Just when Bamberg coach Charles Jordan figured out that Division III-South was about as tough as it could be, he found out that the Giessen Griffins will be joining the league.

Since just two teams will advance from III-South to the European Division III tournament, Jordan is convinced his team will have to survive a slugfest to earn the right to try for a third straight crown.

“They ought to take three teams from our league [to Europeans],” Jordan said. “All six teams down here are good.”

Here’s the D-III breakdown:

Division III-South

Bamberg Barons

Guard Tim Gamble (18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 2.6 assists per game last season) and forward Miguel Lozado (13 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists per game) are the second-team All-Europe choices who’ll join with fellow returnees Nick Krauchi and Jose Urbaez to lead the quest for a third straight crown.

“We’ve got a lot of young players, but we’ll be decent,” said Jordan, whose team went 13-3 and tied Ansbach for the III-South regular-season crown. “But Ansbach’s the team to beat.”

Ansbach Cougars

The Cougars will be trying to pull off the football-basketball double in Ted Marr’s 30th season at the helm. And Marr will be counting on the same athletes who succeeded at football.

He’ll start with Russell Bailey, a 6-2 junior, then move to senior point guard Shawn Bachtel, the quarterback on hardwood as well as grass. Also providing speed and quickness will be junior Dameon Outley and sophomore Jon Austin, all-conference, all-European tournament and MVP of the III-South regional.

Other returnees are guard Vic Green, swingman Brandon Bachtel, forward Ibrahim Sesay and Jeff Ramsey, and they’ll be joined by freshman pivot Tyler Sherman, at least for the moment.

“With all the deployments and family upheaval,” Marr said, voicing the uncertainties of small-school ball, “who can say what we’ll have even next week?”

Giessen Griffins

Willis Butler’s Griffins will go to the III-South wars relying on freshman Chris Battle to take up the slack for a team which lost all five starters from last season.

Baumholder Bucs

Like Giessen, Baumholder said farewell to most of last year’s team.

Mike Reilly will count on returnees Gerald Dickerson and Caleb Adams, to lead his collection of one senior, five juniors and five sophomores.

Hohenfels Tigers

Kathy Clemmons enjoys just the opposite situation with her Tigers — all of her starters and other key players have returned with the experience to tackle bettering last year’s 2-6 mark.

Leading the way will be seniors Bo Bartlett and Richard Helsham and 6-4 center Patrick Busby, along with junior Jason Robinson, who’ll come in off the bench. Jason Parks and Anthony English return for their sophomore seasons.

Bad Aibling Blitz

“We’re pretty thinned out,” said coach Chris Wichart about his drawdown-stricken school. Nine players, one of them female, will carry the Blitz’s colors.

Division III-North

Defending conference champion Menwith Hill and tournament champion Rota will be trying to repeat their feats with the nucleuses of last season’s squads.

Menwith Hill Mustangs

Coach “Liberty” Bell launches his inaugural season with four returnees he said played key roles in last season’s 12-0 regular season — 6-5 senior Phillip Greenwalt, 6-4 senior Maurice Simms, junior Nick Nagel and sophomore Mike Bailey.

Rota Admirals

Ben Anderson’s Admirals, who beat Iceland for the III-North tourney title last season, will lean on 14-point scorer Gilbert Mendez, 11-point scorer Jason Allard and their fellow returnee, Stephen Lilly, to take up the slack left by the departure of MVP Antwan Edmonds.

As usual, the Admirals won’t face any DODDS teams during the regular season, scheduling Spanish clubs and playing international rules, until III-North regional tournament time.

Iceland Vikings

Dwight Rickey will suit up four starters from last season’s European tourney qualifiers — all-tournament star Robert Russell, Angelo Castro, Brent Bautista and Ron White.

The Vikes have added a promising newcomer in junior Kevin Lewis. It’s an unusual feat for a DODDS team, made more incredible in the face of the drastic population drawdown in Keflavik.

Alconbury Dragons

First-year coach Ron Behr has rebounding strength in returning sophomore Damone Nixon and outside shooting in returning junior David Schiller.

Junior Phil Haffner can score from the perimeter and the paint, Behr said, while quick freshmen Xavier Sharpe and Abraham Mendez will be worth watching.

Brussels Brigands

Junior Lonnie Ruffin (14 points, 10 rebounds, 3.1 steals per game) and senior Miguel Delgado (10 points, 4 assists per game) are the returning All-Conference nucleus for coach Chris Vahrenhorst, whose team lost returnee Kyle Cox to a football injury.

However, senior guard Devell Landfair (10 points per game) and junior forward Vernon Fowler return.

London Central Bobcats

New coaches Alan Campbell and Tim Womack will rely on upper-class newcomers Jeremy Tibbetts, Daniel Coleman, Kirk Warrior, Foxy Thomas and Jeff Thomas, and freshmen Jesse Ditter, David Marbury and Anthony Orbita to help returnees Josh Coker, Patrick De La Cruz, Jerome Cerame and John Capulong end their winless streak.

Lajes Falcons

Lucas Cruz and Andrew Stoker will be the core of Duncan Gilmore’s revamped team, which will play its first DODDS games in the III-North Regional in Alconbury in February.

American Schools in Italy

Sigonella Jaguars

Rod Perkins, the All-Europe star who led Tim Morris’ team to the Mediterranean title with an 11-1 regular season, has left the building, but the young Jaguars will rally round football stars Reggie Cherry, Keenan Jones and Jose Peralta, when Peralta’s football-broken ankle heals.

Naples Wildcats

Richard Elliott’s club retains three starters from last season’s 17-4 campaign — senior guard Aniel Pablico (15 ppg), 6-6 junior forward Mark Pearyear (12 points, 8 rebounds per game) and senior forward RaShawn Lynch along with six other lettermen.

Two new seniors, 5-10 forward M.J. Jinks and 6-4 forward Kalani Kamanao, add depth to an experienced squad which features six players taller than 6-2.

Livorno Lions

The Lions will be completely different from last season’s surprise 8-4 team. Except for returning senior point guard Ryan Pogue and forward John Stanley, “we’ll be a very young team,” said AD James Bartlett.

Vicenza Cougars

The Cougars are also enduring a youth movement, said coach John Zaborek. All-conference, all-tournament forward J.R. Chase returns from last season’s 7-3 regular-season team, which will start two freshmen.

Aviano Saints

Ken McNeely welcomes back starters Jason Viray, Tony Williams and Mikel Fair from the team which went 4-8 during the regular season. Twelve newcomers, the tallest of them 6-4 junior Mike Martin, dominate Aviano’s roster.


Ankara Trojans

After a regular season of four games against each other, Ankara and Incirlik are scheduled to play in the Mediterranean Regional qualifying tournament at Aviano on Feb. 12-14.

“We’re rebuilding,” said athletic director Nick Zingaro, citing John Miller and sizable Nasir Bebehani as the foundations for the project.

Incirlik Hodjas

Eight players, led by Alfred Hodges, Philip Wade and Allen Fluitt, return for coaches Kelly Cunningham and Shannon Daniels.

The Hodjas will pass the time until their home-and-home twinbills against Ankara in mid- and late January by playing in the base intramural league, said athletic director John Drake.

Private schools

ASIL private schools Milan, Marymount and American Overseas School of Rome are prohibited from releasing players’ names, said Milan athletic director Andrew Newton.

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