For just about every basketball player battling against FC Bayern Munich is the season highlight and seemingly as exciting as having the opportunity of going on a spectacular trip to Africa on safari or getting the rare chance of going one on one against uncle Drew in Kyre Irving mode. For other player competing against a club like the Walter Tigers Tuebingen it is just another day at the office with nothing really to look forward to except not getting color blinded by the pink of the Paul Horn arena or witnessing a shooting clinic by American Alex Harris which isn´t out of the ordinary. However when a player has to go up against the Mittledeutscher BC, it is never a normal or boring occurrence, but something extraordinary that often can get the nerves escalating to new proportions of desperation because of their fighting wolf mentality. With absolutely no disrespect to the Mitteldeutscher BC as it is led superbly by manager Martin Geissler, but with the lowest budget in the league, one can really give the club the three L´s to what an opponent gets when they enter the wolf den. The three L´s stand for little names, little experience and always a loathsome experience against them. The Mitteldeutscher BC is a club that no one really wants to meet, because one never really knows what to expect except an annoying, uncomfortable and nasty 40 minute experience on the court as the team just fights fights until the bitter end with the only thing missing being a real bite into the butt by a real live wolf that is let loose from the cage under the arena. MBC may not have the equivalent in experience like most other teams despite having three players with thirty years plus of age in Marcus Hatten, Michael Cufeee and Djordje Pantelic and having played in 24 countries combined, but other than that, they have players that lack experience, but they make amends by playing with that special will to win no matter what the circumstances are like a wounded wolf that rudely got kicked out of their den without getting any dinner. Alba Berlin lost in Weissenfels in the past and no team has a safe course of winning in their den as three teams have noticed this season. MBC beat tough aggressive teams like Wurzburg and Vechta at home by a combined score of seven points and last weekend beat Braunschweig in crunch time. If the game is on the line in Weissenfels, then the real wolf of the club shows itself on the court. The Beko BBL wants to be the best league in Europe by 2020 and is getting more competitive each season and a league like this needs a club like MBC. One can´t only have top teams like Bamberg, Berlin and Munich, the potential playoff teams like Oldenburg, Artland and Bonn, the no mans land teams like Ludwigsburg, Tuebingen or Braunschweig, but also the scrappy teams like an MBC or Vechta, because without these type of teams, the league would definitely not have the unique quality that it has.
Last season the Mittledeutscher BC had to shiver until the end about staying in the league as they finished the season in 16th place with a record of 13-21. They started the season slow losing six of their first seven games as their only bright spot was the big 71-68 win in Frankfurt where they showed a lot of grit winning in crunch time and keeping their nerves in control. They showed a very spirited game losing a heartbreaker to FC Bayern Munich 73-71 at home as the game could of gone either way at the end. They then won their second game of the season 76-70 in Braunschweig. Then followed two loses to Alba Berlin and against BBC Bayreuth. Then came a period where they won five of seven games including busting out a three game winning streak. In this winning streak, they defeated the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven on the road and showed their forceful play at home beating Ludwigsburg and the always tough Artland Dragons. They also beat the Giessen 46ers at home, but lost in Oldenburg and Trier. The team still gave up more points then what head coach Silvano Poropat would have desired, but the team was always good for a surprise. A very important quality of MBC last season was their attitude when going into games which has been transported from Silvano Poropat to the team. “Coach has told us that players from strong teams are just like us. They do the same thing that we do. What he means by this is that we have to go into each game believing that we can win. I think that we can upset good teams, because we can play as a team for 40 minutes”, warned ex MBC forward Kelly Beidler. The attitude and will to always win no matter the circumstances or who the opponent was definitely was there last season and probably was the difference for staying in the league and getting some of those extra big wins like against the Artland Dragons.
