Braydon Hobbs Is Searching For That Ultimate BBL Title After A Long Journey From Bellarmine To FC Bayern Munich And Much In Between

At first glance, Braydon Hobbs looks like that nice guy next door fella that would rather take an afternoon and look after the neighbors child because their babysitter canceled instead of sitting plastered to his sofa and watching Lebron in a heated game seven against the Golden State Warriors. That is just the kind of guy that Hobbs appears to be and is off the court, but on the court, he is as ruthless and competitive as a player will get and nothing has been handed to him on a basketball silver platter, but like so many other players in the world has had to fight extremely hard to get to where he is today with FC Bayern Munich. Fellow competitor and opponent Michael Stockton of BG Goettingen can sing the same kind of song like Hobbs in that nothing was ever given to him for free  despite being the son of NBA legend John Stockton, he had to play for NAIA school Westminster and it took him a long and winding route to reach the EasyCredit BBL in 2013. For Hobbs, it wasn´t quite as bad playing at a division 2 school Bellarmine, but still his journey has been long and at times exhausting having to always prove himself at the professional level despite having strong stats in the NCAA 2. He started his professional career in 2012 with Caceres Basket (Spain-LEB Gold) having solid stats, but nothing to necessarily write home to mom about averaging 7.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 87.9%. In his second season he played with Alba Fehervar (Hungary-A Division) and made his breakthrough in the: Eurocup averaging 11.9ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 52.3%; but in the Hungarian League didn´t have the eye popping stats that had German BBL teams fighting for him as he averaged  9.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.4apg, Steals-2(2.3spg), FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 72.7%. He had to continue to prove his basketball worth in 2014-2015 with rent4office Nuernberg (Germany-ProA) averaging 11.9ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-4(5.9apg), Steals-2(1.9spg), FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 82.4% and BBL teams finally began to notice. Hobbs showed that he could run a team and that was the first step in his development that has helped him get to Munich. He wasn´t a teenager, but still benefited from top German youth coach Ralph Junge. “I benefitted tremendously playing for Coach. He put a lot of trust in me to run the team at the point guard position. He helped me grow in many ways as far as running the team. I think I had a solid year because of the understanding Coach and I had for each other and for the team”, stressed Braydon Hobbs. Denis Wucherer remembered how tough he played his team and snapped him up and gave him his BBL start and he didn´t disappoint averaging 10.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-3(1.7spg), FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 86.8%. He proved he could be a solid BBL point guard on offense, but also improved on the defensive side. “Having great guard defenders on my team has helped me to learn from them. Tadda and Yorman were perfect examples to learn from. I am not always the fastest player, but I can be smarter and try to put myself in the right spot, on defense, to help my team”, warned Braydon Hobbs. The American continued to develop and made the next jump to ratiopharm Ulm where he averaged 7.1ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-4(5.4apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 87.2%; In the Eurocup he averaged 7.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 39.3%, 3PT: 43.4%, FT: 91.7%and obviously with a stacked team of talent, it was no secret that they would be successful, but as the point guard Hobbs played a significant role in the success of the club having the best regular season in their history and finishing better than Bamberg. Having a mentor like Per Gunether also was a big plus for his development. “It was a big challenge guarding him every day. It’s helped my defense big time this season. He is one of the fastest players in the league. That makes him hard to guard. It’s a challenge for anyone to guard him in the league. Another thing that makes him hard to guard, is how smart he is when he has the ball. There is a reason he is one of the best guards in the BBL”, stated Braydon Hobbs last season. Now Hobbs is in Munich and with 2017 European finalist with Serbia Stefan Jovic trying to follow in the foot steps of the last Munich BBL point guard champion with current NBA player Malcolm Delaney. In the last three years, FC Bayern Munich has had a point guard problem and were punished with no titles as guys like Heiko Schaffartzik, Alex Renfroe or Nick Johnson just didn´t cut it. Hobbs wasn´t brought in because they need that scoring point guard or crunch time hero as others will have that duty and have enough offensive weapons, but because he is that perfect smart offensive organizer something they didn´t have to that degree in the last years. He will benefit enormously from Stefan Jovic who will help him make that next step in his development just by his presence on and off the court. He has won a league title in Australia and Pro A title with Giessen, but winning the 2018 BBL title is something he will definitely be able to call home to mom about. Even after a season in the glitz world of Munich and a possible title, the nice guy next door type Hobbs will most likely still take that babysitter gig if called upon, because that is just how Ohio boys are.

