Basketball life is never boring in the small eastern German village of Weissenfels as there have always been interesting things occurring like the amazing and unexpected Fiba Eurocup win in 2004 where BBL legend Wendel Alexis was in the twilight of his career helping the team get only the second international German title at that time, Chris Ensminger starting his career in Germany there, Michael hakim Jordan spending half a season there entertaining everyone on the court and off with his stellar play and heart warming smile, the ¾ full court shot by Vassil Evtimov or just the influx of players like a Josh Parker or Devin Uskowski who came from a few lower levels and being able to make the next step at the top German level or this season seeing the rapid emergence of American Angelo Caloiaro that has the Italian name that sounds like that of a pizza chef from Napoli, but actually grew up in San Jose, California. If one has a tiny speck of dust in their eye, he could look like a very tall version of Mr American Pie Jason Biggs with the big brown eyes and black haircut that never needs that annoying brush through since it never gets unruly. Caloiaro is a 203cm forward that played four years at USF (NCAA) and as a senior played 33 games averaging 14.1ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 78.5%. Last season as a rookie, he played in a lower league at Rilski Sportist Samokov (Bulgaria-NBL) playing 24 games and averaging 12.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 79.8%; Balkan League: 7 games: 9.7ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 68.8%. This season he came to the much stronger Beko BBL and has had no problems getting adjusted as he is averaging 14,8ppg, 7,2rpf and 2,5apg. He has scored in double figures 17 times including two double doubles and was top scorer in a 83-77 win against medi bayreuth with 25 points. Many players have stepped up this season for MBC with Americans Marcus Hatten and Josh Parker, but no one has been more consistent or versatile as Caloiaro. He leads MBC in scoring and rebounding and is second in assists and steals. He credits his time in Bulgaria and college coach and ex NBA player Rex Walters as getting him ready for his success now. “I learned the different types of basketball rules in Europe as well as the different speeds and the 24 clock shot was totally new to me. But most important was getting used too many new styles on the court. I think that I learned many good qualities and coach Walters gave me a lot of important things that he got from coached like Pat Riley and Roy Williams who he played for. I learned how to do everything in a professional manner on and off the court”, stressed Angelo Caloiaro. Caloiaro is a very hard worker and is never satisfied and a lot of his attitude has been rubbing off on his teammates. “We are playing very good basketball now and we continue to get better in practice. I feel that we are never satisfied and always want more. We are always in the gym and always hungry”, warned Angelo Caloiaro. His teammate Josh Parker who is having a very solid season knows how valuable the American has been for the success of the club. “Angelo is the type of player any player or coach would want on his team! For us he has been the glue that keeps this team strong and I as his teammate am impressed by his play and how he comes up big when his team needs it”, added Josh Parker. If MBC keep winning and get closer to the playoff places, then more people within will take notice as his MVP stock will surely rise.
Last season the Mittledeutscher BC had to shiver until the end about staying in the league as they finished the season in 16th place with a record of 13-21. 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. Then came a period where they won five of seven games including busting out a three game winning streak. In this winning streak, they defeated the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven on the road and showed their forceful play at home beating Ludwigsburg and the always tough Artland Dragons. They also beat the Giessen 46ers at home, but lost in Oldenburg and Trier. The team still gave up more points then what head coach Silvano Poropat would have desired, but the team was always good for a surprise. A very important quality of MBC last season was 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 ex MBC forward Kelly Beidler. The attitude and will to always win no matter the circumstances or who the opponent was definitely was there last season and probably was the difference for staying in the league and getting some of those extra big wins like against the Artland Dragons.
