Having an unbelievable label thrusted upon you most usually is so tough to digest that it has had a difficult effect on players because having to live up to that assumption can be as difficult as it is for a Tim Tebow making the adjustment to baseball as there is simply so much media pressure on you. As for the labels, how many players have had that unfair comparison as being the next Dirk Nowitzki? It didn´t only fall upon a guy like Tim Ohlbrecht who still did make it to the NBA, but to other guys as well in Germany. The Dirk Nowitzki label also has swayed over to other countries like Serbia where a player like Nemanja Aleksandrow got that label, but too many others as well. Having these player labels aren´t always easy to get used to hearing over and over, but what does a player like Moses Ehambe of SC Rasta Vechta think when he hears a label like “considered by some as one of the best shooters in the world” and he turns around and expects Larry Bird or a Steph Curry to be standing there? Those two NBA legends would be worthy of that label, but would a Moses Ehambe? Well many might argue that label, but his consistent and accurate shooting from downtown over the years can´t be denied. Ehambe is a 30 year old 197cm swingman from Arlington Texas that is playing his ninth professional season and second in Germany after playing his first with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in 2014. Over the years, his accurate shooting from the parking lot has consistently been at the 40% mark or higher which is a rate that isn´t achieved by every player. Ehambe has played in many different leagues from the D-league to places like Spain, Venezuela and Japan. There was even a time from 2006-2012 where he shot 40% or better which for the most part was achieved with three different D-league teams that obviously garnered the interest of NBA GM´s. The label of being the best shooter in the world seemed to have developed during his D-league time between 2008-2012 and the sniper wasn´t unaware of this label. “I have heard that before, but it isn´t about what you hear, but what you believe. It means a lot to me when I hear something like that. It makes me feel good knowing people appreciate what I do after spending countless hours in the gym perfecting my craft”, stated Moses Ehambie. Many have wondered why a guy like Ehambie never made it to the NBA considering the NBA is the prime place where a player who does one thing very well can find a home. “My goal and passion is to get to the NBA. I´ll continue to dream and work of reaching the NBA. The D-league is one route of reaching the NBA and at times faster than going the European route. My family and I decided that going the European route would be good. I feel that I have grown as a player and became more complete and just elevated my game on offense and defense”, stressed Moses Ehambe. Back in 2011, he was with the New Orleans Hornets (NBA) during training camp and got that brief NBA air and got some words of wisdom that quickly broadened his basketball horizon which has not only helped him with dealing with his NBA dream, but also helping develop his game further. “When I was cut from the New Orleans Hornets training camp, head coach Monty Williams told me that I had a gift shooting and that many can´t do it. He told me that now I needed to show the world that I can play basketball. I felt that with Bremerhaven I showed that I can do more besides just shooting with rebounding, passing it in the post or penetrating and kicking. I am a complete player now instead of a stand still shooter. Who knows what will happen now. Maybe the NBA will take notice”, stressed Moses Ehambe. As for now SC Rasta Vechta has taken notice and signed him and he belongs to a very talented group of guys and is close to averaging double figures in scoring and as usual is shooting over 40% from outside. If The NBA ever does come calling, Ehambe will be more than ready, but for now the ex ORU (NCAA) standout is focused on performing his role to the best to his ability for SC Rasta Vechta and possibly help bring this team a lot farther than many would ever have thought this season.
After two seasons of being in the Pro A, SC Rasta Vechta have returned back to the EasyCredit BBL, a place where they had their first experience three years ago, but seemingly was a bit too early as they were run over by their own too high expectations. Two seasons ago, they totally underachieved as they finished in 10th place missing the playoffs, but in a way helped them too really be motivated for last season where they literally blew away the competition winning the regular season with a 25-3 record and then mowing down Nurnberg and Gotha in sweeps. They had built an amazing 23 game winning streak from November 28 to April 25th. Of course in the eyes of their organization now, the only logical thing was too close out the season in the Pro A final against Science City Jena. However they were rudely beaten as their season ended on a sour note as they became the runner up in a very dominating season.
