The one guy comes from the city of angels Los Angeles while the other player learned how to play the game in the city of brotherly love Philadelphia, but when one examines what Justin Cobbs of the Fraport Skyliners and Brad Wanamaker of the Brose Baskets Bamberg have done in the last two months the word general and success come to mind. The only real big difference is that Cobbs is a Beko BBL rookie while Wanamaker is a 25 year old playing his fourth season while having registered many flying miles having played in many locations in Italy, the D-League and was the last cut of the NBA Atlanta Hawks shortly before Christmas 2011. Bamberg had a solid 7-3 record early in the German league with Wanamaker, but the club was still finding itself. Cobbs came to Frankfurt in mid November and has carried the team out of the lower standings to the playoff area with a 10 game home winning streak and four consecutive wins in the Eurochallange. Since the 7-3 start, Bamberg has a eight game winning streak in the Beko BBL and it has been the Philadelphia native Wanamaker that has carried the team to new heights. He didn´t have good scoring games against Crailsheim or BG Goettingen where he combined for 15 points, but it was the games that really counted against Alba Berlin and FC Munich where he had huge games with 21 points and nine assists and 18 points and seven assists. Like Cobbs, Wanamaker broke out those general like qualities that lifted the club to a higher level and gave a warning to Munich and Berlin that Bamberg is a team that wants to play for titles this season in the Beko BBL. One probably won´t find a more complete and versatile combo guard in the league as he can combine scoring and passing at a blink of the eye however he pleases or is needed to be done. This seasons team has been known for their improved offense, but especially on the defensive end the club has made noise as they have kept teams to under 70 points in six of the last seven games and under 60 points three times. “I think that we have improved the most on defense. We have been very consistent and have been forcing teams to to take tough shots and and our better ball pressure has led to easy baskets. It is all about being focused and wanting to improve”, warned Brad Wanamaker. Even if his main focus is Bamberg now, the American keeps having great seasons no matter if it is in Italy or in the D-League at at his age the NBA is still a big desire. “I think like for many other talented players it is finding the right situation at the right time. It is still my dream to play in the NBA. I am 25 now and hope I will get that chance sometime. Even if FC Bayern Munich got revenge last week in Eurocup play 90-52, Wannamaker was still one of the best Bambegr players with 16 points, but didn´t get support from his teammates. One slip up is allowed in Freak city and Brad Wanamaker is still making a name in Bamberg and is coming up big on a consistent rate like former Bamberg legends Casey Jacobsen or Anton Gavel.
For four years in a row, everything was running more than smoothly in Bamberg as their then head coach Chris Fleming led the club to a four peat winning four league titles and three cups as the small Bavarian city was the basketball capital in Germany something that left a very bitter taste for Alba Berlin that had been Germanys top basketball team starting in the last 90´s. It is never easy to repeat year in and year out, withstand the never ending pressure and each team coming into Bamberg with their game of the season wanting to beat you and just bringing in the right pieces that help fortify another title. Dynasties always seem to wilt at some period where they are winning a lot and some return no matter where you look if it was the Pittsburg Steelers in the 70´s, or Montreal Canadians, Chicago Bulls or New York Yankees, great teams come to an end. That is exactly what happened last season as the Brose Baskets went home for the summer without a title and many question marks. After three straight ist place finishes during the regular season, they had to surrender to the all might FC Bayern Munich that may be walking in the footsteps of Bamberg in the next years with hardware. Last season the players were already pulling out the lawn chairs and enjoying June sun rays a time that German national player Karsten Tadda was still playing playoff games losing in mid May in the quarterfinals to the Artland Dragons 3-1. It was a hard fought series where Bamberg only lost their three games by a combined point total of 14 points. IN the past where Bamberg seemed to always win crunch time games, now all of a sudden they were as vulnerable in the last minutes as Borussia Dortmund are in the Bundesliga this season to lose games. In the regular season they already kind of game an early indication as to a change in the guard as they lost the season series to FC Bayern Munich and splitting the season series with the Artland Dragons. Bamberg still had a super strong roster, but like the season before had much player roster fluctuations during the season which always put a rift into the chemistry plus they couldn´t solve their point guard position problem as Zach Wright and Jared Jordan couldn´t couldn´t bring the needed stability to the offense. Despite the massive team cleaning, Bamberg belongs to a list of favorites behind FC Bayern Munich.
