The German U18 team came into the tournament with the goal to reach the semi-finals. After the tournament, you must say that this German team could have won it all but run out of gas in the Final. Knowing that the team of Kay Blümel missed Ole Wendt, a potential starter, Jarelle Reischel, Maximilian Kleber and that Kevin Bright played only the first three games, the potential of this team is exceptional for German standards and a Gold Medal would have been a legitimate goal. However, it was the best result for any German team ever.
Philipp Neumann – 2m10 – Forward/Center – 1992
The German top scorer could not dominate this tournament as he probably liked it. Starting in the first phase with a lot of forced plays, Neumann calmed down a bit throughout the tournament to play more as a team player like he did with Brose Baskets in Belgrade. The 2m10 tall German is clearly moving into the PF position as he is now playing all around the court. He can post his defenders down low on the block but he can also play from outside the three point line and go for the strong drive or the jump shot out of the dribble.
Out of his drives, he showed several nice passes for the open man which underlines the fact that he can be a good passer. But first of all, Neumann remains a terrific scorer. His outside shot is improving and he has now a really good looking jump shot with a high release and good balance. Neumann however still slows down the offensive rhythm of his team though as once he has the ball, he holds it too long in his hands to create something. This has however reduced since the U18 European Championship last summer.
Neumann wants to have the ball and to take the big shots. In the semi-finals against the USA, it was him that coming of the bench in the final minutes that took the very big three-point shot out of the dribble to give the Germans a decisive lead. In the low block, he uses his huge physical presence to outmuscle his opponents, something that did not work against the equally physical Australian team. On the defensive end, Neumann has a great presence in the defensive rebound where he goes for nearly every ball. Additionally, he was by far the best and most effective shot blocker of the tournament.
A player like Neumann is of course always under particular observation. Being gifted physically and basketball wise like he is, it will be the details that decide if he can step up and become a real big time player. It looks like Neumann is currently in a maturing process, on the way from the selfish player we saw back in 2009 into a team player. He still has some ups and downs but it looks like he wants to progress. Another point to mention is that with his current body shape, he has the potential to gain a lot of muscle over the next years. Having turned 18 this February, the PF/C will certainly start to bring his body in perfect shape and form over the next years.
Stats: 16.6ppg (50.7% FG – 6/19 3FG) 10.0rpg 3.6bpg 3.0topg
Bill Borekambi – 1m99 – Forward – 1992
It looks like the German U18 coach loves to have an athletic but undersized scoring PF on his team at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. Two years ago, it was Femi Oladipo who had that role, this year it was Bremerhaven’s Bill Borekambi who stepped up nicely. The 1m99 former IBBA Berlin player had an exceptional NBBL season so far and the selection for the Albert Schweitzer Tournament showed that Borekambi is on the right track. First of all, the 1m99 tall player is a major presence in the defensive rebound where he formed one of the most dynamic rebounding-duos with Neumann of the whole tournament.
Offensively, Borekambi scores mainly on offensive rebounds and on attacking the basket facing his defender. He has not really a back to the basket game but prefers to beat his defender of the dribble where he can finish also on difficult moves. He can drive from the side over the baseline or with a spin move but also from the top without being the fastest guy on the court. However, he is not a threat from outside as he did not take one three point shot in the tournament nor does he go for a lot of long distance attempts with his U19 Club team.
Stats: 10.4ppg (61.4% 2FG) 6.4rpg
Mathis Mönninghoff – 1m98 – Forward – 1992
The team captain and mental leader of the team is Mathis Mönninghoff. The forward from Leverkusen played the most minutes behind Neumann and was a regular threat from behind the arc. He looks very elegant in all his moves, his shot looks perfect and he displays a good athletic base. However, we still think that Mönninghoff should be able to break out and advance to the next level. He looks a bit stacked in his current role and you always think that he should play a bigger part. But right in that moment, he comes up with a big three point shot that helps the team or a defensive play that starts a fast break.
He is the player that you want to have on your team, that you don’t see but without having him in the lineup, the team starts to struggle. Mönninghoff is really a fundamentals player who does not commit a lot of errors on the court. He can hit the jump shot out of the dribble, his three point shot looks perfect in catch and shoot situations and he can nail it also in fade away style. His athleticism is good for European standards and allows him to drive hard to the basket. He will certainly be the starting SF for the different German youth national teams in the next tournaments.
Stats: 8.7ppg (41.2% FG – 11/31 3FG) 2.4rpg
Patrick Heckmann – 1m96 – Guard – 1992
Patrick Heckmann surprised a lot of people this season when he lead his U19 team in the first year of its existence to the NBBL Playoffs and being the top scorer of the whole U19 League. He was also the MVP of the All-Star game in January where he showcased his talent. The tournament in Mannheim was now the first opportunity for him to see how he plays on the international level. While on the offensive end, the guard from Mainz showed his nice talent, he struggled on the defensive end where he had some problems to stay in front of faster guards or to fight through screens.
Offensively, his arsenal is however very large as Heckmann can play every position from 1 to 3. His shot release is maybe a bit slow and he is not the most accurate from behind the arc, he excels when he drives to the basket where he can go until the rim but also create for his team mates. His athletic abilities allow him to finish in traffic high of the glass or with good hang-time and his large body helps him to be protected against losing his balance. His nice wingspan gives him possibilities to overcome his lack of lateral speed on defense but he showed his limits in this area during the tournament.
Stats: 8.1ppg (37.5% FG – 4/22 3FG) 2.9rpg 2.6apg 1.4spg 0.4bpg
Lars Wendt – 1m90 – Guard – 1992
Lars Wendt was the first rotation on the Guard spots for the Germans and despite coming from the bench and without being in great shooting shape, the Paderborn player averaged as many minutes as the before mentioned Heckmann. The advantage of Wendt over the starters was his presence on the defensive end as he was the only German guard capable of matching with his counterparts and stay in front of his man. A player that was mainly known for his offensive skills showed in Mannheim that he can do more than just shot the ball.
Wendt was also not afraid to help in the defensive rebound where he did a good job and was focused on the job he had to do in the team. Offensively, his production comes mainly from the three point shot where he has long range and is able to knock the shots down in series. He can hit the three ball coming out of the screen at full speed or out of the dribble with a defender on him. He does not go a lot for drives in the set play though but he can score from mid-range when it is needed. With his twin brother Ole Wendt back from injury, he may even get more confidence and shoot the ball with better percentages during the U18 European Championship this summer.
Stats: 7.6ppg (29.1% FG – 11/39 3FG) 4.3rpg 1.1apg 1.4spg