It isn´t like Jordan Bohannon isn´t engulfed by special basketball vibes each weekend when he enters into huge basketball buildings in the States when he is on NCAA duty battling the likes of Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State or Seton Hall, but even during the dog days of summer and approximately 4,532 miles away from Iowa, the American will be presented with some NBA and brotherly vibes even if he doesn´t know it. When the American who hails from Marion, Iowa and could have called the University of Wisconsin a second home when he was younger sets foot in the tiny size OSP Rhein-Necker arena in Heidelberg, Germany that seats 2,000 on Tuesday it may seem like just any other ordinary gym with one side showcasing stands and the other side where the team´s benches are only a wall behind it, but in reality it will be more than that. The 20 year old 183cm point guard will be at the first stop of a summer basketball tour that will also take him and the Iowa Hawkeyes to the mountains and chocolate of Switzerland and to the pasta and wine of Italy. The first stop in Germany is a very special one as Iowa is taking part in a special event for the Basketball Aid organization that has been fighting against cancer that effects children since 2007 by giving awareness and having events where the proceeds go to cancer aid. As Bohannon and his teammates clash against a special put together Basketball Aid roster of mostly German professional players, the sophomore will have that special brotherly vibe following him all around the court as his brother Jason played for the then USC Heidelberg second division team that played in the OSC gym. He also will taste that NBA flair that is in the arena as current Chicago Bull Paul Zipser learned his basketball trade in this gym when he was a youth and actually was teammates with his brother Jason in the 2010-2011 season and played two games together at the end of the season where the German played two minutes scoring two points and the American tallied a total of 14 points in the two games. Another NBA aspect to this arena is that German basketball legend Pascal Roller will be coaching the Basketball Aid team. He had a stellar career winning 2 titles in Germany with the Frankfurt Skyliners and like Zipser started his career in this gym, but even better was a long time teammate of Dirk Nowitzki in the German national team that fed the Dallas Maverick in the post more times than Tyler Cook will ever dunk at Iowa. Now more than 6 years later Zipser is in the NBA, Jason Bohannon has retired from professional basketball and Jordan Bohannon is on the verge of continuing a very solid NCAA career. Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth was able to get a Maik Zirbes German national team jersey that was autographed by every member of the team and will be auctioned off at halftime.
On Tuesday August 8th, the University of Iowa will meet the Basketball Aid allstars and the American team led by head coach Fran Mccaffery at Iowa since 2010 are coming off a season ending loss in the NIT Sweet 16 to TCU 94-92 and embarking on the 2017-2018 season with many returning players, some interesting new freshmen and needing to compensate the loss of top scorer Peter Jok.
The biggest milestones in Iowa´s basketball history was being a 1956 NCAA finalist and 2013 NIT finalist and winning the Big 10 tournament in 2001 and 2006. They have played in the NCAA tournament 25 times, been in the Final four three times, Elite 8 four times and the Sweet 16 eight times. They have sent many players on to great professional careers and many have balled in Germany like Aaron White, Jared Reiner, Kurt Looby, Jacob Jaacks or Sean Sonderleiter just to name a few. This season´s club has unending potential once again with the biggest questions being who will step up for the departed Peter Jok, will the team spread the love more consistently on offense or develop two high class starters that will always give you good production and will Tyler Cook be able to take the next step as he has the most upside. The key players to watch in Heidelberg will be Tyler Cook, Jordan Bohannon, Nicholas Baer, Isaiah Moss and German Dominique Uhl. Cook is a 19 year old 206cm center from St Louis that will be a sophomore this season. Last season as a freshman he played 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 5.3rpg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 59.8%. His best games were against Seton Hall with 24 points and 21 points against Maryland. He came to Iowa with high expectations being 38Th on ESPN´s 100 list and despite solid stats had to battle injuries last season and foul trouble showed him time on the bench more than he had liked. He likes to pattern his game after Lebron James and is looking to heighten his game even more this season and take more responsibility with