Germany overcame Turkey in the end of the BEKO-Supercup in Bamberg. The home side of the tournament needed 64:52 win to finish second behind Greece. Turkey meanwhile lost to both sides and finished on the third place. Both sides were tied at 4:4 and then at the end of the first period at 15:15. Turkey started to play better in the second frame and grabbed 29:24 after defensive 14-9 in the frame. Robin Benzing tied the game again at 35:35 and then Germany took 41:38 at the end of the third quarter. In the last stanza Germany erupted with 19-3 to seal the victory. Chris Kaman (213-C-82, college: Cent.Michigan) stepped up with 16 points and Dirk Nowitzki (211-F-78) netted 14. Sven Schultze (208-C-78) followed them with 11 points for the second victory. Enes Kanter (208-C-92, college: Kentucky) ended up with 12 points in the losing effort, while Ersan Ilyasova (207-F-87) and Omer Asik (213-C-86) added 8 apiece.
The second half of the 2016-2017 Pro B season is fast underway and as always new players coming and going is as common now in the season as Houston Rocket James Harden racking in those double doubles to nobodies amazement and two new faces entered the court Sunday night in the BCM in Frankfurt as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had reeled in 26 year old 201cm American Rilwan Bakare who had played at four different schools in his career before starting his professional basketball career in 2... [read more]
The second half of the 2016-2017 Pro B season is fast underway and as always new players coming and going is as common now in the season as Houston Rocket James Harden racking in those double doubles to nobodies amazement and two new faces entered the court Sunday night in the BCM in Frankfurt as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had reeled in 26 year old 201cm American Rilwan Bakare who had played at four different schools in his career before starting his professional basketball career in 2014 in Germany with TuS Breckerfeld (Germany-2.Regionalliga) where he averaged 19,9ppg and 10,5rpg in 18 games and last season he showed his raw abilities with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL): 18 games: 11.2ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 57.8%, FT: 58.5%. He started this season in Finland with Pernion Urheilijat Basket (Finland-1st Division) playing 2 games averaging 20.0ppg, 11.0rpg, 1.0spg, before moving to Union de Santa Fe (Argentina-TNA) where he played 17 games averaging 4,5ppg and 3,4rpg and was teammates with American Mike Williams who probably had some rare Texas (NCAA) stories with future NBA players Daniel Gibson and Lamarcus Aldrige that he could pass on to his new teammates and have some of the young Germans some rare basketball facts to ponder about. The Licher Basket Baeren had brought in an American rookie with Blake Justice who had played six games at Akron before moving on Valdosta State8NCAA2) and having a fine career from 2013-2016 playing a total of 72 games and as a senior played 28 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.5%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 79.3%. He had some big games against schools like Alabama Huntsville with 26 points and 25 points against Shorter. Both players came into the game wanting to display right away that they were worth every buck and the Lich scoring duo of KK Simmons and Lamar Mallory who were averaging 40 points a game combined wanted to keep up their unstoppable play, but only combined for 28 points and couldn't withstand the hot hand and timely shooting of Travis Thompson (185-G-91, college: Alaska-Anch.) who broke the game wide open drilling four three's in the third quarter and notching 14 points which broke the back of the guests and propelled the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to the 88-76 victory. Rilwan Bakare couldn't make his debut with Frankfurt as he wasn't cleared to play yet, but Blake Justice did scoring 14 points in his professional debut and was excited about finally getting that first game of his back, but at the same time disappointed in the loss. 'I felt a little rusty as this was my first game in 7 months, but felt good to get into the flow. I have only been here 5-6 days so I have to get used to how the my teammates and team play. We had too many turnovers and let Frankfurt get too many easy baskets and put backs, stressed Ohio native Blake Justice. Fraport Skyliners Tim Oldenburg was sporting a new Jutsin Biberish type of hairdo, but that didn't seem to get messed up in the overall physical game. 'Both teams had a lot of energy. It was only too bad that the refs didn't know what kind of line they would call. It was nice to play together with Stefan Ilzhoefer and Niklas Kiel. We were individually stronger than usual with this lineup and we played well together as a team for many phases', stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors forward Tim Oldenburg. 'We got beat on the glass all night long. We gave up something like 40-50 points on offensive rebounds and turnovers. You can't beat anyone like that when your giving up that many points. We beat ourselves, but we did fight until the end', added Licher Baskets Baeren guard Kareem Jamal Simmons.