The reception in professional basketball was frosty. In the Towers’ first competitive game in the second league on September 28, 2014, the newcomer was mocked by the fans in Giessen: “Even in Hamburg, no one knows you!” The Towers still won 66:65.
On Sunday they start their tenth season in the BBL Cup against second division Dresden. And boss Marvin Willoughby (45) says, not without pride: “We are the most successful team in Hamburg in the sports that attract spectators in the last three years. We bring international sport to Hamburg, we play in the first league. We’re a name in town.”
BUT: After barely avoiding relegation, the team was completely turned inside out by coach Benka Barloschky (35): nine newcomers came – mainly from lower European leagues. Barloschky’s goal: athletic team basketball that is based on a strong defense – and allows a lot of three-pointers to be shot.
The preparation was mixed. Five out of seven tests were lost. But Barloschky emphasizes: “The most important thing in preparation is that you lay the foundation for yourself as a team. The basic framework must be completely secure. The process is more important than the result. And you can’t panic when you lose games.”
Nevertheless, the club veteran (who has been there since 2015) says before his first full season as boss: “We will be ready at the moment. But to expect perfection now would be crazy.”
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However, the bosses are struggling to find a clear goal for the fifth year of the first division. “The goal is to get better every day,” says Barloschky in general. “To take advantage of the training, take advantage of the games, continue the process and maintain the culture.”
Internally, the players should set their own direction. But newcomer Nico Brauner (28) also says: “We want to play the best possible basketball and put ourselves in a position where we might even fight for the play-offs. It would be nicer if we played for a play-off place than against relegation. You might have quieter nights.” With the new play-in mode, tenth place is enough this time…
Once again the squad for the triple challenge with league, cup and EuroCup is sewn together with twelve men. “We are not in a position to sign three more people,” says Willoughby frankly.
After the short-term exit of an energy drink manufacturer, the jersey chest is bare! Willoughby: “That is of course a problem. Nevertheless, our budget is roughly where we were last season, maybe a little bit below.” That means around 5.5 million euros. But the managing director refers to the beginning of 2014. The first budget in ProA was just 500,000 euros. Willoughby: “If you look at where we were ten years ago, it’s an extreme climb.”
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