        One sees how important it is to have success with FC Bayern Munich football when coach Carlo Ancelotti gets fired after only a few weeks in the new season and it isn´t quite that serious with the basketball department, but their three season drought of winning nt titles hasn´t been an easy pill to swallow. After at least reaching the BBL final in 2015, the club has been embarrassed twice the last two seasons by arch rival Brose Bamberg being swept both seasons making each summer the last two years seem like an eternity waiting for that next season to start. As always they were a strong team in the regular season losing only four games and beating Bamberg and ratiopharm Ulm once and producing a 15 game winning streak at the end of the season, but as always in the last years the dreaded post season where they just couldn´t make the next hump past Bamberg. Averaging only 70 points on offense and not defending to their standard wasn´t going to get them a final shot at Oldenburg in the playoff semi´s. No season is a success in FC Bayern Munich country unless at least a title is won. The pressure keeps mounting in Munich, but with Bamberg having start problems and possibly a tougher season than most had predicted, this is the season where the Bavarians have to make a move and win the title again.

        FC Bayern Munich did a good job making another step in building their chemistry which they have had for 1-2 seasons and have replaced players with new ones that hopefully will be the right ones that will bring the team real success again. The club held 8 players like Nihad Djedovic who has been with the team since 2013 and Anton Gavel who has worn the red since 2014. They also held on two five players that had their first seasons last year with Devin Booker,Reggie Redding,Vladimir Lucic, Danilo Barhel, Alex King and Maik Zirbes.  Djedovic is a 27 year old 196cm 2-3 player that is going into his fifth season with FC Bayern Munich and played 200 games in that time. The ex Alba Berlin player shot 44% from outside last season in the BBL, his best since coming to Germany, but his big strength is getting to the hole and drawing fouls. Last season he played 39 BBL games averaging  9.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 44.6%, FT: 82.0%; In the Eurocup he played 16 games averaging 5.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 56.1%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 71.4%The question now remains if he can still continue to develop on a team that is filled with much scoring punch. Gavel is a 32 year old 189cm guard that is going into his fourth season with the club. Last season he played 41 BBL games averaging 6.4ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 67.8%; In the Euroleague, he played 10 games averaging 3.2ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.7apg, 1.0spg; Eurocup: 10 games: 9.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 69.0%. The seven time title winner with Bamberg has been declining in scoring average the last three years as his offensive role declines, but his winning mentality and team focus is still a valuable commodity for the team. Devin Booker is a 26 year old 205cm 4-5 player that is going into his second season with Munich after playing three strong seasons in France. Last season the ex Clemson(NCAA) star played 40 BBL games averaging 9.8ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 29.4%, FT: 72.5%; IN the Eurocup he played 17 games averaging 12.1ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 64.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 76.6%. He is a beast inside and very active at both ends of the court and can decide games on his own. Redding is a 29 year old 196cm swing man from Philadelphia and it seems only like it was yesterday that he entered the BBL with Tuebingen, but in fact that was six years ago as the American is going into his sixth season in Germany and second with Munich after playing two seasons with Tuebingen and Alba Berlin. The ex Villanova(NCAA) star has 46 Euroleague games experience. Last season he played 39 BBL games averaging 9.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5(1.6spg), FGP: 59.4%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 78.3%; In the Eurocup, he played 17 games averaging 8.8ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 74.4%. He can play the positions 1-4 and is as complete as a player that you will ever see in the BBL and top character player.