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn't waste anytime taking advantage of their lethal lineup breaking out for a quick 11-2 lead. Lich failed to convert on their first three possessions while Frankfurt rolled out on a 6-0 lead as Isaac Bonga made the first bucket and Frankfurt then converted on two easy buckets inside as 19 year old German Armin Trtovac made a put back and Niklas Kiel made a hard two handed dunk. Ex Cuxhaven guard Jeffery Martin then got Lich on the board with a jumper to cut the Frankfurt lead to 6-2. Frankfurt continued to attack inside as Kiel found Trtovac back door for the easy lay up and ex Ludwigsburg guard Stefan Ilzhoefer dropped a three pointer testing his poor 18% three point shooting percentage, but Frankfurt led 11-2. They don't call basketball a game of runs for nothing as the Licher Basket Baeren gave Frankfurt some of their own medicine blasting off on a 9-0 run to dead lock the contest at 11-11. In the run, Lich got vital production from American Kareem Jamal Simmons as he scored on the fast break and then dropped a beautiful three pointer that reminded one a bit of the shooting stroke of ex NBA star Jamaal Wilks. In the run, Lich also got a bucket from ex Ludwigsburg guard Simon Kutschschmar and free throws from ex Leipzig center Marian Schick. Frankfurt then got a huge three from ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb, but Lich continued to be able to match them with their offense as ex Ehingen forward Patrick Horstman scored inside and rookie Justice dropped his first professional three point field goal as Lich had their first lead at 16-14. 'The German Pro B has more ball movement than what we had in the NCAA2. It is more up and down there and here more pick and roll and pick and pop', expressed Blake Justice after his first impression of overseas ball. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors closed out the first quarter with a 5-0 run as German Konstantin Schubert scored on the fast break and Zeeb got free again and nailed a trey giving Frankfurt the 19-16 advantage. Fraport Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert was in attendance keeping a close eye on his double license players Stefan Ilzhoefer and Niklas Kiel and was pleased with their game. 'Getting good minutes with the Pro B gives them confidence. Ilzhoefer started good, but got a little hesitant after a while Kiel was very active rebounding and blocking shots. Kiel is a year behind in his development, but you can't forget that he had issues with school last season. This is his first full year that he has been practicing with the BBL team. He will be a good BBL veteran in one and half years. He looks a lot more mature than 19, but we can't forget that he is 19', warned Gordon Herbert. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 40% from the field and 38% from outside while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 35% from the field and 25% from outside. Both teams had 12 rebounds apiece and Frankfurt had three turnovers and Lich five turnovers.
In the second quarter, fans witnessed both teams buckling down more on defense as less points were scored and mistakes led to more turnovers on both ends of the court. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got a breath of fresh air as little used German Can Akbayir was parked in the corner and drilled home a trey to give Frankfurt the 21-16 advantage. However that didn't impress Lich in the bit least as they retaliated storming back on a 5-0 run to even the game at 21-21. 17 year old 2013 JBBL rookie of the year Bjarne Kraushaar nailed a three pointer and ex Dresden Titan Daniel Krause got a steal and went coast to coast for the lay in. Lich regained the lead as Ohio native Lamar Mallory showed his unique athletic ability scoring on the fast break. Frankfurt head coach Eric Detlev made the right decisions inserting young German Cosmo Gruehn who had had 5 points the night before in the NBBL allstar game in Bonn sinking a trey and giving Frankfurt the 24-23 lead. Frankfurt continued to have the slim lead, but Lich continued to prey on their heels as Mallory made another shot tying the game at 28-28. Mallory then gave Lich the lead twice only to be stopped by Kiel who made back to back tip ins to dead lock the game again at 32-32. Down the stretch in the second quarter, Bonga made a steal and went coast to coast for the bucket while Kiel made a strong two handed dunk as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the slim 39-36 lead at the break. 'We made a lot of mistakes on both ends of the floor. We are still figuring out how to get the new guys involved', stated ex Glenville State (NCAA2) forward Lamar Mallory. Gordon Herbert continued to watch the game and evaluate his players like 17 year old basketball wunderkind Isaac Bonga who finished the game with 11 points, five rebounds and three steals. 'It looks a lot easier than what it is when Bonga plays, but it's fun to watch. He has a lot of natural ability and needs to practice more with the BBL team and get individual work. He has a great attitude and we can't forget that he is only 17 years old', stressed Gordon Herbert. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 42% from the field and 31% from the three point line while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 39% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 24-17 rebound edge and both teams had nine turnovers apiece.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to free themselves of the tight affair they were undergoing with the Licher Basket Baeren as sharp shooter Travis Thompson gave the team massive breathing room as he heated up scoring 14 points and giving his team a comfortable 10 plus point cushion. Lich got on the board first as Simmons scored after collecting the pretty ball reversal pass from Mallory to tie the game at 39-39. Sometimes it doesn't take the Fraport Skyliners Juniors long to demonstrate what their offensive arsenal is capable of as they went out on a 20-7 run to extend their lead to 59-46. In the run, Thompson got going dumping home three trey's and a lay in which gave Frankfurt that much needed 10 plus point advantage which they would never really be in doubt of losing. Frankfurt also continued to do a super job getting to the free throw line as Bonga, Trtovac, Oldenburg and Jamin Knothe hit free throws. The Licher Basket Baeren didn't do a good job keeping an eye on Thompson as they focused on other details on the defensive end and paid with the hot execution rate of Thompson. Justice did a fine display of scoring in bunches down the stretch as he hit a floater, free throw and trey for six instant Lich points cutting the Frankfurt lead to 61-52, but a Ilzhoefer jumper and fourth Thompson three of the third quarter kept the Frankfurt lead sturdy at 68-55. 'Thompson was key in the third and after a long time he had another big quarter. I hope that got him awake. His shooting helped his self-confidence and he gave the team a push', added German Tim Oldenburg. 'We knew that Thompson could shoot, but we helped too much on the pick and roll and gave up too many open looks. If you give a guy like him too many open looks, he will make you pay. We had to have done a better job finding him on the court', stressed ex Akron (NCAA) guard Blake Justice. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 47% from the floor and 50% from outside while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 36% from the field and 38>% from outside. Frankfurt had the overwhelming 35-25 rebound lead, but 11 turnovers while lich had 10 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors kept on the offensive pressure and never led by less than nine points as they kept their double digit lead intact for most of the fourth quarter cruising home with the win. The Licher Basket Baeren came out of the gate in the fourth quarter going on a 5-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 69-60 as Mallory scored inside and Schick and Simmons made free throws. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have an array of weapons and just when it seems like they need some new hero to step up, they do as Thompson came up big in the third, now it was time for ex Paderborn German big man Niklas Kiel to supply the crushing blow as he scored 8 unanswered points in the row as he got to the free throw line three times and also made a shot as Frankfurt led 77-64. Lich continued to fight back and would trade baskets with Frankfurt, but just didn't have enough defensive intensity left to get some big stops. Simmons showed his brilliant one on one play hitting over Kiel and scoring inside, but Frankfurt was always able to match Lich as Kiel connected on a hard two handed dunk and made free throws and Ilzhoefer made the last blow nailing a trey giving Frankfurt the 85-69 lead with two minutes to play as every Lich comeback attempt was foiled by Frankfurt. Both teams made some last free throws as Frankfurt walked off the court victorious 89-75 and getting revenge for their loss in Lich earlier in the season. 'Kiel got going. Lich couldn't react after we hurt them inside, we also scored from outside. The Lich defensive weakness coupled that they couldn't score at all times hurt them as they knew no matter what they did, they couldn't get back into the game', stressed Tim Oldenburg. 'We made mental mistakes in the fourth quarter. Every time they got an offensive rebound it was like they stuck a fork in us making us play defense for 24 seconds again', added Blake Justice. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Travis Thompson with 21 points. Niklas Kiel added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Isaac Bonga and Garai Zeeb contributed 11 points apiece and Stefan Ilzhoefer had 10 points. The Licher Basket Baeren were led by KK Simmons with 16 points. Lamar Mallory and Blake Justice supplied 14 points apiece and Jefferey Martin had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 43% from the parking lot while the Licher Basket Baeren shot 38% from the field and 33% from the parking lot. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 41-34 and had 15 turnovers while Lich had 16 turnovers.
