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.
Amin Stevens (ex Braunschweig) joins Keflavik - 4 hours ago
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Keflavik (Dominos League) added to their roster 26-year old American forward Amin Stevens (203-104kg-90, college: Florida A&M). He played last season at Basketball Loewen Braunschweig in German BBL league. In 34 games he had 7.8ppg and 4.2rpg. The previous (14-15) season Stevens played at Vienna in A Bundesliga where in 46 games he was third best scorer with impressive 18.2ppg and averaged 9.1rpg (#3 in the league), 1.0apg and 1.7spg (in top 5). Stevens helped them to win the regular seas... [read more]
Keflavik (Dominos League) added to their roster 26-year old American forward Amin Stevens (203-104kg-90, college: Florida A&M). He played last season at Basketball Loewen Braunschweig in German BBL league. In 34 games he had 7.8ppg and 4.2rpg. The previous (14-15) season Stevens played at Vienna in A Bundesliga where in 46 games he was third best scorer with impressive 18.2ppg and averaged 9.1rpg (#3 in the league), 1.0apg and 1.7spg (in top 5). Stevens helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. A very spectacular season in his career as he was selected Eurobasket.com All-Austrian League Forward of the Year, named to 1st Team and named to All-Imports Team. He has played previously professionally in Slovakia (MBK Rieker Com Therm Komarno) and Austria (Furstenfeld Panthers). Stevens attended Florida A&M University until 2012 and it will be his fifth season as a professional player.
Marcellus Barksdale(196-G-93, college: IUPUI) is a 23 year old 196cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky that is playing his first professional season in Germany with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) and will start his professional career against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. He played at IUPUI (NCAA) form 2011-2016 playing a total of 131 NCAA games. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 8.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 73.1%. He spoke to eurobasket before th... [read more]
Marcellus Barksdale (196-G-93, college: IUPUI) is a 23 year old 196cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky that is playing his first professional season in Germany with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) and will start his professional career against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. He played at IUPUI (NCAA) form 2011-2016 playing a total of 131 NCAA games. As a senior he played 31 games averaging 8.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 73.1%. He spoke to eurobasket before the Frankfurt contest.
Marcellus thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. You are playing your first season with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB). You signed very late in the summer. How was your first experience with looking for clubs and finding that right situation?
It was a nerve wrecking process to say the least! It really tested my patience. It was a situation that was out of my control. All I could do was continually improve and work on my game so that when my moment came, I would be ready.
You finally found a team with the TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB). What were then main reasons for joining the club and what was really sold you on making your professional start in Germany? Honestly, I believed Germany would be a great place for me to start my career. All of the pros I talked to, both former and current, listed Germany as one of their top places to live and play basketball. My agent, Gerrit Kersten-Thiele, is also from Germany so it was an easy decision for me when he told me they were interested in signing me.
Just like last season the club has relied on one American. What has been your experience playing with only German players?
It has been a very easy transition. Although my teammates are all German, they each speak English very well and have done a great job of including me in the team's chemistry. Practicing the last couple of weeks and watching the season opener have allowed me to understand each of my teammates strengths and capabilities. I'm excited to finally get on the court with them.
Have you noticed early on that the team looks up to you or do sense it is trust in the making? I feel the team really looks up to me and is looking for me to help lead. We have a lot of talent but we are a young team. As one of the older guys, it is my responsibility to lead by example and bring energy and intensity to every practice and game.
How excited are you to be making your professional debut in Frankfurt. Can you remember your NCAA debut in 2011 against Anderson? I'm pumped up for my professional debut! It's finally starting to feel real. All of the countless hours in the gym have begun to pay off and I have a great opportunity in front of me. And yes, I still remember my first college game as well. I had so much energy and adrenaline that it was hard to be nervous!
The name might not say anything now, but you will be making your debut against 16 year 203cm point guard Isaac Bonga who is the biggest German prospect since NBA player Dennis Schroeder. Is this something that will add to your adrenaline for your first professional game? I've watched a little bit of film on him. I think he has a very bright future ahead but for now, he's my opponent and I'm treating him no differently than any other player on the Frankfurt roster. He has no effect on my adrenaline or excitement for my first game as a pro. I did not even know who he was until this week.
Besides winning what are your main goals as a rookie on the court?
From my effort and defensive intensity, to my communication and aggressiveness, my main goal on the court is to be the hardest worker on the floor and to set an example for my teammates at all times. All of these goals are completely intangible and things I have control over every game. I feel if I'm able to do these to the best of my ability every night, wins will follow.
Do you see yourself as having to carry the team and being the main scoring option?
