In cities like Hagen, Tubingen and Trier reaching the Beko BBL playoffs the last years has been as difficult as understanding why Kobe Bryant wants to be the Wil Smith of the NBA and possibly making his former on court nemsis Ron Artest his Jada Pinket , Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan finding any type of positive publicity in the last year, Rocker Marilyn Manson without makeup for once actually being recognized for who he is and not hearing the annoying words “I know you, but can´t quite pinpoint the name”, or shock radio host Howard Stern refraining for a day from featuring sexy women in his show and rather focusing a show on the Chippendales. However since the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven moved up to the Beko BBL in 2005, they have reached the playoffs five out of six seasons and haven´t had to frequent the cafes, check out if its warm enough to swim in the North sea in May or take a trip to the zoo to see exactly how the cute Polar bears live when a basketball isn´t bouncing. The team has been very consistent finishing fourth twice, sixth once and two eight places getting into the back door of the playoffs. The only time that Bremerhaven didn’t reach the playoffs was in the 2008-2009 season where they finished in 18th place despite having basketball talent like Jared Reiner, Marcus Slaughter, Zygimantas Jonusas or Giordan Watson. Maybe its something in the air, the delicious fish dishes or just the coaching style of head coach Doug Spradley who has led the team into the Beko BBL playoffs the last two seasons and seems on a straight line back to the promised land as his club rests at position six at the moment. Torrell Martin leads his team to success and when he takes lift off into the zone, he approaches the rim like a combination of Russell Westbrock and Demar Derozan and seems like a malnourished human being wanting to get his seven course meal from chef Wolfgang Puck as a reward after dunking home the ball. If there is one player that can match his flights and or defend Martin then it is Quantez Super Tez Robertson who should be up to the challenge to keeping the American on the ground.
Last season the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven finished the season in eighth place with a record of 18-16 as they beat out EnBW Ludwigsburg on the last game day sneaking into the Beko BBL playoffs.. They were able to reach the playoffs thanks to winning 5 of their last seven games. The team had very talented players with fan favorite Torrell Martin, inside duo Craig Callahan and Andrew Drevo and strong role players like German national player Philipp Schwethelm, John Allen, Jan Lipke and Sean Denison. However they had two problems with lingering injuries all season long as Martin missed the last three months of the season and a point guard problem as coach Doug Spradley played a special playmaking lottery at the start of the season with many guys coming in and departing as quickly as the polar bears do when the first warm air comes. “We had very much disturbances last season as players came and went”, stressed Bremerhaven head coach Doug Spradley. It is not always easy to get a positive expression from Spradley since his closet friends might be the only ones to see him smile since he is always very focused during games, but one didn’t need a smile to know that his solution with Donald Copeland and Jermaine Thomas was what he was content with. The team did celebrate big wins against the Artland Dragons, BG Goettingen, Braunschweig and Oldenburg, but never was able to beat one of the big 3 teams with Bamberg, Berlin or Frankfurt. The season ended quickly as the Brose Baskets Bamberg swept them in three games.
Instead of making a summer cleaning session exchanging players for new players the same way Boston Celtic legend Larry Bird was able to always pick a new pigeon on defense to make look like raw meat when scoring baskets, Doug Spradley was able to identify that guys like Torrell Martin, ex NBA playmaker and big guard Jamison Brewer and scoring guard Terrell Everett would be adequate for the foundation of the new team. Spradley brought in a strong trio for the front court with 2010 Eurochallenge winner Chris Mcnaughton, versatile forward and playoff experienced Jason Cain and second year man Zachery Peacock who had a solid rookie season in Giessen. German Jermaine Raffington was also hauled into help under the boards and Beko BBL rookie Mike Smith who is a fantastic rebounder at 198cm. Sharp shooter ex Giessen 46er Anthony Smith was also brought in to help strengthen the athleticism in the team. The team looks solid on paper, but Doug Spradley knows that the Beko BBL gets stronger each season and the playoffs always more difficult to reach. “It will be very difficult to reach the top 8 teams. 12 -13 teams have realistic chances of making the playoffs”, warned Doug Spradley. Last season, the team was known for its scoring, but less known for their defense as they averaged giving up 79 points per game. “We have to improve on defense”, added Doug Spradley. With Torrell Martin being possibly one of the most athletic players in the league, the club hopes to boost its output on defense with athleticism which will be bolstered with the new players. So far this season, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven are in sixth place with a record of 4-3 and after a slow start have won three of their last four games. They had big wins against Alba Berlin and the Artland Dragons, but gave up a lead to the Walter Tigers Tuebingen losing 90-83 at home last weekend. In the first six games, they have improved their defense a bit as they have given up an average of 75 points per game. “Peacock and Mcnaughton hurt us very much. Their point guard Brewer is a guy that really directs their offense well. I think that they are better inside than last season despite having an Andrew Drevo who is a super player. They are very athletic and you can´t let them run. You have too play good offense and have little turnovers and make Brewer tired”, stressed Walter Tigers Tuebingen German Ruben Spoden.
