Sometimes seeing teams with a very mediocre record despite a very talented roster is as unexplainable as seeing UFO sightings over Rosewell, New Mexico, witnessing rapper 50 cent attending a classical concert at Carnegy hall in New York and then deciding to make a classical CD with some of his raps from his most famous tracks, German tennis legend letting German comedian Oliver Pocher beat him in a game of tennis on a grass court or seeing an ally-op hook up from the top of the key from Orlando magic Dwight Howard to point guard Jameer Nelson. But so fra this season, the basketball fans in Bayreuth have had to believe and accept the current 3-11 record. “They are a talented team and are struggling a bit now. I think that they will beat some teams and finish the first half strong and be ready for the second half”, warned TBB Trier guard John Bynum. “It has been a crazy season for them so far. They are very talented. But just seem to have some wrong bounces at the end of games”, stressed Phoenix Hagen American Quentin Pryor. The club also has incredible experience and talent with an ex NBA player with Jared Reiner, a BEKO BBL champion and Euroleague player with Koko Archibong and an NCAA champion from North Carolina with Marcus Ginyard, but it seems like the basketball god has no mercy for players who have achieved amazing things in other places. “I don’t know what it is with BBC Bayreuth. They are a great team on paper for sure. They can beat any team in the league as we found out earlier in the season. I still think that they are better than their record shows. They will have success in the second half of the season”, warned John Bynum. “It doesn´t really matter who a team has, but it is all about the chemistry and how it develops”, added Quentin Pryor. Ex NBA player Jared Reiner came to the BEKO BBL in 2008 joining the Brose Baskets Bamberg and saw first hand what success can be like, but then at the end of December 2008 joined Bremerhaven and suffered a 6-17 record. It seems like déjà vu all over again as he is in the BEKO BBL cellar again. If that negative experience in Bremerhaven is on his mind now? “I don’t think so. As a player, you seem to forget about past seasons. You are only as good as your last game. It was a bad experience for him for sure, but I am sure that he and his teammates are thinking about ways to get on track”, commented John Bynum. “I am pretty sure that Bremerhaven is on his mind especially how things are going”, added Quentin Pryor.
The last time BBC Bayreuth won the BEKO BBL title was in 1989 a few months before German tennis legends Boris Becker and Steffi Graf won Wimbeldon together, Sebastian Vettel was only two years old and late Boston Celtic Reggie Lewis was slowly making a name for himself in the NBA. Back then the team was called Steiner Bayreuth and had German basketball legends like Michael Koch, Hansi Gnad and Calvin Oldham and success was as common in 88 and 89 for the club as winning was für Rhein Energie Colonge was from 2004-2006. After being regulated in 1999 due to financial reasons, the team had to start at scratch in the Regionaliga and fought its way back up to the PRO A and finally landed back in the BEKO BBL in 2010. For a team that was coming from the PRO A, it sure found a way within their budget to land NBA, Euroleague and North Carolina Tar Heel experience.
Last season BBC Bayreuth ran away with the PRO A title registering a record of 26-4. They started the season strong going on a 10 game winning streak before losing their first game to the Kirchheim Knights on December 3rd. They then went on another big winning streak of eight games. They closed the season going on a 6-5 record, but showed that they had the talent to move up to the next level. The team had four players scoring in double figures and was led by Jaivon Harris who was rewarded after 6 years in the PRO A with the jump to the BEKO BBL. The success of the team was led by German coach Andreas Wagner who has had the magical wane of bringing teams up as he did it with Bayern Munich into the PRO A in 2004, Walferdange(Luxemberg) into the top league and Nordlingen into the BEKO BBL in 2008. Wagner didn´t have it easy taking over for fan favorite Derrick Taylor, but the fans have felt his love and passion of winning.
