Subscribe

Fresh off winning the European Division II football title, five members of SHAPE’s football team are hoping to repeat that success on the hardcourt.

A look at the basketball teams in Division II:

SHAPE Spartans

“We are older, wiser and faster than last year,” said coach Mike Vargas of a team built around five stars from that championship football team. “I can tell you we will have an even better transition game than last year.”

Directing that up-tempo offense will be senior point guard Marcel Reeves (9 points, 7 assists, 3 steals per game last season), whom Vargas’ calls a three-point threat with a “superior sense of floor placement.”

Completing the transition game much of the time will be 6-foot-3 senior Ryan Rice, a returning All-Europe selection who expects to improve on last year’s 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. He was named “Mr. Fundamental” at a Morgan Wooten basketball camp in Pennsylvania this summer.

It won’t help to foul him, either — Rice shot 71 percent from the line last season and was the free-throw champion at the annual Allegheny College shootout over the summer.

Junior Dee Jones, 6-6, 230 pounds, has discovered an outside touch to make him even more difficult to control under the basket, Vargas said, while 6-2 junior Joe Puttman and 5-11 junior Brandon Glenn are hustling, hard-nosed, face-guarding defenders.

Mannheim Bison

Erontel Lee (9.4 points, 2.3 steals, 1.1 assists per game) is the only returning starter for John Crockett’s team, which went 16-1 last season.

Crockett expects to fill the void left by departed All-Europeans James Meeks and Andre Nelson with JV promotees Reggie Jenkins and Latif Self and newcomer Hecro Planas.

Vilseck Falcons

Despite the usual graduation and PCS losses, Richard Ritter has a wealth of experience in returning guards Sheldon Douglas and Johnathan Reilly and forward Anthony Le Vasseur, who will play together for the fourth season.

The Falcons went 10-6 last season with a largely untried squad.

AFNORTH Lions

Jim Hudson will be rebuilding in the Netherlands. Only senior Zach Martens returns from the team that went 5-7 in the regular-season.

Hudson expects a newcomer, 6-2 sophomore forward Andrew Mengehini, to assist the reconstruction.

Patch Panthers

Neal Griffin is the lone returning varsity player for Brian Tingey’s Panthers, who went 5-7 during the regular season.

DeAndre Tryon, who played for the Panthers two years ago, has returned from a one-year hiatus. Tingey expects 6-4 newcomer Kenny Green to make his mark, too.

Hanau Panthers

Tim Smith’s team went 4-8 during the regular season, but should have inside presence in the form of 6-2 footballer Chris Kramer and 6-3 forward Marcus Fontanez, a transfer from Baumholder.

“We don’t really have any superstars,” Smith said, “but we have a lot of good athletes.”

Bitburg Barons

Lin Hairstone’s Barons will revolve around senior returnees Alyx Walks, Anthony Formicola, Joel Brown and Tom Mueller.

The Barons hope to build on the momentum of last year’s fourth-place finish at Europeans after going 3-9 during the regular season.

Black Forest Academy Falcons

John Moseley, Scott Custer and Kenny Read made their marks for BFA last season as sophomores, as did junior Josh Gentile.

The Falcons will be trying to better last season’s 2-10 record in league play.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up