With One Piece Of Hardware Under His Belt Will Clyburn and ratiopharm Ulm Are Looking for More Titles This Season

Chipmunks sleep an average of 15 hours a day so when they are awake it might take them a while to get going and be active with foraging for food on the ground or searching for nuts in trees. Just how long Will Clyburn sleeps daily is unknown, but if he were capable to sleep for 15 hours that would be quite an achievement, but the only similarity that one could see between the American from Detroit, Michigan and a chipmunk is the shade of brown on his hair which he sported in Ulm at the 2015 Beko BBL allstar game. Clyburn must have had enough sleep the night before and possibly the chipmunk brown look was his good luck charm as he had a strong showing at the slam dunk contest winning the title with some amazing dunks. The American is a 24 year old 201cm forward playing his second season in Ulm. If he keeps up his current pace then he will follow Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel and win this seasons most improved player award. Last season Clyburn played Eurocup: 18 games: 8.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 23.8%, FT: 78.6%; German League: 38 games: 8.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 75.0%. This season he has improved everywhere. In Eurchallenge play he averaged 12,2ppg, 6,5rpg and 1,3apg while in the Beko BBL he is currently averaging 14,5ppg, 7,6rpg and 1,5apg. Currently he is fourth in rebounding and has glowed with his consistency as he has scored in double figures in 14 of 17 games and had a 28 point outburst against Ludwigsburg. For Clyburn this radical improvement is just another step in his development and a normal occurrence. “I think a big reason for my good play is that I have adapted to the European style. I think that if you don´t get better as a player than you aren´t doing your job. I have been lucky that I am surrounded by many guys that can play and coach gives me the freedom to play my game”, stressed Will Clyburn. Clyburn played three seasons at Iowa State with Melvin Ejim who is a rookie with Virtus Acea Roma this season and also isn´t surprised with the rapid rise of his former teammate. “The thing that impressed me the most about will was his unselfishness, at ISU he was on a team with great players and was our best scorer but was always willing to get others involved while still being so productive. I think often times we see great scorers and players like will but not all are unselfish and willing to do whatever it takes to win. His quick progress can only be attributed to his work ethic and drive to be better. I think Will has the ability, talenter and work ethic to play in any level, wither the top leagues in Europe or the NBA, he is a great talent but even better person and the sky is the limit for him”, stressed Melvin Ejim. Last summer Clyburn played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Los Angeles Clippers): 5 games: 3.6ppg, 1.6rpg, FGP: 27.6%, 3PT: 18.2%. The American has big goals for this season and got a lot of experience from the NBA Summer League. “I have heard that I can be a great defender and defend many positions. I will stick with it and get even better. My main goal as a player is just to win. I want that we all stick together and just help my team anyway that I can”, added Will Clyburn. This weekend Clyburn will be able to match up with top defender Quantez Robertson of the Fraport Skyliners and it will be a challenge. “I have played a couple of times against him. He has a great motor and might be the fastest player form one end of the court to the other. He is kind of a pest that we will have to be ready for”, warned Will Clyburn. Ejim will never forget their battles in practice at Iowa State. “Will is just a bit taller than me but often times we matched up against each other and those were always fun battles, he is a great player and competitor so we always went at each other with 100%. I think those battles with him made me a better player and prepared me to have a great season. We all know will is a great athlete and he’s able to do it on both sides of the court. I think that makes him such a dynamic player and so fun for many to watch”, added Melvin Ejim. The whole Beko BBL will have to be ready for Will Clyburn and ratiopharm Ulm in the second half of the season as they have a quest for making strides in the cup and playoffs.

 

