Preseason duels for basketball teams dont only benefit the players finding a feel for each other on the court or testing their strength and weaknesses, but can also bring back some nostalgia to some fans who have been on board longer on the Skyliner train from Rhondorf. When looking back one might remember Ricardo Greer playing in the BCM four years ago for Strassburg in a test game against Murat Didin or just unleashing that famous Arsenio Hall phrase, things that make you go hmmmmmmm thinking what love the Greer brothers Ricardo and Jeff might have for France as they will be starting their 21 season combined in France this season. Ex Beko BBL veteran Louis Campbell who played in Paderborn, Giessen, Bremerhaven, Oldenburg and Tuebingen also belongs to the lets reminisce about the past as he stepped on the BCM floor the first time seven years ago with the LTi Giessen played against the Deutsche Bank Skyliners in a preseason joust as the Skyliners had just been gotten the new sponsor Deutsche Bank, Nino Garris was brought in from Alba Berlin as a type of Pascal Roller identity figure side kick and fans were starting to mope around about the loss of Americans Chris Williams and Tyrone Ellis. Campbell was getting instructions from Stefan Koch and he was dishing the ball to Euroleague player in the making Chuck Eidsen, had NCAA champion Souleyman Wane inside and fan favorite Florian Hartenstein ready to make an impact off the bench. After a strenious 29 minute performance where the New Jersey native was shaken up after getting hit on the knee and being looked at by the trainer, he racked up six points and five assists and doused any signs of having his injury in the Beko BBL last season not being cured as he looked as quick as ever. After the game the American did some of his own reminiscing about the BCM training facility. The BCM is a familiar place for me. The smell was familiar. I just like to come back and play here, stressed ex Walter Tigers Tuebingen Tiger Louis Campbell.
When the reminiscing was finally done a basketball game was to be played and the fans got a tale of two halves as the first clearly belonged to SIG Strassburg while the second too the Fraport Skyliners. SIG Strassburg totally controlled the first half not letting the Fraport Sklyiners settle into their comfort zone as they were unable to find a rhythm and find a cure for their stingy defense. In the second half, the Fraport Skyliners got more into the game picked up their defense and started a big comeback that fell a little short in the last three minutes aS SIG Strassburg Prevailed 67-64. All in all, Fraport Skyliners head coach Muli Katzurin was pleased by the effort of his team. This was a good training game. I talked to them about showing effort at halftime and they reacted in the second half. They showed their true character then, stressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Muli Katzurin. SIG Strassburg let up a bit in the second half, but the Fraport Skyliners also picked up the intensity level on defense and the French PRO A team can be very happy that they won a game despite having 20 turnovers which was due to the Muli Katzurin trade mark tough defense. Frankfurt was missing some key players, but their young players stepped it up. We knew that they would come back in the fourth quarter. I am happy that we stayed together and could win the game. We are still learning to mesh, but that will come, added ex EWE Baskets Oldenburg guard Louis Campbell. Devin Gibson who hurt his knee and is expected to get back to team training next weekend was unable to play and had a perfect front row seat from the bench to observe the game. Strassburg took us out of the game for the first three quarters. We picked it up in the fourth quarter with our defensive pressure, drew fouls, got to the free throw line and hit big shots. We showed then what we are capable to do on the court when we are tuned in, commented Texas native Devin Gibson.
The Fraport Skyliners were looking for their fifth preseason win in a row, but without the services of Americans Quantez Robertson and Devin Gibson as well as captain Marius Nolte, that this would be a difficult challenge against a potential French Pro A 2013 playoff candidate was no secret. It also marked the debut of new Skyliner Dion Dowell who had arrived in Frankfurt from Houston last Saturday and was still getting the jet lag off his back. The power forward started and got the first rebound for the Skyliners showing his presence. Strassburg started with a zone irritating the Skyliners and quickly jumping on a 4-0 lead with Campbell free throws who was very active in the eraly going penetrating and running like a mad man getting free for the open shots. Ricardo Greer then made an easy lay in after getting a no look pass from former Dirk Nowitzki teammate Alexis Ajinca. Johannes Herber who was absent in the last few games because of an illness was back with a bit scruffier beard than against Toyota Alvark and nailed a three pointer. Ajinca scored inside easily after getting an offensive rebound. Frankfurt stayed on their backs as it was Anthony Jones who is always free and parked in the corner when they need a big shot making a three pointer as Strassburg led only 6-5. However Frankfurt then lost their rhythm a bit as Strassburg rolled on a 9-0 run to lead 15-5. Strassburg showed all their class on offense displaying solid team basketball. Ricardo Greer scored inside twice, Axel Toupane caught the Skyliners napping twice scoring on a transition play. Despite this rude answer, it didnt scare the German dynamic duo of Konstantin Klein and Johannes Voigtmann who attempted their likeable give and go play as they have displayed this preseason, the big man found the point guard back door for two quick points. American Johnathon Jones hit a big three pointer from the parking lot, but the Fraport Skyliners still trailed 19-12 after one quarter. We looked dead and just didnt have enough energy, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Devin Gibson.
