“It’s a Process”
Audi Dome, Munich – It has only been three league games, but FC Bayern Basketball can feel confident about the undefeated start and the early integration of its new players.
Bayern have won each game so far in a different manner. Winning the opener on the road against Bonn with a comeback and a strong finish and then a blowout at Ludwigsburg midweek. They defeated the four-time defending BEKO Basketball Bundesliga champions Brose Baskets last Sunday, demonstrating crunchtime awareness by making the big shots.
Svetislav Pesic’s team returns home Sunday evening to host another Bavarian team, medi bayreuth who have also had a solid start.
For European coaching legend Pesic, it’s not about the wins this early, but the team finding themselves.
“We are in the phase where we can build from positive results and keep improving. We want a team that can accept and realize the responsibilty that they carry. We are continuing to build the team, and the team spirit to get the wins. We won the games, our job is to understand how we won and get to know our players. It’s a process.”
With the quality of players that Bayern bought in to not only win the league title but compete with the continent’s best in the Euroleague tournament, one could have expected growing pains and perhaps egos getting in the way. But after the games, each player – old and new – has stepped up when called upon.
Despite John Bryant’s foul-troubled disappearance in the last game, he has delivered his steady performance in the paint. Nihad Djedovic has continued his form from the EuroBasket championships this summer, averaging 15.7 points per game (ppg) and his dramatic shots helped defeat Bamberg. Returning players Robin Benzing and Chevon Troutman are playing like veterans and leaders on the court, key for the new players to Pesic’s system.
Two players brought in for their offensive skills look to have found their strides. Malcolm Delaney led the team with 18 points in Ludwigsburg, and is averaging over 5 assists per game. Lucca Staiger recovered from sickness and hit all his three-pointers against his former club.
“I work hard everyday, I take pride in that,” said Delaney playing his first year in Germany. “(Coach Pesic and I) have a great relationship because I work hard every day and makes it easier to adjust and prepare for the next game.”
“We still have a long way to go and still have to find our way together,” said Staiger. “We are still improving week-to-week, or even from day-to-day. We are improving and getting better.”
Bayreuth come in with a record of 2-1, both wins at home but looking for the first win today on the road. Pedrag Krunic will expect the usual performance from leading scorer Ronald Burrell (20.3ppg) and playmaker point guard Kevin Hamilton (10ppg/8.3rebounds per game/8.3 assists per game). It will be a quick turnaround for Bayreuth after winning on Thursday.
“We have little time and need to get the maximum out of ourselves in order to survive in Munich,” said Krunic about facing the title-favorites.
“Bayreuth is a strong team, we have to be focused, play our game, play strong defense against a team that likes to run,” said Munich’s leading scorer Djedovic. “Hopefully we can get this win before Euroleague starts.”
Tip-off between FC Bayern Basketball and medi bayreuth is at 18:00 CET.
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