There were many interesting stories in and around the 2017 Gezeiten Cup as the weekend tournament brought together EasyCredit BBL teams Telekom Baskets Bonn and the s.Oliver Wurzburg as well as Pro A team RheinStars Cologne and home team Dragons Rhondorf. Wurzburg head coach Dirk Bauerman finally made it to the Gezeitencup as a year ago, the s.Oliver Baskets weren´t in his plans yet as he was the head coach of the Iranian national team, but shortly before the start of the cup dropped out. Another big story was the DiLeo brothers in the house with Bonn guard TJ and RheinStars Cologne guard Max, but they never found their way to the court for a confrontation as Wurzburg defeated his Cologne team missing the final while TJ reached the final with Bonn ousting the Dragons Rhondorf. The only conversation they might have had was who would visit whom first in their respective cities or where their favorite spots to hang out are along the beautiful Rhein river. However the most endearing story was that of Andrej Mangold who a few months ago wasn´t sure where his basketball future would be heading after sustaining a nasty ACL in his left knee at the start of the 2016-2017 season with BG Goettingen. He needed all last season to rehabilitate it and this past summer was signed by the s.Oliver Wurzburg as Dirk Bauermann took a chance on him. Mangold had to pay his dues as he toiled around in the Regionaliga, Pro B and Pro A with teams like Oldenburg, Munich and Hannover and didn´t reach the BBL until 2010 with the Artland Dragons. However his most prosperous time in the BBL came with the Telekom Baskets Bonn where he played 5 seasons playing 172 BBL games, 20 Eurocup games and 26 Eurochallenge games. His last game in a Bonn uniform came on May 1st in a season ending 95-93 loss against Braunschweig where he steered 4 points. After a little more than 16 months later he met his former team again with no former teammates left on the team and even if he was opponents had a fond memory of his times in Bonn playing with guys then like Jared Jordan and Tony Gaffney and helping serve up those tasty alley-oops to the American Gaffney who had that special distinction of being on the Celtics and Lakers rosters, but never having played an NBA game. In the final of the 2017 Gezeiten Cup the Telekom Baskets Bonn clashed against the s.Oliver Wurzburg and it wasn´t Mangold who was the story who scored two points in 8,28 minutes, but his teammate Abdul Gaddy who took control on two plays using precision and instincts sealing the win for the Bavarian team 71-67. “Coach Bauermann told us before the game that it would be a dog fight. We knew that Bonn would be aggressive and we wanted to be the aggressor. We did a good job staying composed when they turned up the heat. Gaddy kept us ahead in the down stretch with big plays”, stressed ex Illinois(NCAA) player DJ Richardson. After the win a tame TJ DiLeo was doing his post-game stretching and had had a special weekend seeing his brother again even if the basketball god didn´t see fit that both play each other in the final. The ex Temple(NCAA) guard was positive with the result even if his team did suffer the loss. “This was a hard-fought final with two good teams. Both teams scouted each other well and it was a shame it got a bit choppy at the end. I am happy the way we looked despite missing some plyers. We need to be more disciplined rebounding even when we were without Julian Gamble. Every player position 1-5 needs to rebound”, stated TJ DiLeo.
s.Oliver Wurzburg found their rhythm first getting out quickly on a 9-4 lead as they got some timely and hot shooting off the bat from Gaddy and sniper Maurice Stuckey while also getting a lay in from Lithuanian Osvaldas Olisevicius who played with all the Lithuanian national youth teams.
The game atmosphere felt like a regular season EasyCredit BBL game as both teams were scrappy and played defense as if it was a deciding game in the playoffs. Both teams took it play by play on defense as finding a good shot for both teams was difficult. Bonn German Martin Breunig who had spectacular senior year stats of 18/9 at Montana(NCAA) was the only consistent offensive spark plug as team leader Julian Gamble was out and Josh Mayo was fighting to find his touch. Breunig unraveled his old school hook shot in the Bonn rally cutting the Wurzburg lead to 11-9. However s.Oliver Wurzburg closed out the first quarter in style showing their versatility from the bench as 28 year old late shooting star German Felix Hoffman who made the jump from the Pro B to the BBL hit a trey and made an offensive rebound and put back for the 17-14 Wurzburg lead after 10 minutes. “Both teams were playing at a high intensity with Bonn showing a small lineup and both Breunig and Kratzer played well in the paint”, stated Telekom Baskets Bonn press secretary Joerg Baehren. S.Oliver Wurzburg was shooting 46% from the field and 38% from outside while the Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 36% from the field and 17% from outside. Wurzburg had the overwhelming 12-6 rebound edge, but four turnovers while Bonn had three turnovers.