In the second quarter, 2005 PRO A champion SIG Strassburg continued to dominate the game and they could increase their lead and go into half time with a comfortable lead. The French team got rolling quickly jumping out on a 8-2 run to lead 27-14. Klein started the second quarter with two free throws, but Strassburg answered with 8 unanswered points as Jeff Green nailed a three pointer from the corner as he was wide open, Xavier Francois scored inside as he was fed by Jeff Greer (196-G/F-79, college: Rutgers) and then a ex Beko BBL combination of Campbell to Jeff Greer gave Strassburg the 27-14 lead. Strassburg was playing more clever, but at times one could see the obvious difference in individual talent as well as weight, size and strength. After German youngster Voigtmann scored a pretty lay in, he right way got a learning experience as ex NBA player Alexis Ajinca rolled over Voigtman like a lawnmower does easily over high grass as Frankfurt trailed 29-16. Herber and Ajinca traded free throws and then it was Voigtman again who made a huge bucket as he was able to finally get a lay in on the third attempt as Strassburg only led 32-20. However SIG Strassburg was able to close out the second quarter with a 6-2 run to lead 38-22 at the break. In this run, Toupane scored inside again, hit two free throws and Ricardo Greer punished Frankfurt with a hard penetration to the basket. The first half is always our strong play. We are fresh and click right away. We get problems when we get tired and we need to concentrate more as one saw in the second half, stressed Louis Campbell. We hit no shots in the first half. We didnt do a good job on offensive execution and we could of defended better, said Fraport Skyliners forward Dion Dowell. SIG Strassburg was shooting 46% from the field and 25% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting a miserable 21% from the field and 15% from outside. Strassburg had the easy 24-17 rebound edge. Strassburg had nine turnovers and Frankfurt six turnovers.
SIG Strassburg pretty much picked up where they left off in the second quarter by going on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 44-22. French big man Nicolas De Jong scored with a pretty turn around shot over Voigtman, Ricardo Greer scored easily inside getting a no look pass from Campbell and scored again inside. Strassburg was closing the lane well, but even when Frankfurt was kicking out passes couldnt get any open shots. With the lead getting bigger and bigger, the only bright spot and highlight for the Fraport Sklyiners at that point was Quantez Robertson jumping up from the bench and wiping away some sweat form the floor in front of the bench. The untypical burst of Super Tez energy may have given the Fraport Skyliners the needed boost that they needed at that time because they started to play with more spirit and slowly clawed there way back into the game. Frankfurt then went on a 8-3 run to cut the Strassburg lead down to 47-30. Anthony Jones scored on a lay in, Voigtmann made a fabulous baby hook over De Jong and then made free throws as did Herber. Campbell then made a dent in the run as he went hard to the hoop and scored. Strassburg led 49-30, but the Fraport Skyliners never threw in the towel, but buckled down and closed out the third quarter with a 9-4 run to trail only 53-39 after thirty minutes. The Fraport Skyliners now showed their annoying defense as they let their defense translate into their offense. Klein made a steal and forced a turnover in consecutive plays. Anthony Jones read a pass perfect jumped in between and fed Johnathon Jones who was off to the races and an easy lay in. The whole run belonged to the Frankfurt Jones clan. Anthony Jones then showed again why he is a pure scorer and guy who can score in bunches as he scored in the lane and then from downtown. Johnathon Jones then made four consecutive free throws. The only thing that put a dent into the run was a Hugo Invernizzi jumper at the buzzer. The third quarter continues to be our Achilles heel. We didnt play the basketball that we are capable of, stressed Louis Campbell. We had more energy, forced more turnovers and got into the game, said Anthony Jones.
