Alba Berlin

EasyCredit BBL Playoff Preview 2018: Alba Berlin-MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg 3-2

Never count out a John Patrick no matter what the circumstances are. The American experienced coach who has no difficulty having a sound conversation in German at anytime has shown it over and over in his career no matter where he has coached that he is capable of not only building a talented team, but also be able to mesh each player´s qualities together so they function properly on the court at a consistent rate. Not too mention not always having a sufficient budget to operate from, he consistently gets the most out of what he has to work with. The ex Stanford(NCAA) player displayed his coaching expertise bringing BG Goettingen to the BBL and reaching the playoffs at a consistent rate while topping his run off with the Eurochallnege title in 2010 and also discovering guys like John Little, Chris Oliver, Kyle Bailey and Taylor Rochestie and putting them on the basketball map. With s.Oliver Wurzburg he led the team into the playoffs and upset Alba Berlin in the 2012 playoffs. He came and saved the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in 2013 being a fireman and since then has led the organization into the playoffs five consecutive times. So when the 2018 Basketball Champions League Final 4 were completed and nobody witnessed the big smile of Thomas Walkup on the winner´s podium, but instead a dejected team escaping Athens with a disappointing fourth place finish, many might of thought that the club would return home and have difficulty erasing the weekend blues from Greece. Ok so my 3-0 FC Bayern Munich prediction over the Fraport Skyliners made me eat my words and now I´m officially going to eat my words again after my medi Bayreuth-MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg prediction of 3-2. I have to be honest, I always believed that John Patrick and co would beat the Bavarian squad 3-0, because I have always believed and respected Patrick´s work  but wanted to be right had a medi Bayreuth upset occurred. Shame on me! How could that ever have happened. John Patrick is a coaching master and once again showed how quickly he could transform a dejected squad to a focused team. With the amazing 3-0 sweep of medi Bayreuth, Patrick was able to reach the semi-finals for only the second time in his career. The question now is can he keep the team momentum going and upset the mighty Alba Berlin that has a core of snipers that could possibly outgun the Golden State Warriors with them having a semi cold night. Never count out a John Patrick no matter what the circumstances are, because if you do then you will get bit in the butt quicker than a David Mccray  reflex can lead to a steal and transition bucket.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and John Patrick in the Fraport arena in 2018

The road to the easyCredit BBL semi-finals wasn´t as easy for Alba Berlin and in no means a cake walk as they had to tough out an exciting 5 game series against the Ewe Baskets Oldenburg where each team won their home games. Alba Berlin went into the series with the EWE Baskets as the heavy favorite not only with their incredible regular season, but also because how the underdog had presented itself in the last weeks. But as one had seen last season, when you have a Rickey Paulding you always have a chance a she showed last season against Bayreuth and Ulm. The 2009 BBL champion didn´t hide their faces in the sand, but really came to play. In the first two games, Alba Berlin were far away from being a fourth best defensive team in the league as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg averaged 96 points per game 20 more than what Alba Berlin allowed all season. It was no secret that both teams can put up points quickly and both did. However Alba Berlin was able to make good adjustments after every loss and let up less points each home game while never really losing consistency on offense as they averaged 92 points in the high scoring series.

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Alba Berlin Reach 2018 NBBL Top 4 Easily Disposing Of Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners 95-62

Basketball competition can´t always be fair and often you do have those examples where one would love to see that Davey and Goliath situation prevail where the small clobbers the big, but more often than not that is only a dream and occurs in fairytales or if the opponent suddenly had some Lebron James´s cloned for their upset attempt. NBBL team Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had the unwanted and not desired task of meeting the super mighty and powerful club of Alba Berlin as the German capital team were the overwhelming favorites. They came into the series with a 15-1 record against the 10-4 Frankfurt record and an arsenal of offense talent that had scored 90 points or more nine times and 100 points or more five times and had that NBA type scoring atmosphere working. On top of that Alba Berlin had a roster where eight players averaged 10 points or more compared to Frankfurt having three youngsters attaining that feat and had the overwhelming size advantage with 9 guys listed at 2,00 meters or taller. Alba Berlin also brought two of Germany´s biggest talents with Jonas Mattisseck and Henrik Drescher that get minutes in the EasyCredit BBL and also two notable names with Franz Josef-Wagner who is the kid brother of 2018 NCAA finalist with Michigan Moritz Wagner and Elias Rodl who is the son of 1993 NCAA champion with North Carolina Henrik Rodl. Of course Alba Berlin didn´t bring all players like Rodl, but sure had a great variety of players to chose from. One could quote one of the bank robbers from the classic Boston made film The Town as the thugs are about to rob another bank with “Say your prayers”, because no team has had an easy time with the powerful Alba Berlin team. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners  was in their own smug living room staring at a do or die game as they had been destroyed in game one 91-61 as Alba Berlin controlled the boards and forced the Frankfurt club to a pathetic 35 turnovers.

