CLARIFICATION: Elias Harris is NOT in the NBA Draft. He will be back at Gonzaga for his sophomore seaason I apologize for any confustion I may have caused by saying he was in the draft. A dpa report had reported he would be there and I didn’t realise it was a faulty report. Again, I apologize for any confusion. I have struck through all falsities in the previous report. – David Hein
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While German football fans celebrated their national team advancing to the Round of 16 of the 2010 World Cup, German basketball fans were anxiously awaiting a big Thursday with two three Germans included on the list of NBA Draft eligible players – Elias Harris, Tibor Pleiss and Tim Ohlbrecht.
Harris decided to enter the Thursday draft after a superb freshman season as forward at Gonzaga with 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds on 45 percent three-point shooting. The center Pleiss helped Brose Baskets Bamberg to the German league and German Cup double while center Tim Ohlbrecht bounced back from a poor 2008-09 season for an outstanding campaign at Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Both All three are hoping to become the first German player to join Dirk Nowitzki in the NBA.
“The NBA is my dream,” Pleiss told the German Press Agency dpa on Tuesday.
Pleiss supposedly has the best chances of receiving an NBA contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly having shown plenty of interest in selecting the Bamberg big man at Madison Square Garden in New York.
German national team coach Dirk Bauermann is happy about the NBA’s emerging interest in German players. Still, Bauermann admitted he hopes the NBA’s next generation of Germans – which includes Robin Benzing of Ulm – would temporarily be put on hold.
“The guys should stay in Europe at least one more year,” Bauermann told dpa.
The coach, however, expects big things of the young Germans.
“Benzing, Harris and Pleiss have a good chance of playing in the NBA in two years,” said Bauermann.
Benzing took part in the NBA pre-draft camp in Treviso but decided to withdraw his name from the draft to play another season in the BBL with Ulm.
Ohlbrecht meanwhile was long considered a can’t miss talent but ran into injury issues. The center is still only 21 years and has been in the U.S. recently working out for teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to dpa.
“For Tim, it is a valuable personal experience to prove himself against strong U.S. competition,” said Bonn head coach Michael Koch.
“Even if he gets an offer, he doesn’t have to accept it.”
Ohlbrecht has one year left on his deal with Bonn but has an option to leave Bonn for the NBA.