With the heavy rain outside, if a fan had quickly jumped out to the Mcdonalds to grab a big mac and been delayed because of a long cue of people who had more looked for shelter from the down pour might not have believed their eyes if they had returned and seen a 53-39 for Strassburg turn into a 56-55 lead for the Fraport Skyliners. However there was no error, the Fraport Skyliners started an incredible comeback to start the fourth quarter as they paralyzed Strassburg going on a 17-2 run to lead 56-55 as possibly one of the least likely candidates made a huge contribution to the run with PRO B player Larry Wright. Larry Wright started the attack with a big three pointer which was met by Alexis Ajinca who seemed to have steam coming out of his nostrils as he did a stinging running dunk coming from the free throw line. Ajinca who played a total of 70 NBA games and was a teammate with Dirk Nowitki in Dallas in 2010-2011 looked like an infant Shaq making that dunk. If there was one body on the court that looked like a typical NBA body then it was that of Ajinca and no player disagreed. He is one of the biggest guys that I have ever played against. He is 7.2 and all 7.2 players have NBA bodies, smilied Larry Wright. Devin Gibson didnt have to confront Ajinca in the zone, but could just watch and be amazed. He is really skilled and good. That dunk was good, joked Devin Gibson. Dowell wasnt surprised by the dunk. He is supposed to do that, added Dion Dowell. After not being able to throw a ball into the ocean in the first half, now the fortune of the Fraport Skyliners seemed to change 180 degrees as they could throw a ball of a small narrow brick wall 10 meters away. They were hitting their shots better. Dowell hit a big three pointer which got the crowd going as if the BCM had turned into a Ballsporthalle like atmosphere. Johnathon Jones then scored on a pretty penetration as Frankfurt trailed only 55-49. Strassburg looked as if their hands were tied as they couldnt hit anything. The spirited play of Larry Wright continued as he hit a huge three pointer to cut the Strassburg lead to 55-52. Wright will be starting his second season for the PRO B team, but has found extra time on the Fraport Skyliners mainly due to a shortage of players, but he made the most of his minutes in the fourth quarter and was very calm after the loss. The fourth quarter was very exciting. I just wanted to come in and catch my rhythm, pick up the defense intensity and just give a spark, said Larry Wright. After two Johnathon Jones free throws, it was youngster Johannes Voigtman who made a lay in giving the Fraport Skyliners their first lead 56-55. However the fourth quarter just had too much minutes left as the Fraport Skyliners seemed to have lost some gas after getting the lead. Strassburg went on a 10-2 run to lead 65-58. Ricardo Greer continued to be a pain as he scored inside. De Jong used his strength inside scoring twice. The Fraport Skyliners had lost Voigtmann, Barthel and Dowell and just didnt have the needed punch inside to make big stops when they needed to. The Fraport Skyliners had one last straw of energy as Anthony Jones nailed a big three pointer to cut the Strassburg lead down to 65-61. However it was Jeff Greer who decided the game with a three pointer as Frankfurt now had little chance of regaining the lead as they led 67-61. Defense helped pick up everything in the fourth, but I helped on roll and left Grier out. I should of contained more instead of helping, stressed Larry Wright. Klein made a three pointer at the buzzer giving the 67-64 loss a strange taste. We started to hit shots. IF you play good defense down the stretch, then usually that will get you the win, added Louis Campbell.
SIG Strassburg was led by Ricardo Greer with 17 points and eight rebounds. Axel Toupane and Alexis Ajinca added 10 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Anthony Jones and Johnathon Jones with 14 points a piece. Johannes Voigtman added 10 points and nine rebounds. American Dion Dowell gave his debut playing 18 minutes and scoring four points, grabbing four rebounds, getting two assists and coughing up the ball twice. He is positive that he will show more in the games too come. I arrived three days ago. I will play better. I want to get in better shape, be efficient and learn the plays, added Dion Dowell. SIG Strassburg shot 48% from the field and 25% from the three point line while the Fraport Sklyiners shot 33% from the field and 30% from the three point line. Frankfurt lost the rebound battle 39-29 and had only 12 turnovers while SIG Strassburg had 20 turnovers. Despite losing the rebound battle badly and shooting poorly, there was one highlight. We fought no matter what tonight. That was our best strength, warned Devin Gibson. The defense continues to grow and new Skyliner Dion Dowell is thrilled about the play of his new team. We can build off the second half of this game. WE have a good team. If we dont let our effort level go down and always play hard then we will have a good season, stressed Fraport Sklyiner Dion Dowell.
Yesilgiresun Belediye (BSL) landed 24-year old American forward Anthony Gill (203-105kg-92, college: Virginia). He was about to sign at MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in German BBL league. Gill just graduated from University of Virginia and it is his first season in pro basketball. He played in the final of ACC Tournament. Gill received All-ACC 3rd Team award in 2015 and 2016 at his college time. Yesilgiresun Belediye roster for 2016-2017: Guards: Okben Ulubay Ricky Ledo Forward: Anthony Gill... [read more]
Yesilgiresun Belediye (BSL) landed 24-year old American forward Anthony Gill (203-105kg-92, college: Virginia). He was about to sign at MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in German BBL league. Gill just graduated from University of Virginia and it is his first season in pro basketball. He played in the final of ACC Tournament. Gill received All-ACC 3rd Team award in 2015 and 2016 at his college time.
