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Home/Newscenter/Gavel win derby, will return to Bamberg / Harrelson to Ulm, Vechta hire Schiller / Ludwigsburg bring back Hukporti

Weekly NewsGavel win derby, will return to Bamberg / Harrelson to Ulm, Vechta hire Schiller / Ludwigsburg bring back Hukporti

02. April 2024
The week was dominated by off-court news as Anton Gavel will return to Bamberg Baskets next season while Ty Harrelson will leave RASTA Vechta to replace him at ratiopharm ulm. Vechta meanwhile signed Martin Schiller as new coach, and Würzburg Baskets extended their deal with head coach Sasa Filipovski. And MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg brought back star talent Ariel Hukporti. On the court, MLP Academics Heidelberg left the relegation zone with a home victory.

The week was dominated by off-court news as Anton Gavel will return to Bamberg Baskets next season while Ty Harrelson will leave RASTA Vechta to replace him at ratiopharm ulm. Vechta meanwhile signed Martin Schiller as new coach, and Würzburg Baskets extended their deal with head coach Sasa Filipovski. And MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg brought back star talent Ariel Hukporti. On the court, MLP Academics Heidelberg left the relegation zone with a home victory.

In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga. If you’re short on time but still want your fill of Germany’s top basketball league then you are in the right place. Every week David Hein (www.heinnews.com) brings you up-to-date in German basketball – the easyCredit BBL short and sweet:

Gavel will return to Bamberg to coach former club

Anton Gavel will be returning to Bamberg Baskets next season as the coach who led ratiopharm ulm to the club’s first title last season will head back to his former club. The 39-year-old signed a three-year deal until 2027 with Bamberg, with whom he won four league crows and three German Cups as a player. Gavel retired in 2019 and began coaching with Ulm later that year. And last season as a first-time head coach in a professional league Gavel guided Ulm to the easyCredit BBL trophy.

Harrelson to take over at Ulm after successful run with Vechta

ratiopharm ulm did not wait long to announce the successor to Anton Gavel as Ty Harrelson will take over the reigning champions starting next season. Ulm and the 43-year-old American agreed to a two year contract and assistant coach Tyron McCoy will stay as as Harrelson’s assistant. Harrelson played in Bayreuth, Langen and Osnabrück in Germany as well as stops in Italy, Finland, Hungary and Australia. Harrelson comes to Ulm from RASTA Vechta, where he joined in 2022 and led the club to promotion from the ProA to the easyCredit BBL last season.

Vechta will hand reins to Schiller after Harrelson departure for Ulm

RASTA Vechta found a new head coach for next season as Martin Schiller will take over the coaching reins in 2024-25 from Ty Harrelson, who will be leaving for ratiopharm ulm. The 42-year-old Schiller signed a two-year contract with Vechta and comes to the club with some strong experience. The Austrian who grew up in Hamburg served as assistant coach at Quakenbrück and Ludwigsburg and was head coach for the NBA G-League team of the Utah Jazz Salt Lake City Stars from 2017-20. Schiller coached Turkish Airlines EuroLeague side Zalgiris Kaunas for one season and then coached in Spain with Casademont Zaragoza. Schiller also served as assistant coach of the German national team last summer in helping the country win the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023

Würzburg lock up Coach Filipovski until 2027 

Würzburg Baskets have been very pleased with the work of head coach Sasa Filipovski and decided to lock up the Slovenian playcaller until 2027. The 49-year-old Filipovski has worked with Würzburg since the end of 2021. The club is currently set up to open the playoffs with home court advantage in their first post-season series as they have a 19-7 record for fourth place. It would Würzburg’s first appearance in the playoffs since 2020.  

Ariel Hukporti returns to Ludwigsburg until season’s end

The major off-court news just kept going as MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg announced that Ariel Hukporti would be returning to the club until the end of the season. The 21-year-old big man left Ludwigsburg in 2020 and headed to Lithuania to play for Kėdainiai. One season later he left Europe and landed in Australia to play for Melbourne United. Hukporti missed the entire 2022-23 season with an Achilles tendon injury and this past season helped the club to the Australian Finals but lost to the Tasmania JackJumpers. Ludwigsburg secured Hukporti’s services just before the March 31 deadline to add players. 