However Andreas Wagner has had a steady rise as head coach and is coaching for the second time in the BEKO BBL. Wagner also has had a secret formula of how to help basketball clubs reach the next level as he brought FC Bayern Munich from the Regionaliga to the second Bundesliga in 2004, led the Nordlingen Giants from the PRO to the BEKO BBL in 2008 and had another trick up his sleeve bringing BBC Bayreuth from the PRO A into the BEKO BBL in 2010. Of course, the question is can he keep BBC Bayreuth in the BEKO BBL in 2011? In 2008-2009, he had the trio of Danny Gibson Monta Mcghee , Osvaldo Jeanty and Omari Westely that almost seemed to take care of 99,9% of all the teams coring, but the club somehow despite no bench finished the season in 16th place, but decided to go down to the PRO A because the lack of a sound financial base for the BEKO BBL. Wagner was able to sweep 3 time BEKO BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg. Wagner has a passion for the game of basketball and the players feel that. “I enjoy playing for coach Wagner. He values his team, cares about his team and wants us to do well. It is always nice playing for a coach that is so passionate about winning”, stressed 2009 NCAA champion with North Carolina Marcus Ginyard. Alba Berlin loses in Bamberg with 51 points and it seems that everyone wants the head of Luka Pavicevic, but in Bayreuth it seems like nobody is panicking yet or their opponents. “I think that he is doing a good job. With a couple of wins their season could turn around, because the standings are so tight”, warned John Bynum. “There is no telling what can happen in this league, but usually when things aren´t going well, the coach is the first to go”, warned Quentin Pryor.
CurrentlyBBC Bayreuth is in 17th place with a record of 3-11 and are performing way below expectations. The team started off with two loses against The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and the Giessen 46ers before winning a big game at home against 2010 Eurochallenge champion BG Goettingen. However instead of continuing the winning streak, the club suffered a five game losing streak before recovering and going on a two game winning streak beating Phoenix Hagen and TBB Trier on the road. However since then the team is riding a four game losing streak, but had a lot of misfortune as they could of won three of the four games including the buzzer beater loss to The ewe Baskets Oldenburg. Despite the slow start, BBC Bayreuth has the talent to give every team in the BEKO BBL a good run for the money. “BBC Bayreuth is a solid team. Jaivon Harris is doing great and getting a chance. They have a solid point guard with Danny Gibson and you can keep going down the line. They will be ok. Their strength is their guard play. Jeanty will be missed, Koko Achibong is a very versatile player and Ginyard is still adjusting to overseas and will do more offensively”, stated John Bynum. “They have all the pieces, but cant seem to put it together at the moment. I dont think that they will struggle the whole season. Their strength is that they have high quality players at each position. Our biggest problem when we played them was not being able to keep Danny Gibson in front of us on the press”, warned Quentin Pryor. With so much talent, but a surprising weak record, the team has to have some kind of weaknesses? “I am not sure they have any weaknesses since they didn´t show much in their win against us. But I guess their weakness is closing out games. They have to play more consistent in crunch time. The team has been in most games this season”, added John Bynum. “I think chemistry is their weakness at the moment. they dont seem to be on the same page”, said Quentin Pryor. Possibly the early season lack of success can be a mental problem which can be growing with each additional loss? “I think it could be. They have a great roster with Ginyard coming from North Carolina, an ex NBA player with Jared Reiner and a good point guard with Danny Gibson. They lost some close game, but I think that they will surprise a lot of teams in the future”, added Ratiopharm Ulm guard Travis Walton. “We need to focus for 40 minutes. We have shown glimpses of being a good team, but only for short phases”, stressed Marcus Ginyard.