Moses Ehambe (ex Kyoto Hannar.) is a newcomer at Vechta - 7 hours ago
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Newly promoted SC Rasta Vechta (BBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 30-year old American swingman Moses Ehambe (198-98kg-86, college: ORU). He has a double citizenship as he also holds DR Congolese passport. Ehambe played most recently at Kyoto Hannaryz in Japanese B League. In 36 games he recorded 10.0ppg and 3.1rpg last season. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. The previous (14-15) season Ehambe played at Eisbaeren Bremerhaven where in 34 BBL... [read more]
Newly promoted SC Rasta Vechta (BBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 30-year old American swingman Moses Ehambe (198-98kg-86, college: ORU). He has a double citizenship as he also holds DR Congolese passport. Ehambe played most recently at Kyoto Hannaryz in Japanese B League. In 36 games he recorded 10.0ppg and 3.1rpg last season. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. The previous (14-15) season Ehambe played at Eisbaeren Bremerhaven where in 34 BBL games he averaged 13.7ppg, 3.6rpg and 1.2apg. Great season indeed as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Honorable Mention. In 2008 Ehambe was drafted by Tulsa 66ers (D-League) in second round (32nd overall). He attended Oral Roberts University and it will be his ninth season in pro basketball. Ehambe has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2012. He won D-League championship title in 2011. Ehambe also represented USA at the Panamerican Games in Guadalajara (Mexico) five years ago. Thanks to his pro career he managed to play on three different continents (Europe, Latin America and of course North America). Ehambe has played previously professionally in Spain (Joventut and Ourense), Venezuela (Guaiqueries) and D-League (Austin Spurs, Oklahoma City Blue and Iowa Energy). The scouts decsribe him following way:
Ehambe is an outstanding long-range shooter; considered by some as one of the best shooters in the world. His quick release and footwork are at a very high level. At 6'6' 215 pounds he possesses great size, strength, and athleticism. He is very aggressive 1on1 and will help any team with his passion. Has extensive knowledge for the game and shows potential of being a great defender through his quickness, speed, and tired-less work ethic.
Karl Moore(203-PF-87, college: Culver Stockton) is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best... [read more]
Karl Moore (203-PF-87, college: Culver Stockton) is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best scoring games was 28 points against Hanau and 27 points against BG Karlsruhe. He played college ball at Schoolcraft Community College (JUCO), Rio Grande (NAIA), and Culver Stockton (NAIA). He spoke to eurobasket about basketball and his next experience with the Crailsheim Merlins.
Karl thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome back to Germany. You have been only a short time in Crailsheim, but what has been the biggest difference there to when you were a rookie in Saarlouis? Hello Miles! Thanks for the opportunity. The biggest difference are the times that we practice. While in Saarlouis, I practiced once a day with the Pro B team during the night. Here In Crailsheim, I practice three times a day. Twice with the Pro A team and once with the Regionaliga team. Physically it is tough but mentally I cant say that it's something that I can't survive, because right now there is a person in Africa growing up in conditions that I can't survive.
In Saarlouis you had the best German regionaliga player of all time Ricky Easterling on your side. Will his explosive scoring mentality and ability always for some reason be in your thoughts because he made you a better player as a rookie? Yes, Ricky is one of the best players that I played with throughout my professional career. He has taught me so much on and off the court. From the first day that we met, he saw how much potential that I have as a player and only wanted to see the best for me. A scoring machine like him will never be forgotten about.
He was also a vital part in pushing you the last months as you were looking for a new team. A week ago he gave you advice to go back to Germany and go for the Crailsheim offer. Is he a friend for life? Yes, Ricky is a friend for life. When first hearing about the Crailsheim opportunity through Hans Beth (basketball-aid), Ricky was one of the few people that I contacted for advice upon taking the opportunity. I knew that the Crailsheim offer was going to be another sacrifice for me and my family. But when I looked at the opportunity within this opportunity to move up, I noticed that God was up to something. Sometimes in life when we are trying to figure things out, God has already worked it out.
You have signed with Crailsheim (Regionaliga) team which in a way is a step back, but there is a twist in that you can practice with the pro A team and this will promote your game as well as get the chance to possibly make their roster. If I recall correctly, didn't you always feel like that you could play in the Pro A?
Yes, during my rookie year, I averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds from off the bench while shooting 60% from the field in less then 20 minutes of game playing at the Pro B level. During that time, I strongly felt as if I can easily compete on the Pro A level.
