In the last years, 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen had the special privilege of not only having a gifted point guard in Khalid El Amin who was still motoring the team to big wins and spicing up his stat line at age 36 proving that first impressions about his body stature didn´t mean that he wasn´t able of perform as well as the other top point guards in the BBL, but teammates surely also got their fair share dose of interesting NBA stories from back in the day where the 178cm American had his share of duty in 2000-2001. With El-Amin not back for a third tour of duty with BG Goettingen, the club had to react and find a suitable replacement and did with Jessie Sanders as he has taken on the challenge and has had to live up to the legacy that El-Amin has left in Goettingen. Sanders is a 27 year old 190cm point guard that is a big bodied point guard, technically sound, who has great court vision and has the mentality of a floor general. He may not have the spice and NBA stories of an El-Amin, but he brings a certain sweetness to the BG Goettingen game and if needed can scrape out a spec of NBA information if needed if asked and be able to give a brief history lesson about his home Sugar land and why it is called that as it was founded as a sugar plantation in the early mid-20th century and incorporated in 1959 and Sugar Land is home to the headquarters of Imperial Sugar, and the company’s main sugar refinary. A person may be able to get away mentally from texting for just a second when Sanders mentions that a Tracy Mcgrady or Robert Horry came from his town, but then again when he mentions the name Hakeem Olajuwon, a person may even shut off their phone and listen intensely with sparkle in their eyes, the same way a person would sway in interest when a person shouts barracuda to shark on a full beach on Long Island on the fourth of July weekend. “I was a huge fan of them growing up! I work out at Lifetime Fitness in Sugar Land and from time to time Hakeem will be in there. We got him to play 3 on 3 with us last summer and he was still killing it”, stressed Jessie Sanders. Sanders played his college ball at Liberty (NCAA) and was the third best assist maker in the NCAA in 2012 averaging 8,0 and is playing his fifth professional season. He brought a lot of experience to BG Goettingen having played in Italy, Australia, and Belgium before coming to Germany last season to play for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He came to Goettingen with a big chip on his shoulder as his season was cut short in Tuebingen as injury limited him to 16 games where he averaged 5.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.6apg. This season the American who lists Steve Nash as his all-time favorite player and always watched how he pushed the ball in transition and created in the lane has adapted well to the BG Goettingen system and has run the team well as it is in some way still finding it´s rhythm, but he is averaging 9,1ppg, 2,5rpg and 5,1apg. He played a big part in the big 74-71 win against Lidwigsburg powering home 16 points, but has been in a little of a rut in the last weeks as he has coughed up the ball 12 times in the last three games perhaps over forcing a bit at times, but his playmaking has stilll been solid as he is averaging 5,0apg and still having good shot selection as he is shooting 60% from the field in this span. With the arrival of experienced Alex Ruoff, BG Goettingen who is a great all around player back as well as extra talented creator who is averaging 6,7apg. Ruoff is definitely a player that not only will spice up the BG Goettingen offense, but a player that Sanders will feed off nicely and who Ruoff will make better with his keen basketball IQ. This is a breakout season for Sanders and so far he has been producing nicely and once the team chemistry continues to gel, Sanders might just reach his first post season and have to delay the visit back to Sugar Land next summer to see if Olajuwon is still unbeatable on the court at age of 53.
The last two seasons definitely weren´t boring as fans experienced highs and lows with BG Goettingen as two years ago they nearly made the playoffs while last year almost found themselves back in the Pro A. Last season the club never found a sound rhythm on the court as the club had players coming and going especially at the point guard position. The club showed shades of good play on both ends of the court, but overall never got on the same page on the defensive end as they gave up 80 points or more 26 times. Some highlights were back to back wins against Bayreuth and Crailsheim averaging 93 points made and 62 points given up, but on most nights got hammered all around the board. This season the club had a reduced budget, but did a fine job reeling in sound talent for the resources they had in their budget. They also have a nice mix of young and old and the recent signing of Alex Ruoff was huge as he could be that missing piece that will get the team over the hump for consistent success. Head coach Johan Roijakkers had explained that the club would play wild basketball this season, play quick and just be unpredicitable. He kept a solid core of Germans with Mathis Monnighof, Malte Schwarz and Domink Spohr while adding veterans like Adam Waleskowski, Benas Veikalis and Jessie Sanders while giving young players like Darius Carter and Leon Williams a chance. The biggest surprise and bright spot has been Scott Eatherton who has had no problem adjusting to the strong BBL level and currently belongs to the top centers in the league. The club also wanted to improve their defensive game this season and are defending better than last season allowing 82 points on average while averaging 76 points on offense. A surprise has been that the club is fourth in assists at 19,3 and that average has been pushed up through the arrival of Alex Ruoff, but also helped through the playmaking of Sanders and Veikalis. The club started off strong beating Phoenix Hagen and playoff team Ludwigsburg, but then suffered a five game losing streak having the misfortune of playing the three Big B´s losing to top teams Bamberg. Munich and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, but played Alba Berlin tough losing only by four points. Recently they are riding a two game winning streak having defeated Bremerhaven and Braunschweig. The club have the depth to survive another BBL season if they don´t suffer unnecessary injuries.
