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Two German Bigs on the rise (Pt2: Tim Ohlbrecht)

December 26th, 2009 · No Comments

After having talked about the current rise of Tibor Pleiss, today’s article will focus on Tim Ohlbrecht, the 1988 born German player who is already on the radar of many scouts for several years. In the year of his automatic NBA Draft eligibility, Ohlbrecht is playing the best season of his career.

After two season in Bamberg, Tim Ohlbrecht signed this summer with Telekom Baskets Bonn and coach Michael Koch who is known for being a fan of the 2m10 tall player. Ohlbrecht is starting on the PF position for Bonn, a new situation for him as he was used mainly as back-up Center in Bamberg during the two last seasons. And this choice seems to be the right one as the Wuppertal native tripled his point average from 3.1ppg to 10.6ppg this season. He also increased his shooting percentage, especially from behind the arc. This season, he is a 46% shooter (17/37 in 13 games) so far. Another important statistical point is that Ohlbrecht is moving away from his foul-proneness as he is currently being called 2.9 times per game in more than 21 minutes on the court, an average he had as nearly as high last season while playing only 12 minutes.

When you analyze his game in more details, you don’t see that many differences to what Ohlbrecht has done before. He is present around the three point line for the open catch-and-shot three point occasions. His shooting mechanics have not changed either, he has still a bit of a “shoulder-shot”, but he nails his jump shots with great accuracy. The confidence boost he got by signing in Bonn is literally helping him to hit more and more shots and he currently takes 40% of his shots from behind the arc.

In the low post, Ohlbrecht still does not show a large variety of back to the basket moves. He mainly focuses on a jump hook which he can take immediately or after a dribbling. He prefers to conclude on the passes he gets from his team mates when they drive and dish the ball. He shows excellent hands in those situations and can finish easily with two handed dunks, he is not afraid to do so and prefers to finish strong than with a lay-up. Ohlbrecht has improved in the offensive rebound where he reads the trajectories of the ball very well and with his speed, he can surprise the defense and go for tip-ins or put-backs.

Defensively, his new role as PF forces him to become a quicker defender as he mainly has to guard smaller and faster players as German teams often use small and athletic power forwards. His lateral speed is not excellent, but he can hold his own to defend drives of his opponents. He will however be beat on the dribble several times but his block shot timing can help to recover and reject the lay-up attempts of the offensive player. As he is not jumping anymore on every fake, he limits the personal fouls and can use them more effectively and be a more dangerous presence in the paint for rejecting shots. Due to his size, he is doing a good job on more shooting orientated forwards as they have trouble to go for their jump shot directly on him. His explosive jump helps him to be present with a hand in the shooter’s face and give them a more difficult shot.

Ohlbrecht does not show a lot of emotions on the court, he looks pretty calm. He has improved his body language this season however as you see that he is pretty confident in what he is doing. This has changed to last year, where he looked very disappointed during the long stretches on the bench while this season, Ohlbrecht is supporting his team mates intensively from the bench. He knows that this season, he is under special observation by NBA scouts as he is automatically eligible for the 2010 NBA Draft. After his stock fell deep over the last 2 seasons, he is now moving up in the different boards. A 2nd round pick is certainly not unrealistic (he had a guarantee in the 2nd round already in 2009), but Ohlbrecht wants a guaranteed contract which means being drafted in the 1st round.

He is very confident about his future as he told europeanprospects.com.

The NBA is the goal of every basketball player because it is the best league in the world. I practiced with Dirk (Nowitzki) and Chris (Kaman) during the summer, played during the Olympic Games against the Best and I think I can play on that level if a team gives me a realistic chance. It depends a lot on the situation of the team that drafts someone. Look at the example of Omri (Casspi) in Sacramento, he gets a chance to play and you see what he does. Look however also at what happened to Darko Milicic. We will see how the situation will be for me. I don’t feel any pressure, I had the chance to become a professional in something I love to do. I can only influence what I am doing on the court, but not what people may see when scouting me.

Ohlbrecht also explained his view on what happened in Bamberg and impacted his decision to leave the team this summer.

In Bamberg, Coach Fleming had a problem with me from the beginning. He promised me things that he did not fulfill later on and tried to put the blame on me for his errors. I do not accuse him for this, he had to fight hard for his job in Bamberg, so someone had to be the loser and that was me. Humanly, I expected more from him. I practiced hard during the week, he supported me, told me that I am doing well during practices and will see major minutes on the weekend. But then, when you don’t play a lot once again, you start to doubt and the coach becomes non-credible in your eyes.

Currently, Ohlbrecht is working very hard in preparation for the NBA Draft.

I work every day on myself and on my game. Coach Koch and Coach Günschel are supporting me all the time. The conditions in Bonn are fantastic with the newly built practice facilities. I try to share my experience with younger players like Jonas Wohlfahrt-Bottermann too. Last summer, I worked individually with personal coaches which helped me a lot in my development.

Ohlbrecht also wanted to mention his career choices and explained the following.

My personal goal is to win every game. Several people say that I am too social, but I don’t care. I am only 21 years old and I have experienced already so much (Olympic Games, German Championship with important minutes, different titles in the youth categories, best rebounder at the U18 European Championship in 2006, starting five at the Nike Hoop Summit, 2 times Bundesliga All-Star,…) and I play currently for the Bundesliga leader. I mean that this is already a pretty nice career. I have so far only played for big teams where other players were the stars. I could have signed for a smaller team, play a lot of minutes and take a lot of shots. But I prefer to win games and be a part of a team. If this is too social, It is okay for me, I can live with that.

Tim Ohlbrecht averages 10.6ppg (60.0% 2FG, 46.0% 3FG, 75.0% FTs), 4.2rpg and 1.2bpg in the Beko Basketball Bundesliga after 13 games. In the Eurocup, Ohlbrecht averages 7.0ppg (42.9% 2FG, 22.2% 3FG, 80% FTs), 5.8rpg and 0.5bpg in 26mpg after 4 games.

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