From 2009-2012, winning for the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the Beko BBL has seemed as simple as it is for NBA player Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian to drown in the tabloids, The Boston Celtics to win games without Rajon Rondo or the way Bayer Giants Leverkusen guard Josh Parker has been able to tear up the PRO B this season In these three years, Bamberg had a record of 111-25 in the Beko BBL. In 2009-2010, they even lost 12 games in the regular season, but showed their grit in playoffs winning a hard fought 5 games series vs Deutsche Bank Skyliners. The 2010-2011 regular season was their strongest going 30-4 and after winning the first 17 games and lost surprisingly in Duesseldorf. They needed five games series in the playoffs against Artland and Alba Berlin. Last season, they were 30-4 in the regular season and blew away the competition in the playoffs and only lost one time vs Bonn at home which was their only loss at home in two years. In this span they won six titles, but this season a dent was put into the quadruple losing in the cup to FC Bayern Munich. In the last years, they kept many players keeping the chemistry intact and adding the perfect players like a Kyle Hines or Marcus Slaughter, but this season, they seem more vulnerable. Players like Latavious Williams and Teddy Gipson have come and gone which has rattled the seemingly perfect put together rosters of the last years. Bamberg is still the favorite of many critics to win the Beko BBL title, but it wont be easier as the league continues to be competitive and teams like Munich, Ulm and Oldenburg have gotten stronger and will challenge them. Winning it all wont be easy, but as long as Casey Jacobson is on board, fans can be content that Mr Bamberg wont concede until winning a 5th championship. One guy has had success this season against Bamberg is 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood who beat them twice. Wood knows that Bamberg is still one of the top teams and that playing against Chris Fleming and co will be a totally new experience like it is when you run that first marathon after training months and months for it and being in top shape. “I don´t think that they are easier to beat, but we just took care of the home court advantage. We still have to play them two more times in Bamberg. We hope to be able to steal one. The season doesn´t start until the playoffs and that is when you have to be able to win on the road”, warned Detroit native Dashaun Wood. “Bamberg has had misfortune and many players that have come and gone and now John Goldsberry is hurt again. They just haven´t been as consistent and are still looking for it”, stressed Konstantin Klein.
One thing that Brose Baskets Bamberg head coach Chris Fleming has learned twice the last two off seasons is that one should not change a winning team and if dollars get in the way then try to keep as much as possible to keep that winning chemistry in tact. Last season, the team kept 11 players, losing Americans Kyle Hines that reached the big time with Top Euroleague team Olympiakos Piraeus and Reyshawn Terry. The team added sufficient strength for these two positions with ex Bremerhaven brat wurst eater Marcus Slaughter who left the Beko BBL in 2008 averaging 18ppg and 10rpg after 8 games and athletic forward Pj Tucker. The team got added offensive firepower with ex Alba Berlin guard Julius Jenkins that has won titles and may be still be one of the most dangerous crunch time players in the Beko BBL where teams would rather see him on the bench fouled out then on the floor when the going gets tough. “. I think they were deeper than in 2010-2011 and the pieces they lost they replaced them in a great way”, warned John Bynum. Last season the Brose Baskets Bamberg finished with a staggering 30-4 record. They started the season with a seven game winning streak and then surprisingly losing in Berlin and Giessen. They then stormed out on a 15 game winning streak before falling on their faces in Frankfurt losing. They then finished the regular season with a 8-1 record losing in a 107-103 shoot out against FC Bayern Munich. Last season, it was their deepness that helped them be so successful. “They are just stacked in each position and they dont have let downs at any point during a game. You can’t make too many mistakes and if you do they make you pay for it. On offense they had so many guys they can go to and anyone can put the ball in the basket. As far as defense they take you out of sets and make you play further then you are used to playing by ball pressure and by playing physical”, warned John Bynum.
