Last Saturday, the German NBBL U19 League had its fourth ever All-Star Game featuring the top players for the 33 NBBL participating teams. Unfortunately, several prospects had to sit out because of injuries (Daniel Theis, Bogdan Radosavljevic, Ole Wendt, Thomas Reuter) so that the level of the game this year could not reach the same heights than during the 2010 edition.
The South team dominated the game without any major problems right from the start. The talent of Patrick Heckmann and Philipp Neumann gave the North team no chance and it was only two very late threes by Lars Wendt in the final minute that brought the North back to –3 but it was not enough. Philipp Neumann won the MVP trophy and showed his progress over the last weeks. The German inside player looks to be more and more under control, sharing the ball with his team mates and taking better decisions overall. He is forcing less than we remember him despite being the strongest player on the court. He showed some nice development in his back-to-the-basket game where you could see him finish with the jump hook after a shot-fake and turn around. He scored also on the turn-around jump shot from mid-range but he remains a beast in the paint where he finished hard with the dunk and the foul. He also likes to put the ball on the floor and even went for a coast-to-coast head-down that he finished with the basket and the foul.
Patrick Heckmann looked a bit more athletic than last summer and it seems that the minutes on ProB level help him to become a better player. He had not as much influence on the game as last year and mainly scored on the fast break where he did a great job spreading the court and on the finish. Next to the two main players on the South team, Bill Borekambi showed his athletic abilities on several scores over the backdoor or on the drive.
For the North team, the main player was the Paderborn guard Lars Wendt. In the absence of his twin brother, Wendt needed to take over some PG duties which is not his best part of the game. It was him though that was the main reason that the North was in the game with the clock running down. Despite having missed several shots from behind the arc during the minutes before, he nailed two massive three-pointers in the final minute out of the dribble in order to cut the lead. Wendt is a series scorer, once he gets hot, he nails the long distance shots but he can also come up with several misses in a row. He is however making good progress by getting interesting minutes on the ProA level in a specific role as defender-shooter.
Tim Kasper was a bit of a surprise for the North team as the Bonn/Rhöndorf Small Forward has not been a member of the different Youth National Teams so far. He is a 1992 born left-handed forward who sees his playing increase through-out the season for the Rhöndorf Dragons in the ProA as well. Kasper, who is 2m00 tall, fights hard and has interesting athletic abilities. He can score the ball from mid-range with a quickly executed but sometime a bit out-of-balance jump shot. He goes hard to the offensive glass and he is one of the best offensive rebounding forwards of the NBBL. His progress curve has gone straight up over the last three seasons and he is certainly a player to follow over the next couple of months.
The NBBL season continues now with the final games of the regular season and will have its next important event with the NBBL Top4 that will be played on the 14th and 15th May in Ludwigsburg.