There are numerous exciting aspects that happen during basketball games like a crushing Larry Gordon dunk, a twisting cross over from Demond Mallett or a sweet catch and pop jumper from the Bremerhaven polar bear cage by Jacob Burtschi, but one thing that can´t ever be avoided is when ex teammates jostle again on the court. Back in the 2007-2008 season, it was the last time Alba Berlin won the German championship, Robin Benzing was a 18 year old kid with huge potential playing for TV Langen and dreaming of the Beko BBL and Quantez Robertson(Auburn) was still tangling with friend MarK Dorris(Marshall) on the play ground courts during the summer and displaying their dunking talent. In the 2007-2008 season, also showed two Americans Dawan Robinson(Fraport Skyliners) and Jared Homan(FC Bayern Munich) pursuing the same goal with ASCO Slask Wroclaw (Poland-DBE) trying to win as many games and at the same time develop their game more as they had been playing as professionals only a few years. Robinson had a very solid season for the Polish squad playing ULEB Cup: 12 games: 13.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 51.5%, 3FGP: 31.8%, FT: 78.3%; Polish League: 34 games: 11.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.6apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 73.9%. His teammate Jared Homan also had a solid season playing Polish League: 28 games: 12.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-2(1.1bpg), 2FGP: 45.8%, FT: 62.0%; ULEB Cup: 12 games: 11.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.0spg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 47.2%, 3FGP: 0%, FT: 45.7%. Both guys were key figures for their team and five years later they duel in a span of a little more than one month for a second time. Both players got further experience in the last years playing in countries like Italy, Croatia, Greece and in the D-league. In the first encounter in Frankfurt, FC Bayern was able to defeat the Fraport Skyliners 73-59 as Frankfurt played a solid game, but the Bavarian team was simply a class better. Homan finished with nine points and grabbed four rebounds while Dwan Robinson had six points and two assists. It was the second meeting between the two Americans and Robinson was highly motivated and sought revenge, but he lost for the second time to his ex teammate Jared Homan 79-72 registering 12 points, to rebounds and two assists while Homan produced 16 points and five rebounds. Ex LTi Giessen 46er Jeffrey Bonds who played five games earlier in the season for the Hessen club who is practicing with FC Bayern Munich looking for a new team enjoyed the game and could relate to ex teammates squaring off again. “ When two ex teammates like Robinson and Homan play against each other it is always very competitive and each guy always wants the upperhand. Both guys have mutual respect, but you always wants to win. Homan now has bragging rights”, smiled Jeffery Bonds.
It only seems like yesterday that a boyish, tall, inexperienced lanky 17 year old Robin Benzing played his first season with second Bundesliga club TV Langen. The year was 2006 as he was already displaying his talent with American teammate Ty Shaw who now coaches that team or Igor Starcevic who know coaches PRO B team Licher Basket Baeren. Benzing developed nicely in Langen the first two seasons and then really exploded in his third year 2008-2009 where put up 18,7ppg, 4,4rpg, 1,1apg, 1,0spg and 1,1bpg and was also playing with the big boys with the Deutsche Bank Skyliners 15 kilometers north in Frankfurt and was dreaming of the Beko BBL. He had a game that looked like that of German national player Jan Jagla, but in appearance looked totally different with his short cut army type haircut and looked like the friendly kid next door. He had the height of a power forward, but could play like a small forward that would create numerous mismatches during games. He could already hurt you with his shot at a young age and penetrate like a mal nourished bear as he demonstrated during the 2009 European championships in Poland putting up sweet stats without ever having played a game in the Beko BBL. Many Frankfurt fans had hoped that he might make the jump to the Deutsche Bank Skyliners, but instead went south to ratiopharm Ulm where D league head coach Mike Taylor of the Maine Red Claws gave him freedom and sufficient playing time and was able to develop further. Benzing was top German scorer in the 2010-2011 season with 15,1ppg. After that potent season, it was only obvious that he would make the next step and did moving to famous German name team FC Bayern Munich. In his first season, his production slipped dramatically, but he was packed into a stronger and deeper roster. However he seemed to have received some fortune with the move bringing legendary head coach Svetislav Pesic to the Isar as he has improved and been in the starting lineup and there is no more talk about his development stalling, but he now seems headed into becoming a leading player in a club staked with top American players. His potential is unending and talk of getting to the NBA is present again. Benzing returned back to Frankfurt with Bayern Munich after losing last season there with FC Bayern Munich for a fourth time and led the most famous German team in Germany to a 73-59 victory. That Benzing is