Unless you know your basketball and know the history of German fitness studios, then knowing that Alba Berlin forward Sven Schultze hails from the Bavarian province town of Bamberg and gets booed at when he plays in the Stechert arena and the founder of now Germanys biggest fitness studio chain McFit come from Bamberg isn´t difficult. However there are other reasons for visiting the Oberfranken town of Bamberg like visiting its beautiful and traditional historic district, walking along the pretty Regnitz river and taking in the tranquility of Bamberg, taking in the Bamberg Minister and all its history, seeing the old city hall what is basicly on the Regnitz river or having to make the difficult decision of what beer to drink since it has a rich tradition of serving very many different type. However if your a basketball aficionado, then making a short stop at the Stechert arena which is the home of reining German champion Brose Baskets Bamberg where you can get a dose of German sports bar and German Super market in one as both are adjacent to the arena. Ever since Bamberg won their third league title in 2010 defeating the Deutsche Bank Skyliners in a hard fought five game battle, they have been the club to beat having won the title now four years in a row and are gunning for a fifth this season. That first title was won mainly with a very strong knit team led by ex NBA player Casey Jacbseon, Predrag Suput and John Goldsberry and many big time role players like Brian Roberts, Mark Worthington and Anton Gavel that understood that team came before ego. In the last three titles, a growing team chemistry has been vital as well as the work of probably the most famous scout in German basketball Brendan Rooney who brought in the exact right players each season to make the Bamberg club even more dangerous and more difficult to defeat. In the second title, Rooney hauled in little big center Kyle Hines who was like a new version of Jeff Gibbs and ex NBA player Reyshawn Terry, two seasons ago, he brought in dunk sensation Marcus Slaughter who gave flights to the basket and ally-ops a new meaning and x factor PJ Tucker who is back in the NBA now and probably wont leave again. Last season, he had to bring in more faces with Bostjan Nachbar, Teddy Gipson, Sharrod Ford, Latavious Williams and Andrew Ogilvy. Gipson and Williams had to go early, but despite that the club was still able to buckle down and win a fourth league title. This season, the team brought in five new import players with Zack Wright, Jahmar Smith, Rakim Sanders, Damir Markota, Novica Velickovic and recently ex Macabbi Tel Aviv center D or Fischer for the injured Sharrod Ford. So far Smith and Wright have been the steadiest players. Markota has already departed and Velickovic is injured. Bamberg is still near the top at the present moment and despite growing competition each season especially from FC Bayern Munich, it will be interesting if Bamberg can win a fifth title in a row this season. The new player signings haven´t been as spectacular as in years two and three of their titles, but these guys can still play and a lot will have to do with how well the team chemistry builds and how well the new players develop in their current situation in the team. An advantage that the new players have is that they are more youthful and are able to create shots better for guys like Gavel and Jacobsen who weren´t always set up as well as they would have liked.
Kyle Hines is a 26 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his second season with Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece) winning the Euroleague final last season. He is a powerful player who loves to attack the basket. Has a good 1-vs-1 game and likes to go inside. He is undersized to play the power forward, but his great wingspan (7-1) allows him to guard taller players and to intimidate. He’s also a great leaper and reads the opponent’s game well He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had predraft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). He then went to Europe to Italy and played with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 34 games: 16.9ppg, Reb-4(8.6rpg), 3.0spg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP-2(66.0%), FT: 58.5%. In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 40 games: 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2(3.5spg), Blocks-4(1.6bpg), FGP-3(64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): Euroleague: 10 games: 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; German League: 46 games: 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP-3(61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. Lasts eason in Greece he played Euroleague: 22 games: 9.9ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.9%, FT: 57.6%; Greek League: 34 games: 8.6ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-4(1.1bpg), FGP: 57.4%, FT: 64.4% He spoke to German Hoops after winning his second Euroleague title.
Congrats Kyle for your second Euroleague win. Nothing against athletes Dennis Davis and Shonn Greene, but are you now the most famous person in your hometown Sicklerville, New Jersey?
I don’t really know. You would have to ask the town. There have been some well known people from my town. A kid won an Olympic gold medal at the last Olympics. I am happy though to be listed with them.
Are comebacks in your blood?
I think that our team has had experience in making comebacks the entire Euroleague season. It just shows the character of the team to be able to comeback and not be afraid or panic in uneasy situations. We never plan comebacks. We would rather be in games where we had a comfortable lead, but it seems that things always work out for us.
