One thing that you can´t discredit BG Goettingen head coach Johan Roijakkers from having is enormous balls or in kinder terms giant guts for how he decided to put together the most important piece of his team with the point guard position. Its no secret the success of a team usually has to do with how well the point guard leads and guides the team coupled with a healthy team chemistry that is formed by the head coach and carried on by the complete team. Last season Roijakkers came up with the interesting, surprising, but right choice in hauling in former NBA player Khalid El Amin who played 50 NBA games for the Chicago Bulls and won the NCAA title with UConn. Alba Berlin swing man Nils Giffey and El Amin could go back to the Uconn campus in Storrs with their three NCAA rings and probably get a hero´s welcome. What makes the welcome of El Amin to the German Beko BBL so interesting and amazing is the risk that BG Goettingen took on the 35 year old 200 pound American. Not did El Amin look out of shape, but he didn´t play at all last season on account of an injury in a Turkish cup game and had many critics questioning the mind of BG Goettinge head coach Johann Roijakkers for making such an unpredictable and bold move. Of course, El Amin has had a stellar track record in Europe as BG Goettingen is his 12th team, but his numbers and titles don´t lie. He has played most of his career in Turkey and the Ukraine and even played two seasons for Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey-D1) where Allen Iverson played. His stats have always been immaculate as he has been at the top of scoring and assists for whatever league he played in. He won titles in Croatia and in Turkey and Ukraine the cup where he was MVP in two titles victories. Even if his appearance and one year off are questionable, his play in the Beko BBL was excellent as he played 32 games averaging 14.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 90.1%. With a little more luck and bounces here and there, the team would have reached the playoffs, but finished in 10th place. BG Goettingen would have liked to have kept the American this season, but with a limited team budget and many heads to feed, El Amin moved to Sigal Prishtina (Kosovo-SuperLeague). This season Roijakkers had more pressure to form a potent team as he lost key players like El Amin, Raymar Morgan and Alex Rouff, but instead of going a more safe route and bringing in a younger, equally talented point guard, he must have had that itch and special feeling in his stomach to do the more unconventional and risky again like last season by bringing in an older point guard in Ricky Minard who had two pluses over El Amin in that he is two years younger and actually played last season even if it wasn´t much for SPO Rouen Basket (France-ProA) playing 5 games: 4.4ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg. Minard is a 33 year old 196cm guard that can do it all filling up the stats sheet the way Monta Ellis does in the NBA scoring on the penetration, shooting from outside and finding his teammates. This is the first season for the American in Germany after having played in countries like Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and France. He was drafted in 2004 by the Sacramento Kings (NBA,2rd(48) after a stellar college career at Morehead St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 29 games: ScoreOVC-1(21.8ppg), RebOVC-4(7.3rpg), AssistsOVC-4(5.1apg), 2.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 77.6%: Finished career at Morehead State as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,381 points. Also finished 11th in rebounding (725) and second in assists (417). He felt most comfortable in Italy playing parts of 8 seasons there. His biggest titles was the 2011 Eurocup with Unics Kazan (Russia-PBL) and winning the league and cup in 2014 with Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague). However after two games he hasn´t lived up to expectations averaging only 5,0ppg, 2,5rpg and 2,0apg and the club now got a shock that the American is indefinitely injured. Now the question will be how well does BG Goettingen survive without Minard and if they compensate the loss by other means. The momentary solution was called Chris Jones who is a 24 year old quick 178cm guard that is a rookie that started with Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-BSL), but never played a game. He played the last two years with Louisville (NCAA) and as a senior played 26 games: 13.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.6apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 40.3%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 73.0%. He had 15 points in his BBL debut in the loss to Bamberg. But he is already gone and headed to Paris. So who will be the new American point guard an old or another younger player? There are some well known players on the market just cut from NBA teams, but will they be in any way to finance? The club has had a rough start at 1-3 and now must do serious soul searching and hope the risk and question mark feeling doesn´t back fire.
