By Panos Katsiroubas / email@example.com
Darussafaka made a bang with the acquisition of Brad Wanamaker, who is called to prove that he can lead a team that has ambition and the desire for big things.
Darussafaka is one of the rising powers in Turkish basketball and after they secured entry into next season’s Euroleague, they announced that they are going to hike up their budget in order to be able to play a leading role. They’ve already announced that David Blatt is going to take command of the team’s steering wheel, while they also announced the signing of the excellent Turkish shooter, Birkan Batuk. But the big bang was made with the acquisition of Brad Wanamaker, who had a great year by participating very actively in all the achievements and the great basketball image that Bamberg pulled off this year.
The American guard played college basketball at a great university with a good tradition, the University of Pittsburgh. In his final year he was named an All-American, an award that is given to the best players of the College Championship (NCAA). Despite this he was not selected by any team in the draft of 2011 so, inevitably, he went into exile, deciding to come to Europe to play basketball.
In his first year he didn’t make an impression in Teramo and Forli and so he returned to the NBDL for a brief spell, before coming back to Europe for Limoges, with who he had a rather good season. Then it was Pistoia in the year 2013-14 and then, following another good year, he was transferred to Bamberg where he shot up his value in the basketball market in the last two years. He had two excellent years and led his team to as many championships, being the MVP of the finals in the first year and the MVP of the entire German championship in the past year. He scored more than 12 points on average, contributed a lot in rebounds as well as creation. He was one of the cornerstones of this year’s fantastic Bamberg team that almost reached the Euroleague playoffs and won the championship in Germany with straight wins in the German playoffs.
What he has to offer
Wanamaker is a player who has a diverse set of abilities on the court and he can offer a lot to his new team in the two guard positions. Positions in which Darussafaka displayed a troubling image in the past year, since even when they acquired Wilbekin, they barely seemed able to find any chemistry and present the image of a good team on the court.
Wanamaker can add quality, aggressiveness and a good reading of the game, things that are essential for the Turks to make some competitive steps forward. He can attack in many ways, he’s good at attacking with the ball on the floor, while he also likes to shoot pretty well too. He finished the season that just ended with 37% in three-point shooting. In general, he’s a player who can make problems for any defense since he is multidimensional and quite aggressive at every opportunity.
He also likes to run on the open court, a part in which he’s also excellent. He can pass rather well in the pick-and-roll, even though he can still improve even more in this area, while he reads excellently the passes to the sides as well as his teammates’ cuts inside. He moves rather well himself without the ball and can execute immediately without allowing the defense any time to adjust.
He can do all this very well but in a well-oiled backcourt line that has balance, chemistry and roles like Bamberg had, especially this past year, where he had Zisis, Strelnieks and Darius Miller at his side. In teams where he doesn’t find something similar, he’s not going to perform at such a high level, since “street” basketball doesn’t seem to suit him.
He’s a pretty good defender when pressing on the ball, but on team defense sometimes he loses his role and position. In any case though, Wanamaker would be the perfect fit for a team that is already built and has clearly defined roles (for instance, Olympiacos, Fenerbahce), but his performance in a team that seems to be getting built from scratch is a bit of an enigma. To what extent he’s going to succeed remains to be seen on the courts of the Euroleague and the Turkish league in the new season.