One can discuss all day long about how strong Bamberg was last season or ask ex Bamberg guard Michael Hakim Jordan how many quick smiles he can produce that equal the number of strenghes that the team have, but relentless aggressive defense, immaculate speedy ball movement or maybe the most important of all total unselfishness and that has to do with having the right characters players mesh together in the right system. So often finding the right players for a certain system isn´t easy, but Bamberg head coach Chris Fleming has the right New Jersey twist to haul in the right players. “Chris is a great coach and has a great system and each player he has brought in fits the system to perfection. He has taken Bamberg to a very high level with their talent and his coaching ability. Bamberg has gotten stronger each season and if that continues, one shouldn´t have to shy away from soon making dynasty comparisons to the Alba Berlin teams from 1997-2003. “Bamberg is going in the right direction for it to be called a dynasty but a lot has to fall into their favor. If they are able to sustain their level of play and not have any key injuries then they can continue their high level of play”, warned John Bynum. An important question also remains if the team can stay hungry to keep winning and have nonstop motivaton?” I don’t think that coach will have a hard time motivating anyone. We play to win. We practiced hard and the new players brought a lot of excitement and we knew what is in front of us. The old players wanted to create history and the new players wanted to become part of history. Everyone was highly motivated to win”, warned ex Bamberg forward Marcus Slaughter.
The question remains, can the long time Bamberg players still carry that same motivation, while the many new players should be able to have the eagerness to perform at a high level to extend that dynasty to a four peat. Bamberg manager Wolfgang Header had to swallow hard losing Brian Roberts and PJ Tucker to the NBA, German national player and Marcus Slaughter to the ACB league, Julius Jenkins to title candidate Oldenburg and Redraw Suput. Bamberg was able to keep importantbasketball figure heads Casey Jacobsen, 2012 top European qualifying top scorer Anton Gavel, John Goldsberry and Germans Karsten Tadda and Philipp Neumann. The question will remain how quickly Chris Fleming can construct ateam chemistry with the old and new players. The club brought in Sharod Ford who has NBA experience and was top center in Italy the last seasons. Sergerio Gipson will give scoring input at the guard position. Bostjan Nachtbar will help all over the court and could be the top star in the Beko BBL this season. Maik Zirbes was brought in to bolster the boards and hopes to develop as well as Tibor Pleiss has the last year. Talented Australian AJ Ogilvy also will give strength under the boards. Players have come and gone in the last months as the team said farewell to Sergerio Gipson and Latavious Williams. The team recently bolstered their roster with ex NBA player Matt Walsh who is a scorer, but also fills up the stat sheets with rebounds and assists, American Jeremiah Massey who is big and strong and can finish in traffic and has much experience in Europe and American Alex Renfroe who came for Gipson and will bolster the guard position. The biggest strength of the Brose Baskets Bamberg this season will be their experience and deepness at every position. Fleming will also have to be able to tame his players with their playing minutes. The team will be a force on defense as always especially at the guard position where Anton Gavel is heralded as the best in the Beko BBL. Fleming also will have a strong front court with Ford, Ogilvy and Zirbes. On account of their strength inside, Bamberg will most likely be more unpredictable and move the ball inside more than other seasons instead of over the wing. The only real serious problem that this team could have is if the team chemistry doesn´t develop as well during the season. The club isn’t a well oiled team like the last seasons and will need time to find each other. “Bamberg is a great team. They don´t have the continuity of the last years, but they got quality players to replace them. Chris Fleming has the experience of knowing which players to get. Bamberg will play for the title”, stressed Steven Clauss.