Could Davey and Goliath make a statement or was Alba Berlin destined to make another trip to the NBBL Final 4? There would be no Skyliner miracle as game 2 took a very similar pattern to game one as Alba Berlin dominated at both ends of the court easily disposing of Eintracht Frankfurt-Alba Berlin 95-62. After the game, the Alba Berlin players were all huddled in the corner of the gym as they had just taken care of business again chilling and wondering when the pizza would arrive to help tame their stomachs during the long 8 hours bus drive home and top German guard Jonas Mattisscek reflected on the win as if it was the most normal result ever. “We didn´t get rattled by their physicality and were able to play better than them. We did a good job pressuring them for the whole game and just were allowed to play our game and put constant pressure on the ball”, stressed Alba Berlin guard Jonas Mattisseck.  Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had a solid season, but were totally outmatched in every area of the game, but gave their best and had their moments like 15 year old Len Schoorman who led all scorers with 25 points who was a bit in awe of the incredible talent of Alba Berlin. “I have never played against such a great team. One can really learn a lot from them. I felt we played better in game 2 than game 1. We did a better job against their press this time. There were very big and played well so together, but we gave it our best”, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners  guard Len Schoorman.

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EasyCredit BBL Playoff Preview 2018: Alba Berlin-EWE Baskets Oldenburg 3-0

Who could forget the refreshing and amazing playoff run of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg last season that made many a fans mild spring evenings so much more enjoyable as the 2009 BBL champion gave the word exciting a new meaning with some of their spectacular finishes that for some basketball fanatics would have made great scripts for future basketball movies. They may not have defeated a Munich or Alba Berlin in their run, but finished off two of that season´s big surprise teams with the scrappy medi Bayreuth club and the powerful offensive machine of ratiopharm Ulm. If someone had yelled into Ricky Pauldings face before the start of the playoffs with the words of “hey Ricky you guys will beat Bayreuth and Ulm and reach the final”, the first reaction of the Detroit native probably would have been “Say what” with that undeniable mischievious expression, but after a few seconds after grasping exactly what the fan had said would have probably carefully nodded up and down while inside had that why not feeling with his self confidence already being raised with that audacious remark by the basketball fanatic. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg really came to life last season in the playoffs disposing of big surprise team medi Bayreuth and title favorite ratiopharm Ulm and a big reason was the consistent scoring thrust from Ricky Paulding and the overall feisty and “I live filling up the stat sheet” Chris Kramer. Paulding slowly got going against Bayreuth scoring in double figures in three of the four games and had 18 points in game 4. But it was in the series against Ulm where he played from another planet as his 34 years of age didn´t show as he dropped 24 and 28 points in game one and two, 19 points in game 3 and saved his best for last netting 27 points in the thrilling 78-75 game five win. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg ran out of gas in the final getting swept by Bamberg despite a Paulding playing very solidly. A year later the EWE Baskets Oldenburg are back in the playoffs with a 35 year old Paulding and still sporting that fresh warm smile. This season he won´t be doing his magic against a Bayreuth or Ulm, but against the mighty Alba Berlin who may have won their share of cups in the last years, but haven´t won the BBL title since 2008 and haven´t been as close with talent and chemistry to winning again as they have been this season. Will the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Ricky Paulding start a new Cinderella run this post season? As a fan, you would  love to see another historic Paulding run with another string of amazing upsets, but the only upset this season will be if Oldenburg can somewhat control Luke Sikma.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Alba Berlin forward Luke Sikma after dropping 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the 90-84 loss against the Fraport Skyliner

After two seasons of finishing in sixth place, Alba Berlin returned this season with a new coach with Aito and MVP with Luke Sikma that led them to a second place finish. The club started off well winning seven of it´s first 8 games, but then had a drought period in November where they lost three of six games. But after that they were nearly unstoppable winning 18 games in a row and then lost a bit of concentration losing in Giessen on the second to last game day. In the big winning streak they beat their top opponents Bamberg and Munich and got revenge for their loss in Frankfurt destroying them at home by 37 points. When you lead the league in scoring buckets with 90 per game and lead the league in least points given up per game with 74, you obviously are doing something right.

