Jerry Green gliding through the lane to the hole and humming the Lionel Richie classic tune “Running In The Night, Nate Harris and Paveles Cukinas fighting and hauling down rebounds, Je Kel Foster frustrating opponents on offense and defense for 40 minutes, 34 year old Serb Milan Goljovic parked behind the three point line and dropping bombs while blindfolded or coach Silvano Poropar entertaining with his interviews in broken German are all beautiful memories of the 2006-2007 EnBW Ludwigsburg season were the big surprise team closed out the season in first place and first packing their bags in the semi finals against the Brose Baskets Bamberg who would win the beko BBL title. Since then EnBW Ludwigsburg has been scampering around no mans land in the beko BBL standings like a whimpering and disillusioned turkey seconds before getting slaughtered for Thanksgiving as the club has failed to make the playoffs the last three years. But this season, the chances for EnBW Ludwigsburg to make the playoffs are as great as Chicago Bull Derrick Rose running away with the 2011 NBA MVP trophy, baseball fans never seeing another live towering moon shot home run from Barry Bonds and Suri Cruise never having a normal childhood. Bynum played against EnBW Ludwigsburg in the 2006-2007 with Bremerhaven and hasn´t forgotten how they played. “They were a tough team, they had a great regular season run and surprised a lot of people. They were a great team and had much success”, stressed John Bynum. Bynum knows what the team from the Schwaben land has been going through not reaching the post season for a number of years. “I think it is makes you hungry for the next season but at the same time it is good for any organization to make the playoffs any time you have a span where you havent been in the post season in a while. It can be frustrating cause it seems like all the work that you put in the whole year was for a waste especially when you are so close to making it. But at the same time you can look back and see in what ways you can improve for the next season as well”, added John Bynum. For En BW Ludwigsburg to reach the playoffs, they must win or in the case of a loss can miss the playoffs if Bremerhaven and Trier win and also BG Goettingen. TBB Trier guard John Bynum who will be hoping for a Frankfurt win remembers the 2006-2007 EnBW Ludwigsburg team as a player with Bremerhaven. “They have a great shot at making the playoffs but hopefully they can lose to help us out”, said John Bynum. But overall they have a good team and deserve to be in as much as the other teams battling for that spot. Four teams are fighting for the last two spots including BG Goettingen, TBB Trier and Bremerhaven and is there any separation in the ability of the teams? “I dont think there is much of a separation from any of the teams you named. I think at this point of the season it is all about who your opponent is and where the game is being played”, commented John Bynum.
Who could forget the 2006-2007 EnBW Ludwigsburg Cinderella team that started the season on a seven game winning streak, winning the first 11 of 12 games and dominating the BBL the whole season until losing in the semi finals against The Brose Baskets Bamberg who would later win the BBL title. There was something so fresh with this team as team basketball had been taught by coach Silvano Propat and his players had learned it as quickly as first graders do their a,b,c´s. However the last two seasons were a downgrade as the playoffs were missed. In the 2007-2008 season, the team reached the BBL cup final losing to The Artland Dragons, but management somehow had their differences with coach Silvano Poropat as he had to pack his bags and go. In 2008-2009, management brought in ex Bamberg player Rick Stafford as the team missed the playoffs again and were searching for an identity all season long, but never found one. After December 14th, 2008, the team would not win more than one game at a time before losing again. It was a very disappointing and weird season as the biggest highlights were the three B wins against Berlin, Bonn and Bamberg, and then the strange 1-0 win as The Giessen 46ers were unable to get to Ludwigsburg on time as they were stuck in traffic. It also marked the last professional season of all rounder and likeable American Brandon Woudstra who decided to hang up his sneakers and return back to the States to start a new life with his family. The 2009-2010 season marked a rebirth as a new arena was introduced, a new coach with Tolga Ongoren and many new Americans that would hopefully lead the club back to the playoffs. Many fans had to get used to watching basketball in a new state of the art arena as the club said goodbye to the old, but comfy Rundsporthalle that had been alive for 37 years. The goal last season could only be the playoffs as the club has a lot of pressure from their sponsor to perform in the new arena, but this important goal was missed as the team missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season finishing the season in 11th place with a record 17-17. In the last three seasons, the club had a dismal record of 48-54. The club started well last season winning seven of their first nine games including a six game winning streak, but then lost nine of 11 games. The team had the problem of being consistent and was unable to beat the big teams. Their two biggest wins of the season was against Oldenburg and BG Goettingen. The team was strong on paper, with players like Kyle Bailey, Michael King, Quadre Lollis, Kyle Visser, Michael Haynes, Domonic Jones and Richard Chaney, but coach Tolga Ongoren was unable to produce a chemistry on the court and something else was missing as well. “It seemed that winning wasn´t as important to some guys as their selves. They definitely were talented enough for the playoffs, but they lost some games that they should of won”, stressed ex Paderborn Basket Steven Wright.