I see myself as having to do whatever is necessary for my team to win each game. One game it may be scoring, one game it may be defending, another game it may be both. Either way, I'm going to do what is needed to get a win for my team.
If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would you describe your game too?
Tough question! But if there was one NBA player who I feel my game mimics most I would have to say Andre Miller in his younger years. Miller was a very versatile and strong combo guard who was a heck of a leader. He could play on the wing or PG and was very effective at both. I also liked how he had the strength to take smaller guards to the block and go to work. He was also a pest on the defensive end and had a great basketball IQ.
How proud were you to be part of the success and breakout season of Darell Combs?
Watching Darell grow for the past two-and-a-half years was great. He's one of the best guards I've ever played with and really began to mature on and off the court last season. He's been working hard all summer and I really feel he will have a breakout season this year.
How far can he still go and develop in his last two years of school? Darell has always been a talented scorer but his ball handling and passing ability have allowed him to take his game to the next level. Add that with his new leadership role at IUPUI and he has a chance to lead this team to a conference championship and NCAA tournament.
You are a very energetic and active forward with your biggest strength at rebounding. What other assets would you add to your player profile? I'm very versatile. I feel there is nothing on the court that I can't particularly do. I feel passing is one of my best assets. I have very good court vision and an understanding of when and where to get my teammates the ball.
You are a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game? A hidden strength in my game is my scoring ability. My last season of college, the dynamics of the team changed and my scoring was not needed as much. I've worked hard all summer to improve my outside shooting and midrange game. This season I plan to utilize these strengths much more.
You had many good games at IUPUI, but would you say that your back to back games of 21 points against South Dakota and 25 points against Western Illinois were your two best games? I played a lot of games at IUPUI. It's hard to single out any one performance as my best. Those were great games for me scoring the ball but I do not think I would count that as my best game.
How did Jason Gardner groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career in your senior year? Coach Gardner challenged me. He challenged my leadership and also gave me a clearer reality of what to expect playing professional basketball in Europe. He also continually helps me in whatever way he can, and it's always good knowing somebody like that is in your corner.
Gardner had his successful years in Germany with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Do you remember him telling any stories about his time in Germany? When I found out that Coach Gardner was going to be my head coach I immediately began watching all of his pro highlights on YouTube. He's told me a few stories but I know he had a great career in Germany and was loved and hated by many fans!
Who was the toughest player you battled in the NBA that is in the NBA now?
The toughest player that I've played in college that is in the NBA now is Nate Wolters. I've played against many NBA talents but Wolters was always tough at South Dakota St. His game was always solid and he played at his own pace. I've always respected his game.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Mason Archie?
Me and Mase had many battles. We would go back and forth many practices and open gyms. We always had an unspoken battle. We never talked about it much but we both were trying to beat each other at everything--sprints, weights, one-on-one drills, defending Darell, grades. It really pushed us to become better both on and off the court.
If you had to construct your NBA Rushmore with the 4 best heads ever who would you choose? I would go with MJ, Kareem, Kobe, and LeBron (I have to give him his proper respect.)
Lebron finally won an NBA title with the Cavs. Where does he stand now with the all-time greatest that ever played? After his most recent championship, I believe LeBron solidified himself as a top-5 all-time great NBA player.
Melsahn Basabe (ex Goettingen) agreed terms with Doxa Lefkadas - 1 day ago
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Newly promoted AE Doxa Lefkadas (A1) inked 24-year old American power forward Melsahn Basabe (201-100kg-92, college: Iowa). He was about to sign at BG Goettingen in German BBL league. The last season Basabe played at Antwerp Giants (Scooore League) in Belgium where in 13 games he recorded very impressive stats: 16.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.2spg and 1.0bpg. A very good season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Belgian League Honorable Mention. Basabe also played 9 games in FIBA Euro... [read more]
Newly promoted AE Doxa Lefkadas (A1) inked 24-year old American power forward Melsahn Basabe (201-100kg-92, college: Iowa). He was about to sign at BG Goettingen in German BBL league. The last season Basabe played at Antwerp Giants (Scooore League) in Belgium where in 13 games he recorded very impressive stats: 16.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.2spg and 1.0bpg. A very good season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Belgian League Honorable Mention. Basabe also played 9 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he averaged 12.8ppg, 5.8rpg and 1.0bpg. He helped them to make it to the quarterfinals. Basabe played in the final of NIT in 2013. He has played previously professionally in Finland (Helsinki Seagulls) and Poland (Stabill). Basabe attended University of Iowa until 2014 and it is his third season in pro basketball.
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