Bane Ratkovica(Walter Tigers Tuebingen) Quietly Remains One Of Top Point Guards In The BBL

Walter Tigers Tuebingen head coach Igor Perovic has had that special right instinct for getting young players from the NCAA the last years as well as the right mix of players for his rosters the same way as Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp has been able to shape successful teams the last years especially this season with lesser known star players. Perovic brought in guys like Vaughn Duggins or Tyrone Nash the last years who have become better players in Tuebingen and moved on in their careers, but at the point guard position, he has had his up and downs the last years landing some good experienced players while other times not having as much luck. From 2009-2011, he had Serb Branislav Rathkovica who led the Beko BBL in assists both seasons and two years ago had Louis Campbell who was vital in the team sniffing near the playoff area. Two seasons ago, he had NCAA rookie Dale Davis who had to pack his bags early and newcomer Cameron Wells who did a solid job, but one can´t always expect much from a player coming late to a team. Last season combo guards Jonathan Wallace and Josh Young shared the point guard position who were solid, but more scores than guys dishing out assists as if they were on a silver platter and the club has started off slow and had issues on offense not having that needed consistent playmaking and losing needlessly to teams like TBB Trier and SC Rasta Vechta. So if a top point guard like Branislav Ratkovica is on the market why not reel him in like a lonely salmon in a lake on a leisurely Sunday fishing trip. Perovic gobbled up the free Ratkovica back again last season who is in his best basketball age at 28 and right in his first game helped the Tigers to a big road win in Braunschweig. Before returning back to Tuebingen last season, the Serb had a nomadic season as he had his suitcase in constant service starting the 2012-2013 season with Aliaga Petkim (Turkey-TBL) playing 3 games: 5.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 6.0apg, 1.0spg; EuroChallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 13.0ppg, 2.0rpg, Assists-2(6.0apg), Steals-4(2.5spg). He then moved to Olin Edirne Basketball (Turkey-TBL) playing 13 games: 5.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.9apg, 2FGP: 48.4%, 3FGP: 28.1%, FT: 80.0%, in Feb.’13 signed at Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (Germany-BBL, starting five): 11 games: 7.5ppg, 1.3rpg, 4.6apg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.7%. Ratkovica played three seasons in Tuebingen from 2008-2011 and two with Perovic and one senses that the harmony is still there between both. “He knows a lot about basketball, he is patient and reasonable, which has positive effects on the team. I think it has already been shown how much Tuebingen appreciates him. Our cooperation is great. We have complete confidence in each other, which means a lot to me as a point guard”, stressed Branislav Rathkovica. Last season for Tuebingen the Serb played 27 games averaging 8.8ppg, 2.1rpg, Assists-4(5.4apg), FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 73.4%. Once again he was one of the top playmakers in the Beko BBL despite playing for a weak team. Ratkovica has gotten used to being on struggling Tiger teams, but still is able to make the most out of his situation. He has done a superb job in the playmaking and the club definitely can put points on the board, but just have defended as if they were on a Sunday walk along the Neckar river instead of focusing on their opponent on the court. With one game left in the regular season, Ratkovica leads the BBL in assists once again with 7,2 and is close to his best assist rate ever in the BBL with 7,4 which he had in the 2010-2011. Even if Tuebingen didn´t have the greatest season, Tuebingen fans can look at it in two ways. Without Ratkovica the club may have been worse off and missed staying in the league, and just having him on the team is an attraction because he is a spectacular player and just his passing is worth the price of admission and worth making an extra mark in the calendar to see if you live far away and want to make the drive into any arena in Germany to see him wheel and deal.

Since Serb Igor Perovic took over at the helm of the Walter TIgers Tuebingen in 2010, he achieved two 11 place finishes and two 12 place finishes and in the 2012-2013 had his best finish at 10 and was even flirting with the possibly of making the Beko BBL playoffs. However last season was his worst season since he took over and it started mediocre and got worse and worse and the pressure on management to get rid of him was so high, but manager Robert Wintermantel had the right feeling and held on to the seemingly laid back coach and the Serb paid his dues keeping the Tigers in the Beko BBL as they finished a very disappointing 16th place as they had to win their last game of the season. They started last season losing five of their first six games which right away put them into the cellar. They then beat Braunschweig, but then right away fell back into their losing ways losing five games in a row. They then beat Phoenix Hagen with their own weapons, but then lost six games in a row. They then beat the weak s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and then lost five games in a row. The season was winding down and the club was in danger of moving down to the Pro A, but the club buckled down in the last six weeks winning six of their last nine games which was enough to survive another season and give the club a new chance this season to show their talent with the best in the Beko BBL. In this nine game span, Tuebingen had big wins against Frankfurt stopping them on the last play in their living room, the Artland Dragons, Bremerhaven, Braunschweig and Phoenix Hagen. In the last six games where they went 4-2, they demonstrated what they are capable on offense averaging 94 points per game and showing that they could have been the scoring twin of Phoenix Hagen from the south. A big problem last season for the Walter TIgers Tuebingen was their injury misfortune something that their next opponent Fraport Skyliners could give a seminar on as seven Walter TIgers Tuebingen players missed a combined total of 37 games. Other problems that Tuebingen had to deal with was a thin bench which with injuries was squashed even smaller, the inability of a young German player other than Bogdan Radosavljevic to make their breakthrough, the unexpected loss to Johannes Lischka due to health who was expected to have played a big role last season and their transition game being neglected.