When BG Goettingen arrived on the scene in the Beko BBL in the 2007-2008 season, head coach John Patrick and company brought a breath of fresh air to the league as their 40 minutes of basketball hell and unconventional style brought one or the other BBL opponents to unwanted head aches or annoying and painful cramps after a 40 minute battle in the trenches. The Frankfurt Skyliners also had their share of unforgettable games against the 2010 Eurochallenge winner as who could forget the amazing win in the mysterious Lok Halle in Goettingen where Murat Didin had a sick list as long as Shaq´s midnight snack list to Mcdonalds as he dressed 7 players and Maksym Shtein had the game of his life and showed a totally other side of him as he exploded on the court making just about every touch he had land in the basket as he led the club in scoring with 24 points. Other nice memories were in the 2009-2010 season where Frankfurt won in overtime 90-88 as Aubrey Reese tied the game at 88 with a three pointer and then won the game with two free throws with nine seconds to play and Seth Doliboa blocked the last BG Goettingen shot with two seconds to play. That season Frankfurt also got past BG Goettingen in the Cup Top 4 in Frankfurt only to later lose to Bamberg in the final. In the 2010-2011 season Frankfurt swept the season series and then won in the playoffs 3-0. In the last meeting between both teams, American Matt Bauscher preserved the win for BG Goettingen 62-61 with the classic buzzer beater. After two seasons in the German Pro A, BG Goettingen returned back into the Fraport arena with a new coach and all new players and wanted to continue their winning streak there, but couldn´t stop Justin Cobbs last minute transformation from slightly invisible to that needed glow at the end despite giving up a strong fight losing 74-70. After the win, Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson was happy that despite the tight win that he didn´t have to test his nerves even more with a buzzer beater and seeing his old teammate Dominik Bahiense De Mello “I remember BG Goettingen having a good look with that buzzer beater a few years back. Tonight we did a good job executing down the stretch. I made a stupid play at the end letting them get to the free throw line, but we held our composure at the end getting the needed stops. It was a good feeling playing against my ex teammate who I played two seasons with. He is still a good friend of mine today. He made some crucial shots at the end to get his team closer. I am happy there was no buzzer beater today”, expressed Auburn alumnist Quantez Robertson. After the 93-86 loss against the Brose Baskets Bamberg, BG Goettingen was looking to get back on track in the win column and gave a great fight against the Fraport Skyliners, but came up a bit short. After the game, BG Goettingen was more than unpleased about the narrow loss and had a lack of words for the reasons of the loss. “They made the plays that they needed down the stretch. Cobbs is a great player and future Euroleague player that came up big”, stressed former Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan.
In the last eight seasons, basketball has always been alive in Goettingen, but after falling back to the Pro A three seasons ago, the club is finally back in the Beko BBL after playing in the top German league from 2007-2012. In this time, the two biggest highlights was the amazing 2010 Eurochallenge win where German Chris Mcnaughton had the game of his life leading the team to victory with 22 points and the time the club played Eurocup against Beisktas Istanbul with future NBA legend Allen Iverson. Former head coach John Patrick put Goettingen basketball on the map in Germany as well as his special brand of basketball of 40 minutes of basketball hell with his hectic full press type of annoying basketball. This season the club has reached that third major highlight with the acquisition of former NBA player Khalid El Amin who played 50 NBA games for the Chicago Bulls and won the NCAA title with UConn. Alba Berlin swing man Nils Giffey and El Amin could go back to the Uconn campus in Storrs with their three NCAA rings and probably get a hero´s welcome. What makes the welcome of El Amin to the German Beko BBL so interesting and amazing is the risk that BG Goettingen took on the 35 year old 200 pound American that looks like a dough boy that could probably keep up with Shaq for the first five big macs, but then kindly surrender from a Mcdonalds eating binge. Not only does El Amin look out of shape, but he didn´t play at all last season on account of an injury in a Turkish cup game and had many critics questioning the mind of BG Goettinge head coach Johan Roijakkers for making