For some guys reaching the big show goes faster than for others as former Xavier(NCAA) players Jordan Crawford and Derrick Brown experienced as they reached the NBA right out of school. Crawford played for years in the NBA with teams like Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizzards, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors before moving to China this season racking in the big bucks while Derrick Brown played three seasons for the Charlotte Bobcats before moving to Russia last season balling for Lokomotiv Kuban. For a guy like Jamel Mclean of Xavier(NCAA) like his former teammate Kenny Frease, their resumes haven´t had any NBA teams listed, but instead they have made a steady progress in Europe. Mclean is a 26 year old 203cm forward/center from Brooklyn that is playing his fourth professional season. At Xavier, he played three seasons after playing as a freshman at Tulsa(NCAA) and had solid stats reaching an NCAA Sweet 16 in 201 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 10.6ppg, 8.4rpg, FGP: 53.9%, FT: 61.2%. In 2011-2012 he started his professional basketball career and made the trek over the pond and played for Stella Artois Leuven Bears (Belgium-D1) playing 36 games averaging 9.3ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 18.2%, FT: 62.8%. In his second season he started the season with Telenet Oostende (Belgium-Ethias League) and in January 2013 moved to the Telekom Baskets Bonn playing 21 games averaging 13.7ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 59.3%, FT: 65.9%, 6.6rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 58.6%, FT: 69.6%. In his second season in Bonn he continued to develop while having to play center playing Eurocup playing 10 games averaging 15.5ppg, 6.7rpg, FGP: 53.6%, FT: 77.3%. In the German League the American played 38 games averaging 13.2ppg, Reb-1(7.7rpg), 1.2apg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 21.1%, FT: 69.8%. In these one an dhalf seasons, Mclean made a huge jump in his play and 8 time Beko BBL club Alba Berlin recognized his potential and talent and hauled him in for this season. In Bonn, Mclean was able to progress further under the guidance of then head coach Michael Koch. “My Bonn time was great for my development. My first coach Michael Koch just let me play my game which really built my confidence. Last year I had to be an undersized five man and this really gave me strength to expand my game. Playing center at the Eurocup level also helped develop my game, because it showed that I could play against centers in the Eurocup”, stressed Jamel Mclean. This season with Alba Berlin he is the teams leading scorer and rebounder in BBL and Euroleague play. In the BBL he has scored in double figures in 16 games including a 33 point 12 rebound explosion against Phoenix Hagen. He has been just as spectacular in Euroleague play having scored in double figures in 12 of 15 games and showing that consistency could be his middle name. His play has brought along extra attention again from top teams in Europe and ever since his buzzer beater win in preseason in Berlin against the San Antonio Spurs, he is on the list of NBA scouts as well. Getting that invitation to the NBA Summer League could happen this summer. “It would be nice if a team would invite me next season. I believe that I have shown people that I can play at a high level and the NBA is where everybody wants to play at”, warned Jamel Mclean. Even if the NBA doesn´t happen, he will always be able to tell his grand children about the shot. “Beating The San Antonio Spurs was the best game that I have ever played in my career. This is my #1 best game just because of the significance and the amazing atmosphere that was on the court”, warned Jamel Mclean.
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 missed many months because of 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. Since the win against the Fraport Skyliners shortly before Christmas, Alba Berlin has a 4-1 record. After losing by 29 points to Bamberg, Alba Berlin has found back to their solid play scoring 90 plus points in three of the next four games and have defended better.
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 10-20 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. In the first meeting this season shortly before Christmas, Alba Berlin prevailed 85-79 despite a courageous effort by the Fraport Skyliners. Alba Berlin was led by Clifford Hammonds with 18 points, Marko Banic added 16 points and Alex King scored 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Justin Cobbs with 19 points, Sean Armand added 18 points and Quantez Robertson contributed 17 points. The Fraport Skyliners host Alba Berlin February eighth.