The hosts of the first ever U17 World Championship come with high hopes to the competition. Germany did not qualify by the result but the team has shown its value during the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in spring. Kay Blümel gives us his opinion on the German U17 National Team.
The first ever under 17 World Championship is in the making and it looks like that the hosts are having good chances on qualifying for the quarterfinals. Ending in eleventh place last summer at the European under 16 Championships the team looked like having slim chances to make it to the top eight. Throughout the next ten months head coach Frank Menz and his squad met on a monthly basis to gain team spirit and build a playing philosophy that is based on a hard nose defense and team play on offense.
Having a team that is not blessed with a lot very talented basketball players, these guys stick together as a team that I haven’t seen before from a German squad. The team played an outstanding Albert-Schweitzer-Tournament this spring, beating the under 18 teams from New Zealand, China, Italy, Turkey and the US-Selection, ending in third place behind Australia and the German under 18 squad.
Three weeks ago the team around team captain Anselm Hartmann played two close games (59-67; 60-77) versus France, one of the semi-final contenders in the European under 18 championship, followed by two also close losses to Serbia under 17 (52-62, 67-68) in Belgrade. And finally the team won the ING-DiBa-Cup ten days ago beating the under 18 squads from Sweden (75-61) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (68-55) and surprisingly the under 17 team from Serbia (74-53) to which the fell 65-94 last summer, which immensely raised the hopes for a successful tournament for the hosts.
Key players for the Menz-Team are Anselm Hartmann, Besnik Bekteshi, Jakob Krumbeck, Paul Albrecht and Bogdan Radosavljevic.
Hartmann is the first strike in the German defense. The Point-Guard from Oldenburg is the glue for the “Mannschaft”. He is the organizer and energizer on both sides of the court, being a hard nose defender on the one side and the perfect arm extension for German head coach Frank Menz. He might not be a dangerous long range shooter, but he can drive and kick and finds the open teammate.
First goal on his drives could be Besnik Bekteshi. The Kosovo-Albania-born two guard from Ludwigsburg is a dangerous threat from the three-point-line, where he can hit consecutive treys within minutes. Besnik is also a guy that is a perfect threat pressuring the ball, with quick hands.
The most consistent outside threat for the German team is TuS Jena’s Jakob Krumbeck. The most athletic player on the under 17 squad can do it all. He improved his long range shot throughout the last year, is a relentless driver that can take a hit and still make the shot and is also an aggressive defender. If you see a little weakness on him, it’s probably his passing, where he improved dramatically, but still has some room to give.
Inside you will face Paul Albrecht. He might not look very athletic, but Paul knows the game and is a great reader of the defense. He will find his spot in the post and fake you out to convert. On defense he gives everything he has and goes for every ball. Hey, and don’t leave him open on mid range, he will hit.
One of the most interesting players will be Bogdan Radosavljevic. The Serbian born 2,10m Center was without club the last season and lacks playing experience. But undoubted is his immense potential. Bogdan is a smart kid, that is an outstanding passer for a big guy. He will make moves you’ll seldom see from players his size.
These guys are the keys for the success in the tournament, but the others can be dangerous from the bench, as they are having different qualities. And don’t forget: They are the “Mannschaft”.
Official Roster for Germany
Anselm Hartmann – 1m90 – Guard – 1993 – TuS Jena
Josip Peric – 1m87 – Guard – 1993 – ALBA Berlin
Nikolaj Vukovic – 1m87 – Guard – 1993 – TuS Jena
Besnik Bekteshi – 1m87 – Guard – 1993 – BSG Ludwigsburg
Jakob Krumbeck – 1m88 – Guard – 1993 – TuS Jena
Fabian Bleck – 1m96 – Forward – 1993 – Phoenix Hagen
Paul Albrecht – 2m05 – Forward – 1993 – TuS Jena
Julius Wolf – 2m01 – Forward – 1993 – Urspring
Malik Müller – 1m87 – Guard – 1994 – Urspring
Johannes Richter – 2m03 – Forward – 1993 – Franken Hexer
Tim Unterluggauer – 2m07 – Center – 1993 – Bayer Leverkusen
Bogdan Radosavlejvic – 2m10 – Center – 1993 – no team
Kay Blümel is the current head coach of the U18 National Team of Germany.
Germany qualified for the U17 World Championship as host. The U16 National Team finished 11th at the U16 European Championship 2009.