BBC Bayreuth is led by Jared Reiner who is a 28 year old 211cm American playing for his third team in the BEKO BBL. He played at Iowa(NCAA) from 2000-2004 and was a Big10 Tournament Champion in 2001. It didn´t take him long to find himself in the NBA as he played 49 games in total for three teams for the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns and Milwauke Bucks. After the NBA came Europe as he played in Spain for Polaris World Murcia in 2007-2008 before finishing the season with the Brose Baskets Bamberg playing 20 games averaging 9.4ppg, Reb-5(6.8rpg), 2FGP: 52.1%, FT: 53.9%. In 2008-2009, he nearly made the Philadelphia 76ers, but was one of the last cuts and then in December 2008 moved to Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 12 games: 13.0ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 53.9%, FT: 72.7%. In 2009-2010, he started with the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), only pre-season, in Dec.’09 moved to Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League): 17 games: 13.1ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.2apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 45.7%, FT: 72.2%. He finished last season in Puerto Rico for Gallitos de Isabela (Puerto Rico-BSN): 8 games: 12.4ppg, 10.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 25.0%. This season in the BEKO BBL he is averaging 13,4ppg, 8,2rpg and 1,1apg. Danny Gibson is a 26 year old 180cm point guard from Madison, Indiana who is playing his fourth season in Germany and second in the BEKO BBL. In 2007-2008, he slowly made a name for himself in the German basketball world as he played for the Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-ProA, starting five): 28 games: 15.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.2apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 51.4%, 3FGP: 38.1%, FT: 76.3%. In 2008-2009, he played his first season in the top German league for Giants Noerdlingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 34 games: 12.2ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 66.0%. Last season, he made the jump for the cheese in Holland and promptly led the league in scoring for Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 43 games: Score-1(18.3ppg), 2.8rpg, Assists-5(4.3apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 73.3%. He was named MVP in the Dutch league. This season, he is averaging 12,1ppg, 1,1rpg and 3,8apg and is doing a fine job running the team.
The team also signed Marcus Ginyard who is a 23 year old 196cm shooting guard/small forward from Alexandria, Virginia. He is a BEKO BBL rookie who played for legendary coach Dean Smith at North Carolina from 2005-2010 winning the NCAA tournament in 2008. He played 108 NCAA games and in his senior year averaged 7.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 67.1% in 33 games. Getting adjusted from the NCAA to the BEKO BBL hasn’t been easy. “The German league is more physical. I have to take care of my body and always be ready to take hits”, stated Ginyard. Even though, he is known as a defensive force, he has other weapons as well in his playing arsenal. “I am seen as a defensive player, but I showed in preseason that I can score. I think I am a better offensive player than what I get credit for”, added Marcus Ginyard. The American played together with NBA players like Danny Green, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Hainsborough, Brandon Wright, Ty Lawson and Ed Davis and remembers who was the best. “I think looking at the stats, Hainsborough was the best college player ever, but the best player that I played against was Ty Lawson. He always has the ability to take over a game. He always has the potential to change a game and be that x factor in a game”, commented Marcus Ginyard. This season, Ginyard is averaging 10,2ppg, 3,1rpg and 1,5apg. The team also brought in Osvaldo Jeanty who played under BBC Bayreuth coach Andreas Wager in Nordlingen. Jeanty is a 26 year old 183cm combo guard from Gloucester, Canada. He is a shooter who runs the offense guy at the point and a scorer shooter at the two position. A good shooter with unlimited range and incredibly consistent. He defends bigger guards extremely well because of his strength and he is as tough a competitor also. He played at Carleton from 2003-2007 and winning just about everything there is to win at the Canadian college level. He started his professional basketball career in Germany for the Nordlingen Giants from 2007-2009. He played briefly in Rumania last season before finishing the year with the Giessen 46ers where he played 14 games: 13.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 86.7%. At the moment, he is injured and was averaging 9,9ppg, 2,6rpg and 1,5apg.
