket before th... [read more]
Marcellus Barksdale (196-G-93, college: IUPUI) is a 23 year old 196cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky that is playing his first professional season in Germany with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) and will start his professional career against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. He played at IUPUI (NCAA) form 2011-2016 playing a total of 131 NCAA games. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 8.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 73.1%. He spoke to eurobasket before the Frankfurt contest.
Marcellus thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are playing your first season with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB). You signed very late in the summer. How was your first experience with looking for clubs and finding that right situation?
It was a nerve wrecking process to say the least! It really tested my patience. It was a situation that was out of my control. All I could do was continually improve and work on my game so that when my moment came, I would be ready.
You finally found a team with the TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB). What were then main reasons for joining the club and what was really sold you on making your professional start in Germany? Honestly, I believed Germany would be a great place for me to start my career. All of the pros I talked to, both former and current, listed Germany as one of their top places to live and play basketball. My agent, Gerrit Kersten-Thiele, is also from Germany so it was an easy decision for me when he told me they were interested in signing me.
Just like last season the club has relied on one American. What has been your experience playing with only German players?
It has been a very easy transition. Although my teammates are all German, they each speak English very well and have done a great job of including me in the team's chemistry. Practicing the last couple of weeks and watching the season opener have allowed me to understand each of my teammates strengths and capabilities. I'm excited to finally get on the court with them.
Have you noticed early on that the team looks up to you or do sense it is trust in the making? I feel the team really looks up to me and is looking for me to help lead. We have a lot of talent but we are a young team. As one of the older guys, it is my responsibility to lead by example and bring energy and intensity to every practice and game.
How excited are you to be making your professional debut in Frankfurt. Can you remember your NCAA debut in 2011 against Anderson? I'm pumped up for my professional debut! It's finally starting to feel real. All of the countless hours in the gym have begun to pay off and I have a great opportunity in front of me. And yes, I still remember my first college game as well. I had so much energy and adrenaline that it was hard to be nervous!
The name might not say anything now, but you will be making your debut against 16 year 203cm point guard Isaac Bonga who is the biggest German prospect since NBA player Dennis Schroeder. Is this something that will add to your adrenaline for your first professional game? I've watched a little bit of film on him. I think he has a very bright future ahead but for now, he's my opponent and I'm treating him no differently than any other player on the Frankfurt roster. He has no effect on my adrenaline or excitement for my first game as a pro. I did not even know who he was until this week.
Besides winning what are your main goals as a rookie on the court?
From my effort and defensive intensity, to my communication and aggressiveness, my main goal on the court is to be the hardest worker on the floor and to set an example for my teammates at all times. All of these goals are completely intangible and things I have control over every game. I feel if I'm able to do these to the best of my ability every night, wins will follow.
Do you see yourself as having to carry the team and being the main scoring option?
I see myself as having to do whatever is necessary for my team to win each game. One game it may be scoring, one game it may be defending, another game it may be both. Either way, I'm going to do what is needed to get a win for my team.
If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would you describe your game too?
Tough question! But if there was one NBA player who I feel my game mimics most I would have to say Andre Miller in his younger years. Miller was a very versatile and strong combo guard who was a heck of a leader. He could play on the wing or PG and was very effective at both. I also liked how he had the strength to take smaller guards to the block and go to work. He was also a pest on the defensive end and had a great basketball IQ.
How proud were you to be part of the success and breakout season of Darell Combs?
Watching Darell grow for the past two-and-a-half years was great. He's one of the best guards I've ever played with and really began to mature on and off the court last season. He's been working hard all summer and I really feel he will have a breakout season this year.
How far can he still go and develop in his last two years of school? Darell has always been a talented scorer but his ball handling and passing ability have allowed him to take his game to the next level. Add that with his new leadership role at IUPUI and he has a chance to lead this team to a conference championship and NCAA tournament.
You are a very energetic and active forward with your biggest strength at rebounding. What other assets would you add to your player profile? I'm very versatile. I feel there is nothing on the court that I can't particularly do. I feel passing is one of my best assets. I have very good court vision and an understanding of when and where to get my teammates the ball.
You are a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game? A hidden strength in my game is my scoring ability. My last season of college, the dynamics of the team changed and my scoring was not needed as much. I've worked hard all summer to improve my outside shooting and midrange game. This season I plan to utilize these strengths much more.
