There was plenty of reason to be happy at the Telekom Baskets Bonn last season. The spirit of optimism that has emerged around the traditional basketball location is good for the federal city, good for the league, good for the 2022/2023 season that is now beginning, in which the Bonn team will start on Saturday in Würzburg (8:30 p.m. / MagentaSport). But despite all the euphoria, all the confidence, for the people of the Rhineland it is above all important to keep an eye on the economic side of competitive sport.
When those responsible lured Tuomas Iisalo, one of the most sought-after BBL trainers from Crailsheim, to the Hardtberg in summer 2021, it was a surprise. After all, the Finn had previously achieved a lot with the Hohenlohers with manageable means and recommended himself for larger tasks. In Bonn, the trainer upgraded his vita in the form of an award as “Coach of the Year” and second place after the main round and the first playoff semi-final participation since 2010 – not to mention the increase in his market value.
The expectations are high
It will be all the more exciting to see whether Bonn can repeat or even improve on these achievements, coupled with a return to the international stage in the Champions League. The expectations and sense of entitlement are high, especially since the time factor plays a decisive role in the baskets. Iisalo’s contract expires in 2023, until then it is necessary to deliver results that could persuade the coach to extend the contract.
This also includes the structures away from the trading floor, where Deutsche Telekom AG has announced its gradual withdrawal over the next two years. If those responsible can come up with a financially strong successor early on, for whom the naming rights of the Telekom Dome would also be of interest, Iisalo would at least know what the medium-term budget will be.
The American TJ Shorts takes over as a point guard
Until these questions are finally clarified, the focus is on sporting matters. Here Bonn can build on a stable base of five “returnees” who were already in the squad for 2021/2022. The center axis around Leon Kratz and Michael Kessens will remain, but the latter will miss the first weeks of the season due to a thigh injury. Tyson Ward and Jeremy Morgan remain active on the wing while captain Karsten Tadda keeps things together.
With TJ Shorts (24), the reigning “best offensive player” in the Bundesliga follows the league MVP Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who migrated to France. The American with the blond hair will be the primary ball handler in Bonn, but due to the high-quality teammates he doesn’t have to appear as a scorer himself, but can use his passing skills and create space for others with his strong move to the board.
The Telekom Baskets are to be expected again
The Telekom Baskets are to be expected again, although two top dogs are still ahead at national level with champions and cup winners ALBA Berlin and Euroleague quarter-finalists FC Bayern Munich.
Beyond that, however, the field is open to at least eight teams with legitimate claims to make the playoffs. Most of them are also in international competition, which is why the depth and balance of the squad will be a decisive factor in who gets one of the coveted tickets for the championship round in the spring. More than ever, it is important not to lose any unnecessary feathers despite the double burden in the Bundesliga, which could take revenge after the turn of the year.
There is no doubt that the many games in the German Oberhaus and the Champions League help to strengthen the team structure and the hierarchy within the squad. Ultimately, this stability must create enthusiasm, deliver results and leave a lasting impression – on the stands, with the coach, and with potential sponsors.
Alba Berlin – Hamburg Towers 81:78
The 1st game day
Friday, September 30th: Bayreuth – Frankfurt (8.30 p.m.). – Saturday, October 1st: Munich – Ulm, Hanburg – Mitteldeutscher BC (both 6 p.m.), Würzburg – Bonn (8.30 p.m.). – Sunday, October 2nd: Heidelberg – Ludwigsburg, Bamberg – Berlin (both 3 p.m.), Crailsheim – Oldenburg (6 p.m.), Göttingen – Chemnitz canceled. – Tuesday, October 18: Rostock – Braunschweig (7 p.m.).