Edgar Sosa would have had some interesting memories to converse at the Christmas dinner table while munching on some traditional Dominican Republic food like roasted Pork with Russian salad and for desert some biscuits and cakes and to wash it down with some tasty Red wine talking about the first few months of his new German basketball experience with ratiopharm Ulm like the big Beko BBL wins against Wurzburg with one point, squashing Bamberg 72-59 or the big Eurocup wins against Asvel, Paris and Valencia, but no story would have been as exciting or as bitter as his recollection of the three OT loss 108-102 against the Fraport Skyliners shortly before Christmas. This was a game that went back and fourth where Sosa steered 21 points including some timely three pointers in 31 minutes. He was outdone by the top game of ex NBA player Andrew Rautins that finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Quite a lot to experience in the his first few months in Germany for the 26 year old 190cm guard from Rice, New York. “The 3 OT loss ranks with my best games ever played no matter at what level. The game went back and forth, the atmosphere was great and there were constantly big shots being made. I will remember most how we came back a few times down by four points to send the game into another OT despite being very tired”, stressed ex Louisville guard Edgar Sosa. After playing in countries like Italy, Spain and Puerto Rico, Sosa has adapted well to the German Beko BBL especially the small town of Ulm. “. Ulm is great and I have no complaints. The coach is great, the system is great and since I am a homebody type of guy, Ulm is perfect and I have been having a great time”, added Sosa. Sosa has come into his own despite playing for a team deep on talent with guys like Per Guenther, Cameron Long, Matt Howard or Adam Hess who can score 20 plus points on any night. Sosa has fit in perfect to the Ulm system and has scored in double figures in the Beko BBL 12 times and nine times in the Euro cup competition. Especially in the Eurocup competition, he has shined like his massive 24 point effort in 25 minutes against Cantu where he dropped seven three pointers. He knows that he is known as a scorer, but wants everyone to know that he is a point guard for a reason and is content with his role. “My main role with Ulm is too come off the bench and spark the team with energy. I like to always play aggressive and get to the cup and make big shots. The great thing about this team is that we don´t have one superstar, but many great players that are unselfish. At the end of the day we all want to win and it doesn´t matter who scores. Everybody sees that I can score, but a hidden strength is that I am a good pick and role player. That is where I can create and am able to make the right decisions”, stressed Edgar Sosa. Sosa learned his special trade of basketball at Louisville(NCAA) under legendary coach Rick Pitino and is thankful that he can be integrated into any team or country quickly. “Rick Pitino was amazing. He is the type of coach that is able to make players be able to play well in any system in any country. He taught me to play basketball the correct way. He made me into a better player”, stated Edgar Sosa. Sosa may not be the best point guard in the Beko BBL, but he isn´t far from the top five point guards and never wastes a moment to get better seeing what his competitors are doing on the court. “It is always beneficial to watch good guards like a Jared Jordan. I like how he passes the ball and try to play the game the way he sees it. I have a lot of respect for him. He is a great player”, added Edgar Sosa. Ratiopharm Ulm will be in the playoffs this season and Sosa might just get his chance to help lead his team past a team like Bamberg and see where he stands against a Jordan in a five game series.
Thorsten Leibenath came to Ulm in 2011 with a reputation as a head coach that hadn´t been able to get the job done in Giessen or the Artland Dragons, but Ulm manager Thomas Stoll must of knew something because he gave the German the trust and since his arrival in Ulm, the club has been as successful as ever finishing in second and third place and reaching the Beko BBL playoffs each season. Last season the club finished with a 24-10 record and easily disposed of the Artland Dragons sweeping them in the quarterfinals and then taking 2009 Beko BBL champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg to five games that with some positive bounces here and there could of pulled out the series victory and reached their second final in a row. The question is can the club continue their high level of play in season three of the Leibenath regime? The team did a big house cleaning and the biggest loss was having to say farewell to two time Beko BBL MVP John Bryant. This season the club has a good mix of athletic players coupled with big men that have the ability to shine in the set play as well get easy points on the fast break. Their biggest strength is their offense arsenal, rebounding versatility and bench and are deep at every position. Ratiopharm Ulm is a team that proved last season that they can withstand the pressure of their excellent freshman year and equal it in their second season under Leibenath. It will be interesting to see how the team will be motivated each weekend after playing Eurocup a few days before.
