European Prospects

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NBBL Top 4: the semis are known

May 20th, 2008 · No Comments

In 10 days, the NBBL Top4 tournament will be played in Langen. On the 31st of May and the 1st of June, the German U19 champion will be decided. And the first thing to remember is that three of the four semi-finalist have already been at this stage of the competition last season. But let’s check the teams in general.

The first semi-final will be played between ALBA Berlin and TSV Tröster Breitengüssbach. The team from the German capital, that is coached by former North Carolina player Henrik Rödl, had quite a clear victory in the quarter finals against their rival from Berlin, IBBA. The team is led by 1989 PG Thomas Schoeps who is the top scorer of the team in the games he played during the regular season. He gets support from big guy Andreas Seifferth who recently signed a 3 year contract with the ALBA pro team. 14.7ppg and 8 rebounds are the numbers that are speaking in favor of the 2m05 tall youngster. Additionally, U18 National team player Niels Giffey is in the supporting cast for the only newcomer team of the 2008 Top4 tournament.

The big surprise is however the qualification of Breitengüssbach. With the loss of Tim Ohlbrecht, Karsten Tadda and Sajmen Hauer, I did not see them as strong this season. However, the team managed to beat TV Langen in a heavily disputed quarter finals where no team won a game on their own court. reader Kris sent us a few of his thoughts as the was in Langen for the decisive game.

Stefan Dinkel and Marco Völler were the two guys that lead their respective teams. Dinkel was always there in the big moments with the three pointers. Völler had some great plays but he was too tired at the end as the rest of the Langen team that did not substitute enough to be fresh in the money time. This was the key factor in the game in my opinion. Dimitry McDuffie was really in a bad day, but played 37 minutes while shooting 0/10 from behind the arc. Robin Benzing was ok in the first half but after that, nothing anymore from him and he was also in foul trouble so that he could not go hard in defense. Erik Land did a great job in the post but he did not get enough possessions. He finished the game with 18pts and 7/12 shots.

So can Breitengüssbach also go over ALBA and reach the final, something they could not do last year. I think their chances are there as they really seem to have a team with alternatives coming from the bench. And they can even win big games when one of their top players is having a total nightmare day.

The other semi-final will be a remake of last year’s game between Team Bonn/Rhöndorf and Team Urspring. And even the main players of both teams are still the same. Bonn/Rhöndorf is having in Fabian Thülig its all-around player that does everything on the court. He leads the team in scoring and in steals which shows his skills on both ends of the court. Long-distance shooter Sascha Walbröhl needs one of his better days in order to give a possibility to his team to put some pressure on the guards. The player to watch is however U18 National team center Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann who showed exceptional progress over the last year and is the team’s best rebounder and shotblocker.

The main favorite in my eyes is of course the defending champion: Team Urspring. Having lost their big guys since last year, the addition of Maurice Stuckey gives them even more potential in the backcourt. The emergence of Kevin Bright brings also more possibilities on the wing where the most dominant scorer of the team is still Christian Standhardinger. The PG duties are executed by Frank Wiseler and you have still guys like Akeem Vargas or Thierno Agne doing their job. I could continue with some more people just to show how incredibly deep the Urspring roster is this season. So, I don’t think anyone can stop them during this Top4 and the 1989 born generation can probably end their NBBL career with back to back champion titles. But still, the games have to be played and Bonn/Rhöndorf is known for their extraordinary team effort and defense so the game may become closer than one thinks.

I will be present in Langen on both days and cover the games extensively. If you need further info, feel free to contact me.

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