At first glance on paper, SC Rasta Vechta has more talent and experience than the team that competed in the easyCredit BBL three seasons ago, but they did a quite large house cleaning adding 9 new players with the likes of ex NBA player Scott Machado, sniper Moses Ehambie, inside presence Devin Searcy, talented Americans Rakeem Buckles and Frank Gaines as well as talented young Germans. They also kept a core base of players from last season with Derrick Allen and Christian Standhardinger. However even the most talented teams doesn´t always ensure success as many other BBL teams have experienced at one time or the other like last season the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. If the team chemistry and harmony isn´t developed then it can always become a long season. So far the club hasn´t been able to translate their talent too many wins as they have started 1-5. A big problem has been their offense which has only averaged 76 points, a rate that for their talent is a bit under the norm. Basketball is a funny sport in that the little things usually decide games and without being totally outrageous, this club could be 4-0. They didn´t defend bad at all against teams like Braunschweig and Bayreuth, teams they need to beat, but averaged only 62 points on offense and were close against Oldenburg losing 79-76. They did beat Phoenix Hagen in another close game 98-96 which helped their self-confidence. SC Rasta Vechta is a club a lot better than their record and should once they develop their team chemistry start winning. If they can be a surprise like Giessen and Wurzburg last season is more a reach, but they should be returning back to the BBL next season for sure.
The club held on to BBL dinosaur Derrick Allen who is a 36 year old 203cm forward from Gadsen, Alabama that just keeps chugging away playing in his 14th professional season and 12th in Germany. He was a rookie in Iceland and also played in Belgium. He has played for teams in Germany with BG Karlsruhe, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen, Frankfurt(2007-2010), Alba Berlin, Bremerhaven and Braunschweig. He won a scoring title with Leverkusen, was runner up once with Frankfurt, is a three time BBL allstar and two time finalist with Frankfurt and Alba Berlin. He may not have the speed of his 10,7 track mark in 2009 in Frankfurt, but he still is able to get easy buckets inside with his ballerina moves or his fade away mid distance shot. The team also held on to German Christian Standhardinger who is a 27 year old 206cm forward that also has Filipino roots. He started his career with the DJK SB Muenchen junior team and then played three seasons with Ehingen before embarking on a USA journey playing at Nebraska and Hawaii in the NCAA: As a senior at Hawaii he averaged 17.9ppg, 8.4rpg. He returned back to Germany two seasons ago and had a solid rookie season with MBC. Last season with SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA) he played 36 games: Score-2(15.8ppg), 7.9rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 29.5%, FT: 68.6%. His big strength is his unending energy and desire to get every loose ball and rebound and he is a constant double digit scorer. The team also kept Travis Warech who is a 25 year old 191cm guard from pine Brook, New Jersey that also has the German citizenship. He played at St Michaels(NCAA2) and at Ithaca(NCAA3) and is one of those rare players that has come from a division three program to play in the BBL. This is his fourth professional season and as a rookie, he played with Gotha, then played 22 games with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and last season played with the Hamburg Towers (Germany-ProA): 7 games: 7.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2FGP: 46.9%, 3FGP: 18.2%, FT: 80.0%, left in Dec.’15, later that month moved to SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA): 24 games: 7.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 73.1%. He is a solid role player from the bench that fills up the stats sheet well for a guard and has range from outside.