Ratiopharm Ulm kept important players Per Guenther, Keaton Nankivil, Daniel Theis and loaned player Philipp Schwethelm from FC Bayern Munich. Per Guentehr is a . Per Guenther is a 25 year old 185cm point guard that was born in Giessen and grew up in Hagen and is playing his sixth season with ratiopharm Ulm. He has very good speed and can dribble with both his hands he is very good in shooting from the arc and he has very good organizational skills, he watches the court with one glance and can assist his team-mates on a blind method pretending that he will shoot. He has an inborn charisma of a leader from a young age so he leads his team without having any problem. He played for BBV Hagen from 2003-2006 and with Phoenix Hagen from 2006-2008. In his last season in Hagen, he raised eyebrows with his play playing 29 games: 14.5ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.4apg, 2FGP: 55.8%, 3FGP: 35.7%, FT: 80.1%. He has improved his play each season as in 2009-2010 he played 34 games: 6.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 80.3%. Last season, he became into a real scoring option, but still keeping his playmaking qualities in front of him. He got into three games at the World Championships in Turkey in 2010. In 2010-2011 the German national player played 34 games: 12.4ppg, 1.2rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 84.2%. In 2011-2012, he played 41 games: 10.5ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 83.1%. Last season he played 39 games: 11.7ppg, 1.4rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 44.5%, 3PT: 49.4%, FT: 86.4%; EuroCup: 13 games: 8.8ppg, 1.2rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT-1(56.5%), FT: 76.9%. Keaton Nakivil is a 24 year old 203cm forward from Madison Wisconsin that is playing his third season with ratiopharm Ulm. At Wisconsin he played together with ex Skyliner Jon Leuer and played a total of 107 NCAA games. In his senior year, he played 34 games: 9.7ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 45.7%, FT: 83.8%. He reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2008 and 2011. “Keaton “The Anvil” Nankivil is going to play a big role in Ulm’s success this season. He is a rookie but has been picking up on the European game quickly. He is a team player with high basketball IQ and is automatic from 3pt land. He might drop an anvil on somebody’s head in transition this year if they are not careful”, stressed teammate Dane Watts. In 2011-2012, he played 42 games: 8.1ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 78.6%. Last season he played 29 games: 8.1ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 82.6%; EuroCup: 14 games: 8.4ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 92.3%. Phillip Schwethelm is a 24 year old 201cm forward that is playing his second season in Ulm being loaned from FC Bayern Munich. He started his basketball career with Cologne in 2004, where he played until 2009. He played Euroleague at the age of 17. He helped Cologne win the Beko BBL title in 2006. He played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven from 2009-2011 and in 2010-2011played 36 games: 10.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 72.9%. He has been a member of the German national team since 2010.In 2011-2012 for FC Bayern Munich he played EuroCup: 6 games: 1.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg; German League: 30 games: 3.2ppg, 2.2rpg. This past summer, he played Qualifications to European Championships 2013 – 7 games: 4.1ppg, 2.7rpg.Last season for Ulm he played EuroCup14 games: 7.2ppg and in the Beko BBL 41 games: 7.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 78.9%, 3.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP-2(72.0%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 81.0%. German Daniel Theis is a 21 year old 203cm power forward. He started his basketball career in 2009 for the Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB). He already played a game for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig in the 2010-2011 season as he had a double license. In 2011-2012 he played : 21 games for the Phantoms: 3.4ppg, 1.9rpg; played also at Spot Up Medien Baskets Braunschweig (ProB): 25 games: 18.4ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-1(2.2bpg), FGP: 61.4%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 72.4%. Last season for Ulm he played 40 games: 6.3ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 75.3%; EuroCup: 14 games: 5.4ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 12.5%, FT: 75.9%, also played at Weissenhorn Youngstars (ProB): 7 games: 17.0ppg, 10.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 60.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 70.0%. The team also have double license players Til Joscha Johnke, Kay Gausa and Jonathan Maier.
