Introduction: Brose Baskets’ clear goal in the Euroleague for 2012-13 is to advance to the Top 16. After two seasons of just missing out, head coach Chris Fleming is hungrier than ever to get out of the group stage. Of course, the Bamberg team would love to continue their dominance over the German Beko BBL league and pull off the four-peat. But the league will be a tough, tough challenge as a number of other teams have really improved their squads.
The 2012-13 Brose team will have a different look and dynamic than last season’s team. P.J. Tucker and Brian Roberts left for the NBA, Tibor Pleiß headed to Caja Laboral and Marcus Slaughter bolted Germany for Real Madrid while Julius Jenkins was let go to Oldenburg. Fleming and scouting director Brendan Rooney have come up with a different frontline with Sharrod Ford, AJ Ogilvy and 22-year-old German Maik Zirbes as well as former NBA star Bostjan Nachbar for the wing and Teddy Gipson for the backcourt. And point guard John Goldsberry returns after missing the entire 2011-12 season injured.
Coach: Despite owning a long-term deal, Fleming took calls from Euroleague reigning champs Olympiacos but it would have been a surprise if the 42-year-old had bolted for Greece after four years in Bamberg. Even before coming to Brose Baskets, Fleming helped make a name for himself by taking the small-town club Artland Dragons to the Last 16 of the2007-08 EuroCup – which landed him the Bamberg job. And the New Jersey native has not done anything but strengthen his resume. Fleming has a lot of important new pieces to form into the unit and concept that he has swirling around his mind. He also must quickly teach the likes of Ford, Gipson and Ogilvy about the level of the Euroleague as none of them have played at that level thus far. Getting that done is not a question of if but when. With an extremely stacked Euroleague group, Fleming will need his team in top form right from the start if they hope to reach the Top 16.
Key Player: John Goldsberry, the point guard has been Fleming’s right hand man on the court since 2007, playing for him since their days together with Artland Dragons. Sure Bamberg overcame Goldsberry missing the entire 2011-12 season with knee and ankle surgeries, but his understanding of Fleming and his system is a huge benefit for Brose. Goldsberry, who turns 30 in October, is not a great scorer though he’s a solid outside shooter. But he’s a prototype pass-first point guard who is more in charge of getting his troops lined up. And he teams up with Beko BBL Defensive Player of the Year Anton Gavel to provide a hard-nosed defensive backcourt.
Breakout Player: The 22-year-old Maik Zirbes spent the past two seasons at TBB Trier becoming a German national team center under the tutelage of former German star Henrik Rödl. The much sought-after big man Zirbes is ready to take the next step. He averaged 10.6 points and 7.1 rebounds last season with Trier and will be a key man in Fleming’s low post rotation. His ability to move from a mid-level German club to a Euroleague talent will likely have a big impact on Bamberg’s chances this season.
Biggest Euroleague Moment: Last season's run where they shocked Panathinaikos and went close to advancing further will remain their biggest memory of a short Euroleague span. They hope to aim for big things this season.