Jordan Brangers may of come down to Miami last summer to play in a pro league and was as about as unknown a player can ever be, but playing in the college Juco league and not coming from a well known NCAA school quickly left people uninterested and thinking of negativity at first, but after he left the court, his name was on the radar of some people´s interest and his play and suddenly his basketball path became as exciting for some there like it was years ago wondering where Shaq liked to devour burgers the most in South Beach. Brangers gave some observers that wow effect after he scorched an opponent for 43 points and was dropping long range bombs from left and right like a Steph Curry does on a nightly basis or how Scottie Wilbekin did last season nailing FC Bayern Munich for 40 plus points in a semi-final Eurocup game. And that 43 point explosion in Miami wasn´t even the best that he ever felt with his scoring touch. “I Wouldn’t say it’s the biggest zone I’ve been in. The biggest was pretty big, but I’ve got to credit my teammates for getting my good looks and making the right passes to me in my spots”, warned Jordan Brangers. There are so many incredible players that have played in the JUCO over time, but have been overlooked, laughed at and just not taken seriously by other higher-level schools or professional team´s all over the world, but that is how basketball life works. But it´s just a process and Jordan Brangers knows that. He always knew that his time would come. Jordan Brangers was already the real deal before he went down to Miami as he left his mark in the JUCO league and his play gave him legendary status. So after winning titles in the JUCO league and having a game that left many wondering why he wasn´t showcasing his skills in the NCAA or NCAA 2, he finally got some respect from German club the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven giving him a rookie contract to play in one of the top leagues in Europe. This deal was joked about many in the German basketball world last summer as the club announced the arrival of Jordan Brangers. The talk was how can an easyCredit BBL team sign a guy from the JUCO? The club was once an easyCredit BBL play off team, but despite having fair budgets over the years and signing a slew of ex NBA players like a Tyrus Thomas or Deandre Liggins to name just a few to spice up the northern Germany fisher town Bremerhaven that showcases beautiful landscapes and has the Atlantic Hotel Sail City that would remind some of the Dubai architecture, there hasn´t too much excitement in their basketball life in the last 7-8 years. It seemed like the club didn´t learn from past mistakes in the last years with the signing of the American, but everyone has been wrong to a degree. Many weren´t expecting any kind of turn around this season with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven, but with almost three months played, the club is struggling, but hasn´t had as much potential as this season to have success again. Despite everything Jordan Brangers has been the real deal. Even if Brangers has held his own and proved he can play at the BBL level, he most likely will never shed his JUCO image as his chip on his shoulder which most likely has reserved a life long place on his shoulder is as sturdy as that of a Polar bear´s shoulder as that is how you translate the German name of Eisbaer into English.
Before explaining how Jordan Brangers has been able to not only adjust to the easyCredit BBL as a rookie, but at times leave the floor as the best player on certain nights and being able to be a leader for his club Eisbaeren Bremerhaven as a rookie, one has to look back at his basketball path the last years and how he was able to reach a top league like the easyCredit BBL. Jordan Brangers is a 188cm guard that was born in Radcliff, Kentucky and attended North Hardin High School. He began his basketball career with South Plains JC (JUCO), but many don´t know he could of developed a totally different basketball resume and not had that nasty JUCO label had he not thought first about family and put basketball second. Picking family over basketball obviously deserves some respect. He could of played at Texas Tech the school where the legendary Bobby Knight once coached, but instead decided that being with his ailing grandmother was more important than beginning to carve a basketball legacy. “Sometimes I wonder how things would of played out at Texas Tech, but I feel like everything happens for a reason and I wanted to be closer to home for my Grandmother who recently passed away. It was good for me to be there for her when she was going through a lot of hard times”, stressed Jordan Brangers. So instead of being a NCAA player, the ambitious and confident scorer Brangers took many steps back and played at South Plains, but was rewarded by winning the JUCO national title in his second season while averaging 16.0ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 74.4%. He was near 40% from outside in his last season at South Plains as his shooting continued to improve. “My shooting grew a lot. Being able to hit deeper shots consistently and being able to make tough shots helped me a lot at South Plains. When you are being face guarded and having people chase you around the whole game it really does make it tough”, warned Jordan Brangers. The American who lists NBA top guard John Wall as the toughest player he ever faced on the court remembers that even if he did play in the JUCO and not at the NCAA level, he was able to develop his game further under the helpful guidance of head coach Steve Green. “Coach Green prepared me in so many different ways. He made sure I was a better person off the court before I was on the court. It’s a lot different playing for a Hall of Fame coach like him, but with all the knowledge he has for the game and what he’s done, it was a amazing experience”, stressed Jordan Brangers. It wasn´t only coach Green that was instrumental in how Brangers was able to develop his game in the JUCO, but his teammate Isaiah Maurice who brought good basketball skills coming from top NCAA school Kansas State and challenged Brangers on a daily basis. “He was a tough task inside and could score basically whenever he wanted too and it definitely helped me get a lot of open looks from outside the arc”, added Jordan Brangers.
When looking at the game of sniper Jordan Brangers, the most obvious thing that sticks out is his outside shooting qualities as he has proven with his crazy bombs from outside time in and time out throughout his career, but he has so much more to his game as he is a versatile scorer. “I’m a 3 level scorer. Obviously I can shoot, but I can shoot the mid-range and I can also get to the basket and finish. There’s a lot more to my game than shooting and I definitely feel like I’m a great passer too”, warned Jordan Brangers. He demonstrated this type of scoring in the JUCO in Miami last summer and already in the easyCredit BBL this season. Another big strength of the American is his mental game as his self confidence is as big as the New England Patriots pain was after giving away a game in Miami in the last seconds a few weeks ago and knows his shooting will continue to leave a mark in the BBL coupled with his driving passion for the game. “My goal is to just play my game and continuing to get better and keep growing as a player and a shooter. I definitely see my passion growing at the next level playing Professional basketball. I definitely think it’ll reach new heights”, warned Jordan Brangers. When watching video clips of his explosive scoring many could find the quick appropriate name of ball hog, because he does take many shots, but he continues to display his knack of passing the ball as a hidden strength in his game. “My passing definitely doesn’t get noticed a lot, but I take pride in getting teammates open looks when I’m not able to get good looks and get easy shots”, added Jordan Brangers.
