If you were to take a stroll in Braunschweig´s most bustling shopping area Schloss-Arkaden which is a German version of a shopping mall which would pass very well and with flying colors in the states and notice a tall young man hovering over every other shopper with his 203cm, you probably wouldn´t even know who he was unless you followed basketball in Braunschweig. A Bremerhaven fan that has been in the basketball closet for many years might even mix up the Hersey, Pennsylvania native with a young Judson Wallace give or take three centimeters and six kilo´s, but that young man in fact is Scott Eatherton of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig who could be the team´s savior and become an elite BBL center this season. The American will be turning 26 in late December and is in his third professional season. He had a stellar NCAA career at St Francis and Northeastern where as a junior he averaged 15.5ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 65.8% and was a CAA Tournament Winner in 2015 with Northeastern. His steep road to the top of the basketball ladder has risen each season and as a rookie he played for Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2) playing 35 games averaging 12.4ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.2apg, Blocks-4(1.5bpg), FGP: 62.3%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 64.1%. Last season he made another step moving to the higher EasyCredit BBL to BG Goettingen (Germany-BBL) playing 33 games averaging 11.9ppg, Reb-4(6.9rpg), 1.5apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 76.9%. Why can Eatherton be the club´s savior and become an elite BBL player this season. Quite simple, when one looks at the current Braunschweig roster, there isn´t much offensive force besides Eatherton. The club has a very limited budget and hauled in very inexperienced Americans who haven´t played in a high league like the BBL with Deandre Lansdowne, Jarkeious Bradley and Anthony Morse who have to prove this season that they can. They have talented young Germans, but none that have made their real BBL breakthrough yet. The only two proven players in Europe are Austrian Thomas Klepeisz and Lithuanian Zygimantas Janavicious. After his very strong last season Eatherton could have been even better had he not ran out of gas in the second half of the season, he could have been one of the top three centers in the league last season. With so much responsibility and offensive need on his shoulders, this could be the season where he has to put it all together and have monster stats and become an elite BBL center for the sake of his team. One could say that the American who describes his play to Argentine legend and NBA player Luis Scola played very well through mid March scoring in double figures in 19 of 24 games and produced five double doubles. He had some very good personal games early in the season against FC Bayern Munich and Brose Bamberg, but then did cool down in the last six weeks something that he wants to change this season. “I thought I had a very good season but I did realize a lot of things I still need to improve on and then just didn’t have the opportunity to finish it off”, stressed Scott Eatherton who lists Harrison Barnes as his toughest foe on the court in the NCAA.. This off-season the American worked very hard on his game and could also give his valuable hidden strength to his teammates when trying to involve them better in the offense. “I worked on gaining muscle to be a better defender on the block. I also am always working on improving my skills all over the court. My ability to get my teammates involved. I feel I do not need the ball a lot of possessions to have an impact on the game”, warned Scott Eatherton. Given his vast array of offensive tools, sky is the limit for Scott Eatherton this season as coupled with less talent and more responsibility, the American will have a very good season, but if he totally explodes depends on how well his teammates give offensive support, but becoming an elite center is makeable. He is a confident player as are all players, but then again not too cocky about his game, but in one area where you definitely don´t want to get in an argument is about chocolate. A German can laud the Milka and Ritter Sport as much as they want, but being that Eatherton comes from Hersey where America´s top chocolate bar Hersey is produced, he remains faithful to his home roots and like in the one on one taking himself over any opponent knows which chocolate bar he would choose. “I would still choose a Hershey bar”, smiled Scott Eatherton.