such an unpredictable and bold move. Of course, El Amin has had a stellar track record in Europe as BG Goettingen is his 12th team, but his numbers and titles don´t lie. He has played most of his career in Turkey and the Ukraine and even played two seasons for Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey-D1) where Allen Iverson played. His stats have always been immaculate as he has been at the top of scoring and assists for whatever league he played in. He won titles in Croatia and in Turkey and Ukraine the cup where he was MVP in two titles victories. Even if his appearance and one year off are questionable, his play in the Beko BBL has been excellent as he is averaging 12,5 ppg, 6,2apg and 1,7rpg. Even as he gets older, he continues to be a warrior as he can still battle with guys 10 years his junior as he has the perfect combination of skill, heart and will that could raise BG Goettingen to new heights. Already as a kid he was already focused as he made the North High Polars varsity team at age 14 and led them to three state titles in Minnesota. Before the season, many critics had this club as a team that could move back down to the German Pro A, but so far they have kept their own and are fighting for a playoff spot even if their goal before the season was too stay in the league. Hauling in the old dough boy has paid dividends as once again a she has led BG Goettingen and his experience and leadership skills is what has carried his teammates mostly a list of no name players that are playing their first season in the Beko BBL to new heights. At the start of the season ex Georgetown point guard Jason Clark had the pleasure of being the teammate El Amin in Goettingen and even if he was there only a few weeks before moving to Belgium to Okapi Aalstar, the American was thankful for the experience. “I remember watching him at UCONN winning the NCAA title. When I heard he was playing with BG Goettingen my first reaction was “Is he still playing”? He has had a great career in Europe. It was a great experience for me playing behind him in Goettingen and just learning how he can take over a game and I hope I could take some of his competitiveness with me. Learning from him is vital because everyone wants to reach the next level and get to the Euroleague or NBA”, stressed Jason Clark. It will be interesting to see how BG Goettingen continue to develop in the next months with El Amin leading the team. If the team makes the playoffs or stays in the Beko BBL, the dough boy probably will have no problems if he gets free bread and sweet pastries from local bakeries as a season ending reward.
Dominik Spohr is a 25 year old 198cm forward that is playing his first season with BG Goettingen. He started his basketball career in 2004 for BBV Hagen (Regionalliga). He then helped Phoenix Hagen move up to the Beko BBL in 2009 playing 24 games: 2.0ppg. In three years in Hagen he played 64 Beko BBL games. Last season he played for the Giessen 46ers playing 29 games: 5.6ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 75.6%. He spoke to German Hoops after helping BG Goettingen win the German Pro A title.
Dominik congrats on winning the 2014 Pro A title with BG Goettingen. After a big title in the States, the famous players say afterwards “Im going To Disneyland. Where would you want to go after this big title win against Crailsheim?
We had 1 or 2 little partys to go to and celebrate the chip.
BG Goettingen had the slim 35-33 lead at halftime. In the second half, BG Goettingen was able to pull away and get the win. What was key for getting the win at home in Goettingen?
The key was our defense and our unselfish style on offense.
Dominik Spohr is a 25 year old 198cm forward that is playing his first season with BG Goettingen. He started his basketball career in 2004 for BBV Hagen (Regionalliga). He then helped Phoenix Hagen move up to the Beko BBL in 2009 playing 24 games: 2.0ppg. In three years in Hagen he played 64 Beko BBL games. Last season he played for te Giessen 46ers playing 29 games: 5.6ppg, 2.0rpg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 75.6%. He spoke to German Hoops before the final game in Goettingen for the Pro A title.
Dominik thanks for talking to German Hoops. Recently you helped BG Goettingen move up to the Beko BBL. How was this time different than with Phoenix Hagen in 2009. Was one more sweeter than the other?
It was equally sweet but my role this year was different. Back in 2009 I was a lot younger and not that experienced. I think I helped my team much more this year than I had been able to do in Hagen.
How do you like the German Pro A policy of the soccer like rules of two final games that are decided on the point total difference in both games?
