The German U19 NBBL playoffs started this weekend with some interesting match-ups. Europeanprospects was present in Trier to cover the game between TBB Junior Team around Maik Zirbes and Basket College Rhein Neckar. Additionally, two Top4 participants of last year challenged each other already in the first round.
Maik Zirbes had an impressive playoff opener with his TBB Juniors Team and showed why he is considered as one of the most interesting inside talents in Germany. For those who don’t know Zirbes, you see here a massive 2m06 tall guy who dominates easily in the paint due to his large frame. Additionally, Zirbes shows a sweet stroke and is running the floor decently. However, he showed no precise moves with his back to the basket, mostly trying to go for a spin move start and beat his opponent of the dribble or a jump hook. It was him though that held his team in the game, from the outside. Baseline jump in catch and shoot fashion or one dribbling jump shot from the top are in his arsenal as well as the hesitation three point shot with a defender on him. He jumps not very high on the jump shots and his shot release is not super quick, but the mechanics look very good.
Most of Zirbes’ 38 points came of situations that his team mates created for him and he finished close to the basket. His positioning and pass reading is working very well and he is trying to finish with fancy dunks and goes mostly for two handed layups off the glass. Defensively, Zirbes is not a huge shot blocker, he does not try to reject his opponents even when not being in foul trouble. His rebounding is coming mostly of positioning and physical presence and less of jumping the highest. However, Zirbes is a pretty decent athlete and had also two nice dunks on the break. He will finish his high school this summer and then continue with Trier as a full-time professional basketball player.
Another interesting player on the Trier team is the 1992 born PG Maxim Schneider. The 1m85 tall guard had a nice first half but disappeared a bit during the 2nd 20 minutes when the team played a lot better.
The main player to observe with Basketball College Rhein Neckar was the 2m09 tall Small forward Danilo Barthel. After having some break out games with the ProA team of USC Heidelberg, Barthel showed his nice offensive game during the first half. Three point shot, beating his opponent of the dribbling, post moves, he looks like a very skilled forward with great size. Being also very altruist, he did not try extraordinary things and relied on those that he knows he can do. Behind his emotional effort in the first half, his team managed to lead against the highly favorite team of Trier by 13 points at halftime.
In the second half though, Barthel was nowhere to be found. He did not try anything and passed the ball every time to his team mates. This looked like he is currently somebody who runs with the team but is not ready to become a leader. You can however say that he did not force anything and did not refuse any open shots. He had no clear scoring options out of game situations and he did not try to create some for himself. Defensively, Barthel showed some presence in the defensive rebound but can not be considered as an extraordinary player in this area. He is present but not going to crash the boards aggressively. Talentwise, Barthel is a very nice prospect and his recent selection for the U18 National team is underlining this fact. But he needs to get tougher and grow into a leader role. Being one year younger than the competition may be a reason for this.
Max Bohrmann showed a correct game defensively against Maik Zirbes making him take tough moves on the post up. However, he went often for help situations on Trier drives and let Zirbes open. Offensively, Bohrmann was not very lucky and his different drives from the top finished off the rim. He scored however 15 points on hustle plays and of situations created by his team mates. The 1991 born 2m07 tall Center looks a bit limited by the absence of a good shooting stroke.
Another player to watch is the 1992 born Alexander Kuhn who played a correct game on the Small Forward position. Kuhn showed the nice combination of having a good long distance shot and an aggressive drive.
The game to watch in the North Playoffs was the ALBA Berlin versus Team Bonn/Rhöndorf match-up. In the video below, you can follow two very interesting prospects with Niels Giffey from Berlin and Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann from Team Bonn/Rhöndorf. And it was Giffey who finished the game with the best statistical numbers with 24 points and 13 rebounds.