After barely missing the EasyCredit BBL playoffs in 2015 and 2016, the club last season had a season to forget as they struggled finishing in 16th place. That they only won six games and stayed in the league was mainly due to Phoenix Hagen closing down shop and Rasta Vechta playing an even worse season then Braunschweig. Braunschweisg started off the 2016-2017 season winning the first game against Vechta, but then prompt fell into a hole losing 12 of 13 games and never recovering and getting out. A huge problem was consistency, but also nights where they couldn´t offer more than a Pro A type effort on offense and just didn´t defend well giving up 80 points or more 24 times. It didn´t help their cause either when they did defend well, they still lost not being able to close out the game losing 77-75 to BG Goettingen or 67-66 to Wurzburg. On top of that they mustered under 60 points five times and just didn´t have that offensive stability. What has to bring some fear to Braunschweig this season is that last season´s imports were stronger than what is present this season. The club had massive fortune that Pro A players Carlos Medlock and Carlton Guyton panned out and were able to make the next step up and had solid seasons. On top of that there was Dyshawn Pierre who was one of the leagues biggest steals coming from Dayton (NCAA) and having his breakout season with Braunschweig leading the BBL in rebounding and averaging 14.9ppg, Reb-1(7.9rpg), 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 80.7%. The other import Geoffrey Groselle also made the jump from the NCAA and Creighton to the BBL giving vital offensive stability averaging 10.9ppg, 6.2rpg, Blocks-2(1.2bpg), FGP: 64.1%, FT: 60.2%. All four players have departed and their skill with the exception of Scott Eatherton can´t be matched on paper. Braunschweig Head coach Frank Menz will need the kind of production he got from these players last year from his imports this year that will be difficult to match.
The only players the club was able to keep were their German players experienced Tim Schwartz and young talents Constantin Ebert, Luis Figge, Lars Lagerpusch, Niklas Bilski, Tom Alte and Austrian Thomas Klepeisz. Schwarz is a 29 year old 197cm forward that has the most BBL experience from the Germans having played four seasons with teams like Giessen, Artland, Crailsheim and Braunschweig totaling 91 games. Last season he played 31 games averaging 5.0ppg, 1.9rpg. He is the captain and a feared three point shooter and excellent free throw shooter. Him giving added stability a push in his BBL stats would be refreshing. Constantin Ebert is a 21 year old 184cm point guard that also has BBL experience with Wurzburg playing eight games and last season with Braunschweig played nine games and with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) 21 games averaging 8.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 75.8%. He is a quick pass first guard that likes to penetrate and one of many Germans on the team looking for his breakthrough. Luis Figge is a 20 year old 197cm swing man that brought 57 Pro A games to Braunschweig last season and had his first taste of the BBL last season playing 20 games averaging 2.2ppg, He played also at MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 7 games averaging 0.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 71.0%. In the summer of 2016 he played at the European Championships U20 in Helsinki (Finland) -16 (Semifinals) playing 7 games averaging 4.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.4spg. He is a well rounded inside out player, but still needs to be groomed at the BBL level as his breakthrough may still be one season away. Lars Lagerpusch is a 19 year old 207cm forward that has belonged to the BBL roster the last two seasons. He breathed his first BBL minute at age 17 against FC Bayern Munich. Last season he played 4 BBL games played also at MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 15 games averaging 5.8ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 60.6%, and played also for Junior Loewen Braunschweig (NBBL) playing 7 games: Score-3(21.6ppg), Reb-1(13.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.9spg, 1.4bpg, 2PT: 59.1%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 74.4%. He may be the current biggest Braunschweig talent and he has the complete big man game and should get more opportunities to showcase his game should he stay injury free. Niklas Bilski is a 19 year old 185cm point guard that started his career in the Giessen organization and played his first pro A game at age 16 .Last season he played with the MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 20 games averaging 6.3ppg, 2.3apg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 66.7%, He played also for Junior Loewen Braunschweig (NBBL) playing 10 games: Score-2(23.0ppg), 3.0rpg, 4.7apg, 2.4spg, 2PT: 51.9%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 60.9%. He is a very skilled point guard that can score and pass, but might get his first BBL minutes this season. Tom Alte is a 22 year old 207cm forward that is another player that will get big minutes with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB), but also hope for some BBL time. He first came on the scene and was noticed in the 2014-2015 season when he played with TV Langen in the Pro B playing 28 games averaging 10.6ppg, 6.6rpg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP: 53.6%, FT: 75.3%. He was rewarded with a season with Ratiopharm Ulm where he played 6 games and played in the Pro B with Weissenhorn. Last season he played one BBL game with Braunschweig and mostly played with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 7 games averaging 8.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 73.3%, FT: 50.0%. Injuries kept him back last season, but this left handed strong inside player with good shot blocking qualities still has a lot of upside. Thomas Klepeisz is a 26 year old 185cm point guard that is going into his second season with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. The two time Austrian champion with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights last season with Braunschweig played 29 games averaging 6.5ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 39.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 91.9%. Last season he had some big games against Vechta with 23 points and 19 points against FC Bayern Munich, but he will need to make another step this season if his team wants to be successful. His organization may be the most important thing for the success as he isn´t the overwhelming scorer.
