Can The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven Forget The Playoff Game 5 Loss and Lou Campbell Departure Against The Deutsche Bank Skyliners October 17th?

For some Eisbaeren Bremerhaven like Torell Martin or Andrew Drevo recalling the big three pointer by Quantez Robertson or the giant free throws by Derrick Allen in last seasons game five playoff game down the stretch might have stayed as vividly in their heads as child hood memories when they unearthed that first Alex Rodriguez or Ken Griffey Jr rookie Topps baseball card, seeing Michael Jordan win that third consecutive NBA title in 1993, football hero OJ Simpson being chauffered down Highway 10 in downtown Los Angeles by buddy Al Cowlings or remembering the day where they were when singer Kurt Cobain died. The long series last June where The Deutsche Bank Skyliners beat The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven in  along and dramatic five games series could be on their minds as well as other players like Germans Phillip Schwethelm and Jan Lipke. Last season, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven went from 18th place the season before to finishing in th place in the regular season and were close to tasting some possible early champagne for reaching the final the same way Lebron James can everyday the Atlantic Ocean in Miami as the team of passionate coach Doug Spradley lost 57-52 in a tense series. “the loss to Skyliners still hasn´t gone away. It was tough losing and I felt we played good enough to win, but we just didn´t play to our level. I don’t only have the three pointer and free throws swirling in my head, but many many plays from that fifth game”, stressed Eisbaeren American Torrell Martin. That game five loss is now nearly four months old and a new season has started so whatever happens in this game wont necessarily be remembered next May. “Game five might be in their heads for some players and they may want payback which is only human, but the season is long and can be a struggle, but this game on Sunday wont define their season”, stressed former Artland Dragons assistant coach Jamie Duncan. Torrell Martin surely will be giving an extra 110% on Sunday despite it only being the fourth game of the new season for Bremerhaven. “I can´t say if it is a type of revenge, but there could be some emphasis. Nobody has been talking about that game 5 loss, but it is in our heads”, added Torrell Martin.

Last season, two important figures in the success of the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven besides coach Doug Spradley were Americans Lou Campbell and little big man Mr Ulm/Incredible Jeff Gibbs. Gibbs departed for Japan and more money. Whereas Gibbs was important for the dirty work under the boards and just his never stop fighting mentality, it was probably Campbell that was really the most important piece as he was the playmaker, glue that kept the team together and guy that could decide a game in the last minutes. Last season, the New Jersey native Campbell played 43 games averaging 13.0ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2(5.7apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 81.6%. “I feel that Bremerhaven can be good without Campbell. I think season could be a year of transition. Campbell was leader last season. It might be tough for a while without Campbell, but it will take time and I hope everything works well”, stated ex Bremerhaven guard Giordan Watson. It was no easy task for ex Paderborn coach Doug Spradley to find the adequate replacement for such an important player like Campbell. Spradley showed in preseason that he wouldn´t settle for anything but the best as he brought in a few point guards with Americans Jamar Butler and Dominic Waters, but wasn´t totally pleased or overwhelmed with their skills that he sent them away again. Shortly before the season started he got American Donald Copeland who seems to have struck the right Spradley taste buds and has taken over for Campbell. “I think that Copeland is a solid point guard. Doug Spradley seems to always pick the right playmakers. He can shoot and organize the game”, warned Gloria Giants Duesseldorf guard Steven Wright.
Copeland is a 26 year old 177cm guard like Campbell from the State of New Jersey. He is a first-shot-then-look-to-teammates kind of player, with a so-so accuracy from long distance and good skills to score in penetration. He played at Seton Hall from 2002-2006 and has four years of valuable experience having played in countries like Poland, Bosnia and Puerto Rico. Recently he played for Atleticos de San German (Puerto Rico-BSN): 21 games: 14.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT-2(87.6%). In the first three games for Bremerhaven he has played solid averaging 14,7ppg, 5,3apg, 1,3rpg and is shooting over 50% from the 2 and 3 point areas. In his first BEKO BBL game against Duesseldorf, he scored 13 points and dished out four assists. “Copeland is good. He shoots well off the dribble and knows how to run the team and is a decent passer”, said Duesseldorf guard Jamaal Tatum. Ex Artland Dragons assistant coach Jamie Duncan observed Copeland last weekend in a 75-66 Bamberg win and was also impressed. “Copeland is a different type of player than Campbell. He is small, but just as quick. He is a scoring point guard, but can organize the game. You can´t leave him open, because he is a deadly three point shooter”, said Jamie Duncan.