You had many good games at IUPUI, but would you say that your back to back games of 21 points against South Dakota and 25 points against Western Illinois were your two best games? I played a lot of games at IUPUI. It's hard to single out any one performance as my best. Those were great games for me scoring the ball but I do not think I would count that as my best game.
How did Jason Gardner groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career in your senior year? Coach Gardner challenged me. He challenged my leadership and also gave me a clearer reality of what to expect playing professional basketball in Europe. He also continually helps me in whatever way he can, and it's always good knowing somebody like that is in your corner.
Gardner had his successful years in Germany with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Do you remember him telling any stories about his time in Germany? When I found out that Coach Gardner was going to be my head coach I immediately began watching all of his pro highlights on YouTube. He's told me a few stories but I know he had a great career in Germany and was loved and hated by many fans!
Who was the toughest player you battled in the NBA that is in the NBA now?
The toughest player that I've played in college that is in the NBA now is Nate Wolters. I've played against many NBA talents but Wolters was always tough at South Dakota St. His game was always solid and he played at his own pace. I've always respected his game.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Mason Archie?
Me and Mase had many battles. We would go back and forth many practices and open gyms. We always had an unspoken battle. We never talked about it much but we both were trying to beat each other at everything--sprints, weights, one-on-one drills, defending Darell, grades. It really pushed us to become better both on and off the court.
If you had to construct your NBA Rushmore with the 4 best heads ever who would you choose? I would go with MJ, Kareem, Kobe, and LeBron (I have to give him his proper respect.)
Lebron finally won an NBA title with the Cavs. Where does he stand now with the all-time greatest that ever played? After his most recent championship, I believe LeBron solidified himself as a top-5 all-time great NBA player.
Melsahn Basabe (ex Goettingen) agreed terms with Doxa Lefkadas - 1 day ago
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Newly promoted AE Doxa Lefkadas (A1) inked 24-year old American power forward Melsahn Basabe (201-100kg-92, college: Iowa). He was about to sign at BG Goettingen in German BBL league. The last season Basabe played at Antwerp Giants (Scooore League) in Belgium where in 13 games he recorded very impressive stats: 16.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.2spg and 1.0bpg. A very good season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Belgian League Honorable Mention. Basabe also played 9 games in FIBA Euro... [read more]
Newly promoted AE Doxa Lefkadas (A1) inked 24-year old American power forward Melsahn Basabe (201-100kg-92, college: Iowa). He was about to sign at BG Goettingen in German BBL league. The last season Basabe played at Antwerp Giants (Scooore League) in Belgium where in 13 games he recorded very impressive stats: 16.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.2spg and 1.0bpg. A very good season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Belgian League Honorable Mention. Basabe also played 9 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he averaged 12.8ppg, 5.8rpg and 1.0bpg. He helped them to make it to the quarterfinals. Basabe played in the final of NIT in 2013. He has played previously professionally in Finland (Helsinki Seagulls) and Poland (Stabill). Basabe attended University of Iowa until 2014 and it is his third season in pro basketball.