Courtney Belger (187-G-89, college: Quincy) is a 27 year old 187cm guard from St Louis that is playing his fourth professional season and first with FC Schalke 04 (Germany-ProB)Last season he played with the Itzehoe Eagles (Germany-ProB): 24 games: 12.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.5apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 65.6% and Kalamunda Eastern Suns (Australia-SBL) playing 14 games: 21.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 4.1apg, Steals-4 (3.1spg), FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 22.4%, FT: 80.8%. He played his first two professional... [read more]
Courtney Belger (187-G-89, college: Quincy) is a 27 year old 187cm guard from St Louis that is playing his fourth professional season and first with FC Schalke 04 (Germany-ProB)Last season he played with the Itzehoe Eagles (Germany-ProB): 24 games: 12.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.5apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 65.6% and Kalamunda Eastern Suns (Australia-SBL) playing 14 games: 21.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 4.1apg, Steals-4 (3.1spg), FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 22.4%, FT: 80.8%. He played his first two professional seasons with TV Ibbenbuehren (Germany-Regionalliga). He started his basketball career at Quincy (NCAA2) in 2008 where he played until 2012 playing a total of 113 NCAA 2 games. As a senior he played 27 games averaging 11.3ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 10.5%, FT: 72.0%. He improved his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to eurobasket after the big 86-77 win against the VFL AstroStars Bochum.
Courtney congrats on the 86-77 win against the VFL AstroStars Bochum. How good does it feel coming into 2017 with a big win?
Thanks Miles. It feels great. We had dropped two in a row and knew we needed to make up for the points somewhere. When you lose a couple games in a row everyone starts to get tense, so it's always a big accomplishment to pick up the next win.
After a slow start in the first quarter, FC Schalke picked it up in the second quarter scoring 25 points. What adjustments did you make on the offensive end to be able to score easier?
We started to get stops and rebound better which allowed us to get in transition. We also started to run our systems cleaner and make clear reads out of them. In the first quarter we had the brakes on and were too passive.
Patrick Carney was in the zone scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter including two key three's in crunch-time. Would FC Schalke have won this game without Carney on this night?
Not at all. Pat is the one who broke the ice for us in the first half and kept us in the game. Him and Trent. I was asleep or something that first quarter especially.
Was this one of those performances that was just fun to watch on the court and from the bench?
I wouldn't say it was really fun to watch but after it was over we felt good about ourselves. We battled back and didn't panic when they made runs. When we needed big plays to match theirs we made them and just fought back as a team. It was nice to be apart of that.
Would it be fair to say that Patrick Carney is that glue guy for the team? What is his most valuable attribute that he gives the team?
Pat is definitely a big part of our team taking pressure off the point guard spot as well as both wing positions. He also plays hard on defense. His best attribute though of course is shooting and he has the ultimate green light from everyone on the team. If he shoots it we feel like it's going in.
This was another strong team rebounding performance. Do you feel like that whenever the club can rebound this well that they will always be in a good situation to win the game?
I feel like when we rebound collectively it rewards our defense and we are able to get out on the fast break. On the break we are very dangerous with penetration, spot ups, rim running bigs and just wearing the other team down.
The team is 7-7 now. What was your overall summary of the first half of the season. How much potential does the team still have and where can it still improve?
I think the team has a lot of potential and it shows with the quality wins we have been able to grab at home. We can of course improve on the road as well as staying hungry when things start to look good. We put ourselves in a great position and then lost two games in a row.
The next game is against the Rostock Sea Wolves a game you won by 29 points. What is always the most tough thing besides underestimating an opponent when you play them a second time and what will be key in getting the win?