The Skyliners have a massive negative record on the road in Bamberg going six years without a win until the Beko BBL playoffs 2010 where the club of Gordon Herbert won in game one 65-63. In the Ballsporthalle, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have a 3-7 record since the 2005-2006 season. Who could forget the embarrassing 81-48 loss in 2007 which was the last game for Skyliner coach Charles Barton. In 2009-2010 the club won twice winning in the regular season 84-80 as the team was led by American point guard Aubrey Reese with 18 points. They won a second time last season in game four with a 69-56 win sending the 2010 BEKO BBL finals back to Bamberg as Alba Berlin American Derrick Allen led the charge with 19 points and seven rebounds. In the first meeting in 2010-2011, The Brose Baskets Bamberg were able to pull out a hard fought 71-62 win as they rallied from being down 60-55 and ended the game with a 16-2 run. Anton Gavel led all scorers with 19 points and Reyshawn Terry added 15 points. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Dashaun Wood with 15 points, but he steered only two assists. Brad Buckman and Jimmy Mckinney chipped in with 10 points a piece. Bamberg was able to shoot over 40% from the field and outside while Frankfurt didnt have the touch from the three point line at only 29%. In the second game at home, Bamberg won easily 81-63. Since the 2005-2006 season, the Skyliners have a miserable 4-16 record against the three time Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg. Lin 2010-2011 they lost four times in Bamberg, in the Champions Cup, against Bamberg and twice in Cup play against Braunschweig and the Artland Dragons. Last season, the Fraport Skyliners stunk up the Stechert arena with a degrading 97-63 loss. Julius Jenkins led Bamberg with 20 points while Jon Leuer produced 17 points and 14 rebounds. In the return game, the Fraport Skyliners gave a spirited effort winning in sensational style 76-68. Frankfurt had a strong 16-7 third quarter leading the team to the win. Jimmy Mckinney had 19 points while Marcus Slaughter had 15 points. In the first game, despite a strong first half by Frankfurt, Bamberg was able to prevail in the second half wining 76-67. Anton Gavel led Bamberg with 19 points and the ex NBA players Casey Jacobson and Bostjan Nachbar contributed 14 points a piece, while ex Skyliner Ted Scott produced 14 points. Bamberg had been playing very tough basketball since Christmas having a 11 game winning streak, but lost the last two games on the road in Munich and Hagen. The Fraport Skyliners had their three game winning streak snapped in Ulm, but played another strong first half, but couldn´t finish the job in the second half. Skyliner Konstantin Klein knows the team will have to give more than 100%. “We didn´t have the same intensity in the second half as in the first half in Ulm. In the second half, we weren´t as concentrated as we made easy mistakes like letting Per Guentehr hit two three´s on the fast break. You have to play for 40 minutes to win against a team like Ulm. We have to play good defense like we did against Berlin and Ulm where we got easy fast break points. We have to be at our best for 40 minutes to have any chance against Bamberg”, stressed Konstantin Klein.
The Brose Baskets Bamberg are led by Bostjan Nachbar is a 32 year old 207cm forward from Slovenia that is playing his first season in the Beko BBL. He is a is an athletic all-around player with a great outside shooting touch and high basketball IQ. He possesses all the skills and the size needed to excel on forward position and to be a serious mismatch threat for opponent. His shooting instinct allows him to knock down jumpers from behind the arc and mid-range distance. He can create shots for himself or pass the ball to his open teammates because of his good shot selection. With his athletic body Bostjan can penetrate to the rim and finish with the basket. Reading the game and making off-ball cuts with layups are among his strong sides. When it comes to fast breaks and transition game he attacks defense aggressively and draws fouls from opponents. This takes him to the line where he scores with high accuracy. His good size and smarts allow him to be always present for offensive and defensive rebounds. He began his basketball career in 1995 for Maribor Ovni. He then got two years experience for Benetton Trevisio already playing 20 Euroleague games at age 20. He was drafted by the NBA Houston Rockets in 2002 in the first round at #15. He played in the NBA from 2002-2008 playing a total of 309 NBA games for the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and New Jersey Nets. He was an Atlantic Division champion in 2006. He returned back to Europe in 2008 and has played for Dynamo Moscow, Efes Pilsen and last season for Unics Kazan (Russia-PBL): VTB League: 4 games: 5.3ppg, 2.3rpg; Euroleague: 7 games: 4.0ppg, 2.4rpg; Russian League: 10 games: 3.1ppg, 2.1rpg. He played at the European chmapions in 2003, 2005 and 2009 and World Championships in 2006 and 2010.
Sharod Ford is a 30 year old 206cm power forward/center from Washington D.C. He is a A great intimador inside, thanks to great timing and leaping ability. His great athletic skills allow him to be good rebounder and a spectacular slasher, but he showed to be very good even in all the other parts of the game, like passing and ball-handling. He started his basketball career at Clemson in 2001 playing there until 2005. AS a rookie, he played three NBA games for the Phoenix Suns. He finished the season with Alba Berlin helping them win the Beko BBL title. He played a second season for Alba Berlin before moving to Italy. From 2008-2012, he played in Italy with a small four game career in Russia for St Petersburg. In Italy Ford established himself as the top rebounding player leading the league each year in rebounds. Last season, he returned back to the States to play for Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 6 games: 9.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 44.0%, FT: 66.7%. Sergerio Gipson is a 32 year old 193 cm guard from Farmersville, Louisiana that returns back to the Beko BBL after playing in Paderborn in the 2006-2007 season. He started his basketball career in 1998 for Arkansas(NCAA) where he played until 2002. In his nine year carrer, he played five seasons in Holland and three years in France and one season in Germany. In Holland, he won three league titles and two cups and was a five time allstar. Last season, he played for Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA, starting five): EuroChallenge: 6 games: 13.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 80.0%; French League: 28 games: Score-3(17.1ppg), 3.9rpg, 4.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 78.6%.