Who would have thought that ratiopharm Ulm head coach Thorsten Leibenath would have such a successful rookie campaign where he led the team to second in the standings during the regular season and made the final? With the success there in Ulm, it seems like having achievement is becoming an expected thing. So perhaps with demands getting higher, pressure did succumb a bit the last two seasons as the team finished third in the standings in 2013 and reached the semi finals in the playoffs and last season dropped to sixth in the standings and lost in the first round. Besides reaching the Cup final, the club had reason to be overjoyed by reaching the quarterfinals of the Eurocup. Scoring continues to be their biggest strength as they scored over 80 points in 22 games last season. Their defense continues to be suspect, but they did improve it last season in the second half as they gave up 80 points or more in only four games in the second half while they did it 10 times in the first half. If one looks at the team this season, it is clear to see that it is deeper and more experienced, but like last season where they had strong individual players, it wasn´t enough to go deeper in the playoffs. When looking at the roster, the club will play a quick style and with the exception of ex NBA player Tim Ohlbrecht have very mobile big men that will give Ulm a very interesting inside out game. The club held guys like Per Guenther who skipped the German national team this summer to get fit and shooters Adam Hess, the Ulm version of Quantez Robertson with Will Clyburn and Mr energy Philipp Schwethelm. Ratiopharm Ulm may have lost their most effective player last season with Daniel Theis, but Leibenath did an excellent job filling up the back court with Tim Ohlbrecht, NBA Draft pick Maarten Leunen and Mr sturdy Boris Savovic who they swiped from FC Bayern Munich. This back court could compete with teams like FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin. CJ Harris came from Ludwigsburg and will be responsible for shooting out the lights while Jaka Klobacur will give the team needed versatility at the 1-3 positions and take his 2014 World championships experience in Spain with him. The x-factor could be Tommy Mason-Griffin who hasn´t played the last two seasons. Ratiopharm ulm always believed in him and let him work his way back even if he had some road blocks along the way. He was definatly missed the last two seasons and could be a huge impact player off the bench. It is never easy to predict where a team will end up before the start of a new campaign, but ratiopharm Ulm isn´t only a huge favorite to make the playoffs, but to be a top four team. They kept very experienced team players and brought in a very good mix. Leibenath is coaching his fourth season in Ulm as coach and his expereince has been growing as fast as grass behind the old Kuhberg gym. Currently ratiopharm Ulm is resting in fifth place with a record of 11-6. There best stretch this season was a four game winning streak and have won two of their last three games. Despite the solid mid season record, Ulm has been unable to beat any of the top 3 teams losing to Alba Berlin by 20 points, Brose baskets Bamberg by 27 points and FC Bayern Munich by seven points. Keeping points down continues to be a problem for ratiopharm Ulm as they have given up 80 plus points in 13 of their 17 Beko BBL games. The Fraport Skyliners enter the second half of the season playing sound basketball having won eight of their last eight games. The club continues to get more healthy as Kevin Bright is back and at the start of the week, the club extended the contract of Mikko Koivisto until the end of February 2015.

Ratiopharm Ulm meet the Fraport Skyliners this weekend and 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 as head coach. 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. Two seasons ago 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.Last season Frankfurt swept the season series winning the classic triple OT game in Ulm 108-102. Frankfurt was led by Andrew Rautins with 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Danilo Barthel chipped in with 18 points. Edgar Sosa led ratiopharm Ulm with 21 points while Adam Hess had 16 points. Frankfurt also won at home 71-67 as Ramon Galloway led Frankfurt while ratiopharm Ulm was led by Cameron Long with 18 points while Per Guenther contributed 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners lost the first meeting against ratiopharm Ulm in Frankfurt 77-70. Ulm was led by Philipp Schwethelm with 22 points while Tim Ohlbrechta dded 17 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Danilo Barthel with 13 points and Richard Williams had 12 points.

 

Taking a closer look at the roster, ratiopharm Ulm held on to four players. The most important player they held on to was Mr Ulm per Guenther who is playing his seventh season in Ulm. Per Guenther is a 26 year old 185cm point guard that was born in Giessen and grew up in Hagen. 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%. Last season for Ulm he played Eurocup: 17 games: 8.3ppg, 3.2apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 83.9%; German League: 38 games: 11.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 84.0%. The club also held Wil Clyburn who is a 23 year old 201cm forward from Detroit, Michigan. He is a Beko BBL second year man and played 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. Last season for Ulm he played Eurocup: 18 games: 8.5ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 23.8%, FT: 78.6%; German League: 38 games: 8.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 75.0%. This past summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Los Angeles Clippers): 5 games: 3.6ppg, 1.6rpg, FGP: 27.6%, 3PT: 18.2% Adam Hess started his third tour of duty for the Artland Dragons three seasons ago, and moved to Phoenix Hagen two years ago. 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 33 year old 201cm forward from Michigan that is playing his second 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%. Two seasons ago for Phoenix Hagen he played for 37 games: 11.3ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 40.1%, FT: 84.3%. Last season for Ulm he played Eurocup: 18 games: 6.4ppg, 3.1rpg, FGP: 62.5%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 71.4%; German League: 35 games: 5.4ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 75.7%. The team also held %. Phillip Schwethelm who is a 25 year old 201cm forward that is playing his third 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  Eurocup: 16 games: 7.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 49.2%, FT: 87.5%; German League: 34 games: 6.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 37.8%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 75.7%. Good news is also that after two seasons recuperating from injuries, Tommy Mason-Griffin is finally back. Mason Griffin is a 23 year old 180cm point guard that played one season at Oklahoma (NCAA, starting five): 31 games: 14.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 5apg, FGP: 39.8%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 81.3%. After a short D-league gig as a rookie in 2010-2011 at Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League) he came to Ulm. He has only played one complete season with Ulm in 2011-2012 playing 37 games: 7.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 80.6%.

