The Walter Tigers Tuebingen have been known in the past few years as being one of those Beko BBL teams that doesn´t have the biggest budgets, but still have the power to haul in talented and interesting players within their budget that offer themselves to better teams with strong seasons in the Swaben city. In the past years, players like AJ Moye, Michael Haynes, Branislav Ratkovica or Jermaine Anderson have used The Walter Tigers Tuebingen as a place to tone their skills while also enjoying some juicy meat at the OX US steakhouse after practice or games. Tigers head coach Igor Perovic came on board in 2009 and has done a fine job keeping the team in the middle pack of the standing and sometimes grazing on the boundry of the playoff places like a famished cow on the pasture always hungry for more while having talented players according to their budget. Perovic was responsible for bringing in somewhat established players like Romeo Travis, Michael Jenkins, Chris Oliver and Dane Watts who have all moved on to bigger and better things on the basketball map. Especially in the 2011-2012 season the Serb head coach must of heard that special song from a mocking bird that gave him the right inspiration of not only bringing in the right players, but super character guys with Josh Young from the PRO B, Vaughn Duggins and Tyrone Nash from the NCAA and Reggie Redding from Cyprus and all four players eclipsed expectations and didn´t follow the trend of past years and fleeing to snatch the bigger bucks somewhere else, but already got contract extensions during their rookie seasons. American boy Reggie Redding had his breakout season in Tuebingen after a stellar career at Villanova where he played with NBA player Dante Cunningham and Beko BBL players Dwayne Anderson and Corey Stokes. Before coming to Tuebingen, Redding played his rookie year in Cyprus for Intercollege Etha Engomis. He had a solid season in Cyprus helping the club win 2 titles, but there was no real guarantee that he would explode in the higher league Beko BBL. Finding that special player in the Cyprus league is about as difficult as predicting what kind of pass of Rajon Rondo will fill the highlight reel that evening, but Perovic made the perfect snatch in Redding. The American had little difficulty being a force in the German league averaging 13,2ppg, 5,8rpg and 3,3apg while shooting 50% from the field and 41% from downtown in his freshman season with the Tigers. He was awarded three eurobasket.com awards and sent Igor Perovic into summer vacation with a smile and being able to whisper the words “I told you so” to possible critics. Redding has been fighting his whole career with failed recognition, but doesn´t let it bother him. “I have been dealing with this all my life being under the radar. Many people don´t know how good I can be, but that doesn´t matter. I just try to do whatever it takes to help my team win. People not knowing this isn´t going to change the way I play. I think that I am a lot better shooter for what people give me credit for. Last season opponents really let me shoot. I worked on my shot last summer. I think that I can do many things great and not just one. This has helped me become the complete player that I am today”, stressed Philadelphia native Reggie Redding. In his second season in Tuebingen, Redding heightened his stats from last season and it wasnt only offense that did the talking on the court, but his defense. “He is one of the best defenders that I ever played with”, warned ex BBC Bayreuth American Corey Stokes. His teammates know what his worth was three seasons ago. “He was so valuable to us with his defense, passing and rebounding”, stressed Indiana native Vaughn Duggins. Against Frankfurt in 2011-2012, Redding had nine points and six rebounds in a loss in Tuebingen and then exploded in a win in Frankfurt with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. In his second season with Tuebingen, he improved his stats more as his responsibility grew playing 34 games averaging 14.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 81.1%. After two seasons in Tuebingen, it was time to say goodbye as he moved to 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin. He paid his dues with Tuebingen and last season won his first Beko BBL title the cup with Alba Berlin. Despite a much more talented and deep roster than in Tuebingen, the Philadelphia native held his own and led the team in scoring, was third in rebounds, first in assists and in steals despite having the best defensive player in the league with Clifford Hammonds, Redding easily showed that he is a complete team player. This season, it is the same story as Redding is at the top of numerous statistical categories for his team. The 26 year old 196cm swing man doesn´t seem to be in his prime yet and sky is the limit for the player. If he hadn´t hit the buzzer beater in cup play last season against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, then he would still be searching for his first Beko BBL title. Buzzer beaters continue to be on his menu as he connected for another this season against Malaga. In Euroleague play he has also been a central figure in their offense as he is second in teams scoring, rebounding and assists. His stock as a high profile American player in Europe keeps rising and rumor has it that he has a contract offer from top European team Maccabi Tel Avivi, but before he makes any choices about signing, he first wants to help Alba Berlin win another league title something the team has about as good chances as their last win in 2008 as they are the best team currently in the Beko BBL.