If one was alert in the 2006-2007 season, then one could of heard a man on the sidelines barking commands in broken German to Jerry Green concerning the pick and role to Paveles Cukinas or how to get Je Kel Foster open on a screen. The head coach who was barking and sounding like an anxious black bear not content on sharing his basketball berries was Silvano Poropat mainly responsible for the refreshing EnBW Ludwigsburg team in 2006-2007 that snapped away the spotlight from teams like Bamberg, Alba Berlin and Rhein Energie Cologne during the regular season finishing unexpectedly in second place. After three years removed from the Beko BBL where he coached in Latvia, BG Karlsruhe and MBC in the PRO A, he is back in the highest German league. Poropat is one of those rare coaches that doesn´t rely on a delectable Smorgasboard of 7-8 Americans, but comprehends that there is talent in the eastern block. He showed that Ludwigsburg wasn´t a fluke), but helped lead MBC back to the Beko BBL displaying his charismatic Croatian attitude and focus on team spirit bringing the players to their limit with the maximal effort despite having to deal with injuries. Through time, his black bear barking has turned into an improved wolf howl with more fluid German. Poropat is back with MBC for his third season and as is the case so often the offseason was a time for a massive wolf den cleaning summer. He kept only three players and added 10 new players. The kept German Malte Schwarz who is a 24 year old 188cm guard that already played his first full Beko BBL season in 2009-2010 for Phoenix Hagen playing 28 games. This is his third season for MBC and this season is really coming into his own as he is taking more responsibility. His biggest weapon max be his shooting, but when he is hot then watch out as he scored 21 points against SC Rasta Vechta connecting for seven three pointers. He will be the type of Rautins/Bell player that gets that last shot to win a game. Last season he played 34 games: 5.4ppg, 1.1rpg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 84.6%The team also held onto Mr MBC Sasha Leutloff that is a 31 year old 202cm forward that already palyed Euroleague games as an 18 year old for Alba Berlin. He is playing his seventh season for MBC. He is a versatile forward that can shoot and likes to bang under the boards. He is the Jacob Burtschi of MBC with his energy. Last season he played 25 games: 3.9ppg, 2.5rpgThe organization also kept Djorde Pantelic who is a 29 year old 204cm forward from Serbia playing his second season in Weissenfels. He has a lot of experience having played in Cyprus, Hungry, Romania or Serbia. Last season for MBC he played 34 games: 7.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-2(1.4bpg), FGP: 59.1%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 68.8%.He is your typical worker under the boards, including the ability to swat balls away and won´t shy to hit the three pointer.
The club added Josh Parker who is a 24 year old 189cm guard from Chicago that played in the NCAA at Drake and Dayton. As a rookie he tore up the German Pro B leading Leverkusen into the Pro A and playing like a man among boys playing 33 games: Score-1(28.5ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-2(7.1apg), 2.2spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 80.3%. He won Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Player of the Year -13, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Guard of the Year -13, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year -13, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -13, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -13. He is one of a few players that have made the jump from Pro B to the Beko BBL and so far has been more than impressive being very consistent. He is a scorer and can also find his teammates which he has brought form the Pro B and showed in the Beko BBL. Angelo Caloiaro is playing his first season in Germany and is an American/Italian from San Jose, California that played four years at USF(NCAA). Last season he played for Rilski Sportist Samokov (Bulgaria-NBL): 24 games: 12.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 79.8%; Balkan League: 7 games: 9.7ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT: 68.8%. He is a guy that cans core and put up high rebound stats and has been one of the most consistent MBC scorers this season and has increased hiss coring each season in college. Mike Cufree is playing his first season in Germany and brings some experience to a team that desperately needs it. He is a 30 year old 195cm guard from Philadelphia that also has played in countries like Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus and Sweden. He also has played in the D-league and last season played for Sundsvall Dragons (Sweden-Basketligan, starting five): 46 games: 17.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 83.2%. His athletic ability and zeal for getting the wolves running coupled with four titles in four different countries should bring the club good moments this season. Hrvoje Kovacevic is a 27 year old 190cm guard from Croatia that brings needed experience and played for top Croatian team Cedevita Zagreb and KK Cibona. Last season he played for KK Cibona VIP Zagreb (A1): 18 games: 5.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 58.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 80.0%; Adriatic League: 21 games: 3.1ppg, 1.5rpg; EuroCup: 5 games: 5.8ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.6apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 71.4%. He is another guy that brings a winning tradition to MBC with 5 titles in his country and has played Eurocup and Eurochallenge the last years. He is a guy that can brings coring input form the bench and help out at the point guard position if needed.