the departure of Jok. Bohannon will also be a sophomore this season and also had a solid freshman campaign playing 34 games averaging 10.9ppg, 2.2rpg, 5.1apg, FGP: 32.2%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 85.5%. He had some huge games against Iowa and Maryland with 24 points apiece and also a 23 point game against Notre Dame. He finished the season strong with three double doubles and averaged 11 assists in his last three games. Not only his playmaking is strong, but he is a lethal and feared shooter already as he hit Maryland with eight trey´s and seven against Notre Dame. Last season he belonged to top company as he was one of two players to tally at least 65 three´s and 125 assists and the other was new Los Angeles Laker Lonzo Ball. He will be another key factor for the success of Iowa this season. Nicolas Baer is a 21 year old 201cm forward with the German sounding name from Bettendorf, Iowa that is going into his junior season and was able to heighten his stats each season and last season played 34 games averaging 7.5ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 61.4%. teammate Cook may call him a nerd as his shirt “Straight out of cookies” made waves recently, but there is nothing nerdy about his game. His best games last season was a 20 and 10 game against Penn State and a 15 and 10 effort in the season ending loss to TCU. He can do it all and is simply everywhere on the court. Coach Mccaffery loves the game of Baer and not only teammate Bohannon was in great company with Lonzo Ball, but Baer also made a record last season. Last season he was the only player in the NCAA and one of two players in the Big 10 in the last 20 years together with Golden State Warrior Draymond Greene to reach 235 points, 45 steals, 40 three pointers and 35 plus blocks in a season. He may not be in the same universe as a Larry Bird, but his versatility sure reminds one of a Bird and like Bird back in 1991 with 32 points in a playoff win against Indiana made a famous exit to the locker room and return back to lead the team to a win against Purdue with 9 points. Dominique Uhl is a 22 year old 206cm forward that doesn´t have the stats of the players listed before him, but the returning senior has been a vital role player for Iowa in his three years there. Last season the German played 32 games averaging 3.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.2apg. He has had some great games like his 15 points in a win against W Illinois or his 14 points against UMKC. Uhl is from Frankfurt, Germany and played in the Frankfurt Skyliners organization before coming to the states in 2012 to go to high school and then go to Iowa. He likes to compare his game to Paul George and will be very motivated to come home and play in front of family and friends. Coach Mcaffery has helped him slow down his game and the German wants to be more consistent in his last year before he will embark on a professional career in Germany.Other interesting players to watch from Iowa will be Isaiah Moss, Cordell Pemsl as well as incoming freshman Jack Nunge and Slovenian/Bosnian Luka Garza who brings 25/12 stats from Maret high school and is already seen as a very talented youngster as he took part at the Nike Elite 100 Skill Academy in St.Louis, Missouri in 2015, NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA in 2016 and the HS McDonald’s All-American Game in 2017.
The Basketball Aid Allstars have reeled in 10 very interesting players for their roster that are mostly Germans and young, but there are also some veterans that will suit up like Alexandar Nadjfeji who is the best known of the bunch. He is a 40 year old 206cm forward that was retired and came back last season to play in Germany´s highest league EasyCredit BBL with the Walter tIgers Tuebingen. He is also on the Tuebingen coaching staff and can look back at a stellar career where he played 16 seasons in Germany for teams like the Telekom Baskets Bonn, Cologne, Alba Berlin, Fc Bayern Munich and Tuebingen winning 4 titles. The Serb in his prime belonged to the best passing forwards in the BBL. The team also presents 3 players from the Fraport Skyliners. Recently acquired Tobias Jahn is a 31 year old 204cm center that played at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) from 2007-2011 playing a total of 113 games and as a professional played for teams like TV Langen, Ehingen and Hanau. Last season with Ehingen Jahn averaged 10.7ppg, Reb-3(8.9rpg), 1.0apg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 70.0%. Richard Freundenberg also has NCAA experience, but less than Jahn and is a young buck at age 18 and 206cm.He already has seen a lot in his young years as he won the German NBBL(U-19) title) in 2015 with FC Bayern Munich leading then charge with 24 points in the final. After playing 2 BBL games with FC Bayern Munich two seasons ago and also