This season, EnBW Ludwigsburg made a complete facelift keeping only German talent David Mccray and other young German players and getting many new players as well as a new coach with German Markus Jochum who is a legend in Ludwigsburg having played there from 1987-1996 and playing 62 games for the German national team. He is making the big step into the Beko BBL after having coached USC Heidelberg and the woman´s team KuSG Leimen from 2007-2010. The question is how well can he adjust to the top German basketball league coming from the German womans DBBL league. Last season, Olaf Stolz Was unable to produce a winner in Paderborn after having coached the German ladies. The club brought in experienced players like Toby Bailey, John Bowler, and Rick Rickert. The team also added young talented players Alex Harris and Johannes Lischka. The team also brought back Jerry Green who could step in for the famous singer Lionel Richie in a photo shooting, if the ex Commodores singer was sick. It has been made public, but it seems like Green is sort of a saviour type player this season after leading the team into the playoffs in 2007 áveraging 16,1ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-3(4.7apg), 1.5spg. However so far this season, Green is struggling averaging 6,0ppg, 2,8rpg and 3,3apg in 32 minutes per game. But does less scoring from Green mean really less input form the American? “There is nothing wrong with green. He is playing a different role than four years ago. He is still a dangerous players and his success shouldn´t be determined from what he did four years ago. He is a great leader and can hurt you in many ways”, stressed TBB Trier guard John Bynum. “Green doesn´t really need to score so much with the team that they have. Ludwigsburg have enough threats in the post and shooters on the wing. His job is just to set them up”, warned Quentin Pryor.
This season EnBW Ludwigsburg got off to a slow start as they were in 15th place with a record of 2-5 before the first meeting with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in Frankfurt in November. Despite the poor start, it was simply to early to have any panic yet in Ludwigsburg. “Ludwigsburg is a very experienced team. They are tough to handle down low, because they are so big. The team seemed to have tough luck at the start”, stressed Quentin Pryor. It didn´t help the team either that power forward Donatas Zavackas was injured in the firstmonths missing 7 games. In November EnBW Ludwigsburg and many other teams were having growing pains. “Ludwigsburg is a very good team and were finding each other as are many other teams in the league were. They have great players and continued to improve. Their strength is the guards and Harris, Green and Bowler play a great role. They have a good inside out game and have depth at the guard position. It was just a matter of time before they started winning. I just think they play well together and are starting to understand their go to guys and there roles. They are a great team and are showing why they deserve to be in the playoffs.”, said John Bynum. “Their weakness is that they lack some depth from the bench”, expressed Quentin Pryor. “I think depth is their weakness, but at the same time they make it up with what there starters bring to the table”, added John Bynum
Jerry Green might be a key player for the team, but so is Harris, Bowler and Rickert. “Alex Harris is their X-factor being their leading scorer and main threat from the perimeter. Bowler and Rickert are a tough tandem to handle because they are so big. You have to crowd Bowler and make him put the ball on the floor. You have to fight Rickert for position and can´t let him catch the ball close to the basket, because then you will be in trouble”, stated Quentin Pryor. “Without a question Alex Harris is their X-factor”, warned John Bynum.