Vladimir Lucic is a 28 year old 201cm forward that is going into his second season with Munich. The ex BC Partizan MT:S Beograd and Valencia player is a four time Serb league champion, three time Serb cup winner as well as four time Adriatic League Champion and won the Eurocup in 2014 with Valencia. Last season he played 39 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 65.0%, 3PT: 40.3%, FT: 79.5%;In the Eurocup he played 17 games averaging 8.5ppg, 2.8rpg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 85.7%. Lucic excels at playing the 3-4 position and can do it all at his height and has that winning gene that FC Bayern Munich loves to incorporate. Danilo Barhel is a 26 year old 208cm forward that is going into his second season with the club. The 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner with Frankfurt last season played 35 games averaging 8.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 65.2%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 77.1%; In the Eurocup, he played 16 games averaging 6.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 76.7%. Barthel has a fine inside game that always gives 110% and gives stability on the defensive end in the paint. Alex King is a 32 year old 200cm forward that has had a great professional career that took him from Frankfurt to Munich via Bonn, Wurzburg and Alba Berlin and three titles. Last season he played 35 games averaging 3.3ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.1apg. In the  Eurocup, he played 17 games averaging  3.2ppg, 1.2rpg. He averaged only 11,6 minutes in the BBL last season and most likely won´t increase them this season. His experience and energy are valuable and his once weak three has turned into an annoying weapon. Zirbes is a 27 year old 208cm center that was gone for 2.5 years and brought back five titles with Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (Serbia-KLS). Last season the three time BBL allstar he split time with  Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv (Israel-Winner League) playing 9 games averaging 8.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 51.8%, FT: 63.0%. In the Euroleague: he played 15 games averaging 8.1ppg, 3.0rpg, 2FGP: 68.2%, FT: 78.0%, in Jan.’17 moved to FC Bayern Muenchen (BBL) playing 18 games averaging 8.3ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 62.8%, FT: 77.8%; and played 3 games averaging 7.7ppg, 3.0rpg.

Stefan Jovic is a newcomer that is a 26 year old 198cm guard that won 8 titles with Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (KLS) in the last three seasons and last summer won a silver at the 2017 European championships with Serbia averaging 6.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 5.4apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 65.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 50.0%. Last season with Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (KLS) he played 13 games averaging 6.6ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-4(5.5apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 65.3%, 3PT: 23.1%, FT: 40.0%; In the Euroleague he played 23 games averaging 7.5ppg, 2.0rpg, Assists-4(5.7apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 29.1%, FT: 61.3%; In the Adriatic League, he played 23 games averaging 6.9ppg, 2.7rpg, Assists-4(5.9apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 35.1%, FT: 59.4%. He is a genuine floor general that will make Munich´s pick and roll top in the BBL. He won´t score much, but will run the team the way a pass first guard should. No Bayern team is really complete without an ex NBA player and this season it´s Jared Cunningham. He is a 26 year old 193cm guard from San Leandro, California going into his sixth professional season and first in Europe. The ex Oregon State star was a NBA first round pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012, but in four season played only 69 NBA games for teams like Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles Clippers and Cavaliers. Last season he balled in the offensive Chinese league with Jiangsu Tongxi MOnkey Kings (China-CBA) playing 31 games: Score-4(34.0ppg), 4.0rpg, 2.2apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 77.7%. That he can score like no other is obvious, but this season he will have to play team basketball, but could be that crunch-time hero. Milan Macvan is a 27 year old 206cm forward that like Jovic won a silver with Serbia this past summer at the European championships averaging 10.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 61.4%, 3PT: 29.2%, FT-1(95.7%).He brings unending experience and has played with top teams like Maccabi Tel Aviv, Galatasaray Medical Park Istanbul and EA7 Emporio Armani Milano. His title count is 10 and he just knows how to win having won titles in every country he played. The 2009 sliver medalist with Serbia at the European championships in Poland has a physical inside game and very mobile that will score and rebound at ease in the paint.

So where will the journey of FC Bayern Munich go this season? Despite a talented Alba Berlin team that should have better results than last season and a weaker Bamberg squad, the Bavarians are the top title candidate this season. Their biggest strength is having kept a good core of their players from last season. The club averaged 85 points last season and gave up 71 points which is a good stat to build on. A goal for them will be too keep that scoring consistency and focus even more on the defensive end an area that they will improve on. Consistency was lacking last season and will be less of a problem this season with the experience and team chemistry growing. The biggest plus that will depend between titles and not are the new guards Hobbs and Jovic. These two new players are the perfect additions and will help bring rosy times to FC Bayern Munich basketball. The team is the deepest in the BBL and have top notch players at each position that will wear down teams week in and week out. It will be a big surprise if they don´t finish 1st in the regular season and win the double. The only thing that will halt their titles this season with be a sudden injury plague like in Gotha or if Andrea Trinchieri can create real magic with Bamberg, but that looks more like a reach than being reality this season.





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