Can Stefan Koch Douse The Fire In Wurzburg And Keep Them In The Beko BBL?

There were times for the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg where one could proudly walz through the streets of the Bavarian city over the Alte Mainbrucke bridge over the main river and just sit and skip some pebbles over the calm water and be proud of the Beko BBL team that had just reached the playoffs for the first time under the new name. It got even better for the team of 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Patrick when they upset 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin in the playoffs. One had rarely seen a pile of superstars like Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood, ex NBA player Kyle Weaver, German national player Heiko Schaffartzik, Mr ballerina Derrick Allen with such hanging heads that even the bear of Berlin who greets visitors as they drive into the city would have hurled his ample dinner of fish on to the street. Times were good, but then came the shock as John Patrick had to go and from then on there was a roller coaster ride for the organization as it went from the top and just kept sliding down and down to reaching rock bottom this season. One of the biggest mistakes that the club did was letting guru master mind of their success John Patrick go. Under the guidance of young head coach Marcel Schoeder, the team last season never fully reached their potential despite having a solid roster and with some misfortune missed the playoffs on the last game day. There were games where the team played excellent, but then again games where one was thinking what the hell is going on the court with this talented team that they can´t play together. This season, Marcel Schroeder went into his second campaign as head coach and was greeted with a big plump losing streak and was only able to win one game in nine tries before he got the ax. Their only win was against Bremerhaven and it seemed like the inability to win close games at the start altered their self confidence in a way that wasn´t fixable.  Wurzburg lost to Phoenix Hagen, MBC and ratiopharm Ulm by only a combined score of 12 points. With massive pressure by the fans, management had to make a decision and let go Marcel Schroeder and exchanged him for well known German head coach Stefan Koch. Koch comes to Wurzburg in a less known role as fireman needing to save the team and season. Koch last coach the Artland Dragons for three seasons always reaching the playoffs, but had fans muttering at the end, “playoffs, but no cigar” to their misery. Since the arrival of Koch, it has gotten better especially the way they started as the team won three of their first four under the guidance of the Giessen native beating Bonn, Ludwigsburg and Tuebingen. All in all, Koch has done a solid job leading the team to a 7-9 record. They aren´t out of the mess yet, but Wurzburg keeps battling each weekend and will need to continue so if they want to be breathing Beko BBL air next season. The team chemistry seemed to have had a rift and Koch needed to make changes as Americans Tweety Carter, Lamont Mack and Jamal Boykins had to depart. Koch found very solid substitutes with point guard Dominic Waters who has shown his playmaking ability while having a knack to score when he has to and forward Marcellus Somerville that gives the team stability in the zone. “I would have a tough time listing things Stefan Koch brings to us that has caused our improvement. In all honesty, we couldn’t get much worse than the start we had to this season. But we have proven winners on this team and it was bound to get better. I don’t think we had the right combination of players on the team at the start of the season for the way our former coach wanted to play. And once the management got their situation all figured out we were able to bring in a coach and some new players that bought into what we wanted to do. Marcellus Sommerville has been a great improvement. John Little and Ben Jacobson, who played against him in college, were instrumental in getting him here because they knew what a warrior he was. Guys with mentalities like that will always help a team. It’s a matter of pride. And that’s been the biggest improvement with Maxi Kleber. He takes pride in proving that he’s one of the best players in this league. As of late he’s really made it his mission to do all of the intangibles that will result in team success. And that’s what we need to stay in this league. The individual commitment to a group effort. That’s what makes a team work. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit”, warned s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg center Jason Boone.

After the  Rise of the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg rookie campaign in 2011-2012 where the club reached the playoffs and kicked out Alba Berlin of the playoffs under the guidance of 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Patrick giving them an unwanted early summer vacation, the team came back last season with new head coach Marcel Schroeder with a solid roster and playoff ambitions, but were disappointed on the last game day missing the playoffs and ending on the 17th place with a record of 17-17. Wurzburg was the best defensive team in the league allowing only 2395 points practicing that unorthodox aggressive whirlwind defensive brought to life by ex head coach John Patrick. However even if they were able to get fast break points through their strong defense, they weren´t consistent enough in the set offense averaging only 71,5 points per game which was 17th in the whole league. Despite having some guys that could score, it simply wasn´t versatile enough to score consistently. One or the other shooter was missing from the roster as giving Jimmy Mckinney to save the day each game from outside was a little too much to ask for. The club also seemed to have been effected by the injury bug a bit as the team had to fight roster changes all season long and never could find a rhythm all season long. The team celebrated some big wins against FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin, but then again also lost games that they should have won against teams like Trier, Mitteldeutscher BC and Bayreuth.