Besides losing dangerous weapons and top players Lou Campbell and Jeff Gibbs the team also said goodbye to Americans Brandon Brooks, Kevin Lyde and Norman Richardson. Coach Doug Spradley Spradley was able to keep a core of guys together by keeping Torrell Martin, Andrew Drevo, Phillip Schwethelm, Jan Lipke and Steven Esterkamp. The team enforced the team and added Craig Callahan, Sean Denison, Richard Chaney,Jermaine Thomas, Maksym Shtein and Andy Buechert. Despite not having Campbell and Gibbs, The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven have had a solid start having a 2-1 record. They had convincing wins against Duesseldorf and MBC and had a comfortable halftime lead in Bamberg, but fell apart in the second half pouring in only 22 points and losing 75-66. The team is averaging 82ppg and is shooting 51% from the field and 41% from the parking lot and are proving early that they have an arsenal of firing power on offense. “Their offense is very dangerous. They have so many weapons. They move the ball very well, but it is too early to tell if they will be better than last season. The team is totally different without Campbell and Drevo, but the new pieces seem to be fitting already. Drevo and Callahan are consistently good and Copeland and Martin are strong. I see Bremerhaven as a top 8 team in the BEKO BBL”, warned Jamie Duncan. Bremerhaven recently rocked the Duesseldorf boat and they still have their ship sinking in their memory. “Bremerhaven is a good all around team. They are great in transition and have great shooters. I think they will do well this season”, warned ex Paderborn guard Steve Wright. “They are a good three point shooting team that have good size and are physical. They rarely overplay and play the passing lanes on defense well”, commented Jamaal Tatum. “Bremerhaven is a good team. They came out and jumped on us. They are athletic, move the ball and can all shot”, stated Brose Baskets Bamberg guard John Goldsberry. If Bremerhaven have the tools for a title is not known yet, but they would deserve one. “I think they have the right tools to make a push with a lot of same players coming back and strong new additions. The fans deserve a title. They are very loyal and it would be great if the team gave them one”, stressed Detroit native Giordan Watson.
It will be interesting how well the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven big men play and mature on the boards throughout the season. With Drevo, Callahan and Denison, Spradley has picked a trio that could do damage inside on a regular basis. “I think that Doug has done a good job with the inside players. Denison is a banger that grabs defense and can play good defense. With Drevo/Callahan, you have two guys that can score and play the five. Plus you have Shtein who is a good German player. They will have a very strong rotation”, warned Jamie Duncan. Callahan will make an impact not only with his game on the court, but also with his players. “Callahan is a hard worker on the court and his teammates will respect that a lot”, added ex Callahan teammate Giordan Watson. Ex Braunschweig guard Steve Wright is also confident that the Bremerhaven inside game will present headaches for teams. “Drevo/Callahan can shoot from outside and post up under the rim. They can carry team inside and Denison is solid on the boards”, said Steve Wright.
Torrell Martin is a 25 year old 196cm forward. He is from Columbia, South Carolina and played at Winthrop from 2003-2007. He is a very athletic competitor that brings a lot of energy to the court. He has a keen basketball I.Q, can shoot and defend well. In 2007-2008, he took part in the Orlando Magic preseason camp before playing in Poland. In 2009-2010, he played in Turkey for Antalya averaging 13,0ppg, 6,7rpg, 1,2apg, 1,9spg and shot 49% from the field. He finished the season in Greece with Kavala Panorama averaging 10,4ppg, 5,5rpg and 1,4apg. Last season for Bremerhaven, he played 41 games: 11.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 65.0%. Martin is averaging 12,0ppg, 7,7rpg and 3,7apg. Bremerhaven was very fortunate that Andrew Drevo came back, because no one had really estimated that he would return, but did late in preseason. Drevo is a 29 year old 202cm power forward/center from Lincoln, Nebraska. He has good size and can run the floor while adding a solid presence in the paint. He is an all-around player, can pass well inside and has the ability to step outside the arc, which will create matchup problems for opposing defenses. He has played in Spain and France and will be playing his fourth season in Germany. He played for Braunschweig from 2007-2009. Last season for Bremerhaven, he played 24 games averaging 12.3ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT-3(46.8%), FT: 72.3% after having started in Spain for Sant Josep Girona 20 games: 10.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 65.2%. This season, he is averaging 11,0ppg, 6,0rpg and 1,6apg shooting 58% from three point land.