a much liked player there is no surprise. “I coached Robin in the Hessen team when he was 15 and in the A-2 German national team. I said many years ago that he has much potential and was a bit surprised that he wasn´t drafted. What I like about his game that he is never afraid and has that killer instinct. I see him making the NBA. In Treviso where top players play for a chance for the NBA, he was over motivated. In Treviso, it can be tough for a player to get noticed since the play is so crazy as it is difficult to observe the strength of a player. He didn´t shoot so well in Treviso which hurt his rating. Robin shoots so well for his height at the position three. He really has the right head on his shoulder. His summer program helped him a lot get more self confidence and I think that he has made a big step in the last months. The arrival of Pesic has helped him as he has more confidence and gets the green light. Pesic is perfect coach for him as he will improve and gain more experience”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss. Benzing finished the game with a team high 21 points and eight rebounds on six for nine shooting in 30 minutes. After the win Benzing was humble and taking his performance in stride like a real professional. “I really looked forward to this game since I am from here and my family was here, but I was concentrated on my work and the win was most important. My teammates found me and I hit my shots. But this was a team win”, stressed Robin Benzing. Fraport Skyliner Ted Scott was impressed with the German national player. “I liked the game of Benzing. He played a heck of a game made his shots and could also put it to the floor. I am sure if he could find the right system that he could bring it in the NBA”, stressed Ted Scott. It is no secret that Benzing is a new player under head coach Svetislav Pesic. “I am playing a lot better under Pesic. I think my game suits his system. But I think as a whole, the whole team is playing better under Pesic not only me”, added Robin Benzing.
Robin Benzing is a 21 year old 208cm forward from Seeheim-Jugenheim playing his first season with Ratiopharm Ulm. He played with TV Langen from 2004-2009. In the 2008-2009 PRO A season, he played 25 games: Score-4(18.7ppg), 4.4rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 80.1%. Robin belongs to the German class of Basketball players (the Nowitzki style). He is a big forward who can play in both positions as he has the size and the shooting skills too. His game looks like his country-mate Jan Jagla, he is a bit lighter than the German international, and is playing mostly within the wing. He is amazingly a good ball handler for his size and he can attack the basket going both ways. Even though is nearly a 7footer he doesn’t have the strength to post up his opponents while he does prefer to play mostly on the parameter. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of the season.
NBA Scouts from the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers watched you play in Oldenburg. Were you able to block this out?
It was not difficult for me to play in front of the NBA scouts. There have been scouts at practice this season in Ulm and I am able to block this all out. I just concentrate on the game.
At this time last season, Ratiopharm Ulm with Jeff Gibbs, Romeo Travis, Dru Joyce and co were gleaming in the playoff range while 12 months later and on the eve of Superbowl 44, the club is toiling in 13th place, but coach Mike Taylor and the team can put their feet up and enjoy the game with a smile and be relatively happy with the current fortune of the team. The team was unable to keep key players from last season and got a facelift that totally left the club unrecognizable just like actress Melanie Griffith except for the friendly wide smile of coach Mike Taylor and a few players as he had to build a new winner in Ulm. Nobody was really expecting the team to reach the playoffs and seemed more concerned and interested about the season that Robin Benzing would have.
“I am happy with how Ratiopharm Ulm has played. We had some tough loses against Phoenix Hagen and The Giessen 46ers. I think if we would have won those games, most people would have said that we are playing well and we would have 10 wins and be pretty close to being saved for next season. We need two more wins and then we will be ok for next season”, stressed ratiopharm Ulm manager Thomas Stoll.
Trouble with the rankings
It had been a press release no one really cared about during the off-season. On the 7th of June the DBB (German Basketball Federation) announced that for the 2009/2010 campaign all german leagues will have to follow the FIBA scoring system. Just like before a winning team is now rewarded with 2 points. But with the new system also the losing team earns 1 point for attending the game. Last season and all those years before the loser got no point, but had to deal with 0:2 points.
If you follow the BBL you might remember the odd story about Gießen not making it to the game in Ludwigsburg. The 46ers’ teambus was stuck in traffic and the team could not make it in time. Ludwigsburg got the win and Gießen was punished by the league with the loss of all direct comparisons. If a situation like this would come up now, the team not attending the game would have to deal with 0 points.