In Freak city Bamberg, one can tackle the difficult question about which player in the last 10 years had the most impact on their two dynasties, ex NBA player Casey Jacobsen or Brad Wanamaker, but one thing is for sure, the eight time BBL champion would have won far less titles had the club not had these two players aboard. Of course a team effort belongs to the success of a club, but these two players had a major impact on their teams. Granted a Jacobsen won 5 league titles in four and a half years while a Wanamker won only two, but the American who head coach Sasa Obradovic once called one of the three best players to have ever played in the BBL played only two seasons with the team going two for two in league titles and now has headed to greener pastures in Turkey with Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul. Just how dominant would the Brose Baskets Bamberg have been this season and for the future if the club had miraculously been able to produce an extra crate full of cash to keep the Philadelphia native on board? In any case when Jacobsen retired in 2013 the Brose Baskets Bamberg were dethroned in 2014 by FC Bayern Munich and now with Wanamaker departed, will they be able to keep the new started dynasty alive? This season the Brose Baskets Bamberg don´t have that dominant guard from nature on and off the court like a Wanamaker, but a very potent guard rotation of French national player Fabien Causeur, rookie Maodo Lo and Janis Strelnieks. All three have their own diverse talents with the French man´s basketball IQ, drive and shooting, Lo´s undeniable quickness and drive that is hard to stop as well as probably the best playmaker of the lot, and Strelnieks´s dangerous shooting and ongoing basketball IQ. Bamberg will have one of the best guard rotation´s in the league and even if they lost such a huge leader in a Wanamaker, the club has enough other players that will be able to slip into the role that Wanamaker once had. The question will be what player will be able and want to take over that responsibility? “I think Bamberg is still the favorite. But losing Wanamaker is a big loss for them, similar like when Munich lost Delaney. It will be interesting how they compensate for this loss”, stressed Phoenix Hagen assistant coach Steven Wriedt.
FC Bayern Munich might be the most famous and well known German sports team, but when it comes to German basketball competition the biggest duel and most intense rivalry of the last 10 years belongs to the two big B´s Alba Berlin and the Brose Baskets Bamberg as they have been battling each other for titles seemingly forever, but currently the Bavarian team having the 9-4 edge, but Alba Berlin has won the last two cups. Both teams are currently also the crème de la crème in the Beko BBL as they are 1 and 2 in the standings boasting a 23-4 record and hoping for bragging rights before the playoffs start in a month. Bamberg came into the game well rested having last played last weekend while Alba Berlin were still digesting their bitter 71-64 Euroleague loss to top Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv 48 hours ago as they were denied the ticket to the quarterfinals as the experience factor played a massive role in crunch time. Both teams had battled only one time this season as 6 time Beko BBl champion Brose Baskets Bamberg destroyed Alba Berlin 98-69 as the Bavarian team shot out the light Stephen Curry style hitting 13 three pointers and displaying six players in double figures. Alba Berlin was unable to crack the Bamberg defense hitting only four three pointers and presenting splitting head aches for head coach Sasa Obradovic all night long. Even though this semi final was the top game, it started at the unconventional time of 5.00pm a time where Brad Wanamaker or Reggie Redding are usually getting ready for a light pre game snack while the other semi final of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Telekom Baskets Bonn was the top draw at 8:00 pm to help cater to the home crowd. Despite a small lull in the third quarter, the Brose Baskets Bamberg controlled the game for 33 minutes and easily reached the final disposing of Alba Berlin 86-65. “We played very aggressive defense, had nice ball movement and took the lead quickly. We allowed Alba Berlin to come back, but we stepped up our defense in the fourth quarter and were able to finish the game in fine fashion”, stressed Brose Baskets Bamberg forward Karsten Tadda. “We were a bit tired coming into the game and Bamberg limited our pick and roll and just didn´t let us play to our strength. We played more intensive defense in the third quarter being able to come back. We decided to stop pick and roll and just banged the ball inside to Mclean and Banic and that worked. But they came back hitting big three pointers and Dalibor Bagaric hurt us inside”, stressed Alba Berlin guard Ismet Akpinar. The Brose Baskets Bamberg were led by Brad Wanamaker with 21 points. American Ryan Thompson added 18 points. Elias Harris and Trevor Mbakwe added 12 points a piece and Janis Sterlnieks contributed 11 points. Alba Berlin were led by their big men Marko Banic and Leon Radosevic with 11 points a piece. Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman gave energy from the bench with 10 points. Bamberg had a hot shooting night shooting 53% from the field and 41% from outside while Alba Berlin shot 40% from the field and couldn´t hit the side of a barn from downtown shooting a miserable 12%. Alba Berlin did win the rebound battle 30-29, but had 13 turnovers while Bamberg had 11 turnovers.
The one guy comes from the city of angels Los Angeles while the other player learned how to play the game in the city of brotherly love Philadelphia, but when one examines what Justin Cobbs of the Fraport Skyliners and Brad Wanamaker of the Brose Baskets Bamberg have done in the last two months the word general and success come to mind. The only real big difference is that Cobbs is a Beko BBL rookie while Wanamaker is a 25 year old playing his fourth season while having registered many flying miles having played in many locations in Italy, the D-League and was the last cut of the NBA Atlanta Hawks shortly before Christmas 2011. Bamberg had a solid 7-3 record early in the German league with Wanamaker, but the club was still finding itself. Cobbs came to Frankfurt in mid November and has carried the team out of the lower standings to the playoff area with a 10 game home winning streak and four consecutive wins in the Eurochallange. Since the 7-3 start, Bamberg has a eight game winning streak in the Beko BBL and it has been the Philadelphia native Wanamaker that has carried the team to new heights. He didn´t have good scoring games against Crailsheim or BG Goettingen where he combined for 15 points, but it was the games that really counted against Alba Berlin and FC Munich where he had huge games with 21 points and nine assists and 18 points and seven assists. Like Cobbs, Wanamaker broke out those general like qualities that lifted the club to a higher level and gave a warning to Munich and Berlin that Bamberg is a team that wants to play for titles this season in the Beko BBL. One probably won´t find a more complete and versatile combo guard in the league as he can combine scoring and passing at a blink of the eye however he pleases or is needed to be done. This seasons team has been known for their improved offense, but especially on the defensive end the club has made noise as they have kept teams to under 70 points in six of the last seven games and under 60 points three times. “I think that we have improved the most on defense. We have been very consistent and have been forcing teams to to take tough shots and and our better ball pressure has led to easy baskets. It is all about being focused and wanting to improve”, warned Brad Wanamaker. Even if his main focus is Bamberg now, the American keeps having great seasons no matter if it is in Italy or in the D-League at at his age the NBA is still a big desire. “I think like for many other talented players it is finding the right situation at the right time. It is still my dream to play in the NBA. I am 25 now and hope I will get that chance sometime. Even if FC Bayern Munich got revenge last week in Eurocup play 90-52, Wannamaker was still one of the best Bambegr players with 16 points, but didn´t get support from his teammates. One slip up is allowed in Freak city and Brad Wanamaker is still making a name in Bamberg and is coming up big on a consistent rate like former Bamberg legends Casey Jacobsen or Anton Gavel.