The seasons in the different European Leagues are about to start next weekend so that we check who are the prospects to follow in some of the main leagues. We will start today with the German Bundesliga that becomes more and more interesting also for young players to get some minutes on a good level.
Maik Zirbes – 2m06 – Center – 1990 – TBB Trier
The German big guy had a good season for TBB Trier in 2010-2011 under the new head coach Henrik Rödl who was not afraid to give his youngsters serious minutes. Now, Zirbes needs to confirm in his second full year with the Bundesliga team and show that he has improved over the summer. He did not play the Universiade and had enough time to work on his skill set. Zirbes is a massive inside player who excels in Pick and Roll situation. He can also hit the mid-range jump shot as he has a good shooting touch (also from the FT line). Athletically, he runs the court nicely and he can finish hard on the dunk with two hands. He sometimes shies away from the big finish but he showed some good improvement in this domain. Defensively, he needs absolutely to get quicker in his foot work as he struggles playing against big guys that attack him face-to-face. He can become a good rebounder as he has quite a good timing and goes hard to the glass with two hands. In the year of his automatic eligibility for the NBA Draft, he can put his name on the boards of the scouts by showing improvement in these areas and becoming a better finisher when playing in the low block.
Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann – 2m07 – PF/C – 1990 – Telekom Baskets Bonn
After having put his name on the NBA Draft board last spring but withdrawing it before the deadline, Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann comes now to his first full season on the German Bundesliga level. He dominated in the ProA last season and wants to confirm his talent on the higher level right from the start. However, a small injury took him away from the court during the preseason and he could only come back this weekend at the Maritim-Cup. The long and athletic big guy will certainly see minutes as a back-up on the Center position this year as his shot blocking qualities are good and he can create his shot either by facing the basket or in the low post. Of course, he will struggle in the beginning as he is not used to play on this level but WoBo should be able to adapt quickly. On the long term, he is among the most interesting players in Germany as he has great upside due to his skillset and above average athletic abilities. It is difficult to say right now what are his limits but to our knowledge, several NBA teams showed interest in drafting him already last spring. So it would not be a big surprise if several NBA scouts will find their way to the Telekom-Dome this season in order to see his progress.
Daniel Theis – 2m07 – PF/C – 1992 – NY Phantoms Braunschweig
For Daniel Theis, it will be a highly interesting season as the athletic inside player will get his first regular minutes on the Bundesliga level. After having seen some garbage time before and having dominated the NBBL games, it is the right moment for the 2m07 tall player to make the next step. Theis’ impact will be mainly in rebounding and shot blocking as his back to the basket game is not yet polished enough for the professional level. He can make the mid-range shot but definitely needs to become more regular from around the key. Great jumper and runner, the Braunschweig player plays above the rim but his athleticism will be matched in the Bundesliga. He will only turn 20 in the next spring so he has still some time to develop but the fact that a potential play-off team wants to give minutes to him underlines his talent level. A talent level that he showed during the preparation where he finished several games in double-figures. We would not be surprised if Theis will enter his name into the NBA Draft pool for 2012 as an early entrant in spring.
Bogdan Radosavljevic – 2m11 – Center – 1993 – Bayern München
After travelling around for several years, the Serbian-German Center Bogdan Radosavljevic has finally found his home in Munich. After seeing some limited minutes with Bayern last season in the ProA, he might become a full member of the rotation of the ambitious team in the Bundesliga this year. During the preparation, he saw regular minutes and with the departure of Sharrod Ford (who will however be replaced), he might have a chance as a back-up in the beginning of the season. Radosavljevic has good hands to finish from close and can also score from mid-range or with the jump hook. Not overly athletic, he tries to finish strong in the paint with the dunk when he sees the opening but he might get in serious problems on the defensive end, especially against faster inside players. His playing time might remain limited this season but on the long term, he is foreseen to become the Senior National Team Center for Germany in a few years.
Maxi Kleber – 2m07 – Forward – 1992 – s.Oliver Würzburg Baskets
After having sit out nearly two seasons because of different knee and ankle injuries, one of the most talented German forwards is ready again to compete. Kleber can play on both forward positions and has some good jumping ability and a nice shot. As he missed two years in his basketball development and is considered a quick learner, he found his rhythm on the highest German level quite fast during the preparation phase. His coaching staff is very satisfied with his development so far and he has improved immensely in the short time that he is practicing with the professional team according to head coach John Patrick. We would consider him as our wildcard for the upcoming season as nobody really expects him to blossom but to what has been reported about the preseason games, he is ready to play some good minutes as back-up for Würzburg. And as his learning curve is quite steep, he can eventually develop into a serious player on the Bundesliga level faster than anyone expects.
Next to these 5 player, there are of course other prospects to follow. To name just a few that can expect to see regular minutes, you can think on: Maurice Stuckey (Brose Baskets), Philipp Neumann (Brose Baskets), Danilo Barthel (Frankfurt Skyliners), Nico Adamczak (BG Göttingen), Anthony Canty (Eisbären Bremerhaven), Besnik Bekteshi (EnBW Ludwigsburg), Michael Wenzl (ratiopharm Ulm), Femi Oladipo (ratiopharm Ulm), Simon Schmitz (BBC Bayreuth).