Can Jerry Green Get EnBW Ludwigsburg To The Beko BBL Playoffs This season?

Since the return of EnBW Ludwigsburg to the Beko BBL in 2002, the club has reached only three playoff appearances from 2004-2007 and the name Jerry Green was as important and key for those three glorious years as Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been for their success this season in Denver, Borusia Monchengladback German Marco Reus for his timely goals and team current fourth place or Christmas giving the Wham song last Christmas endless radio play each December to the hearts content for people across the globe, but in his second tour of duty in Ludwigsburg, Green hasn´t had his magic wan working as last season the club missed the playoffs on the last game day. With the new 4,500 Ludwigsburg arena in its third season of operation and the attendance rate down from the 2009-2010 season by 300 patrons per game, pressure continues to rise rapidly on the team to reach the May games like smoke from an erupted volcano. One can´t always rely on one player or coach to always bring consistent success to a place like legendary head coach Jerry Sloan did to the Utah Jazz for 15 years from 1989-2003 and having needed components like Karl Malone and Jerry Stockton don´t grow on maple trees either. To say that Jerry Green is at fault for not leading EnBW Ludwigsburg to the Beko BBL playoffs last season and for their current slide would be more than unfair. “I don´t think that Green is feeling pressure to have to do extra incredible things to get that success. One can´t say he is the reason for the non success now. There are so many other factors involved that have been the reason for their slide at the moment. Green is the complete point guard that is athletic, can score and is a good passer who helps the team in so many ways”, stressed Artland Dragon German Christian Hoffmann.

It has been a while since the wins for EnBW Ludwigsburg were as frequent as theyhave been for the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the last years. There was one season, where the team was winning, winning, winning and 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. Two years ago, 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 guard Steven Wright.

Last 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 were 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 first months 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 they started to understand their go to guys and their roles later”, 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 Bynun. Jerry Green might be their key player for the team, but so was Harris, Bowler and Rickert. “Alex Harris was their X-factor last season being their leading scorer and main threat from the perimeter. Bowler and Rickert were 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 was 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 were 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 it seems like the chemistry has progressed positively as they have won five of their last eight games and three of their last four games. “They were clicking right at the right time. They have did some good things in the last couple of weeks and they were 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. However their 2010-2011 rollar coaster season ended at home on a sad note as the ylost the last two games of the season to Bamberg and 94-79 to Frankfurt which they had to win to enter the playoffs and finished with a 18-16 record landing in ninth place.

Before the season started, team CEO Alexander Reil stressed a three point plan that he wanted to achieve with EnBW Ludwigsburg with consistency, Identification and giving the fans an attractive basketball game. The club hasn´t reached the Beko BBL playoffs since 2007 and since then the fans have gotten impatient, but it seems like with only a minimal budget, the expectations seem to be a lot higher than what they should be. Markus Jochem started his planning for this season, by doing an important deed by keep a healthy core of his players from last season with with John Mr old school Bowler, German forward Johannes Lischka who is on the verge of breaking out, the heart and soul of the team point guard Jerry Green, athletic sharp shooter Alex Harris, Mr versatile forward Lithuanian Donatas Zavackas  and the added assistant coach on the court who will do anything to win David Mccray. Jochum brought in defense stand out Mark Dorris who was the fifth best scorer in the Beko BBL last season, shot blocking sensation and rebound ace Kurt Looby and recently Jeff Greer who adds experience that is lacking with the retirement to ex NBA player Toby Bailey. The team lost only Bailey and Rick Rickert. Recently the club brought in experienced Jeff Greer who has had a long and successful basketball career in France.

