Sometimes the start to two new seasons can be like day and night and as different and as unexpected for many as the Boston red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALC as legend David Ortiz had to shed tears a few weeks earlier than he may have expected. For easyCredit BBL club s.Oliver Wurzburg and second year man Brendan Lane, they have experienced a tale of two totally different starts to the season. Last season Wurzburg returned back to the big dance from the pro A rattling off 4 straight wins against playoff teams like Ulm and Frankfurt and before anyone had really noticed were 7-1 and the little darlings of the league while Bavarian neighbor Brose Baskets Bamberg were wondering if they had to seriously need to pay any attention to this wizardry. The club finished last season grabbing the last playoff spot and being swept by Bamberg, but had gained the respect again of the league. This season´s start hasn´t been as kind to the club as instead of building on the success of last season, the club has quickly dug a hole for themselves starting 0-4. It definitely has helped the team that the BBL schedule pitted three playoff teams against them including the two top teams of Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich. At least second year man Brendan lane hasn´t take the nose dive in his play from last season as the team has as he has had a solid start, but the work horse hasn´t had the shot selection he had last season. Last season the California native played 37 games averaging 13.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 14.8%, FT: 73.6%. He was rewarded with Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Newcomers Team 2016. This season so far through four games the ex UCLA) center is averaging 11,8ppg, 3,8rpg and 1,8apg, but hasn´t had a game yet getting 10 or more shots. Last season he had 22 games where he had 10 or more opportunities to make buckets. The American who is as humble as a player can get credited his team for helping him adapt to the BBl. “The key for me has been my teammates. I’m playing with unselfish guys who are great passers and that helped me earlier in the year get easy baskets and gain that confidence that has helped me throughout the whole season”, stressed Brendan Lane. This season Lane should be able to have another strong season as with Jake Odum has one of the more underrated point guards in the BBL that understands the pick and roll and can stick the ball to a player in even the most congested traffic jams in the paint. He also has good clever players around him that can spread the floor and get him the ball in various moments. Last season he had success against two thirds of the big three with Bamberg and Fc Bayern Munich, but has unhappy memories against Alba Berlin and is hungry for then this season. “Those games were definitely frustrating for me. Two of the games I got in quick foul trouble and wasn’t able to play much and get a rhythm. I wish I could’ve stayed on the court more in those games to see what I could’ve done”, added Brendan Lane. The club hopes that the start of this season doesn´t resemble last season´s start of 7-1 with the numbers reversed of 1-7 as both Wurzburg and Brendan Lane want to avoid the sophomore blues. The club has the head coach with Doug Spradley who now is being tested, but he has the player personal that will get him back to winning ways and a center that wants to add on to his stellar play from last season with fine center play and just doing what it takes to win ball games now.
One of the big problems last season for the s.Oliver Wurzburg was their defense as they were never able to find consistency allowing 80 points or more 23 times in 37 games. So when you give up many points and meet up against a good defensive team, the club usually lost because they couldn´t put points on the board. Defense was something that head coach Doug Spradley stressed this season o improve, but so far the club is still looking to find their identity as in the first four games, they have allowed an average of 85 points which is 15th in the league while still finding their rhythm on offense averaging only 70 points on offense which is also 15th in the league. This and the tough start program have been the reasons for the dismal 0-4 start. When looking at the roster though one sees players on paper that seem to be stronger looking than last season. In terms of what the club got to help make up for the departed guys like Dru Joyce, Cameron Long and Seth Tuttle, one comes to the conclusion that this year´s team is an upgrade from last season. They picked up underrated point guard Jake Odum as well as veteran Kresimir Loncar, up and coming player Vladimir Mihailovic who paid his dues in Tuebingen as well as talented American Marshawn Powell who was a top player in Italy and ex NBA player James Southerland. All these talented newcomers coupled with keeping some chemistry intact by keeping Americans Brendan Lane, Lamont Ulmer and their string of Germans like Maxi Ugrai and Maurice Stuckey, Wurzburg is a talented team that shouldn´t be anywhere near the end of the easyCredit BBL standings. Wurzburg is a versatile team that will annoy teams like last season with their capable offense as well as their zeal to run and mix it up. Despite the slow start, as soon as Wurzburg find their rhythm at both ends of the court, they will be a team that will slowly move up the BBL standings ladder and a big winning streak is always possible as a team like ratiophjarm Ulm showed last season after having a similar rocky start and then winning 13 of 14 games and at the end of the season being the league finalist.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg held on to five players and besides keeping Brendan Lane also kept . Lamonte Ulmer who is a 30 year old 198cm forward from Hamden, Connecticut that is playing in his seventh professional season. He played at Rhode Island (NCAA) and has experience in the D-league, Luxemburg, Finland and Romania. Two seasons ago he played for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) 47 games: Score-5(17.5ppg), 8.8rpg, 1.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 79.4%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 20.2ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 80.0%. Like Long is offensively very strong and will be another one of the main offensive options as he can score in many different ways.Last season for Wurzburg he played 37 games: 12.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 44.1%, FT: 82.8%. The team also kept Maurice Stuckey who is a 26 year old 187cm guard that returned back to Wurzburg last season where he played from 2012-2014 and has seven years of BBL experience. Two seasons ago he played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg (BBL): 32 games: 5.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 82.1%; Eurocup: 7 games: 5.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 90.9%, 3PT: 23.5%, FT: 85.7%. His penetration and speed is something that will help Wurzburg every time he comes into the game from the bench.Last season for Wurzburg he played 31 games: 7.4ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 85.7%. The team also held on to Sebastian Betz who is a 31 year old 198cm forward that brings 10 years of BBL experience with six in Ulm, three in Wurzburg and one with Bamberg. Two seasons ago with Wurzburg he played 34 games: 8.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 42.0%, Last season he played 35 games: 4.0ppg, 1.1rpgFT: 71.8%. He is an energizer and can hurt you with his three point shooting at any time.The teal also kept . Maxi Ugrai who is a 21 year old 202cm forward that started his basketball career in 2009 with SCH Wuerzburg Baskets junior team and last season Last season he played 25 BBL games: 3.4ppg, 1.7rpg; and PRO B 19 games: 14.8ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 71.4%.
