After last season´s final game at home where Brose Bamberg manhandled the EWE Baskets Oldenburg for a second time in the 2017 BBL finals sweep winning 76-58 and winning their third league title in a row, the big rugged Italian head coach Andrea Trinchieri who appears like an overgrown teddy bear that could pass easier for a sports fan getting lost on the sidelines of a basketball court instead of being one of the top coaches in Europe had many many thoughts buzzing through his head after the 40 minutes had elapsed. His biggest of course was just savoring the moment of having won the BBL title again and knowing that 9 months of very hard work had paid off, but there was probably something else roaming in his thoughts that he knew was something he couldn´t control in the upcoming months. He knew that the 12 incredible players that had worked hard for a whole season wouldn´t all be back in a few months to attempt to defend their title for a fourth time. When the Italian top coach returned in August to practice, he might have felt a little lonely at first since many old faces were missing as well as there were many new faces that were running up down the court wanting to prove early to the coaching wizard that their signing would pay dividends down the line. No longer was the athletic Daniel Theis around making crushing dunks as he was doing that now with the Boston Celtics, the amazing killer instinct and just superb guard play of Fabian Causeur was gone as he had escaped for the serious big bucks with Real Madrid and who could blame him, ex NBA player Darius Miller returned back to an old stomping ground with the New Orleans Pelicans as he had been there along the ride for the three league championships, the precise shooting accuracy and sniper qualities of Latvian guard Janis Strelnieks had taken him to Olympiacos in Greece while the Italian good looks and inside out play of Nicollo Melli had taken him to Fenerbahce in Turkey. After digesting these loses and then taking a closer glimpse of where they actually went to, being able to contend against the NBA and better, more lucrative and more prestigious Euroleague teams was as tough as trying to shape the ego of a Lebron James. One can´t blame the players for leaving as they were only doing only what any other player except maybe Ricky Paulding or Quantez Robertson would have done and that was to do what was best in their financial interest. Trinchieri continues to build his experience with Bamberg as before he came to Germany he won a cup with Prima Veroli (Lega2) in 2009, reached two cup finals in Italy and won a Russian cup with Unics Kazan in 2014. He has gained much respect from his basketball peers in Europe and especially in Italy is seen as a head coach that is always ready for duty. He has been described as a head coach that is always fully prepared for each game and gets 100% from his players. He is very charismatic and is always liked by all players. Trinchieri also was behind the bench leading Kyle Hines and Prima Veroli when the ex Bamberg player won his first title as a professional. Now the Italian is faced with his biggest challenge of winning a fourth BBL league championship with a potpourri of many new talented players like a Dorrell Wright, Ricky Hickman, Daniel Hacket, Luka Mitrovic and BBL veterans like a Bryce Taylor and Augustine Rubit having to integrate the most players that he has ever had to with Bamberg and construct another winning chemistry. If Trinchieri is capable of winning a fourth BBL title in a row then he will be heaved to ultimate Basketball God status in Bamberrg the way Paulding already is in Oldenburg. “I think that Bamberg has a great chance to repeat and win their fourth title because coach Trinchieri and the management has done a great job in creating a winning culture. When you sign for Bamberg the goals of the team are clear. You can see from the past teams and history that winning is a tradition and is expected. Trinchieri signed experienced players that understand what it takes to win and he has the ability to keep his players motivated through the entire season”, stressed three time Euroleague winner and current CSKA center Kyle Hines.
After slipping a bit in cup action in the last few years as Alba Berlin ruled the competition winning three of four, Brose Bamberg stopped the five year drought winning again and prompt registering the double last season. In the regular season, ratiopharm Ulm stole the show playing an almost perfect season and just surprising the whole league with their inspired no prisoners type of style winning the league title while other surprise team medi Bayreuth followed Ulm with their refreshing run back to the playoffs which they had been absent from since the 90´s. ratiopharm Ulm had had their number in the regular season winning both games while they also fell to FC Bayern Munich once. They were the second best team in the league, but surprisingly only sixth best scoring team(83 points per game) and sixth best defensive team allowing 77 points per game. The experienced team knew that the real season always starts in May and that is when they almost went perfect losing only one game to the Telekom Baskets Bonn in their opening game 93-92. However from then on Brose Bamberg overwhelmed their opponents Bonn, FC Bayern Munich and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg never winning by less than 9 points as their beautiful team basketball coupled with a clock work type ball movement brought another title. Only fans in Ulm were wondering what would have been if they had reached the final against Bamberg. They had their best Euroleague finish ever reaching the top 16 finishing in 13th place and with a few less of the close loses might have been able to have gone even farther taking that self confidence and momentum to new heights.