From 2009-2012, winning for the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the Beko BBL has seemed as simple as it is for NBA player Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian to drown in the tabloids, The Boston Celtics to win games without Rajon Rondo or the way Bayer Giants Leverkusen guard Josh Parker has been able to tear up the PRO B this season In these three years, Bamberg had a record of 111-25 in the Beko BBL. In 2009-2010, they even lost 12 games in the regular season, but showed their grit in playoffs winning a hard fought 5 games series vs Deutsche Bank Skyliners. The 2010-2011 regular season was their strongest going 30-4 and after winning the first 17 games and lost surprisingly in Duesseldorf. They needed five games series in the playoffs against Artland and Alba Berlin. Last season, they were 30-4 in the regular season and blew away the competition in the playoffs and only lost one time vs Bonn at home which was their only loss at home in two years. In this span they won six titles, but this season a dent was put into the quadruple losing in the cup to FC Bayern Munich. In the last years, they kept many players keeping the chemistry intact and adding the perfect players like a Kyle Hines or Marcus Slaughter, but this season, they seem more vulnerable. Players like Latavious Williams and Teddy Gipson have come and gone which has rattled the seemingly perfect put together rosters of the last years. Bamberg is still the favorite of many critics to win the Beko BBL title, but it wont be easier as the league continues to be competitive and teams like Munich, Ulm and Oldenburg have gotten stronger and will challenge them. Winning it all wont be easy, but as long as Casey Jacobson is on board, fans can be content that Mr Bamberg wont concede until winning a 5th championship. One guy has had success this season against Bamberg is 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood who beat them twice. Wood knows that Bamberg is still one of the top teams and that playing against Chris Fleming and co will be a totally new experience like it is when you run that first marathon after training months and months for it and being in top shape. “I don´t think that they are easier to beat, but we just took care of the home court advantage. We still have to play them two more times in Bamberg. We hope to be able to steal one. The season doesn´t start until the playoffs and that is when you have to be able to win on the road”, warned Detroit native Dashaun Wood. “Bamberg has had misfortune and many players that have come and gone and now John Goldsberry is hurt again. They just haven´t been as consistent and are still looking for it”, stressed Konstantin Klein.
Some things are easier said than done like if Argentine striker Lionel Messi predicts 10 goals in the next classic FC Barcelona against Real Madrid, New England Patriot Tom Brady saying that he will never lose another Superbowl to the New York Giants and arch nemesis Eli Manning, Lebron James predicting three NBA titles in a row or Paris Hilton never checking into a HIlton hotel again. For the Fraport Skyliners to win in Bamberg seems more like a dream than ever happening in reality as the last time the Skyliners won a regular season game in freak city, NBA superstar Kevin Durant was a tenth grader at the well known Oak Hill academy, Tom Brady only had one Superbowl ring and teen singing sensation Justin Bieber was only nine years old. The last time that the Fraport Skyliners were able to depart the floor in Bamberg as the winner in a regular season game was January 18th, 2004. It was the bests coring game of ex Skyliner Tyrone Ellis who recently announced his retirement dropping 32 points and nailing nine three pointers. Ex NBA player Mario Kasun was also on that team. Ex Skyliner Max Weber was an 18 year old kid on the Bamberg team that made a point and grabbed a rebound against his future team. Coming into the game, The Frankfurt Skyliners had lost the last eight regular season games and after a slow start, no one was really expecting anything from them, but they gave a spirited effort keeping the first half close, but then losing some focus in the third quarter as the Brose Baskets Bamberg was able to take control of the game and win 76-67. It isn´t only the team that opponents have to contend with in trying to crawl out of the Stechert arena with a win, but also the noisy arena and loud fans. Skyliner Quantez Robertson played his tenth game in Bamberg and is still overwhelmed by the difficulty of playing there. “This is one of the hardest places to play at. It is always difficult to hear the point guard calling the plays, but you just have to play through it”, stressed Quantez Robertson. For new Skyliner Ted Scott, it was his first experience in Bamberg that he won´t forget so fast. “This is a very tough place to play in, because the crowd never lets up. It was one of the toughest places that I have played in, because the crowd is so involved. It seemed like they helped with some of the calls. I felt comfortable on the court, but was a little annoyed that I couldn´t find my three point shot as well”, added Fraport Skyliner guard Ted Scott.