Besides Scott Eatherton, the team added five new players with German Bazu Kone, Lithuanian Zygimantas Janavicius, Deandre Lansdowne, Jarekious Bradley and Anthony Morse. Kone is looking for another chance and his breakthrough after not reaching that in Ludwigsburg or Giessen last season playing only a total of 15 BBL games and eight BCL games. He already got his first taste of the BBL from 2012-2014 playing 22 BBL games for Bremerhaven and then had two fine Pro A seasons with the Hamburg Towers, but he wants to prove that he is more than just a good Pro A player. He has the tools to be a solid BBL player, but has to finally prove it. He is an exciting guard that is lightening quick and gets in passing lanes well, but needs to show that he can take responsibility and hit the three with more consistency. Janavicius is a 28 year old 192cm guard that brings valuable experience to a very young team. He knows what it takes to win having won 4 titles in his homeland and reaching six finals. Last season with Panevezys Lietkabelis (LKL) he played 46 games averaging 6.0ppg, 1.7rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 71.6%; He also played 14 Eurocup: games averaging 3.7ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.4apg. The pass first point guard will be a plus for the young German guards, but also needs to show them that he can make the next step in a higher league. Deandre Lansdowne is a 28 year old 187cm guard that has lived the Cinderella basketball story not playing professional basketball for years after finishing at FT Lewis in the NCAA 2 where he helped his team to two RMAC tournaments wins. Via Mexico, he was discovered in 2015 by Herten where he exploded averaging 22,9ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5(2.6spg), FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 66.5%. He didn´t disappoint last season making the jump from the Pro B to Pro A with the Hamburg Towers averaging 12.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 71.7%.. He is a physical guard that just has the knack for being able to score in many ways especially in traffic and is a great defender. His never die attitude will infect his teammates with positive vibes when the tough gets going. Bradley is a 26 year old 195cm forward that like so many players in the past have made the next step to the higher league BBL from the lower league Finland. The Memphis native brings two years of valuable European experience as he had a fine rookie season with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL) playing 15 games averaging 15.7ppg, Reb-5(6.9rpg), 1.1spg, Blocks-4(1.0bpg), FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 87.8% and last season helped Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) win the league title playing 43 games averaging 14.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 85.3%; FIBA Europe Cup: 2 games: 7.5ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg; BCL: 15 games: 7.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 92.3%. He is an athletic player that can finish inside as well as hit the three with authority. He should be another player like a Ken Horton did in the past and make the next step in the BBL. Morse is a 23 year old 206cm forward from Georgia that played 106 NCAA games at Tennessee Tech, but didn´t get real minutes until his senior year averaging 7.6ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.9bpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 58.5%. Last season as a rookie he had his growing pains starting with SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala), in Oct.’16 signed at Atomeromu SE Paks (Hungary-A Division) playing 8 games averaging 2.9ppg, 5.0rpg, He is hungry to show that he has game and it will be interesting to see if he can make his breakthrough under Frank Menz and get minutes.
So where will the journey of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig go in the 2017-2018 season? The club isn´t quite as deep as last season and will have to rely heavily on their import players to get ample and consistent production and hope that a few of the young Germans can also help the team improve on last season´s 74 points per game average. The club isn´t as big, but smaller than last season, but more athletic and will have to use that to their advantage and play quick basketball. The club has a deep guard rotation and will have to live by that in large chunks of games and need extra help on the boards to improve their 28 rebounds a game from last season. Last season the team built a pretty good team chemistry despite the tough season and will need that to be growing and working early into the season. A slow start would be a catastrophe as they can´t start as slow as last season. It is a delight to see this organization function as Frank Menz has always had a special heart for the German youth and hopefully some of his race horses in his stable can make the next step and become good BBL role players already this season as they will continue to get their chances. Any serious injuries to their imports will be fatal. It won´t be an easier season than last season, but maybe tougher as their lack of depth will derail them in many games as well as lack of experience with the German players. The Basketball Lowen Braunschwieg will finish somewhere between 14-18