When one puts an eye on the impressive basketball resume of Jordan Sibert then one has noticed since he entered the NCAA in 2010 that he has been around huge talent and played in places that have been associated with getting talented players closer or to the NBA as well as exotic locations that would wet the mouths of many players around the globe for just to gain a chance like this. This season, the American who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio is in a place called Weissenfels that is as far as away from the NBA or possibly civilization as he may call it as Lebron James ever is from joining an organization like the Philadelphia 76ers. Sibert started his NCAA career in 2010 with Ohio State and played two seasons there playing a total of 49 games, but didn´t see any real minutes as he never averaged more than 3,0ppg and was teammates with NBA player Jared Sullinger and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 and Final 4. However his fortunes turned when he moved to Dayton(NCAA) where he played from 2013-2015 reaching the NCAA Elite 8 in 2014 and as a senior made his real breakthrough averaging 16.1ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 78.8% and was teammates with ex BBL players Dyshawn Pierre and Vincent Sanford. He turned professional in 2015 and right away got a taste of the NBA playing NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Orlando Blue) averaging 11.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. He then joined the Orlando Magic (NBA), released in Oct.’15, then moved to Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) playing 44 games averaging 13.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 87.1%. Last season he played his first season in Europe with PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) playing 19 games averaging 11.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 87.9%. He also played 16 BCL games averaging 11.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 83.3%. Last season he was farther away from the NBA then his rookie season, but at least he was playing against much NBA talent and top Euroleague teams like Panathinaikos and Olympiakos Pireus and living in Thessaloniki that has 325,000 inhabitants and is a good replacement for paradise and probably a place that will surface in his thoughts this winter when it gets below 0 in the 35,000 populated Weissenfels and being on that while sandy beach will only a dream sequence. This season in his third professional season Sibert who credits his rebounding skills as something that still gets unnoticed on the court has landed in the German EasyCredit BBL and has the chance to be a leader and shine with his sniper qualities while still having the NBA in the back of his mind. However fans will see quickly this season that he isn´t a one dimensional player as he was able to widen his game as a rookie in the G-league and has continued to expand it last season in Greece. “I have to give a lot of credit to assistant coach Anthony Goldwire who played in the NBA and Europe. He always pushed me to be more than just a shooter. In college and coming out I had this stamp on me that all I could do was shoot the three. He pushed me to be more of a ball handler and use my athleticism better on the court. He also taught me that it´s on you to become a better player if you want to reach the next level. I know that I have more tools and I want to show that I am a more complete player”, warned Jordan Sibert. The American who describes ex Duke stand out Austin Rivers as being his toughest player in the NCAA that he ever faced may be a lot farther away from the NBA then the last two seasons, but knows that if he has a very strong season in Germany that he may get on the radar´s of NBA teams again. “I never thought the NBA is far away, but felt it was close. I feel like I just need enough good moments to get an NBA chance. I still feel the NBA is close now”, warned Jordan Sibert. One guy who not only has been instrumental in the basketball path of Sibert, but many others at Dayton over the last years has been head coach Archie Miller. “I know Archie since I´m 14. I have to give him a lot of credit for my success. He always pushed me to the limit and wanted me to be the best that I could be. He always believed in me”, warned Jordan Sibert. Sibert will be doing his best to continue to make his ex head coach Miller proud when he tries to successfully lead MBC to being a respectable team, but for that to happen it will have to require a lot of support from his teammates at both ends of the court.
The Mitteldeutscher BC is a club that somehow wants to belong in the EasyCredit BBL even if at times they have found themselves back in the Pro A in the second division. Since folding in 2004 after winning the Fiba Europe Cup and being only one of 4 German clubs with Alba Berlin, BG Goettingen and Fraport Skyliners that have ever won an international club title, the club battled back from being at the bottom to getting back to the second division and making it back to the BBL in 2009 through the guidance of young manager Martin Geissler. Since that time the club has had a roller coaster career moving down to the Pro A three times and moving back up to the BBL three times. The question now remains do they have the needed resources to stay for an extended time back in the BBL or not? Their return back to the Pro A was short last season as they dominated the German Pro A having a season record of 35-3 and coasting through the playoffs with a perfect 8-0 record blasting away the RheinStars, Kirchheim and Gotha as if they were a herd of men playing against boys. It was no secret that they were stocked with a type of junior BBL team and just had a lot more talent and depth than their opponents. They outscored their opponents on most occasions and just had a massive arsenal of offensive weapons which they loved to display as they were able to score 80 points or more 26 times. Their defense wasn´t too shabby either as they held clubs to 70 points or less 18 times. Now the club wants to make some noise in the EasyCredit BBL and not move right back down to the Pro A, but do they have the needed talent and depth this season to survive in the BBL?