On the court, professional basketball players take the game very seriously because it's the game they love and it's also what pays some Las Vegas weekends, but off the court, the majority of players are able to take a step back from their hardnosed focus and can also be more relaxed and in more of a joking manner to help kick the time away. Ex Fraport Skyliner Anthony King played many times in the Telekom Dome and even as a BBL allstar in 2014 probably could of come up with a funny line f... [read more]
On the court, professional basketball players take the game very seriously because it's the game they love and it's also what pays some Las Vegas weekends, but off the court, the majority of players are able to take a step back from their hardnosed focus and can also be more relaxed and in more of a joking manner to help kick the time away. Ex Fraport Skyliner Anthony King played many times in the Telekom Dome and even as a BBL allstar in 2014 probably could of come up with a funny line for his ex teammate Julian Gamble (208-F/C-89, college: Miami, FL) from Miami (NCAA) after he had heard that he had signed with Bonn. Back in the 2007-2008 season, King was a senior and the Durham, North Carolina native didn't play his freshman year until the next season, but gained incredible valuable experience being able to practice with the squad. King who always seemed like a quiet fellow, but in reality knew exactly when and how to crack hilarious jokes, could have prepared Gamble for his new stomping ground as follows. 'Hey Julian, the next time your sitting on the bench during a break from a game day shoot around, attempt to count how many magenta seats are in the arena, I came up with 1,349'. Of course, one could always have that option if one was totally overcome by boredom, but a guy like Gamble would rather have the game in his thoughts and how he would help his team gain the next victory. Gamble does have fond memories of King. 'King was a mentor to me when I first stepped on campus. We also graduated from the same high school, so he knows what it was to make it out of where we came from. He definitely is a funny guy once you get to know him but very laid back at the same time', stressed Gamble. He had a solid career at Miami where he reached a NCAA Sweet 16 and NIT Sweet 16 and Elite eight, but as a player was groomed for a certain role where he was unable to show what he really had until he became a professional. 'Playing on a team where I had to play a role that wasn't to score was difficult at times. It was hard because I always knew I had the ability and I worked on my game constantly. I just continued to work and prayed that God would allow me the opportunity to show what I can truly do and I think it was a surprise to most people', warned Julian Gamble (208-F/C-89, college: Miami, FL). However that all changed when he became a professional and tore up the French Pro B with Saint Vallier Basket Drome and in Belgium with Basic-Fit Brussels. He was a top scorer each season and was third in rebounding twice and second once and was the top shot blocker each season. 'At Miami, my senior year especially, I was a good player on a great team. I took great pride in being whatever my team needed that night. That didn't always mean big numbers but I always knew I had the ability to be a big time player given the opportunity. Once I was given that chance, I never looked back', added Julian Gamble (208-F/C-89, college: Miami, FL). Now the American who compares his game to Blake Griffin and lists Harrison Barnes as his toughest opponent in college is ready to make the next step in the competitive and highest league that he will have played in the EasyCredit BBL. With Bonn, he has a very talented supporting cast and has his feet on the ground and mentality keen on winning first before worrying about that double double. 'My goal production wise will not change, but ultimately I want to win. Whatever it takes to win is what I will do, but my personal ambition as a player is to be the best I can be', warned Julian Gamble (208-F/C-89, college: Miami, FL). Gamble had a strong pre-season and is developing well and is on a good way of making the next step and so are the Telekom Baskets Bonn who want to wash away last season which was one to forget which was only their third time in 20 years where they failed to make the playoffs. He will be ready to erase his meager 4 point effort against Alba Berlin and get back on track against Frankfurt.
After finishing in 4th and 5th place in the regular season in 2014 and 2015, last season the Telekom Baskets Bonn slipped to 12th place and had an early summer vacation in early May getting an early jump on the summer cafe's and sun tanning along the Rhein river. The season actually started off with a bang as they won five of their first six games including huge wins against FC Bayern Munich and ratiopharm Ulm where they demonstrated just how lethal an offense they had averaging 94 points in the two games, but then everything just fell apart as if it was night and day. They then lost a combined 12 games in a row of BBL and Eurocup games and saved their Christmas by winning a shootout against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen on the day before Christmas. However no turn around occurred as the team lost seven of it's next nine games. One could see that consistency was a word absent from their vocabulary that one never knew what to expect from the club after despite winning two in a row against Tuebingen (twice 100 plus points) and Phoenix Hagen with 100 plus points, on the next weekend they had their biggest low point getting smacked around 78-48 in Frankfurt. During all of this head coach Matthias Fischer was dismissed as fans were as frustrated as a cat is when it outsmarted by a quicker mouse. Bonn knew how to put points on the board, but couldn't defend if their life depended on it. They gave up 80 points or more 26 times and if one examines their results closely would have come to the conclusion that they could really have struggled more and had issues concerning lower standings positions if they had not won the majority of their offensive shoot outs.
