Alba Berlin

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.

picture perfect 1991
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.


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.


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.

picture perfect 1991

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


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


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.


The Miles Basketball Minute: BBL Playoff Preview FC Bayern Munich-Alba Berlin 3-0


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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Bryce Taylor after a game in Frankfurt

Who could forget the amazing one on one battle last season in the easyCredit BBL cup semi final in Munich between Jordan Theodore and Jordan Taylor as the Jordan´s produced a duel on the court that wasn´t near as great as the game 2 Thomas 53 and Wall 40 point performances this week in the NBA, but for German fans they gave their all as Taylor went on to the final leading his team past the home team FC Bayern Munich and gave Alba Berlin their third cup in four years while Theodore would get revenge on Taylor in the playoffs and win his title with the Fiba Europe Cup. However after the gratifying German cup win against FC Bayern Munich, their season abruptly ended there as mentally and physically they have been a totally different team which somehow carried into this season. Last season Alba Berlin closed out the season in poor fashion having a very unsatisfactory 6-6 record and then got majorly embarrassed by the Fraport Skyliners as they got swept out of the Fraport arena as the only thing missing from their flight home to Berlin was unearthing the supermarket bags to cover their faces as they landed back at Tegel in Berlin. Except for a very potent run from November to February this season where they won 12 of 13 games including 10 in a row, it has been a very inconsistent season and especially since that run, the club has played under their worth losing 9 of 14 games as many have been wondering what has happened to the once mighty Alba Berlin that once won 7 titles in a row? This poor run from February to the playoffs has that parallel from last season as they stunk up BBL buildings until the end of the season. There are some guys that have won cup titles with Alba Berlin like Elmeden Kikanovic, Ismet Akpinar or Akeem Vargas who has two and even Nils Giffey owns one, but he has something else that none of them have. Giffey is only one of 13 players that has ever won two NCAA titles with UConn and with ex ratiopharm Ulm guard Lee Humphrey the only two that have won two and balled in the BBL. Now would be the perfect time for Giffey to remember his title runs with Uconn in 2011 and 2014 with top point guards Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier and let some of that special inspiration carry over to his teammates, because if their play doesn´t drastically change to the better and become more consistent then Alba Berlin could experience back to back sweeps and getting the Munich broom treatment is a lot more bitter than that of Frankfurt.


The Fraport Skyliners Give Max Merz Retirement Present Win Over Alba Berlin 83-71

Around this time of year the last two seasons, the Fraport Skyliners were feeling that special rush of taking part in the playoffs again after having been idle for three seasons, but this time around the club was already looking forward to next season and off season dealings while the American players were already thinking about the first eatery that they will seek out at home when they land, but before that could happen there was still one last regular season game to play against Alba Berlin. It has been a season to forget for the Fraport Skyliners who were dearly missing Jordan Theodore from last season´s success and just didn´t have that consistent point guard with the killer instinct and after a better second half, were unable to compensate the poor first half of the season and the 3 last minute loses to Ludwigsburg, Bonn and Bayreuth denied them to slip into the playoffs. With one last regular season game before the long summer break, fans wanted to see their favorite players one last time, witness a few more crushing Mike Morrison dunks, a coast to coast sprint and dunk from Quantez Robertson and a lot of playing time for German wonder boy Isaac Bonga who seems to be slated for the back up point guard position next season, but after 40 minutes, it was Max Merz that fans cherished most in the game. Only 29 hours earlier, the German Merz had surprisingly announced his retirement, because of wanting to enter the business world and was playing his last professional game and helped the Fraport Skyliners dispose of 8 time BBL champion Alba Berlin 83-71. The 23 year old Merz played five seasons with the Fraport Skyliners and was one of those players that developed, but at a slow rate. He finished his last game steering 10 points, four rebounds and four steals in 30 minutes and was near tears at the conclusion. After he said his farewell to the fans, he was comforted by teammate Quantez Robertson for 20 seconds as he had to let it all out. After all was said and done, the German was content for his decision. “I thank all the fans and it was an honor to play for them. I don´t want to talk too much, because I will start to cry again. I have a lot of passion for what I studied and I feel that I can be successful there also. My heart will always be with basketball, but I know that I will have fun with my new job and be able to do things there that I wouldn´t have been able to do as a player. I know that I will keep coming into the arena to watch the Skyliners play”, smiled Max Merz. “I didn´t think so much about it being Max Merz´s last game during the game, but in the last seconds, it became more emotional since I did spend 4 years with him”, added Stefan Ilzhoefer.