The team also brought in the very experienced Koko Archibong who is a 29 year old 202cm forward that has the Nigerian/American citizenship. He played at Pennsylvania (NCAA) from 1999-2003 and was Ivy Legaue champion in 2000 and 2002. He then almost made it to the NBA in 2003 as he was one of the last cuts of the Los Angeles Lakers. He started his professional basketball career in France with Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez (France-ProA): Euroleague: 13 games: 3.2ppg, 1.9rpg; French ProA League: 21games: 3.8ppg, 1.9rpg. He won the league title and cup in France. Besides playing the 2008-2009 season with Asseco Prokom Sopot (Poland-PLK): Euroleague: 13 games: 2.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg; Polish League: 20 games: 6.1ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 70.6%,, he has been all of his career in Germany. He played for The Brose Baskets Bamberg from 2004-2006 winning the BEKO BBL title in 2005. He played for Alba Berlin in 2006-2007(ULEB Cup: 12 games: 4.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.3apg; German League: 37 games: 6.1ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 30.8%, FT: 68.6%) and in 2007-2008 played for The Deutsche Bank Skyliners(ULEB Cup: 6 games: 11.3ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.5spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 41 games: 8.4ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 43.4%, FT: 57.0%). Last season, he had a disappointing season in Duesseldorf playing 33 games: 11.7ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 70.2%. This season for BBC Bayreuth, he is averaging 9,0ppg, 4,4rpg and 1,6apg. The club also returns Jaivon Harris who is a 28 year old 196cm guard and is playing his fourth season for BBC Bayreuth and seventh in Germany. He played at Ohio Univ. (NCAA) from 2000-2004 and in his senior year played 30 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.7apg. After six seasons in the German second league where he averaged 16,8ppg, he finally got rewarded by playing in the BEKO BBL. Last season, he played 30 games averaging 14.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 80.6%. This season, he is averaging 8,0ppg, 2,1rpg and 1,4apg. He is shooting very well with 51,5% from the field and 50% from the parking lot.
The club also return American Pete Campbell who is a 26 year old 201cm forward from Muncie Indiana. He is a deadly shooter and can give shooting clinics from outside at any time of the day. If someone calls down town, then he will surely be firing away at ease to please. He started his basketball career in 2004-2005 at IUPUI-Ft.Wayne (NCAA): 28 games: 11.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3Pts: 38%. He then transferred to Butler and played there from 2005-2008. In his last season at Butler, he played 31 games: 11.7ppg, 2.8rpg, FGP: 47.5%, 3Pts: 45.7%, FT: 66.7%. In 2006-2007, he reached the NCAA sweet 16 and that season shot 51% from down town. He played his rookie year in Germany for the Duesseldorf Giants (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 29 games: 9.7ppg, 2.8rpg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT-3(46.3%), FT: 75.0%. Last season, he started with Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League): 7 games: 6.7ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 50.0%, in Dec.’09 moved to BBC Bayreuth (Germany-ProA): 17 games: 11.2ppg, 1.8rpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 85.7%. This season, he is averaging 7,0ppg and 2,9rpg. He is shooting 42% from the field and 39% from the three point line. The team also brings back Steve Wachalski who had to wait a year longer than Jaivon Harris to finally reach the BEKO BBL. However his journey seems all the more amazing since he played in the Regionaliga just three years ago. Wachalski is a 27 year old 203 cm forward that played for Osnabrucker SC from 2003-2008 in the Regionaliga. He signed for two more years in Osnabruck and then played PRO B. Last season, he played 30 games averaging 17.2ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT-3(46.6%), FT: 78.9%. he is known for his consistent three point shooting. This season, he is playing sparingly averaging 1,1ppg.