In the last two years, the Brose Baskets Bamberg were able to keep a good portion of their roster supplementing them with key Americans like Kyle Hines, Reyshawn Terry, PJ Tucker and Marcus Slaughter. These players turned out to be the perfect fit as they did their role on the team leading the club to four further titles and were as perfect for the Freak city team like as Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Smith is slowly becoming for the southern team, Mario Mandzukic has been for Bayern Munich scoring seven goals in the first eight Bundesliga games, or the Los Angeles Lakers bulking up this season with guys like Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. This season the Brose Baskets Bamberg lost a good portion of their team adding talented experienced Americans like ex Paderborn guard Teddy Gipson who had great years in Holland and France and Mr double double Sharod Ford who played three games for the Phoenix Suns, but their biggest signing was ex NBA player Bostjan Nachbar who wheeled and dealed in 309 NBA games. Former Bamberg players like Kyle Hines and Marcus Slaughter were able to make the next step playing for Greek Euroleague power house Olympiakos Pireus or Real Madrid. Bamberg didn´t take a risk on these players, but on the same token didn´t really know how well they could produce for the Bavarian team, but knew what they were getting in them. Nachtbar played in the NBA form 2002-2008. He showed with the New Jersey Nets that he could be an important role player for the Eastern conference power team. This season, the Brose Baskets Bamberg have a bit more different and interesting constellation with duo Casey Jacobsen and Bostjan Nachbar that have combined 595 NBA games. Thw combination of their diverse basketball skills, vast experience and basketball IQ, it could help carry the team to a fourth consecutive league title and cup title. The question is how well will the other indians follow these two chiefs? “I saw Bostjan Nachbar play as a youth. Already there he had an unbelievable basketball IQ at a young age. He is a player that makes the right decisions. He can´t only shoot, but is simply an allrounder. He makes Bamberger a lot more versatile and dangerous and can play inside out and is a stretch four. He is more a four, but can play the position three. Players lose their quickness at 30. He makes his team slower at the position three and faster at the position four. It is great that Jacobsen and Nachtbar are on the same team and they are used to playing at ahigh level. Both are always calm in tough situations”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss.
After losing game 1 of the quarterfinals-series against Bonn, Bamberg managed to win 9 play-off games in a row! 3-1 against Bonn in the quarterfinals, 3-0 against the Artland Dragons in the semis and 3-0 in the finals against ratiopharm Ulm.
So it’s time to put the broom back in its place and enjoy the sweet taste of success.
The German Hoops crew says: Congratulations to the Brose Baskets Bamberg for winning the 2012 Beko BBL championship!
After becoming the first team since Alba Berlin in 2003 to defend the title last season. The Brose Baskets made history this season as they became the first team ever in german basketball to secure three cup-wins and championship wins in a row. Looking back at the last 20 years in german basketball it is easy to say that there was a Bayer Leverkusen era in the early nineties (7 championships from 1990-1996) that was followed by Alba Berlin’s dominance (7 championships from 1997-2003). Chris Fleming’s Brose Baskets are not far from that status now with three consecutive championships.
You can watch all three game of the BBL Finals on YouTube! (Check out the Channel basket24grTV!)
In today´s world making the fast buck is what seems to be the norm including selling newspapers as the scandal reports about which Baskeball player is sleeping with what other basketsball players wife, the Pete Rose betting scandal, the Minnesota Vikings party boat scandal or the recent Penn State scandal are just some of the stories that America wants to read as they sip their coffee and eat toast at the Breakfast table. However, it is often the positive stories that get forgotten or are only recognized partly on the surface that really should get more credit and publicity. One man in the Beko BBL who continues to add points to his class act image is Brose Baskets Bamberg head coach Chris Fleming. He has rapidly become one of Germany´s best coaches after building up the Artland Dragons program coming from the second league into the Beko BBL and making it into a playoff team and the 2008 cup winner. Since 2008, he has been coach in Bamberg and after start difficulties has made the team into a basketball power house in the BEKO BBL winning the last two league titles and cups and is now looking for the triple. Bamberg had been labeled as the team everybody wants to hate in the last years simply because they were always good, but also had player personalities and fans that you loved to hate. The bar scene fight years ago involving Steffan Hamann, Uvis Hellmanis and Mike Nahar didn´t help their image either. However since Fleming has come on board, his demanour and mentality seems to have eased the once harder more brutal imagine more into a sympathetic team. A good example to why he is such a massive class act was his unnecessary, but much appreciated words that he let go after the big 101-68 win in Goettingen recently. “This was a strange game for me. We had some cup and playoff games in the last years against BG Goettingen. They have had a marbled season so far to put it mildly. I know how hard Marc Franz has worked to get great basketball here. Michael Meeks is now in his third position here and has invested much. If BG Goettingen does move down to the second league, then I hope that they will return back. I would like to see basketball in the Lok Halle. It was always difficult for my teams there, but it is one of the best arenas in Germany. The fans have deserved attractive basketball”, stressed Chris Fleming. Fleming has made Bamberg what it is today and gets much respect from everyone. “Chris Fleming is a very extraordinary coach in Germany. He has shown how he is able to improve players and have success with them. His tactical ability is unbelievable. One sees now that almost every team runs plays that he started with Bamberg in the last years. That less positive image has changed through the play of the team. In the past, Bamberg was known as being a very defensive orientated team which became very unpopular due to very physical play. He has made Bamberg more into an offensive team”, stressed Walter Tigers Tuebingen forward Ruben Spoden.