Even though Brose Bamberg lost 5 key components of their success the last years, they still have a healthy core of 6 players that remained faithful to the club with Nikolaos Zisis, Maodo Lo, Leon Radosevic, Elias Harris, Lucca Staiger, and Patrick Heckmann. 34 year old Zisis is the most key player kept simply because he is the team´s most experienced and a guy who has won 20 titles in his career with the most in Italy, but also in Greece and Russia and the 2008 Euroleague with CSKA Moscow as well as played at two Olympics and won the European championship with Greece. Last season he played 33 games averaging 8.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT-1(94.9%); In the Euroleague, he played 30 games averaging 7.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 43.6%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 91.3%. His all-around qualities and ability to make his teammates better will be vital for also helping the new players get adjusted within the Trinchieri system. Maodo Lo is a 24 year old 191cm guard playing his second season with Bamberg after having a stellar career at Columbia(NCAA) playing 40 BBL games averaging 7.0ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 45.2%, FT: 81.8%; In the Euroleague, he played 26 games averaging 5.3ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 66.7%. He is a talented combo guard that has already played two European championships with Germany that has his main strengths with his quickness and getting to the rim. It will be interesting to see if he can make another step this season with the digested roster. Leon Radosevic is a 27 year old 207cm center that is playing his third season with Bamberg and has played with top teams like KK Cibona, Milan, Alba Berlin and Besiktas. Last season he played 30 BBL games averaging 6.6ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP-3(66.9%), FT: 57.4%; In the Euroleague, he played 28 games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.6rpg, FGP: 55.8%, FT: 63.4%. His inside scoring and physicality on the defensive end will be key for the success of the team. He is also valuable because he has a German passport.
Elias Harris is a 28 year old 203cm forward and after having a stellar career at Gonzaga and getting his two cents worth in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and two NBA games has found a home in Bamberg playing his fifth season there. In the last years, it seemed like he was always a little in the shadow of new Boston Celtic Daniel Theis, but Harris quietly left his ego at home and put up solid stats year in and year out and was always an important contributor to the success of Bamberg. Last season he had injury woes and played only 18 BBL games averaging 7.3ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 64.9%, FT: 83.7%; Euroleague: 3 games averaging 2.3ppg. He is an explosive inside player that can shoot the three at times. With Melli and Theis gone, this is the chance for the German to show who is master in the house at the position four. Lucca Staiger is a 29 year old 196cm shooting guard that has also quietly found a home with Bamberg playing his third season there. The ex Iowa State(NCAA) player that also got experience with Alba Berlin, Ludwigsburg and FC Bayern Munich has played in 5 European championships. Last season he played 36 BBL games averaging 4.9ppg, 1.2rpg;In the Euroleague, he plyed 18 games averaging 4.1ppg. He will always be known as a sniper and can get hot even after long phases on the bench. His defensive weakness has been something that has plagued him his whole career. Patrick Heckman is a 25 year old 197cm forward playing his third season with Bamberg. He played four years at Boston College(NCAA) and recently played at the 2017 European championships. Last season he played 42 BBL games averaging 4.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg; In the Euroleague, he played 27 games averaging 3.1ppg, 1.3rpg. He got lost a bit in the shuffle last season as his stats dropped from his first season, but is always willing to work hard and his athleticism helps him to finish with authority and his team basketball will always fit into the Trichieri system.