21 year old 201cm forward Philip Schwethelm is playing his second season with Bremerhaven playing 44 games: 7.0ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 67.8%. This past summer he got further experience with the German national team playing at the World Championships in Turkey playing 5 games: 4.4ppg, 1.0apg. He played with Cologne from 2004-2009 and despite his youth, he brings a lot of experience playing three Fiba Europe Cup games as a 16 year old in 2005 and two Euroleague games as a 17 year old in 2006. He played 61 BBL games with Cologne winning the BBL title in 2006 with experienced guys like Michael Jordan and Titus Ivory. Schwethelm is averaging 5,5ppg, 2,5rpg and 1,5apg this season. 27 year old 193cm guard Jan Lipke is playing his fourth season in Bremerhaven and last season played 43 games averaging 2,9ppg. He is a very talented German player that might not necessarily be helping his chances for The German National team playing for the Eisbaeren, because playing time is sparse, but he can always be good for a big game as he recently showed pouring in 18 points in a road win at Hagen. He played six years in Braunschweig and one season for Leuven in Belgium. “Lipke is an athletic combo guard, who strives in the open floor and is aggressive going to the basket with either hand. He is a decent three point shooter, but he usually wants to get in the painted area and if he does he will hurt you. His favourite move is a cross over hesitation step to the basket. On defense, he has a tendency to lose his man. So whoever is being guarded has to move without the ball so he can get his open shot”, warned Omari Westley. Sharp shooter Steven Esterkamp is a 29 year old 198cm that has been plagued with misfortune since he left Paderborn in 2009. He sat out last season due to injury and is still getting in shape on returning. He played at Ohio University from 1999-2003. He played In Austria and in Braunschweig before playing in Paderborn from 2004-2009 playing 159 games in that span. “Esterkamp is a very versatile three man. He is a good shooter and you have to have a hand up early and contest it. He is an ok ball handler. I think that if you pressure him on the floor then he is out of his comfort zone. Whenever he is posting up, he looks for a turn around jumper or a drop set to the hoop. He is a great free throw shooter so don’t send him to the line. On defense, he is a bit slow, so always attack him”, warned Omari Westley.
The club welcomed back American Craig Callahan who is a 29 year old 203cm forward from Cascade, Iowa. He played NCAA ball at North Carolina Wilmington with Bamberg guard John Goldsberry. He has hat experience playing ball in the Czech Republic, Spain and Belgium. In 2008-2009, he had his first tour of duty for Bremerhaven playing 24 games: Score-4(14.9ppg), 7.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 58.5%. Last season, he played for Dexia Mons-Hainaut (Belgium-D1): EuroChallenge: 5 games: 9.0ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 64.3%; Belgian League: 32 games: 10.8ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 27.7%, FT: 64.6%. This season, he has had a good start for Bremerhaven averaging 18,3ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,0apg. The team signed big man Sean Denison who is a 25 year old 210cm power forward/center from Nelson, British Columbia. He has a great post-up game, runs like a deer and has a tremendous shooting touch for a big man. He started his basketball carer at Santa Clara playing with players like Doran Perkins and Kyle Bailey. He is starting his fourth professional season after having played three seasons in Turkey for Tofas Bursa (Turkey-TBL). Last season, he played 30 games: 12.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-5(1.2bpg), FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 17.6%, FT: 55.8%. This season, he is averaging 6,3ppg, 3,7rpg and 1,0apg. The team also added 26 year old 185cm Jermaine Thomas from Frederick Maryland. He played at La Salle from 2002-2006 together with EWE Baskets Oldenburg forward Steven Smith. He is playing his fifth professional season after playing three seasons in Hungary and one season in Austria. Last season, he played for Polaroid Lami-Ved Kormend (Hungary-A Division, starting five): 33 games: 15.7ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 59.2%, 3PT: 43.4%, FT: 86.3%. This season, he is averaging 2,7ppg.
