Sometimes the start to two new seasons can be like day and night and as different and as unexpected for many as the Boston Red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALC as legend David Ortiz had to shed tears a few weeks earlier than he may have expected. For easyCredit BBL club s.Oliver Wurzburg and second year man Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine), they have experienced a tale of two totally different starts to the season. Last season Wurzburg returned back to the bi... [read more]
Sometimes the start to two new seasons can be like day and night and as different and as unexpected for many as the Boston Red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALC as legend David Ortiz had to shed tears a few weeks earlier than he may have expected. For easyCredit BBL club s.Oliver Wurzburg and second year man Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine), they have experienced a tale of two totally different starts to the season. Last season Wurzburg returned back to the big dance from the pro A rattling off 4 straight wins against playoff teams like Ulm and Frankfurt and before anyone had really noticed were 7-1 and the little darlings of the league while Bavarian neighbor Brose Baskets Bamberg were wondering if they had to seriously need to pay any attention to this wizardry. The club finished last season grabbing the last playoff spot and being swept by Bamberg, but had gained the respect again of the league. This season's start hasn't been as kind to the club as instead of building on the success of last season, the club has quickly dug a hole for themselves starting 0-4. It definitely has helped the team that the BBL schedule pitted three playoff teams against them including the two top teams of Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich. At least second year man Brendan Lane hasn't take the nose dive in his play from last season as the team has as he has had a solid start, but the work horse hasn't had the shot selection he had last season. Last season the California native played 37 games averaging 13.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 14.8%, FT: 73.6%. He was rewarded with Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Newcomers Team 2016. This season so far through four games the ex UCLA) center is averaging 11,8ppg, 3,8rpg and 1,8apg, but hasn't had a game yet getting 10 or more shots. Last season he had 22 games where he had 10 or more opportunities to make buckets. The American who is as humble as a player can get credited his team for helping him adapt to the BBl. 'The key for me has been my teammates. I'm playing with unselfish guys who are great passers and that helped me earlier in the year get easy baskets and gain that confidence that has helped me throughout the whole season', stressed Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine). This season Lane should be able to have another strong season as with Jake Odum has one of the more underrated point guards in the BBL that understands the pick and roll and can stick the ball to a player in even the most congested traffic jams in the paint. He also has good clever players around him that can spread the floor and get him the ball in various moments. Last season he had success against two thirds of the big three with Bamberg and Fc Bayern Munich, but has unhappy memories against Alba Berlin and is hungry for then this season. 'Those games were definitely frustrating for me. Two of the games I got in quick foul trouble and wasn't able to play much and get a rhythm. I wish I could've stayed on the court more in those games to see what I could've done', added Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine). The club hopes that the start of this season doesn't resemble last season's start of 7-1 with the numbers reversed of 1-7 as both Wurzburg and Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine) want to avoid the sophomore blues. The club has the head coach with Doug Spradley who now is being tested, but he has the player personal that will get him back to winning ways and a center that wants to add on to his stellar play from last season with fine center play and just doing what it takes to win ball games now.