AJ Ogily is a 24 year old 211cm center from Australia that also has the Irsh citizenship. His strong point is his defence, with a number of blocked shots in (nearly) every game he plays, has very good synchronization in the air and at the same time very nice positioning which helps him out in the rebounding area in both the defence and offence. Andrew has also an excellent control of his efforts, so he rarely risks his defensive position. He is very aggressive in the court which helps him to “hide” some of his disadvantages. He is an average shooter from the mid-range area, has quite good basketball IQ.He started his basketball career at the Australian Institute Sport (ABA). He then went to the States and played at Vanderbilt until 2010 playing a total of 96 NCAA games. In 2010-2011, he started his basketball career for Besiktas ColaTurka Istanbul (Turkey-TBL): EuroCup: 8 games: 10.9ppg, 5.8rpg, FGP: 57.9%, FT: 75.0%; Turkish League: 30 games: 12.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0apg, Blocks-4(1.1bpg), FGP: 60.6%, FT: 76.2%. Last season, he played for Valencia Basket (Spain-ACB): EuroCup: 8 games: 9.5ppg, 3.3rpg, FGP: 53.6%, FT: 69.6%; Spanish League: 26 games: 4.8ppg, 2.3rpg. The team also brought in Latavious Williams who is a 23 year old 202cm forward that hails form Starkville, Mississippi and never played an NCAA game. He is a very athletic forwad who can play on the wing or down low. Williams attacks the offensive glass and finishes offensive rebounds above the rim with tip-dunks. Also, he is expected to could grew up a little more. Despite an immense talent and upside, he hasn’ t yet a true position and is very green. He played at Christian Life Center High School, Humble, Texas. In 2009-2010, he turned professional and played in the D-league for the Tulsa 66ers until 2011. Last season, he came to Europe and played for FIATC Joventut Badalona (Spain-ACB): 34 games: 9.6ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.3spg, FGP: 59.7%, FT: 70.0%. This past summer, he played 2012 July: AirTran Orlando Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder): 2 games: 6.0ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0apg.
Anton Gavel is a 28 year old 189cm combo guard from Slovakia that has experience and can score quickly and in bunches when needed. He is playing his fourth season with Bamberg and started his basketball career for BG Karlsruhe and then played for Giessen from 2004-2006. In 2004-2005, he was a big factor in almost kicking out Bamberg out of the playoffs. That season he played 39 games: 12.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.5apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-3(1.5bpg), 2FGP: 53.2%, 3FGP: 35.7%. The next season, he was even better as he played 30 games: 16.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.0apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 52.4%. he then got valuable experience playing in Spain in the ACB for PolarWorld Murcia from 2006-2008. In 2008-2009, he played for Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1). Last season he played for Svit (Extraliga, starting five), Slovakian League: 2 games: 22.5ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.5spg; in Nov.’09 moved to Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): German League: 36 games: 10.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 44.1%, FT: 71.7%; EuroCup: 12 games: 6.8ppg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 84.0%. In 2010-2011, he played 10 Euroleague games: 12.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 92.7%; German League: 45 games: 10.7ppg, 2.1rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 84.5%. Last season, he played Euroleague: 10 games: 8.5ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 73.1%; German League: 42 games: 10.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 42.8%, FT: 75.9%. The name Maik Zirbes has always been seen as a guy that could develop into one of the top German centers and currently can keep doing it with Bamberg after getting the chance with TBB Trier under Henrik Rodl. He was born in Traben-Trarbach is a huge talent and has been able to increase his playing time each season in Trier. He started his basketball career in the TBB Trier youth programs and in 2008-2009 he played 12 games averaging 1.3ppg and in the summer of 2009 played at the World University Games in Belgrade (Serbia) playing 6 games averaging 5.5ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 44.0%, FT: 64.7%. In 2010-2011, he averaged 7.4ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 60.9%, FT: 73.3% “He is a big body with soft hands and will help them under the boards. He is very talented”, warned ex TBB Trier forward Chris Copeland. Last season, he played 34 games: 10.6ppg, Reb-5(7.1rpg), FGP: 57.3%, FT: 69.9%.