playing Regionalliga and for the NBBL team, he made the jump last season across the pond to St.John’s (NCAA), but never was able to crack the rotation the way he had wished for NBA legend head coach Chris Mullin as he played 26 games averaging 1.3ppg, 1.3rpg. He belongs to Germany´s biggest talents from the year 1998 and will be looking to bounce back from ST Johns with the Fraport Skyliners. The third player for Frankfurt on board is Garai Zeeb who is a 20 year old 187cm point guard that will be playing his third season for Frankfurt. He started his career with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven youth teams and played 7 BBL games as a 17 year old in the 14-15 season. He is still tryiing to break the BBL roster as in his first 2 seasons with Frankfurt he played only 7 games, but played for their Farm team Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the Pro B averaging 9.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 38.6%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 78.0%. The other center on board is Robert Oehle who is 29 and is 209cm tall. He is a solid big man that likes to play with the back to the basket, but also can face up and shoot. He has played for German teams like Paderborn, Giessen, Tuebingen, Nurnberg and last season helped Gotha move up to the BBL from the second division Pro A averaging 10.8ppg, 5.8rpg, FGP: 52.6%, FT: 75.6%. He will go into his fourth BBL season and first with Gotha having 83 BBL games experience. The team will feature small forwards Albert Kuppe and Lukas Wank. Kuppe is a 28 year old 200cm forward that was born in Russia, but also has the German citizenship. He can look back at a solid career having started with the SG Mannheim junior team. He made the jump to the Pro B league(third division) in 2009 with the BIS Baskets Speyer and then played with Gotha from 2010-2015 where he helped the team move up to the Pro A in 2013. This charity game will be like a home game for him as he will lace up his sneakers for his third season with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) and last season averaged 8.9ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 46.1%, FT: 75.0%. Lukas Wank is a 20 year old 197cm forward that is highly talented that started his career with the Altenburger Basketball Club 1996 and then moved to Science City Jena (ProA) where he played from 2013-2016. Last season he made the jump to s.Oliver Wuerzburg playing 4 BBL games, but played mostly for their farm team TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (ProB) averaging 11.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 76.8%. He recently took part at the European Championships U20 in Crete (Greece) playing 7 games averaging 3.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.1apg. The point guard position will be filled with Radi Tomasevic and Mauro Veljacic. Tomasevic is a 39 year old 181cm guard that possesses the German/Serbian citizenship and recently retired. He will always be remembered as a left handed guard with a feathery soft shooting touch and sneaky spring in his step. If he hasn´t seen every gym in Germany than he must have seen most as he played for teams like Landshut, Ludwigsburg, Hannover, Bayreuth, Tuebingen, Stuttgart, Freiburg, Geneva, Kirchheim and Ehingen. Even though he saw so much, he did last 7 seasons with Kirchheim, played a season abroad in Switzerland and in the 2004-2005 season played a season in the BBL with Tuebingen. He played the last two seasons with Ehingen and last season averaged 25 games: 4.8ppg, 1.1apg. Mauro Veliacic is a 24 year old 183cm Croatian that is in Germany at the moment and has played in his homeland his whole career. He began his career with KK Crikvenica (A2) and then moved to KK Kvarner 2010 Rijeka (A1) where he played from 2012-2017. Last season he was the fourth best scorer in the Croatian league averaging 17.2ppg), 3.7rpg, Assists-4(5.5apg), Steals-1(2.3spg), FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 77.9%.Last but not least the team also will feature Sebastian Herrera who is a 19 year old 193cm guard that has the German/Chilean citizenship. He started his basketball career with Vitacura in Chile and also sampled experience with CD Universidad Catolica de Santiago. He came to Germany in 2014 and played with the TBB Trier Regionaliga and NBBL team and palyed the last two seasons with the Gladiators Trier (Germany-ProA): and last season played 34 games averaging 7.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 42.1%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 60.0%. This upcoming season he will suit up with the Crailsheim Merlins (Germany-ProA). In 2016 he played with the Chilean National Team at the South American Championships in Caracas (Venezuela) playing 5 games averaging 2.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.0apg.