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Peyton Siva (Alba Berlin) I Didn´t Lose Confidence In The Way I Know How To Play

Peyton Siva is a 27 year old 183cm point guard from Seattle, Washington playing his fifth professional season and second with Alba Berlin. Currently he is averaging 13,4ppg, 2,2rpg and 5,3apg. Last season with Alba Berlin he averaged 9.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 4.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 83.8%; and in the Eurocup averaged 11.3ppg, 2.8rpg, Assists-3(6.3apg), Steals-2(2.0spg), FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 44.7%, FT: 86.7%. In his first season in Europe in 2015-2016 he played with Pasta Reggia JuveCaserta (Italy-Serie A) playing 21 games averaging 13.3ppg, 2.7rpg, Assists-1(6.5apg), Steals-1(2.0spg), FGP: 43.2%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT-1(91.9%). He played his first two professional seasons in the G-League with Fort Wayne and Erie and played 22 NBA games with the Detroit Pistons. He played at Louisville from 2009-2013 playing a total of 144 games and as a senior helped them win the NCAA title and played 40 games averaging 10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 5.7apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 86.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the BBL game against Science City Jena in Jena.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Peyton Siva in the Fraport Arena in Frankfurt after the Alba Berlin loss to Frankfurt in 2017

Peyton thanks for talking to German Hoops. A sweep of Bamberg, the cup top 4 around the corner and a second place in the BBL standings, how good is basketball life now?

It´s really good. I am enjoying being around my teammates and playing in a good environment. Coach Aito makes it a good environment to play basketball.

There aren´t many players that can say that they swept Bamberg in a season. How good does it feel having had their number this season?

It feels good. Those were two very big wins. You always want to get those tough wins out of the way when going into the playoffs. It was great getting these wins, but we are focusing on the next game against Jena.

You were the best player on the floor scoring 25 points. Do you feel like you took your game to another level?

It was just me playing with confidence. Coach Aito put me in a position where I could play with confidence. But my teammates like Spencer Butterfield also were a big factor making big shots in helping getting this win.

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The Fraport Skyliners Roll Over Alba Berlin 90-84 Continuing To Have Their Number

One thing never changes and that is the injury bug that always tends to rear its unwanted presence into team´s seasons, but so far this season, this unneeded problem has slowly become a plague at least if you are Niklas Kiel. Kiel is playing his fourth season with the Fraport Skyliners and has developed steadily over time and was going in a great direction this season, but an early season concussion limited his season and another elbow to the head that presented him with a hospital visit last weekend has sidelined him again. If that isn´t enough, the majority of the Frankfurt front court is sidelined with tough longer lasting injuries with Germans Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann and Richard Freudenberg. However the Fraport Skyliners did react bringing in experienced hustle and character guy Marco Voeller who already left his mark in his debut against Bremerhaven with 8 points, five rebounds and three assists in 14 minutes and a familiar face with sniper AJ English who will lift some of the consistent scoring pressure off Mr Canada Philip Scrubb. Going into the game this weekend, the club was looking to make a dent into their season trend by beating a big team with Alba Berlin. So far this season the club had beaten the teams they had to beat, but lost to all the big teams like Bamberg, Munich, Ludwigsburg and ratiopharm Ulm. After two tough loses to FC Bayern Munich and medi Bayreuth, the eight time BBL champion has found their way back to the winners circle having disposed of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and the Giessen 46ers in the last two weeks. They arrived back in Frankfurt seeking revenge after being swept last season and having lost five of their last six games against Frankfurt in the last two seasons, but the waiting for another win will have to continue to wait as the Fraport Skyliners continue to have their number rolling past Alba Berlin 90-84. After the big top game scorer Tai Webster was all smiles and described best in his native New Zealand tongue why Frankfurt was able to dispose of Alba Berlin. “We played an overall good game playing aggressive defense and rebounding well. It did become a little tight at the end, but overall we played a very good game”, stressed Fraport Skyliner point guard Tai Webster. Ex Portland(NCAA) forward Luke Sikma was the second last to emerge from the dressing room and despite his massive game of 20 points, 10 boards and three assists, he was an unhappy camper, but stayed so much more the professional taking a second to tell why his team lost and also getting a quick congratulatory from Frankfurt head coach Gordon Herbert who couldn´t shy away from uttering the words “I loved watching your father play” referring to NBA champion Jack Sikma of the Seattle Supersonics. “We underestimated them a bit. We didn´t come out with the energy that we needed to have. We made too many mistakes in the first half that put us in the hole and we couldn´t recover from”, stressed Luke Sikma. Skyliner guard Philip Scrubb who was sidelined with a knee injury saw the game from a different perspective and also gave his two cents to the victory. “Alba Berlin got many loose balls and dominated on the offensive glass in the first quarter, but we battled back in the second quarter and put them on their heels. We continued to play very well in the third quarter, but did let them come back at the end. We played well despite all our injuries”, warned Philip Scrubb.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Alba Berlin forward Luke Sikma after dropping 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the 90-84 loss against the Fraport Skyliners