One of the big problems last season for the s.Oliver Wurzburg was their defense as they were never able to find consistency allowing 80 points or more 23 times in 37 games. So when you give up many points and meet up against a good defensive team, the club usually lost because they couldn't put points on the board. Defense was something that head coach Doug Spradley stressed this season o improve, but so far the club is still looking to find their identity as in the first four games, they have allowed an average of 85 points which is 15th in the league while still finding their rhythm on offense averaging only 70 points on offense which is also 15th in the league. This and the tough start program have been the reasons for the dismal 0-4 start. When looking at the roster though one sees players on paper that seem to be stronger looking than last season. In terms of what the club got to help make up for the departed guys like Dru Joyce, Cameron Long and Seth Tuttle, one comes to the conclusion that this year's team is an upgrade from last season. They picked up underrated point guard Jake Odum as well as veteran Kresimir Loncar, up and coming player Vladimir Mihailovic who paid his dues in Tuebingen as well as talented American Marshawn Powell who was a top player in Italy and ex NBA player James Southerland. All these talented newcomers coupled with keeping some chemistry intact by keeping Americans Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine), Lamont Ulmer and their string of Germans like Maxi Ugrai and Maurice Stuckey, Wurzburg is a talented team that shouldn't be anywhere near the end of the easyCredit BBL standings. Wurzburg is a versatile team that will annoy teams like last season with their capable offense as well as their zeal to run and mix it up. Despite the slow start, as soon as Wurzburg find their rhythm at both ends of the court, they will be a team that will slowly move up the BBL standings ladder and a big winning streak is always possible as a team like ratiophjarm Ulm showed last season after having a similar rocky start and then winning 13 of 14 games and at the end of the season being the league finalist.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg held on to five players and besides keeping Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine) also kept . Lamonte Ulmer who is a 30 year old 198cm forward from Hamden, Connecticut that is playing in his seventh professional season. He played at Rhode Island (NCAA) and has experience in the D-league, Luxemburg, Finland and Romania. Two seasons ago he played for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) 47 games: Score-5 (17.5ppg), 8.8rpg, 1.7apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 79.4%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 20.2ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.8apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 80.0%. Like Long is offensively very strong and will be another one of the main offensive options as he can score in many different ways.Last season for Wurzburg he played 37 games: 12.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 44.1%, FT: 82.8%. The team also kept Maurice Stuckey who is a 26 year old 187cm guard that returned back to Wurzburg last season where he played from 2012-2014 and has seven years of BBL experience. Two seasons ago he played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg (BBL): 32 games: 5.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 82.1%; Eurocup: 7 games: 5.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 90.9%, 3PT: 23.5%, FT: 85.7%. His penetration and speed is something that will help Wurzburg every time he comes into the game from the bench.Last season for Wurzburg he played 31 games: 7.4ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 85.7%. The team also held on to Sebastian Betz who is a 31 year old 198cm forward that brings 10 years of BBL experience with six in Ulm, three in Wurzburg and one with Bamberg. Two seasons ago with Wurzburg he played 34 games: 8.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 50.9%, 3PT: 42.0%, Last season he played 35 games: 4.0ppg, 1.1rpgFT: 71.8%. He is an energizer and can hurt you with his three point shooting at any time.The teal also kept . Maxi Ugrai who is a 21 year old 202cm forward that started his basketball career in 2009 with SCH Wuerzburg Baskets junior team and last season Last season he played 25 BBL games: 3.4ppg, 1.7rpg; and PRO B 19 games: 14.8ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 25.9%, FT: 71.4%.
The team brought in six new players with their most important being point guard Jake Odum who has to run the show. Odum is a 25 year old 193cm guard from Terre Haute, Indiana playing his third professional season and second in Germany. The ex Indiana St. (NCAA) star as a rookie played for PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A) playing 33 games: 8.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.8apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 77.6%; Eurocup: 16 games: 7.0ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 83.8%. Last season he played for medi Bayreuth (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games: 14.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 5.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 80.2%. His stellar play and how well the team can execute under his command will have a big effect on where the team ends the season. He has the full package as a guard as scoring and dishing are his biggest attributes. Marshawn Powell is a 26 year old 201cm forward from Crozet, Virginia playing his fourth professional season. The ex Arkansas (NCAA) standout has experience in the Ukraine and Lithuania and made a name in Italy the last two seasons with De Longhi Treviso Basket 2012 (Italy-Serie A2) and last season played 42 games averaging 15.0ppg, 7.4rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 37.3%, FT: 69.8%. He is a versatile forward that can fill the highlight clips with dunks of timely shooting. His athleticism will help spark the team at both ends of the floor. The team also added 33 year old 210cm forward Krescimir Loncar who has the Croatian/German citizenship. He is playing his 17th professional season and played his first two seasons as a professional in Germany with DJK S.Oliver Wurzburg (Germany) from 2000-2002. He played eight seasons in Russia, two in Italy and also played in the Ukraine and Spain. He has won 7 professional titles including the VTB and Eurocup as well as played at the 2008 Olympic games, 2009 European championships and 2010 World Championships.He also has played 200 international club games including 69 Euroleague games. His physicality and rugged play inside is his trademark, but he can also drop the three when open.