Besides adding Moses Ehambe, the most notable new signing was ex NBA player Scott Machado. He is a 26 year old 187cm guard from Queens, New York that is playing his fifth professional season. He has ties to the Fraport Skyliners in which he was teammates at Iona(NCAA) with ex player Sean Armand and is basketball playground buddy with ex player Jordan Theodore. As a senior at Iona, he led the NCAA in assists with 9,9 in 2012. As a professional, he reached the NBA playing 6 games for the Houston Rockets. Despite racking up solid stats in the D-league, he never returned to the NBA, but came to Europe and played in France and Estonia before playing for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg (Germany-BBL) last season 15 games: 8.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 75.0%; Eurocup: 15 games: 5.7ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 38.3%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 80.0%. He is a strong playmaker that will be battling Jared Jordan for the assist title this season. The club also added American Frank Gaines who is a 26 year old 191cm shooting guard from Fort Lauderdale, Florida playing his fourth professional season. He played at IPFW (NCAA) where he averaged 20,0ppg in his last two seasons. In his first three professional seasons, he has seen the basketball world as he has played for two D-league teams, for two teams in Italy, in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and last season for King Wilki Morskie Szczecin (Poland-TBL) 36 games: 12.4ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.7%. He is a pure scorer that averaged 22,4ppg as a rookie in the D-league with Maine for Mike Taylor and can defend the positions 1-3. Devin Searcy is a 27 year old 208cm center with three seasons of BBL experience. He played at Dayton (NCAA) before turning professional and being a rookie in Japan. In his second season, he nipped NBA air with the Philadelphia 76ers before being released and moving to Russia to Triumph Lyubertsy. He then played 65 BBL games with Bremerhaven and was second and fifth in the league in rebounding in his two seasons there. Last season he played for SPO Rouen Basket (France-ProA): 6 games: 6.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 2FGP: 54.8%, in Nov.’15 moved to s.Oliver Baskets Wuerzburg (Germany-BBL): 27 games: 5.4ppg, 3.6rpg, FGP: 50.0%, FT: 65.9%.
The team also added three Germans with most recently Philipp Neumann who is a 24 year old 209cm center that is a hardworking beast in the paint area. He won numerous titles with Bamberg, but never broke through and moved to Oldenburg in December 2013 and helped the team win the cup in 2015. Last season he moved to Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL): 34 games: 4.0ppg, 2.6rpg; Eurocup: 16 games: 5.5ppg, 4.2rpg, Blocks-5(1.2bpg), FGP: 49.3%, FT: 68.8%. The club also added Niklas Geske who is a 22 year old 188cm point guard that started his career with SVD Dortmund II (2.Regionalliga). He played the last three seasons in the BBL with Phoenix Hagen playing 85 games and last season played 33 games: 5.8ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 84.5%. He is an intelligent player that is always attacking and has a good mentor with Machado who will make him better each day in practice. Besnik Bekteshi is a 191cm guard and only 23 as he seems to have been around for ages. He played his first BBL game at age 17, but never made his breakthrough with Ludwigsburg has he amassed only 22 games in three seasons there. He then missed the entire 2013-2014 season due to injury and played the last two seasons in the Pro A with Giessen helping them move up to the BBL in 2015 and last season with VfL Kirchheim Knights (Germany-ProA): 29 games: 10.2ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 77.7%. He is a great shooter and feared defender.
Three seasons ago, the Fraport Skyliners had two very entertaining games against SC Rasta Vechta sweeping the 2013-2014 season and winning the two games by only a combined point total of four points. In the first meeting in Frankfurt two days after Christmas, Frankfurt snuck away with a 70-67 win as ex NBA player Andrew Rautins played his last game for the team before getting injured and Jared Dubois sparked the team with 17 points while Jakob Doerksen had 19 points for the losers. In the return game in Vechta, Frankfurt won in the last few seconds 76-75 as a Quantez Robertson led to a buzzer beater by German Kevin Bright who led the team with 23 points. Ex Skyliner Richard Williams led the losers with 18 points. Both teams arrive on Sunday in the Fraport arena with two game losing streaks. The Fraport Skyliners have a lot to prove as they finally want to give a good effort again for 40 minutes. They stunk up the third quarter in Wurzbrug last week giving up an 18 point lead and a few days ago did the same in the third frame against Turkish squad Banvit in Champions League. It seems like Frankfurt is a huge whirlwind on the court where that harmony is missing. The club really needs someone to step up and lead the team like a Quantez Robertson possibly. SC Rasta Vechta lost their last two games and need to improve on the defensive end as they have averaged giving up 93 points in the last two games. It is a must win for both teams and it could be an ugly contest where heart will get the victory for whatever team shows it.