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Dennis Clifford (Alba Berlin) Pat Heckmann Would Always Talk Trash Germany VS America

Dennis Clifford is a 25 year old 216cm center from Boston that is going into his second professional season and first in Germany with Alba Berlin. Last season as a rookie he played with the  Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League) playing 38 games averaging 11.9ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.0apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 59.2%, FT: 64.5%. He played at Boston College(NCAA) from 2011-2016 playing a total of 124 games and as a senior played  31 games averaging 9.9ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.3%, 3PT: 9.1%, FT: 61.6%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.

Dennis thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

At the moment I am in Boston. my summer has been great! I like being in Boston because that is where I workout and I also get to see my friends on the weekends.

Congrats on signing with top German team Alba Berlin. After a season in the D-League are you ready for a career in Europe or is the route back to the States and NBA still high on your list?

My dream ever since I picked up a basketball has always been to play in the NBA but having said that if the NBA doesn´t work out I would love to have a long and prosperous career in Germany.

You have signed with Germany´s second most winningest team Alba Berlin. What do you know about Germany and it´s basketball? Do you remember BC teammate Patrick Heckmann telling you about his homeland? 

I have heard that the German BBL is one of the best leagues in the world so I am very excited to be a part of it! Pat Heckmann was my roommate in college so we would always talk trash about Germany vs America. haha but on a serious note he has told me a lot about Germany- how the people are very kind and they love their basketball! He also said the BBL is a very competitive league and has a lot of great players

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Quo vadis Alba Berlin?

After firing Ahmed Caki Alba Berlin looked desperate and noone thought they could compete with powerhouse FC Bayern Munich in the quaterfinals of the BBL Playoffs. But after a devestating loss in game 1 (95:68) Alba bounced back and made Bayern work extremely hard to reach the semifinals. Even though Alba Berlin ultimately lost 3-1 to Munich, the team somehow managed to win back the hearts of their supporters and earn the respect of the whole german basketball community.

Interim coach Thomas Päch, who took over after Caki was fired, brought back the spirit and passion the team lacked for most of the season. Alba’s twitter hashtag #mitleibundseele (transl.: with body and soul) finally made sense for the first time this season. One has to wonder why it took so long for the players to break free and play with the kind of energy and effort they showed against Munich. Was it all Caki’s fault that Alba struggled after a 7-game winning streak in December and never fully recovered throughout the season? First of all one has to mention that Ahmed Caki seemed very unfortunate as the team had to handle so many injuries over the course of the season. Just remember: Brandon Ashley, who should have been a keyplayer on Alba’s frontcourt, decided to leave the club before the season even started. Malcolm Miller broke his hand at the end of the preparation and missed the first nine games of the season. That’s two starters out before the season even started. When the team finally seemed to have found their rhythm Peyton Siva, with whom Alba had a 14-5 record, had to deal with a stubborn adductor injury that made him miss most of the second half of the season. Without Siva the team finished the BBL regular season with a miserable 4-9 record. Then just days before the start of the Playoffs Alba’s most important offensive player Dragan Milosavljević suffered a season-ending injury to his elbow. But bad luck aside, retrospectively hiring Caki seems like a big misunderstanding.

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