With the arrival of new head coach Silvano Poropat, the club hopes to bring some fresh new wind to the team. Poropat has displayed in the past that he knows how to put together teams and lead them to success. He did that unexpectedly with Ludwigsburg in the 2006-2007 season and led them to the top two teams in the BBL and a semi-final berth of the playoffs and also helped bring the Mitteldeutscher BC back to the BBL. The Croatian coach did a great job bringing in new basketball blood and the team showed in pre-season that a healthy team chemistry was in the starting block and prepared to grow. 'My first impression of Coach is that he very badly wants to win. I feel he knows the game well, in the ways he described to me things he liked I did. I also feel that family is important to him, which is important to me, because chemistry both on and off the court is what will make our time together something to remember', stressed Julian Gamble (208-F/C-89, college: Miami, FL). The club made a complete house cleaning keeping only Florian Koch. They were hoping that point guard Eugene Lawrence would remain, but didn't. This season the Telekom Baskets Bonn have put together a very versatile team that is stronger at each position than it was last season. After the disastrous defensive season last year, a big focus this season will be on reducing the number of points they give up. Offensively Bonn have the capability to light up the scoreboard again, but it will be their defensive performance with the combination of athleticism and hunger of showing effort that will determine between a playoff spot or not. The club should also be capable of making their transition game a strength as good defense should get them more easy points than in the past. A few days before the start of the EasyCredit season, the club released some very upsetting news that head coach Silvano Poropat had a bad sickness and will have to miss some months. The club did a good job reacting and getting ex coach Predrag Krunic who was surprisingly available. Krunic had his first coaching stint with Bonn from 2001-2005 and was then the youngest coach in the BBL. He won a BBL title with the EWE baskets Oldenburg in 2009 and then coached in Poland, Bayreuth and Weissenfels. Krunic is a great coach, but how well will the team perform now with all this new coaching drama bestowed upon them?
The team held on to German Florian Koch who is a 24 year old 197cm forward who is the absolute identity having been with the club since 2010 and has played a total of 113 BBL games and last season had his breakthrough playing 34 games averaging 7.0ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 81.4%; Eurocup: 10 games: 4.8ppg, 2.7rpg. His athleticism and outside shooting will continue to garner him minutes. The club hauled in nine new players including Josh Mayo. Mayo is a 29 year old 181cm point guard that looks closer to 176cm, but is lightening quick and can drain the three. He has valuable experience in Europe having played in France, Latvia, Ukraine, Italy and Spain. Last season he played for Givova Scafati Basket (Italy-Serie A2) playing 41 games averaging 15.7ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-3 (5.2apg), FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 43.6%, FT: 85.2%. Konstantin Klein is a 25 year old 187cm point guard from Berlin that was Pro B champion with Gotha in 2012 and that last played for the Fraport Skyliners from 2012-2016. He developed soundly with the club, but was hampered with injuries the last two seasons. Last season he played 33 games averaging6.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 82.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 17 games: 6.6ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 81.5%.He shot an overwhelming 52% from outside in the 2014-2015 Eurochallenge season. His self-confidence as a German is as typical as that of an American and his aggressive play and motivation is a big strength of his. Klein was demoted badly by Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert in the playoffs against ratiopharm Ulm where he played only 48 minutes in four games. Klein is burning with basketball desire to show everyone he belongs to the top 5 best German guards. The club also reeled in TJ Di Leo who is a 26 year old 190cm guard that will be playing his fourth professional season after playing his first three seasons with the Giessen 46ers and helped them reach the BBL in 2015.. He is the son of Tony Di Leo who coached in Germany and was also the GM of the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season the guard suffered injury woes and played only 19 games averaging 5.7ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 38.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 73.3%. Theex Temple (NCAA) guard has the heart of gold, is an aggressive defender and when left open will hurt you with his shot. He will bring energy from the bench and at times help with the playmaking. The club brought in another ex Giessen player with Yormon Polas who is a Cuban/German that has lived the basketball cinderella story playing his first six seasons in Cuba and then coming to Germany and going from the Regionaliga with FC Bayern Munich via the Pro A with Crailsheim and Giessen to the BBL to Bonn. Last season with Giessen he played 32 games averaging 9.9ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 40.3%, FT: 60.0%. He has unending athleticism, will make waves with his defense and is difficult to control in the paint with his quickness and on transition.