What many don´t know is that he could of played two more years in the JUCO or elsewhere to continue to work on shaping his basketball game, but decided to come out early after two years and test his skills on a professional stage. A big reason for this thinking was that he wasn´t 20 or 21 years old, but already 23, a good age to start a professional career. “I feel like it was a big reason why I didn’t think school would help me anymore and that wasn’t because of the education part, but it was because of how much older I was trying to play at the next level and I didn’t think time would wait for me”, warned Jordan Brangers. Before Jordan Brangers set out for Bremerhaven, Germany last August he used his last weeks in the States in Daytona, Florida to prep for his professional rookie season overseas by concentrating on spending time in the weight room to keep getting stronger while on the court continuing to refine his game further getting up shots and being more consistent off the catch and running off screens. At the same time, he was also outlining how his rookie season could go in Germany. Obviously he was extremely thrilled to not only get a professional contract coming from the JUCO, but also getting the opportunity to display his basketball abilities in a top league like the easyCredit BBL. He spoke to his friend Byron Sanford from home in Kentucky who was a rookie last season in the Pro B with Coburg and got the low down about Germany in that the food is very good and that the people take their basketball quite seriously. He was sold on the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven quickly as he felt just how hungry this team is for success and coupled with his unending hunger to prove himself and having that massive chip on his shoulder, he knew both sides were made for each other. “I had a great feeling about this time. I love basketball, getting better, and winning games. I feel like I can take that to this team and we can take things to the next level this season and turn some heads and try to get back to the playoffs”, stressed Jordan Brangers.
Brangers came to Bremerhaven with a lot of self-confidence and a label that not many players can say they have ever had coming from the JUCO to the BBL and never having played a second in the NCAA, but the only focus he had was the future and not the past. “ I would definitely say I feel like I’m one of the greatest JUCO players to never play NCAA D1 and I say that as humble as possible. I’ve put in a lot of work up to this point to be as good as I am and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon”, warned Jordan Brangers. He hasn´t stopped, but is continuing to make strides in his game at the highest level that he has ever played at and hasn´t been a pleasant surprise, but a very pleasant surprise as he has proven in the first few months that he can be a force in the easyCredit BBL and like his teammates has been an important contributor despite the team having a 3-8 record and resting in 16th place. The team is stocked with much talent and if they ever come together as a team and can build harmony, then they could be successful, but that is easier said than done when you are battling in the competitive easyCredit BBL. That the team is fortified with offensive power isn´t a surprise, but they just can´t establish a defensive identity as they average giving up 87 points per game. They have given up 80 points or more 10 times and even when they win they allow way too many points which won´t guarantee a team success for the long run. The good news has been that they beat the teams they had to like Crailsheim and Jena and even upset playoff bound team Giessen, but then again lost to MBC. It also hasn´t helped that they lost three crunch time games, but they did give top team Bamberg a good run for the money losing only by five points. Brangers hasn´t got lost in the offensive shuffle as he has to compete with four 30 plus year old Americans, but then again has perfect mentors in guys like Chris Waren and Elston Turner. A few weeks before he came to Germany in August, he was reeling off a productive summer and was more than grateful about getting the opportunity to showcase his abilities in Germany, but at the same time not at all fearful of not getting the job done. “I’m really blessed to have this opportunity to play in the Top German league and it’s a really good feeling. I don’t feel any pressure to perform or anything like that, I just need to continue what I’ve been doing and that’s working hard and crafting my game. I feel really confident that I’ll hold my own and make an impact. It’s just a matter of getting the opportunity and making the best of it. I’ve worked really hard up to this point and I still feel I’ve got a lot of work to do, but that’s all about the process”, stressed Jordan Brangers last summer. Being consistent is never easy for a rookie and probably even harder for a JUCO player, but the American has had a good head on his shoulders and has proven any critics wrong with his play on the court averaging 12,7ppg, 1,7rpg and 1,9apg while shooting a solid 34,7% from outside. He has scored in double figures in four games including exploding for 29 points in a big win against Science City Jena where he nailed six three´s. He also had a 19 point effort against top team FC Bayern Munich and 18 points against Rasta Vechta. But then came a sudden jolt in his rookie season as two days before Christmas, he didn´t receive a cute polar bear momento Christmas gift from his employer, but instead surprisingly his walking papers. In a way the way the season has gone and how the front office has reacted to certain things nothing is surprising anymore. Ok so Jordan Brangers wasn´t the all-rounder, but if they had done their home work correctly, they would have known that he is an amazing shooter/scorer that can put up many points on the board while on other nights he might not be able to hit the ocean. There were some rumors of some off-court issues so this may have been added to the club´s reasoning for waiving him besides their main reason that he didn´t defend the way the club wanted him to. His self confidence was on the rise as a rookie, but now might be a little rattled, but nothing he won´t figure out and master over time. If he was still with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven now with one game a week, he would have had enough time to visit the famous Bremerhaven zoo called Zoo Am Meer and check out the cute lovable Polar Bears and never forget where he came from and how tough his basketball struggle has been in his career. With this sudden set back, it will only make him stronger mentally and make that chip on his shoulder even stronger as that bitter memory of his short stay with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven will drive him to new heights with his next team.