photo credit Hakro Merlins Crailsheim
Last season, I watched a bunch of Hakro Merlins Crailsheim Fiba Europe Cup games and always had fun seeing what the diminutive flashy guard TJ Shorts would do next. Who knows how far the club would of come had he not been injured in Leiden which ended his season. This season the Merlins Crailsheim have reached the next round of the Fiba Europe Cup and last week, I tuned into the game a bit late, because I hadn’t had the early 6.30 start on my radar. I had been busy that week having interviewed 3 Den Bosch players with Chris-Ebou Ndow, Austin Price and Kobe Webster and I was curious to see how they would do against the German team. The Dutch team seemed to have the game wrapped up after taking command in the third quarter with a 26 point explosion, but then the seemingly unexpected happened. Den Bosch did a good job maintaining the lead, up by as much as 11 points, but the Merlins somehow still had some gas left and kept chipping away at the Dutch sides lead, but still trailed by 6 points with 3,15 to play and kept the tight lead going into crunch-time. Den Bosch led 84-81 with 1,51 to play and it seemed like they had the better nerves in enemy ground and would somehow pull out the win. The Merlins somehow closed out the game with a 8-3 run to totally turn the tide as the game’s top scorer Edon Maxhuni made a big shot and free throws and Myles Stephens supplied the thunderous dunk to steal the win. After That I said wow, good job Merlins club and head coach Sebastian Gleim (agency: BeoBasket ). I had covered Gleim for 2 years in Frankfurt and before when he was coaching the NBBL Frankfurt team and always knew that he was a talented coach. Last season he stepped up in Crailsheim and didn’t have any easy job having to come in for the successful coach Tuomas Iisalo, but he did an incredible job reaching the Fiba Europe Cup Quarterfinals and just missed the playoffs at position 9. His biggest coup was landing TJ Shorts who was the big reason why the club was so successful. Who knows what the fate would have been of the team had Shorts not gone down with an injury in the second half of the season. It was a great win for the Merlins Crailsheim and I figured the headlines the next day all over in Crailsheim would be incredible. The most important head line the next day of the Merlins Crailsheim was spectacular, but not in a positive way. Basketball Germany was informed that Sebastian Gleim (agency: BeoBasket ) was let go. My first reaction was WTF? How could that happen? Didn’t he have any credit for all he did for the success of the organization? I guess not. ‘I was shocked. I would never have thought that could have happened’, stressed ex Gleim player Quantez Robertson. His ex Player Rasheed Moore who is balling in Romania this season couldn’t believe it either. ‘I was definitely surprised to see that they let him go especially because they were having success with him as the coach, but I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes. Only the team would know if there was too much tension in the locker room’, stressed Rasheed Moore.
photo credit Hakro Merlins Crailsheim
One has to really wonder what happened in Crailsheim. The team wasn’t doing well in the easyCredit BBL, but still had reached the next round of the Fiba Europe Cup. Usually when a coach gets served his walking papers, something real bad must have gone down. ‘I don’t know what happened. Everybody saw that he did a good job with the team’, stated Quantez Robertson. Where does one draw the line? If there is difficulty between the coach and player, who has to go? In the NBA it is usually the coach. The money factor is astronomical and one saw what happened in Brooklyn. A certain NBA superstar wanted Steve Nash out and that is exactly what happened. Sometimes though the error by the player is so big that he has to go, but other times the player is simply to valuable to make the scape goat. In Crailsheim the scape goat was Sebastian Gleim (agency: BeoBasket ). ‘It’s always a tough decision for a GM to make during the season. The fans pay to see the players, so it’s always a lot easier to get rid of the coach. Fans want to see the players on the court’, warned Quantez Robertson. There obviously had to have been some tension with Gleim and his players. Quantez Robertson never had any problems with any of his coaches in Frankfurt. ‘I always got a long with everyone. They trusted me always and for me to be professional and get the job done. Sometimes it takes time to get used to the new coach and culture during a coaching change like we had last season. But sometimes when the new coach has the same kind of philosophy, it is easier to adjust’, added Quantez Robertson. When Gleim took over for Gordon Herbert, there was some time to adjust, but that is only normal. ‘The start of the season was kind of rough, but that can be expected. He wanted to bring out the best in us. He can be fiery at times. But that was just his way of bringing fire to the team and helping us on the court’, remembered Quantez Robertson.
photo credit Fraport Skyliners
Not all players are easy to work with and there are Diva’s. Seeing Diva’s is very common in the NBA, but you see them also overseas. That top Euroleague player Mike James is a diva isn’t difficult to see and there are also others. That Matt Mobley was a diva was an understatement. That the powerful scorer had talent was easy to see and he was a big reason why the team remained in the easyCredit BBL in 2021. He is paid to score baskets and everything else is very unimportant. Having a special character is Ok and as long as it doesn’t interfere with the success of the team or chemistry, one can tolerate it. If Gleim could get along with Matt Mobley then he could realistically get along with anyone. ‘Matt was one of his guys. Matt can score at many levels and coach looked to him to do much of the work. Sometimes coach put up with Matt’s character and sometimes he didn’t. In the end it all worked out well’, warned Quantez Robertson. In that last phrase of Robertson is where it could have gone to the next level in Crailsheim. Maybe not taking some players drama escalated the whole situation. It is a done deal in Crailsheim. Maybe there was a real bad happening that warranted the organization to make this touch decision. The press release on Gleim’s departure could have been given in a more professional way though. Gleim kept up the successful basketball tradition after Iisalo left for Bonn. I have no worries that Gleim will land a job soon and Tez has no worries either. ‘I wish him nothing but the best in his career. I’m sure that he will find a new job and continue to do his best and bring out the best in his players’, warned Quantez Robertson. Gleim helped so many players develop and grow in Frankfurt and Rasheed Moore was one of them. ‘ He helped my game in many ways and I will always be thankful for him, because he was the coach that gave me the chance to play at the highest level in Germany. He always had confidence in me to be on the floor and help our team get as many wins as possible. I will always wish nothing but the best for him going forward and hope he gets another opportunity very soon’, stressed Rasheed Moore. The motto in Frankfurt is Big Love and it’s nice to see that Moore and Tez shares that same feeling.