Since The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven entered the BBL in 2005-2006, they have had some interesting battles with The Skyliners. Bremerhaven have had the number of Frankfurt in the first 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. In the 2009-2010 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. Last season, Frankfurt won 81-66 at home as Dashaun Wood and AJ Moye led the charge with 19 points a piece and they also won in Bremerhaven 71-56 as Dashaun Wood had a Lebron James type game with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Since the Eisbaeren entered the Beko BBL in 2005, the series between both teams is tied at 9-9.
The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven are led by Zachery Peacock who is a 24 year old 203cm power forward that is playing his second season in the Beko BBL and first with Bremerhaven. He is a big, strong frontcourt player who already is a tremendous rebounder and can shoot the basketball. He played at Georgia Tech (NCAA) from 2006-2010 and in his senior year played 35 games: 8.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 79.1%. Last season with the LTi Giessen 46ers, he played 34 games: 13.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 68.0%. Currently for Bremerhaven, he is averaging 15,3ppg and 5,3rpg. He has started off shooting the ball well at 54,9% from the field and 89,5% from the free throw line. Torrell Martin is a 26 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. In his first season for Bremerhaven, he played 41 games: 11.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 65.0%. Last season, he got off to a big start, but was injured after 22 games and missed the rest of the season. He averaged 15.4ppg, Reb-5(7.1rpg), 3.0apg, Steals-2(1.7spg), FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 65.6%. Currently he is averaging 13,0ppg, 5,3rpg and 2,0apg. Hisathleticism is “off the charts” and knows how to use it to his advantage as teams witnessed too often the last two years of his sick traffic dunks.
Christopher Mcnaughton is a 28 year old 211cm center. He is a true back-to-the-basket big man, but does possess good mobility for his size. He started his basketball career in the Bamberg system in 2000 playing 35 games for TSV Troester Breitengrussbach in the second Bundesliga. He then played at Bucknell from 2003-2007. After getting valuable experience in the NCAA, he played two years in Spain before moving to BG Goettingen in 2009-2010. He helped the club win the Eurochallenge and scoring 22 points in the final. He played EuroChallenge: 15 games: 8.9ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 61.4%, FT: 71.1%; German League: 37 games: 7.4ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 62.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 71.4%. Last season, he played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg playing EuroCup: 6 games: 5.8ppg, 2.8rpg, FGP: 55.6%, FT; German League: 39 games: 5.0ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 80.7%. At the
World Championships in Turkey in 2010, he played 5 games: 5.4ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 58.8%, FT: 77.8%. Currently, he is averaging 10,3ppg and 5,6rpg. Anthony Smith is a 25 year old 196cm shooting guard from Plano, Texas. He is a scorer with great quickness and leaping ability, NBA body and athleticism. He is a phenomenal athlete with great range from the shooting guard position. He has the strength and athleticism to take advantage of smaller guards. Also, because of his strength, he can play the 3 spot at times. His quickness and ball handling skills give him the ability to take almost any defender to the rim. His 3 point range is phenomenal. has great ball handling skills and when he is leading the team up the court on a fast break, he has the quick explosion needed to take the ball all the way, or he can stop on a dime and nail the mid-range He is also a good free throw shooter and knows how to get to the free throw line. An excellent run and jump style player. Along with his offensive skills, he is also a great defender who is very long and very good vertically on the floor as well in defensive position. Anthony plays good on the ball defense and has shown that he can force his opponent into committing turnovers. Anthony is a complete player who knows how to win and creates major match-up problems for the opposition. His Strength and athleticism make him a very effective rebounder from the perimeter as he demonstrated in College and in the Orlando Summer League. He showed these qualities at Liberty(NCAA) where he played from 2005-2009. In his senior year, he played games: 17.6ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3Pts: 37.1%, FT: 65.8%. In 2009-2010, he played for CB Cornella (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 33 games: 14.3ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 59.0%. Last season, for the Giessen 46ers, he played 28 games: 11.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 60.3%. Currently, he is averaging 9,6ppg, 2,3rpg and 1,7apg.
The club brought back American Terrell Everett who is a 27 year old 193 cm guard from Charleston, South Carolina. He is a A heady left-handed wing with solid ball skills , can play the point if the need arises, regarded as a slasher, excels at penetration and getting the ball to the rim, a savvy player who boasts tremendous court awareness and is an excellent passer and possesses a soft touch on his jump shot. He played NCAA ball at Oklahoma. He turned professional in 2006 and in his first five seasons, has gained much experience playing in France, Czech Republic, Greece and Croatia. He also had a stint in the D-league with the Bakersfield Jam. Last season, he played for Iraklis Thessaloniki (Greece-A1, starting five): 7 games: 13.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.4apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 39.7%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 65.1%; left in Dec.’10, next month moved to KK Cibona VIP Zagreb (Croatia-A1): Adriatic League: 3 games: 2.7ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.7spg and then moved to the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven playing 13 games: 12.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.5apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 26.5%, FT: 80.4%. Currently, he is averaging 9,6ppg, 3,9rpg and 2,9apg. Jason Cain is a 26 year old 208cm power forward from Philadelphia who is playing for his second Beko BBL team. He played for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig from 2007-2011 reaching the playoffs twice. He played 142 games for Braunschweig and last season averaged 10.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 78.2%. HBefore coming to Germany, he played at Virginia. Currently, he is averaging 7,6ppg, 2,1rpgand 1,7apg.