The 2011-2012, season started off with a bang as EnBW Ludwigsburg won three of their first four games beating Giessen and potential playoff teams the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Bremerhaven at home showing early their scoring power averaging 90 points in the two wins against the teams from the north. However then out of nowhere and totally unexpected, the club went on a severe tailspin losing nine of ten games and recently axed having Markus Jochum as head coach a man who Is a basketball legend in Ludwigsburg having played for the club from 1987-1996 and played 62 games for the German national team, the team recently had to react and he had to pack his bags and assistant coach Steven Key took over the reigns. The team has misfortune at the start of the losing streak losing to Braunschweig and Ulm by one point, but in the last weeks have given up more than 80 points per game as their bad habit of allowing too many points from last season seems to have surfaced again. The team has a very solid roster and should be a team that can be in the 10-13 range in the standings.”Ludwigsburg have been going through a tough period. They have been without Jerry Green and structure is missing. Dorris is more of a scoring point guard than an organizer”, added ex TBB Trier German Christian Hoffmann. It is no secret that the Beko BBL has gotten stronger each year, but EnBW Luwdwigsburg is a club that could battle for the positions 9-12. “Their strength is their athletic guards. Their weakness is the defense. Their big guys aren´t as mobile and the opponents get easy baskets inside. Without Green, something is missing on defense. On offense , a guy like John Bowler needs to get the ball inside more where he is dangerous, but too often he is only taking the pick and pop which he can make, but his game is more inside”, warned Christian Hoffmann.

The Fraport Skyliners have nice memories of the last 12 games against EnBW Ludwigsburg having a 8-4 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. In 2008-2009, 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. Last 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. In the last game of the season in Ludwigsburg, the Skyliners whipped EnBW Ludwigsburg 94-79 as ex NBA player Roger Powell had his best game as a Skyliner pouring in 28 points and Dashaun Wood added a double double with 19 points and 10 assists.

The Fraport Skyliners enter the game against EnBW Ludwigsburg with more personal with new player Devin Gibson who played at The university of Texas at San Antonio and is looking for his debut. Frankfurt continues to be a force on the road, but haven’t won in their own living room in almost three months. In order to be successful in the German league, you need to be able to win at home. “Frankfurt needs to play good defense like they did against us which usually will spark their offense. They have to take out their big guys and attack from outside”, stressed Christian Hoffmann. EnBW Ludwigsburg finally won again in Tuebingen after having lost nine of their last 10 games and the Skyliners know that this team will not be a cake walk. “We have to control their guards and make it tough for them and we will be fine. We have been defending well for weeks and will need to continue to do that. The reason for our winning the last years has been because of our defense”, stressed Jimmy Mckinney. “We will have to be ready for Ludwigsburg. We need to bring the momentum from Giessen into that game and finally win at home again”, stressed Jacob Burtschi.

EnBW Ludwigsburg are led by 31 year old 203cm Donatas Zavackas from Lithuania who is playing his second season there. He is a hard nosed and very versatile player, with good on 1-on-1 offensive skills; excels in game without the ball, and runs the court very well; shoots well from the distance, and defense well, thanks to a strong body can play in the two forward positions, but his size and quickness make him better for the Shooting forward position. He played at : Pittsburgh (NCAA) from 1998-2003 reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2002 and 2003. In his 8 year professional basketball career, he has played in countries like Poland, France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. Before coming to Germany, he played for top European team Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius  from 2008-2010 playing 10 Euroleague games. Last season for Ludwigsburg, he played 27 games: 12.5ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT-2(49.5%), FT-3(88.5%). He was Lithuanian League Champion and cup winner in 2009 and 2010 and won the Eurocup in 2009 with Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. The team brought back Alex Harris who is a 25 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%. In 2009-2010, 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. Last season for Ludwigsburg, he played 34 games: Score-4(16.0ppg), 2.4rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 42.8%, FT: 80.8%. He played at the 2011 Beko BBL Allstar game in Trier.

