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Albert Schweitzer 2012: Germany Preview

April 4th, 2012 · No Comments

Looking forward to the 2012 Albert Schweitzer Tournament it‘s time to take a brief glimpse at the German NT, which will be coached by Kay Bluemel once again. Bluemel led the hosts‘ U18 team to the gold medal game two years ago, before coming short to the eventual winners Australia.

The hardest part besides hitting the floor and play some ball is for Bluemel to come couple days prior to opening night of the 2012 AST, when he has to cut his 18 men roster down to twelve. That‘s why this article will just focus on some of the talents, that would bring down to Mannheim (let‘s pretend we know the future for a second).

Either way this year‘s roster will be filled with tremendous talent at the point guard position, the by far weakest spot Germany had to deal with two years ago. In Ismet Akpinar (´95) the hosts will have quite confident 1m90guard who led his hometown Piraten Hamburg to the U19-Bundesliga playoffs (14.8 ppg) and had a chance to gain a lot of experience in 2nd Bundesliga play (5.9 ppg, 2.1 apg in 19:09min). The best thing about Akpinar is his in-your-face and leadership mentality that might give the hosts the edge in a game or two. David Taylor(´95, 1m88) is probably one of be better athletes at his age level. Son to former Bundesliga champ and now Nuernberg coach Derrick Taylor has a fine sense for whether to attack the baskets from long range or take it down the lane. Due to his ability to create his own shot Taylor can smoothly slide to the two spot as well.

Less of a scorer is Kenneth Ogbe(´94), a 1m92 playmaker with lots of experience in youth competitions. In 2010 he played a major role in the U19 Bundesliga for Team ALBA Urspring, enabling the team to win its fourth championship in the last five years. During the summer Ogbe had to undergo back surgery, sidelining him until late December. Ever since he averaged 7.1 ppg in youth play, not seeming to have lost his sense for making the right decision running high pick‘n‘rolls.

The crown jewel of Germany‘s U18 NT inside rotation is PF/C Gavin Schilling(´95) an over-athletic 2m05 manchild playing for De La Salle Institute (Chicago, USA). In 2010/2011 he spent a year with Urspring in the U16 Bundesliga, demoralizing his opponents with 16 double-doubles in 22 games en route to take the title. In order to make on the pro level Schilling has to move to the four spot in the long term. „He’s got all the quickness to defend not just inside the paint, but along the perimeter as well“, states NT coach Bluemel. „What’s missing is a solid jumper from midrange.“

At times it’s  just good to have it like Snoop and Wiz Khalifa: young & wild & free. That’s Paul Zipser, Germany‘s top prospect born in ´94. Given his height (2m01), overall athleticism and ballhandling Zipser is able to play all three perimeter positions. The current U19 All Star MVP had a breakthrough campaign for USC Heidelberg (2nd Bundesliga), averaging 7.9 ppg on 55.3 percent shooting from downtown in 20min of gametime. „He is one of our driving forces playing on the wings“, says Bluemel, who even likes the idea of playing Zipser at point. „To possibly have somebody his physique run the show from the top of the key could be huge in international play.“ In the 2011/2012 U19 Bundesliga campaign he averaged 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals per contest.

One of the very few likes to play twice at the AST is wingman Malik Mueller(´94). Known for his clutch shooting, the U19 All Star’s biggest value to the team will be his international and national experience. Mueller debuted in the 2nd Bundesliga at age 16 for Ehingen, played for the German U17 NT at the 2010 AST (finishing third) and the inaugural 2012 U17 World Championships (6.9 ppg) as well. On national stage he won back-to-back U19 titles with Urspring (2010, 2011), draining two key treys in crunch time during the semi-finals to lift his team to the finals game last year.

Honorable mention:

Mauricio Marin(´94) – The 1m92 off-guard won the national U16 championships in 2010 and played a first full season for ALBA Berlin‘s 2nd division program (5.5 ppg in 17:25min).

Daniel Mayr(´95) – When your father is standing tall at 2,22m and a former Bundesliga player it is to no surprise that Mayr might fill his old man‘s shoes. His 2m15 frame could use some more muscles, but his basketball IQ and work ethic separate him from many guys his age. „Plus his shooting touch from midrange is extraordinaire“, Bluemel points out.

Jörg Bähren writes for the official NBBL Basketball website and for other publications like FIVE. A sportswriter for almost a decade, Baehren covers German basketball from the U16 level to the Beko BBL. In 2010 he was one of the official beatwriters for the AST website www.ast-basketball-com and will cover the Mannheim action this year for the German Basketball Federation once again.

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