The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven have some NBA flair with Jamison Brewer who came late last season to help solve the point guard problem. Brewer is a 30 year old 193cm guard from East Point, Georgia. He is a tall point guard that is a great defender, but he does set up his teammates well and is able to make plays. Great size that also allows him to play some shooting guard and he also is a good post up guard , is a great rebounder and the only player in Division 1 history to lead his team in assist and rebounds as a point guard. He also is very quick which gives opponents problems on defense. He played at the same university as Quantez Robbertson at Auburn. He was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 2001 with the 41st pick in the second round. He played in the NBA from 2001.2005, but had injury problems to deal with. He played a total of 54 NBA games for the Pacers, Knicks and Spurs. Since 2005, he has played in Croatia, ABA, D-league, Belgium, Brasil and Ukraine. Last season, he played for : BC Odessa (Ukraine-Superleague) 24 games: 4.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.5apg, left in Jan.`11, in March’11 moved to Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-1.Bundesliga) 13 games: 8.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.7apg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 79.4%. Currently he is averaging 6,1ppg, 3,4rpg and 5,9apg. The team also brought in Mike Smith who is a 24 year old 198cm forward from Vandalia, Missouri. He played at E.Tenn.St. (NCAA) from 2006-2011 and in his senior year played 35 games: 17.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 78.9%. He took part at the 2011 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 10.0ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, 1.0bpg. He is a very efficient rebounder for his height and is currently averaging 3,3ppg and 2,4rpg. Jermaine Raffington is a 26year old 205cm power forward/center German. He played at TSG Ehingen from 2002-2005. He played at Southeastern CC from 2005-2007 and then returned back to Germany. He played at BV Chemnitz 99 (2.Bundesliga) in 2007-2008 playing 30 games: 12.6ppg, 5.7rpg, 2FGP: 53.4%, 3FGP: 31.8%, FT: 59.3%. He played for BBC Bayreuth from 2008-2010. In 2009-2010, he played 30 games: 10.2ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 72.7%. Last season for BG Goettingen, he played : EuroCup: 7 games: 3.4ppg, 1.1rpg; German League: 23 games: 2.5ppg, 1.2rpg. Currently he is averaging 2,1ppg and 1,6rpg. Anthony Canty returns for a third season to Bremerhaven. Canty is a 20 year old 183cm point guard from Germany. Last season he played 15 games for Bremerhaven averaging 2.2ppg and also played at Cuxhaven BasCats (ProA): 22 games: 5.6ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 74.3%. Who could forget his spirited game in Frankfurt last season where he had to play a bulk at the point showing his three point shooting savoy and playmaking skills.
The Fraport Skyliners return back home and are in desperate need of having a successful experience as they are riding on a four game losing streak. In the last two games, the Fraport Skyliners have been outscored 180-120 as their offense and defense have been less than satisfactory. Bamberg guard Julius Jenkins who hit Frankfurt with 20 points and was often standing all alone in the corner seeming lonely and not knowing if the lazy boy chair was being delivered or not, but when he caught the ball hit bombs. Jenkins didn´t need many words about how they could beat Bremerhaven. “Frankfurt needs to play some defense to beat Bremerhaven”, warned Julius Jenkins. Frankfurt have averaged allowing 79 points in the first seven games and average only 2,9 steals per game. Teammate Marcus Slaughter got behind the Frankfurt defense a few times dunking like there was no tomorrow. “Frankfurt needs to focus on defense, that is key to winning. They have to slow Bremerhaven down”, warned Marcus Slaughter. “We have to play better defense. It is unacceptable to give up 97 points”, warned Skyliner forward Jon Leuer. When looking at the team stats, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven lead in every statistical category. Bremerhaven is a very good rebounding team where the focus isn´t primarly on one guy, but they are a team rebounding team. “We will have to be a lot more physical under the boards”, warned Skyliner guard Michael Thompson. Despite losing to Bremerhaven in preseason, an advantage will be that Frankfurt has seen Bremerhaven before and will know how they play. “This will be a good challenge. We need to build up our self confidence in practice. They have 3-4 guys that average double figures. We will have to play team basketball”, warned Skyliner guard Justin Gray. The Skyliner offense should not be as stagnant against Bremerhaven as itw as against Bamberg. “I hope that we can make a step in practice this week. We need to work on the little things on offense and defense. We need to make the offense more crisp and quicker so we can find those open shots”, warned Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. Despite the slow start, the Fraport Skyliners can´t afford to totally collapse mentally. “Frankfurt have too many guys that are used to winning. Their losing wont continue. The team has too much pride”, warned ex NBA player Casey Jacobsen. “The Skyliners have to stay focused. They are agreat team with experience. If they can play as a team then they will start a winning streak”, warned Alba Berlin guard Dashaun Wood. The Fraport Skyliners host the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven on November 12th.