EnBW Ludwigsburg went on a five game winning streak in December 2010 which got them more into the direction of the beko BBL playoffs. The club showed nerves of steel winning a big game in Oldenburg 67-66. Since the winning streak, the team has played in spurts having two three game winning streaks and one three game losing streak, but at the same time are currently over 500 with a 10-8 record and on course for the playoffs as they their fate leads in their hands. In the last two months its eems like the chemistry has progressed positively as they have won five of their last eight games and three of their last four games. “They are clicking right at the right time. They have did some good things in the past couple of weeks and they are showing why they are in the playoff race. If a team clicks especially at this time of the year it can be very dangerous to play for a higher seed”, warned John Bynum. The biggest wins of the season for EnBW Ludwigsburg was against 8 time beko BBL champion Alba Berlin, BG Goettingen and The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig at home.
EnBW Ludwigsburg is led by Alex Harris who is a 24 year old 196cm guard from Mission Viejo, California that is playing his first season in Luwdigsburg. He grew up in Alameda, California and played at the University of California/Santa Barbara from 2004-2008 and in his senior year, he played games: 20.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.0%, 3Pts: 42.3%, FT: 81.2%. After college, he played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 8.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 34.5%, 3PT: 11.1%, FT: 66.7%. In 2008-2009, he turned professional and played in Poland the last two seasons. In 2008-2009, he played for Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-DBE, starting five): Eurocup: 6 games: 6.8ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0apg; Polish League: 34 games: 7.3ppg, 2.1rpg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 82.7%. Last season, he played for Czarni Slupsk (Poland-PLK, starting five): 30 games: 9.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 38.2%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 81.5%. He played in the Polish Allstar game 2010. Currently, he is leading the team in scoring with 15,8ppg, 2,3rpg and 1,7apg. He has scored in double figurers 27 times. John Bowler is a 26 year old 206cm forward/center from Chicago, Illinois that is playing his first season with EnBW Luwigsburg. He is the ultimate team player who really understands the game of basketball and does not back down from anybody.He is a big competitor who does everything needed to win. He played at Eastern Michigan from 2002-2006. In his senior year, he played 28 games: 20.1ppg, 10.8rpg, 2.5apg, FG: 54.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 72.3%. He finished being the 11th best scorer in Eastern Michigan history getting 1427 points and fifth best rebounder with 801 rebounds. he recorded 32 double doubles in his college career. He started his professional basketball career for The Telekom Baskets Bonn in 2006 and played there until 2010. In his four seasons with the Telekom Baskets, he made it to the German BBL Finals twice and qualified every season for the play-offs… named Most Likeable Player in German BBL in 2008. His best season was 2007-2008 as he played 39 games: 12.1ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 70.5%. Last season, he played 27 games: 7.7ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 79.4%. This season, he is averaging 11,8ppg and 5,2rpg and 1,2apg. He has scored in double figurers 23 times.
Rick Rickert is a 27 year old 211cm forward/center from Duluth, Minnesota that is playing his first season with EnBW Ludwigsburg. He can play with his back to the basket, step out and shoot the three pointer or drive to the hole. He played at Minnesota(NCAA) from 2001-2003. In his senior year, he played 30 games: 15.6ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 68.2%. In 2003, he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA in the second round at #56. As a rookie, he played for Krka Novo Mesto (Slovenia-1A): Euroleague: 14 games: 11.2ppg, 5.2rpg; Adriatic League; Slovenian League: 26 games: 11.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 0.5apg: 3 games: 8.3ppg, 5.7rpg. In 2004-2005, he started the season with the Timberwolves (NBA): released at the end of Oct.’04, before the season started, next month signed at Asheville Altitude (NBDL): 12 games: 6.7ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 46.4%, in Jan.’05 agreed terms with Panellinios Athens (Greece-A1): 13 games: 7.1ppg, 3.9rpg, 2FGP: 55.0%. In 2005-2006, he played for Pujol Lleida (Spain-LEB), Spanish League: 8 games: 9.8ppg, 5.3rpg, 2FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 0.0%, FT: 56.3%; released in Nov.’05, in Jan.’06 joined Fayetteville Patriots (D-League): 26 games: 9.2ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 46%, FT: 61.5%. In 2006-2007, he played forthe 14ers (D-League): 50 games: 10.8ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 25%, FT: 86.4%. The last three seasons, he played in New Zealand for the New Zealand Breakers (Australia-NBL). Last season for the Breakers playing games: 11.6ppg, Reb-1(7.1rpg), 1.7apg, FGP: 53.4%, FT: 64.5%. Some achievements that he has gotten in his career have been Big Ten Freshman of the Year -02, 10 Conf. 1st Team -03, Slovenian Super Cup Finalist -03, Slovenian League All-Star Game -04, D-League All-Star Game -07, and D-League Finalist -07. Currently, he is averaging 8,1ppg and 3,6rpg. He hass cored in double figurers 15 times.