Martins Meiers is a 22 year old 208cm center from Latvia that is a big talent and recently played at the European Championships in Slovenia -13: 8 games: 6.8ppg, 4.0rpg, FGP: 57.1%, FT: 35.3%. Last season he played fro BK Ventspils (LBL): 27 games: 8.6ppg, 4.2rpg, Blocks-4(1.0bpg), FGP-3(64.7%), FT: 62.7%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 11.0ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP-1(76.6%), FT: 77.3%; Baltic League: 21 games: 8.4ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 62.0%, FT: 63.2%. He is a worker on the board and is still getting used to the more competitive style of the Beko BBL. He is a guy that could move from the bench to the starting rotation depending how his development continues. Walter Simon is a 24 year old 202cm forward that has come form the Regionaliga via the Pro B and Pro A to the Beko BBL. He played two seasons for Cumberland (NAIA). The last two seasons he played for Uni-Riesen Leipzig (ProA) and last season played 30 games: 13.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 49.5%, FT: 86.6%. He has to fight for his minutes and has a nice mid distance shot and helps out on the boards. Oliver Clay is a 26 year old 105cm forward that has been in the Beko BBl since 2010, but has bounced around the league playing in Trier and Wurzburg and never really making the breakthrough. Last season he played for s.Oliver Baskets Wuerzburg (BBL): 33 games: 2.7ppg, 2.2rpg; EuroCup: 6 games: 7.7ppg, 2.2rpg, FGP: 65.2%, FT: 88.9%. He is another type of energizer from the bench that will get you those difficult rebounds. Daniel Hain is a 28 year old 195 swing man that best was known for having to guard Pascal Rolle rin the 2009 playoffs. He played at Essen and Herten before making the jump to the Beko BBl with Oldenburg in 2007 where he played until 2011. Two season ago he played fro Bonn, but as in Oldenburg never got past the bench player role. Defense is his trade mark, but so far has the same kind of role as he had in Oldenburg and Bonn with little playing time. He made the training squad of the German national team in 2010 and has played 116 BBL games before coming to MBC. The team recently brought in real experience with Marcus Hatten who is a 32 year old 186cm point guard from Baltimore. He has great ball handling skills, quick hands, and can be aggressive in defense (lots of steals !). Developed a good outside shooting, and can hit the clutch shot. Has great leadership, can grab lots of rebounds. He played at St.John’s (NCAA) and as a senior played 34 games: 22.2ppg, 5.6rpg, 4.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 73.0%. he has played in countries like Poland, Israel, Venezeula, Greece, Italy, Belgium and Greece. Last season he played for VAP Kolossos Rodou (Greece-A1) 25 games: 11.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.1apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 73.6%. MBC had to add many new players and the club is still searching for a healthy team chemistry and haven´t won on the road yet. MBC is a team that will allways playing with that fighting mentality and need to have input from everyone. MBC have a pretty solid roster with players that can give support from outside and under the boards. Every game will be a fight for the wolves, but if they can carry the attitude of ex Wolf Kelly Beidler in that one has to always go into every game confident then they have paid half the rent for success. MBC will surprise teams this season even if they will fight to stay in the league.
In the short two year tenure that the Mitteldeutscher BC had from 2009-2011, the Frankfurt Skyliners were able to leave the floor each time as the winner and have a positive 4-0 record in that time. In the 2009-2010 season who could forget the exciting 76-74 win in MBC as Frankfurt was down 10 points and made a big comeback in the last minutes as American guard Aubrey Reese won the game with a shot. Frankfurt won the game at home 77-65 as American Jimmy Mckinney led Frankfurt with 17 points, Derrick Allen added 12 points and Skyliner legend Pascal Roller 11 points. In the 2010-2011 season, the Deutsche Bank Skyliners had an easier time winning as they routed the Wolves 83-52 at home as Dashaun Wood had a type of Derrick Rose performance with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Dominik Bahiense De Mello added 13 points and KImmo Muurinen 11 points. Frankfurt won in Weissenfels 70-58 as Dashaun Wood poured in 26 points and Quantez Robertson steered 11 points. Last season, the Fraport Skyliners were swept in the season series and were surprised at home losing to the Mitteldeutscher BC 71-68 as MBC had the better nerves in crunch time. MBC was led by American Morris Curry with 20 points who could penetrate at ease all night long and American Kelly Beidler streered 17 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Steve Wachalski contributed 11 points and Chad Timberlake 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zack Peacock with 24 points and nine rebounds and Quantez Robertson had 12 points. In Weissenfels, MBC won 73-65 and were led by Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson and Chad Timberlake with 16 points a piece. Devin Uskoski chipped in with 14 points and Osvaldo Jeanty with 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zack Peacock with 19 points. Ted Scott added 13 points and Quantez Robertson 10 points. The Mitteldeutscher BC enter the game against the Fraport Skyliners in 15th place this weekend with a record of and have been very up and down showing the immense basketball potential especial in close games beating Braunschweig 73-71 and the always annoying SC Rasta Vechta 87-84, but then again got creamed against Ludwigsburg 81-51 and last weekend 106-81 in Munich. However they are always tough at home even though they have a 3-2 record. “They play very hard in each game and we will have to be ready for MBC. WE definitely have to finish the game well to win there”, warned Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners will be looking to win their fourth game in a row and the typical Quantez Robertson formula never fails. “If we can execute on offense, play good team basketball, be aggressive on defense and limit them to one shot, then we will have good chances to win”, warned Quantez Robertson.