John Patrick back to Ludwigsburg for next season? 

What a week for coaching news and another major coaching announcement could be coming soon as rumors are mounting that John Patrick will return to be head coach at MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. The 56-year-old Patrick is currently coaching for Chiba Jets Funabashi in Japan, whom he joined in 2022 after leaving Ludwigsburg and brought them to the Japanese league Finals. Patrick coached Ludwigsburg from 2013 to 2022, when current coach Josh King took over. King’s contract runs out at the end of this season and reports say he will not be offered a new deal. Patrick’s sons Johannes and Jacob Patrick both play with Ludwigsburg. 

Heidelberg pick up crucial win over Crailsheim, leave relegation zone

MLP Academics Heidelberg earned a crucial win in the relegation fight as they defeated HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim 90-86 at home to leave the relegation zone. Heidelberg led by 11 points at halftime and were up by 15 points late in the third quarter. Crailsheim managed to get within three points in the closing seconds but Heidelberg have won two of three games for a 6-20 record in 16th place and Crailsheim lost their sixth game in the last seven games. Heidelberg committed only 9 turnovers, out-scored Crailsheim 16-7 on second chance points and made 21-of-25 free throws compared to 9-of-12 for the guests. Elijah Childs picked up 19 points and 8 rebounds and Justin Jaworski tallied 18 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists. Keandre Cook came off the Crailsheim bench for 27 points and Elias Baggette had a career high 15 points to go with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists. 

Crailsheim add final reinforcements with Alexey Borges 

HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim added final reinforcements in their battle to avoid relegation as they brought in Alexey Borges. The 28-year-old Brazilian point guard will be making his European debut with Crailsheim. Borges played both two games in the FIBA AmeriCup 2025 Qualifiers in February. 

Despite 41 points from Stove, Chemnitz score 111 points in win over Wolves 

NINERS Chemnitz overcame a 41-point outburst from Johnathon Stove in winning a shoot-out with SYNTAINICS MBC 111-95 on the road in bouncing back from their lost at ALBA BERLIN. Chemnitz, who secured their spot in at least the play-ins, flew out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter and the lead was 23 points in the second quarter. The hosts pulled within two points late in the quarter but Chemnitz used a 15-4 run in the final frame to finish off the win. Chemnitz improved to 21-5 with four of five wins. SYNTAINICS MBC have dropped three of four games for an 8-18 record. Chemnitz shot 52.1 percent from the field including 44.8 percent from long range. Jeff Garrett was Chemnitz’s leading scorer with 23 points, Kevin Yebo had 18 points and Aher Uguak collected 17 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Besides Stove’s outburst, Martin Breunig and Jhonathan Dunn both had 17 points in the loss.

Schneider scores career high 24, Berlin win eighth straight game

Despite their nightmare season in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, ALBA BERLIN remained the hottest team in the easyCredit BBL as they rolled past Veolia Towers Hamburg 85-65 at home for their league-best eighth straight victory. The game was close until midway through the third quarter when Berlin went on a 21-3 run spanning the final two frames to move to 18-5 and Hamburg fell to 13-12 with a third loss in the last four games. ALBA shot 55.2 percent from the field including a blistering hot 71.1 percent on two-pointers and Hamburg made just 36.4 percent for the game including 9.1 percent (2-of-22) on three-pointers. Tim Schneider scored a career high 24 points to lead Berlin with Sterling Brown picking up 10 points and 7 rebounds and Louis Olinde adding 10 points. Seth Hinrichs was Hamburg’s top scorer with 13 points. 

Bayern extend winning streak over Bamberg to 16 games 

FC Bayern Munich continued their dominance over Brose Bamberg as they grabbed a 99-81 victory for their 16th straight win over the fellow Bavarian side and Bayern’s third consecutive win in the league. Bayern led by 11 points already in the first quarter and the advantage grew to 20 points in the second quarter. Bayern rolled to a 21-4 record while Bamberg fell to 11-15 after a second loss in the last three games. Bayern shot 55.7 percent for the game including 50.0 percent from long range with 15-of-30 three-pointers and also made 16-of-20 free throws compared to 7-of-13 for Bamberg. Isaac Bonga tallied 19 points to lead Bayern with Elias Harris adding 15 points and Vladimir Lucic chipping in 14 points and 7 rebounds. Trey Woodbury scored 19 points and Zach Copeland added 14 points and 6 assists in the loss. 

