European Prospects

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NBBL Top4 2010 Preview: ALBA Berlin

May 13th, 2010 · No Comments

The defending champion from ALBA Berlin was the first team to qualify for this year’s Top 4 after beating Leverkusen in the Quarter Finals. Now, Henrik Rödl and his team want to defend the championship which would mark also the final point of their NBBL career for several players of the team. We spoke to one of them to see how he feels and what he thinks about the upcoming tournament.

Malte Ziegenhagen joined the team this summer on a full-time basis after having played with them during the NIJT tournaments already last season. The shooter from Berlin has a clear opinion on what are the forces of his new team.

I think, our strengths are that we have a very balanced roster. We have enough guys on the bench that can come into the game without having our intensity going down. It took some time for me to become a full member of this team though, but we used the regular season for the integration and we moved together over the weeks.

The qualification of Franken Hexer was however a major surprise for the team from Berlin as they were already mentally prepared to play against Breitengüssbach (the farm team of Brose Baskets) in their own arena.

Personally, I was very surprised to see that Breitengüssbach lost in the Quarterfinals. We had firmly thought that we had to fight with them in Bamberg. But now, it is all different. I think that Franken Hexer is an opponent as strong as Breitengüssbach because they have qualified for the Top4 where the best teams from Germany compete. Because they are the “underdog” though, they won’t have as much pressure as we have for example and they can play their game without any hidden thoughts. It will be a tough game and a real fight to qualify for the Final.

But Ziegenhagen, who has spent one year in Argentina to play basketball already, is firmly convinced that ALBA can defend their championship.

To be honest, I think we have very good chances to win the title once again this season. However, in my opinion, ALBA Urspring comes with a lot of experience and they want to take their revenge on Paderborn for the loss last season. That’s why I think they have a slight advantage over Paderborn and will qualify for the Final. To play them, our team will do everything to win because we really want a second title in a row this season.

Ziegenhagen, who played last season for the local rivals of Central Hoops joined the ALBA Berlin NBBL team this summer. He is pretty happy with his choice but is not sure yet about what will come after this season which will be his last in a NBBL team.

I needed some time to become a full member of this new team, but now I feel like a integral piece of the puzzle and found my role within the team structure. I am very satisfied how the season went on and happy that I could play for this youth program. I grew as a person as well as as a player.

I am currently looking to get a Division 1 scholarship in the United States. I had the chance to play this winter with our cooperation team from ALBA Urspring some tournaments in Las Vegas and Columbus which brought me a little closer to this dream. If that does not work out, I need to find something else but right now, I really want to play NCAA Division 1 basketball first.

Malte Ziegenhagen averaged 12.2ppg (59.3% 2FG, 32.4% 3FG, 75.9% FTs), 2.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg for an 9.5effpg in the ALBA Berlin NBBL team in Division North-East. He also played for the ALBA Berlin II team in the Regionalliga where he averaged 5.3ppg. He has never been a member of the German Youth National Team and spent one season with Atenas Cordoba in Argentina in 2007-2008.

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