I don’t like it at all. It should be either another series like in the BBL or a real final. One game one winner!
Alex Ruoff is a 27 year old 198cm guard from Spring Hill, Florida that is playing his fifth professional season and first with BG Goettingen. He played at West Virgina from 2005-2009 and as freshman was a roommate of ex German national player Johannes Herber. Ruoff started his professional career in 2009 with Belgacom Liege Basket (Belgium-D1): EuroChallenge: 12 games: 10.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.5%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 75.0%; Belgian League: 37 games: 6.6ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 78.4%. He then played the next two seasons with Generali Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-D1). Last season he played for Canton Charge (D-League): 24 games: 7.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 84.0%, in Mar.’13 signed at Iowa Energy (D-League): 11 games: 11.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 67.6%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 72.2%, in Apr.’13 moved to Generali Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Ethias League, starting five): 10 games: 9.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 85.7%. He spoke to eurobasket after the 74-65 game two win in Giessen.
Alex congrats on the game two win in Giessen. It didn´t seem as easy for BG Goettingen despite Giessen not having the services of Myles Hesson.
It was not an easy win. You have to give credit to Giessen as they hard and with heart. It was not a pretty win.
What was key for the big 14-1 start by BG Goettingen in game two?
We had a slow start in game two in Essen and ever since that game, we have keyed on trying to have fast starts like tonight in our games.
As Myles Hesson went down with a toe injury in game one of the semifinals series in Goettingen one may not have seen it on the faces of his teammates, but they surely were feeling a sense of despair and some helplessness as their best player from England was being brought to a hospital for examination. How important had he been in game one and three against Science City Jena sealing crucial free throws and hitting for 29 and 31 points in game three and game four? Without the help of the important Hesson play, teammates like Steven Bennett may already have been home going to a Los Angeles Clippers game or Rob Chubb visiting his cousin Adam Chubb and new born baby in Oldenburg. Hesson was missing for game two and at times, one doesn´t know if his focused and stern expression is of happiness or sadness as his unchanging demeanor resembles that of ex Giessen fan favorite Florian Hartenstein. With Hesson on the sidelines and only real strength as a cheerleader and added assistant coach, Denis Wucherer could of really used the sudden arrivals of ex Giessen scorers David Teague or Chuck Eidson as they had been the type of players that had come up big in their time in Giessen, but instead the ex German national player was without his best player and had to make massive adjustments. After the game one wouldn´t have known if Giessen had won or lost with the expression of Hesson or how both clubs were celebrating their fans, but the absence of the Englishman really was felt as BG Goettingen grinded out a big 74-65 win. Hesson missed game two because of a toe injury and reflected on being on the sidelines. “I wish that I could of helped more on offense and defense and my points were missing. If I would have been healthy, I could of helped, but I can´t get upset about my situation, because it is something I can´t control”, stressed ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Myles Hesson. Teammate Steven Bennett was missing his partner in basketball crime and could of used the Englishman for support under the boards. “It was really tough without Myles Hesson. BG Goettingen is so physical and we were so small. There were quite a few times where we could of used him on rebounds and finishes”, warned Steven Bennett. BG Goettingen had a tremendous start and never looked back as Giessen were trailing the whole game. BG Goettingen played solid team basketball on both ends of the court. “Giessen fought so hard and really made us work for 40 minutes. They made runs and never went away. We played hard as well and just stuck together to get this win”, added ex California(NCAA) forward Harper Kamp. The Giessen 46ers continued to get wrapped up in old habits as they started off slow which has been a dilemma in the playoffs, fought the whole game, but just couldn´t get over the hump in crunch time as BG Goettingen outmuscled them for the win. “It was the first five minutes that hurt us. They had a big lead and it is tough coming back against a team like BG Goettingen. They had great ball movement and execution and did a good job crashing the boards and getting second chance points. We have to play for 40 minutes and limit their runs, but we didn´t”, stressed ex Temple(NCAA) guard TJ DiLeo.