What do current and former Beko BBL players like Jason Boone, Devin Uskowski, Josh Young, Richie Williams and AJ Rudowitz all have in common with current SC Rasta Vechta player Jacob Doerksen? Well these players are some of the very few and have their own special survival of the fittest in that they have outlasted the majority of players in the Regionaliga and Pro B in their quest of reaching the top level in the German basketball league Beko BBL. Besides being one of those rare players to move up two levels in basketball Germany, the 199cm 106 kilo forward Doerksen is also one of the few players from Canada playing in the Beko BBL. Nothing for Doerksen has come easy on a silver platter in regards to basketball, but rather the Vancouver native has had to work triple as hard as other players to be successful and get to where he is today. Two years ago he played in the German Pro B with Hannover and now he is in the Beko BBL with SC Rasta Vechta and when you study his stats, you wouldn´t sense that he has had any difficulties making the transition to the top German league. Presently he has played 11 games averaging 12,4ppg, and 4,8rpg while averaging 22 minutes per contest. He also is shooting 38% from the parking lot which he has never eclipsed for a season since playing at Trinity Western University (CIS). The Canandian is thankful that he can play in the Beko BBl, but also knows that God didn´t pave a golden road for him to waltz across, but that he had to get there by taking many back roads with the temporary road blocks. “It is true what my teammates say that I have a big heart. I was never the most skilled as a kid and in whatever sport I played, I always had to work harder than the other kid to be successful. I think that I am very lucky to be able to play in the Beko BBL. I think that having been successful with Hannover helped me get to Vechta and our strong season last year and the fact that they believed in me and keeping me was important. I think that my game has been successful in this league because I always stay focused and always scout my opponents. I never fear them, but just respect them a bit more. I always have to give more effort than my defender to be successful”, stressed Jacob Doerksen. Opponent Michael Stockton who is a player that also never had it easy being the son of NBA legend John Stockton knows what it is like for Doerksen to come from a lower league, because he played the last two seasons for BG Karlsruhe and also made the jump this season to the Beko BBL. “There is a reason he has been successful at all the levels he has played at. He is the kind of player that any team would love to have. He is very skilled, and is not afraid to do the little things, tough things, to win ball games”, added Michael Stockton. “He never stops to fight. He is the most underrated player in the league”, stated ex Skyliner Max Weber.
It hasn´t been the easiest of seasons for newcomer SC Rasta Vechta as they have only three wins and are near the bottom of the Beko BBL standings. They have lost quite a few nail bitters and are a lot better club than what their record reflects. Last weekend, the team lost an ugly game in Frankfurt against the Fraport Skyliners 60-57 and could have won the game had they managed the clock better and minimized small errors in crunch time. If you didn´t watch the game and studied the box score later one would have expected an Andrew Rautins or Richard Williams as top scorer, but even more surprised to see ex Pro B player Jacob Doerksen lead all scorers with 19 points. When you see Doerksen on the court, he looks like a pretty boy version of NBA legend Larry Bird who no one would ever think he could jump, but boy can the Vancouver native shoot “When you see Jacob for the first time, he would be the last guy you would pick for the street ball team. He is smart, crafty and outworks his opponent for 40 minutes. He never allows his defender to take a break”, commented California native Richard Williams. One should never judge a shot if it is unorthodox which his is, but only he knows the secret of hitting shots. One Frankfurt writer cringed when he witnessed the shooting stroke of Doerksen, but was quiet when he swished the ball through the net. It is never easy for players who have weird looking shooting strokes when it comes to the jokes one might hear, but in Vechta no is making fun of his shot, because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is if it goes in. “One can´t joke about the stroke of Doerksen. Even if it doesn´t look so pretty, it goes in. You can´t joke about his mechanics. Whoever hits shots is right and that is what he does”, smiled teammate Max Weber. Ludwigsburg point guard Michael Stockton played against Doerksen seven times last season in the German Pro A and knows too well what he is going through with his shooting mechanics as his own shooting looks strange as well. “I always used to hear that my shot looked kind of funny. But if you find a way to make those shots then that is in the end all that matters”, stressed Utah native Michael Stockton. “He might have an unorthodox shot, but they usually go in. You can´t complain about that”, said SC Rasta Vechta American Dylan Talley. His shooting is a big strength is his game, but he does so much else on the court to help his team as best as he can. He produced five offensive rebounds often getting over bigger players like Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel as his anticipation was more than on in Frankfurt. His blind understanding with teammate Richard Williams was at times perfect as he would be fed the ball and was already a few steps ahead of his defender and then instead of stopping just released the ball as he caught it banking the ball in and not allowing Frankfurt any chance of altering his shot. He finished the game leading all scorers with 19 points, hauled in seven rebounds, got two steals and swatted away one ball. Despite the loss, he wasn´t satisfied about being the top scorer, but even 40 minutes after the loss, he did have some humor needing to get out when he smiled, “I was top Canadian scorer”. He might tell his grand children one day that he scored more points than ex NBA player Andrew Rautins.
