Artland Poised For BBL And Eurocup Push With Haynes, Mallet And Taylor

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Marquez Haynes greo dunks the ball during the EuroBasket 2011 second round group F match between Greece and Georgia at Siemens Arena on September 12, 2011 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Some how, some way Brose Baskets Bamberg not only has a knack for winning titles in Germany's Beko BBL, but they also diligently go about re-shuffling key parts of their roster during the offseason each and every summer and always impress with their moves.

If it's not Kyle Hines winning BBL Finals MVP two seasons ago before moving on to Olympiacos -- where he helped the red and white win the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and Greek League this season - then it's P.J. Tucker claiming Finals MVP honors for Bamberg back in June for their third-straight championship.

But a lot has changed for Bamberg over the last two months.

Tucker is now a member of the Phoenix Suns after signing a multi-year deal this past week. That NBA jump follows the much-anticipated departure of big man Marcus Slaughter to Real Madrid.

And while Bamberg's front office patiently puts the pieces of another championship puzzle together, one league rival is wasting no time attempting to gain ground in Germany: the Artland Dragons.

Over the last three weeks, the crew from Quackenbrueck, Germany have made three key signings that have led to an impressive offseason as they aim for a BBL title run in 2012-13 and help build a stronger backcourt toward EuroCup competition.

They are certainly flexing right now. Deeper and more versatile best describe Artland's backcourt.

Back in mid-July, Artland announced the signing of Marquez Haynes -- the scoring combo guard who spent last season with Gran Canaria in Spain's ACB League and averaged 10.5 points and 1.8 assists in six Eurocup games last season. Haynes also has experience on the national stage after playing for Georgia at the 2011 Eurobasket.

Athletic and a tough cover, Haynes' was joined this week by the well-traveled Demond Mallet who returns to Germany after a five-year absence. After playing six seasons with Braunschweig, Bamberg and Cologne, Mallet divided last season between Belgium with Charleroi and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv of Israel. Along with possessing veteran leadership, Mallet can fill it up and finished third in scoring last season in the Euroleague (18.9 points per game).

Mallet -- who has won MVP honors and league titles -- has also appeared in Eurocup play for the past four seasons, ranks 10th all-time in scoring in Eurocup history and is a huge get for Artland and the BBL in general, who aim to obtain bigger and better talent as the league successfully grows.

The Dragons stepped out for an encore by announcing their most recent signing: Bryce Taylor.

Once again, it's an addition that has Eurocup written all over it.

Taylor spent the past three seasons in Germany with Alba Berlin, where he averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in the Eurocup and 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in the BBL last season. Now Artland hopes Taylor can regain his scoring form from his first season in Germany in 2010. Back then, the versatile guard averaged 18.5 points per game in the Eurocup for Bonn.

Last season, BC Khimki, Valencia Basket, Lietuvos Rytas and Spartak St. Petersburg reached the Eurocup Final Four, with Khimki knocking off Valencia in the Finals, 77-68.

Now Artland has a dual focus in mind: gunning for Bamberg and making a run at the Eurocup.

The impressive additions of Marquez Haynes, Demond Mallet and Bryce Taylor puts them in position to achieve both goals.

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