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EuroLeague veterans James Gist and D.J. Seeley strengthen the Bayern squad

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The Bayern basketball team has made changes to the squad at short notice: EuroLeague veteran James Gist, 34, has signed a contract with the five-time German champions until the end of the season. The American, who will serve as power forward and center, is expected in Munich next week. Gist takes over for US countryman Malcolm Thomas, who has asked FC Bayern Basketball to terminate his contract at short notice.

The second addition is the likewise very experienced US guard D.J. Seeley, (31) who has been playing in Europe for years and was one of the most reliable scorers at the Spanish first division club Basket Zaragoza for about one and a half years. While he has a contract until the end of the season, TJ Bray has switched to the other direction: The US Guard will be loaned by the FCBB to Seely's former club Zaragoza until the end of the current season in order to gain playing experience at ACB.

 

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James Gist: Eleven trophies with Panathinaikos, a triple alongside Vladimir Lucic                           

James Gist is without question one of the most famous EuroLeague big-men of the past ten years. In Munich he is expected to complete his 250th appearance in the premier class, in the 246 games before he managed an average of 8.9 points 4.4 rebounds. For seven years he wore the jersey of Panathinaikos Athens, where he won the Greek championship five times and the national cup six times. In the summer of 2019 he moved to Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, but terminated his contract prematurely at his own request after one year.

"I am very happy to play for this team and this great coach soon," says Gist, who is still in his native Maryland. "Bayern is a truly historic club and I don't want to say much more than that, because the team has played so well so far and has guys like Lucic, with whom I was at Partizan and who is doing great this season. I just hope that I can help the team and keep the good rhythm. This is a great opportunity for me to play for a strong EuroLeague team again."

Gist will rejoin friends in Munich: After the 6ft7 graduate of the Maryland College was selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round (number 57) of the NBA draft in 2008. He started his rookie season in Italy with the then first division club Biella - with the commitment of the current FCBB sports director Daniele Baiesi; together they surprisingly reached the semi-finals of the Serie A. With FCBB co-captain Vladimir Lucic, the shotblocking specialist had a very successful season at Partizan Belgrade (2010/2011).

"I have known James for a long time and he has matured as a person and as a player over the years, and he consistently delivers a performance at the highest level of the EuroLeague," says Sports Director Daniele Baiesi. "He will bring us further with his great experience, toughness, defensive presence and versatility."

Gist's greatest achievements include winning the eleven trophies with Panathinaikos and the triple with Partizan Belgrade in 2011. During his time as a college player (130 games for the Maryland Terrapins: 10.9 ppg, 1.8 bpg), he was a member of the US national team that finished third in the 2007 Pan American Games.

 

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D.J. Seeley: More than 100 ACB games and a comeback in the EuroLeague

Dennis Jerome "D.J." Seeley has had more than 100 appearances in the Spanish ACB, the strongest European league, in just over four years, with a point average of 10.4 (40.4 percent from three). In the eleven games played so far this season, he has averaged 13 points for Zaragoza, who surprisingly finished third in 2019/2020 behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid until the virus.

"I'm very excited that I can now prove myself with such a strong team and with such a great coach," said Seeley, who will arrive in Munich soon. "I can't wait to help the team and hopefully be the extra piece in a very interesting puzzle."

For the 6ft3 guard it will also be a return to the EuroLeague: In 2016/2017 he made his debut in the premier class for Maccabi Tel Aviv. In the EuroCup he averaged 9.9 points in a total of 66 appearances (including Gran Canaria, Rytas Vilnius).

After his college years (Fullerton Titans) and appearances in the NBA Summer League 2013 for the L.A. Lakers, Seeley began his professional career in Serbia and the Adriatic League. In the spring of 2014 he also presented himself for a close half-series in the BBL, wearing the Bayreuth jersey (13.4 ppg).

Sports director Baiesi says about him: "D.J. Seeley combines a lot of experience, versatility, playmaking and shooting. Our coach and I have been following his path for a long time and we are very happy that he is joining our team with his enthusiasm and open-mindedness".

 

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Sports director Daniele Baiesi: "TJ needs playing time".       

TJ Bray could now fill the gap left by Seeley in Zaragoza. The 28-year-old American transferred to Bayern in the summer of 2019, but missed out on much of the season due to a serious foot injury. In the current season, he has played in nine EuroLeague games (5:51 minutes per game), but not in the three BBL games. The left-hander played his part in the cup qualification on the second weekend, when he averaged 14.5 points in the two final group games. In Zaragoza, Bray will meet, among others, former German FCBB national player Robin Benzing. The club also plays internationally, in the "Fiba Champions League". Bray's contract is valid until 2022.

"TJ is a long-term project for our club and after an unfortunate season with injuries he needs playing time, which he has fought for here," explained Daniele Baiesi. "That's why we decided together that it's best for both sides if he plays for another good team at national and international level first, so that he can return to us next year."

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Malcolm Thomas asks for termination of contract

Munich has cut ties with Malcolm Thomas. He is leaving the fourth-placed team in the EuroLeague at his own request and will initially return to his home country. The 32-year-old American had asked to be released from his contract for personal reasons. The experienced player had moved to Munich in the summer. In the EuroLeague, he averaged 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in eight games; in the BBL, he finished twice with four points and rebounds per game.

FC Bayern Basketball wishes Malcolm Thomas all the best for his future.

JAMES CLOUGH GIST III
(*26 October 1986, Adana/TUR)

Power Forward, Center - 6ft 7

Until 2007: Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (Wheaton, Maryland)

2008 - 2009: Pallacanestro Biella (Series A, ITA)

2009 - 2010: Locomotive Kuban Krasnodar (RUS)

2010 - 2011: Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

2011 - 2012: Fenerbahce Istabul (TUR)

2012: Unicaja Malaga (ESP)

Dec. 2012 - 2019: Panathinaikos Athens (GRE)

2019 - 2020: Red Star Belgrade (SRB)

Awards/successes:

Bronze Panamerican Games 2007

2008 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) All-Defense Team & Second All-ACC Team

Pick No. 57 NBA Draft 2008

Adria League Champion 2011

Serbian Champion 2011

Serbian Cup Winner 2011

Turkish League All-Star 2012

Winning Slam Dunk contest at the Spanish All-Star-Day 2012

Greek Champion 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019

Greek cup winner, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019

All-Star in Greece 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019

DENNIS JEROME "D.J." SEELEY
(*28 November 1989, Redding/USA)

guard - 6ft3

Until 2008: Modesto Christian School (California)

2008 - 2013: University of California/by 2010, California State University Fullerton (NCAA)

2013 - 2014: Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)

2014: Medi Bayreuth (BBL)

2014 - 2015: Delaware 87ers (NBA D-League)

2015 Basquet Manresa (ESP), Besiktas Istanbul (TUR)

2015 - 2016: CB Gran Canaria (ESP)

2016 - 2017: Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR)

2017 - 2018: CB Gran Canaria (ESP)

2018 - 2019: Rytas Vilnius (LTU)

2019 - 12/2020: Basket Zaragoza (ESP)

Awards/successes:

Big West Newcomer of the Year 2012 (NCAA)

First-team All-Big West 2012 (NCAA)

Second Team All-Big West 2013 (NCAA)

Israeli cup winner 2017

Lithuanian cup winner 2019


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