This season the club lost some key players like Dwayne Anderson and Alex King and supporting players like Mike Lenzly and Frank Robinson, but the good news is that they returned seven players with sharp shooter Jimmy Mckinney, the ex BG Goettingen trio of Jason Boone, Ben Jacobson and John Little, center Chris Mcnaughton and young Germans Maurice Stuckey and Maximillian Kleber. The club added a new supporting castoff  Rickey Harris who returns back to Wurzburg after a season in Italy. He was added to help give Mckinney a companion at the three point line. Tweety Carter rann the point and Lamont Mack and Jamal Boykin tried to have fans forget the departure of Dwayne Anderson, but instead were released mid way through the season. The club also added  a pair of Germans with ultimate role player Sebastian Betz and Ruben Spoden. This season the club will continue to practice their trade mark of hard, annoying aggressive defense that is to spark their offense and lead to easy points. However the team started off miserably losing their first six games, but one has to say that they lost two close games to MBC and ratiopharm Ulm by only a combined point total of five points. However the losing continued as the ylost nine of their next 11 games. Wurzburg management were fed up got rid of Schroeder and brought in basketball healer Stefan Koch. Since his arrival the play has gone up hill gradually as they beat TBB Trier, Artland and bRaunschweig, but are still only two wins ahead of 17th placed Tuebingen. They brought in two talented Americans with Dominic Waters and Marcellus Somerville. Waters has supplied some spark at the point guard position as he has won assists titles in Belgium and Israel. Somerville is a forward that finally was able to leave France as he has played for seven teams there. Somerville has given sufficient scoring power and stability inside.

The Fraport Skyliners have fond memories from the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg winning both games in the Wurzburg rookie season. The Fraport Skyliners squeaked out a 80-78 win at home as American Justin Gray won the game with a buzzer beater. Justin Gray led the Skyliners with 18 points while NBA player Jon Leuer chipped in with 17 points. Chris Kramer had 16 points while Ivan Elliot and Ricky Harris contributed 13 points each. In the return game in Wurzburg in early January, the fans witnessed a gruesome hard fought battle in the trenches as no team wanted to give the other teams any gifts as Frankfurt prevailed 56-51. Frankfurt was led by Quantez Robertson with 12 points, Devin Gibson added 11 points and Jermario Davidson produced 10 points. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were led by Ben Jacobson with 15 points. Last season both teams split the season series 1-1 as both games combined were decided by not more than seven points. Last season the Fraport Skyliners lost round two of the battle of the trenches after winning round one in Wurzburg last season at home last December 59-55. Frankfurt only mustered 21 points in the first half, but had a strong fourth quarter scoring 21 points. The club was sparked by Zach Peacock with 18 points and Quantez Robertson added 12 points, nine rebounds and five steals to the win. Wurzburg was led by Dwayne Anderson with 11 points and Jason Boone had 10 points.  In the return game in Wurzburg, The Fraport Skyliners squeaked out a 60-57 win as defense and loud fans dominated the game. Frankfurt was led by Zach peacock with 18 points and Quantez Robertson added 12 points. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were led by John Little with 15 points, Dwayne Anderson had 11 points and Jason Boone steered 10 point. In the first game this season, the Fraport Skyliners were able to slip by Wurzburg 89-78 as Dawan Robinson and Andrew Rautins supplied the scoring punch combining for 50 points. Wurzburg enter the game having lost three of the last four games including against FC Bayern Munich two weeks ago. Wurzburg has had  along two week break while the Fraport Skyliners will play their third game in seven days and know they can´t go to Wurzburg expecting a cake walk. “Wurzburg is a hostle place and is always hard to play there. Their fans stick behind them. They have lost some close games and we can´t go in there with our heads down or we will gte dumped by 20 points. We have to regroup and I think it will be a game in the 60s”, warned Jacob Burtschi. Frankfurt knows they can´t have any mental lapses like against Bamberg. “We have to show mental toughness in Wurzburg. It is never easy to play a struggling team and it will be a big fight”, stressed Dane Watts. For guys like Quantez Robertson, Marius Nolte, Jacob Burtschi and Danilo Barthel, they will be reunited with ex Skyliner Jimmy Mckinney. Mckinney is having an off year as he has only scored in double figures four times and his buddy Tez hopes that his shooting doesn´t explode. “We might to catch Jimmy on an off day. He is a great shooter and can always get going. I hope we can catch him in his slump”, stated Quantez Robertson.