The club also brought in American Richard Chaney who is a distant cousin of Don Chaney and came for the injured Steve Esterkamp. Chaney is a 26 year old guard/forward from Los Angeles. He is starting his fourth professional season and third in Germany having played with Tuebingen and Ludwigsburg and in Turkey for Oyak Renault Bursa in 2007-2008. He can play both wing positions and runs the floor well and can score in a variety of ways. Last season, he played for EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 32 games: 7.9ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 68.2%. This season, he is averaging 8,0ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,3apg. The team also signed reliable big man Maksym Shtein who is a 30 year old 206cm center who has the Ukrainian/German citizenship. This will be his 13th season playing in Germany as he has played for clubs like MTV Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, Ratiopharm Ulm, Deutsche Bank Skyliners and TBB Trier. He is a big guy who  runs the floor extremely well. He is able to play both inside positions defensively because of his mobility and speed. He likes to play physical and with contact. He has nice post-up moves underneath the basket and good hands cutting through the zone. His good shooting skills enable him to play also minutes offensively on Position four. He is a confident and fearless player who will produce at any level. Last season for TBB Trier he played 33 games: 5.9ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 62.6%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 47.6%.  The teal also added Andy Buechert who is a 24y ear old 208cm forward. He is an athletic inside player who can defend both inside positions because of his strength and his quickness. He runs the floor very well and is explosive around the basket. He is very strong and an aggressive rebounder on both ends of the floor. He defends the lane very well because of his shot blocking skills. He returns back to Germany from the States where he played at Winthrop. Last season, he played 33 games: 5.7ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 44.6%, FT: 44.6%.
Since The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven entered the BBL in 2005-2006, they have had some interesting battles with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners. Bremerhaven have had the number of Frankfurt in the last four season posting a 6-3 record. In the first two seasons, Bremerhaven totally dominated Frankfurt with a 4-0 record. Who could forget the stunning 89-88 Bremerhaven win in their first meeting ever in the fall of 2005 as Brian Jones won the game with a buzzer beater. The Eisbaeren won the return date in Bremerhaven 94-78 as ex Skyliner Nino Garris played one of his few good games for Frankfurt dropping 20 points. However in the 2007-2009 seasons, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have had a positive record of 3-2 and were 2-2 at home. The curious thing is that the two games at home were decided by one point. In the 2007-2008 season, Frankfurt lost 82-81 in the Ballsporthalle and last season Frankfurt nipped Bremerhaven 66-65 with 16 points and 11 rebounds from ex Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon. Last season, both clubs played seven games including five games in the playoffs. Frankfurt won the season series 4-3 last season posting a 2-1 record in the Ballsporthalle and posting a 2-2 record in Bremerhaven. The two wins at home remain unforgettable as Frankfurt won the season game 70-69 as Pascal Roller led the charge with 15 points and game two 84-83 as Aubrey Reese poured in 18 points. Since the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven entered the BEKO BBL in 2005, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have a negative 7-9 record.
With the BEKO BBL getting tighter each year and almost every team having a chance of possibly reaching the promised land, the league could see even more tighter games than the last few seasons. Last season, both Frankfurt and Bremerhaven had four very tight games from seven. Two games were decided by one point each, one game by two points and game 5 by four points. The chances that the upcoming game might be a close nail bitter is very much realistic. “The game will have a lot of intensity. I think it will be a low scoring game. We have to get going on the transition and execute in the half court offense, because Frankfurt play well in the half court defense”, stressed Torrell Martin. Despite another strong roster, the club seem to have some weaknesses. “You can beat Bremerhaven on the transition. I don’t think that they area s strong inside as in the past. But Frankfurt has to control Drevo/Callahan. Frankfurt have to attack them on offense. They have great guards and Brad Buckman is a big body. I remember him from college. He could be an impact player”, said Steve Wright. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven on Sunday October 17th.

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