Würzburg win ninth straight home game after Filipovski extension 

Würzburg Baskets celebrated the contract extension of head coach Sasa Filipovski to 2027 by blowing away Tigers Tübingen 96-81 for their ninth straight home victory.  Würzburg led nearly the entire second half by more than 10 points in easing to a 19-7 record with a seventh win in the last eight games and Tübingen fell to 17th place with a 6-20 mark after a third straight loss. Würzburg committed only 10 turnovers and drained 50.0 percent on three-pointers with 15-of-30 from long range. Otis Livingston paced Würzburg with 22 points and 7 assists and Zac Seljaas added 17 points and 7 rebounds. Erol Ersek and Jhivvan Jackson were Tübingen’s leading scorers with 16 points each. 

Tübingen sign veteran Gaines to help fight off relegation

Tigers Tübingen made one final signing in their fight against relegation as they added wing Frank Gaines. The 33-year-old American played in 2016-17 with RASTA Vechta. 

Ulm blast Ludwigsburg, take head-to-head advantage 

ratiopharm ulm came up with a strong showing in blowing past MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 94-60 to also take the head-to-head advantage in the challenge for the post-season. Ulm led most of the first half and were up by 12 points at halftime before taking the third quarter 20-8 en route to a second straight win and third in the last four for a 17-9 record and Ludwigsburg fell to 16-10. Ludwigsburg were held to just 28.0 percent shooting including 21.9 percent from long range and Ulm made 22 free throws compared to 11 for Ludwigsburg. Georginho de Paula totalled 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, Pacome Dadiet had 15 points, Justinian Jessup scored 13 points and Trevion Williams contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds. Eddy Edigin was Ludwigsburg’s top scorer with 15 points and Jayvon Graves had 12 points. 

Bonn beat Vechta, keep up pressure on direct playoffs spots 

Telekom Baskets Bonn kept up the pressure on the teams in the direct playoffs spots by registering an 80-77 victory over RASTA Vechta at home. The game was tight throughout with seven points being the biggest lead and Bonn won the game on Harald Frey’s three-pointer with 73 seconds left with Vechta missing three shots and two free throws in the last 54 seconds. Bonn grabbed their second win after two straight losses for a 16-10 record and Vechta saw their three-game winning streak end for a 17-9 mark. Bonn lost only 10 turnovers and made 22-of-30 free throws compared to 11-of-17 foul shots for Vechta. Thomas Kennedy led Bonn with 16 points and Sam Griesel and Glynn Watson both scored 14 points. Tommy Kuhse collected 27 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists and Spencer Reaves added 13 points in the defeat.

Bonn take down Oldenburg at home in Round 24 make-up game

Telekom Baskets Bonn picked up an important win in the fight for the direct playoffs spot as they knocked off EWE Baskets Oldenburg 100-85 at home in a Round 24 make-up game. Bonn led 39-22 after 10 minutes and did not let Oldenburg get closer than five points the rest of the way and then pulled away in the final quarter. Bonn snapped their two-game losing streak for a 16-9 record, and Oldenburg have dropped two of three games for an 11-14 record. Bonn committed only 8 turnovers, held Oldenburg to just 25.0 percent on three-pointers and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds to just 7 for the guests. Christian Sengfelder scored 20 points and Glynn Watson and Brian Fobbs both had 16 points in the win. Ebuka Izundu paced Oldenburg with 18 points and DeWayne Russelll had 11 points and 8 assists.

Hamburg drop 107 points on Wolves in home win 

Veolia Towers Hamburg avoided a slip-up in their fight for a spot in the Play-Ins as they eased past SYNTAINICS MBC 107-76 at home. Hamburg raced away with a 30-12 second quarter to improve to 13-11 after having lost three of their last four games and the guests fell to 8-17 after two losses in the last three games. Hamburg shot an outstanding 53.3 percent for the game including 64.5 percent on two-pointers and 41.4 on three-pointers. SYNTAINICS MBC made just 41.3 percent from the field. Aleksander Dziewa paced Hamburg with 24 points and Mark Hughes tallied 18 points. Charles Callison scored 16 points and Johnathan Stove had 15 points in the loss. 

