European Prospects

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5 players to follow in the BEKO BBL 2015/16

September 14th, 2015 · No Comments

The new seasons will start soon in the different European leagues and today we take a quick look at who are the players to follow in the upcoming BEKO BBL season in Germany.

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Paul Zipser – SF – 2m01 – 1994 – Bayern München

After having made the step to become a Senior National player, the upcoming season has to be the one of the definitive outbreak of Paul Zipser. The athletic forward will be automatically eligible for the NBA Draft and he should be able to fill the hole in the rotation at Bayern that is left after the departure of Robin Benzing. With his slashing style and rebounding skills, Zipser should be an important part of the Bayern offense and defense and the experience of the Euroleague will certainly help him to develop over the season. Zipser can be an interesting player for the 2nd round in 2016 but a lot will depend on his playing time with Bayern and his health. The question though is how quickly he can move into a leadership role with the German top team as he has all the tools to become one of the best German forward this season.

Joschka Ferner – SF – 2m03 – 1996 – ratiopharm Ulm

One of the surprises of the pre-season is Joschka Ferner who saw a lot of minutes for ratiopharm Ulm. But he did not only get those minutes, he was also very productive which is promising for the upcoming season. The wing has great size for the Small Forward position and is a good three-point shooter. Additionally, he has some ball handling skills from his younger days and he earned already a bit of experience through some sporadic minutes on the court last season. Right now, it looks like Ferner can become a regular contributor for Ulm already this season and it would not be a surprise to see him earn 10-15 minutes per game as he is the only backup on the SF spot for the team of coach Thorsten Leibenath.

Ismet Akpinar – PG – 1m90 – 1995 – ALBA Berlin

A lot of people expect Ismet Akpinar finally breaking out after a great career in the youth ranks. The scoring guard who left Hamburg a few years ago to find success in Berlin has so far not made regular appearances with ALBA but this season might become the first one where he has a real role. After playing well during the pre-season, Akpinar has put some pressure on the coaching staff to put him on the court and use his scoring and quickness. Additionally, Akpinar has never been someone who is afraid of responsibilities and playing in the Eurocup will certainly be a great experience for him. He has to learn though how to run a team of pros where he is not the first option on offense but this should be something that comes with growing experience.

Niklas Geske – PG – 1m88 – 1994 – Phoenix Hagen

After taking over the Starting PG role for Hagen during last season, there are a lot of expectations on Niklas Geske to confirm his great progress made over the last 12 months. He won the Silver Medal at the Universiade during the summer and should have a higher spot in the hierarchy within his team right now. Geske is one of the better German Pick and Roll players and with an improving shot; he is also a scoring threat on this level already. He needs though to get physically stronger if he wants to make the next step and become a contributor for a Playoff team in the next years. For a country that lacked PGs for the highest European level for a long time, Geske might develop into an option for the Senior Nationale in the next years.

Mahir Agva – PF/C – 2m06 – 1996 – Walter Tigers Tübingen

After playing in the second league already for quite some time, Mahir Agva made the move to Tübingen during last season. Now, he is ready to attack his first full season with the Tigers and he should quickly impose himself in the paint for the team of coach Igor Perovic. Gifted with great feet and a correct touch, Agva mainly lives from his physical presence that helps him to get good positions in the paint. Lacking elite athleticism, Agva plays a lot with his smartness and understanding of the game. He needs though to become a better defender against more athletic big men as he lacks the necessary speed to stay in front of players who attack him face-to-face. Still quite young, it will be interesting to see how far he can go as physically, his development seems to be quite mature already.

He will not play in the Bundesliga but there will be a lot of eyes following Isaiah Hartenstein in his first season on the ProB level. It will also be his last one as he will move to Zalgiris Kaunas next season. The left handed power forward should be one of the better German players on that level already and matching up with veterans and other pros will certainly help his development after dominating in the different youth categories. Additionally, having Dragan Dojcin as a coach with the Artland Dragons is a additional plus as the Serbian knows all the tricks to play on the highest level and he can teach the youngster at least some of them in order to impose himself over the next years.