You dominated at Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2) last season, but how hungry are you to demonstrate your basketball abilities in your third professional season?
Last season, I averaged 34 points a game out in Luxembourg at the N2 level. Before going separate ways with the club. I had an opportunity to play against an N1 club during a cup game. I finished that game with 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 steals. Throughout my last two seasons, it felt as if I played with a chip on my shoulder which caused me to go hard for my team. Here I am in my third professional season and it feel as if I am in the underdog seat once again. The hunger is still there and it's go be interesting to see how far that it will take my God given abilities on the court once again as I help reach the club goals for this upcoming season.
How have the first few days been like in Crailsheim? Did you know any of the guys and how have the Pro A players taken you in?
The first few days for me in Crailsheim has been tough. My sleeping pattern is all messed and my body is trying to adjust to the three a day practices that I have to attend. Other than that, my time out here is going good so far. This club is very professional and family orientated, I feel as if we are one big family. I love the fact of that because back at home family is all I got. Last week was my first time meeting all the players. They have taken me in quickly. They seem to have a grasp of what I bring to the team and constantly give me advice throughout practice so that I can be up to speed with the team system.
You are playing with some very well known players that have performed at the BBL and Pro A level. Now that you are practicing with these very talented players how much is your self confidence rising in that you know that you can compete with them? I am a workaholic and within that territory comes confidence to compete on any level. Here in Crailsheim, while competing with these experienced guys in practice. I am still trying to figure out the team identity and players personal. In which causes me to think extremely a lot on the court which takes away from my ability. By next week, I am confident that I will have everything figured out in my head, which will then cause me to think less and the flow of things will become more smoothly.
You recently showed your abilities in an exhibition game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (BBL) in a 77-67 loss, but you held your own scoring 8 points in nine minutes. How happy were you with your own performance?
I wasn't happy with my own performance because we lost in a game that I felt was winnable. As a team we had made some mistakes in which we are correcting during practice. But I understand that it is still early and this is only preseason. With the great coaching staff that we have, the potential of this team will definitely be where it needs to be before regular season begin.
What have been the biggest differences in style that you have witnessed now at the BBL/Pro A level that you had never seen before as a professional? I don't see much of a different style but the players are much taller and stronger. Its like the higher the league the better the Germans are.
You played against many top players in Europe with guys like Chad Toppert or Alex Ruoff. Is at times difficult to calm your own emotions and not get too motivated about performing very well? To be honest with you I don't get excited when I am playing against top players. I know how to find motivation within myself regardless of how high or low the competition is. When out there playing against top players, my goal is grind harder than them. I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
What has it been like going against ex German national player Konrad Wysocki? He guarded Lebron James at the 2008 Olympics and at age 34 can still compete with the best of them? It was just another day in the office for me. He is getting up there with age but I believe that he still has the juice.
Patrick Flomo is a true professional and still lives above the rim at age 36. Is he a guy that you feel will be able to give you the right pointers as the season progresses? Patrick is a vet. He has been playing the game for quite some time. He even played Regionaliga as well before playing in top leagues. From the first day of practice, he gave me advice right away. Every right pointer that he has given me, I am quick to listen. He is one of the players that constantly stays on me during practice. I couldn't ask for a better teammate.
What things on your game are you working on in hopes that you can continue to be a consistent performer with the pro A guys and continue to compete for a role on the team of Thomas IIsalo? Let me start off by saying that coach Thomas is one hell of a coach. Very down to earth man. He understands the game of basketball inside out. I love his passion for the game in which makes me go harder when he feels as if we as a team is not playing to the best of our ability. Some of the things that I am working on is becoming a leader and being more under control with my quickness. I am an extremely athletic player in which causes me to be a little wild at times.
You obviously can't forget your duties with Regionaliga team Crailsheim 2. Could you feel some pressure down the road having to put up high consistent stats or can you erase those thoughts? Just because it's a regionaliga league, I don't think that it will just be a walk in the park but at the same time I don't feel under pressure at all. Coach Kai Buchmann is also a great coach and experienced being that he used to coach Pro A. He already gave me the blue print and I'm ready to go get it. Both clubs have one goal in mind which is to win nothing less than a championship. Throughout my last two professional seasons, I set all type of personal records to scoring 54 points in a game to grabbing over 20 rebounds. One thing that I haven't done yet was win a championship. I worked hard all summer before an opportunity was even given. Now it's time to go win that gold and hang a banner.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick? #1 LeBron James, #2 Michael Jordan, #3 Magic Johnson, #4 Wilt Chamberlain
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game? It puts him at #1 in my eyes.
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