Ratiopharm Ulm brought in six new players and all are Americans. Cameron Long is a 24 year old 193 cm guard from Palm Bay, Florida that is playing his third professional season. He played at George Washington with guys like Folarian Campbell and Jay Threat who have played in Germany. Long is a player that is a defensive ace and is very potent at the one on one and can hit from outside. Last season he played for Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA): 33 games: 11.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 75.9%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 3 games: 11.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 66.7%: EuroCup: 6 games: 9.2ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 44.4%. Edgar Sosa is a 25 year old 190cm guard from the Dominican Republic. He is a very promising combo guard, with an immense upside. Has yet the court vision and the passing skills of a proven PG, scores a lot of points and can defend well. He played at Louisville from 2006-2010 and reaching the Elite 8 in 2008. At Louisville he played with current NBA player Earl Clark and former NBA player Derrick Carachter and Terrence Williams. As a rookie he had a very strong season with Angelico Biella (Italy-SerieA) 30 games: 14.1ppg, 1.4rpg, Assists-3(4.5apg), 2.3spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 66.7%. Last season he played in Puerto Rico with Cangrejeros de Santurce playing 31 games: 7.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 36.0%. Trent Plaisted is a 27 year old 211cm center from San Antonio, Texas that is supposed to fill the role left vacant by John Bryant. The American played at BYU(NCAA) from 2004-2008. In 2008 he was drafted by Seattle Supersonics (NBA,2rd(46). He has a lot of experience in Europe having played in countries like Italy, Croatia, Lithuvania, Ukraine and France. He has been in the NBA training camps of the 76ers and Clippers. Last season he played for Limoges CSP Elite (France-ProA): 18 games: 8.3ppg, 5.6rpg, FGP: 56.0%, FT: 51.3%. He is a team player that is physical and likes to bang in the low post. Matt Howard is a 24 year old 203cm American from Indiana that can play forward and center. He is a two time nCAA finalist with Butler. As a rookie he played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1): Greek League: 6 games: 4.0ppg, 1.5rpg; Euroleague: 2 games: 1.0ppg, left in Jan.’12, in Feb.’12 moved to EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL): 13 games: 12.1ppg, 5.8rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 60.3%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 83.3%. Last season he played for Chorale de Roanne Basket (France-ProA,) 32 games: 9.0ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 76.8%. He doesn’ t fear any opponent and knows how to score inside and to grab rebounds. Wil Clyburn is a 23 year old 201cm forward from Detroit, Michigan. He is a Beko BBL rookie playing at Utah(NCAA) and as a senior at Iowa St. (NCAA, starting five): 35 games: 14.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 76.8%. He possesses very much athletic ability, can shoot and rebound abd be the Ulm version of Quantez Robertson with dunks. Adam Hess started his third tour of duty for the Artland Dragons two seasons ago, but last season moved to Phoenix Hagen. The trend the last years has always shown that Hess can´t stay away for more than two years from Artland as He played the first time with the Dragons in 2006 and the second time in 2008 and the third in 2011-2012. Hess is a 32 year old 201cm forward from Michigan that is playing his first season in Ulm. He is a quick forward with not so great athletic skills, but very effective at the scoring department. He’s a tough player, however, and knows how to battle inside for a rebound and he defends well and has a great attitude. He played at William & Mary and also has gained experience playing in Italy, Czech Republic, France and Spain. In the Czech republic he won the league title twice with Nymburk and the Czech Rep. League All-Star Game -05 (3-Points Shootount Winner) in 2006. In 20092010, he played for C.B. Tarragona 2016 (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 34 games: 14.8ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 45.4%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 88.1%. He had much success in the Czech Republic winning the league title in 2005 and 2006 and showing his shooting ability winning the 2005 Allstar game three point shooting contest. In 2011-2012 for the Artland Dragons he played EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 3.0ppg, 1.5rpg; EuroChallenge: 11 games: 10.2ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 51.3%, FT: 84.6%; German League: 39 games: 6.2ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 86.5%. last season for Phoenix Hagen he played for 37 games: 11.3ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 84.3%.