The club also hauled in Ryan Thompson who is a 28 year old 198cm forward from Mount Laurel, New Jersey and is the younger brother of NBA player Jason Thompson is playing his seventh professional season and has won 2 titles in Belguim and one in Germany with Bamberg. The ex Rider (NCAA) standout has European basketball experience in Italy, Belgium and Turkey. Last season was a season to forget as he split time with Trabzonspor Basketbol (Turkey-BSL): 5 games: 8.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 64.7%; Eurocup: 6 games: 6.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 65.0%, 3PT: 6.7%, FT: 62.5%. His role will be too find his scoring touch again and lead the team in crunch time and amaze the home fans with unforgettable dunks. The team also added Ken Horton who is a 26 year old 199cm forward from Ossining, New York playing his fifth professional season that has experience in France, Mexico, Australia and Finland. Last season he played for medi Bayreuth playing 34 games averaging 12.4ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 89.5%. The Cent.Conn.St. (NCAA) stand out can look back to 2006 where he started his basketball career as a guy who has always scored in double figures showing his consistent basketball scoring trait. He is a very versatile guy that has a deadly three pointer, can play with the back to the basket and don't put him on the free throwline because he won't miss. Flip Barovic is a 26 year old 207cm center that hails from Montenegro. He has toiled around in leagues in Montenegro, Hungary and Romania and now is ready to make the next step in the higher league BBL. Last season he played for Lukoil Academic Sofia (Bulgaria-NBL) playing 35 games: 10.9ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 66.2%, 3PT-1 (50.0%), FT: 73.9%; FIBA Europe Cup: 12 games: 13.6ppg, 6.6rpg, FGP: 54.9%, FT: 67.2%. He is the classical post player that excels on the pick and roll, but also will hit the three. His experience will help the team as he knows how to win winning 5 titles in Montenegro and one in Bulgaria. Johannes Richter is a 22 year old 208cm power forward, but can also play center. He got his first BBL experience with Bamberg and played the last two and a half seasons with the Fraport Skyliners. He made his international breakthrough two seasons ago in the Eurochallenge hitting the Baaken Bears with 15 and 10 points. However in the BBL, it was tough getting playing time with the twin towers Voigtmann and Barthel in the way. Last season he played 25 games: 2.7ppg, 2.0rpg; FIBA Europe Cup: 9 games: 2.6ppg, 2.8rpg, played also at Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt II (ProB): 16 games: 17.3ppg, 8.3rpg, 3.0apg, FGP-3 (63.7%), 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 73.1%. He is a versatile big man with the modern game that is a relentless fighter under the rim and can drain the trey at his desire. Gordon Herbert called him his best offensive rebounder last season.
Despite some skeptics questioning how well the guard duo of Mayo/Klein will be, they will make the grade as they have shown incredible desire in the pre-season and have played well together and can also play at the same time on the court. The big man duo of Gamble/Barovic is very solid and the forward duo of Horton/Richter compliment each other well as both do things separately well. The bench of DI Leo, Polas and Koch are very solid. Oh and not to forget Ryan Thompson is on a mission to forget his season of last where he lost his scoring touch in Serbia and Turkey and get back to winning and playing ways he had two seasons ago with Bamberg. Head coach Poropat is a winner and wants to bring success as badly back to Bonn as the fans want to see it again. 'Year for year it gets more difficult for those last 1-2 playoff spots. Bonn has put together a very solid team. They get a Ryan Thompson who played at Bamberg and Mayo a very experienced player and some talented German players. The talent is there for a playoff team. They will have to see if the chemistry is good enough to make the jump back in the play offs', stressed Phoenix Hagen assistant coach Steven Wriedt. Last season, Frankfurt won 82-59 on the road as Johannes Voigtmann had 20 points and Konstantin Klein Netted 19 points. In the return game, Frankfurt creamed Bonn at home 78-48 and were led by Danilo Bathel with 18 points and Johannes Voigtmann had 17 points. Both teams come into the game today with an 0-1 record and looking to get that first win of the season. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were beat by Alba Berlin on the road where their offense was already in season mode, but their defense just couldn't handle the many weapons that head coach that Ahmet Caki threw at them. The Fraport Skyliners were rattled by the Brose Baskets Bamberg on the road 85-54. It was what most expected as Bamberg overwhelmed the guests with their potent roster and growing team chemistry while the Fraport Skyliners's new era had began with a new influx of young Germans learning to make the grade this season. In some way, it could have been advantageous to start with a very tough game like this, because they could see after the game exactly where the building blocks are for improvement. In Bonn, the Fraport Skyliners will meet ex players Konstantin Klein and Johannes Richer. Richter is as expected still finding his role and fighting for minutes while Klein has been integrated nicely and he quickly found his role in preseason and become a starter. Klein has a lot to prove, but won't be able to show his talent to Gordon Herbert who is out, but will gladly have Klaus Perwas witness what Frankfurt have missed in not keeping him. This will be a tough game for the Fraport Skyliners as Bonn is definitely farther at this point of the season in all aspects of the game.
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