10 Newcomers to Watch: German BBL

Next league under my magnifying glass is the German BBL that starts on Thursday, 23rd Sept with the match between Alba Berlin and Telekom Baskets Bonn.

I will repeat the rules which players are eligible for the report:

  • 1st rule: the players will be playing for the first time in this competition
  • 2nd rule: only non-domestic players were eligible for the list
  • 3rd rule: the player must be 27 years old or younger — so only players born in 1994 or after that were eligible for the list

The players on the list are not necessarily the best but just the most interesting to me and I expect that they will not have any problems translating to their new team and league. Also the players are not in any particular order.

Tamir Blatt (PG | 185 cm | ’97) ~ Alba Berlin

Tamir signed with Alba Berlin one year ago but spent last season on loan in Hapoel Jerusalem. A very talented playmaker that usually makes the right decisions on the floor. Great pick & roll player and his court vision and passing game is on a really high level and I think he will fit well in Alba’s system. It will be his first season abroad and also his first season in an Euroleague team but I think he won’t have much problems with the pressure and that he is ready for the jump to Germany.

Fedor Žugić (SG | 196 cm | ’03) ~ ratiopharm Ulm

Fedor Žugić is another young player that will try to reach his dreams of going to the NBA through Ulm. Very good scorer for his age that is not afraid to take the ball in his hands and make a play. Attacks the rim aggressively and he could be really good in the fast paced German league and score a lot of points in transition. He will probably apply for the NBA draft at the end of the season and I’m sure he will try his best every game. Similar as with Blatt, it will be his first season abroad at the young age of 18 but he will get over that and I think he will have a good season in the BBL.

Max Heidegger (G | 191 cm | ’97) ~ Baskets Oldeburg

Oldenburg didn’t have an easy job to replace sharpshooter Keith Hornsby in this off-season but potentially Max Heidegger could be a great replacement. Definitely he will be amongst the best scorers of Oldeburg on their guard spots and has the potential to be one of the best scorers in the league too. Max is such a confident scorer that takes the ball in his hands and makes things happen. He doesn’t need much space for shot and on a good day he can shoot the lights off. I think he will fit very well in the BBL and he could be the player to watch in this season.

TJ Holyfield (PF | 203 cm | ’95) ~ Baskets Oldenburg

Another interesting signing for Oldenburg was in my opinion TJ Holyfield. He played in Finland last season and averaged 13.6 points and 7 rebounds per game. TJ can play on both big positions and follows the game really well. He offers himself nicely on drives and in pick & rolls. Can also stretch the floor and make open three point shots. The quality difference between Finnish league and top teams in Germany is big but I think Holyfield could be a good fit for Oldenburg. They’ve added more athleticism to their big man spots with TJ and Tai Odiase and I think Oldenburg can be dangerous for the top teams in the league.

Jared Savage (F | 196 cm | ’97) ~ Crailsheim Merlins

Crailsheim Merlins usually have some interesting forwards in their team and this season won’t be any different. In Jared Savage they’ve got a player that could be defined best as a typical 3&D player on the wing position. Great and reliable spot up shooter behind the three point line but not really a player that would create a shot for himself. Can defend many positions in defense- on perimeter and down low. Jared is a very good role player and I think he has the potential for a nice career in Europe.

Zach Brown (SG/SF | 198 cm | ’95) ~ Hamburg Towers

Hamburg usually adds some under the radar players to their team and this year is no exception. I really liked Zach Brown last year in Hungary and I can’t wait to see him compete in the BBL. Somehow he reminds me of Kam Taylor who played for Hamburg last season and joined Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague now. Versatile scorer that moves well without the ball but also has very good isolation skills. Athletic and long to play good defense too. I think coach Pedro Calles knows how to use him the best way possible and that Zach will be an important piece in the team.

Frankie Ferrari (PG | 185 cm | ’95) ~ Brose Bamberg

Frankie Ferrari was the last signing for Brose Bamberg and in my opinion the most interesting one, even though they signed some good players this off-season. He had a great season in Manresa two years ago but last year he started with Gran Canaria, moved to Unicaja in December and finished the season in Manresa where he played great again. High basketball IQ playmaker that can score some points and also has great court vision and passing game. The German league is pretty fast paced and Frankie could really excel here with his playing style and be one of the newcomers to watch.

Kamar Baldwin (G | 185 cm | ’97) ~ BG Göttingen

Another team that made some interesting moves this season is in my opinion Göttingen. Kamar Baldwin didn’t have the best season last year in Turkey and I think he will show this season in Göttingen that he is capable of better performances. The left handed guard can put some numbers on the board. Maybe his shot is a little inconsistent but he has the quickness and ball handling skills to get to the rim. Kamar is also a pesky defender on the other side of the floor and his match-up will have some problems with him on both sides.

Osasumwen Osaghae (PF/C | 206 cm | ’98) ~ MLP Academics Heidelberg

Maybe the player that I’m most curious about how he will perform on a little higher level is Osasumwen Osaghae. He was one of the best rim protectors in his college days and has shown great rim protection in Finland last season too but Germany league is, with all respect, at least a level above those two competitions. Athletic and bouncy big man with high defensive potential. In offense he is limited mostly to around the rim finishes at the moment but he is still young and has room to improve in his offensive game too. He is not a player that will score a lot of points but I’m mostly interested if he will be able to protect the rim as well as he did in the NCAA and in Finland and he definitely has the potential to be one of the best defenders in the BBL.

Phil Fayne II (PF/C | 201 cm | ’97) ~ Giessen 46ers

Another player coming to the BBL from the Finish league is Phil Fayne II who will play for the Giessen 46ers. Similar to Osaghae in Heidelberg, Fayne should bring some athleticism and defense to Giessen’s front court. He is a really athletic player that could play in both big positions and always plays with good energy. He follows the game well and offers himself under the rim and if the team mates will pass him the ball when he has a good position in the paint, he will throw the ball down with no mercy and make some highlight dunks. He is one of the names that could have a very good season in Germany and a player to watch out for.

Twitter: @turkmarkoo