Just getting a solid team chemistry to function throughout a season can give coaches headaches or that give me a small gold star for my forehead from my first grade teacher for success feeling, but then again the job of getting that togetherness on and off the court to work gets double as difficult when there are players that come and go throughout the season ripping through that team chemistry like an arrow does through a bulls eye. This season Mittledeutscher BC head coach Silvano Poropat has witnessed this up and down with player´s play that he was forced to make changes as experienced forward Simonas Serapinas and American rookie Ryan Nicholas departed. In January he hauled in experienced American Beckham Wyrick and in February experienced Americans Mark Mr fantastic Dorris and Darryl Webb. Wyrick is a 31 year old 198cm forward form Cincinnati that has played his whole career in Germany starting with Leverkusen as a rookie, two seasons with Bamberg where he won a title, one with FC Bayern Munich where he played for legendary head coach Dirk Bauermann and the last three seasons in Bayreuth. Last season was one to forget as his minutes dipped and it seemed like it could be his last. However Poropat still believed in his abilities and since coming to Weissenfels, Wyrick has played five games averaging 7,0ppg and 3,6rpg while scoring 15 points against Crailsheim and 11 points against Alba Berlin. Even while these games went lost, he gave support in the wins against playoff type teams Braunschweig and ratiopharm Ulm. Wyrick is the smart veteran that can score in bunches and just a little bit of everything. Poropat also brought back Mark Dorris who strangely is also from Cincinnati and also hadn´t had a team this season and was just waiting for that best offer that never came until MBC called. Dorris is a 29 year old 188cm guard that played at Marshall and like Wyrick his whole career in Germany with Cuxhaven, Phoenix Hagen and Ludwigsburg. He is a guy compariable to a player like American Chris Denson of Holland club Den Bosch in that he makes impossible shots in the lane while being off balance. So far Dorris has found action in only one game where he had serious misfortune putting up the big goose egg going 0/6 shooting. He has been spending most time watching as the team has one import player too much. In Oldenburg Dorris finally scored his first MBC points with nine. .Maybe Dorris will find some action against the Fraport Skyliners and duel against his friend Quantez Robertson. He is averaging 4,5ppg, 1,0rpg and 1,0apg. Finally the last of the new trio is Darryl Webb who is a 27 year old 198cm forward. He is playing his fourth professional season having played for Crailsheim as a rookie and lost to MBC in the Pro A playoffs which propelled MBC back to the BBL in 2012. In his second season he dominated the Dutch league posting 14 and 10 stats for Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie). Last season he played for the Hitachi Sunrockers Tokyo (Japan-NBL) playing 26 games and averaging 13.2ppg, 9.3rpg. This season he was back to his double double stats with BBC Monthey (Switzerland-LNA) playing 18 games and averaging 15.8ppg, 11.2rpg. So far in two games he is averaging 5,3ppg and 6,0 rpg. In his debut against ratiopharm Ulm he posted solid stats of nine points, seven rebounds and four assists in the victory. In the loss in Oldenburg he had solid stats with seven points and eight boards. Webb is the perfect guy to come from the bench and compliment the games of Christian Standhardinger and Djordje Pantelic and describes his role, how his game has improved since his Crailsheim days and if MBC can make a run in the last two months. “Coach talked to me and told me he wants me to be an inside presence, rebound, and just be active on defense. Passing it out of the post quicker, getting to the basket quicker are things I’ve improved on, off the dribble not so much. I think the team is just taking it one game at a time and trying to get better every day also doing whatever it takes to stay in the BBL”, warned Darryl Webb.