When a club makes the jump from the Pro A to the EasyCredit BBL one often has to choose reality over the heart as keeping solid players instead of getting new great players just doesn´t cut it in the fast pace professional basketball business. Some guys just didn´t make the cut, but then again other players like top player Andrew Warren or Dominique Johnson found better opportunities elsewhere. The club however was able to hold three key players with Marcus Hatten, Sergio Kerusch and Djordje Panatalic that gave the club a good foundation and some team chemistry going into the season. Keeping a player like Hatten is just an added Christmas gift, because he surely could of played elsewhere for more money even at age 36, but he decided to stay in Weissenfels a place where he feels most comfortable. His love for the club is evident in that the 185cm point guard has played in 9 countries around the world and for 17 professional clubs, but played the longest with MBC as this will be his fourth season with the club as has remained very solid and consistent averaging 13,oppg and 5,0apg in that span. The ex St Johns standout has a huge load of responsibility on his shoulders, but one he will master as there is hardly a player with more experience than him in the BBL. Kerusch is a 28 year old 195 cm forward that is going into his fifth professional season and fourth in Germany as he played also with Artland and Bremerhaven. Last season with MBC he played 38 games averaging 16.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 75.2%. He is the most complete offensive player on the club and has a chip on his shoulder as he has never averaged more than 5,4ppg in the BBL. He wants to make his breakthrough this season and if successful could be the key player in their offensive between annoying some teams and not. However on August 22nd came the sad news that Kerusch had been diagnosed with Testicular cancer which will keep him out of action for months. Just how well the club will compensate his loss is something that could really make or break the club early on. Pantalic is a 34 year old 204cm forward/center from Serbia that is the heart and soul of the team and is playing his fifth season with MBC. He is a shot blocking monster that twice was second in the BBL in blocks and once fourth and averaged 1,5 blocks in his three seasons in the BBL. Last season for MBC he played 37 games averaging 9.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-3(1.3bpg), FGP: 64.2%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 82.2%. He will keep the team together mentally and on defense. The club also kept some of their German talents like Benedikt Turudic, Jonas Nidermanner and Alexander Herrmann that will be fighting for minutes as well as getting ample minutes from their farm team.
Besides reeling in Jordan Sibert, the club also added six other players including Americans Lamont Jones, Kruize Pinkins, Serb Djordje Drenovac and Germans Till Gloger, Malte Schwarz and Marc Liyanage. Lamont Jones is a 183cm guard born and bred in Harlem, New York and is playing his fifth professional season with experience in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Katar, Montenegro, and Finland. The American who played at well known school Oak academy as well as Arizona and Iona averaged 20 points or more in Japan and the Balkan league and the club hopes he can give suitable scoring punch in form of an Andrew Warren. Last season he played for KK Mornar Basket Bar (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 8 games averaging 15.8ppg, 1.6rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 45.0%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 88.2%; He played 13 BCL: games averaging 13.1ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 84.1%; In the Adriatic League he played 23 games averaging 13.9ppg, 1.8rpg, 4.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 77.6%. The question will be if he can make the next step at a higher level like the BBL. Pinkins is a 24 year old 203cm forward from Marianna, Florida that is playing his third professional season. The ex USF(NCAA) standout belonged to the top Pro A players the last two seasons as he averaged 15,5ppg and 9,3rpg. He was able to improve his offensive stats over his rookie season with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games: Score-2(17.9ppg), Reb-2(9.5rpg), 2.5apg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 74.5%. Last season he got Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Forward of the Year. He is a very physical player that is almost impossible to stop in the paint. He will be able to make the next step in the BBL and be a solid contributor in the MBC offense. Drenovac is a 25 year old 201cm forward that brings vast experience at his age having won 5 titles and 4 in Macedonia. He is a very smart and controlled player that some have compared to a young Dejan Bodiroga .Last season he played for KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (FYR Macedonia-Prva Liga) playing 17 games averaging 15.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 85.0%; In the Adriatic League, he played 21 games averaging 13.5ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT-3(88.9%); In the Eurocup, he played 4 games averaging 6.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg. His experience having played in Austria, Italy, Bosnia, Macedonia and the best league in Europe ACB where he averaged 8,1ppg will be very valuable to MBC as he will also be able to make the next step in the BBL and be a worthy contributor. Gloger is a 24 year old 204cm forward that has made a steady progression from the NCAA to the BBL via the Pro A. He played at Maine(NCAA) from 2012-2016 playing 116 games and as a senior played 29 games averaging 9.0ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 56.0%, FT: 63.2%. Last season he returned back to Germany and moved back to his home team Uni Baskets Paderborn (ProA) playing 30 games winning Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro A Newcomer of the Year averaging 14.5ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 26.7%, FT: 82.1%. He has a nice all-around game with great free throw percentages, but will need to be more of a force on the boards. He has got this far with hard work and also should be able to make the next step in the BBL and could be one of the big surprises on the team. Schwartz returns back to MBC where he played form 2011-2015 where he played 100 BBL games. The 188cm guard brings vast BBL experience as he has played 7 BBL seasons with teams like Phoenix Hagen, MBC and the last two with BG Goettingen amassing 217 BBL games. His hard-nosed defense and reliable three pointer will be a big plus from the bench. Liyanage is a 27 year old 198cm forward that returns back to MBC where he played his first BBL season in 2014-2015 playing 25 games averaging 3.1ppg, 1.7rpg. he also played 15 BBL games and three Eurocup gams with Alba Berlin. Last season he played with the Hamburg Towers (ProA) playing 30 games averaging 5.0ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.0apg, 1.1spg. he has made a career of being that solid role player where ever he laced up his sneakers and it won´t be any different with MBC.
So where will the journey of the Mitteldeutscher BC go in 2017-2018? The loss of Kerusch was a major shock and blow to the club The club will have to react somehow on the floor as other guys will have to step up and fill the void. Many may believe that the Mitteldeutscher BC are a prime candidate as one of the teams to move back down to the Pro A, but don´t underestimate this team. Head coach Igor Jovovic won 13 titles with KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica from 2009-2015 and came to Germany and prompt won the Pro A title with MBC. He is a coach that understands how to motivate his players and will make the new ones coming from lower leagues better. The club may not have huge scoring games often in the 90 plus region, but will have to develop a clear defensive philosophy early and let that carry over to their offense. The club has some very talented players that will have to perform on a regular basis from Hatten and Jones, but also get that needed input from the their new Pro A players Pinkins and Gloger. The depth from the bench could become a problem especially when key players are in foul trouble late in the game. If the club stays free from major injuries to other players, then this could be one of the big surprise teams in the BBL that will always play with a lot of heart and emotion for the complete 40 minutes. The Mitteldeutscher BC will land somewhere between 13-16 in the standings in May 2018.