The club added six new talented players with Bryce Taylor, Quincy Miller-Scott, Daniel Hacket, Ricky Hickman, Augustine Rubit and Luka Mitrovic. When all is said and done, Bryce Taylor will always be mentioned in a breath of players like Paulding, Jenkins, Mcelroy and Allen as being one of the American players that was most vital in helping make the EasyCredit BBL to one of the top leagues in Europe in the time that they were active. Taylor is a 31 year old 194cm shooting guard playing his 10th professional season and ninth in Germany after playing his rookie season with Premiata Montegranaro (Italy-SerieA) in 2008-2009. In Germany he has played for teams like Alba Berlin, Artland and FC Bayern Munich the last four years. The ex Oregon(NCAA) and two time BBL allstar last season played 39 BBL games averaging 9.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 48.0%, FT: 92.3%;In the Eurocup, he played 17 games averaging 8.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 87.5%. He may be 31, but still plays at a high level that loves to get to the hole, but also drains big shots and will be the team´s best defender. Quincy Miller-Scott is a 24 year old 206cm forward from Lake County, Illinois that was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 2012 and played 69 NBA games for Denver and Detroit. This is his third season in Europe and last season he played with Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv (Israel-Winner League) playing 11 games averaging 7.4ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 52.5%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 69.2%; In the Euroleague, he played 4 games averaging 7.0ppg, 3.3rpg. The ex Baylor(NCAA) stand out won 2 titles with Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (Serbia-KLS) and put up huge Euroleague stats with them averaging 14.1ppg, 5.7rpg, Blocks-2(1.5bpg), FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 77.8%;. He is very mobile for his size and can create his own shot like a guard and knows how to get the fans to ooh and aah after his finishes. But the American didn´t pan out and the club got a more than sufficient replacement with Dorrell Wright who is a 31 year old 206cm forward from Lawndale, California that came out of high school and was drafted by the Miami Heat at number #19 in the first round in 2004. He proceeded to play in the NBA in parts of 12 seasons for teams like Miami, Golden State, Philadelphia and Portland. His best season was the 2010-2011 with Golden State where he played 82 games averaging 16.4ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 78.9%. He started the season with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I). He is a athletic scorer where the team will profit further by his experience. Daniel Hacket is a 29 year old 197cm guard who grew up in Italy, but played college ball at USC(NCAA). He is playing his ninth professional season and played six years in Italy and the last two with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1): and last season had one to forget as he left in December playing only 9 games averaging 3.8ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.9apg; In the Euroleague, he played 11 games averaging 5.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.6apg. He also has an Italian passport and has played at three European championships, won three titles in Italy and brought 108 Euroleague games experience to Bamberg. He has the all-around game and knows how to step up in big games and will be a menace on the defensive end with Taylor.
Ricky Hickman is a 32 year old 189cm shooting guard that like Hacket brings unending experience in Europe. He is playing his 11th professional season and he has had a type of Cinderella career as it took him six years to make a Euroleague team as he clawed his way up via Hungry, Romania, Germany, Finland and the second league in Italy. He played 124 Euroleague games in the last five years with Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv (Israel-Premier League), Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) and EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) winning the Euroleague in 2014 with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He also brought 5 additional titles to Bamberg from Italy. Last season with EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) he played 34 games averaging 10.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 71.4%; In the Euroleague, he played 30 games averaging 10.1ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 80.2%. He is a player that can create for himself and teammates and can shoot the three with accuracy. Augustine Rubit is a 28 year old 201cm forward that hails from Houston and played at S Alabama(NCAA). He also has understood that getting to the top is a process as he played with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen as a rookie and the last two with ratiopharm Ulm and now in his fourth season is a Euroleague player. His stats dropped a tad from his first with ratiopharm Ulm, but they were still solid at 11.9ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 55.7%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 76.2%; In the Eurocup, he played 12 games averaging 10.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 81.3%. He isn´t the biggest at his position, but belonged to the best rebounders in the BBL and is very difficult to control in the paint. Luka Mitrovic is a 24 year old 204cm forward form Serbia that was drafted in 2015 by the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA,2rd(60) and played with Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (KLS) from 2012-2017 winning the Adriatic league three times and Serbian league three times. He is very talented, but one sees how many talented players come from Serbia when he isn´t a national player. Last season with Crvena Zvezda MTS Beograd (KLS) he played 19 games averaging 6.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT-3(50.0%), FT: 63.6%; In the Euroleague, he played 28 games averaging 4.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.4apg; In the Adriatic League, he played 30 games averaging 7.1ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 68.6%. He is a very mobile big man that doesn´t hesitate to step outside and will become an even better passer in the Bamberg system.
So where will the journey of Brose Bamberg end this season? There is no doubting the massive talent that Brose Bamberg brought in, but head coach Trincjieri has double the work from other seasons with more new players and more team chemistry to build. The club has more experience than last season and guys like Hacket and Hickmann have that massive European experience that will help ease some of the pain of the key loses from last season´s roster. In the regular season it should be a head to head battle with FC Bayern Munich for attaining that number one spot. Bamberg will average more than 80 points on offense, but will have to defend a lot better than last season and cut down their 77 points that they gave up on average last season and rebound the ball the way they did last year. It will be a very interesting season for Bamberg in that if Trinchieri can build a team chemistry that develops in stages through out the regular season and defend better than they should be a very formidable opponent for FC Bayern Munich for the title. However FC Bayern Munich may be a tick better and deeper this season and possibly their best roster ever, but Bamberg has Bryce Taylor who will be burning to beat his ex team and may have one or two tricks he can take from his ex team to help his new team in the scouting. Bamberg has had a slow start currently at 5-3, but they will develop and get better with time and before anybody can really wink if up in the top 3 teams with FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin. Bamberg will finish 1-3 in the regular season and reach the final again. They will meet FV Bayern Munich in the final and that could be one of the ages,