After having discussed already 5 players to follow for the NBA Draft 2012, we will take a look today at 5 players (and a Wildcard) in the Beko BBL. These players should be able to significantly improve their presence this season. We do not mention in this preview Maxi Kleber who was already talked about in our previous article.
Vitalis Chikoko – 2m07 – PF – 1991 – TBB Trier
The big guy from Zimbabwe appeared a bit out of nowhere last season when he landed in Göttingen. Initially used in the 2nd team, the long left-handed player quickly made steps forward and gained a starter spot in the Bundesliga team at the end of the season. After the relegation, TBB Trier signed the versatile Power Forward who has still a lot of upside. Capable of shooting from outside, Chikoko’s main assets are his above average athletic abilities. He needs to add some muscle and game understanding, but with the youth-favorable environment in Trier, Chikoko should be able to improve his game. Far away from being an NBA player, he might attract some scouts nevertheless because of his height, athletic potential and progress margin.
Stats: 6.9ppg (57.5% 2FGs), 4.5rpg, 0.7bpg
Danilo Barthel – 2m07 – PF – 1991 – Frankfurt Skyliners
The versatile forward from Frankfurt had a great start into the season last summer but he got stopped by several slight injuries. This year, head coach Muli Katzurin will give Barthel more regular minutes as Barthel will be the first inside option from the bench for the Skyliners. Barthel improved his athletic abilities but still needs to work on his physical presence and speed. Quite a good passer, Barthel is often used as stretch-four to use his shooting abilities from behind the arc. The former player of Heidelberg had some good games during the pre-season but has to become a more regular contributor on the scoring board to make the next step.
Stats: 2.8ppg, 1.1rpg
Philipp Neumann – 2m09 – C – 1992 – Brose Baskets
This season can be the total break-out for Philipp Neumann in the Bundesliga. The departure of Tibor Pleiss opens a roster spot for the German big in the reduced 6+6 setting in the BBL. Neumann showed during the preparation that he is not afraid of his future role and improved his finishing against physical defenders. With A.J. Ogilvy probably out for several weeks in the beginning of the season, Neumann should get a lot of minutes on the Center spot as he had a good preparation with the team. Able to put the ball on the floor against taller defenders, Neumann excels in the paint with his fighting spirit and offensive rebounding presence. He needs to become more regular from the free-throw line though as he draws a large number of fouls.
Stats: 2.6ppg (70.4% 2FGs), 1.9rpg
Daniel Theis – 2m03 – PF/C – 1992 – ratiopharm Ulm
The story of the summer was the transfer of Daniel Theis to Ulm. After being unsatisfied with his playing time in Braunschweig, Theis took the decision to sign with the Eurocup team ratiopharm Ulm. He will have a back-up role and energizer from the bench as the athletic Power Forward brings a dimension to the Ulm rotation that they were missing last season. Extremely explosive, Theis is currently working on his driving and shooting in order to become a full-time power forward in the future. Highly spectacular, Theis needs to become physically stronger to hold position in the low post without loosing his great leaping ability and shot blocking timing. Together with Neumann, he can be considered as one of the most interesting inside pairs of the 1992 generation in Europe.
Stats: 2.5ppg (56.4% 2FGs), 1.4rpg, 0.6bpg
Dennis Schröder – 1m85 – PG – 1993 – NY Phantoms Braunschweig
Certainly the future of Germany on the PG spot, the youngest player in our preview is the NY Phantoms Braunschweig PG Dennis Schröder. Highly explosive and athletic, Schröder can break any defense and he is not afraid of anything and attacks the basket really hard. He can dunk in traffic despite lacking still some physical presence. Schröder is a creative passer in the drive but often prefers his own shot over the extra pass. He needs to work on his long-distance shot though as his mechanics are not very fluid yet. On defense, Schröder has great lateral speed and with his wingspan, he is capable of developing into a high-level shut-down defender. The right-handed guard will be used as a back-up guard this season with the potential to even take over the Starting role in our opinion if he gains the necessary experience and maturity to run a pro-team.
Stats: 2.5ppg (46.8% 2FGs), 0.6rpg, 0.7apg, 0.4spg
Our wildcard pick in the Bundesliga will be Point Guard Ole Wendt who signed with Phoenix Hagen this summer. Wendt will most likely see good minutes with Hagen as he is the only back-up signed by the team for the PG spot. After a good season in Paderborn, it was the right decision for him to move up to a higher level as the 1m90 tall player had already proved that he can lead a team in the ProA. With his basketball understanding and driving skills, Wendt can create a lot of good opportunities for his team mates. He needs to become a bit more regular from outside and get used to the quickness of his opponents in order make the next step.