Often with a limited budget and players having big seasons, it is difficult to hold guys as Angelo Caloiaro, Josh Parker(third league Turkey) and Marcus Hatten all left. Silvano Poropat who has a strong ability of making the best out of what he has to offer kept only three players and made a face lift of his roster. The team held 30 year old 204cm forward veteran Djordje Pantelic who has played in countries like France, Cyprus, Greece Romania, and Serbia, but never three seasons for one club as he is doing now with MBC. Last season for MBC he played 33 games averaging 6.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.5apg, Blocks-4(1.3bpg), FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 66.2%. he is a solid offensive player, but shines on defense where he is the anchor on defense being second and fourth in blocks in the BBL the last two years and currently leads the league in that category. The oldest standing player on the roster is captain Malte Schwarz who is a 25 year old 188cm guard who is playing his foruth season in Weissenfels. He is a fierce three point shooter and brings the team that extra energy each day on the court. Last season he played 34 games averaging 7.4ppg, 1.1apg, FGP: 36.6%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 81.1%. He also will always be able to tell his grandchildren about the famous Michael Jordan tirade in Frankfurt in 2010. The club also held 27 year old 205cm forward Oliver Clay. He started his basketball in the Alba Berlin organization and also got valuable experience in Trier and Wurzburg. He is playing his second season in Weissenfels and is a durable role player inside. Last season he caught the injury bug and played only 14 games averaging 3.1ppg, 2.0rpg.
The team brought in nine new players with the biggest surprise being German Christian Standhardinger who is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Munich. He started his basketball career in 2004 with DJK SB Muenchen. He then played three seasons for Ralph Junge at Ehningen before going to the States. He played at Nebraska(NCAA) for two seasons, but ha doff court problems and transferred to Hawaii (NCAA) where he put up amazing stats and improved his scoring, rebounding and assists each season and as a senior played 29 games averaging 17.9ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 25.6%, FT: 76.7%. Despite the good stats the conference he played in didn´t attract the NBA scouts. Besides bringing in Patrick Richard, the team also signed Simonas Serapinas who is the other 30 plus player on the team that gives valuable experience. He is a 32 year old 197cm swing man from Lithuania that has played in countries like Greece, Ukraine and Italy and top teams like B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas, Aris Thessaloniki and Azovmash Mariupol. His shooting and 64 Euroleague experience should be his most valuable asset to the young kids. However Serapinas lasted only to the half way mark as he was let go.
The team also brought back Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson who is a 26 year old 190cm point guard from Iceland. He played from MBC from 2011-2013 helping MBC move back up to the Beko BBL. His off the dribble shooting and defense ability has welcomed him back after he went for the money last season with Blancos de Rueda Valladolid (Spain-Liga Endesa), but didn´t get the minutes he wanted playing 27 games and averaging only 3.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.1apg. MBC also brought in two Americans with Frantz Masssenat and Ryan Nicolas. Massenat is a 193cm guard from Ewing, New Jersey that is a rookie in the Beko BBL. He played at Drexel(NCAA) form 2010-2104 helping the club reach the NIT Elite 8 in 2012 and was able to improve his scoring each season. As a senior he played 30 games: 17.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.7apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 72.1%. He is a point guard that likes to penetrate and set up his teammates, but also has a solid shot. Ryan Nicholas is a 23 year old 201cm forward from Spokane, Washington that is also a rookie who played at Portland(NCAA). He also improved his scoring and rebounding each season and as a senior played 30 games: 13.0ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 76.9%. His biggest asset is his rebounding and dirty work mentality which someone has to do. MBC also didn´t hold him despite having a solid rookie campaign. Marc Liyanage is a 24 year old 198cm guard that is playing his first season for MBC. He started his basketball career in 2007 with Bramfelder SV Hamburg (2.Regionalliga). Since then he played one season in the States with Delta(NCAA2) playing 25 games and 108 Pro A games with Nordlingen, Duesseldorf and BG Goettingen. His shooting and aggressive defense should earn him some minutes this season. Kristian Kuhn is a 27 year old 208cm center that started his basketball career in 2004 with SC Bergstrasse (Landesliga). He also had experience in the States playing for Trinity Valley JC (JUCO) and N Arizona(NCAA). In Germany he played for teams like TV Langen, Ehingen, Cuxhaven, Heidelberg and last season Science City Jena where he played 35 games averaging 7.6ppg, 5.5rpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 46.9%. Robert Zinn is a 19 year old 196cm shooting guard that started his basketball career in the Ludwigsburg system. Last season he moved to Bike-Cafe Messingschlager Baunach (ProB) 14 games: 1.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0apg, played also at TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (Regionalliga) 17 games: 10.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.8apg. This season he also has a license to play for the BSW Sixers(PRO B). He is a big German talent that Poropat should try to give minutes for his development.