After finishing the regular season in the Beko BBL in fifth place two seasons ago, the 8 time German league champion finished in third place last season, but reached the Beko BBl final losing to FC Bayern Munich in four games. Despite having not won a league title since 2008, the club didn’t go home without hardware as they won the German cup the last two seasons and the only thing missing head coach Sasa Obradovic is getting that league title again something that has eluded them since the 2008 season.Their biggest wins in the regular season last season was sweeping FC Bayern Munich and beating Bamberg. Alba Berlin definitely had the talent to give FC Bayern Munich a good run for their money in the final, but it was the little things that cost them the series as well as a bit more experience. The obvious goal this season is too once again reach the final, but this time to make that extra step and bring the title back to Berlin. The club did a super job keeping continuity holding six players with Cliff Hammonds, Reggie Redding, Alex King, Leon Radosevic,,Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann and Vojdan Stojanovski. The club signed new players with Jamel Mclean, Niels Giffey, Jonathan Tabu,Marko Banic, and Alex Renfroe. The biggest strength of the team is knowing each other and bringing that winning spirit from last season from those that were there. The team has scoring power and have shown it so far this season averaging 90 points in the first 12 games and except for a minor power shortage against medi bayreuth with 68 points, they have scored over 80 points 11 times and 90 points six times. Obradovic has kept his trademark stamp on the aggressive defense as his team has only given up an average of 70 points per game. Even though Tabu hasn’t played a game due to injury, the club has done a fine job at the guard position with Hammonds and Vargas and the recent addition of Alex Renfroe has proven to be a gem. Jamel Mclean has proven to be that work horse bruiser inside with solid support from developing Wolfarth-Botterman inside as well as veterans Banic and Radosevic that make their inside game one of the best inside 4 tandem in the league. The club also has received a very solid rookie debut from Nils Giffey that is still getting used to the European style after 4 years in the fast paced NCAA, while captain Alex King as always does his job defending, rebounding, getting easy buckets and leading the team. Reggie Redding is the x factor and head coach Sasa Obradovic is the hidden second x factor with his style of hard nosed play, experience and knowledge and even if he can be very hard on his players, it surprisingly rubs off on his players in a positive way and not negative way.
When looking closer at the roster, Alba Berlin was able to hold on to seven players while adding six new players. Besides holding Reggie Redding, Alba Berlin held on to Clifford Hammonds who is a 29 year old 191cm point guard from Georgia that is playing his seventh professional season and in his sixth country. He played at Clemson(NCAA) and has played in countries like Turkey, Greece, France and Bosnia. He is an untypical lefty that likes to play physical and can drive to the hoop with the best of them and on eof the best guad defenders in the league. Two seasons ago he played for BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I): 14 games: 9.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 4.6apg, Steals-5(1.7spg), FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 76.2%; Adriatic League: 27 games: 10.3ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-4(3.9apg), Steals-5(1.6spg), FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 55.1%. Last season for Alba Berlin he played Eurocup: 20 games: 7.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 68.8%; German League: 46 games: 8.9ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 71.3%. The teal also held on to Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann who is a 24 year old 208cm center that is playing his second season for Alba Berlin. He started his career in the Bonn organization. He already played for Bonn as an 18 year old and is a player that gives much effort on each play and moves very well for his size and is a good rebounder and shot blocker. Last season for Bonn he played : 36 games: 5.4ppg, 3.6rpg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 60.9%, FT: 49.1%; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 7.4ppg, 5.4rpg, Blocks-1(1.6bpg), FGP: 57.1%, FT: 26.8%. The team kept Alex King who is a 29 year old 200cm forward from Munich, Germany that is the captain of the team. King started his basketball career in Frankfurt playing for The Deutsche Bank Skyliners from 2002-2008. In that span he won the German league title in 2004 and was a finalist in 2005 and played a total of 129 BBL games for Frankfurt. He played for the Telekom Baskets Bonn from 2008-20011 playing a total of 101 Beko BBL games. In 2010-2011 for Bonn he played EuroChallenge: 6 games: 2.5ppg, 4.0rpg; German League: 31 games: 4.9ppg, 2.3rpg. He played two seasons for Wurzburg and last season for Alba Berlin played Eurocup: 20 games: 3.8ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.1apg; German League: 46 games: 5.0ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.0apg His rebounding and first step are his best attributes in his game.