The club held on to three Germans and added seven new players. The club held on to Dominik Spohr who is a 27 year old 198cm forward with rich Beko BBL experience. The German is a fighter that can always hurt you with his shot and one should never foul him in a tight game at the end as he rarely misses from the free throw line. He started his basketball career at BG Hagen. He played for Phoenix Hagen from 2007-2012 playing a total of 64 Beko BBL games. The following season he moved to Giessen where he played 29 games: 5.6ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 75.6%. Last season for BG Goettingen he played 32 games: 5.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 44.3%, FT: 80.0%. The club also held Mathis Monnighof who is a 24 year old 200cm swing man that played 52 NCAA games with Gonzaga between 2010-2012. He started his basketball career with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen in 2007. He played 95 BBL games with TBB Trier from 2012-2015 and improved his scoring and rebounding average each season with TBB Trier and is a great free throw shooter. His sharp shooting can never be underestimated and last season for BG Goettingen he played 34 games: 6.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 89.4%. The team also held on to Malte Schwarz who brings three point power from the bench and is a 27 year old 188cm guard that has 6 years of Beko BBL experience with two with Phoenix Hagen and three with MBC: Last season with BG Goettingen he played 31 games 3.7ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.6apgHe defends very well and has developed well into a consistent passer which he improved with MBC the last four years.
The team added 7 new players and besides Jessie Sanders added Alex Ruoff who is a 30 year old 198cm forward from Spring Hill, Florida playing his eighth professional season. The ex W.Virginia (NCAA) American who has 4 years experience in Belgium and a year in the D-league returned back to BG Goettingen where he played form 2013-2015 . Last season he played for Dominion Bilbao Basket (Spain-Liga Endesa): 32 games: 6.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 90.5%; Eurocup: 16 games: 9.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 76.0%. He started the season with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL) playing 5 games: 11.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.2apg, 2FGP: 64.7%, 3FGP: 43.8%, FT: 81.3%. He is a totally unselfish player that brings the complete game back to Goettingen. The team brought back Adam Waleskowski who played with BG Goettingen back in 2010-2011. He is a 33 year old 203cm forward from Kettering, Ohio that has the German citizenship and is in his 12th professional season. He played the last three seasons in Ludwigsburg reaching three straight playoffs and last season averaged 6.6ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 55.3%, 3PT: 31.2%, FT: 73.3%; Eurocup: 16 games: 3.9ppg, 1.7rpg. He also brings experience having played in France Slovakia and Cyprus. He is a very versatile offensive player that excels at the inside/out game and bangs inside if needed. Benas Veilakis is a 33 year old 192cm guard playing his fifth season in Germany after 4 years with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He also played in Lithuania and two years in the Czech republic. Last season he palyed with Scandone Avellino (Italy-Serie A): 39 games: 6.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 88.2%. His big strength is his shooting as he can hurt any team on any night, but he is also a magnificent passer. He shot 40% or better from outside each season with Bonn.
The biggest surprise has been American Scott Eatherton who is a 23 year old 203cm forward/center from Hershey, Pennsylvania playing his second professional season. As a rookie he played for Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2, starting five): 35 games: 12.4ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.2apg, Blocks-4(1.5bpg), FGP: 62.3%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 64.1%. He played his college ball at St Francis and finished at Northeastern (NCAA) and as a senior played 35 games: 14.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 62.6%, 3PT: 25.8%, FT: 69.4%. He has good athleticism and is a fine finisher, but will also step out to nail the 20 footer. He has scored in double figures in all nine games and has become a defensive presence. The team also added Darius Carter who is a 24 year old 201cm forward playing his second professional season and last season as a rookie the ex Wichita State(NCAA) player played for B.C. Vita Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague, starting five): VTB League: 7 games: 16.7ppg, 7.3rpg, FGP: 46.0%, FT: 65.8%; VTB United League: 7 games: 16.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 2FGP: 46.0%, FT: 65.8%, in Nov.’15 moved to A.G.O Rethymno Aegean (Greece-A1, starting five): 22 games: 10.8ppg, 4.0rpg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 63.1%. He shine with his play above the rim and is a solid rebounder. The etam also added 25 year old 191cm point guard Leon Williams from Holland. Last season the Dutch national player played for SPM Shoeters Den Bosch (Eredivisie, starting five): 35 games: 10.3ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 29.1%, FT: 65.1%, 2.3rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 42.9%; FIBA Europe Cup: 6 games: 7.5ppg. He is a point guard that is quick and can finish and distribute well.
Last season BG Goettingen were swept in the season series by the Fraport Skyliners. Frankfurt creamed BG Goettingen at home 100-65 and 84-71 on the road where Jordan Theodore steered home 28 points and 10 assists and David Godbold stroked home 31 points. The Fraport Skyliners come into the game against BG Goettingen with a two game winning streak in the Champions League with wins in Slovenia and at home against CEZ Nymburk, but in a rut in BBL play having a 4 game losing streak. They won only once on the road this season in Berlin, but lost in Bonn and Wurzburg. Their biggest weakness is execution and consistency on offense whereas their defense has been solid at 73 points allowed per game. BG Goettingen ride into the game with a two game winning streak and since the arrival of Alex Ruoff have stepped up their game. The Fraport Skyliners will be looking to get something going on offense and finding a way to come to terms with BG Goettingen´s unorthodox style while BG Goettingen need to be solid on defense and find a strategy to crack their aggressive defense on Sunday.