When comparing this seasons team with last, one wouldn´t necessarily be able to say this seasons is stronger or more talented. But they started 7-2 speaks and were sitting in fourth place before teams like Bamberg, Artland and Ulm. One could say the club pretty much beat the teams they had to in that early stint and lost to the ones they weren’t expected to beat like Munich and Bamberg, but they did beat Artland. Early on they showed an unbelievable ability of keeping their nerves and winning tight games as they beat TBB Trier by three points and Tuebingen and Phoenix Hagen by one point and Braunschweig in overtime. There were many reasons why the 2004 Fiba cup winner has started so well. For starters they found a rhythm quickly and the preseason preparation was meticulous. The club surely would have lost a few more games had Standhardinger not been on the team. Also their home court advantage is something that hurts opponents who come in awaiting to find an easy game. The strong team mentality and character is another asset to the success. The club has many players wanting to prove themselves which ups the motivation a tick more each game. Last but not least to add to all these points is the superb coach Silvano Poropat who is one of those coaches that lives basketball and deserves a lot of credit for the success. “I believe our success is credited to our coach on how hard he is on us and also everyone is playing together as a team. We focus on sharing the ball and also communication each game. We also focus on taking each game at a time. Coach definitely deserves a lot of credit. His will do win is very high and I believe that shows by how hard we play each game. He wants to win sometimes as bad as we do which is great. He also has a system that fits the type of players we have. As far as crunch time goes each time it’s been different people. I believe that for opposing teams that is hard to defend if a game comes down to the end like that. I believe we as a team can accomplish anything this season, but the key is to focus on one game and each week at a time. We can’t think ahead, “ warned Patrick Richard. However as is the case so often in the beautiful game of basketball, the fortunes changed as all of a sudden out of the blue nothing seemed to work anymore as the club went from playoff team to a team forced to the back of the standings with an annoying 10 game losing streak which started against the Fraport Skyliners and Justin Cobbs who made his debut in that game. After the loss to Frankfurt, they lost three tight games to Bayreuth, Bonn and Crailsheim by a combined total of eight points. Suddenly the team was unable to win the close games. Except for another close loss this time with four points to ratiopharm Ulm, the team mostly lost easily and were blown out by Ludwigsburg by 26 points and Bonn by 30 points. As of late the team has won two of their last four games, but the bad news not only lost in Oldenburg, but top scorer Patrick Richard had a hard collision with Philipp Neumann and his status for the game Sunday in Frankfurt is unknown at the moment. Last weekend the crunch time blues were on the menu again as they were nipped by 18th placed team Crailsheim Merlins 87-84. This should be a very interesting game in Frankfurt as both teams are on a run as MBC is trying to rebound from a two game losing streak and Frankfurt is playing great basketball having a six game winning streak, but could still be tired from the Russia trip. The Mitteldeutscher BC has won the last two games in Frankfurt, but best in memory the loss in Leipzig this season where they were outrebounded badly 26-12, but had a first class day coughing up the ball only five times. A lot will depend if German Christian Standhardinger can finally regain his form after starting the season scoring in double figures in the first eight games, he has done it only twice in the last 12 games. When his game is off, the MBC offense suffers. If Frankfurt can control Patrick Richard and Christian Standhardinger then it should be an easy win for Frankfurt and there won´t be any overtime this weekend.
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. In the 2012-2013 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. Last season the Mitteldeutscher BC won the season series clobbering Frankfurt at home 87-57 as Josh Parker had 19 points and Marcus Hatten 15 points and 10 assists. Malte Schwarz contributed 14 points and four three pointers for insurance. The Fraport Skyliners were led by JarredDubois with 14 points and Andrew Rautins added 12 points. In the return game, Frankfurt lost one of their many crunch time games in the second half of the season 66-64. Angelo Caloiaro had 13 points and Michael Cufee 12 points. Frankfurt was led by Johannes Voigtmann with 15 points. In the first game this season the Fraport Skyliners won in Leipzig 73-62 and were led by Johannes voigtmann and Aaron Doornekamp with 14 points a piece. The Mitteldeutscher BC was led by Patrick Richard with 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners host MBC March 1st.