John Bowler is a 27 year old 206cm forward/center from Chicago, Illinois that is playing his second 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%. In 2009-2010, he played 27 games: 7.7ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 79.4%. Last season for Ludwigsburg, he played 34 games: 11.8ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 79.5%. The club 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 three seasons away from Ludwigsburg,  he 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 in 2009-2010 for Cantu playing  37 games: 9.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 83.5%. Last season for Ludwigsburg, he played 34 games: 9.9ppg, 2.5rpg, Assists-5(4.6apg), FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 80.4% Green won the Belgium cup with Ostende in 2008 with ex Skyliner Titus Ivory.

24 year old 203cm power forward Johannes Lischka is playing his second 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. In 2009-2010, 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%. Last season for Ludwigsburg, he played 34 games: 5.9ppg, 3.5rpg, FGP: 51.7%, FT: 71.6%. The team hauled in . Mark Dorris is a 26 year old 188 cm guard that is playing his first season for EnBW Ludwigsburg. He was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and visited Princeton high school. He then attended St. Catharine College for a year before transfering to Marshall where he played from 2005-2008. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 39.1%, 3Pts: 34.3%, FT: 75.9%.For Cuxhaven, he played 29 games: 18.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 3.7apg, Steals-3(2.3spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 77.3%. Last season for Phoenix Hagen, he was invited to the Beko BBL Allstar game and for Hagen played 34 games: 15.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 24.4%, FT: 72.8%.

The club brought in 27 year old 208cm power forward/center Kurt Looby who is an American/Antiguan.  Looby started his basketball career for Tyler (JC) where he played from 2003-2005 and then played for Iowa(NCAA) from 2005-2008. His senior year, he played 32 games: 3.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 66.7%, FT: 41.7%: Finished two year career at Iowa ranked seventh all-time in blocked shots with 96. In 2008-2009, he played for Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 50 games: 6.4ppg, 8.1rpg, Blocks-2(2.5bpg), FGP-3(56.4%), FT: 57.4% and in the summer of 2009 forGrises de Humacao (Puerto Rico-BSN, starting five): 22 games: 9.4ppg, Reb-3(10.5rpg), Blocks-1(2.8bpg), FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 66.2%. In 2009-2010, he played for Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League, starting five): 11 games: 3.3ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.6bpg, in Jan.’10 moved to Albuquerque Thunderbirds (D-League, starting five): 26 games: 6.8ppg, 9.0rpg, Blocks-2(3.2bpg), FGP: 59.3%, FT: 56.4%; in Mar.’10 signed at Maine Red Claws (D-League, starting five): 13 games: 5.2ppg, 7.8rpg, 4.0bpg, FGP: 66.7%, FT: 30.8%. Last season, he came to Europe and played for DASH Peristeri GS Athens (Greece-A1): 28 games: 6.5ppg, 7.0rpg, Blocks-4(1.1bpg), FGP: 54.1%, FT: 61.0%. Recently the team signed Jeff Greer who is a 32 year old 196cm shooting guard/small forward from the Bronx, New York that has the Dominican Republic citzenship. He played at Rutgers(NCAA) from 1997-2001. He turned professional in 2001 and in his 10 year basketball career, he has played nine years in France for teams like Vichy, Le Havre, SIG Strassburg(2 years), Sluc Nancy(three years) and one season in Israel. Last season, he played for BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA): EuroChallenge: 13 games: 8.4ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 70.7%; French League: 35 games: 7.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 54.3%. He was French Pro A champion 2008 and won the French La Semaine des AS Cup in 2011.

25 year old 188cm guard German guard David Mccray is playing his fifth 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 in 2009-2010 as he  scored 13 points in 15 minutes against Bamberg and 11 points in 12 minutes against Ratiopharm Ulm. In 2009-2010, he played 33 games: 5.0ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 65.0%. Last season, he played 34 games: 5.7ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 64.2%. The club also has big german/Albanian talent Besnik Bekteshi who is a 18 year old 188cm guard. In 2009-2010, 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 in the summer of 2010 at the European 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. He played at the European Championships U18 in Wroclaw (Poland) -11: 8 games: 9.1ppg, 1.8rpg, 1.4apg, Steals-5(2.4spg), FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT-3(87.5%)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s