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Game of Champions inspires the fans – A farewell to Zisis

The 50

Bamberg, 09-09-2019

The 50th German league season for basketball in Bamberg began with an emotional highlight last weekend: Basketball legends from 50 years of Bamberg history lined up for the “Game of Champions,” after which the jersey of Nikos Zisis was ceremoniously hoisted to the arena’s roof. The 3,500 fans in the Brose Arena were then able to take a look at the new Brose Bamberg team with its new Head Coach Roel Moors in a game which the home side lost by the narrow margin of 71:75 to a strong Teksut Bandirma.

It was an inspiring reunion of former Bamberg players: The Team National included Wolfgang Reichmann (who played in Bamberg from 1970 to 1978) and was a hero of the team that gained promotion to the German first division in 1970, as well as 72-year-old Hilar Gese (1974-1977) and Schorsch Ullein (1972-1979) from Bamberg’s first decade in the top flight. The team was bolstered by Ingo Mendel (1985-1989), Wolfgang Goppert (1982-1987), Sven Schultze (1995-1998) and Jan Rohdewald (1999-2002). The Team National also boasted title winners: Volkmar Zapf (1990-2005), Steffen Hamann (1998-2006, 2007/08) and Anton Gavel (2009-2014). It was coached by the duo of Wolfgang Heyder and Volker Stix. The Team International impressed with Bamberg legends such as Casey Jacobsen (2006/07 and 2009-2014), Rick Stafford (2002-2006), Demond Mallet (2004-2006), Chris Ensminger (2001-2008), Predrag Suput (2007-2012), Dalibor Bagaric (2014/15) and Gary von Waaden (1984-1987, 1989-1991). Arne Woltmann coached it, with the assistance of Stefan Weissenböck. The legends gave a more than convincing demonstration that they had not forgotten their fine shooting qualities: in particular the “Internationals” drained a string of threes – Demond Mallett made four out of his seven shots from downtown, while top scorer Casey Jacobsen bagged seven and a total haul of 29 points. Yet Jan Rohdewald was not to be outdone – the German player drained three buckets from outside. For its part, the Team National displayed its magic under the basket. Anton Gavel made a 360-degree spin lay-up to the enthusiastic cheers of the crowd, while Wolfgang Goppert scored four times and finished up as the only player with a 100% shooting percentage. However, the Team International finally ran out winners by 92:69, after which the legends were kept busy signing autographs for almost one-and-a-half hours.

Shortly before the test game for the current team, Nikos Zisis along with his family appeared in the arena as a surprise guest and his jersey was ceremoniously hoisted to below the arena’s roof – the number six will never be given to any other player in Bamberg in the future.

Bamberg’s new team unfortunately lost its warm-up game against Bandirma, with Moor’s team being unable to hold on to a 71:68 lead in the final quarter. Yet the home side showed strong signs and mostly defended hard and well. Christian Sengfelder (15 points) proved himself a strong new signing, while Kameron Taylor (15) exuded pure athleticism. In general, it seems that the team’s play under Head Coach Roel Moors is much faster-paced than before.

Bamberg’s fans will be able to see their new team twice in action next weekend at the 2019 ACTIC Cup in Bayreuth’s Oberfrankenhalle: On Saturday, September 17, 2019, Moors’ team faces MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and then, depending on whether it wins or loses, will take part in the third place playoff on Sunday, September 18 (2:30 p.m.) or advance to the final at 5 p.m. The possible opponents are the hosts medi Bayreuth or Darussafaka Istanbul.