The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg are led by ex Missouri(NCAA) player Jimmy Mckinney who is a 30 year old 192cm shooting guard that is playing his second season with Wurzburg. Last season he played  22 games: 11.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 39.0%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 82.4%; EuroCup: 6 games: 11.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 35.3%. He was hit once again with  a nasty injury that sidelined him. He will be their number one shooting option again. Jason Boone returns back to Wurzburg for a third season and is a 28 year old 200cm center and last season played 34 games: 10.1ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP-2(68.9%), FT: 51.3%; EuroCup: 6 games: 6.8ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 63.0%, FT: 70.0%. He played at New York U. (NCAA3) and is one oft he rare players making the jump from Regionaliga Lok bernau tot he Beko BBL Goettingen in 2007. He is like a tank parked in the zone and plays with heart and hits most everything he touches into the basket. John Little also is back for a third year tour of duty and is a 29 year old 182cm point guard that is known firsthand for his pitbull defense. He got  naame playing with Goettingen and won the Eurochallenge in 2001. Last season for Wurzburg he played 25 games: 6.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 71.9%; EuroCup: 5 games: 7.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 50.0%. Who could forget how he stole the show from point guard Dashaun Wood during the 2012 playoffs where he played like an MVP against Alba Berlin. The last member of the ex Goettingen three amigos is Ben Jacobson who is also back for  athird season in Wurzburg and is a 30 year old 190cm point guard that played with John Little at N.Iowa(NCAA). It wasn´t his bets of seasons as he also fought against injuries playing 13 games: 6.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 25.0%, 3PT: 19.6%, FT: 68.0%; EuroCup: 6 games: 5.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 21.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 45.5%,. It will be interesting to see how well he comes back after his tough shoulder injury.

German Chris Mcnaughton is also back in Wurzburg for a second season. He is a 30 year old 211cm center that likes to play with his abck to the basket. He has the American citizenship and has ahd experience playing in the NCAA at Bucknell and played many years in Spain winning the Spanish LEB Silver with Faymasa Paaalencia in 2009. He also played with Goettingen, Oldenburg and Bremerhaven. Last season for Wurzburg he played 24 games: 6.0ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 54.0%, FT: 63.8%; EuroCup: 2 games: 1.0ppg, 1.5rpg. The captain is a versatile player that as always will be the perfect example of a team player. Maurice Stuckey returns for a second season. He is a 23 year old 190cm point guard that started his basketball career with  BG Leitershofen . He played two years in the Ehingen system and played in the Bamberg organization. Last season for Wurzburg he played 34 games: 3.9ppg, 1.1rpg; EuroCup: 6 games: 4.8ppg. Who could forget his 19 point effort against Phoenix Hagen last season. His biggest strength is his quickness which he incorporated perfectly on both ends  of the floor on defense and penetration. Maximillian Kleber is a 21 year old 107cm power forward that missed the entire last season and has only played 26 Beko BBl games for Wurzburg two seasons ago. He is a huge German talent where everyone is looking for him to break out. He is a very versatile big mna that can shoot form the mid distance and from outside.

Ricky Harris is  a 26 year old 187cm guard from Baltimore that is playing his fourth professional season. He played at Massachusetts (NCAA) together with NBA player Tony Gaffney and turned professional in 2010. He played in countries like Lithuvania and the Ukraine and last season played for Biancoblu Basket Bologna (Italy-Lega2): 28 games: 13.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 77.3%. Hiss coring output will be vital for the success of Wurzburg this season. The team added Sebastian Betz who is a 28 year old 198cm forward that had  a long career in Ulm from 2007-2013. He played in the Bamberg organization as a youngster and last season for Ulm played : 23 games: 4.1ppg, 2.3rpg; EuroCup: 13 games: 3.6ppg, 2.0rpg. His game starts on defense where he has  a huge heart and never lets down his aggressive guard and can hit big three pointers off the bench. His 192 Beko BBL games will help Wurzburg in key situations when he is inserted from the bench. Ruben Spoden is a 24 year old 202 cm forward from Frankfurt that started his basketball career with Eintracht Frankfurt. He then played for TV Langen and Erdgas Ehingen. He played the last three season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, but never played more than 55 Beko BBL games. He is a very versatile power forwatd that doesn´t shy to shoot from the mid distance or from outside. He is ready to make the next step in Wurzburg and showed in pre season that he can play getting solid minutes, but the question is will he get minutes during the regular season? Dominic Waters is a 27 year old 186cm guard from Portland, Oregon that is playing his fourth professional season after playing at Portland State(NCAA). Last season he played for Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Telemach League): Euroleague: 9 games: 2.4ppg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 5.0ppg, 1.0rpg, 3.6apg; Adriatic League: 12 games: 3.5ppg, 1.3rpg, 2.6apg, in Dec.’12 moved to Hapoel Holon (Israel-Winner League, starting five): 16 games: 12.4ppg, 2.9rpg, Assists-1(7.3apg. This season before coming to Wurzburg, he played  for ),  La Bruixa d’Or Manresa (Spain-Liga Endesa): 15 games: 11.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.0apg, 2FGP: 49.2%, 3FGP: 30.3%, FT: 87.1%, 1.3spg, FGP: 43.0%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT-1(93.9%), 2.3rpg, 6.3apg. Marcellus Somerville is a 32 year old 200cm forward with very much experience. He played at Bradley(NCAA) an dis playing his eighth professional season. Last season he played for Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA, starting five): 30 games: 15.6ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 81.3%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 12.8ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 76.5%. This season before coming to Wurzburg, he came to Aliaga Petkim (Turkey-TBL) 16 games: 12.8ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 47.2%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 60.5%

 

 

 

 

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