Germany’s Beko BBL will have an even more German face next season as the final step of the league’s foreigner regulation plan kicks in for the 2012-13 season. But will teams needing a sixth German on 12-man rosters mean Germans playing abroad will return to their homeland? Or will more non-Germans be given a Deutschland passport to help skid by the rules?
With the 2011-12 season winding down and many teams already signing new players for next season, heinnews takes a look at what could happen for the 2012-13 Bundesliga campaign.
First off, it’s necessary to go back to 2009 when the BBL decided to gradually increase the number of German players on German clubs to six starting for 2012-13. For the 2012-13 season and the following two seasons, the exact rule is six Germans on 12-man game rosters, five on 11-man game rosters, or four on 10-man game rosters.
Sure, coaches can still elect to play six Americans and one or two German substitutes with a 10-man roster. But the six-six rule is being referenced the remainder of this article.
So, a sixth German will be needed on rosters for BBL teams. Where will the additional Germans come from? Mainly three areas: from Germans playing abroad returning to Deutschland; non-Germans receiving a Germany passport; and more young talents being rostered for BBL games.
Taking a look at the last point first: After the strong seasons of under-20 talents such as Daniel Theis, Dennis Schröder (both New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig), Philipp Neumann, (Brose Baskets Bamberg) and Maximilian Kleber (s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg) among others, it should be no surprise that more youngsters will be given some playing time – at least a bench spot – in the BBL next season.
Some of the main candidates for that are Florian Koch (20) with Bonn, Johannes Richter (18) with Bamberg, Besnik Bekteshi (19) with EnBW Ludwigsburg, Paul Zipser (18) and Ismet Akinpar (turned 17 on May 22).
Another area mentioned was foreigners getting German passports. Of course this is not exactly the fairest of methods. But don’t be surprised to hear rumblings about BBL clubs hiring outside research help to see if some of their players don’t have German ancestry in their bloodlines. Other clubs may use the argument that some of their players have been around long enough to be granted German papers.
Have German roots – Will play!
Artland Dragons small forward Adam Hess received his German passport in January though he had German roots. But what about some of these other players? Could they get a passport?
Slovakian Anton Gavel of Brose Baskets has been in Germany for eight of the last 11 years. Rickey Paulding has been with EWE Baskets Oldenburg since 2006 while Jimmy McKinney has been with Skyliners Frankfurt since the same time. Also in Germany since 2006 are Göttingen’s Kyle Bailey and BBC Bayreuth’s Osvaldo Jeanty.
ratiopharm ulm’s Steven Esterkamp has called Deutschland home since 2003, Alba Berlin’s Derrick Allen since 2004 and Darren Fenn of Artland Dragons and LTi Giessen 46ers’ Chad Prewitt both since 2005.
Serb Aleksandar Nadjfeji finished his 11th straight season in Germany while s.Oliver Baskets’ Jason Boone, Ulm’s Roderick Trice and Bayreuth’s Jason Cain all have laced up their sneakers in Germany since 2007. In addition, Giessen’s Koko Archibong has been in Germany for seven of the last eight years.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if one of those players suddenly finds out they have a German grandfather or great-grandmother – not to sound too cynical.
German clubs looking outside the country – and finding Germans!
But another source of new players is the foreign market as there is a share of German players outside Germany.
Here is a listing of some players who may be targets for BBL clubs in the very near future: Name, position, age, club, country, level (first division unless mentioned):
Max Groebe, SG, 23, Cornell University, U.S. NCAA
Sergio Kerusch, SF, 23, Aris Thessaloniki, Greece A1
Nikita Khartchenkov, SF, 25, CSU Atlassib Sibiu, Romania Division A
Josh Lepley, C, 22, Northern Arizona, NCAA US – unclear if he will remain in college system after being kicked off team before 2011-12 season
Julian Sensley, SF, 29, Gigantes de Guayana, Venezuela, LPB
Alon Stein, SG, 34, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel, Premier League
Mario Stojic, SF, 32, Lucentum Alicante, Spain ACB
Chad Toppert, SG, 26, CAI Zaragoza, Spain ACB
Cody Toppert, SG, 29, Aquas De Sousas, Spain LEB Silver (3rd)
Kiril Wachsmann, PF/C, 27, Melilla Baloncesto, Spain LEB Silver (3rd)
Adam Waleskowski, PF, 29, Astrum Levice, Czech Republic NBL
Konrad Wysocki, SF, 30, PGE Turow Zgorzelec, Poland PLK
Nearing the 30 percent target
The German league set a goal in 2009 of having 30 percent of the total minutes for the 2012-13 season be played by Germans. And while it would take a big jump to reach that mark, the 30 percent hurdle is possible.
The BBL told heinnews that German players had earned 25.01 percent of playing time by the end of the 2011-12 regular season. That is a 5.17 percent increase over the 23.78 percent at the same point in the 2010-11 season. That figure was 16.1 percent for the 2008-09 campaign.
When the clubs and the league met in 2009 to decide how to shape the future of the game in Germany, one discussion point was requiring BBL clubs to have one German on the court at all time – a so-called 4+1 model. The measure did not receive enough support and the gradual increase to 6+6 was decided since the club reps thought 4+1 was a “fundamental infringement of the game” according to BBL president Thomas Braumann back in 2009.
Still, that didn’t stop Bayern Munich coach and former German national team coach Dirk Bauermann from once again bringing up the 4+1 concept.
“We also have to look at the competition. Spain and Greece have rigid quotas. In Russia, two Russians have to be on the court at all time. I think strict rules are good. What about a 1-2-3 solution?” Bauermann asked in an interview in Die Zeit on May 3, 2012.
He was referring to the idea of having one German on the court at all times in the BBL to go along with two Germans at all times in the second division ProA and three in the ProB third division. The ProA and ProB regulations were set by the league and club in 2009.
Many will argue that can of worms should be left best closed until after the 2012-13 season to see how close the BBL is to being 30 percent German. It will definitely be closer than it is now.