Casey Jacobsen is a31 year old 198cm shooting guard/small forward is playing his fifth season with Bamberg after winning the BEKO BBL title with the team in 2007 and 2010 and Cup in 2010. The American from Glendora California is an outstanding player, a great competitor, both a scorer and a shooter. He can defend, take the charge, and he’ll get a rebound in a crowd because he’s tough. A complete player who plays hard, and plays smart. He played 287 NBA games for The Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies. He played at Stanford from 1998-2002 and in his senior year averaged 21.9ppg, 4.5rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 77.6%; Finished career ranked 3rd in all time points (1723), 6th in points per game (18.1), 2nd in three point field goals (22) and 4th in three point percentage (.427). Left Stanford as the sole or co-owner of 49 school records. He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns (from Boston) (NBA,1rd(22). He played In France for in 2005-2006 for Ceramica Vitoria (Spain-ACB): Euroleague: 25 games: 9.0ppg, 1.6rpg, 2FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 44.5%, FT: 76.7%; Spanish League: 44 games: 7.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 2FGP: 57.0%, FT: 77.0%. In 2008-2009 he played for Alba Berlin winning the BEKO BBL cup playing Euroleague: 16 games: 6.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 38.7%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 68.4%; German League: 43 games: 9.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 76.8%. In 2010-2011 for Bamberg, he played Euroleague: 10 games: 9.1ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 34.8%, 3PT: 42.6%, FT: 68.2%; German Bundesliga: 48 games: 11.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 43.6%, FT: 84.9%. Last season, he played Euroleague: 10 games: 9.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 85.0%; German League: 44 games: 10.6ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 86.4%.
The team is also filled with talented young Germans led by Kartsen Tadda who is a 24 year old 189cm guard. He has been with Bamberg since 2007. He started his basketball career at Troester Breitenguessbach in 2005. In 2009-2010 for Bamberg he played Eurocup 14 games: 4.1ppg, 1.4rpg; German League: 45 games: 3.2ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.0apg. In 2010-2011, he played German League: 47 games: 3.1ppg, 1.3rpg; Euroleague: 10 games: 0.8ppg; played also at TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB, starting five): 2 games: 16.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg. He is known as an aggressive and relentless defender. Last season, he played Euroleague: 10 games: 2.4ppg; German League: 44 games: 3.3ppg, 1.1rpg, 1.5apg. Phillip Neumann is a 20 year old 210cm center that was born in Cologne Germany. He started his basketball career for SSKC Aschaffenburg / TV Langen U16 team in 2007. In 2008 he played for Franken Hexer (ProB): 21 games: 4.5ppg, 4.1rpg, Blocks-5(1.0bpg). In 2009-2010, he played for Baskets Bamberg junior team: 21.0ppg, 12.8rpg, had also license to play at TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB): 20 games: 8.4ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 61.0%. In 2010, he played at the European Championships U18 in Vilnius (Lithuania) -10: 9 games: 12.1ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 62.9%. In 2010-2011 he played German League: 18 games: 1.2ppg; German League: Euroleague: 1 game: 0pts. Last season, he played 25 games: 2.6ppg, 1.9rpg; Euroleague: 3 games: 0.7ppg; had also a license to play at TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB): 19 games: 12.1ppg, 8.4rpg, Blocks-3(1.9bpg), FGP: 54.2%, FT: 60.3%. John Goldsberry also returns after a long injury. Goldsberry is a 30 year old 191cm guard from Ohio. He is playing his fifth season for Bamberg. He started his basketball career for NC-Wilmington (NCAA) from 2002-2006. As a rookie, he played for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-1.Bundesliga), injured in Oct.’06 and was sidelined for 8 weeks: 32 games: 8.1ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.2apg, Steals-1(2.6spg), 2FGP: 49.1%, 3FGP: 40.2%, FT: 73.6%. In 2007-2008, he played for the Artland Dragons helping them win the German cup in Hamburg against EnBW Ludwigsburg.