The budget of the Walter TIgers Tuebingen is very limited each season and it is always interesting to see what gems Igor Perovic can sweep off their feet and bring to Tuebingen. In the past he has brought little known players like Reggie Redding or Vaughn Duggins who have moved on to bigger and greater things in European basketball. This season, Perovic held on to six players and brought in four new players including a fifth new one recently. The two most important players that Perovic could hold was point guard Bane Ratkovica who is a 29 year old 192cm point guard and is slowly is becoming a Tiger legend as he is playing his fifth season in Tuebingen and was twice the best BBL assist man as a Tiger in 2010 and 2011 and last season played 27 games averaging 8.8ppg, 2.1rpg, Assists-4(5.4apg), FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 73.4% and American Jonathan Wallace who is a 28 year old 187cm guard could be the teams leading scorer and is planned to be their leader. Wallace played at Georgetown with future NBA player Roy Hibbert and last season for Tuebingen played 27 games averaging 14.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT-2(95.5%). The club also was able to hold on to Anatoly Kashirov who is a 27 year old 215cm center playing his third season in Tuebingen and will be the anchor under the boards and be that presence inside that the club will so much need. Last season he started the season for BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL): Baltic League: 3 games: 3.3ppg, 2.0rpg; EuroChallenge: 3 games: 4.7ppg, 1.0rpg; : 3 games: 3.3ppg, 2.0rpg, in Nov.’13 moved to Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-BBL): 17 games: 9.8ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 50.8%, FT: 71.2%. The team also kept up and coming Bogdan Radosavljevic who is a 21 year old 213cm center that already had a promising last season and the question will be if he can make the next step. He already showed last season that he can take on responsibility as he had a big game in Frankfurt. Last season he played 34 games averaging 7.7ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.7%Perovic will be awaiting even more from him this season. The team also kept Aleksandar Nadjfeji who seems not to age at all as at the age of 38 he is currently one of the main offensive options. Even if he is unexpected to do big things on the court, anything extra is very much appreciated. His biggest asset is his experience and verbal association to the young players. His experience is priceless having won titles in Cologne and Berlin. After three seasons in Munich where he had no real role last season in Tuebingen he played 17 games averaging 9.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 23.5%, FT: 52.9%. The team also held onto Julian Albus who is a 22 year old 193cm German that hasn´t been able to make the breakthrough yet. If that happens this season depends on how much trust Perovic will have in him and how the Tigers are playing. Last season he played 18 games averaging 2.3ppg.

