ratiopharm Ulm is back in the 7DAYS EuroCup for the sixth straight season – and eighth of the last nine years – and this time, the German side will feature a lot of new faces. Two of the biggest additions were Thomas Klepeisz and Dylan Osetkowski, who actually played for Ulm at the German League's 2019-20 season-ending tournament and have now signed to stay with the team. Joining Klepeisz in the backcourt are Troy Caupain and John Petrucelli while Aric Holman, Trey Landers and Isaiah Wilkins are new to the frontcourt. All of the above-mentioned Ulm newcomers will also be making their EuroCup debuts.
No name has been synonymous with Ulm more than Per Guenther, who is back with the team for his 13th season as point guard. The veteran has long become a trusty backup and 2020-21 will see him working with Klepeisz on running the team. Klepeisz will rely on Guenther's experience in the EuroCup, as will Caupain, a strong all-arounder, and Petrucelli, an excellent defender also with the ability to score if needed. One of the best shooters in the competition is Andreas Obst, who nailed 43.0% of his three-pointers last season and will be counted upon to drain open shots from the wing. As always, Ulm will likely give youngsters the chance to play, including 19-year-old Timo Lanmueller, 20-year-old Kristofer Krause and 21-year-old Marius Stoll.
Osetkowski really played well in the domestic season-ending tournament, and the big man will be one of the keys for Ulm this season in his EuroCup debut. Wilkins is another debutant and he will make Ulm fans happy with his defense. Holman has some great explosiveness while Landers will be making his professional debut after playing university basketball last season in the United States. Patrick Heckmann, meanwhile, is a role player who can score in bunches from the wing and corners. As in the backcourt, Ulm has a group of youngsters in the frontcourt who could shine over the course of the season. Nat Diallo and Moritz Krimmer are both 20 years old while 21-year-old Nicolas Bretzel will be looking to stand out after an injury and 22-year-old Christoph Philipps has also showed promise.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Ulm coach Jaka Lakovic worked hard with talented teenager Killian Hayes last season in his head coaching debut, and this season the former Turkish Airlines EuroLeague winner will be looking to form Klepeisz into a high-level guard. The Austrian slowly built up his standing in the German League, playing there for Basketball Loewen Braunschweig since 2016. For the season-ending tournament, Lakovic brought in Klepeisz and the playmaker performed outstandingly – as though he had been with the team the whole season. Klepeisz did a great job running the offense, and he will need to be equally proficient for Ulm to grab some wins in the EuroCup. He has strong playmaking skills, can shoot well from the outside and will challenge for the lead in the EuroCup in free throw percentage – all in his EuroCup debut.
Ulm crashed to a 1-9 record last season and will be hungry to get back to the Top 16 as in the 2018-19 EuroCup season. Lakovic has his first year of coaching under his belt and a largely new team with a very different look. The German club, which advanced to the Last 32 in 2015-16 and 2016-17, might have some early-season struggles as many of its players adjust to being on the EuroCup stage for the first time. Of those nine losses last season, four were by five points or fewer, showing that the team is up to the fight but just could not close games. That could change this season.