Since ratiopharm Ulm entered the Beko BBL in 2006, the Frankfurt Skyliners have a positive record against them. They won in overtime 87-83 in 2007 with Murat Didin. The Eric Chadfield buzzer beater will for some reason always be stuck in the minds of people, which had an eerie similarity to the buzzer beater of Justin Gray against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg two seasons ago. In 2008-2009, Frankfurt lost 74-69, but got a strong game from ex Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon who scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. In the first meeting in 2009-2010, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners dominated the game and put on a scoring display led by 23 points by Seth Doliboa as the club prevailed 95-82.Frankfurt shot an astronomical 57% from the field and easily won the rebounding fight 34-25. Ratiopharm Ulm did a great job only having seven turnovers. In the return game in, ratiopharm Ulm lost 84-77 as Skyliner American Seth Doliboa had another monster game pouring home 18 points and 15 rebounds. In 2010-2011, Frankfurt lost a 87-82 nail bitter in the Kuhberg arena, but returned home to win 74-67 as Dashaun Wood poured in 17 points and 12 assists. In the first meeting of 2011-2012 the Fraport Skyliners lost a winnable game 81-75 in the old Kuhberg Halle where Dane Watts made the two big buckets at the end showing NBA player Jon Leuer that guys from Missouri can play basketball. Ratiopharm Ulm had five guys in double figures, shot better and rebounded better. Frankfurt was led by Justin Gray with 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners got revenge in the return game in Frankfurt winning 77-64 in their strong second half of the season. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Michael Thompson with 16 points while Jacob Burtschi had 15 points. In the first meeting last season, the Fraport Skyliners pulled off a massive upset in their living room winning 78-62 as they were able to control the game and play a solid effort for 40 minutes. Frankfurt was led by Zach peacock with 18 points and American Devin Gibson played his best game of the season producing 17 points and dishing out six assists. Ratiopharm Ulm won the rebounding duel, but the Frankfurt defense was at their best forcing Ulm to cough up the ball 23 times. In the return game, the Fraport Skyliners made their debut in the new ratiopharm arena that fits 6000 people and lost a tight game 74-66. Ratiopharm ulm was led by John Bryant with 19 points and 12 rebounds and Per Guenther added 18 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Dawan Robinson with 21 points while Ryan Brooks added 12 points and Zach Peacock 10 points. This season the Fraport Skyliners celebrated one of their most spectacular wins in their history winning the classic three OT game in Ulm shortly before Christmas 108-102. Frankfurt was led by Andrew Rautins with 24 points. Jarred Dubois added 19 points and Danilo Barthel 18 points. Ratiopharm Ulm was led by Edgar Sosa with 21 points. Adam Hess chipped in with 16 points and Daniel Theiss with 15 points.
It took ratiopharm Ulm some time finding an identity on defense as they have had some very good defensive performances against Bremerhaven giving up 47 points, 62 points against the Artland Dragons, 66 points against the Mitteldeutscher BC and 55 points against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, but then again had some lousy defensive games against Ludwigsburg 99 points, 102 points against Alba Berlin and have given up 80 points or more six times before Christmas. However their defense has vastly improved in the last month as they have averaged giving up 73 points in the last five games and been rewarded with a five game winning streak. That ratiopharm Ulm can score is no secret as they have put up 80 points or more 16 times already this season. The Fraport Skyliners come into the Ulm game on Sunday after upsetting FC Bayern Munich and want to keep the upsets coming and Dane Watts is looking forward to playing his ex team. “Ulm is a great offensive team and we have to play defense the way we did against FC Bayern Munich. We can´t let them get easy baskets and need to control Per Guenther, because if we don´t than he will control the pace”, warned Dane Watts. “We will have to be ready. They are a great team that is very team orientated. They don´t have just one stud. We want to get the win for Dane Watts”, added Jacob Burtschi.