After the early playoff loss, Bamberg management could start their house cleaning early by dismissing Chris Fleming and appointing Andrea Trinchieri as head coach. The heart and soul trio of the club all departed with Americans Casey Jacobsen and John Goldsberry retiring and Anton Gavel fleeing south to FC Bayern Munich. The club held on to only four players all Germans with Elias Harris, Karsten Tadda and young talent Johannes Thiemann. Harris is a 25 year old 203cm power forward that had a stellar career at Gonzaga(senior stats 14.3ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.5%) remained undrafted, but fought his way through the NBA Summer league into the Los Angeles Lakers roster playing 2 NBA games. He came to Bamberg in January and played Eurocup: 6 games: 10.0ppg, 3.7rpg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 85.7%; German League: 25 games: 10.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 55.2%, 3PT: 36.6%, FT: 75.3%. He has unending potential and the club expects much from the inside out player. Tadda is a 26 year old 190cm shooting guard that has been in the Bamberg organization since the 2007-2008 season and really has seen it all in Bamberg. He may only be 25, but has vast experience having played 45 Euroleague games and took part at the 2013 European championships in Slovenia. He is known for his hard nosed defense and can hurt you when left alone from outside. Thiemann is a 20 year old 203cm U-20 German national player forward that moved up the ranks in the organization with Breitengussbach. He has a double license with Pro A team Body Street Baunach (ProB) and last season played 1 games: 12.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 57.4%. Daniel Schmidt is a 24 year old 186cm point guard that has been in the organization since 2008 and still waiting to break out. Last season he played Euroleague: 2 games: 1.0ppg; 2.0apg; German League: 12 games: 0.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 38.5%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 75.0%, played also for Bike-Cafe Messingschlager Baunach (ProB): 14 games: 5.4ppg, 2.0apg.
In the last years Bamberg scout Brendan Rooney has had the job of finding the right players for the next season and usually had to find two players in the glory years like he did finding gems like Kyle Hines, PJ Tucker or Reyshawn terry all guys that were correct fits. In the last two seasons he had to also be active during the season getting new players. For this season he worked overtime as he helped bring in 10 new players with six Americans, one Lithuanian, one Croatian and one player from Latvia. When looking at the Americans, it is a list where every other Beko BBL team will drool even Alba Berlin, but not necessarily FC Bayern Munich. They picked up superb guards with Brad Wanamaker who is a 25 year old 190cm combo guard from Philadelphia that is playing his fourth professional season and first in Germany. He is a quick guard with great court vision that can score and rack in assists and gets in the passing lanes with his hands. He played at Pittsburgh(NCAA) from 2007-2011 playing with future NBA players like Sam Young and Dejuan Blair. Since turning professional he has played in Italy and France. Last season he played for Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia (Italy-Lega Due Gold) playing 35 games: 16.2ppg, 4.0rpg, Assists-3(4.7apg), Steals-2(1.9spg), FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 77.5%. Ryan Thompson is a 26 year old 198cm guard from New Jersey that is playing his fifth professional season and first in Germany. He played at Rider(NCAA) from 2006-2010 and as a professional has played in countries like Italy and Belgium and in the D-League. Last season he played for Telenet Oostende (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): Eurocup: 15 games: 12.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 47.4%, FT: 88.9%; Ethias League: 43 games: 16.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.2apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 79.3%;. The American has much experience in Europe, is a scorer and likes to crash the boards and can create his own shot.
Carlon Brown is a 25 year old 195cm guard from Riverside, California that is playing his third professional season and first in Germany. He played at Utah(NCAA) and then played a season at Colorado(NCAA) where he averaged 12.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 72.3%. As a rookie he played for the Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League): 6 games: 5.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 31.8%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 58.3%, in Jan.’13 signed at Idaho Stampede (D-League): 26 games: 12.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 75.9%. Last season he played in Europe for first time playing for Hapoel Tel-Aviv (Israel-Winner League, starting five): 32 games: Score-1(19.8ppg), 4.6rpg, 4.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 74.1%. Brown brings the complete package to Germany as he loves to attack the rim, but will hurt you from outside and give support on the glass. Josh Duncan is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Super Tez country Cincinnati that is playing his seventh professional season. He played at Xavier from 2004-2008 reaching the NCAA Elite 8 in 2008 with current Alba Berlin center Jamel Mclean and ex Bremerhaven guard Stanley Burrell. As a professional he has played in France and Belgium and the last four years in Israel. Last season he played for Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem (Israel-Winner League): 33 games: 15.0ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 56.1%, 3PT: 45.1%, FT: 85.6%; Eurocup: 20 games: 13.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 88.3%. Duncan is a strong scorer and rebounder that will also hurt you on defense.