The team also has a trio of talented youngsters with Simon Schmitz, Phillip Heyden and Stefan Schmidt. Schmitz is a 20 year old 188cm point guard that began his basketball career in 2005 with SG Bad Duerkheim/Speyer junior team. In 2008-2009, he played for BIS Baskets Speyer (ProB, starting five) where he played together with German national player Elias harris. He played German League: 20 games: 14.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 79.1%; also TV Bad Bergzabern (2.Regionalliga): 8 games: 14.5ppg. Last season, he played for Science City Jena (ProA): 29 games: 10.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 80.2%, in Mar.’10 also played at Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (1.Bundesliga). Last season, he played at the European Championships U20 in Croatia -10: 9 games: 10.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 80.0%. This season, he is averaging 2,8ppg in 8,9 minutes per game and shooting 40% from outside. The team brought in 22 year old 208cm center Phillip Heyden. Heyden started his basketball career with BSG Ludwigsburg (Regionalliga): 15 games: 4.4ppg in 2005. From 2006-2008, he played for TUS Lichterfelde Berlin. In 2008, he signed with EnBW Ludwigsburg (1.Bundesliga), German League: 7 games: 2.6ppg; played also for VfL Kirchheim Knights (ProA): 23 games: 13.1ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 59.4%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 72.5%. Last season, he played mostly for VfL Kirchheim Knights (ProA): 18 games: 9.9ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 63.9%, played also at EnBW Ludwigsburg (1.Bundesliga): 21 games: 1.3ppg, 1.4rpg. He is another very talented German big man that is just waiting for his breakthrough. This season he is averaging 1,8ppg and 1,4rpg in 8,0 minutes. The team also returns 21 year old 206cm center Stefan Schmidt who was born in Schwandorf. He started his basketball career with Franken Hexer (2.Regionalliga) in 2006. In 2007-2008, he played for SELLBYTEL Baskets Nuernberg (ProA, starting five): 20 games: 3.2ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 66.7%. In 2008-2009, he played for Franken Hexer (ProB, starting five): 29 games: 9.4ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 75.0%. Last season, he played only three games for BBC Bayreuth. He has played for the German U-18 and U-20 German national teams. This season he is averaging 1,4rpg in 8,0 minutes. The club recently also picked up Kenny Barker who is a 24 year old 191cm guard from San Diego California. He came for the injured Osvaldo Jeanty. Barker played at Alaska-Anch. (NCAA2) from 2004-2009 and in his senior year played 28 games: 18.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 4.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.6%, 3Pts: 39.4%, FT: 83.8%. He is no stranger to Germany as he played his rookie season last year for FC Bayern Muenchen (Germany-ProA, starting five): 30 games: 16.2ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 78.6%.
On the 26th of December as Christmas is slowly coming to an end, it is time to think about basketball again and what better for the unbeaten Deutsche Bank Skyliners in the Ballsporthalle to meet 1-7 road team BBC Bayreuth. “This is our Christmas game and we are expecting a great atmosphere. We want to win all our home games including our 9th home game in a row”, warned Skyliner center Marius Nolte. It seems like that every week, Dashaun Wood is confronted with another superb point guard. 2 weeks ago, it was Mr fantastic Mark Dorris and last week Lebron James friend Dru Joyce and this weekend it will be Danny Gibson. “I think that it will be a good duel. Both guards run their teams very well and I think that each teams supporting casts will make the difference”, warned John Bynum. “That will be a good battle. Both are very quick and the keys to their teams. You would not really think that Gibson could be so fast, because he is stocky, but he is quick”, added Quentin Pryor. Another interesting battle could be Quantez Robertson-Marcus Ginyard. “This will be a good match up. Ginyard is a solid player that defends well and his offense is coming around”, said John Bynum. “Ginyard fits the team well. He does a lot of things on the court that go unnoticed. They both are athletic players that are underrated and could be the key to the game”, expressed Quentin Pryor. It seems like the name Wood keeps coming up for Frankfurt every week as the key for winning. ” Frankfurt has to play their game. If Wood gets in the lane and controls the tempo then they will have good chances of winning”, added John Bynum. Frankfurt has kept two of their last three BEKO BBL opponents to under 56 points and will have to be very alert on defense against BBC Bayreuth, because they can score when they want to. “Frankfurt has to have a great effort on defense. BBC Bayreuth is a very difficult team to handle on offense. BBC Bayreuth will have an advantage on the blocks”, warned Quentin Pryor. BEKO BBL leading scorer Dashaun Wood will want to show his dad and sister on Sunday what the important identity of teh Deutsche Bank Skyliners is. “We have to just keep doing what we have been doing at home. We have to play good defense, rebound and play with a high intensity. We have to keep playing heart which has been our identity this season”, warned Dashaun Wood. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host BBC Bayreuth on December 26th at 17:00.