Tuebingen hauled in two rookies with Augustine Rubit is a 25 year old 201cm forward from Houston who like so many other rookies in the last years will have to prove if Perovic had the right touch in bringing him in with his play on the court. Rubit is projected to be the Tyrone Nash replacement and should do havoc inside. He played at S.Alabama and as a senior played S.Alabama (NCAA) 31 games averaging 17.0ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 66.7%. Nick Wiggins is a 22 year old 198cm forward who is the brother of NBA rookie Andrew Wiggins and is expected to use his unending athletic ability and help the team on offense and not be remembered later as being the unknown brother of an NBA shooting star. He played at Wichita St. (NCAA) reaching the NCAA Final 4 and as a senior played 36 games averaging 5.1ppg, 2.3rpg, FGP: 36.0%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 58.7%. Michael Cuffee who is a 31 year old 195cm forward comes from the MItteldeutscher BC where last season he played 25 games averaging 13.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.9%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 86.0% and knows the BBL. He is an unbelievable rebounder and will give extra stability on the boards. He is playing his 10th professional season and his experience of having played in 8 countries will help the kids. If he can get his shot to fall will give an extra push from the perimeter. Til Joscha Joenke is a 22 year old 190cm point guard was brought in to give Ratkovica a rest and has had experience with ratiopharm Ulm is the BBL and Eurocup. He can haul down 10 rebounds a game if lucky and Perovic should make Kashirov run extra laps if the young German has more rebounds than him. Last season the German played for Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL) playing Eurocup 5 games: 1.8ppg, 1.0rpg; German League: 11 games: 3.1ppg, played also at Weissenhorn Youngstars (ProB, starting five): 25 games: Score-4(21.8ppg), 5.2rpg, 4.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 22.8%, FT: 78.8%. Recently the team brought in Vladimir Mihailovic who is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Montenegro to give stability at the guard position. He won three cups in his country played at the 2011 European championships in Lithuania and played the last three seasons for KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica (Erste Liga) and last season played 10 games: 12.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 62.8%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 69.2%; Adriatic League: 25 games: 6.9ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 48.0% Tuebingen is a team that is run by Ratkovica and likes to play fast basketball with more athletic players than last season, but also can play superb half court basketball. Tuebingen got off to a slow start as they had a 2-7 record going into the first game against Frankfurt this season in Frankfurt and have only defeated Braunschweig and Crailsheim. They then had a good spurt beating Ludwigsburg, Bremerhaven and TBB Trier. Especially in the game against Ludwigsburg and Bremerhaven they showed that they could be a crunch time team winning the games combined by only six points. A big problem has been consistency and defense. They also had misfortune giving some easy games away and losing tight games against TBB Trier 79-76 and a shoot out against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen 115-112. They have given up 80 or more points 22 times this season. Their biggest success was sweeping Ludwigsburg and defeating Oldenburg. A positive note going into the Frankfurt game is a two game winning streak having beaten the Mitteldeutscher BC and Bremerhaven and having held them combined to an average of 61 points. The pick up of ex Fraport Skyliner Jimmy Mckinney late in the first half of the season who balled 6 years in Frankfurt and the last two in Wurzburg has been vital as he has sparked the team at times and been a big reason they won some games. It will also be the third year where the 31 year old St Louis native will have played against his ex team. The Fraport Skyliners go into the game reeling off a disappointing Eurochallenge weekend in Turkey where they lost both games. Now all they have to play for is the playoffs. They want to close out the regular season with a bang and with a win in Tuebingen and Ulm loss in Bonn could finish fifth and then have a Rhine river series with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. The Fraport Skyliners won the first meeting against Tuebingen this season 79-63 and were led by Quantez Robertson with 20 points while Mikko Koivisto had 14 points. Tuebingen was led by Bogdan Radosavljevic with 20 points and Bane Ratkovica steered home 18 points and eight assists. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen meet the Fraport Skyliners April 30th.

Since the 2005-2005 season, the Frankfurt Skyliners have a record of 12-5. After losing the season series in 2005-2006, the Frankfurt Skyliners had some glorious years winning seven games in a row. In the 2007-2008 season, Frankfurt won both games as Derrick Allen totally dominated both games scoring 27 and 21 points. Even in the third game in a row the next season, Allen was top scorer with 22 points. Who could forget the 25 point effort of Keith Simmons in 2009 in a 72-59 victory. In the 2010-2011 season, the Frankfurt Skyliners swept the season series as 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood had 34 and 22 points to lead all scorers. In the first meeting of the season in 2011-2012, the Tigers lost to the Fraport Skyliners 73-66 in a game that was on the line in crunch time and a game they could of won. Duggins brought the Tigers to 66-69 with 1.13 to play, but a Jon Leuer bucket and Justin Gray free throws sealed the win for Frankfurt. In the return game in Frankfurt, Tuebingen got revenge winning 96-89 as Reggie Redding led all scorers with 25 points. In the first meeting in the 2012-2013 season, The Walter Tigers Tuebingen played an all around solid game defeating Frankfurt 87-75 and had six players in double figures as Kenny Frease had 18 points, Vaughn Duggins chipped in with 17 points and Reggie Redding and Tyrone Nash contributed 12 points each. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zach Peacock with 18 points and Ted Scott with 13 points. In the return match in Frankfurt, The Fraport Skyliners took apart Tuebingen 92-78 as Frankfurt was led by Dawan sweet Philli Robinson with 21 points, while Zach Peacock steered 20 points and Ryan Brooks 19 points to the victory. Tuebingen was led by Vaughn Duggins with 15 points and Kenny Frease with 13 points. Last season both clubs split the season series winning on the road. In Tuebingen, the Fraport Skyliners won 76-67 and were led by ex NBA player Andrew Rautins with 17 points while Danilo Barthel scored 13 points. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were led by Alexsandar Nadfjeji with 18 points and Bogdan Radosavljevic had 12 points. In the return game Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert surely had nightmares of the 71-70 crunch time loss where Frankfurt could have won the game on the last play, but coughed up the ball. Tuebingen was led by Jonathan Wallace with 22 points while Bogdan Radosavljevic chipped in with 17 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 17 points and Johannes Voigtmann added 14 points.

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