Leon Radosevic is a 24 year old 208cm power forward from Croatia that is playing his second season for Alba Berlin and has a good understanding for the game for his age and is flexible at both big man positions. He played many years for top Croatian team KK Cibona and has played 35 Euroleague games. Two seasons ago he played for Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL): VTB League: 11 games: 9.5ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 48.6%, FT: 63.5%; Euroleague: 10 games: 9.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 54.3%, FT: 71.0%; Lithuanian LKL: 5 games: 11.2ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.6spg, 1.0bpg, 2FGP: 56.4%, FT: 70.6%; VTB United League: 11 games: 9.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 2FGP: 48.6%, FT: 63.5%, in Jan.’13 moved to EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-SerieA): 18 games: 5.2ppg, 2.3rpg, FGP: 55.9%, FT: 77.8%. Last season for Alba Berlin he played Eurocup: 13 games: 12.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 54.2%, FT: 78.4%; German League: 35 games: 11.1ppg, 3.4rpg, FGP: 56.7%, FT: 68.6%. Akeem Vargas is a 24 year old 192cm guard that is playing his second season for Alba Berlin. There isn’t a more physical player than him at 192cm in the Beko BBL. He started his basketball career at the SG Urspringschule junior team. He played a season for Iowa Lakes CC (JUCO). He played for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen from 2010-2012, but never got a real chance to prove himself there playing a total of 22 Beko BBL games. Two seasons ago he took a step back and played for BG Goettingen (Germany-ProA, starting five): 33 games: 13.8ppg, 4.7rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 81.1%. His biggest strength is his defense and can penetrate well to the basket. Last season for Alba Berlin he played Eurocup: 20 games: 3.7ppg, 2.2rpg; German League: 45 games: 3.3ppg, 2.3rpg. The team also held Vojdan Stojanovski from Macedonia who is a 27 year old 194cm guard that is a great shooter, can defend the positions 1-3 and brings much intensity to the court. Two seasons ago he played for BC Donetsk (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): VTB League: 20 games: 9.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 84.4%; Ukrainian Superleague: 34 games: 10.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 85.4%; EuroCup: 6 games: 11.3ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 93.3%. Last season for Alba Berlin he played Eurocup: 20 games: 9.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 88.2%; German League: 45 games: 8.6ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT-3(91.5%).The team also kept Ismet Akpinar who is a 19 year old 192cm point guard that ahs all attributes of becoming a good point guard in the future has Turkisch roots. The U-18 German national team started his basketball career for BC Hamburg Tigers junior team. He played two seasons for SC Rist Wedel and two seasons ago for SC Rist Wedel (ProB) played 22 games: 6.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 37.8%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 87.5.Last season he played for ALBA Berlin (BBL): Eurocup: 1 game: 0pts; German League: 5 games: 2.0ppg, played also for ALBA Berling 2nd team (Regionalliga) playing 20 games: 17.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3Pts: 36.The etam brought in Jamel M0%, FT: 80.8%.
The team brought in Jamel Mclean who is a 26 year old 203cm forward/center from Hampton Virginia that is playing his first season with Alba Berlin. He started his basketball career at Tulsa(NCAA) and finished at Xavier in 2011 reaching an Elite 8 and Sweet 16. He played in Belgium and Italy before finishing the 2012-2013 in Bonn. Last season for the Telekom Baskets Bonn he played Eurocup: 10 games: 15.5ppg, 6.7rpg, FGP: 53.6%, FT: 77.3%; German League: 38 games: 13.2ppg, Reb-1(7.7rpg), 1.2apg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 21.1%, FT: 69.8%. His biggest strength is his touch for finishing around the hole and his athletic ability helps him as well as his back to the hoop. The club also signed 28 year old 190cm point guard Alex Renfroe who also played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg two seasons ago. He started his basketball career at Trevecca Nazarene (NAIA)and finished at Belmont in 2009. Since then he has created a fine resume in Europe having played in countries like Latvia, Croatia, Italy, Russia and Spain. Last season he played for Enisey Krasnoyarsk (Russia-PBL, starting five): VTB United League: 20 games: 13.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 6.6apg, Steals-5(1.7spg), FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 74.0%, in May’14 moved to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa): 4 games: 2.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.8apg. He has won titles in Germany, Italy and Croatia. The etam also brought in Niels Giffey who is a 23 year old swing man that can play the position 2-4. He started his basketball career in 2005 for Marzahn Basket Baeren (2.Regionalliga). He then played for Alba Berlin2 where his coach Henrik Rodl gave him the tip to go to the States and play college basketball. He played at Connecticut (NCAA) from 2010-2014 winning two NCAA titles and improving his scoring nd rebounding each season there and as a senior played 40 games averaging 8.4ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 54.0%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 72.7%.His shooting ability and drive from the wing stand out as well as his defense that shouldn’t be underestimated ever. The team also added Jonathan Tabu who is a 29 year old 189cm point guard that has the Belgium and Congo citizenship and played six seasons in Belgium before moving on to Italy for three seasons and last season in Spain. Last season he played for AI Zaragoza (Spain-Liga Endesa): Eurocup: 16 games: 8.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 51.0%, FT: 85.0%; Spanish League: 36 games: 7.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 83.3%. He also took part with the Belgium national team at the European Championships in Slovenia -13: 8 games: 9.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 44.8%, FT: 68.4%. His biggest strength is shooting shooting and shooting. The team also brought in Marko Banic who is a 30 year old 205cm forward from Croatia that is a typical, modern, soft-handed PF, who understands the game, moves well inside and can hit the basket from inside and outside. He started his basketball career in 2000 with KK Zadar where he played until 2005. He then made the jump to the best European league in Spain playing two seasons for Girona and six for Bilbao. Last season he played for Estudiantes Madrid (Spain-Liga Endesa): 33 games: 10.5ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP: 64.7%, FT: 73.0%. He also played a season in Russia. He played at three European championships, one world championship and the 2008 Olympics.