If one was alert in the 2006-2007 season, then one could of heard a man on the sidelines barking commands in broken German to Jerry Green concerning the pick and role to Paveles Cukinas or how to get Je Kel Foster open on a screen. The head coach who was barking and sounding like an anxious black bear not content on sharing his basketball berries was Silvano Poropat mainly responsible for the refreshing EnBW Ludwigsburg team in 2006-2007 that snapped away the spotlight from teams like Bamberg, Alba Berlin and Rhein Energie Cologne during the regular season finishing unexpectedly in second place. After three years removed from the Beko BBL where he coached in Latvia, BG Karlsruhe and MBC in the PRO A, he is back in the highest German league. Poropat is one of those rare coaches that doesn´t rely on a delectable Smorgasboard of 7-8 Americans, but comprehends that there is talent in the eastern block. He showed that Ludwigsburg wasn´t a fluke), but helped lead MBC back to the Beko BBL displaying his charismatic Croatian attitude and focus on team spirit bringing the players to their limit with the maximal effort despite having to deal with injuries. Through time, his black bear barking has turned into an improved wolf howl with more fluid German. Poropat is back with MBC for his third season and as is the case so often the offseason was a time for a massive wolf den cleaning summer. He kept only three players and added 10 new players. The kept German Malte Schwarz who is a 24 year old 188cm guard that already played his first full Beko BBL season in 2009-2010 for Phoenix Hagen playing 28 games. This is his third season for MBC and this season is really coming into his own as he is taking more responsibility. His biggest weapon max be his shooting, but when he is hot then watch out as he scored 21 points against SC Rasta Vechta connecting for seven three pointers. He will be the type of Rautins/Bell player that gets that last shot to win a game. Last season he played 34 games: 5.4ppg, 1.1rpg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 84.6%The team also held onto Mr MBC Sasha Leutloff that is a 31 year old 202cm forward that already palyed Euroleague games as an 18 year old for Alba Berlin. He is playing his seventh season for MBC. He is a versatile forward that can shoot and likes to bang under the boards. He is the Jacob Burtschi of MBC with his energy. Last season he played 25 games: 3.9ppg, 2.5rpgThe organization also kept Djorde Pantelic who is a 29 year old 204cm forward from Serbia playing his second season in Weissenfels. He has a lot of experience having played in Cyprus, Hungry, Romania or Serbia. Last season for MBC he played 34 games: 7.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-2(1.4bpg), FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 68.8%.He is your typical worker under the boards, including the ability to swat balls away and won´t shy to hit the three pointer.
The club added Josh Parker who is a 24 year old 189cm guard from Chicago that played in the NCAA at Drake and Dayton. As a rookie he tore up the German Pro B leading Leverkusen into the Pro A and playing like a man among boys playing 33 games: Score-1(28.5ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-2(7.1apg), 2.2spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 80.3%. He won Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -13, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -13, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year -13, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -13, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -13. He is one of a few players that have made the jump from Pro B to the Beko BBL and so far has been more than impressive being very consistent. He is a scorer and can also find his teammates which he has brought form the Pro B and showed in the Beko BBL. Angelo Caloiaro is playing his first season in Germany and is an American/Italian from San Jose, California that played four years at USF(NCAA). Last season he played for Rilski Sportist Samokov (Bulgaria-NBL): 24 games: 12.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 79.8%; Balkan League: 7 games: 9.7ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 68.8%. He is a guy that cans core and put up high rebound stats and has been one of the most consistent MBC scorers this season and has increased hiss coring each season in college. Mike Cufree is playing his first season in Germany and brings some experience to a team that desperately needs it. He is a 30 year old 195cm guard from Philadelphia that also has played in countries like Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus and Sweden. He also has played in the D-league and last season played for Sundsvall Dragons (Sweden-Basketligan, starting five): 46 games: 17.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 83.2%. His athletic ability and zeal for getting the wolves running coupled with four titles in four different countries should bring the club good moments this season. Hrvoje Kovacevic is a 27 year old 190cm guard from Croatia that brings needed experience and played for top Croatian team Cedevita Zagreb and KK Cibona. Last season he played for KK Cibona VIP Zagreb (A1): 18 games: 5.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 58.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 80.0%; Adriatic League: 21 games: 3.1ppg, 1.5rpg; EuroCup: 5 games: 5.8ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.6apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 71.4%. He is another guy that brings a winning tradition to MBC with 5 titles in his country and has played Eurocup and Eurochallenge the last years. He is a guy that can brings coring input form the bench and help out at the point guard position if needed.