In the second quarter the first five minutes was quite even as there were four lead changes, but in the last minutes s.Oliver Wurzburg was able to drift away as they hurt the Telekom Baskets Bonn with their pick and roll play and outside shooting. Ex Fraport Skyliner Konstantin Klein who missed most of last season nailed a three pointer to dead lock the contest at 17-17. The expectations are high for Klein as according to teammate Julian Gamble he isn´t the old Klein, but the new and improved. After Richardson nailed a three, Bonn got some instant offensive boost from Yorman Polas Bartolo who paid his dues in Germany in Munich, Crailsheim and Giessen before reaching the BBL in 2015 scored on transition and Klein hit another outside shot to give Bonn it´s first lead of the game at 22-20. After another Polas bucket, Wurzburg retained the lead as Olisevicius scored and Gaddy nailed another trey for the 28-24 lead. Josh Mayo who has always had solid seasons as a professional no matter where he played leading the Latvian league in assists one year or shooting 51% from outside in Turkey felt the need to take over and got active getting to the line twice and scoring in traffic to cut the Wurzburg lead to 33-30. In the last two minutes Wurzburg did a good job getting the ball to open players as Olisevicius scored again and Richardson connected on a trey extending the Wurzburg advantage to 39-30 at the break. “Bonn was experimenting a lot with small lineups and Wurzburg continued to rebound very well. Wurzburg continued to read the defense well find their open shooters and make shots”, added Telekom Baskets Bonn press secretary Joerg Baehren. S.Oliver Wurzburg was shooting 46% from the field and 41% from the three point line while the Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 36% from the field and 23% from the three point line. Wurzburg retained the 22-13 rebound edge, but had seven turnovers while Bonn had four turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to chip away at the s.Oliver Wurzburg lead, but just couldn´t regain the lead back. The two big men Breunig and Kratzer were the story in the first few minutes as both scored twice and were carrying their respective teams, but Bonn couldn´t inch closer as they still trailed 45-36 despite getting more production in the paint as also another big man Alexander Moeller connected on a 20 footer. Breunig continued to be successful inside getting another lay in, but Bonn just had major difficulty defending the perimeter as Richardson unlaunched another bomb keeping Wurzburg way ahead at 48-38. However the Telekom Baskets Bonn that got some extra aggressive play from Polas and Klein who led their team to 7 unanswered points bringing Bonn back within three points. Polas knocked down a trey while Klein got his own offensive rebound and then somehow made a seemingly impossible turn around trey from the corner that saw nothing but net. “Polas is the best defender I have ever seen. He may be 32 years old, but plays like he is 25 years old”, warned North Carolina native Julian Gamble. Gaddy stopped the run with a quick lay in as s.Oliver Wurzburg led 50-45 after three quarters. “Bonn is a really good team. We stayed tough not turning over the ball. Even if we weren´t scoring well at least we played good defense”, added ex Washington(NCAA) guard Abdul Gaddy. S.Oliver Wurzburg was shooting 46% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while the Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 32% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. Wurzburg dominated the boards 32-17, but had 13 turnovers while Bonn had eight turnovers.
The fourth quarter was a dog fight until the finish where the precision and instincts of Abdul Gaddy was the difference on two plays in crunch time that sealed the Wurzburg victory and ruined the short car ride back to Bonn for the players. The Telekom Baskets Bonn started off the fourth quarter motivated and continued to carve their comeback going on a 6-0 run to cut the Wurzburg advantage to only 52-51. Ex North Carolina Central(NCAA) forward Jordan Parks performed the dunk of the game flying in the lane and finishing with a crushing one hander while Polas dropped another trey. Parks continued to be a menace and the current Bonn go to guy as he stayed active on the offensive glass making a tip in cutting the Wurzburg lead to 55-53. Gaddy who had done a good job all day long nailing big shots did it again with a trey keeping Wurzburg slightly ahead at 58-55. Parks continued to be in the zone and nailed another trey as he was the crunch time Mayo for Bonn on this day, but down the stretch, he would be disqualified on account of an altercation with German Leon Kratzer. The absence of Parks hurt Bonn in the last few minutes as that crunch time energizer and scorer was suddenly gone. However the Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to show those special fighting qualities like they did last season getting back to back finger tip roll ins from Mayo and DiLeo that looked like a Tiny Archibald-Muggsy Bogues serving that gave Bonn the refreshing 64-61 lead. However despite no Parks and some momentum, Bonn just were unable to slam the door on Wurzburg giving up an offensive rebound and put back to Olisevicius and Stucky free throws to knot the game at 65-65. Then came the turning point of the game as Abdul Gaddy used his precision making a tough step back jumper with 11,5 seconds remaining and then used his instincts getting in a passing lane and picking off a Polas pass intended for DiLeo that led to free throws and the 69-65 Wurzburg lead. “Coach and my teammates had confidence in me and I just wanted to take the best shot possible. I just went with the flow of the game. I knew that Polas was a driver and I just played off instincts to make that steal”, added Abdul Gaddy. With 6,5 seconds remaining Polas scored an easy lay up and Richardson closed out the game with free throws for the 71-67 win. “Gaddy made big plays. He hit a tough shot and we played good defense. On the steal, Gaddy anticipated very well”, stressed TJ DiLeo. S.Oliver Wurzburg were led by Abdul Gaddy with 17 points. Leon Kratzer supplied 13 points and DJ Richardson 11 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Yorman Polas Bartolo with 19 points. Martin Breunig added 13 points and Josh Mayo 10 points. S.Oliver Wurzburg shot 44% from the field and 36% from outside while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 41% from the field and 21% from outside. Wurzburg won the rebound duel 39-26, but had 17 turnovers while Bonn coughed up the ball 11 times.