Since the climatic semi final win over Alba Berlin in 2005, where guys like Chris Williams and Tyrone Ellis led the then Opel Skyliners into the BBL final, Frankfurt has only a 10-19 record against the Albatros, but have built installed a special albatross cage in the Ballsporthalle which has rewarded them with a 5-3 record. One of the biggest and most emotional wins in the last years was the 81-67 trouncing in January 2006 as it was the debut of ex Skyliner coach Charles Barton. It was only a shame that the team was unable to take this big win and grow off it as they won little more that season and had to win on the last day at home against The EWE Baskets Oldenburg to stay in the BBL. Some nice wins in the last years was the 74-58 win in 2008 as American Derrick Allen added 19 points and six rebounds and in 2009, they won 73-66 as ex Skyliner Lorenzo Gordon chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds. In the 2009-2010 season, the two teams split the season series 1-1 as Alba Berlin held Frankfurt to 53 points in the Ballsporthalle and winning. Frankfurt returned to Berlin to win 76-70 as Derrick Allen led the team with 18 points. Frankfurt then surprisingly kicked out Alba Berlin in the playoffs 3-1 winning game four at home 69-58 as Derrick Allen had 26 points. In the first meeting in 2010-2011, Alba Berlin escaped the O-2 World arena with a 81-77 win. Frankfurt led for 36 minutes before Alba Berlin put on the turbo and went on a 8-2 run which sparked the win. Dashaun Wood led all players with 32 points and Derrick Allen chipped in with 17 points for Alba Berlin. Alba Berlin shot 57% from the field and 44% from the parking lot, but Frankfurt had control of the boards 31-21. In the second meeting in 2010-2011, Alba Berlin prevailed 79-70 as Dashaun Wood led Frankfurt with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and ex Skyliner Derrick Allen had 18 points. Frankfurt lost in the 2011 Beko BBL semi finals 3-2 . In 2011-2012 the Fraport Skyliners stunk out their Fraport arena with a 83-57 loss where Dashaun Wood led all scorers with 21 points and also lost a close game 70-66 in Berlin. Last season, The Fraport Skyliners were walloped in Berlin losing 91-65 as they had little chance. Frankfurt didn´t shoot so bad hitting over 40% from the field and outside, but were clobbered under the boards 36-22 and relinquished 19 turnovers. In the return meeting in Frankfurt, the Fraport Skyliners won an exciting 65-62 nail bitter as Quantez Robertson had 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, Ryan Brooks had 15 points and Zach Peacock had 14 points. Alba Berlin was led by Dashaun Wood with 24 points. In the first meeting this season, Alba Berlin prevailed 68-54. Alba Berlin was led by Leon Radosevic with 19 points and David Logan added 10 points. The Fraport Sklyiners were led by Danilo Barthel with 17 points and Konstantn Klein contributed 11 points. In their second meeting of last season, Alba Berlin was able to sweep the season series winning 67-59 as Alba Berlin was led by Levon Kendall and David Logan with 12 points a piece while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Konstantin Klein with 16 points. Alba Berlin hosts the Fraport Skyliners December 21st as Alba Berlin looks to remain unbeaten in the Beko BBL and Frankfurt looks for their eighth win in a row.