The German basketball world is waiting for more news about emerging BBL powers Bayern Munich as the promoted team has been linked to another big name in Uruguay international and former NBA big man Esteban Batista.
The 27-year-old Batista, who played last season with Spanish ACB side Caja Laboral, was attributed to be drawing Bayern’s interest in an article in the Spanish site el Correo. The main sticking issue, according to the item, is Batista’s contract with Laboral until 2014 though the team reportedly would like to get rid of Batista.
The big man would be huge help for Bayern Munich as the EuroCup team lack low post players as they have added wing Philipp Schwethelm and guard Ben Hansbrough this off-season. The 122-kilogram Batista would fill the gaping hole in Bayern middle even though Bayern Munich announced on July 14 that Darius Hall will return to the club.
Munich are also reportedly after German international big man Jan Jagla. A number of media have reported that Munich and Jagla are close to finishing their negotiations. Jagla is more of a power forward who shoots from the outside and would provide a good mix with Batista if both are signed.
Bayern also have been long linked to Jagla’s fellow German international, small forward Robin Benzing.
Munich will be holding a press conference on July 21 at which they are expected to present their team for the 2011-12 season. Munich president Uli Hoeness has promised two more “rocket signings” before then.
Bayern on July 14 did announce that Robert Garrett, Artur Kolodziejski, Chad Prewitt and Beckham Wyrick will not be returning to the team this season. It remains unclear if center Robert Maras will come back.
Elsewhere in the German BBL, Telekom Baskets Bonn continued the overhaul of their team by signing power forward Tony Gaffney. The former Atlantic 10 Conference defensive player of the year was one of the NCAA’s top shot-blockers. The 26-year-old former University of Massachusetts big man played in Turkey and the NBA D-League last season and his low post presence will help Bonn in their push to return to the playoffs.
Walter Tigers Tübingen are also hoping to make the post-season – for the first time in club history – and to assist in their cause the team brought in 23-year-old power forward Adnan Hodzic – the third player to come directly from U.S. college basketball after Vaughn Duggins (Wright State) and Tyrone Nash (Notre Dame).
Hodzic was born in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo but moved to the U.S. at 5 years of age before spending the past four years at Lipscomb of the Atlantic Sun Conference. He has averaged at least 17.1 points and 7.1 rebounds over the past three seasons including 22.7 points and 9.1 rebounds during the 2009-10 season, earning him Atlantic Sun Conference player of the year honors. He was named to the conference First Team each of the past three years.
“Hodzic was one of the best scorers in the last three years in all of the NCAA levels. He is a non-typical aggressive basketball player who is as good as impossible to stop near the basket,” said Tübingen coach Igor Perovic.
Hodzic is also on Bosnia’s preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania.
Eisbären Bremerhaven continued fine-tuning their team by adding another player from the Atlantic Sun Conference in versatile guard/forward and 2011 player of the year Mike Smith from Eastern Tennessee State. Smith, who turns 24 on July 17, is from Vandalia, Missouri, averaged 17.9 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting nearly 37 percent from long range last season.
“Mike is a real fight that will go where it hurts. His big strength is his versatility. He can rebound, penetrate and shoot from the outside. I think we made a good catch with him,” said Bremerhaven head coach Douglas Spradley.
ratiopharm Ulm meanwhile have added a versatile young German forward who can play inside and outside in Femi Olapido. The 21-year-old signed on a one-year deal with Ulm and an option for a second after averaging 7.5 points and 4.9 rebounds last season for Crailsheim in the second division ProA.
“We will carefully bring him into the Beko BBL and want him to continue developing his shot. He showed in Crailsheim what potential he has,” said Ulm coach Thorsten Leibenath.
Olapido played on the German national team at the 2008 Albert Schweitzer Tournament and scored 14.6 points.