Ratiopharm Ulm brought in seven players including a very potent front court with Tim Ohlbrecht maarten Leunen and Boris Savovic. Ohlbrecht is only a 26 year old 210cm power forward/center that is going into his 12th professional season. He started his basketball career in 2003 with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen where he played until 2006. He then made the next step to Bamberg playing there until 2009, but never making the breakthrough. He then took a step backwards playing for the Telekom Baskets Bonn until 2011. He then played for the Fraport Skyliners form 2011-2012. The last two seasons saw him clawing his way through the D-league with teams like Rio Grande and Ft Wayne, but he did play 3 NBA games for the Houston Rockets. Last season he played for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 32 games: 12.4ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 25.6%, FT: 78.0%, in Mar.’14 signed at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League): 19 games: 9.9ppg, 6.4rpg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 82.5%. This past summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Detroit Pistons): 4 games: 4.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 0.3apg, FGP: 87.5%, FT: 55.6% and in Las Vegas (Denver Nuggets): 3 games: 0.7ppg, 2.3rpg. He has German national team experience having played at the 2009 and 2011 European championship and World championships in 2010. His biggest experience was playing at the Olympics in 2008. The club also hauled in Maarten Leunen who is a 29 year old 206cm forward from Redmond Oregon that is playing his 7th professional season. He played at Oregon(NCAA) from 2004-2008 and as a senior played 32 games: 15.2ppg, 9.2rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 55.9%, 3Pts: 49.2%, FT: 78.9%. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets (NBA,2rd(54) in 2008. AS a rookie he played in Turkeyand the last five seasons played in Italy for Cantu and last season played 33 games: 7.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 81.4%; Eurocup: 16 games: 9.4ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 65.9%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 88.9%
This past summer he played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Houston Rockets): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 36.4%, 3PT: 40%, FT: 80%. He also played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Houston Rockets) Finalist: 8 games: 3.9ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 37%, 3PT: 37.5%. New player Boris Savovic is a 27 year old 206cm power forward from Serbia that is playing his second year in Germany. Last season he played for FC Bayern Muenchen (Germany-BBL): Euroleague: 21 games: 4.7ppg, 3.2rpg; German League: 35 games: 7.2ppg, 4.0rpg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 76.6%. Savovic is a player that plays with energy and good effectiveness at the 4 position. Can grab lots of rebounds and spend some time even at the 5 position. He played seven seasons at KK Hemofarm Stada Vrsac. CJ Harris is a 24 year old 191 point guard from Winston-Salem, North Carolina that played at Wake Forest. He is like a basketball version of Neil Patrick Harris who was known as Being Tv´s Doogie Howser who had a genius intellect and was the youngest licensed doctor in the country at age 14 that couldn´t buy beer, but prescribe drugs. Harris may not be the total equivalent of what TV doctor Harris was as a doctor, but so far as a rookie, he has had a very strong season where at times his genius play on the court is superior to other players of his age. He has scored in double figures 20 times and had a stretch at the start of the season where he scored 20 or more points in three straight games against Frankfurt, Oldenburg and Ulm. Who could forget his 26 point shooting clinic in Frankfurt where he took over the second half like ex Skyliner Dashaun Wood in his former Frankfurt days and without his production his team wouldn´t have won. He has been in a little slump as of late, but those are always meant to be broken with hard work. His development as a rookie is credited to John Patrick. “I have learned that you have to play tough every night whether your playing the best or worst team in the league. Every team will come at you and you have to be ready. He takes no game for granted and he preaches good preparation for each game”, stressed CJ Harris. The American also has the praise of teammate Grant. “Harris has been our unsung hero player. He is shooting over 50% and just does his job each day”,added Keaton Grant last season. Last season for Ludwigsburg he played 36 games: 10.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.7%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 83.6%. Jaka Klobacur is a 27 year old 198cm swingman form Slovenia that is playing his 12th season and first in Germany. He played for Krka Novo Mesto (Telemach League) the last three years and last season played Slovenian Telemach League: 19 games: 11.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.4apg, Steals-1(2.3spg), FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 75.8%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 11.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.5apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 78.3%. He won 6 titles in Slovenia and has vast experience with the national team playing at the 2007, 2009 and 2011 European championships and at the 2010 and 2014 World Championships. This past summer he played World Cup in Spain -14: 7 games: 5.3ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 69.2%. The team also brought in Isaiah Philmore who is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Fallston, Maryland that is a rookie. He played at Townson(NCAA) from 2009-2011 and then transfered to Xavier where he played from 2012-2014. AS a senior he played 33 games: 9.3ppg, 5.0rpg, FGP: 56.1%, FT: 70.6%. The club also added youth with David Kramer from Austria and Soren Fritze who played at Phoenix Hagen.

 

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