23 year old 203cm power forward Johannes Lischka is playing his first season with EnBW Ludwigsburg.He can hurt you with his three pointer and has a very dangerous penetration into the lane where he can finish in many different ways He started his professional basketball career with TV Lich in 2004 and played for the Giessen 46ers from 2007-2010 while also playing for TV Lich. In 2008-2009 for TV Lich he led the PRO A in scoring with 23,7ppg, 8,8rpg, 2,2apg and 1,8spg. He was bitterly disappointed in 2009 not being invited to the Euro Championships in Poland. The next calamity happened in the second game of the season, as he injured his hand in Frankfurt missing seven games. Last season, he played games: 5.4ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 56.1%. In three seasons for Giessen, he played 86 games. He was a member of the German A-2 national team in 2009 and then played at the University Games in Belgrade (Serbia) -09: 7 games: 10.6ppg, Reb-5(10.4rpg), 2.0spg, FGP: 41.0%, FT: 77.4%. This season, he is averaging 5,9ppg and 3,6rpg. He hass cored in double figurers 8 times and has one double double.
The team also brought back fan favorite Jerry Green who could jump in for the soul singer Lionel Richie at a concert simply because of the similarity in appearance. He played for EnBW Ludwigsburg from 2004-200t and led the team to their best season in club history in the 2006-2007 season as they belonged to the top teams in the BEKO BBL and reached the semi finals of the playoffs before bowing out to Bamberg. Green is a 30 year old 191cm point guard from Pomona, California. He is a point guard, with great offesive skills, but a first-look-to-pass mentality. He led his college team in scoring for 3 seasons and in assists for 4 seasons… Has a solid body and this allows him to defend well and to grab some rebounds. He can easily hit a three pointer, if left open. He played at Cal Irvine from 1999-2002. In his senior year, he played games: ScoreConf-1(20.3ppg), 3.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.5spg, FGPConf-7(48.2%), 3PTConf-5(36.7%), FTConf-2(82.2% ). He finished his college career as the alltime Cal Urvine leading scorer with 1993 points. In his first two professional seasons, he played in germany for MBC an din Poland before going to Ludwigsburg. His best season in Ludwigsburg was 2006-2007 as he played 42 games: Score-3(16.1ppg), 4.1rpg, Assists-3(4.7apg), 1.5spg, 2FGP: 55.4%, 3FGP: 35.4%, FT: 85.5%. The last three seasons he has played in Belgium for Ostende(8.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.1apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 56.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 80.0%), and two years in Italy for Solsonica Rieti(2.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 76.0%) and last season for Cantu playing 37 games: 9.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 83.5%. He is struggling a bit in the early going in Ludwigsburg this season averaging 9,9ppg, 2,5rpg and 4,2apg. He has really stepped up his playmaking in the last weeks and will be ready for the playoffs. He has scored in double figurers 14 times. Green won the Belgium cup with Ostende in 2008 with ex Skyliner Titus Ivory.
Toby Bailey is a 34 year old 198cm shooting guard-small forward from Los Angeles California. who played 73 games in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns from 1998-2000. He is the fourth-ranked scorer in UCLA school history with 1,846 points trailing only Don MacLean, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Reggie Miller. He won the NCAA title in 1995. “He is a great shooter and has a lot of experience”, said Jannik Freese. Bailey has very much experience in Europe playing his fourth season in Germany and he has also played in countries like Italy, Greece, Belgium, Spain, China and Venezuela. Last season, he played for The Artland Dragons playing 34 games: 10.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 44.1%, FT: 71.1%. He had his first stint in germany in 2007-2008 playing a few months for Cologne, but already showing his great basketball qualities playing League: 11 games: 13.7ppg, 7.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 71.4%; ULEB Cup: 10 games: 13.8ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.9apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 78.4%. Some achievements that he has won have been Greek cup winner in 2004, Greek allstar 2004 and 2005 and winning the slam dunk contest in 2005. He was Belgium League Champion -06 and IBL champion 2009 with the Los Angeles Lightning. Currently for Ludwigsburg, he is averaging 8,8ppg, 4,7rpg and 21,8apg. He hass cored in double figurers 11 times and a last playoff appearance would be nice as he just might retire at the end of the season.
