MHP giants Ludwigsburg are currently weaker than almost any other team in the basketball league. The young players are now in particular demand.
The MHP giants must do without a total of seven players this weekend. While Tremmell Darden is still recovering from his calf problems, Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann, Yorman Polas Bartolo, Tekele Cotton, James Woodard, Jonathan Bähre and Jacob Patrick are all ill. Some of them have been tested positive for Covid-19 and still have cold symptoms. So many failures is an exceptional situation for coach John Patrick. He is all the more proud of his team, who on Wednesday won their home game against Mitteldeutsche BC from the bottom middle of the table with 77:75 despite an exciting overtaking run by the guests. “It’s great for me that we won against MBC without seven injured players,” Patrick said with a smile in an interview with SWR Sport.
In addition to the seven healthy players in the professional squad, the Giants also had four players from Ludwigsburg Basketball Academy with a double license. Among them are the two 18-year-olds Luis Nonfon and Emmanuel Ugbo, who both played a few minutes and were able to relieve the seasoned professionals. Although both youngsters have yet to score points for the Giants, their coach was pleased with the youngsters who spontaneously stepped in: “Ugbo and Nonfon are brand new to the professionals. It would be unfair if we expected too much. They were nervous . It’s normal.”
MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg is spoiled by their own offspring
The two coach sons Johannes (20 years) and Jacob Patrick (18 years) as well as Lukas Herzog (20 years) come from the MHP giants’ offspring and are now permanent fixtures on the team. Ariel Hukporti (19 years old) was also educated in Ludwigsburg. After his successful premiere season 2019/20, he left Ludwigsburg for Lithuania. He now plays in Australia and even has a chance to take the plunge into the North American NBA. Aeneas Jung also trained with the professionals and came up with a few assignments. For Patrick, the many giant talents who have gained a foothold in professional basketball are something extraordinary: “There are almost no teenagers on another Bundesliga team. We are spoiled in return. We had five players who trained normally.”
John Patrick also wants to establish his gaming system among young people
For John Patrick, one of the keys to young people’s success is the very early entry into professional education. As a good example, he mentions Lukas Herzog, who already as a 16-year-old trained regularly with the professionals. Furthermore, Patrick attaches great importance to establishing his game system on the youth teams. He has now been the head coach of the Giants for almost nine years. Already at the beginning of his term of office he saw good structures and a great potential in the youth work of the giants. He teamed up with the youth coaches to establish his system in the youth field over the years.
The former Giants team captain coaches the U19 team with David McCray. He even played in Patrick’s game system for four years and can therefore pass it on to the young talents at Ludwigsburg Basketball Academy. McCray was known for his tenacious play in defense. It’s also a big plus for Patrick, because for young players who want to keep up with their team, there are two things that matter most: “You have to work hard in defense and be flexible on offense. It’s very important for me that they do not allow turnover, ”says Patrick.
Maxi Kleber: From Würzburg to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA
Probably the most famous example of John Patrick’s good nose for young talent is Maxi Kleber. He is the next Würzburg prodigy after Dirk Nowitzki. Like Nowitzki, Kleber once played in Würzburg and now plays for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. John Patrick, who was still the head coach of Würzburg at the time, promoted Kleber to the Bundesliga squad. According to Patrick, there was criticism: “Why do you use him and not others?” asked some in the club. Kleber did not even play on the national team when he was young, but Patrick trusted him because he and his coaching staff fit him into the system.
John’s son Jacob Patrick: Already a seasoned Bundesliga basketball player
Some basketball fans also see potential as an NBA player in John Patrick’s younger son Jacob. As a 16-year-old, he played for the pros for the first time, making him the fourth youngest player to ever stand on the court in the basketball league. His father has great respect for the 18-year-old’s performance. “It’s hard to do Bundesliga basketball and high school in Baden-Württemberg at the same time,” Patrick says with a smile. Jacob would like to finish his high school for the summer so he can concentrate fully on basketball. “I think he would like to try to see how well he can play without school for another year here,” said John Patrick.
Replacement weakened top matches for the MHP giants against Bonn and Cluj
On Saturday, the MHP giants Ludwigsburg play against the table leaders Telekom Baskets Bonn. Then John Patrick again has to do without many players – of all things in a game where the giants could draw just with the leaders in points. For Patrick, however, the Champions League is a higher priority during the week: “It is very important that we have ten players in Cluj on Tuesday and not so important that we win in Bonn.” Ludwigsburg play against the Romanians from Cluj in the quarterfinals of the Basketball Champions League and even though some players are out, John Patrick can still count on the youngsters with a clear conscience.