Martins Meiers is a 22 year old 208cm center from Latvia that is a big talent and recently played at the European Championships in Slovenia -13: 8 games: 6.8ppg, 4.0rpg, FGP: 57.1%, FT: 35.3%. Last season he played fro BK Ventspils (LBL): 27 games: 8.6ppg, 4.2rpg, Blocks-4(1.0bpg), FGP-3(64.7%), FT: 62.7%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 11.0ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP-1(76.6%), FT: 77.3%; Baltic League: 21 games: 8.4ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 62.0%, FT: 63.2%. He is a worker on the board and is still getting used to the more competitive style of the Beko BBL. He is a guy that could move from the bench to the starting rotation depending how his development continues. Walter Simon is a 24 year old 202cm forward that has come form the Regionaliga via the Pro B and Pro A to the Beko BBL. He played two seasons for Cumberland (NAIA). The last two seasons he played for Uni-Riesen Leipzig (ProA) and last season played 30 games: 13.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 49.5%, FT: 86.6%. He has to fight for his minutes and has a nice mid distance shot and helps out on the boards. Oliver Clay is a 26 year old 105cm forward that has been in the Beko BBl since 2010, but has bounced around the league playing in Trier and Wurzburg and never really making the breakthrough. Last season he played for s.Oliver Baskets Wuerzburg (BBL): 33 games: 2.7ppg, 2.2rpg; EuroCup: 6 games: 7.7ppg, 2.2rpg, FGP: 65.2%, FT: 88.9%. He is another type of energizer from the bench that will get you those difficult rebounds. Daniel Hain is a 28 year old 195 swing man that best was known for having to guard Pascal Rolle rin the 2009 playoffs. He played at Essen and Herten before making the jump to the Beko BBl with Oldenburg in 2007 where he played until 2011. Two season ago he played fro Bonn, but as in Oldenburg never got past the bench player role. Defense is his trade mark, but so far has the same kind of role as he had in Oldenburg and Bonn with little playing time. He made the training squad of the German national team in 2010 and has played 116 BBL games before coming to MBC. The team recently brought in real experience with Marcus Hatten who is a 32 year old 186cm point guard from Baltimore. He has great ball handling skills, quick hands, and can be aggressive in defense (lots of steals !). Developed a good outside shooting, and can hit the clutch shot. Has great leadership, can grab lots of rebounds. He played at St.John’s (NCAA) and as a senior played 34 games: 22.2ppg, 5.6rpg, 4.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 73.0%. he has played in countries like Poland, Israel, Venezeula, Greece, Italy, Belgium and Greece. Last season he played for VAP Kolossos Rodou (Greece-A1) 25 games: 11.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.1apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 73.6%. MBC had to add many new players and the club is still searching for a healthy team chemistry and haven´t won on the road yet. MBC is a team that will allways playing with that fighting mentality and need to have input from everyone. MBC have a pretty solid roster with players that can give support from outside and under the boards. Every game will be a fight for the wolves, but if they can carry the attitude of ex Wolf Kelly Beidler in that one has to always go into every game confident then they have paid half the rent for success. MBC will surprise teams this season even if they will fight to stay in the league.
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. Last season, the Fraport Skyliners were swept in the season series and were surprised at home losing to the Mitteldeutscher BC 71-68 as MBC had the better nerves in crunch time. MBC was led by American Morris Curry with 20 points who could penetrate at ease all night long and American Kelly Beidler streered 17 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Steve Wachalski contributed 11 points and Chad Timberlake 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zack Peacock with 24 points and nine rebounds and Quantez Robertson had 12 points. In Weissenfels, MBC won 73-65 and were led by Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson and Chad Timberlake with 16 points a piece. Devin Uskoski chipped in with 14 points and Osvaldo Jeanty with 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zack Peacock with 19 points. Ted Scott added 13 points and Quantez Robertson 10 points. The Mitteldeutscher BC keep up their positive winning streak against the Fraport Skyliners as it rests at three. In their first meeting this season, the Fraport Skyliners were creamed 87-57 as the club of head coach Gordon Herbert were nailed by nine three pointers combined from Josh Parker and Malte Schwarz. MBC also controlled the boards 36-27. MBC was led by Josh Parker with 19 points, while Marcus Hatten contributed 16 points and Malte Schwarz 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jarred Dubois with 14 points and Andrew Rautins steered 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners are despartly looking for a win as they have started the new year 2014 with five loses while MBC is coming off a huge 76-70 win at home against Phoenix Hagen. However it will be no easy task for the Fraport Skyliners as captain Marius Nolte and Jacob Burtschi are out and Andrew Rautins, Jarred Dubois and Konstantin Klein are doubtful. Americans like Quantez Robertson and Dane Watts who are the leaders need to step up. Herbert knows that the young guys have to take an example from how Klein has developed this season and take it into every forthcoming game. “We have to take each game one at a time and work on getting better as individual players and as a team. In training camp Klein was our 11th or 12th man, but as Dawan Robinson left, he really grasped the opportunity. Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel also have taken the opportunity this season. Now its time for the other young Germans like Kevin Bright and Max Merz to grasp the chance. Even guys like Ramon Galloway and Jarred Dubois. We need to play with heart and effort and like the Sea Hawks who has their 12th man have our sixth man the fans help us”, warned Gordon Herbert. “It will be a difficult game, but we have to be aggressive and execute the way we did in Oldenburg. If we can do that then we have good chances”, added Johannes Voigtmann.