ALBA Berlin went through a bit of an offseason overhaul meant to push the club back to the top in Germany and the 7DAYS EuroCup. The club appointed a new head coach in Ahmet Caki and brought in a series of new pieces, who are mostly younger players with a lot of talent, but little or no previous EuroCup experience. Peyton Siva is the team’s new point guard, while the perimeter was bolstered with the arrivals of guards Dominique Johnson and Engin Atsur. ALBA also signed athletic forwards Brandon Ashley and Malcolm Miller, whose contributions were expected on both ends of the floor, but an injury to Miller forced the team to look for more additions to the front line. The result was the signings of veterans Tony Gaffney and Paul Carter. The latter of the two is another EuroCup rookie, just like center Bogdan Radosavljevic and forward Jonathan Malu, both of whom will provide frontcourt depth.
Peyton Siva will be the floor leader as the team’s only true point guard, and his backcourt partner will be the dangerous long-range shooter, Dominique Johnson. The two newcomers will be ALBA’s biggest threats from the perimeter along with swingman Dragan Milosavljevic, who last season was the team leader and its top rebounder and excels on both ends of the floor. Guards Ismet Akpinar, Akeem Vargas and Engin Atsur, as well as sharp shooter Niels Giffey provide ALBA with quality depth and shooting on the wings.
ALBA felt like it needed help after injury to Malcolm Miller, who will miss three months, so club brought in a pair of veterans in tony Gaffney and Paul Carter. Both like to crash the boards, but also have the ability to stretch the floor. Underneath the rims, a lot is expected from power forward Brandon Ashley, who played under the spotlight at the college level, and now hopes to start leaving his mark on the professional scene, too. Big man Elmedin Kikanovic will be ALBA’s reference in the paint again this season after finishing the previous EuroCup campaign as the team’s top scorer despite coming off the bench in more than half of the games. However, this season Kikanovic has a back-up in a promising rookie center Bogdan Radosavljevic.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Peyton Siva was ALBA’s first signing this off season. Even before the summer, despite big changes looming and a new head coach in town, ALBA knew all along who it wanted running its offense. Siva arrives as last season’s Italian League assists and steals leader, but also with a proven trait of living up to the expectations, which goes back to his college days when he led the University of Louisville Cardinals to the NCAA championship. Being able to affect games on both ends of the floor, Siva will serve as ALBA’s motor in the upcoming season.
ALBA Berlin has a few seasons behind it that might not have all gone as planned, but the club has never stepped back from the ambitions that push it to go as far as possible in any competition. The Berliners have work cut out for them in having a new head coach and many new players in key positions, but the pieces they brought in and those they kept promise that ALBA will be in for another long run in the competition. With so much talent, youth and energy on the team, ALBA will be a dangerous foe all season long.