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2011-12 Qualifying Rounds Profile: Alba Berlin
After another strong season in which Alba Berlin challenged for glory on every night, the German powerhouse looks to return to the continent’s brightest stage via the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds. Last season Berlin survived the first two round of qualifying, but missed reaching the Euroleague Regular Season by two baskets. Despite that disappointment, the Albatross rebounded to go undefeated in the Eurocup Regular Season and take the German League finals the distance before ending the season as the runner-up. Even though Alba finished the year without a trophy, it was another strong campaign for an elite European basketball model. Alba became the first German team to win a European trophy when it raised the 1995 Korac Cup, which started a string of brilliance that continues to produce. Sasa Obradovic, Teo Alibegovic and head coach Svetislav Pesic led Alba to that first European title. What followed was simple dominance on the home front as Berlin reeled off seven consecutive German League titles. Those triumphs also earned Alba a regular spot in the Euroleague, with players like Wendell Alexis, Henrik Rodl and Marco Pesic playing major roles in the dynasty. Alba made it to the Euroleague eighthfinals in 1997, 1998 and 2000 and reached the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague quarterfinals. Alba continued to be a dangerous opponent in years to come, though it never found the way through to the Top 16. Berlin then began a run of four straight seasons in the ULEB Cup, in which it narrowly missed the elimination rounds, losing out in a tiebreaker in both 2007 and 2008. Alba, however, registered a five-overtime 141-127 win over KK Bosna in December 2007 in one of the most exciting ULEB Cup games ever. Alba was the German League regular season champion in 2006 and 2007 and won the German Cup in 2006. In 2008 with Julius Jenkins and Bobby Brown running the show, Alba managed to win the German League title and return to the Euroleague. In the 2008-09 Euroleague season, three straight home wins and a key road victory in Badalona sent Alba to the Top 16 for the first time. Alba lifted the German Cup title and its home court, the magnificent o2 World, was home to the 2009 Euroleague Final Four. Two years ago Berlin made noise in the Eurocup by storming through to the title game in Vitoria, Spain – cheered on by fans that travelled by car and bus all the way from Berlin due to air traffic problems – but Valencia ended their chances of seeing their team lift the trophy. Last season Berlin again lived up to its reputation and was a threat at every turn, but for the new campaign the club will look to do even better.
Berlin comes into the 2011-12 season with a new, but familiar, face on the sidelines. Gordon Herbert has coached three previous teams from three countries in the Euroleague and will look to lead Alba there as well. Herbert came from another German side, Fraport Skyliners, from where he also brings German League scoring champ DaShaun Wood. Combo guards Kyle Weaver and Heiko Schaffartzik give Herbert three players that can handle the ball and hit from outside. Three-point shooting specialist Lucca Staiger could be due a breakout season on the wings, while all-around stud Bryce Taylor will contribute at both ends from the small forward spot. Power forward Derrick Allen and center Yassin Idbihi are back to provide a powerful scoring and rebounding duo in the paint, but now they have mighty Torin Francis in the mix too. Forward Marko Simonovic is eager to prove himself in the backup power-forward role, while veteran Sven Schultze is back in Berlin with experience and leadership qualities that will help too. With some outstanding scorers and tough inside players, Alba may have the right recipe to get back to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this year.
5 - Lucca Staiger
6 - Sven Schultze
7 - Joey Ney
8 - Heiko Schaffartzik
15 - Derrick Allen
21 - Torin Francis
22 - Marko Simonovic
23 - DaShaun Wood
25 - Kyle Weaver
34 - Yassin Idbihi
44 - Bryce Taylor
Monday, September 19, 2011
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