Göttingen snap losing skid, Braunschweig drop fourth straight 

BG Göttingen grabbed an important victory in their fight to avoid relegation as they defeated Basketball Löwen Braunschweig 75-73 at home to snap a four-game losing streak and hand the guests their fourth straight defeat. The game went back and forth throughout with 11 lead changes and 16 ties and 7 points being the biggest lead for either team. Bodie Hume hit a three-pointer with 58 seconds to give Göttingen the lead 74-73. Braunschweig missed their final three shots and Göttingen improved to 8-18 and Braunschweig fell to 11-15 mark. Göttingen survived 19 turnovers as they held Braunschweig to just 22.7 percent on three-pointers. Umoja Gibson scored 22 points and David DeJulius poured in 20 points for the winners. Jilson Bango paced Braunschweig with 18 points, Ahmaad Rorie had 14 points and Sananda Fru chipped in 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. 

Oldenburg cruise to blowout, Rostock lose 13th straight 

EWE Baskets Oldenburg remained among the teams in the play-in ranks with a 99-64 blowout win at ROSTOCK SEAWOLVES, who have now lost 13 straight games. Rostock trailed nearly the entire game and the Oldenburg lead was 12 points before they went on a 23-1 run to blow the game wide open. Oldenburg improved to 12-14 and Rostock fell to 6-19. Rostock shot just 37.7 percent for the game including 20.8 percent on three-pointers. Geno Crandall came off the Oldenburg bench to score 27 points with 6 assists, Chaundee picked up 15 points and Norris Agbakoko poured in 12 points with 16 rebounds and 2 blocks. Derrick Alston was the only Rostock player in double figures with 24 points.

Player of the Week

The Player of the Week honors this week goes to Johnathan Stove of SYNTAINICS MBC, who scored 41 points on 16-of-22 and 6-of-7 free throws to go with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal for an efficiency of 43 against NINERS Chemnitz. Stove just missed matching Otis Livingston’s season high of 42 points but did set a new league high for the season in efficiency, topping Bodie Hume’s 40 for BG Göttingen.

German Top Five of the Week

G: Isaac Bonga, FC Bayern München

Bonga led Bayern in scoring with 19 points to go with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals versus Bamberg Baskets.

F: Akeem Vargas, MLP Academic Heidelberg

Vargas showed he still has plenty of game left as the 33-year-old drained 4 three-pointers in scoring a season-high 17 points to tie his career best. He added 4 rebounds and 1 steal against HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim.

F: Tim Schneider, ALBA BERLIN

Schneider scored a career high 24 points with 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block versus Veolia Towers Hamburg.

C: Kevin Yebo, NINERS Chemnitz

Yebo helped Chemnitz knock off SYNTAINICS MBC with 18 points and 4 rebounds.

C: Norris Agbakoko, EWE Baskets Oldenburg

Agbakoko collected 10 points and 4 rebounds against Telekom Baskets Bonn and then tallied 12 points, 16 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks in a win over ROSTOCK SEAWOLVES. 

Young Guns 

Elias Baggette, 21, PG, HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim

Baggette started against MLP Academics Heidelberg and set a new career high with 15 points on 5-of-9 shots (3/4 threes) and 2-of-2 free throws to go with 4 rebounds and 8 assists in 31:19 minutes against MLP Academics Heidelberg.

Sanada Fru, 20, PF, Basketball Löwen Braunschweig

Fru scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shots (1/2 threes) along with 4 rebounds and 4 steals in 27:33 minutes against BG Göttingen.

Johann Grünloh, 18, C, RASTA Vechta

Grünloh started against Telekom Baskets Bonn and scored 8 points on 4-of-4 shots and added 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 16:43 minutes.

Germans Abroad

Leon Kratzer is just two victories from a European crown as the German big man helped Paris Basketball reach the Finals of the BKT EuroCup. In his first season outside of Germany, Kratzer scored 4 points with 6 rebounds in Game 1 of the Semi-Finals against London Lions and then had 4 points and 7 rebounds in Game 2. In the Finals, Kratzer and Paris will play either Besiktas Istanbul or JL Bourg-en-Brasse.