Trevor Mbakwe is a 24 year old 207cm forward from St Paul, Minnesota that is playing his second professional season. He played at Minnesota(NCAA) from 2010-2013 and as a senior played 34 games: 10.0ppg, 8.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 56.8%, FT: 61.4%. He palyed NBA Summer League the last two summers with the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. As a rookie last season he played for : Virtus Roma (Italy-SerieA, starting five): 37 games: 10.6ppg, Reb-2(10.1rpg), Blocks-1(1.5bpg), FGP: 58.9%, FT: 77.1%; Eurocup: 10 games: 6.2ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 58.5%, FT: 70.0%. He is the new wall on defense taking over for D or Fischer. On offense he can get buckets from the mid distance. The club brought in Janis Strelnieks who is a 25 year old 191cm point guard from Latvia that has vast European experience. He played for top Latvian club BK Ventspils. He is a very good PG, yet very experienced, who plays very well the pick and roll situations. Sees well the court and passes the ball at the right time, can change the tempo of the game and score if needed. He played the last two seasons in Russia and the Ukraine and last season for Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): Euroleague: 10 games: 7.9ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 46.4%; Ukrainian Superleague: 31 games: 11.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 5.5apg, FGP: 60.6%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 83.1%; Eurocup: 10 games: 10.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 87.5%. Mindaugas Katelynas is a 31 year old 206cm forward from Lithuania that is playing his 10th professional season. He got early experience in the States at Tenn.-Chattanooga (NCAA) from 2003-2005 and as a senior played 31 games: 11.8ppg, RebConf-2(8.9rpg), 1.5apg, FGPConf-3(54.7%), 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 62.6%. In his long career he has played in countries like Italy(4 years), Spain(2 years), Turkey and Lithuania. Last season he played for Trabzonspor Basketbol (Turkey-TBL) playing 5 games: 9.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 63.2%, 3PT 36.8%, FT: 66.7%. He has never won a professional title, but has amazing leaping skills that helped him to the Mountain Dew College Slam Dunk Championships -05 (Winner). Dalibor Bagaric is a 34 year old 217cm center 130 kilo big man from Croatia that brings the most experience. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 2000 and played two seasons in the NBA. Since then he has played in countries like Italy, Croatia and Spain. Last season he returned home to play for KK Zabok (A1): : 9 games: 8.1ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 62.8%, FT: 76.0%. He played at the European championships in 2003 and 2005. Daniel Theis is a 22 year old 204cm forward that started his career in Braunschweig playing ally-op basketball with Atlanta Hawk Dennis Schroeder. He played the last two seasons with ratiopharm Ulm and last season played Eurocup: 17 games: 7.3ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 69.0%; German League: 34 games: 9.7ppg, 6.2rpg, Blocks-5(1.3bpg), FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 25.7%, FT: 77.4%. Last summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Washington Wizards): 5 games: 6.6ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 60%, FT: 88.2%. He can shoot from the perimeter as well as from the 3 point line, take his opponent off the dribble and play a classic back to the basket game. Daniel plays on a very high energy level that enables him to play far above the rim, create mismatches and block shots into the 3rd row. He runs the floor better than guards and finishes with authority around the basket. Despite the massive team cleaning, Bamberg belongs to a list of favorites behind FC Bayern Munich. Head coach Andrea Trinchieri has done a great job this season and the club has a 15-3 record in the Beko BBL and since the 81-62 win at home against Frankfurt have a 8-1 record and current eight game winning streak. They defeated FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin keeping them combined to an average of 66 points. Bamberg has a more potent offense then when Chris Fleming was there and now seem to have their defense on the same page as they are an equal force on both ends of the court. It will be a massive fight to the finish in the playoffs this season between Munich, Berlin and Freak City Bamberg. The team added extra veteran insurance by reeling in American Dawan Robinson that has extensive experience in Italy and also played in Poland, Israel and the D-League.
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. 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 in game four of the 2010 finalswith 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 5-20 record against the six time Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg. In 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. In 2011-2012, 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. Last season 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. In the return game in Frankfurt, the Fraport Skyliners took apart Bamberg 77-64 as they were led by American Dawan Robinsonwith19 points, Ryan Brooks added 13 points and Zack Peacock 12 points. Bamberg was led by Anton Gavel with 22 points. Frankfurt did a superb job controlling the boards and showing their aggressive Katzurian defense. In their first meeting last season, the Brose Baskets Bamberg took apart the Fraport Skyliners 73- as Frankfurt had many injuries and many young players that had to take responsibility which is never easy in the hostle Bamberg environment. Bamberg was led by Elias Harris with 13 points, while Anton Gavel and Casey Jacobsen had 12 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Konstantin Klein with 14 points. In the return game in Frankfurt, Frankfurt defended well keeping Bamberg to 64 points, but couldn´t muster anything on offense scoring only 54 points. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were led by Americans Jamar Smith with 18 points and Rakim Sanders with 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 15 points and Ramon Galloway steered home 13 points. In the first meeting this season the Brose Baskets Bamberg tore apart Frankfurt 81-62. Bamberg was led by Ryan Thompson with 14 points and Daniel THeis added 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 18 points while Danilo Barthel added 11 points and Johannes Richter 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners host the Brose Baskets Bamberg on January 25th.