24 year old 188cm guard German guard David Mccray is playing his third season with EnBW Ludwigsburg. He already made his debut in the BBL as an 18 year old in 2004 with BG Karlsruhe where he played until 2007. He is very athletic that can put the ball in the hoop. He is tough to stop on one on one defense and he is secretly the teams energizer and coach on the court. He can be very efficient on the court as he showed last season as he scored 13 points in 15 minutes against Bamberg and 11 points in 12 minutes against Ratiopharm Ulm. Last season, he played 33 games: 5.0ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 65.0%. this season, he is averaging 5,8ppg, 1,3rpg and 1,8apg. He hass cored in double figurers six times. The club also has big german/Albanian talent Besnik Bekteshi who is a 17 year old 188cm guard. Last season, he played for BSG Ludwigsburg (Germany-Regionalliga): 19 games: 12.6ppg, played also for BBA Ludwigsburg (NBBL): 11 games: 16.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 3.7spg. He made an early name for himself this past summer at the Championships U17 in Hamburg (Germany) -10: 8 games: 15.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.9apg, Steals-4(2.3spg), FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT-3(87.0%). He won a bronze at the 2010 Albert Schweitezr tournament in Mannheim in 2010. This season the team signed Siim sander Vene who is a 20 year old 203cm forward from Estonia. Last season, he played for Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania-LKL): VTB League: 4 games: 1.8ppg, 3.8rpg; Euroleague: 6 games: 2.0ppg, 1.8rpg; Baltic League: 13 games: 5.2ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 42.1%, FT: 44.4%; Lithuanian League: 12 games: 3.3ppg, 3.0rpg. He started this season for Kaunas (Lithuania-LKL): Baltic League: 7 games: 10.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 70.0%, before being loaned to EnBW Ludwigsburg. He has been a member of the Estonian U-16, U-18 and U-20 national teams. Currently he is averaging 4,3ppg and 1,0rpg.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners have nice memories of the last 11 games against EnBW Ludwigsburg having a 7-4 record. They have a 4-1 record in the Ballsporthalle. One player who has fond memories of playing EnBW Ludwigsburg is ex Skyliner Derrick Allen who was the top scorer of Frankfurt in four of the last six games including a 37 point performance in a 96-87 win in 2008. Last season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners split the season series 1-1 winning 68-64 at home getting 19 points from Aubrey Reese and losing the last game of the season 71-62 on the road getting 18 points from Derrick Allen. This season, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners beat EnBW Ludwigsburg 74-67 in a low scoring affair. Frankfurt was led by Roger Powell with 16 points and six rebounds while current beko BBL top scorer dashaun Wood chipped in with 13 points and eight assists. EnBW Ludwigsburg was led by Alex harris with 18 points and ex Telekom Baskets Bonn center John Bowler was tough with 13 points and nine rebounds. EnBW Ludwigsburg had problems scoring as they are averaging only 67 points per game in November, but now average 79 points per game and one thing Frankfurt has consistently done well this season is play defense and they will ahve to be ready. “Frankfurt will win this game if they keep playing solid defense, push the ball in transition and Dashaun Wood must control the game. Powell was a big pick up as I am sure that he will play a big role in this game, and will against the top teams in the league”, warned ex Braunschweig guard Steven Wright. “Frankfurt has to keep Ludwigsburg off the glass. They crash the boards pretty well from the 3-5 positions”, warned Quentin Pryor. This should be a very interesting game that should get a top effort from both teams as the beko BBL playoffs loom around the corner. “Frankfurt just has to do what they have been doing all season, let Wood control the tempo and do his thing and defensively pressure the ball and try to take Ludwigsburg out of their sets. EnBW Ludwigsburg just have to play solid defense and control Wood and offensively they have to pick there spots and control the boards”, added John Bynum. EnBW Ludwigsburg meet The Deutsche Bank Skyliners April 23rd at 20:00.