Doerksen started his basketball career at University of Victoria (CIS) in 2005 where he played until 2007. He then transferred to Trinity Western University (CIS) in 2008 where he played until 2011. During his Spartans career, he totaled 1852 points, which is second most in Spartans history behind Adam Friesen’s 1869, and collected 781 rebounds, which is also second most in the school’s history behind Logan Kitteringham’s 798. He also holds the Spartans record for points in a game with 42, which he put up Dec. 4, 2010 against Fraser Valley, and the record for most rebounds in a season with 344 boards in 2008-09. He is seen as being one of the best players to ever wear the Trinity Western jersey. As a senior he helped the Spartans to a CIS silver medal, the school’s best ever finish in men’s basketball and was named a Canada West and CIS First-Team All-Star. He turned professional in 2011 and came to Germany and played for UBC Hannover Tigers (Germany-ProB). He played 33 games and tore up the German Pro B averaging 21.7ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.3apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 65.3%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 65.7%. SC Rasta Vechta head coach Pat Elzie recognized the talent of the Canadian and brought him to Vechta last season. Last season, he helped SC Rasta Vechta move up to the Beko BBL. In the German Pro A, he also was able to demonstrate his solid game as he played 34 games averaging 13.7ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 64.5%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 62.7%. One player who has been along his side since day one in Hannover is American Richard Williams. Williams has had the same type of Cinderella story as Doerksen and both are still nowhere near midnight as they are living the basketball dream in the Beko BBL. Williams like Doerksen is a very important part of the team and near the halfway point of the current season is one of the top five point guards in the league. Williams runs the club and has the utmost respect for the Canadian as their joint teamwork with each other is as harmonized as John Stockton and Karl Malone back in the day. “Our blind understanding all has to do with him. I remember the first day I trained with him, he got the rebound outlets the ball to me and ran the floor. He ran directly down the middle of the court and posted up at the rim. I’ve played with Euroleague and NBA guys that don’t understand the importance or discipline of that but he did it. Nothing about his game takes you away other than the fact of “how did he do that?!” Because he’s so smart and crafty. I told him from that day forward I’m trying to take him everywhere I go and so far I’ve been lucky. I’ve played with more talented guys but none as smart as him when it comes to getting the ball in the basket. His game goes unappreciated until you get the honor the play with him”, stressed Richard Williams. So far this season with SC Rasta Vechta he has scored in double figures eight times including a 30 point explosion against medi bayreuth where he connected on 12 of 14 shots. It will be interesting to see the further development of the 26 year old as the season progresses. As a rookie in Hannover, he was given the nickname the Canadian beast. When you see him on the court, he doesn´t look like a beast like big foot who has had numerous sightings around the corner on Vancouver island, but more like a mix between Take That singer Gary Barlow and Denver Broncos legend and two time Super Bowl winner John Elway. “They gave him the nickname Canadian beast because he was a killer in the Pro B. No one could stop him. He doesn’t like Canadian beast so we called him jake the snake”, smiled Richard Williams. The next time, you see Jacob Doerksen, forget the Canadian beast and call him jake the snake, because anyway, he won´t get any revenge with any beastly tasks, but slither around the court breaking your back hitting shots.