The team also added Vladimir Mihailovic who is a 26 year old 193cm guard form Montenegro playing his third season in Germany. After playing three seasons for KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica, he came to Germany two seasons ago and made his break through with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-BBL) last season playing 30 games: 13.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 71.6%. He is a scrappy guard that can do severe damage getting to the rim as well as sparking the transition with his quick reflexes that lead to steals. He will be one of the players that will carry the team this season. The team also picked up James Southerland who is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Bayside, New York that is playing his fourth professional season. He brings 5 NBA games experience with Charlotte and New Orleans. The ex Syracuse (NCAA) standout played in the D-league, Euzroleague with Limoges and last season played with : Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A) playing 14 games: 5.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 2FGP: 46.4%, 3FGP: 27.1%, FT: 87.5%, left in Jan.'16, later that month moved to Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) playing 15 games: 13.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 80.6%. The team also picked up 24 year old 193cm guard Charles Barton. His dad coached the Frankfurt Skyliners 10 years ago. Barton started his career at Sanda Basket (Basketettan) in 2008 and then played three years at Oregon State (NCAA) where he played 93 NCAA games. He then returned back home to Sweden and played for the Sundsvall Dragons (Basketligan) where he played 34 games: Score-4 (18.0ppg), 2.1rpg, Assists-3 (5.9apg), FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 80.6%. He will come from the bench and can penetrate, find his teammates or hit the three.
Last season both clubs split exciting close games as Wurzburg stole one in Frankfurt winning 77-75 as Dru Joyce led the winners with 17 points and nine dimes while Brendan lane added 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Aaron Doornekamp with 18 points. In the return game, Frankfurt squeezed out a narrow 91-87 victory on the road as they were led by Jordan Theodore with 24 points. Wurzburg was led by Brendan Lane (206-C-90, college: Pepperdine) with 23 points. The Fraport Skyliners come to Wurzburg today on the heels of a two game losing streak having lost to ratiopharm Ulm and getting creamed in their first Champions Legaue game in Monaco. They did bolster their front court with experienced Ekene Ibekwe who compensates the losses of Niklas Kiel and Daniel Mayr. Frankfurt still needs patience with new point guard Kwame Vaughn to learn all the plays. Frankfurt's biggest problems is getting points on the board and taking care of the ball two issues that will need to be done better in Wurzburg. The s.Oliver Wurzburg come into the game riding their first win of the season against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Wurzburg gave up an average of 85 points in the first four games and are a bit suspect in that department that could come in handy for the Frankfurt team. Both teams have had special kinds of grin out games in the past in Wurzburg and this could be another one if both teams decide to defend at a high level.
19-year old Latvia power forward Roberts Blumbergs (207-93kg-97) left newly promoted SC Rasta Vechta (BBL) from The last season Blumbergs played at Artland Dragons (ProB) where in 14 games he averaged just 2.0ppg and 1.7rpg. He was selected to NBBL All-Star Game in 2016. Blumbergs represented Latvia at the European Championships U18 in Volos (Greece) last year. His stats at that event were 9 games: 5.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 58.8%. Blumbergs has played previously... [read more]
19-year old Latvia power forward Roberts Blumbergs (207-93kg-97) left newly promoted SC Rasta Vechta (BBL) from The last season Blumbergs played at Artland Dragons (ProB) where in 14 games he averaged just 2.0ppg and 1.7rpg. He was selected to NBBL All-Star Game in 2016. Blumbergs represented Latvia at the European Championships U18 in Volos (Greece) last year. His stats at that event were 9 games: 5.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 58.8%. Blumbergs has played previously professionally also in Latvia (Ventspils Augstskola) and Germany (Quakenbrueck and Young Dragons).
Brandon Jefferson(175-PG-91, college: Metro St.) is a 25 year old 175cm point guard from Flower Mound, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM). As a rookie he played for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 48 games: Score-4 (18.5ppg), 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, Steals-2 (2.2spg), FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 88.0%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 13.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 88.5%. He starte... [read more]
Brandon Jefferson (175-PG-91, college: Metro St.) is a 25 year old 175cm point guard from Flower Mound, Texas that is playing his third professional season and first with Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM). As a rookie he played for KTP Basket Kotka (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 48 games: Score-4 (18.5ppg), 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, Steals-2 (2.2spg), FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 88.0%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 13.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 88.5%. He started his basketball career in 2010 for Metro State (NCAA2) where he played a total of 129 NCAA games. In college he was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 21.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 92.3%. Last season he played for Phoenix Hagen (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games averaging 13.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 34.7%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 83.2%He spoke to eurobasket after the tough Eurocup loss to ratiopharm Ulm in Ulm.