We will have a long road trip to Rostock and need to be concentrated and handle business on the road. This is a completely new team from when we beat them. The new coach has them playing a different way and it shows from how they are playing lately. A big key for us will be locking in on the defensive end again and stepping up to the challenge against their top performers vs ours.
You are leading the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Is there anything that you can complain about when looking back at the first half of the season concerning your play?
I have in my mind some things I would like to do better when I look back to how the first half of the season. For example playing better off the ball with cuts and spot ups. I would also like to keep improving on seeing the whole court and getting us the best shot possible each possession.
Does one have to worry as a team when the starting point guard is leading the team in rebounding?
I don't think it's that big of a deal. I was leading or close to leading my team last year so it is what it is. They box out and the point guard has to get back in safety so that leaves me to rebound which I like to do so that's just simple math that I can get more rebounds.
Your stats are better this season than last. Can you attribute your improved play concerning your stats with knowing the league better in your second year and having the right teammates?
I definitely know the league better which helps a lot but I think I just feel more confident this year and comfortable. Coach has been on me tough to basically wake up and play as best as I can at all times. It's helping me to perform better for sure and he is behind me 100 percent running his team. It's easy to play with support like that. I had a good situation last year like this year with teammates etc, I think I just wasn't as locked in mentally as this year.
You are doing so many good things on the floor, but when the team is only 7-7 do you question your leadership skills or does the team record reflect the whole team?
I think I could lead better for sure, but if you ask any of my teammates that; I don't think they would have a problem with my leadership qualities. We dropped two games early. One was without our coach and everybody said we were a weak team in Pro B. We're in the middle with some good wins and potential to beat anybody on any given night. When I look at where we are I think we have persevered in the situation and now since the expectations have changed it seems like we are underachieving at 7 and 7. I'm comfortable with the position we are in, because we are getting better as a team. Going forward I know we have more wins in us. My shoulders are big enough though so I can take the blame though from people on the outside looking in.
What did you learn to appreciate the most about the holiday season in Germany this season?
I actually went home to my family this holiday break and it was great. I like the holidays here though because all the gyms are free and nobody has to work or go to school so it's like a ghost town everywhere lol. What can I say? I'm a loner.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
I'm a little biased about his great performance. If you are a great shooter on a great and stacked team who is unselfish like the Warriors, those type of games are bound to happen. I like when players put the team on their back and will them to a win like Isaiah Thomas's 52 point game. I look at Klay's game as one of those run the score up in a blowout type of games. Nobody else was playing just looking for him. He was hot so it makes sense but it's just for show to me. No substance in that.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
I think Russell is definitely the best player in the world stat wise. He wills his team and makes them relevant with nobody else. After losing a big piece of their team. I like Harden in this category too but Russ intensity goes unmatched and pushes him over the edge.
What was your most memorable Christmas experience when you were a kid?
I don't have a most memorable Christmas when I was younger. My mom always found a way to turn "oh I don't have it" to the living room being covered in presents. I don't know how she always did that to this day.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Snowden but I'm about to watch passengers right now.
/Pro B team PS Karlsruhe have added strength to their guard rotation bringing in D'Andre Bullard (193-G-93, college: Virginia Union). Bullard is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Apopka, Florida that is playing his second professional season. Last season as a rookie he played for Leeds Force (United Kingdom-BBL): 30 games: 7.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 61.1%. He started his basketball career in 2011 with Florida A&M (NCAA) playing 32 games averaging 3.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.9a... [read more]
/Pro B team PS Karlsruhe have added strength to their guard rotation bringing in D'Andre Bullard (193-G-93, college: Virginia Union). Bullard is a 23 year old 193cm guard from Apopka, Florida that is playing his second professional season. Last season as a rookie he played for Leeds Force (United Kingdom-BBL): 30 games: 7.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 61.1%. He started his basketball career in 2011 with Florida A&M (NCAA) playing 32 games averaging 3.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg. In his second season there he played 20 games averaging 4.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.0spg. As a junior at Florida A&M (NCAA), he played 31 games averaging 2.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.3apg. He moved to Virginia Union (NCAA2) as a senior playing 18 games averaging 10.4ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 62.2%.