entering the 2009 fiba european basketball championships in poland last week, team germany had nothing to lose. all experts predicted a “no dirk, no chance” outcome for coach dirk bauermann’s team, that was forced to enter the tournament without go-to guys dirk nowitzki, ademola okulaja and chris kaman. a bunch of young guys with next to no international experience were forced to step up. and they did. nobody expected these guys to even win a game, but the team took us on a helluva ride, by surviving the first group phase vs. france, russia and latvia, and then going on to pester greece, macedonia and croatia in the second group phase. yesterday, team germany just missed qualification for the quarter finals in a two point loss to power house croatia. well done boys! lots of great guys on that team (wadup steffen, konrad, patrick, jan, robin, tim, tibor, sven, demond, elias … !), but special special special shout-outs go out to two guards, who left massive footprints at the euro ’09 and who are sure to shape the team for years to come: heiko schaffartzik (25 years, braunschweig phantoms) & lucca staiger (21 years, iowa state university). both only had a handful of games for the selection before the tournament – and played like they’ve been running shit for years. heiko (who averaged 13,2 and 4 for the tournament) proved he is the new heart and soul of the team and played two (!) perfect games (!!), in which he scored 23 and 18 vs. greece and croatia respectively with unlimited range, and without missing a single shot (!!!). young lucca, who once scored 102 points in a legendary youth game, took the opportunity to prepare for his second full time season at iowa state this fall. he started slowly but really heated up towards the end: the natural born shooter went for 4/6 and 2/2 from behind the arc in the final two games vs. macedonia and croatia. guys, it was fun to see you play, and we look forward to a whole lot more from where that came from! let’s take the opportunity to dig deep into the k1x archives and share some memories from yesteryear … check below to see lucca staiger in a slam magazine feature (ca. 2004). and peep heiko schaffarzik (with knee bandage), who was already shooting the lights out for team k1x en route to the german streetball championship in 2005. classy car too …

staiger

heiko

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