Brandon thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. How did it feel to be back in Germany again with your new team Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) playing Eurocup in Ulm? It felt great being back in Germany. Was very excited when I saw that Ulm was in our group for EuroCup because it meant I had the chance to go back to Germany.
Last season, you lost both games to ratiopharm Ulm with Phoenix Hagen by a combined score of 48 points and you scored combined only 11 points. Tonight you lost again, but it was a lot closer game 87-82. What was your opinion of the play of ratiopharm Ulm this season? They have many guys back and have good chemistry. Is the team better than last season? Yes I remember the result last year very well. Ulm embarrassed us last season twice. They are obviously a great team. They will a force to reckon with this year again in the BBL and EuroCup. I've been keeping up with their scores. They have added some really good players so I do believe they are better than their team last season.
Despite the loss, you had a great game scoring 28 points with eight three's. Last season in both games against ratiopharm Ulm, you shot only 1/12. Were you really motivated for this Eurocup game? I was very motivated for this game against Ulm. Like I said earlier, they embarrassed us last season, including me. Any competitor would be up for the challenge after someone has embarrassed them in the past.
The game was very tight in the first quarter, but Ulm was able to break away a bit in the second quarter to lead by 11 points, but Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) fought back and trailed only 45-41 at the break. What was giving Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) the biggest problems in the second quarter? We had a lot of turnovers and it starts with me. I've been really careless with the ball. Need to control the tempo better and get the all where it needs to be.
Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) was down by as much as by 13 in the fourth quarter, but you staged a massive comeback ending the game on a 11-3 run sparked by your two three pointers, but time ran out. Did all the come-back runs that you made really weaken the team energy? We have a team of fighters. We will never give up during a game. It's all mental when it comes to being tired.
One could say that Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM) have had some serious misfortune so far as you have lost three of four games by one point. How have you handled this mentally in the early part of the season?
It's been tough losing these games by 1. Mistakes we need to clean up coming down the stretch of games have cost us. We are working every day to improve in those areas. We take the positive out of it though. We can't pout or feel sorry for ourselves. That's why it's good having all of these games. No time for any of that, have move forward and get ready for next opponent.
There are only two Americans on the team with you and Devin Oliver who also is in his third professional season. Do you have a special bond to him and do you miss somewhat that very experienced American that you could go to for advice?
Devin and I do have a bond. We are the same age trying to move forward in our careers. We are experienced in our short three year careers. We aren't rookies anymore, we need to figure things out and help one another.
Is your role overall a lot different this season than last season with Phoenix Hagen? Do you have to be more of a scoring point guard this season?
I just do whatever the team and the coaches ask me to do. I play my game.
How cool is it playing in three leagues this season with the Eurocup, ABA and Slovenian league? How important do you feel is this format for your development as a player in your third professional season? It's fun playing in 3 different leagues this season. A lot of exposure comes out of these leagues. It's a challenge every night. The BBL taught me a lot though. Last season was a huge learning experience for me that has helped me coming into this season.
Last season with Phoenix Hagen you averaged 13.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 34.7%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 83.2% in one of the top leagues in Europe. What do you feel did your game best playing in the BBL last season?
It showed me everything I needed to improve on. It exposed me in many ways that helped me moving forward. I'm forever grateful for the experience I got last season in BBL.
Your shooting 52% combined in the Eurocup and ABA leagues from downtown. Did you work extra hard and long last summer on your shooting or is your current hot streak due more to a current good run and shot selection?
I think it has a little bit to do with both. I know I was very inconsistent last season with my shot. I was taking a lot of bad shots which took my percentage down. Being smarter with my shot selection is something I learned playing in the BBL. Looking back on last season, I missed a lot of clean looks at the basket as well, so it was about knocking down shots at the end of the day.
Phoenix Hagen is having serious financial problems at the moment and their season could be cut short. How thankful are you that you are currently in a very good situation with Union Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM)?
I'm saddened by the news of my former team! Still close to David Bell and I know he will bounce back! I'm very thankful for this organization and situation with Union Olympija. Give all glory to God!
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy and where he ranks with the all-time best to have ever played in the NBA? Never really been a big Kevin Garnett guy, but I do know what he has done for the game! He will go down as one of the greats.
What was the last movie that you saw? Captain America.
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