The team brought in six new players with their most important being point guard Jake Odum who has to run the show. Odum is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Terre Haute, Indiana playing his third professional season and second in Germany. The ex Indiana St. (NCAA) star as a rookie played for PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A) playing 33 games: 8.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 77.6%; Eurocup: 16 games: 7.0ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 83.8%. Last season he played for medi Bayreuth (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games: 14.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 5.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 80.2%. His stellar play and how well the team can execute under his command will have a big effect on where the team ends the season. He has the full package as a guard as scoring and dishing are his biggest attributes. Marshawn Powell is a 26 year old 201cm forward from Crozet, Virginia playing his fourth professional season. The ex Arkansas(NCAA) standout has experience in the Ukraine and Lithuania and made a name in Italy the last two seasons with De Longhi Treviso Basket 2012 (Italy-Serie A2) and last season played 42 games averaging 15.0ppg, 7.4rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 69.8%. He is a versatile forward that can fill the highlight clips with dunks of timely shooting. His athleticism will help spark the team at both ends of the floor. The team also added 33 year old 210cm forward Krescimir Loncar who has the Croatian/German citizenship. He is playing his 17th professional season and played his first two seasons as a professional in Germany with DJK S.Oliver Wurzburg (Germany) from 2000-2002. He played eight seasons in Russia, two in Italy and also played in the Ukraine and Spain. He has won 7 professional titles including the VTB and Eurocup as well as played at the 2008 Olympic games, 2009 European championships and 2010 World Championships.He also has played 200 international club games including 69 Euroleague games. His physicality and rugged play inside is his trademark, but he can also drop the three when open.
The team also added Vladimir Mihailovic who is a 26 year old 193cm guard form Montenegro playing his third season in Germany. After playing three seasons for KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica, he came to Germany two seasons ago and made his break through with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-BBL) last season playing 30 games: 13.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 71.6%. He is a scrappy guard that can do severe damage getting to the rim as well as sparking the transition with his quick reflexes that lead to steals. He will be one of the players that will carry the team this season. The team also picked up James Southerland who is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Bayside, New York that is playing his fourth professional season. He brings 5 NBA games experience with Charlotte and New Orleans. The ex Syracuse(NCAA) standout played in the D-league, Euzroleague with Limoges and last season played with : Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A) playing 14 games: 5.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 2FGP: 46.4%, 3FGP: 27.1%, FT: 87.5%, left in Jan.’16, later that month moved to Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) playing 15 games: 13.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 80.6%. The team also picked up 24 year old 193cm guard Charles Barton. His dad coached the Frankfurt Skyliners 10 years ago. Barton started his career at Sanda Basket (Basketettan) in 2008 and then played three years at Oregon State(NCAA) where he played 93 NCAA games. He then returned back home to Sweden and played for the Sundsvall Dragons (Basketligan) where he played 34 games: Score-4(18.0ppg), 2.1rpg, Assists-3(5.9apg), FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 80.6%. He will come from the bench and can penetrate, find his teammates or hit the three.
Last season both clubs split exciting close games as Wurzburg stole one in Frankfurt winning 77-75 as Dru Joyce led the winners with 17 points and nine dimes while Brendan lane added 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Aaron Doornekamp with 18 points. In the return game, Frankfurt squeezed out a narrow 91-87 victory on the road as they were led by Jordan Theodore with 24 points. Wurzburg was led by Brendan Lane with 23 points. The Fraport Skyliners come to Wurzburg today on the heels of a two game losing streak having lost to ratiopharm Ulm and getting creamed in their first Champions Legaue game in Monaco. They did bolster their front court with experienced Ekene Ibekwe who compensates the losses of Niklas Kiel and Daniel Mayr. Frankfurt still needs patience with new point guard Kwame Vaughn to learn all the plays. Frankfurt´s biggest problems is getting points on the board and taking care of the ball two issues that will need to be done better in Wurzburg. The s.Oliver Wurzburg come into the game riding their first win of the season against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Wurzburg gave up an average of 85 points in the first four games and are a bit suspect in that department that could come in handy for the Frankfurt team. Both teams have had special kinds of grin out games in the past in Wurzburg and this could be another one if both teams decide to defend at a high level.